Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Yesterday’s Non-News

The powerful, utterly candid speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a joint session of Congress dominates today’s headlines, and with good reason. The Israeli statesman caused many of us to wonder how long we must wait before America has a president of Netanyahu’s caliber. Reagan seems far distant in memory.

But that wasn’t all that happened yesterday. There was one other piddling item of note:

The House voted Tuesday to fund the Homeland Security Department through the end of the budget year, ending a protracted standoff that centered on objections to President Obama's controversial immigration actions.

The House voted 257-167 for the legislation, which includes no immigration provisions, and was carried over the finish line with mostly Democratic votes. In a statement late Tuesday, President Obama said he would sign the legislation as soon as it reached his desk....

The result is a victory for the Obama administration. Republicans had tried to use the DHS funding bill as the vehicle to reverse Obama's immigration executive actions. But Democrats repeatedly blocked the move, insisting they pass the spending bill with no riders attached.

House Speaker John Boehner, faced with diminishing options, earlier in the day told fellow Republican lawmakers he would drop the immigration demands.

"I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president," Boehner told his caucus on Tuesday morning, according to a source.

But he said he believed the decision to vote on a "clean" bill, "considering where we are -- is the right one for this team, and the right one for this country."

Boehner's move could lead to a backlash in the party, especially since House GOP leaders repeatedly denied claims that he struck a deal with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi last week to hold such a vote.

So Boehner is “outraged and frustrated”...but he won’t stand his ground on the issue that, more than any other, is responsible for the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. He deems Obama’s actions “lawless and unconstitutional”...but the thought of a vote on impeachment refuses to enter his head. His move alienated two-thirds of the Republican House caucus...but it’s more important that the Democrats’ petulant minorities be placated than that he help his fellow Republicans hold true to their campaign pledges.

The Department of Homeland Security is largely a collection of desk-bound bureaucrats. Its most visible manifestation is the Transportation Security Authority (TSA), responsible for groping millions of air-travel passengers each year and confiscating no end of valuable property from them. It’s one of George W. Bush’s greatest mistakes, and one that has been used more than once to bludgeon conservatives into submission to left-liberal whims.

But the Democrats won’t permit the Senate to vote on an amnesty-free funding bill. Were such a vote to take place, the bill would go to Obama’s desk. He’d have to veto it explicitly, making it plain exactly who is responsible for the latest “government shutdown.” Can’t have that. The public might become aware of the Democrats’ real priorities.

Ace has had enough:

I'm personally done with this party.

In fact, I will vote for Democrats.

An old communist friend of mine voted for Bob Dole.

Why? Because this communist was convinced, inaccurately, as it would later turn out, that he would never see his dream of a communist USA via conventional politics, and therefore his hopes were pinned on outright revolution.

And as far as revolution, there are four words to remember: The worse, the better.

It is now clear that none of us will see the America we want via any kind of politics that includes the Republican Party. Ergo, they must be erased from the pages of history as quickly as possible, so that a better party can replace them.

So I'm now a Democrat. The worse, the better.

It may be time to begin supporting things like an increase in the minimum wage, too....

So has Misha:

And the news are ever depressing. Such as the bit about Weepy Boner and Mitch McCockless, once again, striking a deal with the Democrats to give Princess Obama everything she wants because… stuff…

Remember how they used to be “oh, we can’t shut down the government by refusing to pass a budget, but the DHS funding? Oh yes, we’re going to fight, fight FIGHT on that one. To the bitter end. For America!!!” That was ages ago, of course, all of four months or so.

Now it’s back to business as usual with the Quisling Party willingly, nay eagerly handing the Prozi Party and their Precious Princess everything they asked for, based on a deal that was struck long ago. You know. The usual deal the Quisling Party always strikes with the Prozi Party on any issue: “We’ll have to promise to fight, then pretend to fight a bit to keep the prole idiots who keep voting for us happy, but then we’ll cave. As predictably as a Texas summer.”

And so they did. The Quisling Party’s rich donors wanted cheap Messican slave labor, the American workers be damned, and that’s what the Quisling Party gave them.

We find ourselves pretty much in complete agreement with Ace.

The Quisling Party’s Billionaire Sugar Daddies got the cheap slave labor they wanted, thanks to the Quisling Party’s umpteenth and utterly predictable betrayal of the principles that they swore to before the election?

Why, all of a sudden His Imperial Majesty realizes that the Prozi Party has a point when it comes to, say, minimum wages.

And, I think, so have I.

If you missed this bit of reportage:

Before Obama’s promised “fundamental transformation” of America has been completed, this will no longer be an English-speaking nation populated mainly by people of European descent who cherish a heritage of individual liberty. It will be a Third World nation populated by people deliberately imported from the Third World in contravention of the law to displace us. Plans have been laid, and are already being executed:
Susan Payne is a contributor to WCBM, Baltimore and Co-Host of the Pat McDonough Radio Show.

Unbeknownst to the Obama officials, Ms. Payne was invited to listen in on conference calls at an immigration rally. Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and 16 members of the White House cabinet were on the first call. White House officials were on all three calls. What Ms. Payne learned needs to be immediately shared with Congress and the public.

The calls confirm that the melting pot is history. Our country is not evolving; the people running the government are methodically replacing it with a totally different country, which will be more to their liking ideologically and more suitable for authoritarian rule.

The “Task Force of New Americans” and the “Receiving Communities” are part of a plan by the Obama administration to develop a “country within a country” which will eventually form a new, and instantly fundamentally transformed United States.

The conference calls and meetings surrounding the task force made it clear Barack Obama is planning to legalize and protect 13 to 15 million illegal immigrants who will then be moved onto citizenship.

These millions are only the beginning. The more illegals are granted amnesty, the more will come. There are no serious plans to defend the border from invasion, or to enforce immigration law in a meaningful way.

When these “new Americans” come out of the shadows, the communities in which they’ve been placed will be designated as “receiving communities.”

The “new Americans” are considered “seedlings” by the White House and the “receiving communities” are the “fertile ground” to nurture them, according to comments made during the meetings. …

One member of the task force said they will be forming a “country within a country”. At the meetings, it was said that “immigrants need to be aware of benefits they are entitled to”.

The benefits they are supposedly entitled to will provide financial incentive for them to reproduce like rabbits.

As for assimilation…

The participants in the meeting also discussed the fact that these immigrants would not be interested in assimilating. They would “navigate not assimilate”.

Numbers this large would be impossible to assimilate anyway. This is invasion and colonization, not immigration. might have been missing a key piece of the puzzle. I’ve written about exclaves before. You might be near enough to one to have a visceral sense for the dangers involved. Should the Obamunists proceed as the above citation predicts, they’re likely to become quite common...and politically very influential, perhaps to the extent of turning a few red states blue.

