I am remiss in not posting on this sooner as I had intended, however, I will do so now. Along with many readers here, I have been challenged and enlightened over the years by the superlative work of historian and renaissance man, Victor Davis Hanson. Sadly, I read that the week before Thanksgiving, Susannah Merry Hanson, his 27 year old daughter, unexpectedly passed away.
Her father wrote an eloquent obituary for his beloved daughter.
With that, my prayers are with the entire Hanson family. May God fully envelop them in His loving comfort at this time. And with the holiday season in full swing, I’m sure our prayers would be appreciated to help carry them through this difficult time.
Have you ever wondered if we can become any more of a narcissistic culture than we already are? Well, I’m here to sadly inform you, that yes, we can. Did you realize there is a feminist photo revolution going on? Yeah, neither did I. However, it seems it’s taking place right on Twitter and Tumblr and other social media. In pushing back against the typically well made-up, beautifully coiffed, airbrushed, size 0 model who makes females everywhere hate themselves and swear off carbs for 17 minutes, average Janes are now taking selfies, sans makeup, filters and even clothes just to proudly and powerfully remind themselves – and you – what “normal” looks like. (I’m guessing that the ability to serve champagne on a rotund tush doesn’t count…) Anyway, this “empowerment” is a way to “overturn sexist tropes through mass media” culture:
“Selfies open up deep issues about who controls the image of women,” says Peggy Phelan, an art and English professor at Stanford University… “Selfies make possible a vast array of gazes that simply were not seen before.”
“We spend so much time trying to hide our flaws because the culture has set it up that you have to be ashamed if you’re not perfect,” Cynthia Wade, a filmmaker and creator of the short film Selfie told me recently, for an article about ugly selfies in the New York Times. “I think girls are tired of it.”
“Selfies are one way for a female to make space for herself in the world: to say ‘I’m here, this is what I actually look like, my story counts, too,’” says Pamela Grossman, the director of visual trends at Getty Images, “They allow girls to shine on their own terms.”
Unfortunately for her, Afifa, a 26-year-old Afghani woman who recently made it all the way to America from Afghanistan, wasn’t informed that all she and her fellow Aghani sisters needed to do to become empowered was to take a few selfies and post them online. What?! No #BitchesHaveMyBack for her!
In the male dominated country of her birth, Afifa discusses the reality of living with absolutely no fundamental rights for women. Instead, most women have no awareness of any other way to live. They cannot travel without a male escort and are viewed as chattel to sell, trade or abuse. Saying this phenomenon is not rare anymore, Afifa spoke of a 12-year-old girl who was married to a 65-year-old man as a normal arrangement in her country.
Women are jailed, abused and even killed by their own family if they bring shame on them by not abiding by strict Islamic rules. Afifa explains how “the honor of your family name is so important,” that honor killings, where a father, brother or uncle will kill their own female family member for marrying outside the faith or shaming the family, is a risk Afghani women take for granted.
Compared to the stark contrast with her culture, American women should appreciate their rights, she says. Speaking to American women, Afifa says, “You have great opportunities for yourself and your loved ones. You’re so lucky, so do as much as you can.”
I did not realize this until this morning that C.S. Lewis was born in the month of November and died in November as well. Here is a brief look at the Christian apologist. While some will agree with its assessments, others may quibble. Given that many readers here are very familiar with Lewis’ writings and have drawn their own conclusions about this significant figure over the years, it would be interesting to hear your views. Suffice it to say, if you are anything like me, the passage of time has brought a more mature grasp (i.e. only somewhat less childish) and recognition of the skillful witty weaponry of seriousness the moral philosopher used to convey to readers the elegantly simple complexity that is God.
From a book that became my catechism for more than a year while suffering from debilitating physical pain, The Problem of Pain:
“The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word ‘love’ and look on things as if man were the centre of them.”
“Man is to be understood only in his relation to God.”
“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
Finally, the modern woman should sneer, but I knowingly nod:
“Oh God, make me a normal twentieth-century girl!’ Thanks to our labours, this will mean increasingly, ‘Make me a minx, a moron, and a parasite’.”
Remember when populist Hillary Clinton claimed that she and Bill left the White House “dead broke” and as a result, deservedly received heck for it?
“We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.” (One of the houses was a $2.85 million place in Georgetown that’s now probably worth twice that.)
When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?
The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.”
Clinton defended raising the minimum wage saying “Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs, they always say that.”
She went on to state that businesses and corporations are not the job creators of America. “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” the former Secretary of State said.
But seriously, if she wants to be anyone’s president, shouldn’t she, at the very least, be required to take a refresher course?
