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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Defending Sudan’s Christians from Islamist Terror

Posted By Mark D. Tooley

On October 23, 2012

The Church of England’s Archbishop of York continues to distinguish himself as a frequent fly in the ointment of political correctness by defending British culture and Christianity. Himself a Ugandan refugee from the horrors of Idi Amin, John Sentamu is thankful for the civilization that has protected and elevated him. It’s perhaps no great surprise that a Church of England commission assigned to nominate the next Archbishop of Canterbury, who would be their church’s and the global Anglican Communion’s senior prelate, declined to nominate Sentamu. Amid allegations of adamant resistance by some to the Archbishop of York, who is a strong and sometimes polarizing figure, the commission instead has so far failed in its duty and nominated nobody. The Church of England is left dangling. Almost certainly the Archbishop of York would provide greater leadership and clarity than the often left-leaning, poet intellectual who is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Further evidence of Sentamu’s leadership emerged in an October 17 speech he delivered to the House of Lords in defense of the besieged and mostly Christian people of South Sudan. The South Sudanese won their independence from the brutal Islamist regime in Khartoum last year after decades of vicious war in which millions perished. Yet Sudan’s tyrants still threaten the south just as they continue to wage war against various Muslim minority groups in northern Sudan that don’t subscribe to Khartoum’s nasty brand of radical Islam.
In May Sentamu attended a retreat in South Sudan with 14 senior Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops. Bishops from Sudan itself, representing the often besieged Christian minority that remains in the north, were unable to travel. The senior prelates issued an appeal to a world that does not often heed their plight. “Much of the last six decades has been characterized by a struggle for freedom on the part of marginalizd peoples within the old nation of Sudan,” the Sudanese bishops noted with understatement. They celebrated the “peaceful birth” of South Sudan amid the north’s frequent refusal to abide by the peace accord and despite “military provocation from Khartoum.” And they emphasized that South Sudan represents only “one section of the marginalized peoples of Sudan.” The bishops expressed frustration that the United Nations and other prominent international actors mostly are ignoring the ongoing plight of Sudan’s oppressed minority groups against whom Khartoum continues to wage war. The targeted peoples include Darfur and the peoples of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
The Anglican and Catholic bishops accused Sudan of supporting “rebel militia” in South Sudan that are abducting recruits to fight against the “democratically-elected government” there. “Unlike the rebel movements in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, they do not appear to have any popular support nor just cause,” noted the bishops, who said Khartoum is suspected also of supporting the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army. Citing Martin Luther King, Jr., the bishops declared they “too have a dream” about “two nations which are democratic and free, where people of all religions, all ethnic groups, all cultures and all languages enjoy equal human rights based on citizenship,” and where Christians and Muslims “can attend church or mosque freely without fear.”
Such a dream from the Sudanese bishops is lofty, and the international community, above all the churches, should embrace it. But most are silent in the face of Khartoum’s ongoing crimes. As the Archbishop of York politely told the House of Lords: “The fact is that the needs and aspirations of these noble people are not actually understood in the West.” Sentamu said Britain should encourage Sudan to recognize the reality of itself as a “multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious nation.” But of course, Khartoum’s Islamist regime despises this notion. “Freedom of religion is an essential element of respect for human rights in Sudan and needs to be emphasized,” Sentamu said, citing the “significant indigenous Christian presence in Sudan whose rights must be respected.” With restrained language, he recalled “dangerously provocative language” earlier this year from Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, which was followed by a Sudanese Islamist mob destroying a Presbyterian church and the Khartoum police destroying an Anglican church. Sentamu described the senior Roman Catholic and Anglican clerics as key leaders for negotiating a satisfactory peace in wider Sudan. And he concluded: “I call upon Her Majesty’s Government to do all in their power to assist both countries in making this dream [of the bishops] a reality.”
Let’s see if Her Majesty’s Government or other Western nations pay sufficient heed to the Archbishop of York’s appeal. Or even if Western churches bother to listen and echo Sentamu’s concern. The many Western church elites, for example, who obsess over Israel’s reputed oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank might make just a little time to examine the many millions more who suffer far, far worse in Sudan. Just as South Sudan did for decades, the tormented minority groups of north Sudan yearn for decent government if not independence. Unlike Israel, which has repeatedly acceded to the idea of a Palestinian state, Khartoum prefers to crush its opponents where possible.
Of course, acknowledging the wickedness of a radical Islamist regime is hard for many Western church elites who, unlike Sentamu, typically locate evil only in Western culture. But at least the Archbishop of York is speaking when too many other clerics are silent.

