Author Topic: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left  (Read 450498 times)


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The Cognitive Dissonance of the left
« on: March 19, 2011, 08:20:44 AM »

Wanting and Doing

posted at 10:55 am on March 19, 2011 by Steven Den Beste

    How many teleologists does it take to change a light bulb?

    None. The teleologist wants the light bulb to make light, so the light bulb never burns out.

Teleology is a world view that says that the world makes sense, and must work in a way which is intellectually and esthetically pleasing to humans. It assumes a mind-body duality and places the mind, the spiritual, above the body and the physical. If an idea is  pleasing then it must be true, for ultimate truth will always be pleasing.

That isn’t really how teleology began, but that’s what it’s become in the modern era. Modern transnational progressivism is, at its core, based on that rather warped and degenerate version of teleology at a deep, a priori level. It may seem strange to talk about the “spiritual” when talking about a movement which prides itself in being secular, but progressivism embraces many contradictions.

To a teleologist, the way you stop war is to put a sticker on your car that says “Imagine world peace”. If enough people just want it enough, it’ll happen. Indeed, anything is possible if you just want it enough. You can power modern industrial civilization exclusively using “green” energy, for instance. If it isn’t happening, it’s the fault of all the people who refuse to get on board to help with the wanting.

To a teleologist, socialism is obviously the way things should be. The ideal socialist utopia is such a pleasing image that it must be the way to go. Never mind that every time socialism has been tried, it has always failed badly; empirical results don’t matter to a teleologist.

As a true man of the left, our president is fundamentally teleological, and this is the explanation for a lot of things about him that people find puzzling. Again and again, Obama makes speeches about how important some thing is, but doesn’t seem to do anything about them. But that’s not puzzling if you realize that to a teleologist, wanting something is doing something.

Or take his behavior regarding Libya. John, at Powerline, writes:

    Despite the urgency, it appears that the Libyan insurrection likely will be over before the Obama administration makes any decision as to what to do about it. It may well be that the best course has always been to do nothing. But if that is the case, what was the point of Obama’s pronouncement that Qaddafi “must” go? If it is important that Qaddafi go, then why is the United States unwilling to lift a finger to bring about the event that “must” happen? And how can a situation simultaneously be urgent, but not worth doing anything about?

For a teleologist, expressing your desire is how you bring about the event. If enough people say that Qaddafi “must go”, he will vanish in a puff of smoke. That’s why you work for a world consensus, for it is that consensus which alters reality.

(A slightly less implausible way to put it is that if there is strong enough international disapproval, Qaddafi will bow to peer pressure and voluntarily go into exile. But clearly that isn’t going to work with him.)

To a teleologist, it isn’t necessary, and it is obviously wrong, to use military force to depose a corrupt and brutal dictator. Soft power is obviously better.

Except for the minor fact that it isn’t very effective. But as mentioned, to teleologists, empirical results are not persuasive.

The Obama administration, combined with two years of strong Democratic majority in Congress, has caused incalculable damage to this country and the world. But we’ve recovered from worse, and it will discredit the left for a generation. The left finally gained control for two years, and now Americans have seen what that truly means. In November of 2010 American voters gave the left a stinging rebuke, and it’s going to keep happening.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 08:22:41 AM by Crafty_Dog »


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Disgusting racists!
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2011, 08:58:07 PM »

Dennis Kucinich: Time to impeach Obama over Libya action.

Michael Moore: Obama no better than Bush.

Louis Farrakhan: “Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?”

Andrew Sullivan: Obama now the exact opposite of what I voted for.

This random DailyKos diarist sums up today’s zeigeist on the left:

    Barack Obama do you believe in anything or you just want to be in power at the expense of everybody? Shame on you, I cannot believe these words will ever come from my mouth. But you should be shame of yourself.

    Barack Obama has finally betrayed the last people that believed in him. . . . Africans…

    And all those Kossacks who are cheering you are nothing but Hypocrites because invasion is an Invasion being it Iraq or Afghanistan. When has the US ever followed the French?

    My God you are the President of the United States. Why do you let your own employees push you around? Libya is in a state of Civil war. It is unlike the even in Egypt or Tunisia.

    I was one those who headed your campaign here in Harris County, Texas. I supported you when you betrayed me on Health Care Public Option, Guantanamo Bay, Tax Cut for the Rich, as pragmatic but this, you have zero justification.

**Obviously they just hate having a black man in the white house. Straight up racism.


The left was able to put racial politics in the rear-view mirror for less than a year, which corresponds to the length of time that it took for the electorate’s honeymoon with President Obama to end. After that, the left decided that anybody who objected to the president’s policies was really upset about the color of skin, no matter how articulate their arguments might seem. New evidence suggests that Barack Obama himself, and Attorney General Eric Holder, agree with that assessment.

USA Today writer Kenneth T. Walsh’s recently released book, Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House, is a study of the influence that African Americans have had in the Executive Branch throughout our history. His observations regarding the Obama administration are particularly revealing:

“In May 2010, he (President Obama) told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent “Tea Party” movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn’t helping them nearly enough, he said.

A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to “take back” their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn’t dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a “subterranean agenda” in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.”
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 09:08:28 PM by G M »


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Sheriff Joe lays down the law
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 08:13:13 AM »

Impeach now!


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Robert Wright=douche
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 02:17:18 PM »


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2011, 05:59:52 PM »
I've clicked on it and it comes it at minute 45 of 70.  Is there a reason for this?  Or are you asking me to go back to 00:00 and watch all 70 minutes?


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2011, 07:15:26 PM »
I doubt there is much that is useful in watching the whole thing. I think it is revealing of how false his protests of civility are.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 06:09:11 AM »
I watched for five minutes.  Thank you for saving me the remaining sixty-five minutes, and yes the clip is good evidence of the proposition for which you cite it. :lol:


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 06:29:51 AM »
He never responded to my emails challenging his assertions about islam, BTW.


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POTH editorial on Libya
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2011, 06:36:19 AM »
Pravda on the Hudson continues to fellate President Obama:

With nary a Congressional resolution in sight, nor mention of the need for one (let alone a declaration of war) The New Yor Times supports the President's decision to go in.

President Obama made the right, albeit belated, decision to join with allies and try to stop Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from slaughtering thousands of Libyans. But he has been far too slow to explain that decision, or his long-term strategy, to Congress and the American people.

On Monday night, the president spoke to the nation and made a strong case for why America needed to intervene in this fight — and why that did not always mean it should intervene in others.

Mr. Obama said that the United States had a moral responsibility to stop “violence on a horrific scale,” as well as a unique international mandate and a broad coalition to act with. He said that failure to intervene could also have threatened the peaceful transitions in Egypt and Tunisia, as thousands of Libyan refugees poured across their borders, while other dictators would conclude that “violence is the best strategy to cling to power.”

Mr. Obama could report encouraging early progress on the military and diplomatic fronts. Washington and its allies have crippled or destroyed Colonel Qaddafi’s anti-aircraft defenses, peeled his troops back from the city of Benghazi — saving potentially thousands of lives — and allowed rebel forces to retake the offensive.

Just as encouragingly, this military effort that was galvanized internationally — the United Nations Security Council authorized “all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya — will soon be run internationally. Last weekend, the United States handed over responsibility for enforcing the no-flight zone to NATO. And the alliance is now preparing to take command of the entire mission, with the support of (still too few) Arab nations.

To his credit, Mr. Obama did not sugarcoat the difficulties ahead. While he suggested that his goal, ultimately, is to see Colonel Qaddafi gone, he also said that the air war was unlikely to accomplish that by itself.

Most important, he vowed that there would be no American ground troops in this fight. “If we tried to overthrow Qaddafi by force,” he said, “our coalition would splinter.” He said “regime change” in Iraq took eight years and cost thousands of American and Iraqi lives. “That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.”

Instead, he said the United States and its allies would work to increase the diplomatic and military pressure on Colonel Qaddafi and his cronies. A meeting on Tuesday with allies and members of the Libyan opposition is supposed to develop that strategy along with ways to help the rebels build alternate, and we hope humane and competent, governing structures. That needs to start quickly.

To hold their ground and protect endangered civilians, let alone advance, the rebels will likely need air support for quite some time. Mr. Obama was right not to promise a swift end to the air campaign. At the same time, he should not overestimate the patience of the American people or the weariness of the overstretched military.

And as Washington reduces its military role, others, inside and outside NATO, will need to increase theirs. Within NATO, unenthusiastic partners like Germany and Turkey need to at least stay out of the way even if they continue to stand aside from the fighting.

The president made the right choice to act, but this is a war of choice, not necessity. Presidents should not commit the military to battle without consulting Congress and explaining their reasons to the American people.

Fortunately, initial coalition military operations have gone well. Unfortunately, it is the nature of war that they will not always go well. Mr. Obama needs to work with Congress and keep the public fully informed. On Monday, he made an overdue start on that.


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Koch Bros Make the Sky Fall
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2011, 07:53:59 AM »
Koch Kookery, Kon and Pro: A Roundup
from Hit & Run by Brian Doherty

We are now in the second, more illuminating meta-round of coverage of the recent staggeringly successful spasm of Kochhate launched by the New Yorker's expose on these wealthy, politically active industrial tycoon brothers Charles and David Koch (who give money to the foundation that owns this website, among many other causes).

At the center is Matthew Continetti's well-reported and thoughtful Weekly Standard story, which delivers a calm, sensible, detailed, and accurate picture of these guys' actual role in destroying/saving the country.

Continetti efficiently and thoroughly makes some important points about our public Koch crisis. That, for example, the David Koch prank phone call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proves exactly the opposite of what proggy Kochhaters think it did--that is, that Walker had clearly never before in his life spoken to his alleged puppetmaster-on-the-cheap Koch, who allegedly bought him for less than half a percent of campaign contributions.

Also, that it's an extremely tendentious, not to say ignorant, interpretation of the facts and motivations behind the rise of the Tea Party movement to attribute it primarily to the paid-for machinations of Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity; that portraying the Kochs as pure trust fund babies who only have what their Bircher daddy Fred gave them shows little knowledge of the multipronged industrial giant the brothers made of the relatively small company they inherited; that their policy giving is tiny compared to their total charitable giving, unusual if they are conscious and deliberate puppet masters of American politics; and that it's simply absurd to claim that their long and peculiar history of ideological giving has some direct link to lining their own pockets:

[it was said that] the Kochs’ talk about free markets was merely cover for economic self-interest. But if that were true, why doesn’t every major corporation full-throatedly support limited government? Are we really to believe that Koch Industries is the only self-interested corporation in America? The reality, of course, is that an easier way to advance corporate self-interest is the one taken by most giant companies: securing monopolies, bailouts, tariffs, subsidies—the opposite of free enterprise. “It’d be much safer economically to sit on the sidelines or curry favor with the Obama administration,” said Richard Fink.

It was impossible for the liberal activists to acknowledge that libertarians might actually operate from conviction. Charles and David believed in low taxes, less spending, and limited regulation not because those policies helped them but because they helped everybody. “If I wanted to enhance my riches,” said David, “why do I give away almost all my money?”

Continetti is also good at contexualizing the real nature of Koch companies' environmental crimes (not so severe as far as enormous industrial processing concerns go) and OK on their libertarian intellectual background, although a long article on this that fails to mention the names Robert LeFevre (the eccentric pacifist anarchist educator who was one of the brothers first extended entrees to libertarian thinking at his Freedom School in Colorado in the mid-'60s) or Murray Rothbard (the anarchist libertarian economist and philosopher who was central to the Koch libertarian project in the late 1970s before a contentious break) isn't telling the whole story--not that any mere magazine feature could. (For more context on the Kochs as libertarian financiers, see my book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.)

Continetti does start to sound almost like the people he's jousting against when he describes the supposed highly coordinated sinister proggy machine of hate and death that has taken on the Kochs; and he quotes David Koch getting a bit Glenn Beck-y with exaggerated assessments of exactly how much of a commie bastard President Obama is.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon found the Koch brothers' expressions of dismay over the way they've been demonized recently in the Continetti story to be laughable and offensive, an opinion I don't share, but can see that it's probably hard for anyone to feel so sorry for such successful men. Greenwald is good on data showing that David Koch's belief that Obama is a unique representative of Marxist egalitarianism forcing his will on America isn't well-founded.

In other reaction to the piece, Will Wilkinson, who frames himself a proudly former ideological ally and beneficiary of Koch money, in The Economist has some interesting thoughts on how and why progressives can't--and shouldn't--position themselves firmly against the sort of attempts to shift political and social opinions through ideological giving the Kochs represent, since they rely on it so much themselves.

Politico has a lengthy new piece on the Kochbeat up as well, which frames the Continetti piece as part of a sophisticated P.R. blowback from the Kochs. It also details the extent to which the anti-Koch campaign is a concerted effort, not to say conspiracy:

Back in Washington last month, representatives from Common Cause, Greenpeace, Public Citizen and Think Progress huddled with researchers from the Service Employees International Union at SEIU headquarters to figure out how to make the most of the sudden focus on the Kochs. And meeting participants have continued to trade research about the Kochs and strategize via a Koch-related email listserv and a rolling series of conference calls.

Politico also has some details on the big money behind the groups behind the Kochhate:

Since 1999, Common Cause, the Ruckus Society and the Center for American Progress have received a combined $7.2 million from foundations controlled by or linked to Soros, according to an analysis of grant information provided to POLITICO by Common Cause and data from the Internal Revenue Service provided by the Capital Research Center.

