Jeb Bush enters 2016 race, pretends as if another Bush is the best a nation of 300 million could do

Jeb BushJeb Bush is apparently running for president. In a nation of roughly 300 million people, he thinks that what America needs to right itself is … another Bush. If you peruse the internet for a bit, then you shouldn’t have too hard of a time finding partisan hacks who cheer on Mr. Bush while simultaneously skewering the rationale for Hillary Clinton’s upcoming presidential campaign.

Mr. Bush wrote on Facebook Dec. 16:

Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren.

We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.

We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

I’m sure Mr. Bush is a nice man. My guess is that he’s a good husband and a strong father. However, if he were to win the Republican nomination, then I would have no choice but to stay home on Election Day. The pseudo-desire for a hereditary monarchy by Bush and Clinton supporters is bizarre and, quite frankly, culturally unctuous. Mr. Bush has every right to run for president, but should he? Could there be any clearer message to the world that America is out of ideas than running Hillary Clinton against Jeb Bush in 2016? It’s depressing, and I can not support it.

To make matters worse, it seems as though Mr. Bush wants to find a way to win that doesn’t involve exciting principled conservatives. Like John McCain, he seems to hold his nose at the thought of having to talk with the conservatives he needs to carry him over the finish line. When asked to vote for a Democrat or the guy who is a like the diet, sugar-free version of a Democrat, Independent voters are almost always going to break towards the real deal.

If Americans want to send a message to the world that our best days are still ahead us, then they can do so by telling Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush to go home.

Obama amnesty response? 5 million Americans should march on the White House

White HouseIt’s been said that President Obama is going to do his best Venezuelan dictator impression and issue a far-reaching decree to undermine the rule of law. Newspapers all around the country are asking “What will the GOP do?” if Mr. Obama grants amnesty to 1-5 million illegal immigrants in the absence of any bill passed by Congress. At this point, it’s not what the Republicans should do — it’s what Americans should do. Millions of them should march on the White House.

Fact: Mr. Obama said himself that what he now threatens the country with is a direct assault on the U.S. Constitution. He said so himself.

Hotair nicely consolidated a few choice quotes by the constitutional lawyer who now plans to completely disregard the U.S. Constitution:

“I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. This could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration. (President Obama, July, 2010).

“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” (President Obama, March 2011).

“I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is not true. We are doing everything we can administratively,” (President Obama, Sept. 2011).

“Until Congress passes a new law, then I am constrained in terms of what I am able to do. (President Obama, March 2014).

There must be millions of Democrats out there who know that what the president plans to do would set an incredibly dangerous precedent. The constitutional crisis that will result from attempting to use an executive order to do something of such magnitude for millions upon millions of Americans is unconscionable. It is short-sighted, but it is also something out of a tyrant’s handbook.

The media is doing its best not to talk about the constitutional implications of such an action, and instead focusing on the politics. That is an abdication of its important role in keeping those with their hands on the levers of power honest, but at this juncture all that matters is that the American people — not just politicians in Washington — must stand up to the utter lawlessness of such a move.

Impeachment? Budgetary tricks? Republican-led government shutdown? It’s beyond that. If 5 million Americans marched on up to the White House, then it would give members of Congress — of any party — the political cover they need to check a U.S. president who takes cues from the ghost of Hugo Chavez.

Americans need to read more Saint Augustine and listen to less Mike Huckabee

Saint_Augustine Philippe de ChampaigneFormer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is once again threatening to leave the Republican Party if its leadership refuses to be outspoken critics of gay marriage. He made similar threats in March of 2013, which indicates he’s all bark and no bite. Regardless, every time I hear someone like Mr. Huckabee imply that the cultural decline of America begins and ends with a half-hearted rhetorical war with gay people, I cringe. Afterward, I think about how much better of a place America would be if those who believed in God spent less time listening to Mike Huckabee’s radio show and more time reading the works of Saint Augustine — “Confessions” in particular.

