Archive for June 2011

The New Misogyny: The Left’s Sexist Treatment of Conservative Women

Recently one of my friends, politically an independent with a serious streak of libertarian, posted on Facebook a link to this article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (here’s JoshuaPundit’s take on the piece). I couldn’t make it completely through the article because it suffered from too! many! exclamation points! that have infested poorly written Lefty screeds since the Paris Commune, but the gist of the article is “this woman is a religious nut!” I broke one of my rules about Facebook: Never post about politics on Facebook because most of my Facebook friends are politically left of center, and Facebook friendships aren’t strong enough to debate politics, nor is the medium conducive to thoughtful discussion. But I posted a response, pointing out that Taibbi’s was just a hit-piece by a magazine whose best years were decades behind it, and that Republican women were the only women men could still denigrate and not look like sexist troglodytes.

Consider Sarah Palin. An objective outsider would find it difficult to believe that Sarah Palin was an ex-governor of one of America’s smallest states (population-wise) who didn’t complete a full term and held the #2 spot on a losing ticket. Hundreds if not thousands of articles have been written about her, nearly all demonizing her, criticizing her for mistakes she didn’t make (she never said she could see Russia from her backyard, Tina Fey playing her on Saturday Night Live did, to mention another media enterprise whose best years lay decades in the past). Most recently the Palin emails inspired such a media frenzy that one would have thought that she must have wielded great power. It was like a Wikileaks operation complete with countdown until they were released. Imagine that happening to Obama or even Clinton; I can’t even though those men ruled over 40x more people for 5x longer. The anger directed towards Sarah Palin and the focus of journalistic hit jobs by Andrew Sullivan (who still believes that her son Trig is in fact her daughter Bristol’s – even though the odds of Bristol having a Down’s baby are about the same as Andrew Sullivan writing something that doesn’t mention his homosexuality, while Sarah’s odds were 1 in 10), to editor Bill Keller’s fixation with her at the New York Times, is unprecedented. There is even a term coined for it: Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Now Rolling Stone has begun creatively editing and twisting Bachmann’s remarks, questioning her intelligence, making fun of her appearance all with a hip attitude. If Bachmann star ascends over the coming months one can bet that the mainstream media’s obsession with Sarah Palin will switch to Bachmann and someone will have to coin another term: Bachmann Derangement Syndrome.

Rolling Stone was simply the opening salvo. As Pat Caddell, former pollster for Jimmy Carter noted in a recent interview, the media refuses to compare Bachmann to anyone but Sarah Palin, refusing to acknowledge her own accomplishments in office or her own ideas for changing the country. Washington Post columnist Colby King called Bachmann “Barbie with fangs,” continuing the objectification

Afterward I got to thinking and it just amazed me how every woman I could think of on the Right had been demonized by the Left – going all the way back to Phyllis Schafly and even Anita Bryant. Every. Single. One. It is creepy the way any woman who comes out on the Right is immediately leapt upon and portrayed as crazy or at the very least shrill. There is a certain amount of that directed towards men on the Right, but nothing to the degree that has been thrown at women.

Given the treatment of Hillary Clinton by conservatives, treatment that I personally believe was sexist too, I know there would be plenty of evidence to support the broader contention that sexism still exists regardless of the political leanings of the attackers. But due to the 2012 presidential election, the focus for now must pertain to conservative women.

To best examine this sexist attacks on conservative women, Lexis Nexis searches could be conducted using the names of prominent conservative women partnered with derogatory and inflammatory words, then compare it against the names of prominent liberal women and the same terms. Unfortunately, I do not have access to this tool and so cannot support my hypothesis that this bias statistically exists. Instead I have to rely on Google searchers which leave me open to cherry picking the results; I would recommend that anyone believing that is what I have done should try such Google searches for themselves to see that if I am indeed cherry picking the data, there are whole “orchards” of “cherries” to choose from on Google.

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona. Salon: “This week in crazy: Jan Brewer.” San Francisco Chronicle: “Jan Brewer kills ethnic studies, proves racism.” Youtube: “if i ever meet that C*ntessa Brewer b**ch,i’ll kick her right´╗┐ in the Vag.” Phuckpolitics: “Jan Brewer is one dumb c**t.” PoliticalArticlesNet: “Ugly Quivering Witch, Governor Jan Brewer Meets With Obama.”