Tell me, Gentle Reader: Do you think the “amnesty” is about “compassion,” or about votes? The Democrats are so eager to facilitate this new invasion that it’s difficult to believe the motive is anything but purely partisan. More, the infrastructure – federal and state documentation, including Social Security numbers and drivers’ licenses – has been laid to allow these “new Americans” to vote, despite their not being naturalized citizens. Do you expect that the Democrats, given their opposition to voter ID laws and their Secretary of State project, will lift a finger to prevent it? Watch what they do, not what they say.

Yet the Republican leadership in Congress, though their co-partisans ran explicitly against this treason, refuses to stand firm against it. They’re more afraid of being blamed for a “government shutdown” by the media than they are of being revealed as liars and frauds. The conservative “backlash” this move will supposedly trigger troubles them not at all.

We’re about to lose the entire country.

I don’t know what we could possibly do about this avalanche of betrayals. The aggregate amounts to a de facto nullification of the Constitution and all its constraints. They who have sworn solemn oaths to abide by that document – the Supreme Law of the Land – have cheerfully cast their vows aside.

It’s impossible that this flows from any concept of the “common defense and general welfare of the United States.” Nor would it matter if it were so. At any rate, I can’t believe it.

Time was, the patriots in Congress would have done away with the Quislings, possibly right there in the Capitol building. Today the Quislings outnumber the patriots, and the latter group is either too feeble or too cowardly to put up more than token resistance. With a wholly lawless chief executive ready to take vengeance on anyone who dares try to thwart him, it’s understandable if not laudable.

Short of the chancy business of armed revolt, I can see no way out. The Republic has fallen. The combination of the amnesty, Democrat electoral skullduggery, and Republican spinelessness will bury it.

I’m out of ideas, Gentle Reader. Got any to spare?

"Settlement" of Islam in the American homeland as jihad.

The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Proecess" with all [that] the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.
An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America." By Mohamed Akram. 5/19/91. Republished by The Investigative Project on Terrorism..

Obama's attack on American citizenship.

It is hardly an exaggeration to state that the administration is taking gradual steps to eliminating the very concept of American citizenship. In fact, a recent White House conference call made it explicit that these new immigrants are not supposed to assimilate into American society, but instead establish their own ethnic communities within the United States.
"The Betrayal Papers — Part III of V." Qatar Awareness Campaign, 3/4/15.

Bipartisan infection.

But viewed together through the lens of the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to dominate America and bring her down from within, dismissing them as coincidence would be to ignore a carefully constructed plan. Whether attacks on cops, downright crazy immigration policies, the persecution of American citizens by the IRS, or the takeover of school curricula, there is a rhythm to all of these scandals that jives seamlessly with the song of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Evidence above suggests a bipartisan infection, a betrayal of the American people by the crony establishment in both parties.

"The Betrayal Papers — Part III of V." Qatar Awareness Campaign, 3/4/15.

Obama's half-brother.

In addition to suppressing political enemies, the IRS has actually enabled the Muslim Brotherhood through Obama’s half-brother, Malik. In 2011, the IRS granted a 501(c)(3) statuses to two groups connected to Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama: the Barack H. Obama Foundation (BHOF), and Mama Sarah Obama Foundation (MSOF).

This would not be of particular concern, but for the fact that Malik Obama has documented associations with the Muslim Brotherhood, wanted terrorists, and terrorist organizations.

"The Betrayal Papers — Part III of V." Qatar Awareness Campaign, 3/4/15.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and terror-financing Qatar.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with its close ties to Qatar, is by far the largest lobbying spender in Washington ($136.3 million in 2012). Business is a bipartisan pursuit, which means that money from Qatar — which is arguably today’s most prolific financial sponsor of Islamic terror — carries great weight in both Republican and Democrat circles.

Indeed, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is on the record last year as saying, “I’m going to embrace being a Chamber of Commerce Republican.” He was part of a bipartisan Senate delegation to Qatar this January which also included Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Angus King (I-ME) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

"The Betrayal Papers — Part III of V." Qatar Awareness Campaign, 3/4/15 (emphasis and links removed).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What Freedom Is...And Isn’t

Michael Walsh has posted an interesting piece about the Left’s aversion to the late Robert A. Heinlein. It’s rather difficult to excerpt constructively, so I’ll simply exhort you to read it for yourself. My thoughts for the morning flow from the following comment to the piece:

Aargh! "Starship Troopers" is NOT "authoritarian"! Nor is the government depicted fascist. It explores the nature of duty and one way of trying to assure that the people who vote actually care about the nation. Every citizen in ST could vote, and every adult, regardless of race, sex, or economic status could become a citizen - if they cared enough to put in the service time required (and not just in the military, there were civilian jobs that qualified). One of Heinlein's subtle points was most people didn't want to!

I was reminded at once of Paul Verhoeven’s movie Starship Troopers, which, though colorful and entertaining, did violence to the book’s moral and political themes. But I was reminded even more strongly of two other works: Clarence Carson’s The American Tradition and Robert Nozick’s masterwork Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

Dr. Carson, an underappreciated writer and thinker, had some incisive things to say about one of the most pernicious fetishes of “democracy:” the “right” to vote:

[W]e are told that there is no need to fear the concentration of power in government so long as that power is checked by the electoral process. We are urged to believe that so long as we can express our disagreement in words, we have our full rights to disagree. Now both freedom of speech and the electoral process are important to liberty, but alone they are only the desiccated remains of liberty. However vigorously we may argue against foreign aid, our substance is still drained away in never-to-be-repaid loans. Quite often, there is not even a candidate to vote for who holds views remotely like my own. To vent one's spleen against the graduated income tax may be healthy for the psyche, but one must still yield up his freedom of choice as to how his money will be spent when he pays it to the government. The voice of electors in government is not even proportioned to the tax contribution of individuals; thus, those who contribute more lose rather than gain by the "democratic process." A majority of voters may decide that property cannot be used in such and such ways, but the liberty of the individual is diminished just as much as in that regard as if a dictator had decreed it. Those who believe in the redistribution of wealth should be free to redistribute their own, but they are undoubtedly limiting the freedom of others when they vote to redistribute theirs.

Professor Nozick sharpened Dr. Carson’s point still further in what he called “The Tale of the Slave:”

  • There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master's whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
  • The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
  • The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
  • The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
  • The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
  • The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

  • Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
  • In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
  • They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The “sting in the tale” is Nozick’s concluding question: At what point in this sequence is it no longer the tale of a slave?

Ponder that for a moment.

