Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen. -George Orwell

Friday, May 31, 2013


Lois Lerner Directly Involved in IRS Targeting, Letters Show
A series of letters suggests that senior IRS official Lois Lerner was directly involved in the agency's targeting of conservative groups as recently as April 2012, more than nine months after she first learned of the activity.
Lerner, the director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Washington, D.C., signed cover letters to 15 conservative organizations currently represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) between in March and April of 2012. The letters, such as this one sent to the Ohio Liberty Council on March 16, 2012, informed the groups applying for tax-exempt status that the IRS was "unable to make a final determination on your exempt status without additional information," and included a list of detailed questions of the kind that a Treasury inspector general’s audit found to be inappropriate. Some of the groups to which Lerner sent letters are still awaiting approval.
Lerner has denied involvement in the targeting, which she has blamed on a few "front-line people" in the agency’s Cincinnati field office. "I have not done anything wrong," she told members of the House oversight committee on Wednesday. However, she then refused to answer any questions, citing protection under the Fifth Amendment. She has since been placed on (paid) administrative leave, and the committee may call her to testify again.
"One thing is clear: this correspondence shows [Lerner's] direct involvement in the scheme," wrote Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ. "Further, sending a letter from the top person in the IRS Exempt Organization division to a small Tea Party group also underscores the intimidation used in this targeting ploy."
The letters coincide with former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman's March 2012 testimony before Congress, in which he said there was "absolutely no targeting" of conservative groups at the agency. Months later, an internal IRS investigation concluded that the agency had engaged in such targeting. Obama-administration officials have insisted the targeting stopped in May 2012, although a number of ACLJ clients have received similar requests for information from the IRS within the past year, according to chief counsel Jay Sekulow.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Louisiana state senator Karen Carter Peterson, the chair of the state Democratic party, runs away from local television reporters who ask about her declaration that opponents of Obamacare are driven by "racism." 

The video of the original rant is here.
"It isn't about the administration, and members, it shouldn't be about this administration at the state level nor should it be about the federal administration when it comes to Obamacare, but in fact it is," said Peterson. "And why is that? Why is that? I have talked to so many members both in the House and the Senate, and you know what? You ready? You ready for what it comes down to? It is not about how many federal dollars we can receive, it is not about that. You ready? It is about race. I know nobody wants to talk about that. It is about the race of this African-American president."
Left-wing nutjobs like Karen Carter Peterson would lead happier lives if only they could master the art of thinking...before speaking. Or, better yet, change their way of thinking altogether.  The only ones injecting race into these issues are people like her.  It needs to stop.


Female suicide bomber injures 18 in Russian region of Dagestan
A female suicide bomber blew herself up in the southern Russian region of Dagestan on Saturday injuring at least 18, including two children and five police officers, police said. The attacker was later identified as a widow of two Islamic radicals killed by security forces.
It was the first suicide bombing in Dagestan since the Boston Marathon bombings last month. The Tsarnaev brothers suspected of carrying out those attacks are ethnic Chechens who lived in this turbulent Caucasus province before moving to the U.S. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder brother who was killed in a shootout with police days after the April 15 bombings, spent six months in Dagestan in 2012.
Dagestan remains an epicenter of violence in the confrontation between Islamic radicals and federal forces. Islamic extremists strive to create an independent Muslim state, or "emirate," in the Caucasus and parts of southern Russia with a sizable Muslim population.
The woman was identified as Madina Alieva, 25, who married an Islamist who was killed in 2009 and then wedded another Islamic radical who was gunned down last year, police spokeswoman Fatina Ubaidatova said.
The bombers are often called "black widows" in Russia because many are the widows, or other relatives, of militants killed by security forces. Islamic militants are believed to convince "black widows" that a suicide bombing will reunite them with their dead relatives beyond the grave.
It's sad to think about a woman a year younger than me who lost two husbands in their violent, hate-filled world before ending it all by committing a suicidal act of terror and attempted murder.  It would be so much better if there was less of the killing and more of the folk dancing shown in the video.  The caption translates from Russian this way: Čečenka [Chechen girl] dancing the Lezginka.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


He's been falsely labeled "the new Joe McCarthy."  He's been likened to a "serial killer."  His political views are routinely distorted by the liberal media.  Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews are obsessed with him (see here and also here.)  Harry Reid is scared of him.  Dianne Feinstein is mad at him.  Other Democrat senators and RINO losers loathe him.  But guess what?  Senator Honey Badger doesn't care and that's why the rest of us admire him.  Everybody else can get real or get lost!

