Archive for August, 2012

1912 Campaign Video

August 27, 2012

 

 

Here is a video from the 1912 campaign. It is a 8 minute silent movie. I found it courtesy of Unedited Politics.

 

Democratic talking points haven’t changed in a hundred years, except that these days, they want more money.

David –

Want to know why Romney put his money on the right-wing wonder boy, Paul Ryan, as his VP candidate?

You’re going to see this week. When Ryan gives his big Convention speech and starts railing against Obamacare, those Tea Party fanatics are going to be leaping off their backsides to donate whatever they’ve got to defeat the President.

There’s no way around it — combine all this Tea Party money with all that Koch Brothers’ Super PAC cash, and we’re in danger of letting this thing get out of hand.

We’ve gotta close the gap and fight back before it’s too late.

Chip in $3 or whatever you can muster to back up President Obama with a Democratic majority >>

Now, we’re coming down to the home stretch – the election is only a couple months out. I don’t want that feeling in my gut after it’s over where I wish we’d done more.

So I need y’all with me right now. Step up, hit ‘em where it counts, and send these guys packing once and for all:

http://dccc.org/Send-em-Packing

C’mon now!

James

And

David –

The pundits and talking heads are talking about how badly we’re being outraised by the other side. You’ve heard it from us, too.

Three months in a row, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have trounced our fundraising totals. And, along with allied outside groups, they’re using that cash to try to obliterate our side on the airwaves, outspending us in some battleground states by margins of up to three to one.

The pundits are saying this is how we could lose the election. You know what I say?

When you get knocked down, get up. There’s no quit in America. There’s nothing we can’t do.

This week isn’t just the Republican National Convention — it’s also the biggest fundraising deadline this campaign has seen, and one of the last. President Obama and I are counting on you.

Please make a donation of $5 or more today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/All-on-Us

We’ve been counted out more than a few times before. It’s all on us to prove them wrong again.

Thanks,

Joe

P.S. — I’ve seen a lot of good campaigns — with smart, strong candidates and bold visions for the change we need — go down, simply because they couldn’t keep up. Don’t let this campaign be one of them. Donate today.


A lot of their policies haven’t changed all that much either, and they like to call themselves the Progressives.

 

 

The Southern Poverty Law Center

August 27, 2012

There are a number of advocacy groups around who agitate for or against a particular cause. They try to get useful legislation passed, or raise awareness of an issue, or collect money to help victims, or any of a number of ways to advance their particular causes. What happens, though, when they have largely succeeded in their goals? When there is really little further need for their advocacy?

They could simply disband. This almost never happens. Any group that is at all successful has managed to accumulate a great amount of funds and managers who can commands large salaries. Hardly anyone is willing to simply walk away from a good paying job.

The March of Dimes faced such a crisis. They were founded by President Roosevelt in 1938 to combat polio. They did a wonderful job funding research and taking care of polio victims. However, their mission became largely obsolete when Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1955, which led to the rapid elimination of polio as a threat, at least in the developed world. The leaders of the March of Dimes decided to change their focus on birth defects and premature births and have remained relevant to this day.

Another alternative to resolving this crisis is to simply double down on previous efforts, past the point of diminishing returns. Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded by Candice Lighter in 1980 after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. MADD was done a lot to limit the damage done by drunk driving. They have successfully lobbied to have a national standard blood alcohol limit of .08% and have worked to raise the drinking age to 21 nationwide. They have also been instrumental in making drunk driving more socially unacceptable. Drunk driving will always be a problem, but the problem with MADD is that they have done almost everything that can be done to reduce drunk driving. They have lobbied for even stricter blood alcohol limits and their focus has slowly shifted to a neo-prohibitionist stance. Candice Lighter left the organization over this change in focus and it is clear that MADD, having largely accomplished its goal really has no further purpose, except, perhaps to join forces with the Prohibitionist Party.