Taming Islamist Turkey

Posted By Joseph Puder

On October 23, 2012

Megalomania in the Middle East is not uncommon; it has afflicted numerous figures in the Muslim Middle East including the likes of Gamal Abdul Nasser, the dictator of Egypt, Iranian Shah Muhammad Pahlavi and Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein. The current regional megalomaniac is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey who has been acting like “God’s deputy” and “dispenser of justice” with unrestrained arrogance. Amid mounting troubles, with a declining economy and the political turmoil that surrounds Turkey, Syria and Iran, Erdogan’s star power is rapidly fading.
Erdogan’s political career began in 1976 while a student at Marmara University’s Department of Economics. He joined the National Turkish Student Union, an anti-communist action group, and was chosen by his fellow students to lead the Islamist National Salvation Party (MSP), led by the Islamist Necmettin Erbakan. Thus began his commitment and career in Islamic politics. In 1991, Erdogan won a seat in the Turkish Parliament, as a representative of Erbakan’s newly formed Welfare Party (RP), but his election was cancelled due to a technicality.
Erdogan’s breakthrough came three years later, in 1994, when he was elected mayor of Istanbul. The election of an Islamist figure frightened the city’s secular residents, fearing that he would impose Islamic Sharia law, but instead, he ran the city as a pragmatic and successful mayor.
In 1996, the Welfare Party, in coalition with the center-right True Path Party, came to power in Turkey. Erbakan became the first defiantly Islamist Prime Minister – shocking the secular Turks with his radical Islamist rhetoric. In February 1997, the military removed Erbakan from power, and Islamist groups were subjected to a crackdown. Erdogan was caught up in the crackdown while delivering a pro-Islamist speech. In 1998 he was convicted and served four months of a ten-month prison term.
During this period of incarceration Erdogan’s ego began to flourish. He convinced himself that an alliance of the military, judiciary, and Turkey’s secular media, all of which did in fact hate him, his party and his values, were conspiring against him. Erdogan would later focus on destroying these three secular institutions.
In 2001, Erdogan and Abdullah Gul formed the Justice and Development Party (AKP). They differentiated their party from previous Islamist parties by posing as a “conservative” party with a message that focused on political liberalization and economic growth. “Political liberalization” eventually served as a way to destroy the secular military and judiciary, and to crackdown on the liberal media.
The November 2002 elections propelled Erdogan and his AKP party into power. During his campaign there was no mention of his Islamist agenda or talk of a global Caliphate. The center-right and center-left parties, which had previously dominated Turkish politics, virtually disappeared in 2011. The AKP, which had garnered a third of the electorate in 2002, would win half of the electorate in 2011. Erdogan was now well on his way towards undoing the openness that marked the Ataturk revolution and imposing sharia law in Turkey. The AKP victory proceeded to completely change Turkey’s political map.
The unprecedented growth of the Turkish economy under the leadership of the AKP, and the seemingly successful foreign policy moves by Erdogan, began to go his head. At the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland in the winter of 2009, sitting on a panel with Israel’s President Shimon Peres, Arab League Secretary General Moussa Amar of Egypt and Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, Erdogan stormed out of the session when the moderator interrupted him. According to The Telegraph (January 30, 2009) Erdogan charged that “President Peres was speaking to the prime minister of Turkey – I am not just some leader of some group or tribe, so he should have addressed me accordingly,” he told reporters. Erdogan’s behavior was unprecedented in international forums, and it was the first display of his megalomaniacal personality.
The “Zero Problems Policy,” inaugurated by Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and regarded by some as Neo-Ottomanism, is an ideology that promotes engagement with areas previously part of the Ottoman Empire, including the Arab Middle East. While others have referred to Erdogan’s policy as neo-imperialistic, the bottom line is this “Zero Problems Policy” has turned on itself and Erdogan’s Turkey is sinking deeper into the Syrian quagmire.
Not long ago, Erdogan, together with his Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, engineered an alliance with Iran and Syria meant to forestall the rise of Kurdish independence. The fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq ushered in the first semi-independent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq. The Kurdish population in Turkey of 15-25 million represents approximately one third of Turkey’s population of 73.7 million (2010 estimate) and the Erdogan regime has relentlessly punished Kurds who have politically and/or publicly asserted their Kurdish identity or espoused the use of the Kurdish language in the public domain. Kurds, a proud and determined people, have risked public censure, harassment, and prosecution for the crime of being Kurds, and speaking their Indo-European language.
Kurdish frustration with their lack of freedom and independence in Turkey spawned the rise of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which now has a base in the semi-independent Kurdistan of Iraq. The PKK has been waging a bloody campaign against the Turkish government. The success of the KRG in Iraq has encouraged the Kurds in Turkey to raise their own demands for independence. Since last year’s rise of the Syrian civil war and with the Assad regime tottering, the Kurds of Syria (most of whom live in northeastern Syria bordering Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kurdish areas of Turkey) have also become hopeful of achieving an independent Kurdish state in Syria. In the meantime, Bashar Assad, the Syrian dictator, is supporting the PKK war on Turkey.
Erdogan’s Turkey has been a major supporter of the Islamic Republic of Iran in recent years, and has played an active role in mediating the conflict between Iran and the Western powers over Iran’s nuclear program. Turkey hosted the meeting of the P5+1 nations held in January 2011. Disagreement with Iran over Iraqi politics (Sunni-Shiite divide) and the conflict with Syria (Iran supporting the Assad Alawi regime and Turkey aiding the Sunni opposition) further strained the relationship between Turkey and Iran, and reached a boiling point in September 2011 when Turkey announced that it would install a radar system designed by the U.S. as part of NATO’s shield against an Iranian missile attack on Europe.
The Economist summed up Turkey’s economy as follows:
The wobbles at the end of the year (2011), which depleted Turkey’s shallow pool of currency reserves, ought to have been a warning about the dangers of relying on foreign capital and the need to insure against its drying up. The risk then was a sudden and protracted stop in foreign-capital flows, which would have meant a hard landing for Turkey’s economy…The danger now is that a few more years of big current account deficits, and debt-creating capital flow that finance them will leave Turkey less resilient when trouble strikes…
The bottom line is less investment in Turkey, relatively high inflation, and the Euro crisis, which means less Turkish exports, while the Arab market has virtually disappeared with the “Arab Spring.”
Erdogan fancied himself as the new leader of the Sunni-Muslim world, and the hero of the Arabs. But the EU rejection of Turkish membership and the evaporation of the “Zero-conflict initiative” have left Erdogan in a political cul-de-sac, and while he seeks Assad’s demise, he fears an independent Kurdish state in Syria. All of which has served to tame Erdogan’s megalomaniacal impulses.

