Representative Trey Gowdy would like "yes" or "no" answers from the former head of the I.R.S. He also would like to know "who" and "why." Not getting those answers, he raises his voice: "Did you lift a finger to identify the facts? Let the record reflect that's a "no."
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Ann Voskamp writes that
every flood of trouble remakes the landscape of your souls – making you better or bitter.
Every trouble is like a flood and you can either rise up on it or sink down in it – and if you lean the weight of you — of it all — on the wood of the Cross, you always still rise.
Guest post by Suzann Darnall
"I am not a crook!" That is perhaps Richard Nixon's most famous quote. That could very well be the new motto for the Obama administration. Forget "most transparent administration ever", these people are taking hidden agendas, back-room deals, and corruption to a whole new level.
Some folks have brought up "Watergate" and referred to the current series of scandals as "Scandalgate". More like "Floodgate"! 'Cause the river of muck out of the Obama Administration and tag-a-long minions is seemingly never-ending.
One of the administrations most common excuses for the scandals is that there was no corruption, just incompetence. They are constantly saying they didn't know what was going on, they made a mistake, they misspoke, they weren't told, etc. Well, in my opinion, such a level of incompetence is no difference from corruption. Whether incompetent or corrupt, this administration is not suited to lead the country.
Among the definitions of corruption we find the following: rot, alteration, and debasement (which can mean a lowering of quality). Well, I would say something is definitely rotten in Obamaland. Not to mention that these folks apparently can't tell anyone about anything without altering something . . . frequently altering everything! And, they have certainly lowered the quality of politics, which wasn't easy, given that so much of the political environment is pretty lowlife.
Just pick from this partial list taken from the past six years:
Reverend Wright who preached hatred for decades while Obama sat and listened in his church.
Solyndra, the company that took millions of taxpayer dollars, then went bankrupt.
Fast and Furious which led to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
National Security leaks from Obama White House.
Obama's birth certificate.
Media Matters, which is seemingly the far left arm of the White House press secretary.
Benghazi, where four Americans died and leaders demanded a stand-down.
IRS targeting of Conservatives.
DOJ investigation of the AP.
DOJ seizures of journalist phone records, particularly targeting FOX News'
There are far too many scandals to even list them all, never mind go into the details. But, two common threads running all along the way are the denials and story changing by the Obama administration. It doesn't matter which scandal you choose or which person is speaking. The ringtones are nearly the same. Just pick one: #1) I don't know. #2) I didn't do it. #3) I am not responsible.
David Axelrod dithering, ". . . we really don't know who did this . . ."
Jay Carney opined, "You're concocting scandals that don't exist."
Steven Chu was "not aware" of staffers' predictions that Solyndra would go broke.
Hillary Clinton questioned, "What difference does it make?"
Eric Holder repeatedly said, "I don't know."
Lois Lerner said, "I did nothing wrong."
Steven Miller says he "did not lie."
Barack Obama stated, "I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this."
Nancy Pelosi declared, "But, we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."
Douglas Shulman claims he's not "personally responsible."
Henry Waxman announced, "We've lost the money. It's unfortunate, but there's no scandal there."
Incompetent or corrupt? You decide.
© Suzann C. Darnall, MAY 2013
Jim Goad has
recently been made aware of a strange new tribe who refer to themselves collectively—they do everything collectively—as “progressives.” I think they used to call themselves “liberals” until it became clear that they don’t care much for liberty. Males and females in this tribe both tend to wear beards and gather in urban coastal areas, where they pay too much for apartments, water, coffee, and bean sprouts.
So, Goad has painstakingly compiled a glossary of terms used by progressives. I highly recommend you go click on the link below to read it.
Are you a sheep, sheepdog, or a wolf? The latter two categories each comprise about one percent of the world's population, according to a theory offered by a man named Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. The rest of us are mostly sheep, however some of us may choose to become sheepdogs in certain situations.
it’s simply to say that most people want to get along with others, are inclined to go with the flow and not make waves, and aren’t regularly faced with dangerous or truly unethical situations and thus don’t know how to behave when they are.
First responders call this tendency to act like everything is fine during traumatic events “negative panic.” Psychologists call it the normalcy bias. Brett and Kate McKay write
Your brain is predisposed to assume that things will be normal and predictable all the time. When things aren’t normal, it takes our brain a long time to process this. Instead of springing to action when something unexpected happens, our brain kind of shrugs and figures that what is going on can’t be so bad, because truly bad events are so out of the ordinary. Many people who witness traumatic events report that it felt surreal, like they were watching a movie and it wasn’t really happening.
Second, there is the bystander effect.
Our inclination to help or take action when we see a threat or a need diminishes whenever we’re part of a group. You think that someone else in the group will do something, so you hold back. The problem is, that’s exactly what everyone else in the group is thinking too. With everyone waiting for someone else to do something, no one does anything.
Third, We Overestimate Our Ability to Thrive in Dangerous Situations.
Fourth, We Have a Tendency to Conform.
One of the mechanisms we’ve evolved to ensure we can attach ourselves to a group and not be ostracized from it is conformity. As Westerners, we like to think that we’re unique individuals who can rise above peer pressure (and that peer pressure only exists as part of the DARE curriculum), but we’re not. Conformity is “our default mode,” as psychologist Noam Shpancer points out. We instinctively hone in on social cues and the body language of others and adapt our behavior to mirror them so we gain acceptance.
Fifth, We Operate from a Herd Mentality.
Sixth, We Depend on Authority Figures to Make Decisions.
Seventh, We Don’t Know How to Handle Stress.
Eighth, We’re Not in Shape.So, what can we do?
The best you can do is commit yourself to training and preparing your physical, ethical, and mental abilities to their fullest extent, so that when you do face a crisis, you give yourself the best possible chance to be a sheepdog instead of a sheep, to lead with skill, wisdom, and honor rather than blindly following.
Richard Fernandez writes about the people on the streets of Britain, and how they reacted yesterday to the killers who asked them to take their pictures after decapitating a man and dumping his body in the street.
From a certain point of view, the British crowd behaved perfectly and this is the way “they” all want us to behave. The populace sheltered in place, didn’t do anything rash, talked to the perpetrators as people. They waited for the police to come and the hospital helicopter to take the corpse away. Some will doubtless get counseling to overcome their shattering experience.
And then they will congratulate themselves on how tough British society is; resilience and all that. The more caring will leave some flowers by a railing and hold a few candle vigils for healing and peace, until these wither and blow away and the news cycle washes up a new object of attention.
The attackers knew they were actors in a drama — as keenly watched in their communities as on the BBC. And in that other audience they were asking: “How will the locals behave?” We know now. And that other audience may derive an entirely different lesson from this tableau: “See? Only their women act like men. They follow orders. They are nothing anymore — these Westerners. They are a civilization whose core has been destroyed.”
And would they be right? Who will be the judge? Per C.S. Lewis:
And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more “drive”, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or “creativity”. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
Sarah Hoyt writes about the people who continue to come illegally tothe United states from Mexico.
Amnesty won’t solve anything. It won’t make these people consider themselves American. They never wanted to be American. They haven’t left their past behind as other immigrants have to do. They just walked a few hundred miles. (Or more likely drove.) It won’t make them a more open community – their culture will remain us vs. them. They will take it, but they will continue working under the table and avail themselves of our social services and our social security payments. In their code that’s not even slightly wrong. Their history has taught you take as much as you can while you can because those above you will take from you as soon as they can.
Are Mexicans returning to Mexico?
There are indications that as our economy spins into the Khaki Mexicans are going back home. I know my local supermarket (a tiny one) used to carry about half the magazines in Spanish five years ago. Now you can’t find a single Spanish title. And there are indications the flooding-back tide is helping Mexico too.
What are our choices?
