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Classic Nancy Pelosi

I don’t know where Peter Schiff got this old footage, but it’s kind of interesting. Nancy Pelosi, known for her positions in favor of raising the minimum wage (which only raises unemployment and hopelessness, but lefties don’t care), refuses to answer an interviewer’s tough-but-fair questions about why she pays her own entry-level staff below the minimum wage, or even nothing at all:

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Schiff gets around to Pelosi at 11:10, and takes her apart clip-by-clip. Such answer as she gives the original interviewer is a variation of the classic, “It’s OK When I Do It, Because I’m In Congress” – mixed in with a pretty strained appeal to religion.

But the interviewer doesn’t give up. The last clip shows Pelosi telling her staff to “call the guard” to throw him out. Haughty yet anxious; what a mix.

If anyone knows the original interviewer’s name, please post it in the comments.

UPDATE: It’s Jan Helfeld. (Thanks Juan!)

Liberal Logic on Display: Two Prime Examples

I’ve seen two examples this week of jaw-droppingly appalling liberal logic which, I figure, just have to be shared in the same way that unusual specimens belong in a museum.

The first one appeared in Salon on Tuesday, and it purports to be a treatise on the necessity of “positive” rights.  It says that the original Bill of Rights doesn’t go very far, and conservatives are foolish and “short-sighted” to insist that those rights are essential and shouldn’t be tampered with.  According to the author of the piece, Michael Lind, what we really need is to endorse FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights”–which includes things like the right to a job, to a good home, and to medical care and good health.  Lind writes: “FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, and similar proposals, are not intended to replace the original bill of rights, but only to supplement it. Progressives believe that we should have both the right to free speech and the right to minimal healthcare at public expense.”

Lind’s article uses both appeals to authority (FDR and Cass Sunstein) and some sleight of hand to avoid tackling the very real contention that we can’t demand “positive rights” at other’s expense without in some sense enslaving those who are tasked with providing or paying for those “rights.”

In a brief rebuttal at PJ Media, Stephen Kruiser cites his own, contrary authority:

The negative/positive rights debate is brilliantly explored by Richard A. Epstein in his book Mortal Peril. He begins with a general discussion but his focus is on American health care. He points out that the positive rights frenzy contains “certain remnants of a discredited socialism” and that “…the protection of these newly minted positive rights invests government at all levels with vast powers to tax, to regulate, and to hire and fire the very individuals whose rights it is duty-bound to protect.”

The story, of course, is one we’ve seen over and over. The government continues to bloat itself as the social welfare state grows and in the process more rights are trampled upon than created.

The title of Epstein’s treatise can apply just as easily to the second, even more stunning example of liberal logic, which I saw linked by several folks on Facebook today.  It’s an article in Slate entitled “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person: A Manifesto.”  The idea behind the article by Allison Benedikt is that public schools are ruined because students whose parents care enough about educational quality to devote their own resources to education aren’t forced to remain in the public school system.

Nowhere does it occur to this genius that perhaps the real problems with the public schools have to do with the teachers’ unions or with the educational bureaucracy which has arisen at public expense.  No, according to this author, the solution to all the problems with the public school system is that if everyone has to go, they will get better because parents will demand it, even if some large number of kids who would or could have had better options has to be sacrificed for the sake of liberal mediocrity.  (You really do need to read the article to believe it is not some sort of ridiculous hoax.  Even the usually liberal crowd of commenters at Slate are put off by the article.)

A much saner, contrary view appeared several days ago (before the absurd Slate article was published) at the Sippican Cottage blog (hat tip Transterrestrial Musings).  The whole piece is worth reading, but this excerpt nicely encapsulates the tone of the piece:

You see, there are no public schools in America that I know of. They’re reeducation camps for people that weren’t educated in the first place, maybe, or little prisons, or pleasure domes for creepy teachers, or places where tubby women work out their neuroses about eating on helpless children at lunchtime — but there’s not much schooling going on in school. A public school is a really expensive, but shabby and ineffectual, private school that collects their tuition with the threat of eviction from your house.

