Category Archives: Progressive “nudge”

To push against gently, especially in order to gain attention or give a signal.

PRICELESS!! A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots

October 12, 2014
By Jeff Foxworthy

If you can  get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for  entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a  nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If  you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take  an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a  nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by  idiots.

If you MUST  show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor,  or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs  the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses  but is run by idiots.

If the  government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun  magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter  jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that  was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If, in the  nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one  24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat —  you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by  idiots.

If an  80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair  can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or  a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might  live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by  idiots.

If your  government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of  debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was  founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If a  seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is  “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade  school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was  founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If hard  work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation  and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks,  Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might  live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by  idiots.

If the  government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives  for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any  requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but  couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation that was founded by  geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you pay  your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while  your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma  screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he  defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a nation that was founded by  geniuses but is run by idiots.

If being  stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more  “safe” according to the government — you might live in a nation that was  founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

What  a  country!

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Obamacare’s Secret Is Out

October 15, 2013 at 6:30 am
by Amy Payne

Timing is everything. And just as Congress’s focus seems to be drifting from Obamacare’s ravages on the economy, Americans are learning the reason this law’s implementation was postponed until after the presidential election.

That reason is becoming clear as person after person opens the mail. Insurance costs are going up. For many, not just going up—skyrocketing.

Ross, a married father of three small boys in Florida, tells us his insurance will be going up $525 per month. “I feel completely helpless,” he says.

Kevin, who also has three small boys, just found out his wife’s individual health insurance premium will be jumping from $79 per month to $311.82 per month.

“For whom exactly is the Affordable Care Act making care affordable?” asked Kevin, who lives in Alabama.

But this isn’t all. While people are receiving notices that their premiums are going up or perhaps their health plans are being discontinued, there’s a secret in Obamacare’s exchanges, too.

One of the reasons the Obamacare website has been so slow and glitchy? It requires people to enter personal information before they’re able to see insurance plan options. Health and Human Services does this so that if you’re eligible for a subsidy, you won’t see the true cost of your health plan.

Obamacare is laden with mandates that are driving up the cost of health insurance. And it didn’t stop with the original law. Federal bureaucrats are continuing to write more Obamacare regulations. One estimate is that these paper pushers have added 30 words of regulations for every word in the original law.

No small tweak to Obamacare can fix this. No small tweak can give relief to these hard-working dads who are supporting their families and getting the wind knocked out of them by hundreds of dollars in insurance hikes.

If Congress does anything less than defund Obamacare, it is turning its back on all of these suffering Americans.

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Obama’s Shutdown Campaign

10.7.13
By Paul Kengor

In the old days, if you wanted to see master propagandists at work, you looked to Moscow, where none honed the craft as crassly as the boys in the Kremlin. The Soviets were so excellent at manipulation and disinformation, at agitation and propaganda (read: agitprop), that they had a government department that specialized in the work. Entire elements of the arm of the state were employed in the ignoble task.

Here at home, Communist Party USA wasn’t too shabby either. CPUSA’s lieutenants excelled at what they called “campaigns.” These were carefully concerted efforts whereby they exploited an issue or cause to further an agenda. Such campaigns were a very effective, still vastly un-appreciated, tactic vigorously employed by the communist movement.

These campaigns took on such a predictable, discernible pattern that they eventually prompted full-scale investigations by the U.S. government. The FBI in the 1950s produced a lengthy classified report on the subject. The bureau defined campaigns as “concentrated, continuous, and concerted succession of agitation and propaganda activities specifically devised and timed to sway public opinion. All communist campaigns are intended to arouse, influence, and mobilize as many people as possible to further communist goals.”

The chief targets in such campaigns were gullible observers, particularly other leftists, moderates, and the apolitical, whose buttons could be pushed. These were the dupes, the “suckers,” and they were deemed indispensable to success. If the campaigns marshaled only the support of the organizers, they would be transparent and would collapse under public exposure.

The FBI noted that, “No other organization has ever engaged in so many diverse, intensive, and extensive campaigns conducted with so much perseverance, deftness, and potency as has the Communist Party, USA.” CPUSA was “never without” a campaign of one type or another, and had been responsible for “an inestimable number of campaigns.”

Notably, a CPUSA member who specialized in these methods was Obama’s Hawaii mentor, Frank Marshall Davis (CPUSA member no. 47544). In my book on Davis, I detail several campaigns he was involved with.

All of that background for this point today:

This tactic is precisely what Barack Obama and his allies are doing right now. Obama’s exploitation of the government shutdown (never let a good crisis go to waste) is a classic old method mastered by the likes of CPUSA. It’s standard operating procedure. What you’re witnessing is Barack Obama’s “shutdown campaign” — and with the liberal media dutifully on his side to amplify the effort.

