This is a true story....Check out this photo from our mess hall at the US Embassy yesterday morning. Sen. Kerry found himself all alone while he was over here. He cancelled his press conference because no one came, he worked out alone in the gym w/o any soldiers even going up to say hi or ask for an autograph (I was one of those who was in the gym at the same time), and he found himself eating breakfast with only a couple of folks who are obviously not troops.
What is amazing is Bill O'Reilly came to visit with us and the troops at the CSH the same day and the line for autographs extended through the palace and people waited for two hours to shake his hand. You decide who is more respected and loved by us servicemen and women!
As the commercial says... Pay back. This time it's for real. Or... maybe this is just a botched joke by the troops.
"There's not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America." These unremarkable words, spoken at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, set off wild applause.
And here is the similar quote that got hearts thumping in New Hampshire: "We've got a series of very important decisions to make, and we have the opportunity to make them, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. And it's that promise that I'm most excited about."
Obama likes to say things like, "We can do better," and, "America is ready for a new set of challenges." He is all for "a spiritual recovery."
The senator dislikes the "either-or" type of debate and warns against "false choices." He's not too left, not too right. Sort of black, and sort of white.
Obama is humble in all the right places. Before a thousand swooning fans in New Hampshire, he says, Evita-like: "This isn't about me. This is about you." One gets the impression from his public appearances and book, "The Audacity of Hope," that he doesn't even get a haircut without first consulting his wife.
What Obama really thinks should be done about health care and the terrorist threat remain secrets that his book does not unlock. His two years in the Senate certainly haven't revealed any bold policy ideas.
This leave-them-guessing strategy slips out in the book's prologue. "I serve as a blank screen," Obama writes, "on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." He notifies readers that "my treatment of the issues is often partial and incomplete." It takes some doing for a politician to write a 364-page book, his second volume, and skate past all controversy.
Obama does seem to have an impressive resume and polish. And it's not his fault that a mania for some new political face intrudes on every presidential election season. But one does wish, for the sake of democracy, that we could skip the crush and give less glamorous contenders who actually say something more of a hearing.
Thanks to the lies contained in Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and those, such as Al Gore, who hopped on the anti-DDT bandwagon, DDT was banned from country after country in the 1970s. As a result, malaria has made something of comeback, forcing some African nations to defy their aid benefactors in Europe and allow limited spraying of DDT—the only thing that works.
Bloodcurdlingly, Berlau cites several prominent environmentalist leaders who explained that their opposition to DDT was based on their desire for Third World people to die. For example, Sierra Club Director Michael McCloskey said in 1971 in order to explain his organization’s opposition to DDT, “By using DDT, we reduce mortality rates in underdeveloped countries without the consideration of how to support the increase in populations.” Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome, wrote in 1990, “So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem.” That’s right — prominent and influential environmentalists oppose DDT because it saves human lives. ...
prominent and influential environmentalists oppose DDT because it saves human lives.
... As the evidence in Berlau’s book makes clear, hatred of the human race lies at the bottom of the environmentalist agenda. This is not to say that there are no pressing environmentalist concerns, from mercury pollution to Latin American deforestation — but genuine concerns are based on human welfare, not the pagan worship of harsh, wild nature indifferent to life that not even radical environmentalists want to live in personally. ...
... It is true that we need a return to nature, but not to the primitive bestial nature that murderous environmentalists desire. We need a return to human nature, both in our interior souls and outside them, as described by Western philosophers such as Aristotle and developed most perfectly by historic Christianity. Then we will strike the beneficial balance of letting animal nature flourish under the guidance of the spirit of man.
The "Mom Strategy" is key to presenting the latest iteration of Hillary. She needs to move out of the center space that she populated in her last reincarnation as a moderate. That's over. Because democratic primary voters are squarely at odds with her positions on the war in Iraq, she needs to move on. The "Mom Strategy" gives her a credible way to tack to the left on the war. She's already begun. Last week, she told an NPR audience that she would have voted against the war if only she had known then what she knows now. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.
In furtherance of the new Mom strategy, she has re-released her best-selling book It Takes A Village. This time, she is pictured surrounded by adoring, well-groomed and respectful children on the cover. Just like Mom. This is no coincidence; it's an element of the strategy. The subliminal message: I'm a Mom and I'm running for president. Moms take care of people, they're compassionate and don't want wars. The fact that the book isn't selling well in its re-release - Amazon ranks it at 5,000 - doesn't matter. It's the cover photo that resonates.
