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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NY Times, Always On The Right Side of History

As the list of promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign - and that have since been broken - lengthens day by day, and as I watch those in this country who bought into his hope-and-change schtick become ever more mired in anguish and despair, it's worth noting what it was that prompted America's major news publications to support his election in the first place.  And to compare those expectations to today's reality.

How about we look at the New York Times editorial page, October 23, 2008:
Barack Obama for President

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.

Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

Mr. Obama is clear that the nation’s tax structure must be changed to make it fairer. That means the well-off Americans who have benefited disproportionately from Mr. Bush’s tax cuts will have to pay some more.

The American military — its people and equipment — is dangerously overstretched. Mr. Bush has neglected the necessary war in Afghanistan, which now threatens to spiral into defeat.

Both presidential candidates talk about strengthening alliances in Europe and Asia, including NATO, and strongly support Israel. Both candidates talk about repairing America’s image in the world. But it seems clear to us that Mr. Obama is far more likely to do that — and not just because the first black president would present a new American face to the world. 
The endorsement goes on and on like this, but you get the drift.

One wonders what the person who wrote that ditty thinks, now that Obama has repudiated his own promises to raise taxes on the rich, has made a complete mess of our relationship with Europe, and is strongly opposed by the entire nation of Israel.  

And don't even bring up Gitmo.

Suppose he or she would like to take it all back?

Something else: As I was reading that piece of long ago, something caught my attention.   It was a photo of Abraham Lincoln on the same page as the endorsement editorial.

The caption beneath reads: "New York Times endorsements through the ages."

Wonder what this same New York Times that has it so wrong when it comes to Barack Obama thought of Abraham Lincoln the candidate in the days leading up to the most tumultuous election in American history?

New York Times, October 17, 1860:
Mr. Lincoln's Conservatism.

After Mr. LINCOLN shall be elected we think he will very promptly take steps to dispel the fogs that have been thrown around his political position, -- and that he will present himself to the country as a Conservative, devoted to the Union, considerate equally of every section and of every State, and resolved faithfully and with firmness to maintain the Constitution in all its parts. We have no doubt that he will proclaim himself opposed to the extension or increase of Slavery, and equally opposed to any interference of Congress, or of the North, with Slavery in the Southern States. He has repeatedly declared himself in favor of an efficient Fugitive Slave Law, and opposed to negro suffrage and the political equality of the negro race. We regard these as eminently conservative views, and if his Administration adheres to them with firmness and fidelity, we believe it will contribute largely to the restoration of the public peace, and fortify the Constitution and the Union still more thoroughly in the affection and confidence of the American people.

Of one thing, moreover, we are very certain: The moment Mr. LINCOLN shall indicate any purpose to commit aggressions upon Southern rights, he will lose every large Northern. Middle and Western State, which may have aided his election. It is preposterous to say that New-York, or Pennsylvania, or either of the three great Western States, is an Abolition State. Not one of them would vote for LINCOLN if they believed him to be an Abolitionist. Not one of them would sustain his administration for an hour, after he should indicate a purpose to disturb Slavery in any Southern State.
For those not aware, that "public peace" was shattered, violently, nine months later at a place called Bull Run (or, as a commenter reminded us, at a place called Ft. Sumter just six months after the editorial was written).

And that just two years later Lincoln - he who would not "disturb Slavery in any Southern State" - disturbed it in the most profound declaration ever written, decreeing:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."

We can - and should - give the New York Times credit, at least, for picking the right guy.

But for all the wrong reasons.

Obama?  Time will tell.

But it's fair to say, this early in, that he isn't the guy the New York Times thought he was.  Or told us he was going to be.

A pattern of misjudgment?   Or are they just easily duped?

- - -

Update: See "Obama's embrace of these policies has completely rehabilitated the reputations and standing of the Bush officials responsible for them."

* Punctuation, etc. from the original.
** Bold emphasis mine.

Ol' Roscoe Has Some Explainin' To Do

There is in "natural law" a provision that goes to the heart of one's right to self-defense.  There is no human right that is more important.  None more precious.  No right more assaulted by those leftists who somehow think the state has a monopoly on the protection of your loved ones.

And there is no law ever devised by man that can - or should - circumvent it.

Here's John Locke - father of Liberalism - on the subject of self-defense:
And thus it is that every man in the state of Nature has a power to kill a murderer, both to deter others from doing the like injury (which no reparation can compensate) by the example of the punishment that attends it from everybody, and also to secure men from the attempts of a criminal who, having renounced reason, the common rule and measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tiger, one of those wild savage beasts with whom men can have no society nor security. And upon this is grounded that great law of nature, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." And Cain was so fully convinced that every one had a right to destroy such a criminal, that, after the murder of his brother, he cries out, "Every one that findeth me shall slay me," so plain was it writ in the hearts of all mankind.

