Posts Tagged: Dangerous

Oct 10

Dangerous Carbon Pollution: Propaganda from Climatism

In an address to Green Mountain College on May 15, Carol Browner, Director of Energy and Climate Change Policy, stated “The sooner the U.S. puts a cap on our dangerous carbon pollution, the sooner we can create a new generation of clean energy jobs here in America…” In July, 2009, President Obama lauded the “Cash for Clunkers” program, stating that the initiative “gives consumers a break, reduces dangerous carbon pollution, and our dependence on foreign oil…” Unfortunately, our President is misinformed about carbon pollution.

Obama Global Warming

The phrase “dangerous carbon pollution” has become standard propaganda from environmental groups. An example is a May, 2010 press release from the World Wildlife Fund that called for “a science-based limit on dangerous carbon pollution that will send a strong signal to the private sector.” Environmentalists have successfully painted a picture of black particle emissions into the atmosphere. This misconception is being used to drive efforts for Cap & Trade legislation, renewable energy, and every sort of restriction on our light bulbs, vehicles, and houses—all in the misguided attempt to stop climate change.

Carbon is integral to our skin, our muscles, our bones, and throughout the body of each person. Carbon forms more than 20% of the human body by weight. We are full of this “dangerous carbon pollution” by natural metabolic processes.

It’s true that incomplete combustion emits carbon particles that can cause smoke and smog. But this particulate carbon pollution is well controlled by the Clean Air Act of 1970 and many other federal and state statutes.

According to Environmental Protection Agency data, U.S. air quality today is significantly better than it was in 1980. Since 1980, airborne concentration of carbon monoxide is down 79%, lead is down 92%, nitrogen dioxide is down 46%, ozone is down 25%, and sulfur dioxide is down 71%. Carbon particulates have been tracked for fewer years, but PM10 particulates are down 31% since 1990 and PM2.5 particulates are down 19% since 2000. Over the same period, electricity consumption from coal-fired power plants rose 72% and vehicle miles driven are up 91%. We do not need Cap & Trade, Renewable Portfolio Standards, or the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), to reduce carbon particulates.

Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century’s Hottest Topic, Figure 78, data from EPA, 2006

Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century’s Hottest Topic, Figure 78, data from EPA, 2006

The target of “dirty carbon pollution” propaganda is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is an invisible, odorless, harmless gas. It does not cause smog or smoke. Humans breathe out 100 times the CO2 we breathe in, created as our body uses sugars. But since it’s tough to call an invisible gas “dirty,” Climatists use “carbon” instead. It’s as wrong as calling water “hydrogen” or salt “chlorine.” Compounds have totally different properties than their composing elements.

Not only is carbon dioxide not a pollutant, it’s essential for life. As pointed out by geologist Leighton Steward, carbon dioxide is green! Carbon dioxide is plant food. Increased atmospheric CO2 causes plants and trees to grow faster and larger, increase their root systems, and improve their resistance to drought, as documented by hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers. Carbon dioxide is the best compound that mankind could put into the atmosphere to grow the biosphere.

This “carbon pollution” nonsense is driven by Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate. In a debate at the Global Warming Forum at Purdue University on September 27, Dr. Susan Avery, President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was asked “What is the strongest empirical evidence that global warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions rather than natural causes?” Neither Dr. Avery nor Dr. Robert Socolow of Princeton, who also presented, could provide an answer, except the ambiguous “There is lots of evidence.” In fact, Climatism is based largely on computer model projections. There is no empirical evidence that man-made greenhouse gases are the primary cause of global warming. According to Dr. Frederick Seitz, past President of the National Academy of Sciences, “Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.”

As Joanne Nova, Australian author, points out: “Everything on your dinner table—the meat, cheese, salad, bread, and soft drink—requires carbon dioxide to be there. For those of you who believe carbon dioxide is a pollutant, we have a special diet: water and salt.” So the next time you drink a beer or eat a meal, beware of that “dangerous carbon pollution.”

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century’s Hottest Topic.

Big Government

Oct 10

What Burden of Proof Is Constitutionally Required for Denying Gun Rights to the Allegedly Dangerous and Mentally Infirm?