... Y’know, most of us forget the above when we see sweet baby Jesus lying in a manger. Because of our rank illiteracy regarding the scripture, our prejudiced and politically correct approach to the Bible that’s custom tailored a Jesus of our own imaginations, we have developed a deep distaste for anything but a bespoke and neutered little “g” god.
My prayer for you and yours, our churches and our nation is that we flush the feckless, Lysol-disinfected, feminine hygiene Jesus we’ve created to mollycoddle our madness and go back to the rowdy Christ that would, lovingly of course, shake us into shape. ...
... All this is conveyed by the sign that was given to the shepherds and is given also to us: the child born for us, the child in whom God became small for us. Let us ask the Lord to grant us the grace of looking upon the crib this night with the simplicity of the shepherds, so as to receive the joy with which they returned home (cf. Lk 2:20). Let us ask him to give us the humility and the faith with which Saint Joseph looked upon the child that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit. Let us ask the Lord to let us look upon him with that same love with which Mary saw him. And let us pray that in this way the light that the shepherds saw will shine upon us too, and that what the angels sang that night will be accomplished throughout the world: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased." Amen!
... smile-killing outbreaks occur every four years punctuated only by long periods of latency during which the infection spreads to unwary contacts and runs up health care costs. And all the while America is in denial claiming, “It’s just a cold sore and our republic is perfectly healthy.”
Well, NO, it is not just a historical cold sore. It is more than a little strange. Does anyone believe that in a true political meritocracy of 300 million people (at least 100 million of which are not illegal aliens and over 35, thus being eligible to be president), that we could have a period of decades in which our choices for President consisted mostly of members of just two families? Clearly the influence of the political machine and the inside connection has gotten a wee bit out of hand.
Mac then proposes a 28th constitutional amendment: "No one shall hold the office of President who has previously been held by the President in his office", and concludes:
... While you weren’t paying attention, the 2008 New Hampshire primary began last month. Get off your butt and get involved or you’ll end up with whatever insiders most successfully gain control of each party’s mindless apparatus in the next year. If you wait until the general election to evaluate your choices, donate and volunteer, you’ll end up having to choose between the connected and the connected.
Wouldn’t you rather see something interesting—like a Tancredo vs. Kucinich debate? Theoretically, it’s still your country.
Jeb Bush does look like an attractive candidate, but his older brother has likely wrecked any hope he might have had for the Presidency. George Bush has proven to be - by enlarge - a complete disaster. Sorry Jeb.
"The first is that you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.
"And if you don't refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate," he said.
... Rather was liberal, Brokaw was liberal, Jennings was liberal. Brian Williams and Charles Gibson, your current competition on ABC and NBC, are liberal. And Katie's liberal. So break the mold. Let Williams and Gibson split the liberal audience and you'll have the conservative audience all to yourself, including millions of new viewers who long ago gave up on network news. It's called product differentiation. Yes, the Fox News Channel skews conservative, but they're on cable and Brit Hume's Special Report has only 2 million viewers, which is pretty good for a cable channel. Just ask CNN and MSNBC.
As a matter of fact, Fox would be a good model for you. I know this is hard for inbred liberals to understand, but Fox's news is more fair and balanced than yours. They skew right of center less than you, ABC and NBC skew left of center. You could probably have gotten Hume for a lot less than you paid Couric, and he'd have been much better. OK, he's not as perky, but he has gravitas.
I think that in the wacky lefty parallel universe that Joy Behar lives in, anyone she doesn’t like is kinda like Hitler. If the salesgirl at the perfume counter tries to steer her to a certain perfume, well, isn’t she being pushy JUST LIKE HITLER! If her masseuse gives her a hard rubdown, she’s JUST LIKE HITLER! And if the Danish in the Green Room is stale, who made these? HITLER!?
Eight congregations in the Virginia Diocese of the Episcopal Church voted overwhelming to break away, the Church announced on Sunday, in the latest sign of a rift in the U.S. denomination over its ordination of a gay bishop.
Two of the larger parishes, The Falls Church and Truro Church in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, voted to join the conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America organization, which is linked to the Episcopal Church of Nigeria.
