Don’t Expect People To Help When You Deny Them The Tools To Do It


UPDATE (12/14/16): The incident in question appears to have been a hoax and the woman who made the claim has been arrested. 

It’s a scene not unfamiliar to riders of the New York City Subway, or any other form of mass transit in metropolitan areas, a loud, obnoxious, and possible drunk passenger making a scene. Most of the time the simple and easiest reaction is just to turn up the volume on your headphones, ignore the jerk and hope they calm down and shut up. A few days ago things went a little further as three men reportedly harassed a young woman coming home a long day at college. The louts are said to have hurled insults at the woman for being a Muslim and even went a step further in physically touching her in an attempt to remove her hajib head covering.

While there has been a rash of reported anit-Muslim incidents recently, several have turned out to have been unfounded or hoaxes. At this point though, there seems to be no reason to doubt Yasmin Seweid account.

The young woman and her father are understandably upset about the reported incident.

“It made me really sad after when I thought about it,” she said. “People were looking at me and looking at what was happening and no one said a thing. They just looked away.”

Her father, Sayeed Seweid, 55, of New Hyde Park, L.I., said he was also angry that no one else stepped in to defend his daughter.

“Nobody even offered to help an 18-year-old girl,” he said. “That means something. Her phone was dying. You offer help — it doesn’t matter the race, religion, or the country.”

Mr. Sewid is right, there is no reason people should use race, religion, or perceived national origin to fail to help someone, especially a young woman facing three aggressive men, in such a circumstance. There are however other reasons people may fail to intervene in a case like this and they are not ones the majority of people living in liberal leaning large cities are likely to be willing to consider.

New York state and city have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. It’s almost impossible for an average citizen living in the City of New York to legally own and carry a firearm. Now, I’m not arguing that the solution to a mostly verbal confrontation is to pull out a pistol to get the men to back down. That’s simply an overreaction that would not be warranted. But the reaction that would be warranted, standing up to the men and making clear they need to leave this woman, or anyone else, alone is not a risk-free endeavor.

Intervening invites 3 belligerent men to focus their aggressive attentions on the good Samaritan who is now outnumbered. Should the encounter escalate, how many of us have the self-defense skills necessary to ward off three attackers? What if one or more of them is armed with a weapon of their own?

Imagine being on that train and you are the sole financial provider for your family. Are you willing to risk injury or even possible death to defend this young woman from a mostly verbal attack? Some may feel such a sense of duty and that is to be commended but it’s not as clear as it may seem and the reluctance to become involved may well be more rationale than simply assuming Ms. Seweid’s fellow passengers were unwilling to aid her because they at some level passively held the same bigotry as her alleged attackers.

Opponents of Second Amendment rights argue against gun rights in very dangerous ways. The very notion of “good guys with guns” stopping crimes and protecting others, while well documented, is repeatedly mocked as a myth perpetuated by “the gun lobby”. The preferred method of dealing with an active threat is to “shelter in place”, even if group action might prevent others from being injured and killed. They claim there’s no need for individuals be armed for self-protection because they can always call the police. police officers almost are always among the first to run toward danger to save others, that’s not always the case on New York City’s subways.

However attractive those anti-self-defense ideas are to the purveyors of “gun-free zones”, none of those options were available to Ms. Seweid or her potential protectors on that late night subway ride. She could not run and hide and when seconds may have counted, the police were minutes away. Thanks to her city and state’s draconian and irrational gun regulations, she was possibly denied the assistance she clearly wanted and needed, from fellow passengers who were in no better shape to defend her or themselves than she was.

When laws demand that individuals be forbidden from possessing the tools to defend themselves and require that responsibility be entrusted to the state, no one should be surprised when those same people are uninterested in,or unwilling to, defend others.


Only Rick Perry Killed Rick Perry’s Campaign

In the wake of Rick Perry’s departure from the 2016 Republican primary there’s been quite a lot of talk about the role the “Trump factor” played in his demise.

Let me give you the short answer: None.

On paper Rick Perry should have walked to the GOP nomination in 2012 and should have at least made it to Iowa or New Hampshire (he dropped out just after NH and before SC last time and endorsed Newt Gingrich).

