August 19, 2014

Prominent Progressive’s Email Suggests Defacing Cover of Paul Ryan’s New Book

Filed under: Activism,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:58 pm

Imagine that a prominent Republican activist proposed a campaign of malicious destruction against Hillary Clinton’s latest book. Does anyone doubt that the press would be all over it as proof that conservatives and Republicans are disrespectful and mean-spirited?

Well, Erica Payne is a prominent, aggressively self-promoting progressive. The advanced nature of her activist bona fides might cause you to assume that she would think before stooping to openly suggesting destruction of property. Nope. Via Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard (link is in original; bolds are mine):

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August 14, 2014

Barely News: Teachers Union Head’s Promise to ‘Punch’ Common Core Opponents ‘in the Face’

Give the New York Daily News credit for surfacing a video which originally appeared at Ed Notes Online, a publication whose “about” page says it opposes “the education corporate-based reforms … undermining the public school system” and exposes “the motives behind the education deformers.”

The video shows Michael Mulgrew, the president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers, threatening to “punch you in the face and push you in the dirt” if you oppose the nationally imposed and controlled Common Core standards, and from all appearances laying claim to America’s children as the property of its teachers. Give the rest of the establishment press — which routinely pounces on inflammatory statements coming from the right and distorts others into making them appear to be — demerits for almost completely failing to expose an education tyrant. Video and excerpts from the Daily News’s coverage follow the jump.

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August 11, 2014

The U.S.-Mexico Border Is NOT Secure

Filed under: Activism,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:16 pm

Note: This post will stay at the top for the rest of Monday.

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James O’Keefe proves that the border isn’t secure (direct YouTube):

James O’Keefe as Osama bin Laden crosses border from Mexico to US

August 10, 2014

AP Fails to Mention DOJ’s Involvement As Judge Allows North Carolina Voter-ID Law to Stand

To read the Associated Press’s Friday evening coverage of a federal judge’s refusal to block North Carolina’s election law reforms from taking effect in the upcoming general election, you’d think it was an unsuccessful effort on the part of a group of poor Davids to defeat the Tar Heel State’s government Goliath.

As J. Christian Adams at PJ Media noted shortly after the decision, it was nothing of the sort. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice weighed in heavily, and is in fact listed as the plaintiff in one of the three cases Federal District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder decided. Additionally, a prominent national law firm took the case on a pro bono basis for the allegedly aggrieved groups. I’ll first look at a bit of what AP’s Michael Biesecker and Gary D. Robertson wrote, and follow it with Adams’s reality-based rendition.

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July 31, 2014

WaPo’s Kucinich Covers Bloomberg Ad, Misses How Having a Gun Would Have Prevented Domestic Violence

On Tuesday, Jackie Kucinich at the Washington Post wrote up a brief item about an ad released Monday by Everytown For Gun Safety, deep-pocketed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun-grabbing group.

Kucinich reports that the ad “will air on cable television in Washington, D.C., and on network stations in New Hampshire, Arizona and Nevada, according to a release,” in an attempt to affect U.S. Senate races in those states. If Kucinich had actually watched the ad, it’s hard to imagine why she wouldn’t have noticed that the victim of domestic violence portrayed would have been far better off if she herself had been armed:

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July 27, 2014

Federal Court Strikes Down ‘Nation’s Last Explicit’ Gun Ban; Press Mostly Ignores

On Saturday, District of Columbia Circuit Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. finally ruled that the city of Washington’s ban on residents carrying firearms outside their homes is unconstitutional.

Emily Miller at Fox News calls it a decision which “leaves no gray area in gun-carrying rights.” But a Google News search on “Washington DC gun case” (not in quotes, sorted by date), returned only 16 items, only one of which — a terse five-paragraph Reuters dispatch carried at the New York Times and appearing in Sunday’s paper on Page A16 — is from a U.S. establishment press outlet.