Obama’s Benghazi Investigator: An Iran Sympathizer

Posted By Matthew Vadum

On October 24, 2012

The freshly appointed chairman of a federal investigation into the Benghazi massacre is an apologist for Islamic terrorism who has a cozy relationship with Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
And to add insult to injury, at press time Tuesday evening the chairman of this new State Department panel, former Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, was poised to participate in a panel discussion at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on “what role the faith community can play in fighting Islamophobia.”
The news comes on the heels of a new report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism that found that “scores” of known radical Islamists met with senior Obama administration officials during hundreds of visits to the White House.
Pickering’s appointment as probe chairman was announced in the Federal Register on October 4. The State Department “Accountability Review Board” headed by Pickering is tasked with examining the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012 deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and security personnel Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The problem is that Pickering has ties to the pro-Iran Islamist front group known as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). NIAC lost an important defamation case in federal court last month in which it unsuccessfully argued the group was not a tool of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pickering is a member of the advisory board of NIAC. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from May 1997 through the end of 2000, according to a 2009 report titled “Rise of the Iran Lobby,” by Clare M. Lopez of the Center for Security Policy. He’s also vice chairman of international consultancy, Hills & Co., and co-chairman of the board of directors of the International Crisis Group (whose executive committee includes George Soros).
“Ambassador Pickering’s positions on Iran include calls for bilateral talks without preconditions and a plan for a multinational uranium enrichment consortium in Iran,” Lopez writes. “Iran has proposed a similar plan to the UN Security Council. Ambassador Pickering advocates a process leading to mutual diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States.”
“U.S. national security policy is being successfully targeted by Jihadist entities hostile to American interests,” she writes. One of these groups, NIAC, is involved in “a de facto partnership” with its better known but more notorious jihadist ally “the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other organizations serving as mouthpieces for the mullahs’ party line.”
This network “includes well-known American diplomats, congressional representatives, figures from academia and the think tank world.” NIAC and its predecessor group, the American-Iranian Council, have long “functioned openly as apologists for the Iranian regime.”
CAIR is an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood and was named by the Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 and 2008 Holy Land Foundation trials.
The panel discussion featured Pickering, Arab American Institute president James J. Zogby, American Association for Muslim Advancement executive director Daisy Khan, and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative.
Khan and Rauf are prime movers behind the proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
Khan is known for her over-the-top attacks on those who question the wisdom of building a Muslim holy site so close to the place where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in an Islamist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Asked in 2010 if America was “Islamophobic,” Khan replied that “It’s not even Islamophobia, it’s beyond Islamophobia — it’s hate of Muslims,” she said.
Of course use of the word “Islamophobia” is a tool of intimidation, calculated to silence the so-called Islamophobe.
If one fears Islamist ideology as an irredentist, imperialist, totalitarian force, one is rational. “Phobia” implies that one who fears or is skeptical of the intentions of Muslims is mentally unbalanced. The term is used the same way American leftists use the word “racist” to shut down debate.
While two George Soros-funded nonprofits, the Center for American Progress and Media Matters for America, are working overtime to try to convince Americans that this make-believe mental illness of Islamophobia is a threat to American democracy and pluralism, the embattled Obama administration has been in damage control mode for weeks as the president’s foreign policy aimed at appeasing totalitarian Islamic theocrats collapses. The administration has been sucking up to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a 57-state (56 sovereign states and the Palestinian Authority) group that considers itself the Caliphate reborn.
Americans’ civil rights and political correctness are weapons of infiltration used by our Islamofascist enemies. Just like our Soviet Communist enemies during the Cold War, Islamists are using Americans’ goodness and their sense of fair play, including an aversion to being accused of racial stereotyping, against America.
Hard data do not support claims that Islamophobia exists in the United States.
As Jonathan S. Tobin wrote in Commentary last year: “the notion of a rising wave of hatred against Muslims is unsupported by any statistical research.”
“When you consider that Muslims claim to have about the same number of adherents in this country as Jews and that anti-Jewish crimes have always far outnumbered those committed against Muslims, the media hysteria about Islamophobia is exposed as a big lie. But even if there are fewer Muslims here than their groups claim, the conclusion is unchanged.”
And there is credible evidence that Obama, who told the UN last month that “the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” is sympathetic to Islamists’ increasingly vocal demands for Saudi-style anti-blasphemy laws.
So, apparently, is Ambassador Pickering, which makes him unfit to head any probe of what happened last month in Benghazi, Libya.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

VOTER FRAUD & VOTER ID LAWS

One of the most important and emotionally charged issues in contemporary politics is voter fraud. The public debate over this issue centers around two diametrically opposed perspectives. One perspective maintains that any policy that increases the potential for fraud in the electoral process undermines both the validity of that process and the confidence Americans have in it. Those who embrace this view assert that strong measures—most notably Voter ID requirements at polling places—should be implemented to reduce or eliminate the possibility of voter fraud occurring. They agree with the Supreme Court's 2006 declaration that: “[C]onfidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised.”

The opposing perspective contends that the incidence of voter fraud is extremely rare, and that initiatives like Voter ID requirements are unnecessary and constitute a form of vote suppression. A related argument holds that some demographic subgroups of the U.S. population—particularly nonwhite, low-income, and elderly people—are considerably less likely to hold government-issued forms of ID than are their white, affluent, and younger counterparts. Thus, say the critics, Voter ID laws discriminate against these subgroups and function as a modern-day equivalent of “poll taxes” that have the effect of disenfranchising certain groups.

Existing Voter ID Laws

Twenty U.S. states currently have no laws in place requiring Voter ID. Of the 30 states that do have such laws, 17 require an ID bearing a photograph of the voter. In some of these 17 states, a voter who fails to show a photo ID is given a provisional ballot which will be counted only if he or she returns to election officials with an acceptable form of identification. In other states, the Voter ID standards are less exacting. For example, voters without ID in some states may still cast their ballots if they sign an affidavit of identity, or if poll workers can personally vouch for their identity.

In addition to the 30 states with some form of existing voter-identification requirements, five other states have passed Voter ID laws that have not yet been enacted for one reason or another. Mississippi, for one, passed (by means of a citizen initiative) a strict photo ID requirement that has been put on hold until after the 2012 elections, when the Department of Justice (DOJ) will review the law. Wisconsin passed a similar measure in 2011, but it was declared unconstitutional by a state judge on March 12, 2012. On August 30, 2012, a federal district court in Washington, DC blocked a Texas law that would have required voters to show photo ID—claiming that the legislation imposed “strict, unforgiving burdens” on poor minority voters. On October 2, 2012, a state judge temporarily enjoined enforcement of Pennsylvania's new voter ID law, thereby ensuring that it would not be in effect for the November 2012 elections. And on October 10, 2012, a three-judge panel barred South Carolina's newly passed Voter ID law from going into effect before election day 2012, but gave approval for its implementation beginning in 2013.

Is Voter Fraud Rare? Are Voter ID Laws Discriminatory?

The notion that voter fraud is an uncommon occurrence can be traced most significantly to Citizens Without Proof, a November 2006 report produced by the George Soros-funded Brennan Center for Justice, which stated that “fraud by individual voters is both irrational [because perpetrators risk penalties of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine] and extremely rare.”