If you want to know what Senator Honey Badger is all about, know the following:
Cruz bumped Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in the hallway, pointed and said "what's that on your tie?" When Udall looked down Cruz flipped up his hand, batting him in the face. As Udall arrived at the Senate cafeteria, he noticed his lunch money was gone.
Ted Cruz regularly sits on the hood of his Camaro in the Senate parking lot, with a toothpick in his mouth, waiting for the Senate Women's Caucus to let out.
When Sen. John McCain asked Cruz what he was filibustering against, Cruz replied "whaddya got?"
Suspect fitting Cruz's description drove slowly by the White House, clinking three empty beer bottles stuck to his fingers and taunting, "Obaaaamaaa! Come out to play-ee-yay!"
Spends all Republican caucus meetings slowly rocking his back-row chair, chewing gum and cracking wise.
Anonymous complaint filed with the Senate Ethics Committee alleged a certain Texas senator "only refers to Hawaii Sen. Schatz by the present-tense version of his name."
Gave Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank a swirly. Refused to pay for replacement eyeglass lens.
His knuckle tattoos read "SINE DIE." (Cruz lost his left pinkie at a high-stakes Federalist Society moot court.)
Joined Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for an extended game of keep-away with Sen. Leahy's lip balm. The Senate Judiciary Committee meeting had to be rescheduled.
Every time Sen. Barbara Mikulski enters a room, Cruz slicks back his hair and says, "How YOU doin'?"
Cruz interrupted a long answer by SecDef nominee Chuck Hagel, with "speaking of drones, we gonna wrap this up soon?"
By the way, he's also got a bachelor's degree from Princeton and a law degree (magna cum laude) from Harvard (Alan Dershowitz said "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant") and he knows how to use his expertise, having drafted a crucial amicus brief, signed by 31 attorneys-general, in the landmark District of Columbia vs. Heller case. How's YOUR resume looking?

The Guinness Book of Records awarded the Honey Badger with the title "Most Fearless Animal on Earth." Even when a cobra bites this unstoppable species, the honey badger will only pass out for a couple of minutes...and than eat the cobra.

