Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Live Blogging the Kagan Confirmation: Day Three | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Live Blogging the Kagan Confirmation: Day Three

Posted June 30th, 2010 at 11:00am in Rule of Law with 1 commentsPrint This Post Print This Post

Deputy Director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation Robert Alt is scheduled to testify as a minority witness this Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Throughout the hearings, he and his colleagues will be providing real-time updates here at The Foundry.

3:20 PM – Kagan Manipulating a Medical Opinion to Achieve Political Ends

One of the overarching narratives pushed by supporters of Elena Kagan is that she can and has been able to divorce her significant political activities from her legal judgment. Since she has never been a judge, the public cannot read her opinions to see if she fairly and impartially applies the facts to the law and is capable of rendering a judicial decision devoid of political leanings. However, according to her supporters, her impressive career demonstrates that she is a uniquely qualified candidate for the high court and capable of separating her liberal progressive policy preferences from sound legal judgment.

Shannen Coffin’s op-ed in today’s National Review is a must read, as it demonstrates beyond any doubt the extent to which Kagan’s political activities are inextricably intertwined with her professional use of facts and law to further political ends.

As a lawyer and deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy in the Clinton White House in the 1990’s, Kagan wrote memos to White House counsel Jack Quinn on the issue of partial-birth abortion (PBA) as it related to Nebraska’s then-existing ban on the procedure.

Coffin’s op-ed demonstrates how Kagan manipulated the language from a “select panel” of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The select panel task force originally had written of the procedure that they “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure…would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.” This is important because under Supreme Court precedent, a state cannot regulate abortion post-viability where such procedure is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for preservation of the life or health of the mother. This “no circumstances” factual assessment by an expert organization would therefore impair the ability of challengers of the law to claim that there was a necessity for a health exception..

For some reason, ACOG shared their draft language with the Clinton White House. Kagan knew of ACOG’s medical opinion regarding PBA because ACOG met with White House officials in July 1996 and told the administration, memorialized in a Kagan memo, that “in the vast majority of cases, selection of the partial birth abortion procedure is not necessary to avert serious adverse consequences to a woman’s health.” Upon receiving ACOG’s task force language, Kagan drafted another memo to her boss, stating, “This, of course, would be [sic] disaster—not the less so (in fact, the more so) because ACOG continues to oppose the legislation.”

Rather than accept the medical professionals’ expert opinion that PBA was not the only option—a position where the facts might have gotten in the way of a desired legal argument and a political end—Kagan instead drafted another memo captioned “Suggested Options” proposing that ACOG include the following language: “An intact D&X (medical terminology for a PBA), however, may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”

Kagan’s suggested language was adopted verbatim by ACOG, and added to their statement regarding PBA. ACOG’s statement was used, predictably, by proponents of PBA and opponents of Nebraska’s ban on PBA. More to the point, as Coffin points out in a National Review Online blog post today, “it was Kagan’s specific language that the Supreme Court seized upon in striking down the Nebraska ban…The Court relied on ACOG’s policy statement (which ACOG expanded on in its amicus brief) to find a division of medical opinion.”

When Senator Hatch today asked Kagan whether she wrote the “disaster” memo, she had to admit she did, but then brushed it off stating that she was simply attempting to assist ACOG in drafting a full and complete statement of their policy.

Shannen Coffin, in yet another post, explains how that is not a credible statement here.

It remains to be seen whether any other senators will take up this particular issue, but chances are they will. More broadly, this episode demonstrates that there are open questions as to whether this nominee can actually divorce her strong political inclinations and legal experiences from her duties as a Supreme Court justice.
(By Cully Stimson)

12:20 PM - Leahy Continues to Mischaracterize Kagan’s Violation of Federal Law

In his unseemly and unfair “rebuttal” a few minutes ago of Ranking Member Jeff Sessions’s latest round of questioning, Chairman Pat Leahy continues to mischaracterize what Kagan did to violate the federal Solomon Amendment when she was dean of Harvard Law School. No one is arguing that Kagan violated federal law by imposing an outright ban on military recruiters on the Harvard campus.

Rather, Kagan violated federal law by refusing to enforce the law requiring her to provide full on-campus access to military recruiters on the same, customary basis that was afforded to other recruiters. The Solomon Amendment required all universities to provide the same access to on-campus military recruiters that was afforded to any other organization as a condition for receiving federal funding.

She imposed her illegal policy almost immediately after taking over from her predecessor. Her predecessor’s policy had allowed full and equal access to military recruiters.

Without even going into Kagan’s work as dean of Harvard Law School to coordinate and support the protest against on-campus military recruiting, the fact that her policy violated federal law is clearly demonstrated by this: She had to reverse it immediately when the government threatened to enforce the Solomon Amendment by cutting off Harvard’s federal funding.
(by Brian Walsh)

11:45 AM – The Kagan Catch
Elena Kagan, the Obama White House, and the liberal senators supporting her have created a catch, a catch they apparently hope will make it impossible to vet Ms. Kagan’s actual views, her likely judicial philosophy, and her fitness for the Supreme Court. A popular online dictionary defines a Catch-22 as a condition or regulation “preventing the resolution of a problem or situation; [a] catch.” Here’s how Kagan and her powerful supporters set up the catch.

First, they incredibly and implausibly argue that her complete lack of experience as a judge – and her severe lack of experience practicing as an attorney in court – are irrelevant to the question of whether she is qualified to serve as a judge on the highest court of the land. No one can question her lack of qualifications, they argue and suggest, because she has tons of alternative “real-world experience.”

Second, Kagan and her supporters claim that nothing she has in fact said or done in the past – as a political lawyer striving to reach political outcomes favoring powerful political interests – has any bearing on how she would decide cases as a Supreme Court justice.

It supposedly makes no difference, Kagan and her powerful supporters claim, that she cavalierly and routinely picked between the parties whose Supreme Court cases she vetted as a law clerk and decided who should be the winners and losers – who were the “good guys” and “bad guys.” It supposedly has no bearing on her fitness that she praised radically activist Israeli judge Aharon Barak as “a great, great judge” and one of her personal “heroes.” It supposedly cannot be taken into consideration that one of her few academic writings praised liberal activist Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who infamously said that a judge should “do what’s right, and let the law catch up.”

The Kagan catch is that conservative senators cannot question her lack of judicial experience, nor may they rely on her actual words and acts to determine her fitness for the Supreme Court.

Not only is this a catch, it is a complete inversion of Kagan’s own standard, in which she claimed that Supreme Court nominees with thin records such as her own should be subjected to more searching scrutiny and be expected to be far more open and forthright about their views. Not considering ourselves bound by the Kagan catch, we assert that such hypocrisy about the standards that should be applied to oneself should be granted great weight in determining whether a nominee is deserving of a seat on our most important court of law.
(by Brian Walsh)

11:10 AM – Kagan and the Legal Progressives
Yesterday, in response to questions from Senator Sessions and others, Kagan said that she did not know what the term “progressive” meant. More specifically, when Senator Sessions asked her whether Ron Klain was right when he said that she is “clearly a legal progressive,” Kagan responded that she did not know what a “legal progressive” is.

Kagan’s response is, at best, puzzling. Multiple legal progressives are on the faculty of every leading law school, including Harvard. In 2005, a conclave of liberal and “progressive” law professors gathered at Yale Law School and tried to imagine a legal future free of those textualists and originalists who, progressives claim, have it so wrong. The result of that gabfest was a book, The Constitution in 2020, a collection of 27 essays in which the authors “look[] to our collective past to imagine our collective future.” The contributions come with titles like “A Progressive Perspective on Freedom of Speech” by Yale’s Robert Post, “Progressives, the Religion Clauses, and the Limits of Secularism” by UNC’s William Marshall, “A Progressive Reproductive Rights Agenda for 2020,” by Indiana’s Dawn Johnsen, a withdrawn nominee for head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, and “Progressive Constitutionalism and Transnational Legal Discourse” by Georgetown’s Vicki Jackson.

The repeated use of the word “progressive” throughout the legal academy and the geographic distribution of these specific authors show that the progressive legal movement is neither small nor hidden. The buzz in the legal academy alone should have given Kagan some idea of what a “legal progressive” is.

More to the point, five of the contributions to The Constitution in 2020 were by professors who were or are at Harvard: Yochai Benkler, Noah Feldman, Frank Michelman, Cass Sunstein, and Mark Tushnet. It seems strange that Dean Kagan did not know about the legal progressivism at her school. If she had been the least bit curious, Kagan could have asked one of her own faculty members about it.

One way or another, Kagan’s statement that she doesn’t know what a “legal progressive” is just doesn’t add up. (by John Park)

10:50 AM – Kagan’s Answers Show She Would Rubberstamp Obamacare’s Individual Health Insurance Mandate
In questioning by Senator Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Coburn (R-OK) yesterday, Kagan came as close as she has come to providing a direct answer exposing her judicial philosophy. She showed that she would indeed rubber-stamp almost any part of the Obama agenda that Congress enacts. This of course has momentous implications for the Obamacare’s mandate that individuals purchase government-approved health insurance.

In Kagan’s view, Congress can mandate even what we eat each day. Coburn asked Kagan whether the Constitution allows Congress to require us “to eat three fruits and three vegetables every day.” This is, of course, analogous to what this liberal Congress and President Obama did when they passed and signed into law the individual health care mandate.

Kagan did not emphasize that, when the American people ratified the Constitution, they created a government of limited powers. Nor did she emphasize that Congress has only those powers expressly listed in the Constitution.

Instead, she emphasized certain cases in which liberal activist Supreme Court justices expanded the reach of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. It now covers almost anything that has any conceivable connection to commerce – no matter how weak and attenuated that connection may be. She also emphasized that these activist decisions set the precedent of granting great deference to Congress even when it goes far beyond the bounds that the American people and the Constitution set on government.

It should not be difficult to understand what her answers mean for how she would decide on the unprecedented and unconstitutional individual health insurance mandate were she be to confirmed to the Supreme Court. (by Brian Walsh)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dems, primary foe scold Buck, say he's unfit for office - The Denver Post

Dems, primary foe scold Buck, say he's unfit for office
By Allison Sherry
The Denver Post
Posted: 06/25/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 06/25/2010 10:45:44 AM MDT

Colorado Democratic Party chairwoman Pat Waak and GOP Senate hopeful Jane Norton scolded Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck on Thursday, saying his departure 10 years ago from the U.S. attorney's office shows he is unfit for office.

According to a Denver Post story published Thursday, hundreds of pages of personnel records showed that Buck, now Weld County district attorney, left the federal post shortly after receiving a letter of reprimand from then-U.S. Attorney John Suthers for trash-talking a felony case to defense attorneys.