But our choices, other than continuing to spin into the hole, until no Mexicans or people from points further South want to come here (except perhaps to cross to Canada) are stark: we can get rid of minimum wage, tighten the benefits spigot, and let the economy settle itself. Or we can become the sort of regime that shoots people trying to come over.
There is no other choice. And I don’t see either of those happening in the near future, unless of course we collapse. Which is the inevitable result if we don’t do either of those.
To call people explaining the facts “racist” is to ignore that most of the people who are hurt by this unchecked tide are our own racial minorities. It is also to ignore that economics is race-blind.
It is a dismal science and the results are always the same, no matter how much you scream that they’re insensitive.
Ideologically bent information was what kept the USSR quiescent so long. They knew they were hurting, but they thought the rest of the world was worse. How could they know it wasn’t? Most of them couldn’t travel abroad. All they had was the reports of a press who wanted them to believe things a certain way. Which meant they believed what they heard, and they thought bad as things were it was inevitable, and a free market would be worse.
We’re all low information voters. Worse, it’s highly possible the government is a low information government, something more terrifying than their drinking their own ink, even if they’re also doing that.
This is a problem because the idiocy of the government can affect the recovery (which I don’t believe exists) or make the recession (do I hear depression?) worse all without their knowing what they’re doing, and without any clue of which direction they should be headed in.
Like a skier caught in an avalanche things are changing too fast and neither us nor those in charge have any clue which way is up, even though we’re all p*ssing ourselves.
Just knowing how the writing field is changing is insane enough a job. Knowing how the entire economy, all the tech, etc. is changing requires a brilliant mind and more time than any of us has.
I go on general principles and what I know has worked from history: for a country this side, I support less regulation, more freedom and more regional solutions (on the principle that those closer to the problem see it better.)
But do I KNOW for a fact how things are changing? Not on your life.
Which of course means that those who favor centralized government must prove to me why they know more than the rest of us and why they think they have the information to run everything.
Once more we come to malice or incompetence and the answer is “yes”. They are malicious because they favor power for themselves and their cronies, which necessitates central-control which is hampered by ignorance and makes everyone worse off. Which brings us to malice again.
Nobody knows not’ing and I’m tired of their pretending they know everything.
Most of all, I KNOW – and yep, it’s a know – that regardless of the claims that there is no inflation, our grocery bills have doubled, and that we’re not eating twice as much. I also know (or suspect) inflation hasn’t doubled the prices of things, just the things we buy specifically. (Meat, veggies, cleaners.)
I also know that hanging by the fingernails though we are, we’re relatively well off compared to other people, even other employed people. (Having no debt except the mortgage does help. Even if that means you have to drive ancient cars and pay for the repairs.)
A boy gets a close look at some baby hummingbirds at a Colorado golf course.
Hat tip American Digest
Gerard Van der Leun posted this speech by Adolph Hitler, with English subtitles. Of course it shows how crazy Hitler was, but to me it also shows how far gone the German people were. Hitler had convinced them that they had to get rid of certain groups of people. Talk about delusions of grandeur! He was indeed the ultimate "embodiment of National Socialist thought and being."
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
hat tip Bookworm Room
A blogger has written a poem about statists.
First they came for the Evangelicals But they just want everyone to follow their oppressive rules So I was fine with that
Then they came for the conservatives But they are just greedy bastards who want to take away poor people's benefits, So I was fine with that
Then they came for the gun owners But we can't have crazy people shooting kids So I was fine with that
Then they came for the Jews But it's not fair that they run the world So I was fine with that
Then they came for the homeschoolers But they just want to brainwash their children So I was fine with that
Then they came for the "preppers" But they are just crazy anti-government agitators So I was fine with that
Then they came for the Catholics Because hey, why not? So I was fine with that
So now that we're living in our glorious utopia They came for me And I can't imagine why everyone else is fine with that.
by mituns.dreamwidth.orghat tip Bookworm Room
Three robbers entered this Houston home. They shoved the resident of the home into a closet. They did not know that the closet is where the man kept his guns. He got his gun, and shot one of the intruders. The other two escaped. The Mail Online has the story here.
One of the Islamic killers approaches a brave person who is filming him. He still is carrying the knife, and his hands are bloody.
via ITN news
The number of Afghan women and girls jailed for fleeing sexual abuse, domestic, violence and forced marriage has increased dramatically, according to new official figures.found here
Statistics obtained from Afghanistan's Interior Ministry by the campaign group Human Rights Watch reveal the number of women and girls convicted of 'moral crimes,' which include running away from home has increased by 50 per cent in the last year from 400 to 600.
Many of the 600 women jailed in the last year are victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse whose only crime was to run away from their assailants, the group said.
It called on the Afghan government to enforce its own Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW), and to stop its judges punishing female victims.
Now we know why General Petraeus was silenced. Roger L. Simon has an exclusive at PJ Media. PJ Media has talked with two U.S. diplomats who say that
Stevens’ mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming “insurgents” with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.
Hillary Clinton still wanted to proceed because, in part, as one of the diplomats said, she wanted “to overthrow Gaddafi on the cheap.”
This left Stevens in the position of having to clean up the scandalous enterprise when it became clear that the “insurgents” actually were al-Qaeda – indeed, in the view of one of the diplomats, the same group that attacked the consulate and ended up killing Stevens.
The diplomats also have some things to say about why General Ham was relieved of his command. He had been ready and willing to send immediate help to the brave Americans fighting al Qaeda at Benghazi.
A Chechen man with ties to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed by an FBI agent in Orlando early today when the man attacked the agent, the FBI said in a statement. Here is a picture of the dude who was killed.
A soldier in Britain has been beheaded by men carrying machetes and shouting Allahu Akbar while filming the attack. the police took twenty minutes to arrive, but the two killers were still there, and the police shot them and took them away in a helicopter. However, the Telegraph reports,
Eyewitness Michael Atley, 28, who works for a building maintenance firm nearby, said the two killers were in a blue BMW 3 series which mounted the pavement and knocked the victim over.
They then beheaded him with either a meat cleaver or a machete before both were shot by police officers who were on the scene within moments.
He told the Telegraph: “We heard the gunfire from the police shooting the two people. There were a few shots, then a pause, then some more shots, maybe eight shots in total.
“I spoke to an eyewitness who had seen the whole thing and he said they had run the guy over and then started decapitating him.
“When the police arrived the black guys were waving a pistol and a machete or a meat cleaver in the air and the police opened fire.
By the way, while I was reading Pam's blog a malicious threat was detected by my antivirus program, so be careful. Of course malicious people would be trying to attack Pam.
hat tip Althouse
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Can you buy happiness? Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton write in the LA Times that how we use our money may matter as much or more than how much of it we've got. They point out that
dozens of studies show that people get more happiness from buying experiences than from buying material things.
Hat tip Ann Althouse
Did you know that most seminaries don't even teach courses on Heaven any more? That is what John Blake writes on CNN's religion blog. Just about the only time we hear about Heaven is when we go to a funeral.
Blake writes about Rob Bell, an evangelist who was forced to resign after he wrote a book in which he asserted that it is not only Christians who go to Heaven.
Do we really have to turn to Beyonce for inspiration?
The church eventually stopped talking about heaven, though, for a variety of reasons: the rise of science; the emergence of the Social Gospel, a theology that encouraged churches to create heaven on Earth by fighting for social justice; and the growing affluence of Americans. (After all, who needs heaven when you have a flat-screen TV, a smartphone and endless diversions?)Hat tip Ann Althouse
I strongly agree with this statement:
"It's cool to be a man that smokes and drinks — who drives a fast motorbike, or fast cars," she says. "If you were really serious about saving lives, you would spend money tackling unhealthy gender norms" that promote these risky behaviors.Sarah Hawkes from the University of London's Institute of Global Health says that there is very little focus on men's health issues, yet, of the ten most prominent health problems around the world, they are all more common among men.
via Ann Althouse
Did you hear about the Los Angeles couple who bought two $2,700 tickets to fly to Dakar, Senegal in west Africa, but the airline screwed up and sent them instead to Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is 7,000 miles off course on another continent in Asia? The story is here.
