Joan Walsh, who might as well be a co-host on Chris Matthews virtual No-GOP zone, has taken to her day job to slam Sarah Palin for not moving out of Walsh’s rent free brain district. Walsh’s screed starts out by characterizing Palin’s criticism of Jeb Bush’s racially themed remarks as being somehow favorable to white racists in the Republican party. This is a novel approach, except she already called Palin a racist two years ago.
Then Walsh moves on to claim she has been ignoring Palin, because liberals constantly have to prove Palin is irrelevant, by referencing the racist article from two years ago. In reality, she wrote about Palin about a year ago during the Republican primaries.
The meat of this meatless article is about Jeb Bush and immigration reform. Republicans have an advantage in identity politics because they have more high-profile Hispanics in office. The White people running the party seem to think this can be parlayed into an electoral advantage by catering to immigration reform. It also seems that White liberals fear that same thing. Walsh is cleverly pitting Jeb Bush against Sarah Palin in the hope that a divided Republican party will be less effective.
I’m assuming her audience is the group of people who like Palin and don’t like the traditional moderate GOP. Walsh wants to actually start the war. I wouldn’t worry, however. Joan Walsh overestimates her influence, if not her existence. More people see her on MSNBC than read her Salon stories, and that’s pretty pathetic.
Did you ever wonder why the food stamp (or SNAP) program is paid for under the Department of Agriculture? Like ethanol or the school lunch program, it was snuck in as a way to bribe farmers into becoming wards of the state and agreeing to their environmental demands and approved seeds. Some Republicans have figured this out and want to trim some of the ridiculous (doubling in 5 years) spending increases. Democrats have decided to use familiar straw man arguments and claim the Republicans want to “cut” food for the “poor.” Also, they are turning to Twitter to advertise trying to live on $4.50 a day for food. If it doesn’t seem like that much, it’s because it’s for one person and hardly anyone buys all their food in that piecemeal fashion. Some even broke it up into $1.50 per meal.
Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld has made the point a number of times that for caloric intake, nothing beats the nutrition of a fast food meal. You could pick up a Double Cheeseburger for less than $150 and get plenty of calories. Then you can move on to a snack wrap for dinner or a side salad. Still, if money is an issue, you can make your own food. Actually, liberal food Nazi Morgan Spurlock showed how cheap it was to buy in bulk and cook nutritious food in his short-lived series 30 Days. The blogger SooperMexican wrote about the fail associated with hopelessly out of touch Democrats trying to figure out how to get by on $4.50, along with how to read a store ad, what a shopping cart was and how the supermarket scanner knows what you bought.
I’m not going to go into the finer points of how much you can save on food. I would like to see the grocery menu of a Washington politician for comparison, however. I would like to point out that this has nothing to do with helping people. The most effective way to help people is to create housing complexes for people on public assistance and serve meals in a building cafeteria. There’s an economy of scale. The government figured out that they can’t just take over with socialism. Instead, they want to “subsidize” the private sector to control it. Being the government, they can only have an effect if they leverage their real revenue with deficit spending. By the time people figure it out, the government is the only option left. Look at Medicare. It’s way beyond bankrupt, but it’s almost universal. Who is over 65 and still has private insurance? We’re in for a hard landing when the economy collapses and the only snap may be our necks.
When the federal government spies on reporters, indict them to get phone records, access their computers remotely and limit their access based on their story content, it is an abuse of power. When they collect any information that’s easily digestible by a computer on every American, it is a violation of civil liberties. When Democrats do it, it’s worse than when Republicans do it. Why is that? Republicans don’t do it.
I understand that liberals disillusioned with Obama want to make some broader point about presidential authority and their temporary amnesia that all politicians are power-hungry. I certainly appreciate that these stalwarts have finally had enough of Obama about 7 months after it would have done even the slightest amount of good. Still, Republicans behind the PATRIOT Act have made the point that the FISA court was given specific and limited power. Communication could be acquired between an American and a foreign target, not between Americans and certainly not for all communication from any American.
