Restoring the Sacred

Friday, April 30, 2010

Who Really is "Misguided and Irresponsible?"



Andy McCarthy, writing on National Review Online yesterday, turns the tables on Obama for his characterization of the Arizona Immigration Law, and by inference Arizona's governor, by pointing out just who has been "misguided and irresponsible" in discharging whose duties. Here are some clips:

Maybe that’s the Obama administration’s problem with Arizona’s new law: It is too short (16 pages), too clear, and too reflective of the popular will. Unlike the social scientists in Nancy Pelosi’s federal laboratory, state lawmakers didn’t need to pass the law first in order to find out what was in it. Essentially, it criminalizes (as a state misdemeanor) something that is already illegal (namely, being present in the United States in violation of federal law), and it directs law-enforcement officers to, yes, enforce the law. Democrats and their media echo-chamber regard this as radical; for most of us, it is what’s known as common sense.

Arizona is a sovereign state. Its citizens have a natural right to defend themselves, particularly when the federal government surrenders. The state’s new law does precisely that, in a measured way that comes nowhere close to invoking the necessary, draconian powers Leviathan has but refuses to use.

The law is clearly constitutional. Yet the Obama administration, having buried unconsenting Americans under avalanches of debt and inscrutable, unconstitutional mega-statutes, is mulling a court challenge, casting its lot with lawless aliens against besieged Arizonans.


Click below to read the whole article.
Illegal Aliens: Law and Sovereignty in Arizona - Andrew C. McCarthy - National Review Online



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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Patriot Post Update


The following is a Publisher's Note (emphasis added) from Mark Alexander at The Patriot Post, received via E-Mail at 5:02 PM, EDT. It refers to the post published here at 2:06 PM, EDT today, titled: Tea Party Terrorists?

Publisher's Note: Regarding my essay, Army Preps for Tea Party 'Terrorists,' I was contacted by senior command staff at Ft. Knox on the afternoon of the date of publication. There was a security exercise at Ft. Knox this week, but an officer in the security loop altered the scenario "in order to make it more realistic." Those alterations were described in my essay, exactly as they appeared. The command staff informed me that the alterations were not approved at the command level and that the individual who circulated the scenario through official channels will "receive appropriate counsel." I was assured that the Command staff would not have authorized such a scenario.




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Tea Party Terrorists?


Mark Alexander of The Patriot Post titled today's Essay:
Army Preps for Tea Party 'Terrorists'

Here are some clips (emphasis added):

A few months back, the commander in chief of our Armed Forces, that erstwhile community organizer Barack Hussein Obama, denigrated a large cross section of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement -- those who advocate for Essential Liberty and Rule of Law.

Obama identified them as malcontents, "waving their little tea bags." (Does that sound like a president of the United States?)

Since then, the Obama administration and their Leftmedia sycophants have endeavored to characterize Tea Party attendees as rude, radical, racist, redneck, enemies of the state.

This week, I was contacted by a number of military personnel, enlisted and officer ranks, who expressed concern about a military exercise underway at Ft. Knox, the U.S. Bullion Depository. As with most such exercises, the Ft. Knox alert occurred in stages, as if real time intelligence was being provided at various intervals.

The first intel advisory was issued on Friday, 23 April 2010, and identifies the terrorist threat adversaries as "Local Militia Groups / Anti-Government Protesters / TEA Party."

The alert states that plans for the demonstration may have been interrupted by "Federal and local law enforcement" raids on a "White Supremacists Organization," but "TEA Party organizers have stated that they will protest at the Gold Vault at a future date."

Further, the intel advisory states, "Anti-Government - Health Care Protesters have stated that they would join the TEA Party as a sign of solidarity."

In accordance with the exercise, Ft. Knox post security is placed on high alert because, "these groups are armed, have combative training and some are former Military Snipers. Some may have explosives training / experience," and "a rally at their compound / training area is scheduled."

Perhaps the writers of such exercises today should focus on response plans for, say, an Islamic terrorist who attacks a post. (See Ft. Hood / Major Nidal Malik Hasan.)

..."Whether this is complacency by officers who do not see such orders as a problem, or worse, officers who recognize the problem but do not insist the orders are changed, this is a serious problem. We are discussing the training of American citizen soldiers in the use of potentially deadly force against a specific group of political dissenters..."


You can read the whole essay here, and you can subscribe to The Patriot Post (it's free) by by clicking in the box at the bottom of this page.



