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Monday, March 31, 2014

Sebelius: 80 to 90 percent have made first ObamaCare payment

Sebelius: 80 to 90 percent have made first ObamaCare payment

By Jonathan Easley

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday cited insurance company estimates that say between 80 and 90 percent of those who have selected a plan under ObamaCare have completed the critical final step of making a first premium payment.

“What we know from insurance companies ... tell us that, for their initial customers, it's somewhere between 80, 85, some say as high as 90 percent, have paid so far,” Sebelius said on KWTV-TV, in an interview first uncovered by BuzzFeed. “Lots of companies have different timetables for when their new customers have to send their first payment.”
Republicans have been pressing the administration for that information for weeks now.
Earlier this month, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) sent a letter to Sebelius saying she had been “evasive and perhaps misleading” in her testimony before his committee.
At the hearing, Sebelius reiterated the administration’s claim that they’re not able to break down enrollees by who has made a payment because they only have access to information about those selecting plans on the website.
Consumers pay the insurers directly after enrolling, so the administration relies on data from the private sector in some cases. Critics have warned that the administration’s numbers are inflated because not everyone who selects a plan will complete the final step needed to obtain coverage.

Experts have estimated that as many as 20 percent of enrollees haven’t paid their first month's premium, and Sebelius’s comments on Monday are in line or slightly better than those analyses.
The administration has said that 6 million people had selected plans through mid-March, meaning that between 600,000 and 1.2 million of those counted as enrollees do not actually have insurance coverage, using Sebelius’s estimates.

The HHS is presently developing a back-end system to track enrollees who have made premium payments.
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Charming: Pelosi Calls Pro-Lifers "Dumb"

While Accepting Planned Parenthood Award

On Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was awarded Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger award at the organization’s annual gala. Sanger was a radical eugenicist, yet Pelosi gladly accepted the award that bears her name.
View image on Twitter
Honored to receive the Margaret Sanger Award from @PPFAQ last night and to join them in championing women's health:

But, Pelosi didn’t just take her trophy and sit down. She also used the opportunity to mock pro-lifers, calling them “oblivious” and “dumb:”
"When you see how closed their minds are or oblivious or whatever it is — dumb — then you know what the fight is about," Pelosi said. "Whatever happens with the court...we must remember these battles will not be the end of the fight."
But, I’m guessing that wasn’t on Planned Parenthood’s agenda. They were too busy celebrating injustice.