Was the PATRIOT Act subject to abuse. It certainly was, but this administration has abused most federal laws. The Attorney General is in Contempt of Congress. The IRS has violated federal law. The Secretary of Health and Human Services collected what amount to bribes and our health insurance is federally mandated using shaky interstate tax laws. The PATRIOT Act is not especially prone to abuse. We have an abusive White House.
I’m not interested in being a born-again civil libertarian. I don’t particularly want the government to sift through my personal information, but I am disturbed that this administration is the one doing it. It doesn’t even matter that Obama is not from my political party. The fact that he shows disdain for respect and only calculates what he can get away with is what worries me.
Just because something is complicated does not make it a conspiracy. A Rube Goldberg drawing is complicated. It is also wildly inefficient and prone to failure. Engineers try to abide by the KISS principle; keep it simple, stupid.
What we know is that there a whole lot of moving parts to what is the Obama administration. Some of it started during the Clinton administration, some of it happened even earlier. What we face now at the hands of activists, the people who manipulate laws and their corporate allies is not some sort of carefully crafted generational plan. It is natural selection.
People confuse natural selection with evolution. Evolution implies that there is some method by which the best solution is found and planned out. Natural selection means that a goal has been tried time and time again. Every failure with little success applies that success to the next plan. The successful plans survive. Our Republic is the host, socialist anarchy is the virus. Most of the time, the host kills the virus. One in a while, the opposite happens.
I once wrote that the truth is a virus, quoting the movie “Pump Up the Volume.” Lies are the real virus. True and false rumors both travel quickly, but the lies are the most persistent. Anarchy never goes away, because it is entropy. Entropy is the force that wants everything to fall apart. Once this country is destroyed by entropy, the other side’s job is done. To keep order, democracy must fight entropy forever.
The quickest way to end this year’s flu epidemic is to starve a fever. If this Congress does nothing else, it must cut off the food supply to big government. We can investigate the IRS and Benghazi and the DOJ and every other corrupt organization run by the president until 2017. Or we can choke off their slush funds. The best solutions are simple.
Sarah Palin is unfortunately a polarizing figure, and that’s just among Republicans. The knee-jerk line I hear from people the most is that she “quit” being the governor of the least densely populated and most remote state in the country, and somehow that makes her unqualified to comment on politics. The reality is that every single pundit who suggested she “go home and study” wanted her to just go home and disappear. The Alaska legislature made sure that every time she talked to anyone outside of Alaska, she would be investigated at her expense. Democrats wanted her penned in Alaska and she thwarted them by doing the thing she did once before to prove her resolve. She resigned from a politically untenable situation rather than being held hostage by her opponents.
Then there are people who see her as self-promoting for appearing on television shows millions of people watch and selling books millions of people buy. Palin is good at promotion, and there are dozens of Tea Party and Republican candidates thankful for that fact. For all of Karl Rove’s vaunted expertise, even his cherry picked candidates failed in 2012 elections with hundreds of millions behind them. A fair argument has been made that Palin is better than Bush’s “brain” at picking candidates who win.
Now we see that she may have polarized people at Fox News as well. Before Sarah Palin became a contributor, she was the first guest on Glenn Beck’s Fox News program in 2009. Beck became something of a pariah at Fox because he identified too closely with the Tea Party and proclaimed a number of “crazy” theories that are less crazy by the day. Roger Ailes has a huge bias toward the Republican establishment, which is why the claims of Fox as “right-wing” are generally off the mark. They’re not getting Beck back. He makes far more money and has more influence at his own empire.
Palin’s tenure at Fox News was not unlike the path not taken as Alaska’s governor. After Palin joined the network, she found herself being booked on fewer and fewer appearance, except for the occasional segment of “On the Record.” Her support of the Tea Party in 2010 elections may have had something to do with this. While her contract would limit her TV appearances, she gave a number of speeches and gave some commentary on the Republican presidential field. When she chose loyalty to Mark Levin over an anemic employer like Fox for announcing she was not running for president, Palin found herself removed from even Republican primary panels. She decided not to renew her contract, which was labeled as a firing by her detractors.
