Monthly Archives: October 2012
Thank the Good Lord I am not a politician. If I were running for office, what I am about to write would undoubtedly cause me to plummet in the polls and induce a heart attack for my campaign manager. It is up to us – bloggers, polemicists, wags, editorialists, etc. – to say plainly and boldly what politicians cannot say. By now hundreds if not thousands of us on the pro-life side of the spectrum have weighed in on the mountain that the Obama campaign and the leftist media have made out of the molehill of the “rape exception” that many self-identified pro-lifers hold. FYI: it is a molehill not because rape is no big deal, but because less than 1% of abortions are performed on rape babies. I don’t know if what I have to say will be different from what you have read, but I’m about to douse this issue in gasoline and light a match, so check yourselves now.
… is an unintended presidency.
Tyrone Woods and Greg Doherty were authentic American heroes. Both former Navy Seals, they fought to the last in defense of the Benghazi consulate, manning a machine gun at the CIA annex. Despite three separate orders telling them not to do so, Woods and Doherty went to the consulate after the attack began, and saved the lives of 20 embassy personnel, bringing them to the CIA annex. They defended the CIA annex, holding it while the 20 people they rescued were evacuated. They were in constant contact with higher-ups at the CIA, requesting military aid. They fought heroically for six hours and twenty minutes against an estimated 200 heavily armed attackers from the time of the beginning of the attack on the consulate, killing an estimated sixty of their foes.
They were both killed by a mortar round at the six-hour and twenty-minute mark. General David Petraeus, head of the CIA, has denied that it was the CIA that vetoed an attempted military rescue of Woods and Doherty.
CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”
Investors Business Daily, in a blistering editorial asks the question: who was responsible?
More than six hours after terrorists attacked our consulate, former Navy SEALs manned a blood-soaked machine gun to defend U.S. territory. Meanwhile Apache helicopters sat on the ground in Italy.
At 4 a.m. local time on Sept. 11 — six hours and 20 minutes after the initial attack began — former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at the CIA annex not far from the consulate by a mortar shell. The machine gun they were firing was encrusted with blood, an indication they continued to fight after being wounded.
During that eternity, Woods and Doherty might have wondered between gunfire and explosions where the military, with bases strewn across Europe, was. U.S. forces were indeed being moved like chess pieces as the attack unfolded, but none came to their aid because no one gave the order.
President Obama, perhaps preoccupied with his upcoming Las Vegas fundraiser, met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at 5 p.m. ET, a little more than an hour after the onset of the attack.
He could have given the order but did not, even after an email, in which the al-Qaida-tied group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility, arrived at 6:07 p.m. ET to a distribution list that included the White House Situation Room.
A Special Operations force went from central Europe to Naval Air Station Sigonella in southern Italy, just 480 miles from Benghazi. F-16s and Apache helicopters remained parked and unused at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy. Two Navy destroyers already in the Mediterranean Sea were moved off the coast of Libya on the day of the attack but were never used.
The question is: Why not? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Grant, Grant, Grant the campaign song for Ulysses S. Grant when he ran for President in 1868. Unsurprisingly Civil War themes were hit hard, along with Republican rage against what they perceived as the soft Reconstruction that Andrew Johnson attempted to give to the South. The song is sung to the tune of Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching!, (Originially entitled Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (The Prisoner’s Hope) which would have had huge emotional connotations in the North as that song was written in 1864 to give hope in ultimate liberation to Union POWs. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Absolutely no one has a better nuts and bolts knowledge, down to the precinct level, than Michael Barone. He is not a partisan but a technical analyst. I was somewhat surprised therefore when last night on Hannity he unhesistatingly predicted a Romney win. Go here to Ed Driscoll to view the video. This will have an impact on the political professionals viewing the race.
Observers from the UN, allied with Leftist groups in the US, are planning to send observers to monitor our elections to ensure that there is no “voter suppression”:
United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It’s part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries.
