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Archive for December, 2010

Haiti: A Follow Up

I have decided to forego a typical annual retrospective post this year.  There are plenty of other people who will be happy to review the year that was, and the stupid government tricks that demonstrate why this year was the first (but hopefully not the last!) that could rightfully be called “The Year of the Angry Voter”.

Instead, I wanted to follow-up on something I noted in one of my more controversial posts this year.

On January 15, I posted on the furor over Pat Robertson’s remarks about Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake that took place there a few days earlier.

While no one could reasonably deny that Haiti has been the western hemisphere’s hard luck kid since…well, since it came into existence as Haiti, Robertson had the temerity to suggest that Haiti’s misfortune was linked to a legendary  deal with the Devil for its independence.  This was not all of what Robertson said about Haiti, but it was where any further inquiry stopped.

The public, lead by selective soundbites, carefully cut to make these remarks the heart of a much broader message, ranged in its outrage from those who found the remark “unhelpful”, all the way to somehow hypocritical or damning of Christianity in general.

Lost amid the outrage was a fact that wasn’t lost on me:  the charity that Robertson is involved with, and was seeking donations for, was already on the ground in Haiti prior to the quake, trying to help alleviate the suffering that existed before the earth itself increased Haitian misery tenfold.

CBN’s Operation Blessing International has a relief team on the ground in Haiti.

Bill Horan, president and chief operating officer of the charity aid organization, says relief supplies are on the way to the devastated nation.

“We actually have a container, an Operation Blessing container, sitting at the port in Port-Au-Prince,” he told CBN News on Wednesday. “It was waiting to clear customs with $2 million worth of medicines that we were giving to Partners in Health.”

“Also, we have a four-wheel drive land cruiser that we were going to use for our company vehicle that has a winch on the front of it and armor-plating underneath it,” he continued. “It’s specially jacked up real high, so we can go through all the big potholes and so forth that are there anyway. But now, I’m not quite sure how we’re going to get around, but we’re on the job.”

I was left to wonder who would still be there helping in the coming months, long after the television news crews had packed up, and moved on to the next disaster.  I have been keeping an eye out for stories about Haiti, and hoping to find at the end of the year the same kind of compassion and relief present in the country. 

Haiti, like the rest of the world, has not had a great year.  In addition to the earthquake, which destroyed nearly every building, they have also been visited by cholera, which may yet prove to be a gift that keeps on giving to people who are still living in tent cities, nearly a year after the quake.

One of the bright spots for me was learning a bit more about Operation Blessing’s pre-earthquake work on the island:

OBI has been working in Haiti on HIV/AIDs initiatives for more than 5 years. During 2009, OBI expanded their efforts in Haiti to also focus on projects with Partners in Health (PIH) and the Haiti Ministry of Health. Those efforts include providing potable water systems for PIH hospitals, launching a nationwide anti-parasite initiative to treat all school-age children and partnering in an innovative microenterprise fish farm project to help some of Haiti’s most impoverished families.

And more about their work after the earthquake.

When the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck in Haiti, OBI mobilized its international disaster relief teams and provided emergency aid to tens of thousands of Haitians in the most devastated areas. Included in the relief efforts, OBI donated over 120 tons of medicine to the Haitian Ministry of Health, ran a medical clinic inside the Sylvio Cator Soccer Stadium where displaced people had set up a camp, and deployed over 30 water purification plants throughout Port-au-Prince – including in National Stadium and in General Hospital, the largest hospital in Haiti. OBI’s ongoing efforts include water purification efforts to combat the cholera outbreak, support of numerous schools, orphanages and tent camps with food, water and relief supplies, in addition to establishing Zanmi Beni, a home for disabled orphans and abandoned children in partnership with Zanmi Lasante (PIH).

Sounds to me like a charity that could use any help each of us can give it.  I decided that even though our finances are not all that they could be, we could afford to send a few bucks, whether or not Pat Robertson is involved with them.  If you feel the same, donating is easy.

Because it is no longer a sexy news story, it is harder to find out who is still on the ground rendering assistance, but according to the World Health Organization, the main concern of the NGOs is trying to effectively treat the Cholera in an environment where insecurity is the rule of the day, and maintaining supply lines in a country without a functioning infrastructure.  Both are laudable goals, and I hope they succeed.

