Flavor Is a Human Right, Too.

Flavor is not a choice. What bigot would deny this man his rights?

Flavor is not a choice. What bigot would deny this man his rights?

The biggest problem Christians and conservatives have in making the case for marriage to the younger generation is we don’t speak the same language, and I’m not referring to the number of ‘likes’ inserted into each sentence that replace thought. Our frame of reference has only a tangential connection with that of the younger generation.

The default authority for Christians when explaining their opposition to homosexual marriage is the Bible. But it’s not for the generation born after 1980. The Washington Times reports, “More Americans are doubting the infallibility of the Bible, treating it as a guidebook rather than the actual words of God, according to a survey released Wednesday.”

This belief (no pun intended) puts that generation in agreement with Episcopalians, Methodists and Unitarians who also don’t understand what the big deal is when Rev. Adam and his wife, Steve shake hands with the faithful as they leave the sanctuary on Sunday.

This finding was part of a survey conducted on behalf of the American Bible Society. In the Times its president, Roy Peterson explained, “I think young people have always questioned their parents, questioned the church…Today the skeptics are saying, ‘It’s just like any other piece of literature, and it’s no different from that.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when a Christian references the Bible, the youngster counters with, “You may like the Bible, but I’m partial to the Epic of Gilgamesh. However, if there was a modern language translation, the Egyptian Book of the Dead also has some value for those who want to increase their spirituality quotient.”

This declining interest is an indication there’s a real chance the Bible may lose it’s spot as the perennial number one best–seller, although this is not sufficient cause for Ellen to hope her bio will take its place.

The importance of the Bible for moral instruction has also declined. In 2013 almost a third of respondents “blamed a lack of Bible reading as the problem” behind a decline in American morals. This year it’s only 26 percent, but that decrease may be explained by the corresponding number of Americans who purchased 70” TVs in the intervening months.

So how does one explain opposition to homosexual marriage in terms the young can grasp? How does one put in context the aggressive demand that Christians conform to an unprecedented definition of marriage that didn’t exist even 25 years ago and flies in the face of all of human history?

How can they relate to our rejection of this absurd definition of marriage that completely upends an accepted way of life in the interest of pleasing an intolerant minority and its cheering section.

There are essentially no sexual taboos today, so approaching the problem from a Biblical angle is like expressing your opposition to the healing power of crystals by using the Physicians Desk Reference, when your audience hasn’t read either one.

Fortunately in today’s brave new culture food taboos have replaced sex taboos and it is here Christians can make our case in a way that duplicates the situation we encountered with homosexual marriage and is simultaneously understandable by the younger generation.

My analogy works regardless of whether you’re locked in debate with a smug and superior homosexual marriage supporter or you’re simply answering a question from one of those ‘love and let love’ types unable to understand why we feel so strongly about the issue.

The demand that Christians completely redefine marriage and accept a radical new definition that institutionalizes and affirms a form sexual practice the Bible specifically forbids, is the exact equivalent of pork lovers demanding that vegan restaurants serve bacon.

If America’s homosexuals can demand “marriage equality” then bacon lovers can demand “flavor equality.”

A vegan’s unconstitutional exclusion of bacon is simply elevating personal preference over a fundamental human right to have food that tastes good. And even diners who aren’t eating bacon because of an irrational fear of being attacked by their heart, can still feel the pain and humiliation of being ostracized.

Just try wearing an Arkansas Razorbacks’ Hog Head hat into your nearest Busboys & Poets restaurant if you want to see how a real second–class citizen is treated by kale bigots.

And who says vegans get to define what qualifies to be labeled as “vegan?” Flavor is flavor, people. Just as we’ve been told “love is love.” You may like the slimy feel and hay–infusion aftertaste of tofu, but I like the crunch of crispy, fried bacon and how can that be so wrong?

One doesn’t choose to love bacon any more than one chooses whom to love. It’s fried into my DNA.

I should be able to go into Sweet & Natural bakery and ask them to whomp up a delicious quiche Lorraine and not get a bunch of sanctimonious static about beliefs, animal rights and cholesterol.

Who are these Pharisees to tell me I can’t eat pork?

And the same goes for the photographer who refused to document my family’s annual fall hog butchering reunion and hoe down. If she/he (I think the photographer was undergoing some sort of transformation) is open for business to the public, then the photographer should not be allowed to discriminate based on unscientific belief and superstition. Go down that path and the next stop is Montgomery and Bull Connor.

Separate but equal is inherently unequal. If Western Sizzlin’ can offer food for vegans then its only fair that Arugula ‘R We be forced to offer a BLT.

World Vision’s Secular Myopia

Even better than having 'Vision' in your name is having it in your brain.

Even better than having ‘Vision’ in your name is having it in your brain.

Maybe it was a Mexican divorce.

Last Monday World Vision President Richard Stearns walks hand–in–hand down the aisle pledging fealty to homosexual marriage until death do they part. This is big news, because World Vision is a Christian charity and the nation’s 10th largest.

Then, only 48 hours later, the happy couple is fighting over who gets to keep the china as Stearns backpedals furiously.

And through all the uproar Stearns has this slightly baffled aspect, as if he’d just spent the last two days selling flowers in Terminal A for the Moonies, and now his parents have whisked him back home where he decides joining the Jaycees isn’t that bad after all.

For those who missed the controversy, in Christianity Today World Vision announced it“will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman” — an implied endorsement of homosexual marriage.

Stearns characterized this surrender as a “very narrow policy change.” Yet AP described it as “a dramatic policy change on one of the most divisive social issues facing religious groups.”

During an interview Stearns became defensive, “We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope…This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues.”

Which makes one grateful World Vision didn’t have any members of Westboro Baptist on the board.