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina. DemocraticUnderground (in a sexist two-fer): Bachmann schedules batshit crazy “private sit-down” with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Wonkette: “Another South Carolina Republican Dude Claims He Banged Nikki Haley.” Wonkette pt 2: “LATEST NIKKI HALEY SCANDAL: Did You Know She Isn’t Even WHITE??” SouthPawBeagle: “Two Men Who Have Not Slept With Nikki Haley Captured Today in South Carolina”

Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell. Huff-Po: The Craziest Things Christine O’Donnell Has Ever Said. The Guardian: “Christine O’Donnell ‘seen as nut job’, says John McCain’s daughter.” LiberalValuesBlog: “GOP Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell Is Something Which Rhymes with “Bitch””

This doesn’t even touch the surface of the vitriol that has been unleashed against Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin – the latter of which has not only been the target of sexist attacks, but as with Nikki Haley racist ones as well.

Again, I don’t argue that there have been sexist attacks against liberal women. But such attacks should not take away from the garbage being thrown by those who should know better at Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and every other woman who dares to question liberal orthodoxy.

The Council Has Spoken: June 24, 2011

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilJoshuapundit–-Fast And Furious – How The Dept. Of Justice Ran Illegal Guns To Mexican Drug Gangs

Noncouncil: Michael Totten- The Palestinians Of 1967

Full voting here.

Book Review: Reagan – What Was He Really Like Vol. 1, by Curtis Patrick

Disclosure: As a politically astute adolescent I was happy to see Ronald Reagan replace Jimmy Carter in the White House, but as a politically naive teenager a few short years later I found myself at a protest rally against his MX Missile plan under the Gateway Arch. By the end of his second term I believed the anti-Reagan rhetoric that filled the airwaves and echoed off the walls of my college classrooms. Now in middle age I find myself missing the man as I survey the political landscape. Any Republican eying the list of those seeking the 2012 nomination probably feels the same way.

Curtis Patrick’s book, Reagan – What Was He Really Like vol 1, only deepens that longing. In his book, the first of three, Patrick paints a portrait of America’s 40th president using as his palette the experiences of those who worked for him. While Patrick interviewed Lyn Nofziger, the book really makes Reagan come alive in the stories of those who worked for him like Nancy Clark Reynolds. Clark Reynolds held many roles working for the Reagans including Special Assistant to Nancy Reagan. Through her reminiscences Patrick skillfully portrays the complex relationship between Reagan’s dedicated team of helpers and Nancy Reagan. Over time many would run afoul of Nancy, and some lost their jobs because of it and even today Nancy Reagan remains a controversial figure among self-described Reaganites. But Clark Reynolds believes that Nancy was only being protective of her husband. “I had never in my life met a couple (Ron and Nancy) who were completely into one another as they were.”

As the Reagan presidency and his accomplishments as governor of California continue their inexorable slide into History, Patrick’s book reminds us that while History may not repeat itself, it does tend to whistle the same tune. He includes several news releases from the governor’s office with articles that discuss problems back then that exist in California today over 40 years later. The State spending more than it collected in taxes. The soaring cost of publicly provided health-care. The need for tax reform and overhaul. The troubled state of public education – including rioting students that at one point seemed hell-bent on killing him, even though he made higher education a priority and protected it from the budget cutting ax. Today’s headlines in California aren’t much different – except the Reagan administration attempted to seriously resolve the problems unlike the current administration running California today.

Patrick also undermines the myth of Reagan as being an intellectual lightweight throughout the book. Numerous interviewees stress the Reagan’s intelligence and ease at understanding complex problems. Buck Ware, lead advance man in the 1966 Reagan for Governor campaign, noted, “I didn’t fully appreciate him. I just didn’t have the intellectual tools, the language, the metaphors, to understand him until I had read two of Ayn Rand’s books, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. The philosophy she expounded on in Atlas Shrugged clarified and explained why I had been so deeply attracted to Ronald Reagan, and Walt Disney, as well.” Dr. Jim Gibson, who Reagan appointed to the Planning & Research Unit tasked with overhauling California’s woes, told Patrick, “A lot of people in the outside world, who weren’t close to him, couldn’t believe that this man didn’t just memorize the facts, but he understood them – he was intellectually bright!” “He was an intellectually bright man!

