The last (nearly) eight years since starting blogging at Rossputin.com in 2004 has been a wonderful adventure in politics and media. I have graduated from having a modestly-trafficked web site to being considered one of Colorado’s more influential pro-liberty bloggers and to writing for national publications such as the American Spectator, a remarkable publication which I am honored to be associated with. I have also gone from occasional radio guest-hosting, to having my own show on a small station, to now having a Sunday show on 850 KOA, the market-leader among talk stations in Colorado, an accomplishment which I am very proud of.
Life changes, as it is wont to do, bringing different focuses in business, kids growing up, and other things which alter (and usually increase) the demands on one’s time.
With all those changes, mostly happy ones, and with my increased commitment to radio and to other writing, I hope that my friends and readers will understand when I let you know that I’ve decided to give up daily blogging on these pages.
On the rare occasion when I post something new on these pages, it will show up on my Facebook page and my Twitter feed, so anyone who “likes” or “follows” those will be alerted, should they care to be, of a new article here. But I do not expect to write again at Rossputin.com with any frequency other than perhaps linking to articles I write elsewhere.
I will continue to write for and contribute to the American Spectator for as long as they will have me, and make efforts to write occasional opinion pieces for other publications. And I will endeavor to further my radio “career” as well, hoping many of you will be listening.
So, my friends, readers, and blogosphere colleagues, it is with mixed emotions but a clear sense that I am making the right decision that I close this chapter of my writing/media career by ending my regular blogging at the pages of Rossputin.com
I am truly grateful to all of you who have offered comment, debate, and especially encouragement in what has been for me (and I know is for my other fellow pro-liberty bloggers in Colorado) a labor of love – particularly love for our country and its founding principles. My batteries have always been recharged by those fellow patriots who remind me that I am not alone, and who I hope have taken similar comfort from me.
I will keep fighting for the principles I hold dear in the ways that make the most sense for me. I hope to see and hear from you on the political and economic battlefield as we try to defeat the dark forces of “progressivism” at home and Islamism overseas, each of which intends to replace the values of our Founding with something that Madison and Jefferson would simply not recognize as America.
As a last political comment on these pages, at least for some time, I offer you this prediction: Mitt Romney will be elected president in November, but it will be a challenging and occasionally disheartening struggle for Republicans to try to influence him and congressional Republicans to stand up for free men and free markets. I make the first half of this prediction with less confidence than the second half.
Again, thank you all for the years of support and conversation, and I hope that for at least a few of you, at least once or twice, I have caused you to rethink an issue or a vote in a way which tended to further the cause of liberty. I also hope you’ll continue the conversation and journey with me in other venues.
With that, the pages of Rossputin.com bid you a fond farewell, but I hope you’ll stick with me, such as by reading my work at the American Spectator and listening to my radio show. Being a daily blogger has been a wonderful experience, and I hope you’ll keep in touch as I take the next steps in my adventure in politics and media.
Andrew Sullivan, he of “The First Gay President” fame, has responded to a blog note of mine in which I, tongue in cheek, mentioned understanding “the temptation to waterboard” MSNBC host Chris Hayes who offered the worst of liberal gobbledygook about his being “uncomfortable about the word ‘hero’.”
Sullivan offers this, which apparently passes for insight: “The most revealing thing about this rant is its understanding of waterboarding. It is, in Kaminsky’s eyes, an instrument of punishment. Every now and again, the far right shows its hand. The adoption of torture was as much about revenge and payback as it was a misguided, illegal, desperate attempt to get intelligence by methods never designed (by totalitarians) to get intelligence.”
I got a similar comment from a follower of Sullivan’s who, desperately searching for a thought of his own, said that “Your post is vile and says much more about you than the people you suggest might be conceivably targeted for waterboarding as ‘punishment.’I thought waterboarding is defended on the right as a legitimate form of interrogation intended only to obtain urgently relevant information. That’s quite a slip. You inadvertently confirm that it is indeed a form of punishment, even if you weasel-word and say you wouldn’t inflict it yourself. This is the great thing about the insurrectionist right: you can’t help yourselves. You betray the underlying violence of your intentions, and these little slip-ups are becoming more and more common among the demagogic cacklers you represent. We notice even if you don’t.”