Still you can’t help but wonder what version of the Bible Stearns and the board is consulting. “This is also not about compromising the authority of Scripture. People can say, ‘Scripture is very clear on this issue,’ and my answer is, ‘Well ask all the theologians and denominations that disagree with that statement.”

This is sophistry. Bart Ehrman is James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the UNC and a best–selling author, yet he denies the divinity of Christ, which at the time this is written World Vision still supports. Evidently Stearns and the board pick–and–choose among theologians as they pick–and–choose among Bible verses.

Then demonstrating his utter cluelessness regarding fundamental issues of church doctrine and how the secular world views the faithful, Stearns remarked, “I don’t want to predict the reaction we will get. I think we’ve got a very persuasive series of reasons for why we’re doing this, and it’s my hope that all of our donors and partners will understand it, and will agree with our exhortation to unite around what unites us.”

I suppose this type of reasoning makes sense when your reading matter is limited to The New York Times and Sojourners.

But in the Evangelical Christian world his “persuasive series of reasons” produced a stunning backlash. In the ensuing 48 hours World Vision lost money, support and credibility. Approximately 5,000 individual sponsors and contributors canceled, costing the organization upwards of $2.1 million. 60 church partners called the office to withdraw their support. And a number of employees at headquarters resigned. Some in protest, some because of the stress of dealing with the fallout from Stearns’ colossal stupidity.

Wednesday a chastened Stearns and board chairman Jim Beré signed a contrite letter that read, “We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.”

Later in a conference call with reporters, Stearns elaborated, “We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness” and if he “could have a do-over on one thing, I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders.”

But he just ran out of time, what will all the meetings with The New York Times editorial board, the Human Rights Campaign and the cast of The Laramie Project.

The rapid retraction is a good first step, but the fact remains World Vision’s current leadership is unfit to run the organization.

In a post–divorce interview with Religion News Service, Stearns is taken aback by the notion he bears any responsibility. “No, there have been no serious requests for my resignation. I would certainly under- stand if the board wanted to make a decision around that. Some of the board members have asked the question about their own resignation. Right now, our feeling is we were all in this together. We made certainly, in retrospect, a bad decision, but we did it with the right motivations.”

Here we agree. Stearns and the board are all in it together and they should all take the honorable path and resign.

Here’s just a brief rundown of the unnecessary havoc these morally blind people have caused:

  1. Seriously damaged a reputation in the Evangelical community it took 63 years to build.
  2. Proved themselves totally unfit to manage the reputation and public relations of a billion dollar organization by demonstrating a basic failure to understand the culture and media.
  3. Potentially endangered employees working in Africa where governments are passing laws criminalizing homosexual conduct.
  4. Cost the organization millions of dollars.
  5. Opened World Vision up to scrutiny and attack from militant homosexual organizations and a hostile Obama administration.
  6. Distracted the staff from the mission of serving the world’s poor.

Any one of these offenses is enough, but all are an indictment that only resignation, reflection and repentance will answer.

Naturally many Christian leaders are welcoming World Vision’s return to the fold and urging Christians to resume financial and prayer support. But as for me, if I want to make a contribution to an organization run by leadership that is this slippery and disingenuous, I’ll send a check to Congress.

Ukraine Sanctions With Teeth Instead of Gums Are Still Possible

Putin-laughing-at-serious-steps-memeFor a very brief moment it looked like the White House and I were finally going to be in agreement on the topic of misrule in the United States. Obama’s White House Press Office released a statement with harsh criticism of government actions that threaten “peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.”

It appeared the president had seen the light and was finally going to stop his abuse of office and his promiscuous use of executive orders. But then I read further and saw he was talking about Vladimir Putin and his beachfront trespassing in the Crimea. I thought Obama likes trespassers. Could it be that Putin rejected his offer of in–state tuition?

Of course there are differences between the strongman’s approach and that of the girlyman. Putin’s misrule is designed to advance the interests of Russian nationalism, while Obama appears content to undermine US standing and interests in the world.

With the result that Russian oligarchs will soon have prime sites for expansive vacation homes within the border of a newly expanded Russia. While our leaders launch deadly cutting remarks that include “wrong side of history” and “19th century thinking” mimicking Harvard faculty lounge habitués criticizing the NFL 1st round draft choice that gets the millions and the girl.

I know this criticism is not entirely fair. The Obama administration has decided to impose sanctions on Russia. Out of a current population of 141,924,000, the Obama administration has singled out seven (that’s right, seven) for punishment. The original intent of White House strategists was to just single out a certain percentage of cells in each of the seven individual’s body for pinpoint sanctions — gas pains, lumbago, toenail fungus, impotence — but the surgeon general informed the White House that either those maladies took to long to manifest or present technology didn’t support the goal.

Instead the administration opted for financial sanctions that make it harder for the Moscow 7 to gain access to any funds they have deposited in Western banks. The Washington Post described the strategy as an attempt “to see whether a symbolic first gesture would be sufficient to give Putin pause….” sorta like the famous “red line” in Syria.

Like much of Obama’s strategy, whether in health care or the economy, this gambit backfired. The Russian stock market went up after the announcement, instead of going down.

But that doesn’t mean the great minds in this administration are going to give up. Much like Robert McNamara carefully calibrating just the right amount of ordinance necessary to bring North Vietnam to its knees, Obama’s financial calibrations have room for expansion.

An administration insider has leaked a plan that will escalate the impact of the next round of sanctions to an almost superhuman level of intensity, while expanding the reach of inconvenience for the Russian Revanchists beyond just the financial realm.

None of the Seven are now allowed to make wire transfers withdrawing their funds from Western banks, but after the sanctions are escalated, they will be limited to a maximum ATM withdrawal of $40 per day AND the Coinstar machine will be completely off limits.

If any of the sanctioned try to travel to the US it’s also No More Mr. Nice Guy. The TSA’s expedited ‘Pre’ lane will be off limits. The Crimean Criminals will be assigned to the rubber gloves and high–school–field trips line for the foreseeable future and they will always be relegated to the last boarding group regardless of their frequent flyer status.

