CONTENTS: THE BIG ONES; Yorktown to Ramadi; Rolling Thunder; Commander-in-Doubt; Unions abandon OCare; Simon – global cooling; Farmer rebellion; Alice in civil rights; Liberalism in trouble; Our 4th branch; Holder lied; Steyn – slaughter; Brits vs Muslim preachers; Muslim riots in Sweden; Gitmo to Benghazis; Muslim Stevens?; Return of TEA; McClintock – give us the names; Strassel – conservative targets; Noonan – stonewall; PA subsidies; Gillespie – Paul’s outreach; Announcements
“All those people whose sacrifices we celebrate on Memorial Day are watching us, not to mention the extraordinary Mr. Franklin, who famously challenged us after the Constitutional Convention with the words “A republic — if you can keep it.” Roger Simon
1813: In the War of 1812, Col. Winfield Scott, assisted by American naval forces, captured Fort George, New York.
1890: Louis Glass and William Arnold received patents for the first jukebox, known as the “Nickel-in-the-Slot.”
1919: A Navy seaplane commanded by Albert Read reached Lisbon, Portugal, on the first transatlantic flight (with a few stops along the way).
1937: San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge opened. (Bennett & Cribb, 2010)
THE BIG ONES
“. . . he . . . noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, ‘What outfit did you serve with?’
“He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal.
He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. . .
He . . . reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket.. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye’s to his wife. . .
“For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name…….
‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’
“I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence. Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America .
Thanks to those who served… and those who supported them.
America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war.. America is at the Mall. If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!
Remember, Freedom isn’t Free, thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today. . .”
Lief Babbin, WSJ: “A Tradition of Sacrifice, From Yorktown to Ramadi”
“It was not the Declaration of Independence that gave us freedom but the Continental Army.
“. . . Let’s remember on Memorial Day—and every other day, for that matter—that America did not become a nation without a fight. Last week, I found myself in Washington, D.C., admiring a bronze statue of George Washington. The statue shows him as a general, astride a horse, sword drawn at the ready. This was Washington as a true American leader, inspiring those around him by showing that he too was willing to risk death for the cause of victory. The statue brought to mind the thousands of soldiers who marched with him into battle against the British, facing seemingly impossible odds.
It was not the Declaration of Independence that gave us freedom but the Continental Army. America was born from conflict, delivered by soldiers willing to pay with their blood the tremendous cost of freedom.
“The dead did not wish to be martyred. They no doubt longed to return to their homes and families. But they believed in the ‘glorious cause,’ something far greater than themselves. Despite knowing the dangers before them, they followed Gen. Washington into the fray even when victory seemed hopeless and the cause all but lost. . .”
Also WSJ: Memorial Day – How Father Kapaun celebrated Easter in Korea in 1951.
Meredith Somers, Washington Times: “Hundreds of thousands of bikers rumble into D.C. for Rolling Thunder”
“Perfect temperatures, a bright sun and blue sky commanded Sunday’s forecast, but it was the sound of thunder that stood out for the D.C. area, as more than a half-million motorcycles rumbled through the city for the 26th annual Rolling Thunder.
“Nowhere in Obama’s speech did he mention the abiding threat: WMD.
“President Obama delivered one of the more remarkable speeches of his Presidency on Thursday, or for that matter of any recent President. The Commander in Chief who has ruthlessly used nearly all of the antiterror tools bequeathed by his predecessor has suddenly declared that the war on terror is all but over, and he invited Congress to put new limits on his war powers.
“‘The Afghan War is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self,’ he said in 7,000 words at National Defense University. ‘Groups like AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking and our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.’
“If this logic sounds familiar, that’s because it is the way the U.S. thought about terrorism before 9/11. Terrorists were a disparate and minor threat, one that could be handled by law enforcement and intelligence, not with the tools of war. We learned differently 12 years ago, but now Mr. Obama is saying it is safe to return to that mindset. . . “
Fox: “Unions, the reliable Democratic supporters, split from president on ObamaCare”
“Labor unions that have solidly backed President Obama are splitting with him over ObamaCare — with one calling for the “repeal or complete reform” of the president’s signature health-care law.
