This two paragraph book review, of From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy by Kenan Malik, seemed appropriate for the Opinion page
When Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, he didn't want only the author of The Satanic Verses killed -- he pronounced that: "All those involved in its publication who were aware of its contents are sentenced to death." Even this wasn't cause enough for the then Conservative government to denounce the fatwa. Instead, from Geoffrey Howe to William Waldegrave to Margaret Thatcher herself, statements of sympathy were proffered towards those who may have felt that their religious sensibilities had been offended.
The legacy of the incident is the current fearfulness of any expression that may insult Islam, coupled with a contrasting suspicion or fear of Islam itself. The situation is worsened by multiculturalism, which has created a tribal feeling among different faiths and races, says Malik, who agrees with Amartya Sen that what we actually have is not multiculturalism but "plural monoculturalism".
Republican senator George LeMieux of Florida has done the math. If government spending were reduced to its 2007 level, we'd have a balanced budget (with a $163 billion surplus). Returning to the 2008 level of spending, the budget would be balanced in 2014 (a $133 billion surplus). And in both cases, that's while keeping the Bush tax cuts across the board and indexing the loathed alternative minimum tax for inflation.
"Could we live with what we did in 2007?" LeMieux asks--the "we" a collective reference to Congress, the federal government, and the country. He thinks so. Because of the recession, "most Americans are living with less than they had in 2007."
LeMieux's ideas on curbing spending haven't gotten much attention. That's because of who he is, a 40-year-old appointed rather than elected senator filling out the final 16 months of the term of Mel Martinez, who resigned. He's not running for election this November. In fact, he's never been elected to any office. (Nor is he related to Mario Lemieux, the hockey legend.)
When LeMieux arrived in Washington last September, he was struck--appalled, really--by one thing. "You come in thinking Washington is out of control," he says. "And spending is out of control." But it's actually much worse than that. After working as chief of staff for Florida governor Charles Crist, then managing a large law firm in Ft. Lauderdale, LeMieux found the spending habits on Capitol Hill "bizarre."
"It stands in sharp contrast to what the real world is like," he says. For the state government in Florida, "the biggest thing in town" is the quarterly report of how much revenue has been collected. "We could only spend what was coming in."
Not so in Washington. "No one asks what we're taking in," LeMieux says. "And no one gauges" how much to spend based on that amount. "After a while you get used to it," he says. At least he assumes that's what occurs. LeMieux hopes that doesn't happen to him. "I haven't bought in," he says. He won't be in Washington long enough to become inured to the spending binge.
When he talks to fellow senators about the need to slash spending, LeMieux thinks some of them dismiss his fervor as the result of inexperience. "He'll learn soon enough we don't do that kind of stuff here"--that's the way they regard him, LeMieux suspects. And he's probably right.
He prefers the Florida approach, which is similar to what other states do to meet their balanced budget requirement. In 2007, "storm clouds" of the looming recession began to appear. With diminishing revenue, the state could do three things: cut spending, raise taxes, or find new sources of tax revenue.
The state began to pare its budget, from $73 billion in 2006 to $70 billion in 2007 and even lower to $66.5 billion last year. As the law mandates, there was no deficit. LeMieux cites this as the opposite of the Washington practice. Estimated spending for 2010 is $3.8 trillion based on revenue of $2.2 trillion, leaving a humongous $1.6 trillion deficit.
After four months in Washington, LeMieux is willing to support "anything" to bend the spending curve. Last week, he joined Republican senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn in seeking a yearlong ban on earmarks, which fund special projects for individual states or congressional districts. "I've made the decision to voluntarily disarm," he says. He'll propose no earmarks for Florida.
LeMieux is convinced that earmarks are, as DeMint insists, "the engine that drives the train." A senator is bound to vote for an appropriations bill, no matter how bloated, if his earmarks are in it. "That's the way you get 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent increases in spending," he says.
A balanced budget amendment, a constitutional amendment giving the president line item veto authority, legislation to kill duplicative federal programs--the senator is for all of these. He thinks agency heads should submit annual budgets with a 5 percent cut across the board as "a healthy exercise in efficiency." "I'll bet you could cut 20 percent out of the budgets of agencies" without any loss in efficiency. Washington would scream.