To liberal “thinkers” like Allison Benedikt and Michael Lind, unfortunately, that sort of a situation apparently sounds like a “great society.”

Clinton goofs, endorses voter ID checks

He said:

a great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon

Generally, you must show ID to buy an assault weapon. And submit to a background check, perhaps a waiting period, etc.

So, if we, as a great democracy, keep it (say) only one-third as hard to vote as to buy an assault weapon, then we will at least have universal voter ID checks. Right?

Bonus: A Harvard study is said to have concluded that gun bans don’t reduce the murder rate.

Researchers looked at crime data from several European countries and found that countries with HIGHER gun ownership often had LOWER murder rates.

Russia, for example, enforces very strict gun control on its people, but its murder rate remains quite high…

…several European countries with significant gun ownership, like Norway, Finland, Germany and France – had remarkably low murder rates.

I don’t have time here to read the study, so I don’t vouch for the above summary. If you read the study and find it said something different, please inform us in the comments.

UPDATE: Here is the study.

Roundup of some Syria news & opinion

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:35 am - August 29, 2013.
Filed under: National Security,Obama Watch,Syria war,War On Terror

– President Obama has “concluded that the Syrian government in fact” carried out chemical weapon attacks.

– But the intelligence in favor of Obama’s conclusion is considered to be thin. Some agree that it was the Syrian Army, but not President Assad; perhaps a rogue commander.

– Obama is not waiting for the U.N. to agree on it, much less Congress. Why won’t he? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tells him to “give peace a chance”.

– Even if the Syrian government did carry out the attacks, Donald Rumsfeld points out that Obama has yet to justify attacking Syria, in terms of U.S. security interests.

– George Will, Obama is talking America into a war. Among many good points, Will notes a weird Obama quote to justify attacking Libya back in 2011: “It is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions”. Umm…so the U.S. must fight whenever, and only when, mysterious “others” tell us? Also, wouldn’t that argument justify the Iraq war, too? Will proceeds to delve into Obama’s equally-tortured language on Syria; RTWT.

– Bruce McQuain makes an argument that Obama has already doomed his own Syria mission, with his wildly-flailing public build-up to it.

Bonus: Did you know that President Smart Power, per the New York Times, insulted Vladimir Putin as “looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom”? (Via HotAir.) Item #35,221 for the “If Bush Did It, The NYT Would Make An International Crisis Of It” file.

UPDATE: Via ZH and Michael Krieger, here is Candidate Obama’s declaration in 2007:

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

UPDATE: The UK pulls out. It looks like Obama must launch his unauthorized, highly questionable attack on Syria by himself.

Hugh Hewitt and Karen Finney: Comedy gold

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 10:39 am - August 29, 2013.
Filed under: Unhinged Liberals

It’s been circulating a couple of days already, but it’s too cute to let it pass without notice. To this day, our doubleplusgood-duckspeakers of the Left STILL cannot admit that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy.

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Finney, per HotAir, is a “former Hillary Clinton spokesperson and current MSNBC analyst”.

Hiss was apparently a spy for the GRU, not the KGB. (The Soviets had multiple spy agencies, just like we do.)

The “dream deeply rooted in the American dream”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - August 28, 2013.
Filed under: American History,Patriotism

Today, we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of one of the greatest speeches in American history:

Freedom of Speech: It must be a two-way street…

…or else it’s just a pretense, a lie.

Reporter James Kirchik, known from TNR and The Advocate, was cut off last week on Russia’s RT network for denouncing Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay law. I’m with Kirchik in opposing the law, which puts speech restrictions on Russian gays.

Don’t get me wrong: As RT were ‘paying for his mic’, they had every right to cut off Kirchik. They have no obligation to provide him with a platform. Still, Kirchik deserves our cheers and thanks for publicly thumbing his nose at a State-funded propaganda network and for defending free speech.

Actions to support free speech, yay! But free speech isn’t free speech, unless disagreeable/bad views may also be expressed. The principle is that anyone advocating bad politics is to be answered by more speech; never to be silenced by law.

