Issues of the Day
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Hillary Clinton Flunks Economics
Liberals have this terrible and annoying habit of congratulating themselves for their intellectual heft merely because they hold liberal views. Once this arrogant notion reigns, it's tough for liberals to acknowledge when one of their own says something so remarkably untrue and stupid that it makes you wonder just how ignorant is the liberal really.
At an event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in Boston on Oct. 24, Hillary Clinton told the assembled Democratic faithful: "Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs."
This makes about as much sense as "Don't let anyone say that it's governments that tax people." In attempt to dig out of this rhetorical face-plant, Clinton contended at an event in New York on Oct. 27 that she had "shorthanded this point" in a way that confused the public about what she actually meant. But now listen to her "clarification:"
"Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in an America where workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out -- not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas."
That sounds like a hundred Democratic Party stump speeches, creating the evil Snidely Whiplash corporate villain. It also affirms the obvious fact that business creates employment -- at least in a free market economy. That's not a "clarification" of her incredibly stupid gaffe. It's not fixing a "shorthanding." It's a badly disguised retraction.
To Republicans, this sounded like a more illiterate version of Barack Obama's lame 2012 campaign dismissal of that free market economy when he told business "You didn't build that." Entrepreneurs should always credit their success to government-funded highways and teachers, and never to their own skills in the marketplace. It attaches Clinton to Obama's radical waist, and that's not good when he's sporting the lowest-ever approval ratings for an incumbent president.
Team Clinton knows, however, that it can get away with all of this, at least within the "objective" press. There was no coverage of this ridiculous gaffe on ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR or PBS. CNN twice obsessed over whether Hillary and Sen. Elizabeth Warren should have hugged or posed together at the Coakley event, ignoring the idiotic remarks. The same diversion bubbled up Saturday with weekend talk-show host Steve Kornacki on MSNBC.
The New York Times reproduced the stupid remark in a Sunday story, albeit on page A-13, in paragraph 10, when the reader has lost interest. But that was better than the competition. There was no coverage in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, or USA Today. Even the local Boston Globe skipped over the remark. Reporter Akilah Johnson just offered campaign boilerplate from Hillary, such as: "We cannot possibly rest between now and Nov. 4. ... You don't want to wake up the day after this election and say, 'I wish I could have done more.' "
Ken Thomas and Philip Marcelo filed a story for the Associated Press, and skipped the stupidity entirely. This was their chosen Hillary quote to reproduce, touting Coakley in a close race: "From my perspective, it shouldn't even really be a race. It should not even be close, but we're living during an election season where it's close everywhere ... and that's why Martha needs you."
The people who complain that our news media consumption is too "polarized" -- and their assumption that conservatives depend too much on alternative media -- fail to acknowledge how our traditional "news" media are consistently burying Democrat gaffes they don't want anyone to hear about. When Hillary says something stupid, they want it to be just like that metaphorical tree that falls silently in the forest. Peace and quiet is comforting.
Canadian Attack Prompts Absurd Reactions
PARIS -- Some warped minds believe that when a nation suffers a terrorist attack, it somehow deserved it and should set about doing some soul searching. Implicit in this argument is the notion that the attacker was somehow justified in his heinous actions -- there was no other option but to lash out violently.
Except that there is. Even the Islamic State could choose to exercise unofficial diplomacy through a sympathetic Persian Gulf country. But it doesn't, because the Islamic State isn't interested in diplomacy -- yet some critics expect Western democracies to suck it up whatever terrorism comes their way, as a matter of due course.
Last week, a domestic jihadist perpetrated a terror attack right at the heart of Canadian democracy in Ottawa, the nation's capital. After fatally shooting a soldier who was guarding the National War Memorial, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau entered Parliament and started shooting up the place while elected representatives, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, went into hiding. Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers successfully eliminated the problem through skilled marksmanship, killing Zehaf-Bibeau.