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July 21, 2014

TEA Party Demands that Senator Portman Renounce Support for Cochran in Mississippi

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:54 pm

Could not agree more:

TEA Party Demands that Senator Portman Renounce Support for Cochran in Mississippi

Kent, OH – Tom Zawistowski, Executive Director of the Portage County TEA Party, reacted angrily to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s claims in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article this week that he had no idea that the $25,000 from his PAC would be used by the Thad Cochran Campaign in Mississippi to air racially charged attacks on the TEA Party. Portman was quoted in the article as saying ” I believe using race as a political issue, as these ads apparently did, was wrong.”

Zawistowski, said “Isn’t it convenient Senator Portman, that you had nothing to say about the horrific, disgusting, totally dishonest racist ads run by Thad Cochran’s campaign until you were identified as having provide funding for this despicable human being Thad Cochran? Where was your moral outrage the days after the ads became public? You know that the TEA Party is made up of hard working, God fearing, Patriotic Americans who do NOT hate blacks or any other minority, yet you did nothing to defend those TEA Party members from these vicious attacks by a person you supported financially! You say that “the TEA Party activists . . . must come together to take back the Senate, yet you support a man who votes with Democrats most of the time, and who told black voter that the TEA Party is affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan and that we want to deny blacks the right to vote. Why in hell should we support someone like Thad Cochran after what he did? Why would you even suggest that the TEA Party do so? Why would you or any other Republican support anyone who would commit such a heinous act against Chris McDaniel A LOYAL REPUBLICAN????”

Zawistowski concluded by saying “Senator Portman, actions speak louder than words. You must renounce your support of Thad Cochran immediately and demand that he drop out of the race. You must demand that your fellow Senators who supported Cochran do the same. Not to do so would show that you in fact condone the actions of the Cochran campaign and that you do not respect either the TEA Party movement or black voters. There is no place in our government, let alone in the Republican Party, for such a hateful, racist, person. So we throw your challenge back in your face and that of the Republican Party. If you believe that we must win the Senate this year, meaning with true Republicans like Chris McDaniel, and if you want to win the White House in 2016, you need to come together with the TEA Party and the social conservatives and black and latino conservatives. For I assure you, if you do not choose the moral path at this critical time, we will never forget your and their role in this sordid event, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that Thad Cochran and every RINO like him loses in the fall.”

Odds are overwhelmingly high that Portman will not take any of the necessary actions. Ohio Republicans should do everything in their power to oppose any presidential campaign attempt Portman might make, and to oppose him in the 2016 GOP Senatorial primary if he chooses that route.

July 18, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘D’Souza’s Next Film’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

July 6, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Revisiting ‘Freedom Summer”) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

June 30, 2014

The Supremes’ Decisions: I Guess I’m Supposed to Be Thrilled …

… but I’m not. Far from it.

Today, the Supreme Court upheld Hobby Lobby’s position that it cannot be forced by the Affordable Care Act to provide coverage for “contraceptive” drugs which terminate preborn babies’ lives because doing so violates its owners’ consciences.

The court also struck down Illinois’ attempt to force collection of “fees” (read: “union dues”) onto private in-home care providers.

Those are obviously correct decisions. But they are decisions which should have been obvious to all nine justices. Instead, each decision was 5-4.

Make no mistake. The four dissenters are saying that the law means what they want it to mean, and that they could are less about what the Constitution says a law must be to conform to it.

Combined with other relatively recent 5-4 decisions, particularly those upholding self-evident natural law-based individual Second Amendment rights, it is clear that the country I have known and loved is literally hanging by a thread.

So while I’m breathing a heavy sigh of relief, there is no joy. So please hold the champagne.

November’s elections could not possibly be more important.

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UPDATE: Regarding Hobby Lobby, John Hayward at Human Events understands the need to curb the enthusiasm and to remain appropriately alarmed (italics are his; bolds are mine):

For one thing, it should be patently obvious to every citizen of a free republic that Hobby Lobby was right about this. The notion of Big Government sweeping aside religious faith to compel obedience to a collective agenda is utterly incompatible with the American model of government. Explaining this case to the authors of the Constitution would make for a long seance, because they’d keep laughing in disbelief and asking you to start over.