Unfortunately for Perry, campaigns are not run on paper. They are a trial of living, breathing people and he repeatedly failed the test.

You may think the roots of Perry’s demise lay in his infamous, “oops” moment where he forgot the third federal agency he’d shut down. That was just the cherry on top of an awful campaign. The real end of the Perry campaign in 2012 and why his 2016 bid never got anywhere was an earlier moment…

“I supported Arizona’s immigration law by joining in that lawsuit to defend it. Every day I have Texans on that border that are doing their job. But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society. I think that’s what Texans wanted to do.”

That was the end of Rick Perry as a GOP presidential candidate for all time.

Perry’s high-water mark in 2011 came on September 13th when he led the RCP average with 37.8. The, I don’t think you have a heart line” came on September 22nd when he was at 28.4. Clearly he was already sliding by then but by the time the “oops” moment hit on November 9, 2011, Perry had already fallen to 4th place at 10.2%.

Perry never got above 3% support after announcing his 2016 candidacy during the first week of June of 2015 and trailed Trump all along, even though the latter didn’t enter the race until more than two weeks later.

There are many reasons Perry never caught on. His supporters will decry that his long record of success deserved more serious consideration but a long record as a Republican politician is a hindrance this time around (at least so far). Combine that with his dreadful and insulting 2012 effort plus other successful candidates without his national baggage and Perry never had a chance.

Scott Walker Adds A Skull To His Throne: The GOP Consultant Class

Via Hot Air, interesting take from Walker on why Liz Mair had to go.

“One of my clear rules is, if you’re going to be on our team, whether on the paid staff or a volunteer, what I always say is you need to respect the voters,” he said. “Because really if you think about campaigns, it’s not about the candidate or the staff. It’s about the voter. It’s about how to help people’s lives be better.

“One of the things I’ve stressed … in the last few days as I’ve looked at the possibility of running is you have my firm commitment that I’m going to focus on making sure that the people on my team, should we go forward, are people who respect voters.”

We got into this on the Ace of Spades HQ Podcast last night. I won’t say it got heated but it got…loud.

The point I was making and have made before is, successful candidates don’t employ people who insult the voters they are trying to woo. Others felt that an equal or greater value is telling hecklers and the perpetually offended to shut up.

I thought Walker was right to avoid this mess and the way he’s turning it now is even better. His image is an every-man, regular guy working for you. In a way he’s turning this into a minor Sister Souljah Moment, with the righty wing of the DC profession political class (often perceived as contemptuous and dismissive of average voters) in the role of Souljah.

Is it disingenuous? Probably a little considering Walker hired Mair before and didn’t have a problem with her until it became inconvenient but that’s politics.

We’ll all forget about this in a few weeks at the latest. But even if you disagree with what Walker did initially, that he’s trying to turn it to his advantage is a good thing. Well, unless you’re a member of the perpetually aggrieved professional political class. In which case, Walker just told you to stop your whining.

Selma Anniversary Events…The GOP Leadership Blows It Again


Today the nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March From Selma to Montgomery, a pivotal point in the history of the civil rights movement and American history.


For some reason, GOP congressional leaders decided they didn’t need to be there, even though Senator Tim Scott is one of the day’s co-chairman and former President George W. Bush will attend. (Reports are the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is attending. Good for him.)


On the list of dumb and offensive things the GOP has managed to do in the last few weeks, this probably tops the list. Yes, the Democrats will make this a partisan shit-show. So what? You do the right thing because it’s the right thing.


As noted foreigner Charles C.W. Cooke arguees, it’s impossible to underplay the importance of events on the Edmund Pettus bridge a half century ago.


<blockquote>If all men really are created equal, the anniversary of Selma must be treated as a date every bit as important to American history as is the end of the Siege of Yorktown. As it would be unthinkable for the leadership of the Republican party to ignore July Fourth, it should be unthinkable for its luminaries not to celebrate the anniversary of the March to Montgomery either. Where have you gone, Speaker Boehner, a movement turns its lonely eyes to you.</blockquote>


Conservatives and Republicans love to point out how the supporters of segregation and oppressors of blacks were Democrats. We hear endlessly about how it was the Republican Party that supported the key civil rights era legislation. Well, you can’t live on past glories of decades gone by if you’re reaction to the commemoration of those events is, I got other plans that day.