And that brings us to the case of the Rev. Scott Lively. In a blog thread last week, rusty brought up Lively, who is being sued in Massachusetts at the behest of a Uganda gay group, for his advocacy of the criminalizing of homosexuality in Uganda.

Criminalizing homosexuality is anti-gay (a term that the Gay Left otherwise uses too much) and a violation of individuals’ natural rights. As such, it’s wrong. But natural rights include free speech and conscience. For someone to merely advocate that homosexuality be criminalized is not a violation of human rights; it is an exercise of them.

See the problem? The pro-gay side is out there using the law to restrict opponents’ political speech, in the name of human rights (which ought to include free speech). So wrong!

Sure, Rev. Lively advocates something dumb and bad. But he has the moral right to do it, which means he ought to have the legal right.

That a U.S.-based court presumes to deal with a Ugandan matter seems odd; but that it does so in order to punish anyone’s political advocacy is a disgrace, a sign of how dangerously low our once-great country has fallen.

SMUG (the Ugandan gay group) is wrong to try to silence Lively with a court case. Given that they are, the MA court should have refused to play along, on the grounds that the MA and U.S. Constitutions guarantee Lively his right to free speech in all political issues, even gay issues, even when international law fails to guarantee it and even, or especially, if Lively’s views are objectionable.

It’s the objectionable views – the ones that the government’s Court itself dislikes – that courts are most obligated to protect. By now, we are used to the Gay Left forgetting such basic principles of freedom and justice, but – “et tu, Massachusetts?”

UPDATE: It just occurred to me that the MA court, and others who blame the Rev. Lively for what Ugandan legislators do, might be infected with a racist premise: the premise that the Ugandans are mere children (intellectually and morally), influenced too easily by the white man (Lively), who is thus accountable for their actions. If true, it would support my earlier post on the racism of the Left in 2013.

NB: I had originally said that Lively was being “prosecuted” in MA, when of course I should have said “sued”. Mistake fixed.

The primary evidence of conservative racial prejudice. . .

. . . is liberal prejudice, their assumption that opposition to the president and his policies is based on race. And this assumption grows out of ignorance, a basic unfamiliarity with Republican ideas and conservative arguments.

Syria vs. Iraq

With the 2003 Iraq war, President Bush dealt with a widely-acknowledged threat to world peace, a dictator who had attacked no less than four of his neighbors (at different times, with one such war costing probably over a million lives), and who sheltered and supported various terrorists.

Bush had the participation of 40 other nations in a coalition. The move was authorized by an accumulation of 17 U.N. resolutions, which had effectively voided the dictator’s sovereignty and promised him action over his continued flouting of the U.N.

Most important, Bush’s move was authorized by Congress (as required by the U.S. Constitution) and as well, was supported by clear majorities of the American people at the time.

We can still argue (with hindsight) about the wisdom of the move, if its aftermath was planned right, etc. But the above were and are facts. Do any of them apply to what President Obama has done in Libya, or may be about to do in Syria?

Lefties bleated that Bush had plunged America into a unilateral, illegal/unauthorized “war of choice”. Their claims were wrong on the facts, but let’s set that aside. Has not their President Obama actually plunged America into one near-unilateral, unauthorized “war of choice” – and threatens now to do a second?

Today as yesterday, I’m a bit skeptical of the Obama administration’s version of events in Syria. Not because Syria has just accused Kerry of lying (and, sadly, both Assad and Kerry are known to lie about important matters). Not even because reports continue to suggest that Obama means to bypass Congress, as well as the U.N.

No, I’m still skeptical because of the slap-dash feeling to the public buildup of this crisis. Many of us have heard reports that the U.S. military has been building up to move against something/someone, for weeks if not months. I myself have a friend in the Army who was put on a rather mysterious regime of 80-hour work weeks, starting over two months ago. I thought maybe they were getting ready to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. And then suddenly, just in the last few days, Kerry is there to claim justification for some sort of military action on Syria, from a very recent chemical weapons attack which – while quite horrible and tragic – is still in active debate as to its authorship.

