Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Communists Mobilize 'Direct Action' for ObamaCare: 'Aetna is the Real Death Panel'

At the video: Demonstrators are wearing "Medicare for All" t-shirts. Check the website at Health Care for All. Here's the blurb from the YouTube:

The 19 participants, wearing T-shirts with slogans that read Medicare for All and chanting patients, not profits! linked arms and sat down in the lobby of the Aetna building, prompting Aetna employees to step around them on their way into their offices, where insurance claim reviewers are busy looking for ways to deny people the lifesaving treatment that they need. A crowd of supporters picketing outside the building held signs that said "Aetna is the real death panel," and "Single payer now."
And from the neo-Stalinist Democracy Now!, "As Senate Panel Debates Public Option, Groups Take Direct Action to Promote Single Payer" (via Memeorandum):

These are life and death decisions, and their profits should not be coming before patients.

But the overlying message of this is that the healthcare—health insurance industry should not be seen as a solution to our healthcare crisis. They are the cancer of the healthcare crisis. We need a single-payer system. And the band-aid, putting over the cancer, that President Obama and the Democrats are pursuing in Washington is not going to make the situation better. In fact, it’s going to make it worse, because they’re going to empower these insurance companies with hundreds of billions of dollars in annual new revenue by having working people, who can’t even afford to put food on the table in too many kinds, forced to buy private insurance that’s overpriced and a pretty lousy product. It’s amazing that we’re seeing the government forcing people to buy insurance, when the insurance industry is the cause of so much of the problems that we’re facing here.

So, people who want to get involved in this, we’re looking for people to sign up to protest,, and come there and sign up, whether you’re a patient, whether you’re—want to get involved in this. We’ve had hundreds of people sign up already, and we want hundreds and hundreds more, because this is going to be a national campaign.
And here's the lineup of affiliated groups, at Healthcare for All:

INITIATING GROUPS: Healthcare-NOW!, Prosperity Agenda, Center for the Working Poor

Progressive Democrats of America,
Socialists, communists, and union goons. These folks wanted death panels for Bush/Cheney.

And despite the disclaimer, they're totally in the tank for Barack Obama, demonizing everyday Americans who work hard, pay the bills, and support the system. Recall Gallup's survey out today, for example, "
Gallup: 61 Percent Say Health Insurance is Personal Responsibility."

See also, the New York Times, "17 Held in Protest Outside Health Insurer’s Offices."

'This Is Our Secret' - Roman Polanski Grand Jury Transcript

Steve Lopez has the best piece I've read on the Polankski story yet, "Polanski's Defenders Lose Sight of the True Victim." Liberal quotations from the transcript. And isn't it classic when we have the molester tell the victim, "This is our secret"? ...

Quoting again from the grand jury transcript, with the girl being questioned by a prosecutor:

Q: Did you take your shirt off or did Mr. Polanski?

A: No, I did.

Q: Was that at his request or did you volunteer to do that?

A: That was at his request.

She said Polanski later went into the bathroom and took part of a Quaalude pill and offered her some, as well, and she accepted.

Q: Why did you take it?

A: I don't know. I think I must have been pretty drunk or else I wouldn't have.

So here she is, at 13, washing down a Quaalude with champagne, and then Polanski suggested they move out to the Jacuzzi.

Q: When you got in the Jacuzzi, what were you wearing?

A: I was going to wear my underwear, but he said for me to take them off.

She says Polanski went back in the house and returned in the nude and got into the Jacuzzi with her. When he told her to move closer to him, she resisted, saying, "No. No, I got to get out."

He insisted, she testified, and so she moved closer and he put his hands around her waist. She told him she had asthma and wanted to get out, and she did. She said he followed her into the bathroom, where she told him, "I have to go home now."

Q: What did Mr. Polanski say?

A: He told me to go in the other room and lie down.

She testified that she was afraid and sat on the couch in the bedroom.

Q: What were you afraid of?

A: Him.

She testified that Polanski sat down next to her and said she'd feel better. She repeated that she had to go home.

Q: What happened then?

A: He reached over and he kissed me. And I was telling him, "No," you know, "Keep away." But I was kind of afraid of him because there was no one else there.

She testified that he put his mouth on her vagina.

"I was ready to cry," she said. "I was kind of -- I was going, 'No. Come on. Stop it.' But I was afraid."

She said he then pulled off her panties.

Q: What happened after that?

A: He started to have intercourse with me.

At this point, she testified, Polanski became concerned about the consequences and asked if she was on the pill.

No, she told him.

Polanski had a solution, according to her.

"He goes, 'Would you want me to go in through your back?' And I went, 'No.' "

According to her, that didn't stop Polanski, who began having anal sex with her.

This was when the victim was asked by the prosecutor if she resisted and she said, "Not really," because "I was afraid of him." She testified that when the ordeal had ended, Polanski told her, "Oh, don't tell your mother about this."

He added: "This is our secret."

But it wasn't a secret for long. When the victim got home and told her story, her mother called the police.
Also, from Marcia Clark, "Polanski's Lost Alibi" (via Memeorandum):
Assuming Polanski loses his fight to resist extradition, he’ll be back in court—and not “just” for the rape. He now could be charged with failing to appear in court. It’s a slam-dunk of a charge in this case, and it carries a potential sentence of three years in state prison. If it’s proven that Judge Rittenband intended to violate the plea bargain, it’ll make Polanski’s flight understandable, but it won’t make it legal. Nevertheless, the defense will most certainly play this card for maximum advantage to show why Polanski shouldn’t be punished for having fled before the sentencing.

There is some talk that the defense might ask to withdraw the plea on the rape charge and go to trial, but I very much doubt that will happen. Polanski’s looking at a long fall if the case gets pulled together.
Plus, at Cold Fury, "The Last Word on Polanski."

The Media-Terrorist Complex

From Snapped Shot, "The Media-Terrorist Complex Rises Again":

Believe it or not, one of these two photographs is real.

