Posts Tagged ‘levin’

Conservatives Concerned About Wrong Threat

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Leader?

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s when the national audience that is conservatism gets distracted by stories that seem outrageous while ignoring stories that need their immediate attention, and a goodly dose of their activism.  Yes, if it’s true that some unnamed White House official told Bob Woodward that he would regret telling a truth about Barack Obama’s negotiator as the source of the “sequestration” rather than Congress, it is an awful abuse of power and it bodes ill for the future of the freedom of the press.  Horrible!  Unbelievable!  Now that we have this out of our system, remembering that Woodward is a leftist, which means in the long run, he’s apt to recant or later minimize the impact of the story anyway, let me offer that conservatives are paying attention to the wrong damned threat.  Woodward will have no problem finding defenders, but you may, and you’re probably going to need them.  Why?  Unable to push gun control through directly, the Obama administration and the GOP leadership in the House are setting you up to lose your guns by a much more indirect route.  As NRO’s Katrina Trinko reports, Eric Cantor is now threatening conservatives with civil war in the GOP caucus.

As Mark Levin explained, under federal law, those convicted of domestic violence lose their right to keep and bear arms.  You may be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you, but I would urge you to reconsider.  If the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act(S.47) passes the House, as Eric Cantor is currently twisting Republican arms to do, “unpleasant speech” will be considered a federal crime qualifying as domestic violence.  Are you still more concerned about the alleged threat against Bob Woodward?  You see, the Senate version of the bill now includes a number of chilling provisions that would turn mundane arguments among couples into the grounds for the loss of one’s second Amendment rights.  If you think this is a joke, or that I’m going over-the-top, I would ask you to consider what sort of jurisdiction the Federal government has in domestic violence anyway.  Isn’t this an issue for states and local governments?  Federalism?  Tenth Amendment?  Conservatives?  Anybody?  The only reason to make this sort of law on the federal level is to use it as a vehicle for its legislative side-effects.  You are going to be disarmed, and this will be the vehicle.

One might wonder why Republicans like Eric Cantor would go along with such monstrous, probably extra-constitutional legislation, but the answer remains what it has been since Boehner and Cantor took over leadership: They’re not on our side.  They would be only too happy to ban weapons, but they know they’ll get clobbered in 2014 if they go that direction, so instead, they’re looking for the back door to registration and eventual confiscation.  The Violence Against Women Act is the path to taking everybody’s guns, because it even changes the burden of proof effectively from the accuser to the accused.  That’s right, under this act, if you are accused, it will be nearly impossible to avoid being found guilty because almost anything remotely unpleasant can be considered as “abuse” or “violence.”  So much for “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

Perhaps as insidiously, it adds more classes of people to the legislation, including homosexuals, transgendered, and men too, begging the question as to why it is labeled “Violence Against Women Act.”  The answer is clear, however, considering this bill constitutes a continuation of the Obama strategy of denouncing Republicans’ “War Against Women.”  As RedState’s Daniel Horowitz observes, it’s impossible to see where this is anything but a social engineering package. With the added implications for gun ownership, it becomes an even darker tool.  Again, as Horowitz concludes:

“Yes, they should vote against this ridiculous rule, which is politically motivated.  There is no reason they should be considering this bill anyway.  Why is a GOP-controlled House taking up leftist legislation instead of bills to block grant Medicaid, repeal ethanol mandates, or reform the Fed?  Even if they choose to bring up bad legislation, they should do so under an open amendment process.”

Ladies and gentlemen, such legislation is an abomination to our constitution, and while we may be upset about threats against Bob Woodward emanating from this despicable White House, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the threat against Woodward is just one more small token of Obama’s lack of esteem.  The Violence Against Women Act should be called the Violence Against the Constitution Act, because it offers to set aside the whole notion of “innocent until proven guilty,” as well as expanding the meaning of “violence” to include “unpleasant words.” If you value your liberty, you must act to stop this bill by calling your House members, and calling Eric Cantor’s office, though I’d suggest the former will do more good.  Nevertheless, make those calls.  It’s such a despicable situation that Mark Levin announced a “Levin Surge,” and to the degree I am able, let me add my outcry to his:  We must stop this act, because it will be used to further destroy the constitution while setting you up for easy removal of your Second Amendment rights.  The worst threat this day isn’t the one aimed at Bob Woodward, or even by Cantor against conservatives in the House Republican caucus, but instead the one aimed most squarely at you.