As Hillary might say, Dakar, Dhaka, what difference does it make?
Hat tip Ann Althouse
Monday, May 20, 2013
Morgan Freeberg linked to a very well written piece at The American Thinker by Darren Jonescu. It's all about the kind of people we have in Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and what they did regarding Benghazi
The president and secretary of state of the most powerful nation on Earth are impervious to shame. They can do -- they have done -- what you hope you could never do, what you pray your children will never be able to do, what psychologists fill academic journals attempting to explain. They were informed that their countrymen -- their appointees -- were being attacked, were issuing repeated cries for help, and, if nothing were done to intercede, were likely to be killed. Knowing this, and knowing, further, that they had at their disposal the most powerful military in the world, no risk of personal harm, and many subordinates prepared to leap into action at their word, they blithely walked away from the desperate men pleading for their help, and carried on with whatever they happened to be doing that night. They let other men suffer unto death without lifting a finger to help, or even indicating a moment's regret for their inaction after the fact.
They demonstrated a cold lack of interest in the suffering of others -- not the abstract, theoretical suffering of collective interest groups, such as "the poor" or "gays" or "women," but the real physical pain and mortal terror-style suffering of individual human beings in mortal crisis.
That is what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did on September 11 and 12, 2012, and what they have continued to do in the months since. God save a nation in the hands of men and women with souls of this nature. For a man without shame or the capacity for the most primal forms of fellow-feeling is a man who has no internal, self-imposed limits on what he might do to achieve his ends. If the suffering of others is absolutely nothing to him; if literal cries for help do not stir in him painful feelings that can only be alleviated by prompt action or, failing that, by interminable days of shame and self-loathing, then there is nothing -- apart from pragmatic calculations -- to prevent him from doing anything that seems to serve his ends.
Progressivism, socialism, Marxism -- call it what you will -- is an authoritarian strategy masked as a political theory. At its core is the premise that the state has full authority, in the name of "the people," to do any number of things which would have been almost universally recognized, throughout human history, as shameful acts. In the name of "equality" and "justice," progressives claim the authority to take one man's rightfully earned possessions by force, and simply give them to other men; to remove children forcibly from their parents, and raise them according to precepts that may be antithetical to everything the parents believe; to retard the intellectual and moral development of every citizen through an aggressive, coercive program of indoctrination through government schools, aimed at producing a submissive underclass of competent but unambitious adults; to determine, by edict, who may or may not be permitted to pursue life-preserving medical treatment, and under what conditions that treatment may be provided; and so on through the litany of moral violations recast as "services," and even "rights," by collectivist despots and their bureaucratic minions.
Homer, composing his epic tales for a society dominated by war and its frequent and sudden losses, coined a term for the essential life force of an individual man, a term designed at once to dignify the individual dying warrior, and to fill all hearers with wonder and a moral shiver at the fleetingness of it all: psuchē -- literally, "breath." There is the root, linguistically and philosophically, of our word psyche, i.e., soul. Human life is breath, and thus death a mere exhalation. A biological fact transformed through poetry into the essential glory and tragedy of our existence. With what horrifying ease may a man be dispatched from this world -- from the company of his comrades, the home of his family, the embrace of his beloved, and the society of his fellow citizens. In the end, a man's life is just an invisible wisp of air, barely felt and quickly lost. We cling to and cherish life because, deep down, we know this of ourselves. We begin our journey to full humanity, however, when we recognize and respect this truth in others. To fail in this initial stage of our moral journey is to become something other than human, something lower, something degraded and ugly.
Do you know people who always have to have the last word? They are very frustrating people to talk to. When they are policy makers, like Holder and Obama, Morgan Freeberg points out that
You often haven’t very long to wait to see some among them bragging about not knowing anything.
Freeberg calls them "Brick Wall people."
Brick-wall-people M-U-S-T have the last word, and yield to no one, even though the means by which they know they are “right” are limited to their pointing to the opinions of others, and/or simply repeating things over and over.
Huma Abedin is a busy person. Not only has she been a loyal companion to Hillary Clinton since 1996, wife of stud former Congressman Anthony Weiner, mother of a child born in 2012, but she is also a consultant to some big money groups. Arnold Ahlert writes
While the mainstream media remains temporarily focused on Abedin’s role with regard to her husband’s political campaign, it remains calculatingly incurious about her work with the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, and the tens of millions of dollars in donations it has received from such entities as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the governments of Kuwait and Qatar, Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid, who has close ties to the Saudi royal family, Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi, reputed to be one of the richest men in the world, and a group called Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation.
During part of that time, Abedin had another job as well. From 1996-2008, she also worked as assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA), a publication founded by Abdullah Omar Naseef.
Naseef was also secretary general of the Muslim World League in Saudi Arabia, a highly significant Muslim Brotherhood organization Osama Bin Laden once characterized as one of his terrorist group’s chief funding sources.
Using that connection, Naseef founded the Rabita Trust, a designated terrorist organization. In the late seventies, he hired Abedin’s parents to run his newly formed Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA). Editing its journal has remained a family enterprise to this day, and Naseef’s tenure as a member of the journal’s advisory editorial board, seven years of which coincided with Huma’s Abedin’s tenure there, lasted until 2003‚Äìthe same year he was named as a defendant in a civil case brought by victims of 9/11. Naseef was dropped from the suit in 2010, when a court decided it lacked jurisdiction over him.
Dr. Saleha Abedin, Huma’s mother, still edits the JMMA. She took over when Huma’s father, Syed Zainul Abedin, passed away. Both of Abedin’s parents, as well as her brother, Hassan Abedin, have deep, documented ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, her mother runs the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child, which is part of yet another terror-designated organization known as the Union of Good.
It remains impossible to understand how Abedin received security clearance to work at the State Department, which allows her access to top-secret documents. Even if one makes the case that she should not be tainted by the dubious relationships maintained by her family members, it is impossible to disassociate her from her own relationship with Abdullah Omar Naseef and his organization.
Yet in a testament to the power of PC-inspired denial, when these and other sordid relationships were documented in a letter sent by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Tom Rooney (R-FL) to the State Department’s Deputy Inspector General, politicians in both parties, as well as the mainstream media, accused Bachmann of engaging in a McCarthy-esque smear campaign.
The letter to the Inspector General was sent in June, the same month Abedin relinquished her position as deputy chief of staff. Whether one assumes this to be a mere coincidence or not, there is no denying that Abedin’s change in status was kept secret for nearly a year. The Obama administration could quickly put an end to this controversy by revealing the contents of Abedin’s responses contained in Standard Form 86, a “Questionnaire for National Security Positions.” That questionnaire should have been completed prior to Abedin serving in her capacity at State beginning in 2009.
No doubt a State Department up to its neck in the Benghazi scandal is too busy to respond.
I suppose that when a presidential candidate urges his supporters to get in someone’s face, and to take a gun to a knife fight, from now on you better believe him. And, finally, the strangest thing about nearing the threshold of 1984? It comes with a whimper, not a bang, with a charismatic smile and mellifluous nonsense—with politically correct, egalitarian-minded bureaucrats with glasses and iPhones instead of fist-shaking jack-booted thugs.
The President didn't know. The Attorney General didn't know. Hillary didn't know. Joe Biden didn't know anything.