Masked Palestinian Hamas militants speak to the press during a press conference in Gaza City, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009. Israel and Hamas militants announced a deal Wednesday that will see Israel release 20 Palestinian women from prison this week in exchange for a videotape proving that a captive Israeli soldier held in the Gaza Strip is still alive. The decision was the first tangible sign of movement in more than three years of talks over the release of the soldier, Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who has not been seen since he was captured by Hamas-linked militants in a cross-border raid in June 2006. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)


Be sure to read the full post. I like this part:

Would you have attended these press conferences if the Ku Klux Klan was hosting one about the evils of the civil rights movement?

Would you be going out of your way to provide the Nazi German point of view during coverage of World War II?And editors, would you allow glowing coverage of either of those two groups to dominate your news coverage?

Because Hamas, an organization which
has genocide written into its constitution, is no better than either of those two groups—and yet, you seem to think that the news consumers of the world are dying to know what Hamas has to say.

Hat Tip: Atlas Shrugs.

Another Mumbai? Qaeda-Taliban-Lashkar Ready to Strike Again

Recall former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statement last week:
The last time we left Afghanistan, and we abandoned Pakistan ... that territory became the very territory on which Al Qaeda trained and attacked us on September 11th. So our national security interests are very much tied up in not letting Afghanistan fail again and become a safe haven for terrorists.

It's that simple ... if you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan.
Keep that in mind when noting this morning's frontpage report at the New York Times, "Militant Group Is Intact After Mumbai Siege" (via Mememorandum):
Ten months after the devastating attacks in Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants, the group behind the assault remains largely intact and determined to strike India again, according to current and former members of the group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and intelligence officials.

Despite pledges from Pakistan to dismantle militant groups operating on its soil, and the arrest of a handful of operatives, Lashkar has persisted, even flourished, since 10 recruits killed 163 people in a rampage through Mumbai, India’s financial capital, last November.

Indian and Pakistani dossiers on the Mumbai investigations, copies of which were obtained by The New York Times, offer a detailed picture of the operations of a Lashkar network that spans Pakistan. It included four houses and two training camps here in this sprawling southern port city that were used to prepare the attacks.

Among the organizers, the Pakistani document says, was Hammad Amin Sadiq, a homeopathic pharmacist, who arranged bank accounts and secured supplies. He and six others begin their formal trial on Saturday in Pakistan, though Indian authorities say the prosecution stops well short of top Lashkar leaders.

Indeed, Lashkar’s broader network endures, and can be mobilized quickly for elaborate attacks with relatively few resources, according to a dozen current and former Lashkar militants and intelligence officials from the United States, Europe, India and Pakistan.
There's not much of a thread on this at Memeorandum. Nor is there much of a thread at Andrew Malcolm's piece on the Obama administration's Afghan withdrawal agenda, which I discussed here: "What Obama Won't Say ... America Will Cut and Run From Afghanistan."

But folks should not be complacent about the catastrophic threats ahead, nor should folks be reassured by Democratic foreign policy grandstanding. Secretary Rice nailed it: If you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan.

See also, American Digest, "
The Road to a Democrat Led Defeat of America Goes Through Afghanistan."

Whoopi Goldberg Backlash: Where is the Liberal Outrage? Where's America's?

From the Heritage Foundation, "Hollywood’s Selective Values: Where is the Liberal Outrage?"

Yesterday, Whoopi Goldberg decided America needs two definitions of rape. First there is the rape of women that is tolerated by the left because it is committed by someone creative. And then there is everything else. When asked about Roman Polanski’s arrest and potential extradition to the United States following his 31 years spent as a fugitive in Europe, Whoopi said on her program The View: “I know it wasn’t rape-rape,” and went on to say, “We’re a different kind of society. We see things differently. The world sees 13 year olds and 14 year olds in the rest of Europe… not everybody agrees with the way we see things…” and finally, “Would I want my 14-year-old having sex with somebody? Not necessarily, no.” Not necessarily? Where can we nominate Whoopi for mother of the year?
Frankly, this episode illustrates all that is wrong with popular morality today - and all that is wrong with Democratic values. These are the same folks who are coddling Latin American dictators:

Sometimes I don't know what to think anymore. And so, I just fight back. I refuse to let the contemporary left destroy our country. (See, "Venezuela President Hugo Chavez Turns on the Charm for Courtney Love at Oliver Stone Screening").

And more Democratic values, "
Powerful Player Joins Polanski Team" (via Memeorandum):
While a backlash emerged Tuesday among French politicians of all stripes about whether their government and others should have rushed to embrace the cause of the jailed film director Roman Polanski, his American legal team picked up an influential new member: the lawyer Reid Weingarten, a well-known Washington power player and close friend and associate of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Gallup: 61 Percent Say Health Insurance is Personal Responsibility

Maybe this will put a damper on this week's spin that the public option is alive (here and here). From Gallup, "Many in U.S. See Health Insurance as Personal Responsibility":

In a recent Gallup survey, 89% of Republicans, 64% of independents, and 61% of Americans overall say Americans themselves -- rather than the government -- have the primary responsibility for ensuring that they have health insurance. Six in 10 Democrats say the government should be primarily responsible.
Read the whole thing (via Memeorandum). Importantly, the report notes that question wording significantly influences public support for a government-run insurance program. And mostly, folks aren't buying the hard left's moral case for a massive overhaul of America's healthcare system. As Jennifer Rubin notes, "Americans might like the government to help out, but the notion that government is defective in some regard unless it becomes their health-care provider is not catching on."

What Obama Won't Say ... America Will Cut and Run From Afghanistan

From Andrew Malcolm, "What Obama Won't Way About the Afghan War Today, at Least Publicly":

Tomorrow night the president will fly off to Copenhagen in his 747 with the one-man shower, the double-bed and the motorized window blinds to help the Chicago Chamber of Commerce stave off the Rio de Janeiro challenge and sell the International Olympic Committee on the Windy (Humid) City for the 2016 summer games. Having First Lady Michelle Obama head the U.S. delegation wasn't good enough for Mayor Richard M. Daley, to whom all municipal Democrats owe obeisance out there.

But today out of the public eye in a very secure White House room the president will meet with top advisers to debate what to do about the good war, the one that Obama spent the last two-plus years arguing was the real one against terrorism, not the concocted conflict in Iraq.

Obama calls the Afghan conflict "a war of necessity" and has already approved one troop surge there. Now the new allied commander appointed by the Obama administration says he needs more boots on the ground or failure is virtually certain.

