Election 2016: Jeb Bush’s wife, family issues key to 2016
**Posted by Phineas
There’s an interesting and frightening interview posted to Business Insider today with Yeonmi Park, a woman who escaped from North Korea with her family as a teenager, but needed years to get over the brainwashing she endured there. An indoctrination so intense, she believed the late Kim Jong Il could read her mind:
Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, under the watchful eye of then-leader Kim Jong-il.
Though she escaped with her family when she was 15, it took her years to get over the intense brainwashing she experienced. In a recent interview with Australian public broadcasting channel SBS, Park went into unbelievable detail about growing up in the totalitarian state.
Growing up in North Korea, according to Park, was like “living in hell.” She describes constant power outages, no transportation, and watching classmates and friends disappear without a trace. While that may be unsurprising, the most interesting part of Park’s experience is her admission that she believed Kim Jong-il to be “a god” who could literally read her mind.
“I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear,” Park said.
Ms. Park’s story is part of a larger program on mind-control shown by SBS, the Australian public broadcaster. The whole show is worth watching.
In an article at SBS, she tells more of her own story:
I lived in North Korea for the first 15 years of my life, believing Kim Jong-il was a God. I never doubted it because I didn’t know anything else. I could not even imagine life outside of the regime.
It was like living in hell. There were constant power outages, so everything was dark. There was no transportation – everyone had to walk everywhere. It was very dirty and no one could eat anything.
It was not the right conditions for human life, but you couldn’t think about it, let alone complain about it. Even though you were suffering, you had to worship the regime every day.
I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear. A classmate’s mother was punished in a public execution that I was made to attend. I had no choice – there were spies in the neighbourhood.
George Orwell’s 1984 depicts the UK after an atomic war and a Socialist revolution. Big Brother is a de facto god to the people: his every word the undeniable truth, no matter how it contradicted what he might have said just the day before. Your innermost thoughts known to him, and he held the power to make you willing to accept your own death and the deaths of those close to you as just. His Animal Farm is a parable of a just revolution hijacked by an anti-democratic cadre, who maintain power by turning the other animals against each other and all into slaves. Both are taught as works of fiction, but Yeonmi Park’s story reminds us that they were more like docu-dramas and that the story hasn’t come to an end.
It reminds me of a saying of John Adams:
“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power”
Our second president was right, but left something out: it’s not just that Mankind is too morally weak for any one person to hold absolute power, but there is also the weakness that makes us willing to surrender our responsibilities as citizens and entrust a small group of people or a single person with unlimited power. It is dangerous because, eventually and inevitably, that power will fall into the hands of evil men.
And then what is to stop them from proclaiming themselves gods?
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The Hill reports this morning that former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has officially declared he’s running in the New Hampshire Senate race to try and defeat incumbent Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and that he will crank up his campaign up by stirring up memories of his miracle winning campaign in Massachusetts from 2010:
New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown is launching his first ad in the race on Monday, a positive spot that touts his listening tour across the state in his iconic truck.
“Scott Brown has almost 300,000 miles on this truck,” a narrator says in the ad, over a shot of Brown driving his truck on a snowy road.
Over clips of Brown interacting with New Hampshirites during his listening tour, the narrator continues: “People want an America that leads again. A health care system that works for New Hampshire. And more good jobs. Isn’t it time someone took their side?”
“Go get em, Scott,” an unknown man adds, to close the spot. It will start running Monday on WMUR, according to the Boston Globe, which first reported news of the ad.
On Thursday, the former Massachusetts senator officially launched his bid in New Hampshire against incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D).
Though he’s facing three other Republicans in the primary, he’s heavily favored to win the nomination. Republicans see him as their best shot to take down Shaheen, whom they believe to be vulnerable because of ObamaCare’s unpopularity in the state.
Beyond the “listening tour”, I admit I haven’t been paying much attention to what Scott Brown has been up to in the months leading up to him announcing his candidacy , so I’m curious to find out what people in both MA and NH in particular think about what Brown is doing. Will the “carpetbagger” accusations stick? Polls show he’s got some ground to make up in New Hampshire amongst its residents, assuming he makes it beyond the primary. He has a few months to do so, as the primary there is September 9th.
It should be noted – again – for the record, that Brown is not a rock-ribbed conservative and never campaigned as such, not during the Massachusetts primary campaign and not now. So in the event that he wins, people shouldn’t mistakenly expect to get the type of Republican they would in, say, South Carolina or Texas. All the same, I’d still prefer to see him in the US Senate than Shaheen – who is still completely unapologetic over her vote for Obamacare.
