Losing Arguments

Have you ever lost an argument? Perhaps even one where you came to understand that the preponderance of the evidence was against you and you belatedly realized that the only thing you had propping you up was sheer stubbornness? I’ve certainly been there. And I’m certainly not alone. To be human is to be on the losing side at one time or another.

Fortunately, we live in a world where we can make those who cause us discomfort to go away. OK, so maybe we don’t yet live in that world–but it’s not for want of wishing it to be so on the part of some. As John Hinderaker notes:

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the drug-addled son of the former Attorney General. Kennedy thinks it is a shame that he isn’t able to jail or execute the Koch brothers and other conservatives . . . .

Mr. Hinderaker then goes on to quote the scion on the topic of “global warming” and such:

“They are enjoying making themselves billionaires by impoverishing the rest of us. Do I think they should be in jail, I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at the Hague with all the other war criminals,” Kennedy declared.

“Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offence and they ought to be serving time for it,” he added.

Direct from the source. Sounds rather unequivocal to me. One of our unelected leaders wishes to, as noted elsewhere in the article, channel the totalitarian urges which characterized any number of dictators and their followers who determined that those with whom they disagreed should not be permitted to disagree freely. Simply put, get rid of those who think the dictator to be wrong, and then by definition the dictator is right.

Shouldn’t you diligently question the motives of anyone (whether you largely agree with their policies or not) who believes that imprisonment is an appropriate response to political disagreement?

UPDATE

“Hate speech” = “opinions we don’t agree with.”

Austerity and Budgeting

President Obama’s administration has saved us, again:

The Obama administration put out the word this weekend that the president’s new budget will end several years of “austerity” in Washington.

Come again?

Austerity? Since 2009, federal borrowing has skyrocketed by $6 trillion. This year’s budget deficit is expected to fall to somewhere near $500 billion, which sadly is progress, because the first-term Obama deficits all exceeded $1 trillion.

It is true that federal spending has trended downward since 2011, but this is only because in 2009 and 2010, the $830 billion of federal stimulus spending drove federal outlays from about $3.5 trillion to just below $4 trillion. Yes, federal spending has come down in the last several years, though the federal empire still commands a $3.8 trillion price tag. Most of the “austerity” cuts Obama complains of are merely a result of the reductions in Pentagon spending due to winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As a student of language, I realize that the meanings of words shift over time. (Check out awful and awesome for an awe/some/ful example of this.) But austerity’s meaning, which within the context of government means cutting spending, has stayed constant.

Government budgeting continues to boggle my mind.

Let’s say that I’m going shopping for a gun, and I’ve agreed with my wife that we are going to spend $1000 (after all, that’s what we have budgeted for such purchases this period). Then, I determine that I really should be able to spend $2000. A couple of days later, I find just the hardware I want and spend $1700 for it. I return home and share the good news with my wife, who duly admires the new shiny and then asks how much it costs. I tell her, whereupon she says “But I thought we agreed to spend $1000.” “Well,” I say, “I was going to spend $2000, so really, I spent less than anticipated.”

Sure. That’s going to end well.

Ban The (Sorry, Can’t Say It)

It’s pretty common to show that something is banned by publishing an image of the thing with an X or stroke across the image. Right? Apparently, that is too much for some folks:

“I think the general public will be alarmed by [a sign showing a marked out gun] and wonder if people have been allowed to bring guns to school in the past,” Nolan said. “I have no knowledge of guns ever being in this building,” she said of her 22 years with the school district.

Nolan said she was not opposed to the law or posting the sign, but wished it could have been more subtle.

Ms. Nolan, a couple things, if you please. 1) You have off-duty police officers in the buildings to provide security. I’m betting they carry guns. If you truly didn’t know that, then what have you been doing for 22 years at the school? and 2) How does one go about being subtle when saying “You may not have this here, ever!”?

Would it surprise anyone to find out that the school does not allow the use of red pens because they are too … unsubtle? Didn’t think so.

It Hurtses

Am I the only one who cringes every time I hear a politician or news personality say a sentence with the words “comprehensive national” in it? I doubt it.

But then, I suppose we’d need a comprehensive national survey to find out for certain.