As more U.S. troops undertook more aggressive action this summer, August turned into the worst month for American casualties in the eight-year war, with
one American dying every 14 hours. That's likely to worsen.

Obama spent the entire summer almost exclusively selling healthcare reform. And as memories of 9/11 and the attackers' training sites in Taliban Afghanistan fade, polls show American support for the war there melting, especially within Obama's own party.

Only about a quarter support sending more troops -- and many of that party of Yes are Republicans. They agree with Obama that it's esssential to deny Afghanistan to terrorists and keep Pakistan's nukes out of their hands.

So what's to do?

White House officials say privately no final decisions will be made today. But the thinking will be greatly shaped and the stakes are huge, making healthcare look like a sideshow.

Signs are growing that Obama will seek to change the war goals, to redefine what is success and divert the discussion away from the more-troops measure. It's not defeat in Afghanistan; it's victory of a different kind. The president used a similar strategic argument recently when abandoning the Bush administration's missile defense shield in Europe: it's not less defense, it's defense done smarter and cheaper.

Read the whole thing (via Memeorandum). This is why I can't stand the Democrats. Both Joseph Biden and John Kerry, cited at the essay (with a link to Kerry's WSJ op-ed this week), are Obama's varsity cheerleaders for an American cut-and-run from Afghanistan. As Malcolm notes, with regards to the president's meeting with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen":

But notice anything missing here? No more mention of the original 9/11 bad guys, the Taliban. No mention either of defeating them. And no more mention of making it safe for democracy to flourish in Afghanistan.

Through such overlooked omissions are the political goals and measures of American victory in Afghanistan being subtly shifted without any notice or announcement by the Obama administration.
And remember, this is the administration that's redefining September 11 into a national day of community organizing. See, "A ‘National Day of Service’? Or a Political Hijacking of 9/11?"

Plus, "
Are We Complacent About Terrorism?"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Patrick Gaspard's ACORN Connection: The Cover-Up Begins

Here's Ben Smith, at the Politico:
I hate to put a damper on the day's firestorm on the right over a White House staffer, but an American Spectator report making the rounds this morning that White House political director Patrick Gaspard used to work for ACORN in New York just isn't true.
But Matthew Vadum responds, "The Politico Gets Played By ACORN":

The Politico's Ben Smith is a living case study showing what happens when sincere, well-meaning journalists write about something they do not understand.

ACORN, quite predictably, claims Patrick Gaspard who is now an extremely close advisor to President Obama, didn't work for it.

Smith just got played by ACORN -- big time.
Read the whole thing, at the link.

The White House has denied that Gaspard worked for ACORN.

And conveniently, Wade Rathke, the ACORN founder, who was forced out following his brother
Dale Rathke's embezzlement scandal, has updated a blog post to deny that Gaspard was employed by ACORN:

My “friends” on the right seem to be using me as a source for an attack at yet another new target: Patrick Gaspard, political director at the White House.

I have huge admiration for Patrick and have enjoyed my dealings with him over the years. In almost 1400 blogs I’ve done, sometimes I don’t get it right, call it a senior moment or whatever it might be, but reading the blogsphere with me as a source took me back searching for whether or not I could be causing a problem here inadvertently. Patrick was never on the staff of ACORN. I double checked with people I still know there, and it appears that I dropped a stitch there. Hopefully my misstatement won’t lead to the White House throwing him in front of the bus in this rush to neo-McCarthyism that has become so prominent. In this case, my memory tricked me. I’m glad to carry the weight and simply say I made a mistake, and damned if I’m not sorry and hope no damage is done to a good man doing a hard job.
Hmm. "Dropped a stitch"? That's a good one.

But notice this damning revision, from Rathke's May 16th post "
SEIU's Good Obama Bet":
Furthermore this is big time stuff not just petty backroom deals and the Obama administration is getting way more than a bang for its buck in the partnership as well. The big news this week at the centerpiece of saving the Obama health care reform initiative was the announcement by some of the big healthcare operators that they would deliver MEGA-SAVINGS to help make the health care reform happen. Not surprisingly Andy Stern was there along with Dennis Rivera, head of SEIU’s health care division, and they were the only labor leaders there for good reason. Buried in the story in the New York Times lead report that day was the following sentence: “Dennis Rivera, coordinator of the health care campaign of the Service Employees International Union, led efforts to bring the industry groups together, with help from Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform.” Dennis delivered for SEIU and the White House in only the way that he can. Tell me that 1199’s former political director, Patrick Gaspard (EDIT: This line used to contain a reference to Patrick Gaspard working for NY ACORN. This is untrue, he never worked for ACORN. To see Wade’s correction: didn’t reach out from the White House and help make that happen, and I’ll tell you to take some remedial classes in “politics 101.”
That tiny url (in italics) takes you back to the post cited above with the italicized block quote, as seen originally at Rathke's page ("Getting Leveraged on Heath Care"). The "1199" is SEIU Local 1199. It is cited by CEO Bertha Lewis, in a letter to the Nation co-authored with Patrick Gaspard, as an ACORN-affiliated local union. See, "Run WFP Run! Run WFP Run!":
Doug Ireland's offhand comments about the Working Families Party's role in the upcoming municipal elections in New York City were inaccurate and hurtful ....

Speaking for two affiliates of the WFP -- ACORN and SEIU/1199 -- I say that this is dead wrong.
Matthew Vadum has quoted the entire letter at his piece, "The Politico Gets Played By ACORN" (in case of some memory-hole action).

See also Stanley Kurtz's post from yesterday, "
Patrick Gaspard, ACORN, and Obama":
There’s been a good deal of attention to ACORN of late, and deservedly so. Yet for all the fuss, what is arguably the most important Obama-ACORN tie of all has gotten short shrift. During the 2008 election, Obama’s close links to the far-left New Party were revealed and explored (although not by the mainstream press). Yet many seem to have forgotten that the New Party, particularly in Chicago, was dominated by ACORN (and by an ACORN-controlled SEIU union local). During the campaign, I detailed Obama’s New Party ties in two pieces, "Something New Here," and "Life of the New Party." Important evidence of Obama’s pursuit of the New Party endorsement can also be found in the September-October 1995 issue of "New Ground," newsletter of the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Obama’s New Party ties matter because they show that his links to ACORN went far beyond shared on-the-ground organizing, legal representation, training, or even funding (although all of those ties existed and were important). By running for office with the New Party, Obama was effectively indicating that he shared ACORN’s radical political goals.