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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"A Fraud of a Special Kind"



Scott Johnson, of Powerline Blog posted this piece today about a "fraud of a special kind" being perpetrated, by the Obama administration appointed C.E.O. of General Motors, on the American public by his claim that GM has "repaid our government loan in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule."

Last week General Motors chairman and chief executive officer Edward Whitacre took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to make an important announcement: "The GM bailout: Paid back in full.". Whitacre asserted that GM had paid back all the funds it borrowed from the United States in full with interest.

According to TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky, the source of the funds in whole or in substantial part was the United States government TARP program, not GM earnings.

Whitacre's Wall Street Journal column was, in short, a fraud. But it was a fraud of a special kind. It was a fraud committed with the assistance if not the urging of the Obama administration.

You can read the whole Scott Johnson post here.




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Byron York: Arizona Did It Right


We've been inundated for the last several days with arguments for and against (mostly against if you watch the major networks and read the NYT), the newly created Immigration law in Arizona. Many of the arguments against the new law (probably intentionally) confuse Legal Immigration with ILLEGAL Immigration. Sonny Bono, when he was a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, once answered a reporter who wanted to know what he had against illegal immigration: "It's ILLEGAL." Of course, that's too simplistic, right?

The demagoguery coming out of Washington over the Arizona law is at it's best disingenuous. To refer to the law as "anti-immigrant" when the demagogues know it has nothing to do with legal immigration is dishonest. The law addresses Illegal Immigration - not Legal Immigration. To call it racist is beneath contempt, but we're becoming used to that argument from those on the Left who are against any demonstrated disagreement with their agenda.

Byron York of The Washington Examiner has provided those who want to know the truth about the Arizona law an intelligent and easy to understand analysis.

A carefully crafted immigration law in Arizona | Washington Examiner



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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

He's An Embarrassment II



That's National Security Advisor James Jones (former Commandant of the Marine Corps), once again embarrassing himself in public. Our prior post on General Jones should have prepared us for future events such as this one. This incident, though, is far more egregious, considering the time and place. At least he did apologize this time for making a fool of himself and for giving the (hopefully) wrong impression of the administration's posture on the Israeli / Palestinian perpetual stand-off.

Here's a post from Politico.Com about the apology and the handling of it by Robert Gibbs (I really miss Tony Snow).

POLITICO 44: Jones apologizes




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Monday, April 26, 2010

Kurt Westergaard & Southpark



That's Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who depicted Muhammad as a suicide bomber in 2006. You'll remember the furor that caused in Muslim circles around the world. You probably don't remember the same furor being caused in Christian circles back in 1987, when photographer Andres Serrano exhibited a photograph of a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine, and won an award for it from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art's "Awards in the Visual Arts" competition (sponsored in part by our very own National Endowment for the Arts). You won't remember that "furor" because the "uproar" wasn't much of an uproar. No Christian groups threatened Serrano with beheading: what they did was ignore him and his "art."

Poor Kurt Westergaard, though, offended the wrong religion, and has been living in hiding ever since as you learned from the above video. Now the Danish cartoonist has, in effect, been fired by his employer for "security reasons." You can read about that (and its unfavorable comparison with the Southpark debacle) in this piece by John McCormack from The Weekly Standard.




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First Annual Everybody Draw Mohammed Day: Oops! Never Mind.


(Click to enlarge)

Molly Norris, the cartoonist who created the fictional ’poster’ entitled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” has backed off. Her statement below from her website is self-explanatory.

Statement:

I make cartoons about current, cultural events. I made a cartoon of a fictional ’poster’ entitled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” with a nonexistent group’s name — Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor — drawn on the cartoon. It was in specific response to the recent censoring of a South Park episode, a desire to bring home the importance of the first amendment. I did not intend for my cartoon to go viral. I did not intend to be the focus of any ’group’. This particular cartoon has struck a gigantic nerve, something I was totally unprepared for.

Personally I can feel afraid of Muslims because I really have no idea if in their hearts they hate non-Muslims. There are so many interpretations of the religion that I hear told — sometimes it is a very extreme translation (that’s the scary part, the radicals that believe that Westerners should die), then at other times it sounds more peaceful.

I hope for the sake of this country that moderate Muslims will speak out with everyone else against any violent members of that or any other religion. That way I would know that there is a difference. Maybe this cartoon I made, this fictional poster of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” had such a wildfire effect because it is finally time for Muslims and non-Muslims to understand one another more.

I am going back to the drawing table now!