Here today, in our new America, our own federal government has gotten into the propaganda business full throttle. Its exploitation of the shutdown is shameless. Sure, we expect congressional Democrats to accuse Republicans of starving children, old people, kittens, puppies, fish, and birds; of wanting to kill your grandmother; of gleefully polluting the atmosphere; of hating black people, gays, Latinos, women; of hoping no child gets an education or a school lunch. You know the drill. Democrats do this regardless of whether they have the White House. It’s the air they breathe. When they have the White House, the cacophony is even shriller. Recall the shutdown follies during the Clinton years, when Commandants Clinton and Gore joined the ugly performance. Al Gore was superb at demonizing Republicans; he had a remarkable talent for doing so.

But the performance has reached a higher, uglier decibel level under the Obama administration. This is hardly a surprise, given Barack Obama’s upbringing, mentors, radical associates, and the crucial fact that he was a community organizer who studied and taught Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. That was Obama’s formative experience for his job today, and it has equipped him for the task at hand. As accomplices, add in an army of ever-increasing unionized government employees, prodded by their ringleaders, and who burn with the tenacity and partisanship of IRS employees, and watch out. You see the results.

As has been reported, and is unmistakably evident to all but the most naïve, federal employees have been ordered to exploit this crisis, to make the government shutdown as uncomfortable as they can. The White House is actively soliciting complaints from the general public on “how the government shutdown has affected you.” These testimonies are tools sought for the propaganda kit; the better to agitate with.

One infamous culmination is the despicable display at the World War II Memorial at the Mall, which has been blocked off, wired off, and barricaded so no visitors can get near it. I’ve been to that memorial. No government employee is needed for you to stroll up and look at it.

But for the churner of propaganda, the agitprop artist, the spectacle of elderly, crying, dying, heart-aching, wheelchair-bound WWII vets travelling hundreds to thousands of miles to honor their fallen brothers, perhaps for a final earthly time, only to be denied by cruel, intransigent Republicans, is just too delicious to pass up. Moreover, you must consider the mindset of liberal Democrats: They and their party and ideology and followers are already fueled by emotion. Well, this WWII debacle is tailor-made to gas up the tanks, the planes, and everything else in the arsenal.

And then the propaganda coup de grâce, the topper: a compliant media on hand to film the charade and spin it in your direction. Utterly delicious. A lovely opportunity. You can picture the propaganda maker salivating at the spectacle.

Of course, the World War II Memorial is just one of numerous examples of Obama’s shutdown campaign bearing its (intended) bitter fruit. What other welcomed pain might be generated? What other lambs might leftists conjure up for the sacrifice?

Well, it was only a matter of time before this propaganda ploy found another way to assault our religious liberty — the favorite new tack of the left to advances its various causes, from “abortion rights” to “marriage rights.” And alas, that has likewise come to fruition.

As reported by Steve Skojec at Catholic Vote, priests who serve as chaplains for the U.S. military are being threatened with arrest if they celebrate Mass in defiance of the government shutdown — even if they do so voluntarily.

Outrageous? Absolutely. A surprise? Absolutely not.

Imagine: It is the literal sacred duty of these priests to celebrate Mass. In America the way it used to be, when we had a First Amendment whose religious freedom provision was honored by people with honor, the priest was respected and free. In Obama’s new fundamentally changed America, however, religious freedom is trumped by priorities that “progressives” deem superior. Thus, the HHS mandate on abortion. Thus, a Christian couple who owns a bakery in Oregon is sued for not making a “gay wedding” cake. Thus, a Christian photographer is voted down by the New Mexico supreme court for refusing to photograph a gay couple. And on and on. Now, a military chaplain is told to bow to a government ordering him not to perform Mass during a shutdown that’s less shutdown than theatrics. The priest must serve not the Body of Christ but Barack Obama’s body of propaganda.

So, enjoy the spectacle of Obama’s shutdown campaign. For the extreme left, it’s really nothing new — though, sadly, it’s totally new to have this emanating so egregiously from the White House. But, hey, this is the fundamental transformation that oblivious Americans elected. Those of us who understand can do little more than suffer through it, its organizers, and its suckers.

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A Small President on the World Stage

At the U.N., leaders hope for a return of American greatness.

The world misses the old America, the one before the crash—the crashes—of the past dozen years.

By PEGGY NOONAN

That is the takeaway from conversations the past week in New York, where world leaders gathered for the annual U.N. General Assembly session. Our friends, and we have many, speak almost poignantly of the dynamism, excellence, exuberance and leadership of the nation they had, for so many years, judged themselves against, been inspired by, attempted to emulate, resented.

As for those who are not America’s friends, some seem still confused, even concussed, by the new power shift. What is their exact place in it? Will it last? Will America come roaring back? Can she? Does she have the political will, the human capital, the old capability?

It is a world in a new kind of flux, one that doesn’t know what to make of America anymore. In part because of our president.

“We want American leadership,” said a member of a diplomatic delegation of a major U.S. ally. He said it softly, as if confiding he missed an old friend.