The data also show that those foundations have given another $4.6 million to Public Citizen, Brave New Foundation (a non-profit affiliated with Brave New Films) and a few other liberal groups that have been critical of the Kochs, including the Alliance for Justice, People for the American Way, and Public Campaign. Additionally, some of those groups are beneficiaries of a liberal donor network that meets in secret twice a year – very much like the Koch donor network – though it’s impossible to know how much the groups received from those donors.

As I've written before, to call public furor thus started "astroturf" or phony misses the point; people can try to make an idea catch fire, but it only does so if it genuinely meets the emotional or political needs of a mass; and the need to pretend that the only reason anyone is against public unions, taxes, and spending is that evil oil billionaires are paying them or manipulating them is mighty strong out in the rank and file as well as among progressive leadership, in government or the foundations.


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It's OK for Dems to Tak Koch Money
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2011, 09:08:45 AM »
Second post.

Dems Defend Taking Koch Money From Same PAC That Gave to Scott Walker

Michael Warren

March 25, 2011 12:24 PM

Another note on the Koch money funding Democratic campaigns. While Harry Reid and the DSCC try to raise money off the liberal animus against the Koch brothers, the DSCC and a handful of Democratic senators have given no indication that they are willing to give back the thousands of dollars their campaigns received from KOCHPAC, the political arm of Koch Industries. In fact, a spokesperson for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) justified the at least $10,000 the Landrieu campaign received from KOCHPAC last year because the money was not directly from the Koch brothers but comprised of donations from Koch Industries employees in Louisiana.

Why, then, is there so much outrage at Wisconsin governor Scott Walker for accepting donations from the same PAC? The nefarious connection between the Kochs and Walker that had so many Madison protesters up in arms and even prompted a liberal journalist to attempt a "gotcha job" on Walker by pretending to be David Koch is a $43,000 donation from...KOCHPAC. This $43,000 is the source of practically all the liberal animosity toward the Kochs in regards to Wisconsin's public-sector union battle.

So to keep this all straight: If Koch Industries' political action committee contribute money to Republicans, it's the end of our democracy. If the same political action committee contributes money to Democrats, it's all kosher. Got it?

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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left - Koch money
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2011, 10:49:03 PM »
BBG.  The other half of the double standard was well documented here:  'The Anatomy of a Smear'  I posted it recently on media issues.  It is a long methodical read by the guys that brought down Dan Rather.  It really takes a slow walk through all the sorted details to grasp how unfair the attacks are, that come from people with an even greater bias and then get repeated all across the mainstream, if places like the NY Times and all its echo chambers can still be called that.  A Republican candidate takes a contribution from a Republican businessman and then pushes and votes for legislation that both of them happen to think is good for the district and for the economy. Its outrageous.  Now you post that Dems took their money too.  Who knew that businesses that congress and the administration keep threatening to shut down would want to get the ear of elected officials before that all is finalized.


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Quotas Go Full Circle
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2011, 07:27:16 AM »
The Quotas Everyone Ignores

Why universities are quietly favoring white males once again.

Andrew Ferguson

March 28, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 27
Anyone who clings to a belief in the inevitability of human progress might want to contemplate the latest trend in college admissions. After a half-century of battles over racial and gender preferences for URMs (admissions-speak for “underrepresented minorities,” a term that has traditionally comprised nearly anyone who isn’t a white male), colleges and universities have boldly embarked on a policy of affirmative action preferences for .  .  . white males. It’s like old times.

Few admissions deans like to talk about their latest innovation in recruitment, understandably enough. Less understandably, the United States Commission on Civil Rights decided earlier this month it didn’t want to talk about it either. And even harder to figure, women’s rights organizations are staying mum too.

By a vote of four to three, the commission shelved a proposal by one of its Independent members, Gail Heriot, to analyze and publish data that might answer this question: “Are private and public liberal arts schools with somewhat selective admissions discriminating against women—and if so, how heavy a thumb is put on the scale against them?” With a Republican majority, commission members had initially voted to study the question in 2009, and since then staffers have been trying to gather admissions data from 19 schools in the Washington, D.C., area—Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Richmond, and others.

Recently, however, the commission has been in the hands of a de facto Democratic majority thanks to a Republican appointee, political scientist Abigail Thernstrom, who frequently votes with the Democrats. When the staff presented its admittedly provisional and incomplete figures to the commissioners, they shut down the project altogether and voted not to allow the admissions numbers to be made public.

The investigation was shuttered, said one of the Democratic commissioners, because the data were “inadequate or perhaps faulty.” Releasing the numbers, the commissioner said, might result in the public arriving at “misleading conclusions.”

For her part, Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego and a longtime critic of preferences in admissions, said the move was a “travesty.”

“This wasn’t about the data,” she said in an interview later. “There were problems with the data but they weren’t insurmountable. .  .  . This was about politics.”

But the politics are very odd. -Heriot, a congressional appointee to the commission whose views lean right, might be thought by the usual ideological taxonomy to be reluctant to press an investigation into wholesale discrimination against girls. On the other hand, the project should have been meat-and-’taters to the Democrats—a chance to expose a concerted effort by large, wealthy, unaccountable institutions to deny an education to qualified women purely on the basis of their sex.

Among college admissions professionals, it has been a barely concealed secret for several years that such an effort is underway at many, if not most, selective schools. The secret became public in 2006 when the admissions dean at Kenyon College, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, published an op-ed in the New York Times. Never underestimate the anger of a parent whose kid didn’t get into the right school. Britz’s daughter had just been wait-listed at a college that mom assumed she would glide into, and mom, being in the business herself, said she knew why.

“The fat acceptance envelope is simply more elusive for today’s accomplished young women,” Britz wrote. She offered an anecdote from her own experience, about a recent applicant to Kenyon. The girl was admirable in every respect but for her middling SAT scores. Britz finally decided to admit her, but it was a close thing. The kid should have been born a boy.

“Had she been a male applicant,” Britz wrote, “there would have been little, if any, hesitation to admit.” The threshold for boys is lower than for girls, not only at Kenyon but at other schools too. Boys, she explained simply, are “more valued applicants.”

Britz’s op-ed loosed a flurry of journalism—editors never tire of college admissions stories—much of it summarized the following year in an excellent exposé by U.S. News and World Report’s Alex Kingsbury. A raft of prominent schools, including Pomona, Tufts, the College of William and Mary, and Boston College, were accepting boys at a far higher rate than female applicants—boys with lower test scores and lower grade point averages than their female rivals. William and Mary, for instance, accepted 40 percent of the boys who applied in 2006 and only 26 percent of the girls.

Since the early 1980s, when a brief period of parity was reached after generations of male dominance, more girls than boys have applied to college each year; in 2011, 60 percent of college applicants will be women. Girls—sorry, fellas—are by any objective measure more attractive applicants than boys, with higher average GPAs and test scores. They have fewer behavioral problems. They write better application essays. They have a wider range of extracurricular interests. They clean up better for interviews.

On any fairly balanced scale, the acceptance rate for women at selective colleges should be far higher than for men. Instead it’s the other way around. The reason is “affirmative action,” sometimes called preferences, sometimes called quotas—though never publicly. Admissions deans like Britz have placed a thumb on the scale.

This much is generally accepted practice among college admissions deans in the upper tiers of American higher education. But why? If girls are better suited to college, why not let them enter the better colleges at rates equal to their achievements?

Here is where the Legend of 60-40 enters in. Sixty-forty is the ratio of women to men at which, according to admissions lore, the “atmosphere” of a campus changes irreversibly and the school’s reputation passes a point of no return. It becomes known as a “girls’ school” and before you know it .  .  . there goes the neighborhood.

“Once you become decidedly female,” Britz wrote in her op-ed, “fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive.” Or worse, it becomes attractive to the wrong kind of male. Hubba hubba, in other words. Predation can be a problem. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by the indispensable education writer Richard Whitmire offered anecdotes from the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. JMU refuses to institute gender quotas and as a result is now more than 60 percent female. “What can be seen [on campus] so far is not encouraging,” Whitmire wrote. “Stark gender imbalances appear to act as an accelerant on the hook-up culture”—a reference to the Bonobo-like mating patterns that have lately enlivened social life among America’s budding scholars.

For this reason, the admissions dean of the College of William and Mary has been unapologetic about that thumb of his, which he has firmly planted on the boy side of the scale. “We are, after all, the College of William and Mary,” he has often said, “not the College of Mary and Mary.”

The most selective of the private schools from which the Civil Rights Commission staff requested data, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown, adamantly refused to cooperate with the commission. Title IX of the education amendments to the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws sex discrimination in public colleges and universities, exempts private undergraduate nonprofessional schools—a loophole designed in 1972 to preserve traditionally single-sex colleges, nearly all of which have since become co-ed.

It’s fair to assume that the refusal of Georgetown and Hopkins was on grounds of self-incrimination. Boy quotas are the unofficial but undeniable means by which schools are staving off the dread 60-40, and even where sex discrimination is not explicitly illegal, a few beams of sunlight cast into the cloisters of college admissions offices might act as a disinfectant, as liberal activists like to put it.

Yet the activists have been utterly silent, for reasons we can only guess. There’s been not a peep even from the National Women’s Law Center, which routinely issues press releases with such headlines as “NWLC Files Brief in Supreme Court, Supporting the Women of Wal-Mart in their Class Action Lawsuit” and “House Republican Spending Cuts Devastating to Women, Families and the Economy.” Reached by U.S. News, a spokesman for the American Association of University Women ducked. “We need to help impoverished boys and girls to improve educational outcomes and have equal opportunity,” she said, with stubborn irrelevance.

Whitmire, the education writer, has offered theories of his own to account for the thunderous silence, based on his discussions with feminist lawyers. “Alerting the public that women increasingly dominate college campuses will make it appear women have ‘won’,” he wrote. “And if women have won, why are they still complaining about discrimination in higher education?” Public sentiments like this might endanger more important feminist projects like increasing the number of tenured female faculty and closing campus “wage gaps.” There again, the Democrats on the commission may have simply been responding to the interests of a precious political ally—the vast, impenetrable combine of American higher ed, which is no happier than any other industry to have the feds snooping into its files.

For her part, Heriot is stumped.

“I don’t get it, I really don’t,” she said. She vows to try once more to bring the matter of girl quotas before the commission. “It bothers me that no one is willing to shine a light on this,” she said. “And it bothers me if no one’s bothered that women might be denied admissions on the basis of sex. I’d at least like the commission to produce real facts, real evidence, so we can know for sure.”

Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and the author of Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College.

Correction: Abigail Thernstrom was originally mistakenly identitfied as a sociologist. She is a political scientist. We apologize for the error.


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Calls for Academic Integrity Lead to Consternation
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2011, 09:21:43 AM »
2nd post.

March 9, 2011

A Double Shock to Liberal Professors

By  Russell K. Nieli

Social psychology has long been a haven for left-wing scholars. Jonathan Haidt, one of  the best known and most respected young social psychologists, has heaved two bombshells at his field—one indicting it for effectively excluding conservatives (he is a liberal) and the other for what he sees as a jaundiced and cult-like opposition to religion (he is an atheist).

Here he is on the treatment of conservatives:

I submit to you that the under-representation of conservatives in social psychology, by a factor of several hundred, is evidence that we are a tribal moral community that actively discourages conservatives from entering. … We should take our own rhetoric about the benefits of diversity seriously and apply it to ourselves. … Just imagine if we had a true diversity of perspectives in social psychology.  Imagine if conservative students felt free enough to challenge our dominant ideas, and bold enough to pull us out of our deepest ideological ruts. That is my vision for our bright  post-partisan future.

And here he is on religion:

Surveys have long shown that religious believers in the United States are happier, healthier, longer-lived, and more generous to charity and to each other than are secular people.  Most of these effects have been documented in Europe too. …Atheists may have many other virtues, but on one of the least controversial and most objective measures of moral behavior -- giving time, money, and blood to help strangers in need -- religious people appear to be morally superior.

Bombshell Number One fell four years ago in an unusually influential article. ("Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion") Haidt argued that the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, together with the secular psychology profession more generally, have failed to grasp the positive role that belief and religious ritual plays in the social life of religious people.  In their focus on religion's capacity to generate intolerance and other social harms, the psychology profession and the more outspoken religion critics of recent years, Haidt wrote, missed the all-important binding and community-forming role that traditional religious belief and religious practice frequently perform.

Haidt's earliest professional interest was in the psychology of moral systems and moral beliefs, and his interest in religion sprung from this early academic concern.  While he initially tended to view religion in a negative light, his reading of the French sociologist Emile Durkheim gave him greater appreciation for the community-forming and morality-reinforcing importance of shared religious beliefs. "If you want to describe human morality, rather than the morality of educated Western academics," Haidt said, "you've got to include the Durkheimian view that morality is in large part about binding people together."  Religion, Haidt said, has been misunderstood by many Western academics because they focus too often on its (often dubious) truth claims or on its (often negative) contributions to modern secular notions of fairness and justice.  But religion is a much more multi-faceted phenomenon than Western secularists attribute to it, Haidt wrote, and from the standpoint of moral psychology it must be acknowledged as one of the greatest forces there is in suppressing human selfishness and furthering cooperation and cohesion among its practitioners (though this cooperation and cohesion, Haidt readily admitted, is often purchased at the expense of hostility towards outsiders or internal dissidents).