The Nigerian church is headed by Peter Akinola, who has supported a proposed law in Nigeria that calls for prison terms for homosexual activity.
The breakaway is the latest challenge to Presiding U.S. Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to head the 2.4 million-member U.S. Episcopal Church. She has been under fire from conservative Episcopalians because of her stand in favor of blessing same-sex unions and support for the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.
In addition to voting to join the breakaway Convocation of Anglicans of North America, The Falls Church and Truro Church congregations voted in favor of keeping parish property worth millions of dollars, the churches said. ...
The Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of global Anglicanism, has been under pressure from traditionalists at home and abroad since the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Theological conservatives are a minority within the 2.2 million-member U.S. denomination, but their protests have had an impact.
Episcopal researchers estimate that at least one-third of the nearly 115,000 people who left the denomination from 2003 to 2005 did so because of parish conflicts over Robinson.
Seven of 100 U.S. Episcopal dioceses have threatened to break from the denomination, but have so far stayed put. The closest any have come to leaving was a vote earlier this month in the Diocese of San Joaquin, in Fresno, Calif., endorsing a first step toward seceding. But the diocese must take a second vote next year before they can formalize a split.
The state of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion is far worse.
Most overseas Anglicans believe gay relationships violate Scripture and contend liberal interpretation of the Bible should not be accepted.
Struggling to hold the communion together, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, has said that the communion may have to create a two-tier system of membership, with branches that ordain partnered gays given a lesser status.
I am personally encouraged by this move. FAQ about CANA.
MR. RUSSERT: Are you concerned, however, that with carte blanche, that the government could move in and say, "This mosque is closed, this Web site is shut down"?
FMR. REP. GINGRICH: No. You have -- you have more censorship in the McCain-Feingold bill, which blocks the right of free speech about American campaigns than you have from the FBI closing down jihadists. We've already limited the 1st Amendment right of free speech by a set of rules that are stunningly absurd. In California, you can raise soft money to run negative commercials attacking your opponent through the state party and you cannot raise soft money to run a positive commercial on behalf of your own candidate. That's California state law. It's stunningly stupid and a clear infringement of free speech.
[A] Supreme Court justice once said... "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
So we've had a 30-year period of saying it's OK to infringe free speech as long as it's about politics. But now if you want to be a jihadist, and you want to go kill people, well who are we to say that's morally wrong? I think that's suicidal. I'm using the word deliberately. A country -- a Supreme Court justice once said "The Constitution is not a suicide pact." This country has every right to defend itself, and you saw the same thing recently on this U.S. Airlines provocation, where you had six people go way out of their way to cause trouble, and then claim they were infringed upon. And I think, frankly, the President should invite that U.S. Airlines crew to the White House and thank them, because we ought to set a standard that if you're provocative about killing people, we're not going to show you any mercy.
... There's one more critical element I plan to bring to our year of solutions and dialogue: the values at the heart of the American tradition.
Four hundred years ago next May, a people arrived in North American believing their rights come from God, and that with hard work, a belief in the future and a willingness to work together, they could create a better world for their children and grandchildren.
If we have that same courage to combine American culture -- free-market principles, the work ethic and the values of American civilization that have allowed us to prosper for 400 years -- with all the opportunities afforded by dramatically accelerating scientific and technological change, I believe we can have American solutions for virtually every challenge we're faced with. I hope you'll join me.
In a sit-down interview with Congressional Quarterly earlier this week, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the five-term Texas Democrat and incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee, flunked a pretty simple quiz.
When asked whether al-Qa’ida was Sunni or Shi’ite, Reyes answered, “They are probably both.” He then compounded his ignorance: “You’re talking about predominantly? Predominantly—probably Shi’ite.”
Wrong. Very wrong. In fact, al-Qa’ida’s raison d’etre is the purification of Sunni Islam, which Osama bin Laden considers tainted by the Saudi royal family’s personal corruption and alliance with the United States. Shi’ite Muslims, on the other hand, are heretics deserving of death for their perversion of the “one true religion.”
Then Reyes, who also sits on the House Armed Service Committee, was asked the same question with regard to Hizballah.
