I think the obvious lesson here is that we need to turn more responsibility for the arts over to government employees:
The United States Postal Service is set to honor Maya Angelou today in a dedication ceremony for a new postage stamp depicting the legendary author, poet and singer. But there’s one problem: The quotation that accompanies Angelou’s picture on the stamp was apparently not originally written by her.
The text on the new “forever” stamp reads: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” It appears to be a reference to Angelou’s best-known book, her 1969 memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
But the Washington Post reported yesterday that the quotation can also be found in “A Cup of Sun,” a 1967 poetry collection by children’s author Joan Walsh Anglund. A Postal Service spokesman told the newspaper that the line, which has been widely attributed to Angelou by people including President Obama, was approved for use on the stamp by Angelou’s family.
In a follow-up story, the Post talked to Anglund, who said the words on the stamp were hers. The newspaper notes that “Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from ‘he’ in Anglund’s original to ‘it’ on the stamp.”
Sometimes, it is painful to realize that for decades, we have been losing to these incompetents. How is it even possible? But, you see, when you don’t show up and play, even the most incompetent opponent will defeat you.
After reading the various defenses of the CIA’s torture program by various commenters yesterday, I can only conclude that Noah Millman has correctly diagnosed not only why the U.S. government embraced the use of torture, but also its endorsement by many of the very proponents of limited government who should have known better than to do so:
Willingness to torture became, first within elite government and opinion-making circles, then in the culture generally, and finally as a partisan GOP talking point, a litmus test of seriousness with respect to the fight against terrorism. That – proving one’s seriousness in the fight – was its primary purpose from the beginning, in my view. It was only secondarily about extracting intelligence. It certainly wasn’t about instilling fear or extracting false confessions – these would not have served American purposes. It was never about “them” at all. It was about us. It was our psychological security blanket, our best evidence that we were “all-in” in this war, the thing that proved to us that we were fierce enough to win.
I am astonished by the fact that those who are capable of grasping that government control of guns in the name of crime will inevitably be used against the people do not recognize that the government use of torture in the name of fighting terrorism will also be used against the people. And Millman’s observation that support for torture is more a public statement about one’s self-perceived toughness than anything else is particularly astute, and is supported by the language observed to be used by many of those who endorse torture.
At this point, I suspect the average American who does not travel to the Middle East runs a greater lifetime risk of tortured by his fellow Americans, or killed by them in a targeted drone strike, than he is to be killed by a jihadist.
It’s remarkable that anyone is still willing to defend the use of government torture, especially at a time when opposition to government gun control is at a two-decade high, having recovered 7 percentage points from the post-Sandy Hook dip. The libertarian rule is pretty simple. Don’t permit the government anything you don’t permit the citizenry. And don’t permit the government to do anything you don’t want it doing to any of its citizens.
There may be times when torture is deemed absolutely necessary by an individual. And in such cases, if it is so vital, then the torturer should be proud to accept the punishment for his civil disobedience without protest or complaint, and do so with a clear conscience. Many of us would torture a kidnapper who was concealing the location of a kidnapped child who was at risk of starving without a single moment’s hesitation. And I suspect most of us would do so without the slightest concern for whatever the legislated punishment subsequently awaiting us would be.
It appears the federal government may have learned something since the days of Waco and Ruby Ridge:
A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.
Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.
Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a “range war” against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.
“I have no contract with the United States government,” Bundy said. “I was paying grazing fees for management and that’s what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay.”
The federal government had countered that Bundy “owes the American people in excess of $1 million ” in unpaid grazing fees and “refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so.”
However, today the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.
“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said.
On the other hand, its entirely possible that the BLM simply has not been militarized to the extent of the ATF and the FBI. As Bundy and his supporters have shown, one need not assume that one’s rights can be trampled at will.