Again, I get the Democrats will use the day to slam Republicans and again I don’t care. You should never pass up an opportunity to the right thing. And you might even gain something out of it.


What would I say if I were Boehner, McConnell or some other GOP leader? Something along these lines….(It’s not a final speech but you’ll get the sense of the themes I think a small government conservative should touch on)

Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Split The DHS Funding Bill…Go On The Offensive


Senate floor

National Review has an editorial suggesting a path forward in the DHS funding-Obama amnesty fight. My verdict…Meh.

But if Senate Democrats will not allow the bill to be amended, it falls to the House to advance a bill that will put them in a tougher political bind. That means focusing on the November amnesty and not taking the risk of a deadlock that shuts off funding authority for all of DHS in two weeks. Even though such a DHS “shutdown” would have little effect on department operations, and Democratic intransigence would have as much to do with it as Republican insistence on reversing Obama’s amnesty, Republicans would still likely get the blame, as they almost always do in these confrontations.

What might the right approach look like? The House can offer to fund most of DHS in one bill, and the federal immigration bureaucracy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in another, with the latter bill blocking the president’s November amnesty. This would narrow the debate and make it much harder for Democrats to argue that the Republican plan is inappropriate or risky.

Conn Caroll says this is a call to “cave“.

That might be a big strong but it’s certainly a call for the GOP to negotiate against itself which is never a good idea.

The problem with this strategy is it offers an incentive for the Democrats to continue to continue their terrorist threats to kill the hostage they have taken here (aside: I bet we’re soon going to be lectured about terrible it is to call political disagreements “hostage taking.”)

Splitting the bill is an admission that the pressure is on the GOP to “do something”. Well, the GOP has done something, it’s passed a bill in the House and the Senate is ready to take up that bill. It’s a sign they are scared. So why wouldn’t the Democrats simply filibuster the split bills? They’ll say the exact same things about how DHS is not something to be played with and that Obama is going to veto it anyway so the GOP has to give in to their demands or else.

Once you start offering concessions without getting anything in return for them, the Democrats will simply figure time is on their side and hang tough. And they’d be right.

Something else to consider…this is the first fight of its kind with the new GOP majority (a majority one in no small part by running on this very issue). The precedent the GOP sets on this battle will determine what happens for the rest of this Congress. Cave now and you’ll never win anything again.

So what should the GOP do? Attack. Hey super PACs….start running ads in red states with Democratic Senators about that Senator is standing with Barack Obama and illegal immigrants and against the safety of the American people.

Liberals understand that the campaign never ends. They are helped in this by complete ownership of the media but the GOP needs to find ways to make life uncomfortable for Democrats ALL THE DAMN TIME, not just in the 6 to 8 weeks before an election.

One compromise I would offer if I were Mitch McConnell, only apply the funding cut to Obama’s latest amnesty and take the so-called ‘dreamers’ amnesty out. Fighting the kids is a tougher political sell. Yeah, it sucks but you’ve got to give something to get something. The GOP will be on politically safer ground dealing with the so-called “dreamers” later. To be clear, I wouldn’t just offer it for good will, I’d want to go find the 5 or 6 Democrats I need to break the filibuster and offer it to them as an old-fashioned quid pro quo…either you sign on to vote for us or we spend a few weeks beating you up back home. Give them the “dreamers” as a cancellation prize and a way to save face.

Oh and as always, McCain needs to shut up.

Don’t Fall In Love With Politicians, Rand Paul Edition

I never get people who attach themselves with any passion to a candidate. For the most part, politicians are scum and most border on mental instability of one sort of another. And all of them will sell out at some point.

Even supposed ideologues like Rand Paul.

When Rand Paul and Barack Obama agree on a tax plan, something has gone very wrong.

Paul announced he’s teaming up with…Barbara Boxer to….save the highway trust fund. A sample of the proposal’s “highlights” (pdf)

Allows companies to voluntarily return their foreign earnings to the United States at a tax rate of 6.5 percent. The rate is only for repatriations that exceed each company’s average repatriations in recent years, and funds must have been earned in 2015 or earlier. Companies have up to five years to complete the transfer.