Although the book focuses on his governorship of California, it does touch upon his presidency at points. In an interview with Tom Ellick, a public relations consultant and later Special Assistant to the Reagan Cabinet, Ellick relates an explanation that Reagan gave for his attendance at Kolmeshohe Cemetery in Bitburg Germany. Reagan’s visit had been extremely controversial across the political spectrum in the United States, uniting some Army officers, musicians such as The Ramones and Frank Zappa, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel against Reagan’s proposed visit. Nevertheless, Reagan visited the cemetery after his trip to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, spending 8 minutes there. Ellick remembers Reagan explaining to him:

“If the American people could understand how important it was that I did that.” “Helmut – Helmut Kohl was really in trouble and we needed him to be reelected.” “We didn’t want Germany to go back to the Willy Brandts – the Socialists.” “I knew it was important to Helmut – I knew there was som risk – but, when the trip was planned, we didn’t know there were any SS officers buried there!”

There have been numerous books on the Reagan presidency, most of them by those with their own personal vendetta or agenda against Reagan or his wife Nancy. What sets Patrick’s book apart is his relying upon the voices of the everyday people that were touched by the Reagans and helped Reagan to achieve the accomplishments that changed America and arguably, the world. While reading this book I was struck by its honesty and authenticity; there are no ulterior motives behind what Patrick quotes. People simply report what they recall. By interviewing so many people (the table of contents lists 20 but there are many more that are quoted throughout the book) the stories eventually dovetail and come together to provide a sense of what Ronald Reagan was like when the cameras stopped rolling and the press exited. Reagan thus becomes human and three dimensional through the interviews, and his triumphs more remarkable than what is remembered or reported in the history books.

Since we have the second incarnation of Jimmy Carter in the White House, America needs another Ronald Reagan now more than ever. While Republicans have evoked his name so much as to turn it into a cliche, this book points out why that search is pointless. Reagan was a true American original, a one of a kind that will never grace a statehouse or White House again. Yet his sensibility, his kindness and the determination he showed throughout his political career remind us living in a much more crass and cynical era that such people still exist. As Stu Spencer noted about his career in Hollywood, Reagan played good guys. “The good guy in the movies! He may have been with Errol Flynn in the movies, but he was the good guy.” In the end Reagan proved that just like the movies, in American politics the good guys can win.

Homage to the A-10

There are sexy planes like this graceful-looking machine.
SR-71 Blackbird

And then there’s the Warthog.
A-10 Thundebolt
Dave Weinbaum pays homage to the A-10, the ugliest plane in our arsenal that everybody loves.

A Conspiracy of Idiots – The Fast And Furious Scandal

There has never been much love for the ATF among conservatives. Terms like “Ruby Ridge” and “Waco” might not elicit more than shrugs from most people, but to those on the right-most fringes they are the equivalent of Pearl Harbor and the Alamo, exemplifying a government run amok stealing freedom from its citizens. The smoldering hatred of the ATF goes back much further into the mists of Appalachian mountains where bootleggers made moonshine and played cat and mouse games with the federal authorities determined to shut them down. Add in a conservative’s instinctive distrust of all things associated with the federal government, a topic involving guns and what was once at the fringes of the Right becomes increasingly mainstream.

Operation Fast and Furious is just the latest example of the outright stupidity of the ATF. The details of the operation are so simple that it’s difficult to understand how it ever left the whiteboard let alone was approved. Straw purchases of guns from legal gun dealers were encouraged, and existing gun laws intentional bypassed to allow guns to be tracked from gun dealers to the border. But there the tracking stopped; the next time the guns were seen again was at crime scenes in Mexico.

Members of both parties are questioning the purpose of this operation. If it was to track the guns to the Mexican drug cartels, how were the guns supposed to be tracked after they hit the border? And even if there was some way of tracking them once they moved into Mexico, why? We know where the Mexican drug cartels are; they have taken over entire states and operate openly in cities throughout the country. So what was the reason for the operation?