So it’s of interest that in late 1995, just as Obama was seeking New Party endorsement in Chicago, Patrick Gaspard was working as a New Party organizer in New Jersey. (This was reported in "Jersey Man Hopes to Create Third Political Party," NPR, "Morning Edition, " September 28, 1995). Then, in the July 2, 2001 issue of "The Nation," Gaspard and Bertha Lewis jointly published a reply to a June 4 Nation article by Doug Ireland which had been critical of the New York’s Working Families Party (a successor to the New Party, led by New Party co-founder Dan Cantor, and largely controlled by ACORN and the SEIU). In the course of their letter, Gaspard and Lewis describe their extensive joint involvement in Working Families Party activities. The letter is signed: "Bertha Lewis, ACORN, WFP; Patrick Gaspard, SEIU State Council, WFP." This does seem to confirm and extend the new evidence of a close political tie between Patrick Gaspard and ACORN’s Bertha Lewis.

No doubt, some will dismiss the newly revealed connections between the Obama administration, Patrick Gaspard, Bertha Lewis, and ACORN as "guilt by association." Yet it seems to me that the evidence points to something more significant than that. We are talking about a persistent and shared political-ideological alliance between President Obama and the complex of community, labor, and party organizations controlled by ACORN.
More at the link.

Image Credit: The People's Cube, "
ACORN: Honesty is Not Going to Get You the House." See also, Michelle Malkin, "ACORN Watch: “Honesty is Not Going to Get You the House”."

Deliver Us Obama: Community Organizers Pray to President

From World Net Daily, a retrospective look at the ObamaMessiah: "Community Organizers 'Pray' to President: 'Hear Our Cry. Hear Our Cry. Deliver Us'." This creepshow is totally predictable. Recall the Oliphant cartoon from the campaign. The video's below, via Nice Deb. See also, Michelle Malkin, "Creepy O-cult Video of the Day: “Deliver Us, Obama!."

See also: Atlas Shrugs, The Blog Prof, Gateway Pundit, HotAirPundit, RedState, and Sundries Shack. (Via Memeorandum.)

Added: The Snooper Report, "Why Are the DEMOCRAT "Christians" Allowed to Combine Church and State?"

Sarah Palin: Going Rogue: An American Life

I first saw the title at Midnight Blue. And the headline at Clifton's blog spreads the news, "Sarah Palin's Memoir 'Going Rogue: An American Life' Set for Nov. 17 Release."

See also, the Politico, "Palin's Title: 'Going Rogue'."

Leftists are already pouncing to rekindle old smears against Ms. Palin. And the smears will continue. So far, Palin's done everything right in lining herself up for the 2012 GOP primaries. Recall my essay on this July, "Can Palin Win the 2012 GOP Nomination?" Along with her book --- impressively scheduled for an early release --- she's raising money, traveling internationally, and offering widely-read policy papers (well, Facebook "papers," more accurately). And recall that Palin has been recognized as the most effective GOP critic of President Brack Obama. See, most recently, "Palin, in Hong Kong, Criticizes Obama's Policies." Best of all, Palin's looking good in pulbic opinion. See, Gallup, "Romney Edges Palin, Huckabee in Early 2012 GOP Test." Despite that headline, Palin's the's the one to beat in 2012, far and away.

Related: Matthew Towery, Juneau Empire, "
GOP Return to Power Could Be Swift." Also, check Memorandum.

Is There a Human Right to Be Free From Offense?

The title of this post is inspired by Blazing Cat Fur, who links to the homepage for the upcoming conference of the Canadian Constitution Foundation: "Race, Religion, Equality and Freedom: Current Canadian Legal Controversies." The event is scheduled for this coming weekend, with one of the panels titled, "Is There a Human Right to Be Free From Offense?"

The answer's obvious: No, there's no human right to be unoffended. Human rights are generally considered those protections guaranteeing life, liberty, and property -- i.e., Lockean safeguards for the protection human dignity and survival. How those safeguards are defined is a political question, of course, and in postmodern societies, where constitutional protections for traditionally disadvantaged groups have become the sine qua non of hardline leftist ideologues, to be seen as opposing human rights for freedom from offense would immediately be considered "racist."

Anyway, I wasn't going to write about it until I saw a couple of posts right now online. First is Mark Steyn's essay, "
What They're Telling Us":

This piece by Lloyd Marcus, a black conservative, is called "Stop Allowing The Left To Set The Rules", and deals with the alleged racism of the anti-Obama opposition. As Mr Marcus notes:

The Left published a cartoon depicting former black Secretary of State Condolezza Rice as an Aunt Jemima; another depicted Rice as a huge-lipped parrot for her Massa Bush. Neither were considered racist by their creators or publishers, or even widely condemned on the Left.

In opposition to black Republican Michael Steele's campaign torun for U.S. Senate, a liberal blogger published a doctored photo of Steele in black face and big red lips made to look like a minstrel. The caption read, "Simple Sambo wants to move to the big house". Not one Democrat denounced these racist portrayals of black conservatives.

True. Nobody minds liberal commentators expressing the hope that Clarence Thomas "will die early from heart disease like many black men", etc. Contemporary identity-group politics are prototype one-party states: If you're a black Republican Secretary of State, you're not really black. If you're a female Republican vice-presidential nominee, you're not really a woman. What's racist and sexist here is the notion that, if you're black or female, your politics is determined by your group membership.

But, if we're talking about letting the left "set the rules", Mr Marcus' column reminded me of a larger point: Don't take your opponents at face value; listen to what they're really saying. What does the frenzy unleashed on Sarah Palin last fall tell us? What does Newsweek's "Mad Man" cover on Glenn Beck mean? Why have "civility" drones like Joe Klein so eagerly adopted Anderson Cooper's scrotal "teabagging" slur and characterized as "racists" and "terrorists" what are (certainly by comparison with the anti-G20 crowd) the best behaved and tidiest street agitators in modern history?

They're telling you who they really fear. Whom the media gods would destroy they first make into "mad men". Liz Cheney should be due for the treatment any day now.