Note: Eric Cantor can be contacted here:

Eric Cantor
303 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2815
Fax: (202) 225-0011

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Convention Fight Update: It Isn’t Over

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, the GOP establishment is trying to pull a fast one, and they’re using media to confound and confuse the issue. Given my stance on the state of the Republican Party, you might wonder why I care what they’re doing in Tampa.  Let me make this as clear as I am able, because you, who work precincts, and who carry the water for the Republican Party at the grass-roots level deserve and need to know the truth:  They think you are suckers.  I am not trying to make you any angrier than you may already be with the GOP establishment, but I want you to understand the chronology of what has been done. Let’s cover it briefly:

Friday, the 24th of August, Ben Ginsberg, acting on behalf of the Romney campaign gets rules placed that would severely limit the influence of the state parties in selecting delegates, or having much say-so at all in future elections.  This rule 15(and now 16) would have made it nigh on impossible for you in the grass-roots of the party to have your rightful influence on the national convention.

Over the weekend, Morton Blackwell sent out a response to this, outlining the problems.  This was a rather complete appraisal of the probable impact of such rules.  Blackwell is a hero in my estimation, sounding an alarm that began to gather steam by Sunday, and was trumpeted by no less than Mark Levin and Sarah Palin on Monday evening.

The GOP establishment never runs out of tricks to play against us, even as they frequently seem confounded by the Democrats.  On Monday evening, they pushed out a story via the Houston Chronicle that proclaimed the matter resolved, and that any crisis and floor fight had been averted.  Worst of all, it was false, because it ignored and omitted the matter of Rule 12, that will permit the party bosses to shove Rule changes down our throats by a 3/4 vote.  That sounds okay, right?  The problem is that it’s really not as great a defense as some have been led to believe.

This phony “compromise” prompted this morning’s letter from Mr. Blackwell, who explains the truth of the matter.  Wrote Blackwell:

“Proponents of the “compromise” ignore the enormously destructive problem of the proposed Rule 12.  Rule 12 would enable 75% of the Republican National Committee later to eliminate their “compromise” and to destroy or make drastic changes in dozens of other rules which have served our party well over the years.

“In practice, Rule 12 would enable an RNC chairman to enact almost any rules change he or she desired, because an RNC chairman already has so much power and influence that he or she can almost always can get 75% or more of the RNC members to vote for or against anything.  A chairman already has the enormous “power of the purse,” and should not have also the power to change party rules at will.

“There is already quite enough power flow from the top down in our party.  Instead of approving more power grabs, we should be looking for ways for more power to flow from the bottom up.  That’s how to attract more participants into our party.

“The media’s picked up on this series of last-minute manipulations by D.C insiders and consultants, and I’m sure you’ve been bombarded with contacts from both sides.

“The truth is, this isn’t a compromise.  It’s far from it.”(emphasis added)

Complicating this matter has been the fact that many people ran with the “compromise” business without fully grasping what had been omitted from the Chronicle’s story of Monday evening.  Mark Levin posted on Facebook that the problem had been resolved, but the truth is that it hasn’t.  He likely read the Chronicle story or other stories derived from it, and concluded the crisis had been resolved.  He is to be forgiven this error, because this whole thing is being done precisely to create confusion about the state of the fight.   As those of us who followed the matter into the wee hours of the morning know, this was never the case, and as Mr. Blackwell makes plain in his latest note, the matter is far from resolved even at this hour.

Ladies and gentlemen, make of it what you will, but the facts are plain: The GOP establishment is out to rule the party from the top, and despite pretending otherwise, Mitt Romney’s campaign has had a strong hand in this.  Worse, the deceptive notion that Ron Paul supporters are behind this kerfuffle is designed to get you to shrug and walk away without a fight.  I don’t doubt but that there are a number of Paul supporters involved, but there are many who simply wish to safeguard the future of the party, and that’s where you should come in, if you still care about the future of the party.