Haidt backed up his claim about the social benefits of religion by summarizing some of the empirical evidence on the topic, drawing heavily from economist Arthur Brooks' important study, Who Really Cares:

If you believe that morality is about happiness and suffering, then I think you are obligated to take a close look at the way religious people actually live and ask what they are doing right.  … [Not only are religious people more charitable among themselves], religious believers give more money than secular folk to secular charities, and to their neighbors.  They give more of their time, too, and of their blood.

Haidt concluded his article on a Burkean note suggesting that such longstanding practices and ways of life as found in the world's religions are likely to contain at least "some wisdom, some insights into ways of suppressing selfishness, enhancing cooperation, and ultimately enhancing human flourishing."  Haidt's bottom line was that much of contemporary moral and social psychology had misunderstood religion, reduced it to only one of its dimensions, and failed to acknowledge its unquestionably positive role in furthering at least certain types of moral conduct.     

His Critics Respond

Haidt's article was republished on the website where several distinguished academic psychologists and intellectuals were asked to comment. Some respondents agreed with the claim that secular investigators of religion often miss its positive dimensions, but other respondents, including most vehemently Sam Harris, repeated their ongoing indictment of religion as an unmitigated disaster for humanity.  In response to these latter critics Haidt offered an account of his own change of heart on the subject.  "I want to make it clear that I am not an apologist for religion," he said. "I used to dislike all religions, back when I thought of them as systems of belief that helped individuals understand the world and cope with the unknown.  After reading Durkheim and D.S. Wilson I now think of religions first and foremost as coordination devices that bind people together into moral communities with effects that are mostly good for the members, although sometimes terrible for deviants and for neighboring groups.  Whether the net effects of religion for humanity are good or bad is a complex empirical question, the answer to which varies by religion, by era, and by what terms we include in our cost/benefit analysis.  I am motivated neither to convict nor to acquit [religion], but if religion is to be subject to trial by science, I want the trial to be fair.  Until we [social scientists] acknowledge a latent prejudice, however, we will have trouble understanding the accused."

Haidt compared religion and its social-binding role to that of college fraternities and college sports teams, and he related how his views on the social utility of these collegiate institutions had undergone the very same kind of change and development as his views on religion.  "I used to wish," he explained, "that all fraternities and major sports teams would disappear from my university -- I thought of them as tribal institutions that brought out the ugly and sometimes violent side of young people. But after talking with athletes, fraternity members, and fundraisers I realized that these institutions create powerful feelings of belonging which have enormous benefits for the participants while making them fiercely loyal and extraordinarily generous later on to the University of Virginia.  Fraternities and sports teams contribute greatly to the strong school spirit at UVA, and to our rapidly growing endowment." Haidt went on to explain that all students, not just the athletes and fraternity members, benefit from the externalities created by these communal ties.

The Second Bombshell

Needless to say, Haidt was hardly playing it safe among his fellow academics by coming up with good reasons to support religion, varsity sports, and college fraternities in America.  But his defense of currently out-of-favor groups and beliefs hardly prepared his social psychology colleagues for his second iconoclastic bombshell delivered this past January.  At the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology -- the leading professional organization in the discipline -- Haidt accused his fellow social psychologists of being "a tribal moral community" that acted in many ways like a narrow-minded religious cult bound together by a set of highly partisan political beliefs and "blind to any ideas or findings that threaten our sacred values." To an academic audience that prides itself on its open-mindedness, its tolerance of diversity, and its single-minded pursuit of truth, these were "fighting words" and Haidt made sure he backed up his assertion with strong evidence from a variety of domains.

Just look at the Larry Summers firing at Harvard, Haidt began.  The wider distribution curve for IQs among men than women may be one reason, Summers suggested, why women are underrepresented in the math and science intensive fields at the most competitive institutions like Harvard,  since greater variance means larger numbers of males at both the low and high end of the ability distribution.  Such a hypothesis is certainly worth exploring, Haidt said, yet for those within the tribal force field of left-liberal academia such "is not a permissible hypothesis." "It is a sacrilege. It blames the victim rather than the powerful."  The ensuing outrage over Summers' hypothesis, Haidt explained, forced the Harvard president to resign.  "[Yet] we psychologists should have been outraged by the outrage," Haidt complained.  "We should have defended his right to think freely."  The social psychologists, however, like most other academics, did nothing, kept quiet about the matter, and passively watched as Summers was forced to resign for his heretical suggestion.

Haidt then explained to his colleagues his strenuous efforts to find social psychologists who dissented from the prevailing left/liberal political perspective dominant in the field with publicly acknowledged political leanings of a conservative or right-of-center character.  But it proved a most difficult task.  A Google search under the phrase "liberal social psychologist" turned up 2740 hits, Haidt announced to his audience, while "conservative social psychologist" turned up a total of three hits.  And none of the three conservative hits turned out to produce the names of a single, real-life, conservative social psychologist.

But Haidt persisted.  After emailing 30 colleagues and friends in the social psychology field, and querying them if they knew of any conservatives in the field, one genuine conservative was found. That was Rick McCauley of Bryn Mawr College, a specialist on the psychology of terrorism.  Haidt had actually met McCauley years earlier during his student days at the University of Pennsylvania where McCauley was a friend of one of Haidt's academic advisors:  "When I first met Rick [as a student at Penn] I was wary of him," Haidt explained.  "I had heard that he was a conservative.  … I had never before met an actual conservative professor, and it took me a while to realize how valuable it was to hear from someone with a different perspective."  Haidt went on to explain that many of McCauley's later insights in the social psychology field were only made possible because "he stands outside of the liberal force field" of the contemporary psychology profession.  Without his dissenting political perspective, Haidt suggested, McCauley might not have come up with his particularly valuable angle on political terrorism.       

With a huge audience of social psychologists representing a reasonably good cross section of those in the field, Haidt had an ideal situation at the annual meeting to do some informal polling to confirm his claim of an ideological monopoly of the left.  He asked the assembled multitude which of four categories best described their political leanings:  1) liberal or left-of-center, 2) centrist or moderate, 3) libertarian, or 4) conservative or right- of-center.  By a show of hands, between 80 and 90 percent of the audience indicated they were "liberal or left- of-center," while in this enormous audience that Haidt estimated numbered about 1000, there were only 20 with "centrist or moderate" political views, 12 with "libertarian" views, and only three described their views as "conservative or right-of-center."   Conservatives thus made up less than 1 percent of the social psychologists assembled, in a country, Haidt reminded his audience, in which 40 percent of the public describe their political views in this manner.

This virtual absence of right-of-center voices, Haidt boldly proclaimed, "is evidence that we are a tribal moral community that actively discourages conservatives from entering."   He backed up this claim with two letters he had solicited from non-liberal graduate students who spoke of their reluctance to express their political views because they were middle-of-the-road in their politics and not liberal. "I consider myself very middle of the road politically," one wrote. "[I am] a social liberal but fiscal conservative.  Nonetheless, I avoid the topic of politics around work." Both of these graduate students, Haidt explained, "said they are not conservative, but neither are they liberal, and because they are not liberal, they feel pressure to keep quiet."  To back up his claim that social psychologists, knowingly or unknowingly, create a hostile and unwelcoming work environment for students or faculty with non-conforming political views Haidt cited the words of a previous speaker at the convention: "I'm a good liberal Democrat, just like every other social psychologist I know."

Haidt's indictment of the social psychology profession was devastating.  While cult-like or conformist tribal behavior may have its benefits for a religious group -- Haidt, had made just this point in his earlier writings -- it has no place in science, he declared.  "We social psychologists" said Haidt, think of ourselves as "super-tolerant free thinkers.  We celebrate diversity and non-conformity. We boldly follow our science wherever it takes us, and no matter whom it offends.  We care only about truth!"  In reality, however, Haidt went on to explain, "we are a tribal moral community. … We have sacred values other than truth; we have taboos that constrain our thinking; we have almost no moral/political diversity; and we have created a hostile climate for graduate students who don't share those sacred values."

Haidt concluded his address with a plea that social psychology develop a more welcoming attitude toward those who don't share the left-liberal viewpoint on moral and political issues.  Having a few conservatives within the profession would be a healthy development, he said, just as bringing women into the profession at an earlier period was healthy. "We should make it a priority," he said, "to find, nurture, and welcome a few dozen conservatives into our ranks."  Such a development, he explained, would bring fresh ideas into the profession and no doubt lead to new areas and topics of exploration.  Haidt also suggested that his colleagues try to familiarize themselves with viewpoints that they rarely hear from talking to one another.  He specifically recommended in this context that they read Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions and read a conservative magazine like National Review. Haidt explained that he personally reads eight periodicals a month, seven of which have left-of-center viewpoints, "but I get more new ideas from reading National Review than from any of the others."

Haidt's Colleagues Respond

Like his earlier article on the treatment of religion by academic psychologists and the New Atheists, Haidt's address on the leftist bias of the social psychology profession was reproduced on the website where various colleagues were asked to respond.  Some of the responses did more than Haidt could ever have done to confirm his claim that a tribal or cult-like insularity and conformity informs many in the social psychology profession.  One distinguished psychologist, a Harvard professor, suggested that the near monopoly of people on the left among social psychologists might simply reflect the fact, not that there are barriers to entry for conservatives, but that "liberals may be more interested in new ideas, more willing to work for peanuts, or just more intelligent, all of which may push them to pursue the academic life while deterring their conservative peers."  Another professor from NYU suggested that the fact that so many ordinary Americans are conservative but almost all social psychologists are liberal may simply reflect the greater knowledge and expertise of the latter.  "We should ask honestly," he wrote, "whether social scientists are too liberal or society is too conservative."  "After all," he went on to explain, "when experts and laypersons disagree, we do not usually rush to the conclusion that the experts are biased."

Not all of the responses to Haidt's address were hostile, however -- or ideologically self-serving.  Lee Jussim, for instance, the chairman of Rutgers psychology department, had this to say: "I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude to, and enthusiasm for, Jon Haidt's speech.  As he so refreshingly pointed out, liberal bias infects, distorts, and undermines the quality of our science. … If [Haidt's speech] leads even one researcher to be more sensitive to the extraordinary double standards and blindness that sometimes taint our field, it will have been a rousing success."

Another supporter of Haidt's speech was Paul Bloom, professor of psychology at Yale.  To get across Haidt's central idea of a hostile work environment confronting non-conformists, Bloom asked his fellow psychologists to imagine the following scenario:

Imagine that you are a beginning graduate student accepted into a top-ranked psychology department.  The first colloquium talk you go to is about deception, from a famous social psychologist.  In the middle of her talk, she makes a remark about how some people are simply incapable of ever telling the truth, and then she puts up a large picture of Barack Obama.  People roar with laughter, and there's a bit of applause.  You are a teaching fellow in a large Introduction to Psychology course, and the professor talks a bit about popular delusions, giving the example of liberals who believe in global warming.  Al Gore is mentioned in a lecture on clinical psychology, in the context of narcissistic personality disorder.  Everyone you know is a conservative Republican and assumes that you are one too, making off-hand jokes to you about brain-dead liberals.  But suppose you are, in fact, a liberal yourself.  How would you feel about this new life you have chosen?

Bloom then went on to state the obvious: "Nobody wants to be part of a community where their identity is the target of ridicule and malice."  This, he said, is obvious to social psychologists in dealing with all sorts of other biases involving gender, race, and sexual orientation.  It should be obvious, too, he said, for biases against those who hold political views outside the left-liberal mainstream.  For a community that proclaims the value of diversity, Bloom said, we should be much more sensitive to these issues of political bias. "Jon is right that we should do better."

A Model of Academic Self-Analysis

 It is almost impossible to overstate the courage, intellectual clarity, and simple wisdom involved in Jonathan Haidt's challenges to his social psychology colleagues.  His message is as uncompromising as it is uncomplicated: open up the discipline to viewpoints outside the narrow, left-liberal mainstream, learn from people who have political and moral views different than you own, treat religion more fairly, and stop acting like an insular tribal cult and act more like the open-minded science profession you claim to be.

That's a powerful message and one can only wish that it is heard not only by the social psychology profession but by almost all the other current disciplines within the social sciences and humanities.  Studies by economist Daniel Klein and others have documented the extreme ideological uniformity and insularity among a host of academic disciplines, psychology being just one.  Sociology, anthropology, and women's studies have been found to be even more ideologically skewed than psychology. People outside the left-liberal hegemony that reigns in these disciplines feel intimidated and unwelcomed, and even if a student may feel some attraction to academic life, those with conservative, libertarian, or other dissenting viewpoints will be turned away by an academic culture that they correctly perceive is hostile to their differing values and perspectives. Haidt's exploration of the social psychology profession is a model of constructive academic self-analysis and self-criticism -- and one we can only wish is duplicated by leaders in other disciplines.


Russell K. Nieli is a Senior Preceptor in the Executive Precept Program in Princeton University's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.


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More on Koch Bros Hyperventilation
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2011, 12:23:20 PM »
3rd post.