Exit quote from Democrat operative James Carville:
"I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I've seen in the last 30 years.  I further think that he is going to run for president, and he is going to create something...this guy has no fear. He just keeps plowing ahead. He is going to be something to watch."
Senator Cobra, you've been warned! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Delphi Workers See Pensions Plundered Under Obama
That would be the same UAW who gained majority control of GM itself when the Obama administration trampled established bankruptcy law. And it would be the same General Motors the administration touts as a "success story" on the campaign trail.
Yet more than 20,000 Delphi workers face an uncertain future, and GM's success story is nothing of the sort: of the $50.7 billion taxpayers shelled out to save the company, $27.2 has yet to be paid back - and likely never will be. The much-touted production of the eco-minded Chevy Volt has been suspended due to anemic sales–and GM's 2011 annual report reveals that two-thirds of GM's jobs are located in foreign countries.
Contempt for the law, and the ongoing efforts to stonewall that contempt, form the core of this administration. It is a "template" that can be plugged into any one of numerous scandals this administration has inflicted upon the nation, from the expenditure of treasure, represented by a string of green company bankruptcies and the GM bailout, to the expenditure of blood, represented by the death of American heroes in both Fast and Furious and Benghazi. 20,000 Delphi workers are now well aware that, with respect to an administration that has spent four years picking America's "winners and losers" - based on nothing more than crass political calculations - they belong to the latter group.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Oliver Stone's recycled leftist history of the United States
Another event whose treatment reveals the shabby methods of Stone and his partner is Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs. Stone claims that Japan had already lost the war, that the Japanese military leaders were ready to accept a peace agreement, that major military figures including Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur opposed the bombs' use, that Truman reached the decision after ignoring the pleas of Nobel scientists, and that he did so to intimidate Russia and end the war against Japan before Russia could join it, as Stalin had agreed to do.
This is the thesis that Soviet agents and apologists like Carl Marzani, P. M.S. Blackett, and Dana F. Fleming laid out in the first years of the Cold War and which was revived (and lent legitimacy) 40 years ago by left-wing historian Gar Alperovitz. In the interim, however, major books and academic articles based on archival research in Japan and the United States - by Wilson D. Miscamble, Richard B. Frank, Robert James Maddox, Sadao Asada, and many others - have discredited the argument. But for Oliver Stone, there is only one truth, the "truth" that discredits the United States.
According to Stone, the dropping of the atomic bombs was criminal because the war was over, Japan defeated, and its leaders wanted peace. According to Stone, Truman lied when he said that American lives would have been lost in the invasion that would have been necessary if the bombs had not been dropped. His purpose in dropping the bombs was to show Stalin "that the United States would stop at nothing to impose its will."
The Least Evil Option: A Defense of Harry Truman
Of course, the United States eventually could have defeated Japan without the atomic bomb, but all the viable alternate scenarios to secure victory - continued obliteration bombing of Japanese cities and infrastructure, a choking blockade, the likely terrible invasions involving massive firepower - would have meant significantly greater Allied casualties and higher Japanese civilian and military casualties. These casualties would likely have included thousands of Allied prisoners of war whom the Japanese planned to execute. Notably, all of these options also would have indirectly involved some "intentional killing of innocents," including the naval blockade, which sought to starve the Japanese into submission. Hard as it may be to accept when one sees the visual evidence of the terrible destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese losses probably would have been substantially greater without the A-bombs.
Moreover, the use of these awful weapons abruptly ended the death and suffering of innocent third parties throughout Asia. Rather surprisingly, the enormous wartime losses of the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, and Javanese at the hands of the Japanese receive little attention in weighing the American effort to shock the Japanese into surrender. The losses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrific, but they pale in comparison to the estimates of seventeen to twenty-four million deaths attributed to the Japanese’s hideous rampage from Manchuria to New Guinea.
Bluntly put, the atomic bombs shortened the war, averted the need for a land invasion, saved countless more lives on both sides of the ghastly conflict than they cost, and brought to an end the Japanese brutalization of the conquered peoples of Asia.
Marines receive Communion, Iwo Jima, 1945

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Charity Begins With Wealth Creation
Private charity is unquestioningly better than government efforts to help people. Government squanders money. Charities sometime squander money, too, but they usually don't.
Proof of the superiority of private over government efforts is everywhere. Catholic charities do a better job educating children than government - for much less money. New York City's government left Central Park a dangerous mess. Then a private charity rescued it. But while charity is important, let's not overlook something more important: Before we can help anyone, we first need something to give. Production precedes donation. Advocates of big government forget this.
We can't give unless we (or someone) first creates. Yet wealth creators are encouraged to feel guilt. "Bill Gates, or any billionaire, for that matter," Yaron Brook, author of Free Market Revolution and president of the Ayn Rand Institute, said on my TV show, "how did they become a billionaire? By creating a product or great service that benefits everybody. And we know it benefits us because we pay for it. We pay less than what it's worth to us. That's why we trade—we get more value than what we give up. So, our lives are better off. Bill Gates improved hundreds of millions of lives around the world. That's how he became a billionaire."


Rich States, Poor States is an annual economic competiveness study authored by Dr. Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, and Jonathan Williams, Director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Friday, May 24, 2013