In addition to a letter of reprimand in Buck's file, he had to take an ethics class after a Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility investigation.

Norton released a statement saying she "didn't need an ethics class to know what's right."

She added: "Ken broke the rules, and the facts speak for themselves."

Waak called for Buck to step down from his post as Weld County DA.

"Ken Buck isn't fit to hold any public office, be it assistant U.S. attorney, Weld County district attorney, or United States senator," Waak said in a statement. "Ken Buck has built a career by bypassing justice and ethics to reward political allies and campaign contributors."

Buck said on a radio show Thursday that he "wanted this story out in the open" because he didn't "want any sort of accusation that I was hiding anything."

Buck added that voters will have to decide whether the issue is important in the GOP Senate primary.

His campaign manager, Walt Klein, called Norton's comments "as reckless as the other negative attacks the campaign has been resorting to since Norton changed her . . . strategy to be all negative all the time."

Morning Bell: Will Elena Kagan Defend the Rule of Law? | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Morning Bell: Will Elena Kagan Defend the Rule of Law?

Posted June 28th, 2010 at 9:30am in Rule of Law

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its hearing today on the nomination of Elena Kagan to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kagan is no stranger to the confirmation process; in fact, she devoted one of her few academic writings entirely to the subject, writing:

The Senate’s consideration of a nominee, and particularly the Senate’s confirmation hearings, ought to focus on substantive issues; the Senate ought to view the hearings as an opportunity to gain knowledge and promote public understanding of what the nominee believes the Court should do and how she would affect its conduct.

Kagan’s law review article specifically criticized recent confirmation hearings as “a vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis.” Instead, Kagan advocated that senators insist “on seeing how theory works in practice by evoking a nominee’s comments on particular issues – involving privacy rights, free speech, race and gender discrimination, and so forth – that the Court regularly faces.” Kagan even suggested that nominees with thin records (and Kagan’s record can definitely be considered “thin,” since she has no judicial experience, few academic writings, and virtually no litigation experience prior to her current post as Solicitor General), should face a heavier burden when answering senators’ questions. So what “substantive issues” should senators press Kagan on to see how her “theory works in practice”?

The First Amendment: As Solicitor General, Kagan asserted before the Supreme Court that government could ban political pamphlets. The core of the First Amendment is the protection of political speech. So not only does such a position therefore violate common sense, but its logic could be used to ban Thomas Paine’s Common Sense or other landmark political treatises, particularly if their authors were so foolish as to publish them through a non-profit corporation. Does Kagan believe that the First Amendment permits the government to ban pamphlets and books?

The Second Amendment: As a law clerk, Elena Kagan recommended that the Supreme Court not even hear a claim that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on handguns violates the Second Amendment — a claim that recently succeeded at the Court. The sole reasoning that she provided for denying the claim: “I’m not sympathetic.” Kagan was also intimately involved in gun-control policies in the Clinton White House, working to reclassify certain hunting rifles as assault weapons and to ban their importation. In Kagan’s notes obtained from the Clinton Library, she even lumped the National Rifle Association together with the KKK as “bad guy org[anization]s.” Does Kagan stand by her recommendation to reject access to the Supreme Court to someone denied his or her Second Amendment rights by a complete ban on handguns? Considering that she has argued that the government can ban political pamphlets, does she also believe that the Constitution permits the government to ban all guns, as well?

Social Issues vs. National Security: As dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan restricted military recruiters’ access to campus. Kagan’s actions, which were based upon a court of appeals decision that did not even apply to Harvard, violated the Solomon Amendment. It was only after the Department of Defense threatened to cut off Harvard’s funding that Kagan granted military recruiters customary access to campus. What legal authority did Kagan have to disregard the Solomon Amendment and restrict the access of military recruiters to campus? Does Kagan think it was appropriate to limit the ability of the military to recruit on campus at a time when the United States is fighting two wars?

Foreign Law vs. the U.S. Constitution: In a letter to Senator Arlen Specter (D–PA) during her Solicitor General confirmation hearings, Kagan wrote, “There are some circumstances in which it may be proper for judges to consider foreign law sources in ruling on constitutional questions,” such as the Eighth Amendment. This position seems consistent with Kagan’s approach as dean of Harvard Law School, where she led the effort to change the first-year curricula to mandate the study of international law while maintaining constitutional law as an elective course. This practice of looking at foreign law to change U.S. law raises grave questions about U.S. sovereignty and is frequently used selectively by justices who cite to practices that favor their desired outcomes. As a justice, would Kagan cite to foreign law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution?

When President Barack Obama outlined his criteria for appointing a replacement for retiring-Justice David Souter, he said he would seek: “someone who understands justice and isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book, it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives … I view that quality of empathy of understanding and identifying what people’s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.” Kagan has similarly written that it is the Supreme Court’s mission to “show a special solicitude for the despised and the disadvantaged.” At a time when this White House has shown an utter contempt for the rule of law in favor of their own political allies (e.g. Chrysler bailout, oil drilling moratorium, BP shakedown, etc.) it is now more important than ever that senators ensure Kagan is capable of putting aside her personal preferences, applying the law as it is written, and dispensing justice without regard to the parties before her.

Side Note: Robert Alt, Senior Legal Fellow and Deputy Director, Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week regarding Kagan’s nomination hearing. For more information, visit

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

American Thinker: Report: Obama said 'I Am a Muslim'

American Thinker: Report: Obama said 'I Am a Muslim'

American Thinker: Report: Obama said 'I Am a Muslim'

June 16, 2010
Report: Obama said 'I Am a Muslim'
By Pamela Geller
"The American President told me in confidence that he is a Muslim."

That was the claim of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, as reported in the May 2010 issue of Israel Today. According to journalist Avi Lipkin, Gheit appeared on Nile TV's "Round Table Show" in January, on which he said that "he had had a one-on-one meeting with Obama who swore to him that he was a Moslem, the son of a Moslem father and step-son of Moslem step-father, that his half-brothers in Kenya were Moslems, and that he was loyal to the Moslem agenda."

Obama allegedly said this in the context of reassuring Gheit that he would soon deal with Israel:

He asked that the Moslem world show patience. Obama promised that once he overcame some domestic American problems (Healthcare) [sic], that he would show the Moslem world what he would do with Israel.

Could this be true? Even if Gheit's claim isn't true, or was misreported, every country in the free world must be cognizant of the catastrophic sea change that has taken place in the leadership of the free world -- as witnessed by events over the past year. Barack Obama took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and yet whether he is a Muslim or not, he has undeniably gone around the world promoting Islam and Sharia (Islamic law).

And now, if what Gheit says is true, we know why.

The alleged exchange between Obama and Gheit would almost certainly have happened in early January 2010, when Gheit was in Washington, D.C. regarding "Mideast peace talks."

On Thursday, January 7, 2010, the Associated Press reported that "Clinton and Mitchell [were] scheduled to meet" with Gheit on Friday, January 8, 2010: see ABC news here.

On Friday, January 8, 2010, Hillary Clinton and Gheit spoke with each other. The U.S. Department of State has provided video before the meeting: see the Department of State here.

On Saturday, January 9, 2010, NPR spoke with Gheit about his visit: see

This is a devastating claim, and yet no media outlet is covering it. Remember, during Obama's campaign, I and others were excoriated for using his middle name. We were accused of implying he was a crypto-Muslim. We could not discuss his background, his Islamic schooling, his ties to Islam. However, I have meticulously documented his Muslim background in my soon-to-be-released book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America.

It became all too clear after his election how proud Obama was of his Muslim name, background, and family. He made this plain when he gave his very first interview to Muslim media and boasted of these things. He suddenly became proud of the very things that were verboten to speak of during the campaign. That was the level of deceit and obfuscation.

If Gheit's reported claim is true, then Obama is a baldfaced liar. But why? Why lie if you have nothing to hide?

Of course, if Obama believes himself a Muslim, then his prior behavior constituted taqiya -- deception or lies to advance Islam. This he performed brilliantly during his election: He lied with brazen contempt. And now his Islamic Jew-hatred is made painfully clear in his stunning rebuke of Israel. In Israel Today, political analyst Aviel Schneider exposes some of the further implications of Gheit's claim:

That could explain why Obama has instructed that the term "Islamic extremism" no longer be used in official government documents and statements. Furthermore, the US is now accusing Israel of harming American interests in the Middle East. General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, said Israel's intransigence on resolving the conflict with the Palestinians is endangering US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the US Congress considers Obama's behavior toward Netanyahu humiliating. Three-quarters of the House of Representatives, 337 of 435 members, signed a bipartisan letter to Clinton expressing "deep concern over recent tension" between the two countries, and demanding that it be smoothed over quickly and in private.

"Obama is a real problem for Israel," a senior official told told Yediot. "He is Israel's biggest strategic catastrophe." The newspaper also quoted another official who believes that for the first time Washington has switched sides. "The Obama White House is putting pressure only on Israel but does not expect anything from the Palestinians," he said. "These American demands are unacceptable."

Is it any wonder that Obama's counterterror adviser speaks Arabic, calls Jerusalem "Al-Quds," and calls jihad a "legitimate tenet of Islam"?

We know that Gheit met with Obama in April 2010 in D.C. -- check out White, which lists Gheit as one of the attendees of a "Nuclear Security Summit" at that time. And they met more than once. Gheit had a private meeting with Obama in May 2009.

Worse yet, Gheit just last month called Israel "the enemy." This after Israel gave them the Sinai (which Israel had won in a defensive war and defended through another one) with all its oil in return for "peace."