Further, there has already been concern expressed about her having lost touch with the very group of voters she seeks to build a campaign around:
Democratic leaders and strategists are concerned that Hillary has lost touch with the middle-class electorate who helped Obama triumph over Romney in 2012, according to the Post, noting that Hillary recently said she had not driven a car since 1996.
“She and her husband are established members of the 1 percent, leading lives far removed from the millions of middle-class voters who swing elections,” wrote Post reporter Philip Rucker.
“It’s going to be a massive issue for her,” an Obama adviser told the Post. “When you’re somebody like the secretary of state or president of the United States or first lady, you’re totally cut off [from normal activity], so your perception of the middle-class reality gets frozen in a time warp.”
When university officials decided to award Clinton the UCLA Medal, Clinton’s team asked that it be presented to her in a box rather than draped around her neck. That request was sent to the university’s chancellor, Gene Block.
“Chancellor Block has agreed to accommodate Hillary Clinton’s request to have the medal presented in a box,” Assistant Provost Margaret Leal-Sotelo wrote in one e-mail.
Lippert replied: “I can either have the jewelers box open or closed, in case the Chancellor doesn’t want to risk opening it.”
Clinton posed for individual photos with 100 VIPS, or 50 couples — “We get a total of 50 clicks,” one university official explained — as well as two group photos. Lippert wrote to colleagues that Clinton’s representatives wanted the group shots “prestaged,” with participants assembled and ready to take the photographs before Clinton arrived “so the secretary isn’t waiting for these folks to get their act together.” Reiterating the request, Lippert added, “She doesn’t like to stand around waiting for people.”
Don’t make her wait, little people, she has better things to do with her time than work for you.
Happy Thanksgiving, Patterico readers! I just put the bird in the oven (with fresh oranges and balsamic vinegar marinade). I hope your day is filled with the company of loved ones, great food, and lots of thankfulness. And may your gluttonous turkey coma in front of the big screen bring the pleasant agony that you’ve been dreaming about.
About that dinner: if you are inclined to break the established etiquette of not discussing religion or politics at the table, a number of sites are posting suggestion lists to help navigate the minefield. Funny, though, most are for dealing with your crazy right-wing relative (because what other kind of right-wing is there, right?) Or perhaps conservatives don’t need suggestion lists of how to respond to that crazy left-wing uncle who won’t shut-up about how there are no real borders because all of our friends south of the border of us need access to Obamacare! We already know what we believe and why we believe it. And we know that having an unforced, rational and congenial conversation that organically unfolds is no big shakes. We are not into shoving our conservative principles down anyone’s throat because we don’t have to: the value of conservatism which benefits everyone, speaks for itself.
With that, some columnists have tried to make an effort to appear even-handed in their advice:
Progressives, engage your conservative family members. Tell them you accept their apology for endlessly pounding the drum of Benghazi when even the Republican House now admits that there was nothing scandalous there. Reassure them that the president is wholly within his authority to defer deportations on 5 million undocumented immigrants — but encourage them to demonstrate really loudly against this executive action so that Democrats can win the Latino vote for a generation.
And conservatives, please, challenge your lefty family members. Boast proudly of your well-fought electoral victories this fall. Point out how, despite all its populist propaganda, the White House has still managed to deliver only full economic recovery for the country’s wealthiest, while everyone else struggles. Embarrass the liberals with jokes about the administration’s screw-ups on Obamacare, Iraq and the Veterans Administration. Encourage them to keep overreaching so that your party can take the White House in 2016.
Vox has some nifty advice cards of controversial issues that might arise. So if a hot-button issue like immigration comes up, just click on the immigration card and the reader will be advised on how to respond – from the Vox viewpoint.
National Review has a list of the eight most outrageous talking points liberals have posted to try to convert conservatives. Because being thankful one day out of the year for everyone’s guaranteed freedom to hold their own political views and be respectful of such is simply asking too much.
From Ace comes this spot-on insight about the left-leaning proselytizers:
So why is it so many of them seem to need these bluffer’s guides to explain to them why they believe the things they believe?
It doesn’t really make sense, does it? They’re anxious because they’re going to a Thanksgiving dinner where they won’t have an Automatic Affirmation Clap Circle applauding their poses and posturings, but instead might be asked things like “Where are you getting that claim from?”
And this produces in them a terrible anxiety — an anxiety disclosed by all these articles in their first paragraphs, which note the anxiety and fear before proposing a way to combat it.
But if they believe all these things so terribly fiercely, shouldn’t they already sorta know why they believe them?
It’s incredible, when you think about it — they go through the whole year believing in their progressive catechisms zealously but only bother to ask Why do we believe this progressive religious nonsense again? one single day of the year, the one single day of the year where they fear they might be questioned about their religious beliefs.
