Carly Fiorina was fired from Hewlett-Packard, and of course, her Democratic Party opponents have made that fact central to their talking points against her.

Carly Fiorina 8-10-15

Notwithstanding Fiorina’s explanations of her performance at Hewlett-Packard, some questions in my mind remain.

However, what I have seen is that many of the same people excoriating Fiorina for her record at Hewlett-Packard are also the same ones who appear to be incapable of casting a critical eye towards their champion, Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton 8-10-15

So while Fiorina was fired from Hewlett-Packard, Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, presided over failures that are magnitudes greater than simply failing at running a private, for-profit company.

A short list of Hillary Clinton’s failures includes:

  • The Russian ‘reset’ (Hillary even used the wrong Russian word for her red ‘reset’ button prop she presented to the Russians), with Russia invading/annexing Crimea and threatening Ukraine;

Hillary Russian Reset 8-10-15

  • The ouster of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi from Libya without a plan to stabilize the country, thus allowing Libya to become even worse than it was under Gaddafi and become a breeding ground for Islamist terrorism;
  • Presiding as Secretary of State while a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, became president of Egypt;
  • Failing to leave a residual force of U.S. troops in Iraq, thus creating the circumstances where the rise of the Islamic State was made possible;
  • Failing to fashion a coherent policy in Syria and engaging in tough talk about setting ‘red lines’ but then not following up words with action, resulting in 200,000+ people being slaughtered in a brutal civil war;
  • Failing to safely secure U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of four Americans at the hands of Islamists militants, including the first U.S. ambassador to die in the line of duty in 30 years, and then lie to the American people as to why the attack happened as she stood over the bodies of the slain Americans;

Ambassador Stevens 8-10-15

Hillary Obama Benghazi Bodies 8-10-15

Hillary Benghazi What Difference Does It Make 8-10-15

  • Having a private email server, against State Department policy, then wiping her server clean.

This barely scratches the surface of Hillary Clinton’s modus operandi.

From what I’ve seen, even Carly Fiorina’s opponents aren’t attacking her for lack of integrity, dishonesty, or the like.

But this is exactly what people are focusing on with Hillary Clinton.

A recent poll found that a majority of people believe Hillary Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy:

Focusing on Carly Fiorina getting fired from Hewlett-Packard while ignoring Hillary Clinton’s abysmal record as Secretary of State is like obsessively focusing on a back-alley bar room brawl in some no-name burg at the same time the invasion of Normandy is happening.


Leftist Media’s Favorite General Advocates “Segregation” for “Radicalized” Enemies of the Country:

General Wesley Clark, a favorite, ‘go-to’ source of military-related commentary and opinion for left-wing media outlets like MSNBC, seems to be making a somewhat surprising recommendation to “segregate” for “the duration of the conflict” for “radicalized” people who becomes enemies of the country, adding that “we are at war”.

Clark has since gone to Twitter to say he’s not advocating World War II-style internment camps.

Consider my spidey-senses tingling on hearing such language. While a government’s primary duty is to protect the people, much mischief and the erosion of civil rights happen when a government does what General Clark appears to be recommending.

For particularly egregious examples of such behavior, look no further that progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson in World War I, and progressive Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in World War II (remember the Japanese internment camps?).


On May 21st, 2015, General John “Jack” Keane (retired) testified to Congress that the U.S. is not only failing against the Islamic State, the U.S. is losing the war against them:

Maybe you think (in the parlance of the unhinged left) that George W. Bush is a knuckle-dragging troglodyte Christofascist Bible-humping Rethuglican numbskull and that he was 100% wrong for deciding to invade Iraq to remove the dictator Saddam Hussein.

Maybe you think the U.S. is responsible for the creation of ISIS.

So stipulated, for discussion’s sake, anyway.

The problem with that line of thought/reasoning is this: it does nothing – zero, zip, nada, goose egg, bupkis – to address the present crisis in Syria/Iraq, vis-à-vis, The Islamic State.

General Colin Powell is credited with coining the phrase, “You break it, you own it”, in the context of removing Saddam Hussein/being responsible for Iraq.

In life (which, I’ve been told, isn’t fair), you don’t get to play the hand you want, you play the hand you’ve been dealt.

President Obama could have kept a residual force of U.S. military and diplomatic personnel in Iraq, as a stabilizing entity, similar to what was done with Germany and Japan after World War II (he’d have to endure the hue and cry of ‘imperialism’ and such from his progressive base, of course.)