A Brief History of IRS Political Targeting
In 1995, the White House and the Democratic National Committee produced a 331-page report entitled "Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce" that attacked magazines, think tanks and other entities and individuals who had criticized President Clinton. In the subsequent years, many organizations mentioned in the White House report were hit by IRS audits. More than 20 conservative organizations - including the Heritage Foundation and the American Spectator magazine - and almost a dozen individual high-profile Clinton accusers, such as Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers, were audited.
The Landmark Legal Foundation sued the IRS in 1997 after being audited. Its brief quoted an IRS official who had explained at an IRS meeting in San Francisco that audit requests from members of Congress or their staff had been shredded and also suggested how future requests from Capitol Hill could be camouflaged. The IRS told the court that it could not find 114 key files relating to possible political manipulation of audits of tax-exempt organizations.
One potential bombshell of the Clinton era that went relatively unrecognized was an Associated Press report in 1999 that "officials in the Democratic White House and members of both parties in Congress have prompted hundreds of audits of political opponents in the 1990s," including "personal demands for audits from members of Congress." Audit requests from congressmen were marked "expedite" or "hot politically" and IRS officials were obliged to respond within 15 days. Permitting congressmen to secretly and effortlessly sic G-men on whomever they pleased epitomized official Washington's contempt for average Americans and fair play. But because the abuse was bipartisan, there was little enthusiasm on Capitol Hill for an investigation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


From Jihad Watch:
Video from The Sun. Transcript thanks to Damien.

Why were the references to the Qur'an cut out by mainstream media sources?
The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Shari'a in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? Rather you lot are extreme. You are the ones that when you drop a bomb you think it hits one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family? This is the reality. By Allah if I saw your mother today with a buggy I would help her up the stairs. This is my nature. But we are forced by the Qur'an, in Sura At-Tawba, through many ayah in the Qu'ran, we must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? You think politicians are going to die? No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so can all live in peace. So leave our lands and we can all live in peace. That’s all I have to say. [in Arabic:] Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you.
Meanwhile, here's what Islamofascist Anjem Choudary had to say about the Oklahoma tornado disaster...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Remember back in March when John McCain and Lindsey Graham crapped all over Rand Paul's epic 13-hour filibuster against John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director?  McCain called Rand and those who stood with him "wacko birds."  Graham actually switched from opposing Brennan to voting for him, admittedly to spite Rand Paul.
"I was going to vote against him until the filibuster, so he picked up one vote," Graham said, laughing to reporters in the Capitol.
"I thought Brennan was arrogant, a bit shifty," he said, but added that he was going to vote for Brennan because the vote had become a "referendum on the drone program."
So it comes as no big surprise to read this from Politico:
Yet during one of Obama's toughest times as president, there was McCain, sitting down last week with him in the Oval Office for a private strategy session. At the urging of new White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, who has sought better ties with Republicans, Obama has had more substantive discussions with McCain in the past five months than he did in his first four years in office, according to associates of both men. Suddenly, the two are working together on issues ranging from immigration to the deficit.
"I'm getting nervous," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), McCain's closest friend in the Senate. "I told Denis McDonough, 'I don't know what you've done: You've hijacked him.'"
"Ever since the election, we've had conversations and phone calls," McCain told POLITICO in an interview. "And I think we share many agenda items that we can work on together, ranging from immigration reform, the prison in Guantánamo, to working perhaps on a grand bargain, security of our embassies and consulates. There are a bunch of issues that we share."
Last month, McCain was one of just four Republicans to vote for the failed bill to expand gun background checks, a centerpiece of Obama's agenda. McCain is a chief architect of the Senate immigration bill supported strongly by the White House. He's expressed deep reservations about GOP threats to filibuster Obama’s Cabinet-level nominees. He's slammed his fellow Republican senators for blocking Senate Democratic efforts to begin bicameral budget negotiations with the House. And he’s even suggested new tax revenues could be part of a grand bargain.
Lindsey Graham isn't getting nervous...he's getting jealous.

Click here to read Michael Walsh's comprehensive demolition of Maverick's legacy.  Awesome.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I love it!  Here's the top man at the Associated Press talking to Bob Schieffer, the dean of Establishment Media talking heads, about the bad behavior of the Obama regime.  The Soros drones at Media Matters are freaking out, trying to find a Fox News angle to this story...

A Big Chill on Free Speech
IRS and AP lesson: The government can come after you for exercising your rights.