I wrote some time ago that there is no “right” to vote, that the vote itself is not an essential of freedom, and that certain conditions and qualifications should be imposed upon that privilege to render it less harmful to the Republic. That essay drew a lot of hostile commentary, mostly from persons who draw a check from the federal government and deem both that check and their “right” to vote as beyond morally legitimate criticism. Not all of them were idiots. Still, they were wrong then and they remain wrong today, for reasons Carson and Nozick make plain in the citations above.

Frederic Bastiat made the very same case in his 1850 pamphlet The Law:

A closer examination of the subject shows us the motive which causes the right of suffrage to be based upon the supposition of incapacity. The motive is that the elector or voter does not exercise this right for himself alone, but for everybody. The most extended elective system and the most restricted elective system are alike in this respect. They differ only in respect to what constitutes incapacity. It is not a difference of principle, but merely a difference of degree. If, as the republicans of our present-day Greek and Roman schools of thought pretend, the right of suffrage arrives with one's birth, it would be an injustice for adults to prevent women and children from voting. Why are they prevented? Because they are presumed to be incapable. And why is incapacity a motive for exclusion? Because it is not the voter alone who suffers the consequences of his vote; because each vote touches and affects everyone in the entire community; because the people in the community have a right to demand some safeguards concerning the acts upon which their welfare and existence depend.

I know what might be said in answer to this; what the objections might be. But this is not the place to exhaust a controversy of this nature. I wish merely to observe here that this controversy over universal suffrage (as well as most other political questions) which agitates, excites, and overthrows nations, would lose nearly all of its importance if the law had always been what it ought to be. In fact, if law were restricted to protecting all persons, all liberties, and all properties; if law were nothing more than the organized combination of the individual's right to self defense; if law were the obstacle, the check, the punisher of all oppression and plunder — is it likely that we citizens would then argue much about the extent of the franchise?

Under these circumstances, is it likely that the extent of the right to vote would endanger that supreme good, the public peace? Is it likely that the excluded classes would refuse to peaceably await the coming of their right to vote? Is it likely that those who had the right to vote would jealously defend their privilege? If the law were confined to its proper functions, everyone's interest in the law would be the same. Is it not clear that, under these circumstances, those who voted could not inconvenience those who did not vote?

Bastiat was concerned with freedom. More, he was capable of distinguishing between a genuine right and a political privilege. Some years later, Louis Thiers said this about rights:

Either rights exist, or they do not exist. If they exist, they involve absolute consequences...Furthermore, if a right exists, it exists at every moment. It is absolute today, yesterday, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, in summer as in winter, not when it pleases you to declare it in force.

Mind you, Thiers disagreed with Bastiat’s conception of genuine rights. That didn’t keep him from recognizing their nature.

Thomas Jefferson’s enumeration (in the Declaration of Independence) of our God-given rights flowed from a deeper conception: that of the individual as an autonomous being. He, and the many thinkers who preceded his formulation, realized that if rights exist, they cannot possibly contradict one another—that you cannot have a “right” that requires the abridgement of any “right” I possess. Your rights to your life, your liberty, and your property cannot and do not entitle you to infringe upon my rights to my life, my liberty, or my property. One who possesses those rights is wholly autonomous: i.e., he is both free to do as he wills (subject to the constraint that he not infringe upon others’ rights), and is responsible for the consequences of his decisions, actions, and inactions.

Quite a lot of persons recoil from this conception because of that trailing condition. (“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it!” – George Bernard Shaw) They demand to be “free” without the responsibilities that attach to freedom; they want others to shoulder the burdens they create. The obvious asymmetries and instabilities that arise from such a division of responsibility from freedom are much of what bedevils us today. Ralph Waldo Emerson was practically brutal on the subject:

The ingenuity of man has always been dedicated to the solution of one problem - how to detach the sensual sweet, the sensual bright, etc. from the moral sweet, the moral deep, the moral fair; that is, again, to cut clean off this upper surface so thin as to leave it bottomless; to get a one end, without an other end....We can no more halve things and get the sensual good, by itself, than we can get an inside that shall have no outside, or a light without a shadow.

Heinlein made it maximally explicit in Starship Troopers:

“Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal - else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. The unlimited democracies were unstable because their citizens were not responsible for the fashion in which they exerted their sovereign authority... other than through the tragic logic of history... No attempt was made to determine whether a voter was socially responsible to the extent of his literally unlimited authority. If he voted the impossible, the disastrous possible happened instead - and responsibility was then forced on him willy-nilly and destroyed both him and his foundationless temple.”

Jefferson understood freedom – the rights to one’s life, liberty, and honestly acquired property – as a natural condition prior and superior to political organization. He understood politics and government not as goods to be pursued, but as unfortunate necessities to be confined within the cage of men’s God-given rights. Heinlein, though he allowed one of his teachers in History and Moral Philosophy to denigrate the Jeffersonian conception, grasped and adhered to it even so.

Carson, Nozick, Bastiat, Jefferson, and Heinlein had no trouble explaining to you why there is no “right” to vote -- and why you should be glad of it.

To sum up: You are free to the extent that your decisions, actions, and inactions are wholly at your discretion, rather than being constrained by punishment or the threat of punishment. Archibald MacLeish summed it up nicely:

What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing.

Political freedom is merely freedom from punishment for one’s choices by a politically constituted body: a government. To distinguish it from absolute and unqualified freedom, we call it liberty.

There cannot be liberty without responsibility. The “right” to vote has nothing of liberty in it; as Heinlein notes, it is merely a delimited exertion of political authority. When you vote, you are not exercising any aspect of liberty; you are functioning as an agent of the political authority. In our “democracy,” in which the voter bears no direct responsibility for the consequences of his vote, for that brief instant in which you “pull the lever and feel the power,” you are functionally a master, if only an infinitesimal fraction of one.

When you pull back the curtain and leave the booth, you’re back to being wholly a slave.

Always bear that distinction in mind.

The Great Stan Evans, RIP.

See his very witty speech before the Media Research Center dinner here.

The way leftists argue.

Do YOU want to be a right-wing theocratic zealot who wants to force women into concubinage, stone gays, lynch minorities, burn books, destroy the planet for corporate profit, conduct duels in the streets (Chicago doesn't count, btw) and praise Hitler (Stalin and the West's boogeyman?)? Of course not. Do you HATE the poor, women, minorities and gay folks? No? Then you MUST reject all forms of traditionalism, nationalism, the Sacred, nature (including human nature) and any vestige of belief in Truth.

This is how it works, from kindergarten to Harvard to the workplace to Capitol Hill to entertainment, be it the NFL, popular music or Hollywood.

