At Issue this week... November 27, 2013 2016 Election Will (8) Achievement Sowell (4) American Dream Farah (6) Answer Man Seamans-Shook (14) Article V Convention Thomas (25) Big Government Chapman (10) Jeffrey (22) Murchison (26) Christie, Chris Tyrrell (5) Colorado Barone (5) Common Core Malkin (26) Norris (27) Culture War Bozell (21) Buchanan (3) Prager (24) Dear Mark Levy (19) Disasters Jacoby (29) Economy Bay (15) Federalism Chapman (21) Napolitano (13) Globalism Schlafly (4) GOP Establishment Massie (9) Government Waste Coulter (7) Lambro (14) Immigration Reform Saunders (30) Will (30) Iran Greenberg (31) Kennedy Myth Buchanan (23) Lewis, C.S. Thomas (29) Media Bias Elder (20) Sowell (22) Obamacare Barone (9) Harsanyi (12) Morris (15) Krauthammer (17) Limbaugh (16, 28) Lowry (17) Obama Presidency Charen (2) Greenberg (11) Lambro (18) Lowry (10) McCaughey (1) Scarborough, Joe Bozell (25) Social Security Williams (12) WEF Survey Charen (6)
Obama Presidency by Betsy McCaughey
Obama the dictator — claiming power
resident Barack Obama says he can “fix” the millions of canceled health insurance plans with an administrative change. He’s claiming more executive power — power for himself — than the Constitution allows and playing fast and loose with the truth. THE CULPRIT behind the cancellations is not administrative regulation, as Obama asserts; it’s Section 2702 of the Affordable Care Act, which states that all plans sold in the individual market or small group market from Jan. 1, 2014 and onward must include the Essential Health Benefits package — 10 categories of health coverage Washington “experts” deem essential, such as maternity care, even if you’re 50 years old. Plans are being canceled because they don’t fulfill all 10. Only Congress can dispense with the deadline, so on Friday, the House made a legal attempt to halt the mass cancellations by passing a bill. But insurers and insurance commissioners in several states have said the “fix” is too late to retool by Jan. 1. Amazingly, our arrogant president says he will veto that bill if it reaches his desk because it would allow insurers to sell the noncompliant policies to new customers as well as old ones. Though the real reason is that Obama wants to rule by edict. This particular edict could place taxpayers on the hook. The American Academy of Actuaries warned that the fix is likely to cause healthy people to stick with their old plans, leaving the sickest in the new exchanges. That will clobber exchange insurers. Section 1342 of the law set up a mechanism to bail out insurers incurring losses, but it’s funded by fees on insurers and employers. The actuaries predicted the pot of money might not be enough. “Costs to the federal government could increase,” the group cautioned. But the actuaries got it wrong when they said “costs to the federal government.” The federal government has no money. It’s our money. Obama time and again brushes off critics of the health law by saying Obamacare is “the law of the land,” except when he wants to patch it up himself. “The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed the House; it passed the Senate. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was the central issue in last year’s election. It is settled, and it is here to stay,” he declared to his Republican opponents at an event hailing the law’s implementation.
You could make that claim about the Affordable Care Act but not about Obamacare. The program the president is trying to roll out is a mangled, distorted version of the law.
McCaughey (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
Gone is the employer mandate (likely never to return), caps on out-of-pocket expenses, income verification (replaced by a limp substitute) and nearly half the deadlines in the statute, according to the Congressional Research Service. Then there are the additions: 1,472 waivers and a special deal weaseled for members of Congress to have their Obamacare health plans subsidized by taxpayers.
government — with an uncooperative Congress — is the norm. Don’t be shocked if an independentminded insurer sues to stop Obama’s most recent fix. Insurers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating and marketing health plans to conform to Obamacare. Lower federal courts are already smacking down the president for his footloose way with the law. Though the Affordable Care Act says only state exchanges can provide subsidies to health plan enrollees, the Obama administration is trying to offer subsidies in all 50 states, rather than just in the 14 that set up exchanges. It has tried to get these lawsuits dismissed, but so far has failed twice. This isn’t just about Obamacare. On Aug. 13, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the president for failing to obey a 2002 statute requiring the executive branch to take final action on the certification of Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a nuclear waste site. Judge Brett Kavanaugh ruled that “Under Article Two of the Constitution and relevant Supreme Court precedents, the president must follow statutory mandates.”
ON AUG. 9, the president was asked where he gets the authority to make these changes. He replied: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law ... let’s make a IN OUR COUNTRY, the rule of law is technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do.” king, not Mr. Obama. He’s suggesting these are not “normal” November 20, 2013 time just because Republicans control the House. Sorry, Mr. President, but divided
OBAMA PRESIDENCY: November 18, 2013
Obama’s soft despotism and poetic justice
he talking heads love presidential analogies. Is Obamacare’s rollout Obama’s Hurricane Katrina or his Iraq? Is Obama’s false promise that you could keep your health care plan like George H. W. Bush’s “read my lips” pledge, or is it like Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman?” IranContra anyone? These comparisons don’t take you far. The president’s troubles are unique to his particular vanities and blind spots. SOME OF Obama’s most devoted admirers are at pains to distinguish his current fall from grace from George W. Bush’s. Chris Matthews, for example, argues: “The problem with Katrina was apparent indifference. One thing you can’t hold against the president is indifference about health care. He’s the guy that rushed in, pushed through a program with pure Democratic support and took all the risks involved in it.” The accusation that Bush was “indifferent” to the suffering caused by Katrina is to take as fact the slanders of Bush’s detractors. Matthews also extends gracious allowances for Obama’s motives (though his suggestion that Obama “took all the risks” might not go down well with the 63 Democrats who lost their seats in 2010).