Thanks,
Molly

An article on the Blog of the Seattle News goes into further detail:

Cartoonist overwhelmed by response to "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" - Seattle News - MyNorthwest.com

Posted using ShareThis

Our earlier post on this topic is here.

It's not known whether Michael C. Moynihan at Reason.Com is planning to continue with the contest mentioned in the above referenced post, but he does not sound like the kind of guy who would fit Winston Churchill's definition of an Appeaser: "one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."



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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sundays are for Beauty - Krommer Oboe Concerto



That's Liam Boisset, 14 year old oboist, performing with the Young People's Symphony Orchestra (YPSO) in San Francisco.

The YPSO, which is the second oldest youth symphony in the nation, was founded in Berkeley, in 1935.


Franz Krommer (1759 - 1831) was considered a strong rival of Beethoven, and his string quartets were compared by some with those of Haydn.


Have a Beautiful Sunday.



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Saturday, April 24, 2010

First Annual Everybody Draw Mohammed Day


(Click to enlarge)

May 20, 2010 is the First Annual Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. Michael C. Moynihan at Reason.Com wants contestants to E-Mail their entries to him before May 20th.

For those who have been in a coma for the past couple weeks, Matt Stone and Trey Parker are the creators of SouthPark (a cartoon aired on Comedy Central) who recently made mention of Mohammed in one of their episodes, and were censored by Comedy Central out of fear of retaliation by you know who.

You can read more about that episode, and the intimidation that started quickly afterwards, by clicking here.



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Bill Mauldin - Great American


This is from a circulating E-Mail from a former co-worker of Bill Mauldin at the Chicago Sun-Times, which I'm happy to reproduce to bring attention to a Great American. The commemorative stamp (picture above) was released, on March 31, 2010.

Bill Mauldin stamp honors grunts' hero.

Mauldin died at age 81 in the early days of 2003. The end of his life had been rugged. He had been scalded in a bathtub, which led to terrible injuries and infections; Alzheimer's disease was inflicting its cruelties. Unable to care for himself after the scalding, he became a resident of a California nursing home, his health and spirits in rapid decline.

He was not forgotten, though. Mauldin, and his work, meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin's drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.

Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers he drew for; his gripes were their gripes, his laughs were their laughs, his heartaches were their heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.

He never held back. Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too close for comfort, his superior officers tried to tone him down. In one memorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, and Patton informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons -- celebrating the fighting men, lampooning the high-ranking officers -- to stop. Now.

The news passed from soldier to soldier. How was Sgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton? It seemed impossible.

Not quite. Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan: Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe . Ike put out the word: Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants. Mauldin won. Patton lost.

He won the Pulitzer Prize. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine. His book "Up Front" was the No. 1 best-seller in the United States .

All of that at 23. Yet when he returned to civilian life and he grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin, he never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, he never big-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day.

I was lucky enough to be one of them; Mauldin roamed the hallways of the Chicago Sun-Times in the late 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousness or air of haughtiness than if he was a copyboy. That impish look on his face remained.

He had achieved so much. He had won a second Pulitzer Prize, and he should have won a third, for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering, on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands. But he never acted as if he was better than the people he met. He was still Mauldin the enlisted man.

During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it. They didn't want Mauldin to go out that way. They thought he should know that he was still their hero.

Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin; I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally so that Bill would not feel so alone. Soon more than 10,000 letters and cards had arrived at Mauldin's bedside.

Even better than that, the old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to let him know that they were there for him, as he, long ago, had been there for them. So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list. Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:

"Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002 they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach , California , to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin. They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings. Some wore old garrison caps. Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old. Almost all of them wept as they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation."

One of the veterans explained why it was so important:

"You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us. You had to be reading a soaking wet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons."

Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery . This month, the kid cartoonist makes it onto a first-class postage stamp. It's an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.

What Mauldin would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of the two guys who are keeping him company on that stamp.

Take a look at it.

There's Willie. There's Joe.

And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy, quietly observant smile, is Mauldin himself. With his buddies, right where he belongs. Forever.





H/T: dcarr9271
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Ann Barnhardt: Muslims Exempt From Insurance Mandate


That's Ann Barnhardt, who Blogs at: http://barnhardt.biz/index.cfm
She posted this piece last month, but it was just brought to my attention. If you doubt her charge in the below post, here is the wording from the Bill (emphasis added):

"(5) EXEMPTIONS FROM INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.—In the case of an individual who is seeking an exemption certificate under section 1311(d)(4)(H) from any requirement or penalty imposed by section 5000A, the following information: 24 (A) In the case of an individual seeking exemption based on the individual’s status as a member of an exempt religious sect or division, as a member of a health care sharing ministry, as an Indian, or as an individual eligible for a hardship exemption, such information as the Secretary shall prescribe."