I almost had to laugh at the brilliant accuracy of the description - that's postmodern leftism to a "T". And there's more at the link.

But that's not all. It turns out, via
Glenn Reynolds, that we have a pretty good example of this in the case out of Richmond, Virginia, where residents have taken offense to a the use of the "Obama Joker" poster by a local strip club. Glenn titles his post, "FREE SPEECH: Only For Members of Officially Recognized Aggrieved Groups." He links to this story from NBC Connecticut: "NAACP Protests Obama Joker Banner at Strip Club":
While the NAACP and other groups protested a banner depicting President Barack Obama as the Joker from Batman on the side of a Richmond, Va., strip club on Monday, a dancer from the club walked through the crowd with a sign that read "Strippers for Obama" as a drummer kept a steady beat.

The banner hangs outside Club Velvet, and the club's owner, Sam Moore, said in a statement that the display is not intended to make a racial statement, but rather to express his displeasure with the Obama administration, according to WTVR-TV.

"This country is going to hell in a hand bag and the current administration is making things irreversibly worse," Moore said.

Some locals said they were offended by the banner, while others said it is a sign of freedom of speech.

Representatives from the NAACP, the Nation of Islam and other groups gathered outside Club Velvet at noon Monday to protest what they called an affront against the nation's first black president and "veiled attacks on all African people."
There's more at the link, plus a video.

I'm linking this video below, however, from Richmond's WWBT-NBC12, "
Legal Analyst Speaks to Depiction of Obama as 'Joker' ":

Monday, September 28, 2009

'Jesus Christ! Where'd You Get that Cadillac?'

Well, I've been so busy with the heavy political blogging and grassroots activism, I've neglected the "Lightening Up" entries on rock music and more. So, not wanting to let down my good friend Anton over at PA Pundits International, as well as my regular reader, Kreiz, please enjoy The Clash, "Brand New Cadillac":

The first video at top features The Clash live in 1983, from Devore, California. The event was the US Festival (commemorative website here). The Clash headlined the first night of a three-day gig. Opening bands that day, on May 28th, included INXS, Flock of Seagulls, and the Stray Cats. The second day, May 29th, was the hard-rock concert featuring lots of big acts, like Judas Priest, Ozzy Osborne, and Van Halen. I attended the third day of events, May 30th. What a rock spectacular! The lineup included U2, Missing Persons, Joe Walsh, Stevie Nicks, and David Bowie. (Also playing in the beer gardens was Los Lobos, just when they started to hit it big in Los Angeles.)

I was a Bowie freak at the time. "Let's Dance" had just come out and Bowie's career was in something of the "grand statesman's mode." Reaching a commercial pinnacle, he was happy and settling down after his sensational 1970s gender-bending turns ("Ziggy Stardust", etc.), and the drug-addled European-esque episodes of the 1980s ("Heroes," etc.). Some may recall that Stevie Ray Vaughn had played lead guitar on the studio album for "Let's Dance", but Vaughn didn't tour (there was a falling out with David, if I recall).

Anyway, I couldn't afford to attend all three days, although I'm still kicking myself for never having seen The Clash in concert - one of my favorite bands, and "Brand New Cadillac" one of my favorite songs. The studio version is at the second video above, an excellent homemade picture and video-clip collage.

Back online later tonight!

I gotta help my little one with his homework and do some MORE house cleaning - or my wife will have my neck for too much blogging! In the meanwhile, check out my good friends at Grandpa John's, Midnight Blue, Pat in Shreveport, Pelican Marsh, and Three Bears Later.

Patrick Gaspard: ACORN's Man in the White House

From Matthew Vadum, "ACORN's Man in the White House":

Newly discovered evidence shows the radical advocacy group ACORN has a man in the Obama White House.

This power behind the throne is longtime ACORN operative Patrick Gaspard. He holds the title of White House political affairs director, the same title Karl Rove held in President Bush's White House.

Evidence shows that years before he joined the Obama administration, Gaspard was ACORN boss Bertha Lewis's political director in New York.

Lewis, the current "chief organizer" or CEO of ACORN, was head of New York ACORN from at least 1994 through 2008, when she took over as national leader of ACORN. With Gaspard at work in the White House, Lewis might as well be speaking to President Obama through an earpiece as he goes about his daily business ruining the country.

Erick Erickson of the website RedState recently did an excellent job explaining the relationship of Gaspard to Lewis and President Obama so I won't take up space here recalling all his valuable insights. Suffice it to say Erickson reported that Gaspard figures prominently in Lewis's rolodex, which Erickson has in his possession.

Skeptics among you may ask, How do we actually know the low-profile Gaspard, who prefers to work outside the public spotlight and who can hardly be found in Nexis searches at all, was Lewis's right hand man?

Because Gaspard's employment with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is acknowledged by no less an authority than ACORN founder Wade Rathke himself. Rathke writes at his blog:

Tell me that 1199's former political director, Patrick Gaspard (who was ACORN New York's political director before that) didn't reach out from the White House and help make that happen, and I'll tell you to take some remedial classes in "politics 101."

The "before that" time period Rathke is referring to is 2003 when Gaspard was executive vice president for political and legislative affairs for 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. According to publicly available disclosure documents, Gaspard registered as a federal lobbyist for SEIU on Oct. 22, 2007. The registration and subsequent disclosures indicate he lobbied Congress on SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Incidentally, the lines between ACORN and radical left-wing SEIU, whose acronym stands for Service Employees International Union, become fuzzy in places.

SEIU Locals 100 and 880 are part of the ACORN network of organizations. Local 100 in New Orleans is headed by Rathke. SEIU Local 880 in Chicago is headed by longtime ACORN insider Keith Kelleher.

You'd never know about the SEIU connection from visiting ACORN's website, That's because the website has been receiving a thorough scrubbing in recent months. On ACORN's affiliated organizations page, references to the two SEIU locals mysteriously disappeared.

It's worth noting that Gaspard's ties to ACORN, SEIU, and Lewis go way back.

Read the whole thing, at the link.

Also, at the Wall Street Journal, "
Bank Pulls Back From Acorn Work" (via Memeorandum).

