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Posts Tagged ‘demagoguery’

Obama Justice Department organized and promoted anti-Zimmerman protests

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2013

Wow. Just wow. Venezuela ain’t got nothin’ on us. We’ve truly become a banana republic (emphasis in original):

Document: DOJ Community Relations Service was deployed to Sanford, FL, “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old African American male.” 

Washington, D.C. – Judicial Watch announced today that has obtained documents in response to local, state, and federal records requests revealing that a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.

JW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested with the DOJ on April 24, 2012; 125 pages were received on May 30, 2012. JW administratively appealed the request on June 5, 2012, and received 222 pages more on March 6, 2013. According to the documents:

  • March 25 – 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
  • March 25 – 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 “in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
  • March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”
  • April 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
  • April 11-12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male.” – expenses for employees to travel, eat, sleep?

No, the documents reveal that the employees were “Thomas Battles, Regional Director, and Mildred De Robles, Miami-Dade Coordinator and their co-workers at the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service,” so they were already stationed in the area, not “deployed” from Washington. The expenses (admittedly small potatoes as far as government expenditures go; but still …) were probably for things like meeting rooms, “working lunches,” and maybe sign printing.

Set up under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the DOJ’s CRS, the employees of which are required by law to “conduct their activities in confidence,” reportedly has greatly expanded its role under President Barack Obama. Though the agency claims to use “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution procedures,” press reports along with the documents obtained by Judicial Watch suggest that the unit deployed to Sanford, FL, took an active role in working with those demanding the prosecution of Zimmerman.

On April 15, 2012, during the height of the protests, the Orlando Sentinel reported“They [the CRS] helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials that led to the temporary resignation of police Chief Bill Lee according to Turner Clayton, Seminole County chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” The paper quoted the Rev. Valarie Houston, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church, a focal point for protestors, as saying “They were there for us,” after a March 20 meeting with CRS agents.

Separately, in response to a Florida Sunshine Law request to the City of Sanford, Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of a “community meeting” held at Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on April 19, 2012. The meeting, which led to the ouster of Sanford’s Police Chief Bill Lee, was scheduled after a group of college students calling themselves the “Dream Defenders” barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding Lee be fired.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, DOJ employees with the CRS had arranged a 40-mile police escort for the students from Daytona Beach to Sanford.

“These documents detail the extraordinary intervention by the Justice Department in the pressure campaign leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “My guess is that most Americans would rightly object to taxpayers paying government employees to help organize racially-charged demonstrations.”

I wonder if Department of Justice Community Relations Service employees will be “providing support” for the riots that many in the media are expecting when George is Zimmerman is (quite properly) acquitted.

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Biden: Romney = return of slavery

Posted by Richard on August 14, 2012

After claims that “Romney took death squad money” and “Romney killed my wife,” I wondered what the Socialist Democrats would come up with next. Maybe they’d claim that “Romney is a space alien who wants to eat your babies”? No, not quite. I guess they’re saving that one for October. The latest over-the-top accusation came from Vice President Joe Biden. Bobby Eberle:

Is there anything shocking or surprising anymore from the Obama campaign? As I wrote yesterday, their campaign is to scare seniors, women, and minorities. That’s it… that’s the plan. And they will say or do anything to accomplish it. Just look at the outrageous comment made by Vice President Joe Biden…

Speaking at a campaign event hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Joe Biden told that audience that Mitt Romney and the Republicans will “put y’all back in chains.”

Check out the video at that link. You can’t tell the racial makeup of the audience, but for some reason Biden adopted a southern black accent reminiscent of (but less exaggerated than) the one Hillary Clinton adopted when she was quoting the spiritual “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” in a black church back in 2007.

Obama does the same thing. When he’s being interviewed by one of his media sycophants or holding a press conference, he speaks in the clipped manner of the typical Eastern liberal Ivy Leaguer. But when he’s addressing a blue-collar, no-collar, or predominately black crowd, he’s all drawl and “y’all.” Why don’t people find this condescending and insulting?