How plausible is Gheit's reported claim about Obama? Let's review Obama's track record:

* March 2009: Obama declares the "war on terror" is over, despite a dramatic increase in jihad war ops.
* March 2009: he floats the idea that he will talk to violent, genocidal Hamas.
* March 2009: he demands that more Muslim Americans work in the Obama administration and insists that they be recruited.
* April 2009: Obama tells Europe to admit Islamic Turkey into the EU, much to the consternation of the Europeans.
* April 2009: Obama demands that non-Muslims respect Islam (despite our differences) in a speech in Turkey.
* April 2009: Obama says in a speech from Turkey, "We are not a Christian nation."
* April 2009: Dalia Mogahed, the first hijab-clad senior adviser to Obama on Muslim affairs, says in an interview with terrorist- and jihad-supporting Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi's website, "Many have claimed that terrorists have 'hijacked Islam.' I disagree. I think Islam is safe and thriving in the lives of Muslims around the world. What the terrorists have been allowed to take over are Muslim grievances."
* April 2009: Obama lays groundwork for a partnership with Hamas.
* May 2009: Obama promises to offer his "personal commitment" to Muslims.
* May 2009: Obama calls America "one of the largest Muslim countries on the planet."
* June 2009: Obama invites the Muslim Brotherhood, a violent global jihadist group whose sole objective is a universal caliphate, to his speech to the ummah (Muslim community) in Cairo.
* June 2009: Obama makes a stunning speech to the Muslim world from Al Azhar University in Cairo. It defies explanation.
* July 2009: Obama reaches out to the violent jihadists of Hezb'allah.
* July 2009: Obama creates a new office at the State Department, Outreach to the Worldwide Muslim community, reporting directly to Hillary Clinton.
* July 2009: The State Department Welcomes Hamas mouthpiece Al-Quds TV to D.C. to filmpPropaganda.
* Obama promises to close GITMO.
* Obama is rebuked when plans are revealed for CIA prosecutions for 911 interrogations: Seven Ex-chiefs of CIA Oppose Case Review: ALL Sign letter to Stop CIA Persecutions.
* In July 2009, Obama sanctions the brutal crackdown of those marching for freedom in Iran and sides with the mullahcracy. He stands silent about the Iranian regime's mass executions, mass rape, and murder.
* July 2009: Obama plans to slash the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
* September 2009: Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton on Obama at the U.N.: "This is the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any president making...I have to say I was very shaken by this speech."
* October 2009: Obama offers millions in Muslim technology fund.
* November 2009, Fort Hood Jihad Coverup: Obama Urges Congress To Put Off Fort Hood Probe, Warns Against Turning Tragedy Into "Political Theater"
* November 2009: Obama offers the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar, and Nuristan provinces, in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases.
* November 2009: Obama reaches out to bloodthirsty jihadis in the Philippines.
* On Thanksgiving eve, Obama issues a special Hajj message to the world's Muslims.
* December 2009: Obama's "Non-Religious" White House Christmas and No Christmas Gifts for his Kids.
* February 2010: Obama names a Hafiz to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. "And as a hafiz of the Koran, [Hussain] is a respected member of the American Muslim community," Obama said in his message to the Doha meeting, using the Arabic world for someone who has memorized the Islamic holy book.
* February 2010: Obama cuts U.S. space program, orders NASA to work with Muslim countries
* February 2010: Covering up for jihadists in the White House.
* Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, Involved in Obama Passport Breach
* March 2010: Obama Obsession with Islam: Calls "entrepreneurship summit" with Muslims.
* April 2010: Libyan President Gaddafi Praises Obama: "Barakeh Obama is friend"; "He is of Muslim descent, his policy should be supported..."
* May 2010: Obama's Counterterrorism Adviser Calls Jihad "Legitimate Tenet of Islam."
* May 2010: White House Pro-Terrorism John Brennan Speechifies in Arabic, Equates Terrorists with Shoplifters, Lawmakers Call for his Firing.
* June 2010: Obama equivocates on the jihad warship convoy (affectionately named a "flotilla" by the media): Obama "Expressed a Deep Regret Over Loss of [Jihadist] Life"
* June 2010: Obama administration to Support Anti-Israel Resolution at U.N.

And earlier this week, Obama became the first president to host a press conference with the American flag nowhere in sight.

Ouch. What a disgrace.

Now: will the lapdog media make Obama address Gheit's claim?

The American people deserve answers. But whether or not what Gheit reportedly says is true, Obama's pro-jihad track record is clear.

Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and former associate publisher of the New York Observer. She is the author of The Post-American Presidency (coming July 27 from Simon & Schuster).

American Thinker: Is Obama's BP Shakedown an Impeachable Offense?

June 21, 2010
Is Obama's BP Shakedown an Impeachable Offense?
By Raymond Richman
As former counsel and trainer in political tactics for ACORN, President Obama used a well-known ACORN tactic, the shakedown, in getting BP to create the $20-billion escrow (slush!) fund without any law, legal controls, or binding rules to guide it on how and how much those injured materially by the oil spill (and whom among them) will be paid. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, well-respected and well-known for heading the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, was appointed by the president to administer the escrow fund. BP will pay $5 billion into the fund for four years, starting in 2010.

BP announced early after the spill that it would pay all justifiable claims resulting from the disastrous oil spill. It opened 25 claims offices. As of June 15, BP approved initial payments that amounted to $63 million, expected to rise to $85 million by the end of the week, to businesses claiming $5,000 or more in damages. Why did the president insist that his own personal organization take over the job of paying claims? After all, supervising reparations is a judicial function, not an executive function. BP created its own fund, appointed its administrator, and determined how it will be staffed with a view to ensuring only qualified persons, businesses, and governments would be reimbursed for its losses. Now those decisions will be made politically.

It is obvious that BP's CEO agreed to create this fund and allow the president to administer it to prevent President Obama from bankrupting their company. After all, the president was on record saying that he would "kick BP's ass," and a cabinet members declared he would "put his boot on BP's neck." The president, when announcing the creation of the fund, stated that the terms of the fund would keep BP viable. He cannot know this. BP's liability is not affected by the fund except to the extent claims are voluntarily settled. Those refusing to settle and their lawyers are not bound by it, nor are juries that will hear their lawsuits.

The president has no legal authority to create the escrow fund and no authority to compel BP to contribute to the fund. Forcing BP to agree to the terms of the escrow is ultra vires (i.e., illegal), beyond the powers of his office. Rep. Barton (R-TX) accurately described the slush fund as a "shakedown" (i.e., blackmail), a felony. If so, Pres. Obama has committed an impeachable offense. Congress itself does not have the authority to create the escrow fund retroactively. Congress will have no voice at all except to vilify any Republican who raises questions about it. All the ACORN employees who lost their jobs when the banks stopped paying "blackmail" to ACORN may be getting better-paying new jobs processing claims.

No doubt the media, which show pictures of the spill and pelicans covered with oil 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will hail the president's tough dealing with BP. But BP's oil spill deserves the strongest action under the law, not above the law. A few miles away, there are pelicans flying "free as a bird" with no oil on them. Not a single photo of them. And more than 10,000 barrels of the spilled oil are being recovered by BP daily with no photos at all; vessels are skimming oil near the spill, and no photos. And the federal government has yet to grant exception to the Jones Act that is preventing foreign vessels ready to skim oil from getting closer to shore to prevent more serious damage which would, incidentally, help save a lot of pelicans. No wonder BP believed it had to surrender to the president.

You don't have to be paranoid to suspect the president (and many in the media) of ulterior motives, a hidden agenda. If you can get enough people to hate the oil companies, you might get the cap-and-trade bill passed. By the time they regret such hasty action, it will be too late to undo the damage. Cap-and-trade was given no chance for passage before the spill. The president pacified the environmental extremists by banning drilling in the Gulf for six months, adding to the rolls of the unemployed and increasing our dependence on foreign oil. To make the hidden agenda more believable, the president overreached by getting BP to agree to pay the lost wages incurred by workers who lost their jobs as the result of the president's six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. The hidden agenda obviously includes getting cap-and-trade passed. It looks like "cap-and-trade, cap-and-trade, cap-and-trade" has displaced "jobs, jobs, jobs."

The president employed a similar tactic when he nationalized GM, violating the bankruptcy laws by denying bondholders their rightful control of the future of those enterprises, and he gave the bondholders' interest in GM to the unions instead, literally. He gave Chrysler to Fiat. The bondholders of both gave their consent, being afraid of having their asses kicked or having a boot on their necks.

When an executive uses threats to secure the "cooperation" of private businesses, we have a name for it: fascism. It is the kind of act we expect from Venezuela's Chávez, not from a president who swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and its separation of powers. I believe the President's behavior is ultra vires and that he has committed an impeachable offense.

Raymond L. Richman, J.D., Ph.D., is a member of the Illinois Bar and has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. He and his son and grandson maintain a blog at and co-authored the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future: How to Fix Our Government-Driven Trade Deficits and Faulty Tax System Before it's Too Late, published by Ideal Taxes Association.

American Thinker: The Reason for Constitutional Rights

June 21, 2010
The Reason for Constitutional Rights
By Bruce Walker
Executives from BP are threatened by President Obama and then bullied by Democrats in Congress. It is not because they have failed to comply with any laws or done anything malicious, but because there is a national disaster, and someone must be blamed (someone, that is, other than the folks who make or who execute the laws). The story is becoming an old one with the Obama administration. AIG executives receive a lawful bonus, and Democrat leaders in Congress snarl and warn that a special income tax surcharge awaits them if they do not return the bonuses. Businessmen are treated like criminals, even when their actions are wholly legal.

What these Democrats are doing, although they are loath to admit it, grossly violates the constitutional rights of executives at BP or at AIG or some other "fat cats" routinely excoriated by the left. It is useful to recall the very reason for having constitutional rights: Those rights are intended to protect unpopular people. There is no need to have a Constitution which protects popular people, "official" classes of victims, or those whose plight plucks the public's heartstrings. Politicians knock themselves over trying to champion the cause of these sorts. Due process and the other elements of our structure of constitutional rights have meaning only if they protect those who cannot plead a political case.

So where is the ACLU when thugs like Waxman convene a Star Chamber proceeding so that he can publicly -- and oh, so bravely! -- attack BP executives? The whole slew of "constitutional lawyers" at the ACLU seems to be out on lunch break. (Just like they were when congressional Democrats vowed to pass an ex post facto income tax surcharge on AIG executives, who were terrorized by our equivalent of Storm Troopers.) The Washington Show Trials, like their counterparts in Stalinist Russia eight decades ago, proceed with no one much complaining about constitutional rights.

We witnessed the same odious process when government lawsuits, combined with a totalitarian sort of "public interest" advertisements, deemed tobacco executives unworthy of mercy, understanding, or equal rights under the law. They were official exploiters of the people, and like all enemies of the Soviet or the Nazi regimes, they deserved no fair trial, no equal justice, no fate except the limits of what public fury would tolerate. If the Constitution does not protect the unpopular, then it protects no one at all.

This is particularly sinister when the establishment media, whose coverage can easily protect or demonize, is so close politically to the government. The generation of public outrage against the designated scapegoat is then followed by our political "champions" using the powers of government to demand draconian lashes of social justice. All the scapegoats will inevitably be connected by unscrupulous politicians to our pain, and the history of modern totalitarianism suggests that the supply of different types of scapegoats is inexhaustible.

Pravda or Volkischer Beobachter provides the necessary "concern" -- wreckers or Jews or some other unpopular class is tagged as the source of our problems. Some representatives of the class are forced to publicly confess their crimes and throw themselves on the mercy of the public officials. The "cleansing" is done, with a signal and snarling warning to anyone else who might, in the opinion of the organs of the media or the masters of the state, work against the interests of the people (or of the "masses" or of the "volk").