Pro-Life Forces See Roe v.Wade as Vulnerable

From the Los Angeles Times, "A New Push to Define 'Person,' and to Outlaw Abortion in the Process":

It is one of the enduring questions of religion and science, and lately of American politics: When does a fertilized egg become a person?

Abortion foes, tired of a profusion of laws that limit but do not abolish abortion, are trying to answer the question in a way that they hope could put an end to legalized abortion.

Across the country, they have revived efforts to amend state constitutions to declare that personhood -- and all rights accorded human beings -- begins at conception.

From Florida to California, abortion foes are gathering signatures, pressing state legislators and raising money to put personhood measures on ballots next year. In Louisiana, a class at a Catholic high school is lobbying state legislators as part of a civics exercise.

"We have big and small efforts going on in 30 states right now," said Keith Mason, co-founder of Colorado-based Personhood USA. "Our goal is to activate the population."

Critics deride the effort as the "egg-as-person" movement and say it threatens in vitro fertilization; some kinds of birth control, including IUDs and pills; and stem cell research. They say that Americans will reject it as a government intrusion into their privacy.

"It's a backdoor abortion ban," said Ted Miller, spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has worked with Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups to defeat such measures.

Since the mid-1970s, polls have found that about three-quarters of Americans support legalized abortion in at least some circumstances.

But this year, for the first time since the Gallup Poll started asking people in 1995 whether they identified themselves as "pro-life" or "pro-choice," a slight majority of Americans (51%) picked "pro-life."

Proponents of personhood measures root their hopes in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, in which Justice Harry Blackmun wrote for the majority that a fetus is not legally a person.

Establishing personhood would topple the rationale for legal abortion, their thinking goes, though many people on both sides of the abortion debate consider this logic farfetched.

Defeats of personhood measures around the country -- notably in Colorado, which in 2008 became the first state to put a measure before voters -- have not daunted proponents, a loose confederation of evangelical Christian and Catholic antiabortion groups.

Mason said he had been inspired by other struggles -- against slavery, for women's suffrage, for gay rights."

I don't agree with the homosexual agenda, but I say, look at the tenacity of what they have done to fight for what is right," he said."I don't believe that just because we will not get enough votes in an election that we should not do this. I don't recall Martin Luther King checking the polls to see if he was right on civil rights."

Today, Mason will join activists in Sacramento to announce a signature-gathering campaign for an initiative to amend California's Constitution and define a person as a human starting at conception.

More at the link.

Video Credit: Jill Stanek, "
Lila Rose, Pastor Walter Hoye to launch CA Human Rights Campaign today":

I'm told Lila Rose, Pastor Walter Hoye, Judie Brown, and the "Bella Movie guys" (don't know which ones) will be present to launch the CA Human Rights Campaign at a press conference today in Sacramento.

It is there the group will submit language for the Human Rights Amendment to AG Jerry Brown, to be presented as a 2010 CA ballot initiative if all goes as planned.

The amendment "recognizes the inherent human rights, dignity and worth of all human beings from the beginning of their biological development," said Pastor Hoye in a statement. This is commonly known as a personhood amendment, and they're popping up everywhere. According to
Personhood USA, groups in 17 states are now at various stages of play on this.
Be sure to read the rest of Jill's post for the internal movement debate on overturning Roe v. Wade.

Giving Voice to Our Enemies: Newsweek: 'The Taliban in Their Own Words'

The only explanation I can think of is that Newsweek's editors have used "journalistic objectivity" in the service of postmodern relativism. Their report, "The Taliban in Their Own Words," glosses over the goals of demonic Islamist jihadism to portray a pitiful, poor population caught in the timewarp of great power rivalries.

Here's this heartfelt discussion from Mohammad:
The end of the Taliban was the start of my jihadi career. My father died in 1994, leaving me to take care of my mother, brothers, and sisters. So I'd had no time to join Mullah Omar's movement. For years I had a very heavy conscience for having missed the jihad. After the collapse of the Taliban in late 2001, many injured and traumatized mujahedin began coming to the mosque in Peshawar where I was the imam. Some of the worshipers asked me outright why I hadn't fought in the jihad like these men.

I needed to make up for not joining the fight. I started asking around if the mujahedin were still active, but no one could give me a real answer. Then one day I heard about a young Afghan named Azizullah who had been in the resistance—he's in jail now in Afghanistan. I went to his house, and told him I wanted to help the resistance against the Americans if it was forming. He lied, saying he was only a poor man and had nothing to do with jihad. Then one day I saw him walking to the mosque. I joined him. He was still hesitant, but finally he said he could help. He gave me directions to a militant camp in Waziristan and a letter of introduction.
The highlighted emphasis is added. This guy above regrets he didn't join the jihadis in the 1990s, so now he wants to catch up and restore his creds by killing a few Americans. Cool dude.

Okay, how about Haqqani:

In early 2003 my family and I moved to a rented house near Peshawar. It was the first time I was living in my own house since 2001. I put my white clerical outfit back on. And suddenly the Taliban's defense minister, Mullah Obaidullah, came to see me—the first senior Taliban leader I had seen since our collapse. He was traveling around Pakistan to rally our dispersed forces. Half the Taliban leadership was back in touch with each other, he said, and they were determined to start a resistance movement to expel the Americans. I didn't think it was possible, but he assured me I could help.

He said to meet him again in two weeks, and gave me an address. I was surprised at the number and rank of the people I found at the meeting. There were former senior ministers and military commanders, all sitting together, all eager to resist the Americans. Obaidullah told me: "We don't need you as a deputy minister or bureaucrat. We want you to bring as many fighters as you can into the field."
There you have it. More gung-ho resistance against the Americans.

Now, here's Akhundzada:

There are famous Taliban poems about how mujahedin come to free villages from occupiers at the point of a bayonet. I began living that poem. My body and mind got stronger and my mental problems disappeared. As word of our success traveled, I was able to organize another group of new, young recruits. They were smarter, more spirited, and better motivated than my former Taliban fighters.

Still, we lacked weapons and money. So I visited Mullah Dadullah. He had gone into Helmand province in early 2006 with 30 people. When he returned months later, he had organized 300 sub-commanders who each had dozens of troops. He had also signed up and was training hundreds of suicide-bomb volunteers. His return was like the arrival of rain after five years of drought.
Hey, sounds like a great guy! Suicide bombers no less! Impressive! Takes real courage!