Seven Hard Truths Liberals Just Don’t Want To Hear

Kurt Schlichter

It’s difficult to understand liberals when you don’t live in their sheltered cocoon of participation trophies, fauxcaring and feel-good lies.
Those of us who labor in the real world – who built this country, who make it work and who defend it – deal with reality. Most liberals don’t. And that can be baffling, because when they speak they sound like visitors from the planet Nimrod.
Now, some liberals do understand the real world. They are the cynical liberal icons, the ones who know their entire ideology is a scam designed to wring power and wealth from the gullible.
They are the rich ones who cry about poverty and racism then gleefully consign poor and minority kids to public school failure factories by doing the bidding of their unionized teacher partners and torpedoing educational choice. Their own kids wouldn’t get within a mile of an inner city public school, except maybe to swing by in the Mercedes C-Class they got for their 16th birthday to buy some weed from the gangbangers infesting it.
These liberals are the ones who demand we double energy prices and trade in our cars for seats on scuzzy busses driven by union drones because of global warming. The fact that it never actually gets any warmer won’t stop a liberal from hopping into his private jet and flying off to ink a deal to sell his network to some Mideast oil sheik for a zillion petro dollars.
Hard Truth Number 1: If you are a liberal who really believes that your liberal heroes actually believe in liberalism, you are a sucker and a fool. Maybe even foolish enough to let your daughter take a drive with one across a bridge.
Hard Truth Number 2 concerns the minimum wage and the delusion that labor should be valued not between those who provide it and those who pay for it, but by you based upon your own subjective notion of “fairness.” The hard truth is that you are worth precisely what an employer will pay for you, and nothing more.
Take it from someone who employs a bunch of people – if I have to pay more for you at the unskilled bottom of the ladder, assuming I don’t cut low-end positions, that money is coming out of everyone else’s raises. Yeah, you warm, wonderful, caring, and compassionate paternalists supporting raising the minimum wage are going to pay for it, because I’m sure as hell not.
Unlike many of you liberals, I started out flipping burgers at the Foster City Carls, Jr., for $3.10 an hour. I didn’t have one of those fake internships or create one of those bogus charities high school kids today manufacture to impress the admissions flunkies at overpriced, underworthy colleges. I worked. I hated it, but I learned valuable skills. These skills made it so that today I don’t have to bag fries, mop out toilets or toil as Michael Moore’s muffin wrangler.
Here’s Hard Truth Number 3: If you need government to set you a “living wage,” it’s because you have failed to make yourself worth a living wage. A higher minimum wage is merely a subsidy to ensure you don’t have to put in the effort necessary to earn what you want. I’m unclear why your failure to work hard, gain skills and not do the stupid things that lead a 30 year old to be making minimum wage morally compels me to give you my money.
Next is Hard Truth Number 4: You shouldn’t have kids if you can’t afford them. A corollary to this self-evident concept is that you shouldn’t have sex unless you can pay for your own birth control. Those of us who don’t choose to live lives of chaos should not have to be taxed money from our kids so the government can give it to your kids because you are too lazy, stupid and/or drug-addled to support them yourself.
That brings us to Hard Truth Number 5: Liberalism depends on a huge number of Americans being losers who can’t support themselves. Broken or nonexistent families are the root of most of society’s pathologies, and they are also essential to the Democrat demographic model. The party’s very existence depends on there being a pool of serfs desperate for handouts distributed by Democrat overlords. If 90% of Americans were self-sufficient and refused to trade their dignity for a few scraps in the form of various welfare payouts, there would be no modern Democrat Party.
In other words, your party must keep you poor, ignorant and helpless to survive. The Democrat mascot shouldn’t be the donkey; it should be the tick.
Here’s Hard Truth Number 6: Your biggest problem is you. Now, a lot of people resent this truth – they say it’s “blaming the victim.” But most of the time, the purported “victim” is to blame. Did you drop out of school? Choose to use drugs? Have a couple kids with a couple losers? See, if so, you aren’t a victim of circumstance. A victim of circumstance is someone struck by lightning or attacked by a gang of thugs in a Democrat-run city. You’re a recipient of consequences.
It’s not a tragedy when bad things happen to people who make bad choices. It’s a tragedy when we lie to them by validating their failures and then try to ameliorate those consequences by taking money from people who did all the right things.
And that leads to Hard Truth Number 7: This can’t go on.
Lady Thatcher famously formulated that, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” And you will. The most amusing argument for raising the minimum wage is that all this new money paid to people who aren’t worth it will get spent and gin up the economy. But the problem with this private sector stimulus idea is a foundational one: Where does the money come from to pay all these higher wages? From the magic dollar tree behind Mr. Pennybags’s mansion?
Liberalism is magical thinking promulgated by cynical exploiters upon the eternally gullible and the chronically lazy. It’s a political Ponzi scheme, and today’s participants are the unlucky marks coming in at the end of the grift.
Liberalism will collapse of its own dead weight. And when it does, you true believers better be ready for the hard truth that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The Communist States of America

Matt Barber 

A preferred ploy of left-wing change agents is to ridicule critics when they point out the undeniable parallels between the goals of today’s “progressive” movement, to include the Democratic Party in general, and the goals of the early, and very much still alive, communist movement.

