Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Decision '08, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:19 am

This is too perfect - a reflection of what passes for reality in our modern celebrity besotted world.

When in trouble, declare that your rank, disgusting, and aberrant behavior is the result of some illness like addiction or, in Weiner’s case “psychological problems.” Enter a treatment center, emerge humbled and vowing you’re a changed person, and - voila! All is forgiven and you are welcomed back into celebritydom with open arms.

We Americans have a weakness for this sort of performance art. Just as we have a weakness for underdogs, longshots, and lost causes. Perhaps it’s because we can afford to be generous with our affections, or maybe it’s a product of an oversized heart. Whatever it is, celebrities and politicians alike have learned how to use the gambit to salvage as much as possible from a rotten situation.

Weiner no more needs to enter a treatment center than does my pet cat Snowball. And at least Snowy demonstrates that she’s sorry for her transgression, be it knocking over mama’s crystal bowl or sniffing daddy’s scotch glass causing it to tip over. Snowball shows the most pregnant attitude of contrition for her sins, slinking to me on her belly after I yell at her, craving affection. Weiner’s idea of saying he’s sorry is defiantly telling everybody that he won’t resign - but will enter rehab of some sort in order to elicit sympathy from his constituents and supporters.

New York Times:

Mr. Weiner has been talking with a therapist in New York City over the past couple of days, as fallout from his online scandal worsened and he absorbed the message from his colleagues and advisers that his conduct reflected not just bad judgment but perhaps a deeper psychological problem.

“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” said his spokeswoman, Risa Heller. “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.”

Ms. Heller would not identify the facility or the precise kind of counseling Mr. Weiner, who has admitted having explicit communications with six women he met online, would receive. She stressed that he was carefully considering the calls from his fellow lawmakers urging him to give up his seat.

Mr. Weiner has been resistant in telephone calls over the past week with Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Israel, who have been warning him that if he does not quit, they will make their case publicly.

They were especially frustrated, according to one high-ranking Democratic official, when Mr. Weiner repeatedly told them he could not resign now because his wife, Huma Abedin, was traveling abroad with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton - an assertion they viewed as an unpersuasive pretext.

Weiner knew what he was doing was wrong. He knew he was being virtually unfaithful (ask your wife how she’d feel if you engaged in explict sexting with another woman and consumated the exchange). He knew the consequences of his actions.

What does he need treatment for? Lack of discipline? Lack of self-control? A casual attitude toward his marriage vows?

These are not signs of illness. They are character flaws. Weiner can no more rid himself of these flaws than he could alter his fingerprints. That’s the objective reality of the situation, not the made-for-TV version that Weiner is peddling in order to salvage something of his career.

This blog post originally appeared on The American Thinker


ObamaCare Faces Tough Judicial Crowd

Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Supreme Court, The Law, health care reform — Rick Moran @ 11:43 am

I wrote about that federal appeals court hearing in Atlanta yesterday about Obamacare for FrontPage.com.

A sample:

The 11th circuit is considered to be one of the most conservative appeals courts in the nation. Greg Bluestein writing for RealClearPolitics.com says of the judges, “None of the three are considered either stalwart conservatives or unfailing liberals.” Chief Judge Joel Dubina was appointed by George W. Bush, while Judges Stanley Marcus and Frank Hull were tapped by Bill Clinton, although Hull was originally appointed by Ronald Reagan to the District Court in Florida.

Court watchers say that both sides had reason for hope. During three hours of questions, the judges sharply questioned acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal about the power of Congress to compel individuals to purchase any product, much less health insurance. “If we uphold this, are there any limits [on government power]?” asked Judge Dubina. Judge Marcus said he couldn’t find a case in the law where the courts upheld “telling a private person they are compelled to purchase a product in the open market…. Is there anything that suggests Congress can do this?”

While the judges appeared skeptical about whether the government could force individuals to purchase a private product, they also didn’t seem to think much of the plaintiff’s argument that what Congress was really doing was regulating “economic inactivity.” Walter Delligner, acting solicitor general under Bill Clinton, detected some doubt in the judge’s questions of former Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clement who is representing the plaintiffs.”The inactivity point is losing salience,” Dellinger said.

But it is the constitutionality of the mandate that most concerns the government, because without it, Obamacare collapses. There would be no way to fund the program. As Clement observed, “If you take out the hub, the spokes will fall.”

The Washington Examiner’s Randy Barnett points out the mandate is clearly the nub of the matter — both legally and psychologically. If the mandate passes muster with the courts,”[t]he next time Congress decides to impose an economic mandate, the courts will defer to Congress’ own assessment of whether another economic mandate is ‘essential.’”

In researching this piece yesterday, I came across about a half dozen articles from legal experts who think that even if the plaintiffs prevail in appeals court that SCOTUS will almost certainly uphold its constitutionality. Megan McCardle thinks there is barely a 25% chance the Supremes will give the ax to Obamacare.

Tradition more than ideology will determine the Supreme Court decision. It is extremely rare that the high court challenges congress in their interpretation of the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause. Congress has said by passing Obamacare that they have a right to regulate the insurance industry any way they choose — including the individual mandate — and buttress their argument by pointing to  Article I and the Necessary and Proper Clause as giving them the power to come up with the best means to achieve their legislative goal.

This will be good enough for the 4 liberals and almost certainly Anthony Kennedy. At least that’s how court watchers have handicapped the outcome. By the time the case reaches them, Obamacare will be so entrenched with billions in funding spent, boards and commissions formed, insurance exchanges created, and more, that striking it down in total will be impossible. Even in the unlikely event the mandate is declared unconstitutional, the rest of the law will remain.

Make no mistake. A Supreme Court imprimatur on the mandate will mean that for all practical purposes, there will be no limits on what can be construed as “economic activity” under the Commerce Clause. Even “inactivity” will be judged as falling under that rubric.

And don’t think for a minute that there aren’t people who will seek to use this near unlimited power to attempt to alter our behavior. Government will be able to compel us to purchase anything they deem “necessary and proper” to the implementation of health care laws and probably other schemes as well.

We will rue the day.



Filed under: Ethics, Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:04 am

Regular readers of American Thinker know that our coverage of the Weinergate scandal has been thorough, but lacking the wall to wall coverage of some other conservative sites.

The fact that we received no complaints of which I’m aware shows that our readers are smarter than the press. The media frenzy on the scandal has been so over the top that one could be forgiven if they believed the future of the republic hung on whether Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was telling the truth about being hacked, or whether - as it turned out - he is a lying, pathetic, creepy, predatory sexual libertine with the appetites of an incubus and the morals of an alley cat.

The question isn’t whether Weiner is a bomb throwing, ranting, unthinking liberal partisan caught in a juicy scandal but whether his sexual peccadilloes rise to a level that justified the media coverage in the press and on many conservative websites.

The answer is yes…and no. It was nice of Mr. Weiner to present his neck so willingly and give Republicans the opportunity to wield the ax. From a purely political standpoint, this was an important story. A rising congressman (rumored to covet the NY mayor’s office), a darling of the snarling left, a man who set himself up as a spokesman for the downtrodden and those “without a voice” in the halls of power proved to be a target of opportunity too tempting to resist. The nature of politics precludes giving him a pass despite some calls to ignore the scandal because, after all, Weiner never claimed to be a paragon of virtue.

Well, if that’s the case, then why didn’t he reveal his sexual proclivities during the campaign? If it’s unimportant, but voters should know as much as possible about their representatives, why not create an ad with his R-rated pictures and x-rated sexting messages?

Weiner hid his follies because he knew that revealing them would destroy his career and possibly force him to resign (still a definite possibility). He himself thought them important enough to lie about their existence. The logical conclusion then is that if Weiner kept his secrets because they were important then the revelation that he lied about the matter should be equally weighty. Liberals can jabber all they want to about “hypocrisy” but they’re missing the point. Why should “hypocrisy” be the only catalyst for resignation and disgrace? Weiner convicts himself by his own actions in lying to maintain a secret. Not to spare his wife but to save his career was the overall motivation and thinking differently places one in the same category as Santa Claus believers.

So it’s perfectly legitimate to go after Weiner’s scalp - which now hangs proudly on conservative lodge poles around the net. Liberals have similar conquests on their record as well. But this kind of flinging dirt - as old as Philip Freneau accusing John Adams of wanting to be king - is, when reduced to its basic element, absolutely irrelevant to the functioning of government and cannot be seen as the symbolic representation of the opposition that is claimed by the mudslingers.

Weiner’s transgressions are no more indicative of the morals of the vast majority of Democratic party members than Senator Vitter’s visits to prostitutes represented the norm for Republicans. Making such blanket observations is an exercise for partisans. The American people tend to take their politicians one at a time, judging them for their performance and their individual impressions as to how well a politician lives up to the expectations they have set for them. Party loyalty is much less important today than in the past, which makes these adventures in muckraking far less damaging than 100 years ago.

This makes the feeding frenzy in the media and on blogs an exercise in dynamic overkill. A partisan like Andrew Brietbart - a counterpart to Freneau, Callendar, and other newspaper bomb throwers of the past - is a necessary adjunct for any political party (the Democrats have Media Matters’ David Brock who functions in a similar capacity). He has proven to be a canny manipulator of the mainstream press - baiting them, playing them, and forcing them to cover stories they would ordinarily eschew.

But this scandal-churning has a downside; so much importance is attached to, what would ordinarily be considered trivialities, that the salacious gossip crowds out actual news stories.

Megan McCardle thinks that this is actually OK in the Weiner matter since there really aren’t any earth shattering stories that could use additional coverage. This is undoubtedly true. Poor Rep. Weiner chose an awful time to reveal his sexual predilections. Absolutely nothing else was happening in the world that had the journalistic ooomph to push the Weinergate story off the front page.

But if it had, would it have mattered? Almost certainly, yes. The pressure on the young women who were targets of Weiner’s advances would have lessened considerably, keeping them in the closet, thus denying Breitbart the devastating proof he needed to force Weiner into his mea culpa press conference. Conservative blogs would have kept churning but the oxygen needed to keep the story alive in the mainstream press would have been sucked out if there had been a big foreign story, or a domestic disaster of some sort.

So, from a political standpoint, this was an important story. But in the larger context of history and “news,” there wasn’t much there. Another congressman proving himself a lying weasel is not the basis for the kind of over the top, wall to wall coverage Weiner and his dirty pictures have received.

All in all, he just isn’t worth the attention.

The blog post originally appears on The American Thinker



Filed under: History — Rick Moran @ 9:55 am

This article first appeared on June 6, 2006

It was 62 years ago that US Rangers stormed the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc near Omaha Beach. And as the veterans of that day grow oh so gray and bent, mere shadows of the lithe and limber youths who pulled themselves up the jagged bluffs, one hand over another, their comrades falling all about them, we are reminded that the word “courage” came alive that day.

Too often, we use that word in a base and cavalier way. A Hollywood movie star has “courage” because she revealed to the world that she’s a drug addict. A comic has “courage” because he made fun of the President of the United States to his face. A filmaker has “courage” because he made millions of dollars shooting a “documentary” which shows the US government complicit in the mass murder on 9/11.

And so instead of “courage” being a word with inexpressible significance and meaning beyond its simple definition, it has become a self congratulatory epithet, a hollowed out expression of empty promise and insincerity. Today, the purveyors of myth and shapers of opinion use the word to tell the rest of us who to admire and what to respect. No longer does courage imply sacrifice or a willingness to give all that one has for a cause greater than oneself. Instead, courage defines the selfish desires and overwrought egos of an ideology that sees more irony in the word than reverence.

All of this was in the future 62 years ago when the Rangers lived the word courage by taking the bluffs above the beach. And a short distance away at Omaha, Americans were dying, never knowing that their sacrifice was redefining the word courage for all time. For in their last bloody moments on earth, a titanic struggle was taking place between good and evil that 10,000 years from now, poets will still be singing songs and human beings will still be shaking their heads at in wonder and awestruck disbelief.

It takes genuine courage to confront evil. By its very nature, evil must defend itself by lashing out and destroying anything that attempts to get in its path, lest it perish ignominiously. Those representing good realize this which makes the confrontation between good and evil always a life threatening proposition and thus, an exercise in self-denial and sacrifice. The Rangers on the bluffs and the men in transports speeding toward bloody Omaha that terrible day 62 years ago knew full well what they were in for. They were willing to pay the price to defeat evil.

There were more than 700 war ships on the waters of Normandy that day, firepower never before seen on the open ocean. The men would be landing with tanks and guns and grenades and enough explosives to blow up a small town. But their most potent weapon by far was the courage to face their foes in open combat with the full knowledge that doing so was likely to get them killed. We ask ourselves quite properly, would I have been capable of such a feat? The answer will likely tell us much about ourselves.

Because in those last frantic minutes before hitting the beach, as grown men wept and prayed and steeled themselves for the supreme test of their young lives, they must have found something deep within themselves, something they could mentally and emotionally grasp and hold onto so real and palpable it must have been. What was it? An image of their family? A remembrance of love and closeness that wrapped itself around them and made them feel safe? Or perhaps it was the simple recognition of the here and now with a sublime faith that He that arbitrates our fate has placed me in His keeping and if these be my last moments, let them be meaningful ones.

Whatever rushed thoughts were coursing through their minds as they splashed ashore under some of the most intense combat ever experienced by American fighting men, their courage allowed them to disobey the most primal of instincts to flee for safety and walk into the teeth of the enemy’s fire. And then, the supreme test. Historian Stephen Ambrose:

They were getting butchered where they were all the sea wall because the Germans had it all zeroed in with their mortars that were coming down on top of them. And, “Over here, Captain,” “Over here, Lieutenant, over here.” A sergeant looked at this situation and said, “The hell with this. If I’m going to get killed, I’m going to take some Germans with me.” And he would call out, “Follow me,” and up he would start. Hitler didn’t believe this was ever possible. Hitler was certain that the soft, effeminate children of democracy could never become soldiers. Hitler was certain that the Nazi youth would always outfight the Boy Scouts, and Hitler was wrong.

The Boy Scouts took them on D-Day. Joe Dawson led Company G. He started off with 200 men. He got to the top of the bluff with 20 men, but he got to the top. He was the first one to get there. He’s going to be introducing President Clinton tomorrow at Omaha Beach. John Spaulding was another. He was a lieutenant. Many of them are nameless. I don’t know their names. I’ve talked to men who’ve said, “I saw this lieutenant and he tossed a grenade into the embrasure of that fortification, and out came four Germans with their hands up. I thought to myself, hell, if he can do that, I can do that.” “What was his name?” I will ask. “Geez, I don’t know. I never found out his name. I never saw him before, and I never saw him again, but he was a great man. He got me up that bluff.”

“Unknown but to God” and history, I suspect. In the end, whatever gave them the inner strength to keep going in the face of such murderous opposition, it was as inspirational then as it is today.

It is fitting and proper that we remember their courage today, the young men who lived and died the word courage. But we must also question ourselves about our commitment to that memory. Does it have meaning beyond the misty eyed reminisces of old men? Can we still summon forth the will to perform great deeds in a cause that reaches far beyond our narrow little corner of planet earth in which we live and love and die?

At the moment, the answer to that last question is unknown. But I daresay the fate of the nation rests upon a positive response. For unless we are willing to propel ourselves beyond our own selfish, comfortable existence and find the strength to confront the evil that seeks to destroy us, we are more likely to end up a victim of our own hubris rather than triumphant with the knowledge that we, like the men of D-Day, brought to life the word courage and made it once again something to be lived and felt in our hearts, ever mindful of the sacrifice of those who came before us.


Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Israel vs. Hamas, Middle East, WORLD POLITICS — Rick Moran @ 9:01 am

The story that has emerged following a day of violence along the border near the Golan Heights is one that fingers Syrian President Bashir Assad as the culprit in inciting the protestors to rush the Israeli border and give the IDF little choice in their course of action.

The evidence, as I point out in my FrontPage.com article, is overwhelming:

There is no independent corroboration of the number of casualties. The state-run news agency SANA, a propaganda organ wholly owned and operated by the Syrian government, reported that 20 protesters were killed and 350 wounded, quoting a doctor working at the state-run local hospital. One Israeli government official was quoted as saying, “Damascus has a track record of not being precise with its data.”

The same official pointed out that President Assad has good reason to engineer a confrontation between the IDF and protesters while inciting violence that was sure to gain worldwide headlines. “One can only suppose that there was a decision taken in Syria to exploit the situation to change the subject from what is going on inside Syria,” he said.


As the violence escalates in Syria, President Assad appears to be striking out blindly in a desperate effort to deflect attention from a crackdown that human rights activists estimate conservatively has cost the lives of over 1,100 Syrian civilians. A major opposition website in Syria claimed that “Naksa protesters were poor farmers who were paid $1,000 by the Syrian regime to come to the border.” The group also claimed that the Syrian government promised $10,000 to the families of anyone killed.

The bused demonstrators, paid agitators, and the Syrian police and soldiers who stood by as the rioters made their way back and forth across the Syrian border make it clear that the protests near the Golan were a Syrian production from start to finish — the planned incitement of violence against the IDF designed to relieve pressure on the Syrian regime which is beginning to buckle under the weight of protests against it. No doubt, the Palestinians went along with this Kubuki dance in order to garner worldwide sympathy for their cause in the lead up to an effort at the United Nations this fall to gain recognition for an independent Palestinian state.

Strangely, the border with Lebanon was quiet as the usually Syrian-friendly Lebanese army prevented protestors from marching to the border. But later in the day, a delegation from Iran toured the border area, reminding us of who is really calling the shots now in Lebanon.

Expect more of these border confrontations, more Palestinian dead bodies that the PA leadership can parade in front of the world as evidence of Israel’s evil intent. The cynical sacrifice of the innocent by the PA will continue - after all, it’s not the leaders who are getting shot at.

At the same time, Israel must continue to act with as much restraint as is consistent with their security and their morality. We still don’t know the facts of what went on at the border where Palestinians were killed, but the measures Israel took prior to the events seemed reasonable:

When the protesters attempted to cut through barbed wire on the Syrian side of the border near Majdal Shams, the IDF shouted warnings in Arabic via loudspeaker, announcing that anyone who tried to cross the frontier into Israel would “endanger their lives.” Israeli soldiers then fired their guns in the air trying to dissuade the infiltrators from advancing further. Finally, after protesters tried to cut through the last barrier, IDF snipers fired at the protesters’ lower bodies, the IDF reported.

Anyone who can’t see the difference between the behavior of the IDF and the terror in the night given the Vogel family by terrorists needs a serious mental examination. And yet, Palestinian apologists are making that ridiculous comparison today.

This blog post first appeared on The American Thinker



Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Politics — Rick Moran @ 1:09 pm

Speaker Boehner has challenged the president on complying with the War Powers Act and I wrote a piece on it for FrontPage.com.

As sample:

Boehner’s measure was one of three resolutions introduced in the House — all expressing various degrees of opposition to the president’s actions in taking the US to war without consulting congress. Representative Michael Turner introduced a non-binding resolution that garnered considerable support, expressing disapproval of the Libyan adventure. And far-left Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of US forces was pulled from the floor at the last moment on Wednesday night because, according to Kucinich, there was a chance it might have passed. In fact, Boehner admitted as much when he told reporters, “I think we decided that the House wasn’t ready to decide the question.”

Passage of the resolution would have hugely embarrassed the president internationally, and may have had untoward consequences with our NATO allies. That’s the opinion of Defense Secretary Robert Gates who said through a spokesman that he “believes that for the United States, once committed to a NATO operation, to unilaterally abandon that mission would have enormous and dangerous long-term consequences.”

Boehner echoed those concerns in the Thursday meeting with GOP members, saying, according to ABC News, “The Kucinich measure will express our constituents’ angst, but it will also have long-term consequences I believe are unacceptable.” The speaker explained that NATO nations had stood fast with us in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to abandon them in Libya would mean that the US would have “turned our backs against our NATO partners who have stuck by us for the last 10 years.”

Several members expressed the view that Boehner’s presentation on why voting for the Kucinich resolution would have harmed American interests convinced most of the caucus to vote for the speaker’s alternative. Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) said after the meeting that “He (Boehner) believes we shouldn’t try to make political points on foreign policy.”

Boehner felt it necessary to give his caucus an alternative to the resolution being offered by Kucinich which “directs the president to remove the United States armed forces from Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the adoption” of the measure. Kucinich’s resolution would have eventually been voted on anyway because of its privileged status, so Boehner will bring it to the floor on Friday along with the GOP alternative.

Before all this legislative maneuvering on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tried to put the best face on a very touchy situation for the administration. He told reporters, “We believe that the policy is working,” Carney said. “We believe the goal the president has is shared by the majority of the members of Congress.” He added that the administration has “consulted Congress every step of the way.”

Carney did not mention what “policy” we were implementing in Libya, nor did he give any evidence that whatever that policy is, that it is working. With Gaddafi still in power (and no UN authorization to remove him), the rebels still unable to dislodge him, and the humanitarian cost of this humanitarian adventure rising daily in dead civilians and destroyed infrastructure, the failure of President Obama to articulate a clear national interest in assisting NATO in this intervention is starting to catch up to him. Also, the fact that the Kucinich resolution demanding an end to the Libyan mission might have passed raises questions about Carney’s statement that the president’s views on Libya are “shared by the majority” on the Hill.



Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Politics — Rick Moran @ 12:10 pm

My latest at FrontPage.com is about Martin Dempsey, President Obama’s pick to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A sample:

When General Dempsey assumes the chairmanship in September, the decision about how many troops to bring home from Afghanistan will already have been made. If history is any guide, he will likely side with the consensus view in the Pentagon that we should withdraw as few troops as possible in order to keep up the momentum we’ve gained in fighting the Taliban, especially in Kandahar province. His leadership skills are likely to be sorely tested on this matter, as most military observers believe a bruising battle is ahead with the White House as the president’s political advisors will no doubt want to draw down the number of soldiers more quickly than the commanders in Afghanistan. The cost of the war will also be a factor in determining at what pace the draw down will proceed.

The president wants to take the successful winding down of the war in Afghanistan to the voters in 2012. It will be a tough sell for Dempsey to try and curtail future large cuts in combat forces with the White House switching to full re-election mode.

Perhaps his greatest challenge will be to protect vital defense priorities from the budget cutters on both sides of the aisle in congress. Defense Secretary Gates has already targeted $500 billion in Pentagon cuts over the next 10 years. But President Obama said in his speech at George Washington University that he was seeking an additional $400 billion in cuts to fight the federal deficit. Guiding the White House and Congress in their efforts to trim the deficit without gutting necessary programs will be a thankless task, and will affect the readiness and capabilities of our military for many years to come.

The president has made it clear with his plan to cut defense so drastically that he sees a reduced role in world affairs for the United States and that we don’t need a military with our current capabilities. As Baker Spring at the Heritage Foundation points out, the coming review of defense spending “will emphasize not how the U.S. will more effectively strengthen its role in world affairs but how to diminish the U.S. role.” Dempsey will be fighting a rear guard action for the most part, but he has impressed observers in the past with his common sense approach to problems, which should hold him in good stead as he faces these challenges.

Unlike General Cartwright, Dempsey is considered a “low tech” soldier, who believes in applying timeless principles of leadership to the battlefield. A graduate of both the Army War College and General Staff College, Dempsey replaced the sophisticated war gaming that was being used by the Army with a series of seminars devoted to “producing more flexible and free-thinking officers at all levels.”

Dempsey is “deeply skeptical” of technology being able to alter the basic nature of combat. He wrote recently in the introduction to the Army’s main operating concept, “We operate where our enemies, indigenous populations, culture, politics, and religion intersect and where the fog and friction of war persists.” In the end, it comes down to boots on the ground performing their jobs under competent command leadership.

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