Charles Fourier, the utopian socialist who lived from 1772 to 1837, has been on my mind. Long ago, Fourier was considered a deep, monumental, visionary thinker.
“Among Fourier’s more spectacular beliefs: One day the oceans will turn into pink lemonade. He wasn’t joking.”
His theories of social organization inspired the establishment of a communal society, the North American Phalanx, in Monmouth, New Jersey, in 1843. It collapsed a little more than a decade later.
Among Fourier’s more spectacular beliefs: One day the oceans will turn into pink lemonade. He wasn’t joking. “His temperament was too ardent, his imagination too strong, and his acquaintance with the realities of life too slight to enable him justly to estimate the merits of his fantastic views,” wrote the Scottish philosopher Robert Adamson.
As with Fourier’s North American Phalanx in the 19th century, so it is with the Juicebox Mafia Phalanx in the 21st. The Juicebox Mafia, of course, is the dismissive term assigned to the Beltway clique of twenty- and thirtysomething journalists known for their love of President Obama, their hatred of conservatives, their opposition to the war on terror, their quasi-religious faith in social science, and, above all, their earnestness.
“The Juicebox Mafia arrived in Washington a little less than a decade ago, just as the progressive left assumed its upward trajectory. Everything seems to be going their way.”
The Juicebox Mafia arrived in Washington a little less than a decade ago, just as the progressive left assumed its upward trajectory. Everything seems to be going their way. A larger government, universal health insurance, cuts in military spending, withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization—bliss it should be in this dawn for these ardent temperaments, these possessors of strong imaginations, to be alive.
And yet, reading liberal websites and magazines over the last few months, one cannot help but think that their acquaintance with the realities of life is growing increasingly slight.
Someone is filling those juiceboxes with pink lemonade. Read the rest of this entry »
Womens-rights activist and Islamic critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at Yale University earlier this week, at the invitation of the university’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program for an event titled “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West.” Ryan Lovelace covers the event for NRO
The U.S. Justice Department investigation into New Jersey Gov.Chris Christie’s role in “Bridgegate” has thus far uncovered no information he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge, federal officials tell NBC 4 New York.
— olliander (@ollieblog) September 18, 2014
The September 2013 closures — where several entrance lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Ft. Lee were shut down causing a traffic nightmare for commuters — has been the subject of several federal and state investigations.
Federal officials caution that the investigation begun nine months ago is ongoing and that no final determination has been made, but say that after nine months authorities have uncovered no information Christie either knew in advance or ordered the closure of traffic lanes.
According to one former federal prosecutor, who had no involvement in any of the probes into the bridge closure, investigations of this kind will often turn up a solid connection early in the inquiry. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — Activists who organized the dormant Occupy Wall Street movement are suing another activist for control of the main Twitter account, and one of the plaintiffs says there was no other option but to turn to litigation to solve the dispute.
“We can either go and beat him up or we can go to court.”
– Marisa Holmes, video editor, part of the core organizing team of Occupy
The conflict centers around @OccupyWallStNYC, one of the main Twitter feeds that distributed information during the movement’s heyday in 2011. The OWS Media Group filed a lawsuit against organizer Justin Wedes on Wednesday, which is also the third anniversary of the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. The group, led by activist Marisa Holmes, is seeking control of the Twitter account as well as $500,000 in damages.
The Twitter account, which used to be shared among several activists, is now under the control of Wedes, who explained his decision to take over the Twitter feed in a blog post in August:
A thread about “self-promotion” became just another shaming session. If we start from a place of assuming bad intentions – i.e. discouraging “self-promotion” over encouraging solid, relevant content – we will end up with rules that shame rather than empower. Group members took on the task of limiting others to “1 to 2 tweets per day” (or week) on a topic, a form of censorship that would never have been allowed in the earlier days of the boat. I had to say enough!