This sort of obscenity has seldom gained traction in America. In our post-traumatic stress after Pearl Harbor, FDR was able to place West Coast Japanese Americans in camps for a while. (Everyone now realizes that Roosevelt was wrong.) The Ku Klux Klan terrorized blacks, Jews, Catholics, and Republicans -- but the overwhelming majority of Americans always loathed the Klan, and its reign was blessedly short.

What we seem to be seeing today, however, is the institutionalization of bigotry in the administration of government. Congress, not oil companies, had the responsibility of passing the laws which would protect us from the dangers of oil spills. Obama, not oil companies, had the duty to execute those laws fairly and effectively. The White House and Congress failed us -- not BP or AIG or any other corporation which complied with the laws and regulations established by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their co-partisans in control of the government. Bullying executive branch officials, kangaroo congressional hearings, jackals in the establishment media calling for lynch mobs -- these have adopted the formula of Hitler and of Stalin.

Why do we even have a Constitution if it is only to protect the friends of powerful political groups? Why do we have elections if politicians who grossly fail in their jobs can shove accountability onto the shoulders of those who did not violate the law? We have a Constitution only to limit government. That means, particularly, protecting the politically unpopular.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.

American Thinker: The Character Deficit

June 22, 2010
The Character Deficit
By Steve McCann
When the framers of the United States Constitution completed their work in 1787, they acknowledged that the success and future of the republic as established by that document was dependent on the honor and integrity of its leaders and citizens. As John Adams wrote: "Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Today, the Obama administration, the majority of the members of Congress, much of the Judiciary, academia, and the media represent the culmination of the degradation of ethics and character, which has put the United States in the nearly inevitable position of joining the annals of the rise and fall of great nations.

The die was cast in the early part of the 20th century, when Congress and the president discovered that they could bribe the public with the public's money. The focus of politics began to shift from public service and adherence to the Constitution to seeking, centralizing, and maintaining power, as well as amassing individual wealth.

The seizure and preservation of power was made possible by promising the American people economic security in exchange for their votes. Society and government thus began the long, steady process of compromising the age-old standards of ethics, honesty, and integrity, which are based on Judeo-Christian teachings.

Each step down that road was justified as a moral or societal imperative (such as re-defining a "right"), or else necessary to save people from themselves.

As government became more intrusive and centralized, the heady tonic of near-omnipotent authority and adulation moved many in politics to do or say anything necessary to preserve or achieve elected office.

In the field of education, it became a requisite to teach that there are no absolutes and no moral or ethical guidelines except to do whatever makes one "happy." Any problems simply create demand for new programs, which furthers the consolidation of authority in the hands of a few. Any mention of God was eliminated, as religious values undermine the process of corrupting and re-making society.

The mainstream media, once the watchdog of government wrongdoing, has been captured by ideology, lifestyle, and the need for celebrity status. Thus, to the vast majority in that profession, it is more important to be in the thrall of whatever is fashionable as established by the media elites than uphold the traditions of honest newsgathering.

To all these groups, truth and facts have become casualties replaced by outright lies or obfuscations euphemistically referred to as "spin." This gradual degradation of integrity and ethical standards has allowed for the acceptance of a philosophy espoused by despots throughout history, one that forms the underpinning of the character of President Obama, his administration, a majority in Congress, and an unfortunate plurality among the general public.

The doctrine of "the end justifies the means" represents the epitome of corruption in any society and the ultimate demise of that same society. Any leader within government or the national community at large who is captive to this thinking must by necessity be devoid of ethics, integrity, or morals.

Such people must be willing, as was President Obama, to lie to achieve their ends, like with the deliberate falsehoods, obfuscations, and manipulation of data that took place during the passage of health care and other legislation.

They must be willing to flout the rule of law and the Constitution, as President Obama did, in the takeover of General Motors, Chrysler, the banks, insurance companies, and the appointment of numerous "czars" in avoidance of Congressional approval.

They must be willing to use the power of the government, as the president has done, to threaten, blackmail, and intimidate political and media critics, and to shake down private enterprise for support and financial contributions.

They must be willing through inconceivable but deliberate levels of deficit spending to place the country on a collision course with national bankruptcy, as President Obama is doing, in order to advance a radical agenda the citizens do not want or need.

Recently, much has been made of the lack of leadership displayed by the president. Many point to his inexperience in executive management. However, as former President Dwight Eisenhower once said, "The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity." The current occupant of the White House is bereft of that quality.

A national leader without honor and integrity cannot be trusted; he cannot act in the best interest of others, but only of himself. He is captive to ideology and incapable of change as he surrounds himself with sycophantic philosophical soul mates. He cannot abide criticism, constructive or otherwise, as he will always view it through the lens of personal insecurity, thus truth for him becomes a casualty of unrestrained narcissism. He cannot assume responsibility for failure and must look for others to blame. Regardless of whether a person has had executive experience or not, without honor and integrity as the foundation of his character, failure and further erosion of the future of the country will follow in his footsteps.

The United States is staring into an abyss unimagined fifteen, twenty-five or fifty years ago. The possibility that the country as it was founded 225 years ago will cease to exist is no longer the subject of fiction writers. The people of this great nation must understand that they cannot turn to the White House, Congress, academia, or the courts for solutions, as these traditional sources of leadership are not only incapable of providing it, but are the catalyst for the country's potential demise.

The survival of the Republic is in the hands of the citizens. Their understanding of the future and the steps necessary to avoid disaster is critical. They must not only elect representatives with integrity and character, but recognize the importance of those traits in their own lives and in society as a whole. If they don't, then the United States will become a permanently indentured and second-tier country.

Dear Mr. President ... from Jon Voight - Washington Times

The Washington Times Online Edition

Dear Mr. President ... from Jon Voight

By Jon Voight

11:06 a.m., Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An open letter from actor Jon Voight to President Obama:

June 22, 2010

Dear President Obama:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone's enemy - and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm's way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.

You have brought this to a people who have given the world the Ten Commandments and most laws we live by today. The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientist and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs. But the underdogs you defend are murderers and criminals and want Israel eradicated.

You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.

With heartfelt and deep concern for America and Israel,

Jon Voight

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny? - IBD -

On The Right
Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?


When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.

Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler's rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.

"Useful idiots" was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

Put differently, a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive.

In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

The president's poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies.

Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.

And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP's oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated.

But our government is supposed to be "a government of laws and not of men."

If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion — or $50 billion or $100 billion — then so be it.

But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law."

Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.

If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don't believe in constitutional government.

And, without constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a "crisis" — which, as the president's chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to "go to waste" as an opportunity to expand the government's power.

That power will of course not be confined to BP or to the particular period of crisis that gave rise to the use of that power, much less to the particular issues.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt arbitrarily took the United States off the gold standard, he cited a law passed during the First World War to prevent trading with the country's wartime enemies. But there was no war when FDR ended the gold standard's restrictions on the printing of money.

At about the same time, during the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law "for the relief of the German people."

That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others.

If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.

The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP's money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a long line of presidentially appointed "czars" controlling different parts of the economy, without even having to be confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are.

Those who cannot see beyond the immediate events to the issues of arbitrary power — vs. the rule of law and the preservation of freedom — are the "useful idiots" of our time. But useful to whom?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Obama Administration Only Accepted Help From 5 Countries Out of 28 That Offered Assistance

Breaking: Obama Administration Only Accepted Help From 5 Countries Out of 28 That Offered Assistance
Posted by Jim Hoft on Saturday, June 19, 2010, 3:30 PM

Just last weekend Barack Obama announced that the BP oil spill was like 9-11.
This weekend as President Obama went golfing and to the ballgame, the Obama State Department was STILL in the review process on deciding which countries the US would accept help from… 60 days after the disaster!

As the Gulf Coast shores continue to be coated with crude, the Obama Administration has only accepted assistance from 5 countries out of 28 who offered to assist the US with the cleanup.

The State Department posted this on their website.
28 countries have offered to help assist the United States with the worst environmental disaster in American history. Only 5 offers have been accepted the rest are under review.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Will Alvin Greene of South Carolina Be Taken Seriously? - Yahoo! News

[The same uninformed voters that voted for this guy in S. Carolina elected our current President. They didn't know a thing about him but he was first line on the ballot and had a D after his name. That is all they knew or cared to know so they vote for them. We really seriously need a test for voters to determine if they know anything. He really is a perfect Democrat with his hand out and expecting others to do everything for him. Don]

Will Alvin Greene of South Carolina Be Taken Seriously?

By MICHAEL SCHERER / MANNING, S.C. Michael Scherer / Manning, S.c. – 31 mins ago

Alvin Greene may be the only Democratic nominee in U.S. Senate election history to walk to his father's kitchen every time his telephone rings. And it rings every five minutes or so - supporters he'll never meet, television and radio bookers hoping to juice ratings and reporters trying to figure out what Greene means for South Carolina and America's troubled democracy. "I don't have caller ID," Greene tells a caller. He also doesn't own a cell phone or a computer.

As recently as Memorial Day, Alvin Greene was an unemployed 32-year-old, 13-year military veteran who had been involuntarily discharged from both the Army and the Air Force and was facing an obscenity charge for allegedly showing a teenage stranger online pornography in a college campus computer lab (Greene has denied comment, but he is fighting the charge). What he became after winning 59% of the vote in the June 8 Democratic primary is now in dispute. To Representative Jim Clyburn, the state's most powerful Democrat, Greene is a pod person of unknown origin - "someone's plant." To his older brother James Jr., Greene is nothing more than a loner with a dream of making good - "like someone coming up saying, 'I'm going to fly to the moon.' " To Vic Rawl, his well-funded opponent, Greene is the possible beneficiary of a historic voter-machine malfunction or, worse, a stolen election. (See 10 elections that changed America.)

Greene maintains that the answer is much simpler. "I am the best candidate for the United States Senate in South Carolina," he says, hitting his talking points, as he is apt to do. "And I am also the best person to be TIME magazine's Man of the Year." He is speaking now, between trips to the kitchen, in the living room, while his 81-year-old father James Sr., barefoot under a flannel blanket, dozes on the couch. Suddenly the television flashes to Greene's face, with a Fox News announcer teasing an upcoming segment about the newbie's "mental state." This gets to Greene, who is tired of being treated by the press like a carnival act. "What about everyone else's mental state?" he asks, before breaking into a chuckle. "It seems like things don't apply to me. I'm the nominee, and 60% isn't 60% anymore." (Comment on this story.)

Greene's election has become the whodunit of the political year, with a formal protest filed with the state Democratic Party, a legal challenge before the Federal Election Commission and endless local chatter about how a man with no real campaign, who gets information "mainly" from television, defeated the party-endorsed standard bearer, a retired judge who had printed 10,000 bumper stickers, logged 17,000 miles crisscrossing the state in his hatchback and paid for 220,000 autodial phone calls before election day.(See pictures of 60 years of election-night drama.)