The long-term seems uncertain, however.  The country just had one of its characteristically turbulent elections, and with a long history of unrest and kleptocracies, kept in power by a brutal and sadistic secret police, one has to wonder if Haiti has the will to fix itself, or if it will simply limp along on whatever assistance the rest of the world provides, when the rest of the world even bothers to think about it between disasters, alternating between suffering from the arbitrary and capricious disasters nature throws its way, and the greedy and predatory governments that it chooses for itself.  It seems that human help alone won’t suffice to aid the people of Haiti.  Adding them to your list for prayer wouldn’t appear to be a bad idea, either.

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“Democracy is based upon the conviction that man has the moral and intellectual capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern himself with reason and justice.” - Harry S. Truman

 “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but inform their discretion.” - Thomas Jefferson

“As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the lawgivers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end.” - Adlai Stevenson

“Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.” - Henry Clay

“If there have been those who doubted whether a confederated representative democracy were a government competent to the wise and orderly management of the common concerns of a mighty nation, those doubts have been dispelled.”John Quincy Adams

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There is nothing so disturbing as an employee who refuses to follow directions.  In the private sector, it can be remedied, but in the public sector, it becomes more complicated by the sheer proliferation of agencies and employees that are not answerable to the people they ostensibly serve, and it becomes maddening when they have the nerve to pretend that they know better than them what pays the freight.

This was brought into focus recently with the FCC’s decision to implement its so-called “Net Neutrality” regulations to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.  This was a decision that was slow in coming.  The DC circuit had already ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to regulate the internet.  Congress, in a rare show of real bipartisanship had also made a point of asking the FCC not to promulgate regulations for the internet and leave it to the lawmakers.  And yet despite every indication that it had no authority to do so, the FCC decided to start regulating the internet… to the cheers of those who believe the hype without any consideration of the long-term implications, as a cousin of mine was only too eager to demonstrate on Facebook recently, as he expressed his exuberance at this wonderful development. 

The website he hyperlinked was one extolling the virtues, but never actually thinking the process through.  When I pointed out that the FCC did so over both the Legislative and Judicial Branches’ objections, his response was a childlike “Yes, but they did it anyway.” 

I was stunned. 

Did he really mean it?  I have never questioned his good intentions, but at the same time, a demonstration of such glee at an obvious and egregious avoidance of the authority of the Constitutionally mandated branches of government demonstrates two stark facts:

1.  Our educational system has failed;

2.  And as a result, “The means justifies the ends” has become the default in place of “the rule of law, not men.”

This is not an isolated phenomenon.  As my friend and co-blogger Nice Deb, points out, it is a trend. Whether it is the EPA deciding sua sponte that it has the authority to regulate CO2 emissions as a pollutant, or the Secretary of Health and Human Services resurrecting the “end of life” counseling that lawmakers removed from the final draft.  But the money quote, which stopped me cold, was this:

New legislation is already being drafted by Republicans to stop the EPA from imposing cap and trade on its own.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Our elected officials are in a power struggle with unelected functionaries who are on a power trip.  Unelected functionaries who are not accountable to “We the people.” 

The people who serve us are fighting for control with the people who serve themselves and claim to do it for our own good.

This power struggle will distract the Congress from its actual business, and even better yet, we get to foot the bill for it.  We have a front-row seat for the clash that will determine the fate of freedom.  On one side, there is the consent of the governed; on the other, the dictates of the governing.  If we lose control of the government, then our fate is to have it control us.

I only hope that God won’t judge us too harshly if the wrong side wins…if not for my sake, then for the sake of my children.

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Its nice to know that the TSA is continuing its assault on the Constitutional rights of citizens unabated.  Other government agencies might be more lax, or even going dark for the holidays, but not the TSA.  If they stopped violating the rights of American citizens without cause, then someone might start to think that these “civil servants” had limitations on their behavior.

Never fear.  Excess and overkill that are the hallmark of federal agencies are not in short supply with the TSA.  Just ask Clare Herschkind, a rape victim, who will not be taking any trips that she cannot make by car or train in the near future.