And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life. For I have reason to conclude that he who would get me into his power without my consent would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom -- i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation, and reason bids me look on him as an enemy to my preservation who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that in the state of Nature would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away everything else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest; as he that in the state of society would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth must be supposed to design to take away from them everything else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.*
In plain (modern) English: He who breaks into my home ("the fence") without permission seeks to take away my freedom (seeks "to have a design to take away everything else") and I, therefore, have a Natural right to protect myself and secure my freedom.

The right to defend one's dwelling.  Seems so ... Natural.

Yet the courts still battle over it.

Here's another concept to go along with the Natural Right to self-defense.  The "Castle Doctrine":
A Castle Doctrine (also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is an American legal doctrine claimed by advocates to arise from English Common Law that designates one's place of residence (or, in some states, any place legally occupied, such as one's car or place of work) as a place in which one enjoys protection from illegal trespassing and violent attack. It then goes on to give a person the legal right to use deadly force to defend that place (his/her "castle"), and/or any other innocent persons legally inside it, from violent attack or an intrusion which may lead to violent attack. In a legal context, therefore, use of deadly force which actually results in death may be defended as justifiable homicide under the Castle Doctrine.
The right to defend one's home against potentially violent attack.  Again, it seems so ... Natural.

Yet here in Virginia it's not the law.

Because of legislators like Senator Roscoe Reynolds - Democrat - Martinsville.

This is beyond outrageous:
Virginia Senate Democrats kill "Castle Doctrine" bill
Democrat Roscoe Reynolds Lets 'Castle Doctrine' Bill Die Without So Much as a Word
Free Republic

RPV Chairman Pat Mullins issued the following statement on Reynolds' inaction:

"When I was told that Roscoe Reynolds let SB 876 die in his committee, I simply couldn't believe what I was hearing.

The last thing a homeowner in Virginia needs to be worried about when they're facing down an armed intruder is 'Will he be able to sue me if I defend myself?' This law would have given Virginians the security of knowing that the law was on their side - in both the criminal and civil arenas - if they were forced to defend themselves or their families using deadly force inside their own home.

Senator Reynolds let the bill die without saying a word in its defense - in fact, he questioned a number of witnesses as to whether or not anyone had ever filed such a suit before, implying that there's no need to protect homeowners until someone is sued by a would-be home invasion robber.

Roscoe's silence shows that he cares more about the rights of home invasion robbers than the safety and security of the Virginians he represents. The residents of the 20th District deserve far better from their state Senator." Background:

Unlike several other states, Virginia has no codified "Castle Doctrine," which holds that someone required to use deadly force to defend their home or family cannot be held liable in a civil trial for their actions. In other words, the perpetrators of a home-invasion style robbery or their survivors can't successfully sue the homeowner for injury or wrongful death.

SB 876 would have written those protections into Virginia law, but Democrats on the Senate Courts of Justice Criminal Subcommittee, killed the bill. [link]
So you know, Roscoe Reynolds is considered to be a "gun-rights Democrat."  By the delusional and misguided, obviously.

Rights?  We don't have time to deal with rights.  We're trying to find ways to raise taxes.

Shame on you, Roscoe.  We thought you were on our side.  We were wrong.

* From "An Essay Concerning the true original extent and end of Civil Government," 1690.

It's a Strange World We Live In

I received an email from the office of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that outlined his support for clarification of our gambling laws.  This is, according to General Ken, needed because "questions about the law arose in 2010 when a number of Internet gambling businesses started to appear around the commonwealth." Those questions having to do with business establishments, including one in Roanoke, ostensibly providing internet gambling access while claiming to be "sweepstakes" gaming sites.

We can't be having none of that.

Gambling, like liquor, is a sin. And is therefore a bad thing. So it's run and promoted heavily by the state. 

Internet gambling is bad because ... well, it's not run by the state. 

And that's sinful.

By the way, the Virginia Powerball is up to $96 million and the Mega Millions is at $51 million.

Regarding internet gambling, I quote Cuccinelli:

"House Bill 1700 and Senate Bill 1195 will give helpful clarification to businesses considering engaging in this activity, as well as commonwealth’s attorneys and law enforcement officers across Virginia.  The bills provide clarification as well as a solid affirmation that this form of gambling has always constituted illegal gambling, and is subject to prosecution under existing Virginia law.”

In a world somewhere far, far away this all makes perfect sense.

An Odd Defense Of The NY Times

OK  Yeah.  A piece written by a New York Times reporter smacks of yellow journalism.  But it wasn't her fault and there are lots of other lowlifes working at the Times who are far worse.

That's James Taranto's defense (see "Leave Kate Zernike Alone") of Times reporter Kate Zernicke (in so many words) and of her shameful op/ed piece that masqueraded as a "report" - in the "politics" section of the paper - the day after the Tucson massacre (see "Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics").

Sayeth Taranto:
If yellow journalism appears under her byline in the Times, it is the fault of her editors and the paper's corrupt culture.