“We can either go and beat him up or we can go to court,” Holmes, a video editor who was part of the core organizing team of Occupy, told BuzzFeed News. “And quite frankly if we go and beat him up then we could end up with countersuits against us, and that puts us in a more damaging position and we don’t really want to do that anyway.” Read the rest of this entry »
Another image of Glasgow’s George Square this evening #indyref
The Madison Paradox and Obama’s Constitution Day Stealth Comment: Referring to Our Constitutional Rights as ‘Privileges’Posted: September 18, 2014
Maybe James Madison was right. Maybe the Bill of Rights wasn’t just unnecessary, it was a bad idea, destined to be viewed in the distant future exactly the wrong way
For United Liberty, Jason Pye catches Obama’s shaded wording, and writes a welcome blast of corrective historical clarity. Though I can’t resist including my own comments in the margins, the piece stands as testament to the power of word choices. Pye writes:
…In his presidential proclamation marking Constitution Day, President Barack Obama offered some insight into how he views the Bill of Rights. “Our Constitution reflects the values we cherish as a people and the ideals we strive for as a society,” Obama said in the release. “It secures the privileges we enjoy as citizens, but also demands participation, responsibility, and service to our country and to one another.”
“It secures the
rights privileges we enjoy as citizens, but also demands participation, responsibility, and service to our country and to one another.”
Given that this White House is known for its expansive view of executive power, the assertion that the rights guaranteed and protected under the Bill of Rights, the fact that President Obama views these fundamental liberties to be “privileges” isn’t too terribly surprising. After all, President Obama treats the legislative branch — which, again, is supposed to be a co-equal branch of the federal government — as an afterthought as it arbitrarily changes statues and even refuses to enforce laws.
But words matter. To say the rights secured by the Constitution are “privileges” implies that they can be revoked. Let’s put this another way: a high school-aged kid is given the privilege of taking their father’s car out to go hang out with friends, that is until they abuse it by getting caught speeding or into a car accident. The disappointed father would, no doubt, take away the privilege.
Rights and liberties, however, are based on a solid foundation. They can’t be taken away by some paternalistic president. The view of the framers was that the rights protected under the Bill of Rights existed before the formation of the federal government under the Constitution. In short, they were natural rights.
In fact, James Madison believed that a list of specific rights was unnecessary.
Though we celebrate the ratification of the Bill of Rights, I can’t help but interrupt to expand on Jason Pye‘s oversimplification — Madison didn’t believe that a list of specific rights was unnecessary, Madison and others believed listing individual rights would set a dangerous precedent. As illustrated in my half-remembered reading of Joseph J. Ellis’ “Founding Brothers” the dissenters wisely understood that making a special top-ten list of rights could lead to a troubling misperception that individual rights are limited, reducible to a specific list. Which could then be used to mislead future generations into accepting false limits.
It’s federal powers that are finite, narrow, and limited. So limited you could number them. (enumerated powers) Individual rights, as conceived by the founders–aren’t limited, they’re virtually infinite. Not reducible to a list. Enshrining some of them in a list would lead to, well, exactly the misunderstanding that persists to this day. The argument resisting an enumerated “Bill of Rights” wasn’t perfect, but it had merit. It showed foresight.
Jason Pye continues:
Thankfully, George Mason and others, to ensure ratification, convinced Madison to come up with proposals, ten of which were passed by Congress and approved by at least three-fifths of the states. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on TIME:
Scotland must decide Thursday whether to become independent from the U.K., with last-minute opinion polls putting the outcome of the referendum on a knife-edge.
Voting booths are now open and ballots will be cast at 2,608 polling stations until 10 p.m. local time. Results are expected to trickle in overnight with a final announcement at around 7 a.m. on Friday morning.
If Scotland votes yes, it will be the 61st territory to gain its independence from the U.K., which once boasted an empire upon which the sun never set.
“When people go into the polling booths tomorrow they are going to vote for … that vision of more prosperous but also a more just society,” Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, leading the Yes campaign, told supporters on Wednesday. “That’s what’s going to motivate people in the polling stations tomorrow.”
Of Scotland’s population of 5.3 million, a whopping 97% of those…
View original 491 more words
“Effective today, the president? A photo-op? or something in between?” Susteren asked.
“Photo-op. Complete photo-op. This indicative of a global failure of his foreign policy.”
Higbie explained. “He has toted that he is behind the troops before and he stands in front of these guys, gets a photo-op, everything like that, while saying he’s going to send 3,000 guys to combat Ebola, but I’m not going to send any to combat an actual enemy that’s really threatening America.”
“What do you think they think? I mean, I suppose it’s kind of a mixed bag?” Susteren pressed.
“I’d say most of the troops. Probably over 90 percent, do not support the president.”
Susteren then asked Higbie about his time as a Navy SEAL, “As a Navy SEAL, you have trained foreign troops? Right? How many times? More than one trip to Iraq?”
“Absolutely, we did two deployments,” Higbie said. Read the rest of this entry »
Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere Gambles His Sanity on a 4000-word Article About Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Predictable FlameoutPosted: September 17, 2014
She’s become a liability to the Democratic National Committee, and even to her own prospects, critics say
This news isn’t surprising, to anyone but hard-core Wasserman supporters (they must exist, somewhere, not counting her immediate family) but what is surprising is that Edward-Isaac Dovere could actually write (or Politico would publish) a 4000 word article about Debbie Wasserman Schultz, without achieving spontaneous composition, acute nausea and raging headaches, or having the urge to hurl the keyboard out the window, and then follow it, head first. Though, to be fair, perhaps it’s premature to suggest Dovere gambled his sanity.
Third-rate Palace Intrigue involving a failed administration and its loyal-but-doomed messengers is like black-tie Shakespearean drama for the insider class. In Washington D.C., surviving an assignment like this can get you promoted. If there’s a national journalism award for sheer endurance, Dovere should be nominated for the newly-minted “Debbie Wasserman Schultz” award.
If Politico thinks this merits a New Yorker-length expose (4000 words, yes, really) who are we to disagree? it’s not written for readers, mind you, but for other media people and fellow insiders. However, if you have an appetite for democratic party politics exceeding that of even the most seasoned Democratic party operatives, you can find the whole ungodly thing here.
Democrats turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Edward-Isaac Dovere writes: Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most.
“I guess the best way to describe it is, it’s not that she’s losing a duel anywhere, it’s that she seems to keep shooting herself in the foot before she even gets the gun out of the holster.”
Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two recent public flubs: criticizing the White House’s handling of the border crisis and comparing the tea party to wife beaters. [See Walker gives 'back of his hand']
“One example that sources point to as particularly troubling: Wasserman Schultz repeatedly trying to get the DNC to cover the costs of her wardrobe.”
The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her personal political agenda.
She’s become a liability to the DNC, and even to her own prospects, critics say.
“The Obama team was so serious about replacing her after 2012 that they found a replacement candidate to back before deciding against it, according to people familiar with those discussions.”
“I guess the best way to describe it is, it’s not that she’s losing a duel anywhere, it’s that she seems to keep shooting herself in the foot before she even gets the gun out of the holster,” said John Morgan, a major donor in Wasserman Schultz’s home state of Florida.
“Obama and Wasserman Schultz have rarely even talked since 2011. They don’t meet about strategy or messaging. They don’t talk much on the phone.”
The stakes are high. Wasserman Schultz is a high-profile national figure who helped raise millions of dollars and served as a Democratic messenger to female voters during a presidential election in which Obama needed to exploit the gender gap to win, but November’s already difficult midterms are looming. Read the rest of this entry »
Poll: Black & White Ferguson Residents Agree, Media Made Things Worse, But Fear Not! HuffPo Taps Readers to Raise Funds for MORE MEDIA COVERAGE OF FERGUSONPosted: September 16, 2014
“Like the race-baiting locusts from Hell they are, the mainstream media descended on Ferguson, Missouri, to exploit a vacuum of information with rabid speculation intended to foment violence and divide along racial lines.”
John Nolte reports: In a new poll, 81% of whites and 50% of blacks agreed that the media presence in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, made things worse. Only 12% of whites believe the media made things better; only 37% of blacks said the same.
This comes as no surprise. Without any facts to back up their black vs. white narrative, the media intentionally whipped up racial animosity and offered the imprimatur of ABC, CNN, NBC, ABC, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, The New York Times, to looters, vandals and rioters….(read more)
The Huffington Post successfully recruited readers to pay the salary of one of their reporters for a year.
In a separate Breitbart.com post, Charlie Spiering reports: Using an unorthodox funding strategy, the online news outlet teamed up with Beaconreader.com to back the hiring of a special reporter to cover the story of Ferguson, Missouri after reporters left the scene where Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer.
“We suspected our audience would see the value in having a reporter on the ground in Ferguson, but were blown away by the response.”
“We suspected our audience would see the value in having a reporter on the ground in Ferguson, but were blown away by the response,” explained the Huffington Post’s bureau chief Ryan Grim in a blog post. Read the rest of this entry »
“Seven days passed since the president used primetime to warn the nation of the gravity of all this. And those seven days have been an extremely good week for ISIL, because it is now clear that under no circumstances will there be troops from the United States — or anyone else.”
With less than 35 hours to go until polls open, Scotland is on a knife edge as politicians are angrily heckled and all police leave in Scotland is cancelled in anticipation of disruption at polling stations on Thursday and potential rioting on Friday.
The police are braced for political violence across Scotland, starting at polling stations on Thursday and potentially spilling out into the streets on Friday
“I can’t get people to put stickers in their windows, because they’re frightened of getting a broken window.”
The Telegraph reports Sean Clerkin, a call centre worker had been able to get a seat on the front row and hurled insults at the stage, as he accused the Westminster government of killing “a lot of different people” in Scotland with work capability assessments. As he was escorted out of the hall he cried “we will be free on thursday” while Mr. Alexander continued his speech. Read the rest of this entry »
“If the objective is to destroy ISIS, I don’t think we have a strategy in place that will accomplish that goal…I’m just concerned about poking that hornet’s nest with a stick for three years.”
Republican Senator Ron Johnson is concerned about blowback from America’s limited air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — if the U.S. fails to destroy the group entirely, President Obama’s plan to intervene will be just like poking a hornet’s nest with a stick, he says. Read the rest of this entry »
Well Frickity Freakin’ Frack: ‘Environmentally-Friendly’ Democratic Senate Candidate Gary Peters Invests In Fracking And CoalPosted: September 16, 2014
“Peters refused to sell his stock in the company, saying, ‘It has nothing to do with the Detroit situation’.”
Peters has fashioned himself as an environmentalist in his 2014 Senate campaign against Republican Terri Lynn Land. The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund endorsed Peters, calling him “a true leader fighting for a more sustainable future for Michigan and our nation by advocating for common sense solutions to help reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and promote clean energy jobs.”
Peters has recently come under fire for owning $19,000 in stock in the French company Total S.A., which produces the petcoke substance that contaminates the area around the Detroit River with a major buildup. Peters refused to sell his stock in the company, saying, “It has nothing to do with the Detroit situation.” Read the rest of this entry »
The most revealing part of the Op-Ed isn’t the Op-Ed, it’s this:
“The comments section is closed.”
Just Don’t Expect us to try To Win it or Anything
“There’s frankly a kind of tortured debate going on about terminology.”
In an interview that aired this morning on CBS’s Face the Nation, Kerry addressed the fact that his rejection of the term to describe the U.S. action against the Islamic State was at odds with subsequent statements from the administration.
“if you want to use it, yes we’re at war with ISIL in that sense…But I think it’s a waste of time to focus on that.”
So far this year, the federal government brought in more money than ever, but even at record tax receipts, the government is far outspending its intake.
During these first 11 months of fiscal year 2014, the feds brought in $2.66 trillion in tax receipts. Despite this, the federal government is still running a $598 billion deficit, according to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement…(more)