Chestertonian commenting on "America's Enemies in Hollywood Then and Now." By James Simpson, American Thinker, 3/1/15.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lack of Love or "Let's Roll"

For the past week, I had only one cable “news” option -- CNN.  Jane Fonda would be proud of her ex-husband’s creation.  The big story for CNN that week: Rudy Giuliani said that he didn’t think Obama liked America.  The only “proof” CNN offered was that Obama said he did.  Almost unbelievably, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, like Giuliani, most Americans don’t think Obama loves America either.  Can you imagine that is being said about a sitting US president?  Less than half (47%) of the Americans polled think Obama loves America.  An astonishing 69% of Republicans say he doesn’t.

Although it may not be regarded as “history” yet, there was an event that took place on September 11, 2001 or 9/11 as it’s commonly known, that is well worth remembering. On that eventful September morning, Todd Morgan Beamer found himself the unelected leader of a   group of Americans aboard United Airlines Flight 93.  Coincidentally, Giuliani’s leadership surrounding that same event earned him the title of “America’s Mayor.”  

The parable of that plane has been on my mind for months now.  There are two aspects to that flight that are pertinent.  First, the plane had been taken over by those who don’t like America.  Secondly, there was a point in time where the passengers’ actions could, and could not, prevent the plane from plowing into that Pennsylvania field.  

For whatever reasons, my mind views Obama and his cronies at the controls of the levers of power in Washington, as dangerous to America as those terrorists were at the controls in the cockpit of that Boeing 757.   If not for the intervention of Todd Beamer and some of his fellow passengers, the airliner would likely have smashed into the Capitol of the United States.  If Obama and his ilk continue on their current flight path, it’s my conviction that investigators will soon be looking for the America’s Black Box to ascertain what caused our destruction.

Beamer and the boys of Flight 93 had some insight into their likely fate if they failed to act.  Their flight departed 42 minutes late due to runway delays. Six minutes after their takeoff, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower. Fifteen minutes after that, United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower.  Flight 93 was over Ohio when the pilot radioed Cleveland to ask about an alert to "beware of cockpit intrusion."  Three minutes later, Cleveland controllers heard screams from the cockpit's open microphone. The radical Islamist hijackers had taken over the plane's controls and were overheard telling passengers, "Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board."

Beamer tried to make a call using the GTE airphone but ended up connected to GTE supervisor Lisa Jefferson. As FBI agents listened in, Beamer told Jefferson that hijackers had taken over and the pilots and one passenger were dead.  Based on cell phone accounts, Beamer and three others developed a plan to take back control of the plane from the hijackers.

Beamer told Jefferson that they were going to "jump on" the hijackers to thwart their plan. Beamer, a Christian college graduate, Sunday School teacher, husband, father of two young sons and with a daughter on the way, recited the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm with Jefferson as others joined in. Beamer told Jefferson, "If I don't make it, please call my family and let them know how much I love them." She then heard Beamer say, "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll." 

According to Flight 93's voice data recorder, there was pounding and crashing sounds against the cockpit door.  A passenger screams in English. "Let's get them!"  A hijacker shouts, "Allahu Akbar!"   Minutes later a hijacker orders, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The plane turned hard to the right, rolled on to its back, and plowed into an empty Shanksville, Pennsylvania field at 580 miles an hour, killing everyone on board. 

There were two points where this all might well have been prevented.  Thorough intelligence of the radical Islamists training and intentions could have prevented them from boarding, making Beamer’s actions unnecessary.  The second point was after they realized the hijackers had seized control. 

Barrack Obama is now in control of the cockpit.  Most Americans have concluded he really doesn’t care for his country or its passengers.   His unwillingness to obey, abide by, preserve and protect our Constitution has caused a lot of concern in the cabin.

Wondering whether it’ll be impact or “Let’s Roll” that happens next. 

Credibility And Plausibility

“A thousand truths do not mark a man as a truth-teller, but a single lie marks him as a damned liar....Lying to other people is your business, but I tell you this: once a man gets a reputation as a liar, he might as well be struck dumb, for people do not listen to the wind.”[Robert A. Heinlein, Citizen of the Galaxy]

The statement above, from a book once derided as one of Heinlein’s “juveniles,” has more political application than anything else you’re likely to read in an op-ed column today. Here’s why:

An explosive report in a Kuwaiti newspaper claims that President Obama thwarted an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons program in 2014 by threatening to order American military forces to shoot down the Israeli jets.

To be completely clear, this is essentially a third-hand report from a Bethlehem-based news agency, Ma’an, which transcribed the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida’s report, which in turn was based upon anonymous but “well-placed” sources in the Israeli government.

According to Ma’an’s transcription of the Kuwaiti report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the decision to launch airstrikes against the Iranian nuclear program after “Israel revealed that the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back.”

Believing such an agreement would be a threat to Israel’s national security, Netanyahu, defense minister Moshe Yaalon, foreign minster Avigdor Liberman, and top Israeli military commanders spent four nights discussing their options, after which Israeli Army chief of staff Beni Gants was instructed to draw up plans for an airstrike. The report says that Israeli pilots trained for weeks to prepare, and even ran some test flights through Iranian airspace.

The Kuwaiti report then makes the remarkable claim that an Israeli minister with “good ties” to the Obama Administration revealed plans for the impending airstrike to Secretary of State John Kerry, who told President Obama, who responded with a threat to shoot down the Israeli jets before they could strike their Iranian targets. Netanyahu is said to have backed down in the face of this threat and canceled the operation, which Ma’an suggests was a major contributing factor to the souring of relations between Israel and the United States ever since.

Two questions for you, Gentle Reader:

  1. Do you find the above report plausible?
  2. Why do you think so?

Ponder that for a bit.

At this point it seems indisputable that regardless of what Barack Hussein Obama might say, or where or when or to whom he might say it, he cannot be taken at his word. He’s gone back on too many public statements, has “evolved” on too many subjects, and has allowed his deeds to contradict his words in too many instances. Thus, he has no credibility. A sensible man’s prima facie assessment of any statement he makes would be that its chance of being correct is no higher than that of its exact opposite...and is quite probably lower.

Yes, politicians lie. Yes, they chisel around the edges of their previous statements. Yes, they attach sotto voce qualifications to everything they say, including supposedly solemn promises. But no one has taken it to the Obama extreme before Obama.

As if more were necessary, the entire Administration takes its lead from Obama. I can’t name a single figure in the Obama regime whose word is trustworthy. Indeed, the better known the Obamunist, the less credibility he possesses. You’d almost think duplicity is a requirement for federal employment in the Obama era.

Many a politician thinks he can get away with a fib here or there. Many, though not all of them, do. But a steady accumulation of deceits, especially deceits plainly tailored for personal or partisan advantage, has more than one effect. In particular, it makes ever more dramatic accusations of misconduct ever more plausible.