Radical Islam is gener trying to destabilize + cut off the whole of CENTRAL-EAST-SOUTH ASIA as base for their so-called OWG CALIPHATE = GLOBAL ISLAMIST-JIHADIST STATE; or in the altern large NUCLEARiZED enclaves from same - iff the US doesn't know it already, they should by now.
Also read, ISLAMIST CONTROL OF ASIA'S NUKES = FUTURE POST-US ISLAMIST NUC ASIA = CALIPHATE.
MILPOL-NUKE DIALECTICISM = NUKE PRAGMATISM > DEV YOUR OWN, + ANDOR GET CONTROL OF SOMEONE ELSE'S.
How far will it go? That stage set in Denver made me think about classical history, specifically Rome, and even more specifically Caligula, who became convinced he was a god:
In AD 40 Caligula began appearing in public dressed as various gods and demigods such as Hercules, Mercury, Venus and Apollo.
I'm not saying it will come to pass in exactly that way, and that Obama will declare himself to be a deity. In fact, I'll even go on record as saying he won't. Nevertheless, something is very wrong with this man, and it is growing stronger every day.
Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension. I'm not sure why we need read past this point.
It's an odd time for liberals to feel smug. But even with Democratic fortunes on the wane, leading liberals insist that they have almost nothing to learn from conservatives. Many Democrats describe their troubles simply as a PR challenge, a combination of conservative misinformation - as when Obama charges that critics of health-care reform are peddling fake fears of a "Bolshevik plot" - and the country's failure to grasp great liberal accomplishments. "We were so busy just getting stuff done...that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are," the president told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in a recent interview. The benighted public is either uncomprehending or deliberately misinformed (by conservatives). Yass, it's just a PR challenge!
Liberals have dismissed conservative thinking for decades, a tendency encapsulated by Lionel Trilling's 1950 remark that conservatives do not "express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas." During the 1950s and '60s, liberals trivialized the nascent conservative movement. Prominent studies and journalistic accounts of right-wing politics at the time stressed paranoia, intolerance and insecurity, rendering conservative thought more a psychiatric disorder than a rival.
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Because they are not Libs. Classical liberals believed in equal opportunity not equal outcome. Classical liberals recognized the sanctity of private property. Classical liberals just didn't mouth the concept of equality but practiced it. These are Socialist. They are very effective making everyone else avoid using that term because they know if they revealed their true selves their power would significantly diminish. Now Socialist believe in a superior ruling class. They are that superior caste. Why shouldn't they be condescending? /rhet question.
I am Democratic, that said, I am NOT "A" Democrat.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
02/07/2010 12:12 Comments ||
Progressive is actually a better term. Classic Progressivism is NOT democratic. It posits a belief in the "perfection" of humanity as imposed by a select wise elite. Not surprisingly early progressives were much enamored by fascism. They still are, but will obfuscate or hide these views.
The attitude that "we're better than you" and "we know what's best for society" is a fundamental part of progressive belief.
h/t: Doug Ross @ Journal (via Business Insider)
20 reasons we're in for a world of economic hurt. The most significant?
Unemployment: businesses retract in fear over health tax mandates, cap-and-trade, card check, and heaven knows what else. In December, 6,130,000 workers had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more -- another Obama record. That's the highest total since they started keeping track in 1948.
In December, there were also nearly one million "discouraged" workers. Those are the folks who've given up looking for work and are therefore not counted in the official stats. You guessed it: it's another Obama record -- the highest level ever recorded.
25 state unemployment insurance funds are already broke and 15 more states are on track to go bust within 24 months. States are now borrowing tens of billions from the federal government, which also is guaranteeing all losses incurred by the "job shop for unemployed Democrats" called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
More than 37 million Americans currently receive food stamps with around 20,000 joining the club each and every day. Never mind that unchecked use of food stamps encourages dependency, single-parent families and crime. Those are facts, you see, and unimportant to Democrats.