While Greene's jury-rigged headquarters sits on 15 acres that his grandfather once farmed, the Rawl headquarters in Charleston, 80 miles to the south, consists of three rooms in an office park that look every bit like those of a winning campaign. At its peak, the Rawl operation employed about a dozen people, and even a week after losing, the place is humming, with three 20-something staff members tapping away on laptops beside a fresh pot of coffee. One wall is plastered with an oversize calendar showing planned campaign events through August, and on another wall hangs a motivational maxim: "What Have You Done for the Win Today?" Campaign manager Walter Ludwig, a silver-haired Beltway pro, is still working through what happened. "I thought over and over again whether I should have done something different," he says. "Maybe yes, maybe no, but the not knowing is really tough."

In trying to explain the unexpected, Ludwig and Rawl have settled on suspicion. They know what they did to win the primary - Rawl even threw out the first pitch at a minor league game in Myrtle Beach. And they know that Greene never really left his living room. So they have begun to build a case that the state's voting machines - electronic boxes without a paper trail - may be at fault. They have been collecting anecdotal reports of machine malfunction and casing academia for analyses of the results that suggest statistical improbability. Elsewhere in the state, Democratic and Republican consultants have, without evidence, alleged dirty tricks, pointing to the sordid 1990 incident when Republicans urged a black man onto the ticket to boost white turnout.

A third explanation now seems the most likely: Greene got lucky. His name appeared first on the ballot and may have had a more dulcet-sounding tone to it, and there is little evidence that anyone knew much about either candidate before the election. In one poll a few weeks before the election, only 4% of state Democrats had a favorable opinion of Rawl, in part because so few knew who he was."I talked to a lot of people, and a lot of people voted for him," Democratic state representative Todd Rutherford told MSNBC. "They can't tell me why. They just said that hey, they saw the name and they pushed the button."

Greene says he paid the $10,400 filing fee with his Army savings and that he never had professional help from outside. He wants to get on with building a campaign, based around three issues: jobs, education and "justice in the judicial system." But there are signs that he has no idea how to proceed. He says he is still waiting for the state party to provide him with the money and infrastructure to launch a campaign, but the state chair, Carol Fowler, says she will not back someone who is facing charges "for something truly distasteful." When first asked if he would grant an interview with TIME, Greene responded by asking a question of his own: "Does the candidate get paid?"

Throughout all the phone calls, Greene keeps trying to refocus the conversation on what he feels is important, his message and his plans for an hour-long televised debate with Republican incumbent Jim DeMint in September. He has plans, he says, for more funding to widen roads and create jobs, more money to train teachers and reforms that would curtail long jail sentences for first-time, nonviolent crimes. He is back on message again, doing what he has always wanted to do, if maybe not exactly quite like this. "My campaign slogan," he says, "is 'Let's Get South Carolina Back to Work."

There is a way in which Greene is living out both a nightmare and a lifelong dream at the same time. He claims to have always been a political junkie, having graduated the University of South Carolina with a degree in political science, voting for Obama twice by absentee ballot and even donating to the President's campaign. "I can really think back to Jesse Jackson's 1988 run for President," he says, mentioning the year his mother died, when he was just 10. "I made a campaign sign out of construction paper. It was a blue sheet of construction paper, and I just cut out red and white letters."

Signmaking is a skill Alvin Greene may need in the weeks ahead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Experts Say White House 'Misrepresented' Views to Justify Drilling Moratorium

Experts Say White House 'Misrepresented' Views to Justify Drilling Moratorium

The seven experts, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, say Interior Secretary Ken Salazar modified their report last month, after they signed it, to include two paragraphs calling for the moratorium on existing drilling and new permits
fox news

The seven experts who advised President Obama on how to deal with offshore drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion are accusing his administration of misrepresenting their views to make it appear that they supported a six-month drilling moratorium -- something they actually oppose.

The experts, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, say Interior Secretary Ken Salazar modified their report last month, after they signed it, to include two paragraphs calling for the moratorium on existing drilling and new permits.

Salazar's report to Obama said a panel of seven experts "peer reviewed" his recommendations, which included a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an immediate halt to drilling operations.

"None of us actually reviewed the memorandum as it is in the report," oil expert Ken Arnold told Fox News. "What was in the report at the time it was reviewed was quite a bit different in its impact to what there is now. So we wanted to distance ourselves from that recommendation."

Salazar apologized to those experts Thursday.

"The experts who are involved in crafting the report gave us their recommendation and their input and I very much appreciate those recommendations," he said. "It was not their decision on the moratorium. It was my decision and the president's decision to move forward."

In a letter the experts sent to Salazar, they said his primary recommendation "misrepresents" their position and that halting the drilling is actually a bad idea.

The oil rig explosion occurred while the well was being shut down – a move that is much more dangerous than continuing ongoing drilling, they said.

They also said that because the floating rigs are scarce and in high demand worldwide, they will not simply sit in the Gulf idle for six months. The rigs will go to the North Sea and West Africa, possibly preventing the U.S. from being able to resume drilling for years.

They also said the best and most advanced rigs will be the first to go, leaving the U.S. with the older and potentially less safe rights operating in the nation's coastal waters.

Fox News' William LaJeunesse contributed to this report.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gun Control and Mass Murders - John R. Lott Jr. - National Review Online

John R. Lott Jr.

June 11, 2010 4:00 A.M.
Gun Control and Mass Murders
Multiple-victim shootings are, fortunately, very rare, but when they occur in the U.S. they skew the public’s perceptions about gun control.

It wasn’t supposed to happen in England, with its very strict gun-control laws. And yet last week, Derrick Bird shot twelve people to death and wounded eleven others in the northwestern county of Cumbria. A headline in the London Times read: “Toughest laws in the world could not stop Cumbria tragedy.”

But surely this was an aberration. Because America has the most guns, multiple-victim public shootings are an American thing, right? No, not at all. Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.

Look at recent history. Where have the worst K–12 school shootings occurred? Nearly all of them in Europe. The very worst one occurred in a high school in Erfurt, Germany, in 2002, where 18 were killed. The second-worst took place in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, where 16 kindergartners and their teacher were killed. The third-worst, with 15 dead, happened in Winnenden, Germany. The fourth-worst was in the U.S. — Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 13 dead. The fifth-worst, with eleven murdered, occurred in Emsdetten, Germany.

It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun. This is on top of prohibitions on gun ownership for those with mental disorders, drug or alcohol addictions, violent or aggressive tendencies, or felony convictions.

The phenomenon is not limited to school attacks. Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here. The following is a partial list of attacks since 2001. As mentioned, all of them occurred in gun-free zones — places where guns in the hands of civilians are outlawed.

Zug, Switzerland, Sept. 27, 2001: A man whose lawsuits had been denied murdered 14 members of a cantonal parliament.

Tours, France, Oct. 29, 2001: Four people were killed and ten wounded when a French railway worker started shooting at a busy intersection.

Nanterre, France, March 27, 2002: A man killed eight city-council members after a council meeting.

Erfurt, Germany, April 26, 2002: A former student killed 18 at a secondary school.

Freising, Germany, Feb. 19, 2002: Three people killed and one wounded.

Turin, Italy, Oct. 15, 2002: Seven people killed on a hillside overlooking the city.

Madrid, Spain, Oct. 1, 2006: A man killed two employees and wounded another at a company that had fired him.

Emsdetten, Germany, Nov. 20, 2006: A former student murdered eleven people at a high school.

Tuusula, Finland, Nov. 7, 2007: Seven students and the principal killed at a high school.

Naples, Italy, Sept. 18, 2008: Seven dead and two seriously wounded in a public meeting hall. (This incident is not included in the totals given below because it may have involved the Mafia.)

Kauhajoki, Finland, Sept. 23, 2008: Ten people shot to death at a college.

Winnenden, Germany, March 11, 2009: A 17-year-old former student killed 15 people, including nine students and three teachers.

Lyon, France, March 19, 2009: Ten people injured when a man opened fire on a nursery school.

Athens, Greece, April 10, 2009: Three people killed and two injured by a student at a vocational college.

Rotterdam, Netherlands, April 11, 2009: Three people killed and one injured at a crowded café.

Vienna, Austria, May 24, 2009: One dead and 15 wounded in an attack on a Sikh temple.

Espoo, Finland, Dec. 31, 2009: Four people shot to death at a mall.

Cumbria, England, June 2, 2010: Twelve killed by a British taxi driver.

So how does this compare with the United States? Bill Landes at the University of Chicago and I have collected data on all the multiple-victim public shootings in the United States from 1977 to 1999 (for a discussion of that information, see the just-released updated third edition of More Guns, Less Crime). If one looks at just those cases where four or more people have been killed in an attack, on average 10.6 people died in such attacks each year; the worst attack was the Luby’s Cafeteria shooting in Killeen, Texas, in 1991, in which 23 people died.

I don’t have exactly comparable data for Europe; however, the data I have been able to collect for the nine and a half years from 2001 through now indicate that on average some 12.5 people per year have died in such attacks. To be sure, Western Europe has a lower per capita rate, since its population over the last decade has been about 48 percent larger than the U.S. population over the earlier period (about 387 million to 262 million). Still, the fact that there are such attacks at all belies the conventional wisdom.

Large multiple-victim public shootings are exceedingly rare events, but they garner massive news attention, and the misperceptions they produce are hard to erase. When I have been interviewed by foreign journalists, even German ones, they usually start off by asking why multiple-victim public shootings are such an American problem. And of course, they are astonished when I remind them of the attacks in their own countries and point out that this is not an American problem, it is a universal problem, but with a common factor: The attacks occur in public places where civilians are banned from carrying guns.

— John R. Lott Jr. is a contributor, an economist, and the author of More Guns, Less Crime, the third edition of which has just been published by the University of Chicago Press.

Insurance: Canceled - IBD -

Insurance: Canceled

Posted 06/11/2010 06:58 PM ET

Unintended Consequences: Still more developments show that the Democrats' health care solution won't do what they said but will do what most would say public policy should not do.

We start with the story of Americans being kicked into the ranks of the uninsured. Politico reported that "part of the health care overhaul due to kick in this September" could cause 1 million people to lose their medical care policies.

They'll be cut loose because the new law bans insurers from placing caps on the benefits they pay out. This will force what are known as limited-benefit, defined-benefit or mini-med plans off the market.

These policies don't cost much because they cap the number of doctor visits or restrict the amount of benefits that can be paid in a year. They're especially good for low-income and part-time workers, as well as those who've been turned down for major medical insurance plans.