But he didn’t. He cut and run. For political reasons. To throw red meat to his far left base. Because this is close to the core of his being, as a man of the far left. And this is why, à la Colin Powell, Obama owns the current clusterfark that is the Islamic State.

Obama’s decision is difficult, but simple: He can either choose to fight the enemy in their backyard, or he’ll  allow the enemy to bring the battle here, on American soil.

Most Americans are right sick of war, and I certainly don’t want to see any attacks here on American soil (God forbid), but if one were to occur, the political calculus will change accordingly.

President Stampyfoot Throws a Tantrum

Crying baby 1-23-15

It was about a year ago that Barack Obama referred to the radical Islamist group ISIS as “a JV team”:

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,”

Now the same ISIS has declared an area roughly the size of Great Britain in Syria and Iraq an Islamic caliphate, leaving behind a trail of ethnic cleansing, ritualistic mass murder, rape, pillage, and plunder.

How did this happen, you ask?

The Campaigner-In-Chief removed essentially all US troops from Iraq in 2011 in order to have a talking point and throw red meat to his far-left base for his 2012 reelection campaign.

It worked like a charm for political purposes, but it did have the unfortunate side-effect of creating a vacuum that ISIS filled.

“Well, we shouldn’t have been in Iraq in the first place” some will say, ad nauseam.

Maybe so, maybe not – it’s an arguable point. But what is not in dispute is that ISIS didn’t become the major threat it now is until after Obama pulled out the troops from Iraq.

Now more and more politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are recognizing that Obama’s foreign policy has been and is an utter failure. Consider Democrat Senator Bob Menendez’ flailing Team Obama for their asinine approach to Iran:

In recognition of that fact, Congress is moving on, fully aware that Obama’s overtures to the Mullahs of Iran will do nothing but virtually guarantee that they will acquire nuclear weapons.

So Speaker of the House John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a speech to a joint session of Congress this March, and boy is Team Obama seething. I mean, spittle-flecked, vein-popping, teeth-gnashing rage.

Because, you see, Netanyahu is having none of Obama’s naïve and dangerous approach to foreign policy, especially as it pertains to Iran.

So now Team Obama is throwing a tantrum, breathing threats and hurling invectives, and in the process revealing how remarkably petty they really are.

To which I say, “Meh”. Obama’s done. As the old Arab proverb says: ‘The dogs bark; the caravan moves on.’ The country -and the world- is moving on from Obama.

For the sake of the country, Mr. President, go golfing more. Much more. Really work on taking a few strokes off of your game. The country, and the world, will be better off.

UPDATE: You are encouraged to read this good piece by Peter Wehner at Commentary that outlines the accomplishments of the Smartest Guy Ever To Be President.

A Survey of My Elected Representatives

As a follow-up to my post, ‘The Desperate Need for ‘Citizen Training’ in Our Republic’, I met with three of my elected representatives: California State Senator Mike Morrell, Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, and California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.

I’m also in contact with the office of Congressman Ken Calvert, and Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff (more on my encounters with Sniff’s office later…ahem).

The proximate reason for my meeting with my elected representatives was to fulfill a requirement of a citizen training class I’m attending that is put on by the Center for Self-Governance, along with my ongoing objective of interviewing people in politics, business, education, religion, the arts, etc. as part of a series of ‘Things That Promote Human Flourishing‘ posts I’m planning for the future.

Morrell, Ashley, and Melendez were all interesting, engaging people who shared some common themes as to how they came to public life, along with some unique circumstances.

For the purpose of this post I will describe each of them using just a word or phrase:

Mike Morrell: Foundation

Marion Ashley: Know-how

Melissa Melendez: Service.

First up, Mike Morrell: I interviewed Senator Morrell in his office in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Morrell’s staff was courteous and prompt in returning my phone calls and e-mails, and Morrell was punctual. I asked Morrell for a certain amount of time for the interview, and I ended up spending 4x the amount of time with him I originally asked for.

Me and State Senator Mike Morrell 12-15-14 Two

Morrell spoke of his appreciation for and friendship with Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, a beacon for those who hold a high view of the Constitution and love liberty and its built-in blessings. Morrell also said one of his sons is studying under noted author, professor, and raisin farmer Victor Davis Hanson.

Morrell spoke of the need to improve the business climate in the State of California, pointing out California ranked 50th (dead last), the worst state in the nation to do business in.