Explain a few things, Mr. President. Why is it that you apologize to Muslims and you lie to Americans? Why is it that you use the I.R.S. to silence political dissent, and the DOJ to threaten the press? Why is it that you mobilize the I.R.S. to go after political enemies, but you can't mobilize troops to save lives in Benghazi? We have the right to demand the truth.
Please click on the music, then scroll down to read this piece by Rich Day at The Power of Introverts.
Both of my daughters, Christine and Shannon, took up the piano, along with all the lessons, the hours of practice, and the nervousness of performing at recitals.
In particular, the performance aspect of piano was an act of courage for Christine, who is quiet and reserved, but she did very well. She’s an enigma in her quiet ways, a girl who will not be held back in spite of some discomfort.
This true story takes place at their first piano competition.
The aspect of competing added a new layer of nerves, and they practiced their pieces for months before heading off on a Saturday morning for the event.
I will say, my younger daughter Shannon performed beautifully. In fact, she won second place in her division, and we were so proud of her! This story, however, is only about Christine.
The competition was held in a large auditorium, with a stage at the front, one grand piano, and a single seat. The stage, positioned in front of a sea of people, looked to me like a very lonely place to be, and I couldn’t help but feel comforted by the fact that I would remain in the spectators’ seats.
At times like these, you hope for some measure of luck; and as we read through the program, we saw that Shannon was to be the “lucky” girl, the one who would perform first in her division. Fortunately, there was no one else playing her piece.
Then we looked at Christine’s division. It was a very crowded group. Three other performers besides Christine were playing “Clair De Lune,” and she was to play last. My nerves instantly multiplied like breeding rabbits.
So I sat back and listened as each competitor played “Clair De Lune.” What I heard was very competent and precise performances. These kids were very good!
Each time the piece was played I looked towards the judges to my left. They sat in a row, three of them, and I could only see the face of the judge closest to me. After each performance her expression was implacable, not even showing a hint of emotion.
As I wondered why she seemed so stiff, I realized this was a woman who had no doubt heard this piece played hundreds of times before. She was just hearing the same song played three more times.
But, for me, hearing these kids play, and the manner in which they played, took me back to a moment weeks before, as I listened to Christine practice. She played the piece exactly how her competition was playing it here at the competition: competently, skillfully hitting every note with great precision.
As she practiced, I got up, stood behind her, and asked her to show me the music. She pointed at the page and, to my mind, what I saw was a jumbled, complicated sheet, containing indecipherable notes. So I asked her again, “Show me the music.”
Christine didn’t understand what I was asking, so I explained myself in a different way.
“You do realize that this sheet music is nothing more than the best road map this composer could give you to find his music. This music was born in his heart, he found it there, and the only place you can find it isn’t on this page, but in your own heart.”
My flashback is interrupted by the cold sound of hearing Christine’s name over the loudspeaker as she’s called to the stage. She was to be the very last person to perform.
Christine made her way up to that most lonely spot, a single seat in front of hundreds of people. I can’t imagine how nervous she must have felt, because even my nerves were hard to control.
Then it began. Christine bowed, sat, and started to play.
Well, kind of.
Instead of “Claire de Lune,” what came out was gibberish. She played a few random notes, then stopped.
A hush came over the crowd. There wasn’t a single sound, except for a gasp or two.
She started and stopped like this three times, each attempt sounding the same – a few strange notes were played, nothing more. The music had disappeared from her memory.
Every fiber of my being wanted to go scoop her up off that stage and carry her away, but I stayed seated and waited – for a miracle.
The courage Christine displayed next was a moment of bravery I can’t even imagine. Because I, in no way, share the same degree of fortitude she was able to call upon in that incredibly intense moment.
As she continued to survive through her stumbles, Christine stood up, paused for a few seconds, sat back down again, and — please forgive me as I add some imagination to the story — a spirit walked on stage to join her.
As Christine stood there, her eyes on the crowd, the spirit said, “Christine, don’t look at them, look at me.”
He then took her hand, placed it over his heart and said, “Let me show you my music.”
Slowly, they sat down together, side by side, and he began to whisper in her ear, “You see, Christine, there was moonlight and a girl. And…”
Instantly, she began to play again, notes that were as soft as the spirit’s whisper. What was to follow was a song the audience had not heard all morning.
“Christine, this next passage is about the way the moonlight played on her hair,” the spirit continued to whisper.
She continued, each note being played just as beautifully as the one before.
Then the music began to build, and the spirit continued to whisper through his tears, “Christine, this was my longing for her.”
The tears, those of Claude Debussy, moved me deeply; because, in that very moment, I too began to cry. No, not a single errant tear – these were great sobs!
Quickly, I pulled out the mental man-corks we men keep in the shirt pockets of our minds and tucked them carefully into my tear ducts, but I couldn’t stop the shaking of my shoulders! The notes were descending on all of us, falling upon our ears, like the tears of Debussy, with such beauty, such longing.
I couldn’t understand what was happening. But I did wonder if it was possible that I was hearing with a father’s ears. So, because I was unsure as to whether or not I was the only person in the building struck with emotion, I looked over to my left to find that judge, the one with the implacable stoic face, but she wasn’t there. In her place was a different woman, one with shaking shoulders, and tears flowing freely down her face, without concern for how she may appear to those around her.
My beautiful little girl, my sweet Christine, had moved the emotions of an entire assembly, not with a bold, excitedly intense performance that’s commonly known to attract applause, but with a QUIET, songful whisper that came in the form of a brave, young woman I’m proud to call my daughter.
We went to this competition hoping our daughters would do well. We thought we might find a trophy or two. Instead, Christine’s survival in song awarded us with so much more:
Courage, uncommon courage … That was the prize of our day.
Even now, as I sit here and write this, I cry, yet again, without concern for how I might be perceived by those who are reading this.
Why? Because my heart is filled with joy over this memory’s song.
In the last fifty years, jobs and housing moved from the cities to the suburbs of American cities. And, guess what? So did poverty! That is what writer Cathy McKitrick reports in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Half a century ago, those who could moved to the suburbs to escape concentrated poverty in America’s urban cores. But a new book released today shows that between 2000 to 2011, the rise in suburban poverty rose 64 percent, more than twice the growth rate of poverty in cities.
By 2011, almost 16.4 million suburban residents nationwide lived below the federal poverty level — now surpassing the number of impoverished city dwellers by 3 million, according to Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, which was written by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Program
Ann Voskamp reminds us that Ephesians 5:20 urges us to give thanks to God for everything.
But how about the people who are experiencing terrible tornadoes right now? How about people who have experienced horrendous evil?
Ann's answer: "That which I refuse to thank Christ for, I refuse to believe Christ can redeem."
Leaving aside the seriousness of lawlessness, and the corruption of our civic culture by the professionally pious, this past week has been amusing. There was the spectacle of advocates of an ever-larger regulatory government expressing shock about such government's large capacity for misbehavior.
But, how are the scandals affecting the way Americans view President Obama?
The scandals are interlocking and overlapping in ways that drain his authority. Everything he advocates requires Americans to lavish on government something his administration, and big government generally, undermines -- trust.
Will is somewhat optimistic that some good will come out of all the scandals we are currently watching unfold.
Liberalism's agenda has been constant since long before liberals, having given their name a bad name, stopped calling themselves liberals and resumed calling themselves progressives, which they will call themselves until they finish giving that name a bad name. The agenda always is: Concentrate more power in Washington, more Washington power in the executive branch and more executive power in agencies run by experts. Then trust the experts to be disinterested and prudent with their myriad intrusions into, and minute regulations of, Americans' lives. Mr. Obama's presidency may yet be, on balance, a net plus for the public good if it shatters Americans' trust in the regulatory state's motives.
Obama has tried a variety of tactics.