Already the predictable whining has started. Here's a compilation of some of the most prevalent complaints that I heard while in nearby Toronto at the time of the attack:
-- "He wasn't a terrorist; he was just a criminal." Members of Parliament from Canada's opposition Liberal Party were peddling this type of nonsense on television news programs even before heart rates could return to normal. While Zehaf-Bibeau was known to police for acts unrelated to radical Islam, his links to jihadism and others involved with it were well-documented. It is indeed possible to be both a terrorist and a criminal; these two things aren't mutually exclusive. The Islamic State is involved in kidnapping, extortion and other acts of criminality to fund their terrorist activities, for example.
-- "Zehaf-Bibeau wasn't a jihadist, he was mentally ill." How offensive. People who struggle with mental illness might object to the suggestion that they're prone to acts of terrorism.
-- "Canada was targeted because of its military intervention in the Middle East." This implies two other possible options:
Option one: Canada should stick its head in the sand and ignore the actions of extremists who are beheading journalists and aid workers, slaughtering civilians, and exploiting women and children. This would be unacceptable for a country that's supposed to be a defender of human rights -- even if it means disappointing the people for whom there is apparently never a justification for striking back at terrorists.
Option two: Canada should act, but more discreetly. I can't disagree with this alternative, as there is significant merit to the French military approach of eliminating the chest-thumping in favor of quietly smothering the problem. Canada hasn't been averse to that approach in the past -- most notably when Canadian Special Operations Forces' Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2) played a critical role alongside American allies in a 2001-2002 campaign in Afghanistan. It was a top-secret six-month mission known only to leaders in the upper reaches of the Canadian government and military. But discretion implies the absence of transparency, and the same people who complain about overt Canadian military intervention tend to be the same ones who demand transparency in matters of national security. You can't have it both ways.
-- "A spectacular failure for Canadian intelligence." This was really rich, particularly since it was a headline in Britain's Guardian newspaper, the flagship publication for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's gripes about the overreaching of Western intelligence agencies. If that's how the Guardian staff feels, perhaps it should stop its crusade to render intelligence activity useless.
-- "Oh, great. Now Canada is going to have an excuse to clamp down harder on civil liberties." Why not go have a word with the terrorists about how their actions are infringing on your civil liberties? Modern warfare is largely asymmetric and of a guerrilla nature. While it's important to balance civil liberties with national security interests, no threat should be exempted because it chooses to entrench itself inside a democracy and attempt to hide among its loopholes. Relax: There has to be violation of an actual law in the criminal code to trigger an arrest, and those laws are created by legislators, not by shadowy agencies.
It would be nice if just once in the wake of such an attack, the naysayers would give the benefit of the doubt to the victim rather than the terrorist.
Whites say Obama's America is 'divided,' blacks feel robbed
BY PAUL BEDARD
Over six in 10 whites believe that America is more divided now than it was just four years ago when the Tea Party rose up and helped the GOP take control of the House, and blacks feel Washington is robbing them.
A startling new poll from Rasmussen Reports finds that 65 percent of white voters believe the country is divided, and a sizable number of non-black minorities agree. Even more — 44 percent — Democrats agree than not, 41 percent.
Overall, 61 percent of likely U.S. voters say the country is more divided than during the last midterm elections in 2010.
Blacks, however, have a different take. Just 36 percent say the nation is more divided.
But that doesn’t mean they are happy. Rasmussen reports, “Blacks are much less likely than whites and other minority voters to consider the justice system and the economy fair to them.”
Accepting that abortion kills babies yet continuing to argue it’s good for society may be the best option pro-choice advocates have.
Katha Pollitt’s recent book, “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights,” has generated widely-shared pro-choice essays that argue along with Pollitt that abortion must be affirmed as a social good, not a necessary evil. These arguments reject the defensive tone of mainstream pro-choice discourse, exemplified by the Clinton-era “safe, legal, and rare” formulation, as the undignified “awfulization” of abortion.
