http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/kansas-2014-candidates-for-congress-where-they-stand Filing Deadline (Party Candidates): June 2, 2014 Filing Deadline (Independents): August 4, 2014 Primary: August 5, 2014 To see the actual voting records of all incumbents on other issues such as Foreign Policy, Second Amendment Issues, Homeland Security, and other issues as well as their rankings by special interest groups please use the links […]
Early in the morning, while most are still sleeping, groups of elderly Chinese women spread out across city streets. They tear open trash bags, pick through the litter and sort out bottles and cans that come with a deposit. And then they bring them to the local supermarket to a machine that scans and evaluates each can, accepting and rejecting them one by one, and finally printing out a receipt.
The interaction between the elderly immigrant who speaks broken English or the homeless man who is barely holding it together… and the machine is a stark contrast between what the new smart clean green economy pretends to be and what it actually is.
The machine, like so much else that we design, is impressive, but its existence depends on someone digging through the trash with their hands for much less than minimum wage to extract a generally useless item.
The entire bottle economy, which has more than a passing resemblance to the trash sorting operations in the Third World carried out by despised and persecuted minorities, like the Zabbaleen in Egypt, is artificial. The United States is not so poor that it actually needs to recycle. It recycles not under the impulse of economic imperatives, but of government mandates.
The elderly Chinese women dig through the trash because politicians decided to impose a tax on us and an incentive for them in the form of a deposit. All those useless 1980s laws created a strange underground economy of marginalized people digging through the trash.
Every time politicians celebrate a recycling target met and show off some shiny new machine, hiding behind the curtain are the dirty weary people dragging through the streets at the crack of dawn, donning rubber gloves and tearing apart trash bags. They are the unglamorous low-tech reality of environmentalism.
The eulogies to Nobel-winning author Gabriel Garcia-Marquez upon his death last week make two points official:
1.) No amount of moral and intellectual wretchedness will earn an artist even the mildest rebuke from most of his professional peers and their related institutions—so long as the wretch hires out to communists.
2.) The masochism (to sidestep more “Mc Carthyite” terms) of Democratic U.S. Presidents is boundless.
Not that the media eulogies sidestep Garcia-Marquez’ politics. Most are quite upfront about it. Let’s take the one run by The New York Times as emblematic:
“Like many Latin American intellectuals and artists, Mr. García Márquez felt impelled to speak out on the political issues of his day. He viewed the world from a left-wing perspective, bitterly opposing Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the right-wing Chilean dictator, and unswervingly supporting Fidel Castro in Cuba. Mr. Castro became such a close friend that Mr. García Márquez showed him drafts of his unpublished books.”
Notice the word “dictator” above. But with whom does the New York Times associate it? Pinochet, of course. Does Fidel Castro also qualify as dictator? The New York Times does not tell us.
“Mr. García Márquez’s ties to Mr. Castro troubled some intellectuals and human rights advocates,” continues the NYTimes. “Susan Sontag wrote in the 1980s, “To me it’s scandalous that a writer of such enormous talent be a spokesperson for a government which has put more people in jail (proportionately to its population) than any other government in the world…He attributed the criticism to what he called Americans’ “almost pornographic obsession with Castro.” But he became sensitive enough about the issue to intercede on behalf of jailed Cuban dissidents.”
In fact, fully contrary to the New York Times’ whitewash, Garcia Marquez’ “intercession” is what got some of those dissidents jailed and tortured by his friend Castro in the first place. Let’s not mince words. Let’s call out Garcia-Marquez categorically: on top of his decades of pro-bono propaganda services for Castroism, Garcia-Marquez was also a volunteer snitch for Castro’s KGB-mentored secret police.
Tony Blair’s latest speech on Islam is significant as much for what it doesn’t mention as for what it does. Not long ago, a speech of this sort would have been rich with contrasts between dictatorship and democracy. Democracy, the audience would have been told solemnly, equals freedom and modernity.
Instead Blair mentions the word ‘democracy’ only three times.