Citizens Without Proof is most often cited for its widely circulated claim that about 25% of all African-Americans of voting age do not own a photo ID. But an August 2011 Heritage Foundation study exposed that report as being “dubious in its methodology and results, and suspect in its sweeping conclusions.” For example, Heritage noted that the Brennan Center had: (a) used biased questioning to obtain the results it wanted vis à vis minority voters; (b) based its report entirely on one survey of 987 “voting age American citizens,” but made no effort to determine whether the respondents were in fact citizens; (c) neglected to ask whether the respondents were actual voters, likely voters, registered voters, or even eligible to vote at all; and (d) failed to ask the respondents whether they had student or tribal ID cards, even though such cards are acceptable forms of Voter ID in some states.

Further, Heritage pointed out that the Brennan Center statistics are sharply at odds with the findings of previous studies on voter-identification documents. For example, a 2008 American University survey in Maryland, Indiana, and Mississippi found that fewer than one-half of 1 percent of registered voters lacked a government-issued ID. Similarly, a 2006 survey of more than 36,000 voters found that only “23 people in the entire sample—less than one-tenth of one percent of reported voters—were unable to vote because of an ID requirement.” Heritage noted, moreover, that “every state that has passed a voter ID law has also ensured that the very small percentage of individuals who do not have a photo ID can easily obtain one for free if they cannot afford one.”

Lastly, the Heritage Foundation study identified footnotes within Citizens Without Proof that not only cast serious doubt on the results of the report, but actually contradict its major claims. For example, Footnote 1 states that “the results of this survey were weighted to account for underrepresentation of race,” but nowhere is there an explanation of how this factor was weighted, making it impossible to determine the accuracy of the footnote’s claim. Footnote 3 states that “135 respondents indicated that they had both a U.S. birth certificate and U.S. naturalization papers,” suggesting confusion on the part of the respondents. And perhaps most significantly, Footnote 4 states plainly that “[t]he survey did not yield statistically significant results for differential rates of possession of citizenship documents by race, age, or other identified demographic factors.”

Notwithstanding the methodological flaws of the Brennan Center study, a host of left-wing groups and individuals have echoed its assertions that voter fraud is exceedingly rare, and that among voting-age adults, 25% of blacks, 16% of Hispanics, 18% of senior citizens, 18% of those aged eighteen to twenty-four, and 15% of those who earn less than $35,000 annually, lack a photo ID. Noting that the corresponding figures for voting-age adults in other racial, ethnic, age, and income categories are significantly lower, these same critics cite the foregoing figures as evidence of selective disenfranchisement. In a December 2011 speech condemning Voter ID laws, for instance, Attorney General Eric Holder said: “It is time to ask: What kind of nation and what kind of people do we want to be? Are we willing to allow this era—our era—to be remembered as the age when our nation’s proud tradition of expanding the franchise ended?” 
In a May 2012 meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus and black church leaders, Holder revisited this theme:
“Despite our nation’s long history of extending voting rights to non-property owners and to women, to people of color, to Native Americans, and to younger Americans, today a growing number of our fellow citizens are worried about the same disparities, divisions and problems that nearly five decades ago so many fought to address. In my travels across this country I’ve heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens who for the first time in their lives now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation’s most noble ideals and some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang, again, in the balance.”
By June 2012, Holder's DOJ had already filed suit against both Texas and South Carolina for having passed Voter ID statutes.

Holder's contention that Voter ID laws are unnecessary was dealt an embarrassing blow in early 2012, when James O'Keefe, a 28-year-old white investigative journalist, posted online a video of himself walking into the polling place in Holder’s District of Columbia precinct, falsely identifying himself as Eric Holder (a highly prominent 61-year-old African American), and asking for a ballot so he could vote in the Democratic primary which was being held that day. The video shows a poll worker responding to O'Keefe's request by willingly offering him Holder's ballot and making no effort to verify the young man's identity.

A Famous Case of Voter Fraud

Voter fraud clearly influenced a vitally important U.S. Senate election in Minnesota in 2008. Two years earlier, former community organizer Mark Ritchie—who had previously been tied to such pro-Barack Obama organizations as the New Party, the Campaign for America's Future, and the Apollo Alliance—
was elected as Minnesota's secretary of state. According to Mary Kiffmeyer, the Republican incumbent whom Ritchie defeated: “The first thing he [Ritchie] did when he got into office was to dismantle the ballot reconciliation program we started. Under that program districts are required to check [the] number of ballots issued, by matching them with the number of ballots cast, that way we know immediately that the vote count is accurate.”


In 2008, Democrat Al Franken seemingly lost a hotly contested U.S. Senate race (in Minnesota) to Republican incumbent Norm Coleman by 725 votes. But Franken refused to concede, and the thin margin triggered an automatic recount. With Mark Ritchie presiding over the recount process, Coleman's lead gradually vanished due to a host of mysterious, newly discovered votes that almost invariably benefited Franken. A detailed account of these developments can found here. By the time the recount (and a court challenge by Coleman) had ended in April 2009, Franken held a 312-vote margin of victory.

Mary Kiffmeyer said she was “absolutely sure” that Ritchie's elimination of voting regulations was responsible for Franken's win. She noted, for instance: “We now have 17,000 more ballots cast than there are voters who voted, and no way to determine what went wrong.” Dan McGrath and Jeff Davis, founders of the watchdog group Minnesota Majority, concurred that Franken's slim margin of victory was directly attributable to Ritchie's dismantling of election rules. Another consequence of Ritchie's actions, for example, was that some 1,400 convicted felons, mostly residing in heavily Democratic areas, illegally voted in that election.

Voter Fraud's Enabler: Registration Fraud

Voter fraud is much easier to carry out, of course, if the groundwork is first laid in the form of voter-registration fraud, typified by such tactics as falsifying registration forms with forged or duplicate signatures, names of dead or non-existent people, names of convicted felons who are ineligible to vote, fake Social Security numbers, incorrect birth dates, and non-existent addresses. The most infamous perpetrator of this type of voter-registration fraud was the community organization ACORN—now defunct as an national entity, but reconstituted under a variety of different names in several states. In both the 2004 and 2008 election cycles, ACORN registered at least several hundred thousand voters. As of October 2008, the group was under investigation for tens of thousands of acts of voter-registration fraud in 13 states. To view a list of some of ACORN’s more egregious acts of voter-registration fraud, click here.