The chill threatens to get even colder. It turns out that Sarah Hall Ingram, who served as head of the IRS office handling tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012 - when the targeting was going on - is now head of the IRS division in charge of the IRS office policing Obamacare.
She's a career IRS lawyer, and we don’t know whether she was aware of the targeting - though it would be a little surprising if she wasn't. She'll have a big job. The IRS is assigned a lot of work by the Obamacare law. It will impose penalties on Americans who can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it. It will impose penalties on companies with more than 50 employees who work 30 hours a week and don't provide government-mandated policies. It will give tax credits to non-affluent purchasers of health insurance on state exchanges. The IRS says it can also give tax credits to such people in states that have federally run exchanges, though many argue the law does not authorize that.
In other words, the IRS is going to possess and process a large amount of information not only on your income but also on your health insurance and perhaps your health.
The IRS was given these tasks by the drafters of Obamacare because no other government agency had the capability to gain access to people's personal financial information. They may have thought that taxpayers would trust an agency that they had gotten used to dealing with.
That level of trust may not be as high as it was ten days ago. Chilling effect, indeed.


Worst.  Leak.  Everrrrrrr!!!  Or was it?  You be the judge.
For five days, reporters at the Associated Press had been sitting on a big scoop about a foiled al-Qaeda plot at the request of CIA officials. Then, in a hastily scheduled Monday morning meeting, the journalists were asked by agency officials to hold off on publishing the story for just one more day.
The CIA officials, who had initially cited national security concerns in an attempt to delay publication, no longer had those worries, according to individuals familiar with the exchange. Instead, the Obama administration was planning to announce the successful counterterrorism operation that Tuesday.
Now, some members of Congress and media advocates are questioning why the administration viewed the leak that led to the May 7 AP story as so grave.
The reality is that the AP did not blow a CIA operation nor did it put any American citizen, even a covert one, in danger by publishing the story.  They simply spoiled a propaganda victory lap by the Obama regime.  And that kind of thing gets you investigated these days.
AP's story about the foiled plot was at odds with the calming message the White House had been conveying on the eve of the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. On April 30, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying that there was "no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the US tied to the one-year anniversary of Bin Laden's death."
AP reporters had learned in the spring of 2012 that the CIA had infiltrated the al-Qaeda branch behind the plot, according to the individuals familiar with the story, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the record. The plot centered on an attempt to get a bomb into an assailant’s underwear, like the bomb that failed to detonate on a Christmas Day 2009 flight to Detroit.
The news service was prepared to publish its scoop on May 2, 2012. But in discussions with government officials, the CIA stressed to AP that publishing anything about the operation to obtain the bomb and thwart the plot would create grave national security dangers and compromise a "sensitive intelligence operation."
Michael J. Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, gave AP reporters some additional background information to persuade them to hold off, Vietor said. The agency needed several days more to protect what it had in the works.
Then, in a meeting on Monday, May 7, CIA officials reported that the national security concerns were "no longer an issue," according to the individuals familiar with the discussion.
When the journalists rejected a plea to hold off longer, the CIA then offered a compromise. Would they wait a day if AP could have the story exclusively for an hour, with no government officials confirming it for that time?
The reporters left the meeting to discuss the idea with their editors. Within an hour, an administration official was on the line to AP's offices.
The White House had quashed the one-hour offer as impossible. AP could have the story exclusively for five minutes before the White House made its own announcement. AP then rejected the request to postpone publication any longer.
Note the first sentence of that passage: "AP's story about the foiled plot was at odds with the calming message the White House had been conveying..."  That is the same "message" that the Obama regime was attempting to protect in September when they pretended that Benghazi had nothing to do with terrorists retaliating against Americans on the anniversary of 9-11 but was a spontaneous outbreak of rioting due to an insulting video.  There is literally nothing that Obama and his minions will not politicize.  Naturally they blame others for it...and retaliate whenever possible.

The justification for the secret subpoenas was that the AP story revealed sensitive information.  We now know that it was a lie.  There were no national security concerns at that point.  

Since the information was no longer sensitive, and the regime was more interested in turning the story into a campaign PR event, the use of a special exemption when it was no longer needed (AP was already working with the government by holding off on publishing) is simply one more indication of the regime's Nixonian attitude.  In their vindictive and paranoid little minds, the AP had spoiled the party, via a leak, and so retaliation was in order.



Can the Left and Right Find Common Ground on Common Core and High-Stakes Testing?
Parents and activists from across the political spectrum object to excessive testing and the implementation of Common Core in their states; there is much common ground to be found. But it's important to dig beneath the surface and consider exactly what you're signing up for when you join a movement to eliminate high-stakes testing or block the Common Core. Some groups have more than just the best interest of your child as their top priority and you may inadvertently be drafted into the public school monopoly-protection movement.