For now, put this race on your political radar … and stay tuned.
CBS News’ Major Garrett reports tonight that the embattled Health and Human Services Secretary will announce her resignation Friday:
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will announce her resignation tomorrow, senior administration officials confirm.
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) April 10, 2014
Not seeing any write-ups on any of the news sites as to specifics other than this AP blip, but let me be the first to say “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, Madame Secretary.” Another Obama administration corruptocrat exits stage left. Let’s hope Holder is next (although I’m not holding my breath).
Update – 7:05 PM: Best response so far to the news, via Ben Shapiro:
Sebelius resigns. Which means that as a future lobbyist, she'll meet much more often with the President.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 10, 2014
**Posted by Phineas
And even freedom of thought.
Writing at National Review Online, Dr. Hanson reviews recent incidents of people being hounded for their political opinions or scientific skepticism –among others, Brendan Eich at Mozilla; Dr. Richard Tol for not towing the party line on global warming; antisemitism at a major university that only draws a slap on the wrist; and let’s add Brandeis University’s disgusting insult to Ayaan Hirsi Ali– and then argues that the president has enabled or encouraged this behavior both actively and passively. (And I do believe Hanson is right.)
After all that, VDH offers this about how civil liberties will die in America:
All of that them/us rhetoric has given a top-down green light to radical thought police to harass anyone who is open-minded about man-caused global warming, or believes that gay marriage needs more debate, or that supporting Israel is a legitimate cause, or that breaking federal immigration law is still a crime and therefore “illegal.”
Our civil liberties will not be lost to crude fascists in jackboots. More likely, the death of free speech will be the work of the new medieval Torquemadas who claim they destroyed freedom of expression for the sake of “equality” and “fairness” and “saving the planet.”
And either the irony is lost on them, or they don’t give a damn.
UPDATE: And just like that, another example — the progessive, tolerant, open-minded mob has gone after Dropbox for adding Condoleezza Rice to their board of directors. Can we call them “racists,” yet? (h/t Stephen Kruiser)
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
Sometimes I wonder if Kim Jong Un, a reputed heavy drinker, doesn’t sit around late at night nursing a bottle of scotch and fantasizing about the various outré ways he can whack people who have ticked him off:
A senior North Korean official has been executed with a flamethrower after Kim Jong-un branded him an ‘enemy of the state’, it has been claimed.
O Sang-hon is said to have been brutally killed for his close ties to the communist leader’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was himself publicly tried and executed in December after being found guilty of corruption and ‘counter revolutionary’ activities.
Mr O is thought to be the latest of 11 senior Workers Party figures to have been executed this year over their links to Mr Jang, with South Korean media reporting that Kim Jong-un has plans to execute or imprison hundreds more of his supporters and extended family members.
Mr O had been Mr Jang’s deputy at North Korea’s ministry of public security, and his execution by flamethrower took place after being found guilty of helping his boss turn the state department into a personal security division and hide corruption, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.
The ministry of public security has since been closed, with all 11 of the most senior officials said to have been either executed or sent to one of Kim Jong-un’s concentration camps in a second wave of vengeance following conviction of Mr Jang.
I’m not so sure a life sentence in in the North Korean gulag is much better than death, in fact I’m certain it’s in many ways worse, but execution by flamethrower? Mind you, that’s after we’ve had reports of execution by mortar and by being thrown to the dogs.
Use of a flamethrower brings a whole new meaning to “firing squad.”
Take this news with the usual caveats about “if it’s true,” but, regardless of its verity and in spite of its egregiousness, Kim’s savage, quixotic tyranny is a “teachable moment” for advocates for advocates of limited government, because it shows quite clearly the dangers posed when government is not restrained and its powers are not carefully limited. And when the Rule of Man replaces the Rule of Law, no one’s life, rights, or property is safe.
No need for flamethrowers to prove it: just ask the Sacketts of Idaho.
PS: I fully expect Kim to up his game — the next execution just has to be by tac-nuke.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The Hill reports that another one of Obama’s budgets has gone down in flames in the US House:
The House on Wednesday handily rejected a GOP budget alternative based on President Obama’s 2015 spending blueprint.
It was defeated 2-413, following a pattern seen in recent years in House votes to overwhelmingly reject Obama’s budget proposals. Today’s vote is just slightly better than the unanimous vote against Obama’s budget in 2012.
The two “yes” votes came from Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Jim Moran (D-Va.), who is retiring.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) offered a budget alternative based on Obama’s budget plan as a substitute amendment to the House GOP budget. Mulvaney made this move as a way to force Democrats to go on the record about the president’s spending plans.
But Democrats have refused to play along, and have derided these GOP-sponsored options as a political tactic. Earlier in the day, House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) urged fellow Democrats in a “Dear Colleague” letter to vote against the Mulvaney amendment, calling it a “political stunt.”
Van Hollen also argued that Mulvaney’s amendment did not truly represent the president’s budget, and complained that the GOP had only allotted 20 minutes of debate, split evenly between each side.
“I thought we didn’t even want to take up thousand-plus page bills. And yet now, supposedly, we’re going to debate and vote on something that is over 2,000 pages,” Van Hollen said.
An Obama administration official agreed with House Democrats that the GOP substitute was not an accurate reflection of Obama’s budget plan.
“The Administration would welcome votes on the actual provisions of President’s Budget,” said Office of Management and Budget spokesman Steve Posner. “That is not what this amendment represents, and a vote for or against this amendment is not a vote for or against the President’s policies.”
But Republicans rejected these complaints, and defended the idea of consider Obama’s latest proposal as a way to let the House consider all budget options.
“Any time the president of the United States takes the time to produce a budget, it merits a debate,” Mulvaney said. “I think it’s a valid discussion we should have every year.”
It should be noted that while Obama’s budget only got two votes, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget will be up for a vote today and is likely to get many more votes – including a few from vulnerable House Democrats – proving that, when all is said and done, the real “stinkburger” budget will be … Obama’s.
**Posted by Phineas
One of the oft-stated goals of the Affordable Care Act was insuring the uninsured. For those who couldn’t afford insurance even with the new subsidies, states could expand their Medicaid offerings with (temporary) help from the federal government (i.e., taxation and borrowing). Great, right? Even if you don’t make enough to afford private insurance, you still get medical care, right?
Not if the doctor refuses to take Medicare:
“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.”
As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.
My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.
That insurance or Medicaid card does one a whole lot of good when no one will accept it, doesn’t it?
This is one aspect of a broader access problem that’s going to get more and more attention as we get deeper into the Obamacare morass. In addition to a growing doctor shortage (something that Obamacare may make worse), and shrinking provider networks, the limited number of doctors who accept Medicaid will only get smaller, because the system underpays for their services, and yet under Obamacare is greatly increasing the number of patients. Noble sentiments aside, a medical practice is a business, and a physician or hospital can only afford to see so many money-losing patients before it’s no longer worth staying in business.
Call it another of Obamacare’s broken promises: the government promises you medical care, but what if the care-provider refuses to play?
Of course, one would-be Democratic lawmaker in Virginia has a solution for that: serfdom.
Via Jim Geraghty, who notes it’s even harder to find specialists who take Obamacare.
RELATED: Bobby Jindal has a better idea.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
If you check out Senator Kay Hagan’s campaign Twitter feed today, you’ll see she’s joining other Democrats nationwide in pretending there’s a gender wage gap that favors men over women. Here’s one of her tweets on the topic:
— Kay Hagan (@kayhagan) April 8, 2014
This manufactured issue is, of course, being brought up now by President Obama and other elected Democrats at this time because it’s an election year, and vulnerable Democrats up for reelection like Senator Hagan – whose approval numbers have been dropping rapidly here for the last several months – are increasingly desperate to take the focus off of the disastrous Obamacare bill itself and its glitch-filled roll-out. Hagan, you may recall, helped craft the so-called “Affordable Care Act”, which lead to nearly 500,000 North Carolinians losing health insurance plans they liked – plans they were routinely told by the Senator that they could keep. So understandably, she wants your eye off the ball – hence, jumping on the “Fair Pay Act” bandwagon.
Putting to the side the fact that the Equal Pay Act was already signed into law in 1963, and the fact that the “gender wage gap” is, in reality, a huge myth created by Democrats in order “win” the women’s vote by playing the victimhood card, if we go by the Senator’s own metrics concerning this supposed “issue” – it turns out she’s a big hypocrite on the issue of “equal pay”:
As President Barack Obama and the Democrats prepare to honor “Equal Pay Day,” Senate Democrats continue to pay female employees significantly less than their male counterparts, according to an analysis of Senate salary data in Democratic offices.
Senate Democrats plan to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act on Tuesday, though the vote is largely symbolic given the unlikelihood that the bill will be brought to the floor of the Republican-controlled House.
The analysis shows female staffers in Democratic Senate offices were paid just 91 cents for each dollar paid to male staffers. The average salary for a woman was more than $5,500 below the average salary for a man.
Men received higher average salaries in more than two-thirds of the 43 Senate offices analyzed.
Many of the senators with the largest pay disparity between men and women are facing reelection battles in 2014.
Numerous senators up for reelection have an especially large gap between male and female salaries:
- Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.): $15,343 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Mark Udall (D., Colo.): $9,783 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.): $6,267 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.): $5,799 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.): $3,189 higher average male salary.
This is not a new problem for Democrats. A previous Washington Free Beacon analysis of the fiscal year 2011 found that Democratic Senate offices were paying female staffers far less than their male coworkers during that year as well.
And not only are Hagan and many of her fellow Democrats – including our celebrity President himself – failing big by their own standards on the “equal pay” issue, but even the major media outlets that are normally reliably in Democrat corners on this topic have caught on to their duplicity:
— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) April 8, 2014
We’ll just call this “War On Women” – Democrat style. Nice to see the mainstream media finally catching on. Much easier to destroy phony liberal narratives like the ones Senator Hagan and her party try to foist onto the American people when the journalists actually do their jobs in investigating White House claims for a change.
**Posted by Phineas
Somebody on Twitter posted an upbeat message saying the US delegation to the latest round of talks with Iranian officials was quite optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a born optimist and I love optimism, but I’d rather revel in victory than hope for good news, and the Iranians have every reason to revel. The Obama crowd has just ok’d something the Tehran tyrants have desperately wanted since the eighties: spare parts for their long-grounded American passenger aircraft. Boeing and General Electric were given export licenses by the Treasury Department and everyone involved has been chanting “we take aircraft security very seriously,” in order to cloak this latest gift to the Khamenei-Rouhani regime in humanitarian hues.
Frankly I’d rather they took national security very seriously. Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet. The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service. Back in the mid-eighties, when I spent quite a bit of time with Iranian officials, they repeatedly asked for spare parts, both for the passenger planes and for the aging military craft, the F4s and F5s. Secretary of Defense Weinberger of course vetoed any such discussions, and the embargo has held until just now.
Now we’re arming Iran.
The idea that a state-sponsor of global terrorism like Iran would adhere to understandings to keep the civilian and military functions of their aircraft separate is self-delusional nonsense. They’ll no more do that than they have to keep their civilian and military nuclear programs apart. (Really, I have a bridge for anyone who believes they’re honoring the recent nuclear agreement.)
What these fatuous dunderheads at State and in the White House refuse to see is that Iran has regarded itself as being at war with the United States since 1979. A deal like this, when Iran could easily ferry troops or equipment on “civilian” flights is tantamount to selling them the rope they’ll use to hang us.
This is part of a larger, global war of tyrannies against democracies. George W. Bush was mocked for his “Axis of Evil” comment, but he was right. The players have changed a bit since then, but still include Pyongyang, Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas — and Tehran. And they’re taking advantage of the openings we’re giving them. More Michael:
And so it is, indeed the war has been on for some time, and it’s a bit hotter than Cold War 1.0 was for most of the twentieth century. Kiev burned, and may burn again soon. Caracas is burning, as are many of Venezuela’s cities and towns. Crimea has been annexed, and Syria is still aflame, as is Iraq, and also Yemen. Estonia and Finland are seriously frightened, as well they should be. If we pull back from the crisis du jour, we can see it’s a global conflict. Iran and Russia are fighting in Syria, sometimes with and sometimes against the jihadi marauders. Cuba is fighting in Venezuela, a country the Castros largely command, and Hezbollah is in there, too. And for those of you who follow Africa, know that the Iranians are up to their necks in Nigeria, buying influence and supporting the mass murderers in Boko Haram.
The West needs to wake up and smell the smoke from the fires starting to burn all around it, before it turns into a real conflagration. Our foes are vulnerable, and the West can win, but only if with American leadership. The US government is the only one that can convince the other nations to take the steps necessary to push back against Putin, Khamenei, and the others. As John Schindler recently wrote:
We will have many allies in resisting Russian aggression if we focus on issues of freedom and sovereignty, standing up for the rights of smaller countries to choose their own destiny.
It would help if we had leaders who saw themselves as the heirs to Churchill, rather than Chamberlain.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)