Then we come to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in  1971 by Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin, for the purpose of handling civil rights cases and fighting hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations. They have achieved many notable successes, including putting the Aryan Nations out of business and have done a lot of good. The problem is that like MADD and the March of Dimes, the Southern Poverty Law Center has largely succeeded in its mission. Hate groups will always be with us, but “right-wing” racist groups have been marginalized to an extent never before seen in American society and their combined membership must surely be at record lows. It would seem that there is little left for the SPLC to do and that they had best disband or refocus their mission. Morris Dees  and the SPLC have decided not to do that.

Instead they have decided to pursue a dishonest path by redefining “hate group” and fudging numbers. They have redefined the term hate group to mean any vaguely Conservative organization and they lump them together with Nazis and racists who have openly called for violence. For example, according to the SPLC, the Family Research Council is a hate group. Why are they labeled a hate group? Because they are opposed to same-sex marriage and some of the demands of the more radical homosexuals. Have they ever called for violence or discrimination against homosexuals? Not to my knowledge. As Daniel Horowitz at Red State explains.

For years, the SPLC has ingratiated themselves to the public by evincing an image of a politically neutral organization that serves as the one-stop resource for information on bigoted and violent organizations.? But instead of focusing exclusively on true ?hate organizations? like white supremacists and Islamic jihadists, the SPLC has pursued a political agenda in recent years to defame conservative organizations by lumping them in with neo-Nazis and skinheads.

The SPLC has prided itself as the preeminent authority on racism because they have gathered every last morsel of data on neo-Nazi organizations with a membership 3.4 people, most of which have never been heard from.? However, they use their reputation as the authority on white supremacist groups as a front to assail legitimate conservative policy organizations by seamlessly lumping them in with white supremacists and labeling them as hate groups.? They list people like David Horowitz and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the same ?hate reports? as white supremacists serving prison time for murder.

In 2010, SPLC labeled the Family Research Council as a hate group and listed them together with no-name neo-Nazi groups on their site.? They did the same for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that simply advocates lower levels of immigration out of fiscal and national security concerns.? When did we get to a point where groups that have a different political agenda from the SPLC are branded as hate groups?

The SPLC would have you believe that an organization that doesn?t want their children to be exposed to a homosexual curriculum or opposes open homosexual promiscuity in the military is a hate group.? If you?re concerned about your children being exposed to literature about sex-change operations, you are a racist according to them.? Anyone who opposes their licentious agenda and upholds Judeo-Christian values ? the very values upon which this country was founded ? is tantamount to a white supremacist.? In their view, FRC is like the Westboro Baptist Church.? It?s surprising that they haven?t yet labeled God a hater or condemned the Bible from the public square.

If I were to stoop to the same intellectual level as the SPLC, I would label them a hate group for equating civil rights to the so-called plight of transgendered individuals.

They fatuously label people as racists simply for taking a different position on a specific piece of legislation.? Do you support the right of states to define marriage as ?marriage?? You?re a racist.? Do you believe that the 14th amendment was conceived to protect native-born blacks from disenfranchisement and not the children of illegal aliens?? You are a hater.? Are you concerned about the pervasiveness of pedophilia among homosexuals?? You?re like the KKK.? We?re rapidly approaching the point when support for the Ryan budget will be labeled as bigoted activity.

They fudge the numbers too. If your hate group has chapters in two different cities in the same state, than each one is labeled a separate group. If your membership increases from 4 to 5 than that is an alarming 25% increase in membership. Here is an interesting post in Legal Insurrection about the alarming increase of the number of hate groups in that hotbed of hatred and prejudice, Rhode Island.

I decided to look at SPLC’s most recent annual hate group report, covering 2011, to see what was listed for Rhode Island.

I was pleased to see that SPLC had dropped the claim of a Klan group, but now there is listed a neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Movement.

But once again, my suspicions were raised because no city was listed for the group in Rhode Island, unlike the listing for some other states.

The website of the National Socialist Movement listed a Rhode Island branch, but again no city or information, only a link to a Gmail account.  I assume the listing in the website was the source of SPLC’s information.  If so, that was a very thin basis on which to list the National Socialist Movement as having a real branch in Rhode Island.