Propagandizing the Plebs: Common Core Curriculum Meets the GED
Adult basic education and GED programs, with about 800,000 students taking GED tests each year, serve a segment of society that escaped government schools, including many homeschoolers. But the national propaganda effort called the Common Core Curriculum is spreading its tentacles to them. 
While many may not take the GED seriously, calling it the "Good Enough Diploma," consider that quite a few homeschoolers take GED tests as a way to cancel out high school attendance requirements and lessen the record-keeping burden on home educators caused by compulsory attendance laws in every state.
Thus, aligning GED with Common Core has the potential of erasing all the efforts and sacrifices the homeschooling parents have put in to protect their children from the centralized indoctrination. You can run but you can't hide from the omnipresent Big Brother: the new GED workbooks and requirements will still drag many of their children through the biased Common Core curriculum.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Heather Crossin, Emmett McGroarty, Erin Tuttle

 A Stealth Campaign To Bypass Parents
At first Heather thought maybe her ignorance of Common Core was her fault. Maybe, with her kids (as she imagined) safely ensconced in good Catholic schools, she hadn't paid attention.
That's when she and Erin started contacting people - "and we found out something more shocking: Nobody had any idea," Heather told me.
A friend of Heather's who is a former reporter for a state newspaper and now a teacher didn't know. Nor did her state senator, Scott Schneider, even though he sat on the state senate’s Education Committee. (In Indiana, as in most states, Common Core was adopted by the Board of Education without consulting the legislature.) Nor, evidently, did the state’s education reporters - Heather could find literally no press coverage of the key moment when Indiana's Board of Education abandoned its fine state standards and well-regarded state tests in favor of Common Core.
"They brought in David Coleman, the architect of the standards, to give a presentation, they asked a few questions, there was no debate, no cost analysis, just a sales job, and everybody rubber-stamped it," Heather said.
So began an 18-month journey in which these two mothers probably changed education history.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


This Is No Ordinary Scandal
Political abuse of the IRS threatens the basic integrity of our government.

We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they're seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration's credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don't look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone.
Something big has shifted. The standing of the administration has changed.
As always it comes down to trust. Do you trust the president's answers when he's pressed on an uncomfortable story? Do you trust his people to be sober and fair-minded as they go about their work? Do you trust the IRS and the Justice Department?

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Can You Prove God Exists?
Before we answer this question, we must distinguish five questions that are often confused.
First, there is the question of whether something exists or not. A thing can exist whether we know it or not.
Second, there is the question of whether we know it exists. (To answer this question affirmatively is to presuppose that the first question is answered affirmatively, of course; though a thing can exist without our knowing it, we cannot know it exists unless it exists.)
Third, there is the question of whether we have a reason for our knowledge. We can know some things without being able to lead others to that knowledge by reasons. Many Christians think God's existence is like that.
Fourth, there is the question of whether this reason, if it exists, amounts to a proof. Most reasons do not. Most of the reasons we give for what we believe amount to probabilities, not proofs. For instance, the building you sit in may collapse in one minute, but the reliability of the contractor and the construction materials is a good reason for thinking that very improbable.
Fifth, if there is a proof, is it a scientific proof, a proof by the scientific method, i.e., by experiment, observation, and measurement? Philosophical proofs can be good proofs, but they do not have to be scientific proofs.
I believe we can answer yes to the first four of these questions about the existence of God but not to the fifth. God exists, we can know that, we can give reasons, and those reasons amount to proof, but not scientific proof, except in an unusually broad sense.
There are many arguments for God's existence, but most of them have the same logical structure, which is the basic structure of any deductive argument. First, there is a major premise, or general principle. Then, a minor premise states some particular data in our experience that come under that principle. Finally, the conclusion follows from applying the general principle to the particular case.