But instead, we get a 5-4 bullet-dodging decision, and it’s not one of those sweeping citizenship-redefining judgments liberal courts love to hand down. It’s very narrow in terms of who and what it covers. A different Court shouldn’t have too much trouble reversing this, and in the meantime it doesn’t fatally injure ObamaCare. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this decision folded into the talking points of single-payer socialists – they’ll cite it as proof that leaving any degree of private-sector control over health care corrupts the pure vision of government-administered Free Stuff For All.

So this isn’t really a sweeping First Amendment beatdown, as it should have been; it’s a narrow decision upholding a law signed by Bill Clinton, a law the left-wing justices are chomping at the bit to quash, because the ideal of a self-described “benevolent” tyranny using a thicket of laws to micro-manage the lives of its unworthy citizens is so close they can taste it. They’re growing quite insistent that the only alternative to that benevolent tyranny is anarchy, chaos, and hatred. The Supreme Court may have registered a judgment against ObamaCare’s silly mandates today, but the Left is still burning to render a far more terrible judgment against the people of the United States, and there won’t be any appeals once they hand it down.

As noted, November’s elections could not possibly be more important.

June 7, 2014

The Obama ‘Recovery’: As Bad (or Worse) Than the Great Depression?

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:23 am

In some respects, it’s awfully close.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.

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At West Point on Wednesday, President Barack Obama went to a variant of an economic theme he’ll probably reprise until the day he leaves the Oval Office once and for all (we hope) 32 months from now.

Obama told the assembled graduating Army cadets and their families:

When I first spoke at West Point in (December) 2009 … our nation was just beginning a long climb out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

What if I told you that nearly five years into the nation’s “long climb” out of the recession, the relative size of the economy compared to its prerecession peak is not all that different from the result achieved in the same amount of time after the Great Depression of 1928-1933 officially ended? The case for this claim is surprisingly, or maybe I should say “unexpectedly,” strong.

I’m certainly not contending that the level of human suffering in 2014 is anywhere near what it was during the 1930s. That said, readers should know, if they don’t already, that the press has been mostly ignoring significant increases in homelessness in New York City, which “has more homeless than it has in decades,” and elsewhere. Minor reductions in the number of people literally living on the streets and in shelters are being more than offset by the hordes of American individuals and families living in cheap weekly motels because they can’t even scrape together the money for a security deposit on an apartment. When the press does deign to ever so briefly open its eyes, unlike during Republican administrations, they don’t tie the situation to economic policies coming out of Washington, and certainly not to our country’s president.

I should also note that the government presented only annual economic growth statistics until 1947, but that the Depression itself and the recession of 1937-1938 officially began and ended at various times during the years involved. This necessarily required some estimation when attempting to compare that era to the current one.

Let’s start with where we are after Thursday’s dismal news that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in this year’s first quarter:

GrowthSince2008to2009Recession

The full post-recession history shows that the economy finally returned to its pre-recession peak in the second quarter of 2011, the eighth quarter after the recession’s official end. No other post-World War II economy took longer than three quarters to accomplish this.

The post-Depression economy took longer to get back to where it was in mid-1929, when the economy’s contraction and ultimate crash began — but it had crawl out of a hole that was nearly seven times deeper, at 29 percent, than the 4.28 percent hole the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy dug in 2008 and 2009:

DepressionEraContractionAndGrowth

The best estimate is that the Depression-era economy returned to its previous peak during the first quarter of 1937, 16 quarters after the downturn ended, and was an estimated 4.3 percent larger before the 1937-1938 recession began. That’s barely less than the 4.6 percent result seen 16 quarters after the end of the most recent recession.

How do the aforementioned Depression and Obama eras compare to the other post-downturn economies seen after World War II? Well, they’re in a class by themselves — a really, really horrible class:

PostRecoveryPeaks16Qrts1933toPresent

In every other recovery, the economy was at least 10 percent larger than its pre-downturn peak 16 quarters — or fewer, in several instances when an earlier subsequent recession occurred — into their respective recoveries. In this sense, the Obama economy bears a far greater resemblance to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s economy of the 1930s than it does any other we’ve seen since. Even given three extra quarters, the Obama economy is barely halfway towards matching what the worst other post-World War II recovery achieved.