Public-sector unions like the SEIU have rung up some unbelievably outrageous bills for states, counties and cities. And many locales are simply going broke, burdened with underfunded pension plans and overly rich compensation packages. For example, more than 6,100 retired California government workers receive pensions in excess of $100,000 from CalPERS. The states' unfunded liabilities: as much as $3.2 trillion.
The delightful Democrat inventions of Social Security and Medicare are doomed. Millions of baby boomers are retiring and the trillions they poured into the systems during their working years were stolen by bureaucrats -- swept into the general fund and spent. There's no way to make the math work. It's that simple.
The U.S. federal debt has exploded since 2006, doubling in three years to $12.3 trillion and headed much, much higher with the proposed Obama budgets. Who will purchase the debt? What will happen when interest rates inevitably rise, adding huge additional interest payments to the debt? Just thank a Democrat.
How has the government responded to this dire situation? Has it tightened its belt? Hell, no. Last week, Senate Democrats last week raised the debt ceiling, which will allow the U.S. national debt to reach approximately $14.3 trillion. That's $48,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
So how is the U.S. funding its operations? Why, through a massive Ponzi scheme that would make Bernard Madoff blush. The Federal Reserve bought nearly 80 percent of all U.S. Treasuries issued in 2009. In other words, the entire Democrat-controlled government is a pyramid scheme -- and taxpayers are the suckers at the bottom.
99 weeks of unemployment compensation. Unchecked welfare payments. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Disastrous socialized retirement and health care systems that are nothing more than gigantic Ponzi schemes.
And that's before socialized medicine, cap-and-trade, card check and other disastrous policies -- hawked incessantly by the Party of Economic Destruction -- that simply choke free enterprise.
Democrats must be crushed in November at the ballot box, before it's too late. (Note: Charts and Graphs at Original Article)
The real problem, which can be agreed on by both the left and the right, is that the national government "is out of control".
To a great extent, this is because of the 17th Amendment, the Direct Election of Senators, in 1913, which took away the ability of the individual States to balance the power of the national government.
It was made worse by the 16th Amendment, the Income Tax, of the same year, which gave the national government extensive control over the people, as individuals. While the US has never had a particularly good means of funding the national government, this wasn't it.
So the repeal and replacement of these two amendments, plus and awful lot of other administrative problems that have evolved over 200 years, need to be taken care of by a Constitutional Convention.
While generations have been raised with the idea that such a convention would be "unthinkable" or radical, in fact, the opposite is true. It will be held because there is no other choice, and it will be remarkably conservative in character. Not seeking change, but a restoration of political and government balance.
Two-thirds, or 34 States must agree to convene a convention, and three-fourths, or 38 States must approve any changes. This prevents radicalism in any way, shape or form.
Some of the big possible measures being debated right now:
1) Other possible amendments: balanced budget; line item veto; flat Income Tax; commerce clause limitations; national debt controls and debt cancellation; a Posse Comitatus amendment; a War Powers act; a Martial Law and National Guard activation amendment; a State nullification act; and a national government reduction act--to disassemble unconstitutional parts of the US government at the direction of the convention.
2) A way to compel the POTUS with a writ of mandamus, other than by impeachment. Strict limits on presidential memos and signing statements (that are right now causing a constitutional crisis.)
3) Restructuring of the judiciary to a more modern table of organization. Limitations on federal appeal of State laws (especially death penalty). Limitations on resources and timetables of federal judicial actions. Criminal and tort reform. Prohibition of federal judges forcing States to appropriate funds or create "special masters" over State laws.
4) Establishing a constitutional review court underneath the SCOTUS, which reviews congressional acts, and can declare line item unconstitutionality, that congress must again vote to approve. A judicial line item veto, of sorts, that can be overridden by congress. Such a court might require a petition by 1/3rd of congressmen to review a law.
5) That any elected official, appointed officer, employee or agent of the national government who interferes with the convention, or refuses to carry out these directives by the convention after State approval, can be relieved from their duties and position of authority, with a temporary agent appointed by the convention to carry out these changes.
The convention will have a one year time limit to reach an agreement on changes, or be dissolved unless 2/3rds of the States agree to its continuation. But once agreed to by 3/4ths of the States, the convention will remain seated until those changes are carried out, and can, by simple majority vote, relieve or even order the arrest of those interfering with or refusing to carry out their decisions. These arrests cannot be appealed with a writ of Habeus Corpus, and will remain in effect until the conclusion of the convention.