Jonathan Chait Completely Misses the Point
David Bernstein • March 16, 2011 2:54 pm

[Note to “The ExileD” readers: George Mason University is a state university, funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia. My paycheck comes from the Commonwealth [which in turn gets the money to fund the university from our students’ tuition dollars, as law school tuition is over 35K for the majority of our students], and that is my employer. I don’t receive any money from the Koch Brothers. I don’t know anything about this website, but if this is illustrative of its reliability, you’re wasting your time reading it. FURTHER: “The ExileD” falsely stated that the Koch brothers are my “employers.” Any halfway respectable media site would just admit its mistake and move on, instead of trying to obscure its errors with juvenile insults.]

Responding to a post of mine regarding “progressive” demonization of the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers, TNR’s Chait expresses bafflement at libertarians’ “hypersensitivity” regarding criticism of the Kochs’ “great deal of influence over the political system.”

The problem, dear Jonathan, is that while you and others consistently assert that the Kochs have such influence, you don’t ever demonstrate it. Let’s review: It seems undisputed that the Kochs total spending on political and ideological causes is somewhere around 10–15 million dollars per year. How big a role does this money play in the American political system?

Let’s start with ideological/intellectual causes. The liberal Ford Foundation spends over $400 million a year. The liberal MacArthur Foundation spends about $140 million a year. Liberal billionaire George Soros spends about $150 million a year. Liberals control the vast majority of academic positions in almost every humanities and social science department in every major university in the country, with total budges in the tens of billions.

Even in the libertarians’ tiny corner of the ideological universe, 10 million dollars would only keep the Cato Institute running from January to April this year, and leave nothing left for any other libertarian cause or organization. So the idea that the Kochs are having some huge influence on American politics through their ideological philanthropy is grossly exaggerated, at best.

Even more absurd is the notion that the Kochs’ political contributions are distorting American politics. The Obama campaign spent hundreds of million of dollars on the 2008 election. The 2010 midterm elections cost about $4 billion. The Koch’s relative spending is like pissing in an ocean. Such spending, of course, can under the right conditions win an interest group some narrow favors, but that’s a far cry from suggesting that it can buy “a great deal of influence over the political system” in general.

No, the reason that some liberals have latched on to the Kochs as their bogeymen is that this is what demagogic political propagandists due to win support from their base. They find a mysterious, ominous-sounding (billionaires! who sell oil!–what could raise greater suspicions on the Left?) villain on whom to blame their troubles, and rouse the passions of the partisans of their sides. As these things go, the Kochs are a more innocuous villain than, say, the “Likudnik” bogeymen of the mid-2000s, or Pat Robertson’s “secular humanists who support a New World Order” of the 1990s, but it’s all the same phenomenon.

Regardless, it’s not the sort of thing serious intellectuals take seriously, except as studies in the effectiveness of playing on the traditional paranoid streak in American politics. But if Chait wants to abjure seriousness, and instead be the number one propogandist on behalf of the Democratic Party and the Obama Administration in the blogosphere, he’s welcome to the title.

Bonus foolishness from Chait: He defines liberaltarianism, the now almost defunct attempt to establish an intellectual coalition between liberals and libertarians, as an agreement “to emphasize social issues and foreign policy over economics, and to define economics as evidence based and less hostile to redistribution and the possibility of market failure.” That sounds to me an awful lot like standard college town liberalism.

In fact, during the Bush II administration, many liberal blogosphere voices could be heard swearing that having seen the administration’s abuses of power, they now understood the importance of decentralization and refusing to lodge too much power in Washington, D.C. In most cases, this realization lasted precisely one millisecond after the bloggers in question realized that the Democrats were likely to win a sweeping victory in the 2008 elections, to the extent that folks like Chait seem to have forgotten that a key to liberaltarianism was supposed to be a newfound liberal skepticism of Big Government.

As I’ve pointed out before, the attack on the Kochs, who are rather consistent libertarians of the left-libertarian stripe (e.g., are quite pacifistic on foreign policy issues) is a sign of the abject failure of liberaltarianism.


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Un-Greening Congressional Cafeterias
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2011, 10:30:42 AM »
Stick a Fork in Capitol’s “Green” Utensils
Jonathan H. Adler • March 5, 2011 11:21 am

When Democrats retook the U.S. House of Representatives, they set out to “green” the Capitol.  One measure was the introduction of compostable eating utensils in the House cafeteria.  The corn-based cutlery may work for some things, but it was not popular on Capitol Hill.  As the Washington Post reports, the new utensils were more expensive, broke easily, and “warped when exposed to hot soup.” Worse, the adoption of greener foodware didn’t produce the promised environmental benefits. Much of the energy savings from switching to a corn-based product was offset by the need to haul the compostables away.

Did this kill green cutlery? Not until the GOP was back in charge: “Democratic leaders didn’t kill the program. Instead, they waited until Republicans took over, then suggested they do it. Republicans quickly obliged.” And so, the House cafeteria has returned to plastic forks, knives and spoons. In other words, Congress has eliminated a corn-based product mandate in favor of petroleum. If only they could do this with ethanol too.


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Progressive Failure
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2011, 02:33:02 PM »
Wal-Mart Goes ‘Back to Basics’: A Cautionary Tale for the Left
Posted By Richard Pollock On April 11, 2011 @ 10:16 am In Uncategorized | 236 Comments

After suffering seven straight quarters of losses, today the merchandise giant Wal-Mart will announce [1] that it is “going back to basics,” ending its era of high-end organic foods, going “green,” [2] and the remainder of its appeal to the upscale market. Next month the company will launch an “It’s Back” campaign to woo the millions of customers who have fled the store. They will be bringing back “heritage” products, like inexpensive jeans and sweatpants.

Few may recognize it as such, but this episode should be seen as a cautionary tale about “progressives” and social engineering experiments on low-income Americans. This morning’s Wall Street Journal [1] article is blunt:

That strategy failed, and the Bentonville, Ark., retail giant now is pursuing a back-to-basics strategy to reverse the company’s fortunes.

The failure, in large part, can be pinned to Leslie Dach: a well-known progressive and former senior aide to Vice President Al Gore. In July 2006, Dach was installed as the public relations chief for Wal-Mart. He drafted a number of other progressives into the company, seeking to change the company’s way of doing business: its culture, its politics, and most importantly its products.

Out went drab, inexpensive merchandise so dear to low-income Americans. In came upscale organic foods, “green” products, trendy jeans, and political correctness. In other words, Dach sought to expose poor working Americans to the “good life” of the wealthy, environmentally conscious Prius driver.

Dach’s failure should be a cautionary tale for President Obama: last week [3] he scolded a blue collar man in Pennsylvania for driving an SUV, and he has previously admonished Americans to get out of their gas-guzzlers and into electric cars. Dach’s failure should also put Michelle Obama on notice; she has been pushing her White House organic vegetable garden as a model for working Americans.

Like other real-world experiments, the Wal-Mart story exposes the failure of progressivism in the marketplace, as the Dach strategy has been a fiasco: the merchandising turned off low-income (and largely Democratic-leaning) customers. Says former Wal-Mart executive Jimmy Wright [4]:

The basic Wal-Mart customer didn’t leave Wal-Mart. What happened is that Wal-Mart left the customer.

Dach convinced the company to steer away from founder Sam Walton’s core values. At the core of Dach’s campaign was to prove that Wal-Mart was “going green.” He brought in Vice President Gore [5] to speak about environmental issues: they actually screened his global warming film, An Inconvenient Truth, at a quarterly meeting of Wal-Mart empl0yees and invited environmental groups. Expensive organic foods [2] were showcased in their produce section. Trendy and pricey environmentally safe products were put on the shelves.

Richard Edelman of Edelman Public Relations — who had once hired Dach — noted that Dach constantly pushed Democratic Party health care and environmental agendas inside the giant company. Writes the New Yorker [6]:

Richard Edelman suggested that he is seeing Dach’s influence on the company. Edelman called Dach an “idealist” who has carried to Wal-Mart his fervor for such traditional Democratic causes as universal health care and environmentalism.

The Sierra Club’s Carl Pope seemed pleased that Dach was inside the enemy camp, confiding [7]to the New Yorker:

One of the remarkable things about the environmental movement is how rarely people from our side end up on the other side, and Leslie is on the other side.

But Dach’s fervor only sunk the company. Andy Barron, a Wal-Mart executive vice president, told an investor meeting [4]:

Clearly, we’ve lost some of our focus on what I would call the core customer. … You might say, in short, that we were trying to be something that maybe we’re not.

George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley — the nation’s largest organics cooperative — said to the WSJ [4]:

Is the Wal-Mart customer ready to embrace a full set of organics products? The answer is no, not yet.

This is probably not what Michelle Obama wants to hear.

For leading the failed experiment, Dach was awarded [8] three million dollars in stock and a hundred and sixty-eight thousand stock options, in addition to an undisclosed base salary.

Summing up the mess, mechanic Mike Craig told the WSJ [4]:

Wal-Mart just went and broke it.

Article printed from Pajamas Media:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:

[1] will announce:
[2] going “green,”:
[3] last week:
[4] Jimmy Wright:
[5] brought in Vice President Gore:
[6] New Yorker:
[7] confiding :
[8] was awarded:


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So just show us the F' long form!
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2011, 08:55:30 AM »
So just show us the long form.  Where is it.  Something is being hidden.  It is remarkable why the MSM continues to avoid an answer to this question.  Only Chris Matthews earlier came out and asked the obvious glaring question.  Why not just show us the long form?  Of course he was hushed up.   

Trump is the ONLY one who will ask this question.  Anyone with a quarter of a brain can see something is being hidden from the public.

****HONOLULU (AP) -- Lost in the renewed scrutiny into President Barack Obama's birth records is the fact that anyone can walk into a Hawaii vital records office, wait in line behind couples getting marriage licenses and open a baby-blue government binder containing basic information about his birth.

Highlighted in yellow on page 1,218 of the thick binder is the computer-generated listing for a boy named Barack Hussein Obama II born in Hawaii, surrounded by the alphabetized last names of all other children born in-state between 1960 and 1964. This is the only government birth information, called "index data," available to the public.

So far this month, only The Associated Press and one other person had looked at the binder, according to a sign-in sheet viewed Wednesday in the state Department of Health building. The sheet showed about 25 names of people who have seen the document since March 2010, when the sign-in sheet begins.

Those documents complement newspaper birth announcements published soon after Obama's Aug. 4, 1961 birth and a "certification of live birth" released by the Obama campaign three years ago, the only type of birth certificate the state issues.

So-called "birthers" claim there's no proof Obama was born in the United States, and he is therefore ineligible to be president. Many of the skeptics suggest he was actually born in Kenya, his father's home country, or Indonesia where he spent a few years of his childhood.

Possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly stoked the birther fires recently, and last month called on Obama to "show his birth certificate." Trump said he has investigators in Hawaii searching for more information.

"Nobody has come in and said they're investigating for Donald Trump," said Department of Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo, who acknowledged they could've come in without identifying themselves as representing Trump.

What the would-be sleuths won't find is Obama's "long-form birth certificate," a confidential one-page document containing his original birth records kept on file in the first floor of the Department of Health.

Those original birth records typically include additional birth details, such as the hospital and delivering doctor, said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the state's former health director who twice looked at and publicly confirmed Obama's original long-form birth records.

But those documents are state government property that can't be released to anyone, even the president himself, said Joshua Wisch, special assistant to the state attorney general. Obama would be able to inspect his birth records if he visited the Health Department in person, but original records of live birth are never released, he said.

Fukino, who served as the state's health director until late last year under former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, said in an interview with The Associated Press she's convinced the long-form document is authentic. She issued public statements in 2008 and 2009 saying she had seen the original records.

"It is absolutely clear to me that he was born here in Hawaii," Fukino told the AP. "It should not be an issue, and I think people need to focus on the other bad things going on in our country and in our state and figure out what we're going to do about those things."

Before Obama's campaign released his certification of live birth in 2008, he or someone with a tangible interest had to make a written request and pay a $10 fee to receive it, Okubo said. Wisch also said Obama obtained a copy of his own certification of live birth and publicly released it.

State privacy laws prevent a certification of live birth from being released to anyone except those with a tangible interest, such as the person named by the birth record or a close family member.

The document is generated by computer, based on original birth records on file with the state, Fukino said.

New Health Director Loretta Fuddy, a Democratic appointee, declined to comment.

Last week, Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have required presidential candidates to prove their U.S. citizenship before their names could appear on the state's ballot - which was widely viewed as targeting Obama - calling it a "bridge too far."

But the birther conspiracy theory refuses to go away. The latest New York Times-CBS News poll found that 45 percent of adult Republicans said they believe Obama was born in another country, and 22 percent said they don't know. Only one-third of Republicans said they believe the president is native born. The same poll a year ago found that a plurality of Republicans believed the president was born in the U.S.

Obama said in an interview with ABC News this month that Republicans sowing doubts about whether he's American-born may gain politically in the short term by playing to their constituencies, but will have trouble when the general election rolls around.

"Just want to be clear - I was born in Hawaii," the president said at a fundraiser in his hometown of Chicago.

Newspaper birth announcements appeared in both The Honolulu Advertiser and The Honolulu Star-Bulletin in the weeks after he was born.

The Aug. 13, 1961 announcement in the Advertiser appears on page B-6 of the Sunday edition, next to classified ads for carpentry work and house repair.

It says, "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Hwy., son, Aug. 4." The address belonged to the parents of Ann Dunham, Obama's mother.

A similar announcement appeared the following day on page 24 of the Star-Bulletin.