According to a post on American Thinker to which Ann Barnhardt refers on her Blog: So far, the religious exclusions are Amish, Christian Scientist, Seventh Day Adventist and muslim.

WORD OF THE DAY: DHIMMITUDE
POSTED BY ANN BARNHARDT - MARCH 25, AD 2010 11:42 AM MST


Dhimmitude is the muslim system of controlling non-muslim populations conquered through jihad. Specifically, it is the TAXING of non-muslims in exchange for tolerating their presence AND as a coercive means of converting conquered remnants to islam.

The ObamaCare bill is the establishment of Dhimmitude and Sharia muslim diktat in the United States. Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance, and also from the penalty tax for being uninsured. Islam considers insurance to be "gambling", "risk-taking" and "usury" and is thus banned. Muslims are specifically granted exemption based on this. How convenient. So I, Ann Barnhardt, a Christian, will have crippling IRS liens placed against all of my assets, including real estate, cattle, and even accounts receivables, and will face hard prison time because I refuse to buy insurance or pay the penalty tax. Meanwhile, Louis Farrakhan will have no such penalty and will have 100% of his health needs paid for by the de facto government insurance. Non-muslims will be paying a tax to subsidize muslims. Period. This is Dhimmitude.

Dhimmitude serves two purposes: it enriches the muslim masters AND serves to drive conversions to islam. In this case, the incentive to convert to islam will be taken up by those in the inner-cities as well as the godless Generation X, Y and Z types who have no moral anchor. If you don't believe in Christ to begin with, it is no problem whatsoever to sell Him for 30 pieces of silver. "Sure, I'll be a muslim if it means free health insurance and no taxes. Where do I sign, bro?"

If you are a Christian and you acquiesce to this, you will be bending your knee to islam, and denying Christ. How many of the early Christians went to horrific deaths rather than offer a mere pinch of incense to a statue of Caesar? Every single one of us has a BIG decision to make right now, in this moment. The choice is to either offer a pinch of incense to islam and Marxism, or take up our cross and follow Christ. I've made my decision. I choose Christ. I choose the Cross.

I recommend sending this post to your contacts. This is desperately important and people need to know about it - quickly.

Ann




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American Thinker: The Rape of America


The below essay was published on American Thinker, on April 7, 2010, and I just found it on Ann Barnhardt's Blog. It's a must read.

The Rape of America



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REASONABLE MEN...or SEDITIOUS?


On April 19, 2010, Joe Klein of Time Magazine told Chris Matthews on his NBC show:

"I did a little bit of research just before this show - it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious."


Bill Whittle of Pajamas Media had earlier answered this type of slander of the Tea Party Patriots with a post on April 13, 2010 (see below: "Reasonable Men"). In his post, Whittle uses quotes from our Founding Fathers to put the Tea Party Patriots in the proper light. It's the perfect response to Klein and others of his ilk.


REASONABLE MEN



H/T: bkmck
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Monday, April 19, 2010

In Defense of Drunken Sailors.


(click on image to enlarge)


H/T: Al N

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Thank you, Rush!



Rush Limbaugh responds to President Obama's condescending comment about the American people who attended Tea Parties on Tax Day.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, "Bush lied;people died," has been the continual chant of the Left, despite the overwhelming evidence of the falsity of that statement. Noting said by Rush in the above video can be disputed factually.

God bless America and the Tea Party Patriots.




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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sundays are for Beauty - Andre Rieu



This is from a live performance at Radio City Music Hall, NYC, in 2007.

Have a Beautiful Sunday.




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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mark Steyn: Shades of 1933 in WDC


Mark Steyn, on National Review Online today, provides the best analysis of President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit held last week in Washington. Second prize goes to Charles Krauthammer for summing up the Summit in one word: fatuous (complacently or inanely foolish).

Here are some clips from the Mark Steyn piece (emphasis added):

The mound of corpses being piled up around the world today is not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states.

...in 1933, the great powers were meeting in Geneva and holding utopian arms-control talks even as Hitler was taking office in Berlin. But it’s difficult to imagine Neville Chamberlain in 1938 hosting a conference on the dangers of rearmament, and inviting America, France, Brazil, Liberia, and Thailand . . . but not even mentioning Germany.