I think the time has arrived to officially tack -gate onto the growing Obama IRS scandal:
Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet. Shulman’s extensive access to the White House first came to light during his testimony last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Shulman gave assorted answers when asked why he had visited the White House 118 times during the period that the IRS was targeting tea party and conservative nonprofits for extra scrutiny and delays on their tax-exempt applications.
By contrast, Shulman’s predecessor Mark Everson only visited the White House once during four years of service in the George W. Bush administration and compared the IRS’s remoteness from the president to “Siberia.” But the scope of Shulman’s White House visits — which strongly suggests coordination by White House officials in the campaign against the president’s political opponents — is even more striking in comparison to the publicly recorded access of cabinet members….
Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama’s friend and loyal lieutenant, logged 62 publicly known White House visits, not even half as many as Shulman’s 157. Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, to whom Shulman reported, clocked in at just 48 publicly known visits. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earned a cool 43 public visits, and current Secretary of State John Kerry logged 49 known White House visits in the same timeframe, when he was still a U.S. senator.
Even the mainstream media isn’t buying the “Obama didn’t know anything” line any longer. And the fact that many of the most liberal institutions are now refusing to attend the Attorney General’s off-the-record meeting tends to indicate the severity of the threat to the administration.
Now go the fuck to sleep, says Big Brother Obama. Larry Correia takes exception:
Let’s see… The first American president that’s actually had to argue that he’s not a dictator, who has to have a big debate over whether it is okay to just waste American citizens on US soil without any due process, who broke thousands of federal laws in order to ship guns to Mexican drug cartels to drum up phony stats against his political enemies, and who blamed a terrorist attack on a YouTube video, says that the idea that potential tyranny looms is just silly.
Sounds legit to me!
Sure, Barack Obama has grown the federal leviathan bigger and stronger and more intrusive than it has ever been, and it was already bloated, absurd, and terrifying before, but talking about how this government could become too powerful and thus tyrannical like all of the other governments in human history which did the same thing before… well, that’s just crazy talk!
Why, one wonders, is it important to Obama that Americans “reject these voices”, the voices that “incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity” and of lurking tyranny?
We know his executive branch is actively targeting political foes in a way that not even Nixon or Clinton ever dared. We know that his administration regularly lies to the press and the public, about Benghazi and about the IRS investigations. We know he is openly claiming the legal right to assassinate any American, inside or outside U.S. borders, without due process. And we know he is seeking to disarm the American people.
So, with all due respect, I submit it would be unwise to heed his advice. First, it is simple fact that government is a separate entity; it is neither the people nor the nation. Second, while government is not necessarily and intrinsically sinister, the actions of the current U.S. government and the present administration most certainly are.
The New York Times contemplates the mystery of how a Goldmanite – and former governor of New Jersey – could be responsible for one of the biggest bankruptcies in U.S. history:
He was from Goldman Sachs.
That is the refrain you hear over and over again when MF Global insiders try to explain why they went along with Jon Corzine’s risky trades — the same ones that caused a crisis of confidence at the firm and, ultimately, its bankruptcy on Monday….
Being a former Goldmanite has long been considered the ultimate calling card. But, in some cases, it has proved to be a liability: A series of blunders by former senior Goldman executives raises questions about whether Goldman’s secret sauce can actually be exported. Think John Thain. Or Robert Rubin. Or J. Chris Flowers.
Let’s consider the possible explanations why there is a pattern of success at Goldman Sachs and failure elsewhere:
1. There is some sort of magic in the Goldman water cooler that permits these financial wunderkinder to outperform the rest of the financial markets.
2. There is a wise old Asian janitor, seemingly ageless, living in the basement of the Goldman building whose cryptic utterings are interpreted and applied by the Goldman executives, leading to astoundingly good results.
3. Goldman leverages its oversized influence in the federal government to secure government policies that ensure it reliable profits.
I don’t know about you, but my money is on number two. I picked up an East Asian Studies major in college and studied Japanese in Tokyo on the off-chance that I might have the opportunity to speak to him one day.