The Lone Star State is having none of it:
Ambassador Daan Everts
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
UI. Miodowa 10 00-251 Warsaw, Poland
Dear Ambassador Everts:
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will reportedly dispatch election observers to the State of Texas to monitor the November 2012 general election. While it remains unclear exactly what your monitoring is intended to achieve, or precisely what tactics you will use to achieve the proposed monitoring, OSCE has stated publicly that it will visit polling stations on Election Day as part of its monitoring plan.
In April, you reportedly met with a group of organizations that have filed lawsuits challenging election integrity laws enacted by the Texas Legislature. One of those organizations, Project Vote, is closely affiliated with ACORN, which collapsed in disgrace after its role in a widespread voter-registration fraud scheme was uncovered. In September, a federal appeals court rejected Project Vote’s challenge to the State’s voter-registration regulations and allowed Texas to continue enforcing laws that were enacted to protect the integrity of the voter-registration process.
According to a letter that Project Vote and other organizations sent to you, OSCE has identified Voter ID laws as a barrier to the right to vote. That letter urged OSCE to monitor states that have taken steps to protect ballot integrity by enacting Voter ID laws. The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about Voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional.
If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections. However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas. This State has robust election laws that were carefully crafted to protect the integrity of our election system. All persons—including persons connected with OSCE—are required to comply with these laws.
Elections and election observation are regulated by state law. The Texas Election Code governs anyone who participates in Texas elections—including representatives of the OSCE. The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.
Attorney General of Texas →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The fourteenth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here , here, here, here and here. Certain themes recurred in many of Kipling’s poems: a fascination with mechanical devices, strong British patriotism and a puckish sense of humor. All three of these themes were on display in the poem Brown Bess written in 1911 and which was part of the School History of England authored by Kipling and C.R.L. Fletcher . The poem was a paean to the British Land Pattern Musket, affectionately know by the Redcoats as Brown Bess. Brown Bess was the standard English long gun from 1722-1838, an astounding length of service for those who live in a time of ceaseless and rapid technological change.
The video at the beginning of this post is taken from Sharpe’s Eagle and depicts the battle of Talavera. It illustrates the impact of massed British volleys of Brown Bess musket fire on French columns. (The redcoats are armed with muskets; Sharpe and his green jacketed men are armed with rifles.) The British Army was a curious thing during the period of Brown Bess. The men were almost entirely desperately poor, poverty being the main inducement to don the Red Coat, service in the Army with its low pay, harsh discipline and danger being highly unpopular. The officers tended to be aristocratic wastrels who purchased their commissions and were often regarded by their families as dunderheads fit only for gunpowder. However, from this unpromising material was created the finest army in the world. This was largely a function of ferocious discipline, constant training in drill and volley firing, good career noncoms, a few brilliant generals like Amherst and Wellington, and extreme combativeness and courage, amply displayed both by the common soldiers and the aristocrats who led them.
Kipling’s poem was based upon the device of treating the Brown Bess musket as if she was a fashionable belle of society. Kipling told his father, ‘A conceit somewhat elaborately beaten out but it amused me in the doing – sign that may be t’will amuse other folks to read.’ Here is the text of the poem: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Most losing political campaigns tend to give off a reek of desperation as election day approaches. We see this in a Rolling Stones interview given by Obama on October 11, and published today where he refers to Romney as a bullsh—-r. One of the advantages of being an incumbent President in a race for the Presidency is the dignity that high office tends to bestow upon even the most unworthy of occupants. Obama has decided to eschew this advantage in a desperate, pathetic (?), attempt to drive up the youth vote.
Rick Wilson at Richochet has some thoughts on the Obma campaign as a losing and increasingly desperate campaign:
The aura of a losing campaign is unique, and Ross Douthat pegged it today:
Losing campaigns have a certain feel to them: They go negative hard, try out new messaging very late in the game, hype issues that only their core supporters are focused on, and try to turn non-gaffes and minor slip-ups by their opponents into massive, election-turning scandals.