Arrghh!

Of only slightly less concern is hearing the word “comprehensive” in front of just about anything. I’d make a list, but it might be dangerous to my my mental health were I to do so.

36 Times Is No Mistake

How many times did the President say, in public, to the American public, that people would be able to keep the health care plans they liked? Thirty-six times–or more, but these times are all documented in the following video:

In addition, a number of these statements included the use of the term “Period”, meaning a definitive exclusion of other explanations or caveats.

There’s no need for explanations, but there is most assuredly a need for some apologizing on the part of the President. I do not, however, believe such an apology will be forthcoming.

The good news? A number of folks are waking up to the truth as this lie is exposed.

Some Things Don’t Need Summarizing

Instapundit brings our attention to a textbook:

HIGH SCHOOL TEXTBOOK rewrites the Second Amendment. As Horace Mann said, men are cast iron, but children are wax.

Anybody know which textbook this is? I’d like to publicize the names of the authors and publisher.

If we click the link, we get the following information.

Here is a summary of the rights guaranteed by each amendment:

First Amendment. Congress may make no laws that infringe a citizen’s right to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Congress may not favor one religion over another (separation of church and state).

Second Amendment. The people have the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.

Now, let’s have the originals.

First Amendment (unabridged). Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment (unabridged). A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The First Amendment does not speak of the separation of church and state. That was a later letter by Thomas Jefferson.

Why did the writer(s) summarize something which is itself a summary? When one considers the importance, not only of the Constitution, but of the Bill of Rights by itself, it really makes one wonder what he/she/they were thinking.

I’m a writer, by trade and by training. One of the first rules of summarizing is that one must be very careful not to change the meaning of something when creating a summary.

I can’t see all the rest of the stuff on the page, but it would appear that the Third Amendment completely leaves out the section on quartering soldiers in wartime.

And I could go on, because the Fourth and Fifth Amendments were likewise butchered.

Bottom line? Both the writer(s) and the editor(s) ought to be ashamed of themselves for doing violence to such an important legal document. But hey, at least they got the part about “rights guaranteed in each amendment” correct.

And yes, today is Constitution Day. Please celebrate responsibly.

Elected Official Understands Freedom

If you’ve not seen it, the following video by Elbert Guillory (a Louisiana state senator) is powerful truth.

For those of you who read faster than you listen, or just want to see the words, the transcript follows:

“Hello, my name is Elbert Lee Guillory, and I’m the senator for the 24th district right here in beautiful Louisiana. Recently I made what many are referring to as a ‘bold decision’ to switch my party affiliation to the Republican Party. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I became a Republican, and also to explain why I don’t think it was a bold decision at all. It is the RIGHT decision — not only for me — but for all my brothers and sisters in the black community.

You see, in recent history the Democrat Party has created the illusion that their agenda and their policies are what’s best for black people. Somehow it’s been forgotten that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an abolitionist movement with one simple creed: that slavery is a violation of the rights of man.

Frederick Douglass called Republicans the ‘Party of freedom and progress,’ and the first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the Republicans in Congress who authored the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments giving former slaves citizenship, voting rights, and due process of law.

The Democrats on the other hand were the Party of Jim Crow. It was Democrats who defended the rights of slave owners. It was the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who championed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, but it was Democrats in the Senate who filibustered the bill.

You see, at the heart of liberalism is the idea that only a great and powerful big government can be the benefactor of social justice for all Americans. But the left is only concerned with one thing — control. And they disguise this control as charity. Programs such as welfare, food stamps, these programs aren’t designed to lift black Americans out of poverty, they were always intended as a mechanism for politicians to control black the black community.

The idea that blacks, or anyone for that matter, need the the government to get ahead in life is despicable. And even more important, this idea is a failure. Our communities are just as poor as they’ve always been. Our schools continue to fail children. Our prisons are filled with young black men who should be at home being fathers. Our self-initiative and our self-reliance have been sacrificed in exchange for allegiance to our overseers who control us by making us dependent on them.

Sometimes I wonder if the word freedom is tossed around so frequently in our society that it has become a cliché.