Clare had the misfortune to be flying out of Austin, Texas on December 22, 2010, when the security checkpoint was shut down for a few hours.  She told the TSA personnel that she had a pacemaker-like device in her chest, and was led to a TSA Agent and three Austin Police Officers [Why are the cops doing the searches? Where did they get the authority?]  for the alternate grab-and-grope process. 

“I turned to the police officer and said, ‘I have given no due cause to give up my constitutional rights.  You can wand me,'” and they said, ‘No, you have to do this,'” she said.

Hirschkind agreed to the pat down, but on one condition.

“I told them, ‘No, I’m not going to have my breasts felt,’ and she said, ‘Yes, you are,'” said Hirschkind.

When Hirschkind refused, she says that “the police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me.  I was crying by then.  They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security.”

Some other sheeple at the checkpoint bleated about how the whole episode made them feel safer, apparently unaware of exceptions to the searches which will make no one safer, and fact that no probable cause exists to vitiate the Fourth Amendment unless ALL travelers are suspect, in which case the very unequal application of searches is also a serious and actionable violation of the groped traveller’s rights.

The growing acquiescence to the usurpation of power by federal agencies should be a source of shame for all Americans.  But the real kicker came from the TSA’s designated liar on this subject:

“Our officers are trained to treat all passengers with dignity and respect. Security is not optional.” 

Mheh.  “Dignity and Respect.”

“the police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me.  I was crying by then.  They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security.”

“Dignity and Respect.”

This leaves me with three distinct thoughts;

1.  WTF? were Austin cops doing there as part of the search process?  Were they federally deputized, or were they merely exceeding their lawful authority?  I think a Section 1983 Civil Rights suit will help bring these questions (and answers) into focus for everyone.

2.  The selected bleats of some sheeple witnesses aside, excesses like this will be the undoing of these insecure security protocols.

3.  If we are going to allow the terrorists to have deference and exemptions so as to not offend the gods of political correctness, but personally see to it that the rights of citizens who have not broken the law, nor given cause for an invasive search, are violated with impunity, then government has failed a primary duty, and should be relieved of its authority in such matters.

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Contentedness

We made a conscious decision not to go overboard this year, and I am convinced that it was the right decision.

This is the first year that the boys have not completely lost their minds. Most of my anxiety was wrapped up in getting the house ready for company and making Christmas Dinner.

We had a superb meal, wonderful munchies and leftovers, and the boys have managed to play more or less quietly. Mrs. BiW loves her “surprise” gift, and although Santa didn’t leave one of these in the driveway for me

I did get this

I think the words “Ultimate Fan Pack” might have swayed Santa a bit.

I hope you all had a great Christmas.

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For all the sound and fury about America not being a Christian nation, once again, we have come to that time of year when the government, and the retail temples for which little is sacred will close early, and then remain closed for a whole day to observe the holiday of Christmas…a day which bears the name of Christ.

While some outlets of government, such as public schools have chosen to remove his name from break which they take, his name is still attached to the holiday that the schools dare not name as it tumbles from the lips of excited children, who cannot be blamed for their jubilation and exuberance about all that the celebration brings, even if it does tend to detract from the reason we observe the celebration with his name.

This is a singular phenomenon.  Government does not observe other religions in this fashion.  It does not shut down for Muslim holy days.  The birthdays of Buddha or Confucius are not marked with empty offices and closed stores.  The radio is not filed with Zoroastrian carols at any time of year.

And while those who stridently believe in “a wall of separation between church and state” that the architects of our government never envisioned, and that would have indeed shocked and dismayed them attempt to erase these links in the name of preserving the wall that did not exist until 1949, we continue as if there is nothing at all arrogant in presuming that people more than one hundred and fifty years removed better understood what was intended than the people who wrote the blueprint.  It is a fiction laid bare by what occurs this time of year, when we celebrate the birth, life, and death of a man who was God in the flesh, who came to freely give the ultimate gift, knowing that there would be too many who would reject what he gave, and would condemn themselves to a life of bondage, and an eternity of suffering before they would accept that which was freely given.

And during this time of year, when things fall still and silent, in his name, it is an occasion to reflect of the real harbinger of hope and change, humbly born, exalted and abandoned, and resurrected in real transformation.  I know that people can still be sobered by the account of this life which came to save all others.  I first heard this song a few years ago, and I still feel the gravity of it every single time I hear it.