The first time he’s referring to Israel and the second time he disavows the entire program of dropping elections on Muslim countries and expecting their populations to make the right choices. Instead he argues,
“Democracy cannot function except as a way of thinking as well as voting. You put your view; you may lose; you try to win next time; or you win but you accept that you may lose next time. That is not the way that the Islamist ideology works.”
This is very much a post-Arab Spring speech and though he offers obligatory praise of that over-hyped phenomenon, the lessons he has drawn from its failure make for a changed perspective.
How changed? Blair endorses the Egyptian popular overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood and urges support for the new government within the larger context of “supporting and assisting” those who take on “Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood”.
That’s an impossible position in Washington D.C., but it emerges naturally out of an understanding that democracy isn’t enough and that an Islamist political victory inherently dismantles democracy.
“Islamist ideology”, Blair says, has an “exclusivist” ultimate goal, which is “not a society which someone else can change after winning an election”. The Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups, he says, are both part of an “overall ideology” in which “such extremism can take root”. They are all totalitarian group that differ on “how to achieve the goals of Islamism” rather than on “what those goals are.”
Democracy is downright destructive in a political landscape in which Islamic political forces compete. Instead Blair’s new doctrine replaces democracy with religious freedom.
The former British Prime Minister calls for supporting “the principles of religious freedom and open, rule based economies. It means helping those countries whose people wish to embrace those principles to achieve them. Where there has been revolution, we should be on the side of those who support those principles and opposed to those who would thwart them.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez died last week. His was a reputation built on the enthusiasm of the reading public, not just the accolades of the critics. He was beloved, and for all the wrong reasons. I despised his work when forced to read it in undergraduate Spanish-language courses and again when I tried to read it later in life. His most popular work, 100 Years of Solitude, pictures the unreality and weirdness (the “miraculous real,” mistranslated as “magical realism”) in the isolated Colombian hamlet of Macondo through several generations of the Buendia family. They eventually are carried off by a cyclone in Garcia Marquez’ account. But that isn’t what happened to them. They were murdered hideously in Colombia’s “Violencia” of 1948-1958, along with 300,000 other Colombians, after committing hideous murders of their own.
Wikipedia says the following about Colombia’s civil war:
Because of incomplete or non-existing statistical records, exact measurement of La Violencia’s humanitarian consequences is impossible. Scholars, however, estimate that between 200,000 and 300,000 lives were lost, 600,000 and 800,000 injured, and almost one million displaced. La Violencia affected 20% of the population, directly or indirectly.
Yet, La Violencia, did not come to be known as La Violencia simply because of the number of people it affected; it was the manner in which most of the killings, maimings, and dismemberings were done. Certain death and torture techniques became so commonplace that they were given names. For example, “picar para tamal,” which involved slowly cutting up a living person’s body, or “bocachiquiar,” where hundreds of small punctures were made until the victim slowly bled to death. Former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs for the United States National Security Council and current President of the Institute for Global Economic Growth, Norman A. Bailey describes the atrocities succinctly: “Ingenious forms of quartering and beheading were invented and given such names as the “corte de mica”, “corte de corbata”, and so on. Crucifixions and hangings were commonplace, political “prisoners” were thrown from airplanes in flight, infants were bayoneted, schoolchildren, some as young as eight years old, were raped en masse, unborn infants were removed by crude Caesarian section and replaced by roosters, ears were cut off, scalps removed, and so on”. While scholars, historians, and analysts have all debated the source of this era of unrest, they have yet to formulate a widely accepted explanation for why it escalated to the notable level it did.
HUGE BDS fail! Ellen Degeneres gives away free Soda Stream to studio audience for Earth Day! Watch the clip.
The Ellen show is huge in America, so this is a major blow to the BDS effort in the US. Watch the audience go wild upon learning they won a free Soda Stream!
First came Scarlett Johansson and now…Ellen DeGeneres.
A-list celebrities continue to line up behind SodaStream, the fizzy water company that’s been the bane of the BDS movement for its factory in Mishor Adumim, in the West Bank.
The company’s latest triumph took place this week when Ellen DeGeneres, the queen of daytime television, gave away SodaStream machines to her studio audience “in honor of Earth Day.”