The idea of freedom is complex and it is all-encompassing. It’s the idea that the economy must remain free of government persuasion. It’s the idea that the press must operate without government intrusion. And it’s the idea that the emails and phone records of Americans should remain free from government search and seizure. It’s the idea that parents must be the decision makers in regards to their children’s education — not some government bureaucrat.

But most importantly, it is the idea that the individual must be free to pursue his or her own happiness free from government dependence and free from government control. Because to be truly free is to be reliant on no one other than the Author of our destiny. These are the ideas at the core of the Republican Party, and it is why I am a Republican.

So my brothers and sisters of the American community, please join with me today in abandoning the government plantation and the Party of disappointment. So that we may all echo the words of one Republican leader who famously said, ‘free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’”

A Modest Encroachment

Our Commander in Chief has spoken:

[Obama] argued that “modest encroachments on privacy” were “worth us doing” to protect the country, and he said that Congress and the courts had authorized those programs.

A National Security Agency telephone surveillance program collects phone numbers and the duration of calls, not the content, he said. An Internet surveillance program targets foreigners living abroad, not Americans, he added.

“There are some trade-offs involved,” Mr. Obama said. “I came with a healthy skepticism about these programs. My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly.” In the end, he concluded that “they help us prevent terrorist attacks.”

A modest encroachment, indeed. Leaving off references to this absolutely Orwellian phrase as used by the President in the above quoted piece, Google (praise be upon it) can find fewer than 800 times these words occur in sequence on a web page or other crawled document. That is, the usage of this term is not perhaps so rare as jabberwock sightings, but it is not far off.

Here’s the thing, Mr. President, the determining factor in whether or not the government should do something is not tied to its helping us prevent terrorist attacks or any other arguable good thing. Government should be doing those things which are constitutional and comport with the rule of law.

Pressing News from Great Britain

The press will no longer be permitted to fulfill its legitimate function without explicit permission from the rulers of the state:

Unless they register with a “press register” (established by Royal Charter), anyone who makes publishes “news-related material” will be liable for “libel damages” with huge fines. Even if they register, they can still be liable if in the government’s opinion they were not punished by their “regulator” sufficiently.

This ends the legal right of publishers to publish without censorship or attack by the government, which was established by John Wilkes back in 1771.

While a press which largely parrots the statements of politicians without examining and challenging them is a bad thing, an even worse thing is a press which is afraid of offending.

There is no reason for the first amendment unless some speech is offensive. Great Britain does not have the first amendment and it would seem that their living constitution does not otherwise protect them in this regard.

Of Tribes and Respect

Sarah Hoyt has a good, discursive piece on culture groups and related matters which ends as follows:

I’ve never introduced myself as Portuguese-American.  I renounced previous allegiances when I naturalized.  Yes, of course, my origins are Portuguese, and it shaped a lot of my thought.  So it’s not like I hide that I grew up in Portugal.

But when the chips are down, I know who my tribe is.

My name is Sarah A. Hoyt, and I’m an American.

I’m increasingly impressed by the reality that first-generation Americans are far more appreciative of what we have–and what we have to lose–than those whose ancestors came across the big pond in wooden boats. Perhaps it is just that we have spent too long in the pot, so have difficulty stating whether the temperature has risen or not.  In any case, read the entire article.

Speaking of what we have to lose, Ace calls out the aristocracy, as is right, after reading the following from former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers’ jobs.

“I don’t think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I think it’s necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded.” [emphasis added by Ace]

Here is part of his response:

“Respect.” She insists, straight off, on respect. Respect is, in a democratic, egalitarian system, not demanded and not owed due to status, but rather freely conferred due to achievement. Lady Pelosi demands “respect” not for Congress’ performance — the threat of a pay cut arises entirely due to its failure to perform — but simply because the Status of Congressmen grants it.

It doesn’t. Not in America.

Exactly. I have no difficulty paying people for (what used to be called “honest work”). What was the saw? “An honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work” or something like that. Here’s the thing.  Ms. Pelosi helped to lead one of the “most honest, most open, most ethical” Congresses in history, by her own statement. Of course, facts bear out a rather different interpretation, but let’s not get hung up on data, shall we?

There’s much more in Ace’s piece, so go and enjoy.