I live in Rhode Island, and I have not heard of any active neo-Nazi groups.  I searched the state’s paper of record, The Providence Journal, and found no references to such groups.  I did Google searches, and still nothing.  Google searches turn up the SPLC’s listing.

I checked the SPLC website, and the last hate crime listed in Rhode Island was in 2010, when a swastika was painted on a synagogue.  Could that be the group?  No, that was two ignorant youths who painted the swastika backwards, and when caught, were described by the police as very remorseful and not motivated by anti-Semitism.

As with the prior listing of the Klan, I can’t say that there isn’t some guy or gal someplace in Rhode Island who has a Nazi flag hanging on the wall or who shares the sentiments of the National Socialist Movement.  If there is such a group, they are doing a really good job of keeping it quiet.

The notion that Rhode Island has a real, active neo-Nazi movement in the state appears to be just another exaggeration by the SPLC.

These exaggerations, as I have pointed out in my prior posts, cause real damage.  Every minute or resource we spend chasing SPLC’s phantom hate groups is a minute or resource we do not devote to real threats:

Real threats, Islamic extremists or environmental terrorists are not so politically correct and don’t give the SPLC the opportunity to bash Conservatives. The point I want to make in this overly long and rambling post is that the Southern Poverty Law Center is simply not to be trusted as any sort of authority on the subject of hate groups. Maybe they were in the past, but their leadership has decided to adapt to changing circumstances by becoming politicized and dishonest.

Shakedown Socialism

August 25, 2012

I was a little wary of reading Oleg Atbashian’s Shakedown Socialism when I saw that there were only three one-starred reviews, one of which seemed to be written by a person who had actually read the book. I thought that surely a book that had attracted so little animosity from Liberals who post one-starred reviews of books they don’t read couldn’t be very good. I am pleased to admit that I was wrong. Shakedown Socialism is very, very good.

This slim volume, it is only about 130 pages, was written by Oleg Atbashian, a propagandist from the former Soviet Union. Despite his job, he became disillusioned by life under Communism and still more by the chaos that followed the fall of the Soviet Union. He immigrated to the United States, expecting to find a land of freedom and prosperity. His expectations were largely met, but he also discovered, to his surprise, the same sorts of ideas in the heads of many Americans that had led to such disaster in his homeland. To a great extent, Shakedown Socialism is his response, along with his satirical website the People’s Cube.

 

As I said, this is a short book and very readable, yet Atbashian is able to demolish the pretensions of Socialism, Unions, and the quest for economic equality and justice far better than many weightier tomes.   He demonstrates that any equality, except equality before the law cannot be achieved by raising everyone up but  only by pushing everyone down to the lowest common denominator. Unions provide higher wages to their members only at the expense of non-unionized workers. Government control of the economy, even in the name of fairness empowers the crooks and parasites to seek unearned wealth and power while discouraging the hard work and initiative that creates wealth. This is not idle theorizing on the part of Mr. Atbashian. He has seen the dire effects of this kind of thinking on two continents.

 

I highly recommend giving this book out to any acquaintances who still follow the Pied Piper of class envy and economic “justice”, and particularly to any young person going off to college. Reading Shakedown Socialism might just immunize them from the Left-wing indoctrination they will face.

 

RIP Neil Armstrong

August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong died today. I was a little stunned when I read that, but he was 82 and had been having health problems. It is a little sobering to think that his historic footsteps on the Moon happened a lifetime ago, and there still are no plans for humanity to return. I think that the best legacy for Armstrong would have been a continuing American presence in deep space, but it was not to be.

 

We need to get back into the business of exploring the final frontier.

Unintended Consequences

August 24, 2012

 

There is a reason why good intentions are not sufficient. Often, things done with the very best of intentions nevertheless end up causing a great deal of pain for everybody with little, if any, actual benefits. One case that comes to mind is the attempt to persuade, and then conjole customers into using reusable shopping bags. As I read at Via Meadia.