As hard is it might be for some Americans to believe, they could learn a lot from guys born over 1,600 years ago. Saint Augustine is one of them.

“Confessions” is a must-read for anyone who cares about preserving the intellectual brick and mortar of Western Civilization, but it’s also an amazing blueprint for Christians looking to share the faith. It may sound counter-intuitive, but in order to expand you must, on many levels, travel inward. Instead of pointing angry fingers at “You! And you! And you! And you! And you!” — we must take serious stock of our own spiritual shortcomings.

Take note of how Saint Augustine analyzes the time he sneaked into another man’s orchard to steal pears:

“Those pears were truly pleasant to the sight, but it was not for them that my miserable soul lusted, for I had an abundance of better pears. I stole those simply that I might steal, for having stolen them, I threw them away. My sole gratification in them was my own sin, which I was pleased to enjoy; for, if any one of these pears entered my mouth, the only good flavor it had was my sin in eating it. …

Covetousness desires to possess much; but you are already the possessor of all things. Envy contends that its aim is for excellence; but what is so excellent as you? Anger seeks revenge; but who avenges more justly than you?

Thus the soul commits fornication when she is turned from you, and seeks apart from you what she cannot find pure and untainted until she returns to you. All things imitate you — but pervertedly — when they separate themselves far from you and raise themselves up against you. …

What was it then, that I loved in that theft? And how was I imitating my lord, even in a corrupted and perverted way? Did I wish, if only by gesture, to rebel against your law, even though I had no power to do so actually — so that, even as a captive, I might produce a sort of counterfeit liberty, by doing with impunity deeds that were forbidden, in a deluded sense of omnipotence? …

See, my god, the lively review of my soul’s career is laid bare before you. I would not have committed that theft alone. My pleasure in it was not what I stole but, rather, the act of stealing. Nor would I have enjoyed doing it alone — indeed I would not have done it! What an unfriendly friendship this is, and strange seduction of the soul, eager to make mischief from games and jokes, craving another’s loss without any desire for profit or revenge of mine — only so that, when they say, “Let’s go, let’s do it,” we are ashamed not to be shameless. …

I fell away from you, my god, and in my youth I wandered too far from you, my true support. And I became a wasteland to myself.”

How many more people would Mike Huckabee draw to his message if he talked about all the times he became a wasteland unto himself instead of lashing out at gay people? Would the path to God be more easily found by non-believers if the radio host spent more time talking about his gluttonous past and youthful indiscretions, or if he continued to imply that those who believe in gay marriage are the dregs of society? Has Mike Huckabee ever viewed pornography? If so, what kind? How much? And if so, how did it spiritually damage him? It seems as though Saint Augustine’s decision to bare his soul before God is a much more productive strategy for growing the flock than throwing political temper tantrums at ideological allies while spitting invective at non-believers.

The Catholic Saints were not perfect when they walked the earth. They toiled with the same temptations as you and me. They anguished over the same kind of inner demons that plague man today. They understood, however, that “the commander triumphs in victory, yet he could not have conquered if he had not fought; and the greater the peril of battle, the more the joy of the triumph.”

Saint Augustine writes: “I was so fallen and blinded that I could not discern the light of virtue and of beauty which must be embraced for its own sake, which the eye of flesh cannot see, and only the inner vision can see.

If a man makes it his life’s mission to cast aspersions on those around him, then it is much less likely that he will see what “only the inner vision can see.” The cultural road ahead for America is dark and dangerous due to years of neglect, but the path will be lighted if we first look within.

Classic: Yale prof shocked to find tea party pretty darn good at science

In October, Yale Law professor Dan M. Kahan was doing a study on what the relationship might be between someone’s political outlook and their science comprehension skills. The answer: Identifying with the tea party correlates positively with scores on a test that measures science comprehension.

tea party science

Interesting, right? Well, sort of, because the story behind the story is even better. The professor’s reaction to his own findings are priceless:

I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).

I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.

Of course, I still subscribe to my various political and moral assessments—all very negative—of what I understand the “Tea Party movement” to stand for. I just no longer assume that the people who happen to hold those values are less likely than people who share my political outlooks to have acquired the sorts of knowledge and dispositions that a decent science comprehension scale measures.

He doesn’t know a single member of the tea party. His worldview was shaped in large part from reading Huffington Post and Politco — and yet he was surprised at his findings. After having been shown that the “news” that molds his mind is so biased that it led him to come to false assumptions about the tea party, he still doesn’t question how those very same news sources could have warped his understanding of what the tea party movement actually stands for or — more importantly — the “moral assessments” he makes on a daily basis.

When you self-identify as a member of the tea party, you have to work twice as hard to prove you have the intellectual chops to be taken seriously by academics. Guys like professor Kahan just assume guys like me don’t read up on liquid fluoride thorium reactors. They assume that we would never find blogging material from sites like “I F**king Love Science,” and write on octopus camouflage in our spare time. Or that we have pretty cool friends who make engineering marvels for NASA, wives who are doctors, dads who took nuclear physics, etc.

I give the professor credit for being honest with his findings because many people would have buried them. It is often hard to admit when we are wrong, so in that sense Professor Kahan’s integrity deserves to be acknowledged. However, it should also be pointed out that the assumptions he held are sadly held by the majority of academics.

The Washington Post reported in 2005:

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

Quick story: When I was in graduate school at American University, I had a professor who liked to brag about his contacts on the Hill. There were three conservatives in my entire program, and one day we met with him to see if there was any way he could help us obtain internships in the city. My friend said he was interested in working at a number of places, including the American Enterprise Institute. My professor’s response: “Oh. You’re one of them.”

“One of them.” It’s as if we were aliens from another planet that were sent to destroy the world. Of course he didn’t have any contacts in his magical Rolodex for us. Two of us went on to eventually work at The Heritage Foundation, and my other friend now works for the Department of Homeland Security. Not too shabby for a few kids who moved to Washington, D.C. with zero connections and a bunch of professors who probably held the kind of negative moral assessments of us that Professor Kahan has for tea partiers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll ponder the singularity of a black hole and the existence of God.

Editors note: Hat tip to douglasernstblog.com reader Denver Patrick for the story. I’m not sure how that one escaped my radar.

Paul Ryan takes heat from people who have never been in the kitchen

Romney 2012

One of the best things about living in the nation’s capital is that sometimes you get to hear some pretty cool people speak. One multiple occasions I got to hear Rep. Paul Ryan talk — extemporaneously — on public policy, and he blew me away. On top of that he was a nice guy, stopping in to speak to Heritage interns when he could have just whisked out the door without saying a word. Rep. Ryan has managed to work in the D.C. “kitchen” for quite some time now without deviating from his core mission — to increase freedom and individual liberties for all Americans — but yet he now finds himself taking heat from people who have never even entered the restaurant.

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. for eight years now, and I never heard someone question his honesty and integrity. He’s a principled guy in an unprincipled town. He’s outnumbered and has limited tools to work with, which is why I find it bizarre that “RINO” keeps echoing off the walls of the Internet since the House announced its budget deal with Democrats.

Buzzfeed’s piece, titled ‘How Paul Ryan Saved the Day’ sums up the Congressman well:

Ryan’s recent success stems in large part from his deep roots within the GOP’s conservative wing. Long before becoming a member of the conservative “Jedi Council” that has helped foment conservative outrage against previous spending plans, Ryan was a key figure within fiscal conservative circles in Washington. Over the years Ryan has developed a reputation amongst conservative and moderate Republicans in the House as a trusted voice on not only budget issues, but broader economic policy.

“The thing about him is that everyone knows he’s a straight shooter, he’s not going to play games. And that’s what it takes,” Diaz-Balart said. “Everyone understands what he says is real, whether you agree with Paul Ryan or not everybody understands that his word is truthful. In this process, he’s among the most trusted.”

Republican Policy Committee Chairman Rep. James Lankford, one of the most conservative members of the GOP leadership, agreed. “The level of trust is there because people know what his core is. We’ve all gone through budget negotiations with him, we’ve all seen the budgets he’s put together and the coalitions he’s put together to get that done. So we know he’s going after as much as he can possibly get,” Lankford said.

Have you ever tried to get blood from a stone? Republicans are not in a position to be able to take a chainsaw to government spending at the moment — particularly after the shutdown. They crossed the rubicon on that, and then when the pressure got too hot they wilted. Worse, they weren’t able to articulate the legitimate philosophical concerns that motivated them to go that route in the first place. If it wasn’t for the Obamacare rollout disaster from Hell, where would the polls be at the moment?

Take a look at where some of the loudest criticisms of Congressman Ryan are coming from; they emanate from people who would very much like to take the mantle of pied piper away from President Obama and hold onto it throughout the 2016 presidential election. The tea party is right: America is broke. In fact, it is more broke than any nation has ever been in existence. The way to address the problem is not to cannibalize one of conservatism’s staunchest defenders as he’s trying to convince the American people that Republicans can work with people they have fierce ideological disagreements with.

Note to my Tea Party friends: If there is a Socialist who seems like a really nice guy and an free-market Republican who seems like a jerk, the American people will (at least these days) vote for the Socialist. This carries over to how we talk about social issues. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it — and if you always come across as an angry raving-mad lunatic who would rather engage in scorched earth tactics than work with a political opponent, you will lose. And then America loses.

You don’t win by subtracting and dividing; you win by addition and multiplication. Congressman Ryan understands that if he can only get 30% of what he wants, then it’s better to do that then to throw a temper tantrum and get nothing. If the tea party is smart, then it will hold its fire on one of the few principled politicians in Congress and resume the air campaign on Obamacare.

Related: Barack Obama, Mysterio vs. Paul Ryan, Spider-Man?

Related: Paul Ryan’s wine passes sniff test; Susan Feinberg’s behavior smells like rotting Monkfish à la Soubise

Ben Affleck to Republican Batman fans: I ‘probably’ don’t like you — but I want your money

Ben Affleck fans

In August I said that the thing that would hurt Ben Affleck the most as he attempted to become Batman was his outspoken politics: “If I were a betting man, I’d say that Mr. Affleck will continue saying and doing things in public that will make it harder for roughly half the nation to lose themselves in his version of “Batman” on opening night.”

Now, in an interview with Playboy, he proves me right.

Affleck: People now know me as a Democrat, and that will always be the case to some extent.

Playboy: Does that polarize viewers?

Affleck: It does, and you can bifurcate your audience. When I watch a guy I know is a big Republican, part of me thinks, I probably wouldn’t like this person if I met him, or we would have different opinions. That shit fogs the mind when you should be paying attention and be swept into the illusion.

Playboy: Still, won’t that happen whether you take positions on candidates or causes?

Affleck: I have misgivings about it, counterbalanced with the larger things I care about. I don’t blindly do this stuff when it makes it harder to do my own job. And there’s an awful lot of gross money-raising going on that has made me want to pull back a bit from pure electoral politics. […]

Yes Ben, if the guy you’re watching on screen is a Republican and you’re a Democrat, it’s safe to say that you’ll have “different opinions.” Your powers of deduction are not quite at Bruce Wayne’s level at the moment, but you are correct.

Here’s the part that is somewhat bizarre for the future Batman to disclose: “I probably wouldn’t like this person…”

There are a lot of things I think about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and most of Hollywood’s liberal activists, but I only tend to think “I wouldn’t like them” when they come across as elitist jerks. How someone comports themselves dictates how I feel about them as a person — a political party affiliation alone does not. Does Ben Affleck have zero Republican relatives? He must not, or he wouldn’t say such ridiculous things.

I love my fellow Americans. I want to like all of them and I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard when guys like Ben Affleck and President Obama keep dividing people.

He’s what President Obama said to Univision in 2010:

“We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”

Here’s what Slate’s John Cook said in his maybe-sorta-kinda piece of satire (but not) titled ‘Thanksgiving Tips: How to pick a fight with your relatives this Thanksgiving.’ It was written just in time to coincide with the White House’s push to get family members to discuss Obamacare over the holidays:

First off, you should wait until everyone’s seated at the table before you try to get things started. That way you have a captive audience that has to watch the fireworks, and everyone is settled in for a nice long time. Getting the topic of conversation to politics shouldn’t be too hard. Stick to short, sarcastic, tendentious remarks to get things going. “I’m thankful for all that free stuff Obama gave me.” Once you’ve engaged the enemy, it won’t take much effort to pivot to whatever particular subject you feel most comfortable with.

Yes, according to the president and his most ardent disciples, your fellow Americans are “enemies.” Does anyone else find it weird that the president won’t call any number of thug-nations around the globe an enemy of America, but he will refer to his political opponents as such? But I digress…

Instead of just admitting that activist actors “fog the mind” of the audience with all sorts of extraneous junk, Ben Affleck lets us all know that an ‘R’ next to your name makes him immediately think that he “probably” doesn’t like you — even though he wants your money.

Why should I cough up my money for ‘Superman vs. Batman (vs. Wonder Woman?)’ when one of the lead actors openly conveys his disgust for me as a person? Because of my love of free markets, limited government, traditional American values and a strong national defense, Ben Affleck “probably” wouldn’t like me? It’s weird.

Yes Ben, it is possible to disagree with someone without being disagreeable. I know it’s hard for someone who lives in a Hollywood bubble, where everyone thinks along the same lines and tells each other how smart they are at cocktail parties (“Pass me the gruyère, will you?”) — but in the real world some of us get along with our politically-diverse family and friends just fine.

If Zack Snyder is smart, he’ll sit down privately with Ben and tell him to shut up with the political commentary until ‘Superman vs. Batman’ comes out. There are a lot of people who aren’t thrilled with the idea of Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight, and alienating roughly half the viewing audience out the gate is probably not a good PR move.

Hat tip to douglasernstblog.com reader PersonIsPerson for the story.

Related: Ben Affleck’s outspoken politics hurt his Batman more than his box office bombs

Related: Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ hits audiences with big ideas, soars over small-minded critics

Related: Man of Steel Trailer: Harbinger of an epic film

Related: David Goyer is right: The ‘Superman doesn’t kill’ rule hurts the character

Related: ‘Soldier of Steel’ campaign: Gym Jones shows what real men are made of

Chris Matthews: I call conservatives a bunch of racists — with no proof — because I can

Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews is a sick man. He is ill, and it is for that reason I do not like to talk about him. Discussing Chris Matthews and his obsession with race at this point makes me feel like a jerk. It is not nice to pick on people with mental problems, but his commentary in the wake of the Obama administration’s IRS, Associated Press and Benghazi scandals illustrates the dangerous racial game he and his ideological allies are playing.

First, Matthews:

“The problem is there are people in this country, maybe ten percent, I don’t know what the number, maybe twenty percent on a bad day, who want this president to have an asterisk next to his name in the history books, that he really wasn’t president. … They can’t stand the idea that he’s president, and a piece of it is racism.It’s the sense that the white race must rule, that’s what racism is, and they can’t stand the idea that a man who’s not white is president. That is real, that sense of racial superiority and rule is in the hearts of some people in this country. Not all conservatives, not even all right-wingers, but it always comes through with this birther crap and these other references and somehow trying to erase ObamaCare, erase his record in history, and a big part of it is bought into by people like John Boehner, who’s not a bad guy, but he knows the only way he can talk to the hard right is talk their language, (Chris Matthews, MSNBC. May 15).

Where does Matthews get this 20% number? Since when is it okay to just pull numbers out of your butt and label 20% of the population a bunch of racists? And he’s not talking about “all conservatives” — just everyone who John Boehner talks to on “the hard right”? Translation: “My producers told me I shouldn’t flat-out call conservatives racists, so this is my half-hearted attempt to placate him.”

Now, the NAACP’s Julian Bond:

“I mean, here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who tried as best they can to harm President [Barack] Obama in every way they can … They are the Taliban wing of American politics and we all ought to be a little worried about them,” (Julian Bond, MSNBC. May 14, 2013).

Since when has the tea party “admitted” it was racist? It hasn’t. Ever. Because it’s not. Perhaps I should go on the radio tomorrow and talk about the time Julian Bond “admitted” to being a child molester — or not, because I don’t just make up things to hurt people out of thin air.

Do you remember the time Chris Matthews was called out by a Winston Churchill scholar for misquoting the famous Prime Minister, and Matthews’ response was to say: “How can you prove someone never said something?” I do. So I will now take this time to ask the following question: How can Chris Matthews call conservatives racists when it is a well known fact that he once said he only voted for President Obama’s white half? How can Chris Matthews call conservatives racists when he once told a reporter at a Center for American Progress event that 15% of all Democrats are still proud of LBJ’s segregationist past?

See how that works, Chris? See how despicable it is to make up racial lies and slime individuals or whole groups?

I am generally a patient man and I am slow to anger. I do not hate anyone because life is short and I have no desire to fill my heart with such a toxic emotion. With that said, when Chris Matthews, Julian Bond and others like them go on television and say that I oppose President Obama because of some weird desire for “racial superiority,” it tests my patience and it tests my ability to filter my untreated emotions into something pure.

By putting out such hateful ideas into the world, Chris Matthews creates the very animosity he claims to abhor. How does the man with little patience who is quick to anger respond to Chris Matthews? My guess is that when Matthews and Julian Bond liken white people to the Taliban, they actually end up creating a few racists in the process. If you beat someone over the head with accusations of racism — no matter how long and how hard they protest the lies — at some point they will unconsciously say: “You want a racist? I’ll give you a racist,” and the hate will begin flowing through their veins. And when that happens, a chain of events will occur that will only end badly for all parties involved.

I hope Chris Matthews gets the help he needs. I truly do. But at the same time, the world should know that in the mean time he is poisoning the intellectual well for his community of viewers. Ideas are not always the sole propriety of the individual. They can be shared. And so, the first question Mr. Matthews should ask himself when he finally gets better should be: “How many people did I contaminate and how can I make it right?” He has a lot of work to do and not much time to finish it in.

The Jenga Economy: Brought to you by the federal government

Obama Jenga Economy

$16 trillion. $17 trillion. $18 trillion. The debt continues to grow, and most elected officials don’t seem to care. I have shied away from making my own graphics, but in this instance I think the “Jenga” analogy is fitting.

As the government accumulates more and more debt, the threat to the overall economy becomes increasingly perilous. The average person thinks of the national debt: “it doesn’t affect my life,” but … it will when The Jenga Economy comes crashing down.

Conservatives have been trying to make this case for quite some time now, and both Democrats and Republicans have ignored them.

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people say that if the country wanted to put President Obama back in office for a second time — the very same guy who said on David Letterman that our debt is a “long term problem” — then they deserve to feel the pain that comes from a financial meltdown. I’ve heard a lot of people say that if the American people want to listen to Democrats like Rep. Nancy “it’s a false argument” to say we have a spending problem Pelosi … or to Sen. Steny “we have a paying for problem” Hoyer … then it’s time for conservatives to salute the fools and wait for them at rock bottom to say, “I told you so.”

I understand these feelings, but I’m torn as to how to address them. I worked myself ragged leading up to the past election, trying to convince my fellow Americans of the impending financial crisis that is a mathematical certainty if we don’t seriously address these issues sooner rather than later — and then president Obama was handily reelected.

Now, the president is going around saying that if roughly 2.4 percent of federal spending is “cut” (i.e., we still go further into debt, just at a slower rate) due to sequestration, then planes will not run on time, first responders will not respond, and military readiness will suffer grave consequences.

My response? On some level, I have better things to do with my time than to try and convince “low information voters” of how insulting this sequestration debate is to anyone who knows basic addition and subtraction.

BL-sequestration-size-comparison

But don’t those of us who love our country have a responsibility to try our very best to reach our fellow citizens, even if they’re the same ones spending most of their free time making mindless YouTube videos or watching rejects without shame on reality television?

It’s a good question, and as of yet I don’t have a definitive answer.

This blogger, however, is worn out. I will continue to write, but for the next few months posts will more frequently be sacrificed in favor of reading books I’m ashamed to have still not made time for (e.g., ‘Witness’) and to finish some creative writing projects that are collecting dust. (Since this blog has critiqued certain men in the comic industry, it’s time I put up or shut up.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with Mr. Chambers.

Obama’s sick psychological experiments on voters affect us all

Conservatives have known for a long time that liberalism warps the human mind and the human soul, turning individuals with unlimited potential into human gerbils whose only aspiration is to get their hands on the next government pellet. Now, as details leak out about President Obama’s 2012 campaign, it’s clearer than ever that he sees his supporters as a bunch of lab rats.

Ask yourself: Would the founding fathers ever favor a United States of America where career politicians are so hungry for power that they would assemble a “Dream Team” of behavioral scientists to figure out the best way to manipulate the minds of registered voters?

For their part, consortium members said they did nothing more than pass on research-based ideas, in e-mails and conference calls. They said they could talk only in general terms about the research, because they had signed nondisclosure agreements with the campaign.

In addition to Dr. Fox, the consortium included Susan T. Fiske of Princeton University; Samuel L. Popkin of the University of California, San Diego; Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University; Richard H. Thaler, a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago’s business school; and Michael Morris, a psychologist at Columbia.

“A kind of dream team, in my opinion,” Dr. Fox said.

At least some of the consortium’s proposals seemed to have found their way into daily operations. …

“Mr. Jones, we know you have voted in the past” — acts as a subtle prompt to future voting, said Dr. Cialdini, a foundational figure in the science of persuasion. “People want to be congruent with what they have committed to in the past, especially if that commitment is public,” he said.

Got that? President Obama is watching you. Correction: President Obama has been studying you. His campaign has been sifting through your public data and putting together psychological profiles that could be unlocked, disassembled and then put back together into a reliable Obamabot. It’s downright creepy.

And yet, it gets worse. Your digital history is fair game, too.

What data did [Obama’s team use] — and were they tracking you across the web?

It’s still not clear. …

To pinpoint voters who might actually change their minds, the Obama campaign conducted randomized experiments, Slaby said. Voters received phone calls in which they were asked to rate their support for the president, and then engaged in a conversation about different policy issues. At the end of the conversation, they were asked to rate their support for the president again. Using the results of these experiments, combined with detailed demographic information about individual voters, the campaign was able to pinpoint both what kinds of voters had been persuaded to support the president, and which issues had persuaded them.

Avi Feller, a graduate student in statistics at Harvard who has worked on this kind of modeling, compared it to medical research.

“The statistics of drug trials are very similar to the statistics of experiments in campaigns,” he said. “I have some cancer drug, and I know it works well on some people — for whom is the cancer drug more or less effective?”

One official with knowledge of the campaign’s data operation said that the campaign’s experiments also tested how long the “persuasion” effect lasted after the initial phone conversation — and found that it was only about three weeks.

This is what we have wrought. No matter who you voted for, these tactics are scary. The government has grown so expansive and we have abdicated so many responsibilities to a ruling “elite” in Washington, that they will now go to any length to win. They will say anything, or do anything that experiments — on you — tell them to do, if it means another two or four or six years in power.

In President Obama’s mind, your free will is a cancer, and the “drug” is the “tested” combination of “experiments” that will get you to pull the lever for him. But it’s not just President Obama; these tactics will be used in 2016, 2020 and beyond by both parties. Republicans and Democrats will seek to play Jedi mind tricks on millions of our most gullible citizens. And as they perfect their craft they will “win” more elections — not because they are the better candidate, or the candidate the country needs — but because they are the candidate who could pull your psychological strings like a mad puppeteer.

Are Republicans any better than Democrats in this regard? No. If they are, it’s not by much. But the difference between conservatives and liberals is, the conservative casts a perpetually suspicious eye on all politicians and seeks to limit the power of the federal government; the left quixotically puts their trust in princes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do on President Obama’s “Terror Tuesday Kill List.” For some reason I don’t believe his canvassers or experiments addressed that one.

Michael Barone — Cranky elitist blames Tea Party for 2012 losses

Michael Barone is throwing temper tantrums because the Republican Party’s performance on Tuesday was, to put it nicely, lacking. He’ll feel better when he buys a tailored suit from Brooks Brothers this weekend.

Michael Barone is cranky. He predicted Republicans were on a road to victory in 2012, and now that he has egg on his face he has to blame someone. The target? The Tea Party, of course!

Conservative political analyst Michael Barone told an audience in Washington that Republicans put “too many” tea party “wackos, weirdos and witches” on the ballot this year, costing them seats in the U.S. Senate. …

The Washington Examiner and Wall Street Journal columnist said ABC News host George Stephanopoulos “will try” to get Republicans to say whether they “want to ban contraceptives,” but “‘George, that’s been illegal under Supreme Court doctrine for 47 years.’ That’s the answer.”

Barone recommended that Republicans choose candidates who do not make “unforced errors” because America does not have a “fair” press.

Want to know a bigger reason why Republicans lost? It’s because they come across like guys like Michael Barone, who look like they do all their shopping at Brooks Brothers, who look dour and grim, and who look like elitist stiffs who don’t care about everyday folks. Republicans lost because they’re perceived as thinking regular people (on both sides of the fence) are “wackos, weirdos and witches.” I wonder where the American people get that from.

Perhaps if the Tea Party ran candidates who had sex romps with Dominican hookers, like Sen. Bob Menendez, they’d fare better. Right, Barone? If the Tea Party ran white candidates who pretend they’re Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, perhaps they’d fare better. Right, Barone? Or maybe if the Tea Party ran House candidates like Jesse Jackson Jr., who went missing for months because he’s mentally unstable and under the gun of federal investigators, they’d win in a land slide. Jackson Jr. did…

Is the media biased? Yes. Are unforced errors ever helpful? No. But I’m sure the 72% of Hispanics that didn’t vote for Republicans this time around — or the 2.5 million voters who showed up for McCain but not for Romney — are comprised of sizable pro-life populations. Republican elitists now attack the Tea Party because it serves as a soothing salve to the fact that they have serious messaging problems. Geniuses like Barone were dead wrong, and instead of owning up to their failures they call liberty-loving citizens “witches.” It’s popular to say on the cocktail party circuit. The Foggy Bottom crowd likes to chortle at similarly snide comments as they nibble on hors d’oeuvres, but conservatives like me hear them and cringe. Keep it to yourself, Barone, because there isn’t a chance in hell I’ll expend my limited time, resources and energy to help out guys like you.

President Obama spent an ungodly amount of time in 2012 talking about a woman’s uterus and Mitt Romney’s tax returns while the tectonic plates under our financial house of cards rumbled — and the GOP still got spanked. It’s frustrating that pro-life Democrats are never asked if God would prefer it if “rape babies” were dead (imagine the unforced errors they’d commit), but it’s not going to happen. The Republican Party should be strong enough and deep enough to be able to take the hits on the occasional “unforced error” and still win. It is not.

Men and women of faith are not America’s problem. Men and women with a moral compass are not America’s problem. Elitist, crusty, know-it-alls who aim hate and derision and vitriol at their fellow Americans are.