I asked Morrell how he prioritizes his work, and he spoke about how Ronald Reagan was a “pretty smart guy” who could’ve involved himself in any number of important things, but who chose to focus his presidency on three big things: defeating Communism, improving the economy, and leaving his mark and influence on his political party and the nation.

In keeping with Morrell’s emphasis on ‘foundation’, his face lit up when he described his intern program and talked at length of how proud he was of the number of young people (high school and college age) who were taking part in it.

Finally, Morrell spoke about how pleased he was to have the opportunity to attend events that recognized and honored veterans. Morrell described how moving a particular occasion was for him when a large group of veterans broke out singing patriotic songs.

Mike Morrell: Foundation.

Next, Marion Ashley: I had to jump through some flaming hoops and have a few communication events and re-schedules, (in fairness to Ashley’s staff, the time of the interview was in the holiday season) but in the end, I was finally able to meet with Ashley at a local restaurant as he was out and about on business.

Marion Ashley 12-18-14 II

Wisely, I thought, one of Ashley’s assistants called me and met with me at the restaurant before Ashley arrived. In this day and age, you never can tell, right?

The interview went just as I had hoped it would. Ashley spoke the majority of time and his description of his life as a businessman prior to his entering public life was detailed and interesting. I spent 10x more time interviewing Ashley than what I had asked for.

Interviewing Ashley was like opening up and examining the contents of a chock-full-of-information time capsule (he was born in 1935), from the days of World War II to the present time.

Ashley spoke of how his long business career and life experiences prepared him for public life. He had worn many hats in the business world, including Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and even did a brief stint in Bermuda (joking how he really “suffered” on that assignment).

Ashley then detailed his experience as a member of the Board of Directors of a water municipality that provided drinking water and wastewater treatment in a service area of 540 square miles during a time of rapid population growth.

Finally, Ashley spoke of his being elected to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and his approach to addressing the unique problems facing his constituents, including long commute times/quality of life and the concomitant need to upgrade local roads and add additional lanes to freeways, along with attracting more businesses in the area to create local jobs and ensuring a reliable, high quality water supply. He shared how he was able to use outside expertise to wring out inefficiencies in the county hospital system in order to maintain quality patient care while controlling costs/tax rates.

In short, Ashley carries out the unsexy, out of the limelight sort of thing most people want their public servants to be doing: filling in the potholes, trimming the trees, focusing on public safety, and ensuring the county infrastructure is in sound shape and ready for the future.

As an aside to infrastructure, Ashley allowed himself to speak proudly about a large, state of the art water park/swimming pool complex that was recently completed in a low-income area of his service area (summer temperatures can be well north of the century mark for consecutive days), along with the creation of local parks and athletic fields for public use.

Marion Ashley: Know-how.

Next up: Melissa Melendez: After a couple of communication hitches-in-the-get-along (again, most likely related to the holiday season), I was able to meet with Assemblywoman Melendez.

Assemblywoman Melendez 12-22-14 two

Melendez is a veteran of the United States Navy, where she also met her husband (while visiting  the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii).

Meet with Assemblywoman Melendez 12-22-14

Melendez started her public life as a city council member for the City of Lake Elsinore. She said she wasn’t really thinking of running for office beyond that, but then some of her friends encouraged her to run for the Assembly seat and she won.

Melendez Service

While she arrived a tad late for our appointment, she gets a pass because the meeting was arranged on short notice and when she arrived at her office she had several of her kids in tow (she’s a working mom). Melendez talked of everyday mom things like the apprehension she had of her oldest child taking his Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s test (he passed).

Melendez then got into the meat and potatoes of her job and talked about her perception of there being “two worlds” between Sacramento and her home Assembly district. She spoke of how rewarding it was to be of service to her constituents and of how frustrating it could be while attempting to reach across the aisle to pass legislation for the common good.

And of course, being a veteran, Melendez is right on top of her game in making sure those who serve or who have served in uniform are recognized and honored for their service. Well done.

Melendez (like Morrell) stated that California is ranked last as a place of doing business, and spoke of efforts to reverse that trend.

Melendez said she grew up in a politically divided family, where her parents would regularly go back and forth and agree to disagree on the political issues of the day. In similar fashion, she encourages open dialogue within her own family, and emphasized she tells her children to  respect those who disagree with them.

Melissa Melendez: Service.

As previously stated, I contacted Congressman Ken Calvert’s office and as a result am left with mixed feelings. During a recent phone conversation with someone in Calvert’s local office in Corona, California, I was then handed off to another one of Calvert’s office assistants (who shall remain unnamed) who sounded entirely unenthusiastic about the prospect of a congressman meeting with one of his constituents. She then attempted to brush me off by suggesting I contact people in a nearby city (after I explained to her I needed to speak with an elected official who represents me), so that was a little off-putting.