Obama senses it, but can’t quite believe it. He seems confused by how easily Romney started punching over his weight class on October 3rd. He seems surprised that the last two debates didn’t drop Governor Romney’s numbers like a rock. He’s frustrated that Romney is a happy warrior now, and it shows. He’s visibly irritable because all the press hits and ads and field work … and so, so much money … haven’t reduced Mitt Romney to dust.
After spending nearly a billion dollars last cycle, and what will be more than a billion this time, Obama must sense the palpably declining political utility of his most familiar tools.
For months, according to Team Obama, there was no path for a Romney victory. The Blue Wall states were immutable, the swing states were susceptible to his women-and-seniors-and-immigrants-and-students mojo. Everything that worked in 2008 would work now. Everything in the hard-hitting Chicago political tool box would be deployed, and by the end Mitt Romney would want to be in the Witness Protection Program.
But now, as the President’s options have narrowed and as the weight of Obama’s failures from the economy to the Libya fiasco come crashing down on his campaign, I’m feeling increasingly optimistic that we’ve passed an inflection point in the campaign where Obama’s familiar tools can’t help him pull off a miracle.
Obama was the candidate of the inevitable, unbeatable wave, not of the grind-it-out, cut-and-thrust of a motivated, funded, and determined GOP and conservative base. Unlike McCain, Mitt Romney’s team won’t get hit and stand there with their jaws hanging down at the ungentlemanly conduct of the other side.
The daily polling — beyond just the head-to-head numbers — shows GOP intensity solidifying, Romney’s favorables growing, and the battleground states becoming smaller in number. There aren’t any swing states showing significant movement away from Romney, but a number are moving to him. Yes, we still need to pick the electoral lock by driving wins in some combination of Ohio, Colorado, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Virginia, but I’d rather be in our shoes than Obama’s. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
While on this side of the pond the nation’s bishops are waging battle against the government’s incursions upon religious freedom, an interesting battle is unfolding on the other side of the pond in Great Britain.
It seems that Susanne and Mike Wilkinson who own Uf Dorf Wilkinson—a Swiss country B&B located in Cookham, Berkshire, which also serves as the couple’s home—believe the precepts of their Christian faith trump the law of the land. In this instance, that precept concerns the sanctity of marriage and the law is the Britain’s Equality Act Regulations of 2007, which outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when providing goods, facilities, services, education, and other public functions.
According to the UK Daily Mail, Mrs. Wilkinson told Michael Black and his partner John Morgan in March 2010 that they couldn’t sleep in a double bed at Uf Dorf. That allegedly “discriminatory” judgment led to a lawsuit that Black and Morgan have won, with the judge requiring Mrs. Wilkinson to pay Black and Morgan £3,600 in compensatory damages on the grounds of “hurt feelings.”
Responding to the judgment, Mrs. Wilkinson to the Daily Mail:
Naturally, my husband and I are disappointed to have lost the case and to have been ordered to pay £3,600 in damages for injury to feelings. We have the option to appeal, and we will give that serious consideration.
We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law. Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home.
People’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack, and I am concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs. I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life – as Jesus expects from his followers.
That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that, especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats.
In court, Mrs. Wilkinson explained to the judge that she was serious about her Christian beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage and wasn’t discriminating because Black and Morgan are homosexual. Mrs. Wilkinson explained that she also doesn’t allow unmarried heterosexual couples to share a double bed at Uf Dorf.
That would make Mrs. Wilkinson consistent in her intolerance or, put in another way, consistent in bringing her faith into her workplace.
Mrs. Wilkinson put her finger squarely on the truth when she observed: “We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.”
In the UK, it may very well be the case that the principle of “tolerance” doesn’t extent to being tolerant of traditional Christian teaching about the sanctity of marriage.
Is this a “coming attraction” of what’s soon to transpire in the United States?