“In the past we have seen some America overreach,” said the prime minister of a Western democracy, in a conversation. “Now I think we are seeing America underreach.” He was referring not only to foreign policy but to economic policies, to the limits America has imposed on itself. He missed its old economic dynamism, its crazy, pioneering spirit toward wealth creation—the old belief that every American could invent something, get it to market, make a bundle, rise.

The prime minister spoke of a great anxiety and his particular hope. The anxiety: “The biggest risk is not political but social. Wealthy societies with people who think wealth is a given, a birthright—they do not understand that we are in the fight of our lives with countries and nations set on displacing us. Wealth is earned. It is far from being a given. It cannot be taken for granted. The recession reminded us how quickly circumstances can change.” His hope? That the things that made America a giant—”so much entrepreneurialism and vision”—will, in time, fully re-emerge and jolt the country from the doldrums.

The second takeaway of the week has to do with a continued decline in admiration for the American president. Barack Obama‘s reputation among his fellow international players has deflated, his stature almost collapsed. In diplomatic circles, attitudes toward his leadership have been declining for some time, but this week you could hear the disappointment, and something more dangerous: the sense that he is no longer, perhaps, all that relevant. Part of this is due, obviously, to his handling of the Syria crisis. If you draw a line and it is crossed and then you dodge, deflect, disappear and call it diplomacy, the world will notice, and not think better of you. Some of it is connected to the historical moment America is in.

But some of it, surely, is just five years of Mr. Obama. World leaders do not understand what his higher strategic aims are, have doubts about his seriousness and judgment, and read him as unsure and covering up his unsureness with ringing words.

A scorching assessment of the president as foreign-policy actor came from a former senior U.S. diplomat, a low-key and sophisticated man who spent the week at many U.N.-related functions. “World leaders are very negative about Obama,” he said. They are “disappointed, feeling he’s not really in charge. . . . The Western Europeans don’t pay that much attention to him anymore.”

The diplomat was one of more than a dozen U.S. foreign-policy hands who met this week with the new president of Iran, Hasan Rouhani. What did he think of the American president? “He didn’t mention Obama, not once,” said the former envoy, who added: “We have to accept the fact that the president is rather insignificant at the moment, and rely on our diplomats.” John Kerry, he said, is doing a good job.

Had he ever seen an American president treated as if he were so insignificant? “I really never have. It’s unusual.” What does he make of the president’s strategy: “He doesn’t know what to do so he stays out of it [and] hopes for the best.” The diplomat added: “Slim hope.”

This reminded me of a talk a few weeks ago, with another veteran diplomat who often confers with leaders with whom Mr. Obama meets. I had asked: When Obama enters a room with other leaders, is there a sense that America has entered the room? I mentioned de Gaulle—when he was there, France was there. When Reagan came into a room, people stood: America just walked in. Does Mr. Obama bring that kind of mystique?

“No,” he said. “It’s not like that.”

When the president spoke to the General Assembly, his speech was dignified and had, at certain points, a certain sternness of tone. But after a while, as he spoke, it took on the flavor of re-enactment. He had impressed these men and women once. In the cutaways on C-Span, some delegates in attendance seemed distracted, not alert, not sitting as if they were witnessing something important. One delegate seemed to be scrolling down on a BlackBerry, one rifled through notes. Two officials seated behind the president as he spoke seemed engaged in humorous banter. At the end, the applause was polite, appropriate and brief.

The president spoke of Iran and nuclear weapons—”we should be able to achieve a resolution” of the question. “We are encouraged” by signs of a more moderate course. “I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort.”

But his spokesmen had suggested the possibility of a brief meeting or handshake between Messrs. Obama and Rouhani. When that didn’t happen there was a sense the American president had been snubbed. For all the world to see.

Which, if you are an American, is embarrassing.

While Mr. Rouhani could not meet with the American president, he did make time for journalists, diplomats and businessmen brought together by the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations. Early Thursday evening in a hotel ballroom, Mr. Rouhani spoke about U.S.-Iranian relations.

He appears to be intelligent, smooth, and he said all the right things—”moderation and wisdom” will guide his government, “global challenges require collective responses.” He will likely prove a tough negotiator, perhaps a particularly wily one. He is eloquent when speaking of the “haunted” nature of some of his countrymen’s memories when they consider the past 60 years of U.S.-Iranian relations.

Well, we have that in common.

He seemed to use his eloquence to bring a certain freshness, and therefore force, to perceived grievances. That’s one negotiating tactic. He added that we must “rise above petty politics,” and focus on our nations’ common interests and concerns. He called it “counterproductive” to view Iran as a threat; this charge is whipped up by “alarmists.” He vowed again that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb, saying this would be “contrary to Islamic norms.”

I wondered, as he spoke, how he sized up our president. In roughly 90 minutes of a speech followed by questions, he didn’t say, and nobody thought to ask him.

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