One tactic was to misrepresent the Benghazi attack lest it undermine his narrative about taming terrorism. Does anyone think the administration's purpose in manufacturing 12 iterations of the talking points was to make them more accurate?
Another tactic was using the "federal machinery to screw our political enemies." The words are from a 1971 memo by the then-White House counsel, John Dean, whose spirit still resides where he worked prior to prison. Congress may contain some Democrats who owed their 2012 election to the IRS' suppression of conservative political advocacy.
But, what about trust?
Mr. Obama's incredibly shrinking presidency is a reminder that politics is a transactional business, trust is the currency of the transactions and the currency has been debased. For example:
Mr. Obama says: Trust me, I do not advocate universal preschool simply to swell the ranks of unionized, dues-paying, Democrat-funding teachers. Trust me, I know something not known by the social scientists who say the benefits of such preschool are small and evanescent.
Mr. Obama says: Trust me, the science of global warming is settled. And trust me that, although my plans to combat global warming, whenever the inexplicable 16-year pause of it ends, would vastly expand government's regulatory powers, as chief executive I guarantee that these powers will be used justly.
Mr. Obama says: Trust me, although I am head of the executive branch, I am not responsible for the IRS portion of this branch.
Mr. Obama says: Trust me, my desire to overturn a Supreme Court opinion (Citizens United) that expanded First Amendment protection of political speech, and my desire to "seriously consider" amending the First Amendment to expand the government's power to regulate the quantity, content and timing of political advocacy, should be untainted by what the IRS did to suppress advocacy by my opponents.
Because Mr. Obama's entire agenda involves enlarging government's role in allocating wealth and opportunity, the agenda now depends on convincing Americans to trust him, not their lying eyes. In the fourth month of his second term, it is already too late for that.
Do you have Hypertestosterone Hostility Disorder? Well, you are lucky there aren't more female doctors, because your disorder is not yet in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) used by the pharmaceutical-medical complex. "Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder" (PMDD), though, is in there. Prozac, when its patent expired, was renamed Sarafem to treat PMDD.
Carol Tavris, co-author of a book intriguingly entitled, Mistakes Were Made, but not by me, writes in the Wall Street Journal that although doctors do not vote on whether pneumonia is a disease, they do vote on the various mental diseases. Homosexuality and narcissism have both been voted in and out of the DSM. She reviews two books critical of the DSM process, one by Dr. Alan Francis entitled Saving Normal, and one by Gary Greenberg, entitled The Book of Woe.
The DSM-III (1980) was an effort to jettison outdated theories and terms such as "neurosis" and replace them with an objective list of disorders with agreed-upon symptoms. The DSM-IIIR (1987) was 567 pages and included nearly 300 disorders. The DSM-IV (1994, slightly revised in 2000) was 900 pages and contained nearly 400 disorders. The new DSM-5, with its modernized Arabic number, is 947 pages. It contains, along with serious mental illnesses, "binge-eating disorder" (whose symptoms include "eating when not feeling physically hungry"), "caffeine intoxication," "parent-child relational problem" and my favorite, "antidepressant discontinuation syndrome." Now psychiatrists can treat the symptoms of going off antidepressants, which is good because the expanded criteria for many disorders allows doctors to prescribe antidepressants more often for more problems. Gone is the "bereavement exemption," for example. You used to get two weeks after a loved one died before you could be diagnosed with major depression and medicated. Now you get two minutes.
The DSM committees already tried their damnedest to support their diagnoses with neuroscience or biomarkers, but no lab tests yet exist for depression, schizophrenia, bipolar or obsessive-compulsive disorder, or, for that matter, any other mental disorders. Efforts to find explanations in genes, neurotransmitters, "chemical imbalances" or brain circuits have, Dr. Frances writes, "turned out to be naïve and illusory."
The National Institutes of Mental Health have washed their hands of the DSM, and plan to offer their own version of "precision medicine" by 2020.
The dream of biomedical markers may prove as fruitless as the dream of a scientific DSM: Both try to "pour the old wine of human suffering into the new skin of scientific medicine," Mr. Greenberg writes. Fortunately for us, he concludes, the human mind "has so far resisted this attempt to turn its discontents into a catalog of suffering. And for this we should be glad."
Hat tip Dan Collins
Don't like our apology for you attacking us? Here, have another. There are countless outrages about Benghazi including pretending the war on al-Qaeda is ended, acting as if extra security would be seen as hostile, pretending that sending help wouldn't have helped, proclaiming that a video protest got our ambassador killed, and shrugging that [bleep] happens. But the biggest frightening philosophical tip-off was when our president apologized for Islam prophet-slanders enabled by hateful elements such as Fox News and the First Amendment.
Obama won't comment on, say, Kermit Gosnell murdering the most innocent victims possible for sport and profit, but he has an opinion about which Americans can criticize which religions. If nothing else, Islamists disrespect him for his treacherous sacklessness.
Appeasement is manifested in blaming your own alleged side for failing to bow with sufficient force to reach and grasp the ankles. And all the pondering about how to change to please jerks may not quite be fruitful or prudent.
After moving from rural Kiowa, Colorado to suburban Parker, Colorado this spring, one of the things I have noticed is I am using way less gasoline. My "commute" to work is now ten minutes, whereas before it was forty-five.
Almost all my neighbors drive clean, shiny, late-model SUVs. My previous neighbors mostly drove big pickup trucks, and they were usually not shiny clean, because the roads were dirt roads. About the only time I see my suburban neighbors in the neighborhood is when they are washing their cars. If the cars get dirty, they get washed. They are obviously proud of their vehicles, but so were the people in the rural areas.
Having a shiny new car is as important to my new neighbors as having a two story new house with a well-manicured lawn (or, at least, the front yard; the back yard is always hidden by a fence, so who knows whether it is as well-manicured as the front?
In my old rural neighborhood, there were always deer looking for something to eat. The only animals I see where I live now is an occasional dog being walked on a leash. In the rural area one saw lots of dogs, but not usually on leashes. Every house had their property fenced, and dogs ran back and forth on the properties, barking at cars that drove by. Of course, there were also horses and cows, as well as goats, alpacas and llamas. The birds were bigger in the rural area; hawks and jays. There are lots of birds here in the suburbs, but they are smaller; songbirds of various kinds.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
The meme is developing: The I.R.S. scandal is just about middle managers. They had no direction from on high. Yeah, sure, that is the way bureaucracy works, isn't it? Not!
A New York Times article today, which of course was also carried by the Denver Post, blames the I.R.S. scandal on the I.R.S. being understaffed, the jobs being "unglamorous," and that despite most of the targeted groups having Tea Party in their names, the I.R.S. was not being "partisan" in an election year. Yeah, right!
The NRA's successful effort to stop Obama's national efforts on gun control? That was about the NRA being "ruthless," telling "lies" about politicians, "annihilating" anyone who does not do what they want, using "hardball" tactics, turning gun control debates into debates about freedom, the second amendment, responsibility, and liberty. So reads a story today in the Washington Post, which, of course, was carried prominently by the Denver Post.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Did you know that on 9-11-2012 there was a ten p.m. phone call between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? Neither did I. Andrew McCarthy writes about it at The National Review.
Benghazi is about derelictions of duty by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton before and during the massacre of our ambassador and three other American officials, as well as Obama and Clinton’s fraud on the public afterward.
Fraud flows from the top down, not the mid-level up. Mid-level officials in the White House and the State Department do not call the shots — they carry out orders. They also were not running for reelection in 2012 or positioning themselves for a campaign in 2016. The people doing that were, respectively, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
Obama and Clinton had been the architects of American foreign policy. As Election Day 2012 loomed, each of them had a powerful motive to promote the impressions (a) that al-Qaeda had been decimated; (b) that the administration’s deft handling of the Arab Spring — by empowering Islamists — had been a boon for democracy, regional stability, and American national security; and (c) that our real security problem was “Islamophobia” and the “violent extremism” it allegedly causes — which was why Obama and Clinton had worked for years with Islamists, both overseas and at home, to promote international resolutions that would make it illegal to incite hostility to Islam, the First Amendment be damned.