Assuming the Seven can’t take a hint and come to DC in spite of Obama’s disdain, anytime they attempt to use the Uber app to arrange transportation it will result in a fast busy signal, forcing them to use DC taxis. Even worse their lodgings will be in hotels built by Sochi Olympics construction firms.

Since unrepentant aggressors like these will no doubt try to bypass this sanction, even if they rent a car both the GPS device and their E–ZPass transponder will be jammed by NSA, meaning that even if they can find a toll road, they will be forced to use the exact change booth.

And finally, to show Obama really means business, if any of these Russian Reprobates have more than 15 items in their cart when shopping, they will be ejected from the express lane.

There’s also a role in this for Vice President ‘Uncle Joe’ Biden — a nickname freighted with meaning for Russians. Proving irony isn’t dead in this administration, Biden will be visiting many of the Western nations were Obama earlier canceled plans to install anti–missile batteries after Putin objected.

While looking due East, Uncle Joe will advise these buffer states to buy shotguns and if they see any Russian troops playing footsie with their borders, go out on the balcony, point the muzzle skyward and fire a couple of rounds to scare the bear away.

How CPAC Stacked the Deck on the Amnesty Panel

illegal-aliens-obamacatchreleasevoteHere’s a handy rule of thumb: If two of the four members of an immigration panel have Hispanic surnames you can bet it’s an amnesty panel in disguise. That was certainly the case at CPAC’s ‘Can There Be Meaningful Immigration Reform Without Citizenship?’

(This phenomenon is evidently peculiar to Hispanics. If two people named Schmidt and Kruger were on a panel it would be unfair to assume they enthusiastically support bomb damage reparations from WWII.)

Alfonso Aguilar and the Rev. Luis Cortes were joined by moderator Mercy Schlapp — a veteran of the Bush White House that was pushing amnesty until 9/11. The anti–amnesty speaker was Derrick Morgan of the Heritage Foundation and the afternoon’s advocate for the feudal system was Helen Krieble.

Schlapp set the tone when she remarked on the favor illegals were doing the economy by being here. Much like burglars boost an area’s GDP when they make the rounds of pawn shops.

She was followed by Kreible, president of the Vernon K. Kreible Foundation, who said the debate should be about American principles: Equal treatment under the law, individual freedom and personal responsibility. So far so good, but then she reduced our choices to a false binary: Grant amnesty or do nothing.

The realistic option is removing the job incentive for illegals. But that is not a choice Kreible will ever entertain, because that would mean business can’t import serfs. She claims it’s wrong to set “artificial” limits on the number of workers you can hire. It’s Kreible’s belief that borders are a government matter, but workers are a business matter. In practice this means the federal government can keep Mohamed Atta out, unless he plans to mow your lawn.

What Kreible objects to is that ‘citizen’ word. She wants to implement a “red card” program that puts citizens in the penalty box. She would import workers without conveying citizenship or the right to remain after the job is over. This is similar to the wildly successful Turkish guest worker program the Germans had. Only problem is the Turks are still in Germany.

And while individuals should be “responsible,” American business is exempt. Right now if a US business thinks US workers want too much money, the business is free to open a subsidiary in Mexico and hire all the Mexicans it wants. But that’s a problem for agribusiness corporations, because shipping Alabama to Chihuahua would be a logistical nightmare. What’s more, sometimes the Mexican government seizes private business, you can’t trust the cops, ‘mordida’ cuts into profit margins and there’s always that decapitation problem.

So for Kreible the business solution is to flood the labor market by bringing Mexico here and let taxpayers deal with social costs.

Unfortunately for her there is no moral, ethical or conservative justification for bringing in foreign labor when unemployment in the US is over 7 percent and labor participation rates are at an all time low.

Alfonso Aguilar, director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, evidently believes the word ‘conservative’ is a verbal spice you sprinkle on leftist policies to make them more palatable for genuine conservatives. He wants conservatives to “own” the immigration issue by out–pandering the Democrats.

Aguilar contends the entire illegal problem is a result of “big government” setting quotas and holding the quaint notion that US jobs should go to US citizens. He recycles every lame, reverse racist amnesty cliché he could find, beginning with illegals are doing the jobs Americans won’t do.

After that howler he became incoherent. Aguilar says illegals taking jobs here “creates jobs for working class Americans.” He claims that illegals did not disregard the rule of law because they didn’t come here voluntarily. Instead business brought them here. This was genuine news to me. Who would have thought coyotes were members of the Chamber of Commerce?

Aguilar also introduced the concept of “circular immigration.” Letting illegals come here and return to their home country as many times as they and Greyhound wished. Although something tells me the circle would stop abruptly in the US when it came time to collect Social Security.

He was followed by the Rev. Luis Cortes who is the president of Esperanza. The organization’s website motto is: “Strengthening our Hispanic community” meaning it’s La Raza with a Bible. Cortes’ solution is to make citizens of anyone who ranks Cinco de Mayo ahead of the 4th of July. Otherwise, “it gives Democrats an issue.” And afterwards Democrats won’t need an issue because with 9 million or so new voters they’ll never lose another presidential election.

The most insulting aspect of the panel was how the pro–amnesty participants evidently believed using the word ‘conservative’ to describe leftist policies would somehow convince a gullible audience.

A conservative immigration reform would be built on trying something new: Enhancing the law we have now. Make it a felony to hire an employee that failed an E–Verify check or hire an employee without checking E–Verify. And strictly enforce the prohibition against illegals enrolling in any welfare or social programs.