This isn’t over. It’s not over until the rules are adopted, and I urge all conservatives to get in touch with their states’ delegations and put an end to this madness.  This is YOUR PARTY!

As Erick Erickson reports on RedState, this isn’t over.  Time to let them hear you, conservatives!

Michelle Malkin has a complete list of State Party contact numbers, as well as this list in PDF form.

A Conservative Icon Prepares the Troops for Battle

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

The Great One

There are a number of great radio talk-show hosts who I’ve enjoyed immensely over the years.  I first became familiar with the format listening to Larry King late at night on the way into a night-stock job at a grocery warehouse.  It wasn’t so much that I liked Larry, as it was that his callers were at least somewhat entertaining.  Most of a decade later, after spending much of my time as a soldier in Europe, I came at long last to Texas.  When I got out of the Army, I got a job and joined the civilian workforce again.  It was some time later, working  in that job, in a moment of downtime, listening for news of the impending hostilities against Saddam’s forces in Kuwait, that I made a discovery that turned out to be much more important to me in the long run.

Twisting the dial on that beat-up AM radio, listening for the sound of intelligible human speech, I had discovered EIB and Rush Limbaugh.  This would  provide a good deal of entertainment, as back in those days, Rush played parodies more frequently, and generally provided a flood of information to the pre-Internet world, delivered from a point of view I’d seldom heard anywhere before.  He was unashamedly conservative.  I’d never heard a show like this, and I became a “Dittohead” in short order. It was in the course of my years listening to this show that I was introduced to many amazing people, including my favorite living economist, Walter Williams, still a frequent fill-in host, and also my favorite attorney: Mark Levin.  I was thrilled when I discovered that Levin had gotten his own radio show, and more thrilled yet when it went to a full three hours.  If it’s fair to say that Sarah Palin unknowingly delivered the inspiration for this blog, (a fact that if she knew, she might very well regret,) it’s likewise fair to say that Mr. Levin provides its beating heart, with a passion shared for the love of our country.

It’s not to say that I never disagree with Mr. Levin, but it is to declare that our differences are perhaps more superficial or trivial.  What I have always enjoyed most about him is what I can hear in his voice, not in mere words, but in the tone in which he speaks: He means it.  Mark Levin has some health problems, and it’s more than ironic that he should suffer from heart troubles, because you’d never know it to hear him speak.  He has real passion for this fight.  He makes it clear that it’s our fight.  As he frequently points out, “It’s our country,” and he’s not afraid to let it rip, and he has no need to be afraid as millions in “fly-over country” love what he has to say, and we respond to the passion with which he says it.

Some people are put off by his voice.  I find it distinctive, and sharp. but what makes it stand out is the force of intelligence and wisdom driving it.  The logic is equally clear and sharp, leaving listeners no confusion as to where he stands on an issue.  Some people think he can be too short with some callers, but the truth is that his sense of  which callers are too annoying to suffer suits me very well.  He has more patience with some of them than I could possibly muster.  If you tune to Levin, that’s part of the fun. My daughter and I have listened to his show, making friendly bets on how long he’ll tolerate the next leftist “drone” before losing patience and dumping them. If only he knew how much entertainment that has provided to one father and daughter, he’d probably humbly deny culpability and laugh.

One of the things I enjoy most about Levin is his instinct for a political story.  He’s among the few who possess the insight to see what’s going on before it becomes obvious to the rest of us.  Maybe that provides some of his passion too, because he’s always warning what’s coming next from some politician, and he’s always waiting expectantly for people on the Republican side to catch up.  Certainly, among the RINOs in Washington, he can see a sell-out coming from a mile or a light-year away.  Having worked in Reagan’s administration, I’m certain his experience in dealing with all the nutty leftists inside the DC Beltway provided him a deeper understanding of how both the leftist and RINO mind works, and what he learned is:  Both are proponents of statism.