And because nothing smells more like teen spirit than two annoyed teenage girls having to be front and center with all eyes on them:
I don’t know about you, but while I am making pear pies and pumpkin pies today, I will be thanking God for all that is good and great in my life. And I will also be thanking Him for all that isn’t so good and great in my life because I have learned that in faith, it is through walking the arduous and painful path of tribulation with Him that begets another layer of unfathomable richness in my being. And hope grows. How seemingly paradoxical. God is a mystery that can be known. A mystery to be revealed over a lifetime. And just when one thinks they have reached His deepest depths, they come to find that He is endless. Further, aside from being wholly thankful for love of family, I am also thankful to God to be able to live where I do. This is particularly significant to me because I recognize I could be living in some oppressive third-world instead. I am also thankful for the privilege and immense freedom we have to participate in and be critical of our government. Whether it is to work for change at the local level all the way up to the federal level, or to speak our mind with our vote, it is all a great privilege that many others are not accorded. I know we could all write a book about what we are grateful for, so abundant are our blessings.
With that, Juan Williams is also giving thanks. He would like all of us to thank Godgovernment for its provision to us (think Cash for Clunkers, Obamacare, Stimulus, Solyndra, etc.):
The endless assault on government has driven down trust in federal management and deflated confidence in political leaders.
So, this Thanksgiving, let us join hands as I offer my list of reasons to give thanks for the good work being done by our government to bring us prosperity, health and peace.
At Thanksgiving 2008, the American economy was on the brink of collapse.
This Thanksgiving unemployment is 5.8 percent, the lowest it has been since the Great Recession. The recovery is slow but it keeps going and going. Federal investment in the stimulus, the auto industry bailout, the “Cash-for Clunkers” program and the Wall Street bailout all worked.
Not only that, but income tax rates for most families are lower today than “at any time since the 1950s,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Thanksgiving 2014 arrives with Wall Street investors collecting record levels of profit. Since February of 2010, nearly a million blue-collar, manufacturing jobs have come to America. The consumer confidence index, a critical indicator, is at its highest level since July 2007. The current national average price for a gallon of gasoline is the lowest it has been in four years.
“During the bleakest days of the financial crisis, it seemed the economy would never bounce back…” Business Insider magazine recently wrote in a report on the latest forecast from the financial consultants at JP Morgan. “But six years later…the economy has actually flourished…Five out of six indicators [corporate profits, stock prices, household net worth, GDP, and business investment] have not only reached their pre-crisis highs, but they have actually surpassed them.”
Even the much-maligned government program to boost America’s alternative energy industry, including the loan to solar panel company Solyndra, has been a success. Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist and columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote that the energy program has returned $5 billion in profit for loans from the American people.
One last note on the new American prosperity: When President Obama took office in 2009 the deficit was $1.2 trillion. Today it is projected to be $483 billion. It has gone from 9.8 percent of the GDP to 2.8 percent, an incredible 71 percent reduction.
Here’s another reason to be thankful: The success of the Affordable Care Act.
Despite incessant political attacks and a horrendous start for the website, the program has cut the number of Americans without health insurance by 25 percent. That means about 3 million more of our fellow Americans have health insurance than did so before Democrats in Congress acted. And a Gallup poll recently reported 70 percent of people with “ObamaCare” rate the plan as excellent or good.
P.S. This also makes me thank God that we live in a country where we still have the freedom to publicly write, “What a moron!” without fear of retribution.
When asked if he would be haunted by the incident, Wilson said, “I don’t think it’s a haunting; it’s always going to be something that happened.”
“The reason I have a clean conscience is I know I did my job right,” he said.
Wilson said he asked himself if he could legally shoot Brown. “I thought, ‘I have to. If I don’t, he will kill me if he gets to me.’ “
Today hundreds more National Guard troops have been deployed to Ferguson. Although 700 National Guard troops were deployed Monday, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles is questioning the delay last night, stating the National Guard “was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses.” (The damage count after last night’s rioting: a dozen Ferguson buildings burned and 61 people were arrested on charges including burglary, illegal weapons possession and unlawful assembly.)
“The decision to delay the deployment of the National Guard is deeply concerning,” Knowles told a news conference. “We are asking that the governor make available and deploy all necessary resources to prevent the further destruction of property and the preservation of life in the city of Ferguson.”
The mayor is not the only one questioning the delay:
“Here’s my question that the governor must answer,” Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said today. “Is the reason that the national guard was not in there is because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out?”
Kinder noted that the Guard had been sent to other locations in the region. “I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in (to Ferguson) to stop this, before it started,” he said.
It is no secret that the president was caught off guard and less than happy when Gov. Nixon deployed Guard troops in August at the time of Brown’s death, and last week, Eric Holder voiced his criticism of Gov. Nixon’s decision to call up the National Guard. Perhaps after seeing the night of violence, Holder, who was “disappointed” by the actions of some, might see the increased and immediate need for Guard troops:
“It is clear, I think, that acts of violence threaten to drown out those who have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators,” Holder told reporters. “Those acts of violence cannot and will not be condoned.”