These pieces, such as Sady Doyle’s “Abortion Isn’t a Necessary Evil. It’s Great” for In These Times and Hanna Rosin’s “Abortion is Great” for Slate, have generated a great deal of scorn from the pro-life community. The derision is appropriate; the “abortion as social good” argument cruelly sidesteps the humanity of the unborn. Yet, I’d like to argue, this emerging pro-choice strategy may be the best option they have.
Guard the Golden Forceps
Imagine abortion politics as a giant game of capture the flag, but instead the pro-choice side is guarding a golden forceps. There’s a buffer around the forceps provided by a tall fence: Roe v. Wade. Pro-lifers have made different amounts of progress toward the target in different places: In a few places, they’ve largely abandoned the field; in many others, they’ve set up camp just outside the fence; and in the most weakly-defended regions, they’ve (arguably) established forward positions inside the buffer zone.
Skirmishes are happening not off in the wilderness, but right at the Roe v. Wade frontier.
In most places, though, skirmishes are happening not off in the wilderness, but right at the Roe v. Wade frontier. This is not what pro-choicers expected, let alone hoped for, in the wake of the discovery of a constitutional right to abortion. The “Supreme Court Settles Abortion Issue” New York Times headline is apocryphal, but the sentiment it expresses is not: Roe was supposed to remove abortion from the contentious realm of politics. That we now continue to dispute its borders is, to any pro-choicer with a proper sense of history, an acute disappointment.
It’s not surprising there are people trying to scale the Roe fence. Surely the pro-choice movement expected the zealous always to be clamoring at the gates. What must be dispiriting to pro-choicers is not only how many now identify with the pro-life cause, but how indifferent the public is to their attempts to annex the Roe buffer zone.
People Don’t Fight for a Necessary Evil
The prospect of a pro-life movement constantly and fearlessly testing the limits of Roeis hateful to any serious pro-choicer who believes the right to abortion should be robust and uncontroversial. But this future is exactly what the defensive rhetoric of abortion as necessary evil promises. Average people will not be willing to push back the pro-life barbarians-at-the-gates in the name of a “necessary evil.” They need a more impressive banner to fly.
Now that almost everybody has seen an advanced ultrasound image, it can no longer be held by serious people that abortion does not end a life.
This is a good time to pause to consider why so many people now identify as pro-life or, at the very least, are ambivalent about what Roe has wrought. There are many intertwining threads to this story, including of course the outstanding and tireless work of pro-life advocates, but for our purposes one stands out above the rest: the advancement of the technology of medical imaging.
Several weeks ago my wife underwent an unscheduled ultrasound after a mild scare early in pregnancy. In a moment of great relief, at less than eight weeks we could see our second child’s heartbeat. As recently as my early college years less than a decade ago, students could with a straight face parrot the old lines about the unborn as “clumps of cells” or, worse, “more like a tumor than a person.” Now that almost everybody has seen an advanced ultrasound image, at least on television if not in person, it can no longer be held by serious people that abortion does not end a life. Any attempt to restore the Roe-era unscientific view of unborn life would be an exercise in Big Lie-style propaganda that the pro-choice movement cannot realistically execute.
The pro-choice movement can’t turn the clock back on science; it must instead work within the new reality that people widely understand that abortion ends a human life. The only move, then, that can possibly reverse pro-life gains is to roll the hard six: They must convince their fellow Americans that legal abortion is an outstanding social good that outweighs the lives of the unborn. This is the project of Pollitt, Doyle, and Rosin, and it represents the only hope for substantial pro-choice gains.
People Are Willing to Do Evil in the Name of Social Good
Before we scoff, remember this: It is a commonplace for people and societies to accept the manifestly unjust in the service of an apparently greater social good. And this isn’t just the result of Communism or Nazism or some other exotic –ism that is distant from us in place and time. In the early twentieth century, Americans accepted the forced sterilization of the “unfit” for the greater good of our society. In the early twenty-first century we accept the mass incarceration of the marginalized (including, until just a month ago in California, their sterilization) for just the same reason.