In 2006, John Edelheit, vice president of sales and marketing at United Group Programs, told an industry publication that the mini-med market "has caught on and spread like wildfire."

In 2007, industry publication said mini-meds provide "a meaningful, affordable form of coverage that allows for temporary, part-time, contract and seasonal employees to obtain health coverage."

And last year, trade publication noted that such plans were "gaining popularity as employers use the policies to expand their benefits programs or provide health coverage for the first time."

But by this fall, the plans will be gone, and the law that we were told would broaden health care coverage will be responsible for throwing a million into the uncertainty of being uninsured.

Also last week, some finally getting-around-to-it reporting told us that health equipment "manufacturers are bristling over a key provision in the nation's new health care law." Under the new regime, firms that make the instruments that improve and save lives are hit with a 2.3% excise tax. The added burden will force them to cut back on innovation and lay off workers.

This will mean a less-than-gushing medical device pipeline. But we're sure the pipeline delivering sobering news about our new health care system will continue to pump steadily, and that we've only seen the beginning of the stream.

Cap-And-Traitors - IBD -


Posted 06/11/2010 06:58 PM ET

Politics: The Senate just claimed the title of the world's most delusional body by refusing to strip unelected EPA bureaucrats of the power to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. This was the day freedom died.

One wonders why we have a Congress at all. The 53 profiles in cowardice that could not get a cap-and-tax bill through the U.S. Senate voted Thursday to let the Environmental Protection Agency keep the unprecedented power Congress did not expressly give it. It is power that the EPA arrogated to itself through regulation to control every aspect of the American economy and our very lives.

This country was born over anger at taxation without representation. Regulation without representation may spark another revolt come November. The Tea Party movement began precisely because of such arrogant disregard for the wishes of the American people. Unlike health care reform, this time the cowardly lions of the Senate couldn't even do it themselves and ceded their authority to the EPA.

It was only a motion to proceed to consideration of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's resolution (S.J. Res. 26) which, under a forgotten provision of the Contract With America, lets legislators veto a "major rule" by any regulatory agency within 60 days of publication. It needed just 51 votes; it got 47.

All 41 Republicans, including newbie Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted not to shred the Constitution. The motion attracted, for various reasons, the votes of six Democrats — Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor, the departing Evan Bayh and even Jay Rockefeller, who for once chose jobs over ideology.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin accused the Republicans of choosing "political science over the real science," even after the EPA's junk science based on the manipulation of data by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been exposed as a manufactured fraud.

The case for climate change has collapsed — a fact recognized, finally, by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who, with Democrat John Kerry and independent Joseph Lieberman, once hoped to work out some kind of compromise legislation with a token nod to domestic energy production.

Last week, Graham told reporters he would vote against the climate bill he helped author. "The science about global warming has changed," Graham told reporters Wednesday on why he was backing an energy bill by Sen. Dick Lugar. "I think they've oversold this stuff, quite frankly. I think they've been alarmist and the science is in question."

Hardly a profile in courage, since the legislation wasn't going anywhere, but welcome aboard nonetheless. The science behind cap-and-trade is not only in question, it's nonexistent. The Earth is demonstrably cooling, and the trend will likely continue for decades, according to scientists who don't tamper with the data.

So delusional are Senate Democrats that California's Barbara Boxer, in trying to advance her own failed cap-and-tax bill, said on the Senate floor: "I'm going to put in the record ... a host of quotes from our national security experts who tell us that carbon pollution leading to climate change will be over the next 20 years the leading cause of conflict, putting our troops in harm's way." So, forget that Iranian nuke.

This is a Congress full of hypocrites who complain about executive branch power under Republicans but are willing to give the EPA unprecedented power because they don't have the votes for cap-and-trade. "Who elected the Environmental Protection Agency?" asked Wyoming Republican John Barrasso. It is a question we, and the voters, ask too.

American Thinker: A Shrink Asks: What's Wrong with Obama?

June 11, 2010
A Shrink Asks: What's Wrong with Obama?
By Robin of Berkeley
So what is the matter with Obama? Conservatives have been asking this question for some time. I've written a number of articles trying to solve the mystery.

Even some liberals are starting to wonder. James Carville railed about Obama's blasé attitude after the catastrophic oil spill. The New York Times' Maureen Dowd revamped Obama's "Yes We Can" motto into "Will We Ever?"

The liberal women of the TV show "The View" have expressed sympathy for Michelle Obama's living with a man so out of touch. Peggy Noonan, hardly a vehement Obama foe, recently pronounced him disconnected.

Obama's odd mannerisms intrigue a psychotherapist like me. He also presents a serious diagnostic challenge.

For one, Obama's teleprompter and the men behind the Blackberry keep him well-scripted. We know so little about the facts of his life.

But it's more than just a lack of information. Obama himself is a strange bird. He doesn't fit easily into any diagnostic category.

Many people attribute Obama's oddness to his narcissism. True, Obama has a gargantuan ego, and he is notoriously thin-skinned.

Yet a personality disorder like narcissism does not explain Obama's strangeness: his giggling while being asked about the economy; his continuing a shout-out rather than announcing the Ft. Hood shootings; or his vacations, golfing, partying and fundraising during the calamitous oil spill.

Take also Obama's declaring on the "Today Show" that he wants to know whose ass to kick. Consummate narcissists would never stoop to this vulgar display of adolescent machismo.

Obama is flat when passion is needed; he's aggressive when savvy is required. What's most worrisome is that Obama doesn't even realize that his behavior is inappropriate.

So if it's not just simple narcissism, what is wrong with Obama? Since I've never evaluated him, I can't say for sure. But I can hazard some educated guesses.

If I saw a client as disconnected as him, the first thing I would wonder: Is something wrong with his brain? And I'd consider the following theoretical diagnostic possibilities.

--Physical problems: There are a multitude of physiological conditions that can cause people to act strangely. For instance: head injuries, endocrine disturbances, epilepsy, and toxic chemical exposure.

It makes me wonder: Did Obama ever have a head injury? His stepfather in Indonesia was purportedly an alcoholic abuser. Was Obama subject to any physical abuse?

-- Drugs and alcohol: Damage to the brain from drugs and alcohol can also cause significant cognitive impairments. Obama once said that there were 57 states -- and didn't correct himself. Memory problems can be caused by both illicit and prescription drug use.

Obama admits to a history of drug use in his youth. Did his usage cause some damage? Does Obama still use?

--Asperger's Syndrome: Also known as high-functioning autism, Asperger's causes deficits in social skills. A person with Asperger's can't read social cues. Consequently, he can be insensitive and hurtful without even knowing it.

Could Obama have Asperger's? He might have some mild traits, but certainly not the full-blown disorder. In contrast to Obama, those with Asperger's get fixated on some behavior, like programming computers. Obama lacks this kind of passion and zeal.

--Mental Illness: Obama's family tree is replete with the unbalanced. His maternal great-grandmother committed suicide. His grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was particularly unhinged: He was expelled from high school for punching his principal; named his daughter Stanley because he wanted a boy; and exposed young Barry to not just drunken trash talk, but unrestricted visits with alleged pedophile Frank Marshall Davis (who might or might not be Obama's biological father). Barack Sr. was an abusive, alcoholic bigamist.
Since mental illness runs in the family, does Obama have any signs? Yes and no. No, he is not a schizophrenic babbling about Martians. But there are red flags for some other conditions.

While Obama doesn't appear to hallucinate, he seems to have delusions. His believing he has a Messiah-like special gift smacks of grandiose delusions. His externalizing all blame to conservatives, George W. Bush, or the "racist" bogeyman hints at persecutory delusions.

Along with a delusional disorder, Obama may fit for a mild psychotic disorder called schizotypal disorder. It may explain some of Obama's oddness.

People with schizotypal disorder hold bizarre beliefs, are suspicious and paranoid, and have inappropriate and constricted affect. They have few close friends and are socially awkward. A schizotypal is someone like your strange cousin Becky who is addicted to astrology, believes she is psychic, and is the oddball at social gatherings.

Schizotypal Disorder does ring some bells vis-à-vis Obama. One way the diagnosis doesn't fit, however, is that schizotypals are generally harmless, odd ducks. Not so with Obama.

--Trauma: My gut tells me that Obama was seriously traumatized in childhood. His mother disregarded his basic needs, dragged him all over the place, and ultimately abandoned him.

But I think there may be something even more insidious in his family background. While I can't prove it, the degree of Obama's disconnect reminds me of my sexually abused clients.

With serious sexual abuse, the brain chemistry may change. The child dissociates -- that is, disconnects from his being -- in order to cope. Many adult survivors still dissociate, from occasional trances to the most extreme cases of multiple personality disorder.

Apparently, young Barry was left in the care of Communist Frank Marshall Davis, who admitted to molesting a 13-year-old girl. As a teenager, Obama wrote a disturbing poem, "Pop," that evoked images of sexual abuse -- for instance, describing dual amber stains on both his and "Pop's" shorts.

Would trauma explain Obama's disconnect? In many ways, yes. A damaged and unattached child may develop a "false self." To compensate for the enormous deficits in identity and attachment, the child invents his own personality. For Obama, it may have been as a special, gifted person.

Let's return now to my original question: What is wrong with Obama? My guess is a great deal. The answer is complex and likely includes some combination of the above.

Along with the brain issues are personality disorders: narcissism, paranoia, passive-aggressiveness. There's even the possibility of the most destructive character defect of all, an antisocial personality. Untreated abuse can foster antisocial traits, especially among boys.

If my assessment is accurate, what does this mean?

It means that liberals need to wake up and spit out the Kool-Aid...and that conservatives should put aside differences, band together, and elect as many Republicans as possible.

Because Obama will not change. He will not learn from his mistakes. He will not grow and mature from on-the-job experience. In fact, over time, Obama will likely become a more ferocious version of who he is today.

Why? Because this is a damaged person. Obama's fate was sealed years ago growing up in his strange and poisonous family. Later on, his empty vessel was filled with the hateful bile of men like Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers.

Obama will not evolve; he will not rise to the occasion; he will not become the man he was meant to be. This is for one reason and one reason alone:

He is not capable of it.

A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a psychotherapist in Berkeley and a recovering liberal. You can e-mail Robin at She regrets that she may not be able to acknowledge your e-mail.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Socialism’s Lying Promise | Blue Collar Muse

The Twentieth Century Motor Company
From Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand

[This is exactly where we are headed with the Nuevo Socialism of Obama/Reid/Pelosi]

“Well, there was something that happened at that plant where I worked for twenty years. It was when the old man died and his heirs took over. There were three of them, two sons and a daughter, and they brought a new plan to run the factory. They let us vote on it, too, and everybody – almost everybody – voted for it. We didn’t know. We thought it was good. No, that’s not true, either. We thought that we were supposed to think it was good. The plan was that everybody in the factory would work according to his ability, but would be paid according to his need.