Gov. Nixon said that more 2,200 National Guardsmen will be in the Ferguson area tonight.
Added: From commenter seeRpea comes this letter from Ronald T. Hasko, President of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and Former Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to President Obama entreating him to reengage with the law enforcement community in light of the chasm between the administration and the men and women who serve and protect, including in Ferguson. In part:
…The growing divide between the police and the people – perhaps best characterized by protesters in Ferguson, Mo., who angrily chanted, “It’s not black or white. It’s blue!” – only benefits of members of a political class seeking to vilify law enforcement for other societal failures. This puts our communities at greater risk, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Your attorney general, Eric Holder, is chief among the antagonists. During his tenure as the head of the Department of Justice, Mr. Holder claims to have investigated twice as many police and police departments as any of his predecessors. Of course, this includes his ill-timed decision to launch a full investigation into the Ferguson Police Department at the height of racial tensions in that community, throwing gasoline on a fire that was already burning. Many officers were disgusted by such a transparent political maneuver at a time when presidential and attorney general leadership could have calmed a truly chaotic situation.
It won’t be long before the American people turn their attention to other matters. Long after Ferguson is forgotten, police officers across America will still remember the way their senior federal executives turned their back on them with oft-repeated suggestions that race-based policing drives a biased, broken law enforcement agenda.
We find evidence of sizeable positive selection: the average living circumstances of cohorts of children born immediately after abortion became legalized improved substantially relative to preceding cohorts, and relative to places where the legal status of abortion was not changing. Our results suggest that the marginal children who were not born as a result of abortion legalization would have systematically been born into worse circumstances had the pregnancies not been terminated: they would have been 70% more likely to live in a single parent household, 40% more likely to live in poverty, 35% more likely to die during the first year of life, and 50% more likely to be in a household collecting welfare. The last of these finding implies that the selection effects operating through the legalization of abortion saved the government over $14 billion in welfare payments through the year 1994.
In a smart column today, Thomas Sowell questions the whole lot of our “betters”. You know who they are: the Grubers of the world, the complicit media and “professional” journalists, and the Democrats and legal experts who spew their mumbo-jumbo legalese in an attempt to defend president’s outrageous disregard for the Constitution. In other words, those who know better than us. And sadly, if Americans weren’t so stupid, everyone would understand that we are talking about something that, in the long run, negatively impacts both sides of the aisle. It’s not what we’ve gained, but rather it’s what we’ve lost.
No one can know for sure what motivated Professor Gruber to do what he did, or what motivated the media to stonewall as if he had never spilled the beans, or the liberal law professors to give Obama cover while he violated the Constitution.
But running through all of their actions seems to be a vision of the world, and a vision of themselves, that is a continuing danger to the fundamental basis of this country, whatever the specific issue might be.
Probably few people on the political left are opposed to the Constitution of the United States, much less actively plotting to undermine it. But, on issue after issue, what they want to do requires them to circumvent the three words with which the Constitution begins: “We, the people…”
Many on the left may want to help “the people.” But once you start from the premise that you know what is best for the people, better than they know themselves, you have to figure ways around a Constitution based on the idea that the people not only have a right to choose their government and control government policy with their votes, but also that there are vast areas of the people’s lives that are none of the government’s business.
Jonathan Gruber’s notion that the people are “stupid” is not fundamentally different from what Barack Obama said to his fellow elite leftists in San Francisco, when he derided ordinary Americans as petty people who want to cling to their guns and their religion. We need to see through such arrogant elitists if we want to cling to our freedom.
In the meantime, responding to a letter from Rep. Darrell Issa requesting Gruber to answer questions about the lack of transparency and deception regarding the Affordable Care Act, Gruber agreed to testify next month.
“From the outset, the health law has been the poster child for this administration’s broken transparency promises,” Issa said in a written statement.
“Jonathan Gruber, one of ObamaCare’s chief architects, publicly lauded the ‘lack of transparency’ that was necessary to pass the law and credited ‘the stupidity of the American voter’ that allowed the administration to mislead the public,” Issa said.
The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.
But now “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Hagel disagreed publicly with the president over ISIS. He should have known better:
He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Added: President Obama on the 2013 confirmation of Republican Secretary of Defense Hagel:
I will be counting on Chuck’s judgment and counsel as we end the war in Afghanistan, bring our troops home, stay ready to meet the threats of our time and keep our military the finest fighting force in the world. Most of all, I am grateful to Chuck for reminding us that when it comes to our national defense, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans, and our greatest responsibility is the security of the American people.
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