Not quite. It seems that Palin has inked a new deal with Fox News. She is a contributor once more. There are any number of scenarios that made this possible. I prefer to think that Fox was willing to bring on Palin’s firebrand style not that the Obama administration is due for a good scolding. In any case, Sarah is back and she’s building a rent-free addition in her enemies’ heads.
I am one of the 2% of Time Warner cable subscribers who opted to not pay a $4 a month cable modem fee and instead installed a cable modem that I bought. Many customers have internet routers, which require some technical ability and equipment. Replacing a cable modem involves buying one, swapping the two cables connected to the old one, calling the cable company and returning the modem. That’s it and 98% of customers would rather just pay $50 a year. I’ve already made back all the money I paid for my modem.
For those people who have their wireless provided by the Comcast cable company, the provider has now updated the firmware to make the device provide WiFi to the customer and also use that modem as a hot spot for other customers in the vicinity of the customer’s home. The customer can opt out, but the rejection rate is about 2%.
I use these examples because companies have figured out that incrementalism is more effective than force. The few people who object to being nickel and dimed over junk fees can be offered freedom from them because everyone else will not bother. I’ve asked people I know about the cable modem fee and most don’t want to upset the status quo because of their wives, the fact that they have a phone connected to their modem or just don’t care enough. They are all engineers. It’s a weirdly effective sort of soft tyranny.
If you ever wonder how this administration gets away with what they do, it’s because only 2% are every going to go to a Tea Party rally. It’s still a hell of a lot more than an Occupy camp, but it is a manageable number. Obama, while less popular than Bush, is still in the 40% range. Any number of scandals have been revealed, but there is little traction for the opposing party to make any changes to business as usual. Instead of rooting out cronyism, Obama is moving the people he can’t get confirmed into powerful posts that don’t need Congressional approval.
The Republicans have one option left. They need to stop paying the cable bill. Stop paying for the abuses of government and demand the minimal amount of compliance. They are already targets of this White House, they can’t possibly get in any more danger.
In the last few days, we’ve learned that a government contractor with no particular qualification has access to far too much data that should not be collected in the first place. We’ve also learned that there are thousands of people affiliated with the NSA who have various levels of security access to this black hole of personal information. We also know that the DOJ, the IRS, OSHA and the EPA are so filled with liberals that they all can target conservatives with impunity. Now ask yourself how many people would it take to inform Brett Kimberlin of this private information.
For the uninitiated, Kimberlin, the Speedway Bomber and various people connected to him have engaged in attacks involving failed lawsuits and successful intimidation tactics. There was a point last year where a number of anonymous conservative bloggers were “outed” by suing them and demanding personal information. When the personal details got out, they, their families and places of business were often contacted by arguably crazy people who scared the hell out of them. Then there were the SWATtings, where untraceable calls were made to the police as confessions by said bloggers that they killed their wives to provoke the most dangerous police response.
With the full force of government and a bunch of loose cannon Snowdens out there, it seems like the left could have a tool to out almost any blogger using ISP data. General intimidation is one thing, but people won’t be really scared to speak out against the government until the weapons are used. Liberty is not in theoretical danger any more.
There is only one argument for the collection of “real-time” data without specific criteria. If you had a theoretical device that could sift through data at the pace it came in and draw connections, then could interpret that information and predict criminal acts, it might be worth it. It’s also impossible, even if it’s on TV.
In the real world, data is archived by almost every place that processes it. Telephone companies keep phone records forever. Your Internet Service Provider keeps activity logs. Public CCTV cameras are archived for long periods of time. When a crime has been committed, the authorities have warrants to request relevant information on the crime. One reason why ISPs and Telcos kept this information was to fulfill police requests. Now, they use them for financial research. Your provider may have information on you, but they have no police powers.