If, for instance, one mentions the historical fact that nearly every adult who, at any time, was in any position of influence over a young, soon-to-be-radicalized Barry Soetoro was an avowed communist, to include his own parents, then one is immediately mocked and dismissed as a neo-McCarthyite hack pining for the bygone days of the Red Scare. This is an evasive, ad hominem strategy employed by those who are caught, for lack of a better word, red-handed.
To all this I say, if the jackboot fits, wear it. If it quacks like a commie and goose-steps like a commie, then a commie it is.
There are multiple layers within “progressivism’s” pseudo-utopian, truly dystopian Marxist philosophy. The left’s lust for redistributionist statism is well-known. Less understood, however, is the “progressive” rush toward cultural Marxism.
Cultural Marxism entails, among other things, that secularist aspect of left-wing statist ideology that seeks, within society, to supplant traditional values, norms and mores with postmodern moral relativism. Cultural Marxists endeavor to scrub America of her Judeo-Christian, constitutional-republican founding principles, and take, instead, a secular-statist Sharpie to our beloved U.S. Constitution.
Historian and U.S. military affairs expert William S. Lind describes cultural Marxism as “a branch of western Marxism, different from the Marxism-Leninism of the old Soviet Union. It is commonly known as ‘multiculturalism’ or, less formally, Political Correctness. From its beginning, the promoters of cultural Marxism have known they could be more effective if they concealed the Marxist nature of their work, hence the use of terms such as ‘multiculturalism.’”
Pastor, attorney and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively is globally admired by liberty-loving traditionalists. Conversely, he’s universally reviled by cultural Marxists. He drills down a bit deeper: “Cultural Marxism is a variation of the Marxist strategy to build a utopian socialist order on the ashes of Christian civilization, but through subversion of the moral culture, especially the elimination of the natural family, rather than solely through destruction of capitalism.”
True though this may be, the ideological seeds of contemporary cultural Marxism nonetheless sprout from deep within the dead soil of historical communism. It is not economic redistributionism alone through which “progressives” seek to both “fundamentally transform America” and otherwise conquer the world, but, rather, and perhaps primarily, it is also through victory over the pejoratively tagged “social issues” (i.e., the sanctity of marriage, natural human sexuality and morality, ending the abortion holocaust, religious liberty, the Second Amendment and the like).
This is neither speculative nor hyperbolic. Both the historical record and the U.S. Congressional Record bear out this sinister reality. Regrettably, today’s “low-information voters” as Rush Limbaugh calls them – to include the useful idiots within the GOP’s “moderate” and libertarian wings – are simply too lazy, shortsighted or both to learn the facts.
“Surrender on the ‘social issues’!” demands the GOP’s cultural Marxist-enabling kamikazes.
In 1963, U.S. Rep. A.S. Herlong Jr., D-Fla., read into the Congressional Record a list of “Current Communist Goals” as enumerated by Dr. Cleon Skousen in “The Naked Communist,” penned in 1958. I encourage you to read the whole list, but for now let’s focus on those goals that most closely align with the seditious agenda of America’s “progressive” movement. It’s actually most of them. Though Herlong was a Democrat, the list reads like today’s Democratic Party Platform.
How far has fallen the party of the jackass:
  • Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
  • Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist [or, today, Islamic] affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
  • Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist [or Islamic] domination.
  • Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
  • Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
  • Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
  • Do away with all loyalty oaths.
  • Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
  • Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
  • Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
  • Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
  • Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
  • Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. (An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”)
  • Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
  • Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
  • Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
  • Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
  • Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principal of “separation of church and state.”
  • Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
  • Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
  • Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.”
  • Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture – education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
  • Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
  • Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
  • Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
  • Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
  • Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
  • Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.
  • Internationalize the Panama Canal.
  • Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.
If achieving these specific communist goals was the final “progressive” step toward the larger goal of securing communist governance in America, then, tragically, “progressives” have realized that larger goal.
Look around. We are no longer the United States of America. We have become The Communist States of America.
Which means, for those who love liberty, revolution is once again at hand.

Obamacare website goes down morning of deadline

Obamacare website goes down on morning of deadline
By Bob Fredericks
With the deadline for signups looming, the Obamacare Web site was down for maintenance early Monday, and many visitors faced long waits once it was brought back online.
The was unavailable shortly after 3 a.m. New York time, Politico reported.
But it was back up and running – slowly in some cases – by 8 a.m. after an apparent software bug was fixed.
The last-minute surge of visitors looking to sign up for the Affordable Care Act resulted in waits for many, the site acknowledged in a warning on its home page.
“During times of especially high demand, you may be queued to begin your online Marketplace application to ensure the best possible shopping experience,” the warning read.
New York and Connecticut residents could access the site immediately, but New Jersey residents faced delays, according to a check of the site at 8 a.m.
“ has a lot of visitors right now! We need you to wait here, so we can make sure there’s room for you to have a good experience on our site,” the Jersey page read.
Traffic has been heavy for in the days leading up to the deadline, with the US Department of Health and Human Services reporting more than 2 million visitors during the weekend.
A message that appeared this morning on the New Jersey site allowed people to send in their email to be notified when the system was available.

Obama released 68,000 convicted criminal aliens last year

              FILE – This Aug. 5, 2008, file photo, shows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building Phoenix. The U.S. Supreme Court will struggle this week with the validity of an Arizona law that tries to keep illegal immigrants from voting by demanding all state residents show documents proving their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in national elections. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Caroline May

The Obama administration is threatening public safety by deliberately hampering immigration law and releasing aliens with criminal records, according to a new review of internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement data.
A Center for Immigration Studies report to be released Monday and obtained in advance by The Daily Caller, found that last year ICE reported nearly 722,000 encounters with illegal or criminal immigrants. But ICE officers filed immigration charges against less than 195,000 aliens.
“According to ICE personnel, the vast gap between the number of encounters reported and the number of aliens put on the path to removal exists because officers are not permitted to file charges against aliens who do not fall into the administration’s narrowly defined criteria for enforcement, regardless of the criminal charges or the circumstances in which the alien was identified,” the report, authored by CIS director of policy studies Jessica Vaughan, reads.
Since June 2011, when the first of the Obama administration’s “prosecutorial discretion” policies were put in place, the report adds, interior ICE arrests have declined by 40 percent.
“The Obama administration and anti-enforcement activist groups have tried to portray the number of departures as ‘record-breaking’ and indicative of robust immigration enforcement. They have tried to support this claim by showing that the number of departures credited to ICE is higher than ever before,” the report reads. “However, an independent analysis of ICE records obtained in a lawsuit showed that ICE was able to achieve these ‘record’ departures only because the agency was taking credit for removing a large number of individuals who were apprehended by the Border Patrol. Such cases made up the majority of ICE’s reported deportations in 2013, but they had never been counted that way in previous administrations.”
Indeed, as the review highlights, many aliens with criminal convictions have simply been released.
In 2013 some 68,000 criminal aliens were released — or 35 percent of all criminal aliens ICE reported encountering, according to the report. ICE field offices with the highest rates of criminal releases were San Antonio (79 percent), New York City (71 percent), Washington, D.C. area (64 percent), and Newark, N.J. (60 percent).
“These figures suggest that despite claims of a focus on public safety, the administration’s prosecutorial discretion criteria are allowing factors such as family relationships, political considerations, or attention from advocacy groups to trump criminal convictions as a factor leading to deportation,” the report reads.
The data is sure to further frustrate critics of the Obama administration’s immigration policies that much more, including Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions who says the “[Department of Homeland Security] is a department in crisis” and is calling on DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson to “reject the President’s demands to weaken enforcement further and tell him that his duty, and his officers’ duty, is to enforce the law – not break it.”
“As Homeland Secretary, Mr. Johnson is tasked with ensuring the public safety and the rule of law. But Secretary Johnson is not meeting these duties,” Sessions said in a statement to TheDC. “American citizens have a legal and moral right to the protections our immigration laws afford — at the border, the interior and the workplace.  The administration has stripped these protections and adopted a government policy that encourages new arrivals to enter illegally or overstay visas by advertising immunity from future enforcement.”
“Comments from top Administration officials, such as Attorney General Holder’s claim that amnesty is a civil right, or Vice President Biden’s claim that those here illegally are all U.S. citizens (apparently including someone whose visa expired yesterday), demonstrate the administration’s increasing belief in an open borders policy the American public has always rejected,” he added.
According to Vaughan, Congress should initiate an official look into the impact of the administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies.
“The Obama administration’s deliberate obstruction of immigration enforcement, in which tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released instead of removed, is threatening the well-being of American communities,” she said.
To Sessions, however, it is Republicans who must work to hold the administration accountable for its rejection of the law.
“The Administration’s lawless policies have not only impaired public safety but increased economic suffering for millions of vulnerable Americans by depriving them of their jobs and wages,” he said. “Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats continue to empower this lawlessness. Republicans must work to end it.”
 Other key findings in the review include:
  • In 2013, ICE charged only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of 722,000 potentially deportable aliens they encountered. Most of these aliens came to ICE’s attention after incarceration for a local arrest.
  • ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.
  • ICE targeted 28 percent fewer aliens for deportation from the interior in 2013 than in 2012, despite sustained high numbers of encounters in the Criminal Alien and Secure Communities programs.
  • Every ICE field office but one reported a decline in interior enforcement activity.
  • ICE reports that there are more than 870,000 aliens on its docket who have been ordered removed, but who remain in defiance of the law.
  • Under current policies, an alien’s family relationships, political considerations, attention from advocacy groups, and other factors not related to public safety can trump even serious criminal convictions and result in the termination of a deportation case.
  • Less than 2 percent of ICE’s caseload was in detention at the end of fiscal year 2013. About three-fourths of the aliens ICE detained in 2013 had criminal and/or immigration convictions so serious that the detention was required by statute.

  • Read more:

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    A Hair-Raising Experience

    Lessons on community at scissor-point from a hairdresser-acupuncturist

    A man with a sharp metal object at the back of my neck has just confessed that his real job is acupuncture. Click Click. Click. Click Click. Panic. I can’t see his scissors. Click. Click. Click. What’s he planning to do with them when finished with my hairline? I’m at a new hairdresser’s in a new city in a new country, and my chap’s primary occupation is plunging blades into human flesh.
    Zzzzzrrrrrr. Now it’s the razor. Zzzzrrrrr. Maybe he’s clearing a space, prepping the target area.
    I look left. Glance right. Here among the blasting and strong gusts and everyone in black capes gazing at their reflections; here on linoleum tiles layered thick with wet black curls, this is where I’m going to meet my end. Oh my God. I can’t die here: I need mood lighting at the very least.
    My only chance of survival is to keep him talking. We trade testimony. I moved for a postdoc at the University. I like Charlottesville a lot. He followed his girlfriend down from D.C. He likes Charlottesville a lot. It is progressive in a lot of ways and there’s a decent community for artists, and we had to get out of the city.
    The downside is the limited opportunity for acupuncture. Why? Hostility of the establishment. The medical profession has set its face against oriental techniques, and politics being what they are science doesn’t want to look outside of what it knows since it’s afraid of what it might find and this is an invasion into its territory but medicine, it’s been the model for hundreds of years and integrating the psycho-social is just too much of a threat to vested interests and which product do you usually put in your hair?
    Despite the gentleness of his voice, there is no doubt about it: this is man against the system. There’s intensity and conviction and despairing.
    The only place in town interested in acupuncture turns out to be an old people’s home. Poor helpless souls! A captive audience, wheeled in only to be wounded. All “crippled” and “tight” and “an air of baffled absence,” as Philip Larkin put it so unsparingly. And if “inverted childhood” is not bad enough; or your dwelling place being a communal “home” where strangers are in and out all the time no big deal, constantly subject to all these light intrusions, constantly surrounded by someone’s else relatives; or having your choices narrowed to staying in your room or coming downstairs for group activities; if that isn’t bad enough, now there’s also a flood of well-meaning services, one of which involves needles.
    After overcoming his initial indignation that residents wouldn’t automatically receive acupuncture, but had to give permission—though again, in this context what does “giving permission” really mean?—my hairdresser had managed to rope in some guinea pigs. He poked five “channels” into each ear of each person, and sat back and watched already pretty zoned-out elderly men and women zone out even more.
    As he talks and discusses and divulges his techniques, it’s all pretty fluid: sentences peter out, claims are aborted, conclusions postponed. Intellectual gestures, mainly—”blowsy imprecision,” as literary critic Craig Raine has it. “It’s really about go-inward, kind of calm, just be, see what’s going on inside and–society is so full of external influences, you know, and that’s one of the problems—”
    “Are they the same length, my sideburns?” I ask.
    He looks up, reassures me: “I’ll get to the ‘burns.”
    “What does it do for people?” Pause. People who are going through a lot of trauma, this helps them. An anecdote: This last week, one woman he punctured had arrived with some emotional liability around this trauma she was having. Manifested itself in diarrhea, but the real issue was her marriage. Her body was wanting to process it and the energy was needing to move through her and by the end of the session he’d talked her ’round: if you’re not happy in your marriage, get the hell out of there.
    Obvious question: “Do you see yourself as a therapist?”
    “That’s the exciting part. You can get deeper with the needles.”
    What fascinates me about the anecdote is not only the unapologetic admission to what sociologist Philip Rieff called “the triumph of the therapeutic,” but the fact that therapy poses as moral counsel. Essentially, one person is telling another what to do. Now, doubtless, most “proper” therapists would disavow this strongly, fearing lest the intimacy of the spilling-your-guts-out becomes the leverage point for the therapist’s imposition of their set of values upon the client/patient. And professional therapists would probably be aghast at the amateur therapy of my acupuncturist. But still, in a secular culture the need for sage advice, for real wisdom, for instruction in the ways of life and guidance on the path of virtue—that doesn’t simply go away. “How then shall I live?”—always a live question.
    George Orwell wrote an essay on Dostoyevsky where he mentions the character in Crime and Punishment who commits a crime just to be able to confess it. Orwell doesn’t get it. “This is all very Russian,” he says. But Dostoyevsky is on to something: there is something about the ecstasy of confession, the sheer emotional relief it portends, the assuaging of guilt and the raw release. The therapist’s couch is the new confessional—just more comfy, and with Kleenex.
    The other thing is, Charlottesville is a small town. On a date with my wife: “Look, sweetheart, the man doing squats over there is the bartender at The Whiskey Jar.” Or you run into an esteemed professor of Renaissance sculpture at the checkout buying suppositories. So in this moment—my hairdresser telling me this story from his class—what we have really is the collision of two dynamics: tell-all therapy and barber gossip. For it wouldn’t be hard for me to find out who the woman was. Or just come across her—he told me the name of the place where he holds the class.
    Still in the chair, I’m beginning to regret how long I’ve let my hair grow. The words begin to link arms and dance with each other, whirling around and around—unstoppable, making me giddy: “The whole point is to differentiate and see whether I am really owning that and do I want to appropriate that narrative and is that narrative working for you or not working for you and do I acknowledge that’s an extern—”
    Also, am I free on Monday? Do I want to come and see for myself?

    In Defense of Scott Brown, Carpetbagger

    Illustration: Thomas Nast/Library of Congress; Scott Brown: Seamas Culligan/ZUMA

    Scott Brown has a carpetbagging problem. On Monday, the former Republican senator from Massachusetts—who is now running for Senate in New Hampshire—defended his Granite State bona fides by taking a page from Lisa Simpson: "Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever."
    At this point, it's the rare Brown story that doesn't at least allude to the dreaded C-word. "Carpetbagger or Comeback Kid?" asked the Washington Examiner's Rebecca Berg. "Scott Brown's first hurdle in the Granite State will be addressing the carpetbagging charge," argued US News & World Report's David Catanese. Respondents to a March poll from Suffolk University, a plurality of whom disapproved of Brown, used words like "carpetbagger" and "interloper" to describe the ex-senator. His opponent in the Republican primary, former Sen. Bob Smith, has even offered to buy Brown a road map to the state—although Smith has run for Senate in Florida twice in the last decade.
    If Brown wants to go back to Washington next winter, he should probably come up with a better response than "whatever." But his critics in Washington have it all wrong. For more than a century, carpetbaggers have gotten a bad rap for all the wrong reasons.
    The term "carpetbaggers" traces its origins as a political cuss word to the 1860s, when thousands of Northerners moved to the occupied South during Reconstruction in pursuit of political and economic opportunities. (A carpet bag was a kind of luggage.) The war had left a vacuum: Hundreds of thousands of White Southern males had been killed; many of the survivors were former Confederate politicians, who were forbidden to seek political office. Along with "scalawags"—Southern whites who supported Republicans—the carpetbaggers were the villains of Reconstruction. But like a lot of what happened during Reconstruction, that historical narrative, reinforced by a century and a half of Southern historians, is not quite right.
    "Some Northerners who went to the South were corrupt, most were not, and many were more willing to defend the basic rights of the former slaves than most white Southerners—which is why they were vilified," says Eric Foner, a history professor at Columbia who specializes in the Reconstruction South. The label applied only to certain kinds of outsiders. As Foner puts it, "If you came South and joined up with the Democrats, you were a gentleman, not a carpetbagger."
    So it's not that the carpetbaggers were simply relocating. The problem was that they were interfering with Democrats' attempt to act as if the Civil War had never happened. A good example of this is Albion Tourgée, a Civil War vet from Ohio who moved with his wife to North Carolina in 1866 and was immediately slapped with the C-word when he was appointed superior court judge. Among his sins: pushing for equal protection, free public education, and eliminating property requirements to vote. (Later in life, after retreating to New York state, Tourgée was the losing lawyer in Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court that enshrined the doctrine of "separate but equal" treatment for blacks and whites.)
    The reaction to carpetbaggers was venomous. In 1868, the Independent Monitor in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, ran a cartoon depicting two white men with luggage marked "Ohio" being lynched by the Klu Klux Klan, represented by a donkey. Maybe we shouldn't take seriously the character judgment of a people who believed carpetbagging was a sin but domestic terrorism wasn't.
    If we are stuck with "carpetbagger" as a catch-all for political migrants, that doesn't mean carpetbagging is a bad thing. Politicians try their luck in different states because people know what they're getting. Robert Kennedy wasn't a native New Yorker when he decided to run for Senate there in 1964 (his roots were in Massachusetts), but he had been attorney general of the United States. That's a good person to have working for you if you want to exert political influence, and baseball rivalries aside, there aren't a lot of substantive differences between New York Democrats and their Massachusetts counterparts. Ditto for Hillary Clinton, who bought a house in New York to run for Senate after three decades in Arkansas and Washington, DC. Brown, who does own a home in New Hampshire, was recruited to run there because he is the rare Republican who has been elected to a statewide office in New England recently.
    Besides, moving to a new state for work is the American way. New Hampshire's economic pitch is based on luring Massachusetts residents with the promise of a low tax burden, and (for some reason) the freedom to ride motorcycles without helmets. Some activists in the state are more explicit about their desire to attract carpetbaggers. The Free State Projectaims to turn New Hampshire into a libertarian paradise through a mass migration of Ayn Rand acolytes—nearly a dozen of whom have already been elected to the state's 424-member Legislature.
    The good news for Brown, whose 2012 reelection campaign leveled the carpetbagger charge against the Oklahoma-raised Elizabeth Warren, is that his electoral fate will probably be decided by something other than his residency—such as the sizable policy differences between him and incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. So Brown should probablydecide how he feels about expanding Medicaid coverage—a core part of the Affordable Care Act that's supported by two-thirds of New Hampshire voters—sooner rather than later.
    Or, you know, whatever.

    Pravda: Obama 'Bordering' on Hypocrisy

    Obama:  'Bordering' on Hypocrisy. 52467.jpeg

    By John Griffing                                                                                                                                                        

    In what appears to be a media-led effort to resurrect the days of Khrushchev and Kennedy, America is pursuing a path that can only be described as economically, politically, and socially suicidal.  The Cold War era is dead.  The biggest threat facing the global community today consists of stateless ideologies rooted in Islam without respect for national borders - something with which Russia and the United States are both intimately familiar.  Russia has tragic counterparts to the Twin Towers in events like the Beslan school massacre, and a slew of violent and sanguine attacks perpetrated by Chechnyan Muslims against Russian civilians. Unbeknownst to many in the western world, the legitimately elected government of Ukraine has been overthrown by a Muslim mob amidstthrongs chanting "Allahu Akbar!"  In point of fact, even western publications like the New York Review of Books are now forced to acknowledge that the revolution was started by a Muslim journalist who used social media to stir up anarchy.  The new would-be executive of Ukraine has called for Chechnyan Muslims to attack Russia in support of Ukraine.  Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine, has found natural anti-semitic allies in the nation's Muslim population (which is growing rapidly.) Consider the following from the website,,
     "Over the past three years, the number of mosques in Ukraine has grown by some 50 percent. This growth has primarily taken place in the Kherson region (south part of Ukraine).
    "According to the State Committee, the Muslims of Ukraine have 238 religious buildings in the Crimea and 81 in other regions of the country. The network of Islamic religious organizations in Ukraine gained autonomy five times faster than in the Autonomic Republic of Crimea. In early 2008 the network included 133 organizations, in early 2011, 199."
    Russia is projected to be a majority-Muslim nation no later than 2050.
    The current paradigm is not one of two world powers vying for spheres of influence.  America's current president, running out of "red line" stunts to bolster his image as a real leader, is desperate to characterize President Putin's actions as evidence of a new Russian imperialism akin to Soviet expansion.  Blogs are aflurry with baby boomers who lived during the Cuban Missile Crisis likening Russian geopolitical moves to Communist subterfuge.  This is false, and wholly at odds with the facts available.  Russian actions in Ukraine and Crimea are about border security, and nothing else. 
    How hypocritical must it appear to the rest of the world for a nation -- which has taken dramatic actions against third world countries it considers dangerous -- to condemn defensive actions taken by the Russian government to protect its borders from a violent Islamic overthrow of a neighboring government? 
    Even more alarming, evidence has surfaced indicating that the alleged "revolution" watched on American TV involves the same money and same literature used to stir up Muslims in Egypt and elevate the Muslim Brotherhood to power - literature financed and supplied by American actors. 
    What business does America have in attempting to influence Ukrainian relations with Russia?  First, US money backed the failed "Orange Revolution," and now, similar staged events appear to be risking a "hot" conflict with Russia. 
    Would America not send troops south of the border if Iranian terrorist organization Hezbollah was building encampments and remote sites from which they planned to attack the United States?  One would think so, but Hezbollah is, in fact, building encampments on the US southern border, and President Obama has done nothing to stop them, even suing states that attempt to enforce federal immigration law.  But then, this is the same individual who believes the Muslim call to prayer is the "prettiest sound on Earth" and who invited unindicted 1993 World Trade Center bomber Siraj Wihhaj to give the invocation at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  Wihhaj once remarked, "It is my duty and our duty as Muslims to replace the US Constitution with the Qur'an."
    This is also the same man who has presided over the conversion of almost every North African American proxy into radical Islamist caliphates run by agents of the Muslim Brotherhood. 
    It is tragic that, as an American journalist, I must go to overseas media outlets to advocate for the freedom of all people and even more tragic that this act may be portrayed by some as disloyalty or displaying a lack of patriotism.  To the contrary, loyalty to a despotic regime straddling a once free country whose media now reports facts selectively and encourages censorship, is far different from embracing the deep patriotism that is love for America, for freedom and peace among nations.  These are the values that define America historically, and it is to these things that Americans of all stripes should be loyal.   
    Russia is doing no more and no less than the American people would expect of their own government if it was indeed run by an American.