The story cited in the previous segment would have been laughed aside under Reagan or either of the Bushes. It probably would have gained very little traction under Carter or Clinton. Under Obama, its plausibility is frightening. His utter lack of credibility makes it impossible to wave aside. Add that to his frigidity toward Netanyahu and the tale becomes more believable than any of Obama’s public statements in support of the Jewish state.

The icing on the cake is that Obama could deny the story a thousand different times, in a thousand different media, and it would remain a millstone around his neck. The denials would have his credibility – i.e., none at all.

I can think of no more profound condemnation of the man who occupies the Oval Office.

It’s been said that nothing reveals the true shape and color of a man’s character like power. Give him power and you’ll see the real man, no matter how carefully he’s tried to conceal it. We gave Barack Hussein Obama power, and so learned what an absolute and complete liar he is. Among the consequences is the heightened plausibility of stories like the one cited above.

We’ve given ourselves a lot to worry about.

I wrote back in 2004 that character trumps all. In the race between George W. Bush and John F. Kerry, one was of deep and abiding character, not to be set aside for any reason, while the other was as inconstant as the breezes. I didn’t endorse President Bush for re-election because I approved of all his policies, but because in contrast to his opponent, you could believe what he said and trust that what he said is what he’d do.

In other words, any worries you might entertain because of President Bush would arise from the specifics of the courses he chose and announced. Were we to have put Kerry in the power seat, we could never have been sure of anything. Neither would any foreign statesman or tyrant, which is the position Obama has put us in.

In the months before us, we’ll be choosing among applicants for the Republican presidential nomination. They’ll talk a blue streak. They’ll promise us various outcomes. They’ll tell us whatever it is they think we most want to hear. On the basis of such representations, added to their records in public office to date, will we make our choices.

Please, please: put character first. Support the man who never lies, who never dances around the subject, and whose public record is of always doing what he said he’d do. All other courses lead to calamity.

Who is that man? I don’t know yet. But I’m determined to find out. I hope you’ll help.

The question on everybody's lips.

Rudy Giuliani caused a stir by articulating the most basic fact about Barack Obama, namely, that he does not love this country. He didn't rely on any word ending in "ism" to make his point. No spreadsheets or regression analysis. He just gave voice to the thought that any observant American has had since before the 2008 election. Rob Miller similarly cuts through the media protective fog:
In short, if, say, President Barack Obama didn't care all that much for the America he was elected to lead, if he thought that there was no such thing as 'American exceptionalism', if he thought America needed to be somehow punished for what all his closest associates for decades have told him are America's sins....

What exactly would he be doing differently?[1]

There's a childish simplicity to the words propounded by Giuliani and Miller but the legacy media use every ounce of their education, intelligence, and vast financial resources to paint Obama as a sincere and caring patriot, constitutional scholar, the greatest of the great. Obama hostile to America, to whites? Preposterous!! Four-alarm racism alert! Defcon "Hater" all sectors. [Klaxon. Klaxon.]

In January of last year, his mommy right hand woman, Valerie Jarrett, stated that Americans are "'hungry' for Obama to take unilateral action, bypassing Congress whenever he can to get things done."[2] Her qualification that this will be done within the limits of Obama's executive authority can be seen for the sophistry that it is.

Thus, in a nation that has treasured the thought that we enjoy hitherto unknown freedoms under the protection of even our currently eviscerated Constitution, this closest of Obama advisers mouths patent banana republic nonsense.[3] But this is nonsense that strikes at the heart of the American political scheme, at least as it was initially conceived. Unlimited and arbitrary executive discretion? In what way does this show that Obama and his joined-at-the-hip mouthpiece have any regard for even the basic legal structure of the nation?

This would be comical if this freakish, communism-besotted, Islam-besotted, race-besotted crew didn't today control the executive power of the U.S.A. Surely even Gwyneth Paltrow and Woody Allen are now rethinking their previous longing for a kindly American dictator who can make the trains run on time.

[1] "Is President Obama A Christian? Does He Love America?" By Rob Miller, JoshuaPundit, 2/24/15 (contains impressive list of Obama outrages accomplishments).
[2] "Valerie Jarrett: Americans 'hungry' for Obama to act like an imperial president." By Joe Newby,, 1/28/14. The word "hungry" is a direct quote of Jarrett. The rest of the quoted language is that of Mr. Newby.
[3] Letter of apology and explanation by courier to Swedish ambassador soonest. Swedish banana republic status still at least five years out.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ok. This is some dark stuff.

As much as I hate to discard the theory that our elites may be sons of bitches but they're nonetheless our sons of bitches, it's pretty much demanded by any somewhat sober interpretation of the behavior of contemporary Western governments.

Which this isn't. Did someone say "mojito time"? Why, yes, I believe they did.

Just whose side are these people on? No longer are they entitled to a presumption that they are acting with the interests of their own people in mind. Moreover, they're clearly impervious to voter outrage.

Charles Hugh Smith has definitely come up with a startling theory that tries to explain this amazing phenomenon of elites hostile to their own people.

His theory is that Western governments (and their financial controllers) initially exploited colonial peoples with the aid of military conquest. Then, when they were forced to give up their colonial empires after WWII, they attempted to subjugate their former colonies financially. However, even the "economic pillaging of former colonies has limits" and the same techniques of exploitation have to be turned on one's own people to keep the profits flowing. In this final stage of rapacious exploitation of every person on the face of the planet, the real rulers taketo fleecing the fringes of the home territory.

Such as with, Greece. On the periphery of the European empire.

If this strikes you as being a bit "out there" well, I'm with you but, when it's as clear as a bell that Western elites are both traitorous and certifiable ("'We' can never have too may Arabs/Chinese/Somalis/Mexicans in America/France/Germany/Sweden"), it's an intriguing theory. Economics as exploitation by a financial elite.

Life is good in the U.S. and Europe for the most part but it's easy to see how colonial peoples thought that the people who controlled their countries did not have their interests uppermost in their minds. The idea that nations represent one people, that the ruling class defends it, and that domestic disputes get worked out by the historic peoples of each nation is passe in modern advanced thinking. State of the art thinking now is that a nation should import discord, parasitism, disease, and foreign competition for jobs and if money can be made by financial manipulation of one's own people then what's not to love about that?

"Greece and the Endgame of the Neocolonial Model of Exploitation." By Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds, 2/19/15.

Revised 3/2/15.

Christian fanaticism, inter alia.

The season of fasting is upon us. No more high living. It’s time to cinch up our belts … to put on a gaunt face and a smug look. Alone among friends and associates, we will keep Lent.

So neglected is Lent that even Google has forgotten about it. When we did a search it proposed “lentil soup.” Lent is meant to rehearse the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent fasting in the desert before going public.

