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How to rationally discuss the ‘shutdown’ and budget

No discussion is grownup, if the participants don’t know/acknowledge certain facts which President Obama, the Democrats and their media try to have people forget:

  1. The government is supposed to spend by a budget.
  2. Between April 29, 2009 and March 23, 2013, Harry Reid’s Democrats didn’t even bother to pass a budget. Nearly four years!
  3. Under the U.S. Constitution, the budget is supposed to originate in Congress and particularly the House of Representatives. Which means,
  4. The House IS supposed to be able to impose its budgetary will on the President, including by shutting down the government, as Democrat Houses have shut down the government many times before to successfully impose their will on GOP Senates and presidents.
  5. On a district-by-district basis (as required by the Constitution), the American people elected a GOP House in 2012. To coin a phrase, “they won”.
  6. The current so-called “shutdown” only affects 17% of the government. (83% is still open.)
  7. The current House has passed many bills to keep most of the remaining 17% open – bills which the Democrats have rejected.
  8. Obama has given us more debt than any president in U.S. history.
  9. Contra Obama, raising the debt ceiling does indeed mean raising our debt further. And it does cost taxpayers a lot of money.
  10. Contra Obama, there is no reason for the government to default on its debt, even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. You default only if you fail to make your minimum debt payment. Our ongoing tax revenue exceeds our minimum payment by many times over, leaving lots of money for the rest of government spending after debt service. (Just not as much as Democrats want.)
  11. Which is probably why Obama and the Democrats are the only side talking about having a default happen. (They want to at least dangle the threat – and they might carry out the threat – even if it’s unnecessary.)
  12. Contra Obama, our future spending isn’t “paying a bill”. Spending that Congress has budgeted or authorized (but not yet actually spent) can be stopped or cut any time Congress says so, or under-spent if the money simply doesn’t exist for it.

The people who run GayPatriot welcome intelligent disagreement with our views. If your disagreement ignores the above facts, sorry but it’s not intelligent.

As the adage goes, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”

NB: Originally, point 2 stated incorrectly that the Senate hadn’t passed a budget since 2009. Error fixed. (thanks Kurt!)

ADDENDUM: 13. Contra Obama, borrowing money “to pay our bills” is NOT paying our bills. When you buy something on credit, have you paid you bill? No, of course not. You’ve merely changed to whom you owe the payment (and perhaps when).

Obama goofs, compares striking workers to terrorists

Speaking to construction workers in Rockville, MD today, he said:

Everybody here just does their job, right? You don’t – uh uh – If you’re working here, and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said “You know what, I wanna get something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m gonna get, but I’m just gonna stop working until I get – I’m gonna shut down the whole plant until I get something” – You get fired, right? Because, the deal is, you’ve already gotten hired, you’ve got a job, you’re getting a paycheck, and so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job and contributing to a business and looking out for your fellow workers. That’s what you’re getting.

Perhaps without realizing it, President Obama just perfectly described workers who ‘walkout’ or go on strike – and why they should be fired.

But there’s more. Obama made his surprising slam on workers who strike in an attempt to compare them to the congressional GOP who, as we know, are failing (so to speak) to give King Obama his full budget demands.

Top Obama administration figures compare the GOP to terrorists (for example, Dan Pfeiffer the other day). So do other top Democrats (for example, Harry Reid calling them ‘anarchists’, or Al Gore who accused Obamcare foes of ‘political terrorism’).

If the GOP are behaving just like striking workers, according to Obama, and if the GOP are (in the very same behavior) also terrorists, then…striking workers are kind of like terrorists, aren’t they? “Thanks, Obama!”

UPDATE: Peter Schiff has another quote on the Left’s demonizing of conservatives as terrorists, this one from talk host Stephanie Miller on the GOP being “suicide bombers” who are “trying to blow your children up”.

This is the Left, in 2013. If you happen to truly want fiscal responsibility, an end to the endless debt ceiling increases, or avoidance of the train wreck that even Big Labor knows Obamacare to be: you get name-calling. Probably because that’s all the Left has left.

Obamacare: A Physician’s (Preliminary) View

In the past few days, I have challenging Obamacare-supporting classmates in Facebook threads.  On the whole, the discussions have been civil, with my peers responding to critiques with argument and anecdote and keeping, by and large, a good discussion going.

Some have noted that insurance costs were escalating even before a Democratic Congress passed Obamacare — and have addressed how the  president’s plan would help fix many of the problems in the pre-2010 health care sector.  Others, including yours truly, have warned about the increasing costs of the new plan.  Most of the arguments are familiar to those who have been following the debate, but I thought one physician’s perspective particularly inisghtful– and so I asked his permission to quote it on this blog.  The permission granted, I reproduce it exactly as offered.

Time for a physician (and patient’s) two cents: just today I received a registered letter from united healthcare/oxford that “as a result of the significant changes in the healthcare environment” I am being dropped as a Medicare advantage provider. No reason given except that somehow that will contain costs. Last week I received word from my own health insurer that they are ending my policy at the end of December (6 months early) and that they are under no obligation to help me find other coverage for my small business/ medical practice. Anecdotal? I don’t think so. I will likely be closing my practice soon despite having spent years studying , preparing, and taking excellent care of my patients. I wish everyone luck with Obamacare. So far, I am not a fan.

I do hope those following the threads on Facebook learn to recognize that both sides stand sincere in the support of — or opposition to — the president’s health care scheme.

UPDATE:  In the Facebook thread wherein the physician offered the above, another participant shared this link:  ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs

Are leftist politics, as such, incivil?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:23 am - July 15, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Democratic demagoguery

In all the discussions about “civility” the last few years – both in the general public discourse, and on this blog – I’ve often had to wonder what the term means, because it seems to me that leftists routinely propose things which are incivil, in and of themselves. Things of which the mere proposition is a serious threat to, or attack upon, many of their fellow citizens.

As a hypothetical example, let’s take theft. If I come up to you and I propose / threaten, most politely, to steal your livelihood, property and earnings: am I not being incivil, no matter how polite my speech is?

Now suppose I don’t propose to take the risk of thieving from you directly, but instead I propose to have the government seize your earnings on my behalf. The example is no longer hypothetical; it’s what left-liberals propose every day of the year, in every political platform.

I could also talk about speech codes (leftists suppressing speech they don’t like), late-term abortion (leftists claiming the ‘right’ to kill viable human beings), gun control (leftists trying to take self-defense away from people they don’t like), government mandates (leftists endlessly proposing to tell their fellow citizens how to live – backed by government force), etc.

Why do we not recognize, and swiftly dismiss or condemn, their incivility? Is civility more a matter of the forms and rules that people uphold when speaking, or of the inner attitude/intent toward one’s fellow citizen?

The Zimmerman Verdict and Obama

Over at PJMedia, Roger L. Simon has a piece with the catchy title “Obama Big Loser in Zimmerman Trial.”  Simon writes:

By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States — a onetime law lecturer, of all things — disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years. This is the work of a reactionary, someone who consciously/unconsciously wants to push our nation back to the 1950s.

 It is also the work of a narcissist who thinks of himself first, of his image, not of black, white or any other kind of people. It’s no accident that race relations in our country have gone backwards during his stewardship.

It’s a clever premise, and in ideal world, it should be true, but in the world we live in, the one where Obama got re-elected, I suspect it doesn’t hurt Obama one bit.

These are just a few quick thoughts on my part, so they won’t be fully fleshed-out, but as I see it, Obama got most of what he wanted from the Zimmerman trial.   Zimmerman wasn’t convicted, but as far as Obama and Holder are concerned, that only would have been the icing on their toxic cake.

As suggested in this great article by Karen McQuillan at American Thinker, Obama and Holder are masters at using race and division to advance their agenda.  And when this incident occurred, Obama was showing some softening of support among black voters who were not faring well in the Obama economy.  McQuillan writes:

Once the president of the United States weighed in, Zimmerman had a target on his back.  An ounce of election advantage to our privileged, Ivy League president versus the ruination of a Hispanic man’s life — it was an easy choice for Obama.  Obama’s great appeal to voters in 2008 was his self-presentation as a black man without animus or grievance, eager to move the country beyond divisions of all sorts — black and white, red and blue.  In reality, Obama is obsessed with divisions — race, class, gender — and is expert at fueling war between us, to his political advantage.

Obama has used accusations of racism before, to rally his troops and attack his political opponents.  Opposition to ObamaCare?  Racist.  Opposition to big government?  Racist.  His core liberal supporters like this stuff, and the other voters give him a pass on this, as on everything.  The election analysts were predicting that even black turnout could dip in 2012.  Obama moved from racial slurs on opposition groups to attacking a particular individual citizen.  Zimmerman was sacrificed.

In other words, by weighing in on the Zimmerman case, Obama shored up support among his base and among the black activist class, and thereby helped pave the way to his re-election by those groups.  Not only did he help win support among those voting blocs, he further poisoned the well for race relations in this country, and he added still more fuel to the fire behind his anti-gun agenda.
Now you may think I’m being too clever by half by imputing those kinds of motives to Obama and Holder, but simply look at his statement about the verdict:
The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.
Now while on the surface it looks like he is calling for “calm,” and for respect for the rule of law, he’s doing so in the context of his (and Holder’s) earlier statements about race and “gun violence,” effectively giving one message to his supporters and sympathizers, and another message to everyone else.  It is classic leftist misdirection.
At the link above, there’s also a statement from Holder’s Justice Department saying that the FBI and federal prosecutors are weighing options for federal charges against Zimmerman.  Translation: this isn’t over, as long as Obama and Holder believe they can continue to profit from racial demagoguery.
In one of the comments on my last post, our regular commenter Heliotrope provided a skillful analysis of Al Sharpton’s statement about the verdict, relating it back to Alinsky’s rules.  Heliotrope observes:
Libtards lust for power in order to control the sheeple according to their current, faddish view of “correctness.” They are prideful and lash out with the politics of personal destruction against those who stand in their way. Their wrath is both verbalized and implanted by way of insidious actions meant to undermine their opposition. They have lying tongues. They scheme and devise wicked plots. They sow discord. They plant festering mischief. They twist the context to fit their version of the truth and justify their lies. They refuse to practice circumspection and correct their errors in any sense of obedience to promoting a better solution.
I’ve seen a lot of those behaviors in the reactions to the verdict I’ve been reading by various Obama supporters today.  There are lots of calls, a la Obama, for “calm reflection,” but, in the minds of the Obama supporters weighing in on this case, none of those reflections are to start from the premise that Angela Corey and the prosecutors in Florida had a weak case to begin with–and that they lost because they failed miserably in presenting the case in a way that made any of the charges stick.  None of those reflections are to start from the premise that perhaps Zimmerman had a right to have a weapon with him and to use it to fight back when he was knocked down and attacked.

From the comments: What we must acknowledge about the left

In the comments for my last post on Obamacare commenter Ignatius began his discussion of the legislation’s undesirable albeit unstated aims with the observation: “I believe that political discussions would be much easier if those on the right jettisoned this quaint idea that leftists have good intentions.”  I highlighted that sentence in a subsequent comment, and other commenters took up the theme, as well.

Commenter Eddie Swaim observed:

While reading the comments about “the left,” it suddenly occurred to me that after listening to Rush Limbaugh for 25 years, he has always been careful to separate “the left” politicians in D.C. from “the left” common everyday folk. I always agreed with him but now I’m not so sure. Most of the gay male liberals that I know fall right in line with the D.C. politicians. Anything and everything is o.k. if it hurts [conservatism] or wins them a battle against the right, whether or not their action is legal or ethical. The ends always justify the means.

Likewise, commenter Steve linked to this video of Ann Coulter discussing the tendency of liberals and the lamestream media to fall back on “racial demagoguery” to advance their agenda in cases like the Zimmerman trial.

I thought of all three comments when I came across another link to an article by John Hawkins dated March 27, 2012.  Hawkins’ article is entitled “5 Uncomfortable Truths About Liberals,” and I encourage everyone to read the whole thing.  For the moment, though, I’ve summarized his five points below.  Hawkins writes that:

1) Most liberals are hateful people.

2) Liberals do more than any other group to encourage race-based hatred.

3) Most liberals are less moral than other people.

4) Most liberals don’t care if the policies they advocate work or not.

5) Most liberals are extremely intolerant.

Now while the language in those observations is strong enough that Hawkins could be accused of engaging in hyperbole, I think a certain amount of strong language is necessary for describing leftist rhetoric and means of argumentation.  There’s no need to take my word for it, though, read the whole thing and decide for yourself.

I would say, though, that in both the Zimmerman case and in the debates (and protests) over late-term abortion restrictions in Texas, we’ve seen many of the traits Hawkins describes displayed quite openly by many leftists.

Likewise, consider this article in The Advocate which a Facebook acquaintance brought to my attention.  The article focuses on the “mighty change of heart” which many Mormons have undergone on the issues of gay rights and gay marriage.  True to what both Hawkins and our commenters noted, most gay leftists will have none of it, as is very evident from their comments on the Advocate article.  Rather than welcome the changes underway in the LDS church, they are expressing their hatred and intolerance for the Mormons in very hostile language.  Read the comments there and see for yourself.

Now while I know a number of our readers might believe that the Mormons brought the hatred on themselves through the church’s advocacy against Proposition 8 in California in 2008, I’d point out a few things that the left never will, namely: 1). Despite what the HRC and its allies would have us believe, opposition to gay marriage isn’t necessarily motivated by hate, however easy or convenient it may be to believe that, and 2). Individuals are and should be defined by more than their affiliation with some group or collective.  The gay left is always up in arms about what this group or that group said or did about some gay issue, but they never have qualms about denouncing or smearing or insulting members of that group in a similar manner.

The gay marriage decisions & the gay marriage debate

I find it a somewhat delicious irony that on the day the Supreme Court hands down its gay marriage decisions, a day I had planned on blogging about the debate on gay marriage.  But, I had been planning that before knowing that on the actual day, I would be more focused on writing the first chapter of the second part of my epic.

I have long thought the debate on this important issue, this fundamental social institution, has long been particularly lame.  And from reading my Facebook feed, see that it has become ever more so, with all too many (but fortunately not all) treating the decisions not so much as constitutional interpretation and social policy, but as personal validation — as if they needed some government body to decide the “right” way so they can feel recognized.  But, that feeling of approval will fade.

That said, I have seen two statements on Facebook which do get at the meeting of the decision, from people on opposite sides of the political aisle.  And I’m sure that in due course, I will discover some thoughtful blog posts and editorials.  But, for now, while I have much to say about marriage, my mind is on my book.  At the end of May, I finished the first draft of the first part of the book (over 150,000 words) and spent the better part of this month revising it, having intended today to print out the whole thing and take it to a printer (so I can share it with friends).  (As I begin serious work on the second part.)

So, let me offer the meaningful Facebook post for your consideration.  My friend Harmeet Dhillon (my predecessor as president of the U-VA Federalist Society) offered this on the standing issue which served to overturn Prop 8:

As a political law practitioner, the broader implication of today’s Prop 8 ruling is 1) a narrow interpretation of standing and 2) apparently there is no recourse by the citizens if their elected constitutional officers (here, the Attorney General) simply refuses to enforce a law passed by the majority of voters. The former is likely an artifice of the Court trying to dodge a merits decision on a very controversial issue, but the latter severely undercuts the power of the citizen-sponsored proposition in California, regardless of subject matter or what political persuasion is affected. A sobering reminder that your vote on propositions sort of matters sometimes, while your vote on who is the Attorney General matters a whole lot. And not enough of you vote!

Our left-of-center reader Rob Tisinai gets that state recognition of marriage is about more than just “rights”: (more…)

State Rep. Winkler: It’s Okay to say “Uncle Tom”

Last week, I posted on Barbara Walters’ and Whoopie Goldberg’s bizarre defense of Bill Maher, who had apparently called out Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child as “retarded”. A quick refresher:

Walters speculated that Maher did not know the word [ed: "retarded"] could be hurtful…

Goldberg lamely tried to assist Walters, saying “we, society took the word ‘retarded’ and made it into something derogatory…When I was a kid, it wasn’t derogatory…”

Now MN State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D/Labor Party) has called Justice Thomas an “Uncle Tom.” His defense? Guess.

[from Twitter] I did not understand “Uncle Tom” as a racist term, and there seems to be some debate about it…

[from Winkler's weak 'apology' statement] I was very disappointed today in the Supreme Court decision…In expressing that disappointment on twitter, I hastily used a loaded term…

I see a trend!

Now, let’s be clear. Winkler didn’t use “a loaded term”, he used a racial slur.

STOP THE PERSONAL ATTACKS!

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:52 pm - June 24, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse

Just because Barack Obama won the 2012 election, in large part, by dishonestly portraying Mitt Romney as a cold, uncaring, out-of-touch plutocrat does not mean our readers have grounds to level similar personal charges against our (and their) critics.

And please do not make assumptions about my left-of-center friends.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, take issue with the arguments they raise, but do not level personal attacks on the individual making them.  You don’t know that person.  You don’t know why he has made the case that he has.

I do not check the comments all that regularly, but in the past few days, have received repeated reports from readers about commenters using ad hominem attacks in exchanges with their adversaries.

More on this after I’ve discussed the matter with Bruce.

Let us not forget, protestors once compared Bush to Hitler. . .

Back in 2009, at the outset of the Obama administration,when  a few Tea Party protestors compared the President of the United States to Adolph Hitler, the blogger Zombie, in this retrospective, reminded us how regularly liberal protestors did the same thing when George W. Bush was president. “One”, that blogger observed,

. . . would think that this would not be particularly newsworthy, but Democrats, the White House and their supporters are expressing outrage at this “horrifying” and “menacing” turn of events. (Or faux-outrage, at least.) Pundits, bloggers, media outlets and even top politicians like Nancy Pelosi are claiming that such signs are unprecedented, racist, and even that anyone who brings a swastika to a protest must be self-identifying as a Nazi (instead of accusing their opponents of being Nazis).

This all came to mind when, over the weekend, a left-of-center friend posted on Facebook that she was appalled

. . . to see a group of anti-Obama protesters with slur written signs towards our President as well as signs using the Nazi sign – I believe everyone has a right to their beliefs but the amount of disrespect towards this President is unfathomable and disgusting…what made it worse was the number of people cheering them on or honking their horns in agreement – a sad state of affairs we have reached in America…

She is right to be appalled.  It is wrong to compare the President of the United States to the “Führer” of the Third Reich.  That said, the amount of disrespect shown toward Mr. Obama is no less disgusting than that shown to Mr. Bush.

One only wonders why some only started speaking up against such slurs after George W. Bush left office.

We have indeed reached a sad state of affairs in America when people slur the President of the United States as do those who compare him to Hitler.  But, we had reached that state of affairs long before Barack Obama took office, indeed, long before George W. Bush took office.

Let us hope that in the next Republican administration, those who today express such concerns about civil discourse will continue to do so.

NB:   (more…)

Is Its Smear Campaign a Sign of Democratic Disarray?

Democrats and their allies in the legacy media keep telling us that the GOP is in dire straits.  And I’ll grant that my party has work to do.  But, I do wonder if the president’s party is not in straits even more dire than that of is political rival, its problems papered over by the strong support Barack Obama enjoys in some segments of society (especially in the various newsrooms that dot America’s coasts).

If the Democrats have such an appeal with the American people — and are so confident in their message, why must they regularly resort to dishonest demagoguery, misrepresenting Republican stands on issues and regularly calling their partisan rivals “extreme.” Bear in mind that Barack Obama did not win reelection running on his record but by demonizing Mitt Romney, airing over a quarter-billion dollars of attacks ads — before the party conventions.

Saw two examples of this yesterday on Facebook:

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 7.18.58 PM

Ms. Gillibrand is trying to advance her own cause by misrepresenting her partisan rivals — and stirring up fears among African-Americans.

Look  likes Ms. Gillibrand’s dishonest, mean-spirited rhetoric has earned her an interesting admirer: (more…)

Walters and Goldberg: It’s Okay to say “retarded”

In GP comments, we’ve seen the occasional mini-kerfuffle over someone’s references to the mentally handicapped: whether they were hurtful, or whether the critics (those claiming hurt) were just playing mind games, etc.

In that light, it’s interesting to note that beloved lefties Bill Maher, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters all agree that it’s perfectly OK for a comedian to mock Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child as “retarded”:

Maher mocked Palin’s special needs son by referring to him as “retarded” during a June 8 Las Vegas show…

Walters, who grew up with a special needs sister, said on June 17 on The View that she did not think Maher was “mean-spirited” when he referred to Palin’s son as “retarded.” Walters speculated that Maher did not know the word could be hurtful…even Walters’s in-studio audience was not buying this defense and was left silent…

Goldberg lamely tried to assist Walters, saying “we, society took the word ‘retarded’ and made it into something derogatory…When I was a kid, it wasn’t derogatory…” Video here.

I regret that I couldn’t find the exact original quote of Maher’s, but Walters and Goldberg clearly wanted to speak out in Maher’s favor: the camera flashed to an old family photo of Walters’ as she spoke, which means that Walters’ remarks were planned.

So, what’s the official standard? Is it still baaaaad to refer to anybody (whether mentally challenged or not) as “retarded” – with an exception for Republicans perhaps, or Sarah Palin’s children? On what grounds?

Lefties, please don’t try to say “Oh who cares, it’s only Bill Maher” – because it isn’t, now: it’s also Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters.

President lashes out at protesters in polarized country

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - June 9, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Politics abroad,Random Thoughts

Sound familiar?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to two cities where unrest has occurred and again condemned his detractors as “a handful of looters” and vandals.

In the southern city of Adana, where pro- and anti-government protesters clashed Saturday night, Erdogan greeted supporters from the top of a bus before lashing out at his opponents in the highly polarized country

If he wanted to defuse the situation, he might do well to acknowledge the protestor’s grievances rather than insult them.

Another nation’s leader said that Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, “is one of the few foreign leaders with whom he has developed “’friendships and the bonds of trust.’

Once again, a plea for civility in the comments

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:35 am - May 8, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse

I don’t often check the comments, so have to come to rely on readers’ e-mails to learn what is going on in this or that thread.  While I do occasionally hear of a substantive (or otherwise interesting) exchange, more often than not, I learn of one commenter responding to another not with arguments but with insults.

If another’s argument is ludicrous, there is no need to engage in innuendo, just tear it apart point by point, without addressing the motivations of the commenter or making allegations about his (or her) personal life.  Just last night, a concerned reader (with a political philosophy pretty close to my own) alerted me about some particularly nasty threads.  With permission, I quote from this individual’s e-mail:

Social-issue threads are sometimes a hundred or more comments long.  This is not because substantive debate is going on, but because they’re being hijacked by one or two loons.  They tend to be laced with profanity and crude sexual innuendo.  I can only imagine what straight conservatives who check out GP think.  If we don’t want them to think gay conservatives have filthy minds, they’ll nonetheless get that notion if they read those threads. . . .

Nobody with any sense is going to keep commenting on a blog when they’re treated that way. I have better things to do with my time, and as many former commenters have simply gone away, it’s evident that they do, too. GP has become an important source of information for many people. I hate to see this happen.

Look, I know that life is not easy.  And we each face our own challenges.  Sometimes in the face of frustration as we struggle with setbacks, we need, well, we feel that we need to vent.  A lot of people seem to do that in the political sphere, projecting their personal demons onto their ideological adversaries. (more…)

“The Internet home for the American gay conservative”

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 5:35 pm - April 26, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse,Gay Leftist Lickspittles

That title, as the eagle-eyed will notice, is the GayPatriot blog’s tagline.

In my years of participating in GP threads, I’ve noticed that some who are opposed to the blog or its usual viewpoint, may be excessively fond of the “consistency game”, demanding that anyone who would criticize them must first meet some standard of consistency that has been issued by themselves.

It’s a cute game. They declare the standards and they appoint themselves the judges – which means they can’t be criticized in the thread, because they will never judge their critic as having been consistent enough, and will always change the subject back to their critic’s alleged inconsistency.

I called it “cute”, because little kids do it to their parents (or try to). But the game’s effects, and likely its intent, are destructive.

What I’m really talking about here is Alinsky Rule 4, as heliotrope and NDT have pointed out to me before. Played skillfully enough, it can strangle a thread, destroying any useful process of conversation. (more…)

Silencing and slurring those with poltically incorrect views

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - April 12, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage,Liberal Intolerance

Pick any issue currently being advanced by progressives“, writes Doug Manwaring today in the American Thinker:

. . . same-sex marriage, state-mandated free contraception, abortion, man-made global warming and strict gun control, to name a few. Publicly question or resist any of these and be prepared to be judged as an anti-science, homophobic, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, Neanderthal.

As with little Anthony, to attempt to enter into legitimate discussion or debate on these issues is out of the question, and met with severe consequences. Your have only two options: Start thinking “happy thoughts,” or brace yourself for the cornfield.

Read the whole thing.  H/t: reader Heliotrope. Manwaring cites an episode of the Twilight Zone where little Anthony Freeman with his special powers will banish you to the cornfield if you don’t think “happy thoughts” or “say happy things.”

Even if we don’t agree with Manwaring on gay marriage (he’s gay, but believes ” the definition of Marriage is immutable”), we can at least recognize that instead of addressing the arguments of their critics, all too many gay marriage advocates resort to name-calling and ostracism of individuals who oppose their cause.

How often do they accuse such opponents of hatred?  (More on this topic as time allows.)

Magnanimity in the marriage wars

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - March 31, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

In a thoughtful piece yesterday in the New York Times, Ross Douthat contended that the view Andrew Sullivan offered on gay marriage in the 1990s “has carried the day almost completely.

That argument, much different from the one the one-time New Republic editor has offered in the current century, held that “far from being radical, gay marriage was more likely to be stabilizing, ‘sending a message about matrimonial responsibility and mutual caring’ to gays and straights alike.

Let us hope that message emerges from the current debates on state recognition of same-sex marriage.  Indeed, many same-sex couples who have elected marriage (and even many who have not) have lived that message, forsaking all others looking after their spouses in sickness and in health.  They provide examples of mature relationships between adults of the same sex and evidence that gay man and women are capable of the same kind of commitment our straight counterparts have shown.

Douthat, however, laments that as gay marriage advocates seem to be winning the argument, they aren’t conceding any points to defenders of traditional marriage:

A more honest, less triumphalist case for gay marriage would be willing to concede that, yes, there might be some social costs to redefining marriage. It would simply argue that those costs are too diffuse and hard to quantify to outweigh the immediate benefits of recognizing gay couples’ love and commitment.

Such honesty would make social liberals more magnanimous in what looks increasingly like victory, and less likely to hound and harass religious institutions that still want to elevate and defend the older marital ideal.

But whether people think they’re on the side of God or of History, magnanimity has rarely been a feature of the culture war.

Read the whole thing.  The debate on gay marriage is not entirely pathetic.

Would be nice if partisans on both sides of the debate could acknowledge the points their adversaries make.

Our pathetic debate on gay marriage

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - March 27, 2013.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage,Random Thoughts

A post (and the ensuing comment thread) my friend David Boaz linked today on Facebook reminded me why I have been so reluctant in recent days to re-enter the gay marriage fray.

For many years, particularly when I was in college and law school and working in Washington, D.C.’s public policy sector, I read widely about a great variety of issues, including social issues like marriage and child-rearing.  Conservative organizations presented much solid research on the social benefits of traditional marriage and the damaging effects of divorce.

I had always wondered why so few advocates of gay marriage looked at that research on traditional marriage in order to suggest that it could be applied to same-sex unions as well.  I am only aware of one group which has done so and blogged about it here.

In the current debate, instead of acknowledging the social conservatives’ broader point, all too many advocates merely repeat their slogans about “fairness” and “equality” while badmouthing anyone who would dare disagree with them, calling them “haters” –even going so far as to label hateful those who, like James Taranto, believe the Supreme Court should uphold “Proposition 8 and leave . . . the matter for the states to decide.

And whereas the gay left have engaged in name-calling (if you don’t believe me, just check your Facebook feed), the social conservative opponents of gay marriage have been little better.  Which brings me to David’s link, leading to his own post where he takes aim at “Jim DeMint, former senator and future president of the Heritage Foundation” for attempting in a USA Today op-ed to link “family breakdown” and “welfare spending” to state recognition of gay marriage.

Yes, there is considerable evidence that welfare spending undermines the family unit  – and is bad for children.  And there is also considerable evidence that divorce is bad for children.  But, Mr. DeMint, like many social conservatives making similar arguments, fails to show how state recognition of gay marriage is bad for children.  Or for society.  The former Senator, as David puts it, just makes his case “with a sleight of hand.” (more…)

My Unrecognizable Democratic Party

The title is from Ted Van Dyk’s recent column. He’s a lifelong Democrat. As a former Democrat myself, who left in the early Naughties[1], I was intrigued. Read the whole thing, of course. A few highlights:

Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 on the basis of his persona and his pledge to end political and ideological polarization…On taking office, however, the president adopted a my-way-or-the-highway style of governance. He pursued his stimulus and health-care proposals on a congressional-Democrats-only basis. He rejected proposals of his own bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which would have provided long-term deficit reduction…He opted instead to demonize Republicans…

No serious attempt—for instance, by offering tort reform or allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines—was made to enlist GOP congressional support for the health bill…

Faced with a…GOP House takeover [in 1995], President Bill Clinton shifted to bipartisan governance. Mr. Obama [in 2011] did not...

…I couldn’t have imagined any one of the Democratic presidents or presidential candidates I served from 1960-92 using such down-on-all-fours tactics [as Obama did in 2012]. The unifier of 2008 became the calculated divider of 2012. Yes, it worked, but only narrowly, as the president’s vote total fell off sharply from 2008…

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson had Democratic congressional majorities sufficient to pass any legislation he wanted. But he sought and received GOP congressional support for Medicare, Medicaid, civil rights, education and other Great Society legislation. He knew that in order to last, these initiatives needed consensus support…

…former Democratic presidents would…know today that no Democratic or liberal agenda can go forward…if presidential and Democratic Party rhetoric consistently portrays loyal-opposition leaders as having devious or extremist motives….

Nice to see a Democrat who can admit it; a Democrat who remembers the party we used to know.

[1]As the party went insane over Gore-Bush, Iraq and more.

UPDATE: Even David Brooks, the New York Times’ notion of “conservative” who was so impressed by the crease in Obama’s pants in 2008, is starting to get it.

The progressive [Democrat] budget in the House seems to have been written by people hermetically sealed in the house of government. They work in government. They represent public-sector workers. They seem to have had little contact with private-sector job creators… while Republicans may embarrass on a daily basis, many progressives have lost touch with what actually produces growth and prosperity.

Misadventures in Multicultural Studies Indoctrination

Jeff’s post the other day about the questionable workshop at Brown University came to mind recently when I saw a very far-left Facebook friend link to this article by a professor named Warren Blumenfeld who had just retired from a position as a professor of education at Iowa State University.  The article contains the professor’s reflections and gives voice to both his lamentations and his indignity about those students who took his class who were not won over to his worldview and who had the temerity to announce that fact in their final papers.

The course was entitled “Multicultural Foundations in Schools and Society,” and Blumenfeld describes it in the following terms:

I base the course on a number of key concepts and assumptions, including how issues of power, privilege, and domination within the United States center on inequitable social divisions regarding race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, sex, gender identity, sexual identity, religion, nationality, linguistic background, physical and mental ability/disability, and age. I address how issues around social identities impact generally on life outcomes, and specifically on educational outcomes. Virtually all students registered for this course, which is mandatory for students registered in the Teacher Education program, are pre-service teachers.

In other words, this is a required course in “multicultural studies” indoctrination.  If the course were voluntary, it would be a slightly different situation, but as a required course, it amounts to an example of the sort of thing that conservatives can easily point to as illustrating the left-wing biases of academia.

Professor Blumenfeld is particularly alarmed by the case of two female students who tell him quite boldly that the course has not changed their socially conservative Christian worldview:

On a final course paper, one student wrote that, while she enjoyed the course, and she felt that both myself and my graduate assistant — who had come out to the class earlier as lesbian — were very knowledgeable and good professors with great senses of humor, nonetheless, she felt obliged to inform us that we are still going to Hell for being so-called “practicing homosexuals.” Another student two years later wrote on her course paper that homosexuality and transgenderism are sins in the same category as stealing and murder. This student not only reiterated that I will travel to Hell if I continued to act on my same-sex desires, but she went further in amplifying the first student’s proclamations by self-righteously insisting that I will not receive an invitation to enter Heaven if I do not accept Jesus as my personal savior since I am a Jew, regardless of my sexual behavior. Anyone who doubts this, she concluded, “Only death will tell!”

Now while we might question the wisdom of both students in advertising the heresy represented by their beliefs so boldly in a graded assignment,  I think we might also be heartened by their courage in being true to their faith, even if we do not agree with all of the particulars of their worldview.

The professor, however, is shocked and appalled, and the rest of the essay is his attempt to reconcile–through reference to one leftist theory and tract after another–what he calls “our campus environment, one that emboldens some students to notify their professor and graduate assistant that their final destination will be the depths of Hell.”  Notice his word choice, there.  The problem is with the “campus environment” which “emboldens some students.”  It seems like a foreign idea to this professor to think that a university could be a place for the free and open exchange of ideas, especially those ideas that are unpopular.  I trust we will not find him quoting Voltaire or Jefferson anytime soon.

No, instead what we get is a description of and a reflection on a course that sounds like it could have been lifted straight from  the pages of Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, albeit with a more contemporary reading list.  While the professor uses the (more…)