Friday, May 17, 2013


I've been meaning to write about this for a couple of weeks.  I came across an article written by somebody named Jeffrey Weiss.  He was reacting to a couple of articles he'd read and felt the need to weigh in on the problem of whining Christians, describing them as "wannabe victims."
Apparently a bunch of priests from nearby Catholic churches - this is Boston, after all - rushed to the scene seeking to offer spiritual succor to their faithful. Only to be turned away from the actual blast site. She quotes a priest who had been turned away; "Once it was clear we couldn't get inside, we came back here to St. Clement's, set up a table with water and oranges and bananas to serve people, and helped people however we could."
To which Lawler said: "Doesn't that nicely capture what a once-Catholic, now-secular culture expects from the Church? It's not essential for priests to administer the sacraments; in fact it's unwelcome. But if they could just stay out of the way, and give people something to eat, that would be fine."
Proof that anti-Catholicism has wormed its way back into American culture? You have got to be kidding.
Then he elaborates on his objection:
Did you watch any of the video of the blast scene? Chaos and danger and hundreds of wounded for whom any delay in care could have meant the difference between life and death. Anybody who rushed to help get the wounded to safety and medical attention were welcome. Prayer dispensers - Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster - not so much.
Yeah, I know some Catholics want to claim that their sacraments are so important that an exception should have been made. But to non-Catholics, that's just so much abracadabra. Many faiths have their own rituals for the dying just as important as [sic] them as the Last Rites are to Catholics. And first responders had no time to sort them out.
Yes, there were victims in Boston that terrible day. None of them happened to be Catholic priests.
This, of course, is asinine.  Nobody is claiming that the priests were the "victims."  Certainly not the priests themselves.  No, the victims here were the blast victims who were denied the comfort and reassurance of a priest or other clergy.  Some of those victims may very well have been the kind of Catholics who take the sacraments seriously.  That was the point of the article that so irritated Weiss.  Here's a sample of the egregious "whining":
Father Carzon, the seminary rector, said he was "disappointed" when he wasn't allowed at the scene of the bombing, but he understood the reasoning and left without protest. "Once it was clear we couldn't get inside, we came back here to St. Clement's, set up a table with water and oranges and bananas to serve people, and helped people however we could."
By that point, spectators and runners who had been unable to finish the marathon were wandering around, "frightened, disoriented, confused and cold," he said. Father Carzon was able to minister to a runner who wasn't injured but had assisted a bystander with catastrophic injuries. Two hours later, the runner, a Protestant, was still walking around the area in shock and disbelief.
"He came over, and said, 'You're a priest, I need to talk to someone, I need to talk,' and he was able to pour out some of the story of what had happened," Father Carzon said. "Then there was an off-duty firefighter who was there as a spectator, and he, too, got pushed out of the perimeter, and he ended up here to pray. There was a feeling of helplessness we had when we couldn't get close. But doing the little that we could - putting out a table with water and fruit, being there - I realize how much that 'little' was able to do."
Boy, that priest sure is obnoxious!  No wonder Jeffrey Weiss is annoyed...  The Wall Street Journal article concludes this way:
In light of the devastation in Boston, the denial of access to clergy is a trifling thing, and it might even have been an individual's error. (The Boston Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on its policy regarding clergy at the scenes of emergencies.)
But it is a poignant irony that Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who died on Boylston Street, was a Catholic who had received his first Communion just last year. As Martin lay dying, priests were only yards away, beyond the police tape, unable to reach him to administer last rites - a sacrament that, to Catholics, bears enormous significance.
As the Rev. Richard Cannon, a priest in Hopkinton, Mass., where the marathon begins, said in a homily on the Sunday after the bombings, "When the world can seem very dark and confusing, the presence of a priest is a presence of hope."
How DARE they! How DARE those priests want to minister to the wounded and the distraught!  Those heartless bastards!!!

All kidding aside, I do find it fairly pathetic that some guy in Dallas, far removed from the scene of the terrorist bombing in Boston, felt the need to write such an article in the first place.  Who is the real "wannabe victim" here?  I'd say it's the clown who feels compelled to complain about a priest who simply wants to do what priests are called by God and trained to do: minister to those in need of spiritual comfort.

Now let me introduce you to the true "wannabe victim."  His name is Mikey Weinstein and he has a bug up his ass about Christians in the military.  A clown like Weinstein would be good for a few laughs if it weren't for the media and military types who actually take him seriously.