“Hizballah. Uh, Hizballah...” Laughing nervously and shifting in his seat, Reyes evaded. “Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”
In the end, Reyes confessed that he didn’t know the answer, despite the fact that Hizballah has existed as a terrorist arm of Iran for more than two decades, from the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 of our servicemen, to the political assassinations, the attacks on Israel and the attempts to bring Lebanon under Hizballah control today. It’s equally worth noting that Hizballah, which means “Party of God,” is now helping train Iraqi Shi’ites to kill Iraqi Sunnis in that country’s internecine conflict.
“Know thy enemy” is perhaps the oldest maxim of warfare, yet Rep. Reyes’ ignorance appears to be the rule rather than the exception.
John Gibson chimes in on the war on terror - Democrat style:
In a farewell speech on U.S. soil today, retiring United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan plans to deliver a tough critique of President Bush's policies. He will accuse the administration of trying to secure the United States from terrorism in part by dominating other nations through force, committing what he termed human rights abuses and taking military action without broad international support.
Though Annan has long been a critic of the war in Iraq and other Bush foreign policies, the planned speech is among his toughest and is unusual for a U.N. secretary-general concluding his tenure.
Annan's remarks, provided to USA TODAY by his office, list principles for international relations, among them "respect for human rights and the rule of law."
These ideas can be advanced only "if America remains true to its principles, including in the struggle against terrorism," the speech says. "When it appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused."
Like Kofi Annan knows anything about remaining true to principles? He leaves behind a feckless, corrupted, global bureaucracy incapable of policing the predators in its ranks, unwilling to stand up to evil, and useless in the struggle against terrorism--or any other global threat.
And it's all President Bush's and America's fault.
... Let's face it in America today if we bring up such obvious inconsistencies we are immediately branded and labeled a bigot. I was repeatedly labeled such this week for asking six additional questions arising from the fake act of two women supposedly "becoming parents." Argue with me all you like - the truth is Mary Cheney's baby will share DNA with Mary and the male DNA donor. Genetically he/she will share nothing with Cheney's partner Heather Poe.
So here's the next item I'm not allowed to bring up... Two women who desire children can not achieve satisfaction, because their sexual union is incapable of producing it. And this is fully true - even if all parties involved have healthy, fully functional reproductive biology.
When I mentioned this earlier in the week homosexual bloggers like Andrew Sullivan took exception with the notion and accused me of being hypocritical of the issue when it comes to infertile couples. Yet it is the critics who are being inconsistent.
If a man and wife struggle with infertility, it is because of biological breakdown. What God designed to work a certain way short circuited. He has low sperm count. She doesn't produce eggs as she should. They have trouble getting the two together. The biological dysfunction is not voluntary, they attempt sexual intercourse, time and time again but because of the faulty genetics in the machinery they are unable to complete the conception. And should medicine ever develop a cure for whatever that specific breakdown might be - there will be no problem for the couple, through natural sexual engagement to have another child. ...
Men and women are not interchangeable, and I am not a bigot. McCullough is perfectly right to wonder what this all means for our future. Political Correctness will destroy America as we know it now if we don't find the courage to discuss and consider these types of issues.
The failure to define what is “evil” is causing us to capitulate to the apex (or nadir, I guess) of political correctness in a “No %$@&” time of crisis. Go ahead; ask someone at the next Winter Solstice office party to define “evil.” You’ll get the typical “it’s all relative” slop, or “there is no objective standard of right or wrong”, or “all absolute truth claims are nothing more than powerplays, man.” Y’know, the same emblematic drivel your pot smoking, liberal prof taught you at the University of You-Just-Wasted-A-Ton-Of-Your-Parent’s- Cash-And-Got-Brain-Washed-In-The-Process.
The few who do have the cojones to say something is evil will be called evil themselves because judging something as wrong has become the sin of the 21st century—unless, of course, you’re a liberal; then you can judge, bring up Foley, Delay, Ted Haggard, other GOP inadequacies, evangelical inconsistencies and call a spade a shovel all you want.
If you want to keep away from the heavy stuff, here's Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan joined by Jim Carrey in this great SNL skit. YouTuber DarthFloydian then ingeniously dubs with El Mudo's "Chacarron".