Opposition to Purging Voter Rolls of Ineligible Names

Invariably, opponents of Voter ID laws also oppose initiatives to purge voter rolls of ineligible names—e.g. people who are deceased, who have relocated to a different state or voting district, or who have been convicted of felonies. Under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, for instance, DOJ has made no effort to enforce laws requiring states to remove ineligible names from their voter rolls. In late May 2012, the Justice Department actually ordered the state of Florida to halt its efforts—which were already underway—to verify the identity and eligibility of the people listed on its voter rolls. DOJ explained its actions by saying that it had not yet been able to verify that Florida's efforts “neither have the purpose nor will have the effect of discriminating on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.”

Florida was not compliant with DOJ, however. “We have an obligation to make sure the voter rolls are accurate and we are going to continue forward and do everything that we can legally do to make sure than ineligible voters cannot vote,” said Chris Cate, a spokesman for Florida secretary of state Ken Detzner. “We are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot. We are not going to give up our efforts to make sure the voter rolls are accurate.” In response, DOJ filed suit against Florida on June 12, 2012.

Earlier in 2012, Florida election officials had identified some 53,000 still-registered voters who were deceased, and another 2,600 who were non-citizens. In fact, state officials estimated that the total number of non-citizens on Florida's registered-voter rolls was as high as 182,000. Moreover, Secretary Detzner revealed that he and his staff had been refused access (by the Department of Homeland Security) to the federal database containing more up-to-date immigration and citizenship information.

In a July 2010 column for PJ Media, former DOJ Voting Section attorney J. Christian Adams exposed the Obama-Holder Justice Department's resolve to turn a blind eye to problems involving corrupted voter rolls. Adams wrote that in November 2009, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes had bluntly told dozens of Voting Section employees: “We have no interest in enforcing this provision [voter list integrity] of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.”
RESOURCES
The Reality of Voter Fraud
By John Fund
May 2, 2012

Getting It Wrong on Voter ID
By Hans A. von Spakovsky
August 3, 2012

Without Proof: The Unpersuasive Case Against Voter Identification
By Hans A. von Spakovsky and Alex Ingram
August 24, 2011

How Does Requiring Voter ID Prevent Election Fraud?
By the Heritage Foundation

Voter IDs Are Not the Problem: A Survey of Three States
By Robert Pastor et al.
January 9, 2008

Voter Fraud and Voter Intimidation
By The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
October 13, 2006

Voter Photo Identification: Protecting the Security of Elections
By Hans von Spakovsky
July 13, 2011

The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting
By Hans Spakovsky
July 10, 2008

Photo ID, the Left, And Voter Fraud
By Edward White
June 7, 2012

When 1,099 Felons Vote in Race Won by 312 Ballots
By Byron York
August 6, 2012

Ballot Bonanza: The First Big Survey of Voter ID Requirements—And Its Surprising Findings
By Stephen Ansolabehere
March 16, 2007

The Case for Voter ID
By Kris Kobach
May 23, 2011

There Is No Honest Case Against Voter ID
By John Hayward
August 9, 2012
Left Demands James O’Keefe’s Head Over Voter Fraud Exposé
By Joseph Klein
January 30, 2012

Stop Whining About 'Racist' Voter ID -- and Get Granny to the Polls
By Larry Elder
July 19, 2012

Voter ID Laws Passed Since 2011
By the Brennan Center Voting Rights and Elections Project
October 3, 2012

Florida.: 53K Dead People [and 182,000 Non-Citizens] on Voter Rolls
By M.J. Lee
May 17, 2012


VIDEOS

The Constitution and the Right To Vote: Protecting Against Voter Fraud
By The Heritage Foundation
Dead People Receive Ballots in NH Primary
By Project Veritas

Caught on Tape: Dead People and Clones Offered Ballots in Vermont Primary
By Project Veritas

Registering Tim Tebow and Tom Brady to Vote in Minnesota
By Project Veritas

Voter Fraud Investigation Lands on Eric Holder's Doorstep
By Project Veritas
April 9, 2012

ACORN Voter Fraud: 2008 Presidental Election
(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)
By Anita MonCrief
February 8, 2011

Anita Moncrief at Americans For Prosperity Foundation C-PAC
(Part 1) (Part 2)
By Anita MonCrief

BOOKS
Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk
By John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky

Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy
By John Fund

Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department
By J. Christian Adams


CIA in Libya Told D.C. Within 24 Hours Benghazi Was Not Spontaneous Response to Video

CIA found militant links a day after Libya attack

ACLU Wants Veterans Group Out of Calif. War Memorial Cross Case

Sat, Oct. 20, 2012 Posted: 09:33 AM EDT

The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday told a federal court that a veterans organization which erected the Mt. Soledad memorial cross in California should be removed from legal talks over how to modify the symbol paying homage to fallen soldiers so that it doesn't violate the Constitution.
Larry A. Burns, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of California at San Diego, said at Friday's hearing that he was inclined to allow the Mount Soledad Memorial Association to continue to intervene as a party in the case, The Associated Press reported.
The judge added he will issue his ruling soon on the ACLU's request to remove the association from negotiations between the union and the Department of Justice over modifying the disputed cross built on a San Diego mountain top.
Early last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the cross is unconstitutional, but that it could be modified to pass constitutional muster.
David Loy of the ACLU in San Diego told the court on Friday that the veterans organization maintains the memorial but does not own it, and therefore it has no right to decide how the cross can be modified.
However, the association's lawyer, Jeff Mateer, argued that the veterans group erected the 29-foot cross in 1954 and has contractual rights to decide the future of the memorial.
The ACLU filed suit in 2006 on behalf of Jewish War Veterans of the USA and some residents of San Diego against the cross display. After the U.S. Court of Appeals' 2011 ruling that the cross was unconstitutional, Liberty Institute appealed in 2012 and the U.S. Solicitor General joined the appeal in defense of the cross.
The memorial includes a Latin cross and six concentric walls holding black granite plaques engraved with the names and photos of war veterans. Standing in La Jolla, Calif., it was originally dedicated as a Korean War Veterans Memorial but now also honors U.S. veterans of World War I and World War II.
In the January 2011 ruling, Justice M. Margaret McKeown wrote, "By claiming to honor all service members with a symbol that is intrinsically connected to a particular religion, the government sends an implicit message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community."
McKeown added that this does not mean that the memorial "could not be modified to pass constitutional muster nor does it mean that no cross can be part of this veterans' memorial. We take no position on those issues."
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Joe Infranco called the ruling a tragedy. "It's tragic that the court chose a twisted and tired interpretation of the First Amendment over the common-sense idea that the families of fallen American troops should be allowed to honor these heroes as they choose," he said following the ruling.
 