We remember the lean days with prayer, meditation and self-denial. No alcohol will cross our lips from Ash Wednesday till Easter Sunday. (Except on Sundays. And saints’ days. And national holidays. And days that begin with the letter “T” or that have a date that is a prime number.)[1]

That bit of choice humor is enjoyable in its own right. However, it begins a very interesting article on moral rot underlying the debasement of our currency. Can every contract entered into contain an unstated provision that the parties can diminish their obligations thereunder by 2% each year? The words of any party "promising" full performance would be unreliable by definition. All parties would adjust their behavior accordingly but the essential point would be that anyone purporting to give his or her word would be dissembling. Just a teeny amount, it's true. But dissembling nonetheless.

So ours is a dissembling currency and if we use it we dissemble ourselves, even though it can be fairly pointed out that we have little power to do otherwise, any more than we have the power to require that our borders be sealed and protected.

Electoral politics is a mug's game even though the people as a whole theorectally could rise up and demand change. But, alas, in the absence of congressional proposals to institute human sacrifice for the losers of any year's Superbowl contest, that is just axing too much of human beings that they give up short-term advantages that are expedient.

Still and all it's healthy to have the essential dishonesty involved kept in the forefront of our minds. As we should the stark truth that modern electoral politics are a mechanism whereby money can be extracted from one's fellow citizens by a vote of the majority of the legislature when to do so as an individual with a gun would be a criminal act. For the sake of "fairness," of course.

[1] "The End of Honest Money." By Bill Bonner, Acting Man, 2/27/15.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Knowings Part 2: Suspicious Bulges

Persons who carry a handgun in their daily travels will sometimes be heard to comment on the difficulty of concealing it completely. It’s a formidable problem, for good clothing that fits properly will often suggest the presence of the gun via a “bulge” that’s visible to an onlooker. In several jurisdictions that prohibit open carry, police have been authorized to detain on the basis of such “suspicious bulges” and to arrest the detainee should he prove to be armed, regardless of whether he has a concealed-carry permit. The logic, of course, is that the gun isn’t completely concealed – that the bulge gives it away, thus creating a prima facie violation of the law.

To a Second Amendment absolutist – for the record, that includes your humble blogmeister – that’s quite bad enough. What makes it worse is the presumption involved, which is wrapped up in the doctrine of “reasonable suspicion.” The Fourth Amendment apparently doesn’t protect those of us who’ve had such bulges conferred upon us by diet or genetics.

To permit the police to infer a crime based on a suspicious bulge probably strikes some as reasonable enough. Indeed, it can be a tough thing to argue against...but I don’t take the easy cases. At any rate, today’s tirade isn’t about the infringement of Second Amendment rights because of such bulges. It’s about a bulge in plain sight that ought to have the entire nation locked, loaded, and storming Washington.

For quite some time, I and other commentators have discussed the thresholds for an open revolution against the regime. Some have drawn the line at the destruction of the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Others have insisted that our Second Amendment rights are the last bastion – that once we’ve been reaved of our guns, our ability to resist tyranny will be gone, so a move in that direction should trigger revolt. A few have focused on the possible abrogation of an electoral outcome, as if vote fraud were irrelevant to the issue, or the outcome of an election has changed anything substantive this century past.

Well, Gentle Reader, in case you’ve been paying insufficient attention to the news, we’ve just had a quinella:

  1. The Federal Communications Commission has just claimed wholly unConstitutional powers over the Internet, imposing a 300-page-plus book of regulations upon ISPs that no one outside the federal government has yet seen.
  2. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, another wholly unConstitutional agency, has declared its intention to ban 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington rifle ammunition as “armor piercing,” despite the plain fact that that round does not meet the legal definition of armor-piercing ammunition.

What are the implications of those actions? What further measures against Americans’ rights to free expression and the possession of arms seem likely to follow?

Is that enough of a suspicious bulge for you? Combine it with the nationwide militarization of local police forces, Obama’s open obstruction of the enforcement of the immigration laws, and the vote fraud that was rampant in the 2012 elections. What verdict pops out of the slot?

Are we being reduced to helpless subjugation or not?

I’m growing tired. I’ve been writing op-ed for the Web since 1997, nearly always to the same effect: that America as it was designed – “conceived in liberty,” as the classic phrase goes – is being reduced to tyranny. Hundreds of other commentators have been shouting the same warning. Yet nothing has changed for the better. No effective resistance to our ongoing subjugation has been mounted. The closest we’ve come have been the popular resistance to the seizure of Cliven Bundy’s ranch and the Oath Keepers’ defense of legitimate Ferguson, Missouri businesses against looters and rioters.

Now we’re looking down the barrel of the State’s gun: the removal of the last wholly free means of expression and organization remaining to private citizens, plus the ongoing destruction of our potential means of resistance.

In the name of God, people, when will it be enough?

It’s no longer sufficient to protest. Those who hold the levers of power have decided that they can ignore our voices. Worse, we can’t even mobilize ourselves for effective resistance. There’s no point in standing on a street corner and crying out a warning if those who hear are unwilling to act.

Some say we need a leader that has not yet arisen. Others demur that we’re too comfortable – that the spirit of liberty has been enervated by prosperity. There’s some justice to both assessments, but a third is uppermost on my mind this morning: that we’ve become cowards, none of us willing to risk our own lives and possessions, all of us happy to “let you and him fight.”

Mind you, I don’t exempt myself.

Just yesterday, I wrote about the difference between facts and inferences as categories of knowledge. It might have been too abstruse to capture your interest. All the same, it’s an important subject, directly relevant to the situation we face today.

Abraham Lincoln once spoke thus:

"When we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen...and when we see those timbers joined together, and see that they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too such a case we find it impossible not to believe that...all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft, drawn up before the first blow was struck."— Abraham Lincoln, deducing from objective evidence the blueprint of a political plot to save the institution of slavery. [Quoted in Garet Garrett's essay "The Revolution Was"]

Lincoln’s concern was the ongoing enslavement of tens of thousands of American Negroes. He was willing to start a war that divided the nation and ultimately claimed 800,000 American lives to put an end to the practice. It hardly matters whether other means to bring an end to slavery were available, for the greater part of the nation deemed the price acceptable.

What about the enslavement of 300,000,000 Americans? What price are we willing to pay to prevent that?

The process has been in train for more than a century. Its completion, as implied by the assaults on the Internet and our firearms rights, looms before us. Could any bulge in the Omnipotent State’s garb be more suspicious?

Patrick Henry warned us against “the illusions of hope:”

"Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to treaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.