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Obama’s “Let them eat cake” moment

Posted by Richard on June 8, 2012

The President held a press conference today, and he didn’t do himself any favors re-election-wise. In an incredibly clueless answer to a question about the economy, he argued that “the private sector is doing fine” and the only problem with our economy is that the government sector isn’t big enough. Here’s the key minute:

[YouTube link]

He again called on the Republicans to pass his “Jobs Act,” which he said would create a million new jobs for construction workers, policemen, firemen, and teachers — in other words, more government workers and more workers on government construction projects — and he lamented that fact that governors and mayors weren’t doing enough hiring.

Plenty of Republicans have responded forcefully to this nonsense, including Governors Christie, Jindal, and Walker. I especially liked Jindal’s pithy observation that the Obama administration is “at the nexus of liberalism and incompetence,” and Scott Walker’s summation of the difference between the Socialist Democrats and the rest of us:

“There are two very different views in the country,” Walker said. “The current administration seems to think that success is measured by how many people are dependent on the government. I think success is measured by how many are not.”

To me, there’s a certain irony to Obama’s recent remarks on the economy. In addition to an insufficiently large government sector, he blames our economic problems on the problems of Europe. But this is the man whose quest to “fundamentally transform” America is a quest to make us more like Europe, with its abundantly large government sector. A lot of good that’s done them.

Well, at least the finger-pointing at governors, mayors, and Europe has led to less “blame Bush” rhetoric.

UPDATE: Ever since I heard the President say “the private sector is doing fine,” something in the back of my mind has been bugging me about that statement, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Finally, it came to me — this isn’t the first time I’ve heard almost exactly that phrase. It was last October that Senator Harry Reid (SD-NV) said:

“It’s very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine.  It’s public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers.”

I’ve got the whole story here.

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NCIS Los Angeles: good show, but this bit sucks

Posted by Richard on May 15, 2012

I like NCIS Los Angeles. It’s not in the same league as the original NCIS, but then what is? NCIS Los Angeles has an interesting cast of characters, is well acted, and usually has a pretty good plot. But one bit near the beginning of the two-hour season finale really pissed me off.

Nell: “… Point Blank is an FFL.”
Callan: “Federal Firearms licensed facility.”
Heddy: “Many of which have been responsible for a large amount of illegal guns finding their way into the hands of criminals.”

“Many of which” — yeah, right. That’s a gratuitous bit of false anti-gun propaganda that makes my blood boil.

Especially considering that many of the “many” FFLs that have funneled guns to criminals in the past few years did so — sometimes under duress — at the direction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) as part of the notorious “Operation Fast and Furious,” which Eric Holder’s Justice Department has done its best to cover up.

Shame on you, NCIS Los Angeles.

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Is Obama ignorant or cynical?

Posted by Richard on April 4, 2012

James Taranto is one of many who were dumbfounded by the President’s suggestion that the Supreme Court has no business overturning an act of Congress and no history of doing so:

We were half-joking yesterday when we asked if Barack Obama slept through his Harvard Law class on Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court first asserted its power to strike down unconstitutional laws. It turns out it’s no joke: The president is stunningly ignorant about constitutional law.

Taranto found further evidence of presidential ignorance in Obama’s answer to a question about his attempt to lobby/bully/denigrate the Supreme Court.

… He spoke slowly, with long pauses, giving the sense that he was speaking with great thought and precision: “Well, first of all, let me be very specific. Um [pause], we have not seen a court overturn [pause] a [pause] law that was passed [pause] by Congress on [pause] a [pause] economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce. A law like that has not been overturned [pause] at least since Lochner,right? So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre-New Deal.”

In fact, Lochner–about which more in a moment–was decided in 1905. …

But in citing Lochner, the president showed himself to be in over his head.

The full name of the case, Lochner v. New York, should be a sufficient tip-off. In Lochner the court invalidated a state labor regulation on the ground that it violated the “liberty of contract,” which the court held was an aspect of liberty protected by the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. …

Lochner, which was effectively reversed in a series of post-New Deal decisions, did not involve a federal law–contrary to the president’s claim–and thus had nothing to do with the Commerce Clause, which concerns only the powers of Congress.

If the President really believes what he’s been saying about the Supreme Court, then he’s indeed remarkably ignorant for someone who once taught constitutional law. But Rush Limbaugh thinks Taranto and others are mistaken:

… I simply refuse to accept the notion that Obama doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I refuse to accept the notion that he doesn’t understand judicial review, doesn’t know what Marbury v. Madison is. I think he’s doing something entirely different. He is appealing to the dumbest, the most uninformed, and what he’s basically telling them is: “This court is going to take away your health care that I’ve given you.” That’s what he’s telling them, and he’s counting on the dumb and the stupid to believe that, to not read any of these law professors who are correct. He doesn’t care.

I’m inclined to go with Rush on this. Obama may be weak on Lochner (I bet his Harvard Law professors taught little about Lochner besides how evil it was), but he certainly knows Marbury v. Madison. (Heck, I learned about John Marshall and Marbury v. Madison in high school. But nowadays …)

(Rush also suspects that one of the justices, probably Kagan, leaked the results of the vote to the White House, and that’s why Obama and his supporters have gone bat-sh*t crazy regarding the Supreme Court, including calls to impeach justices who vote to overturn Obamacare.)

Obama’s remarks about the Supreme Court are like his rant about the Ryan budget, which Guy Benson called “Obama’s Worst Speech Yet”:

…  Barack Obama managed to out-do himself by uncorking what very well may have been the most dishonest, demagogic, and bitterly partisan speech of his presidency.  I render that assessment as someone who has sat through and analyzed countless Obama lectures, some of which earned very high marks for deceit and ideological invective.  Indeed, today’s Occupy-inspired rant takes the cake.  It was a depressing and enraging preview of the next seven months, over which this president will unleash a barrage of sophistic and pernicious arguments deliberately designed to sow discord and divide Americans.  He will do so with no regard for the truth, history, or the Constitution he swore to uphold.  …

The President doesn’t really think that the Supreme Court has no business overturning an act of Congress. And he doesn’t really believe that the Republicans’ modest moves toward fiscal restraint in the Ryan budget are designed to starve children, kill old people, and poison our food, air, and water. His demagoguery is aimed at his natural constituency, those who can be led to believe these things.

For the past three years, this allegedly post-partisan, post-racial politician who was supposed to unite us all has used every possible opportunity to attack straw men, demonize anyone who opposed his policies, increase racial tensions, and promote partisan divisions. He’s redoubling these efforts for the election campaign, hoping to energize his base and fool enough of the ignorant and poorly educated to win reelection despite his administration’s disastrous record. Expect things to get even nastier.

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SOTUS in a nutshell

Posted by Richard on January 24, 2012

For those who missed it, here’s my summary of the State of the Union speech:

We need to spend more on teachers, spend more on schools, spend more on infrastructure, spend more on teachers (did I mention teachers?), spend more on innovative technology companies like Solyndra, spend more on subsidies for other things I favor … and reduce the national debt.

We need to provide tax credits for job creation, tax preferences for alternative energy, tax breaks for education … and we need to simplify the tax code.

We need to punish achievement with higher taxes, reward failure with more subsidies, and regulate the hell out of everything … that’s how we’ll save our free-enterprise system.

We have a great military (isn’t it terrific how I got bin Laden?). We should emulate them more in the private sector and throughout society. Everyone must be made to work together for a common purpose, as decreed by those in command (me). Everyone must march in lockstep and follow orders. That’s how we’ll preserve this country’s great heritage of liberty.

Vodkapundit summed it up more succinctly: “nothing but promises to spend more, to regulate more, and to tax more. ”

I should be shocked, outraged, and disgusted — but honestly, it’s just about what I expected. So my reaction was basically “ho hum, what else is new?”

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Make SOTUS bearable with Vodkapundit

Posted by Richard on January 24, 2012

I understand that the President will be delivering his re-election campaign kickoff speech tonight. If, like me, you find the idea of watching almost unbearable, I suggest you drop by Vodkapundit and take in the event through the filter of Stephen Green’s drunkblogging. I can guarantee it will be more entertaining (and more enlightening) than watching it live. You might want to have a few adult beverages handy, too.

UPDATE: Go here for the drunkblogging.

And afterwards, watch Herman Cain deliver the Tea Party response here.

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Another sorry presidential press conference

Posted by Richard on June 30, 2011

It's a good thing Congressman Joe Wilson wasn't in attendance at today's presidential press conference. He would have gone hoarse shouting "You lie!" so many times.

The president whose party has refused to introduce, much less pass, a budget the last two fiscal years, and who still hasn't proposed a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, chastised the Republicans for not solving our budget problems. Are you kidding me? 

The president who increased federal spending by more than 35% in two years to an astonishing 26% of GDP (a level unprecedented except during World War II) insisted that the problem is not enough revenue. Are you kidding me? 

The president who threw $800 billion of "stimulus" money largely into "infrastructure investments" to create "shovel-ready jobs" (which never materialized) says we need to invest more money into fixing our infrastructure. Are you kidding me? 

The president who included a tax break for corporate jets in his $800 billion "stimulus" bill now repeatedly inveighs against that tax break for corporate jets as part of his renewed effort to promote class warfare. Are you kidding me? 

The president whose profligacy promises to put the U.S. into a solvency crisis comparable to Greece's, possibly before his first term is up and certainly in his second (if, God forbid, he gets a second), wants to address the deficit "not just on the 10-year window but also the long term," as if ten years isn't nearly long enough to solve the problem. Are you kidding me?

I could go on, but I'm already both bored and disgusted. This poltroon is making Jimmy Carter look like a great president and Bob Dole look like a great communicator. God, I hope the inept party, a.k.a. GOP, doesn't blink on this debt ceiling issue. And I sure hope they don't nominate another McCain or Dole and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2012. This country is barely going to survive four years of Obama. Eight would spell doom.

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The truth about health insurance profit margins

Posted by Richard on March 16, 2010

As the President continues, in speech after speech, to demonize the health insurance industry as greedy exploiters of consumers raking in inordinate profits, it seems like a good time to look at the actual data, which refute such demagoguery.

Dr. Mark J. Perry did exactly that last month in a Carpe Diem post. He found that the Health Care Plan industry ranked 88th out of 215 industries, with a profit margin of 3.4% (and even that was inflated by one outlier, Wellpoint, due to a one-time surge in profits from the sale of a division).

Perry did the heavy mathematical lifting of calculating just what that profit margin means for the typical consumer (emphasis added): 

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry's trade association representing 1,300 members, reported last October that annual health insurance premiums averaged $2,985 for individual coverage and $6,328 for family plans in 2009. Using the industry average profit margin of 3.4% means that insurance companies make about $100 per policy in profits for individual coverage, and a little more than $200 in profits for each family policy.

So even if we could strip away 100% of the health insurance industry's profits, it would only save patients between $100 and 200 per year in health insurance costs.

Wow. $100 to $200 per year. So if the government take-over of health care is enacted and completely wipes out the private health care insurance industry (and make no mistake, that will be the long-term consequence), it might save each of us $100 to $200 per year. But only if a bunch of government bureaucrats can deliver the same quality of service with no increase in overhead or decrease in efficiency. 

If you believe that will happen, you're not familiar with the Postal Service. Or the Social Security Administration. Or the Veterans Administration. Or the Department of Education. Or the DMV. Or …

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When will the time for talk really be over?

Posted by Richard on March 16, 2010

I thought it was about a week ago that President Obama, at a campaign-style rally, argued that everything to be said about health care "reform" had already been said and that "The time for talk is over," so I Googled it. I was apparently remembering his speech on March 8 in Philly. But according to Google, he also said it on March 11. And February 5. And December 18. And July 21. And who knows how many more (I didn't check all 603,000 hits).

So if the time for talk has been over since last summer, why has the Prez continued giving the same demagogic and tiresome speech, misrepresenting the bill and the opposition to it ("some people say we should do nothing"), about three times a week for eight months? Why does he keep trotting out poster children for "reform" like Natoma Canfield (who, contrary to what Obama implied, is in no danger of losing her house and is receiving top-notch care at the excellent Cleveland Clinic)? 

Apparently, when the Prez says, "The time for talk is over," he really means, "The time for the rest of you to talk is over. Just shut up and do what I tell you."

Personally, I think the time for talk is over, too. And so is the time for vote-buying, deal-making, rule-breaking, threats, and subversion of the democratic process. Stop it all and hold a roll-call vote in the House right now. Or tomorrow morning. Under Roberts' Rules of Order, calling the question is almost always in order. Isn't there some equivalent rule in the House? The Republicans should do whatever is possible under House rules to force a vote right now. 

Clearly, if Pelosi had the votes to ram through this government take-over of the health care industry, the roll would already have been called. Do these rabid socialist ideologues get an indefinite period of time to cajole, bribe, and coerce more of their own party into line? I should hope not. Somebody call the question!

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The constitutional ignorance of POTUS

Posted by Richard on January 30, 2010

Of the many falsehoods, misstatements, and disturbing statements the President made in his State of the Agenda speech, one that Ed Morrissey called attention to really struck me (emphasis by Morrissey):

… HA reader Marvin K and Patriot Post notice that the Con-Law prof seems a little confused about what’s actually in the Constitution:

We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution:  the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.

As Morrissey observed, this is so wrong in so many ways.

First, it's not a notion, it's a principle. But I suppose to a post-modernist Alinskyite admirer of Said and Chomsky, notions and principles are pretty much interchangeable, both just pieces of some narrative

Second, it's not "enshrined in our Constitution," it's from the Declaration of Independence. Epic fail.

Third, the notion that only those who "abide by the law" and "adhere to our common values" are protected by the Constitution is truly disturbing. Especially coming from someone who once taught Constitutional Law. 

And since I'm growing more paranoid by the day, I have to wonder what exactly, in Obama's eyes, qualify as "our common values."  By his criteria, I'm not at all sure I'm protected by the Constitution.

Morrissey asked an interesting question: 

And if Obama really believed what he said, then why is he trying terrorists (who clearly reject our values and refuse to recognize our laws) in criminal court with these same Constitutional guarantees?

Well, Ed, I'm sure he really believed it when he said it in the context in which he said it. It's part of his narrative for dealing with the Congress and the American people. 

Mirandizing enemy combatants who are waging a declared war on the United States and treating them as no different from convenience store robbers is part of a different narrative. Which he also really believes.

We are in deep doo-doo, folks. For three more years.

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No State of the Union coverage here

Posted by Richard on January 27, 2010

No, I won't be watching, much less posting about, the President's State of the Union speech (or POTUS SOTUS, as we cognoscenti call it). Even if I didn't have work to do, I doubt I could persuade myself to endure the torture. Later, maybe not until tomorrow, I'll read Vodkapundit's drunkblogging of it, which will probably be as informative as and far more entertaining than watching live.

I predict, though, that the William Warren cartoon below will prove prescient (although I'm sure the presentation will be somewhat more cool and subtle than depicted).

Blame Bush cartoon by William Warren

ALG Editor's Note: William Warren's award-winning cartoons published at are a
free service of ALG News Bureau. They may be reused and redistributed free of charge.

UPDATE: Yep, the cartoon was prescient. And Vodkapundit did a fine job of drunkblogging as usual. But zombyboy had by far the most informative and amusing coverage — an absolute must-read.

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Reality emulates Atlas Shrugged, example #739

Posted by Richard on October 23, 2009

With apologies to Martin Niemöller:

First they went after executives at bailed-out companies, and I did not speak out because I was not an executive at one of those companies. 

President Barack Obama has welcomed plans to force some companies which accepted government aid during the financial crisis to cut executive pay.

Firms paying bosses vast bonuses while getting state assistance offended peoples' values, the president said.

Under Treasury plans, seven companies must slash the basic salaries of their 25 best-paid employees by up to 90%. 

As well as its top-earners facing a 90% pay cut, the total paid to each firm's 125 top earners would be halved under the proposals.

Then they went after bankers in general, and I did not speak out because I was not a banker. 

The Federal Reserve’s new push to regulate pay levels of bankers probably won’t include a review of your friendly neighborhood branch manager’s salary.

But the Fed made clear Thursday that it will be looking at compensation arrangements beyond the executive suites of the 6,000-some banks it regulates.

Bottom line: The obsession with financial companies' pay levels, far from reaching a peak, is just ramping up.

Then they hinted at going after all private sector employees, and I did not speak out because I was too stunned.

Discussing Obama administration efforts to limit executive pay in companies that took TARP funds, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Congressional Oversight Panel Chair Elizabeth Warren: “Chuck Schumer, some others, have said…why wouldn’t we…make this law across the board and put a governor on compensation for everybody in private enterprise?’”

Warren seemed very open to the idea: “Well you know, it reminds us that there is a compensation problem in American industry….executive compensation right now is – has got the wrong set of incentives in it….what we really need to do are change the basic laws to align the incentives of the executives with the long-term health of the company and ultimately the long-term health of the economy.”

And then … ?

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Dissent = racism?

Posted by Richard on September 17, 2009

Jimmy Carter — America's worst president (so far), the man who helped Hugo Chavez steal an election, the vicious anti-Semite whose hateful and dishonest book about Israel has been endorsed by Osama bin Laden, the man who never met a left-wing dictator he didn't like — has declared that both Rep. Joe Wilson's heckle and the "overwhelming majority" of other criticisms of the President are rooted in racism.

And Carter is far from alone. That claim has been echoed by a growing number of Democratic politicians, Chris Matthews, ABC "News," NBC "News," Maureen Dowd, … the list is long.

So if the 55% of Americans (and 65% of doctors) who oppose government-controlled health care are overwhelmingly racist, how did a black man get elected President? If Republicans and conservatives are all racists, how is it possible that Obama got more Republican votes and conservative votes than John Kerry got? Did they only notice his skin color after the "stimulus" package, nationalization of the auto companies, massive spending increases, and attempt to take over health care?

The charge of racism has become the left's all-purpose weapon to stifle criticism and put their opponents on the defensive. But it's grown tiresome and annoying, and I think they've gone to that well once too often. According to a new Rasmussen poll, only 12% of voters agree that most opponents of government-controlled health care are racists. Even among Democrats, only 22% agree. Predictably, 88% of Republicans reject the idea, but significantly, so do 78% of those unaffiliated with either party.

I suspect the left's attempt to smear all opposition as racist will backfire. But in the meantime, it does serious harm to the public discourse in this country. They should be ashamed.

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The Chavez crusade against golf

Posted by Richard on August 18, 2009

I almost missed the latest episode in Venezuela's long descent into night. The proclamations and edicts of Hugo Chavez seem to alternate between terrifying and absurd. This is one of the absurd ones:

As part of his determination to march Venezuela backward, Hugo Chavez has an opportunistic new target: Golf.

He says, using leftist terminology long out of fashion, that golf is a "bourgeois sport," even a "petit-bourgeois" sport. That's roughly middle class and lower-middle class, suggesting Chavez has no idea what those terms really mean.

According to The New York Times, he's moving to confiscate two of the country's best-known courses to build low-income housing or expand a university campus or create a children's park or something. An earlier attempt by Chavez allies to seize the Caracas Country Club was beaten back, but Venezuelan golf officials told the Times that under pressure from Chavez the country is going from 28 courses to 18.

Chavez seems to retain the old image of golf as the sport of plutocrats, a notion he would be thoroughly disabused of by playing a couple of rounds on the municipal courses of any medium-size U.S. city

Somewhere outside of Caracas, someone is saying, "They can have my nine iron when they pry it from my cold, dead hands."

Of course, although it may prompt a chuckle, in some sense even the crusade against golf is terrifying. With each such bit of thuggish nonsense, it becomes clearer that there is no aspect of life in Venezuela that this tinpot tyrant doesn't aim to control.

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