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No Blood for . . . Oh Nevermind
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2011, 06:47:19 PM »
Where Did All the Anti-War Protestors Go?

The anti-war movement was all over the news before President Obama was elected. But apparently they weren’t really anti-war ... they were just anti-President Bush. Two college professors just released a study of national protests between 2007 and 2009. What did they find?

… After January 2007, the attendance at antiwar rallies [measured in] roughly the tens of thousands, or thousands, through the end of 2008.

… After the election of Barack Obama as president, the order of magnitude of antiwar protests dropped [...] Organizers were hard pressed to stage a rally with participation in the thousands, or even in the hundreds. For example, we counted exactly 107 participants at a Chicago rally on October 7, 2009.

Amazing. Especially because the war in Afghanistan ramped up after Obama was elected. American fatalities shot up in 2009 and 2010.

The protesters have remained silent over Libya.

And I’m struck by the hypocrisy of the supposedly “anti-war” politicians who voted against Iraq, like Nancy Pelosi. Since Obama was elected, she has voted to continue the war in Afghanistan … and supported the attack on Libya.

Only a handful of Congressmen have remained principled on foreign intervention. One of them is Ron Paul. On my FBN show this week, I’ll talk with him about why he opposes our “aggressive foreign policy.” Thursday at 10pm EST.


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No right to representation for the right
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2011, 07:28:05 AM »

A major law firm has caved to pressure from militant homosexual activists, and one of America’s top Supreme Court lawyers resigned from that firm rather than abandon principle. That lawyer is former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, and this is a story that everyone who values the rule of law needs to understand.

In 1996, a bipartisan majority of the Republican-controlled Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton. The law specifies that for purposes of federal law, marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The law also provides that if any state breaks with 2,000 years of Western civilization by redefining marriage to include homosexual couples, no other state need recognize those unions.

Then some people started redefining marriage. In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to do the same through an egregious instance of judicial activism. Today, a total of five states out of fifty have same-sex marriage.

Predictably, some activists challenged DOMA in federal court.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has a duty to defend every federal law in court. The only exceptions are for laws that undermine the president’s power (and even then, DOJ sometimes defends it) or for laws where no reasonable argument can be made defending that law.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that DOJ would no longer defend DOMA because he and President Barack Obama believe that there is no rational basis for the law. This is shocking, because President Obama is speaking out of both sides of his mouth, saying that he still believes marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Let’s make sure we have this right: Marriage is between a man and a woman, but any law saying that is so irrational that it cannot be defended in court. It seems President Obama is either schizophrenic or disingenuous.

Thankfully, the U.S. House of Representatives took up the defense of DOMA. To do so, they retained former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement—now a partner at King & Spalding—to defend the law in court.

In response, a militant homosexual-agenda group, the Human Rights Campaign, took the disgraceful action of organizing a nationwide boycott of King & Spalding and tried to discourage graduating law students from working there.

Everyone should have access to a lawyer. The U.S. Constitution empowers the courts to decide whether a law is unconstitutional, but also requires that a court only do so if arguments are presented on both sides. Our constitutional system of government calls for both parties putting their best arguments on the table, so that a judge has everything necessary to arrive at the correct decision.

But leftist zealots evidently don’t care about a court reaching the right decision, calling for punishing anyone who has enough faith in the American legal system to wage an honorable contest in court.

When Ted Olson decided to take a case arguing that the U.S. Constitution includes a right to same-sex marriage which mysteriously went unnoticed by anyone in the country for over 200 years, no reputable group called for boycotting his firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Nor should they. Gibson Dunn argues for many causes and clients, many of them right.

Yet in an instance of craven cowardice, King & Spalding caved to pressure and has withdrawn from the case. Rather than stand by the principle that every issue—especially one unpopular to some—deserves fair consideration in court, the firm’s chairman, Robert Hays, said that the firm was quitting.

Clement—a top Supreme Court lawyer with over fifty cases before the Court—would not cave. Rather than abandon his client, he resigned from King & Spalding. He has now joined Bancroft PLLC, a law firm and policy organization featuring well-respected conservative lawyers and analysts.

And no one can lose sight of his client’s identity: the U.S. House of Representatives. This isn’t some traitor, or depraved serial murderer of children, or terrorist regime. This is the House representing the American people, chosen by We the People.

I don’t even know if Clement is personally pro-marriage. Maybe he’s not. But he took it as his duty to represent our Congress in court. He’s a patriot for answering that call.

People should remember this episode as showing the oppressive nature of some leftists. They scream about freedom when it suits their purpose, only to deny others freedom to even be heard. On this issue, pro-marriage advocates—especially churches and ministries faithful to biblical teaching on marriage—had better take heed. You will be next.

The truth is never afraid of a good debate. At the core of the First Amendment is the idea that people must be free to speak, because the best ideas should win in the end. The Federalist Society was founded upon that premise in hosting debates at law schools, reasoning that on a level playing field, the best ideas should prevail.

Those who oppose debate do so because they fear that they cannot overcome opposition. Those who try to prevent an opponent from having a good lawyer in court fears that the law may not be on their side.

A nation under the rule of law requires top lawyers to take up both sides of legal issues going to court. Solicitor General Paul Clement shows great courage by upholding that principle. Every solicitor general and deputy solicitor general alive today—both Republican and Democrat—should express their support for the brave stand taken by Paul Clement.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2011, 10:18:32 AM »
Obama and Holder are doing epic damage to this nation.


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Desacralising Damnfoolishness
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2011, 06:35:10 PM »
Diagnosing Krugman
Apr 25th 2011, 19:48 by W.W. | IOWA CITY

SOMETIMES people believe something so patently ridiculous, so detached from evidence and good sense, that it is more useful to diagnose it than to debate it. For example, the New York Times' "Room for Debate" forum has been featuring an interesting discussion of the psychological principles underlying the widespread conviction that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, despite ample evidence to the contrary. While "birthers" are in my opinion richly deserving of such treatment, this sort of psychologising diagnosis of strong political conviction often serves as a cheap, supremely condescending trick for pathologising and thus dismissing those with whom we disagree. A good deal of work on the psychology of conservatism is like this. The motivating question, "What the hell is wrong with these people?" takes it for granted that there is something wrong with "these people", and thus that disagreement with them is based not on a reasonable difference of opinions among intelligent people of good will, but rather on some sort of deep-seated defect of character or cognition in the "other" insusceptible to correction through civilised discourse.

It is in this dismissively diagnostic spirit that I would like to approach Paul Krugman's latest column. He writes:

Here’s my question: How did it become normal, or for that matter even acceptable, to refer to medical patients as “consumers”? The relationship between patient and doctor used to be considered something special, almost sacred. Now politicians and supposed reformers talk about the act of receiving care as if it were no different from a commercial transaction, like buying a car—and their only complaint is that it isn’t commercial enough.What has gone wrong with us?

Let us ask this, instead: What has gone wrong with this celebrated economist such that he has come to believe that something "has gone wrong with us" if we have come to conceive of those who buy medical services from those who sell them as "consumers", which is what they are? 

Now, I'm sceptical of the idea that the business of "receiving care" is now more commercial than ever. As many economists are glad to tell you, the astronomical American level of health-care spending is largely a function of "price insulation"—of the fact that, um, "care receivers" are, by dint of the nature of typical health plans, prevented from taking costs much into account. We have arrived at our present unsustainable situation because we have moved health care into a liminal zone away from the market discipline of the cash nexus, but not all the way toward the bureaucratic discipline of socialism, such as it is. The most curious thing about Mr Krugman's quasi-religious squeamishness about the "commercial transaction" is that it is normally the economist's lot to explain to the superstitious public the humanitarian benefits of bringing human life ever more within the cash nexus. Yet Mr Krugman has chosen to reinforce rather than fight taboos against trade as if he were a benighted, harrumphing scold, or a sociologist.

In any case, let's examine Mr Krugman's implicit premises. First, that "special, almost sacred" relationships cannot be "commercial". This is a familiar canard, but not as interesting as Mr Krugman's further implied assumption: that a transaction thoroughly mediated by the state is not desacralising. That is to say, whatever is crass and profane about patients exchanging money directly for doctors' services is avoided if the patient-doctor relationship is brought within the matrix of politics. This seems odd to me, but then I am odd, as recent work on the moral psychology of market exchange has helped me see.

In an important paper on "Taboo trade-offs, relational framing, and the acceptability of exchanges", Peter McGraw and Philip Tetlock, psychologists at the Universities of Colorado and California, Berkeley, find that:

Ideology...has a moderating influence on the perceived appropriateness of transactions. Whereas liberals and conservatives find efforts to monetize babies, body parts, and basic rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship abhorrent, we find that among libertarians the objections to these types of transactions wane. Moving left on the political spectrum toward socialism increases the tendency to find not only surrogate motherhood unacceptable but also the buying and selling of borderline controversial commodities such as medical care and legal representation as well as currently uncontroversial commodities such as houses and food. Devout egalitarians tend to see such exchanges as inherently inequitable because they put the poor at a profound disadvantage (and because they seem to carry the implication that the lives and rights of the poor are worth less than those who can pay large sums for doctors and lawyers).

I am one of the libertarian types to whom few transactions seem especially problematical. Anything that's peaceful! In contrast, Mr Krugman would appear to be one of those "devout egalitarians" to whom it seems wrong to leave the protection of basic rights, such as the right to health care, to the vagaries of the market. But there's more to it than this. It's not just that buying and selling certain things is creepy or gross; it's that there is something inherently ennobling and honourable about government providing or assuring the provision of these same things. Messrs McGraw and Tetlock suggest to me an egalitarian mental model that helps make sense of Mr Krugman's complaint about health care as a merely commercial concern. It goes a little something like this.

Market exchange is fine, in it's place. But there are some things to which we are entitled as human beings and/or citizens, and putting those things on the market dishonours our rights and diminishes our dignity as persons and Americans (or whatever nationality you may be). In contrast, government guarantees elevate and sacralise the goods and relationships implied by our entitlements. But why? Because the state is the institutional embodiment of our unity and solidarity as a people. One function of government is to deliver the goods, sure. But it is also an expressive institution that affirms and embodies ideals of equality and mutual respect by delivering the goods as a mandate of the collective will. If patients are not consumers, what are they? Free and equal citizens getting their due.

This is a pretty picture, but it's also a problem—a problem economists generally help us to see through. The policies that publicly express good will and mutual respect—that successfully broadcast that we care about one another—often are not the policies that would actually deliver the goods—the policies you'd favour if you cared more about people than signaling that you care about people. The policies that would actually deliver often would do so by enabling and encouraging consumer choice and entrepreneurial discovery and innovation in competitive markets. If the deep worry about certain forms of market exchange is that they put the poor at a disadvantage, we can address the worry by making certain that means-tested transfers are generous enough to ensure sufficient market power for all. But we can't address concerns about market inequity in this way if market-based policy is preemptively ruled out of bounds by a misguided public theology of markets and politics. Widespread public commitment to a vocabulary of moral and political symbolism according to which "merely commercial" transactions and relationships are seen to be profane, while political transactions and relationships are seen to be sacred, is a significant impediment to improving human welfare with policy that harnesses the power of markets. One task of the liberal intellectual is to chip away at taboos that cause preventable suffering by limiting the range of politically-feasible policy. Isn't this the opposite of what Mr Krugman is doing?


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Compassion and kindness of the left
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2011, 08:57:31 AM »

ThinkProgress: Storm victims kind of had it coming, didn’t they?


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Cognitive dissonance of the left: Obama is "integratively complex"
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2011, 10:36:07 AM »
Give me a break, pure drivel IMO, but I post this for what passes for journalism and serious analysis.  He is too smart and honest for this job, according to experts.   

He is a political hack exposed by his tactless assault on the Supreme Court at the SOTU and the same on Paul Ryan at his budget hawk debut.  To locate the bias in the writing, just notice they refer the senate's purist liberal as 'center-left'. He is complex only in that he single-mindedly wants to destroy capitalism from within (starve it of energy and burden it with costs) and move us to socialist utopia but needs to hold onto power in a center-right nation in order to do that.  He isn't complex, he is deceitful and duplicitous.  But that isn't the story going at the top of Washington media and academia.

If he is so smart, show me the grades and test scores.  Show me original writings.  Show me solutions to problems that come uniquely from him that others hadn't thought of.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: Obama, lost in thought

“What distinguishes Obama particularly is the depth and carefulness of his thinking...” said Jonathan Haidt, a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia. “He is a brilliant social and political analyst, which makes it harder for him to play hardball or to bluff.”  Obama’s strengths and weaknesses come from his high degree of “integrative complexity” — his ability to keep multiple variables and trade-offs in mind simultaneously.  (read it all if you want)


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2011, 09:21:18 AM »
“What distinguishes Obama particularly is the depth and carefulness of his thinking...” said Jonathan Haidt, a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia. “He is a brilliant social and political analyst, which makes it harder for him to play hardball or to bluff.”  Obama’s strengths and weaknesses come from his high degree of “integrative complexity” — his ability to keep multiple variables and trade-offs in mind simultaneously."

Well this social psychologist needs his own head examined.

The BS is truly mind boggling and frustrating too.


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The cognitive dissonance of the left: then and now
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2011, 09:44:47 AM »
Here’s Nancy Pelosi from a press conference on September 7, 2006:

    [E]ven if [Osama bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. He has done more damage the longer he has been out there. But, in fact, the damage that he has done . . . is done. And even to capture him now I don’t think makes us any safer.