How corrupt? So corrupt that the Hulse-Zernike piece was, by the standards of the Times last week, a relatively minor case of journalistic malpractice. Even the editors who assigned it at least have the excuse of having been under deadline pressure at a time when the facts were not yet in about the suspect's motives. The same cannot be said for the Times editorial board and Paul Krugman, who ...
Times editors somehow made her write the words that the entire western world considers to be wildly irresponsible. Beyond that, there are others on staff who (with the same editorial gun-to-head?) did worse.  According to the normally level-headed Taranto.

To top off this mystery, he later writes: "The paper's rush to judgment was indeed a serious mistake. [Arthur S. Brisbane, the Times ombudsman] tries to downplay it by employing the everybody-does-it excuse ..."

The same excuse Mr. Taranto employed earlier to excuse the reprehensible work of Kate Zernike.

An odd defense. And coming from my hero, James Taranto, it's conspicuously odd.

Amen, Brutha

Here's music to Tea Partiers' ears.  Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe writing in the Wall Street Journal ("What Congress Should Cut"):
Since 2007, Congress has been on an unprecedented spending binge. That means a first and obvious budget-cutting step would be to return discretionary spending to the baseline before things got so out of control. If Congress returned to the baseline before the supposedly "temporary" stimulus bill of 2009, $177 billion per year would be saved, according to calculations by FreedomWorks based on figures from the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). If spending went back to the 2007 baseline, the beginning of the first Pelosi Congress, $374 billion would be saved. Over 10 years, that is $748 billion and $1.56 trillion in savings, respectively.

Repealing ObamaCare is another obvious source of reduced spending.

Still more savings can be realized by eliminating taxpayer-funded bailouts.

There's more, much more. Eliminating subsidies to ethanol and for unproven energy technology produces $170 billion in savings over 10 years, according to the Cato Institute's recent "A Plan to Cut Spending and Balance the Federal Budget." Scaling back the number of government employees to fiscal year 2008 will save $35 billion, according to calculations from the office of Wyoming's Rep. Cynthia Lummis.

Other 10-year Cato spending cut estimates: Scrapping the departments of Commerce and Housing and Urban Development saves $550 billion; ending farm subsidies would produce nearly $290 billion. Cutting NASA spending by 50% would save $90 billion. Repealing Davis-Bacon labor rules produces $60 billion. Ending urban mass transit grants would save $52 billion. Privatizing air traffic control, as other nations have done, saves $38 billion. Privatize Amtrak and end rail subsidies and save $31 billion. Reform federal worker retirement, $18 billion. Retire Americorps, $10 billion. Shutter the Small Business Administration, $14 billion.

Defense spending should not be exempt from scrutiny. With such dramatic increases in appropriations, it is not plausible that all resources are being spent prudently. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed savings of $145 billion over five years. That's a start.

Entitlements ...
Our country is broke. And, because of the confiscatory nature of our tax system, the U.S. is no longer competitive.

We cry out for change.

There can no longer be any sacred cows. That's why I'm glad to see the authors include defense spending and entitlements on their list of categories to roll back.

One way or another, without doubt, the United States government will cease living beyond its means. It can bring about solvency on its own, or the forces of nature will compel its collapse. Either way, the government has reached the end of the line.

Cut spending. CUT SPENDING. And make our country viable once again.  Or prepare to face certain doom.

Don't Let The Door Hit You In The ...

Civility in this instance is called for:

Another Democrat flushed down the crapper.

It's a good day.

Fanning The Flames

To be honest, I don't have sleepless nights over Obama's place of birth.  Though others do.  He says he was born in Hawaii and - with the mainstream press foursquare assembled to protect his assertion, factual or otherwise - nothing will come of the effort to expose him regardless what the truth is.

So Obama was born in Hawaii.  Fine.  Life as we know it will probably survive the revelation.

But there is an adage: With friends like these ...

Want to know how to enliven the "birthers" who walk among us?

Give them fuel for their fire.

Neil Abercrombie, governor of Hawaii (and professed friend of Obama) decided recently that he was going to put this controversy/conspiracy to rest:
“It’s an emotional insult. It is disrespectful to the president; it is disrespectful to the office. There’s no reason on earth to have the memory of his parents insulted by people whose motivation is solely political. … Let’s put this particular canard to rest.

"I’m going to take care of that.

"My thought is, rather than get into some kind of argument or play into that mentality, why not just simply try to authenticate this and let the facts speak for themselves?”
No, Abercrombie doesn't want to play into that mentality.

Or does he?
Hawaii governor can't find Obama birth certificate
By Jerome R. Corsi, WorldNetDaily

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggested in an interview published today that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health.

Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star Advertiser he was searching within the Hawaii Department of Health to find definitive vital records that would prove Obama was born in Hawaii, because the continuing eligibility controversy could hurt the president's chances of re-election in 2012. [link]
In poker one has to be really smart to play 'em when he ain't got 'em.

Abercrombie, it now appears, ain't got the birth certificate.  Even though he said he was going to produce it.  And end the controversy once and for all.  You decide how smart he is.

As to the birthers, imagine their absolute glee over this news.  Neil Abercrombie ... friend ... to the president has now made Obama's most vociferous opponents rapturous.  Expect the theories to now abound.

Way to go, Neil.