Lacking an answer to that question that doesn’t sound like it was made by bureaucrats stoned out of their gourds makes conservatives search for other motives. The Obama administration has been pushing the lie that 90% of weapons recovered at crime scenes in Mexico originated in the US. This myth has been perpetrated by Obama as well as Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder and Mexican president Felipe Calderón and amplified by anti-gun members of Congress and the mainstream media.

One doesn’t have to be a paranoid, black helicopter-fearing wing nut to wonder whether the true purpose of Fast and Furious was to flood Mexico with firearms from the United States in order to create a backlash against legitimate gun dealers and owners. At this point it is the only logical conclusion that fits the data. Even Hanlon’s Razor can’t even save it. Fast and Furious makes sense in this context.

First consider that the operation remained secret – though we only know about the operation because of a single whistleblower. Next imagine the US government passing serial numbers of the guns to Mexican law enforcement, who would then announce their presence at crime scenes. Guns from the United States would then become the story, allowing the administration to put forward “sensible and sane restrictions on guns” that only the most rabid gun-nut would oppose, say making the California ban on assault weapons a federal one. Sure a small number of gun dealers would complain that the government had forced them to break the law, but most would remain silent, fearing retaliation by the federal government.

Almost 10 years ago I founded this journal to combat the conspiracy theories and plain muddy thinking that came from the Left after 9-11. Since that time I have come to learn that conspiracists exist across the political spectrum, but have no trouble applying the same rules of logic to the Kennedy Assassination as I do to the 9-11 Truthers. Just because I share many of the same goals of the Right such as limited government does not mean that I believe in some overarching Right Wing creed that includes the belief that the Federal Government is inherently evil and out to destroy the freedoms set forth in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution. “Limited” does not mean “none.” The Founders of this Republic may have disagreed with the extent of the federal government, but they all agreed to its existence.

But given what I know today about Fast and Furious, it is easy for me to understand why some people grab their guns and head to the hills. The fact that an agency of the federal government would come up with Fast and Furious and then fail to explain its purpose before elected representatives of the people in Congress makes me a little more sympathetic to those who believe the conspiracies that I have spent years deconstructing. That doesn’t mean that I accept that the CIA planted explosives in the World Trade Center or that its assassins assisted Oswald in killing Kennedy, but Fast and Furious and the people that spawned it have created a nurturing environment for such conspiracies to flourish. Add in the strange handling of Bin Laden’s assassination and burial at sea, and the Obama administration seems almost to be encouraging people to believe in anti-government conspiracies.

The question remains: Is Fast and Furious itself a conspiracy? So far it’s hard to argue otherwise after the head of the ATF sat before elected representatives of the People and could not justify the operation. His resignation will not end the speculation that its purpose was nothing less than the undermining of the 2nd Amendment using the corpses of Mexican civilians.

Update: Here’s a complete timeline of the scandal.
SayUncle writes: “Imagine the DEA telling pharmacists to illegally sell oxycontin to known drug dealers or they would be shut down. Then imagine the DEA using the fact that more oxycontin was on the street (and hundreds of overdose deaths) as a pretext for making it harder for patients to get prescribed narcotics. This is essentially what happened with the ATF and Project Gunwalker.”

Update: Seems we crazy gun nuts weren’t being paranoid after all. Operation Fast and Furious: Designed to Promote Gun Control:

Can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same FfL and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks Mark R. Chait Assistant Director Field Operations.”

Update:

The most impressive revelations are of data that Acting Director Melson gave them. ATF was ready to cooperate until it was gagged by the Deputy Attorney General. They informed the Deputy AG that they had documents that contradicted the “official story” Justice was giving out. A memo describing an important meeting—held to convince a cooperating gun dealer who was getting worried about allowing all these suspicious gun buys—was actually written over a year later, after the controversy broke. Melson says there is a memo that is a “smoking gun,” which Justice is still refusing to reveal to the Committee.

UPDATE: Investors Business Daily opines:

Now the FBI may have been coerced into being an accessory. “It is unconscionable and goes beyond just being a terribly ill-conceived investigation to bordering, if not crossing, into criminal activity,” says Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a former federal prosecutor and member of Issa’s committee.

The lies, the intimidation of witnesses, the administration denials — all are part of a cover-up strongly reminiscent of Watergate except for one thing: Nobody died at Watergate.