Administration apologists will argue that the hole dug in 2008-2009 was extraordinarily deep by all but Depression-era standards. They will find taking that argument to its logical conclusion quite painful:

RecoveryGrowth16Qtrs1933toPresent

The post-Depression bounceback is as dramatic as it is because of the 29 percent contraction which preceded it. As seen previously, even that degree of expansion only got the economy to slightly above where it was in mid-1929.

The “deep hole” argument of Obama and his defenders would dictate that the current recovery should be the second-strongest on the chart, given that the 2008-2009 contraction was the deepest post-World-War II contraction on record. Instead, after 16 quarters of “recovery,” it was the worst. Even given a three-quarter mulligan, it is barely clinging to second-last place.

If Barack Obama and his administration were genuinely dissatisfied with these results, they would change course and start doing what worked during the other eras, particularly those which followed the 1960-1961 and 1981-1982 recessions. But it’s dreadfully obvious that they have no intention of changing their direction.

There is real danger that Obama will use his extra-constitutional executive authority to make things even worse. Obamacare continues to inflict its predicted economic damage. There’s already talk of a unilateral carbon trading scheme and other environmental mischief.

If the President’s opposition doesn’t grow a spine, and very soon, even a strong repudiation at the polls in November may not matter.

June 5, 2014

Passage of the Day: On Bergdahl, His Platoon, Obama, and ‘Non-Disclosure’

Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler (bolds are mine):

Obama’s Rose Garden ceremony with the Bergdahl parents provoked these men to put themselves on the line for us. Again.

Let’s suppose that Obama knew all about Bergdahl’s alleged desertion. If he knew about that, he also knew about the NDAs that silenced the soldiers and he had reason to believe that the soldiers who knew the truth could be kept quiet for fear of military prosecution. Obama therefore had reason to believe that even though he had traded five Taliban commanders for a deserter, the public might never know that all we got back was a worthless deserter, not a hero who served with honor and distinction. That part would never become part of the narrative. Bergdahl would come home, there would be video of his tearful reunion with his parents, the parade in his hometown, and Barack Obama presiding over it all as the man who pulled it off. Sure, there’s that inconvenient Michael Hastings story out there about Bergdahl. But Hastings is dead, so he won’t be going on Fox to talk about that story.

If the soldiers had not defied their NDAs, Obama would’ve gotten most of the PR win that he expected from bringing “the last American POW” back from Afghanistan. There would be questions about negotiating with terrorists, and freeing five of them, and breaking a law or two. But “He brought a hero home!” would have overwhelmed all of that before too long.

But Barack Obama doesn’t know the first thing about the kind of men who are destroying his pleasant narrative. These are not “psychopaths,” as Brandon Friedman speculated on Twitter. These are men who know why they’re in the military and who they ultimately serve. They are actually serving with honor and distinction. They deserve a medal for their courage. And they deserve to be awarded that medal by a president who isn’t a lying leftist who keeps working for the other side, when he isn’t busy just working for himself.

Being called “psychopaths” may just be the beginning. Pray for these brave men for what may be done to them privately.

As to what the administration might try to do them publicly, I’d say, “Bring it. We’d love to see you bury yourselves in the process.”

June 4, 2014

Remembering Tiananmen (‘Tell the world, they said to us’)

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:10 am

This post originally appeared at BizzyBlog on on June 4, 2009. Some additional material has been excerpted from Claudia Rosset’s June 4, 2009 Wall Street Journal column.

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Claudia Rossett’s column on the 20th (now 25th) anniversary of the massacre at the Wall Street Journal is a must-read.

Go there for her eyewitness account. What I have excerpted here relates to her historical perspective and modern lessons:

What I Saw at Tiananmen
China will be a modern country when it no longer fears the memory of June 4.
June 4, 2009

It’s now 20 years since I ran through a cross-fire of tracer bullets, heading into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in the early hours of June 4 to witness the end of the uprising in which millions of Chinese, in the spring of 1989, peacefully seized control of their own capital and demanded democracy.