Ellen’s website also touted the environmental benefits of SodaStream over other soda companies:
The average American family will save over 2,000 bottles and cans every year by switching to SodaStream. Everyone in the audience went home with a Wood Starter SodaStream and $200 Crate & Barrel gift card to stock up on SodaStream products.
Court cases involving religion have a way of stopping big social legislation.
Some time in the coming months, the Supreme Court will hand down its opinion in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, the case of the retailer that claims that its religious freedom or that of its employees is violated by contraceptive coverage required as part of the Affordable Care Act. The attitude of the health-care act’s supporters toward such cases is irritation. How dare a little religious case trip up the mighty Affordable Care Act and jeopardize the ACA’s establishment as permanent law of the land?
Cases involving religious details, however, do have a way of stopping big social legislation, and not only because they violate the principles of the religious denominations involved. Regardless of the Court’s decision, even pro-choice Jews, Unitarians, and Muslims may eventually change their views on the ACA precisely because of Hobby Lobby and cases like it.
To see how this might happen, it helps to go back to a case involving a commensurately ambitious piece of legislation, Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act.
The National Industrial Recovery Act, like the Affordable Care Act, aimed to do nothing less than change an entire sector of the economy — in that case, the industrial and business sector. After passage in 1933, NIRA created a bureaucracy labeled, in its turn, the National Recovery Administration, or NRA. NRA was hard to contradict: Its leader was a general; its emblem, the bald eagle. “Almighty God have mercy on anyone who attempts to trifle with that bird,” General Hugh Johnson told the public. The courts seemed to agree: Nine in ten NRA cases at first were decided in favor of the government.
NRA administrators led companies in the writing of codes for their respective trades. Like the ACA’s rules, these codes were offered in agonizing and counterintuitive detail. In those days NRA codes mandated minimum wages, minimum prices, new health and safety regulations, and business practices that efficiency experts recommended whether or not firms themselves saw their logic.
THIS IS UNFAIR…FOR ALL HIS PERCEIVED EXCESS, McCARTHY WAS REALLY ON TO SOMETHING- COMMUNIST SPYING AND INFILTRATION OF THE CABINET, THE LEGISLATURE, ACADEMIA AND THE PROPAGANDIZING ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS. HARRY REID IS A NASTY BLOWHARD WHO COMPARES DECENT CIVILIANS TO TERRORISTS AND LIES, LIBELS AND BASHES POLITICAL OPPONENTS….BAD COMPARISON HERE…..RSK
The senator is a throwback to a type of American politics better left forgotten.
We should ask Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) the same question once posed to Senator Joseph McCarthy by U.S. Army head-counsel Robert N. Welch: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Reid is back in the news for denigrating the peaceful supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a popular critic of the Bureau of Land Management policy, as “domestic terrorists.”
McCarthy in the 1950s became infamous for smearing his opponents with lurid allegations that he could not prove, while questioning their patriotism. Reid has brought back to the Senate that exact same McCarthy style of six decades ago — and trumped it.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Reid slandered candidate Mitt Romney with the unsubstantiated and later-refuted charge that Romney was a tax cheat. “The word’s out that he [Romney] hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years,” Reid said.
Later, when asked for proof, Reid offered a pathetic rejoinder: “I have had a number of people tell me that.” One wonders how many names were on Reid’s McCarthyite “tell” list — were there, as McCarthy used to bluster, 205 names, or perhaps just 57?
When asked again to document the slur, Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly: “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.”
Over the Easter weekend, the City of Chicago experienced a rash of violence that eclipsed anything taking place on the battlefields of Afghanistan or in the uncivilized Taliban-held territories of Pakistan’s border region. 18 people were shot in several incidents, 13 of them dying from their wounds. This is nothing new to Chicago where for years the annual body-count has rivaled, if not exceeded, the casualties reported from war zones in which our military have been engaged. What is new is the political leadership in that city.