Okay, back to Mohammad:

Once we sent a shipment for the making of IEDs to our forces in Zabul province. For some reason we forgot to include the remote-control devices. I got an urgent call from the commander asking me to quickly send the missing items. So I hid the remotes among some books and clothes in several travel bags. At Torkham [the Khyber Pass crossing], the police asked me to open the bags. At first I thought I should flee. But where could I run? I started searching for the key to open the bags. There was a long customs queue. The impatient policeman finally said: "You're taking too long. Get out of here."

Another night I was in a hotel in Kabul on a mission to smuggle remote devices and explosives. Afghan police and intelligence were checking all the travelers staying in the hotel. My fellow mujahedin and I hid the bags containing the remotes in the bathroom. The police checked our luggage and pockets. But God blinded their eyes to the bathroom. If they had found the devices I would have ended up in jail for life. All these close calls strengthened my faith and my commitment to the jihad.
Hey, perhaps Newsweek's got some actionable intelligence out of all of this. You think maybe we could stop a few IED attack on U.S. troops and civilians with that dope?

One more time with Haqqani:

In 2007 I returned to Afghanistan for the first time. I visited the south and spoke to Taliban units, to elders and villagers, and raised new recruits. Mullah Omar has entrusted me with the job of touring towns and villages on both sides of the border to encourage people to support, contribute to, and join the jihad. Between 2006 and 2009 I have personally raised hundreds of new recruits to join the resistance. [In August] I traveled to eight Afghan provinces in 20 days. The unpopularity of the Karzai regime helps us immensely. In 2005 some Afghans thought Karzai would bring positive change. But now most Afghans believe the Taliban are the future. The resistance is getting stronger day by day.
Then this guy's got information on the whereabouts of resistance fighters targeting Americans. I can't imagine how Newsweek's editors thought this was good journalism.

Here's this, from Khan:

Fighting the Americans is not easy. One night in the summer of 2007, my commander, Mullah Nurla, was killed in an American raid on his house. Other Americans killed 12 of our commanders. All the raids came between midnight and dawn. We found out that the Americans were finding us by tracing our cell-phone calls, and by calls from spies giving away our locations. So we forced the cell companies to stop all transmissions from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. We still worry about helicopters and bombers, but we are suffering fewer American night raids. I think they just don't have the intelligence they used to have. Fewer people are willing to cooperate with them and betray us.

Our men, on the other hand, are watching American bases 24 hours a day. They inform us of American movements. We used to hit the Americans with roadside bombs and then disappear. Now when we explode an IED, we follow that with AK and RPG fire. We now have more destructive IEDs, mostly ammonium-nitrate bombs that we mix with aluminum shards. We get regular deliveries of these fertilizers, explosives, fuses, detonators, and remote controls. One heavy shipment is on its way right now. I think we are better at making IEDs now than the Arabs who first taught us.
I had to hightlight that whole passage.

Notice that last part, about how the "Arabs taught us." That's going to be al Qaeda in Iraq or . These are the forces of the militant arch of jihad that's spanning from Israel to South Asia. Newsweek's reporters are traveling with these terrorists, and they've obviously obtained information that could save American lives. If you read the caption to the photo-gallery, the disclaimer reads, "Because they continue armed struggle, the men [insurgents] would not be photographed for this story ..." You think?

This is what these nice friendly Taliban do -- FULL CONTENT WARNING!! TURN AWAY AT WEAK STOMACH!!:

Stanley McChrystal's Frank Talk on Afghanistan

I nearly posted on this last night, but didn't find a YouTube to go with my commentary. Readers can watch the interview at CBS, "McChrystal's Frank Talk on Afghanistan."

The Hill covers the conclusion of the interview, which was pretty dramatic. See, "
Despite Pressure, McChrystal to Hold Firm on Request for Troops":

Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he will not back down from his request for additional troops in Afghanistan, even though Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration have been hesitant to embrace it.

Speaking on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday night, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan said pressure to rescind that request will have no affect on his actions going forward.
“Doesn’t affect me at all, and I take this extraordinarily seriously,” McChrystal said, according to a transcript. “I believe that what I am responsible to do is to give my best assessment.”

McChrystal’s recent report -- delivered to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on Friday and asking for 40,000 more troops -- is a hot-button issue on Capitol Hill, with Democrats hitting the Sunday talk show circuit earlier in the day and saying that the administration should weigh McChrystal’s request very carefully.

"I think the president is correct to take his time, to really examine what the alternatives are at this time," Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, echoing fellow senator and former Navy Secretary Jim Webb (D-Va.).

Obama authorized 21,000 additional troops for Afghanistan as soon as he came into office in January and the last from that order are still deploying to the region.

McChrystal deflected when asked whether he thought he would get what he is asking for from Washington.

“I’m confident that I will have an absolute chance to provide my assessment and to make my recommendations,” he said.
At MyDD, Charles Lemos argues the Afghan effort is hopeless:

Afghanistan is an artificial state, the rump left over after the Grand Game between Britain and Russia ended in the late 19th century. This Central Asian entity we call Afghanistan is an accident drawn up to suit the interests of outsiders, not those of the myriad peoples of the region. To believe that we can create a strong and stable central government defies historical and cultural realities.
Actually, expert analysis rejects that view, based on an interest-based analysis of the key participants to the conflict. See my earlier report, "Reconciliation and Resolve in Afghanistan." See my analysis of public support for the deployment as well, "Success Matters: Public Opinion and the War in Afghanistan."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Babe Blogging: Britney Spears Bikini Pics

I'm temporarily coming out of babe-blogging retirement to share this wonderful bikini pic of Britney Spears at the Ritz Carlton, Marina Del Rey, from August 16. The inspiration is William Teach's "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup," and the Classical Liberal's homage to Britney, "Not Reason, Just Britney." Enjoy!

As always, more fabulous babe blogging at Theo Spark's. And don't miss Camp of the Saints' refreshingly cool entry on Tina Louise! (Hat Tip: TrogloPundit.)