Merry Christmas to all, even those who doubt or reject the gift…it is freely offered just the same.

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For a while now, the NAACP has been incrementally moving closer to irrelevance.  For most of my life, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been seeking advancement through victimhood.  The problem with such a strategy is eventually, as the successes pile up, they become harder to attain, and as a result, the causes to champion increasingly grow absurd.

Whether it is reading a racial slur into the use of the term “Black Hole” in the context of an office in city government where things go in, and never seem to come back out, or getting their undies in a bunch about a talking greeting card that uses the same term, despite their insistence that it actually says something very different, the politics of victimhood has ill-benefitted those it was intended to help, first by selling the beneficiaries into a modern-day dependency by constantly telling them what they cannot do without the “help” of others, and then by making them look ridiculous with the progression of OUTRAGES! over the years.   Lately, this has been accomplished by acting as if being offended makes them victims, as the “black hole” episodes have demonstrated.  This still isn’t enough for them though.  Now they have taken up the habit of ridiculous hyperbole to condemn activities they find offensive.  Case in point?  A recent formal event in South Carolina honoring the Confederacy, where guests celebrated the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Protestors could not wait to register their displeasure with the attendees of the Secession Ball:

As blacks and whites gathered in the twilight with electric candles and signs for an NAACP protest, a predominantly white group of men in old-fashioned tuxedos and women in long-flowing dresses and gloves stopped to watch and take pictures before going into the Charleston auditorium where the ball was taking place.

Now I found this turn of phrase interesting.  “Predominantly white men”.  Are they predominantly white because the reporter was too lazy to find out if indeed there were non-white men present?  Are they predominantly white because an honest accounting might reveal enough non-whites in attendance to make the protesters into the ones with the problem?  I guess we’ll never know.

NAACP leaders said it made no sense to hold a gala to honor men who committed treason against their own nation for the sake of a system that kept black men and women in bondage as slaves. They compared Confederate leaders to terrorists and Nazi soldiers.

While it would be foolish to deny that slavery was one of the issue that the Civil War was fought over, it is foolish and disingenuous to pretend that it was the only issue.  And the comparison to terrorists and Nazi soldiers?  I don’t believe that these comparisons in any way seem serious when one looks to Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, and other prominent Confederates. Why is it whenever someone on the left doesn’t like someone on the right exercising their freedom of association or their freedom of speech, the disfavored are suddenly equated with Nazis and terrorists?  I can acknowledge that it might have been a shocking charge at one time.  Hell, it might have actually had the desired effect of “SHUT UP!!!” that certainly motivates such comparisons in the past.  However, as more and more people are painted as Hilterian, and it starts to be applied to Uncle Ron, and Great-Grandpa, Fred from down the street, and the Barber, the less it seems like an epithet, and for some people, it becomes an indication that they are pissing all the right people off.

“The Germans had a heritage too. Why does South Carolina and America think this is the right thing to do?” said Lonnie Randolph, president of the South Carolina branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The more appropriate question to ask, Lonnie, is why do you feel it is your place to question their pastimes?  Seriously.  I didn’t read in the story where the period dress included black slaves in chains, and without, waiting on the attendees hand and foot, with the “Yes, massa” and “No, massa” issuing forth from downcast faces.  I’m pretty sure if that had been the case, the event would have received far wider coverage, and in that event, I would have had some outrage of my own to spare.  But between the protest, the hyperbole, and the unflattering and untrue comparisons, it just smacks a little too much of the thought police.  And that is really the point of the politics of OUTRAGE!!!  By claiming offense, and acting as if there is a right to not be offended, the claimant is really saying “Your thinking is wrong, and you must stop before you offend again.”  Before you know it, the enablers in the Press pile on, implying that there not only is a right not to be offended, but that it also trumps other, real rights, and that if you believe otherwise, then you too, my friend, are somehow a Nazi and a terrorist.  Thankfully, it has been carried to such absurd extremes that the tactic is starting to lose its effectiveness:

Burbage said the NAACP doesn’t help its cause with inflammatory rhetoric.

“Any group that wants to call our ancestors terrorists and compare them to Nazi soldiers, we will not negotiate with. We didn’t need to get their permission to put this thing on, or will we ever seek their permission. We do our thing, they’ll do their thing,” Burbage said.