Those familiar with Chicago will take issue with that last statement, but the fact of the matter is this. It is true. While the City of Chicago has been staunchly Democrat for decades, its new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, is a Progressive. Where the Daleys (both Richard J. and Richard M.) displayed a sincere love for the city, Mr. Emanuel, by all accounts, sees it as a stepping-stone to either the political throne of “king-maker” or executive branch national office…perhaps both.
I can say with confidence, having spent a majority of my lifetime in the nearby suburbs of Chicago, that the Daleys understood that the mean streets of Chicago were just that: mean streets. To that end, while they saw the value in efforts to address the social issues contributing to the modern urban culture of urban violence, they also knew full well that a strong, effective and empowered law enforcement community, coupled with a citizenry supportive of personal responsibility, was necessary to execute the most important role of any chief executive – local, state of federal: the protection of the innocent.
Progressives have, for decades now, fomented a culture of victimization. Everyone is a victim. Where non-Progressives see the innocents affected by those perpetrating violence-as-a-culture to be the victims, Progressives include the perpetrators of said violence as victims as well. Progressives see the people who load the gun, carry the gun and illegally shoot the gun – killing innocents, along with those complicit – as victims: victims of circumstance; victims of culture; victims of social and economic “injustice”; victims of society.
The Progressives’ answer to the modern day urban culture of violence is to create more community assistance, more community activities, and more community engagement. But while a fraction of those embracing the urban culture of violence would benefit from (or even engage in) the existence of these programs, the overwhelming number of those who embrace this culture not only know no other way, but see the lifestyle as glamorous, and who could blame them?
Black urban youth – and to a lesser extent but no less troubling, Latino, Asian and White urban youth – have come to see the urban culture of violence as a lifestyle “choice” (ironic that Progressives are all universally “pro-choice”). The urban youth culture is rife with violence; violence in its music, in its preferred art and entertainment, and in its counter-culture economic system. You can’t go a quarter-hour listening to an urban radio station without hearing lyrics about killing police officers or rival gang-bangers, or lyrics about women being treated like whores; to be used for sex, with those arguably degraded women being painted as accepting it willingly because, hey, it’s all about the money.
Justice Stevens’s Liberty-Destroying Amendments
The liberal/left is forever releasing trial balloons to see who shoots at them and who doesn’t. The multiple interviews of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens upon publication of his new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, on April 22nd, represent one such balloon. I have not yet read the book, but have ordered it and will review it in a future column. But the lubricious reception of Stevens’s book and the unrestrained fawning over him by the press is such that I can’t hold my tongue. So these remarks will focus on the interviews, and not the book per se.
The book would not be reviewed, nor Stevens even interviewed, but for the liberty-destroying amendments he proposes be made to the Constitution. Liberal “journalists” across the spectrum sidled up to the buffet and feasted on helpings of the retired liberal, pro-government power justice’s fare of senile lunacy, washed down with large draughts of Happy Juice.
All the interviewers treated Stevens as a kind of judicial “guru” whose “wisdom” must be shown deference and couldn’t be challenged or questioned without committing a heinous faux pas. They asked him leading questions to prompt the answers they wanted to hear from Stevens. For example, in the video on the NRO site, George Stephanopoulos asks Stevens about the five words Stevens would add to the “amended” Second Amendment: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms [when serving in the militia] shall not be infringed.”
The “militia” meaning the National Guard or virtually any federal SWAT or armed enforcement entity. It means that the government would have a monopoly on all weapons.
Stephanopoulos: “Wouldn’t that take away any limits what a legislature could do to the rights of gun owners?”
Stevens: “I think that’s probably right.” [Still of rows of hand guns] “I think that’s what should be the rule, that it should be legislatures rather than judges who draw the line on what is permissible….”
Stephanopoulos: “Do you think that….clearly…that was what was intended?”
Stevens: “I do think that was what was originally intended, because there was a fear among the original framers that the federal government would be so strong that they might destroy the state militias. The amendment would merely prevent arguments being made that Congress doesn’t have the power to do what is in the best public interest.” [More "scary" images of weapons; Italics mine]
Stephanopoulos: “But to be clear, if Congress passed a national ban on individual gun ownership, that would be constitutional under your amendment?”