One green pet cause du jour is the banning or taxing of disposable plastic bags at supermarkets and other grocery stores. These measures, which are designed to encourage shoppers to use their own reusable tote bags, have been spreading widely in recent years, and have already gone into effect in cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

This may make the world marginally safer for plants and animals, but a new study by the Property and Environment Research Center (h/t Sullivan) shows there may be a significant downside for human health. Researchers examined these reusable totes and found significant amounts of dangerous bacteria, including, among others, E-coli. And there seems to be a correlation between plastic bag bans and increased illness, as bacteria-related deaths spiked immediately after San Francisco’s bag measure began. The International Association for Food Protectionreports:

Reusable bags were collected at random from consumers as they entered grocery stores in California and Arizona. In interviews, it was found that reusable bags are seldom if ever washed and often used for multiple purposes. Large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags and coliform bacteria in half. Escherichia coli were identified in 8% of the bags, as well as a wide range of enteric bacteria, including several opportunistic pathogens. When meat juices were added to bags and stored in the trunks of cars for two hours, the number of bacteria increased 10-fold, indicating the potential for bacterial growth in the bags.

This green unicorn looks considerably less enchanting upon closer examination.

Oh well. The truth is that there are few things that are unreservedly good or bad and few choices we make that are clearly a matter of good versus evil. Often we must weigh the consequences and make a choice between the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods. The problem with a lot of Greens is that they just don’t see things that way. If some environmental regulations are good, than even more must be better, without stopping to consider the economic cost of increased regulation compared with the actual good to the environment. Something rather similar might be said about the Global Warming scare. Scientific uncertainty aside, even if all of the more overwrought predictions were true, the solutions they propose,

 

Anders Breivik Sentenced

August 24, 2012

 

Speaking of truly evil men, the trial of Anders Breivik is over. He was ruled to be sane and sentenced to a maximum of 21 years for his crimes. Here is the report from CNN.

Anders Behring Breivik, the man who killed 77 people in a bomb attack and gun rampage just over a year ago, was judged to be sane by a Norwegian court Friday, as he was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Breivik was charged with voluntary homicide and committing acts of terror in the attacks in Oslo and on Utoya Island on July 22, 2011.

The issue of Breivik’s sanity, on which mental health experts have given conflicting opinions, was central to the court’s ruling.

Breivik, who boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway, wanted to be ruled sane so that his actions wouldn’t be dismissed as those of a lunatic.

He says he acted out of “necessity” to prevent the “Islamization” of his country.

 

He was sentenced to the maximum possible term of 21 years and was ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years in prison.

The sentence could be extended, potentially indefinitely, in the future if he is considered still to pose a threat to society. Norway does not have the death penalty.

S0mehow, I am not impressed with the justice of the Norwegian criminal justice system if the maximum the murderer of 77 people can receive is 21 years, with the possibility that he could be released in ten. I know they can detain him indefinitely if he is felt to be a threat to society, but even that is troublesome since there is a certain arbitrary quality to deciding whether or not anyone is a threat. It would be better if he were sentenced, under the law, to either life in prison or death. It doesn’t seem as though prison life will be that bad for Breivik.

Over the past year, Breivik has had three cells for his use, one for physical exercise and another for reading and writing, as well as a separate outdoor exercise space, he said. Breivik cannot mix with prisoners from other wings, but does have contact with prison staff.

“As of now, we think there is a need to subject Mr. Behring Breivik to a particularly high security regime,” Bjarkeid said.

The high security regime “puts a heavy strain on an inmate, especially if it lasts for a longer period,” he added, so Breivik’s continued detention under these conditions will be kept under constant review.

Well, we wouldn’t want him to be under any strain, would we?

 

 

 

 

The New Civility

August 24, 2012

 

 

It seems hardly different from the old incivility. I doubt that this election cycle will get as nasty as the election of 1800, or of the election of 1824, but it still looks as if even the minimal level of courtesy between the parties has completely broken down. Consider this story I read in The Hill.