You hear it again and again: While Americans were under attack, the commander-in-chief checked out, leaving subordinates to deal with the crisis while he got his beauty sleep in preparation for a fundraising campaign trip to Vegas.
That is not true . . . and the truth, as we’ve come to expect with Obama, is almost surely worse. There is good reason to believe that while Americans were still fighting for their lives in Benghazi, while no military efforts were being made to rescue them, and while those desperately trying to rescue them were being told to stand down, the president was busy shaping the “blame the video” narrative to which his administration clung in the aftermath.
We do not have a recording of this call, and neither Clinton nor the White House has described it beyond noting that it happened. But we do know that, just a few minutes after Obama called Clinton, the Washington press began reporting that the State Department had issued a statement by Clinton regarding the Benghazi attack. In it, she asserted:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.
Gee, what do you suppose Obama and Clinton talked about in that 10 p.m. call?
Friday, May 17, 2013
Methinks that, while many will continue to protect The Anointed One, some will turn on Obama. But they won’t do it for any noble reasons and/or because their consciences have made them ‘see the light’. Rather, they will discard their doltish demi-god because, for them, The Cause — The Revolution — is more important than any individual Human Being. Ultimately, to these True Believers, Barack Hussein Obama is just an egg — and if he has to be broken to make their Heaven-On-Earth Omelet, then so be it.
George Will links to a Washington Post story:
The Post reported Monday that the IRS also targeted groups that “criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.”Then, Will adds his thoughts:
Credit the IRS’s operatives with understanding who and what threatens the current regime.Hat tip Curt Dale
Jay Carney, whose unenviable job is not to explain but to explain away what his employers say, calls the IRS’s behavior “inappropriate.” No, using the salad fork for the entree is inappropriate. Using the Internal Revenue Service for political purposes is a criminal offense.
If Republicans had controlled both houses of Congress in 1973, Nixon would have completed his term. If Democrats controlled both today, the Obama administration’s lawlessness would go uninvestigated. Not even divided government is safe government, but it beats the alternative.
Democrat strategist Pat Caddell tells us to keep the focus on Barack Obama:
So who is Obama? My answer is that his presence in the White House represents the triumph of Chicago politics. The real Obama found his true calling on the streets of Chicago; he might have said the politically correct words from time to time, but for the most part, his career has been characterized by one thing--ambition. And ambition of a hard-edged and ruthless kind; everyone but himself is expendable.
So the real Obama, is, indeed, a lot like Nixon, hiding his scandals behind the facade of his underlings. Each underling, of course, is a chess piece to be sacrificed as the game might require. Obama, like Nixon before him, has a lot of underlings. Others are starting to see the Nixon-Obama parallelism, too: Yesterday, Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith, a journalist who leans left, published a GIF--a tiny animation--showing Obama morphing into Nixon.
As the pollster and strategist for George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign Caddell compares the three currently prominent scandals (there are others)
it became clear that I was seeing a replay of the Nixon administration and what I lived through in 1972.
Romney doesn't come off looking very good either, in Caddell's analysis:
Despite a steady string of scoops, many of them from Fox News, in October, Romney pulled back in the third debate, letting Obama skate away from his culpability. Romney’s staffers had told him that he was going to win anyway, so why risk looking mean? And with Romney’s dismissal of the Benghazi issue, the mainstream media felt further justified to dismiss Benghazi, too.
Yes, Romney was regrettably craven, and for that, he not only lost an election he could have won, but earned himself permanent ignominy as someone who put political calculation--incorrect political calculation, at that--ahead of his patriotic duty to raise important concerns.
The administration had managed to keep a lid on three big scandals--wiretapping, IRS, and Benghazi--through Election Day. And so he won re-election, just as Nixon had won, four decades earlier.
Yet as Richard Nixon learned in the wake of his triumphant 1972 re-election--he carried 49 of 50 states that year--victory does not immunize an incumbent from ultimate accountability. Indeed, victory can addle the minds of the victors with hubris and arrogance, making them less able to defend themselves.
We are now seeing an encouraging reality about American politics: No matter how hard you try, no matter how ruthless you might be, you can’t keep a secret. The cover-up might work in the short term, but not for the long term. And that means, as Nixon learned, that even the greatest political victory can turn into ashes--and it can also prove lethal.
Bob Belvedere notes that Obama does not do anything on any important matter without checking with either Valerie Jarret or David Axelrod. Bob links to a piece by Paul Kengor at American Spectator, showing how deep the roots of those three go.
These three, this politically perverse ménage à trois, are all products of Communist-influenced upbringings.
They all despise everything The United States stands for and desire nothing less than it’s fundamental transformation into a Socialist State [with themselves at the top, they hope].
Obama, Jarrett, and Axelrod are Committed Leftists which means that they reject all Morality, all Western traditions and customs, all prudence, and they are life-time subscribers to the Nihilistic belief that the ends justifies any and all means.
We’ve seen clearly that Barack Hussein Obama is not a very decisive person nor is he very bright nor does he possess any bravery or courage. He would be nothing without the dedicated aid of people who, for whatever scary reasons, believe he is worth supporting [or using]. For some reason unknowable to those of us who are normal, Jarrett and Axelrod attached themselves at the hip to this guy and provided the main fuel for the blasting into the stratosphere of that deranged flight of fancy we call The Career Of Barack Hussein Obama.
In light of the seriousness of the evidence against this Administration, it is, therefore, imperative, if we want to really discover the Truth, that Jarrett and Axelrod not be allowed to stay in the background.
The Atheist Conservative writes an important piece on the world war being waged by jihadists. He links to a piece by Raymond Ibrahim showing how Islamists are killing and displacing Christians all over the globe. Then the piece links to a post by Enza Ferreri on how the West is being subverted by Islam with a new kind of colonization - and how one man is showing a way to resist it.
What are mosques? As we know, mosques are not like churches or synagogues, they are far more than houses of worship and contemplation, many of them are centres of jihadist activity that indoctrinate to commit and support violence against infidels. In America, as many as 4 different studies have independently come to the same conclusion that 80 per cent of US mosques “were teaching jihad, Islamic supremacism, and hatred and contempt for Jews and Christians”.
Every mosque is instructed to be based upon the original mosque in Medina, where Muhammad originally in the 7th century set up his religious-political doctrine of social control, and the mosque is a place of government, it is a place where treaties are made, death sentences are passed, armies are blessed and dispatched, it is primarily about political control and it is very much used as a tool of advance.
A recent photograph has been released showing a Syrian rebel placing a human head on a barbecue, grilling his head.
It is vital to keep in mind that the act of cooking the head of an enemy is rooted deeply in the Islamic religion. The most famous warrior in Sunni Islam’s history, Khalid ibn Walid, decapitated the head of a man named Malik ibn Nuwayrah, before raping his wife; he placed it under a cooking pot in which he cooked food and from which he then ate out of it.
We must now realize: we have not seen the full face of Islam yet; true Islam is more than just terrorism with bombs and guns; it is a cultic system which emphasizes human sacrifice and cannibalization of Allah’s enemies.
Shoebat also shows a video of a Syrian jihadist cutting the heart out of a dead man and eating it on camera. There is also a video of two beheadings.
Obviously, viewer discretion is advised.
How does a communist takeover take place? From an interview with a former KGB agent conducted 25 years ago! Find some influential people who are either greedy or who suffer from self-importance. Engage in a slow brain-washing process with four stages.