... Since when did the United States or any country wage war by publishing its plans or suggested plans for all the world to see? Since when did the United States or any country let its enemies see internal deliberations and strategic pivots, and since when did we think our enemies shared our interests, either in one war theater or on a more broad strategic plane? Since when did we wage war by a geriatric committee of has-beens and shady Washington insiders? Since when has there been anything to talk about with the world’s two worst remaining terrorist states?
To me, the ISG report represents the end of the sole-superpower world. We’re not a superpower anymore, not if our so-called best and brightest think that this report represents anything useful, and not if we think it’s wise to put our war planning up to a body of old hands with no new ideas, and subject their findings to an international review. ...
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory... game over.
From Bryan in the comments...
the US has been the world’s greatest force for stability and liberty over the past several decades. You’d also know that nature abhors a vaccuum. Our stepping aside doesn’t mean there won’t be a superpower in our place eventually. There will. But it won’t be us and won’t operate according to our values.
Will America ever win another war? Only if we combine our Cold War vigilance with our World War II ruthlessness. We cannot afford to lose in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and a stalemate is a loss. We cannot ignore demographic trends in the name of multiculturalism -- diversity will only survive in countries that can resist the long-term onslaught of fundamentalist Islam. This will be a long, hard slog, as former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld put it. In today's world, true victory always is.
Now that Democrats have won the House, they can concentrate on losing the war. Despite all the phony conservative Democrats who got elected as gun-totin' hawks, the Democrats will uniformly vote to dismantle every aspect of the war on terrorism. They've started a runaway train and can't stop it now.
Good stuff here. Superb defeatism by Gore, plus the spectacle of a former vice president of the United States urging people to throw house parties for his DVD. All morning television should be this watchable.
... If only inequality could be more evenly shared, I have no idea what the New York Times, CNN, the formerly Big Three and the BBC would whine about then. I suppose that they’d still have global warming and the rights of terror suspects to worry about. Still, even with racism and sexism thrown in, I wonder how they would manage to fill their daily negative content needs.
One of this week’s obligate inequality nuggets was a report released by the UN detailing the fact that the world’s wealthiest own a lot of the world’s wealth. Well, in fairness, the report’s big claim to fame was that it made an earnest attempt to quantify exactly how unequal was the distribution of wealth in the world. Dutifully reported in morose terms were the facts that the wealthiest 2% of the world’s population own half the world’s wealth. By contrast, the poorest 50% of the world owns only 1% of the world’s wealth. ...
Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.
He should not be allowed to do so - not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism - my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.
Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.
Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?
Prager is on the money again. Read more from him here.
... This argument [Pragers] both mistakes the purpose of the oath, and misunderstands the Constitution. In fact, it calls for the violation of some of the Constitution’s multiculturalist provisions.
To begin with, the oath is a religious ritual, both in its origins and its use by the devout today. The oath invokes God as a witness to one’s promise, as a means of making the promise more weighty on the oathtaker’s conscience. ...
Bonus: "Prager talks to a young college student who re-considered her heterosexuality after being influenced by various media and cultural pressures". Homosexualization and political correctness are ruining our country. By the time we pick our collective heads out of the feed trough and realize that this isn't what we want for ourselves, it may be too late.
It has caused a national discussion - actually, more hate-filled attacks on me than civil discussion - and has been covered by just about all major American news media. To their credit, CNN and Fox News both gave me ample time (in television terms anyway) to express my views on two of each network's major shows: "Paula Zahn Now" and Headline News on CNN, and "Hannity & Colmes" and "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on Fox News. And many American newspapers have covered it.
In addition, there was widespread coverage on left-wing blogs, which, with no exception I could find, distorted what I said, charging my column and me with, for example, racism (see below), when race plays no role at all in this issue or in my column. For the record, because I deem this a significant statement about most of the Left, I found virtually no left-wing blog that was not filled with obscenity-laced descriptions of me. Aside from the immaturity and loathing of higher civilization that such public use of curse words reveal, the fury and hate render the leftist charge that it is the Right that is hate-filled one of the most obvious expressions of psychological projection I have seen in my lifetime.
Clearly, many Americans, including some conservatives and libertarians, have no problem with the idea that for the first time in American history, a person elected to Congress has rejected the Bible for another religious text when taking his oath of office (whether ceremonial or actual - more on this below). This includes some thoughtful colleagues in conservative talk radio (intellectual life on conservative radio is far more diverse than intellectual life at most American universities). ...