I’ve e-mailed Calvert’s people and am currently awaiting their response to set up a face-to-face meeting between myself and Calvert.

Which brings us to Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff’s office.

A little background information is required. On November 12th 2014, a 3-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court made another decision that was favorable to 2nd Amendment rights (see Peruta versus County of San Diego):

Edward Peruta is a private investigator who was denied a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit from the Sheriff of San Diego County, so he filed a lawsuit against San Diego County, which wound its way up to the Ninth Circuit Court.

The same day the Ninth Circuit Court decision was announced, I phoned Edward Peruta, the man who initiated the case against the County of San Diego. The first words out of his mouth were, “I’ve only got one question: Will I be at the front of the line, or the back of the line” (referring to when he would be able to get his CCW permit).

Two days later, on November 14th 2014, Sheriff Sniff’s office put out this press release on the November 12th 2014 Ninth Circuit Court decision.

Sheriff Sniff’s press release was intending to be subtly Orwellian but ended up being ham-handed,  clumsy, and absurd. This response from the Calguns Foundation provides the particulars of Sniff’s overtly contradictory statements on the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision.

So there’s the setup…now time for you to know of my conversation with Sheriff Sniff’s Public Information Officer (PIO), who shall, ahem, remain unnamed.

In my 29 years of public service, I’ve tangled with some real tater-heads, but Sheriff Sniff’s PIO takes the biscuit.

My phone conversation with Sniff’s PIO lasted about 10 minutes, and throughout he was a marvel of combativeness, evasiveness, insults, and non-responses.

I was left wondering if Sniff’s PIO studied under ‘Baghdad Bob’, Iraq strongman Saddam Hussein’s spokesman during the Iraq war who became infamous for making ridiculous and nonsensical pronouncements, like American forces were being annihilated by superior Iraqi forces when the whole world knew that not to be true.

Baghdad Bob 1-3-15

As previously stated, I am in contact with Sheriff Sniff’s office, attempting to set up a brief face-to-face meeting with him.

In conclusion, I give a solid thumbs-up to California State Senator Mike Morrell, Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, and California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.

Congressman Calvert is a wait-and-see.

Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff is also a wait-and-see, but judging from his ridiculous press release and the quality of his PIO, I’m not sanguine about what I’ll find.

But I hope he surprises me.

We’ll see.

The Battle for What Kind of Country America Will Be

In 1992, Dr. John Gray published his book, ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.’

From the Wikipedia page:

The book states that most of common relationship problems between men and women are a result of fundamental psychological differences between the genders, which the author exemplifies by means of its eponymous  metaphor: that men and women are from distinct planets—men from Mars and women from Venus

Recent pieces from Washington Post columnist Dan Balz and Commentary’s Peter Wehner reference a Pew Poll that indicates how politically polarized Americans have become.

Dan Balz:

Today, perceptions of political division are even more negative than during the worst days under Bush, and there is minimal confidence that things will change for the better anytime soon.

Peter Wehner:

We are in the midst of a prolonged period of alienation between the American people and those who govern them. That isn’t good for a republic, where some degree of trust between the citizenry and its elected leaders is necessary in order to address urgent national problems.

Words and phrases like ‘polarization’ and ‘politically divided’ are in the air.

All this is simply the latest battle between Americans about what kind of country America will be.

To borrow from Dr. Gray: politically speaking, Conservatives are from Mars and Progressives are from Venus.

That is to say, conservatives and progressives hold fundamentally different points of view on the nature of man, politics and governance.

In his 1987 book, ‘A Conflict of Visions’, economist/philosopher Thomas Sowell explains the fundamental difference between conservatives and progressives with the premise that conservatives and progressives operate from two entirely different ‘visions’, and that these underlying ‘visions’ are in conflict with one/another and this conflict of visions manifests itself in the political struggles seen today.

Thomas Sowell A Conflict of Visions 12-17-14

Sowell refers to the conservative view as being the ‘constrained’ vision, and the progressive view as the ‘unconstrained’ vision.

Commentator Bill Whittle explains the two visions:

I can confirm from my interactions on social media and face-to-face in the last decade or so that people who call themselves conservatives and progressives may as well live on different planets. The assumptions inherent in each other’s arguments and the language each use is so different as to make meaningful dialog and exchange of ideas exceedingly difficult.