(Eugene Volokh)

California Welfare & Institutions Code § 8103 provides that once someone has been evaluated or taken into custody as being “a danger to himself, herself, or to others,” he may be barred from possessing guns for five years if the government “show[s] by a preponderance of the evidence that the person would not be likely to use firearms in a safe and lawful manner.”
Yesterday’s People v. Jason K. (Cal. Ct. App.) upheld this provision, with a pretty thorough constitutional analysis; it concluded that the government didn’t have to prove dangerousness by clear and convincing evidence, or beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here’s one way of thinking about it: The proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard for criminal convictions is sometimes articulated as, “Better that 10 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man be imprisoned.” (See my brother’s n Guilty Men, 146 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 173 (1997).) The preponderance of the evidence standard in this case means, “Better that 1 dangerously mentally ill person get a gun than 1 non-dangerous person be disarmed — but just a little better, so that on the other hand it’s better that 9 non-dangerous people be disarmed than 10 dangerously mentally ill people get guns.” A clear and convincing evidence standard might be, “Better that 3 dangerously mentally ill people get a gun than 1 non-dangerous person be disarmed.” What do you think is the proper ratio?

On April 22, 2009, Jason’s wife returned home at about 9:00 p.m. and found Jason intoxicated and passed out on the floor. Twenty-six-year-old Jason had been caring for their two-year-old son, who was sleeping in his bedroom. Jason was the primary caretaker for the son; his wife was employed by the Navy as an active duty communications specialist and was scheduled to deploy the next month. 

When Jason woke up, he and his wife began to argue. Jason attempted to leave the residence, but his wife tried to stop him, which resulted in an exchange of shoves between the two. After Jason pushed his wife out of the way, he immediately grabbed a loaded handgun, cocked it, and said he was going to kill himself. His wife restrained Jason, who eventually dropped the gun. 

Jason then left the residence and checked himself into Balboa Hospital, and was taken by ambulance to Paradise Valley Hospital. Jason told medical personnel that he and his wife had not been communicating and the problem was getting worse, and he was also experiencing financial stress. Jason was calm and cooperative, but admitted feeling depressed. He denied he intended to commit suicide, and stated he grabbed the gun to get his wife’s attention. Although there were reports that he placed a shotgun in his mouth, he and his wife later denied this account. Jason said he had increased his use of alcohol, had been crying twice a week, used medical marijuana for back problems, and was having trouble sleeping. Jason also had abrasions on his hand from punching a wall. The hospital admitting form stated that Jason was “clearly frustrated & has shown a pattern of self-harming activity over past month to try to get wife to notice … .” Jason indicated he keeps numerous guns at his house in a safe. Jason’s wife told a social worker that Jason threatened to shoot himself with the handgun, but Jason later denied saying this. 

Based on an evaluation, the admitting psychiatric resident found there was probable cause to believe that Jason was a danger to himself, and should be admitted for a 72-hour evaluation under section 5150. Although Jason and his family did not want him to remain in the hospital, a treating psychiatrist concluded that he must remain in the hospital for the evaluation. 

Jason was discharged two days later on April 25. He was not given any medications, but was encouraged to follow up with referrals and an aftercare plan. He was diagnosed with “[m]ajor depressive affective disorder, single episode, severe, without psychotic behavior.” His prognosis was “[g]uarded due to chronic mental illness, chronic relapse, and chronic noncompliance.” Jason’s father told medical personnel that Jason keeps many of his father’s guns at Jason’s home, and that the father intended to remove all of the guns and return them to the father’s home in Arizona. The psychiatric evaluation report noted that Jason is “intelligent, verbal and educated.” 

At the time of his discharge, Jason was advised of the law prohibiting him from possessing firearms for five years and his right to request a hearing to obtain relief from this prohibition. Jason requested a hearing, and a hearing was held on August 21, 2009. 

At the outset of the hearing, the People submitted into evidence Jason’s confidential medical records and the police report. The court then provided Jason time to review these records, and asked whether the records were accurate. With the exception of denying a statement that the incident involved a shotgun and that he had put the gun into his mouth, Jason acknowledged the information in the medical records was essentially accurate. He emphasized, however, that he did not intend to kill himself with the gun. He said his sole purpose in threatening to use the loaded weapon was to get his wife’s attention, who had not been communicating with him. …

Jason [stated] that he realized he made an “extremely dumb” mistake, and that “a lot of good [has] come out of this,” including that he has started going to church again and seeing a therapist every other week for the past month. Jason additionally informed the court that he owns more than 20 guns. He said law enforcement officers took possession of two of these guns and his parents took the remaining guns to their home in Arizona. Jason said he wanted to use the guns to go hunting, and that he knew how to handle guns because he had collected them since he was 18 years old: “I have over two dozen of them. I’m just as dangerous with the razor I shave my face with in the morning as I am with … a gun.” …

After considering all of the evidence and arguments, the court concluded the People met their burden to show that return of the firearms to Jason would be likely to result in endangering himself or others. The court explained that although Jason appeared to be a responsible individual, he has substantial stress in his life and he had responded to this stress by grabbing a loaded gun. The court emphasized that although it accepted Jason’s representation that he did not intend to kill himself, the fact that Jason “went for the gun” during an emotional incident was the “tiebreaker” and supported a conclusion that it was likely Jason would not be safe with his firearms during the statutory five-year period. In so ruling, the court noted its conclusion might be different if there was a higher proof standard (“beyond a reasonable doubt” or “clear and convincing evidence”), but applying the preponderance of the evidence standard, the People met their burden….