[conclusion]... I am for no law to be passed to prevent Keith Ellison or anyone else from bringing any book he wants to his swearing-in, whether actual or ceremonial. But neither I nor tens of millions of other Americans will watch in silence as the Bible is replaced with another religious text for the first time since George Washington brought a Bible to his swearing-in. It is not I, but Keith Ellison, who has engaged in disuniting the country. He can still help reunite it by simply bringing both books to his ceremonial swearing-in. Had he originally announced that he would do that, I would have written a different column - filled with praise of him. And there would be a lot less cursing and anger in America.
Let's say this same type of swearing-in ceremony were occurring elsewhere and not in the U.S.
Regardless of what the actual swearing-in ceremonies are like (I have no idea), let's say these ceremonies occur using a Quran in a Muslim country such as Kuwait, or with an Orthodox Bible in a country like Russia, or with a Tanakh in Israel (take your pick). Again, these are not religious ceremonies, these are civil, swearing-in ceremonies wherein the otherwise "sacred text" has long and traditionally been used during swearing-in ceremonies, where the text is used representationally, not to denote theological content, but to reflect deeply rooted moral/ethical and cultural content which had long been formative for the nation/state in question.
Now imagine a white, anglo-saxon Protestant or Catholic has, for whatever reason, gained acclaim and renown in the country in question (Russia, Israel or Kuwait) and that this person in fact has, either via election or via appointment by the ruling elite, gained a high office in this country. Let's also say this news is being reported on back in the U.S. And again, this is a WASP (or WASC) we're using as an example.
Now let's imagine this WASP (who is also a male), knowing the swearing-in ceremony is imminent (and who is also aware the text is not being used for its religious significance but rather for what it represents morally/ethically and culturally), announces that he refuses to use the Orthodox Bible or the Tanakh or the Quran and instead insists on using the King James Version, the very version G-d gave to Moses (or was it King Arthur?) on Sinai.
Imagine what the news reports would be headlining back in the U.S. A WASP, a male WASP, was being so impudent, ungracious and presumptuous as to insist upon using the KJV instead of the Quran or the Orthodox Bible or the Tanakh (depending)! "Ungracious" would be among the kinder terms used; he'd be described as being boorishly insensitive, an ingrate, insensitive boor, etc., desrespectful of another peoples' culture and traditions. Harrumph!
Initially I only very tentatively agreed with Dennis, but Dennis Prager has it right. What Prager most poignantly has right is that this reflects the insinuating and corrosive Multiculturalism, writ large, which allows this particular tradition to be stepped on even though no religious or theological meaning per se inheres to this swearing-in ceremony, that instead the meaning is cultural and moral/ethical, much as it would be in an analogous situation in Israel, in Russia, in Kuwait, etc.
The office in question is not a religious office, it's a civil office, reflecting an organ of government, the state, not a church or theological office. Likewise the swearing-in ceremony has no religious significance per se, rather the "favorite book" used carries moral/ethical and cultural content and representational value. Only in the U.S. and other parts of the West has the Left taught us, in Pavlovian style, to so denigrate or be embarrassed by our very own culture and traditions that it takes someone with sufficient moral and social courage such as Dennis to point out the blindingly obvious: the degree to which the Left has us cowed to the point where we're self-blinded.
We are the enemy of those who would add Iraq to the list of countries dominated by Islamic Extremists who want nothing less than to 1) propagandise their people to hate the west (Israel and the U.S. specifically), 2) rule under Sharia Law, and 3)... kill you and your family, along with the rest of us who won't submit completely to Muhammad's and their authority.
Liberals who always opposed the Iraq war, or who have decided to oppose it after either supporting it or even voting to put the troops into the field, have constructed this myth surrounding both Iraq and Hussein that defies all facts and recitations of the facts. He had no WMDs. Bush lied us into war (but for some reason didn’t see far enough ahead to plant a few WMDs to keep the game going). Saddam was too secular to work with those crazy Islamist terrorists. Etc, ad infinitum or until we lose the war, whichever comes first.