How did this happen?

Jonathan Haidt (pronounced like the word, ‘height’), who goes by the title of Social Psychologist at New York University recently posted a YouTube video of a talk he participated in titled, ‘The Moral Psychology of Political Polarization: Many Causes and a Few Possible Responses’. Haidt is the author of the book, ‘The Righteous Mind, Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion’:

Jonathan Haidt The Righteous Mind British Cover 12-17-14

The above picture is the cover of Haidt’s book as published in Great Britain; the cover in the USA isn’t nearly so. . .pointed. Haidt’s USA cover nonetheless does have a depiction of an angel and a demon to make his point that political discourse has gotten nastier of late and in these days of hyper-partisan politics, people are more apt to think more in Manichean black/white, good/evil terms and demonize those on the other side.

Jonathan Haidt The Righteous Mind American Cover 12-17-14

Haidt believes that political polarization is going to get worse and by way of suggesting a remedy, he shares an Arab proverb, ‘Me against my brother; me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother, and my cousin against the stranger’ to make the point that if Americans were to become united on a common national goal, they’ll be less apt to target one/another (as a for example, Haidt speaks of Americans working together to reverse the trend of America losing prestige, influence, and prosperity to Asian countries growing in power, such as China).

Haidt, who grew up in a liberal environment, nevertheless acknowledges that conservatives are right when they say government has grown too big:

In what may be jarring to some (cough – baby boomers – cough), Haidt recommends adopting the long view (2020 and beyond), focusing on the Millennial and subsequent generations and simply getting through then forgetting about the Baby Boomer generation:

Haidt observes we could be doing civics education better and recounts his liberal upbringing and his lack of knowledge of conservative ideas up until his 40’s when he then sought out conservative ideas:

Haidt’s point about civic education particularly resonated with me, because of my life-long observation that too many Americans are woefully ignorant of the form of government we have that guarantees our liberty, which makes it more likely that those in power will take advantage of the people’s ignorance for their own nefarious ends:

I suspect Haidt’s comments about the kind of insularity he personally experienced regarding conservative ideas represents a large segment of his fellow colleagues in academia as well as people in entertainment, media, and government.

Where Haidt advocates for some kind of ‘grand bargain’ between conservatives and progressives in the future, I see more of a scenario where Americans will, as in times past, have to decide what kind of country America will be.

As Abraham Lincoln said in his ‘House Divided’ speech regarding the institution of slavery:

It [America] will become all one thing or all the other.

The choice before the American people is this: They can become more like a European-style social democracy state (a.k.a., ‘soft despotism’) run by progressive elites and their army of unelected ‘experts’ who will promise cradle to grave ‘security’, where in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, the citizens will be “reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd”.

Or. . .

They can choose to rediscover and restore the exhilarating idea of the American Revolution, the Shot Heard Round The World where people who yearned to be free from the yoke of tyranny told the world’s kings, dictators, and despots in no uncertain terms that a new form of government – self government – has taken hold in this land, and we reject all forms of despotism, including the soft despotism progressives are offering.

Americans must choose. Just as they had to choose between Anti-Federalism and Federalism, or slavery and freedom, or Jim Crow and full civil rights for all Americans, they must choose between soft despotism and freedom.

Haidt’s idea of a ‘grand bargain’ between progressives and conservatives may be motivated by a sincere care and concern for our country, but it is akin to putting new wine in old wineskins. It won’t work.

We know what does work. We know what is right and good and true.

Senator Tom Coburn from the State of Oklahoma delivered his farewell speech in the Senate chamber on December 11, 2014. He was emotional and eloquent in pointing out the dangers of progressivism and the blessings of freedom.

Some excerpts:

The loss of freedom we have imposed by the arrogance of an all-too-powerful Federal Government, ignoring the wisdom and writing of our Founders that said: Above all, we must protect the liberty of the individual and recognize that liberty is given as a God-given right.

I know not everybody agrees with me, but the one thing I do know is that our Founders agreed with me.

Every Member of the Senate takes the same oath and this is where I differ with a lot of colleagues. Let me read the oath, because I think it is part of the problem. I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Your whole goal is to protect the United States of America, its Constitution and its liberties. It is not to provide benefits for your State. That is where we differ. That is where my conflict with my colleagues has come. It is nice to be able to do things for your State, but that isn’t our charge. Our charge is to protect the future of our country by upholding the Constitution and ensuring the liberty that is guaranteed there is protected and preserved.