Ouch!

The Council Has Spoken: June 17, 2011

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilThe Noisy Room–-An American descent Into Hell

Noncouncil: Sultan Knish- Redistributing Freedom To Tyranny

Full voting here.

The Kurds Can Transform the Middle East

I’m a big fan of the Kurdish cause, so this was heartening to read:

Policy makers in the U.S. and Europe need to set aside their traditional way of viewing the world exclusively as a collection of nation-states; recognize the possibilities and risks behind Kurdish empowerment; and craft a strategy to encourage this pro-Western population to gain more influence in the region without provoking a backlash.

Yep. The Kurds are spread across southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq and Syria, and northwestern Iran. They had been promised a state after the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, but were denied. If anybody deserves their own state anywhere, the Kurds do – and much more so than the Palestinians. Writer Meghan O’Sullivan, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, advocates that the Kurds ditch the idea of a state and pursue a “globalization strategy.”


Rather than feeding new clamoring for a Kurdish state, an increase in influence may lead the region’s Kurds to adopt a “globalization” strategy. This approach would acknowledge the waning importance of state borders around the globe and focus on building strong cultural and economic links—and maybe ultimately institutions—that span political boundaries. Working toward a “virtual” Kurdistan, the Kurds of a transformed Middle East might realize many of their aspirations without incurring the ire of the region’s larger powers.

Professor O’Sullivan doesn’t explicitly state why the Kurds should settle for virtual Kurdistan (would she tell the Palestinians to do the same thing?) except for upsetting the local regimes of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Why are the national borders drawn up a century ago by the victors of World War I inviolate? And if national borders aren’t important to the point that they are trumped by a “virtual state”, why can’t the Palestinians settle for the same?

California “Aggressively Interferes in the Personal Lives of its Citizens”

I’m reading reading Reagan – What Was He Really Like by Curtis Patrick, and I’m reminded that the California that Reagan took over had a lot in common with America today. Out of control spending leading to a huge deficit. Over regulation and onerous state interference in the lives of its citizens. And it amazes at what he did as governor to turn that state around and make it a place you’d want to live.

Today California is in the same mess that Reagan found it in back in the mid-1960’s, and has a governor Brown more concerned with his grand ideas than he is with making the state a decent place to live and work. This report shows that California is, along with New York and New Jersey, one of the most “unfree” states in the country, “California ‘aggressively interferes in the personal lives of its citizens’ and ‘needs to cut government spending.’”

Unfortunately for those of us who want to see California rise again, while it has another Governor Brown there is no Governor Reagan on the horizon.

Why There Is Still A Physician Shortage In Rural America

This originated as a reply to a comment on this thread, but it’s worth promoting. Here is the original comment by Layton Lang:


Your article is somewhat off base. First you are describing an industry that does not follow typical free- market cycles. This industry is heavily subsidized (Government 50%) by the government and private insurance companies. Second, the government has been steering financial incentives to primary care physicians in the form of higher payments. Many of the E/M billing codes , primary care physicians bill have experienced rate increases as opposed to specialty billing codes being reduced. Third, many of the physicians are not strapped with debt coming out of school because hospitals pay off their education obligations when they hire them (employment package).
Moreover, I do agree with your comparison to the IT field. This is exactly what is happening in the medical industry today. The deficit of primary physician graduating from medical school is being corrected by foreign born- foreign trained physicians, use of mid-level providers, physicians learning to be increasingly productive in seeing more patients, and patients being treated in foreign markets through medical tourism. In sum, the healthcare field will continue to adapt to the changes in physician labor just like the IT sector did. All of the rhetoric about physician shortages is untrue. The basic issue is that the physicians are not geographically distributed across the country evenly.
Consequently, in the urban markets, the surplus of physicians is so great, it is the number one reason the country is experiencing high healthcare inflation. Physicians competing for fewer patients cause them to over treat patients to increase net income margins per visit.

Layton
You are correct that the industry does not follow typical free market cycles. There are three tiers of payment: Medicaid, Medicare and Private Pay (private insurance). According to this link, Medicaid reimbursement compared to Medicare varies from 36% in New York to 140% in Alaska for primary care. Medicare also determines what private insurers pay because insurance companies base physician payments on Medicare calculations (the resource based relative value scale (RVU)) using a base unit set by Congress. In effect Medicare sets reimbursement rates for both Medicaid and private insurance.