“We voted for that plan at a big meeting, with all of us present, six thousand of us, everybody that worked in the factory. The Starnes heirs made long speeches about it, and it wasn’t too clear, but nobody asked any questions. None of us knew just how the plan would work, but every one of us thought that the next fellow knew it. And if anybody had doubts, he felt guilty and kept his mouth shut – because they made it sound like anyone who’d oppose the plan was a child-killer at heart and less than a human being. They told us that this plan would achieve a noble ideal. Well, how were we to know otherwise? Hadn’t we heard it all our lives – from our parents and our schoolteachers and our ministers, and in every newspaper we ever read and every movie and every public speech? Hadn’t we always been told that this was righteous and just? Well, maybe there’s some excuse for what we did at that meeting. Still, we voted for the plan – and what we got, we had it coming to us. You know, ma’am, we are marked men, in a way, those of us who lived through the four years of that plan in the Twentieth Century factory. What is it that hell is supposed to be? Evil – plain, naked, smirking evil, isn’t it? Well, that’s what we saw and helped to make – and I think we’re damned, every one of us, and maybe we’ll never be forgiven …

“Do you know how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people? Try pouring water into a tank where there’s a pipe at the bottom draining it out faster than you pour it, and each bucket you bring breaks that pipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours a week, then forthy-eight, then fifty-six – for your neighbor’s supper – for his wife’s operation – for his child’s measles – for his mother’s wheel chair – for his uncle’s shirt – for his nephew’s schooling – for the baby next door – for the baby to be born – for anyone anywhere around you – it’s theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures – and yours to work, from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, with nothing to show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight for you but their pleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope, without end … From each according to his ability, to each according to his need …

“We’re all one big family, they told us, we’re all in this together. But you don’t all stand working an acetylene torch ten hours a day – together, and you don’t all get a bellyache – together. What’s whose ability and which of whose needs comes first? When it’s all one pot, you can’t let any man decide what his own needs are, can you? If you did, he might claim that he needs a yacht – and if his feelings are all you have to go by, he might prove it, too. Why not? If it’s not right for me to own a car until I’ve worked myself into a hospital ward, earning a car for every loafer and every naked savage on earth – why can’t he demand a yacht from me, too, if I still have the ability not to have collapsed? No? He can’t? Then why can he demand that I go without cream for my coffee until he’s replastered his living room? … Oh well … Well, anyway, it was decided that nobody had the right to judge his own need or ability. We voted on it. Yes, ma’am, we voted on it in a public meeting twice a year. How else could it be done? Do you care to think what would happen at such a meeting? It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars – rotten, whining, sniveling beggars, all of us, because no man could claim his pay as his rightful earning, he had no rights and no earnings, his work didn’t belong to him, it belonged to ‘the family’, and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his ‘need’ – so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher, listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms. He had to claim miseries, because it’s miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm – so it turned into a contest between six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that his need was worse than his brother’s. How else could it be done? Do you care to guess what happened, what sort of men kept quiet, feeling shame, and what sort got away with the jackpot?

“But that wasn’t all. There was something else that we discovered at the same meeting. The factory’s production had fallen by forty percent, in that first half year, so it was decided that somebody hadn’t delivered ‘according to his ability.’ Who? How would you tell it? ‘The family’ voted on that, too. We voted which men were the best, and these men were sentenced to work overtime each night for the next six months. Overtime without pay – because you weren’t paid by time and you weren’t paid by work, only by need.

“Do I have to tell you what happened after that – and into what sort of creatures we all started turning, we who had once been humans? We began to hide whatever ability we had, to slow down and watch like hawks that we never worked any faster or better than the next fellow. What else could we do, when we knew that if we did our best for ‘the family,’ it’s not thanks or rewards that we’d get, but punishment? We knew that for every stinker who’d ruin a batch of motors and cost the company money – either through his sloppiness, because he didn’t have to care, or through plain incompetence – it’s we who’d have to pay with our nights and our Sundays. So we did our best to be no good.

“There was one young boy who started out, full of fire for the noble ideal, a bright kid without any schooling, but with a wonderful head on his shoulders. The first year, he figured out a work process that saved us thousands of man-hours. He gave it to ‘the family,’ didn’t ask anything for it, either, couldn’t ask, but that was all right with him. It was for the ideal, he said. But when he found himself voted as one of our ablest and sentenced to night work, because we hadn’t gotten enough from him, he shut his mouth and his brain. You can bet he didn’t come up with any ideas, the second year.

“What was it they’d always told us about the vicious competition of the profit system, where men had to compete for who’d do a better job than his fellows? Vicious, wasn’t it? Well, they should have seen what it was like when we all had to compete with one another for who’d do the worst job possible. There’s no surer way to destroy a man than to force him into a spot where he has to aim at not doing his best, where he has to struggle to do a bad job, day after day. That will finish him quicker than drink or idleness or pulling stick-ups for a living. But there was nothing else for us to do except to fake unfitness. The one accusation we feared was to be suspected of ability. Ability was like a mortgage on you that you could never pay off. And what was there to work for? You knew that your basic pittance would be given to you anyway, whether you worked or not – your ‘housing and feeding allowance,’ it was called – and above that pittance, you had no chance to get anything, no matter how hard you tried. You couldn’t count on buying a new suit of clothes next year – they might give you a ‘clothing allowance’ or they might not, according to whether nobody broke a leg, needed an operation or gave birth to more babies. And if there wasn’t enough money for new suits for everybody, then you couldn’t get yours, either.

“There was one man who’d worked hard all his life, because he’d always wanted to send his son through college. Well, the boy graduated from high school in the second year of the plan – but ‘the family’ wouldn’t give the father any ‘allowance’ for the college. They said his son couldn’t go to college, until we had enough to send everybody’s sons to college – and that we first had to send everybody’s children through high school, and we didn’t even have enough for that. The father died the following year, in a knife fight with somebody in a saloon, a fight over nothing in particular – such fights were beginning to happen among us all the time.

“Then there was an old guy, a widower with no family, who had one hobby: phonograph records. I guess that was all he ever got out of life. In the old days, he used to skip lunch just to buy himself some new recording of classical music. Well, they didn’t give him any ‘allowance’ for records – ‘personal luxury’ they called it. But at the same meeting, Millie Bush, somebody’s daughter, a mean, ugly little eight year old, was voted a pair of gold braces for her buck teeth – this was ‘medical need’ because the staff psychologist had said that the poor girl would get an inferiority complex if her teeth weren’t straightened out. The old guy who loved music, turned to drink, instead. He got so you never saw him fully conscious any more. But it seems like there was one thing he couldn’t forget. One night, he came staggering down the street, saw Millie Bush, swung his fist and knocked all her teeth out. Every one of them.

“Drink, of course, was what we all turned to, some more, some less. Don’t ask how we got the money for it. When all the decent pleasures are forbidden, there’s always ways to get the rotten ones. You don’t break into grocery stores after dark and you don’t pick your fellow’s pockets to buy classical symphonies or fishing tackle, but if it’s to get stinking drunk and forget – you do. Fishing tackle? Hunting guns? Snapshot cameras? Hobbies? There wasn’t any ‘amusement allowance’ for anybody. ‘Amusement’ was the first thing they dropped. Aren’t you supposed to be ashamed to object when anybody asks you to give up anything, if it’s something that gave you pleasure? Even our ‘tobacco allowance’ was cut to where we got two packs of cigarettes a month – and this, they told us, was because the money had to go into the babies’ milk fund. Babies was the only item of production that didn’t fall, but rose and kept on rising – because people had nothing else to do, I guess, and because they didn’t have to care, the baby wasn’t their burden, it was ‘the family’s.’ In fact, the best chance you had of getting a raise and breathing easier for a while was a ‘baby allowance.’ Either that or a major disease.

“It didn’t take us long to see how it all worked out. Any man who tried to play straight, had to refuse himself everything. He lost his taste for any pleasure, he hated to smoke a nickel’s worth of tobacco or chew a stick of gum, worrying whether somebody had more need for that nickel. He felt ashamed of every mouthful of food he swallowed, wondering whose weary nights of overtime had paid for it, knowing that his food was not his by right, miserably wishing to be cheated rather than to cheat, to be a sucker, but not a blood-sucker. He wouldn’t marry, he wouldn’t help his folks back home, he wouldn’t put an extra burden on ‘the family.’ Besides, if he still had some sort of sense of responsibility, he couldn’t marry or bring children into the world, when he could plan nothing, promise nothing, count on nothing. But the shiftless and irresponsible had a field day of it. The bred babies, they got girls into trouble, they dragged in every worthless relative they had from all over the country, every unmarried pregnant sister, for an extra ‘disability allowance,’ they got more sicknesses than any doctor could disprove, they ruined their clothing, their furniture, their homes – what the hell, ‘the family’ was paying for it! They found more ways of getting in ‘need’ than the rest of us could ever imagine – they developed a special skill for it, which was the only ability they showed.

“God help us, ma’am! Do you see what we saw? We saw that we’d been given a law to live by, a moral law, they called it, which punished those who observed it – for observing it. The more you tried to live up to it, the more you suffered; the more you cheated it, the bigger reward you got. Your honesty was like a tool left at the mercy of the next man’s dishonesty. The honest ones paid, the dishonest collected. The honest lost, the dishonest won. How long could men stay good under this sort of a law of goodness? We were a pretty decent bunch of fellows when we started. There weren’t many chiselers among us. We knew our jobs and we were proud of it and we worked for the best factory in the country, where old man Starnes hired nothing but the pick of the country’s labor. Within one year under the new plan, there wasn’t an honest man left among us. That was the evil, the sort of hell-horror evil that preachers used to scare you with, but you never thought to see alive. Not that the plan encouraged a few bastards, but that it turned decent people into bastards, and there was nothing else that it could do – and it was called a moral ideal!

“What was it we were supposed to work for? For the love of our brothers? What brothers? For the bums, the loafers, the moochers we saw all around us? And whether they were cheating or plain incompetent, whether they were unwilling or unable – what difference did that make to us? If we were tied for life to the level of their unfitness, faked or real, how long could we care to go on? We had no way of knowing their ability, we had no way of controlling their needs – all we knew was that we were beasts of burden struggling blindly in some sort of place that was half-hospital, half-stockyards – a place geared to nothing but disability, disaster, disease – beasts put there for the relief of whatever whoever chose to say was whichever’s need.

