These members of the ‘government within the government,’ as The New York Times‘ John Tierney describes them, produce one freedom-restricting, economy-hindering rule after another without much oversight.
Veronique de Rugy writes: The tyranny of the administrative state is real and hard to tame. Americans would be horrified if they knew how much power thousands of unelected bureaucrats employed by federal agencies wield. These members of the “government within the government,” as The New York Times‘ John Tierney describes them, produce one freedom-restricting, economy-hindering rule after another without much oversight. These rules take many forms, and few even realize they’re in the making — until, that is, they hit you square in the face.
Take the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule that effectively banned car dealers from giving auto loan discounts to customers on the claim that they might lead to racial discrimination (a dubious conclusion reached using flawed statistical models). Dodd-Frank, the legislation that created the CFPB, prohibited it from regulating auto dealers — so the CFPB quietly put out a “guidance” document to circumvent due process and congressional oversight.
Thankfully, this time around, someone noticed. In recent weeks, the Senate passed a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act — a streamlined procedure for Congress to repeal regulations issued by various federal government agencies. The House is expected to follow suit soon and send the bill to the president’s desk, if it hasn’t already by the time you read this. Read the rest of this entry »
Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former Dictator and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90.
Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost 50 years before Raul took over in 2008.
Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90, his brother Raul has announced.
— Danny Rivero (@TooMuchMe) November 26, 2016
…The U.S. was among the first to formally recognize his government, cautiously trusting Castro’s early assurances he merely wanted to restore democracy, not install socialism.
Within months, Castro was imposing radical economic reforms. Members of the old government went before summary courts, and at least 582 were shot by firing squads over two years. Independent newspapers were closed and in the early years, homosexuals were herded into camps for “re-education.”
In 1964, Castro acknowledged holding 15,000 political prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled, including Castro’s daughter Alina Fernandez Revuelta and his younger sister Juana.
— CNN (@CNN) November 26, 2016
Still, the revolution thrilled millions in Cuba and across Latin America who saw it as an example of how the seemingly arrogant Yankees could be defied. And many on the island were happy to see the seizure of property of the landed class, the expulsion of American gangsters and the closure of their casinos.
Castro’s speeches, lasting up to six hours, became the soundtrack of Cuban life and his 269-minute speech to the U.N. General Assembly in 1960 set the world body’s record for length that still stood more than five decades later.
As Castro moved into the Soviet bloc, Washington began working to oust him, cutting U.S. purchases of sugar, the island’s economic mainstay. Castro, in turn, confiscated $1 billion in U.S. assets…(read more)
MORE: Cuban-Americans in Miami react with cheers, song, and dance about Fidel Castro’s death. pic.twitter.com/gEUxzRmrpj
— Breaking Now! (@BreakingNowThis) November 26, 2016
— David Beard (@dabeard) November 26, 2016
As liberal adults abdicate, the kids take charge on campus.
By bonfire of the academy we mean a conflict of values about the idea of a university that now threatens to undermine or destroy universities as a place of learning. Exhibit A is the ruin called the University of Missouri.
In the 1960s—at Cornell, Columbia, Berkeley and elsewhere—the self-described Student Left occupied buildings with what they often called “non-negotiable” demands. In the decades since, the academy—its leaders and faculties—by and large has accommodated many of those demands regarding appropriate academic subjects, admissions policies and what has become the aggressive and non-tolerant politics of identity and grievance.
This political trajectory arrived at its logical end this week at Missouri with the abrupt resignation of the school’s president, quickly followed by its number two official. The kids deposed them, as their liberal elders applauded either out of solidarity or cowardice.
The cause of President Tim Wolfe’s resignation is said to be his failure to address several racially charged incidents on campus and the threat by its Division One football team to boycott this weekend’s game unless he stepped down.
The university’s campus, in Columbia, is not far from Ferguson, Mo. Among the charges against President Wolfe was that his response to the shooting of Michael Brown was inadequate, which is to say, he did not sufficiently take the side of the protesters or rioters. Since Ferguson, the left-wing Black Lives Matter group has come to prominence and intimidated even presidential candidates. This has been accompanied by successive claims of racial grievance against public and private institutions.
In the United States, by now the instinct of the overwhelming majority of people is to address such complaints in good faith, investigate them and remediate where necessary. Only the tiniest minority would wish to see racial grievances bleed indefinitely. Yet the kids assert that America is irredeemably racist. Read the rest of this entry »
Rallying around three theatrical ‘principles of action,’ the group proposed laws to close imaginary ‘loopholes’, try to expand invasive background databases to create additional burdens for understaffed law enforcement agencies, ignore meaningful mental health legislation reform, and try to think up new ways to harass law-abiding citizens with pointless regulatory efforts that they admit has no hope of saving lives, or surviving challenges in the courts, but is aimed at pacifying their base of control-craving, gun-hating, feeble-minded, anti-democratic, highly-emotional low-information voters.
Philip Wegmann reports: In the week after the mass shooting in Roseburg, Ore., Senate Democrats gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to demand stricter gun control and unveil their comprehensive policy package to achieve it.
“If Obama and gun control advocates were serious, they would address the underlying issue of America’s broken mental health system,” Cox said in a statement. “Instead, they push gun control initiatives that would not have prevented any of the tragedies they seek to exploit.”
Frustrated by the inaction of Republicans and hamstrung by a lack of votes, the group of more than two dozen Senate Democrats sought to spark debate by appealing directly to the public.
“The roll call of American gun tragedies is already far too long,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “The victims and their families deserve better than a Congress that shrugs its shoulder and waits for the next tragedy.”
Rallying around three “principles of action,” the group proposed laws to close background check loopholes, expand background databases, and crack down on illegal gun sales.
Numerically virtually impossible to pass in the Republican-controlled House, gun control legislation also faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »
Political opponents of President Raul Castro’s Communist regime are regularly subjected to harassment and intimidation.
“The head of an opposition group called the Ladies in White said that 22 of the 24 members of the group who had hoped to attend a Mass celebrated by the Pope were prevented from doing so by Cuban security officials.”
“They told me that I didn’t have a credential and that I couldn’t go to the Pope’s event that was taking place there in the plaza of the Cathedral,” Ms Roque said.
The head of an opposition group called the Ladies in White said that 22 of the 24 members of the group who had hoped to attend a Mass celebrated by the Pope were prevented from doing so by Cuban security officials.
There had been intense speculation about whether the Pope would risk incurring the displeasure of his host, President Raul Castro, by meeting political opponents of the Communist regime.
The fact that the Vatican invited the women to Sunday’s cathedral service showed Francis’ determination to try to engage with the dissident movement, which has endured years of persecution by the Castro regime.
Earlier in the day, the Pope celebrated Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square in front of tens of thousands of people.
He was driven through the crowds in a white pope-mobile, pausing to kiss children who were held up to him.
As the ceremony got underway, Cuban security officers detained at least three people who appeared to be trying to distribute leaflets in the capital’s Revolution Square, a large open area dominated by a massive likeness of revolutionary hero Che Guevara.
The three people were tackled and dragged away by the officers.
Political opponents of President Raul Castro’s Communist regime are regularly subjected to harassment and intimidation. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] John Kerry: Iran Deal Not A Treaty Because Getting Senate Consent Has ‘Become Physically Impossible’Posted: August 3, 2015
The White House did not pursue the nuclear agreement with Iran as an international treaty, because getting U.S. Senate advise and consent for a treaty has “become physically impossible,” Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers on Tuesday.
It’s true that Castro hasn’t been seen in public in about a year, and it’s been a few months since one of his last columns were published. Castro, 88, has not said one public word about the historic announcement by President Obama last month about his goal of moving toward normal relations with Cuba after a half-century Cold War stand-off.
Twitter went wild Thursday night with speculation about his demise. Why? There are rumors about that, too. One of them is that another Fidel Castro, this one the son of a prominent Kenyan politician, died a few days ago (Fidel Castro Odinga of Nairobi), and maybe this was all a social media mash-up of mistaken identity. Read the rest of this entry »
November 22, 2014 – Finally, the first biting political spoof from Saturday Night Live in a while: the Bill from Schoolhouse Rock explains to a student how he becomes a law, only to be violently beat up by Barack Obama and his new best friend, “Executive Order.” Even then, the poor Executive Order still thinks he’s used for simple things, like declaring holidays and creating national parks, until Obama informs him that he’s going to be used to grant amnesty to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His only reaction: “Whoa.”
I can’t verify the authenticity of this, the translation is either a spoof, mischievous liberties were taken, or it really is based on the original text, but it looks like characteristic Mao-era cultural training. One thinks of North Korea, San Francisco, Think Progress, MSNBC, DNC Headquarters, even classrooms in New Jersey as recently as 2009…
This isn’t new, but it’s worth remembering.
When looking back on the life of the late Christopher Hitchens, one sees that his persona is oddly like that of Oscar Wilde’s character Lord Henry Wotton from The Picture of Dorian Gray: loved by an assortment of people for assorted reasons, often when they cannot square with him on something else. Like Wotton, Hitchens was popular with individuals, not because they agreed with him, but because they disagreed with him. When faced with the cultivated erudition, wit, conviction, and eloquence such that “Hitch” displayed, peacocking before a podium or a writer’s desk, one couldn’t help but fall like those in Dorian Gray who despised the hedonist Wotton, and yet couldn’t stay away from his conversation.
It’s hard to say where Hitchens’ greatest popularity lies, but much Hitch-love comes from his status as the successor to George Orwell. Orwell’s manner, if anything, was the opposite of Hitchens’ strut. But the two are compared because they both criticized the Left from within on matters of international policy, albeit in independent ways. Hitchens broke from the Left over the so-called war on terror, quitting his literary homestead, The Nation, and making particularly derisive comments about his comrades. These actions were viewed as the strongest individual leftist dissent by a writer since Orwell’s infamous break over the Spanish Communists and the Soviet Union. To boot, Hitchens offered strong, vocal admiration for the elder English author and polemicist, and invoked Orwell on matters of principle and ethics regarding his own conservative turn. Indeed, the two are similarly noteworthy for their incorporation of morals into their politics.
Nevertheless, does all or any of this suffice to anoint Hitchens the inheritor, not of Orwell’s work, but of Orwell’s pen? The idea certainly has its critics. In his obituary on Hitchens, the New Statesman’s editor Jason Cowley argued that many of the comparisons made between the two are false. And although it’s popular to identify Hitchens with Orwell, the only serious, fleshed-out argument for exactly how the younger furthered the elder’s work that I’ve seen is from the Orwell scholar John Rodden, whose excellent essay on the topic appeared in The Kenyon Review in 2004. Rodden considers the idea thoroughly and concludes that there was “an intellectual passing of the torch between the two men,” and that Hitchens viewed his break with the Left as what Orwell would have done, although Rodden writes that the comparisons were too simplistic and he had reservations about such phrasings of inheritance.
However, the connection is a very useful way, if not the best way, to understand Hitchens’ importance—one that hasn’t been properly discerned. Because Hitch didn’t just follow Orwell in similarities over leftish dissent. What he did was to further Orwellian work on the totalitarian, namely by showing the importance of overcoming tyrannies held over the individual through a lack of robust criticism. This, along with his exceptional personality, is why Hitchens will be remembered and studied, because it takes the idea of the totalitarian to the next level, treating the concept as more sublime than is often believed. “The totalitarian, to me, is the enemy,” Hitchens said in his final interview…
The stern photo of revolutionary Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda in 1960 is one of the most reproduced images on the planet, appearing on posters, flags, postcards, T-shirts, and even bikinis. Sadly, the ubiquitous appearances of Che — hailed today usually by his first name only — demonstrate the near-total failure to educate people about the blood-soaked cruelty he really represented…