Iran has already offered to share its nuclear technology with Sudan. Sudan? Ring a vague bell? Remember that “Save Darfur” interpretative-dance fundraiser you went to where someone read out a press release from George Clooney and you all had a simply marvelous time? Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed — with machetes.

The mound of corpses being piled up around the world today is not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states. It’s not that Britain has nukes and poor old Sudan has to make do with machetes. It’s that the machete crowd is willing to kill on an industrial scale and the high-tech guys can’t figure out a way to stop them.

The Obama Happy Fairyland Security Summit was posited on the principle that there’s no difference between a Swiss nuke and a Syrian nuke.

As we learned the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan, stupid, ill-trained illiterates with primitive explosives who don’t care who they kill can inflict quite a lot of damage on the technologically advanced, highly trained warriors of civilized states. That’s the “asymmetric warfare” that matters. So virtuously proclaiming oneself opposed to nuclear modernization ensures a planet divided into civilized states with unusable weapons and barbarous regimes happy to kill with whatever’s to hand.


To read the entire piece, click below.

Nonproliferation? How Quaint! - Mark Steyn - National Review Online



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Friday, April 16, 2010

Justice Should Not Be This Blind.


Alex Rawls over at Error Theory Blog had an interesting piece today on either political correctness run amok, diversity (whatever that means) taken to a new level, or perhaps something worse. Error Theory is a great Blog, and it is now linked to this one under My Blog List on the right hand side. Please check it out.

Error Theory: FBI director tries to warn about home grown Islamic terrorists, without mentioning "Islam"


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John McCain's Senate Resolution: Just Say NO to VAT.


The worst kept secret in the Obama administration is its plan to slap our country with a European Value Added Tax (VAT) to pay for its out-of-control spending. According to the Heritage Foundation, John McCain (who is running for an election against a strong Conservative) has thrown down the gauntlet to stymie this not-too-well-kept secret plan of the administration, and eighty-four other senators stood with McCain to at least indicate their opposition to a VAT. Stay tuned to this one.

McCain Throws Down the VAT Gauntlet | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

To learn more than you ever thought you might need to know about a VAT, read this from the European Commission Taxation and Customs Union.




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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nuclear Summit Logo: An Islamic-shaped Crescent?


Classical Liberal Blog presented an interesting thesis in a post today. You can guess what it is by reading the above title for this post. The CL post is here.



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Theodore Dalrymple: When Freedom Isn't Free


Theodore Dalrymple, a retired British psychiatrist (think Krauthammer) and prison doctor, whose real name is Anthony Daniels, published one of his usual caustic pieces in City Journal yesterday. He's one of the best writers on the planet, and has had one of the most interesting lives (you can read about it if you click on his real name above). Here's the piece from yesterday.

When Freedom Isn't Free by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal 14 April 2010




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That's Granddaughter Summer

video

Our granddaughter Summer won the 5th grade music prize in San Antonio, Texas last Saturday. Here's a photo of all the winners in the various categories of the competition. Summer is third from the left.


(click on photo to enlarge)



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Tea Party Sign





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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Antidote for Obamacare: The “Small Bill”


That's Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745 – 1813). He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a physician, writer and educator, and the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Jeffrey Anderson, director of the Benjamin Rush Society, introduced a one page proposal he calls The Small Bill as an alternative to Obamacare. I prefer to call it an antidote since the Bill signed into law by the president is poison. If you agree that Obamacare is at least a very bad idea, and you'd rather keep government bureaucrats from making decisions that you'd prefer were made by your doctor - and don't have the time to read and try to understand a 2,000 page Bill - click on the link below and when you have time open the links on it and see what you think. It appears to be gaining a lot of attention and, hopefully, momentum.

The “Small Bill” Proposal for Sensible Health-Care Reform

If you'd like to know more about the Benjamin Rush Society, go here.



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More Treason at the NYT


Brad Thor, author of several military special operations thrillers, has discovered that the New York Times is, once again, about to commit treason that will result in grave harm to our troops in Afghanistan. He exposed the Times in a post today on BigGovernment.Com. Click below to read his piece.

SOS – RED ALERT – New York Times About to Put American Troops in Deadly Peril

If you've never read any of Brad Thor's novels, you should check out his website at: http://bradthor.com/



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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thomas Sowell: Good Riddance John Paul Stevens!



Dr. Thomas Sowell places blame where it belongs for the damage done by John Paul Stevens - on the GOP.