Ensures that a portion of repatriated funds will be used for increased hiring, wages and pensions; R&D; environmental improvements; public-private partnerships; capital improvements; and acquisitions. No funds may be spent on increases in executive compensation, or on increases in shareholder dividends or stock buybacks for three years after the program ends.

All tax revenues from the repatriation program will be transferred into the Highway Trust Fund.

A modern transportation system is the foundation for a strong U.S. economy and maintaining and improving our roads, bridges, and transit systems is necessary to ensure our nation’s global competitiveness. Transportation is and should be a nonpartisan issue and taking action to save the Highway Trust Fund and invest in our aging infrastructure is strongly supported by businesses, labor, and transportation organizations.

Telling companies what they must and can’t spend profits on? Public works as federal jobs programs? Not exactly out of the libertarian playbook, huh? In fact, they’re right out of the Democrats and the Chamber of Commerce’s. Surely Rand can’t be playing ball with the Chamber! Oh.

This is a long way from the government slashing budget proposals Rand used to offer.

I miss the old Rand.

Some will see this as growth (something to be wary of in Republicans) others…will have a different view.

If you want a real small government transportation plan, stick with Mike Lee.

This seems like the first step in making Paul’s presidential campaign all about his non-interventionist foreign policy. I support that to a limited degree but it’s not enough to take the risks associated with Paul.

Politicians are chess pieces. Support them if they help you win, sacrifice them if that helps you.

Why Breaking Up The Republican Study Committee Is A Good Thing

Embed from Getty Images

“If everyone is special, then no one is”.

That line from The Incredibles is a very important one to remember in a world where “participation” and “trying” are prized above winning and results.

In the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives “conservative” is a label almost everyone applies to themselves and in doing so they have devalued the term.

That’s what is leading to the fracturing of the House’s premiere conservative group, “The Republican Study Committee”.

Once a bastion for the conservative movement, the RSC has strayed too far from its original mission and been co-opted by the same party leaders it is meant to exert pressure upon, the members believe.

The new group, which does not yet have a name, is being de-facto led by former RSC Chairman Jim Jordan, although the formal leadership structure could change.

The new group is a direct rebuke of RSC Chairman Bill Flores, who after he won election over Mulvaney told the press that he does not believe the RSC’s core mission should be to put pressure on leadership.

The group was founded in 1973 when liberal Republicans like Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon (yes, Nixon was a liberal Republican) were making deals to expand the reach of government. The few conservative members of the House wanted to create an alternative policy group to push the debate to the right.

An idea was taking shape. These conservative House members decided in the long term to target Minority Leader Gerald Ford, whom they saw as a moderate deal-maker rather than a principled conservative. (Ford, foreshadowing the frustration to be felt by future House leaders, fancied himself a conservative but found it impossible to earn the trust from his right wing.) “We said, ‘If Jerry Ford isn’t getting any pressure from the right, the only way he’s going to go is left,’ ” Feulner recalls.

First, though, the conservatives went hunting for bigger game. President’s Nixon’s welfare plan contained a provision to guarantee Americans a certain annual income—a notion that horrified right-wingers in both chambers of Congress. So Crane had Feulner reach out to conservative aides in the Senate in the hope of joining forces to defeat Nixon’s plan. Soon, Feulner was working with Paul Weyrich, a young staffer for Sen. Gordon Allott of Colorado, and other conservative Hill aides. The group persuaded the governor of California—a popular conservative named Ronald Reagan—to testify against the plan before the Senate Finance Committee. The measure eventually failed, and Reagan rewarded Crane by coming to meet with him in the Capitol. Looking back, Feulner says his work with Weyrich, who later founded the Heritage Foundation, laid the groundwork for what would eventually become the Republican Study Committee.

While the group has had several incarnations over the years, it’s always been a place for the most conservative members to band together to pull the GOP to the right.

As “conservative” became the defacto label for Republicans more and more members joined the group event thought they weren’t really movement conservatives. That’s led to a watering down to the groups positions and its willingness to take on leadership.

Currently there are 170 members (out of 245 Republicans total) of the RSC, that’s almost 70% the entire caucus. This is no longer a select group of members who want to pull the party to conservative policies but a box many moderate members have to check to keep up appearances back home.

Critics of the split, like Noah Rothman of Hot Air, say the move puts purity over effectiveness.

What might be accomplished as part of an organization with a track record of success, one designed to serve as the House Republican leadership’s conservative conscience, will now be far more difficult as these members have intentionally sidelined themselves. By creating a sequestered group that achieves nothing more than self-validation and facilitates only the nursing of grievances, these conservative members have embraced marginalization. As members of a small minority House GOP Conference, these conservative insurrectionists might enjoy more success in this endeavor. As part of a large, diverse majority GOP Conference, the broadest Republican majority the nation has seen since the 1920s, they can be safely ignored.

The threat of House conservatives to walk out of the RSC is not strategy, it’s petulance. And no one will welcome this maneuver more than the Republican leaders they are supposedly protesting.

This critique misses the point of the group. It’s not just a voting bloc trying to win the odd concession from the moderate leadership. It’s supposed to be the engine room of conservative policy creation and messaging.

There’s a time for pragmatism in politics but there’s also a time for firebrand campaigning.

When the insurgents become the establishment it is necessary to shake things up again. To maintain a healthy internal debate and to prevent atrophy, it’s vital that some faction of the ruling group maintain a curiosity and energy for change. It’s easy to rest on your laurels and say, “we’ve won, we can stop fighting now”. Surely no conservative looks at the House GOP and says the fight is done. The right needs an energetic base within the governing wing to push and prod the establishment from getting comfortable. Comfort in politics means a slow and steady drift to the left.

That almost everyone wants to be called a conservative now is a victory for those who started the RSC over 40 years ago. But that doesn’t mean that just because people call themselves conservative they are. There are more policy and political fights for conservatives to win. It’s going to take a new generation of conservatives to redefine the term, to breath life into the timeless ideals and to bring an energy to the fight that will rally others to the cause.

When everyone is a conservative, no one is. Hopefully this new group will shake up the comfortable consensus and continue to force the GOP in more conservative directions

Dear Mitt,

Dear Mitt,

I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye. And I know I’ve been tough on you in the past but you need to hear this from someone…drop this idea of running again.

It must stick in your craw that you lost to an idiot like Barack Obama. But that’s the problem, you…lost…to…an…idiot…like…Barack…Obama. Yes, defeating an incumbent President is hard but it’s a lot easier in times of economic distress (see Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, granted he invented his own time of distress but “it’s the economy stupid” carried the day). Even with crushing levels of unemployment, anemic growth and fear that when ObamaCare kicked in things would get even worse…you LOST.

Yes, you’ve been proven right about some things since then. About that, they weren’t really all that hard to see. Plenty of people were warning about the threat Russia posed, the danger of Obama’s Iraq policies, the overall path of the country.

And yet, you…lost…to…Barack…Obama.

We can talk about all the reasons you lost but <a href=””>only one of them really matters</a>.

<blockquote>Mitt Romney won among voters who chose three of those characteristics: shares my values, is a strong leader and has a vision for the future. What’s more, he carried them heavily, by between nine and 23 points. In all, 79 percent of voters selected one of these characteristics.

Romney lost because he lost among those who chose the remaining characteristic — by 63 points, 81-18. That characteristic? Cares about people like me.</blockquote>

Voters will forgive or overlook a lot of things but not caring about them isn’t one of them.

Yes, you can complain about idiot voters who make this decisions based on the feels but it doesn’t matter. No candidate gets to tell voters on what basis they will cast their vote. The candidate’s job is to deal with voters as they are, not as they wish them to be. Now, it’s going to be very hard, if not impossible, for any Republican to win the feelings cohort outright but you have to do better than -63%.

No “I told you so” campaign is going to move that number.

Yes, voters may say they regret voting for Barack Obama in 2012 but that doesn’t mean they would vote for you if given the chance to do it all again. Public opinion polls are conducted in a vacuum. Elections aren’t. If they were “Generic Republican” would win every time. Campaigns however involve a choice between two real live candidates that people then have to pick between. When it really counted, when people have to pick between you and the deeply flawed and failing Barack Obama… YOU LOST.

I know this hurts. You’re a proud man who has known great success. You were caricatured in unfair and nasty ways last time. Of course your inability to counter those gross distortions was one of the main reasons why giving you another chance is a laughable proposition.

I believe you care deeply about this country and you honestly think you are indispensable to its future. Here you are wrong. As far as the country is concerned (as distinct from family and friends) you’re a politician and let’s be frank, not a very good one. You were beaten by a failed President who has done much damage to this country and who in the world of business wouldn’t even get an appointment with you. That’s got to sting.

You’ve achieved some level of redemption with the way things worked out and how many in the party embraced you during the midterms. Bank those wins and ride off into the sunset. Coming back into the fray is like Willie Mays trying to hang on in the early 70s with the Mets. It was embarrassing for everyone involved. Unlike Willie, you didn’t have a Hall of Fame career before the fall that blots out the sad last chapter. Take what you have and be happy with it.

As I said, I’m not a fan so you can just write this off as more hate mail but consider this. My urging you to stay out of the race is an admission against interest. If you run, you’ll battle with Jeb and Christie. It will be hilarious to watch three guys who represent so much of what I hate about the GOP rip each other apart.

It’s not just entertainment I’d be forgoing with you skipping another run. Your participation would make it easier for a candidate I might actually support like Rand Paul or Scott Walker to win the nomination. With you on the sidelines it becomes more likely that Jeb Bush would win and I’d have to either sit out 2016 or hope the Libertarian Party nominates someone who isn’t certifiably insane (and what are the odds of that).


You know what Mitt? Now that I think about it, forget what I’ve said. You are the man the GOP and America needs right now. Like Obi-Wan, you are our only hope. You were robbed last time and Americans are longing to show you how wrong we were and are begging you to sacrifice your comforts so that we may make amends.

In closing…


We Are Not All Charlie Hebdo


Inevitably the massacre at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has spawned a hashtag, #JeSuisCharlie and the English #IAmCharlie are trending worldwide.

At the risk of being an internet scold, these cheap “look at me” tweets are insulting.

I wouldn’t flatter myself by pretending I have the courage of the men and women who put out that magazine. They risked everything and ultimately many of the paid with their lives to keep the barbarians outside the gates. Let us not kid ourselves…they were better than us. We should remember them that way. We are not Charlie, those who worked and died there were. It set them apart from us. We should recognize that and celebrate them for it.

What is left to us is to continue their work, honor them and punish those who would sellout to their killers.

Hollywood Is Run By Idiots…American Sniper Edition

Embed from Getty Images

Interesting story about the making of American Sniper. It seems that it almost didn’t happen.

In fact, after so many failed films about the wars in Iraq ( Green Zone, Redacted, In the Valley of Elah , the list goes on), Hollywood seemed completely cold to Kyle’s story.

Hmmm. What could possibly be the difference between those movies and American Sniper? Oh right, Kyle is a hero (apparently a troubled and flawed one, you know, like in real life, but still a hero) and not the bad guy or a victim of America’s evil.

And how is this crazy new approach working out?

“American Sniper” turned its Oscar-qualifying run into a record-breaker this weekend, posting the top four-day limited box-office debut of the year, and the best ever during the Christmas period.

The Clint Eastwood-directed Iraq War saga starring Bradley Cooperand Sienna Miller brought in $850,000 from four theaters over the four days, an eye-popping $212,000 per-location average for distributor Warner Bros.

Well, in fairness to the geniuses who run Hollywood studios it’s not like anyone could have predicted this. Oh wait, I did. SEVEN YEARS AGO when Lions for Lambs came out and bombed.

Memo to Hollywood…we don’t hate America as much as you do. Want to make some money? Make a movie where Americans are the good guys and the terrorists are the bad guys. It’s not like there’s a shortage of stories that fit the bill.

If you run a major studio and would like to talk to me about consulting or co-production gigs, call me. Don’t email. I don’t trust your IT security.