6) The convention may require new elections, or in the case of US Senators, State appointments. The sitting US government will be prohibited from submitting any of its own constitutional amendments for the duration of the convention.
7) By current law, no elected federal official can be a delegate to the convention, and States may choose to prohibit attendance by any federal official, officer, or appointee. The location, security, and provision of the convention are likewise solely under the control of the States.
Besoeker and badanov: Oddly enough, some of the constitutional changes being discussed today were actually put into the Confederate constitution, as they knew they were needed *then*, and are still issues today.
It is downright amazing that out here, in Internet land, the ordinary public are debating constitutional issues in ways never done before except among scholars and legal experts.
The 10th Amendment movement is in full swing, and to keep up the momentum, States are now being encouraged to create delegations to visit other States, to discuss the issues surrounding a convention.
As time goes by, hopefully someone of consequence, like Sarah Palin, will publish a book of the issues and arguments, which will find its way into every State legislature, and other nook and cranny in the US.
It goes beyond the typical left and right politics, and becomes an issue of "saving the United States", or "letting it collapse into a permanent depression corporate failocracy."
So how is the U.S. funding its operations? Why, through a massive Ponzi scheme that would make Bernard Madoff blush. The Federal Reserve bought nearly 80 percent of all U.S. Treasuries issued in 2009.
It's not a ponzi scheme when the government buys its own debt. That is printing money. It's a ponzi scheme when China, etc buy US debt or debt from any government whose debt is out of control (long list), because the debt can never be repaid in real dollars.
Moose is saying that some element in American society can go outside the normal constitutional means of reining in presidential power by filing a writ of mandamus, essentially asking the court probably in the case SCOTUS, to order the POTUS to do something he doesn't want to do, or hasn't done.
As far as I know no one has ever filed nor had approved a writ of mandamus ordering any constitutional element to do something.
It would be unprecedented mainly because it would upset the constitutionally mandated scheme of checks and balances, handing the judicial branch much more power than the other two.
In the event of a writ of mandamus against POTUS, most presidents' reaction would be: "Now,enforce the order."
Mom: The writ of mandamus issue began in earnest with Marbury v. Madison, when a federal judge ordered the POTUS to follow his legal ruling, and the POTUS refused.
This meant that ever since, the only way to force the president to comply was by impeachment. But since that time, the power of the president has so expanded, that he is both above the law, and answers to no one.
It is coming to a head with presidential signing statements, where in effect the president says that he is interpreting a bill to say whatever he wants it to say, and that he is only going to enforce those parts he agrees with.
In addition, presidential memos are used to create new parts of the executive branch at the whim of the president, and executive orders determine how the bureaucracy carries out their own extra-constitutional regulations and requirements that are effectively laws never voted on by congress.
The bottom line is that there must develop some ordinary process by which the president can be prevented from carrying out unconstitutional actions, and required to carry out the law.
This is because impeachment, like a constitutional convention, has become extraordinarily hard to bring about. The POTUS cannot remain above the law, and constitutional limitations on his power.
WAFF > BRUSSELS JOURNAL > HOW MUSLIMS DEFEATED THE US [US Army Soldier's Letter from Iraq]. US is suppor + propping up anti-democratic regimes hostile to both Radical islam as well as the USA, + seemingly doing the work of the Islamists by projecting milforce everywhere in Muslim World + using scarce USD $$$ to train + educate local Muslims in lieu of their own Govts
[Techs, econ transfers which can be used or turned agz US in time].
* NEWS KERALA > DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FEARS MIGRATION FROM HAITI. Approxi 30-50K Haitians are believed to had fled oer the borders into DR since the quake; up to 700K-1.)MILYUHN Haitians are believed to be undocumented + ilaready illegally resding in DR.
THE DR NEEDS A BAMMER BAILOUT???
* ION, HAITIAN GOVT. OFFICIALS > are repor demanding CASH, BENEFITS FOR THEMSELVES before they will release vital quake assistance to the masses.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.