We indulge either in an unrealistically rosy vision of human nature or in a kind of conservative Whig history—in which the eugenic mindset happily fades from consciousness as part of human progress—if we think the “abortion as social good” gambit is doomed. As Michael Brendan Dougherty put it in The Week:
All the ingredients still exist for a more explicit return to eugenics in our culture and politics: inequality, fear, detestation of the other. But if it comes back, it is unlikely to come in the explicitly racialist terms of the biodiversity-obsessed right. Liberal societies have the antibodies against that.
Instead, it will come to us in terms of ‘quality of life,’ and ‘health and safety.’ We will be urged that every child deserves the best society can grant, and stigmatize those for whom ‘the world is a difficult place.’ And thereby we legitimize the destruction of those who would merely “live” in society rather than thrive in it.
As Dougherty points out, we would be foolish to forget the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that Roe was motivated at least in part by the desire to diminish “populations we don’t want to have too many of,” and more foolish still to forget that the recent runaway bestseller “Freakonomics” dabbled with the concept of abortion-as-crime-control.
Pro-Choice Supporters Target the Moral High Ground
Further, I have argued recently that innovations in the definition of marriage andassisted reproductive technologies are encouraging us to view children as the objects rather than the subjects of rights, as consumer goods rather than persons. The extension of the logic of the market to human persons themselves—especially the vulnerable and invisible (to the naked eye)—threatens to make their value and dignity contingent rather than inherent. The stage is set for sacrificing them for a greater good, whether that good is modern women’s lib or, more likely, delicately-phrased social hygiene.
Our contempt must be ordered toward marginalizing the idea that the taking of innocent life can ever be justified by a greater good.
So Pollitt and Doyle and Rosin are correct: The pro-choice movement’s best hope for total victory rather than perpetual stalemate is to attempt to reclaim the moral high ground—to assert without shame that legal abortion is necessary for essential social goods to flourish. Pro-lifers should react to this emerging strategy with contempt because it is contemptible. But it is contemptible primarily in its substance, not in its political wisdom. Our contempt must be ordered not just toward marginalizing particular commentators, but toward marginalizing the idea that the taking of innocent life can ever be justified by a greater good. This is not a new idea, and it is not unrealistic that it will catch on once again.
Yes, “abortion as a social good” is a sign of increasing pro-choice desperation. But this may be the last chance for at least a generation to rally enough people to repel pro-lifers from the borders of Roe. As such, we much take it seriously and challenge it on its despicable merits, always making the case that has brought us to this siege of the golden forceps to begin with: All life is precious, its dignity inherent, its value incommensurable, its beauty unparalleled.
Baseball has always been something my family does together.
I’ve existed as an away fan for 14 years now. Fortunately, the Nationals fans tolerate me much more than the Philly fans did when I saw the Giants win the Pennant in 2010. It isn’t that I’m an obnoxious fan, but there is something about wearing the orange and black these days that brings, well, disdain. Just ask Bryan Stow.
But, I’m often asked, “Why the Giants?” The question came more often when I tended to be the lone fan in San Francisco gear at whatever East-Coast game I attended to see my boys play. Ever since the World Series win in 2010, the Giants colors are in full force. I actually miss the days when you ran into a person wearing a ‘90s-era Will Clark jersey. You knew they were from The Bay and you knew they were a true fan. I even remember a conversation with a fellow fan in Camden Yards pre-World Series wins. We broke bread during a rain delay and found out our parents had served on City Council together. Again, a small San Francisco world back then.
So, back to my question: Why the Giants? Of course, growing up near Candlestick Park is a big reason. But it’s more than that. If I had to sum it up, I would say that the Giants are about family.
Baseball Means Bonding with My Family
You see, every year, for as long as I can remember, my dad either had the Giants playing on the radio, or on TV, or he took me to Candlestick Park. Essentially, the Giants were the soundtrack to my life. He never had a son, but I was the daughter that would oblige his sports habit (and, subsequently, his political persuasion and love for communication). Year after year, we watched them lose.