If you tune in to his show these days(and you should-daily,)  what you’ll hear is a man who is as passionate about this country as any of the greats in our history.  He is intelligent enough to make a logical case, wise enough to see things coming in advance, discerning enough to focus on the most pressing issues, and engaged and passionate enough to make clear that this isn’t contrived.  There are many talkshow hosts, but what Mark Levin delivers isn’t a show.  It’s an education, and it’s a conservative sermon, but he’s not merely preaching to the choir.  One co-worker walked into my office as we worked late one evening, preparing to replace some major network equipment, and he heard Levin on my radio.  He stopped, listening, as Mark dealt harshly with some nefarious “Re-pubic,” and my co-worker asked: “Who’s this guy, and what’s his issue?”  As we continued our work, I told him a little about Levin, his history, and his show.  He nodded politely, and we worked on.  It was one of those weeks.

I suppose a month or so had passed, that particular project well behind us, and there was an incident that required our attention at the office.  Our normal work hours are 8-5, but in our line of work, it’s seldom confined to that schedule.  I arrived first, and waited for my co-worker as it was a two man job.  As he pulled up in the parking lot, and shut off his car’s engine, the radio played on, and I could hear that distinctive voice I had only moments ago abandoned while exiting my own car.  As he locked his car and walked toward me, he saw the grin on my face.  “Yes, okay, you got me hooked.  I can’t help it. He’s good. Now, did you hear what he said a minute ago about…”  That provided the fodder for discussion while we worked through a technical problem.

One could see how his matter-of-fact manner appeals to middle-aged men who work with computers and networks.  The logic of his arguments is simply irrefutable.   What’s more astonishing is how my wife reacts to him.  She hates radio talk-shows, just because the format annoys her, but among all the talk-show hosts, there’s only one who will prompt her to tune in.  Yes, Mark Levin. Why? Well, my wife is a sort of no-nonsense person, (and therefore amazing to all who know us that she’s still my wife after all these years,) and she appreciates how Levin leaps right in and gets to the heart of the matter.  He zeroes in on the subject, and he forcefully, relentlessly pursues it.  His sense of certitude combined with his convincing deluge of facts swamps the unsteady listener with a certitude of their own.  After all, conservatives are reviled and demeaned in popular culture, and here is a man who says it, says it well, and makes no apologies for it.  She admires that, and besides, he’s kind to animals too.

I think among all the things that Mark provides to his listeners is a sense of purpose and duty about the future of the country.  He’s not willing to surrender it to the latest in statist ploys, and he’s willing to do what he can to oppose them.  He does so daily, and to be honest, none do it better, and few have done it so well.  He’s a mobilizing force, like the General Patton of the radio, and he tells any who will listen the whole truth about what it’s going to take to save our country.  Every day, he lays out the logical case underlying his views, and he presents all the evidence you’ll need to leave no reasonable doubt.   On this basis, he motivates and inspires people to activism, and that’s something for which the conservative movement has long waited:  A spokesman who says it and means it, and whose arguments demand that you do something about it.

I still enjoy Rush and the others, and probably always will, but there’s something terribly, and wonderfully engaging about Mark Levin.  Love him or hate him, he gets under your skin.  He’s the beating radio heart of conservatism, and he’s a powerhouse.  He truly is the “Great One.”

Downgraded America: We Warned Them

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Not All Vultures made it into Frame

None of the events of Friday night are the slightest bit surprising to economically-aware Americans.  Economists warned you. For my part, I warned my own readers repeatedly, and Governor Palin warned you too.  On the Thursday before the debt ceiling surrender, Sarah Palin tried to cajole members of Congress to a firm stand.  A simple respect for logic screamed a warning in your minds from which there was no means of escape.  We all knew this was coming and we all knew it would be humbling.  Responsible Americans heard the warning loud and clear, but when they relayed the stark warning to Washington, the DC-Axis pretended not to hear the din, or castigated their critics and defamed them as terrorists.