Canadians Push for 'Private Option'

A great report at today's Los Angeles Times, "In Canada, a Move Toward a Private Healthcare Option":
When the pain in Christina Woodkey's legs became so severe that she could no long hike or cross-country ski, she went to her local health clinic. The Calgary, Canada, resident was told she'd need to see a hip specialist. Because the problem was not life-threatening, however, she'd have to wait about a year.

So wait she did.

In January, the hip doctor told her that a narrowing of the spine was compressing her nerves and causing the pain. She needed a back specialist. The appointment was set for Sept. 30. "When I was given that date, I asked when could I expect to have surgery," said Woodkey, 72. "They said it would be a year and a half after I had seen this doctor."

So this month, she drove across the border into Montana and got the $50,000 surgery done in two days.

"I don't have insurance. We're not allowed to have private health insurance in Canada," Woodkey said. "It's not going to be easy to come up with the money. But I'm happy to say the pain is almost all gone."

Whereas U.S. healthcare is predominantly a private system paid for by private insurers, things in Canada tend toward the other end of the spectrum: A universal, government-funded health system is only beginning to flirt with private-sector medicine.

Hoping to capitalize on patients who might otherwise go to the U.S. for speedier care, a network of technically illegal private clinics and surgical centers has sprung up in British Columbia, echoing a trend in Quebec. In October, the courts will be asked to decide whether the budding system should be sanctioned.

More than 70 private health providers in British Columbia now schedule simple surgeries and tests such as MRIs with waits as short as a week or two, compared with the months it takes for a public surgical suite to become available for nonessential operations.

"What we have in Canada is access to a government, state-mandated wait list," said Brian Day, a former Canadian Medical Assn. director who runs a private surgical center in Vancouver. "You cannot force a citizen in a free and democratic society to simply wait for healthcare, and outlaw their ability to extricate themselves from a wait list."

Read the whole thing, here.

I'm surprised, frankly, that the Times' editors even ran this piece. The paper's been one of the country's biggest journalistic shills for ObamaCare. When I reported on the massive Adam Schiff town hall in August - which was the lead story on that night's local ABC News broadcast - the Times competely ignored the story in the next day's paper. Instead, we saw a tearjerker piece on the massive free healthcare clinic at the L.A. Forum. I'm putting the Los Angeles Times practically in the same category as its New York Times counterpart. See, "The New York Times ACORN Cover-Up; or, How the Right-Roots Brings Down the Old Grey Lady." Once in a while, some fair-minded journalism gets through, like today's piece on Canada above. Otherwise, it's pretty frustrating reading the newspaper in the mornings.

Hillary Clinton on Iran: 'Transparency or Sanctions'

Here's Hillary Clinton's interview this morning on Face the Nation, "Clinton on Iran: Transparency or Sanctions":

Clinton spoke of transparency and diplomacy, but not on the question of military force. Even Robert Gates said all options should remain on the table. Clinton sounded like a model of equanimity here. She was tougher during the campaign. See, for example, Johanna Neuman,"Was Hillary Clinton Right on Iran?"

Since When Did 'Homosexual' Become a Bad Word?

I blogged the gay marriage controversy for months following the passage of Proposition 8 last November. With the California Supreme Court's ruling last May, some activists argued for an appeal to the U.S Supreme Court (an unfavorable venue, given the Court's current conservative majority). And just this week gay rights activists submitted a ballot proposal to the Secretary of State's office. A group called "Love Honor Cherish" filed the measure, but other groups have argued that 2010 is too soon for a new gay marriage push. Some fear that a failed campaign could set back the cause.

Meanwhile, voters in Maine, Michigan, and Washington State will have a chance to vote on
gay rights initiatives this fall, just one year after the contentious California gay marriage fight. In Maine, it turns out there's a big controversy over at a conservative advertisement that apparently changes an AP news headline to include "homosexual." According to AmericaBlog, "That headline only exists on anti-gay sites. It's not from the Associated Press." The orginal story is here, "Gay Rights Group: Maine Diocese Violating Tax Law. "

It's not immediately clear why the Yes on One campaign would alter the headline for the ad buy. Perhaps "Homosexual Advocacy Group" has more negative connotations than "Gay Right Group." No matter, the campaign should be criticized if they've dishonestly altered an AP report for political purposes.

Having said that, what's even more interesting is the reaction on the left.
Darleen Click points us to a Feministing post on the controversy, which includes this blast of hatred:

Truly fighting for equal rights requires a social change and public pressure. Why did textbook companies begin to consciously include photos of students of color in their course materials after the civil rights movement? Because diversity--of ethnicity, of community, and of culture -is the norm, not the exception. The idea of an "other," of a "minority," or even the implication of a same-sex marriage being "non-traditional," alienates and isolates queer individuals and families worldwide.

Teach children about same-sex marriage in schools.
Never refer to queer-identified individuals as "homosexuals." Treat churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages like those who refuse to perform interracial marriages.

But if Maine's Question 1 is defeated, churches will remain the same, school curriculum will retain its heteronormativity, and "homosexuals" will still fear living openly. Maine conservatives have nothing to worry about.
Never refer to individuals as "homosexuals." But in fact, that's what they are. A look over at Wikipedia turns up this straightforward discussion:

Homosexuality is a sexual orientation. A homosexual person is sexually and romantically attracted to people of their own gender. Men who are attracted to other men are called "gay." Women who are attracted to other women can be called "gay" as well, but are usually called "lesbians". People who are attracted to men and women are called bisexual. Together homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people make up the "LGBT community." It is difficult to say how many people are homosexual. Homosexuality is known to exist in all cultures and countries, though some governments deny that homosexuality exists in their countries.
That's how I would explain what a "homosexual" is to my own kids. There's nothing discriminatory about it. Perhaps the Yes on One campaign sought to tap into "homosexual" as synonomous with "homo," which is an anti-gay slur. That said, the outrage among gay rights activists is even more cynically exploitative, and pushing "queer" as the acceptable postmodern terminology is bound to alienate traditional families. Certainly families in Maine have a right to be concerned that schools will ram down politically-correct notions of gay marriage as "normal" on children.

More honesty all around would be helpful. But if anything, this battle shows what
the gay-rights ayatollahs are all about. Just like last year, anyone of traditional orientation is likely to face Stalinist show trials should they deviate from the radical left's "queer" rights agenda.

What a disgrace.