Posts Tagged ‘Half A Dozen’

A Nation of Living Constitutions

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, July 7th, 2013

This is article 157 of 186 in the topic US Constitution

“Today, people are more persuaded than ever that they have perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet.”

The Grand Inquisitor

Freedom exists by virtue of an independence from the powers that might take that freedom away. Rights exist to fence out authority from the space allotted to freedom.  The more leverage the citizens have over the authorities, the more they can prevent those rights from being trampled upon.

The problem begins when people begin to assume that the rights they enjoy are inherent to the system, so that they don’t have to worry about them. As long as the system exists, so do their rights.

Many Americans assume that as long as the flag waves and everyone celebrates the 4th of July, then their rights are safe. But it is entirely possible to have an America in which the flag still waves and people still go to see fireworks on the 4th of July, and in which there are no more rights or freedoms left. This can happen when people forget what the flag means and what the 4th of July means; the symbolism of a flag composed of individual states, and a holiday celebrating the Declaration of Independence, which holds that a people may overthrow a government when it violates their rights.

It is dangerous to celebrate symbols while forgetting what they mean. Because a nation’s fundamental symbols are the keys to its power. They are its scepters and thrones. And when people forget what the symbols mean and begin bowing to the symbols themselves– a tyrant can take the symbols and have people bow to him, even as he desecrates what those symbols actually stand for.

Obama’s rise to power could not have taken place except through a forgetfulness that has been with us for some time now. And Obama has been quite talented at manipulating symbols, posing in front of half a dozen flags, a Superman statue, glowing halos, historic sites and documents. That these symbols have no meaning to him except as tokens of power, that his very presence next to them or adjacent to them, should be anathema because of the profound gap between the ideals they represent, and the agenda he represents, is obvious to those who remember that symbols also have meanings.

But Obama’s success is due to those who do not remember. To whom the flag represents America, but who do not understand that it is not a random selection of shapes meant to look pretty against a blue sky. To whom the Constitution is a document that protects their freedoms, without understanding how it does that and what part their active participation must play for it to work.

Obama exploits symbols, while the media warns about the dangers of anyone literate enough to understand their meanings. In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is a dangerous extremist. Because he can see what those in power can’t.

Unfortunately we live in an age in which people take systems for granted. The world around us teems with complexity. We use technologies we don’t understand. We rely on bureaucracies whose complexities we can’t navigate. The dramatic expansion of the government has made its workings incomprehensible.

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Sandra Fluke ‘rally’ for Democrats in Reno draws in excess of half a dozen

by Doug Powers on Sunday, October 21st, 2012

This is article 1121 of 1298 in the topic 2012 Elections

Our always bustling “how to tell your 15 minutes were up 14 minutes ago” department just came running in with this story:

Sandra Fluke, the woman at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno.

The speech was part of a daylong effort by Democrats to get Northern Nevadans to the polls on the first day of early voting.

I think at least half those people ended up just wanting to ask Fluke if she knew which aisle at Sak ‘N Save they could find condensed milk and stuffing mix.

And Fluke just didn’t show up out of the blue. The Reno Gazette Journal had promoted the appearance the morning of the event. Granted getting an accurate count of a gathered throng that massive isn’t an exact science, but the crowd size was confirmed by the Reno police department with some help from a seven year old kid using nothing more than the fingers on both hands.

And in case you think “10 people” might be a mistake in the story, news video from the “rally” would seem to confirm the crowd estimate. The excitement was palpable:

Proof positive it’s much easier to manufacture a controversy in the media than it is to manufacture a rally audience to match.

However, a separate Fluke “rally” in Carson City appears to have drawn a significantly larger crowd — it might have even topped a dozen.

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You could have heard a pin drop

by Alan Caruba on Saturday, April 14th, 2012

This is article 157 of 301 in the topic US Military

At a time when our politicians tend to apologize for our country’s prior actions, here’s a refresher on how some of our former patriots handled negative comments about our country. These are good.

JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60′s when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded, “Does that include those who are buried here?”

DeGaulle did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop.

When in England, at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of ‘empire building’ by George Bush.

He answered by saying, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”

You could have heard a pin drop.

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American.

During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?”

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?”

You could have heard a pin drop.

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries.

Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?”

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, “Maybe it’s because the Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.”

You could have heard a pin drop.


Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

“You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had indeed been to France previously.

“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”

The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”


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Fear of a Lonely Planet

by Daniel Greenfield on Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

The left of center European press has responded to Prime Minister Cameron’s veto of EU 2.0 with all the hysteria of a man on a desert island who sees the rescue plane flying off into the distance. Equal to them is the American press which is already barking that if we don’t sign on to Durban’s boondoggle and accept a global environmental court, then we have doomed the planet.

This pathological drive toward regional and global union regardless of the negatives seems more like a neurotic reaction than serious policy. Is the UK really doomed outside of the EU, especially since for all the hyperbole it isn’t anywhere near to being outside the EU, and is a failure to create another disastrous bureaucracy in the name of saving the planet from disaster really going to doom the human race?

Union has become the neurotic obsession of progressive politics, regardless of whether that union does anyone any good or not. If we could pretend that EU 1.0 was leaving behind the ghosts of nationalism for union, EU 2.0 is mostly compensating for the failures of EU 1.0 with greater centralization and wishful thinking. There isn’t even the ghost of optimism or idealism on display here, it’s the board of Olympus deciding to cook even more books in the hopes that shareholders don’t notice that the whole thing is unworkable.

The problem with federalizing and unifying everything is that it’s expensive. Multiple authorities mean more costs. Bulking up the bureaucracy isn’t a triumph of the human spirit, it’s the last days of half a dozen empires.

The unified humanity under a global government project is a bad idea spawned by people who couldn’t properly run nations, let alone the world. And even more foolishly, its proponents like H.G. Wells assumed that such a project would be run by likeminded European socialists who would whip the religion and the nationalism out of all the peons. Their vision was really the British Empire, administering a global bureaucracy of reason, in which people might speak different languages, but they would all think the same way.

In its shameless arrogance this vision didn’t account for a Gandhi or a Mohammed, it assumed that the day when Europe and the Anglo Colonies agreed to fall in line with a rational brotherhood of man, then all the little brothers in Asia, Africa and the Middle East would join the consensus and learn to love the smiling mustachioed face of Big Brother.

But China, India and the Muslim world have their own agendas, which are the old-fashioned kind, national greatness through industrial prosperity and armed force. And Western leftists have been left standing there like the successful elder brother who drops out of his law practice to join a cult and then returns home shocked to realize that the rest of the clan is still working for a living.

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Why Won’t Al Franken Leave Me Alone

by Burt Prelutsky on Thursday, November 17th, 2011

This is article 72 of 144 in the topic Democratic Party

I used to sympathize with my wife because every day’s mail brought her half a dozen requests from the likes of the RNC, Newt Gingrich and Dick Morris, to send money. She rarely sent any money, but she would faithfully fill out the enclosed questionnaires. No matter how often I would tell her that they weren’t interested in her opinion, only her checkbook, she would labor on. When she was in one of her feistier moods, she would ask me what made me think anyone was interested in my opinion. I blamed such outbursts on her youth.

But things have changed. Although I rarely receive the sort of junk mail Yvonne gets, over the past few months I have started receiving political email requesting my financial support. What makes it so foolish, aside from the fact that I can barely make ends meet as it is, is that it’s all coming from the Left. I don’t know how or why it happened, but I have suddenly found myself the recipient of political junk mail from Frank Lautenberg, John Kerry, Al Franken and Jason Rosenbaum, who works for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Jason alerted me to the fact that “the Senate Democrats cleaned up the House Republicans’ mess again, narrowly averting a government shutdown.” He claimed to need $210,000 in the next 72 hours to keep the Boehner-Cantor crew from taking over the Senate, and he assumed I could kick in at least five dollars to help keep the barbarians at the gates. Well, for openers, he must know something I don’t know about the date of the next election because I assumed it wasn’t taking place until November, 2012. For another thing, I would only consider kicking in a few bucks if it would help cause a government shutdown.

In his letter, John Kerry reminded me that if the Democrats lose just four of the 23 Democratic seats in the Senate that will be up for grabs in 2012, the GOP will have free rein in Washington. He was also willing to settle for $5 from this notorious cheapskate, but he insisted that the DSCC absolutely needed $235,000 within the next 72 hours. I could only assume that Teresa has put him on a strict budget and the extra $25,000 he was asking for was to augment his allowance.

In his letter, Sen. Kerry warned that if the DSCC didn’t hit its financial goal immediately, “We will cede the megaphone and the whole playing field to the most radical voices that keep on saying America can’t get the job done.” I assume it’s his contention that the real troublemakers are the folks voicing their pessimism as opposed to those who presently control the White House and the Senate and who obviously can’t get the job done.

Kerry went on: “This election is a choice.

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