Bucking protocol, President Obama and the Democrats are planning a full-scale assault on Republicans next week during their convention.

Presidential candidates have traditionally kept a low profile during their opponent’s nominating celebration, but Democrats are throwing those rules out the window in an attempt to spoil Mitt Romney’s coronation as the GOP nominee.

President Obama, Vice President Biden and leading congressional Democrats have all scheduled high-profile events next week to counter-program the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla.

Even first lady Michelle Obama is in on the act, scheduling an appearance on the “David Letterman Show” smack in the middle of Romney’s nominating bash.

Political historians say the high stakes of this year’s elections — combined with the rise of today’s 24/7 media culture — have forced leaders on both sides of the aisle to get more aggressive.

“Traditionally, there was a kind of courtesy extended to the party having the convention — the [other] party would basically stay out of the public eye,” said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.

But that “gentlemen’s agreement,” Baker said, has been largely abandoned as “a consequence of the polarization of American politics.” He characterized the old tradition as a “quaint code of etiquette” destined to become a “remnant of the 20th century.”

Or, it could be the result of a win-at-all-costs mentality that has pervaded American politics in recent decades. I don’t really know what the Democrats are thinking with this. To start with, I would have thought that they would be doing everything they could to keep Joe Biden out of the public eye. Also, have they not considered that this makes them look a little desperate and uncertain of their chances this November? This is one of those little signs I have been noticing that makes me think that Barack Obama will not be reelected.

Then there are the protestors. Political conventions naturally attract protestors in much the same way that rotting meat attracts flies. Mostly they are harmless, except for the anarchists and nihilists of all types. According to FoxNews, the anarchists and Occupy losers are planning on making a big show.

Federal authorities are urging law enforcement agencies across the country to watch out for signs that extremists might be planning to wreak havoc at the upcoming political conventions — by blocking roads, shutting down transit systems and even employing what were described as acid-filled eggs.

The warning came in a joint FBI-Department of Homeland Security bulletin issued Wednesday.

The bulletin specifically warned about a group of anarchists from New York City who could be planning to travel to the convention sites to disrupt the events by blockading bridges.

Anarchists “see both parties as the problem,” so both conventions are prime targets for them, a federal law enforcement official told Fox News.

The Republican National Convention is set to open Monday in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention gets underway a week later in Charlotte, N.C.

The joint bulletin, titled “Potential For Violent or Criminal Action By Anarchist Extremists During The 2012 National Political Conventions,” says anarchist extremists likely don’t have the capability to overcome heightened security measures set up by the conventions themselves. In addition, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said Tuesday that fences have been established around “some of the more attractive government targets.”

Instead, extremists could target nearby infrastructure, including businesses and transit systems, according to Wednesday’s bulletin.

The bulletin mentions possible violent tactics anarchist extremists could employ, including the use of molotov cocktails or acid-filled eggs.

I think that no convention is complete without molotov cocktails. Seriously, what exactly are these people trying to accomplish? They are not going to overthrow the government. No one looking at the news coverage is likely to be impressed with their acts of street violence. All they are going to do is hurt people and end up in jail. Maybe that is the point.

One of the major differences between the Tea Party and the OWS crowd, aside from political ideology and economic principles is that the Tea Party people have been able to move beyond the protest stage with the people in colonial costume and waving those don’t tread on me flags and have, by entering local politics have actually been able to have an effect. The OWS group never did move beyond the campouts and I suppose these protestors are the frustrated die hards.

And, just to be even handed, I read about this sign which was put up in Elkhart Indiana.

 

I feel I have to say it over and over. Barack Obama is not Hitler. He is not Osama bin Laden. You may disagree with his policies and you may think that is he a terrible president, but comparing him to truly evil men is outrageous and more than a little silly.

 

Mormon Special

August 23, 2012

 

 

I see that NBC is planning to air an episode on Mormons and the LDS Church on its Rock Center show I am sure it will be a fair and balanced presentation on a sometimes controversial religious sect. Strangely, I must have missed all of the specials they did on the Trinity United Church of Christ back in 2008. I am sure that would have made quite an interesting show.