The Obama administration could be telling the truth, like I said yesterday, but… it still doesn’t smell right. The Iraq war build-up was relatively more ‘in the open’, the culmination of years of public debate about a long-term threat.

News of the Weird

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 5:06 am - August 27, 2013.
Filed under: North Korea,Politics abroad

It was reported in the Wall Street Journal that North Koreans are massively addicted to crystal meth:

North Korea is experiencing a “drug epidemic,” according to a study published in the Spring 2013 edition of the journal North Korea Review.

“A New Face of North Korean Drug Use: Upsurge in Methamphetamine Abuse Across the Northern Areas of North Korea” explains how during the past several years meth production has gone from government-owned factories to privately run underground laboratories and “home kitchens.”

According to the report, it’s not the first time that a drug originally intended for export into China and beyond ended up flooding North Korea’s domestic market.

Throughout the 1990s and into the next decade, opium was the narcotic of choice for both the cash-strapped Kim Jong Il regime and the populace. But by the mid 2000s, the poppy fields began to disappear and meth became pervasive…

Ted Cruz: Up next for destruction?

From Rich Lowry’s brief profile of Senator Cruz at Politico, he sounds pretty smart, like he might be an effective leader for small government (or the Tea Party, if you prefer).

So…is he next? As the Left has proven with Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, and others: Any small-government leader with a bit of effectiveness or charisma MUST. BE. DESTROYED. REGARDLESS OF TRUTH. Especially if they could hold some appeal for women, blacks, or Hispanics.

Jammie Wearing Fools has gathered a few links on the nascent Cruz Derangement Syndrome.

Obama ready to strike in Syria…against America’s will?

To borrow a few lines that Bruce re-tweeted, “I’m so old, I remember the press having a healthy skepticism for military involvement in the Middle East…I’m also glad we amended the constitution to exclude that congressional authorization for war…”

I’m so old, I remember that President Bush actually troubled himself to get approval from Congress for the Iraq War, including a majority of Senate Democrats. But President Obama, with Syria? I doubt he’ll try.

According to Reuters this weekend:

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act. More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days…

…just 27 percent said they supported his decision to send arms to some Syrian rebels; 47 percent were opposed…

About 11 percent said Obama should do more to intervene in Syria than sending arms to the rebels, while 89 percent said he should not help the rebels…

Obama is considering a range of options. The most popular option among Americans: not intervening in Syria at all. That option is backed by 37 percent of Americans…

If “Obama” (was Reuters disrespectful for calling him that?) intervenes in Syria, he will be doing it without the support of the American people.

There may be no good options in Syria. Just to review: An Iranian-backed dictatorship is fighting rebels who are, basically, al Qaeda. We have claims that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons; and counter-claims that it was the rebels, running a vicious false flag operation.

UPDATE: Kerry says it was the Syrian government. I must be frank: Hearing it from Kerry makes me a little more skeptical than I was before. The man has been a gigantic, shameless liar on public issues ever since he slandered a generation of veterans in testimony before Congress, in 1971.

I realize that Kerry is backed up, in this instance, by hundreds of functionaries in the Obama administration, and that makes deception less likely (or harder to pull off). But not impossible; and because of Benghazi among other scandals, we know that the Obama administration can be untruthful on foreign policy. They may be telling a true story this time; but skepticism is not wholly unwarranted, and should not be faulted automatically.

If President Obama wanted trust to come forth in a more automatic fashion, then he should have (1) not let his administration mislead the American people on Benghazi, and (2) not chosen a figure known for his decades of lying, as Secretary of State. Having said that, could the administration’s version of events be true? I’m keeping an open mind. Kerry has promised more evidence in days to come; we’ll see.

My absence from the blog/Open Thread

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:18 pm - August 25, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Bruce's Outside Posts

I regret not having had the occasion to blog for quite a few days now. And do hope to chime in again soon.*

I have heard also that while Bruce has not been blogging much recently, he has been tweeting up a storm. And since I am not on twitter, I am not aware of the content of his many tweets, though have heard rumor of several.