To read the UK Daily Mail article, click on the following link:
Paul Ryan gave a major address yesterday in Cleveland. Go here to watch it on C-Span. In this speech he argues that the Government efforts to alleviate poverty have been a flat failure, destructive to the family and increasing government dependcy. He points to welfare reform of the 1990s as a model of how Government can truly help to alleviate poverty by encouraging work and independence.
He notes that Government often abuses power as it expands its scope:
Nothing undermines the essential and honorable work these groups do quite like the abuse of government power. Take what happened this past January, when the Department of Health and Human Services issued new rules requiring Catholic hospitals, charities and universities to violate their deepest principles. Never mind your own conscience, they were basically told – from now on you’re going to do things the government’s way.
This mandate isn’t just a threat to religious charities. It’s a threat to all those who turn to them in times of need. In the name of strengthening our safety net, this mandate and others will weaken it.
The good news? When Mitt Romney is president, this mandate will be gone, and these groups will be able to continue the good work they do.
It is a fascinating speech and indicates that Ryan has thought deeply about the role of Government in helping people escape poverty and is willing to lead the fight to implement the reforms necessary to alter the path we are on to national bankruptcy and ever increasing poverty. Here is the text of the speech: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs.
King Henry V
The anniversary of the long ago battle of Saint Crispin’s Day gives us yet another opportunity to recall the immortal “Band of Borthers Speech” that Shakespeare put into the mouth of Henry V, a speech that could put fight into a dog dead three days, or, mirabile dictu, even a live Congress Critter:
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Clint Eastwood reminds us that a second Obama administration would be a rerun of the first, and I suspect that would be a best case analysis. Here is the immortal video of Clint “Eastwooding” an empty chair at the Republican Convention, and I think an empty chair is a perfect symbol for Obama: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is in trouble. When talking about his opposition to abortion and whether he believes that there should be an exception in the case of rape, he had this to say:
“I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view, but I believe that life begins at conception,” the tea party-backed Mourdock said. “The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of the life of the mother.
“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said, appearing to choke back tears. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
There have been hysterics from the usual quarters, and Mitt Romney has even had to distance himself from the remarks. Pro-life candidate for governor, Mike Pence, even called on Mourdock to apologize.
Apologize for what?
Mourdock’s phrasing was awkward in that it he could be interpreted as saying that the rape itself was God’s will. Clearly Mourdock is referring to the pregnancy. Therefore what Mourdock is relating here is the true pro-life position. It’s nowhere near as bad as Todd Akin’s legitimate rape comments, and therefore those trying to make hay out of these comments are simply being disingenuous.
I was irked by something that Drew M at Ace of Spades said on this topic. Even though Drew thinks the backlash is unwarranted, he had this to say about Mourdock’s position:
I think Mourdock’s position is appalling (not his thoughts on God’s unknowable plans but the idea a rape victim should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term)
Normally I agree with Drew, but how can one find Mourdock’s position appalling, especially if one is otherwise generally pro-life? I can understand why people take the pro-life with exceptions position, and I would definitely accept a political compromise that prohibited abortion in all cases except rape, incest and where the life of the mother is at risk (though I think the practical application of such a law would be fraught with difficulties, but that’s for another discussion). And while I certainly don’t want to distance myself from people who are with me 99% of the way on an issue that is of the utmost importance, the pro-life with exceptions stance is logically untenable.
If you are pro-life it is because you presumably believe that life begins at conception. So if you advocate for the prohibition of abortion while simultaneously allowing exceptions, are you saying that the lives of those conceived via rape are somehow not fully human? Does the means of conception somehow instill greater value in certain forms of human life than others? If you are pro-life “except for rape,” what you’re basically saying is that abortion is murder and unacceptable, but murdering a child conceived in rape is somehow permissible. Well why should the method of conception matter?
In truth I understand why people are reluctant to commit to a 100 percent pro-life position. It is uncomfortable arguing that a woman who has experienced a brutal crime should then be forced to keep her child – a child that is a result of no choice of her own, and which could compound the trauma of what she has gone through. But by doing so, you are allowing sentiment to override reason.