What the liberal mind is passionate about is a world filled with pity, sorrow, neediness, misfortune, poverty, suspicion, mistrust, anger, exploitation, discrimination, victimization, alienation and injustice. Those who occupy this world are “workers,” “minorities,” “the little guy,” “women,” and the “unemployed.” They are poor, weak, sick, wronged, cheated, oppressed, disenfranchised, exploited and victimized. They bear no responsibility for their problems. None of their agonies are attributable to faults or failings of their own: not to poor choices, bad habits, faulty judgment, wishful thinking, lack of ambition, low frustration tolerance, mental illness or defects in character. None of the victims’ plight is caused by failure to plan for the future or learn from experience. Instead, the “root causes” of all this pain lie in faulty social conditions: poverty, disease, war, ignorance, unemployment, racial prejudice, ethnic and gender discrimination, modern technology, capitalism, globalization and imperialism. In the radical liberal mind, this suffering is inflicted on the innocent by various predators and persecutors: “Big Business,” “Big Corporations,” “greedy capitalists,” U.S. Imperialists,” “the oppressors,” “the rich,” “the wealthy,” “the powerful” and “the selfish.”
The liberal cure for this endless malaise is a very large authoritarian government that regulates and manages society through a cradle to grave agenda of redistributive caretaking. It is a government everywhere doing everything for everyone. The liberal motto is “In Government We Trust.” To rescue the people from their troubled lives, the agenda recommends denial of personal responsibility, encourages self-pity and other-pity, fosters government dependency, promotes sexual indulgence, rationalizes violence, excuses financial obligation, justifies theft, ignores rudeness, prescribes complaining and blaming, denigrates marriage and the family, legalizes all abortion, defies religious and social tradition, declares inequality unjust, and rebels against the duties of citizenship. Through multiple entitlements to unearned goods, services and social status, the liberal politician promises to ensure everyone’s material welfare, provide for everyone’s healthcare, protect everyone’s self-esteem, correct everyone’s social and political disadvantage, educate every citizen, and eliminate all class distinctions. With liberal intellectuals sharing the glory, the liberal politician is the hero in this melodrama. He takes credit for providing his constituents with whatever they want or need even though he has not produced by his own effort any of the goods, services or status transferred to them but has instead taken them from others by force.
They're the same ones who can't figure out what could possibly make me a conservative when I'm also clearly an "oppressed...exploited, victimized" "woman" who needs liberal philosophies and government programs to keep her head above water.
The irony, of course, is that creating a victim mentality out of compassion, creating dependence as a path to deliverance, very seldom truly helps or delivers anyone for whom liberals have such compassion. Dependence on government is a shame when America offers so much more to those who are inclined to go out and get it. Why encourage them not to? It does honor neither to the "victims" nor the opportunity and freedom our country offers.
[Bush:]I am deeply disappointed that a handful of United States Senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserved in the Senate. They chose to obstruct his confirmation, even though he enjoys majority support in the Senate, and even though their tactics will disrupt our diplomatic work at a sensitive and important time. This stubborn obstructionism ill serves our country, and discourages men and women of talent from serving their Nation.
...Cassandra Reese, a first-grade teacher outside Boston, recalled that fellow teachers were unnerved when a young boy showed up in a skirt. “They said, ‘This is not normal,’ and, ‘It’s the parents’ fault,’ ” Ms. Reese said. “They didn’t see children as sophisticated enough to verbalize their feelings.”
...While these children are still relatively rare, doctors say the number of referrals is rising across the nation. Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have laws protecting the rights of transgender students, and some schools are engaged in a steep learning curve to dismantle gender stereotypes. ...
Why not... there's no difference between men and women anyway in our politically correct, homosexualized culture. Sheesh.
... Countless commentators have already concluded that Republicans must “move to the center” to win in 2008. Haven’t they tried that already? In fact, that’s the problem. Paradoxically, the danger of losing its guiding principles—the foundation of genuine GOP leadership—was voiced by the same Karl Rove who now blames last month’s electoral defeats on “mitigating circumstances” and “critical mass.” To be fair, Rove got it right during a speech in February 2005, fully 20 months before these elections:
“The GOP’s progress during the last four decades is a stunning political achievement, but it is also a cautionary tale of what happens to a dominant party—in this case the Democrat Party—when its thinking becomes ossified, when its energy begins to drain, when an entitlement mentality takes over and when political power becomes an end in itself rather than a means to achieve the common good.”
If only Mr. Rove and his colleagues had heeded his warning.