Exactly right.  And as long as these bullies keep trying to police our thoughts and actions, I foresee more pushback.  As it should be.  As long as groups such as the NAACP set themselves up as the thought police, entitled not just to question the thoughts of others, but to sit in judgment of those thoughts, and vested with the authority to prevent others from feeling the shame and anguish of being offended, the more cartoonish they will become.

I hear a timer ringing.  The time for their relevance must be up.

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their agenda will become your agenda, because the given inches always yield to the taken miles, as this story from Yahoo news so helpfully foreshadows:

After years of contentious debate, the Senate on Saturday voted to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that blocked gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

While critics, including Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, said the repeal would cause a deadly distraction on the battlefield at a time of war, the lawmakers backing repeal equated the vote to other historic moments including the end of racial segregation among troops in the 1950s and the decision to allow women to attend military service academies in the 1970s.

Which isn’t an accident.  If they can paint it in the same light as real civil rights legislation, then it makes it much easier to maintain and forcefully assert the fiction in the federal lawsuits against state law that are to come.  And make no mistake, they will come.

“It is time to close this chapter in our history,” President Obama said in a statement hailing the vote’s passage. “It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.”

But sacrifice, valor, and even integrity can find a home in the deeds of the worst of the worst when the circumstances are right.  That was the whole point of films like The Dirty Dozen, and The Devil’s Brigade, wasn’t it?  Taking convicted criminals, some of whom were under sentence of death, and siccing them on the enemy, demonstrating that such characteristics were not reserved for the law-abiding and the basically “good”?   Still, branches of the military do not generally make a habit out of integrating criminals and other people with “evil” habits and tendencies, that have manifested themselves in the choices that they have made, into military units as a matter of policy.   And yet, because of a near-constant erosion in the basis of our law, this is exactly what the Senate has decided to do.  What makes it an act of far-reaching consequence is that it will not stop there.  The will of a small vocal minority, and a larger minority that has installed itself as the “Decider” and arbiter of what is and is not good for society will not let it. 

Yet the repeal is far more than just a single policy shift. The overturning of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is likely to create a ripple effect in addressing other gay-rights issues, as many states continue to debate issues including same-sex marriage and the right of gay partners to share benefits the same way legally married couples do. With gay service members serving openly, it will become difficult for policy makers to justify, say, withholding visitation rights or survivor benefits to the same-sex spouse of a wounded or fallen soldier. [Emphasis Added.]

The casual observer might simply take this as an inspired bit of wishcasting, but anyone who has been paying attention sees it as another in a series of careful plays intended to bring about a specific result.  The fact is that we have no rational basis for treating this policy shift as a victory for civil rights, and those who today enjoy the great strides made in the area of civil rights should be insulted that the implication that “discrimination” on the basis of what can only be conclusively proven to be a choice is the same as discrimination on the basis of an immutable condition, such as race or gender, or of specifically protected behaviors like religion or creed.   The Left does not see it in this light, because their elation at sticking their fingers in the eyes of those they brand as “extremists” or “fundamentalists” has specifically blinded them to the reality of what they have done.   That realization will be for a later day, if indeed they are still capable of drawing any lines between things that are acceptable for a society and things that are not when that day comes.  The over/under on that being the case is about even at this time, and it has occurred to me more than once that once it is no longer socially acceptable to call evil what it is, then drastic changes to the definition of good cannot be too far behind.   We have already started down this road, and while we are not in danger of putting our imprimatur on things like obvious theft and murder as society, there is already a groundswell under way that supports it in less obvious forms, and have already made compromises between it and our formerly better understanding of such things.  The more obvious manifestations will be the last to come, not because they are obvious, but because the only thing that purveyors of the new, who reject the old philosophy and understanding, hold sacred is the self, and that once their own possessions are forfeit through proceedings that commonplace avoid process, or consist only of a perfunctory circuit through the motions, and they cry foul, will the most perceptive among them realize that they long ago removed the rationale allowing them to hold these last vestiges of an old order by any rational legal means.