This base unit has been criticized for favoring specialty procedures over primary care. While the proposed Affordable Care Act (known lovingly here as Obamacare) promises to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates up to Medicare rates, it does not specify changes to the RVU that favors specialty codes over primary health codes, nor does it rule out lowering Medicare payments to “lower the bar” to allow medicaid to reach parity. Since Obamacare promises to trim physician reimbursement (Medicare Part B) by $187 billion over the first 10 years, Medicare will be cut and I suspect the “bar lowered.” Obamacare sweetened the deal (although it didn’t have to – the AMA supported the legislation) by allowing temporary rate increases reimbursements to primary care physicians, but a 10% increase only means bumping New York to 40% of Medicare – and private payers still trump all. Neither will it buck the trend of declining reimbursements across for all physicians.

My Wife is a primary care physician in an area designated as HPSA. She has received a very generous debt repayment package by all standards. But this package is taxable and lasts for 5 years – roughly a third of the time it will take to pay off her loans. Debt repayment is not the same as debt forgiveness; the principle decreases with forgiveness – not so with repayment – so repayment is the norm. The only groups that provide debt forgiveness are the Indian Health Service and the US Military, and IHS opportunities are limited. Is the debt manageable? Perhaps but it does what debt always does: it limits options. My wife would like to volunteer her services for more than the 3 weeks vacation she gets per year, but cannot afford to due to the debt.

I worry about the use of midlevels. I have heard stories of nurses making decisions about care and medications that would make a malpractice attorney salivate. 90% of the time the midlevels get away with it, but 10% of time an error is made and someone suffers. Of that 10% a only a tiny sliver becomes a malpractice case, but my guess is that the number of these cases will grow as health care providers push more work onto the shoulders of midlevels. Having received spaghetti code from India that took my team months to unscramble, eating the cost of the predicted savings of sending the code abroad and then some, I shiver when I consider what would happen if my son was treated by a lightly-trained RN or PA. No one is killed by bad code, but people die from bad medical decisions.

While the medical field can learn much from IT in terms of technology, the fields are inherently different. Software can be designed using best practices. It can be tested empirically. When it fails it can be redesigned. Medicine cannot be done in the same way. No two patients are alike; the human body is much more complex than any System designed by a team of software engineers. And while 99% of the time an upset stomach is just that, 1% of the time it could be indicative of Barrett’s Esophagus, which untreated can lead to lethal esophageal cancer.

The rest of what you say should work in theory – that the better compensation in health professional shortage areas should draw physicians away from the cities where the reimbursements are lower, but after 2 years here I can see that this is not the case. The main problem is that these HPSA areas have a higher Medicaid percentage than the urban areas, and physician practices have a higher Medicaid mix than their urban counterparts.

According to a 2003 report in JAMA, (I’d kill for a more recent statistic) family care physicians work an average of 52.3 hours per week for an average salary of $135,000. That translates into $54.66 per hour – compared to orthopedic surgeons who pull in $121.06 or dermatologists who make $105.59. And there is never an after hours derm emergency. Add in the fact that rural life isn’t desirable for most young people, and it will take pumping a lot more money into the system to encourage residents to pursue primary care in rural areas.

Palin Derangement Syndrome-Struck Media Strikes Out

24000 emails and all they can find are death threats she received.

It’s pretty amazing that someone who doesn’t hold public office incites such madness. I thought the Right went nuts over Hillary but this is bordering on pathological. The Brits see it that way too:


She is, however, viewed with a kind of horrified fascination by many in the media, who faithfully records everything she says and does while at the same time decrying her as ignorant and even evil.

She’s an attractive woman who likes raising children instead of aborting them, and likes hunting and guns. She’s the anti-Hillary – so it’s no surprise I suppose that the Media would lose its senses over her. A shame, because Andrew Sullivan used to be a decent writer, before everything he wrote became about him.

If she ran, I’d vote for her if only just to watch the Left have a collective nervous breakdown.

The Council Has Spoken: June 10, 2011

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilJoshuapundit–-What Does Peace Mean, Anyway?