I do not agree with much of Mormonism’s doctrines and theology but I have a feeling that their preachers never say this in the pulpit.

 

 

 

Digital Bibles

August 23, 2012

 

I read this article in USA Today about the increasing use of digital Bibles in church services.

Not too long ago, the sight of someone using an electronic device during a worship service might lead an observer to assume that person was not fully engaged. But not anymore. Reading the Bible used to mean reading a book, but increasingly, people are getting the Word on smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices.

So then, what will happen to the printed Bible? The last word has not been written on that, but experts speculate that its unchallenged reign is over.

These days I am more apt to take my Kindle to church than an actual printed Bible. One of the first e-books I bought for my Kindle was a Bible and I have always had one on whatever PDA or smart phone I have been using. I find the electronic format very useful since you can have a great many translations, as well as commentaries, dictionaries, and other resources all in one easy to carry package. There do seem to be a few drawbacks.

The Rev. Michael Nabors, pastor of New Calvary Baptist Church in Detroit, has at least 20 hardcover Bibles in the office of his church. He recently began using an iPad during Bible study, but sticks to a hardcover version in the pulpit. He doesn’t think many of his older members would appreciate him using his iPad.

“What if he’s up there preaching and the battery dies or something like that? I hope he has a real Bible next to him, so he can look up what he needs to look up,” said Isabella Howard, 62, of Detroit, a longtime member.

She wouldn’t trade her hardbound Bible for any e-version.

“I feel closer to God with this,” she said referring to her Bible. “I don’t have to plug up anything. All I have to do is open it up and read it.”

For others, there are more liturgical reasons to shun e-Bibles during worship.

A representative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said it would be impractical for a priest to use an e-reader during mass because the Holy Book is held high, carried down the aisle and placed for display on the altar as part of the opening of the service.

“It would be really strange to process an iPad down the aisle and place it on the altar,” said Dan McAfee, director of Christian Worship for the archdiocese.

“E-Bibles are great for personal study, but they can’t be used for liturgical books,” he said. “The Bible is a sacred book — a one of a kind — not just a file among many files in an iPad.”

I guess having a priest holding up an iPad during a Catholic mass would be a little like replacing the candles with little electric lights. You could do it, but the effect wouldn’t be quite the same. I would imagine that some of the more enthusiastic preachers who handle a Bible during sermons might be wary of dropping an expensive e-reader.

In my opinion it is the words in Scripture that are important and the physical medium through which we read those words is not very important, so I do not feel the sentimental attachment to the printed Bible, nor do I feel that I am missing anything even though the Bible I read is one file among many on my kindle. The Bible was probably one of the first books produced in codex form, as opposed to the scrolls of ancient times, and was the first book printed in the West. It is only proper that it is prominent among e-books.

 

 

Landslide for Romney?

August 23, 2012

 

That is what two professors from the University of Colorado are saying. Here is the story in the Denver Post.

Two University of Colorado professors have devised a model to predict who will win the presidential election under current economic circumstances. The victor, they say, will be Republican Mitt Romney.

The model uses economic indicators from all 50 states to predict the race’s outcome. The forecast calls for Romney to win 320 electoral votes out of 538. It says Romney will also win virtually every state currently considered a swing state, including Colorado.

The professors who created the model, Ken Bickers from CU-Boulder and Michael Berry from CU-Denver, say it correctly forecast every winner of the electoral since 1980.

They warn the model does not account for sudden changes in the economy or unexpected developments in states split 50-50. Polls in many states, including Colorado, show a virtually deadlocked race.

Here is the map.

http://conservativebyte.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/9384562.png

I think that they are being far too optimistic and that they should be tied up, gagged, and taken to an undisclosed location until after the election. the last thing the Republicans need right now is to start being overconfident. Romney and Ryan should fight as though they are ten points behind Obama because goodness knows he’ll be as vicious as he has to be to win this election.

 

 

 

 


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