Senator Tom Coburn argues for an America that celebrates the wisdom of the Founders and the liberty that self-governance provides and warns that the good intentions of a central government run by well-meaning politicians and their hoard of elite compassionate bureaucratic ‘experts’ is a threat to every American’s freedom.

Yes, conservatives operating under the ‘constrained’ vision have the better argument. No, progressives laboring under the ‘unconstrained’ vision aren’t the devil, they’re just profoundly wrong.

Choose well, America.

The Huge Gulf Beetween Progressive’s Good Intentions and Actual Disastrous Outcomes

Black Lives Matter but only when theyre killed by cops 12-14-14

Black lives do matter (all human life is precious in the sight of God, even people of pallor, a.k.a., white people). And police officers who abuse their authority and/or break the law should be held accountable and suffer the consequences of their bad deeds.

But not recognizing or acknowledging that each year hundreds more young black men are murdered by other blacks and not police officers is like paying full, obsessive focus and attention to a back-alley bar room brawl while the landing of the allied forces on the beaches of Normandy is happening.

It’s always easier for a group of people to ask ‘who did this to us’ instead of ‘what must we do to better our lot in life’, especially when there are so-called ‘leaders’ who get paid handsomely by instilling a sense of grievance among groups of people and encouraging them to think of themselves as helpless victims of the larger society.

You’ll hear some on the left invoke the ‘legacy of slavery’ to explain the dysfunctions seen in some black communities, but that is bogus. In 1965, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 25% and it was called a crisis. Now, after almost 50 years of Progressive policies, it is greater than 70%.

The root cause of the dysfunction seen in many black communities is a combination of a sub-group of blacks adopting a culture and values system that virtually guarantees poverty, abetted (with good intentions) by a government that enables a culture and values system that wasn’t intended to but nevertheless does produce illegitimacy and poverty (illegitimacy among whites and Hispanics have skyrocketed too, with similar results among their sub-culture, so it’s not a race/color of the skin thing, it’s a culture/values thing).

Prior to the 1960’s and the Progressive’s ‘Great Society’, and ‘War On Poverty’, the illegitimacy rate among blacks at a time when Jim Crow laws and open racial discrimination were far more common was far lower. In 1940, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 19%.

Almost 50 years and 20 TRILLION dollars later, the poverty rate in America hasn’t budged, but the illegitimacy rate among blacks has gone from 25% to over 70%.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Progressives have had more than enough time. Their approach to government and society has been an utter failure. Ironically, the very people Progressives say they are for are the ones who have been most devastated by their failed policies/approaches.

Progressives embody Groucho Marx’ maxim:

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”

If Progressives truly cared for the least of these, they would acknowledge the deep and wide chasm between the good intentions of their policies and the actual disastrous outcomes of them.

If they don’t – if sub-groups of some black communities continue to become ensnared in a dysfunctional culture/values system and government policies/approaches don’t change – then the outcome will continue to be preventable human suffering/lack of flourishing, which is, of course, insanity.

‘Rape Epidemic’ Stories Are To Journalism What Sugary Energy Drinks Are to Good Nutrition

It’s good to finally have several journalist/outlets covering the collapsed ‘rape epidemic’ narrative that has been hustled by radical feminist types and journalists who sympathize with them.

These radical feminists are fond of using faux-intellectual phrases like ‘heteronormative’ and ‘cis-gender’ to give the impression to the credulous that their radical theories and ideas are somehow worthy of serious consideration to the larger society.

So the Rolling Stone gang-rape story, lauded and celebrated by so many in academic and journalism circles when it came out last November with words like ‘groundbreaking’, ‘important’, etc. has fizzled like a wet firecracker.

While it was expected that radical feminists would continue to engage in hysterical hyperbole and hype the ‘culture of rape’ or ‘rape epidemic’ narrative, it was depressing to see how many smart, reputable journalists got taken in by the story when it first came out. It is apparent they wanted the story of a female University of Virginia student getting brutally gang raped by several men in a frat house to be true, because it confirmed their own biases.

White privilege? Check. Out of control frat-house males? Check. And so on.

Hopefully for many journalists and academics, the collapse of the Rolling Stone gang-rape story will serve to give them pause and perhaps just a little introspection before they jump on the bandwagon in the future. Oh, and a little fact checking would be nice. Jeez, I mean, c’mon! Remember the old saying: ‘If your mother tells you she loves you, check it.’