Please note that if you wish to opine on his tweets, you should contact him, not me. He is responsible for his own words. For though I do blog at GayPatriot, I am not GayPatriot. That title belongs to Bruce and Bruce alone.

Now that I have spoken, have it in the comments. Let that section be our open thread. And be civil. Even as I urge you to express yourselves, respect those whom you criticize, address their arguments don’t insult their persons.

*ADDENDUM: A number of things, mostly involving my book, but also involving my family has kept me from blogging. As to the family, it’s mostly good things, with a beloved niece and cousins visiting Southern California.

New Mexico gets it wrong

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 3:17 pm - August 25, 2013.
Filed under: Equality (Real or Faux?),Freedom,Gay America,Gay Marriage

Via Ace and Breitbart, NM’s Supreme Court has ruled that New Mexico law compels photographers who religiously disbelieve in gay marriage to serve gay weddings.

If the law does: Then it’s a bad law, a law that violates natural human rights to freedom of association and to freely-chosen work. It is not good for gays; picture a gay photographer being required by law to serve the wedding of some social conservative whom he or she despises.

Bradley/Chelsea Manning: Should we care?

All week, I’ve had a nagging feeling that the GP blog should say something on this…but what? And why? After all, it’s just celebrity nonsense.

But I will make this easy observation: If Manning likes men, and always felt herself to be a woman, then she was never actually a gay man whose struggle with homosexuality drove her actions. She was/is just a straight woman who broke her oath.

Race, in 2013

A few interesting reads.

First, Gov. Bobby Jindal on “The End of Race”. He gets it. “There is no more shallow, hollow, or soulless way to think about human beings than in terms of their skin color. It is completely inane.” RTWT.

Next, Charles C. W. Cooke on the Oberlin College mess, in which left-wing activists terrorized the Oberlin campus with acts of overt racism – while university officials, who knew their true identities, did nothing.

People speak of ‘fake hate crimes’ or ‘a hoax’ there, and I understand why, but I find it superficial. I wonder how fake they were?

You see, the Left has a long history of being deeply racist. In earlier times, Democrats or other left-wing progressives defended slavery, gave America the KKK and Jim Crow, created Planned Parenthood for eugenics purposes, praised Mussolini and Hitler (who were themselves avowed socialists), segregated Japanese-Americans into internment camps (that was Franklin D. Roosevelt), resisted integration, etc.

21st-century leftists, such as Dylan Bleier and Matt Alden of Oberlin, try to race-bait in the opposite direction now (with whites to be put down, rather than made superior). But it’s still just the Left’s crude obsession with classifying and judging people by race. Bleier and Alden, I believe, merely found an indirect, progressive-activist, politically-correct way to act out the repressed racial hatreds of their own hearts.

Finally, Jonah Goldberg on “The ‘Race Conversation’ Network: MSNBC has mastered the art of making unracial things racial.” A quick run-down of those fun-loving TV hosts who somehow, endlessly, manage to hear racist dog whistles in every political expression or viewpoint they don’t like.

UPDATE: William A. Jacobsen summarizes the Oberlin race hoax, with good links. As I watched some of the video, I couldn’t help wondering for a brief moment if “concerned” progressives are some of the stupidest, most gullible people ever. (ADDENDUM:) But then I also thought of the adage, “hindsight is 20/20”.

When a city goes to the dogs

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:34 am - August 25, 2013.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Socialism in America

From Bloomberg (via ZH):

But remember, Detroit’s decline must be blamed on the GOP!

Hasan convicted, but media still avoids the dreaded T-word?

A Yahoo! current lead article, from the Associated Press:

Maj. Nidal Hasan has been convicted of premeditated murder for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood…

Military jurors found the Army psychiatrist guilty on Friday for the attack that killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others at the Texas military base.