“Union leaders argue insurance costs for millions of workers will increase under the president’s health-care plan so they might have to drop their existing plan, despite Obama promising the opposite.
“Their primary concern is the multi-employer or so-called Taft-Hartley plans that cover unionized workers in retail, construction, transportation and other industries that frequently use seasonal and temporary employment.
“The union leaders say the roughly 20 million people covered by the plans will likely have higher premiums because the Affordable Care Act does not include tax subsidies for them.
“However, workers seeking coverage in the upcoming, state-based marketplaces for insurance, known as exchanges, can qualify for subsidies. . .”
Roger Simon, PJM: “Global Cooling on Memorial Day”
“ . . . Actually, Al has done us a favor by making it clear once again that science is not for amateurs and that when someone says something’s “settled,” that means it more than likely isn’t. They are trying to put one over on us and probably on themselves as well. After all, it’s profitable.
But wait — there’s more.
This strange freezing weather is oddly symbolic on this Memorial Day for the situation of liberalism in general right now, which is being exposed as phony and venal across the board from Benghazi to the IRS to the surveillance of the press — an ideology cracking like thin ice on a winter’s day.
Anthropogenic global warming was a harbinger of all that, a kind of pseudo-scientific, faithed-based belief in something about as proven as the existence of vampires, only you were supposed to alter the world economic system completely for it. Some still want to, of course, but their power seems to be diminishing. It’s up to us finish the job.
Speaking of which, here’s a personal observation for Memorial Day that I pretentiously think is important. With this #scandalabra of scandals, this great country of ours is at a crossroads. Even the monolithic MSM is beginning to shift a little. It’s nowhere near Tectonic as yet, but something’s happening. . .”
Allyssia Finley, WSJ: “A Farmers’ Rebellion Lifts the California GOP”
“An election upset could send a pro-business Republican to Sacramento and give hope to the moribund state party.
“Democrats were writing obituaries for California’s GOP after winning a supermajority in the state legislature last November, thus gaining veto-proof power to raise taxes. But their legislative lock may have slipped after this week’s special election in which Republican farmer Andy Vidak appears to have defeated a Democrat—in a heavily Democratic senate district—who had championed high-speed rail and a higher minimum wage.
If Mr. Vidak wins an outright majority—late Friday, he led with 49.8% of the vote and provisional ballots were still being counted—his victory would put Republicans two senate seats short of reclaiming their veto on tax hikes. But more important, the election has exposed the Democrats’ soft underbelly in California’s Central Valley—a no man’s land in state politics—and given Republicans a rallying point. . .”
George Will, WaPo: “‘Alice in Wonderland’ coercion”
“. . . Many scandals mean merely cursory scrutiny of most. Now, notice the scant attention being given to an assault on civil liberties by the misconceived Education Department’s misnamed Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
Responding to what it considers the University of Montana’s defective handling of complaints about sexual assaults, OCR, in conjunction with the Justice Department, sent the university a letter intended as a “blueprint” for institutions nationwide when handling sexual harassment, too. The letter, sent on May 9, encourages (see below) adoption of speech codes — actually, censorship regimes — to punish students who:
“Make “sexual or dirty jokes” that are “unwelcome.” Or disseminate “sexual rumors” (even if true) that are “unwelcome.” Or make “unwelcome” sexual invitations. Or engage in the “unwelcome” circulation or showing of “e-mails or Web sites of a sexual nature.” Or display or distribute “sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials” that are “unwelcome.”
“UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, a specialist in First Amendment jurisprudence, notes (on the indispensable Volokh Conspiracy blog) that the OCR-DOJ’s proscriptions are “not limited to material that a reasonable person would find offensive.” The Supreme Court has held that for speech or conduct in schools to lead to a successful sexual harassment lawsuit, it must be sufficiently severe and pervasive to create a hostile environment. And it must be “objectively offensive” to a reasonable person. But, Volokh notes, the OCR-DOJ rules would mandate punishment for any individual’s “conduct of a sexual nature,” conduct ‘verbal, nonverbal or physical,’ that is not objectively offensive to a normal person. This means any conduct ‘unwelcome’ by anyone. . .”
David Harsanyi, RCP: “Why Liberalism Is in Trouble”
“For all the complaining the left has done about those shadowy outside political groups subverting the democratic process, we recently learned that no one has the means to undercut freedom of expression quite like an enthusiastic government agency.
Appropriately, nearly everyone in Washington is professing and/or pretending to be outraged that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups. Yet if we’re to believe recent polls, an uninformed President Barack Obama (similarly outraged as he watches events unfold on the news) hasn’t shouldered much of the blame for scandalmania just yet — and perhaps he may never be damaged.
“And so what? Though the president’s fate seems to be the paramount concern of the leftist punditry (a group that now argues that any “real” scandal is only one in which the president had personal knowledge of misconduct in real time — meaning, one supposes, that Abu Ghraib should be retroactively reclassified as a non-scandal for George W. Bush), it matters not. Even with an adoring public, the chances of Obama’s pushing through any substantive legislation before 2014 — or even 2016 — were slim at best. Those poll-ignoring obstructionists in the House will see to it.
“The president won’t be running for re-election, but progressivism will. And the most vital element of Obama’s agenda, no matter where any of these investigations lead, has already taken a big hit — and that’s the electorate’s trust in government. . .”
Jonathan Turley, WaPo: “The rise of the fourth branch of government”
“There were times this past week when it seemed like the 19th-century Know-Nothing Party had returned to Washington. President Obama insisted he knew nothing about major decisions in the State Department, or the Justice Department, or the Internal Revenue Service. The heads of those agencies, in turn, insisted they knew nothing about major decisions by their subordinates. It was as if the government functioned by some hidden hand.
“Clearly, there was a degree of willful blindness in these claims. However, the suggestion that someone, even the president, is in control of today’s government may be an illusion.
“The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself: It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter. Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency. . .”
Bryan Preston, PJM: “Bombshell – Eric Holder Lied to Congress under Oath”
“During friendly questioning from Rep. Hank “I fear that Guam will capsize!” Johnson in Congress last week, Attorney General Eric Holder offered the following statement.
“In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.
“He made that statement before the facts about the sweep on Fox News’ James Rosen were known. Since then, it’s come to light that Holder himself approved the subpoena that, among other things, named Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator.
“So, Eric Holder lied under oath before a congressional hearing. . .”
IMMIGRATION . . .
Mark Steyn, NRO: “To the Slaughter”
“British lions come up lambs in Woolwich
“. . . Not a lot of Muslims want to go to the trouble of chopping your head off, but when so many Western leaders have so little rattling around up there, they don’t have to. And, as we know from the sob-sister Tsarnaev profiles, most of these excitable lads are perfectly affable, or at least no more than mildly alienated, until the day they set a hundred cars alight, or blow up a school boy, or decapitate some guy. And, if you’re lucky, it’s not you they behead, or your kid they kill, or even your Honda Civic they light up. And so life goes on, and it’s all so “mundane,” in Simon Jenkins’s word, that you barely notice when the Jewish school shuts up, and the gay bar, and the uncovered women no longer take a stroll too late in the day, and the publishing house that gets sent the manuscript for the next Satanic Verses decides it’s not worth the trouble. . . . But don’t worry, they’ll never defeat our “free speech” and our “way of life.”
“One in ten Britons under 25 is now Muslim. That number will increase, through immigration, disparate birth rates, and conversions like those of the Woolwich killers, British-born and -bred. Metternich liked to say the Balkans began in the Landstrasse, in southeast Vienna. Today, the Dar al-Islam begins in Wellington Street, in southeast London. That’s a “betrayal” all right, but not of Islam.”
Peter Griffiths, Reuters: “Britain to target radical Muslim preachers after soldier’s killing”
“(Reuters) – The British government, facing criticism over the killing of a soldier by suspected Islamists in a London street, is to set up a new group to combat radical Muslim preachers and others whose words could encourage violence.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said on Sunday the group aimed to fight radicalism in schools and mosques, tighten checks on inflammatory internet material, and disrupt the “poisonous narrative” of hardline clerics.
“It will assess the range of strategies to disrupt individuals who may be influential in fostering extremism. It needs to confront those religious leaders who promote violence head on,” it said in a statement.
“The killing of soldier Lee Rigby, hacked to death near his London barracks on Wednesday, fuelled public anger about radical Islam. It has also raised questions over whether more could have done more to prevent the attack and put pressure on Cameron to tackle suspected militants more forcefully. . .”
Jerome Corsi, WND: “’Youth rioting’ in Sweden? It’s the Muslims, stupid”
“Establishment media avoid identifying culprits
“The nightly rioting in Stockholm that establishment media ascribes merely to “youths,” is being carried out by Muslim immigrants.
“Muslim immigrants in Sweden now total slightly more than 6 percent of the population, providing additional support for the maxim that a Muslim population of 5 percent is a tipping point for political turmoil. In other countries, Muslim immigrants at that point have begun to seek concessions, including, typically, the right to govern themselves by Shariah, or Islamic law.
“In Sweden, the Muslim population has doubled in the last 14 years, with Muslims now accounting for over 41 percent of Sweden’s total population growth. The growth reflects not only increasing Islamic immigration but also a disproportionately high birth rate in a nation in which the native birth rate is trending toward zero-growth. . .”
BENGHAZI . . .
Michelle Malkin, Town Hall: “Obama’s Bloody Recipe for More Benghazis”
“Gird your loins, America. President Obama intends to empty out Guantanamo Bay and send scores of suspected Muslim terror operatives back to their jihadist-coddling native countries. Goaded by anti-war activists and soft-on-terror attorneys (including those from Attorney General Eric Holder’s former private law firm), Obama announced Thursday that he’ll lift a ban on sending up to 90 Yemeni detainees home and will initiate other stalled transfers out of the compound.
“This radical appeasement of Obama’s left flank is a surefire recipe for more Benghazis, more U.S.S. Coles and more innocent lives at risk. . .”
Aaron Klein: Murdered U.S. Ambassador Stevens a Muslim?
“American chief at Benghazi possibly had secret faith
“Murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had a ‘very romantic relationship’ with Islam, according to a Libyan official who was a personal friend to the late American representative to Benghazi.
“‘What I am saying is that his Excellency, the late ambassador, had a very personal private matter, a very romantic relationship with the mystical side of Islam,’ stated Sabri Malek, the spokesman for the Democratic Party in Libya, in an interview today.
“Malek was speaking on ‘Aaron Klein Investigative Radio’ on New York’s WABC Radio.
“Continued Malek: ‘Many Westerners find themselves converging on a romantic relationship with the mystical side of Islam. Sufism, it’s a very unique corridor. It allows you to find out more beyond your ego fears. So that kind of mysticism was very attractive to the ambassador.
“‘And he indulged through various Sufi channels,’ said Malek. ‘Because Libya is one of the richest North African states in the source of such schools.’
“Audio of the interview can be heard below . . .”
IRS . . .
Eliana Johnson, NRO: “Return of the Tea Party”
“Activists who had not protested en masse since the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act over a year ago descended last week on IRS offices across the country, decrying the agency’s discrimination against them. In Washington, Congress’s colorful tea-party caucus reemerged, too. At a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Texas representative Louie Gohmert took to the podium to call the president a “tyrannical despot,” and 2016 presidential hopeful Rand Paul demanded answers from the IRS. Newly energized by the scandals roiling the administration, tea-party activists and lawmakers who associate themselves with the movement are looking to convert the outrage among their members into conservative victories in next year’s midterm elections.
“‘It’s a perfect storm,’ FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe says of the trio of scandals that have rocked the White House back onto its heels. . .”
Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA): “Give Us Their Names”
“. . . Why did the IRS demand lists of the names of thousands of Americans whose only common characteristic is that they disagreed with this administration?
“Where are these lists now? With whom were they shared? Who wanted to know these names? What possible use would the IRS have to track the names of high school students who simply wanted to learn about their Constitution?
“But most importantly, what were these names used for and what are they being used for?
“I don’t have an answer to these questions, but I find their implications deeply disturbing. And they must be answered during the course of the investigations now underway and they must be answered in full and with certainty.
“I cannot conceive of the reasons why the federal government would be so interested in compiling such lists – but we know for a fact that they were and that fact is undisputed. What we don’t know is why, and knowing the answer to that question – and the other questions raised by this undisputed fact – is absolutely essential to a society that values its freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of press and freedom of conscience.
“We know the ancillary effect of these illegal demands. They dried up donations to these conservative groups. They heavily suppressed volunteer activities. We know some lists were leaked to liberal publications like the Huffington Post and Pro-publica. What we don’t know is what was the direct purpose of gathering these names. . .”
Kimberley Strassel, WSJ: “Conservatives Became Targets in 2008”
“The White House insists President Obama is “outraged” by the “inappropriate” targeting and harassment of conservative groups. If true, it’s a remarkable turnaround for a man who helped pioneer those tactics.
“On Aug. 21, 2008, the conservative American Issues Project ran an ad highlighting ties between candidate Obama and Bill Ayers, formerly of the Weather Underground. The Obama campaign and supporters were furious, and they pressured TV stations to pull the ad—a common-enough tactic in such ad spats.
“What came next was not common. Bob Bauer, general counsel for the campaign (and later general counsel for the White House), on the same day wrote to the criminal division of the Justice Department, demanding an investigation into AIP, “its officers and directors,” and its “anonymous donors.” Mr. Bauer claimed that the nonprofit, as a 501(c)(4), was committing a “knowing and willful violation” of election law, and wanted ‘action to enforce against criminal violations.’
“AIP gave Justice a full explanation as to why it was not in violation . . .”
Peg Noonan, WSJ: “A Battering Ram Becomes a Stonewall “
“The IRS’s leaders refuse to account for the agency’s corruption and abuse.
“”I don’t know.” “I don’t remember.” “I’m not familiar with that detail.” “It’s not my precise area.” “I’m not familiar with that letter.”
“These are quotes from the Internal Revenue Service officials who testified this week before the House and Senate. That is the authentic sound of stonewalling, and from the kind of people who run Washington in the modern age—smooth, highly credentialed and unaccountable. They’re surrounded by legal and employment protections, they know how to parse a careful response, they know how to blur the essential point of a question in a blizzard of unconnected factoids. They came across as people arrogant enough to target Americans for abuse and harassment and think they’d get away with it.
“So what did we learn the past week, and what are the essentials to keep in mind?
We learned the people who ran and run the IRS are not going to help Congress find out what happened in the IRS. We know we haven’t gotten near the bottom of the political corruption of that agency. We do not know who ordered the targeting of conservative groups and individuals, or why, or exactly when it began. We don’t know who executed the orders or directives. We do not know the full scope or extent of the scandal. We don’t know, for instance, how many applicants for tax-exempt status were abused. . .”
Also: a Paul Shanklin masterpiece, Hillary Tries to Remember. http://dailyrushbo.com/rush-hillary-clinton-sings-try-to-remember-song-parody-hilarious/
PA . . .
Melissa Daniels, PA Independent: “Giving it away: PA subsidies a symptom of state-by-state competition”
“HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania next year faces about a $520 million budget gap, yet it’s still giving businesses millions in grants and tax credits.
“Because all the other states are doing it, that’s why. . . “
End Notes . . .
Nick Gillespie, Reason: “Rand Paul’s Hipster Outreach Mofo Party Plan”
“. . . On a political and ideological level, the Rand Pauls and Justin Amashes and Tom Massies of the Republican Party are at their most powerful when they envision a federal government that does less in economic and social life. They are not nihilists but radical decentralists who think that classical liberal and libertarian ideals are all about creating a basic framework in which different people and groups can peaceably get on with the business of living the good life as they define it (this of course was precisely the message that underwrote Ron Paul’s immense appeal, especially among younger people). The ideal America under such a plan is one in which people are constantly running their own experiments in living and learning and adapting from one another. Top-down controls and uniform appearance in style and skin are equally incompatible in such a world. . .”