The truth is that this policy will not benefit the military or society at large.  We are not made stronger when one of the things we must prepare for are policies and procedures to deal with new claims of discrimination, with merit, and perhaps more importantly, those without, and the way to add finality to such determination without completely removing it from those closest to enforcement in the attempt to give it the appearance of legitimacy.  All of what this entails will unquestionably bring more cost, more complication, and more distraction to a profession already arguably more weighed down in the issues of diversity, fairness, and equality than it is in the idea of merit, which benefits the service, and actually training to achieve and maintain physical and technical superiority over our nation’s enemies.

By casting it as a victory for Civil Rights, the Deciders and those they would empower delegitimize Christianity, when it was Christian churches which have been major players in the Civil Rights movement, a move that somehow does not appear to them to be a logical disconnect in any fashion, or call their previous victories into question.   This makes them either hypocrites or opportunists.  Given their support of self-proclaimed “christian leaders”, who tell them exactly what they want to hear on this subject, (a position that can only be reached by picking and choosing what portions of scripture support their conclusions) I’m coming down hard on the side of opportunist.   However you choose to define it, it brings us to the same place:  When we start redefining evil, first by accepting it, then by legitimizing it, a creeping redefinition of what we place value on as being good must also follow.  And it has.  This is the elephant in the room that these modern-day crusaders for the Religion of Self™ refuse to recognize.   If we decide that choice is the basis of a civil right to behavior largely unthinkable 20 years from now, there is no basis for denying a civil right on the basis of choice for things that are still largely unthinkable now.  These crusaders scoff at such notions, all the while failing to recognize that there are already those who are laying the same kind of groundwork that they themselves have put down to get us here.  If you look hard, you can see the future, and what it holds isn’t pretty.   Everything will be permissible, except for believing that some things should not be.  And the worst part is that the trap is already springing.  Those who claim that these things aren’t related are blind to the steel teeth closing about them already.   They have already made such things possible, and arguing that they will never be acceptable to society ignores the fact that they already are.

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 ” The ‘morality of compromise’ sounds contradictory. Compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Strong men don’t compromise, it is said, and principles should never be compromised.”  -Andrew Carnegie

“Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf; is better than a whole loaf.” - G. K. Chesterton
 
“Compromise, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.” – Ambrose Bierce
 
“Compromise: An agreement between two men to do what both agree is wrong.” - Lord Edward Cecil
 
I started my morning on Monday with a quick perusal of Facebook, and my friend Beth had linked Jim Geraghty’s piece on the pointlessness of the “No Labels” movement that is trying to gain momentum in politics.  Geraghty pointed out that in their rush to portray themselves as a “tolerant” alternative, they have unwittingly displayed their rank intolerance.
 
I made a quick remark about how the media is eager to portray standing for nothing as being courageous.
 
I said it because it is one of the many lies that are being perpetrated to society today.
 
Others have looked at the movement and asked the inevitable “Why?”, as it is largely indistinguishable from the other failure masquerading as the savior to “moderates” everywhere, The Coffee Party.  My friend and co-blogger Nice Deb has done a fine job laying the two side-by-side and revealing that one is ecru, and the other eggshell…each distinct to those who rally to their banners perhaps, but to anyone paying attention, they are simply flying the flag of surrender.  Think of people who might understand what is at stake, but are willing to relent to the idea that compromise will offer real solutions to address the problems that threaten to swallow our country, our culture, and ideals.   It’s a Rodney King approach to politics that underestimates the committment to fundamental change on the left and stubborn belief that following the failed welfare states of the world will also make us a failed welfare state, and squander the world’s last best hope on the right.  Neither side wants to put the their weapons down, and considering the stakes, neither side should.
 
I remember a quote I once read that stated (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the hottest parts of Hell are reserved for those who remain on the fence.  Moderation is never a good thing in politics because it leads to compromise.    The Framers compromised when it came to slavery; and as a result, roughly eighty years later, the question had to be resolved.  A nation was torn asunder, and a great bloody butchers bill had to be paid to settle the matter.   The Missouri Compromise again slapped a band-aid over a festering wound, and put off a terrible reckoning for another day.   The Compromise of 1850 again looked the terrible question in the eye, and again blinked.   These compromises were not the result of brilliant statesmanship, they were the failure of principle.   And that is what the modern moderate wants to embrace.   “Can’t we all just get along?”  isn’t an answer.
 