Hasan shouted “Allahu akbar!” before attacking and showed other signs that his motive was Islamic jihad. But only us rightie wingnuts (/sarc) will call his actions either jihad, or terrorism, or (since he fought the Army and nation that he was sworn to serve) treason. The AP article avoids the J- and T-words, and instead says delicately:

Through media leaks and statements to the judge, the American-born Muslim signaled that he believed the attack was justified as a way to protect Islamic and Taliban leaders from U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Others have discussed how the judge in Hasan’s trial sanitized the evidence of Hasan’s real motive, as did the Obama administration when they labeled his actions “workplace violence”.

Please feel free to correct this post, by commenting with links to Establishment media reports that use either ‘jihad’, ‘terrorism’ or ‘treason’ honestly to describe Hasan’s murder spree.

UPDATE: So far, SwiperTheFox has nicely given it a shot (see #15, here), but I wasn’t persuaded (see #24, here).

Inside the looking glass

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:36 am - August 22, 2013.
Filed under: Obama Worship & Indoctrination,Unhinged Liberals

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a worshipper in a personality cult? Sane people (not in the cult) must seem to you like they’re disrespectful, even hateful.

Chris Matthews is here to show us the way. The guy who says he feels “a thrill going up my leg” when President Obama speaks has, in his inimitable duck-speaking manner, recently said:

There’s a very interesting, compelling, continuing effort to de-legitimize this President… People on the right say he’s a disaster…which he’s clearly not…They refer to the health care Act of 2010 as “a bill”. They refer to him as “Obama”. They don’t say “the President”, they don’t say “a law”…

Get it? If you refer to Obama by his name (Obama), you must be intentionally dissing him.

All I can say is: When blogging, I usually try to say “President Obama” the first time in any given post; then “Obama” after that, for brevity and on the assumption that my readers just might know who is President.

Also, I have yet to write a post whining about lefties who refer to Bush as “Bush”, Reagan as “Reagan”, Palin as “Palin”, Christie as “Christie”, Ludwig von Mises as “Mises”, Ayn Rand as “Rand”, etc. Goodness, what an oversight; maybe I should get on it?

Is the U.S. building the new ‘Berlin Wall’?

At Sovereign Man, Simon Black writes about the rising number of Americans who want to renounce citizenship – and the increasing roadblocks they face.

A massive 1,131 individuals renounced their US citizenship last quarter…Compared to the same quarter last year in which 188 people renounced their US citizenship, this year’s number is over SIX TIMES higher. Not to mention, it’s 66.5% higher than last quarter’s 679 renunciations…

While still embryonic, it’s difficult to ignore this trend– more and more people are starting to renounce their US citizenship…

So what’s driving it? Taxes…and the search for liberty…Particularly for people who spend most of their time outside of the United States and are constantly hamstrung by [U.S.] worldwide taxation and information disclosure[ rules], the burden for many of them has just become too much to bear.

The US government figured this out some years ago and began charging an exit tax…This applies to anyone whose average US tax liability over the last five years was about $150,000 (the equivalent of roughly $500,000 in taxable income in 2012 dollars), and/or has a net worth of at least $2 million on the date of expatriation.

More on the exit tax, here. But it’s not just for rich people; the U.S. government also holds back the poor:

Renunciation of U.S. citizenship was free until July 2010, at which time a fee of $450 was established.

Get it? If you marry your foreign boyfriend and move abroad and join with his people, it is going to cost you – even if you are both minimum wage earners. So decrees President Obama.

Past generations viewed renunciation as a human right. From Simon Black again (and quoted also in a U.S. government document, here):

…in the “[Expatriation] Act of July 27, 1868″, the United States Congress declared that “the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In other words: Even if renunciation might be a mistake and/or unpatriotic, they thought U.S. citizenship should be your choice. But the current U.S. government does not; in addition to the roadblocks described above, we even get the occasional rumor of people’s applications for renunciation being denied outright.

I remember President Reagan in 1987 saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” that had been built to keep East German citizens *in* that country. I also remember left-liberals in the 2004 election cycle, promising they’d leave America if Bush won. (Few of them did, or none.) I wonder what they’d say now?