What of the radical feminists, the ones who were all-in because the story confirmed all of their biases? The fact that the UVA gang-rape story has fallen apart is of little or no concern to them. That’s because no amount of countervailing facts can persuade them because mere facts are nothing in comparison to their contrived ivory tower theories that undergird their cramped, provincial views. No, they’ll keep chuggin’ along as if nothing had happened.

But you journalists who allowed yourselves to be taken in: you need to decide if you’re going to be a journalist or an advocate – as the Rolling Stone gang rape story debacle demonstrates, you can’t be both.

UPDATE, Monday 12-15-14 at 7:16 PM PST: Christina Hoff Sommers, a.k.a., the ‘Factual Feminist’, has a revealing account of how in 2010 a left-leaning institution teamed up with reporters from NPR and produced a study called ‘Sexual Assault on Campus’. In Sommers’ words:

The report is the worst kind of advocacy research, it’s full of anecdotes and misleading statistics – it’s predicated on the claim that 1 in 5 female students can expect to be a victim of rape or attempted rape – I  mean these investigative journalists never thought to investigate what serious researchers and criminologists have exposed as a specious statistic.

ObamaCare Architect Jonathan Gruber is a LIAR!

Jonathan Gruber

Did I mention that ObamaCare guru Jonathan Gruber is not just a garden variety liar. He’s a ‘Liar, liar, pants en fuego‘ liar?

Well, yes. He’s the kind of liar where when he lies kittens and puppies at the rescue shelter existing in cramped, unsanitary wire cages don’t go home to a loving family.

Gruber’s that kind of liar. The kind of liar who lies to you for your own good, because you’re an ignorant slack-jawed yokel, don’cha know.

You know the funny thing about the Democrats? They aren’t mad at all at Gruber for being a lower than whale sh_t liar and deceiver – no, they’re 100% A.O.K. with that. Gotta break some eggs to make an omelet, y’see. ‘Progress’, and all that.

Gruber testifies before congress III 12-12-14

Heck, Barack Obama himself got the ‘Lie of The Year’ in 2013 for his “If you like your doctor/plan, you can keep them. Period” lie (poor kittens and puppies).

Obama Lie of the year ObamaCare

No, Democrats are mad at ObamaCare architect Gruber because he told the truth. The truth that ObamaCare was built on a foundation of deception, obfuscation, and rhetorical sleight of hand. All for our own good, of course.

By the lights of Obama, Gruber, and the Democrats, you should be thankful for ObamaCare, you ingrates. Obama thinks you should be thanking him. Yes, really.

Did I mention that ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber is a liar?

Gruber testifies before congress II 12-12-14

Here endeth the rant.

Merry Christmas!

The Desperate Need for ‘Citizen Training’ in Our Republic

The Constitution cannot protect us and our freedoms as a self-governing people unless we protect the Constitution. – Thomas Sowell

democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health. Richard Beeman

I guess I was a weird kid.

Because, you see, when I was a kid I used to watch episodes of ‘Firing Line’ with William F. Buckley. Is that weird? Guilty as charged. 

For reasons lost to me now, the episodes featuring liberal doyenne Harriet Pilpel left the most lasting impression in my memory, but I enjoyed all the episodes. Maybe it was Pilpel’s magnificent hair and unique sartorial taste.

Buckley Pilpel Mashup 12-9-14

Why on earth, you ask, was I not playing baseball, climbing trees, or burning ants with a magnifying glass?

Oh, I was doing all of those other activities too, it’s just that I tuned in to ‘Firing Line’ as well.

Here were terribly important people (or at least, people who sounded terribly important) debating terribly important things, in a terribly intellectual and oftentimes pretentious and arrogant manner (for an example of the kind of pretentiousness I’m talking about, watch this clip from the 1973 movie ‘The Paper Chase’, featuring John Houseman as Professor Kingsfield):

Back to ‘Firing Line’: Insults were administered to one/another by way of carefully constructed verbal jabs, accompanied by minimal body language including the slightly raised eyebrow and the wry smile.

“What the hell is this?” I thought to myself.

But then something happened: With each episode, I grew to appreciate the language and the logic they used, the words and the arguments they employed, and I actually learned something about politics and government.

A few years later in high school, I was compelled to select an elective class for the new school year, and for some reason I checked the box for the ‘Civics’ class whose teacher was a crusty Korean War veteran named Wylie Smith (civics classes should be required, and required to be taught in a historically accurate way in all high schools, in my opinion).