… Tiananmen was — and is — important because that spring of 1989 was the only time in the despotic, 60-year history of the People’s Republic of China that the people themselves enjoyed the chance to speak, debate and assemble freely. What they did with that freedom, by the millions, was call peacefully for China’s government to institutionalize those rights. They called for democracy and marched under banners bearing exactly that word. They asked for the right to choose their leaders and hold them to account.

…. Since the Tiananmen uprising of 1989, China’s rulers have loosened the economic strictures enough to allow remarkable growth — testament to the vibrancy of the Chinese people given even half a chance. Out of this, China’s rulers have devoted enormous resources to projects meant to suggest they run a modern nation — sending astronauts into space, convening conferences on the climate, and hosting the 2008 Olympics.

Count me unimpressed. The real sign of modernity will come when China opens up its political system enough so that the country’s leaders no longer fear June 4 but treat the Tiananmen uprising with the honor it deserves.

During the protests, on one of those warm spring evenings just before the crackdown, I was wandering around Tiananmen, notebook in hand, and came across a young man sitting in a beach chair on the monument where the demonstrators were soon to make their last stand. He had a question about what happens when you get your dream of democracy: What then? As he put it: “I know what China is dreaming. What is America dreaming?”

The answer of free societies, the old American dream, is that you may choose for yourself. Freedom, in the framework of a true democracy, allows individuals to weigh their own talents, skills and ambitions, choose their own trade-offs, and chart their own dreams. That gives rise to innovation, exuberance and prosperity of a kind that no government can plan or centrally command into existence.

China today supplies the world with a wealth of such stuff as gym shoes, extremely young gymnasts, loans to the U.S. Treasury, aid to North Korea, and investments in Iran and Sudan. But riches of the spirit are in short supply.

Someone tell Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, who, incredibly, believes that “we Chinese need to be controlled” (HT Yellow Menace). Such nonchalance is sadly not uncommon.

China still fears June 4. China is NOT a modern country.

Freedom isn’t just another word, folks.

Thousands died for it on June 4, 1989:

Someday, God willing, China will be free.

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2014 Addendum: The iconic raw footage of a man refusing to yield to a tank —

11 excerpted minutes of the PBS Frontline story on “Tankman,” whose identity has never been determined and the film of which had to be hidden from the authorities, are here. The full program is here.

Positivity: Archdiocese files suit against HHS mandate

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Philadelphia:

Jun 3, 2014 / 03:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its affiliated entities filed a lawsuit June 2 challenging federal mandates that require employers to provide or to help provide contraceptive services through their health insurance.

The federal rules force the entities “to violate their religious convictions by either directly supplying, or cooperating in the process to supply, contraceptive services that gravely conflict with Catholic belief,” the archdiocese said Tuesday.

“The court filing disputes the Government’s power to order Catholic entities to offer or cooperate in such services.”

The archdiocese and its charitable agencies have filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, and their secretaries.

The lawsuit seeks to block enforcement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s mandatory contraceptive coverage for employers. The lawsuit says the mandates violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires most U.S. employers to provide insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some drugs that can cause abortions. Many Catholic organizations do not qualify for the narrow exemption from the mandate, despite their religious and moral objections to providing the coverage. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

June 3, 2014

Establishment Press Ignores House Vote to Defund Operation Choke Point

A month ago, I noted that the establishment press has ignored an especially pernicious program undertaken by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and the Obama administration’s regulatory apparatus, namely Operation Choke Point.

On Thursday, a strong 321-87 bipartisan majority of the House passed H.R. 4660, the “Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (of) 2015.” Among its provisions: “Sec. 554. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to carry out Operation Choke Point.” The final bill’s supporters included 204 Republicans and 117 Democrats. The establishment press has ignored the vote. Excerpts from Kelly Riddell’s Friday coverage at the Washington Times follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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