And here’s Nancy Pelosi yesterday:

    The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida. . . . I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment. . . . [T]he death of Osama bin Laden is historic. . . .

This devastating then-and-now comparison comes to us courtesy of John Hinderaker of Power Line.
 - Peter Wehner, Commentary Magazine


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2011, 01:55:55 PM »

Well Lawrence of MSLSD played tapes of W saying roughly the same thing in 2002. 
I wonder if they were simply downplaying the embarrassment of not being able to find or catch him till now.

While it is certainly great to be rid of him I can't say I suddenly feel safe from Jihadists.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2011, 06:57:00 AM »
CCP,  Everybody has an agenda I suppose.  At the time Bush said what he said, we had put OBL into hiding and largely cut off his finances, communications and ability to operate.  I doubt if his view is any different about that today.  I notice that he didn't want to go to ground zero and celebrate.

At the time Pelosi made her first statement, she was following up on the John Kerry story that we let him get away, incompetent administration was her point, even if they find him now they are still a complete failure, etc. talking America's efforts down while troops are in harm's way for political advantage.  In her current statement the message is the opposite, it is all about the greatness of President Obama, his team, a mention to other nations but not to his predecessors who made this possible. 

The truth I think is that the demise of bin Laden is symbolic of American strength but not strategic.  His own ability to operate had already been mostly cut off, and as you point out, the threat we face is still out there.  The flip side of the symbolism is that our inability to get him was a symbol of American weakness/impotence and that perception in terms of our military was proven to be wrong.

Obama has one advantage in foreign policy over any Republican: his administration has people who put country before politics in the opposition party.


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Colin Powell has lost me
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2011, 10:12:07 AM »
I still don't get it that Obama couldn't just release his birth certificate.  Questions absolutely were legitimate and he did not blow anyone away.  He again proved he put his own political agenda and cynicism and disdain for anyone who disagrees with him above the legitimate concerns of many Americans.  Powell who I have much less respect for is speaking to the choir here so I guess I expect too much...

Associated Press Susanne M. Schafer, Associated Press – Fri May 6, 10:32 pm ET
ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Colin Powell told graduates of South Carolina's premier historically black university that they were graduating during a tumultuous time that saw a royal wedding, a pope's beatification and a U.S. military assault that killed Osama bin Laden, "the worst person on earth."

But the former secretary of state and Joint Chiefs chairman told South Carolina State University's 400 graduates on Friday that he particularly enjoyed another recent event: "That was when President Obama took out his birth certificate and blew away Donald Trump and all the birthers!"

The stadium roared in approval of Powell's comments on the president's move last week to quell the doubts of those who don't believe he was born in Hawaii. The retired Army four-star general endorsed Obama's 2008 presidential bid.

Earlier Friday, Powell was made an honorary member of the school's ROTC hall of fame.


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« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2011, 07:43:45 AM »
""I think the point of the editorial was that the Indian American governor of Louisiana should not be worried about people's origins and birthplaces. That's one of the great things about this country."

Bobby Jindal's parents were at least here legally. 

Now it is no longer legitimate to question someone's birth place?  At least Jindal didn't cynically withold the information.  He immediately released the birth certificate when the issue was brought up.  Unlike the coniver in chief.

****Louisiana governor Jindal caught in birther flap
 Sat May 7, 8:24 pm ET
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – A photo of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's birth certificate was published by a newspaper on Saturday even though there is no doubt the Indian American Republican was born in the United States.

Jindal, who is not running for president in 2012 but is mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate, released the certificate to prove a newspaper editorial wrong.

Jindal was born in the United States to Indian immigrant parents who held green cards at the time.

The flap started when Jindal said last month that he would sign a state bill, if it reached his desk, that would require candidates for federal office on the Louisiana ballot to show proof of birth in the U.S.

The bill was a response to doubts about President Barack Obama's Hawaii birth raised by possible Republican presidential candidates such as businessman Donald Trump. Obama recently released his full birth certificate to squelch the doubts.

After Jindal endorsed the Louisiana "birther" bill, the Baton Rouge daily newspaper, The Advocate, on April 22 published a critical editorial.

"Piyush Amrit Jindal is the last man in America who should give his blessing to a birther bill," the editorial said.

Jindal's office angrily responded that the newspaper had got the governor's middle name wrong. "Amrit," was the name of an ancient Middle East city, Jindal's office said, and not his middle name.

Jindal offered to release his birth certificate to prove it. The Advocate received the birth certificate, apologized for use of an "incorrect middle name" and removed "Amrit" from the online version of the editorial.

Asked about the incident, The Advocate Executive Editor Carl Redman told Reuters, "I think the point of the editorial was that the Indian American governor of Louisiana should not be worried about people's origins and birthplaces. That's one of the great things about this country."

But the incident lived on when the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Saturday ran a photo of the birth certificate and a long article about the details of his parents' entry into the United States.

The birth certificate shows his name as only "Piyush Jindal" with no middle name. Jindal has long used the first name "Bobby."

Jindal's spokesman confirmed on Saturday the details in the article of his parents' arrival in the United States. They came on green cards secured by Jindal's engineer father, Amar Jindal, based on a 1965 law that allowed people with "exceptional ability in the sciences or arts" to enter the U.S. Jindal's mother Raj got a spouse green card.

Amar Jindal now works for a large engineering firm that has offices in Louisiana and around the country. Raj Jindal, who hold masters degrees in physics and nuclear engineering from Louisiana State University, is director of information technology in the Louisiana Department of Labor.

Bernie Pinsonat, a Baton Rouge political analyst and pollster, said the whole saga could confuse some people.

"I have no idea why he did this (release the certificate) except maybe he thinks he'll get some popularity points nationally," Pinsonat said. "Nobody in Louisiana doubts that he was born in the United States."

(Editing by Greg McCune)****


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Miraculous cure!
« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2011, 11:41:20 AM »
In March 2008, David Mamet was outed in the Village Voice. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright had a comedy about an American president running on Broadway, and—perhaps to help with ticket sales—decided to write an article about the election season. The headline was subtle: "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal.'"

"They mistitled it," he insists. Mr. Mamet had given the piece the far more staid title, "Political Civility." But the Voice's headline was truth in advertising. "I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind," Mr. Mamet wrote, referring to his prior self as, yes, a "brain-dead liberal."

The article was the most popular ever published on the Voice's website. But was the acclaimed Mr. Mamet really a conservative?

For a few years, he played it coy. In a 2008 interview with New York Magazine, he sloughed off a question about who he was voting for: "I'm not the guy to ask about politics. I'm a gag writer." In 2010, he told PBS's Charlie Rose he'd only offer his opinion about President Obama off-camera.  But spend five minutes with Mr. Mamet and you realize that coy can only last so long. "Being a rather pugnacious sort of fellow I thought, as Albert Finney says in 'Two for the Road': 'As I said to the duchess, 'If you want to be a duchess, be a duchess. If you want to make love, it's hats off.'"

Hats off, indeed. Now Mr. Mamet has written a book-length, raucous coming-out party: "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture." (If only the Voice editors had been around to supply a snappier title.)

Hear him take on the left's sacred cows. Diversity is a "commodity." College is nothing more than "Socialist Camp." Liberalism is like roulette addiction. Toyota's Prius, he tells me, is an "anti-chick magnet" and "ugly as a dogcatcher's butt." Hollywood liberals—his former crowd—once embraced Communism "because they hadn't invented Pilates yet." Oh, and good radio isn't NPR ("National Palestinian Radio") but Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt.

The book is blunt, at times funny, and often over the top. When I meet the apostate in a loft in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, he's wrapping up a production meeting. "Bye, bye, Bette!" he calls to the actress walking toward the elevator. That'd be Bette Midler. Al Pacino gets a bear hug. The two are starring in an upcoming HBO film about Phil Spector's murder trial. Mr. Mamet is directing and he looks the part in a scarf, black beret and round yellow-framed glasses. Looking out the window at NYU film school, where he used to teach, I ask him to tell me his conversion story.

He starts, naturally, with the most famous political convert in modern American history: Whittaker Chambers, whose 1952 book, "Witness," documented his turn from Communism. "I read it. It was miraculous. Extraordinary hero-journey of this fellow that had to examine everything he believed in at the great, great cost—which is a cost I'm not subject to—of abandoning his life, his sustenance, his friends, his associations, and his past. And I said, 'Oh my God. . . . Perhaps it might be incumbent upon me to see if I could get my thought and my actions into line too."

There were other books. Most were given to him by his rabbi in L.A., Mordecai Finley. Mr. Mamet rattles off the works that affected him most: "White Guilt" by Shelby Steele, "Ethnic America" by Thomas Sowell, "The Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War" by Wilfred Trotter, "The Road to Serfdom" by Friedrich Hayek, "Capitalism and Freedom" by Milton Friedman, and "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill.

Before he moved to California, Mr. Mamet had never met a self-described conservative or read one's writings. He'd never heard of Messrs. Sowell or Steele. "No one on the left has," he tells me. "I realized I lived in this bubble."

When it popped, it was rough. "I did what I thought was, if not a legitimate, then at least a usual, thing—I took it out on those around me," Mr. Mamet says wryly. It took "a long, long, long time and a lot of difficult thinking first to analyze, then change, some of my ideas."

Then comes one of Mr. Mamet's many Hollywood fables. "It's like Orson Welles," he begins.

"It's his first day on the set of Citizen Kane, and he's never directed a movie, he's the greatest stage director of his time. Gregg Toland is his cinematographer, and Toland's the greatest cinematographer of his day. And Orson says, 'Ok, this next shot we're gonna put the camera over here. And Gregg says, 'You can't put the camera there, Orson.' So Orson says, 'Well why not? The director can put it wherever.' Gregg says, 'No. Because you're crossing the line.' So Orson says, 'What does it mean crossing the line? So Gregg explains to him that there's a line of action." (Mr. Mamet attempts to demonstrate the principle to me by indicating the line of sight between our noses.)

"Orson says, 'I don't understand.'" (Neither did I.) "So Gregg explains it again. And Orson says, 'I still don't understand'—'cause sometimes it can get very, very complicated. So Orson says, 'Stop! Stop filming! I have to go home.' He went home and he stayed up all night with sheets of paper and a ruler and he came back next day and said: 'Now I understand, now we can go on.'"

And so it was with Mr. Mamet and politics. He couldn't move on, so to speak, before he understood "what the nature of government is, just sufficient so that I as a citizen can actually vote without being a member of a herd." Same for taxes: "I pay them, so I think I should be responsible for what actually happens to them." As for the history of the country itself, he wanted to understand "the vision of the Founding Fathers. . . . How does holding to it keep people safe and prosperous?"

Reading and reflecting got him to some basics. Real diversity is intellectual. Whatever its flaws, America is the greatest country in the history of the world. The free market always solves problems better than government. It's the job of the state to be just, not to render social justice. And, most sobering, Mr. Mamet writes in "The Secret Knowledge," there are no perfect solutions to inequality, only trade-offs.

It's a wonder he didn't explicitly adopt this tragic view of reality earlier on. The play "Glengarry Glen Ross," for example, for which Mr. Mamet won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize, is about a group of desperate men competing with each other in a Chicago real estate office. At stake: a Cadillac for the top seller. Second place: a set of steak knives. Third prize: you're fired.

Needless to say, no one ends up getting the Caddie. "That's the essence of drama," Mr. Mamet says. "Anyone can write: And then we realized that Lithuanians are people too and we're all happier now. Who cares?" Tragedy is devastating, he says, precisely because it's about "people trying to do the best they can and ending up destroying each other.

"So it wasn't a great shift to adopt the tragic view, and it's much healthier," he says. "Rather than saying, as the liberals do, 'Everything's always wrong, there's nothing that's not wrong, there's something bad bad bad—there's a bad thing in the world and it's probably called the Jews,'" he says sardonically. "And if it's not called the Jews for the moment, it's their fiendish slave second-hand smoke. Or transfats. Or global warming. Or the Y2K. Or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. And something must be done!'"

It's the last part—the temptation to believe that everything can be fixed—that Mr. Mamet thinks is the fatal error. "That's such a f— bore," he says. "I mean, have you ever tried to get a pipe fixed in your bathroom on a Saturday? It's not going to happen. It's gonna happen wrong, and the guy's gonna be late because his dog got run over, and he's going to fix the wrong pipe, and when he takes it apart he's gonna say, 'Oops, the whole plumbing system's gonna have to go and dah dah dah and etc. etc. etc. And your daughter's Bat Mitzvah's gonna be ruined. It's interesting—it's the tragic view of life."

As Mr. Mamet quotes his son, Noah, in "The Secret Knowledge," "it's the difference between the Heavenly Dream and the God-Awful Reality."

On the left, Mr. Mamet is accused of having ulterior motives for his political shift. The New Republic's Jonathan Chait writes that the story is a familiar, Zionist one: "An increasingly religious Jew with strong loyalty to Israel, he became aware of a tension between the illiberal nationalism of his right-wing views on the Middle East and the liberalism of his views on everything else, and resolved the tension by abandoning the latter." Mr. Mamet calls this a "crock of s—."