Mr. Smith’s class was something like a combination of ‘Firing Line’ and Professor Kingsfield’s Harvard contract law class. We delved into Plato and Aristotle, Hobbes and Locke, Western Civilization, the Magna Carta, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution of the United States, and the difference between a democracy and a republic.

I enjoyed the civics class like I enjoyed watching ‘Firing Line’. It was highly engaging and interesting stuff. Thank you, Professor Kingsfield Mr. Smith, wherever you are. You helped me see the genius of the Founding Fathers and set me on a course that would become a lifelong interest in government, civics, politics, and asking/attempting to answer the question from classical Greek times: How should we live?

* * * * * *

Speaking of republics, set the Flux Capacitor Time Travel Thingamabob from the 1970’s to 2015 and ask yourself this question: What kind of shape is this old republic of ours in?

On the plus side, we haven’t become a dictatorship like that of the Orwellian-named ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ (North Korea) or devolved into a state of anarchy or become a banana republic. Yay, us.

On the negative side, the delicate balance between concentrated power and self-governance that the Framers intended has recently suffered an imbalance towards more concentrated power and centralized government.

How, you ask?

Barack Obama, a man of the far left, a.k.a., a Progressive, took office as President of the United States on January 20th 2009. Being the Progressive ideologue that he is, he and his fellow travelers in the Democratic Party have worked to concentrate power so they can fundamentally transform the United States of America into their image:

Like the anecdote that says you can boil a frog alive if you turn up the heat slowly enough, the two terms of George W. Bush were a time of some discomfort with the growth of the national debt and mistakes made in executing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other things, but with most in the middle class chugging along.

But the advent of a presidency presided by a leftist ideologue like Obama bent on “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” was like cranking the burner knob 100% full-blast open, quickly changing the slow simmer into a raging boil, which had, at least in the eyes of Progressives, the unintended effect of ‘frogs’ jumping out of the water and asking, ‘how the hell did this happen?’

True to his radical, far-left upbringing and ideology that focuses on concentrating power (for the good of the people, of course), Obama has usurped the powers of the legislative branch of government by unilaterally making or changing laws he doesn’t agree with, in clear violation of the oath he took to “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Thomas Sowell:

Obama has demonstrated, time and again, that he has no respect for the Constitution’s limitations on his power.

Despite his oath of office, to see that the laws are faithfully executed, Obama has unilaterally changed welfare-reform laws, by eliminating the work requirement passed by Congress during the Clinton administration.

He has repeatedly and unilaterally changed or waived provisions of the ObamaCare law passed by Congress during his own administration.

He has ordered Border Patrol agents not to carry out provisions of the immigration laws he doesn’t like.

Etc. Sowell makes the point that Obama would be a ‘lame duck’ president, if he respected the Constitution. The problem is he doesn’t.

About that imbalance towards concentrated power and centralized government: think of our republic as a teeter-totter, with concentrated power on one side and self-governance on the other.

The fulcrum of this teeter-totter is the engagement of active and informed citizens. A republic, as the Framers intended it, is supposed to be a delicate balance of power between concentrated, centralized government and self-government, with the engagement of active, informed citizens being the critical fulcrum that keeps the powers balanced and in check.

In the parlance of the Star Wars movies, Barack Obama and his Merry Band of Progressive Mischief Makers in the Democratic Party represent an imbalance, a disturbance in the ‘force’, towards concentrated power and centralized government. I don’t think Obama & Co. are the dark side, they’re just profoundly wrong.

But there’s a huge problem in any effort towards restoring balance: Our country’s educational system has not only largely failed in teaching the 3 R’s, they have failed to teach about the history of our republic and how it is largely responsible for the freedom, prosperity and human flourishing we as a people enjoy.

Hence the need for civic education – ‘Citizen Training’, if you will – in our society, and pronto.

But where to get it if the schools are no longer or inadequately teaching it?

The good news is there are activist citizens who see the imbalance of power Progressives have caused that threaten our republic who are working to restore freedom and liberty by informing, educating and training their fellow citizens.

An outstanding organization is the Society of Free Range Americans, a.k.a., the Citizen Ninjas.

Another is the Center for Self-Governance More and more organizations like this are popping up, and I encourage you to take advantage of these resources, to arm yourself with knowledge and get in the fight to preserve the republic that guarantees our freedoms and our way of life.

If you want to learn more about the Constitution, the presidency or economics, check out Hillsdale College’s excellent on-line courses.

Don’t have a class in your area? Educate yourself and start one of your own. The republic and your freedom and liberty are worth it!