A. Jason’s Challenge to the Statutory Proof Standard

Section 8103, subdivision (f)(6) provides that at the hearing at which a person seeks return of the firearms, the “people shall bear the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the person would not be likely to use firearms in a safe and lawful manner.” Jason contends this preponderance of the evidence standard is constitutionally infirm, and the “clear and convincing evidence” standard should instead apply. 

In support of this contention, Jason relies on the recent United States Supreme Court decisions recognizing an individual’s right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. 

In Heller, the high court evaluated the meaning of the Second Amendment, and concluded the constitutional right to possess firearms was not limited to possession for military use and included an individual’s right to possess firearms in the home for self-defense. But the court stated that “[l]ike most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and specifically noted that “nothing in [its] opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places ….” The court further explicitly recognized “the problem of handgun violence in this country,” and confirmed that the “Constitution leaves … a variety of tools for combating that problem ….” 

In McDonald, the court held the Second Amendment right is applicable to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, but “repeat[ed] [its] assurances” that “the right to keep and bear arms is not ‘a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose’ ” and that its holding “did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as ‘prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill ….’ ” 

In his appellate briefing, Jason engages in a lengthy discussion of whether intermediate or strict scrutiny applies to evaluate a challenge to the constitutionality of a statute infringing on the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, an issue left open in Heller. However, we need not reach this issue because Jason is not challenging the constitutionality of the statute that allows the state to temporarily restrict firearm use to an individual admitted to a facility under section 5150. Instead, he argues the United States Constitution mandates that the People be subject to a higher burden of proof than is set forth in section 8103, subdivision (f)(6). In analyzing this argument, we apply the tests developed to determine the appropriate proof standard when the government seeks to infringe upon an individual’s constitutional right.

B. Legal Principles Governing Required Standard of Proof

An individual has a constitutional right to procedural due process when the government deprives an individual of a liberty or property interest. One component of procedural due process is the standard of proof used to support the deprivation. The standard of proof must satisfy ” ‘the constitutional minimum of “fundamental fairness.” ’ ” To determine whether a proof standard meets this constitutional minimum, the courts evaluate three factors: (1) the private interest affected by the proceeding; (2) the risk of an erroneous deprivation of the interest created by the state’s chosen procedure; and (3) the countervailing governmental interest supporting use of the challenged procedure. 

In addition, the courts consider the purpose underlying the proof standard, which is to delineate ” ’ “the degree of confidence our society thinks [a factfinder] should have in the correctness of factual conclusions for a particular type of adjudication.” ’ ” The required minimum standard reflects a “societal judgment about how the risk of error should be distributed between the litigants.” When the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof is used, the risk of an erroneous deprivation of the interest is shared “in roughly equal fashion” between the parties. The beyond a reasonable doubt standard is “designed to exclude as nearly as possible the likelihood of an erroneous judgment” and “imposes almost the entire risk of error upon [the government].” The clear and convincing evidence standard represents an intermediate standard that “reduce[s] the risk to the [individual] … by increasing the [government’s] burden of proof.” 

Under this constitutional framework, proof by a preponderance of the evidence generally suffices to satisfy due process in civil cases. However, when “the government seeks to take unusual coercive action … against an individual,” the clear and convincing evidence standard may be required. Courts have thus applied the clear and convincing evidence standard in civil cases “when necessary to protect important rights,”, such as when the proceedings involve ” ‘a significant deprivation of liberty’ ” or ” ‘stigma.’ ” (Santosky, supra, 455 U.S. at p. 756.) For example, courts have required the clear and convincing evidence standard in proceedings leading to the termination of parental rights (id. at pp 769–770; In re Angelia P. (1981) 28 Cal.3d 908, 922), involuntarily civil commitment (Addington v. Texas, supra, 441 U.S. at p. 425), deportation (Woodby v. Immigration & Naturalization Serv. (1966) 385 U.S. 276, 285), a conservator’s decision to withhold artificial nutrition and hydration (Wendland, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 524), and a conservator’s decision to authorize sterilization of a developmentally disabled conservatee (Conservatorship of Valerie N. (1985) 40 Cal.3d 143, 168). 