We are currently faced with an identity crisis as a nation, and we need to decide if we are going to remain true to our roots, as a nation that recognized and enshrined the individual liberties granted to all of us by our Creator, which permits self-determination and the freedom for each individual to choose their own path, or if we will instead surrender every decision to an all-intrusive state that regards each person as an interchangeable part in a machine in which no cog is greater than the least of its parts, except for the ruling class, which being more equal than the equal parts, with enjoy privilege and exception from the onerous intrusions into our light fixtures, our furnaces, our refrigerators, our cars, our toilets, and even our thoughts and personal relationships.  There can be no compromise with that kind of philosophy for anyone who believes themselves heirs to the Founders and the Framers.  Such a worldview is incompatible with freedom, but not above pretending it is what it opposes, nor is it opposed to pretending that is not what it is, and that is where the true danger lies.
 
We don’t have to like labels.  They can be messy.  They can be imprecise.  They can be insulting.  They can be hurtful.  But we cannot pretend that they have no meaning.   They are our basis for understanding the world.    We might change the labels we use to define ourselves, and others, but in so doing, we acknowledge they have meaning not only for ourselves, but for others.   That is why they have the appeal that causes groups and ideas to mislead with them.  One need only look to the names used by PACs and 527 groups, especially those funded by shadowy billionaires who topple currencies and regimes because it gives them a hobby.   It is why politicians use them, even if they have no intention of fulfilling the roles that those labels evoke in the minds of their constituents.  It is why we are always striving for a better definition.
 
I am BlackisWhite, and I am a conservative.  No member of any party should take my vote for granted, and no adversary should find comfort in labeling me with a party label.  I didn’t come to lose the finest inheritance any person could receive, and I sure as Hell did not come to compromise.  I know that there is no more “middle”, so you better decide where you stand.
 
 

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…Lean Forward a little bit more, you lunkhead.

I want you to receive the full benefit of the brainduster.

And we’re the stupid ones…riiiigggghhhttt.

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…he doubles down.

And we see another of his prophecies fulfilled.  He is doing something that is unprecedented and historic.

I have to confess that this one baffles me.  Is he so sensitive to criticism that he brought back Billy Jeff, a person who was rightfully reviled by many pundits and adored by the electorate as a means to reduce the heat he feels from both the right and the left?  Is it an admission that he is in over his head, and he needs help by someone skilled in removing the chastity belts that members of his own party have strapped themselves into?  Is it a last ditch to save legislation that could save his shot at a second-term?

I’m not sure that I can recall another time when a sitting president lent the gravitas of the White House to a predecessor, and one who was part of a rival campaign in the previous election, so that the current president could leave to scamper into the presence of his wife.  After taking yet another glance at the staggering per-job sums of money that were spent by the Government on the Spendulous Jobs, it occurs to me that the money could be better spent just writing checks for $50,000 a piece to people to go out and look for a spine…any spine to give to Obama, since he clearly lost his.

As for the rest of it…I’d love to savor the moment of the hard lefties being pissed with Obama over the tax deal (I refuse to say “cuts”, because when they have been in place for more than 8 years, we are talking about increasing the current rates), but the fact is if he gets it passed, he gets a metric butt-load of spending that they government has no business committing to at the moment.  Especially since the courageous confiscatory lions of Congress that gave us a takeover of one-sixth of the economy have stubbornly refused to do their duty and set a budget.  What this means is that it was coordinated in a plan to try to Brer Rabbit the republicans into passing a bill with irresponsible and idiotic spending (“Oooohhh, Congressional republicans!  Pleeeeeeease don’t make us pass a bill keeping the tax rates the same while allowing us to spend stupid sums of money!!!”) or he didn’t share the purpose of the compromise, and the hard lefties are too dense to see through their OUTRAGE!!111!!!! and understand how this could ultimately benefit them.  I think Billy Jeff’s presence at the podium yesterday explains which one actually occurred.  

This will cost Obama.   This made him look weak to those in the world seeking a sign of weakness, and frankly, this makes him look bad here at home.   Some on the left who saw the Brer Rabbit as have made much of the idea that republicans tried to sell conservatives out.  I agree, but what they fail to realize is that we aren’t above holding our elected officials’ feet to the fire, and the last election showed that we are paying attention.   The hard left apparently still isn’t getting the message.

I can think of few things more surreal, or frightening to a whole new class of White House interns.

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