1. Demoralization: A person who is demoralized is unable to assess true information.
2. Crisis: benevolent dictators in Washington D.C. will promise people all kinds of goodies. Never mind whether the promises are kept. He will create false illusions that the situation is under control.
3. Normalization: the stage we are presently in?
4. Destabilization: Extensive networks of informers. If the useful idiots on the left become disillusioned, they will be gotten rid of (thrown under the bus).
Hat tip Fuzzy Logic
The left urges its mindless sheeple to not think, to be “tolerant” and to think that tolerance somehow means acceptance, even submission. It does not. I can tolerate something without accepting it, much less submitting to it.
The tiny minority of extremists is so great that law enforcement officials are having trouble finding names in the tiny 875,000 names on the list. The number of names on a highly classified U.S. central database used to track suspected terrorists has jumped to 875,000 from 540,000 only five years ago, a U.S. official familiar with the matter said. And worse still, this isn’t anything like a comprehensive list. These are just the names that came up and were entered into it. The actual list would be vastly larger than a mere 875,000 names. But even 875,000 names is the equivalent of an army. The United States Army only has 561,437 active duty personnel.
"Simple pawns in a violent political game." Is that what our sons and daughters who fight for this country have become? "Go ahead, Mr. President. Send us all form letters. Play another round of golf. Laugh it up on the talk shows. Completely ignore the fact that 79% of the deaths in the eleven year war in Afghanistan have happened under your command."
Thanks to Sultan Knish for bringing this press conference to our attention. It was missed, because of the attention given to the Benghazi hearings.
God bless you, Karen Vaughn.
Image via American Digest
Lady Macbeth may have cried out, "Here's the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Araby will not sweeten this little hand." But the black perfumes of today's Araby are more than enough to sweeten a multitude of appeasements and cover the blood that flows out from them.
Real life villains are closer to Richard III than Lady Macbeth, offering to trade their stolen kingdom for a horse to the very end, rather than seeking some intangible repentance in a fit of remorse. They are more likely to ask what difference it makes; the solipsistic query of the sociopath to whom the feelings of others are abstract things.
For Lady Macbeth, power was not a sufficient defense against conscience. A thousand years later, in Foggy Bottom, Capitol Hill and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; there is no conscience, only power. The arrogance of an Obama, a Clinton or a Norton comes from their confidence that none can call their power to account.
Norton and Clinton have more of a point than critics give them credit for. Benghazi isn't a big deal. Not compared to the rivers of blood they shed in Afghanistan. In Benghazi, four Americans were abandoned. In Afghanistan, it was over 1500 soldiers killed and nearly 15,000 wounded many of them denied air support and the ability to fight back under rules of engagement that likely also played a part in the betrayal at Benghazi.
The day after Benghazi, the parents of Navy SEALS from Seal Team Six, along with military experts and former military officials, appeared at the National Press Club to demand a congressional investigation. The media responded with a collective shrugs and resumed providing non-stop coverage of the Jodi Arias case. Some Lady Macbeths go to prison. Others are meant to go to the White House.
"Why was there no pre-assault fire?" Karen Vaughn, the mother of Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, asked. "We were told as families that pre-assault fire damages our efforts to win the hearts and minds of our enemy. So in other words, the hearts and minds of our enemy are more valuable to this government than my son's blood."
"Why didn't they take them out with a drone," Charles Strange, the father of Michael Strange asked. "The Admiral told me, to win the hearts and minds. I says, to win the hearts and minds? How about my heart? How about my mind?" But not all hearts and minds are created equal. And not all blood is valued the same.
When a Muslim is killed by a drone, the media gathers its outrage, but when one of our soldiers or diplomats dies in the hopes of softening a Muslim's heart, then the men and women who sent him to die with his hands tied and a target painted on his back cannot see the red spots on their soft palms.
Do we need leaders, or do we need organizations that can hold leaders accountable? David Greenfield writes,
For all the complaints that we need leaders, leaders may be the one thing that we do not need. The sort of people that we associate with leaders tend to be self-willed men with their own agendas. Christie and Bloomberg are both leaders, but their version of leadership is to pursue their private agendas without any accountability or regard for anyone else. What we need are not leaders, but organizations that are better at holding politicians accountable.
It's not smart for small government conservatives to believe in politicians anyway. If politicians were worth believing in, then one of the main arguments against small government trickles away. If there were a breed of politicians that weren't hungry for power and able to find the balance between rights and regulations, why shouldn't we trust them to run things? Such a breed of philosopher-kings doesn't exist. And will never exist.
Some readers have complained that this blog is too hostile or negative toward Republican politicians. If anything it's not nearly negative enough. Cheerleading for favorite politicians is a waste of time. The solutions will not come from messiahs in suits. It will come when the number of conservative issues that politicians come to see as the third rail expands beyond gun control. It will come when the professional political infrastructure is contained by a conservative activist infrastructure that is as least as effective and powerful as its counterpart on the left.
Ann Voskamp linked to a piece written by Tonia at her blog, Study in Brown. Here is a photo of the author and some ducklings.
Were you always the one pushing forward?
Couldn't wait to get out of junior high, couldn't wait to be done with high school, couldn't wait to get married, to have a baby, to get them out of diapers, to quit having to buckle up car seats, to have a clean house, to not have to go to so many soccer practices, to have a quiet dinner for once. You pushed your way through so much time...so much time.
But let's be honest, life didn't let you get away with all that hurry-up-efficiency for long, did it? You learned, you really did. You saw the way the years were beginning to spin and you paid attention. You found out the hard way that the good times - when all your ducks were in a smiling row - were going to slip away from you like whispers, but the bad times, oh they would stretch and pull and make you ache with the weight of every hour. So you learned: slow it all down, make the margins wider, enter into the sacred everyday, take nothing for granted.
Eventually, you learned you could make quiet spaces in the hard days too, carving out tiny moments to sit at the table and let the memory of those peaceful hours inspire you, strengthen you. One day, you thought, nothing will shake me. And even though increasingly, your life could not be controlled - it lashed about and roared like a hurricane - you just went on making beautiful moments, lighting candles, buying flowers, dressing up, writing letters, making meals, making love (in all its forms), reading poetry, taking pictures, creating memories.
It's sheer defiance, you told a friend.
And it was.
Do you want to know how much of a threat Bob's Blog is to the Obama administration? I have been targeted by the I.R.S.!
Yesterday I got my mail, and there it was: a letter from the I.R.S. Immediately I started grumbling, "Leave me alone!"
Then, I read the letter. The I.R.S. had recalculated my 2012 return and were writing me to tell me that I owed far less than I had thought when I calculated the return!
I love the I.R.S.!
As for Bob's Blog being a powerful threat to corrupt politicians, well, I'm working on that.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
As Mr. Hicks testified, his superiors in Washington knew early that night that a well-executed terrorist attack with the possible participation of al-Qaeda elements was under way. Instead of responding, the most powerful figures in the government decided that an unseen YouTube video better served their political needs. And, in the most revealing glimpse of the administration’s depravity, the president and secretary of state peddled the lie even in their mawkish eulogies to their buddy “Chris” and three other dead Americans. They lied to the victims’ coffins and then strolled over to lie to the bereaved, Hillary telling the Woods family that “we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.” And she did. The government dispatched more firepower to arrest Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in Los Angeles than it did to protect its mission in Benghazi. It was such a great act of misdirection Hillary should have worn spangled tights and sawn Stevens’s casket in half.