Noncouncil: Zombie- Proof that S.F.’s circumcision ban Is anti-Semitic

Full voting here.

President Obama – Lay Off Our British Friends

I’ve never understood the fascination of this administration with our nation’s enemies. It started early, with the “reset button” with Russia, the speech in Cairo, and the sanctions against Honduras after the President attempted to take a 2nd term – an action that is illegal according to the Honduran constitution. The administration has gone out of its way to woo Syria and Iran, and completely ignored the attempt by the Iranian people to rise up against a rigged election just as it is ignoring the Syrians as Bashar al-Assad’s snipers pick off people like rabbits. The converse of this has been the administration never missing an opportunity to treat a true friend of our country like dirt. I haven’t forgotten the way the Israeli prime minister was treated upon his first visit to the Obama White House, nor its treatment of Honduras when the administration sided with Bolivia and Venezuela, two countries that have drifted into dictatorship. Even the Dalai Lama was forced out the backdoor of the White House for fear of upsetting the Chinese.

Only one nation has put up with more dissing from this administration than the Israelis – and that’s the British. The Daily Telegraph has separate 2010 and 2011 editions for the insults the Obama administration has visited upon one of three nation’s in this world that we can say “has got our back” (Australia and Canada are the other two). This administration is at it again, siding with Venezuela and Nicaragua against Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands.

Immediately after 9-11 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the United States and said that the attacks exposed the truth that the Jihadis wouldn’t stop until they killed every single one of us. Similarly the Obama administration just can’t accept that states like North Korea, Iran or Venezuela will never like us – no matter how contrite we appear or how many mea culpas and bows the president makes. These nations want to destroy us and will do everything they can to achieve this end.

It’s like the classic difference between a mugger and a murderer. One can negotiate with a mugger – “Here take the cash and cards but let me keep my kids pictures” – but no such negotiation is possible with a killer (with the possible exception of the manner of your death perhaps). He will not stop until someone prevents him from killing you or you are dead. The trouble, as anyone who has been mugged will tell you, is not knowing which you are dealing with when you are on the other side of the gun.

The Obama administration fails to distinguish between muggers and murderers. In fact I suspect that it does not view any nation in this world as anything more troubling than a mugger. Bashar Assad? We can negotiate peace with him; after all, didn’t Nancy Pelosi say the road to Damascus is a road to peace? Iran? We will talk. Venezuela? We’ll show them we aren’t such bad guys.

And the administration then turns on its friends and abuses them – for absolutely no gain. Russia is more paranoid than ever. Hugo Chavez now hates Obama almost as much as he hated Bush. And Iran is closer to gaining the nuclear weapon it so desires.

What has beating up Britain gained us? What has punching the Israelis gotten us in the Middle East? To use one of my favorite Yiddish words, bupkis. Absolutely nothing.

Weiner Comes Clean But Doesn’t Resign

In the Grand Scheme of Things it’s hard to get all worked up over naked pictures of a middle aged man who happens to be a Congressman – unless Representative Democracy is an important concept to your or naked pictures of middle age men are your thing. Being a middle aged man myself who is slowly discovering that certain parts of his own body are subject to gravity whereas in the recent past they weren’t I’m left to wonder what delusions men my age must be under. A 45 year old man cannot be as physically attractive as a 25 year old. Pick up a fashion magazine and I doubt that the only place you will find middle age men are in the masthead (or more likely, the corporate office that owns the publication). Yes middle-aged men can be attractive – consider geriatrics like Harrison Ford and Sean Connery – but such attraction is based on wit, ability, guile (according to PJ O’Rourke) and especially success in one’s occupation. Even Henry Kissinger recognized that power – not a shirtless torso – was the ultimate aphrodisiac. I doubt that Nikolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni was seduced by the French President’s Gallic chest. No, Sarkozy got a smoking hot wife by being a cut-throat, power-hungry and brilliant (by French standards at least) politician.

But the Grand Scheme of Things blinds us to the possibilities of roads – and pictures – not taken. Imagine pictures of a shirtless Nixon, or the “tented underpants” of a Ronald Reagan being released to the media in 1968 and 1980 respectively. It’s difficult for me to imagine that because such an indiscretion is truly unimaginable for either man – and I’m no fan of Nixon. Both were intensely private and devoted to their wives, and also had the sense to avoid making such stupid decisions – sense that Congressman Anthony Weiner evidently lacks.