Drying up the job market will accomplish two goals. First many of the illegals will self–deport. Second it will raise wages for US workers and lower the unemployment rate. Right now many jobs go unfilled by citizens because they aren’t willing to accept the prevailing wage scale in Juarez because they don’t live in Juarez. If employers were forced to pay wages high enough to attract US citizens, more citizens would work.

That’s a conservative, free market solution that’s good for the country and preserves the rule of law. Unfortunately the ‘C’ in CPAC now appears to stand for ‘capitulation.’

Perry, Paul & Huckabee at CPAC 2014

Gen. John Bell Hood, another Texan that could get a crowd moving.

Gen. John Bell Hood, another Texan that could get a crowd moving.

Gen. Robert E. Lee used Texas infantry as his reliable shock troops during the Civil War. If Hood’s division couldn’t drive the Yankees from a position, then no troops could.

Evidently CPAC schedulers are of the same opinion.

On both of the first two days of the conservative conference Texas speakers were used to soften up the crowd for all the speakers that followed.

On Thursday it was Sen. Ted Cruz (R–TX) and on Friday it was Gov. Rick Perry (R–TX).

Perry hit the stage cold to the tune of AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ and did so without anyone to introduce him. Perry is now sporting black nerd glasses that make him look more intellectual without softening him up so much that he looks like pajama boy in the Obamacare ad.

The governor began by stating that on the battlefield of ideas “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” Then there was a long pause, which started to produce debate flashbacks for me, but it proved to be just a slow Internet connection.

Besides being another step on the stairway to political redemption, the speech was a rousing defense of federalism. Perry says for the solution to the problems facing the country we should not look to Washington, but instead we should look to the states that “are laboratories of innovation.”

And the states provide a contrast between two visions. In the blue vision the state “plays an increasing roll in the lives of citizens.” Taxes are high, public employee pensions are out of control and jobs are leaving.

Perry contrasted that smothering philosophy with the red state vision where “freedom of the individual comes first and the reach of government is limited.” There taxes are low, spending is low and opportunity is high.

Then Perry did something surprising. On Friday when Chris Christie spoke the examples were mostly about him and about New Jersey. But that’s not what Perry did. He started off by giving other Republican governors credit for their good ideas and successful records.

He mentioned Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Scott in Florida. Then Perry proceeded to list accomplishments particular to each.

Perry was halfway through his speech before he even mentioned Texas. He spoke first of the common denominator among all red state leaders, “Conservative governors who know freedom of the individual must come before the power of the state…the contrast is crystal clear.” He then used an example from the world of transportation. “If you rent a U–Haul to move your company it costs twice as much to go from San Francisco to Austin as it does the other way around, because you can’t find enough trucks to flee the Golden State.”

Only then did Perry say, “Let’s pick a large red state, shoot let’s pick Texas” as he began listing his accomplishments. This is one of the reasons Perry is so likable: He doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously. He, in contrast to Obama, is not The Great I Am.

His speech was full of humor, substance and energy. Perry has been on the comeback trail now for two years and he’s making progress. His demeanor and energy level is in marked contrast to that of the disastrous 2012 presidential campaign.

I have no way of knowing if he’s a terror to his staff or if he kicks the family dog, but you certainly can’t tell it from his personal appearances. If it wasn’t for his squishiness on illegals, I’d almost be ready to vote for Perry today.

I can’t say that for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Politically Huckabee is simply George Bush who can tell a joke. There are many things I admire about Huckabee: His faith, his conservative social values and his sense of humor in particular. But as president he would be spending at least as much as Bush and I see no indication that he’s ever seriously considered putting Uncle Sam on a diet.

And speaking of diets, Huckabee’s is evidently not going too well. In stark contrast to his former fit self, now if the occasion arose Huckabee could fill in quite nicely as Chris Christie’s body double.

Huckabee’s speech began on a discordant note. He was given the same 10 minutes as Rick Perry, but he wasted some of the time complaining about only getting 10 minutes. In contrast to Perry’s upbeat and dynamic address, Huckabee came off as slightly petulant.

His speech was structured around a series of “I knows” that included, “I know the IRS is a criminal organization. I know that life begins at conception. I know there’s a God and this nation would not exist if He had not been the midwife of its birth.”

He even obliquely addressed homosexual marriage when he quoted Mrs. Billy Graham who said, “If God does not bring fiery judgment on America, God will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Huckabee concluded with a final “I know” that brought back memories of his rocky beginning when he said, “I know my time is up and I must go.”

Diet jokes aside, he simply wasn’t a heavyweight on Day Two and if Huckabee is indeed running for president in 2016 this speech didn’t help his case.

Sen. Rand Paul (R–KY) was the other major league presidential candidate speech of the day. He had double the time allotted to Perry, yet I don’t think his speech had the same impact. They are two entirely different personalities. Paul comes off as somewhat remote and clinical when he speaks. He certainly says the right things and delivers a polished speech, but he doesn’t have the infectious enthusiasm of Rick Perry.

Personally I wonder how many of the reporters who pronounced Chris Christie as rehabilitated after the response to his speech the day before were around for Paul’s. The packed room was on its feet and cheering before the senator could say a word. Christie on the other hand had a much smaller crowd and response was polite until very late in his performance.

Paul’s speech was about liberty but it was also about sending a message to the Mitch McConnells, John McCains, Lindsey Grahams and other establishment RINOs. Paul asked the audience to “Imagine a time when our great country is governed by the Constitution. You may think I’m talking about electing Republicans, but I’m not. I’m talking about electing lovers of liberty.”

“It isn’t good enough to pick the lesser of two equals,” Paul explained. “We must elect men and women of principle and conviction and action who will lead us back to greatness. There is a great and tumultuous battle underway not for the Republican Party but for the entire country.

Then in a challenge to elected leaders and party supporters alike, Paul asked, “The question is will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion or will we be sunshine patriots retreating when we come under fire?”

Paul then focused on the NSA, data mining and the entire security mindset of the government, which he believes is dangerous. He referenced the Sons of Liberty from the Revolution who stood up to King George and predicted, “The Sons of Liberty would today call out to the president. ‘We will not submit. We will not trade our liberty for security. Not now. Not ever.’”

Getting down to cases with an audience that skewed toward youth and tech savvy, Paul explained, “If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.”

His other examples of government overreach in the name of security included detention without a trial, individual warrants applied to a class of people, credit card data collection, cell phone metadata and other violations of the 4th Amendment.

The senator stated flatly “Government unrestrained by law becomes nothing short of tyranny.” Then he used Daniel Webster to show the fight for liberty has been an ongoing struggle that must be continued today. “Daniel Webster anticipated our modern day saviors who wish to save us from too much freedom. He wrote: ‘Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It’s hardly too strong to say the Con was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.’”

Paul wasn’t giving so much a speech, as he was Peter the Hermit asking the young people to join in a crusade. He has passionate ideas and beliefs, but Paul’s delivery is simply not as winning as that of Perry. One can be serious without being sepulchral.

It will be very interesting to follow the arc of both campaigns as I see Perry being a bigger threat to Paul than the other Texan, Ted Cruz.

CPAC 2014 Day 1 Part 2

Chris Christie dolls were not for sale at CPAC.

Chris Christie dolls were not for sale at CPAC.

The Curious Case of the Leaf Blower that Didn’t Roar

Sen. Marco Rubio walked on stage and contrary to rumor, he wasn’t wearing a sombrero. In fact he gave what could be called a surgical speech, because he completely buried any reference to his amnesty mistake late last year.

In fact he talked about almost everyone’s border but that of the US. Rubio is for protecting Japan’s border. Ukraine’s border. Even Israel’s border, but not a peep about the border violations Mexico encourages. We’ve being invaded, too but no one but the taxpayers seems to care.

Rubio’s new focus is obviously on foreign policy, since amnesty policy was disastrous for him. He goes East and Easter, touching no points South. He touched on the tax code, regulations and energy. And he still has that problem with words–per–gallon. In a speech that was only 15 minutes long, Rubio still had to stop to take a drink.

Verdict: Nice young man, but not ready.

In a very fitting bit of scheduling, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke just before lunch.

The bully governor used his bully pulpit to talk about his fight against public employee unions and the struggle to reform their pensions. Christie told the audience how he faced union members in their den as he went to the firefighter’s convention and walked through the crowd to get to the podium. But Christie misses the point. No one questions his courage. Conservatives question his convictions.

At the end of his firefighter’s speech he said two–thirds of the audience was cheering him. I don’t know if two–thirds of the conservative base will be cheering for a candidate who also favors amnesty. A topic Christie also failed to bring up.

Christie wants the party to start talking “about what we are for and not what we are against.” He contends that government is about “getting things done.” But that’s what intrusive Democrats say, too.

It was obvious from his speech that all the Sandy storm money is now in the bank, because the governor felt liberated to criticize his new best friend Obama, “What the hell are we paying him for, if he won’t lead?”

Christie summarized by saying under his administration there are fewer state employees, less spending and teacher tenure reforms. He added he’s pro–life but did so in the third person. But there was not a word about smaller government or less intrusive government. I get the feeling he’s Teddy Roosevelt with bariatric surgery. Activism got us in the mess we’re in today.

Christie got a standing ovation, but it was as he was leaving.

CPAC 2014 AS IT HAPPENS!

Sen. Mitch McConnell with an item from the CPAC Lost & found.

Sen. Mitch McConnell with an item from the CPAC Lost & found.

CPAC begins in less than an hour. I’ll be covering the speeches that matter (as least to me) and the panels that are relevant (see previous).

Since I’m a one–man news team, I can’t make everything, but I’ll do my best to be your eyes & ears.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
SEN. TED CRUZ

This is my first time for an in–person Cruz speech. Not sure he needs a microphone, Cruz really projects.

He began by pointing out the obvious under an Obama administration. Liberty is under assault. But the question is how do we win?

Cruz wants to mobilize the country starting with the young who have the most to risk. He explained the two Republicans that appealed most to younger voters were two of the oldest candidates: Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul.

According to the senator, They didn’t do it because they were young, too. Their appeal was based on a strong and principled stand on the issues. Their vision appealed to younger voters, not their chronology.

Cruz wants to follow in their footsteps and to do it he outlined a 10–point program designed to “tell the truth.”

1. Defend the Constitution
2. Abolish the IRS: Simple,flat tax
3. Expand energy in this country & create high–paying jobs all over America.
4. Expand school choice
5. Repeal Dodd–Frank
6. Audit the Federal Reserve
7. Pass strong balanced budget amendment
8. Repeal every single word of Obamacare
9. Stop the lawlessness in the White House
10. End the corruption

The tenth item is where Cruz earns his reputation for not playing nice in Washington. “Ending the corruption” offends all the insiders, starting with the GOP. He wants to “eliminate corporate welfare and crony capitalism.” Which offends the Chamber of Commerce. Then Cruz proposes a lifetime ban on lobbying for anyone that has ever served in Congress, which includes past and current colleagues.

He completes the trifecta of tribulation for the political class by calling for a Constitutional amendment establishing term limits for Congress. Serve in Congress? Win a lifetime ban on lobbying. Which includes most of those the first two items left out.

Cruz says the DC consultant’s choice of stand up for principles and lose versus keep your head down and let the Democrats defeat themselves is false.

Cruz intends to win by taking strong stands and making a “clear distinction” between the two parties. He hopes the CPAC conservatives are with him.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PAUL RYAN

Ryan speaking after Cruz is unfortunate scheduling for Rep. Paul ’The Compromiser’ Ryan, because his speech embodied “the DC consultant’s choice” Cruz was warning against: Keeping your head down and letting the Democrats defeat themselves, instead of giving voters a clear and distinct choice.

Ryan’s speech was more about the Obama failings in the news everyday and much less about what Republicans should stand for to win. He was more for broadcasting Obama failings rather than giving voters a clear choice. The Ryan option: Vote for us, because we aren’t charge of this disaster.

His speech was also a chance for the audience to catch their breath after the Cruz address. No standing ovations until Ryan left and his jokes only received polite chuckles.

The congressman admitted “we have our internal disagreements, but I prefer to think of it as creative tension.” He called it a dispute over tactics and not principles. The problem with that is the election is only eight months away and it’s time to make a decision.

As Cruz pointed out 30 minutes earlier, playing it safe has been beating Republicans for decades.

Ryan is optimistic. Ironically, he used his budget work as an example of conservative progress. “In 2008 my budget only had eight co–sponsors.” Now he’s passed three budgets in a row, but what he failed to mention was his latest budget “compromise” that reversed the sequester cuts and increased spending and the deficit.

Ryan said the “left offers a full stomach and an empty soul.” His speech filled the time allotted him but left the audience empty of inspiration.

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Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell comes on stage brandishing a flintlock rifle. I wouldn’t have been more surprised if he’d come out dressed in a loincloth.

My first thought was isn’t it a little early in the program to be announcing items left in the Lost & Found? Shouldn’t Mitch just send the rifle to the Charlton Heston estate? Besides, in Maryland – site of CPAC this year – that rifle might qualify as an assault weapon since men in uniform have fired it at the enemy.

McConnell is a back room operator, a legislative technician. I could see him proudly sporting a quill pen, that’s in character. McConnell is not Ronald Reagan. Heck, Mitch isn’t even Clint Eastwood’s chair. His persona doesn’t lend itself to dramatic symbolic gestures. He says something to Sen. Tom Coburn as the senator from Oklahoma leaves the stage. Maybe the transcript, if it ever appears, will clear up this firearms mystery.

McConnell starts praising Coburn, who is leaving the Senate even before his self–imposed term limit takes effect. It seems each morning when he arrives at the office, Coburn empties his pockets and goes through the metal detector like every other regular taxpayer who visits the Hill, rather than flashing his Senate I–don’t–have–to–endure–petty–annoyances card. McConnell likes this common touch and says Coburn is the only senator that does this.

Evidently he doesn’t realize the contrast between him and Tom Coburn does not work to his advantage. On the previous panel Coburn had stressed the importance of term limits to restoring the Republic, while McConnell personifies the time servers who help grow big government.

McConnell, still tone deaf, then tells the audience how much time he’s spent filing briefs at the Supreme Court trying to thwart Obama. Which is one of the problems of his ‘leadership.’ Separation of Powers means co–equal branches of government, which means in turn that McConnell and Boehner shouldn’t be running to daddy supreme every time that bully Barack takes his lunch money.

McConnell then assures us he won’t let us down. But he already has. Mitch likes Coburn’s example. He just won’t follow it.

Bob McDonnell Discovers He’s Past the Sell–By Date

Baby McDonnell sell by memeIf you need additional proof that taking handouts creates dependency, look no further than the sad fate of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. McDonnell is currently under federal indictment and accused of trading government favors for money, loans and gifts from former Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

Williams is one of those ‘good friends’ politicians seem to acquire just about the time they win an office where it’s possible to dispense favors.

Federal charging papers list quite an inventory of gifts. They include a $17,000 NYC shopping trip for wife, Maureen, where the money was spent at Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton and Bergdorf Goodman to buy various designer dresses and jewelry befitting a former Redskins cheerleader and current 1st lady.

Then there was $15,000 for catering at the daughter’s wedding — Maureen likes round numbers — a $10,000 wedding gift to another daughter, $120,000 in no–doc loans to shore up bad vacation home investments, free family vacations at the Williams’ getaway and a $6,500 Rolex watch for Bob. They even had Williams’ brother, Donnie, mow their lawn and do odd jobs for free around the house. Bringing the grand total in the indictment to $165,000, not counting Donnie’s sweat equity.

And all this occurred because it’s so tough to make ends meet on only $175,000 a year plus free room and board.

Naturally a politician so broke he essentially functioned as the foster child of his ‘family friend’ Williams is in no position to pay for his own legal defense. And Maureen is not about to settle for the tender mercies of the public defender’s office, so McDonnell founded the Restoration Fund and began soliciting donations for his defense.

The fund’s chairman, Stanley Baldwin, told the WaPost the ‘Restorers’ (not to be confused with Donnie Williams) are “long time admirers of Gov. McDonnell and his outstanding performance as Virginia’s chief executive.”

Evidently it’s a dwindling band. During all of 2013 the fund raised a total of $11,400. Of course if McDonnell mooched off the rest of his friends the way he milked Williams, it’s no surprise he’s only raising bake sale money for his defense fund.

Another variable at work is the hard and fast reality of the political sell–by date, which causes ‘good family friends’ to become scarce just when one needs them the most. During McDonnell’s campaign, when he was still fresh and, like milk, passed the smell test, J. Douglas Perry — co–founder Dollar Tree stores — gave $75,000. Perry’s contribution to McDonnell’s legal defense fund after he left office was only $2,500, which is quite a discount rate.

To put that $11,400 in perspective, the average billing rate for a high–powered DC law firm is $662/hour. Even if Bob grabs the entire treasury, he can only buy 17 hours of legal time and you can’t plead guilty for that amount.

And in spite off all the tribulations their attempt to join the ranks of the nouveau riche brought upon the family, Bob and Maureen still have his–and–her lawyers. Although I wonder who’s footing the bill for her defense as I hear Jonnie has blocked Maureen’s cell number.

Back in the statehouse leftist Democrats see this as a perfect opportunity to expand the nanny state and pass ‘ethics’ laws that increase the size of the permanent government bureaucracy. One proposal creates a state ethics advisory council — think of it as a taxpayer–paid conscience for spineless legislators — and limits gifts to a value of $250 each. Forcing future ‘family friends’ to purchase their politicians on layaway.

The good news for the easily corrupted is law doesn’t put a value on trips, tickets or other intangible influence peddling, so if you already have a watch it’s business as usual.

The fact is Virginia’s law could use an update, but it doesn’t require putting a dollar amount on gifts. All that’s required is for elected officials to issue monthly disclosure of any gift valued over $10, with a false filing resulting in a felony perjury charge. Those covered under the new rule should now expand to include anyone in the immediate family that receives a gift: Call it chain disclosure. And any ‘S’ corporations a politician is involved in would also disclose gifts and loans.

That way voters could decide for themselves if their politician has been bought and if so, evaluate the bargain he drove. There’s no need for additional bureaucracy and pettifogging rules.

This brings us to the real scandal sitting in plain sight: Dime–store political dynasties that think the office belongs to them. Democrat John Dingell is a case in point. He inherited the Congressional seat his father warmed and then served 53 years. During which Dingell was cashing countless federal paychecks, wasting tax dollars, inflicting bad ideas on the nation and enduring what appears to be at least one facelift that left him looking like a Rugby ball with a grin.

You’d think that would be enough for any family of leeches, but you would be wrong. Now wife Debbie wants her turn at the trough. She’s already had an influence–peddling job with the American Automotive Policy Council, where I’m sure listing Detroit Cong. John Dingell at the top of her list of references had no impact.

Now Debbie wants the congressional seat — the media is calling this obscene power grab a “Dingell hat trick” — and she’ll probably win it. The same contributors who rented John all those years like to stick with a name they can trust and the interest groups he pandered to will recognize the Dingell family brand on the ballot.

Virginia governors have to move fast if they want to cash in, because they only get a single term. The likes of Dingell and the rest of an arrogant political class get their corruption over the decades on the installment plan and that’s the real scandal no one is talking about.

Conservatives Ready for Sexual Cowardice

Mainstream media closely follows the Michael Sam story

Mainstream media closely follows the Michael Sam story

When does doing something — other than charging a machine gun nest — that has been done countless times previously stop being ‘courageous?’ Sally Jenkins of the WaPost has ruled that football player Michael Sam’s advice to people interested in dating him is a monumental story: “There are great courageous sports stories being played on the international stage at the Sochi Olympics, yet nothing has resonated like this.”

Ho hum. Pardon me if I’m not vibrating like Ms. Jenkins. If Sam doesn’t want awkward situations where female groupies try to make time with him, why doesn’t he just open an account on eHomony.com?

Other than the occasional soap–on–a–rope joke whispered out of Sam and the gaystapo’s earshot, he will have smooth sailing in the locker room. The Canadian Football League may be treating Sam comments as international hate crimes. (Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle Bryant Turner Jr.  was fined after tweeting: “Michael Sam locker room gonna come with complimentary robes.”)

But in the NFL he’ll be treated like Bao Bao, the new panda baby at the national zoo. For teammates and football fans, Sam will be just another seldom–seen species that has problems when it comes to reproduction. Maybe he’ll be able to share Internet bandwidth with Bao Bao after he gets his own Sam Cam.

I tell you what real courage would be in a situation like this. A married potential NFL draftee announcing that he’s open to adulterous relationships and no one’s wife, girlfriend or daughter is off limits. Now that takes some courage and would certainly create a frisson of sexual tension at home, the locker room and various team functions.

Sam, on the other hand, is just a me–too narcissist hoping for a spot as Grand Marshall in a ‘pride parade.’ He’s certainly not the first athlete to go public. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a figure skater that walks on the wild side. Then you’ve got Billie Jean King, Jason Collins, innumerable female softball players and gymnasts.

In showbiz there’s Ellen, Rosie, Jodie and Neil and that’s just the ones with ‘e’ in their name. Even superheroes are getting in on the act. Green Lantern only lets his love light shine for men. Society has reached a point where we can start hanging clothes in that particular closet because it’s now empty.

And for the sake of accuracy, Sam is in limbo right now. He’s a former college player who has yet to make an NFL team. And it’s entirely possible he won’t be the only homosexual player in the NFL, just the most vocal.

(If you ask Deacon Jones, he probably considers all NFL kickers to be gay, but at least they’ve made the team, in contrast to Sam who is merely potential.)

Besides, when is giving in to a compulsion courageous? How about a linebacker who holds a news conference announcing he’s only interested in 18–year–old cheerleaders? Is that brave? Would Woody Allen be courageous if he finally admitted to abusing Dylan? The statute of limitations is up and like Woody says, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” Which is pretty much the foundational philosophy of the alternate lifestyle left.

In the wake of his proclamation Sam’s NFL draft value dropped almost a hundred points. This will be blamed on homophobia, but the real reason is how many teams — other than the Dallas Cowboys — need another narcissistic exhibitionist?

If NFL teams avoided signing Tim Tebow because of the alleged ‘distraction’ factor, what director of player personnel is going to volunteer to draft the Michael Sam three–ring circus?

The Broncos’ John Elway volunteered to lead the ‘some of my best friends…’ caucus when he said he would have no problem with Sam on his team, which is easy for Elway to say since he’s retired and showers at home.

But the real question is why announce now? Sam told his Missouri teammates that he was playing for the other side before last season. It was a simple statement that didn’t require a phone call to the New York Times. This current public relations campaign screams exploitation and not by the hetero community. It sounds like national homosexual advocacy organizations snooped into his private life and convinced Sam to take a stand that will benefit their fund raising.

If Sam has any doubts about his NFL future, and he’s not a sure thing, then his public statement guarantees a lucrative future career as a homosexual symbol. If he makes the NFL he demonstrates homosexuals are everywhere. If he doesn’t make the team he’s a living symbol of heterosexual bigotry. Either way Sam is on the speaking and interview circuit for a decade and national lobby groups stay current and in the news.

And while we’re discussing fanatics, the homosexual lobby is starting to remind me of some of the more zealous Mormons. There are groups of Latter Day Saints who baptize the dead by proxy so the deceased can enter into heaven in spite of the poor choices they made while alive. In like fashion homosexual scholars browse through history looking for notable figures they can recruit into the homosexual hall of fame.

Leonardo da Vinci comes to mind, along with Abraham Lincoln, my relative President James Buchanan and Janis Joplin to mention but a few. Something tells me activists are going to be taking a long hard look at unmarried early professional football players.

In the meantime, I’m ready for some sexual cowardice. How about returning to the days of a gentleman never tells? I know it’s unlikely, but one can dream.

So let’s close with a riddle: What do Michael Sam and Manti Te’o have in common? All their girlfriends are imaginary.

John Boehner’s Incremental Amnesty Surrender Strategy

130319-three-amigos-boehner-jeb-bush-rove5Mathematicians have long contended that if you give a million monkeys a million typewriters and an infinite amount of time, eventually the simians will produce the King James Bible. Maybe so, but why inflict such a difficult challenge from the get–go? It could severely damage monkey morale.

I suggest assigning monkey scribes the task of producing the House GOP leadership’s “Immigration Reform Principles.” They should be able to knock that out in about a day — even with frequent banana breaks — and if they don’t replicate the document exactly, what the monkeys produce can’t be much more incoherent than the steaming pile the House leadership authored.

The document begins by stating: “Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced.” Naturally, their solution is to jettison the law. I’ve already outlined why amnesty is a bad idea for Republicans in an earlier column located here. So I won’t belabor that point, but what I would like to do is analyze Boehner & Company’s strategy for any evidence that it will accomplish their misguided goals.

Based on statements to the media and the “Principles,” Speaker Boehner’s concerns focus on three main areas:

  1. Negative media coverage of Republican opposition to amnesty
  2. Pressure from farmers and corporate America who want cheap imported labor that considers insultingly low wages a big raise from what they got back home
  3. Overwhelming Hispanic voting support for Democrat politicians

What Boehner does not appear to be worried about is the loss of support from the GOP’s conservative base after amnesty is passed.

So to achieve his goal of improving the Republican image, getting lobbyists off his back and showing Hispanics that he’s a verdadero amigo, Boehner wants a “step–by–step” process that constitutes an incremental surrender to Democrats and other tribal advocates. Boehner’s document begins with a list of bromides the House GOP leadership uses in an attempt to pull the wool over conservative’s eyes: “zero tolerance,” “visa tracking,” “employment verification” and I think an end to chain migration, but the “Principles” are so vague on that point it’s hard to tell.

I guess we will have to await clarification from the monkey’s version of the document.

But the linchpin of the “principles” is the statement: “There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law.”

Instead Boehner unveils a grand public relations coup: Republicans propose to let illegals stay in the U.S. as Untermenschen. Whoops, sorry, I mean as legal residents but not citizens. They must pass background checks, pay “back taxes,” speak English (unless stopped by a policeman), give up any and all “rights” to welfare and be able to read the Constitution in Chinese. (No wait, that’s only if they want to vote in Alabama.)

This is like a land owner telling a trespasser who’s been on squatting in the house for years that he and his family can stay in the house he doesn’t own, but you won’t give him a clear title.

As they say in The Game of Thrones: You know nothing John Boehner.

After decades of being media whipping boys, elected Republicans not only don’t know how to advance an argument, they don’t even know how to avoid a public relations disaster.

Boehner — not the monkeys — will have recreated Exodus with Hispanics in the role of the Israelites. And just like the Jews trapped in Egypt, they can work all they want and the generous GOP will even give them straw for the bricks, but they will never have the vote or the dole.

And God help us, Chuck Schumer gets to be Moses.

As soon as the ink is dry on their 2nd class citizen documents, the formerly illegal are going to be demonstrating against Republican Apartheid. It’s going to be the story of the decade for the Mainstream Media and John Boehner gave it to them on a platter.

Every Election Day the 2nd classers will be demonstrating outside Republican polling places, yelling and brandishing signs for concerned network correspondents.

Queremos que el voto y lo queremos ahora! (We want the vote and we want it now!)

Estoy soñando con el voto (I’m dreaming of the vote)

Segunda clase es la ciudadanía apartheid (2nd class citizenship is apartheid)

Dicen a la familia a venir del Norte (Tell the family to come North)

Then there are the human tragedy stories that bring home the cost of Republican heartlessness courtesy of NPR. The grownup anchor babies who have to tell madre y padre they can’t go to the polls today and vote like they did in Venezuela under Chavez, because John Boehner says they’re less than citizens.

And don’t forget the groundskeeper who lost a foot to a runaway weed beater while working on some one percenter’s estate. He and his family are living in a Kelvinator box under a bridge abutment because he can’t work and he can’t collect U.S. disability checks thanks to Ebenezer Boehner. With tears in his eyes, Piers Morgan will tell viewers, “He was good enough to mow the lawn, but he’s not good enough to cash a disability check.”

That’s the kind of publicity that will have younger citizens leaving their Chipotle burritos uneaten as they run to the nearest party headquarters so they can register to vote Republican and grind the brown man down.

My prediction is six months max and Boehner will be throwing himself on Nelson Mandela’s grave and begging Obama to sign his Full Amnesty with Added Reparations bill.

Why endure the agony of an incremental amnesty? You can’t be half pregnant and you can’t pass a half citizenship bill. Boehner needs to either surrender now and line up a nice lobby job or finally start listening to his own disenfranchised conservative base.