The dying Los Angeles Times reported this story on its homepage (as a sidebar to “Thirteen Great Tacos in Southern California”) under the following headline: “Partisan Politics Dominates House Benghazi Hearing.” In fact, everyone in this story is a Democrat or a career civil servant. Chris Stevens was the poster boy for Obama’s view of the Arab Spring; he agreed with the president on everything that mattered. The only difference is that he wasn’t in Vegas but out there on the front line, where Obama’s delusions meet reality. Stevens believed in those illusions enough to die for them. One cannot say the same about the hollow men and women in Washington who sent him out there unprotected, declined to lift a finger when he came under attack, and in the final indignity subordinated his sacrifice to their political needs by lying over his corpse. Where’s the “partisan politics”? Obama, Clinton, Panetta, Clapper, Rice, and the rest did this to one of their own. And fawning court eunuchs, like the ranking Democrat at the hearings, Elijah Cummings, must surely know that, if they needed, they’d do it to them, too. If you believe in politics über alles, it’s impressive, in the same way that Hillary’s cocksure dismissal — “What difference, at this point, does it make?” — is impressive.
But the embassy security chief, Eric Nordstrom, had the best answer to that: It matters because “the truth matters” — not least to the Libyan president, who ever since has held the U.S. government in utter contempt. Truth matters, and character matters. For the American people to accept the Obama-Clinton lie is to be complicit in it.
There is one other scandal that still exists. Mike Vanderboegh clearly outlines it at Sipsey Street Irregulars. Now that we have the attention of the MSM, perhaps they might assign a journalist to cover the story. Nah.
The Gunwalker Scandal Made Simple
There are five key accusations against ATF and DOJ made by ATF whistleblowers and other sources within FedGov:
1. That they instructed U.S. gun dealers to proceed with questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.
2. That they allowed or even assisted in those guns crossing the U.S. border into Mexico to "boost the numbers" of American civilian market firearms seized in Mexico and thereby provide the justification for more firearm restrictions on American citizens and more power and money for ATF.
3. That they intentionally kept Mexican authorities in the dark about the operation, even over objections of their own agents.
4. That weapons that the ATF let "walk" to Mexico were involved in the deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata, as well as at least hundreds of Mexican citizens.
5. That at least since the death of Brian Terry on 14 December, the Obama administration is engaged in a full-press cover-up of the facts behind what has come to be known as the "Gunwalker Scandal."
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
there is no upside for the Republicans for the media's newfound sense of actual journalism. For the media have certainly not become conservative, they are just as leftwing as ever. Their narrative will later transition to salvaging the Democrat party from its Obama-made wreckage. And to salvage the Democrats, they will savage the Republicans.
The Washington Post has six reasons why Asaad is turning the tide in Syria against the rebels. I guess the rebel Islamist groups will just have to go find some more American ambassadors to kill. In any case, I don't believe America should be aiding either the rebels or the regime.
And, can anyone explain to me exactly what our young men are dying for in Afghanistan?Hat tip Donald Sensing
MY DECIPHERING OF OBAMA'S STATEMENT ON FIRING IRS ACTING DIRECTOR A FEW MINUTES AGO.
By Curt Dale
This is how I decipher Obama's statement he announced "accepting the resignation of the Acting Commissioner of the IRS" today.
"I've fired the dumb squat for doing what I wanted done and getting caught in the act. I am outraged that they couldn't do it any better than that. Any jerk no more competent at squashing my enemies without getting caught, cannot continue in my Administration. I'll take your questions tomorrow." (Obama looked like he'd been caught and couldn't wait to get off the stage! I think if Boehner and McConnell had any guts, they could push this a mighty long way. Impeachment probably isn't even a remote possibility, frankly, but I think Obama can be discredited to the point of total ineffectuality, given the blood on his hands from Benghazi, the lack of ethic in guiding the IRS, the all out attack on the Associated Press--an attack on the First Amendment, and the ongoing attack on the Second Amendment.) Colonel Curtis D. Dale, PhD, USAF (Ret) ©15 May 2013
DARE I RELAX MY HIGHLY CRITICAL OPINION OF THE DENVER POST AFTER TODAY? By Curt Dale
I can hardly believe what I see in the Denver Post today. It’s almost as if they have changed their stripes. I won’t hold my breath, but here are the articles and locations of some amazingly Obama—critical articles and columns concerning the ongoing major scandals. Is the paper just piqued because of the government spying on the Associated Press, or have their eye been opened? I suspect it purely pique, not awakening. But all help is appreciated!
Front Page, above the fold, three columns: “A TRIO OF TROUBLES” President Barack Obama seemed to lose control of his second term agenda even before he was sworn in, when a school massacre led him to lift gun control to the fore. Now, as he tried to pivot from a stinging defeat on the issue and push forward on others, the president fins himself mocked by multiple controversies that are demoralizing his allies and emboldening his political Opponents. It’s unclear how long he will be dogged by inquiries into last year’s deadly attack in Libya, the IRS targeting of Tea party groups and now the seizure of Associated phone records in an investigation into a leak.”
Below are three teaser columns directing the reader to page 18A: “LIBYA: Many Conservatives stayed focused on the attack last September in Benghazi, Libya, that killed r Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens….” It refers the reader to Page 18A where there are two Benghazi related snippets that give short coverage of the Attack in Libya.
The second Teaser on Page 1A: “IRS: The Justice Department is investigation the Internal Revenue Service for targeting Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status. Ineffective management at the IRS allowed agents to improperly target Tea Party groups for more than 28 months, concluded on investigation by the Treasury inspector general. The report does not indicate that Washington initiated the targeting of Conservative Groups.” The reader is referred to Page 17A. On page 17 A which is the front page of “Nation and World,” there is a large headline, top of the page, three columns wide. “Treasury Inspector General issues Critical report: IRS faced criminal probe for targeting Conservatives.” The article is from the Washington Post.
The third teaser on Page 1A is “Associated Press; THE GOVERNMENT OBTAINED THE RECORDS FROM April and May 2012 for more than 20 separate telephone lines used by the Associated Press and it’s journalists, including main offices. Federal officials have said investigators are trying to hunt down the sources of information for a May 7, 2012, AP story that disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen to stop an airliner bomb plot around the anniversary of the killing of Obama bin Laden.” The reader is referred to page 21A.
The article on Page 21A is entitled “BOTH PARTIES CRITICIZE IT. Holder didn’t order but defends phone search.” It is written by Pete Yost of the Associated Press. Seemingly almost unprecedented in the Obama reign is this: “The Post Editorials: In Denial about a Three-Ring circus. Benghazi silence, tea party scrutiny, AP phone records. It’s more than a sideshow, Mr. President.” This headline is followed by a highly critical editorial on Obama’s handling of these matters. Below that are the Denver Post opinion poll results. “Do you think the Obama administration had anything to do with the Internal Service targeting conservative groups?” Yes: 69.7% No: 30.35
And finally, the Post actually posted highly critical Letters to the editor in the Open Forum. “Re: ‘IRS scrutiny went beyond keywords to target ideology.’ May 13 news story.” The are three letters that blister or nearly blister Obama and the IRS with only one that doesn’t hold Obama responsible. Another Letter, titled “Benghazi Investigation is not a witch hunt” was published which really takes Obama to task for lack of honesty, twisting facts and continuing to do so even now, accountability and coverup in order to win the election.
Finally, the editorial cartoon by Fitzsimmons, mocks Obama with the specter of Richard Nixon behind Obama, saying, “Using the IRS to Harass? Yes? Spying? Yes? …on the press? Big mistake.” Obama’s reply is “Gulp!”
Credits given to Denver Post for all quotes used above.
I will have to see an awful lot more follow through by the Post before I relax my opinion that it’s a Liberal, biased, Obama-Serving rag, unworthy of my reading. I would not have even read these had my wife, a marvelous reader, not pointed them out to me. But I agree with her that the newspaper seemed to construct this one to beat up on Obama and what is going on in these three concurrent scandals. Colonel Curtis D. Dale, PhD, USAF (Ret) ©15 May 2013