The “with exceptions” pro lifers concern me because I wonder if they have fully thought through their positions. It is why polls that show a majority of Americans now turning towards a pro-life position are not necessarily cause for rejoicing quite yet. Again, I do not want to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, and in no way would I want to turn these people away from the pro-life movement completely. Yet I think the instant revulsion to the sentiments expressed by Mourdock on the part of even some pro-lifers is worrisome.
One of the things which the candidates sparred over repeatedly in the debates was Romney’s tax plan, on which Obama has repeatedly charged “the math doesn’t work”.
Romney’s plan, as it has been presented, is to reduce tax rates by 20%. Thus, for example, the top rate would go down from the current 35% to 28%. Deductions and credits would then be reduced such that while the middle class would experience a net tax decrease, those at the top would continue to pay the same amount in taxes as they do now. Romney suggested how this might be done in the first debate:
[W]hat are the various ways we could bring down deductions, for instance? One way, for instance, would be to have a single number. Make up a number, $25,000, $50,000. Anybody can have deductions up to that amount. And then that number disappears for high-income people. That’s one way one could do it.
The idea here would be that for a family making, say 60k/yr that currently takes a total of $15k in deductions, the deductions would remain untouched while their rate would go down, resulting in lower net taxes. For a family making $400k/yr that currently takes $70k in deductions, their deductions would be capped at $25k but their tax rate would be lower, so they would pay about the same as they do now.
→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
One of the tools that some Obama supporters have been utilizing in their quest to give Obama another four years to transform the country in his image is the raw sewage of religious bigotry. Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of Mother Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, has their number:
If the desperation of the left is any indication, the 2012 election of Mitt Romney to the US presidency has the same air of inevitability that Barack Obama’s election had four years ago:
I was on a conference call yesterday regarding intelligence gathered from a highly placed source that liberal Obama surrogates are planning to target Evangelical mega-church parking lots with bigoted anti-Mormon flyers the final weekend before the election in key battleground states like Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Mega-church pastors are being notified to have parking lot attendants be on the lookout for such a lit drop. But please forward this post to all pastors of both Protestant and Catholic churches, particularly in battleground states.
The GOP’s all-important social conservatives may be getting more comfortable with Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith – but liberals are increasingly wary about the candidate’s religion in the run-up to November, according to a new study.
The study found anti-Mormon attitudes have increased since Romney’s 2008 presidential bid and are highest among liberal and non-religious voters….
The study found attitudes about Mormonism among Evangelicals has largely remained unchanged since 2007 – when 37% said they were “less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president,” compared with 33% this year.
However, that sentiment among non-religious voters increased from 21% to 41% over roughly the same period.
Among liberal voters, 43% said they were less likely to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate in 2012, compared with 28% in 2007.
In the political season we are engaging in currently, with its frequently petty back and forth, it is easy, all too easy, to lose sight of the great principles on which this country was founded. As a reminder we turn to a speech by Patrick Henry.
A fine video is at the beginning of this post on the great “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death Speech” of Patrick Henry delivered in the Virginia House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775. It is a remarkable speech, made even more remarkable when we consider that Patrick Henry was in deep mourning for his beloved wife Sarah who, after years of fighting a losing battle with mental illness, had died in February of 1775. ( Henry refused to have her committed, against the advice of his physician, to the appalling insane asylums of his day, one he inspected would have had his wife chained to a wall, and cared for her at home, bathing her, dressing her and keeping her from harming herself.)
Henry was perhaps the greatest American orator in a time of great American oratory. It was said of him that cold print did not do justice to the passions he roused in his listeners with his speeches. American school children used to memorize passages from this speech, a custom I hope is revived, because his speech goes to the core of what it means to be an American. Here is the text of his speech, as it has been reconstructed, as no manuscript of it survives and our text is based on the recollections of men who heard it: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading