November 22, 2014

This is what a Feminist looks like — The university system as The Village of the Damned [Darleen Click]

stepfordstudents

Brendan O’Neill on the death of Free Speech in the UK.

Have you met the Stepford students? They’re everywhere. On campuses across the land. Sitting stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously policing beer-fuelled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.

This side of the pond is little better …

The ‘no platform’ policy of various student unions is forever being expanded to keep off campus pretty much anyone whose views don’t chime perfectly with the prevailing groupthink. Where once it was only far-right rabble-rousers who were no-platformed, now everyone from Zionists to feminists who hold the wrong opinions on transgender issues to ‘rape deniers’ (anyone who questions the idea that modern Britain is in the grip of a ‘rape culture’) has found themselves shunned from the uni-sphere. My Oxford experience suggests pro-life societies could be next. In September the students’ union at Dundee banned the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children from the freshers’ fair on the basis that its campaign material is ‘highly offensive’.

Barely a week goes by without reports of something ‘offensive’ being banned by students. Robin Thicke’s rude pop ditty ‘Blurred Lines’ has been banned in more than 20 universities. Student officials at Balliol College, Oxford, justified their ban as a means of ‘prioritising the wellbeing of our students’. Apparently a three-minute pop song can harm students’ health. More than 30 student unions have banned the Sun, on the basis that Page Three could turn all those pre-rapists into actual rapists. Radical feminist students once burned their bras — now they insist that models put bras on. The union at UCL banned the Nietzsche Society on the grounds that its existence threatened ‘the safety of the UCL student body’.

Stepford concerns are over-amplified on social media. No sooner is a contentious subject raised than a university ‘campaign’ group appears on Facebook, or a hashtag on Twitter, demanding that the debate is shut down. Technology means that it has never been easier to whip up a false sense of mass outrage — and target that synthetic anger at those in charge. The authorities on the receiving end feel so besieged that they succumb to the demands and threats.

Heaven help any student who doesn’t bow before the Stepford mentality. The students’ union at Edinburgh recently passed a motion to ‘End lad banter’ on campus. Laddish students are being forced to recant their bantering ways. Last month, the rugby club at the London School of Economics was disbanded for a year after its members handed out leaflets advising rugby lads to avoid ‘mingers’ (ugly girls) and ‘homosexual debauchery’. Under pressure from LSE bigwigs, the club publicly recanted its ‘inexcusably offensive’ behaviour and declared that its members have ‘a lot to learn about the pernicious effects of banter’. They’re being made to take part in equality and diversity training. At British unis in 2014, you don’t just get education — you also get re-education, Soviet style.

Who knew that being an observant Jew or Christian would be the radical provocateur against The Orthodoxy.

(I would have said, “The Man”, but that would have been inexcusably heteronormative, sexist and unconsciously submissive to The Patriarchy.)

Posted by Darleen @ 1:07pm
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November 22, 2014

You’ve been forced to pick your ObamaCare plan, now good luck in keeping even that [Darleen Click]

Because PR is much more important than your silly liberty

Here’s a Friday Obamacare news-dump for you: In a 300-page regulatory proposal released late this afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is considering changing Obamacare’s auto-renewal rules so that, within the health law’s exchanges, instead of being automatically renewed into your current health plan, you’d be moved into the lowest cost plan from the same service tier.

From the attached fact sheet:

Under current rules, consumers who do not take action during the openenrollment window are re-enrolled in the same plan they were in the previous year, even if that plan experienced significant premium increases. We are considering alternative options for re-enrollment, under which consumers who take no action might be defaulted into a lower cost plan rather than their current plan.

(Fact sheet via Adrianna McIntyre; proposal first noted by Politico.)

States running their own exchanges could start doing this in 2016, and federal exchanges could start in 2017.

It’s not just auto-reenrollment. It’s auto-reassignment, at least for those who pick that option. Basically, if you like your plan, but don’t go out of your way to intentionally re-enroll, the kind and wise folks at HHS or state health exchanges might just pick a new plan—perhaps with different doctors, clinics, cost structures, and benefit options—for you. And if you want to switch back? Good luck once open enrollment is closed. There’s always next year.

A hassle? Maybe. But have faith: They know what’s best. […]

[S]ince HHS decided over the summer to institute auto-renewal, and since the majority of Obamacare enrollees are expected to take no action and thus stay in their current plans, the reality is that under the current system a lot of enrollees are likely to see large premium hikes, just because they didn’t shop around for a new plan.

They only have the purest of motives, you know. Bless their hearts.

h/t PJ Tattler

Posted by Darleen @ 12:39pm
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November 22, 2014

Obama’s amnesty is like Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves … or something … [Darleen Click]

The spin ramps up …

Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation provides the foundational precedent for President Obama’s executive order on immigrants in the country illegally. […]

Particulars in Obama’s proclamation may well be changed by Americans over time. But like Lincoln’s, its provisional and limited character will have a democracy-forcing effect — spurring officials and citizens to more actively engage in a constitutional dialogue.

Rather than refusing to follow the Constitution and “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” the president emphasizes that he will continue deportations, using all the budgetary resources Congress has provided. But those appropriations cover the annual removal of only 400,000 of the 11.3 million immigrants in the country illegally. Given this fact, Obama’s initiative has a constitutionally legitimate purpose: to prevent Homeland Security from wasting its scarce resources on breaking up innocent families when it could be targeting immigrants who deserve expeditious removal.

And here

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is drawing a parallel between President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and President Obama’s planned executive actions on immigration reform.

“Does the public know the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order?” Pelosi asked at a news conference Thursday morning.

Looks like Leftists all got their White House talking points

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) this week said President Barack Obama’s pending plan to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants will someday be seen as an historical action along the lines of the Emancipation Proclamation. […]

“One day there will be movies written about this episode in American history,” he said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “There will be a president who issues an executive order like the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed three to four million slaves with the signing of a pen.”

Because slaves – people sold out of Africa and who were actual pieces of property are exactly the same as people who came here of their own free will and will do anything to stay.

Exactly the same.

Posted by Darleen @ 9:31am
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November 21, 2014

University of California — sick, sick, sick [Darleen Click]

Not only is someone with an ISIS flag condemning America met with indifference – but the anti-Israel (and anti-Semitic) comments that start almost immediately when the Israeli flag is displayed are alarming.

Also, it appears that smoking a cigarette is more threatening than the ISIS flag.

Also — the UC system enforcing ideological “purity” on whim and allegations as if it were run by Iranian Imams.

The Microaggression Farce

In November 2013, two dozen graduate students at the University of California at Los Angeles marched into an education class and announced a protest against its “hostile and unsafe climate for Scholars of Color.” The students had been victimized, they claimed, by racial “microaggression”—the hottest concept on campuses today, used to call out racism otherwise invisible to the naked eye. UCLA’s response to the sit-in was a travesty of justice. The education school sacrificed the reputation of a beloved and respected professor in order to placate a group of ignorant students making a specious charge of racism.

The pattern would repeat itself twice more at UCLA that fall: students would allege that they were victimized by racism, and the administration, rather than correcting the students’ misapprehension, penitently acceded to it. Colleges across the country behave no differently. As student claims of racial and gender mistreatment grow ever more unmoored from reality, campus grown-ups have abdicated their responsibility to cultivate an adult sense of perspective and common sense in their students. Instead, they are creating what tort law calls “eggshell plaintiffs”—preternaturally fragile individuals injured by the slightest collisions with life. The consequences will affect us for years to come.

Posted by Darleen @ 1:44pm
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November 21, 2014

Call for aid

Hi, everyone. Just a note to let you know that my mother’s funeral was yesterday and that today we’ll be paying up her storage locker, which my brother left in arrears.

The funeral and burial costs were a bit over $11k, the storage unit is $700, and we spent an additional $4500 on travel and the lawyer.

My brother cashed out my mother’s life insurance account which named us all beneficiaries. He then took out a new account for $10k naming himself sole benificiary.

He refused to contribute any of the over $200k he took from my mother toward the funeral costs. And because my mother made a turn so quickly, we were fortunate to have about $15k available in order to give her a decent casket, a nice service, and a small send-off party, attended by family and friends my mother has had going all the way back to high school.

I’ve now learned from many of them the extent of my brother’s abuse of her — to the point she was terrified to defy him. She told one friend, “in this house, Steven is god.”

He’s using money he stole to hire a lawyer, so he’s going to fight to maintain his booty.

I hate to ask, but I’m down to my last $200 until next Thursday. We still have to pay the rental car bill and pay for meals through tomorrow.

If anyone has the means to contribute it would mean the world to my family.

It troubles my pride to have to put my hat out like this. But with the new house, we extended ourselves a bit, never imagining we’d have a $16k outlay with only one day’s notice.

Thanks in advance. And do know how much we appreciate any help you can give.

Regards,
Jeff

Ps. If you Tweet, consider RT the post. Thanks much.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:07am
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November 19, 2014

Obamnesty — fundamentally transforming America into a neo-feudal state [Darleen Click]

Barry to give American citizens the middle-finger tomorrow ..

President Obama will announce Thursday that he will use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of undocumented immigrants, according to several individuals who have been briefed on the decision. Obama will travel to Las Vegas on the heels of that announcement to rally support for his initiative on Friday. […]

The president is preparing to use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of these individuals, as well as to broaden visa programs for highly-skilled technology workers and perhaps also stiffen security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Posted by Darleen @ 1:37pm
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November 19, 2014

Two-minute Grubering [Darleen Click]

Posted by Darleen @ 1:21pm
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November 18, 2014

Requiescat in pace …. [Darleen Click]

Whatever else is going on in the world, I want to pause here to lend my thoughts and prayers to Jeff and his family upon the death of his mother.

Posted by Darleen @ 8:23pm
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November 17, 2014

program note [updated; updated again; final update]

My family will be heading to Baltimore Sunday to visit my mother; we’ll be back just before Thanksgiving.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words and well wishes.

Also, thanks to Bobby U and SW for your donations. Very much appreciated!

update: received a call from family and the health care facility in which my mother is staying. Evidently she’s taken a turn for the worse and they want us to try to fly in earlier than Sunday. My wife is out of town right now but we’re going to try to find a flight out tomorrow evening.

If you’re so inclined, say a prayer or two for us.

update 2: So. Southwest Airlines doesn’t do bereavement rates or anything like that. To change our flights will cost us $4K, plus my wife will have to get a flight home early from her business trip. My brother is also going to pocket the $10K from the life insurance policy he holds on my mom and make me pay for the funeral. So here’s hoping she can hold on until the Sunday afternoon. As executor of Mom’s estate, I’m going to have to pay her bills and taxes, too — and she has nothing left that my brother hasn’t stolen, so I just can’t do everything. It’s not possible.

My Mom is off all medication except morphine at this point.

So. If anyone needs me, I’ll be by myself.

Oh. And fuck Southwest Airlines. Seriously. Fuck them. At least if she holds out until Friday, I can make the funeral.

update 3: With some help I was able to get a flight today. Thanks everyone.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:19am
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November 17, 2014

Impeachment is the only viable way to stop Obama on amnesty?

If you believe Andrew McCarthy — and Obama uses his plenary pardon power to issue his immigration dictates — the answer is yes:

[…] here’s the problem: Obama has no more elections to worry about; and, other than impeachment, the rest of the arsenal designed by the Framers is impotent when it comes to most of his immigration scheme.

That scheme implicates three closely related but importantly distinct considerations: the lawless status of the aliens in question; non-enforcement of the immigration laws against them; and the conferral of legal status on them. On the first two, the president’s power to forgive law-breaking and refrain from law-enforcement is plenary. The abuse of these powers is essentially irresistible . . . except by impeachment. As for the third consideration, even though the president has no direct power to confer legal status or benefits (e.g., work permits) on aliens, that technical deficiency could be overcome by the abusive exploitation of the aforementioned powers he undeniably has.

I acknowledge in Faithless Execution that to refrain from invoking impeachment as the credible threat the Framers intended it to be is a rational political choice. My point is that it is a choice fraught with consequences. We have to face those consequences. We don’t get to avoid them by being reasonable, moderate people who recoil from the I-word. Nor, in the matter of illegal immigration, is there any funding cut or loopy congressional lawsuit that can dissuade this president. There is either a credible threat of impeachment or a transformational mass-amnesty. That’s it.

Executive Order Confusion

The public debate over Obama’s anticipated amnesty proclamation has wrongly focused on executive orders. So sullied has this term become that it is now a standard talking-point of Obama apologists that he has issued fewer such directives than his predecessors. It is a red herring.

There is nothing wrong in principle with an executive order — no more than there is with a statute. Congressional laws are problematic only when they exceed Congress’s powers in violation of the Constitution. Same with executive orders: The president’s powers are broad, the executive branch through which he exercises them is extensive, and there is consequently nothing improper in his issuance of executive orders to manage the conduct of legitimate executive functions — just as there is nothing invalid in Congress’s enactment of statutes consistent with its capacious constitutional authorities or a court’s issuing rulings within its proper jurisdiction.

Executive orders are offensive only when the president employs them to usurp the powers of the other branches — in particular, the legislative authority of Congress. If the president issued an executive order directing the IRS to collect taxes on a rate-schedule he unilaterally prescribed, that would be a serious violation of law. The fact that there was only one such executive order rather than, say, 500 would be quite beside the point.

With that backdrop, let’s go back to our three considerations in the immigration context.

1. Lawless Status of the Aliens.
The Constitution vests the president with “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States.” It is an awesome power — wholly unreviewable and nearly limitless — although one explicit limit is crucial, and we’ll get to it in due course.

Any offense against federal law is subject to pardon, and the Supreme Court has held since the Civil War that pardons remove “any of the penalties and disabilities” that would flow from a conviction. In fact, nothing in the Constitution prevents a president from pardoning his own law-breaking. The pardon power does not apply prospectively — the president may not license future law-breaking. But once the law has been broken, the president can pardon the offense; there is no need for an investigation to have occurred, much less a prosecution or conviction.

Pardons, moreover, need neither be individualized nor actually sought by the person to be pardoned. As George Mason law professor James Pfiffner recounts in the Heritage Foundation’s excellent Guide to The Constitution, President Washington granted a blanket amnesty to collaborators in the Whiskey Rebellion; Presidents Lincoln and Johnson pardoned pro-Confederacy seditionists. On his first day in office in 1977, President Carter fulfilled a campaign promise by pardoning hundreds of thousands of Vietnam draft evaders.

It is occasionally claimed that illegal immigration is beyond the pardon power because it is “civil” wrong not a criminal offense. This contention is largely incorrect, and it rests on a dubious assumption. Illegal entry into the United States is a criminal offense, albeit a misdemeanor. Reentry after deportation is a felony. And illegal aliens often commit various crimes to sustain their unlawful presence in our country. It is certainly true that an alien’s being unlawfully present in the United States — for example, overstaying a visa or remaining here after illegally entering — is a civil violation, not a criminal one, but it is serious enough to render an alien deportable. The Constitution, in any event, enables a president to pardon federal “Offenses” — it does not say criminal offenses. While it is a reasonable deduction that the Framers’ use of the word “offense” was meant to imply crimes, not civil wrongs, why should we assume that federal courts now stacked with Obama-appointed judges would see it that way? Why should the word offense be any less “organic” than, say, the term equal protection of the laws? Besides, the point of a blanket pardon would not be to confer lawful status on the aliens, something the president has no power to do. The point, as we shall see, would be to pave the way for the courts to finish the job.

Thus, fully within his constitutional authority, President Obama could, right this minute and without any congressional approval, pardon every illegal alien in the United States — indeed, every illegal alien anywhere who has been deported after violating federal law. He could do it by executive order and, while outrageous and condemnable, it would indisputably be within his Article II power. (As I have been pointing out since before Obama’s 2008 election, his longtime friendship with former terrorist Bill Ayers is rooted in their shared radical notions about the American criminal-justice system — which Ayers, in a book Obama gushingly endorsed, condemned as the racist equivalent of Apartheid South Africa. If I were in Congress right now, I’d be asking the Justice Department a lot of questions about preparations for pardons in Obama’s last two years. If you’re a convict not named Dinesh D’Souza or Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, I imagine you’ve got a shot.)

2. Non-enforcement of the Immigration Laws

As I explain in Faithless Execution, while the Constitution grants much raw power to the president, it also constrains its exercise by placing limits on the legitimate uses of executive authority. A textbook example of illegitimate exercise of a legitimate power is Obama’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion.

Prosecution is an awesome executive power. The Framers realized that, throughout history, the joinder in a single official or governing body of the powers to make law and to prosecute was the road to tyranny. So they took pains to separate legislative and prosecutorial authority. The executive branch was given plenary authority over federal law-enforcement: It is entirely up to the president and his Justice Department subordinates to decide what offenses and offenders will be investigated and prosecuted. Congress can try to pressure and prod, but it has no ability to coerce the Justice Department to enforce laws. (It is worth noting that the just-described sweep of the pardon power similarly reflects the Framers’ purposes to divide law-making from law-enforcement and to check potential legislative overreach.)

Pre-Obama, prosecutorial discretion was understood as an unremarkable resource-allocation doctrine specific to the criminal law. Enforcement resources are finite. It is neither possible nor desirable to prosecute every single violation of law. Therefore, policymakers, prosecutors, and police must exercise judgment about which violations merit attention and which ones can be overlooked. Mind you, the overlooking does not excuse the law-breaking; it is simply a concession to reality — there are more pressing threats to society than pot-smoking, petty fraud, etc.

Obama, however, has contorted prosecutorial discretion into a license to ignore, “waive,” rewrite, and otherwise violate congressional statutes — including laws such as the Affordable Care Act that are far afield from criminal-law enforcement. In sum, “prosecutorial discretion” has become the camouflage for Obama’s usurpation of the powers to write and conclusively interpret the law — powers the Constitution vests in Congress and the courts.

Faithless Execution outlines a litany of Obama-administration directives that the immigration laws go unenforced. In combination, they already amount to a large-scale amnesty. This, like abuse of the pardon power, can rightly be described as outrageous and condemnable. But, once again, such executive orders are indisputably within the president’s Article II power in the sense that neither Congress nor the courts can compel him to enforce the law.

3. Conferral of Legal Status

Under the Constitution, the power to determine the qualifications for American citizenship is legislative. Obviously, Congress’s prescriptions must be signed by the president to become law (unless lawmakers have the numbers to override a veto). The president, however, has absolutely no authority to confer legal status or positive benefits (e.g., work permits) on aliens who are in the United States illegally. If the president attempts to do this by executive order — and, as Faithless Execution recounts, Obama has already done it, albeit on smaller scales than what is now being contemplated — that would patently exceed his authority, in violation of both the Constitution and statutory law.

But it is never that simple, is it? Let’s say Obama pardoned some millions of illegal aliens. The effect of a pardon is to expunge a violation of the law and its attendant effects. In the eyes of the law, it is as if the offense never happened.

Well, the legal and moral case against conferring legal status on illegal aliens is that doing so would excuse their law-breaking, encourage more law-breaking, and give the lawbreakers an unfair preference over aliens who have tried to immigrate lawfully. But a pardon would thrust us into a legal fiction in which we’d have to pretend that the aliens had never broken our immigration laws in the first place. What, then, would remain of the rationale for complaining about the preference given law-breakers over law-abiding aliens? Or for continuing to saddle the aliens with illegal status? Anyone want to bet me on how the nearly 400 judges Obama will have put on the federal bench by 2017 would come out on those questions?

If the president refuses to enforce the immigration laws and grants something close to a blanket amnesty, we will be on an inexorable course toward citizenship — and, crucially, voting rights — for millions of illegal aliens, also known as Democrats waiting to happen. It is the Left’s dream of a permanent, unassimilated, post-American governing majority.

Is that where we are headed?

Abuse of Power and Impeachment

As we noted earlier, the president’s pardon power is nearly limitless. There is a single exception, explicit in the Constitution’s Article II, Section 2: “Cases of Impeachment.”

The president can prevent incarceration and other legal punishments for any unlawful acts; but he cannot prevent impeachment — his own or any other official’s — based on the abuses of power that flow from those acts. Impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one. It is about the removal of political power because of breaches of the public trust, not legal prosecution and punishment. Indeed, the Framers considered narrowing the pardon power to prevent the president from granting amnesty for his own lawlessness; they opted against it precisely because they believed the specter of impeachment would be sufficient disincentive.

As we’ve seen, the president’s pardon and prosecutorial powers are formidable. They do not, however, exist in a vacuum. They exist in a constitutional framework wherein the president’s core duties are to execute the laws faithfully and preserve our system of government. The fact that an act is within a president’s vast lawful power does not make it a faithful, constitutionally legitimate use of that power. As Faithless Execution elaborates, an act need not be criminal or indictable in order to be impeachable. There is far more to fiduciary responsibility than acting within the margins of technical legality.

To offer an analogy, a judge who sentenced a defendant to 20 years’ imprisonment for handing someone a single marijuana cigarette would be imposing a legal sentence (i.e., within the governing statute) but would demonstrate himself unfit to be a judge. Likewise, lawmakers have the power to impose a 100 percent tax on income, but doing so would be an intolerable abuse of power. Similarly, a president who uses the pardon power and prosecutorial discretion as pretexts for usurping Congress’s power to make immigration law, for encouraging law-breaking, and for remaking the country in a manner that imperils the economic and security interests of American citizens, commits grievous impeachable offenses.

To be blunt, there is no real power-of-the-purse check on the president’s pardon power. Congress could threaten to withhold funds necessary for other Obama agenda items in an effort to discourage a blanket amnesty — although it would not be a very credible threat with the soon-to-be Senate majority leader having already pledged to refrain from using Congress’s control of the purse-strings as leverage. But let’s face it: While many of his abuses of power cannot happen without congressional funding, the president doesn’t need a dime to pardon people. He doesn’t even need his phone — just his pen.

The only real check on the pardon power is impeachment.

At this point, would a credible threat of impeachment be much of a check on this president’s designs? I’m not sure. Obama’s stated goal is fundamental transformation of the nation, and a blanket amnesty would accomplish that. From his standpoint, it might be worth the risk. Plus, even if the amnesty suddenly ignited public sentiment for the president’s removal from office (a dubious supposition), nothing in Washington happens quickly. Obama would still have many months if not most of the rest of his term to abuse his awesome powers (including by issuing additional pardons) in transformational ways.

But I do know this: Absent a credible threat of impeachment, President Obama cannot and will not be stopped from granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, who will in short order be awarded citizenship and voting rights. […]

— And it turns out many in the GOP establishment don’t much care, and in fact are likely hoping Obama does issue dictates — amounting to pardoning the crimes of illegality and identity theft — so that they can run against amnesty in 2016, having gotten the very amnesty many of their closest cronies have pushed them to adopt in the first place.

That is, they benefit politically and with respect to their cronies, who are demanding cheaper labor. And like Jonathan Gruber, they believe us too stupid to see what’s going on.

Taking the shutting down of government off the table, working on an omnibus spending bill that will further entrench ObamaCare (another political bonus for the establishment GOP, who will run against ObamaCare yet again in 2016), and eschewing any talk of impeachment as immature, etc., is part and parcel of a modern-day GOP that will put politics and special interests ahead of the people who put them in power.

This is not representative government.

And it’s time to take back that representative component of the federal government by way of reining them in through the constitutional powers granted to the states. The article V convention movement must pick up quickly, however, or a permanent voting majority — based around creating a burgeoning welfare constituency — will fall to the Democrats, who have every intention to complete and institutionalize their project of fundamental transformation.

Even federal politicians from the minority party grow fat and powerful under an expansive centralized Leviathan. Through corporate welfare and cronyism do both parties now run, and sadly, the GOP would rather see the expansion of progressivism than the grass-roots swell of constitutional conservatism.

One has only look at the smug, dissembling face of John McCain or Mitch McConnell to see the future of the GOP.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:12am
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