The Slate website has run with the "Rich Person Discovers He Is a Republican" narrative. And then there's the jiu-jitsu theory offered by a film blogger: "Mamet's escalating interest in martial arts—traditionally the domain of right-wing nutjobs like Chuck Norris—has pointed toward this new stance for some time." Obviously.

None of these responses comes as a surprise. And, being a contrarian and a dramatist, Mr. Mamet doubtless relishes the attention for his heresy. What will be more interesting is to see how critics respond to his two new plays.

The first, playing now in Manhattan, is called "The Linguistics Class." Only 10 minutes long, it's part of a festival of 25 short plays at the Atlantic Theater Company, running alongside works by Ethan Coen and Sam Shepard. It's a coming home for Mr. Mamet: He founded the company with his friend, the actor William H. Macey, 25 years ago.

The play is about a teacher and a student who don't see eye to eye, and Mr. Mamet assures me "it has nothing to do with Noam Chomsky."

"The Anarchist," on the other hand, sounds like it will be red meat for conservatives. The two-woman show, which opens this fall in London, is about a prisoner, a former member of a Weather Underground-type group, and her parole officer. The play's themes have been developing since Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Mamet was in Toronto that day for a film festival. "I read an article, I think it was in that day's Toronto Star, that had been a reprint from the Chicago Tribune," he says. It was an interview with Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dorne, two former leaders of the Weather Underground. "They were talking about the bombings in the '60s. And the guy says to Bill Ayers: 'Are you regretful?' And he said: 'No, no, no.' . . . And I read it, and I thought, this is appalling and immoral," recalls Mr. Mamet.

"Then I got on a plane. And while I was on the plane they blew up New York City. The combination of the two things just started me thinking what have we—meaning my generation—done?" Mr. Mamet knows these characters intimately. They went to school with him at Goddard College in Vermont, or they passed through. "Some of the people I knew actually were involved in blowing up the building on 11th Street [in Manhattan by members of the Weather Underground in 1970]. . . . And I thought: how does this happen?"

Is it a coincidence that this play is arriving at the same time as Mr. Mamet's public conservatism? Does he worry that critics will see it as polemical? "I don't know," he contends, insistent that his job as a writer is not to worry about politics but to entertain and surprise his audience. "The question is can you put the asses in the seats and can you keep the asses in the seats. That's not me, that's Aristotle. I've forgotten the Greek for it."

Ms. Weiss is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal. A review of Mr. Mamet's book, "The Secret Knowledge," can be found on page C13 in today's Review section.


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The new Pelosi
« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2011, 11:38:09 AM »
Not speaker of house but DNC chair.  I guess saying moron things is a prerequisite for Dem party leaders:

DNC Chair: Republicans Believe Illegal Immigration 'Should be a Crime'
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
By Fred Lucas
( – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, denounced Republicans last week for believing illegal immigration “should in fact be a crime.”

“I think the president was clearly articulating that his position--the Democratic position--is that we need comprehensive immigration reform,” said Wasserman Schultz at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast on May 26.

“We have 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country that are part of the backbone of our economy and this is not only a reality but a necessity," she said. "And that it would be harmful--the Republican solution that I’ve seen in the last three years is that we should just pack them all up and ship them back to their own countries and that in fact it should be a crime and we should arrested them all.”

The comment has drawn attention among conservative commentators and bloggers. During the comments, the chairwoman referred to legislation in 2006 by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) that would increase border enforcement and make illegal immigration a criminal offense instead of a civil matter.

However, the Senate bill immunized illegal aliens from being prosecuted for document fraud, a felony, and did not stop the practice of allowing illegal aliens eventually granted legal residency to go back and claim credit with the Social Security Administration for work they did as an illegal. These provisions were in sections 601 and 614 of the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform bill.

At the same Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Wasserman Schultz said, “If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes.”

The Hill newspaper quickly reported that Wasserman Schultz owns a 2010 Infiniti FX35, a Japanese car whose parent company is Nissan. The newspaper cited Florida motor vehicle records.

Further during the breakfast, she stressed that support for Israel should not become a partisan issue, and believed that Republicans were trying to make it one. But she referenced President Barack Obama as “probably” being pro-Israel.

“One of the most tremendous sources of pride for me is that I am the first Jewish woman to represent the state of Florida in Congress. And another tremendous source of pride is that I am a pro-Israel Jewish member of Congress and I probably support a president that is pro-Israel,” Wasserman Schultz said.

“What I think is unfortunate and what I suggested along with others, including members of the Republican Jewish Coalition that are not the executive director of that organization, that we need to make sure that like AIPAC pushes for, like Jewish Federation pushes for, like ADL [Anti-Defamation League] and every major Jewish organization pushes for in this country, we need to make sure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue,” she said.

The new chairwoman has made a number of attention grabbing comments. In an April 6 interview on MSNBC, Wasserman Shultz voiced her opposition to the proposal by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to reduce the deficit by $6 trillion in 10 years.

“This plan would literally be a death trap for some seniors,” Wasserman Schultz said.

The word literally is defined as meaning actual or not figuratively speaking.

Last week she said on MSNBC, that the passage of the health care law has strengthened Medicare.

“In fact, we added 12 years of solvency to Medicare and ensure that it would be better for senior,” she said on Andrea Mitchell Reports on May 25.

That’s contrary to the assessment of the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan accounting arm of Congress that predicted the Medicare trust fund will be exhausted by 2020 at the current path, almost a decade sooner than the last year’s forecast. is not funded by the government like NPR. is not funded by the government like PBS.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2011, 10:25:33 AM »
How did we get to the point where it is acceptable for politicians to lie because "they all do it" let alone reckless sexual activities, outright pulbic lying coverups, and the rest?  This country really is in big decline culturally and morally and that bodes poorly for everything else IMHO.

It seems anything is acceptable as long as the pol in office will keep the money spigget flowing doles to their constituents.  What twisted logic can be dreamed of next:

****Matthews: Weiner in Trouble Because His Behavior Offends 'Culturally Backward' Christian Conservatives
By Geoffrey Dickens | June 10, 2011 | 11:40

On Thursday's Hardball, Chris Matthews determined that Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner could be in danger of being forced out of Congress by Blue Dog Dems who face uphill battles in red states because, as he put it, "people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian conservative culturally - you can say backward if you want...don't like this kind of stuff."

During a discussion about Weiner's chances of survival, after being caught sending lewd pictures to women via Twitter, the MSNBCer claimed the liberal congressman didn't have to worry about his, according to Matthews, culturally superior constituents in New York - the "56 percent in Brooklyn and Queens" who "can live with this guy." Instead he had to be concerned with his Democratic colleagues fearful about re-election in the "conservative culturally part of the country."

The following excerpt was aired on the June 9 edition of Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: If you're a Blue Dog Democrat from a conservative culturally part of the country, where you're fighting out every election with two or three points to spare, if you're a -- if you're are [Jim] Matheson from Utah or you're from Oklahoma and you're a [Dan] Boren -- and he's leaving Congress - your life's getting difficult enough defending the East Coast and the left coast Democratic Party. They're too far left. Look at what happened in Arkansas last year. It's getting very, very hard to defend the behavior, politically, of the party. Now you throw on top of that immoral behavior, indiscrete behavior, embarrassing behavior, gross behavior like this, and you still have him in your midst. And that's my question to you. If you're Steny Hoyer, who does speak for the Blue Dogs, if you're Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker, who has to deal with them, don't you have to deal with the fact - you're losing any chance of getting back a 218 majority?

I want you to pick this up, Ben. This is, to me, the stakes here. If he stays, they never get the leadership back. They never get the Speakership back because the people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian conservative culturally - you can say backward if you want - but they don't like this kind of stuff at all. They're not part of that 56 percent in Brooklyn and Queens who say, "okay, we can live with this guy." Your thoughts, Ben? Isn't that the cutting edge of this?****


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2011, 10:32:22 AM »
And then there were the various responses to Bill stuffing Monica with a cigar and getting blown in the Oval Office , , , and forcing himself on Paula Jones and the insults tow which she was subjected (ugly, trailer park and the like) and what was her name, the woman who came to him to plead for her husband's job only to get groped or something like that?

Well maybe we can say that Mrs. Weiner is rather attractive and Hillary could give a man frostbite?  :lol:

Meanwhile, the country heads off a fg cliff. 


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2011, 10:47:16 AM »

On Saturday, Former President Bill Clinton will officiate the wedding of Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner (pictured), according to anonymous sources who spoke to the Associated Press

Read more:

Boy, if having Bill Clinton perform your wedding ceremony doesn't bespeak a serious commitment to monogamy and fidelity, I don't know what does.....


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2011, 12:25:40 PM »
"On Saturday, Former President Bill Clinton will officiate the wedding of Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner"

Unbelievable.  Reports were that Weiner called BJ Clinton to apologize.

With leaders like these guys....

They will probably all be getting bjs from the bride's maids.

Of course, so what.  :roll: That is their "personal" not "professional" behavior which is another 'distinction' the libs are all coming out with now.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2011, 12:39:51 PM »
Morality and ethics are tired old concepts like America as a military and economic superpower. Vote dem!


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2011, 12:45:42 PM »
"As for Obama, what other President ever had to release his long form birth certificate?"

I am certainly no scholar on the downfall of "empires" but isn't this one theory as to why Rome and other empires fell?


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2011, 12:57:04 PM »

Bill Clinton Anthony Weiner must resign?

by Datechguy | June 8th, 2011

Interesting stuff from Kirsten Powers:

This is textbook sexual harassment. It may not be illegal, but it’s definitely unethical. He is in a position of influence, and many women—especially a 21-year-old—would be afraid to report a congressman doing that to them because he holds so much power.
Let’s go into the wayback machine and re-write that sentence:

This is textbook sexual harassment. It may not be illegal, but it’s definitely unethical. He is in a position of influence, and many women—especially a 21-year-old—would be afraid to report a President of the United States doing that to them because he holds so much power.
So my question to Kristin Powers and every other democrat calling on him to resign is this:
How come a congressman who never even had physical contact with these woman MUST resign but a President of the United states with a longer history, and actual oral sex with a woman in the White House not only didn’t have to resign but was defended by many of the same democrats expressing outrage now?
I think the question should be asked of every democrat who releases a statement on this case.
Update: We can start by asking Tim Kaine

“Lying is unforgivable. Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable, and he should resign,” former DNC chief Tim Kaine said.
However apparently it’s ok if done by a sitting president under oath.
And then Harry Reid next:

“I know Congressman Weiner. I wish I could defend him, but I cannot,”
But you could defend Bill Clinton.
I suspect we could play this game all day.
Update: Ace of Spades picks up my theme

Yesterday, or the day before, I heard Kristen Powers claim for those who allege “it’s not about the sex, it’s about the lying,” it really is about the sex.
This is a Clinton-era go-to defense, that, as she says (and was said 100x in 1998-99), if you’re going to have illicit sex, of course you will also lie about it; the two things are bundled, a package deal. Few people have illicit sex and then tell the truth about it.
Hell, we’ve accepted this idea so much that Presidents are permitted to lie under oath about it.
So her point is that this is just about sex, then — the lying being a necessary consequence of the sex — and that this is nobody’s business, except his wife and family’s.
I haven’t hit the moral card very hard because I don’t know how I feel about this. I know David Vitter had all the holes punched in his Subway Frequent Whoremonger Card (get a free girl sandwich!), and he stood for reelection, and won, and I’m not terribly upset by that.
So I guess maybe the liberals are right — honestly, who knows, maybe the only thing that matters is, as Amanda Marcotte avers, whether they vote the right way.

Ace gets more hits in a week then I’ve picked up all time so perhaps people will start asking the Clinton Question.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2011, 08:16:21 AM »
A crat is a crat is a crat is a crat.  Not surprising.  Weiner puts himself above all else.  The Dems put party above the country.
And the crats who vote all want the free benefits confiscated from taxpayers.  I don't know hwy people like my nephew bother to fight for our country.  Even our leaders are a bunch of selfish pigs.

Pelosi declines to call for Weiner's resignation
 ShareretweetEmailPrint– Fri Jun 10, 7:07 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Amid increasing calls for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the decision should be up to the congressman and his New York constituents.

The former speaker said in San Francisco that she believes the decision should be made by "the individual member" and the people in his district.

Weiner, a seven-term Democrat, has admitted sending sexually explicit photos and messages over the Internet to a half dozen women over the past three years. Pelosi has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner used any government resources.

Weiner told a newspaper Thursday he would not resign. At least nine House members and three senators said he should quit.

Two former Democratic Party chairmen also said he should resign.

[ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

Weiner did pick up support from Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who was censured by the House last year for ethics violations.

Rangel suggested that other members of Congress had done things more immoral than Weiner.

Rangel said Weiner "wasn't going with prostitutes. He wasn't going out with little boys."

In a recent poll of registered voters in Weiner's district, 56 percent said he should stay in office while 33 percent said he should leave.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2011, 02:15:24 PM »
I see Pelosi came out today with her opinion Weiner should resign.

FWIW whether or not it was a political desicion it really is the right thing to do.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2011, 02:23:00 PM »
I see Pelosi came out today with her opinion Weiner should resign.

FWIW whether or not it was a political desicion it really is the right thing to do.

I hope he digs in and refuses to quit. He just might.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2011, 02:42:08 PM »

You mean ala Charles Rangel or Bill Clinton?

There is a history of Democratic voters supporting these people.

They don't seem to care.