"There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained; we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

We, too, have tried argument.
We have also tried electoral measures.
We have tried everything except open revolt.
What, then, must we do?

I await your thoughts.

I’m scheduled for more oral surgery today, so please excuse me if I’m unable to write for a day or two. Of course, if I’m “unable” to write for some other reason, I exhort you to become outraged...if nothing else.

The iron laws of arithmetic.

Both the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago are in dire financial condition. Illinois’s unfunded pension liability stands at $111 billion. It owes another $56 billion in unfunded retiree health-care obligations. Chicago itself faces $35 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. The total liability for all local government obligations adds up to as much as $83,000 per household.[1]
When all the socialist, Democrat, redistributionist, "social justice," racial justice, fairness, public service, diversity, reparations, white privilege crap is gift wrapped and delivered to every moron voter south of Milwaukee, the iron laws of arithmetic eventually get their chance at the polling place. The Black Death is more popular but that vote always gets cast.

It's always a write-in vote and the name written in is always "Mr. I Told You So."

[1] "Rahm’s Runoff. Chicago’s problems run deeper than many in the city want to acknowledge." By Aaron M. Renn, City Journal, 2/26/15 (links omitted).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Unforgivable Negligence!

A commenter to this piece wrote:

"How about that, folks: two quasi-philosophical pieces in one week! I hope this doesn't constitute an overdose."

We're not here for the cat pictures, dude. Which is good, since you don't post cat pictures. :)

And the realization came upon me like a thunderbolt:

I’ve never, ever posted a cat picture!

OMG!!! And I’m a lifelong lover and keeper of felis domesticus! I’ve had more cats than Carter has Little Liver Pills! Why, at this very moment I have three: April Come She Will, Uriel The Great, and Fluffy. (The last one is a recent adoptee who arrived pre-named, so don’t blame it on me. Anyway, she’s a longhair, so the name sort of fits.)

Besides, what’s a Website without a few cat pictures? In the spirit whereof, I present:

Thank you, commenter lelnet, for drawing that omission to my attention!

Love and the Lightning Rod

When I was in Afghanistan the first time, my boss (a full colonel), was an alcoholic and an adulterer.  I’m what he might call a “Bible Thumper,” and it soon became apparent that he  didn’t care for me too much. However I can  say he shared something with me that I thought was exceptionally insightful.  It came right after he disclosed his intent to fire me (or more precisely, relieve me).  What the Colonel said that I believe is very perceptive was, “Oftentimes a leader becomes a lightning rod; the unit members direct all their negative energy and frustration at the leader, fairly or not.”  In spite of the fact that he eventually got a young, female soldier pregnant, was later fired for being AWOL during a drinking binge, and his actions against me were overturned by the Department of The Army, that was a very astute observation.

There is good reason why leaders can become lightning rods – they make decisions and implement policies that affect our existence. For better or worse, leaders, like families have an inordinate influence on our lives.  Healthy marriages create healthy families.  Healthy families create healthy neighborhoods.  Healthy neighborhoods create healthy cities.  Healthy cities create healthy states.  Healthy states create a healthy country.  Why in the world would any leader want to upset the very foundation for a healthy nation?

On January 30, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt underscored the importance of marriage in a message to Congress, “The institution of marriage is, of course, at the very foundation of our social organization, and all influences that affect that institution are of vital concern to the people of the whole country.”  Make no mistake, marriage matters.

 As mentioned in my last column, Obama advisor David Axlerod said in his book Believer: My Forty Years in Politics that Obama “misled” Americans about marriage.  Why the need for deception?  As a candidate for president, Obama told Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church that marriage could only extend to heterosexual couples.  “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama said. He continued, “Now, for me as a Christian — for me, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”  Me too, Mr. Obama, me too.  However, unlike God, Mr. Obama changed – or as he said, “evolved.”

Why not a man and a dog? A woman and a cat? A man and his car? A man and multiple women?   Back in the 1880’s, the Territory of Utah had a problem with Mormons and polygamy.  The problem was so disturbing that President Grover Cleveland addressed it on December 8, 1885.  In his First Annual Message to Congress he declared, The strength, the perpetuity, and the destiny of the nation rest upon our homes, established by the law of God, guarded by parental care, regulated by parental authority, and sanctified by parental love. These are not the homes of polygamy.”

Regarding the necessity for a mother, President Cleveland continued, “The mothers of our land, who rule the nation as they mold the characters and guide the actions of their sons, live according to God's holy ordinances, and each, secure and happy in the exclusive love of the father of her children, sheds the warm light of true womanhood, unperverted and unpolluted, upon all within her pure and wholesome family circle.”

Unlike what we see in “Married With Children” or “The Simpsons,” Cleveland knew the value of fathers, and the value of a family that only a mother and father can form.  He told Congress, “The fathers of our families are the best citizens of the Republic. Wife and children are the sources of patriotism, and conjugal and parental affection beget devotion to the country. The man who, undefiled with plural marriage, is surrounded in his single home with his wife and children has a stake in the country which inspires him with respect for its laws and courage for its defense.”

Being a devoted Mom or Dad is not easy, especially in a culture and country where anything goes.   If President Cleveland recognized the importance of traditional marriage back in the 1800’s, how much more so is it now?  In closing, I’ll confess I’m in agreement with what former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, ironically, not exactly a practitioner of traditional marriage, said about the issue, “I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” 

The Lord is my Shepherd; the Terminator is my lightning rod.


Recent events, including one with more personal significance than the others, have caused the nature and varieties of knowledge to bubble to the top of my priority list. How about that, folks: two quasi-philosophical pieces in one week! I hope this doesn’t constitute an overdose.

What we mean when we say we “know” something varies according to the kind of knowledge being claimed.

An acquaintance once argued to me that it’s impossible to “know” anything – that even our most fundamental observations are “too theory-laden” to constitute knowledge of a reliable sort. This...person is a “Unitarian pastor” who specializes in “feminist theology” and thinks muckraker Ida Tarbell was an objective and trustworthy reporter. Despite an advanced degree in the sciences, he disbelieves in scientific method as the most reliable technique for amassing knowledge about the universe, because he rejects the notion of objective reality, though he knows better than ever to say so outright.

My acquaintance’s fundamental failings – in this regard, that is – are an inability concede the requirement for premises and a corresponding ignorance about the varieties of knowledge.

Let’s look at a typical problem in required premises and the varieties of knowledge.

It’s impossible at this time to determine a man’s true beliefs and affinities with absolute assurance. For example, I could tell you that I love my wife, but you could never be absolutely certain that that statement is true. The truth of the matter is locked inside my head, where you cannot examine it. What you can do is test my assertions against my behavior, according to patterns you believe to be reliable. Do I treat my wife with affection, consideration, and loyalty? Most important: am I consistent about it, especially when I’m unaware that I’m being observed?