Andrew Breitbart and his team at BigGovernment.com has done the type of investigative journalism that the mainstream media only enjoys devoting to shirtless or foot-tapping Republicans. They have released more pictures of Congressman Weiner in various states of undress taken with his cellphone camera. As a result Weiner has taken the podium and made all of his previous statements inoperative, to paraphrase one of the greatest events of one of the most important political scandals of all time.

Weiner has admitted he lied but he will not resign.

Topless photos of New York Congressmen - hot hot hot!

New York is becoming America’s cesspool for ethically-challenged politicians with Weiner joining Charlie Rangel. Just a few days ago the congressman gave interviews to several news outlets in which he claimed his email, Facebook, Twitter and yFrog accounts had been hacked – a federal crime (or two). Now Weiner has stood up and admitted that he lied to a media that had pretty much supported him (I wonder how Jon Stewart feels being played as a fool by his frat-buddy? He’ll probably joke that Weiner had surgery to add a few inches after he graduated from college.) Weiner said he would leave it to his constituents to decide whether he stays or goes next election. Given how liberal his district is, he’ll probably be elected in a landslide. Huey Long and the Tammany Hall crowd would understand.

In my last post on the subject I wrote that I expected Congressman Weiner to resign within days; and that was without knowing that the above photo existed. Breitbart also has another one which he is holding on to, an X-rated one, that he has said is too extreme for print.

When Chris Lee found himself in this predicament he resigned in 48 hours. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that an arrogant Democrat like Weiner would still be kicking. He lied numerous times to people’s faces and expects to get away with it. Chances are he just might. But the disdain he has shown his office diminishes the institution of Congress and weakens representative democracy. Congressman Weiner showed the judgement of a frat boy half his age, proving there is good reason why we have laws barring young people that young from being elected to public office. Weiner obviously is stuck in time, and his actions have shown that he lacks the maturity to represent anyone in Congress, even the liberals who will try to whitewash this incident as just a boyish prank.

Here are the judgement failures as I see them:
1. Thinking he is physically attractive. Judge for yourself in the photo above. The vanity belies an arrogance that is difficult for men like him to understand yet which is blatantly obvious to everyone else.
2. Taking pictures of himself. Not smart – ever – even between husbands and wives. Photos, especially the electronic variety, have the uncanny ability of turning up where they shouldn’t.
3. Having friendships with women that aren’t his wife. It’s very difficult for men to pull this off; I’ve argued in the past that it is impossible for men to be emotionally involved without going overboard and falling in love or lust. This is why I believe that men should only be friends with other men or their wives/girlfriends.
4. Conducting relationships electronically. I’ve been online since the late 1980’s in one form or another and learned that you shouldn’t say anything that you don’t want your worst enemy to know. A handwritten note can be burned or thrown away. Electronic communications last forever.
5. Sending explicit photos electronically. One has to be dumb as a bag of hammers or completely arrogant to think that this is a good idea. Congressmen should be neither.
6. Opening himself up to being blackmailed. He is a public official, a walking target by anyone who wants to exercise political influence beyond using the ballot box. Engaging in illicit activities just makes it so much easier for blackmailers to get what they want.
7. When caught, claiming he had been hacked. Arrogance strikes again. Does he think that there aren’t people who know more about electronic files and communications than he does?
8. After claiming he was hacked, not pressing charges. This gave the game away to most people including many in the press because they knew that if he lied to police he would be seriously in trouble after they discovered the ruse.
9. Maintaining the lies for days while your staff, colleagues and friends defended you. You should have named Jon Stewart as second only to your wife in your apologies because Jon took a credibility hit from his soft-pedaling of the story.

I think power has made this man soft in the head to believe that he could get away with first the lies, now the admitting of guilt. It’s an insult to New York voters to think he’s probably right. We’ll see, but while they may reelect him, the man is a true lame duck. Every initiative he champions, every law that he proposes will be met with blank stares from those who know that he has lost the honor to serve in Congress regardless of how his constituents vote.

The Council Has Spoken: June 3, 2011

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