Good Riddance! - Thomas Sowell - National Review Online


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Bret Stephens: The Katyn Massacre


This past Saturday, as everyone is by now aware, the president of Poland, his wife and 95 others were en route to Katyn for ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet-era massacre of about 22 000 Polish officers when their plane crashed, leaving no survivors. The event added another irony to the massacre at Katyn Forest 70 years ago: Tuesday was the anniversary of the day when German troops discovered the mass grave in the Katyn forest in 1943. The prime irony, of course, was the discovery (and subsequent propagandising) of the massacre by the German army after their invasion of Poland.

Bret Stephens, writing in today's Wall Street Journal, places the recent events in historical perspective.

The Fog Over Katyn Forest

"The struggle of people against power," Milan Kundera famously observed, "is the struggle of memory against forgetting." Is there any place that better captures that truth than the Katyn Forest, or any metaphor more apt for Katyn's place in our historical memory than fog?

It was, of course, a very mundane kind of fog that (along with some apparently reckless piloting) brought down the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and an entourage of political notables as they attempted to land for Saturday's commemoration of the Katyn Forest massacre's 70th anniversary. Still, one can be forgiven for wondering whether the physical and metaphysical worlds didn't conspire in this latest cycle of Polish tragedy. Fog makes the known world unseen; cutting through it is what Poland's long quest for freedom—itself so often dashed to pieces—has always been about.

Today, the facts about Katyn are not in doubt. In the spring of 1940, 22,000 Polish prisoners of war—most of them army officers, but also thousands of leading members of the Polish intelligentsia—were systematically murdered by the Soviet secret police on direct orders from Joseph Stalin. Comrade Stalin, who was then carving up central Europe as an ally of Adolf Hitler, worried that some future Polish state might someday oppose him. "Under those circumstances," observes historian Gerhard Weinberg, "depriving [Poland] of a large proportion of its military and technical elite would make it weaker."

In one of history's richer ironies, the massacre was first discovered and publicized by the Nazis in 1943. That made it that much easier for the Soviets to dismiss the revelation as German propaganda to cover up a German crime, a line the U.S. and Britain were only too happy to adopt to propitiate their wartime ally. The behavior of the Roosevelt administration was particularly disgraceful: As Rutgers Professor Adam Scrupski has noted, the U.S. Office of War Information "implicitly threatened to remove licensure from the Polish language radio stations in Detroit and Buffalo if they did not cease broadcasting the details of executions."

Thus was the cause of a free Poland—the very reason the West had gone to war against Germany in the first place—sold out on the altar of realpolitik. It would not be the only sellout.

In 1968, Gabriel Kolko, now a professor emeritus at Toronto's York University, published "The Politics of War: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945." The book—a landmark work of Cold War revisionism—affects to be agnostic on the question of culpability for the massacre. But Prof. Kolko did something else: He trivialized the massacre. Even assuming the Soviets bore responsibility, Katyn was "the exception" to Soviet conduct. "Its relative importance," he said, "must be downgraded very considerably." There is in that remark something very much like the view of France's neo-fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen that the Holocaust was "just a detail in the history of World War II."

Then again, Mr. Kolko's book at least acknowledges Katyn, which is more than can be said for Eric Hobsbawm's 1994 bestselling history of the 20th century, "The Age of Extremes," which the New York Times called "a bracing and magisterial work." In his 627-page catalogue of "extremes," the celebrated British historian and lifelong communist—who at 92 also remains the president of the University of London's Birkbeck College—devotes exactly one paragraph to Stalin's several million victims. Katyn itself rates no mention, even though the book was published four years after the Soviets finally acknowledged their responsibility.

Katyn denialism doesn't end there. In Russia in recent years, there has been a renewed effort to raise a fresh round of doubts about Soviet guilt. To his credit, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has disavowed that line, and last week gave a conciliatory speech linking Russians and Poles as two peoples that "paid an exorbitantly high price . . . for the inhumanity of totalitarianism."

Still, Russia continues to seal its archives related to Katyn. And it is under Mr. Putin that the Russian government has been systematically scrubbing its history textbooks so as to present Soviet history in a better light. It brings to mind the old joke that, under socialism, "the past can never be predicted."

It goes without saying that Katyn is hardly the only piece of history lying under a fog. The Iranian government has made it its business to deny the Holocaust, partly out of true belief, and partly because Holocaust denial plays well throughout the Muslim world. And the governor of Virginia had a recent mental lapse in the matter of the peculiar institution the Confederacy was created to uphold. History may be irreversible, and yet it exists under a permanent state of siege from those whom it inconveniences. Defending it is the permanent burden of all free people, the essential task for which the Poles have again paid the terrible price.




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