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Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left
« Reply #44 on: June 11, 2011, 02:46:43 PM »
No, they don't, but everyday he stays in office, he damages the dem brand for swing voters.


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Better than you
« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2011, 10:39:05 AM »


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« Reply #46 on: June 27, 2011, 09:45:42 AM »

Laughing at the Contradictions of Socialism in America

Old Soviet-era jokes have become disturbingly applicable to the U.S.

March 5, 2009 - 12:35 am - by Oleg Atbashian

There was a time in recent American history when certain Soviet jokes didn’t work in translation — not so much because of the language differences, but because of the lack of common sociopolitical context. But that is changing. As President Obama is preparing us for a great leap towards collectivism, I find myself recollecting forgotten political jokes I shared with comrades while living in the old country under Brezhnev, Andropov, and Gorbachev. (I was too young to remember the Khrushchev times, but I still remember the Khrushchev jokes.) I also noticed that the further America “advances” back to the Soviet model, the more translatable the old Soviet jokes become. Not all Soviet advancements have metastasized here yet, but we have four more glorious years to make it happen.
One of my favorite political jokes is this:
The six dialectical contradictions of socialism in the USSR:
 •There is full employment — yet no one is working.
 •No one is working — yet the factory quotas are fulfilled.
 •The factory quotas are fulfilled — yet the stores have nothing to sell.
 •The stores have nothing to sell — yet people got all the stuff at home.
 •People got all the stuff at home — yet everyone is complaining.
 •Everyone is complaining — yet the voting is always unanimous.
It reads like a poem — only instead of the rhythm of syllables and rhyming sounds, it’s the rhythm of logic and rhyming meanings. If I could replicate it, I might start a whole new genre of “contradictory six-liners.” It would be extremely difficult to keep it real and funny at the same time, but I’ll try anyway.
Dialectical contradictions are one of the pillars in Marxist philosophy, which states that contradictions eventually lead to a unity of opposites as the result of a struggle. This gave a convenient “scientific” excuse for the existence of contradictions in a socialist society, where opposites were nice and agreeable — unlike the wild and crazy opposites of capitalism that could never be reconciled. Hence the joke.
Then I moved to America, where wild and crazy opposites of capitalism were supposedly at their worst. Until recently, however, the only contradictions that struck me as irreconcilable were these:
Economic justice:
 •America is capitalist and greedy — yet half of the population is subsidized.
 •Half of the population is subsidized — yet they think they are victims.
 •They think they are victims — yet their representatives run the government.
 •Their representatives run the government — yet the poor keep getting poorer.
 •The poor keep getting poorer — yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.
 •They have things that people in other countries only dream about — yet they want America to be more like those other countries.
Hollywood cliches:
 •Without capitalism there’d be no Hollywood — yet filmmakers hate capitalism.
 •Filmmakers hate capitalism — yet they sue for unauthorized copying of their movies.
 •They sue for unauthorized copying — yet on screen they teach us to share.
 •On screen they teach us to share — yet they keep their millions to themselves.
 •They keep their millions to themselves — yet they revel in stories of American misery and depravity.
 •They revel in stories of American misery and depravity — yet they blame the resulting anti-American sentiment on conservatism.
 •They blame the anti-American sentiment on conservatism — yet conservatism ensures the continuation of a system that makes Hollywood possible.
I never thought I would see socialist contradictions in America, let alone write about them. But somehow all attempts to organize life according to “progressive” principles always result in such contradictions. And in the areas where “progressives” have assumed positions of leadership — education, news media, or the entertainment industry — contradictions become “historically inevitable.”
If one were accidentally to open his eyes and compare the “progressive” narrative with facts on the ground, one might start asking questions. Why, for instance, if the war on terror breeds more terrorists, haven’t there been attacks on the U.S. soil since 2001? Why, if George W. Bush had removed our freedom of speech, was nobody ever arrested for saying anything? And if Obama has returned us our freedoms, why was a man harassed by police in Oklahoma for having an anti-Obama sign in his car? Why would anyone who supports free speech want to silence talk radio? And why is silencing the opposition called the “Fairness Doctrine”?
After the number of “caring,” bleeding-heart politicians in Washington reached a critical mass, it was only a matter of time before the government started ordering banks to help the poor by giving them risky home loans through community organizers. Which resulted in a bigger demand, which resulted in rising prices, which resulted in slimmer chances of repaying the loans, which resulted in more pressure on the banks, which resulted in repackaging of bad loans, which resulted in a collapse of the banks, which resulted in a recession, which resulted in many borrowers losing their jobs, which resulted in no further mortgage payments, which resulted in a financial disaster, which resulted in a worldwide crisis, with billions of poor people overseas — who had never seen a community organizer, nor applied for a bad loan — becoming even poorer than they had been before the “progressives” in the U.S. government decided to help the poor.
As if that were not enough, the same bleeding hearts are now trying to fix this by nationalizing the banks so that they can keep issuing risky loans through community organizers. In other words, to prevent the toast from landing buttered side down, they’re planning to butter the toast on both sides and hope that it will hover in mid-air. Which also seems like a sensible alternative energy initiative.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, there’s always the last resort of a liberal: blame capitalism. It’s always a win-win. Today government regulators may be blaming capitalism for the crisis caused by their dilettantish tampering with the economy, but who do you think they will credit after market forces resuscitate the economy?
Years ago, living in America made me feel as though I had traveled in a time machine from the past. But after the recent “revolutionary” changes have turned reality on its head — which is what “revolution” literally means — I’m getting an uneasy feeling I had come from your future.

As your comrade from the future, I also feel a social obligation to help my less advanced comrades in the American community, and prepare them for the transition to the glorious world of underground literature, half-whispered jokes, and the useful habit of looking over your shoulder. Don’t become a nation of cowards — but watch who might be listening.
Let’s start with these few.
People’s power:
 •Liberals believe they’re advancing people’s power — yet they don’t believe people can do anything right without their guidance.
 •People can’t do anything right — yet the government bureaucracy can do everything.
 •The government bureaucracy can do everything — yet liberals don’t like it when the government takes control of their lives.
 •Liberals don’t like it when the government takes control of their lives — yet they vote for programs that increase people’s dependency on the government.
 •They vote for programs that increase people’s dependency on the government — yet they believe they’re advancing people’s power.
Bush and the media:
 •The media said Bush was dumb — yet he won over two intelligent Democrats.
 •He won over two intelligent Democrats — yet the media said his ratings were hopeless.
 •The media said his ratings were hopeless — yet the 2004 electoral map was red.
 •The 2004 electoral map was red — yet the media said his policies failed.
 •The media said his policies failed — yet the economy grew and the war was won.
 •The economy grew and the war was won — yet the media said we needed “change.”
Public education:
 •Liberals have been in charge of education for 50 years — yet education is out of control.
 •Education is out of control — yet liberal teaching methods prevail.
 •Liberal teaching methods prevail — yet public schools are failing.
 •Public schools are failing — yet their funding keeps growing.
 •Their funding keeps growing — yet public schools are always underfunded.
 •Public schools are always underfunded — yet private schools yield better results for less.
 •Private schools yield better results for less — yet public education is the only way out of the crisis.
Foreign radicals*:
 •Foreign radicals hate America — yet they’re all wearing American blue jeans.
 •They’re all wearing American blue jeans — yet they disdain American culture.
 •They disdain American culture — yet they play American music, movies, and video games.
 •They play American music, movies, and video games — yet they call Americans uncivilized.
 •They call Americans uncivilized — yet they expect Americans to defend their civilization.
 •They expect Americans to defend their civilization — yet they think American capitalism is outdated.
 •They think American capitalism is outdated — yet most of their countries require American handouts.
(* Some Democrat politicians have similar opinions about their redneck constituents — yet they won’t shut up about how proud they are to have their mandate.)
Liberals and taxes:
 •Liberals want to help the poor — yet they won’t give money to charities.
 •They won’t give money to charities — yet they’d like the government to become a gigantic charity.
 •They’d like the government to become a gigantic charity — yet the money has to be taken from people by force.
 •The money has to be taken from people by force — yet they call it welfare.
 •They call it welfare — yet higher taxes make everyone poorer.
 •Higher taxes make everyone poorer — yet liberals find ways not to pay taxes.
 •Liberals find ways not to pay taxes — yet they get to be chosen to run the government.
Liberals and the CIA:
 •The CIA is a reactionary institution — yet its agents always leak information that helps liberals politically.
 •CIA agents always leak information that helps liberals politically — yet liberals say the CIA is clueless.
 •Liberals say the CIA is clueless — yet in their movies the CIA is running the world.
 •In their movies the CIA is running the world — yet they tell us that better intelligence could have prevented the war.
 •Better intelligence could have prevented the war — yet “enhanced interrogations” of captured terrorists must not be allowed.
Love and marriage:
 •Sex differences are the result of social conditioning — yet homosexuality is biological.
 •Homosexuality is biological — yet everybody is encouraged to experiment with it.
 •Everybody is encouraged to experiment with it — yet venereal diseases are treated at the taxpayers’ expense.
 •Venereal diseases are treated at the taxpayers’ expense — yet taxpayers have no right to impose standards since there are no moral absolutes.
 •There are no moral absolutes — yet gay marriage is an absolute must.
 •Gay marriage is an absolute must — yet family is an antiquated tool of bourgeois oppression.
Oleg Atbashian, a writer and graphic artist from Ukraine, currently lives in New York. He is the creator of, a satirical website where he writes under the name of Red Square. He is the author of recently published Shakedown Socialism.


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Amnesty International and Prince: Time to Party Like It’s 1999 BC!
« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2011, 06:45:06 AM »

Amnesty International and Prince: Time to Party Like It’s 1999 BC!

June 27, 2011 - 2:48 pm - by Ed Driscoll

What it is about the Middle East that causes self-styled “Progressives” to suddenly mumble, “Nevermind,” ala Emily Litella?
First up, you’d think that Prince, who debuted on the national scene in the late 1970s as an androgynous, pushing the boundaries kind of guy, would want his fans in the Middle East to have the same freedom to experiment. So much for that idea:

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian’s Film&Music, Prince said: “It’s fun being in Islamic countries, to know there’s only one religion. There’s order. You wear a burqa. There’s no choice. People are happy with that.” When asked about the fate of those unhappy with having no choice, he replied: “There are people who are unhappy with everything. There’s a dark side to everything.”
Prince embraced religion in 2001, when he became a Jehovah’s Witness. “I was anti-authoritarian but at the same time I was a loving tyrant,” he told the Guardian. “You can’t be both. I had to learn what authority was. That’s what the Bible teaches. The Bible is a study guide for social interaction.
“If I go to a place where I don’t feel stressed and there’s no car alarms and airplanes overhead, then you understand what noise pollution is. Noise is a society that has no God, that has no glue. [And thus the 53-year old musician sounds like every 53-year old parent within earshot of a sports arena that's booked Prince for a concert -- Ed] We can’t do what we want to do all the time. If you don’t have boundaries, what then?”
He’s got his. Those of you in the Middle East, you’re on your own. Rand Simberg notes how immediately appalling Prince’s language would sound if it were applied to the American South rather than the Islamic Middle East.
Next up, there’s Amnesty International, which in the mid-1980s, ran commercials full of Hollywood celebrities and rock stars offering toasts to “freedom.” I’m pretty sure I watched this one on MTV more than a few times back then, including during Live Aid, if I’m not mistaken. Look fast for the late Ron Silver halfway through the ad, 20 years before becoming a PJM contributor:
Freedom? Dude, put the collar back down on your polo shirt, take off the Wayfarers, and get your mind out of the 1980s:

If you need a refresher, Hamas conducted a raid (probably illegal, as terrorists never wear uniforms) and snuck across the border, attacked an Israeli outpost, and kidnapped Gilad Shalit.Wikipedia uses the word “capture.” Um, yeah. Like Bruno Hauptman “captured” the Lindbergh Baby.
He has been held illegally for five years.
Those who “captured” him are making threats and demands, like legal armies always do.

Shalit’s captors issued another demand to the Israelis, demanding that Israel release an additional 1,000 Palestinian prisoners (in addition to all female and young prisoners, as previously demanded) and end Israel’s incursions into Gaza.[38] Two days later, the captors issued a 24-hour ultimatum for meeting their demands, threatening unspecified consequences if Israel refused.[39] Hours after the ultimatum was issued, Israel officially rejected the demands, stating that: “there will be no negotiations to release prisoners”
So, of course Amnesty International must protest this and demand his release, right?

If a better example of the utter moral collapse of the human rights community exists, it would be hard to find. The statement is one of passionless brevity — just a few sentences long — and expresses no opinion on the standing of Hamas, or on its 2006 raid into Israel, or on the legitimacy of its goals and methods. Remarkably, it doesn’t even demand the release of Gilad Shalit. The most that this allegedly courageous and principled human rights community could bring itself to say to the terrorists of Hamas is that they should improve the conditions of Shalit’s imprisonment.

As Ace concludes, “If donating directly to Al Qaeda and Hamas feels too risky and too dirty to you, try us! We have Bono.”
Back in 2003, Steven Den Beste noted that Amnesty International “is demonstrating that when the cards are down, its soul is for sale.”
I’d say that for both AI and Prince, those transactions have now been concluded.


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But the left cares about the poor.....
« Reply #48 on: June 28, 2011, 01:35:27 PM »


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« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2011, 04:34:31 PM »