But the fact that a proceeding may result in a loss of an important constitutional right does not necessarily mean that the preponderance of the evidence standard violates due process. For example, in Jones v. United States (1983) 463 U.S. 354, the United States Supreme Court upheld a statute permitting the automatic civil commitment of a criminal defendant who had obtained a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity by proving his mental illness in the criminal case by a preponderance of the evidence. The Jones court noted that the clear and convincing evidence standard was generally required to civilly commit a person because it was “inappropriate to ask the individual ‘to share equally with society the risk’ ” of an erroneous adjudication of mental illness. But the court found there was a diminished risk of error when the individual had affirmatively advanced and proven the mental illness as a defense in a criminal proceeding, and accordingly the preponderance of the evidence standard comported with due process for commitment of insanity acquittees. 

C. Analysis

Applying the applicable legal principles, we conclude section 8103, subdivision (f)‘s preponderance of the evidence standard preserves fundamental fairness and properly allocates the risk of an erroneous judgment pertaining to firearm use between the government and an individual who was hospitalized after a finding that he or she presented a danger to himself or others (§§ 5150, 5151). 

First, with respect to the private interest element of the due process test, an individual’s right to possess firearms is of fundamental constitutional stature. However, this constitutional right is subject to the state’s traditional authority to regulate firearm use by individuals who have a mental illness. Moreover, the length of the threatened loss is a relevant factor in analyzing the nature of the private interest. Under section 8103, the deprivation of the right is lengthy, but temporary, lasting for five years. Further, the infringement concerns the loss of property, and does not involve deprivation of physical liberty or severance of familial ties. The deprivation is thus not akin to the types of cases such as termination of parental rights, civil commitment, withholding of nutrition/hydration, forced sterilization, or deportation where a clear and convincing evidence standard is typically imposed. Additionally, although the loss of the right to possess firearms can impact an individual’s ability to defend himself or herself, the deprivation does not leave the individual exposed to danger without recourse to other defensive measures, such as installing home security devices and summoning the police. 

Balanced against the individual’s temporary loss of the right to possess firearms is the state’s strong interest in protecting society from the potential misuse of firearms by a mentally unstable person. Section 8103 (and its counterpart section 8102 which permits confiscation of firearms) are preventative in design; the fundamental purpose is to protect “firearm owners and the public from the consequences of firearm possession by people whose mental state endangers themselves or others.” These protective statutes “limit the availability of handguns to persons with a history of mental disturbance … to protect those persons or others in the event their judgment or mental balance remains or again becomes impaired.”

Although the preponderance of the evidence standard requires the individual to share equally in the risk of an erroneous adjudication, this risk sharing is justified under circumstances where an individual exhibited a mental disorder sufficient to warrant hospitalization because of facts showing the individual may endanger himself or others. This includes situations, such as here, where the hospitalization occurred after the individual held a loaded gun and threatened to use the gun during an emotional argument while others were present and his two-year-old son slept in the next room. The statute places the burden on the government to show the individual would not be likely to use the weapons in a safe manner. (§ 8103, subd. (f)(6).) But if the government was required to satisfy this burden by clear and convincing evidence, this would increase the possibility that a person might be gravely injured or killed if the government failed to meet this rigorous proof burden. When the gravity of the potential consequences of allowing possession of guns by an individual with a history of a manifested mental disturbance is balanced against the temporary deprivation of access to these weapons, the balance weighs in favor of permitting proof by a preponderance of the evidence. 

We conclude Section 8103, subdivision (f)(6)‘s preponderance of the evidence standard comports with due process and did not unduly violate Jason’s constitutional rights.

The Volokh Conspiracy

Oct 10

CNBC Anchor: Hugo Chávez is ‘Funny,’ ‘Charming,’ ‘A Seductor,’ but ‘Dangerous’

What is it with Hollywood personalities going to Venezuela and being swept off their feet by the thuggish dictator Hugo Chávez. They come back with these stories claiming he is just misconstrued by the media and that he’s really a great guy.

On Oct. 7, at an appearance at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., CNBC “Power Lunch” co-host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, in an appearance promoting her book “You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government,” explained how this could happen. She told an audience that Chávez has a very charismatic, seductive personality.

“I was telling – my two most interesting interviews I think I’ve ever done are Milton Friedman, very influential on me, and also Hugo Chávez, because when I interviewed him I was struck by how much I like him,” she explained. “He’s very funny. He is so charming. He is smooth. He could be a stand-up comedian. He is a seductor, as I suspect most dictators are – that’s how they get to where they are.”

Seductive isn’t probably how most view Chávez, who over the last 12 years has compiled quite the list of human rights violations. But Caruso-Cabrera’s observation gives us insights on why Danny Glover, Sean Penn and Oliver Stone come back from visits to Venezuela singing the dictator’s praises. According to the CNBC host, who gave the impression she saw through this, his abilities are dangerous and are sending Venezuela down the same path Cuba that ruined Cuba under Fidel Castro.

“I got a very clear sense of how dangerous I think he is because clearly what’s happening in Venezuela, my mother’s Cuban – my family left Cuba for a reason,” she continued. “I see what’s happening in Venezuela as very similar to what happened in Cuba. It’s terrible. Poverty is on the rise. Inflation is on the rise. People are suffering. But, he can win you over. I mean it’s very, very impressive.”

Chillingly, Caruso-Cabrera likened him to other personalities.

“It reminded me of actually serial killers that I interviewed in Florida,” Caruso-Cabrera said. “They’re very, very charming. They’re seductors. That’s how they get where they’re going to go and so there’s a lot of similar qualities to their personalities.”

“Wonder how far we can take that analogy?” Cato Institute Senior Fellow and Business & Media Institute Advisory Board Member Dan Mitchell added. - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Oct 10

Dana Milbank Says Glenn Beck Is Dangerous

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank on Sunday said conservative commentator Glenn Beck is dangerous.

Discussing his new book about Beck with Howard Kurtz on CNN’s "Reliable Sources," Milbank said, "When a man is frequently talking about Hitler and Nazis, and then you see the Tea Party rally with the same quotations of Tea Parties and Nazis… you have to say, where does all this come from and why is it suddenly out in the open?" 

This came moments after Milbank stated, "While you can’t be blamed for any individual act, it is evidence that he is disseminating a very dangerous doctrine."

When Kurtz questioned him about whether or not he really believes this, Milbank responded, "I think it’s been manifestly true that he’s dangerous" (video follows with transcript and commentary):  

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: OK. Well, you talk about going too far, and maybe this is related to this.

There was a 2009 murder in Pittsburgh, and allegedly committed by a guy who believes that the New World Order and government are plotting against our citizens. You say in the book, "It goes a bit too far to blame Glenn Beck for this, but Beck’s words are inspiring the fringe."

Now, isn’t that guilt by association?

DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: Well, except that the people who are committing these acts often mentioned Glenn Beck themselves. We had another case of a guy shooting at the cops out in San Francisco, attempted to blow up the Tides Foundation, which was mentioned on Beck’s show.

KURTZ: But what if somebody committed a violent act and said, you know, I read Dana Milbank’s columns and I really think — I’m —


MILBANK: That’s why I say it goes too far to hold him responsible for that. But when you have a guy who’s taking, as the Anti-Defamation League says, these fringe conspiracy theories and giving them an audience of, I don’t know, 10 million people a week on the radio, nearly three million a night on Fox News, you’re elevating something that has always been on the fringe in American politics and putting it front and center. So while you can’t be blamed for any individual act, it is evidence that he is disseminating a very dangerous doctrine.

KURTZ: You think he’s dangerous?

MILBANK: Well, I think it’s been manifestly true that he’s dangerous, but he’s very powerful as well. 

KURTZ: You haven’t proven that he’s dangerous. You’ve proven that — you’ve argued that he says a lot of things that you don’t like.

MILBANK: Well, and when a man is frequently talking about Hitler and Nazis, and then you see the Tea Party rally with the same quotations of Tea Parties and Nazis, the one-world government, the United Nations taking over civilization, posters of Dachau, you have to say, where does all this come from and why is it suddenly out in the open?

So, yes, that’s why I think it’s dangerous.

KURTZ: So you mentioned his big audience. I mean, he gets a huge number in the afternoon on Fox, radio audience. So what makes him so popular? What do you make of the people who tune in for inspiration?

MILBANK: I think it is just that. I mean, in a country of 310 million people, two million watching him is not a huge number. But it’s a huge number — a small number of very passionate followers.

Now, I mean, I think some of this is he very cleverly speaks to — he’s a Mormon, very cleverly speaks in terms of Mormon prophesy and conspiracy theories. I think that generates some of his audience. And some of it is also out of fear.

He talks about the world is ending. People advertise for vegetable seeds on his show so you can keep it in a locked box, and when the apocalypse comes, you can plant it and grow vegetables in your back yard. He’s pushing gold coins. So, his audience is very frightened people who really think the end is coming.

Something fascinating here is that earlier in this segment, Milbank said that Beck has changed his views on many issues over the years, and as a result, it’s difficult to know whether he believes what he’s saying or is just good at branding and marketing himself.

Makes you wonder if Milbank was projecting a bit: does he really believe Beck is dangerous? Or does writing a book about it, and going on television shows saying it, ensure sales of said book.

Maybe Milbank is the one presenting a falsehood for financial reasons. 

Hmmm. - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Oct 10

The eternal, futile, and dangerous demand for “unity”

And essentially unserious.

Yesterday, when looking at news of the One Nation rally, I checked our Headlines and found John Avlon’s takedown at The Daily Beast.  Avlon is a talented writer and a sharp commentator, but over the last couple of years Avlon has let himself become obsessed with the fringe.  Avlon certainly applies this fairly to both [...]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Sep 10

Those dumb, dangerous, ‘fundamentalist’ constitutionalists

So, the new liberal meme is that the Tea Party, with its emphasis on constitutionalism, is a bunch of dumb and dangerous ‘fundamentalists.’
American Thinker Blog

Sep 10

OIC’s Ihsanoglu: “Islamophobia is growing and becoming more rampant and dangerous by the day”

It is not at all established that “Islamophobia” really is growing, but in any case, if it is, it is because of Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihadist; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas underwear jihadist; Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square jihadist; Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden on 9/11; the London jihad bombers of July 7, 2005; and so many, many others. Yet Ihsanoglu, with an evasion of responsibility that is characteristic of Islamic supremacists, pretends that non-Muslims are growing more suspicious of Muslims and Islam not because of this, but because of some gratuitous bigotry. This is, of course, a tried and tested tactic, designed precisely to divert attention from those Islamic jihad attacks and all the others, and to shame and discredit those who would dare stand up to jihad (both violent and stealth) and Islamic supremacism in the West.

“Counter Islamophobia, Muslim nations urged,” from the Khaleej Times, September 26 (thanks to all who sent this in):

Muslim nations must collectively resist growing Islamophobia in the US and Europe, the head of the world’s largest organization of Islamic countries told ministers from the 57 member nations.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to work with Western leaders to dispel misconceptions about their faith. They met on the edge of the UN General Assembly.

Ihsanoglu said on Saturday that he would be taking this message on the road next week to Chicago, where the OIC will host a major conference on Islam and Muslims in America at the American Islamic College.

Education, he said, is key in helping the West truly understand Islam.

He said his new book, “The Islamic World in the New Century: The Organization of the Islamic Conference, 1969-2009,” includes a whole chapter on the danger of growing Islamophobia in the West.

Islam has recently been under attack in America, especially with a controversy over a proposed Islamic center near the World Trade Center sites and threats by groups to burn the Holy Quran in a protest.

“The Muslim world is going through an unprecedented difficult and trying time,” Ihsanoglu told the ministers during their annual meeting on Friday. “We are facing daunting challenges and severe hardships. Islam and Muslims are under serious attack, and Islamophobia is growing and becoming more rampant and dangerous by the day.”

He said a “pandemic of Islam vilification” is sweeping through some parts of Europe and the United States, increasing misperceptions about Islam and eroding Muslims’ human rights.

“We need an all inclusive effort of OIC member states to stem this menace,” Ihsanoglu told the ministers. “That is why I firmly believe that this question of Islamophobia should figure prominently on the agenda of all OIC member states whenever they deal with their Western counterparts.”…

Jihad Watch

Sep 10

Newsweek’s Ben Adler Laments Republicans’ ‘Dangerous’ Push to Ensure Legislation is Constitutional

Newsweek’s Ben Adler is decidedly cool to the newly-unveiled Republican "Pledge with America." No surprise there, coming from a liberal journalist. But among his criticisms, perhaps he’s most off-base in his complaint about Republicans’ promise to ensure that legislation must be constitutional before it is passed along to the president for his signature (emphasis mine):

Not so harmless, however, is the promise to require every bill to be certified as constitutional before it is voted on. We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary. An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary. 

In those three sentences, Adler betrays both his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution and its imperative on all members of all three branches of government to uphold the Constitution’s limits on federal power.

First off, let’s look at the pertinent language of the Pledge itself, which Adler failed to provide a link to anywhere in his 7-paragraph September 22 blog post. From page 9 of the 48-page PDF version of the Pledge to America:

[W]e are offering a plan to reform Congress and restore trust so that we can put power back where it belongs: in the hands of the people. We will govern differently than past Congresses of both parties. We will require that every bill contain a citation of Constitutional authority.

Every bill must merely contain a citation of the section(s) of the Constitution which authorize the legislation in question. This requirement doesn’t mean that congressmen couldn’t make all manner of specious claims of constitutional authority which would be rejected later by the courts. It simply means all legislation must stipulate how it is is written in pursuance of the Constitution before a vote on passage can be taken.

Can Congress require itself to do this? It most certainly can, contrary to Adler’s complaint. "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings," according to Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

What’s more, it’s not just judges, but every senator and representative who is bound "by oath or affirmation" to "support the Constitution." That language in Article VI is clearly intended to bind all U.S. government officials to pursue their duties in accord with the limits the Constitution draws on the power of the federal government.

Congress, the courts, and the president all have a positive, constitutional obligation to safeguard the Constitution and discharge their duties in line with its limits on their powers.

Far from being "dangerous," a fresh commitment by Congress to at least explain how it sees the legislation it passes in light of the Constitution should be welcomed across the political spectrum. - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Sep 10

Oliver Stone Invokes KKK & Know Nothings, Cheney ‘Was a Very Dangerous Man,’ Palin ‘Worse Than’ Bush

Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, film maker Oliver Stone charged that former Vice President was ‘a very dangerous man" and "as much of a threat to the idea of America using nuclear weapons as anybody," inspiring Behar to respond, "I agree with you," and charged that Sarah Palin in the White House would be "even worse than Mr. Bush Jr."

Stone ended up invoking racist and xenophobic movements like the Ku Klux Klan and Know Nothings, presumably linking them to conservative critics of President Obama. Stone: "We have parties of Know Nothings for all our tradition. It goes way back, all kinds of rebellions. In 1923 in Washington, I believe, like, 100,000 Ku Klux Klan people dressed in white sheets walked down main street in Washington D.C., 100,000. The Ku Klux Klan was popular after World War I. That’s in the heart of the country with white sheets, right, on horses. That’s why the Birth of the Nation was such a popular film."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, September 21, Joy Behar Show on HLN:

JOY BEHAR: Before you got here, I was talking to this reporter about Dancing with the Stars and Bristol Palin, you know, Sarah’s daughter. And I just wanted to ask you about Sarah Palin. I mean, what do you thin’k of her? Is she going to be influential really in a real way or not?

OLIVER STONE: Well, I feel two ways about her. I wouldn’t pay attention to her. I think the media’s made more of her, and I think it’s a shame. You’re empowering her by talking about her, but, number two, if she runs, let her run. I think she’s going to get her, I think she’d lose because I think she’s not going to appeal to people who think at all. And I think-

BEHAR: Well, that’s the, that could possibly be not the majority of people though.

STONE: Well, if that’s the case then America deserves their leaders the way they pick them. So if she is President of the United States, God forbid, you know, we’re in for a rocky road, even worse than Mr. Bush Jr., who you share the same feelings I do-

BEHAR: Yup, the worst.

STONE: He was stupid to begin with. We knew that.


STONE: But America find out. We’ll go that way. You know, if we’re, listen, we’re in too many wars. We’re way overreaching. Our economy-

BEHAR: She can’t do that much damage maybe.

STONE: That’s sort of what I’m trying to say. We can only go so far and then, I mean, can we blow ourselves up? Perhaps.

BEHAR: You know, when your research, I was wondering, who do you think was-

STONE: I don’t say that lightly. I mean, Dick Cheney was as much of a threat to the idea of America using nuclear weapons as anybody.

BEHAR: That’s true.

STONE: So we’ve been there, you know, we’ve been there.

BEHAR: That’s right. He’s dangerous, but you know-

STONE: He is dangerous.

BEHAR: -he’s getting older now and he’s not well, so-

STONE: No, he was very dangerous. He was a very dangerous man.

BEHAR: I agree with you.

STONE: He set the whole war on terror, created the aspect of fear. She does the same thing. But, you know, America, if you look at the history, I’m doing this untold history of the United States we talked about is 12 parts for next year for Showtime, it’s a big deal, I’ve been working on it for three years. But, you know, we have parties of Know Nothings for all our tradition. It goes way back, all kinds of rebellions. In 1923 in Washington, I believe, like, 100,000 Ku Klux Klan people dressed in white sheets walked down main street in Washington D.C., 100,000. The Ku Klux Klan was popular after World War I.

BEHAR: In some parts of the country.

STONE: That’s in the heart of the country with white sheets, right, on horses. That’s why the Birth of the Nation was such a popular film.

BEHAR: I see. Uh-huh. But, in your research, who do you think was worse, Nixon or George W. Bush as President?

STONE: Bush.

BEHAR: Or who was crazier? Bush was worse?

STONE: Bush was more dangerous. I mean, he, I think, I mean, our movie Wall Street kind of deals with the concept of 30 years of mismanagement. The deregulations that allowed Wall Street and the banks to get so out of hand started really with Reagan and carried through Clinton. Robert Rubin and Greenspan were there during the Clinton era, and then they carry right into Bush Jr. who didn’t really wasn’t interested in enforcement. None of the people he appointed, Christopher Cox at the SEC, none of these people did their job, so the fox was watching the chicken coop. That was the problem.

BEHAR: Yeah, yeah. Let me talk to you, before we get to your movie because, which I really enjoyed very much, I want to talk about President Obama. Some supporters are unhappy with him. Watch this clip from yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I’m one of your middle class Americans, and, quite frankly, I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantel of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.

BEHAR: You know, I say she’s a plant. What do you say?

STONE: No, it reminds me of the Nixon, Nixon when I did a movie about Nixon, he went and did a town hall meeting. And he got killed because it was all supposed to be controlled and there’s one black man who got through and said, "Mr. Nixon, why are you dividing this country?" Nixon didn’t know what to say. Sometimes people get in there. I don’t think you should do those things too easily, but I think he, I’m glad he did it, and I like Obama. I think he’s moderate and he’s smart and he’s trying to reform a system which is essentially glued up. And he’s got tremendous enemies, so I’m trying to, I’m rooting for him. I mean, it’s either him or Palin or Bush.

BEHAR: I agree with that. I mean, imagine if McCain and Palin got in, what condition we’d be in, you know.

STONE: Right now, we’d be very rough right now. I go back to my previous argument, if they’re there, maybe we’ll learn our lesson. If we didn’t learn it from Bush Jr., we’re never going to learn it.

BEHAR: Look, they want to go right back to it, you know, they want to go back to the tax cuts for the rich-

STONE: We should secede. New York should secede-

BEHAR: Secede?

STONE: -and California on the other side.


BEHAR: Okay, we’ll be right back. Much more with Oliver Stone when we come back. - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Sep 10

Progressivism: Still Dangerous After All These Years

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Love him or hate him, Glenn Beck has a point: Progressivism rejects America’s foundational principles. For the past one hundred years, progressive intellectuals and politicians have been desperately trying to sever Americans’ attachment to the principles of the Declaration of Independence—with its emphasis on human equality, natural rights, consent of the governed, and limited government—and instead embrace a more European model of governance. Progressives assert that America has advanced beyond the principles of the Declaration of Independence. All men were not created equal; some peoples are more historically advanced than others. Rights are not tied to human nature; government creates rights. The consent of the people is unnecessary for legislation; technical expertise should regulate every detail of life. /> Just read what the progressives wrote. As Ronald Pestritto notes in his latest Wall Street Journal op-ed on “ href="">Glenn Beck, Progressives, and Me,” Woodrow Wilson repeatedly lambasted the Founders’ institutions of government, especially the separation of powers, and instead praised a new “foreign science, speaking very little of the language of English or American principle” that would become the new administrative state. Theodore Roosevelt is more pointed: id="more-43236">

I do not for one moment believe that the Americanism of today should be a mere submission to the American ideals of the period of the Declaration of Independence . . . Such action would be not only to stand still, but to go back. American democracy, of course, must mean an opportunity for everyone to contribute his own ideas to the working out of the future. But I will go further than you have done. I have actively fought in favor of grafting on our social life, no less than our industrial life, many of the German ideals.

Over the years, research on the progressive thought and influence has developed quite a pedigree. The Claremont Institute and its scholars have contributed extensive work on the roots of progressivism. Just peruse through the archives of the href="">Claremont Review of Books to read about the href="">1912 election’s transformation of American Politics or href="">Progressivism influence on Obama to name a few. The Claremont Review of Books’ editor Charles Kesler, whose work has been particularly influential on current experts on progressivism, recently appeared on Uncommon Knowledge to discuss href="">the waves of progressivism and the grand liberal project.

National Review has featured several other pieces on the progressivism. Check out their December 2009 cover story href="">The Four Horseman of the Progressive Apocalypse, featuring essays on John Dewey, Richard Ely, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Herbert Croly. Or, read bout the harmful implications of progressivism; for instance, Tiffany Miller revealed that Progressives have href="">left America with a tremendous legacy of debt; William Voegeli reminds Salon’s Michael Lind href="">why liberalism is so dangerous.

Of course, The Center for American Studies at Heritage continues to study the Progressives’ ideas and influence. We have explored what the href="">tenants of progressivism, the href="">empty rhetoric of change, and progressivism’s embrace of href="">big government, href="">bureaucratic tyranny,  and href="">unlimited administration.

These are still only a few of the many scholars, institutions, think tanks that explore the progressive intellectual tradition’s rejection of the Founding Principles and embrace of a new kind of governance. These critiques of progressivism have changed political discourse and have prompted Progressives to start style="text-decoration: line-through;">whitewashing their intellectual history href="">defending themselves, if they can. But if America continues href="">down Europe’s well-trod path, don’t say there wasn’t a warning.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.