So let’s be clear about this. A car can be used to take you to work, or for the sport of racing. An iPhone can be used to make a call, surf the web, or play a game. A liberal can be used to raise your taxes or to show a substantial, if not diagnosable, disconnect with reality. And waterboarding can (theoretically) be used to extract information from a non-compliant enemy captive or to make someone feel uncomfortable, as Mr. Hayes feels about the word ‘hero’, for example.
Nothing about my joke implies that waterboarding as used on KSM, and which seems to have contributed to the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden, was punishment rather than an aggressive means of interrogation.
What is particularly funny is that Sullivan does accurately quote my words in which I say specifically that “the proper punishment for Mr. Hayes and his ilk is to make sure their TV ratings are as low as possible (which may already be the case when it comes to Mr. Hayes’ show) and to vote against Democratic candidates, other than those who (unlike John Kerry) have served with honor, at every opportunity…”
In other words, anybody but the most hypersensitive liberal (if you will pardon my redundancy) would recognize that my mention of waterboarding was meant as humor, even if not humor that a liberal would understand, and that I made explicitly clear that there is no place for violence in this debate.
Meanwhile, liberals say nothing about the true violence done by left-wing domestic terrorists as explained by Stacy McCain and Patrick Frey. When a search of the Daily Beast web site where Sullivan writes turns up instances of my name but no instance of Brett Kimberlin, one knows that the left is every bit as deranged as I suggested in my note about Chris Hayes.
Therefore, unlike Chris Hayes who offered what I believe to be a mostly insincere apology, I offer no apology for my words. It’s not my problem if liberals can’t take a joke – and they surely can’t.
On Sunday, MSNBC host Chris Hayes put his foot in it in the worst possible way. Speaking in the context of Memorial Day, Hayes said he is “uncomfortable about the word ‘hero’ because it seems so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”
To be fair, he did say that he understands there is such a thing as true heroism, but also that we “marshal this word in a way that is problematic.”
What planet does Hayes live on? Planet Nimrod, clearly. Beyond the obvious question of who would think like that, one has to wonder who would speak like that? Nobody who is in touch with real life on Planet Earth.
The liberal intelligentsia is so reflexively anti-war that they are, despite their not-so-brave words to the contrary, also anti-military, which is to say anti-individual military members even if they will not admit it.
Hayes is the elitist version of the Vietnam War protestor spitting on a returning soldier.
John McWhorter of the NY Daily News was equally out of touch and equally deserving of scorn and ridicule: “Sometimes you need to revise. I would almost rather not say ‘hero’ and come up with a more neutral term which of course would take on partisan resonances as time went by…it is manipulative, I don’t think necessarily deliberately.”
In other words, for that New York leftist elitist, the word ‘hero’, along with ’sacrifice’ and “valor’, is part of some grand conservative “argumentational strategy,” as if anyone knows what that means.
Hayes, McWhorter, and other guests on Hayes’ Sunday show are living proof that liberals must try so hard to make themselves sound smart because their actual thoughts are so stupid.
Another liberal went on to say that the word ‘hero’ is meant to ‘drape war in a righteous way.” Just goes to show that there are both males and females of the Nimrod species.
Ann Coulter, on Twitter, capsulized the reaction of many: “Chris Hayes ‘Uncomfortable’ Calling Fallen Military ‘Heroes’ – Marines respond by protecting his right to menstruate.”
Not surprisingly, Hayes followed this discussion with an interview of a woman whose son committed suicide after serving just over a year in Iraq, and who blames the Army for his death. (I’m not saying that this poor mother is wrong, just that it was an utterly inappropriate segment on the day before Memorial Day.)
If you can tolerate listening to effete liberals who understand nothing about the real America or real Americans, you can watch this, starting at about 6 1/2 minutes into the video. You will find it almost incomprehensible that MSNBC was able to find in one town on one day so many people with such fanatically anti-military views. But that’s Manhattan for you.
At least Hayes had the courage to offer a sincere-sounding apology, though I’m certainly not alone with my suspicion that he truly believes everything he said, and everything his co-religionists in the cult of anti-Americanism said alongside him to besmirch our soldiers – living, dead, and fallen – on this Memorial Day weekend.
Our soldiers take an oath to defend America against enemies foreign and domestic. Clearly, domestic enemies are in MSNBC studios, though I don’t suggest they be punished or harmed. They have every right to be idiots, though one would prefer that they at least recognize who is risking life and limb to protect that right. While I understand the temptation to waterboard Chris Hayes, the right answer is to understand that he represents today’s Democratic Party. The proper punishment for Mr. Hayes and his ilk is to make sure their TV ratings are as low as possible (which may already be the case when it comes to Mr. Hayes’ show) and to vote against Democratic candidates, other than those who (unlike John Kerry) have served with honor, at every opportunity.
Another fight is brewing in Minnesota over that state’s proposed Voter ID amendment to the state’s constitution. The state chapter of the AARP (along with the ACLU) is opposing the measure, claiming it will keep some elderly people from voting.
News reports describe conservative AARP members cutting up their membership cards, and there is a? “Ditch the AARP” movement being spearheaded by a group called Minnesota Majority aiming to get people to boycott the organization. The group notes that Voter ID laws are supported by 80 percent of those over 65, according to a Rasmussen poll. (Actually 80 percent is the lowest of the three age categories in the poll’s crosstabs.)
The web site MinnPost.com explains that the way that Republicans have designed the proposed amendment leaves much of the detail of its implementation to future legislatures, meaning that a return to a Democrat-controlled legislature, something very possible in Minnesota, could mean the effective gutting of key Voter ID provisions.
There is a debate about whether the amendment is “self-executing,” meaning whether it would go into effect without further legislative action. The existence of such a debate suggests that the amendment itself is not as well designed as it might have been. Therefore it is not surprising to see predictions of lawsuits clarifying the amendment’s language even before a vote is taken.
In the meantime, Minnesota’s AARP is not backing down. They care little about shows of opposition by members and much about supporting Democrats. The fact that blocking a measure designed to ensure the integrity of elections is a way to support Democrats says a lot about that political party, especially in a state whose comedian-senator, Al Franken, likely won election on the strength of fraudulent votes (though not necessarily votes which would have been stopped by a Voter ID law.)
I was very pleased to be contacted by USA Today on Thursday, asking me to write an opposing view on their take that the conviction and sentencing of Dharun Ravi was fair because society is becoming less tolerant of bias. (They had seen my American Spectator article which made roughly the opposite point to theirs.)
I wrote my view for them, and it has been published as the “Opposing View” in Friday’s USA Today:
On Wednesday, President Obama delivered the commencement address at the Air Force Academy. As with most Obama speeches, it was full of self-congratulation.
As George Will put it, “If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and a service to him, actually.”
In his speech at the Academy, Obama used the word “I” 36 times. ("Me” was only used a further two times, and some fraction of the 69 instances of “we” were simply aggrandized versions of “I".)
After explaining to the airmen and women that they would face fewer deployments than other recent graduates because of the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama embarked on a litany of self-defense, cloaked in terms of leadership, almost pathetic for the Commander-in-Chief speaking at a military academy.
Obama said that the US is “leading on global security,” almost amusingly mentioning “reducing our nuclear arsenal with Russia.” You would think he would not want to remind us of the sweet nothings he whispered to former Russian President Medvedev about increased “flexibility” after the 2012 elections.
He said we are leading economically, at a time when his outrageous budget deficits have even Europeans ignoring the US when it comes to being a role model for how to keep a nation from bankruptcy.
He said we’re leading “on behalf of freedom” because of our actions in Libya, where he said we “led from the front,” again an odd reminder of the fact of his “leading from behind” as well as a reminder that thousands are being slaughtered in Syria as the US stands nearly silent.
He said that “there is a new feeling about America (and)…new confidence in our leadership.” Perhaps he has not noticed the results of Pew’s annual survey of opinion of America which, other than in Japan, has generally been sliding during Obama’s presidency.
Perhaps most disingenuous and clever, however, was Obama’s stated support for capitalism, a word which must be difficult for him to utter. He urged the listeners to “(put) aside the tired notion that says our influence has waned or that America is in decline” and then suggested that “we fought our way back (and) created the largest middle class in history and the most prosperous economy the world has ever known.”
The president transitioned this into calling for more “investing,” which is his code for government spending, and to “get on with nation-building here at home.”
Obama went on to a theme of an upcoming “American Century,” but in typical Obama fashion said that it will be “because we have the strongest alliances of any nation.” Even when he said that “no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs,” that was based on “shaping the global institutions of the 20th century to meet the challenges of the 21st.”
In other words, according to Obama, the US will only be strong because it works through the United Nations, a premier anti-American institution if ever there was one, and because we skip through the fields of foreign affairs holding hands with other nations’ diplomats. That may be Obama’s definition of strength, but it is one which most prior American presidents and others in position of national leadership would not recognize. Indeed, some might consider Obama’s characterization a description of American weakness rather than strength. An interesting message to deliver at a military institution.
It was also amusing to hear the president say that he supports “the liberty of individuals,” getting in a jab at Walmart by saying “we stand with…the entrepreneur who wants to start a business without paying a bribe.” Of course, there were many labor unions whose implicit bribe of campaign contributions earned them waivers from the tyrannical mandates of Obamacare. Cash may not have changed hands, but this administration is no better than the money-grubbers Obama criticized in his speech.
Obama added that he believes in a “simple yet revolutionary idea – there at our founding and in our hearts ever since – that we have it in our power to make the world anew, to make the future what we will.” I doubt this was the conception of Madison and Jefferson. Their goal was not to “make the world anew” but to create a nation in which the powers of the federal government were limited so that people are free to pursue happiness. If our Founders knew that a big government radical like Barack Obama was using them as his stated inspiration and justification for his policies and practices, they would shout out in disapproval.
The Commander-in-Chief is an appropriate speaker at a military academy’s graduation. But this president’s words serve to remind that he is a narcissistic, self-congratulatory, internationalist well outside what many, especially in our military, believe our nation’s leader should be.
On Monday, in a New Jersey court, Judge Glenn Berman sentenced Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail for crimes which emanated from his freshman-year spying on a former roommate with a webcam. That roommate, Tyler Clementi, was seen briefly kissing another male. Ravi’s snooping – and then “tweeting” about it and sharing the video feed with several friends – is widely assumed to have been a factor in Clementi’s September, 2010 suicide, accomplished by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
However, a suicide note left by Clementi, which has not been made public, reportedly did not name the Ravi-related events as the reasons for his suicide. And an in-depth story of the lives and interactions of Clementi and Ravi in New Yorker magazine shows Clementi not particularly bothered, at least initially, by the spying: “But its not like he left the cam on or recorded or anything / he just like took a five sec peep lol.” Furthermore, Clementi had gone to a gay student association meeting at Rutgers and told a friend “I would consider myself out…if only there was someone for me to come out to.”
The desperation of a young man driven to end his own life, is nearly beyond comprehension – and must certainly be so to his parents. But sadness, even tragedy, must not be confused with injustice.
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
From the better late than never files: A group called the TABOR Foundation has filed a lawsuit against parts of the Colorado state government for provisions of the 2009 FASTER legislation which imposed taxes disguised as “fees” and allowed the state to create a sham corporation to get around Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) restrictions on state borrowing.
Tom Ryan of the Independence Institute has written an instructive explanation on “How Colorado Has Raised $300 Million in Debt Without Asking Its Citizens” as well as a detailed study of how the whole Democrat-hatched scheme represents ”A Case Study in Contravening Colorado’s Constitution.“
Sadly, the Colorado State Supreme Court, perhaps the worst, most partisan such court in the nation, has allowed the state to get around TABOR’s requirement that new taxes must receive a vote of the people by calling those taxes fees.
However, fees have a specific meaning, namely that the money is collected for a specific purpose from people doing something related to that purpose.
But as a press release for the TABOR Foundation noted:
“FASTER imposes a ‘bridge safety surcharge,’ based on weight, which is collected whenever a vehicle is registered anywhere in Colorado. Almost half of Colorado’s 64 counties will receive no direct benefit from the Bridge Enterprise; nonetheless, the residents of these 29 counties must pay the same bridge tax as residents of the counties allegedly benefitted by the tax.”
If you have to pay money but the money is spent elsewhere, that is a tax, not a fee, and it is unconstitutional.
The entire structure of the “Bridge Enterprise” created by FASTER is political sleight of hand, with Democrats having created the thinnest shield between the government and the taxes they wanted raised. But the shield must be knocked away and the government “enterprise” revealed for what it is: a straw man allowing unconstitutional behavior by the state.
It is hard to be too optimistic about the eventual result of the case if it goes to the State Supreme Court, though the facts seem strongly in favor of the plaintiffs. Furthermore, the more balanced political climate in the state, combined with the retirement of former Chief Judge Mary Mullarkey may provide a more favorable environment for the survival of our TABOR protections than we’ve seen in recent years.