“Love of our brothers? That’s when we learned to hate our brothers for the first time in our lives. We began to hate them for every meal they swallowed, for every small pleasure they enjoyed, for one man’s new shirt, for another’s wife’s hat, for an outing with their family, for a paint job on their house – it was taken from us, it was paid for by our privations, our denials, our hunger. We began to spy on one another, each hoping to catch the others lying about their needs, so as to cut their ‘allowance’ at the next meeting. We began to have stool pigeons who informed on people, who reported that somebody had bootlegged a turkey to his family on some Sunday – which he’d paid for by gambling, most likely. We began to meddle into one another’s lives. We provoked family quarrels, to get somebody’s relatives thrown out. Any time we saw a man starting to go steady with a girl, we made life miserable for him. We broke up many engagements. We didn’t want anyone to marry, we didn’t want any more dependents to feed.

“In the old days, we used to celebrate if somebody had a baby, we used to chip in and help him out with the hospital bills, if he happened to be hard-pressed for the moment. Now, if a baby was born, we didn’t speak to the parents for weeks. Babies, to us, had become what locusts were to farmers. In the old days, we used to help a man out if he had a bad illness in the family. Now – well, I’ll tell you about just one case. It was the mother of a man who had been with us for fifteen years. She was a kindly old lady, cheerful and wise, she knew us all by our first names and we all liked her – we used to like her. One day, she slipped on the cellar stairs and fell and broke her hip. We knew what that meant at her age. The staff doctor said that she’d have to be sent to a hospital in town, for expensive treatments that would take a long time. The old lady died the night before she was to leave for town. They never established the cause of death. No, I don’t know whether she was murdered. Nobody said that. Nobody would talk about it at all. All I know is that I – and that’s what I can’t forget! – I, too, had caught myself wishing that she would die. This – may God forgive us! – was the brotherhood, the security, the abundance that the plan was supposed to achieve for us!

“Was there any reason why this sort of horror would ever be preached by anybody? Was there anybody who got any profit from it? There was. The Starnes heirs. I hope you’re not going to remind me that they’d sacrificed a fortune and turned the factory over to us as a gift. We were fooled by that one, too. Yes, they gave up the factory. But profit, ma’am, depends on what it is that you’re after. And what the Starnes heirs were after, no money on earth could buy. Money is too clean and innocent for that.

“Eric Starnes, the youngest – he was a jellyfish that didn’t have the guts to be after anything in particular. He got himself voted as the Director of our Public Relations Department, which didn’t do anything, except that he had a staff for the not doing of anything, so he didn’t have to bother sticking around the office. The pay he got – well, I shouldn’t call it ‘pay,’ none of us was ‘paid’ – the alms voted to him was fairly modest, about ten times what I got, but that wasn’t riches, Eric didn’t care for money – he wouldn’t have known what to do with it. He spent his time hanging around among us, showing how chummy he was and democratic. He wanted to be loved, it seems. The way he went about it was to keep reminding us that he had given us the factory. We couldn’t stand him.

“Gerald Starnes was our Director of Production. We never learned just what the size of his rake-off – his alms – had been. It would have taken a staff of accountants to figure that out, and a staff of engineers to trace the way it was piped, directly or indirectly, into his office. None of it was supposed to be for him – it was all for company expenses. Gerald had three cars, four secretaries, five telephones, and he used to throw champagne and caviar parties that no tax-paying tycoon in the country could have afforded. He spent more money in one year than his father had earned in profits in the last two years of his life. We saw a hundred pound stack – a hundred pounds, we weighed them – of magazines in Gerald’s office, full of stories about our factory and our noble plan, with big pictures of Gerald Starnes, calling him a great social crusader. Gerald liked to come into the shops at night, dressed in his formal clothes, flashing diamond cuff links the size of a nickel and shaking cigar ashes all over. Any cheap show-off who’s got nothing to parade but his cash, is bad enough – except that he makes no bones about the cash being his, and you’re free to gape at him or not, as you wish, and mostly you don’t. But when a bastard like Gerald Starnes puts on an act and keeps spouting that he doesn’t care for material wealth, that he’s only serving ‘the family,’ that all the lushness is not for himself, but for our sake and for the common good, because it’s necessary to keep up the prestige of the company and of the noble plan in the eyes of the public – then that’s when you learn to hate the creature as you’ve never hated anything human.

“But his sister Ivy was worse. She really did not care for material wealth. The alms she got was no bigger than ours, and she went about in scuffed, flat-heeled shoes and shirtwaists – just to show how selfless she was. She was our Director of Distribution. She was the lady in charge of our needs. She was the one who held us by the throat. Of course, distribution was supposed to be decided by voting – by the voice of the people. But when the people are six thousand howling voices, trying to decide without yardstick, rhyme or reason, when there are no rules to the game and each can demand anything, but has a right to nothing, when everybody holds power over everybody’s life except his own – then it turns out, as it did, that the voice of the people is Ivy Starnes. By the end of the second year, we dropped the pretense of the ‘family meetings’ – in the name of ‘production efficiency and time economy,’ one meeting used to take ten days – and all the petitions of need were simply sent to Miss Starnes’ office. No, not sent. They had to be recited to her in person by every petitioner. Then she made up a distribution list, which she read to us for our vote of approval at a meeting that lasted three-quarters of an hour. We voted approval. There was a ten-minute period on the agenda for discussion and objections. We made no objections. We knew better by that time. Nobody can divide a factory’s income among thousands of people, without some sort of a gauge to measure people’s value. Her gauge was bootlicking. Selfless? In her father’s time, all of his money wouldn’t have given him a chance to speak to his lousiest wiper and get away with it, as she spoke to our best skilled workers and their wives. She had pale eyes that looked fishy, cold and dead. And if you ever want to see pure evil, you should have seen the way her eyes glinted when she watched some man who’d talked back to her once and who’d just heard his name on the list of those getting nothing above basic pittance. And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who’s ever preached the slogan: ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’

“This was the whole secret of it. At first, I kept wondering how it could be possible that the educated, the cultured, the famous men of the world could make a mistake of this size and preach, as righteousness, this sort of abomination – when five minutes of thought should have told them what would happen if somebody tried to practice what they preached. Now I know they didn’t do it by any kind of mistake. Mistakes of this size are never made innocently. If men fall for some vicious piece of insanity, when they have no way to make it work and no possible reason to explain their choice – it’s because they have a reason that they do not wish to tell. And we weren’t so innocent, either, when we voted for that plan at the end of the first meeting. We didn’t do it just because we believed that the drippy, old guff they spewed was good. We had another reason, but the guff helped us to hide it from our neighbors and from ourselves. The guff gave us a chance to pass off as virtue something that we’d be ashamed to admit otherwise. There wasn’t a man voting for it who didn’t think that under a setup of this kind he’d muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn’t a man rich and smart enough but that he didn’t think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better’s wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he’d get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who’d get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who’d rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss’s, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted – that was the truth of it – but we didn’t like to think it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good.

“Well, we got what we asked for. By the time we saw what it was that we’d asked for, it was too late. We were trapped, with no place to go. The best men among us left the factory in the first week of the plan. We lost our best engineers, superintendents, foremen and highest-skilled workers. A man of self-respect doesn’t turn into a milch cow for anybody. Some able fellows tried to stick it out, but they couldn’t take it for long. We kept losing our men, they kept escaping from the factory like from a pesthole – till we had nothing left except the men of need, but none of the men of ability.

“And the few of us who were still any good, but stayed on, were only those who had been there too long. In the old days, nobody ever quit the Twentieth Century – and, somehow, we couldn’t make ourselves believe it was gone. After a while, we couldn’t quit, because no other employer would have us – for which I can’t blame him. Nobody would deal with us in any way, no respectable person or firm. All the small shops, where we traded, started moving out of Starnesville fast – till we had nothing left but saloons, gambling joints and crooks who sold us trash at gouging prices. The alms we got kept falling, but the cost of our living went up. The list of the factory’s needy kept stretching, but the list of its customers shrank. There was less and less income to divide among more and more people. In the old days, it used to be said that the Twentieth Century Motor trademark was as good as the karat mark on gold. I don’t know what it was that the Starnes heirs thought, if they thought at all, but I suppose that like all social planners and like savages, they thought that this trademark was a magic stamp which did the trick by some sort of voodoo power and that it would keep them rich, as it had kept their father. Well, when our customers began to see that we never delivered an order on time and never put out a motor that didn’t have something wrong with it – the magic stamp began to work the other way around: people wouldn’t take a motor as a gift, if it was marked Twentieth Century. And it came to where our only customers were men who never paid and never meant to pay their bills. But Gerald Starnes, doped by his own publicity, got huffy and went around, with an air of moral superiority, demanding that businessmen place orders with us, not because our motors were good, but because we needed the orders so badly.

“By that time a village half-wit could see what generations of professors had pretended not to notice. What good would our need do to a power plant when its generators stopped because of our defective engines? What good would it do to a man caught on an operating table when the electric light went out? What good would it do to the passengers of a plane when its motor failed in mid-air? And if they bought our product, not because of its merit, but because of our need, would that be the good, the right, the moral thing to do for the owner of that power plant, the surgeon in that hospital, the maker of that plane?

“Yet this was the moral law that the professors and leaders and thinkers had wanted to establish all over the earth. If this is what it did in a single small town where we all knew one another, do you care to think what it would do on a world scale? Do you care to imagine what it would be like, if you had to live and to work, when you’re tied to all the disasters and all the malingering of the globe? to work – and whenever any men failed anywhere, it’s you who would have to make up for it. To work – with no chance to rise, with your meals and your clothes and your home and your pleasure depending on any swindle, any famine, any pestilence anywhere on earth. To work – with no chance for an extra ration, till the Cambodians have been fed and the Patagonians have been sent through college. To work – on a blank check held by every creature born, by men whom you’ll never see, whose needs you’ll never know, whose ability or laziness or sloppiness or fraud you have no way to learn and no right to question – just to work and work and work – and leave it up to the Ivys and the Geralds of the world to decide whose stomach will consume the effort, the dreams and the days of your life. And this is the moral law to accept? This – a moral ideal?

“Well, we tried it – and we learned. Our agony took four years, from our first meeting to our last, and it ended the only way it could end: in bankruptcy. At our last meeting, Ivy Starnes was the one who tried to brazen it out. She made a short, nasty, snippy little speech in which she said that the plan had failed because the rest of the country had not accepted it, that a single community could not succeed in the midst of a selfish, greedy world – and that the plan was a noble ideal, but human nature was not good enough for it. A young boy – the one who had been punished for giving us a useful idea in our first year – got up, as we all sat silent, and walked straight to Ivy Starnes on the platform. He said nothing. He spat in her face. That was the end of the noble plan and of the Twentieth Century.