The Republican leadership in Washington still have their collective head up their collective asses when it comes to what they need to do to regain control.
“There hasn’t been any ideology in the Republican Party, any conservatism, for at least two to maybe four years. You could argue [President] Bush was more of an ideologue in the presidential campaign of ‘04, but in looking at what happened [on 7 November], it wasn’t conservatism that lost. Conservatism won when it ran as a Democrat. It won in a number of places. Republicanism lost. RINO Republicans, country-club blue-blood Republicans, this nonpartisan Republican identity, that’s what went down in flames. I’ve always believed that those of us who are conservative believe in the ideology. We believe it wins. We believe it’s best for the country. We believe it’s best for the people. We believe it’s ultimately compassionate, and it has not been present... Now, where are these future conservative leaders?”
...But the secular-progressive movement doesn't care about the Constitution. It wants a brand-new America where the people don't call the shots - the "enlightened" minority sets the agenda.
So get ready for more of this kind of thing. The state of Vermont has already left the building. It elected Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, as junior senator. Compared to Sanders, Patrick Leahy, the other Vermont senator, is Dick Cheney.
By the way, in case you went to public school, a socialist is someone who believes the government has a right to seize private property and do whatever it wants with it. Apparently, Vermonters are down with that, as well as with judges who give child predators the same amount of jail time as bar brawlers. Vermont is the first secular-progressive state to drop all pretenses and declare itself Havana friendly. Wait, that might not be fair. Even Fidel harshly punishes child rapists.
If you think I'm exaggerating, you're wrong. The far left feels liberated, and it sees daylight. Expect these people to make a strong power run led by S-P mom Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the house.
Let's recap: no tolerance for the military, no voting on controversial issues, and let's ease up on those adults sexually brutalizing children. Welcome to the land of the secular-progressive. Have a nice day.
"It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country." - Noah Webster (1790)
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton
"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn." - George Washington
"Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late." - Thomas Sowell
"It’s getting close to the point where Osama bin Laden could deliver the keynote speech at the Democrat National Convention." - Rush Limbaugh
"Contemporary politics is all about phony energy, about running around slamming doors for the sake of it—or, more to the point, opening them and tossing through a huge sack of taxpayer dollars." - Mark Steyn
"In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution." - Alexander Hamilton
"Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies." - Theodore Dalrymple
"It is only the warlike power of a civilized people that can give peace to the world." - Theodore Roosevelt
"If we can’t enforce our laws inside the building where American laws are made, where can we enforce them?" - Tom Tancredo
"Just about every generation has some horrific evil that it must fight. For the Democratic Party today that evil is carbon dioxide emissions. For the rest of us, it is an ideology that teaches that its deity is sanctified by the blood of innocents." - Dennis Prager
"Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all." - Voltaire
"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." - Thomas Sowell
"Not everything you may care about is in the Constitution. It is a legal document that had compromises in it. What it says it says; what it doesn’t say it doesn’t say." - Justice Antonin Scalia
"Liberals believe in burning the American flag, urinating on crucifixes, and passing out birth control pills to 11-year-olds without telling their parents -- but God forbid an infidel touch a Quran at Guantanamo." - Ann Coulter
"A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future - that community asks for and gets chaos." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
"Though God alone is competent to judge the heart, we can and must judge whether objective behavior is bad or good, right or wrong." - Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
"While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader." - Samuel Adams
"If any group of citizens is uniquely unqualified to tell someone else how to vote, it’s those of us who live in the sheltered, privileged arena of celebrityhood." - Pat Sajak
"The believer in God has to account for the existence of evil and suffering. The atheist has to account for the existence of everything else." - Dennis Prager
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." - Barry Goldwater
"Appreciate the good in your life, and the good will appreciate." - Tal Ben-Shahar
"The dustbin of history is littered with remains of those countries that relied on diplomacy to secure their freedom. We must never forget... in the final analysis... that it is our military, industrial and economic strength that offers the best guarantee of peace for America in times of danger." - Ronald Reagan
"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire
"But America can still survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world's last best hope." - Mark Steyn
"Compassion should be applied in the personal (micro) arena, but standards should be applied in the public (macro) arena. Too often compassion is applied in both." - Dennis Prager
"If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism. " - Thomas Sowell
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill