• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Senator Schumer, the Bloviator versus Governor Christie, the Wise

Charlie Schumer, the motormouth Senator from New York was mouthing, according to the New York Post:

“A terrible, terrible decision,” Schumer told a Crain’s breakfast.

Schumer being Schumer, of course, he sees in Christie’s decision the coming of a national apocalypse — a “turning point,” he said, that historians will one day look back on as the day when we “stopped looking toward the future.”

Hyperbole, thy name is Chuck Schumer.

Fortunately, Chris Christie is not one to be intimidated, even by so formidable a presence as Chuck Schumer’s — and, even more fortunately, he can give as good as he gets.

Back when the governor called a halt to the project, he cited the fact that its cost had already swelled to $11 billion and counting — with his state on the hook for $2.7 billion, plus 50% of any cost overruns.

That would hike Jersey’s liability to more than $5 billion — money the troubled Garden State simply doesn’t have.

In response to Schumer, Christie noted the difference between a governor and a senator. “Their job is easy,” he said of lawmakers like Schumer. “They get to sit in front of microphones and bloviate. I’ve got to balance budgets.”

Asking where the money would come from, Christie added: “If [Schumer] wants to offer me $5 billion, then maybe we can have a conversation.

“Until then,” said the governor, “he should mind his manners on the other side of the Hudson River.”

Ouch — but point very well taken.

Senators — especially Democratic senators — love to go on about huge projects and the jobs they’d create.

But when it comes to explaining how to pay for them, they grow silent.

However badly the tunnel is needed, it does not justify a project that was already running as high as 60% over its already exorbitant projected budget.

With absolutely no end to the escalation in sight.

Chris Christie, unlike Chuck Schumer, recognized a boondoggle when he saw it.

And, unlike Schumer, his first instinct was to protect the taxpayers.”

Leftist “Guardian” Demands Human Rights Imperialism Must Stop….and NOW!


“Zombie” at Pajamas Media is astonished and writes, “Human Rights Imperialism:  Leftist Satire or Moral Collapse?”

“The Guardian recently published a wicked satire of moral relativism, a Swiftian send-up entitled “End human rights imperialism now” with the classic sub-heading “Groups such as Human Rights Watch have lost their way by imposing western, ‘universal’ standards on developing countries.” Brilliant! Hahahahaha! I didn’t know the Guardian had branched out into humor.

But about five minutes after my laughter subsided, a horrible suspicion dawned on me: Could it be that the author was serious?

A quick re-read confirmed my fears. This was no joke. This was the modern left finally taking its last inevitable step into the abyss of moral oblivion.

A few quick quotes from this astonishing manifesto will introduce you to a disturbing new way of looking at the world:

Founded by idealists who wanted to make the world a better place, [the human rights movement] has in recent years become the vanguard of a new form of imperialism.

Want to depose the government of a poor country with resources? Want to bash Muslims? Want to build support for American military interventions around the world? Want to undermine governments that are raising their people up from poverty because they don’t conform to the tastes of upper west side intellectuals? Use human rights as your excuse!

Human Rights Watch is hardly the only offender. There are a host of others, ranging from Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders to the Carr Centre for Human Rights at Harvard and the pitifully misled “anti-genocide” movement. All promote an absolutist view of human rights permeated by modern western ideas that westerners mistakenly call “universal”.

Just as Human Rights Watch led the human rights community as it arose, it is now the poster child for a movement that has become a spear-carrier for the “exceptionalist” belief that the west has a providential right to intervene wherever in the world it wishes.

Those who have traditionally run Human Rights Watch and other western-based groups that pursue comparable goals come from societies where crucial group rights – the right not to be murdered on the street, the right not to be raped by soldiers, the right to go to school, the right to clean water, the right not to starve – have long since been guaranteed. In their societies, it makes sense to defend secondary rights, like the right to form a radical newspaper or an extremist political party. But in many countries, there is a stark choice between one set of rights and the other. Human rights groups, bathed in the light of self-admiration and cultural superiority, too often make the wrong choice.

Human rights need to be considered in a political context. The question should not be whether a particular leader or regime violates western-conceived standards of human rights. Instead, it should be whether a leader or regime, in totality, is making life better or worse for ordinary people.

It’s not that the essay’s author, former New York Times Bureau Chief and current anti-imperialist professor-activist Stephen Kinzer, is wrong about his facts: it’s quite true that life under a totalitarian police state is often safer and more secure than living in lawless anarchy. That’s why the war-torn masses throughout history sometimes clamor for peace even at the cost of their own freedom. Yet forgotten in Kinzer’s approval of oppressive societies is that wannabe dictators always use this excuse to justify their crushing of human rights: We need to remove your freedom in order to guarantee your safety. Never mind that the new regime was usually one of combatants endangering the citizenry in the first place.

No, the issue is that Kinzer seems to have just now woken up to a phenomenon that many of us have known about for quite some time — that the human rights movement “has in recent years become the vanguard of a new form of imperialism.”

The only error in that statement is the word “recent.” The notion of “universal human rights” was formulated in the West and is the basis of Western civilization; and the the notion of bringing these “Western values” to oppressed and backward peoples has been the goal not just of the modern human rights movement but of missionaries, do-gooders and yes, even the American military for quite some time.

Kinzer has freshly arrived at the blinding and quite correct realization that the “human rights movement” and “Western imperialism” are one and the same. And having become aware of this, you’d think that as a human rights activist, he’d have a life-altering epiphany: Perhaps I’ve been wrong about what I call “imperialism” this whole time. Maybe it is a force for good after all.

But no. Standing on the brink of a psychological breakthrough, Kinzer turned the other way and instead had a breakdown. Pinioned by the idée fixe that America and imperialism and Western values are always and irrevocably wrong, when faced with the fact that human rights are a subset of Western values, Kinzer felt he had no choice but to discard his belief in human rights. Which must have been quite difficult for someone who formerly regarded himself as a human rights activist, but hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Moral relativism vs. cultural imperialism

What we see in this essay is moral relativism finally taken to its logical conclusion. No longer will the Left be able to claim credit for the “good” aspects of two fundamentally oppositional viewpoints. Either you are for respecting native cultures and native value systems, or you are for bringing “human rights” (i.e. “Western values”) to Third World peoples. But you can’t do both simultaneously. Yet that is exactly what the Left has been doing for decades — claiming credit as the world’s humanitarians and advocates for universal human rights, while at the same time claiming credit as the defenders of native cultures and opponents of imperialism.

But as Stephen Kinzer just found out: Native cultures often don’t share our notion of “universal human rights,” and regard the involuntary imposition of Western values as the most noxious form of “cultural imperialism.”

And it gets much worse for the Left’s poor battered psyche with the additional realization that the men in these Third World societies are only “backward” as regards to their philosophical development, but not backward at all in their machismo, capacity for violence, and willingness to defend their worldview with force if necessary. So that often, the only way to “bring” human rights to oppressed populations is to “impose” these rights by force, and to defeat (which usually means kill) the intransigent defenders of the native way of life.

The prototypical exemplars of this attitude are of course the Taliban, and Afghanistan is the test-case where the dilemma is played out.

Case study: Afghanistan

The Taliban practice a uniquely noxious mix of ancient Pashtun culture (in which revenge is revered as a basic social precept) and fundamentalist Sunni Islam (with its well-documented array of oppressive and triumphalist doctrines). The Taliban are not nice people — “nice” itself being a Western concept, I concede. They deeply believe in, and are willing to kill and die for, the imposition of an all-encompassing theocratic police state which denies even basic human rights to just about everyone under their rule. When they controlled Afghanistan, they tried to commit genocide against ethnic minorities, they denied women all rights whatsoever, they prohibited all religions and sects except their own, they harbored and supported known terrorist groups, attempted to commit “culturecide” by destroying all traces of other belief systems, and suppressed anything even vaguely resembling freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. And to this day wherever they get a toe-hold in Afghanistan or Pakistan, they continue their ways unabated. The Taliban and the traditional culture they represent are about as antithetical to human rights as you can get.

So, if you were a human rights campaigner, and cared about human rights in Afghanistan, what would you do? Trying to “engage” with the ruling Taliban was utterly futile, as many naive do-gooders discovered. “Enlightening” them to our value system only further infuriates them. So the only way to bring the gift of “human rights” (i.e. Western values) to Afghanistan is to remove the Taliban by force. But as the Soviets, the Northern Alliance, and now the U.S. and its allies have discovered, the Taliban fight tooth and nail against the imposition of Western values. They never surrender, never give up, and employ the most diabolical tactics to achieve bloody victory at any cost. Thus, the only recipe to “defeat” the Taliban’s philosophy is to invade with massive force, physically drive them out, kill as many as possible in the process, and then stay in place for as long as necessary to repel an endless barrage of counterattacks and terroristic strikes.

There’s a word for that process. It’s called war. And another word, too, in the leftist lexicon. It’s called imperialism.

Both war and imperialism are absolute anathema to the Left, at least in theory. War and imperialism are the very things they claim to oppose. And yet at the same time, they also claim to support above all things “human rights” for everyone on earth.

And so we come to the dilemma recently discovered by Stephen Kinzer: What if the only way to bring human rights to an oppressed population is to wage imperialistic war against their oppressors?

It’s very very difficult for modern progressives to wrap their minds around this concept. They have been inculcated since birth in the old peacenik canard that war is always wrong, that it’s inherently evil, that it can never be used for “good” because the process of salvation is invariably worse than the status quo of oppression, as encapsulated by the famous (but probably fabricated) quote, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

(This is why I respect and admire Christopher Hitchens, despite the fact that I disagree with him on many issues. Shortly after 9/11, Hitchens confronted the same moral dilemma that Kinzer is facing now, but unlike Kinzer, Hitchens did have a transformational moral breakthrough in which a one-time far-left Marxist atheist came to understand that the armies of the West were not agents of evil but rather the last remaining champions of liberal values and human rights.)

Liberal missionaries

Cultural imperialism doesn’t always happen in a war zone. It can also happen incrementally, insidiously, as a side-effect of noble intentions.

Yet it had always struck me that the international do-gooderism of contemporary “progressive” groups is essentially indistinguishable from the international do-gooderism of Christian missionaries from centuries past. Both try to “save” third-worlders from their self-imposed poverty and ignorance. But somehow, magically, the modern progressives have so thoroughly rebranded their efforts that they feel no connection to nor feel themselves to be in the same tradition of those horrible old 19th-century Christians with their evil attempts to replace native cultures with Western values.

Several years ago my cousin joined a left-leaning nonprofit (technically an “NGO,” listed on this page) and was sent on an all-expenses-paid volunteer project to a remote area of Papua New Guinea, where she and her fellow volunteers were to build a health clinic for the natives. She was practically delirious with progressive self-righteousness about the whole adventure, and sent home occasional letters detailing her team’s progress. I, despite still being a liberal myself at the time (this being some years prior to 9/11), was overwhelmed with a nagging sense of doubt. Hadn’t my cousin been an anthropology major in college? Wasn’t this project “interfering” with the native culture? I confessed some of my reservations in return letters, to which she took great offense. We’re helping these people, she explained. They’ve got all sorts of preventable diseases. I parried again: Perhaps their delicate culture is dependent on the absence of old people and the disabled? By keeping the sick and elderly alive with your clinic, might you not cause all sorts of unforeseen social upheavals, since their subsistence economy can only support the few and the able? She replied: Health care is a basic human right. Besides, this tribe has never even heard of contraception. We have classes in women’s health. Me: Will the introduction of contraception lead to a lower birth rate and their eventual extinction? Back and forth our argument raged in letters sent over the months.

Around this time I let myself be dragged to a friend-of-a-friend’s wedding in of all places a church (not the kind of establishment I normally visit), and afterward, milling around in the lobby, I picked up a copy of the church newsletter and saw to my amazement an article about a “mission” funded by the church in which Christian teens were sent to (brace yourself) Papua New Guinea where they were to build (you guessed it) a health clinic. (And, ahem, distribute Bible tracts and the Good News about Jesus, naturally, since the souls of the Papuans needed saving.)

I clipped out the article and sent it to my cousin. How, I asked, are you any different than these evangelical Christians, whom you so despise? Your group and the Christians are on opposite sides of the same island doing the exact same thing: You both show up, deem the native culture deficient in some way, build a health clinic in order to “help” them but which will only serve to disrupt native life, and ultimately use the clinic as a beachhead to impose your civilized notions on the heathen? At least the Christians are honest about their intent to Westernize the natives; you, however, hide behind the mask of political correctness and pretend that your altruism is blameless and pure, all the while doling out condoms and lessons undermining tribal patriarchy.

Her response? She packed her bags that night and returned home. From that day to this she has not spoken to me. I only later learned through my uncle that my cousin blames me for spoiling her youthful dreams, introducing her to the harsh world of cynicism and negativity. She quit the NGO and dropped out of political activism altogether.

What’s the moral to this story? I myself at that time was not so different from the way Kinzer is now, each of us realizing that intrusions on non-Western cultures are all equally disruptive, regardless of whether that disruptiveness is intentional or not. A military invasion, a do-gooder health clinic, a Christian mission, a lecture about women’s rights, the introduction of new technologies — in the end, they all have the same effect, which is to undermine the pristine nature of the native culture.

Back then, however, I was more inclined to accept the “Noble Savage” worldview, that primitive cultures were inherently superior to the horrors of Western civilization, and thus we should protect and admire non-Western societies, like exhibits in a museum.

Since that time, however, my views have evolved, in a way that Kinzer’s apparently haven’t. I see much more clearly now that primitive societies, with their “non-Western” values, are often oppressive and unnecessarily brutal for the people living in them. Not always, but often. Furthermore, as the globe’s population grows, many formerly “quaint” ethnic cultures are growing in dimension and scope, and they no longer need protecting — they need suppression.

Yes, part of me still would like to see Potemkin Villages, or perhaps “It’s a Small World” living dioramas, of each and every ethnic culture on Earth, so as to preserve our species’ amazing diversity. But I also know that there is cruelty in such a fantasy; because real human beings will be compelled to live in these ethnographic exhibits, and must thereby endure real hardships for our intellectual amusement and to alleviate our Western guilt.

I also know too much about history and anthropology to continue the bankrupt charade that all cultures are equal in value and equally worthy of respect and admiration. And this is where the Kinzers of the world and I have parted ways, I suppose. The accumulated Judeo-Christian/Greco-Roman/Renaissance-Enlightenment/you-name-it wisdom that Western culture has integrated over the millennia is without any question the best bet that the human race has going.

The Left Man’s Burden

We as a society have had this argument before. Rudyard Kipling put it in the bluntest possible terms with his 1899 poem “The White Man’s Burden,” essentially saying that when Western powers seize control of third-world countries, it becomes our moral duty to raise up “Your new-caught, sullen peoples, / Half-devil and half-child,” even if by so doing we only earn their anger: “Take up the White Man’s burden- / And reap his old reward: / The blame of those ye better, / The hate of those ye guard.”

Nowadays, Kipling is dismissed as the worst kind of old-school racist: a condescending racist, one who looks down on “half-devil and half-child” non-Westerners with pity, not hatred. Embedded in our offer to help the third world is the presumptuous assumption of our superiority.

The contemporary Left feels free to criticize Kipling because they assume his spirit lives on in the hearts of neocons and warmongers today. He is conveniently categorized as a “bad guy” whose politics closely align with 21st-century Republicanism.

But I see it from a different angle: It is the modern human rights organizations, with their meddlesome insistence on helping downtrodden foreigners, that continue the “White man’s burden” tradition. It is the progressives who are the Kiplings of today. The only difference between Rudyard Kipling and modern bleeding-heart liberals is that Kipling was at least more honest about his feeling of superiority.

Kinzer has realized this as well. Imagine the sense of horror that welled up in him when he became conscious that the white-dominated human rights activist community was doing the exact same things that the imperialists of old imagined they were doing, with the exact same smugness and self-righteousness? Oh my my God: I’m no different than Kipling!

Can’t have that: no sir. And the only course of action, Kinzer concluded, is to leave those devil-children to their fate. Universal human rights be damned!

Response in the Guardian

Kinzer’s diatribe did not go unrebutted in the pages of the Guardian. Sohrab Ahmari counterpunched with a devastating essay called Beware those who sneer at ‘human rights imperialism’:

Imagine what Kinzer’s proposals would mean in practical terms. Can human rights activists be expected to ignore the plight of a woman being stoned in Iran for adultery or a journalist tortured in Mubarak’s jails? (“Terribly sorry, but we wouldn’t want to judge your oppressors by the meter of our culturally determined, imperialistic standards – tough!”)

And consider, too, the impact of this brand of relativism on the moral imagination of the left, which, at its very best, stood firm on the principle that people divided by geography, culture and language can empathise with and express solidarity with each other.

If the isolationist, provincial left manages to convince us that the blessing of liberty is to be allocated randomly – along geographic lines and according to the accident of birth – will the heart still beat on the left?

“Will the heart still beat on the left?” Ahmari asks. Not with Kinzer leading the charge. I no longer detect a pulse.

Three Cups of Whoop-Ass

Kinzer’s moral collapse is the culmination of an untenable paradox that has been bedeviling the modern left for quite some time. This paradox is epitomized by the career of progressive humanitarian Craig Mortensen, author of the bestselling book Three Cups of Tea, in which he details his efforts to build girls’ schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mortensen’s project has received lavish praise from some mainstream liberals, who after all are in favor of education and women’s rights. Mortensen’s “soft” approach to modernizing the backward areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan is seen as the morally superior nonviolent alternative to the harsh military tactics of the U.S. government and its allies:

“Schools are a much more effective bang for the buck than missiles or chasing some Taliban around the country,” says Mr. Mortensen, who is an Army veteran.

Each Tomahawk missile that the United States fires in Afghanistan costs at least $500,000. That’s enough for local aid groups to build more than 20 schools, and in the long run those schools probably do more to destroy the Taliban.

I applaud Mr. Mortensen’s efforts in that they undermine the oppressive nature of fundamentalist Islam — but he’s fooling himself if he thinks his school-building project could survive on its own without the menace of Western military might looming in the distance. If you walked alone into Taliban country and simply announced to the tribal chieftains, “I want to educate your women so they can break free from your cruel dominance and become more sexually liberated!”, you probably wouldn’t meet with much success, much less live to tell the tale. But if you instead announced, “Look, if you let me build a girls’ school here, the U.S. military will regard you as friendly allies and spare this area; but if you kick me out and embrace the Taliban, expect a rain of bombs and missiles,” then you’d likely encounter more cooperation.

Now, of course, the conversation is never that overt, but the carrot-vs.-stick dilemma is present even if not vocalized. It’s a “good cop/bad cop” routine played out on a grand scale; villagers get a taste of the “bad cop” Western military, and then in come “good cop” do-gooder progressives offering a more appealing alternative, saying, “You don’t want to deal with that bad cop again, do you?”

But the “good cop/bad cop” dynamic doesn’t work if you have only a “good cop.” Without the threat of a more dire outcome, the subject has little motivation to consent to the smiley-face cultural imperialism of the do-gooders.

Yet here’s the part that the progressives don’t like to admit: The good cop and the bad cop always have the same goal. The “routine” is just that — an act. In a police setting the goal is to get a confession using psychological trickery. On the world stage the goal is to bring human rights to oppressed peoples using humanitarian progressivism as the loving alternative to war. But the “good cop” is actually on the same team as the “bad cop,” despite appearances.

I can’t say for sure because I haven’t really followed his evolving attitudes, but it seems to me that Mortensen has himself had a second “A-ha!” moment and softened his opposition to military strength, realizing that the U.S. armed forces are on the same side as he is: his most recent book, Stones into Schools, details “his friendships with U.S. military personnel, including Admiral Mike Mullen, and the warm reception his work has found among the officer corps.” Even Nicholas Kristof, linked above, noted in 2008 that “The Pentagon, which has a much better appreciation for the limits of military power than the Bush administration as a whole, placed large orders for Three Cups of Tea and invited Mr. Mortensen to speak. ‘I am convinced that the long-term solution to terrorism in general, and Afghanistan specifically, is education,’ Lt. Col. Christopher Kolenda, who works on the Afghan front lines, said in an e-mail in which he raved about Mr. Mortensen’s work.”

So: Greg Mortensen, the U.S. military, and I, all agree: We should use our full civilizational “arsenal,” whether it be helping-hand do-gooderism, or Predator drones launching Hellfire missiles, or a combination of the two, to bring Western values to the backward areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But you know who disagrees with us? The Taliban and their fellow Islamists, who have issued fatwas calling for Mortensen’s death, blown up girls’ schools when they could get away with it, and militarily opposed the post-Taliban government.

And you know who else disagrees with us? Stephen Kinzer and his ilk, that’s who. Realizing that we can’t bring human rights to oppressive patriarchal societies without wreaking violence, whether actual or metaphorical, on traditional cultures, Kinzer now proposes that we abandon the attempt altogether.

So, on one side, you have human rights activists and the U.S. military; and on the opposing side you have the Taliban and the morally unhinged Stephen Kinzers of this world.

Which side do you choose?”

The Missing of Keith Olbermann of MSNBC

        The smugness, the narcissism, the never-ending parade

        of yes-man    guests:         Goodnight and good riddance!

The headline above and the article below go together.   They are the writings of Salon Leftwinger, Niall Stanage: 

“If there was some strange parallel universe in which Keith Olbermann and I were members of Congress, I suspect we would vote together about 99 percent of the time. But when the “Countdown” host announced his abrupt departure from MSNBC on Friday night, I felt only relief.

First reactions to Olbermann’s exit have broken along lines as partisan as they were predictable. That the New York Post would respond to the news with glee and The Huffington Post with a gnashing of teeth was hardly a shock.

But back in the real world, I cannot imagine I am the only viewer who is basically simpatico with Olbermann’s worldview, but who had come to find him and his show utterly insufferable. The glibness, the pomposity, the narcissism — all these foibles had, of late, reached gut-wrenching proportions.

It was not always thus. It is easy to forget just what the media landscape looked like in the early years of Olbermann’s tenure at the helm of “Countdown.” (He had, of course, had an earlier, unsuccessful stint at MSNBC, which culminated in one of the many enmity-filled partings that have dotted his career.)

The show began in 2003, when large swathes of the journalistic profession appeared to have been cowed — not just by the Bush administration per se but by a jingoistic atmosphere that lingered too long after 9/11 and took many unwise forms.

In that environment, Olbermann was fresh, even daring. The show’s increasingly forceful liberalism through its early years made for some riveting TV moments, the best-known perhaps his 2006 takedown of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The freshness curdled soon enough.

In his farewell remarks on Friday, Olbermann proudly proclaimed that his show was “anti-establishment.” In recent years, that description was a stretch, at best.

Everything from the increasingly contrived “Worst Person in the World” segments to the host’s persona — a kind of an ersatz version of Walter Cronkite, with infinitely more “attitude” but infinitely less real authority — had settled into a rut. Predictability and self-importance were the main features.

“Countdown” had a niche — a profitable one for both the network and its host, who was rumored to have negotiated a $30 million four-year contract in 2008 — and Olbermann apparently saw little need for change.

Meanwhile, his professed commitment to the questioning of authority all-too-evidently did not extend to himself. There were myriad stories about diva-like histrionics in front of — and allegedly directed against — staff. There were instances where his sneering at co-anchors had embarrassing public results.

But, more importantly, there was a years-long procession of pundits whose only apparent purpose was to confirm the correctness and brilliance of the host’s every utterance. The spectacle was one in which purportedly respectable journalists seemed to fall over themselves to play courtier to King Smug.

By last year, criticism of this trend had become so widespread that Olbermann responded, via a promo spot for the show. The ad, which showed the host proclaiming that “I ask a lot of these questions to find out whether or not I’m wildly incorrect about something,” was unintentionally hilarious. The only “establishment” being challenged by then was the one that is charged with taking action against false advertising.

There was a bigger problem, too. Olbermann rose to prominence in large part through attacking other media figures — most notably Bill O’Reilly — for both their gloating self-regard and their rhetorical recklessness.

Olbermann’s claim to the moral high ground here was strictly relative. This is a man, after all, who once reported an allegation that Paris Hilton had been punched in the face under the tagline “A Slut and Battery.” Hilarious, no?

Later silliness — the risible condemnation of then-Senator-Elect Scott Brown as “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence” — only strengthened the impression that Olbermann had morphed into a mirror image of those he so often attacked.

The blogosphere is already aflame with suggestions that Olbermann’s departure is linked to Comcast’s impending takeover of NBC. Maybe it is. Petitions for his reinstatement are growing as I type. Maybe they’ll be successful — though I doubt it.

In any case, for me at least, Olbermann’s act has long been threadbare. Goodnight and good luck, Keith — and good riddance.”


Salon is advertised as an “online arts and culture magazine…..and that it includes writings of “various literary luminaries.”    (It’s devotion exclusively to promoting things Left is not mentioned.)’

Another at Salon, Steve Kornachi, writes an article headed by the question:  (“Is Olbermann the victim of his own success?”)    One can tell by the title that we might have a slightly different view of  Keith Olbermann.  Steve makes little  mention of the vulgarities,  the vileness of this nomadic man.

“There was a time when MSNBC and Keith Olbermann both needed each other badly.

For the first decade or so of its existence, the cable news channel had only the vaguest of identities. Every few months, a new host or two would be tossed into the lineup, only to be shuffled around a few months later, and put out to pasture a few months after that. One day, Phil Donahue was the network’s prime-time face; the next it was Alan Keyes. Sometimes it seemed like the only programming MSNBC actually believed in was Don Imus’ tired minstrel show in the mornings and weird prison documentaries on the weekends.

Meanwhile, the other cable news channel launched in 1996 was tearing it up in the ratings. From the very beginning, the Fox News Channel knew what it wanted to be. Rush Limbaugh had shown that there were millions of conservative Americans who were addicted to political news and commentary — and who despised the traditional broadcast outlets (and also CNN). They weren’t looking for thoroughly reported investigative pieces or in-depth coverage of foreign affairs; they just wanted to hear about the latest Clinton scandal or the latest outrageous statement from some Democratic congressman. The programming they wanted was cheap to produce, and if you gave it to them, they’d be fanatically loyal. “Fair and balanced” was thusly born, and by the turn of the century, Fox was overtaking CNN – and leaving MSNBC in the dust.

That’s where Olbermann came in. He had actually been part of MSNBC’s revolving door cast before, in 1997 and 1998. Back then, though, his prime-time broadcast, “The Big Show” (a nod to “SportsCenter,” which he’d spent the previous five years co-anchoring with Dan Patrick), was as directionless as the network itself. Politics wasn’t always the focus and news was covered more from a general interest perspective. When the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in early ’98, executives demanded that Olbermann build his show around it; they hoped it might legitimize MSNBC the way the Iran hostage crisis legitimized “Nightline” in 1979 and 1980. But Olbermann resisted and walked away, making his disgust well known. (This kind of exit is his trademark. After he left ESPN, an executive commented that, “He didn’t burn bridges here. He napalmed them.”)

He returned more than four years later, after a doomed stint hosting a sports show on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Sports Net (and a brief period as a columnist, in 2002 and 2003, for Salon) and just as Donahue, MSNBC’s latest savior-turned-flameout, was being pushed out of his prime-time perch. “Countdown” was created, but its evolution to the broadcast we’re now so familiar with took time. The “Worst Person in the World” feature was an early hit, and even became a book. But by all accounts, the real turning point came in the summer of 2006. For three years, Olbermann had been chronicling the steady unraveling of America’s mission in Iraq — and the staunch refusal of the Bush administration and its supporters to admit that much of anything was wrong.

At the end of his Aug. 30, 2006 show, Olbermann looked directly into the camera and spoke: “The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.” His blistering takedown of the defense secretary was a viral sensation. Millions of liberals were equally exasperated with the Bush administration; but few could express themselves as exquisitely and powerfully as Olbermann. They asked for more, and Olbermann gladly gave it to them; over the next few years, there would be dozens of “special comments,” each delivered in the same dramatic style.

Nor did Olbermann limit himself to criticism of the war and its planners. He became an all-purpose critic of the administration and its cheerleaders, and then of the Republican Party and the modern brand of conservatism it has embraced. For years, liberals had watched the growth of Fox News with dismay and alarm. With “Countdown,” they finally had their own prime-time cable news show to flock to. Olbermann embraced the rivalry, skewering Fox and its personalities — particularly Bill O’Reilly — with biting humor and sarcasm, daring them to respond and acknowledge him. His ratings climbed — not to Fox levels, to be sure, but to levels that had been unheard of at MSNBC.

MSNBC, for its part, embraced the identity Olbermann was offering them. By 2008, his frequent guest, Rachel Maddow, was given her own show at 9 p.m. And liberal radio host Ed Schultz was given his own shortly after that. Lawrence O’Donnell, another left-of-center voice, was added just a few months ago. Eventually, the network adopted a new motto — “Lean forward” — that’s about as subtle as Fox’s “fair and balanced” pledge. MSNBC’s prime-time lineup is now awash in progressive politics. The most conservative voice after 5 p.m. belongs to Chris Matthews, a former aide to Tip O’Neill who nearly ran for Senate in Pennsylvania as a Democrat last year. After casting about for years, MSNBC at last knows exactly who it is — and isn’t — trying to reach.

Of course, now that he’s surrounded by similar voices, Olbermann isn’t nearly as essential to MSNBC’s brand, which surely has something to do with his abrupt departure on Friday night. Exactly what led to his exit remains unclear, but it’s hardly a secret that he’s had several intense clashes with his bosses recently, one of which led to a brief suspension in November. Now that they’ve built a loyal prime-time audience of left-leaning viewers, NBC’s executives may simply feel that they can afford to be rid of Olbermann and all of the headaches he brings with him. It used to be that he was the only reason liberals turned on their channel at night. Now he’s one of many reasons — a victim of his own success, in other words.”

Steve Kornacki is Salon’s news editor.

George Will on Authority and the American Creed


from today’s Washington Post:           “An AntiAuthority Creed”, by Geoge Will:

“America is a creedal nation and the creed is, as Robert Penn Warren wrote, the “burr under the metaphysical saddle of America.” It is a recurring source of national introspection, discontent, self-indictment and passionate politics. We are in the midst of a recurrence.

The tone of today’s politics was anticipated and is vindicated by a book published 30 years ago. The late Samuel Huntington’s “American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony” (1981) clarifies why it is a mistake to be alarmed by today’s political excitements and extravagances, a mistake refuted by America’s past.

The “predominant characteristics” of the Revolutionary era, according to Gordon Wood, today’s preeminent historian of that period, were “fear and frenzy, the exaggerations and the enthusiasm, the general sense of social corruption and disorder.” In the 1820s, Daniel Webster said “society is full of excitement.” Of the 1830s, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The country is full of rebellion; the country is full of kings. Hands off! Let there be no control and no interference in the administration of this kingdom of me.” As the 20th century dawned, Theodore Roosevelt found a “condition of excitement and irritation in the popular mind.” In 1920, George Santayana wrote, “America is all one prairie, swept by a universal tornado.” Unusual turmoil is not so unusual that it has no pattern.

By the time Huntington’s book appeared, American had had four of what he called “periods of creedal passion” – the Revolutionary era (1770s), the Jacksonian era (the 1830s), the Progressive era (1900-20) and the 1960s. We are now in the fifth.

The American Creed’s values are liberal, as that term was understood until liberalism succumbed to 20th-century statism. The values, expressing the 18th century’s preoccupation with defending liberty against government, are, Huntington said, “individualistic, democratic, egalitarian, and hence basically anti-government and anti-authority.” The various values “unite in imposing limits on power and on the institutions of government. The essence of constitutionalism is the restraint of governmental power through fundamental law.”

What made the American Revolution a novel event was that Americans did not declare independence because their religion, ethnicity, language or culture made them incompatible with the British. Rather, it was a political act based on explicit principles. So in America more than in Europe, nationalism is, Huntington said, “intellectualized”: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Who holds them? Americans. Who are Americans? Those who hold those truths to be self-evident.

America is an inherently “disharmonic society” because the ideals of its creed are always imperfectly realized and always endangered. Government is necessary but, Huntington says, “the distinctive aspect of the American Creed is its anti-government character. Opposition to power and suspicion of government as the most dangerous embodiment of power are the central themes of American political thought.”

In 20th-century Europe, the ideologies that propelled change – Marxism, fascism – were, Huntington noted, utterly unlike those that animated the 18th century. “In the United States, in contrast, the themes, slogans, and concerns of one creedal passion period strongly resemble those of another.” Ideologies minted since the Revolutionary era, such as Marxism, have had slight impacts on American politics. Although many intellectuals consider American political theory unsophisticated, it is more central to political practices than theory is in other countries.

After the Founding, there was, Huntington thought, a change in Americans’ “dominant conception of human nature.” The image of man as inherently sinful, dangerous and in need of control by cleverly contrived political institutions yielded to a much more benign image of man as essentially good and potentially perfectible. But, Huntington wrote, “both views were used to justify limitations on government.” If men are bad, government should be weak lest men put it to bad uses. If men are well-intentioned and reasonable, strong government is not necessary to control them, so “government should be weak because men are good.”

Periods of creedal passion involve returns to first principles – hence the Tea Partyers’ orientation to 1773. “Americans,” Huntington believed, “become polarized less over the substance of their beliefs than over how seriously to take those beliefs.” Today, the general conservatism of this center-right country and especially the Tea Party impulse demand renewed seriousness about the creed’s core skepticism about government. Modern liberalism’s handicap is its unhappiness with this core.

“It has been our fate as a nation,” wrote historian Richard Hofstadter, “not to have ideologies but to be one.” It is an excellent fate, even if – actually, because – the creed periodically, as now, makes America intensely disharmonic.

“Islamophobia” and the Crushing of Free Speech

This article was written by Michael Ledeen at Pajamas Media:

“If you haven’t discovered him yet, you should start paying attention to Pascal Bruckner, a French philosopher deeply involved in our current struggles.  His recent book, The Tyranny of Guilt; an Essay on Western masochism, is a first-class analysis of how Western guilt over presumed past crimes has paralyzed us in the present, preventing us from doing the good works our instincts would normally produce. He’s quite right, and although much of his subject matter is European, his insights are as important for us as for his fellow Europeans.

He’s written a very important essay on “Islamophobia,” in which he calls for the word to be banned. He notes that the term was coined by Iranian Islamists, as part of their campaign against the modern Western world, which was the point of the 1979 revolution that brought down the shah. And he goes on to analyze the several ways in which the word is used. First, it equates secularism with fundamentalism, by branding critics of Islam as intolerant fanatics, even when they criticize Muslims for intolerance. Second, it masks the jihad, using “Islamophobia” to deny the accuracy of their critics.

Those two tactics are aimed against us, non-Muslims who criticize the doctrines and practices of the Islamists. “Islamophobia” is deployed in the culture war in order to silence us. It fits seamlessly with the broader strategy of political correctness, which famously criminalizes free speech that offends the followers of favored ideologies.

We are not the only ones that the forces of radical Islam have targeted with “Islamophobia.” Above all, this pernicious concept is aimed at Muslims who want to debate their own doctrines, and perhaps even change them. This point is very often missed by the great majority of pundits, many of whom view Islam as something intrinsically unchangeable. Bruckner does not make this mistake, and his words are as accurate as they are eloquent:

…it wants to silence all those Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and doctrinaire.

…young girls are stigmatized for not wearing the veil, as are French, German or English citizens of Maghribi, Turkish, African or Algerian origin who demand the right to religious indifference, the right not to believe in God, the right not to fast during Ramadan…they are delivered up to the wrath of their religions communities in order to quash all hope of change among the followers of the Prophet (my emphasis ML).

Since our traditions of free speech are unlikely to be abandoned if there were an open debate, the would-be censors resort to legalistic maneuver;  they try to make criticism of Islam or of most any radical Muslim illegal.  Bruckner again: “On a global scale, we are abetting the construction of a new thought crime, one which is strongly reminiscent of the way the Soviet Union dealt with the ‘enemies of the people.’”

The establishment intellectuals and the other members of the ruling class don’t want to fight on the side of the opponents of “Islamophobia.” It’s so much easier to simply go along, taking refuge, as we have seen in the post-Tucson diatribes, in calls for “civility” that play directly into the hands of the enemies of free speech. As Bruckner warns, “our media and politicians are giving it their blessing. … Every objection, every joke becomes a crime.”

The latest battle in this very important war is now taking place in Copenhagen, in the vicious legal case brought against Lars Hedegaard, the head of the Free Speech Society.  In the upside-down Orwellian prison being erected around free speakers, Hedegaard is charged with racism and “hate speech” for criticizing Islamists’ persecution (and sometimes murder) of Muslim women. That such a case should be admitted into a Western courtroom is an outrage and a threat to all of us;  that any Western intellectual fails to rally to Hedegaard’s side is a badge of shame.

It’s a tough and nasty fight. Most Americans, most Europeans, and indeed most Muslims, are on our side. But few are willing to fight it out. Pascal Bruckner is one of those who is fighting, and he warrants our attention and our embrace.

Faster, please.”

The Marxist Left Joins Islamofascists by Banning Speech of Critics

Marxist censorhip protecting Islamofascism is spreading throughout Europe.  Soeren Kern wrote the following article at Pajamas Media, titled “Free Speech on Trial in Austria……and Europe.”

“The “hate speech” trial of the Austrian housewife and anti-Islam activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff resumed at a Vienna courthouse on January 18, following a two-month break in the hearings. Sabaditsch-Wolff, who has been charged with “incitement of hatred” and “denigrating religious teachings” after giving a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam, faces a possible three year prison sentence. Her case, which is eerily similar to the one involving the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, reflects the growing use of lawfare, the malicious use of European courts to silence politically incorrect speech about Islam.

Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal problems began in November 2009, when she presented a three-part seminar about Islam to the Freedom Education Institute, a political academy linked to the Austrian Freedom Party. A glossy left-wing magazine called NEWS — all in capital letters — planted a journalist in the audience to secretly record the first two lectures. Lawyers for the publication then handed the transcripts over to the Viennese public prosecutor’s office as evidence of hate speech against Islam, one of the officially recognized religions under Austrian law. Formal charges against Sabaditsch-Wolff were filed in September 2010 and her bench trial, presided by one judge and no jury, began on November 23.

One the first day of the trial, however, it quickly became apparent that the case against Sabaditsch-Wolff was not as air-tight as prosecutors had made it out to be. For example, the judge pointed out that only 30 minutes of the first seminar had actually been recorded. The judge also noted that some of the statements attributed to Sabaditsch-Wolff were offhand comments made during breaks and were not a formal part of the seminar. Moreover, only a few people heard these comments, not 30 or more, the criterion under Austrian law for a statement being “public.” In any case, Sabaditsch-Wolff says her comments were not made in a public forum because the seminars were held for a select group of people who had registered beforehand.

More importantly, however, many of the statements attributed to Sabaditsch-Wolff were actually her quoting directly from the Koran and other Islamic religious texts. Fearing that the trial would end in a mistrial, the judge abruptly suspended hearings until January 18, ostensibly to give the judge time to review the tape recordings, but also to give the prosecution more time to shore up its case.

In more ways than one, the case (or show trial, as many are calling it) in Vienna against Sabaditsch-Wolff is similar to the one in Holland involving Geert Wilders.

Viewed broadly, both trials represent landmark cases that likely will establish the limits of free speech in countries where the politically correct elite routinely seek to silence public discussion about the escalating problem of Muslim immigration.

Viewed more narrowly, the accusers of both Sabaditsch-Wolff and Wilders are resorting to extra-legal shenanigans to make their charges stick.

For example, the trial against Wilders, who faces five charges of inciting racial and religious hatred for criticizing Islam, was abruptly ended in October 2010 after it emerged that one of the judges presiding over the trial tried to influence an expert witness to testify against Wilders. In that case, a hastily convened judicial panel agreed with Wilders that the judges were biased against him and ordered a retrial, sending the closely watched case back to square one before an entirely new panel of judges. Wilders, who called the trial a farce, a disgrace, and an assault on free speech, welcomed the decision, saying: “This gives me a new chance with a new fair trial.”

In the trial against Sabaditsch-Wolff, her accusers are basing their case on out-of-context quotes from an article in a socialist magazine. The main difference in the two cases is that Wilders is a professional politician while Sabaditsch-Wolff is a private citizen, a housewife who lacks the resources to defend herself against the deep pockets of the state that wants to silence her.

Of course, Sabaditsch-Wolff is not the only Austrian to run afoul of the country’s anti-free speech laws. In January 2009, Susanne Winter, an Austrian politician and member of parliament, was convicted for the “crime” of saying that “in today’s system” the Prophet Muhammad would be considered a “child molester,” referring to his marriage at the age of 56 to a six-year-old child. She was also convicted for “incitement” for warning that Austria faces an “Islamic immigration tsunami.” Winters was ordered to pay a fine of €24,000 ($31,000) and received a suspended three-month prison sentence.

Elsewhere in Europe, in Italy the late Oriana Fallaci, a journalist and author, was taken to court for writing that Islam “brings hate instead of love and slavery instead of freedom.” She died in September 2006, two months after the start of her trial. In France, novelist Michel Houellebecq was taken to court for calling Islam “the stupidest religion.” He was acquitted in October 2002. Also in France, a Paris court in June 2008 convicted animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot for “inciting racial hatred” for demanding that Muslims anaesthetize animals before slaughtering them.

In Britain, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act creates a new crime of intentionally stirring up religious hatred against people on religious grounds. The new law effectively establishes new limits on free speech in the country that in 1215 produced the Magna Carta, the famous document that is the foundation of British liberty and partly inspired the Constitution of the United States.

In Europe as a whole, the European Union recently issued a new law known as the “Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia.” The edict requires the punishment of “certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.”

More specifically, the text establishes that the following conduct is punishable in all 27 member states of the European Union: “Publicly inciting to violence or hatred, even by dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material, directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.”

Free speech advocates worry that the vague and all-encompassing language of the new law will be used to silence critics of Islam in a Europe that lacks American-like First Amendment protections of free speech. In fact, another EU law called the “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union” (see paragraph 52, subsection 1) actually gives non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels the right to prosecute European citizens for expressing the “wrong” opinions if it is in the interests of the European Union to do so.

Back in Vienna, Sabaditsch-Wolff says her case is not really about her or the law, but rather it is a political trial intended to silence anyone who speaks out against Islam. In a recent speech to the International Free Press Society (transcript here), she said: “Freedom of speech is under attack today all across Europe. Today, in 21st century Western Europe, our right to free speech is being shut down quietly and systematically with an effectiveness that the commissars in the old Soviet Union could only dream of.”

Sabaditsch-Wolff also says: “We’re going to reply to the charges and we will do that in full detail. It remains to be seen whether the truth is a defense. I don’t think it will be.”

(the above was found at Gates of Vienna)


New Jersey School District Contemplating Drug Testing for Middle School Studemts

NJ school district proposes random drug testing for middle school students

 by Ed Morrissey at HotAir:

“It’s a proposal that is raising some eyebrows,” CBS reports from New Jersey, where one school district proposes to start random drug testing of students in middle schools. And some parents think this is a great idea. The district already requires random drug testing at high school if students park on campus or join extracurricular activity groups, but this would apply more universally. School officials in Belvidere want to establish the program as a deterrent (via Radley Balko of Reason):


I get the deterrent value, but at what cost, both literal and figurative? Random drug testing isn’t cheap; I ran programs like this for call centers, and the expense for an entire school will be significant. Worse, though, is the establishment of police-state tactics to challenge students without evidence of wrongdoing. Unlike the high-school regime, where students choose to park on campus or join groups with the drug-test prerequisite, students won’t have any choice in the matter at all in the middle school. Their parents have all the choice in the matter.

If parents want to do random drug testing of their own children, the means already exist. They can take their children to labs which offer those services, or they can buy over-the-counter drug testing kits at their local pharmacy. In fact, they have the choice of using urinalysis or hair analysis for those results. Imposing a drug-testing regime at school for students who have not given any indication of using drugs or alcohol is not just overkill but may serve to create even more alienation from and cynicism about authority, two issues of adolescence that hardly need a boost.”

Comment:  Students found ‘drugged’ should be separated from those students who are clean both as punishment and for rehab.  Developing a two tier school system, schools for class A students and schools for rehab at studies at Class B.

Class B students can return to the clean classes when they have met requirements both academic and  becoming drug free. 

Schools used to be places for learning knowledge rather than being dumps for bodies of  human offspring.

NEA’s $13,000,000 Given to Leftwing Advocacy Groups

Mike Antonucci wrote the following article at HotAir:

“An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of NEA’s financial disclosure report for the 2009-10 fiscal year reveals the national union contributed more than $13 million to a wide variety of advocacy groups and charities. The total was about half the amount disbursed in the previous year, though more than in 2007-08.

The expenditures fall into broad categories of community outreach grants, charitable contributions, and payments for services rendered. In this list, EIA has deliberately omitted spending such as media buys, or payments to pollsters or consultants that have no obvious ideological component. The grants range from $2.125 million to a California ballot initiative campaign, down to smaller grants to organizations such as People for the American Way, Media Matters and Netroots Nation.

Here is an alphabetic list of the 130 recipients of NEA’s contributions, with relevant web links. All of these were paid for with members’ dues money (the union’s federal PAC is a separate entity funded through voluntary means):

AFL-CIO – $150,000

AFSCME – $90,000

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity – $33,000

America Votes – $300,000

American Constitution Society – $15,000

American Federation of Teachers – $28,365

Arizona State University Office for Research & Sponsored Projects Administration – $325,000

Asian American Justice Center – $7,500

Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund – $5,000

Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies – $5,000

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance – $5,000

Baptist Center for Ethics – $20,000

Campaign for America’s Future – $15,000

Campaign for College Affordability – $25,000

Center for Economic Organizing – $13,200

Center for Independent Media – $5,000

Center for Law and Education – $25,000

Center for Tax and Budget Accountability – $60,000

Center for Teaching Quality – $230,767

Center for U.S. Global Leadership – $10,000

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association – $50,000

Children’s Defense Fund – $5,000

Citizens United for Maine’s Future – $25,000

Citizens Who Support Maine’s Public Schools – $250,000

Coalition for Our Communities – $625,000

Coloradans for Responsible Reform – $400,000

Colorado Deserves Better -$50,000

Committee for Education Funding – $25,000

Committee on States – $6,500

Communities for Quality Education – $1 million

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. – $8,800

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute – $50,000

Council of Chief State School Officers – $50,000

Council of State Governments – $34,500

Democracy Alliance – $85,000

Economic Policy Institute – $250,000

Education Commission of the States – $50,000

Education Law Center – $5,000

Educational Policy Institute – $5,000

Educator Compensation Institute – $25,000

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate – $200,000

Emerge America – $5,000

Employee Benefit Research Institute – $7,500

Everybody Wins DC – $8,000

Excelencia in Education – $47,400

FairDistrictsFlorida.org – $250,000

FairTest – $25,000

Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute – $10,000

Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network – $5,000

Global Institute for Language and Literacy Development – $10,000

Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice – $250,000

Harvard Labor and Worklife Program – $5,000

Health Care for America Now! – $450,000

HEROS, Inc. – $202,835

HOPE (Yes on SQ 744) – $1,758,000

Human Rights Campaign – $15,000

Jobs with Justice – $15,000

Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy – $12,230

KnowledgeWorks Foundation – $75,000

Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State – $5,000

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights – $15,000

Learning First Alliance – $91,199

Lincoln Center Institute – $50,000

Mana – $25,000

MediaMatters – $100,000

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund – $25,000

Midwest Academy – $5,000

Missourians for Early Vote – $41,000

NAACP – $5,000

National Action Network – $10,000

National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans – $5,000

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund – $12,500

National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification – $5,000

National Coalition of ESEA Title I Parents – $5,000

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation – $15,000

National Conference of State Legislatures – $64,043

National Congress of American Indians – $10,000

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education – $381,576

National Council of La Raza – $26,500

National Forum on Information Literacy – $5,000

National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts – $10,000

National Indian Education Association – $50,000

National Latino Children’s Institute – $15,000

National Popular Vote – $5,000

National Public Pension Coalition – $90,375

National Staff Development Council – $25,000

National Urban League – $33,700

National Women’s Law Center – $10,000

Netroots Nation – $15,000

New Democratic Network – $25,000

New Organizing Institute – $65,000

New Teacher Center – $325,000

No on 1033 – $328,600

Organizations Concerned About Rural Education – $5,000

Organization of Chinese Americans – $5,000

Partnership for 21st Century Skills – $61,350

People for the American Way – $64,538

Plan!t Now – $25,000

Progress Now – $60,000

Progress Ohio – $50,000

Project New West – $185,000

Protect Colorado’s Communities – $25,000

Rainbow PUSH Coalition – $5,000

Rebuild America’s Schools – $10,000

Republican Main Street Partnership – $25,000

Ripon Society – $10,000

Robert Russa Moton Museum – $50,000

Roosevelt Institute – $5,000

San Diego Public Library Foundation – $5,000

Stop the Gag Law – $350,000

Task Force Foundation – $5,000

Trans Afro Group of Companies – $7,600

Tribal Education Departments National Assembly – $5,000

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – $30,000

U.S. Action – $70,000

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition – $35,000

U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute – $26,447

Vote Yes for Oregon – $200,000

Voter Activation Network – $9,500

WAND Education Fund – $15,000

Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation – $166,666

Washington Families Standing Together – $15,000

Wellesley Centers for Women – $6,151

Wellstone Action! – $47,532

Will Steger Foundation – $15,000

Win Minnesota Political Action Fund – $50,000

Women’s Campaign Forum – $10,000

Yes on 100 – $50,000

Yes on 24 – The Tax Fairness Act – $2,125,000

Many of the largest donations from NEA headquarters went to state ballot initiative groups, but these do not constitute the sum total of the national union’s spending on state political measures. In fiscal year 2009-10, NEA sent an additional $3 million to several state affiliates for the specific purpose of passing or defeating ballot initiatives or legislative measures. These grants went to:

Alabama Education Association – $215,000

Arizona Education Association – $70,980

Colorado Fund for Children and Public Education – $350,000

Florida Education Association – $203,500

Florida Education Association Advocacy Fund – $66,400

Georgia Association of Educators – $84,160

Idaho Education Association – $35,252

Indiana State Teachers Association – $213,500

Louisiana Association of Educators – $225,000

NEA New Hampshire – $35,000

Nevada State Education Association – $187,550

North Carolina Association of Educators – $250,000

Oregon Education Association – $1 million

Vermont NEA – $50,000

In some cases, this spending was augmented by funds raised within the state affiliates.

For further information about the extent and purpose of this spending, you are best directed to my article last year for Education Next, titled “The Long Reach of Teachers Unions.”

All of these figures were culled from NEA’s disclosure report for the U.S. Department of Labor, which also includes confirmation of the existence and $14.9 million in expenditures of NEA Properties, Inc., first revealed here in August 2009 and September 2010.”

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.

Republicans Working on New HealthCare Programs

“WASHINGTON — Less than 24 hours after voting to repeal the new health care law, House Republicans said Thursday that they would pass discrete bills to achieve some of the same goals, but with more restraint in the use of federal power. 

At the same time, the speaker, John A. Boehner, said House Republicans would push for much stricter limits on abortion in federal programs, including those created by the new law.

By a vote of 253 to 175, the House on Thursday directed four committees to draft legislation that would replace the health care law. The directive sets forth 13 objectives.

It says, for example, that the legislation should “lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice,” provide access to affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, increase the number of Americans with insurance and provide states with “greater flexibility” to run their Medicaid programs.

Republicans did not say how they would achieve those goals, but made clear that they did not want to impose detailed federal requirements on individuals, families, employers or states.

Representative Rob Woodall, a freshman Republican from Georgia, said he was proud to have voted for repeal of the new law so Congress could “go back to the drawing board and bring things forward one at a time.”

Another freshman Republican, Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, praised a provision of the law that allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance until they reach the age of 26.

“I am committed to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to support reforms we agree on, like allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plan,” Mr. Stivers said.

Other Republicans praised a section of the new law that helps older Americans with prescription drug costs.

President Obama said this week that he was “willing and eager” to work with members of both parties to improve the law. But aides said he would adamantly resist efforts to repeal it.

On the House floor on Thursday, Democrats said it was bizarre to see Republicans praising consumer protections in a law they had just voted to dismantle.

“It’s like Alice in Wonderland,” said Representative John Garamendi of California, a former state insurance commissioner.

Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, said: “With last year’s health insurance reform law, we provided real guarantees to American families against insurance abuses. Today, Republicans tell these families, ‘Forget the binding guarantees, we have 12 platitudes for you.’ This is not a Republican prescription. It’s a placebo.”

Democrats said it would be difficult for Republicans to pick and choose among provisions of the law because the popular and unpopular parts were locked together.

Consumers like the assurance that they can obtain coverage regardless of any pre-existing condition, but dislike the requirement to carry insurance. Without such a requirement, insurers say, people could go without coverage until they needed care, driving up costs for everyone else.

In addition, Democrats said they were skeptical of Republican plans because, when Republicans controlled Congress, they did little to cover the uninsured.

Republicans recalled, however, that they secured approval of two huge changes in domestic social policy that worked much better than Democrats had predicted. They remade welfare programs in 1996 and added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare in 2003.

“The idea that Republicans are just not interested in health care and won’t do anything is belied by history,” said Stuart M. Butler, director of the Center for Policy Innovation at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The new law will set up insurance exchanges where people can shop for coverage. Millions of low- and moderate-income people will be able to obtain federal subsidies to help defray the cost.

Mr. Boehner and other House Republican leaders on Thursday embraced a bill stipulating that — with narrow exceptions — no federal money, subsidies or tax credits could be used to pay for abortion or for any health insurance plan that includes coverage of abortion. “It’s one of our highest legislative priorities,” Mr. Boehner said, referring to the bill, offered by Representatives Christopher H. Smith, Republican of New Jersey, and Daniel Lipinski, Democrat of Illinois.

Abortion rights groups vowed to fight the proposal.

Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, said Republicans had told voters they wanted to “focus on creating jobs while limiting the role of government in our lives.” But now, she said, having taken control of the House, “they want to be able to interfere in our personal, private decisions, especially a woman’s right to choose.”

The White House said it would plow ahead with the health law, undeterred by the political uproar over it on Capitol Hill.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, offered federal money to states to help them establish insurance exchanges.

“Beginning in 2014,” Ms. Sebelius said, “these marketplaces will allow individuals and small-business owners to pool their purchasing power so the mom-and-pop shop can have the same negotiating clout as the big chain down the street.”

California and other states have begun work to set up exchanges. “It would be a huge mistake to undo this progress” by repealing the new federal law, Ms. Sebelius said.”

Robert Pear wrote the above article at the New York Times.

“Idaho, Six Other States to “Nullify” Obamacare”…..

………is the headline at HotAir to the article reprinted here by Howard Portnoy:

“Idaho, the first state to sue the federal government over the health care overhaul, has announced plans to resort to an obscure 18th century legal remedy that recognizes a state’s right to nullify any federal law that the state has deemed unconstitutional.

The doctrine, known as nullification, has its roots in the brand of governance practiced by the nation’s founding fathers. It was used as early as 1799 by then-law professor Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in a response to federal laws passed amid an undeclared naval war against France that

nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts … is the rightful remedy.

As a legal theory, nullification is grounded in the assumption that states, and not the U.S. Supreme Court, are the ultimate arbiter in cases where Congress and the president have “run amok.”

In Idaho, use of the doctrine to invalidate the health care reform bill is being championed by both state Sen. Monty Pearce and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter speech, who recently told Idaho residents, “we are actively exploring all our options — including nullification.” Pearce plans to introduce a nullification bill in the state legislature early next week.

Idaho is not the only state considering nullification as a remedy. Six others, including Maine, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming, are also considering bills that would in essence nullify the president’s signature on the reform law.

Pearce, who has expressed optimism that the law will pass, becoming the law of the land in Idaho, is quoted by FOX as having saud:

There are now 27 states that are in on the lawsuit against Obamacare. What if those 27 states do the same thing we do with nullification? It’s a killer.

One potential fly in the ointment for Idaho and other states considering nullification is the 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land.” If nothing else, these moves will result in some interesting legal battles.”