None of this is news to you, who’ve been reading this blog.  If you’ve tuned to Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, or Levin, among lesser lights, you cannot possibly have missed this.  Governor Palin warned against the irresponsibility of inaction, on her own Facebook page and during Fox News appearances.  Millions of thoughtful Americans made it clear that the Budget Control Act didn’t go far enough.  Washington sneered at them, and Speaker Boehner told Republicans to “get your ass in line.”   President Obama, for his part, continues to mouth aimless, meandering platitudes.  His Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, promised repeatedly that this would not happen.  Happen, it has, and now America can count on even worse economic news. It’s going to take real, solid, unwavering leadership to restore all that has been broken in the last three years, and more.

America is not dead, but the policies of Barack Obama, combined with the moral diminution of our nation, have taken her down to her knees.  Appropriately, many Americans have noted our position and prayed.  I know faithful conservatives who prayed daily for the President and the Congress to find the courage to do what was necessary and proper to safeguard the fiscal and financial state of our Union.  As in all things, such prayers may not be answered on a schedule most convenient to mankind, but this doesn’t mean Americans should despair and surrender their country.  At least three years of mostly Keynesian solutions combined with innumerable reflexive statist proposals have brought us to this.  The shocking truth is this: Barack Obama is not fit for the presidency, and neither are any who timidly sided with the Budget Control Act and its additional blank checks for Obama.

On Thursday, when the Dow slid over 500 points, the chattering class told you this was about Italy, and Europe generally.  While there is no denying that these had an effect on the markets, what’s inescapable now is the conclusion I offered you on Friday morning:  The market is revolting against three years of an impossible policy of borrow-and-spend and its immediate implications for our own economic future.  It also signifies the bankruptcy of a philosophy rooted in early 20th century progressivism. Last night, as the S&P downgraded our credit rating, the truth became apparent.  What we witnessed on Thursday was the movement of smart money in response to an impending threat.  All day Friday, the White House worked to stave off this downgrade until the markets had closed, hoping to take advantage of the cooling of passions weekends often provide to nervous markets.  They succeeded in large measure, and it was not until after the last echos of the closing bell had faded into memory when the first tremors from Washington began to move the earth beneath our feet.

This isn’t an ordinary event, yet in the hours leading up to its final exclamation point, the narrative from Washington had already begun to work its way into the media at large: “This is no big deal. There’s no crisis. There’s no reason for panic. It won’t mean higher interest rates.”  Any who have been deceived by past admonitions to abstain from worries should now carefully consider the sources of those remarks.  All needn’t be lost, but we, the American people, must resolve and plan to repair this, and it will take a coalition-building servant of tremendous dedication to lead us in bringing this economy hard-about.

We shall see up and downs; rises and falls, but we must measure the course ahead with care, and not turn to panic or despair.  We will have a chance to begin setting this right when the elections come mercifully upon us in November of 2012.  It is for this coming political season that you must preserve your devotion, energy, and passion.  Any silly liberal can(and will) run screaming into the night in fear and trepidation.  We must be what we are:  The solid foundation upon which this nation still rests.  We must have steel spines and strong constitutions.  Each of us.

To restore what has been wrecked by the ultimate drunken-drivers, we’ll be faced with challenges as few of us will have known.  That doesn’t mean certain failure, but instead only that we must give it our all.  Given the character of my audience, as I have been so fortunate to come to know it, I am well-versed in their capacity to do what is right, rather than what is easy.  We’re coming to that crossroad at which we will now be compelled to choose what sort of nation we will be.  Will we accept endlessly-mounting debt, at each increment yielding a bit more liberty and a good deal more of the futures of our children?

I am reminded of Patrick Henry’s famous speech, and encouragement may yet be found in the fact that our situation is not yet nearly so dire as the one he described.  We are not imminently at the point of arms, and there’s no reason we need ever be if only we will make full use of our power in the political battles before us.  Substituting political decisions in place of that context, let us remind ourselves of his staggering admonition:

“They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.”