Anugrah Kumar

UN Warns Americans: Do Not Elect Mitt Romney

by Joel B. Pollak

20 Oct 2012


The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights has warned Americans not to elect Republican Mitt Romney in next month’s presidential election, saying that doing so would be “a democratic mandate for torture.”

The UN’s Ben Emmerson was referring to Romney’s refusal to rule out the use of waterboarding in interrogating terror detainees, a practice that President Barack Obama has ended.
Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press reported Emmerson’s remarks from a symposium in Toronto on the impact of 9/11 on human rights:
"The re-introduction of torture under a Romney administration would significantly increase the threat levels to (Americans) at home and abroad," Emmerson said.
"Such a policy, if adopted, would expose the American people to risks the Obama administration is not currently exposing them to."
U.S. intelligence services were able to pinpoint Osama bin Laden’s location and carry out the successful mission to kill him in May 2011 based on information yielded during waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and information from Al Qaeda operative Hassan Ghul, who was captured in Iraq in 2004.
Obama opposed both waterboarding and the Iraq War, without which bin Laden would not have been found.
Emmerson warned that Romney could reinstate waterboarding if he took office. He also criticized the Obama administration’s drone program--an initiative begun by the Bush administration but accelerated by President Obama, partly because of his reluctance to capture, detain or interrogate terror suspects.
In a second term, Obama may renew efforts to close the Guantanámo Bay prison, despite widespread public opposition.

Countering the National Popular Vote Initiative

By Bruce Walker


The left loves faux reforms which leverage more power in its direction, with the National Popular Vote Initiative being a great example. The one-sentence description of this reform is this: "The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia)."
The mechanism for enacting this reform is an interstate compact via a law requiring that the state's electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the presidential election, regardless of how the candidate does in the particular state involved. So if, say, Mitt Romney received a majority of the popular vote, then all of California's electoral votes would go to him, even if he lost that state by a landslide. This interstate compact would go into effect only when states with a combined total of 270 electoral votes -- enough to elect the president -- adopted the proposal.
The polls increasingly suggest that Obama could lose the popular vote but win the Electoral College -- and if that happens, conservatives would be asked to line up to support the National Popular Vote Initiative because it would have benefited our candidate. The initiative, however, is a very bad idea. It rests upon a constitutional fiction -- popular vote for president -- and opens the door to more pure democracy and less constitutional republicanism in our nation.
As many people know, we do not cast ballots for president or vice president. We cast, instead, ballots for a slate of presidential electors who have committed to vote for their party's candidate in the Electoral College. Nothing, however, prevents a presidential elector from voting for whomever he wishes when the Electoral College votes, and there have been a few times in modern political history when that has happened.
But the fiction of popular vote runs deeper than casting ballots for presidential electors rather than presidential candidates. State legislatures determine how presidential electors are chosen. Nothing requires these legislatures to have presidential electors chosen by voters at all. In fact, there was no "popular vote" at all in our first nine presidential elections. When, in 1824, four candidates ran for president in which there was a "popular vote," the consequence was a profound headache for the republic.
Andrew Jackson got more of the popular vote than John Quincy Adams, but no candidate received a majority in the Electoral College. Henry Clay, one of the other two candidates, was Speaker of the House, and he swung his support to Adams, who was elected president even though Adams got only 32% of the popular vote.
Or, at any rate, that is how American history textbooks tell the tale. In fact, there was no national popular vote, even for slates of presidential electors, at all. Six out of the twenty-four states -- New York, Vermont, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana -- had presidential electors who were not elected by the people at all. In 1828, because of this "crisis," every state except South Carolina passed laws allowing the voters to choose presidential electors. (South Carolina declined to adopt this "reform" right up to the Civil War.)
Why were state legislatures given the power to choose presidential electors? The Founding Fathers intended to leave us a federal republic in which the national government was inhibited from becoming a bully and an autocrat. State legislatures chose presidential electors (or more precisely, the method for choosing those electors), and these legislatures also chose the state's two United States senators.
Taken together, state legislatures could choose the president and the Senate, and because federal judges were appointed and confirmed by those two, state legislatures could exercise a powerful restraint on an imperial federal judiciary. State legislatures also had the exclusive power of ratifying constitutional amendments, and also the power of proposing those amendments, although Congress can propose amendments, too.
The idea was to create very strong institutional constraints on the federal government and to give each state a common interest in preserving the prerogatives of all states. It worked. State legislatures, not state voters, made Washington and Jefferson presidents.
The 17th Amendment stripped state legislatures of that power and provided for direct election of senators. Conservatives have increasingly seen the calamity caused by that "progressive" amendment. It is almost unthinkable, for example, that ObamaCare, which creates dreadful burdens on all states, could have passed a Senate in which state legislatures determine whether its state's senators be re-elected.
The National Popular Vote Initiative threatens to redouble the disaster of the 17th Amendment by allowing for national election of a president utterly unaccountable to state governments. Here is a counter-proposal: state legislatures should reclaim their power to choose presidential electors. A candidate who seeks the electoral votes of, say, Pennsylvania would have to tell the members of that body how he would protect the rights of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth.
The devolution of power back to states, and the draining of power from Washington, is the key to almost everything conservatives want. Repealing the 17th Amendment could take years and maybe forever, but robust state legislatures could return the selection of our president back to state legislatures with a single state law.
End the pattering in presidential elections about how candidates can use federal muscle to help their supporters and instead shift the focus to how candidates can get Washington off the backs of state government. That is a reform that conservatives can support.

From JFK To Bush, Treasury Swelled After Tax Cuts

By PAUL SPERRY
Posted 10/17/2012 06:58 PM ET
President Obama warned that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney's proposed income-tax cuts will "cost" the government revenue and repeat Bush policies that he says blew up the deficit.
"The centerpiece of his economic plan are tax cuts," Obama said at Tuesday's presidential debate in New York. "That's what took us from surplus to deficit."
He called Romney's tax plan "sketchy," because it promises to raise revenues while slashing personal tax rates from top to bottom. His debate sparring partner, Democratic Sen. John Kerry, went further, calling it a "fraud."
The Obama camp has strenuously opposed Romney's pro-growth strategy, arguing that tax breaks, especially for the wealthy, "rob" programs for the middle class and poor because they don't raise revenues and don't "pay for themselves."
"It has never been done before," Vice President Joe Biden insisted in last week's debate with Romney running-mate Paul Ryan.
"It's been done a couple of times, actually," Ryan shot back.
The data bear out Ryan. In fact, the White House's own numbers put a big wrinkle in its argument.
The historical tables in the back of the latest "Economic Report of the President" show that the Bush tax cuts generated more, not less, federal revenues — a phenomenon that also held true for Presidents Clinton, Reagan and Kennedy.
All four leaders, two Republicans and two Democrats, slashed taxes for top individual earners or investors. And once these rate reductions took effect and began stimulating economic activity, record individual income-tax receipts poured into the U.S. Treasury. (See the charts above.) Revenues increased even after adjusting for inflation and population growth.
Kennedy
Kennedy's major tax cut, which included chopping the top marginal rate to 70% from 91%, became law in early 1964, after his untimely death. It promised to grow the economy and close the budget gap.
"Coming at a time of substantial deficit in the federal budget, this was a startling proposal to many observers," said New York University economist Richard Sylla, co-author of "The Evolution of the American Economy."
To the shock of many naysaying Democrats, the plan worked. The economy grew at an average 5.5% clip, and unemployment fell to 3.8%. In turn, the annual deficit shrank to $1 billion from $7 billion as individual income-tax receipts nearly doubled. (See the chart.)
"Rising income more than offset the decline in income tax rates as far as federal revenue was concerned," Sylla said.
Kennedy and his supply-side advisers "could point to those few who remained unpersuaded that despite the tax cuts — or rather because of the tax cuts — the federal deficits of fiscal 1965 and 1966 were substantially reduced from 1962-64 levels."
Vindicated, the "new economists" proposed even more tax cuts. But President Johnson opted instead for tax hikes, including a 1968 tax surcharge of 10% on everyone's income. Revenues peaked two years later at $90 billion.
Reagan
President Reagan picked up where Kennedy left off, slashing the top personal rate from 70% all the way down to 28%. The historic tax relief triggered record new business start-ups and small-business expansion.
As in the '60s, tax revenues exploded throughout the '80s as the economy boomed. Between 1982, when the first round of Reagan's across-the-board tax cuts went into effect, and 1990, when President George H.W. Bush broke his no-new-taxes pledge, individual tax receipts jumped 57% to $467 billion.
Clinton
Obama says he wants to go back to the higher personal income "tax rates we had when Bill Clinton was president. ... That's part of what took us from deficits to surpluses."
In fact, those budget surpluses didn't materialize until after Clinton in 1997 reluctantly signed a GOP tax bill that cut the capital-gains rate to 20% from 28%.
The result was dramatic. Tax receipts from capital gains ballooned as stock and other capital investment more than tripled.
Between 1996 and 2000, "the increase in capital gains revenues accounted for a little over 20% of the total increase in federal revenues," former Treasury official Bruce Bartlett said.
For the first time, individual tax receipts hit $1 trillion, before peaking in 2000 from the dot-com bust and Clinton recession.
Despite the government taking in more money from lower taxes on investment income, Obama wants to raise those taxes "for purposes of fairness."
Bush II
While Obama claims the Bush tax cuts caused the recession and record deficits, the evidence says otherwise.
After President George W. Bush in 2003 signed the largest tax cut since Reagan — including dropping the top marginal rate to 35% from 39.6% — government receipts from individual income taxes rose from $794 billion to a peak of $1.2 trillion in 2007, when the mortgage crisis began — a jump of 47%.
Stronger economic growth expanded the tax base and brought in so much revenue that Bush more than halved the deficit over that period.
Revenues weren't the source of the problem. Deficits came from the other side of the ledger: spending, which outstripped new revenues.
And for that, both Democrats and Republicans share the blame.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Barack Obama and the Mandate of Heaven

By J.R. Dunn


Forget the polls, forget the focus groups, forget the media. What is occurring in the campaign of 2012 is simplicity itself: Barack Obama has lost the mandate of heaven.
We persist in the illusion (even conservatives, who should be immune to this kind of thinking) that politics is somehow a form of "rational" activity, open to "scientific" understanding and manipulation. The entire apparatus of political consultancy, polling, and analysis is based on this premise. Millions -- in recent years, hundreds of millions -- are spent on polls, meta-modeling, and God knows what else in carefully planned and executed attempts to drive the results. And yet, this methodology's record of errors and failures is virtually endless. Ronald Reagan runs double-digits behind Jimmy Carter right up to the final weekend of the 1980 campaign; the 2000 election ends up hanging on a little over 500 votes; Scott Brown easily takes a Senate seat sworn to blue since the heyday of Babylon.
There's no mystery in any of this. Human beings are not, at base, rational (they aren't irrational, either. An acquaintance of mine coined the term "arational," which seems to fit the case), and politics is a quintessential human activity. In fact, you could define humans as "animals who campaign." Operating on arational principles, voters will bounce around a lot before finally settling down. The electoral politics industry, predicated as it is on a nonexistent Cartesian voter who will vote his own interests like clockwork, is inevitably left choking on dust.
Yet the fantasy of the "scientific" political campaign endures. Political operatives continue looking for the key formula, the Standard Model that will enable them to predict results to the last absentee ballot and manipulate it as they see fit. Many think they've found it in some computer program or political-science thesis, only to be disabused at the next election, when the formula that worked perfectly last time around is ignominiously trashed by those damned voters.
Which brings us to the "mandate of heaven," one of those rare cultural concepts that has transferred almost intact from one distant civilization to another. Everybody knows what "mandate of heaven" means, which is roughly the same as what it meant to the inhabitants of China millennia ago. The mandate of heaven is a nod toward the irrational, a name for a phenomenon beyond simple analysis: how things can go suddenly, inexplicably, and completely wrong for an all-powerful figure despite the best efforts of himself and his supporters. The examples of this are endless and need not be belabored.
The truth is that it's the contemporary cutting-edge scientific view, premised as it is on a rational universe in which things happen just so, that is the fantasy, while the ancient Chinese concept represents plain, concrete realism.
A failing Chinese monarch would easily recognize Obama's current situation. Everything has started going wrong at once. Things that used to work work no longer. Plans, arrangements, allies seem to fade into the mist, tools break, weapons turn on their owners. Every light is red, every parade gets rained on.
Libya and Egypt are simply the latest manifestations (and they aren't over yet -- does anybody really think that al-Q is going to sit back and lay off the man who sends armed drones against them?). Obama has had the worst campaign summer in living memory. Much of it his own doing
First and above all, we have the economy. Employment numbers have improved solely because people who can are fleeing the workforce -- you can't possibly get worse than that. The rate for August was 8.1%, within the range that it's been pegged at for over three years. That's nearly three points higher than it was when O took office. Such figures will continue to appear right up until the election, with one set appearing just days before the polls open.
The Commerce Department announced just last week that durable goods orders fell by over 13% in August -- not a drop so much as a collapse, and an almost inevitable sign of coming recession. The second-quarter GDP number was revised downward to 1.3%, (a quarter of Russia's 4.2% GDP, as Romney points out), which can scarcely be termed "growth" at all.
In addition, we have a drought which is due to kick food prices sky-high over the next few months, along with gas exceeding $4 a gallon in much of the country -- a situation occurring not only in the midst of a recession, but also during a glut of fossil fuels. This is a situation that simply could not occur without government interference.
Obama's convention, an easy full-bases homer for any competent political machine, instead marked one pratfall after another. The sand statue featuring Obama on the new Mt. Rushmore was washed down the drain by torrential rains before the convention even began (the perfect symbol in and of itself). The decision to spite both God and Israel in the party platform, along with the bungled public vote to set it right -- that's why they had smoke-filled rooms, boys -- made for a hat trick that alienated all the religious groups the Dems need to appeal to: Jews, Catholics, and Evangelicals. Obama's dull speech itself, probably the worst of his career, came at the precise moment he needed a barn-burner. While I've never bought into the myth of Obama as great speechmaker (how many memorable phrases on the level of "Never have so many owed so much...," "I have a dream...," or "Tear down this wall" has he produced? None, if I'm not mistaken.), even habitually poor speakers can come up with a workmanlike job if they have to. Consider Mitt Romney.
Foreign policy was to act as O's ace in the hole for this election, stealing the GOP's perennial issue. Instead, Libya happened, with a display of incompetence of near-criminal levels. Four Americans were murdered in one of the most ghastly situations conceivable -- at the hands of a demented mob. A mob that was furthermore instigated, supported, and probably directed by al-Qaeda-related terrorists. The administration's response to the collapse of its Middle East policy -- which means its entire foreign policy, since it has shown no interest in anything else -- has been to lie, to lie some more, and to lie on top of that, to the point where even its most fervid media supporters, among them the NYT and ABC, have begun to bail out. The administration's attempt to bury the scandal simply shifted it in time to the point where it will have the greatest impact on the campaign. Nicely played, gang.
(The Libya deaths tie in, in a very eerie fashion, with a series of deaths surrounding the Obama campaign -- the Akron diner owner who died early last July hours after receiving the touch of Obama, the young campaign staffer who inexplicably expired in the Chicago HQ a week later, the Florida police officer run down while escorting Obama's motorcade. The black angel has truly unfurled his wings over Obama this year.)
To top all this off, we have an impending war with Iran; an impending war in the South China Sea; a raging recession in Europe that threatens to spin into the collapse of the euro and with it the entire European Union; Fast and Furious; scandals in the DHS, the Pentagon, and the FCC; and the unwinding Afghan conflict, which makes the lays months of Vietnam look Napoleonic by comparison.
In light of such circumstances, the attention given to polling and trend analysis looks like nothing other than befeathered shamans shaking rattles around the fire to scare off the demons lurking out in the dark.
The modernist temptation is to ignore events as such on the grounds that they are unquantifiable, cannot be fitted into any system, and are therefore meaningless. But this is a mistake. Such events -- whether as trivial as the disintegration of O's statue or as monumental as the Benghazi terror attack -- can trigger the whirlwind. They matter. As the historian John Lukacs pointed out, they mean something because human beings think they do.
But what, precisely, they do mean is hard to say. This kind of thing is played out on a very deep level, deeper than the political and social tools available to us can reach. A level on which the leader -- president, king, or dictator -- takes on a touch of the supernatural, is transformed into an archetype, someone who, while remaining human, becomes a symbol at the same time. To say that we do not have a clear understanding as to how this works is to state the obvious.
In some ways, our understanding is not as clear as that of the ancients. In prehistoric times, a king often served only as long as his powers demonstrably remained potent. If hard times came to the tribe (or even he stayed around too long -- some kings reigned only a year), he was sacrificed to propitiate the gods and to make way for the new king. While the past is another country, we haven't changed as much as we'd like to think. A leader who fails can still be tossed into the gutter without a second thought by the very same people who were cheering madly only days before. Think of Mussolini hanging by his heels. Or of Winston Churchill, dismissed by the voters at his very peak moment -- his victory over fascism -- in one of the most colossal (and wrongheaded, as events were on to show) acts of ingratitude ever carried out by a democratic vote. Il Duce must have been laughing in Hell.
(A perfect fictional example can be found in John Huston's film version of Kipling's The Man Who Would be King, in which Danny [Sean Connery], a British soldier taken by backwoods Afghan tribesmen to be a god, is proven all too mortal when his terrified native bride draws blood from him. He is then dragged out and tossed into an abyss, falling, so his unfortunate partner [Michael Caine] puts it, "for miles and miles." This picture ought to be required viewing for anyone vying for national leadership.)
Barack Obama has already had the great misfortune (though he probably didn't think so at the time) of being proclaimed a superhuman entity, one with powers and abilities beyond those of mortal humans. Those powers have been seen to fail, and they are now failing on the most primal level. Everything he touches, whether in North Africa or Charlotte, collapses. His plans misfire, his tools turn to rust, the people who encounter and work for him simply die off. The archetypes are ganging up on Obama. He may well be in more trouble than he, pure secular rationalist as he is, can even begin to imagine.
That's the Obama story. We will see how it plays out over the coming weeks.
J.R. Dunn is senior editor at American Thinker.