Much will depend upon your choice of premises. Will you assume that I always speak the truth? If so, the syllogism runs:

  1. Fran always speaks the truth.
  2. Fran says he loves his wife.
  3. Therefore, Fran loves his wife.

If you refrain from making that assumption, preferring confirmation by experimentation after the fashion of the sciences, your syllogism will run:

  1. A man who consistently behaves in fashion X loves his wife.
  2. Fran consistently behaves in fashion X.
  3. Therefore, Fran loves his wife.

When we look closely at those arguments, we note the following:

  • In each case, statement 1 is accepted as true without question, which makes it either a premise (first argument) or a previously inferred item of knowledge (second argument).
  • In each case, statement 2 is about an observed fact: what a scientist would call data. Whether or not the fact in question was independently witnessed, it could have been witnessed.
  • In each case, statement 3 is the implication of statements 1 and 2: we infer it from our premises / previous knowledge and our observations.

In any case of inference, regardless of the particular premises chosen, at the conclusion of it there are two questions of importance:

  • How certain are you of your conclusion?
  • Why does that matter?

In point of fact, certainty about inferred knowledge – i.e., knowledge other than awareness of an observed fact – is barred to us. We can have a degree of confidence in such knowledge, that degree being proportional to its observed reliability in practice, but we cannot be certain that it will always hold true.

Robert A. Heinlein made an important point about this in Stranger In A Strange Land:

    "...You know how Fair Witnesses behave."
    "Well . . . no, I don't. I've never had any dealings with Fair Witnesses."
    "So? Perhaps you weren't aware of it. Anne!"
    Anne was seated on the springboard; she turned her head. Jubal called out, "That new house on the far hilltop - can you see what color they've painted it?"
    Anne looked in the direction in which Jubal was pointing and answered, "It's white on this side." She did not inquire why Jubal had asked, nor make any comment.
    Jubal went on to Jill in normal tones. "You see? Anne is so thoroughly indoctrinated that it doesn't even occur to her to infer that the other side is probably white too. All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't force her to commit herself as to the far side . . . unless she herself went around to the other side and looked - and even then she wouldn't assume that it stayed whatever color it might be after she left . . . because they might repaint it as soon as she turned her back."

Heinlein’s Fair Witnesses make an absolute distinction between observable facts and inferences. The two constitute completely different kinds of knowledge. The former are utterly reliable – always assuming one’s own perceptions are reliable, of course – while the latter are propositions in cause and effect which can never be proved beyond all possibility of exceptions.

Quite recently, Rudy Giuliani kicked over a hornet’s nest by saying that he doesn’t believe that Barack Hussein Obama loves America. In the classification system established above, Giuliani’s assertion is an inference from observable facts, founded upon a simple premise: i.e., that one who loves America would speak and behave quite differently from Obama’s record. Because “love,” in whatever context, occurs in the mind of an individual, Giuliani cannot be absolutely certain of the accuracy of his inference. Additional uncertainty arises from the tendentiousness of claims about “love.”

Many persons agree with Giuliani, but there are many others who don’t. The former persons accept his premise, while the latter persons reject it. What cannot be disputed is the pattern of facts from which he drew his conclusion; the conclusion itself is open to disputation.

When a reporter ambushed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by asking him “Do you think President Obama is a Christian?” Governor Walker faced a comparable problem. Obama claims to be a Christian. He attended a supposedly Christian church for some twenty years. If Obama’s statement is all that’s required to establish his Christianity, the inference is automatic...but a sincere Christian such as Governor Walker has good reason to infer from Obama’s conduct and the nature of the “Christian church” he attended that there’s quite a bit of doubt about it.

Full disclosure: I agree with Rudy Giuliani that Obama does not love this country. My premises and observations match Giuliani’s, which leads me to agree with his inference. More, I do not accept Obama’s claim to be a Christian. Obama’s observable conduct, and the statements and behavior of his odious pastor Jeremiah Wright, utterly contradict all established Christian doctrine. Make of that what you will.

Those who aim to confuse you, to misdirect your attention, or to make damaging imputations about others, will routinely attempt to confuse the two kinds of knowledge.

The reporter who tried to corner Scott Walker wanted the governor, a promising candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, to assert a kind of knowledge that that reporter could thereafter misrepresent. Whatever answer Governor Walker might have given would have been an inference from his observations and premises. The reporter, regardless of whatever beliefs he might hold, would have trumpeted it as Governor Walker’s certainty about a matter locked deep within Obama’s self. Had Walker said that he accepts Obama’s claim to Christianity, the reporter would have used it to divide him from the many Republicans who have been offended by the clash between Obama’s claim and his observable conduct. Had Walker said that he rejects Obama’s claim to Christianity, the reporter would have implied that Walker allows himself to be contemptuous of Obama’s faith – a faith that the reporter, strictly by unspoken implication, wants his readers to accept as beyond question. That’s the nature of “journalism” in our hyperpartisan age.

I would have loved for Walker to respond to the reporter as follows:

Reporter: Governor, do you believe that President Obama is a Christian?
Walker: Do you?
Reporter: Yes, of course.
Walker: Why?
Reporter: He says he is, and he attended a Christian church.
Walker: Do the words and deeds of pastor Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ match Christian teachings? Does Obama’s conduct in office reflect Christian allegiance?

A smart, on-his-toes reporter would refrain from answering. He’d know that the initiative had passed to Walker, and that there would be nothing to be gained by proceeding. But let’s imagine that Walker has caught him off-balance:

Reporter: I don’t know enough about Christianity to say.
Walker: But you expect me to say – to testify to what lies within another man’s heart, which no other man is privy to. That’s a degree of arrogance I leave to you and your colleagues. I’ll have no part of it.

There’s a win for you. Perhaps Governor Walker will read this and agree.

A relevant personal vignette, arising from events of yesterday: Have a look at this listing at Amazon:

I did not publish that story through Amazon. The only place I published it is here, at Smashwords. More, note that the price listed at Smashwords is Free. Believing that Smashwords simply must be the originator of the listing, I contacted its support center and asked what had happened. Here’s the reply I received:

Thanks for your email. We don't distribute to Amazon so you would need to contact them directly.

Amazon is one of the most reliable, and reliably ethical, retail organizations in the world. More, its security arrangements have never been breached. Yet Smashwords’ staff would have me believe that Amazon lifted my story from its Smashwords listing, entirely without my permission, listed it at Amazon’s site, and attached a price to it to which I did not assent – all while listing it under my full and correct name, such that I would be certain to encounter it!

What are the facts in this matter, and what inferences, if any, do they support?

Food for thought.