Mikey Weinstein
This guy has a slightly different outlook than a Fred Phelps or a Terry Jones (in fact, he undoubtedly sees them in his mind whenever he thinks about Christians in general) but the reality is that he's no better than they are.  They are lunatics who go out of their way to be as offensive as possibleThat's what he does, the disturbing difference being that unlike the other nutjobs, he has had the opportunity to meet with generals at the Pentagon!

Weinstein is a guy who goes around calling himself a Republican, based apparently on his claim that he was a low-level staffer in the Reagan White House.  Who really knows if that's true or not.  But to give you a taste of just how confused this creep really is, here's what he told an interviewer from The Advocate back in 2010:
We thought to be a good soldier you had to shoot straight, not be straight. I felt this was a huge cop-out by Clinton, and we are furious with the Obama administration. I'm a Republican, but I'm also a Republican who voted for Clinton twice, Gore and Kerry, and for Obama. I get the fact that our economy and health care are important. However, the concept of "don't ask, don't tell" is the most pernicious, evil thing that I've seen come out in regard to privacy in America ever.
Got that?  He's a "Republican" who hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate in more than 20 years.  (Note that in the article he also claims to have been an "adviser" to Ross Perot...but apparently didn't vote for him, either.He claims he voted for Clinton twice, despite the fact that in Clinton's first term he signed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which Weinstein describes as "the most pernicious, evil thing" that he's ever seen.  And yet the so-called "Republican" still voted for Clinton rather than Dole in 1996.

Is Weinstein insane?  A pathological liar?  Or some bizarre combination of both? Whatever his problems are, they clearly render him totally unfit for an audience with Pentagon officials.  Would anyone let Fred Phelps or Terry Jones have a meeting with military officials?  Of course not.  

But, hey...maybe I'm getting a little carried away with my descriptions of him.  Surely he can't be as bad as all that...right?  Via David French at National Review:
In describing Weinstein, I don't use the word "extremist" lightly. In fact, I hate how the word is over-used — often to dismiss truly mainstream opposing views as a means of avoiding argument. But how else can one describe a person who would make statements like this:
Our Pentagon has been turned into a Pentacostalgon, and our DOD has been turned into an imperialist, fascistic contagion of unconstitutional triumphalism by people that want to kill us – or have their version of Jesus kill us if we don’t accept their Biblical world view.
or this:
The dominionist Christian will say, "Nothing can constrain me from proselytizing my version of Christianity." And these people we find have several particular malodorous stenches about them. It’s like walking into a stench in my native state of New Mexico here on a hot August afternoon and having your nostrils assaulted by the stenches of 10,000 rotting swine it's so bad.  The first stench is viral misogyny. The fact that women should be consigned to selecting food, preparing food, cleaning up after meals, spreading their legs, getting pregnant and raising children. The next [stench] is virulent anti-Semitism. The next is virulent Islamophobia.
or this:
We're fighting al-Qaeda. We're fighting the Taliban, and we're turning our own military in the exact same thing.
 or this [speaking of Jerry Falwell]:
The dead guy – Jerry Falwell, and I'm sorry but I’m very glad he's dead. [applause] I'm very sorry if anyone is upset about that.
or this:
Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.
I'm sorry, but these are just ravings. And he met with generals? And the Washington Post, CNN, ABC News and others treats him as a serious commentator on faith in the military? Substitute "Muslim" for "Christian" in any of these comments and the brass wouldn't let him darken the Pentagon's doors.
Fortunately, the House GOP is aware of this nutjob and they are looking into his questionable activities.  As with most cockroaches, when the light gets turned on him, he'll scurry back to his nest, where he can spew hate speech to his heart's content.

Here are some related articles:

Pentagon Taps Anti-Christian Extremist for Religious Tolerance Policy

Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith

Pentagon Defends Unconstitutional Policy Against Soldiers Sharing Faith

Senators to Hagel: Explain DOD Policy on Religion

Congress Must Tell Pentagon to Protect Troops' First Amendment Rights

59 Congress Members Demand Hagel Explain Meeting with Anti-Christian Extremist

Congress Investigating Obama Admin’s Hostility to Religion in the Military