It’s actually a weird switch to go from following a team that loses to following a team that wins.
There were some successes. There was the National League Pennant in 1989. But they lost in four to the A’s. That series reminds me most of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and witnessing not only half of my downtown destroyed, but also some of my friends losing their homes. Needless to say, there were other things that needed our attention, and since my dad was mayor he put his focus where it should have been. There was also 2002, but I still won’t talk about game six.
Then 2010 happened. And 2012. And so much has changed since then. It’s actually a weird switch to go from following a team that loses to following a team that wins. Of course, it’s AMAZING. But there is something surreal about it. There is something strange about walking outside your home in DC and seeing someone wearing a SF hat, or going to an airport and seeing a Hunter Pence shirt. It isn’t that I don’t want that. It’s just that, to me, it’s more than a World Series win—or two. To me, it’s personal.
It’s personal because the Giants have not only bonded my dad and me (we talk and text most during baseball season), but also been passed along to my nephews. I flew my oldest nephew out to DC when the Giants came to town in 2010.They lost every game in that hot July DC heat, and I guess you could say we bonded in that misery (neither one of us would have guessed they would be World Series-bound after that series).
The Baseball Memories Keep Accruing
It’s personal because I still remember so many things. I remember the day that Barry Bonds was picked up by the Giants. My dad was driving me home from school, and I can still hear his “Yes!” in my head. I remember summer games at Candlestick bundled in parkas and draped in blankets, and I’ll always remember talking to my dad after the Giants won their first World Series since being in San Francisco. He proceeded to tell me about being an eight-year-old boy when the Giants moved from New York, and how he followed them every year since then. After all those years, they had finally brought a championship to San Francisco. I can still hear the emotion in his voice.
I remember the day that Barry Bonds was picked up by the Giants. My dad was driving me home from school, and I can still hear his ‘Yes!’ in my head.
So here we are at another even year, and it remains to be seen who will win it all in 2014. But regardless of whether the Giants win or lose (and don’t get me wrong—I want the Giants to win!) I’m thankful for every Giant’s baseball season because of the memories my family has made.
This year alone, I’m thankful I was with my dad when Timmy threw a no-hitter, I’m thankful I was with my nephew Stephen when the Giants beat the Nationals in the division series, and I’m even thankful that my three-year-old nephew Jake was so distraught over last Friday’s loss that he cried and dropped his San Francisco hat on the ground. It means he’s a Giant’s fan in the making (no worries—he was in better spirits after the win on Saturday evening).
I’m most thankful because, through the good and bad, we’ve always been in it together. And that’s why the Giants are more than just baseball to me. The Giants are about family.
Students Suspended For Holding Airsoft Guns In Photo Taken In Living Room
Two Massachusetts high school sweethearts—Tito Velez and Jamie Pereira—are suspended from school after posing with Airsoft toy guns for a photograph at home before attending a homecoming dance last week.
Pereira and Velez are students at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School. The photo was taken by Velez's father in their living room and then posted to Facebook.
According to NECN.com, Pereira said, "We took [the pictures] with the Airsoft guns because that's our hobby, and we wanted to include them." But school officials argue that the photo caused "a disruption at the school."
School district superintendent Dr. Richard Gross said he didn't have a problem with the Airsoft guns, and he understands free speech. However, he "takes issue with the caption below the photo that reads 'Homecoming 2014.'" He added: "When you tie that to a school event, that's something to be concerned about."
Velez defended the couple's photograph on CBS Boston, explaining that the guns are toys that shoot plastic pellets. Yet Dr. Gross said the entire homecoming dance would have been canceled had police discovered the photo prior to the start of the event.
The suspension may last as long as 10 days, although the superintendent says there will be a hearing to consider reducing the punishment.
This could only happen in good old left-wing Massachusetts.