We needn’t go further than to admit that our situation is not nearly so desperate.  We have no need of arms, but instead we have a desperate need of people to rise and challenge our adversaries in politics.  Our adversaries names are not only Obama and Reid and Boehner, but also John Doe and Joe Sixpack. We must look to our own homes and hearths and know what is in and amongst us.  We must mend the fences between neighbors. Go out this day and find one honest person, and tell them what you propose.  For my part, I will do so also, and this is what I shall say:

There is no avoiding the truth any longer.  We must reform all that is broken with the people in Washington, and if it means replacing them all, every one, then we must do so, as many as we can, in the coming elections.  We must find diligent and honest servants, and we must advocate their cause in our own names.  We must seek out such leaders as we’ll need, starting most immediately amongst ourselves.  We can choose leaders to help guide us at the top, but no leader can carry on her back the combined weight of the world’s problems.  A leader must find equally firm character in those who will be led, or their purpose is in vain. Where shall we start?  Where have we Americans always started?  In our families, among our neighbors, in our churches, and in the town square are the first steps Americans have always taken toward reform, because we know that for reformation and restoration, this healing tide must flow from within us.

Be of good cheer, despite the screaming headlines. Be solid for those who will need your resolve. Be mindful that when you advocate on behalf of a candidate, or an issue, those who are truly undecided will be watching not only for the logic of your argument, but also for the manner in which you make it.  They who have sat too long straddling the fence, half in terror and half in comfort at the prospect of dismounting their perch will need to know they’re stepping onto solid ground. We must be that solid ground.

What must be recognized is that this downgrade isn’t a cause, but an effect.  We must see even the debt that has brought us to this debacle also as an effect.  The cause at the root of our troubles doesn’t lie with the various issues we see emerging in our time, but with something fundamentally broken in what we’ve allowed our country to become.  There are great dangers ahead, but none of them need destroy us.  None of them ought to be the cause of our demise.  They will mostly be mere effects of what actually threatens our republic.

Glenn Beck had it right in his 8-28 project of 2010, when he said that we must restore our honor.  The “fundamental transformation” we must find cannot originate in Washington.  I’ve been interested to watch, as the new campaign season approaches, who is and who isn’t taking firm and public stands on these arguments in Washington, or elsewhere.  I’ve been watching for signals that an honorable and courageous candidate for President will emerge, and while there have been some hopeful signs from a few of those who have announced, I believe the best is yet to come.  Who shall lead us?  You’ve already had a hint.  On the 28th of August, 2010, before a multitude assembled, she spoke not of politics but on the real meaning of American honor:

Who Shall Lead?

“We will always come through. We will never give up, and we shall endure because we live by that moral strength that we call grace. Because though we’ve often skirted a precipice, a providential hand has always guided us to a better future.

And I know that many of us today, we are worried about what we face. Sometimes our challenges, they just seem insurmountable.

But, here, together, at the crossroads of our history, may this day be the change point!

Look around you. You’re not alone. You are Americans!

You have the same steel spine and the moral courage of Washington and Lincoln and Martin Luther King. It is in you. It will sustain you as it sustained them.

So with pride in the red, white, and blue; with gratitude to our men and women in uniform; let’s stand together! Let’s stand with honor! Let’s restore America!”

Many will have failed to notice that Governor Palin had been telling us this all along.  Some will pretend not to have heard it, not wishing to confront that which they know lies within them.  The Obama disaster isn’t the cause of our troubles, but instead has merely exposed the source of our disease.  Ridding ourselves of his disastrous economic and social policies will not, by itself, repair what is broken.  As Sarah Palin pointed out to the assembled hearing of a multitude, “It is in [us].”  We must repair ourselves from the inside, first, and that means honor and integrity in all we do; in our families, among our neighbors, in our churches and our workplaces we must become as honorable as the names of our cherished beliefs demand.  At every junction, at every intersection in which one must choose between what is comfortable and easy, or that which is more difficult but right, we must be the people who will choose the latter.

It’s your country.  You choose.  I’ve asked what sort of freedom it is that you seek.  Did others think that by avoiding the choice, they would avoid the consequences of not choosing?  Surely not.  What your comments and emails reveal is that my readers and millions more have chosen, and I thank you, but there is much work to be done.  Let each of us go to it.