Many in the government think they can construct a spider web of every number you call and every number those numbers call and every e-mail you send and every e-mail your e-mail recipients send. The problem is that we get so much junk e-mail and phone calls, along with proxy servers and changing cell phone numbers and wrong numbers, that the “information” gets extremely junky fast. It’s why police detectives pour over phone records and not some server in police headquarters.
This data capture is for profiling, plain and simple. The government is trying to figure out how Americans tick with some marginal interest in how terrorists communicate. Back when the government didn’t believe terrorism was from foreign powers, the limited scope of the PATRIOT act was an understandable response. Now, like the TSA, it is counterproductive and a distraction from real law enforcement. We’d all be safer if we were put in jail cells, but someone decided that was bad for the country. When will the administration change their mind on that?
Republicans don’t have much to offer.
For almost a century, the Republican Party was the party of government authority and authoritarianism. Abraham Lincoln did not accept the right of states to secede, especially because they did not follow the constitutional provisions to do so legally. He suspended habeas corpus, freed slaves in the South but not the North and oversaw a conflict that killed 1 American for every 7 freed slaves. On balance, Lincoln is as admired leader for what he did and the way it kept the union together. Then the Republicans kicked him out of the party for about 3 months.
By the early 20th century, Republicans were playing with the power of the government to change society with a new system of government called socialism. It turned out that the Democrats were even more excited about socialism and created the first program that took money from people for their own good and “gave” it back to them at its discretion. Luckily, communists and socialists became unpopular and the Republicans fought back in the late 40s by being against the Reds.
This continued for some time and the Republicans became fiscal hawks as well, pushing tax increases to balance the budget. The last balanced budgets were during Eisenhower’s administration. His Vice President, Richard Nixon, was also hawkish on communists, but not as much on the budget. By 1968, the Democrats were in full anarchy mode. They had young people, but they wanted to overthrow their parents. Then they discovered the power of scandal.
The collapse of the Nixon administration led to an easy win for Democrats. Unfortunately, their president ran a White House of incompetence. That’s when it started to turn. Ronald Reagan offered tax cuts and the possibility that economic growth and government spending were not mutually exclusive. The hippie choice of a president was proven a failure.
Now we have an administration where government exists for political gratification and a group of former Obama voters who have turned on him. The Democrats have lost the house and may lose the Senate. They certainly have no chance to win the White House in 2016, since Obama doesn’t like to campaign for anyone and he’ll be politically radioactive anyway. We may have turned a corner where Democrat is becoming a dirty word. It only took the complete destruction of our freedom and liberty.
Huffpoo caused a bit of a stir when they splashed a picture of Barack Obama morphed with a picture of George W. Bush. I suppose this represents some progress unless you become the New York Times and retract your anti-Obama headline. For whatever reason, NSA data mining has been the straw that broke the jackass’ back, instead of Gitmo or rendition or the War on Terror or concessions of tax rates or anti-drug legislation or stagnation on gay marriage being that straw. Typically, having no frame of reference, the left is comparing Obama’s department of personal grudges to Bush’s attempt to do something and anything to prevent another September 11.
You can criticize Bush, but don’t try to connect him to your Teleprompter Jesus. Bush collected phone calls either going out or coming in from other countries, a small fraction of total US phone traffic. He did this because the CIA and the military proved themselves to be woefully inept following 9/11. I can forgive overreaction a few years after the worst terror attack in history. I cannot accept what is essentially snooping over a decade after the fact. I know Bush did some things wrong, but he had a lot more right.
Still, this may be a necessary stage for liberals. They need their big fat Bill Clinton teddy bear, so they cling to the idea that he was the bestest president ever and Bush turned everything to crap. When disillusioned with Obama, they compare him to Bush, even though many in his cabinet were from the Clinton era, including Eric Holder. If you are more comfortable believing Obama is bad like Bush, go ahead. Eventually you will like George Bush and question the Clintons. It’s happened before.