This tendency to judge liberals and deficit-neutral. And while Obama lied leftists only by their intentions is very about the price to be paid (“the average old. At its worst, it has been offered as family will see premiums decline by justification for the foulest crimes. “In $2,500”), the costs were built order to make an omelet,” Vladimir into the system in various Lenin is supposed forms. The young to have said, “you would be forced to have to be willpay higher premiing to break a few ums to support the eggs.” Soviet disolder and sicker, (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate sident Vladimir Medicare would Bukovsky, years later, replied, “I have take cuts, those with more beneficent seen the broken eggs, but no one I know plans would pay a “Cadillac tax,” inhas ever tasted the omelet.” expensive bare-bones coverage would The unraveling of Obamacare is be disallowed, medical device makers a kind of poetic justice, not just for would pay a tax, Medicaid would be Obama, whose overweening and ut- expanded, the uninsured would pay a terly groundless arrogance now stands fine (oh, excuse me, a “tax” according rebuked, but also for liberalism. Until to the chief justice) and more. Obamacare, liberals had been able to boast of providing benefits to various THOSE ARE just the obvious costs. constituencies while forever pushing The less apparent include the incentives the costs onto future generations. This for employers to shift people to parttime is different. Why? time work (less than 30 hours per week Republicans can take a bow on this by the law’s terms), the increased costs one. Despite having lost the 2008 pres- of compliance with the law’s 10,000 idential election, they had not forfeited pages of regulations, decreasing physiall influence over the political culture. cian satisfaction, excessive centralizaTheir focus on debt and excessive tion of care and the inevitable premium spending forced the reigning Demo- increases for those with employer-procrats to trim their sails. The Obama/ vided coverage. Pelosi/Reid troika did not dare to pass Unlike Medicare, Medicaid, the another new entitlement that would fur- Children’s Health Insurance Program, ther bloat the deficit. Instead, they had Head Start and the rest of the federal to jury rig a law that would seem to be cornucopia, the costs of Obamacare are
being felt immediately. That’s a trap door for Democrats. Obama’s admirers may offer him credit for seeking to do good, but at what price? The Hippocratic oath for physicians should also apply to leaders: First, do no harm. The entire health care system now trembles with uncertainty because Obama imposed his vision of “fundamental transformation” on a reluctant nation. Even assuming that Obama had the best motives — a desire to see the uninsured covered — his greed to control and regulate the entire health care system revealed a man without wisdom or prudence. He didn’t realize buying health insurance was so complicated, he explained on Thursday. Anyone who’d even run a Kinko’s would know better. He didn’t keep tabs on those tasked with creating this massive, hydra-headed system. Perhaps he thought there were no problems in the world that wouldn’t yield to another Obama speech. C.S. LEWIS, who died the day John F. Kennedy was shot 50 years ago next week, warned of soft despots: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
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November 27, 2013 CULTURE WAR: November 15, 2013
Papal neutrality in the culture war? “Pope Francis doesn’t want cultural from the culture war is to not to end that warriors; he doesn’t want ideologues,” war, but to lose it. What would that entail? Can we not said Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, already see? Wash.: In America, the “The nuncio said family has disinthe Holy Father tegrated. Forty wants bishops with percent of workpastoral sensitiving-class white ity, shepherds who (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate children are born know the smell of out of wedlock, as the sheep.” are 53 percent of Hispanic children, and BISHOP CUPICH was conveying 73 percent of black children. Kids from instructions the papal nuncio had deliv- broken homes are many times more likeered from Rome to guide U.S. bishops in ly to drop out of school, take drugs, join gangs, commit crimes, end up in prison, choosing a new leader. They chose Archbishop Joseph Kurtz lose their souls and produce yet another of Louisville, Ky., who has a master’s generation of lost souls. Goodstein quotes the Holy Father as degree in social work, to succeed Archbishop Timothy Dolan whom Laurie listing among the “most serious of the Goodstein of the New York Times de- evils” today “youth unemployment.” And he calls upon Catholics not to be scribes thus: “[A] garrulous evangelist comfortable “obsessed” with abortion or same-sex in front of a camera, [who] led the bish- marriage. But is teenage unemployment really ops in their high-profile confrontation with the Obama administration over a a graver moral evil than the slaughter of provision in the health care mandate that 3,500 unborn every day in a land we used requires most employers to have insur- to call “God’s Country?” Papal encyclicals like Rerum Novarance that covers contraceptives for emum and Quadragesimo Anno have much ployees.” That mandate also requires employ- to teach about social justice in an indusers to cover abortion-inducing drugs and trial society. But what is the special expertise of sterilizations. Yet here is further confirmation His the church in coping with teenage unHoliness seeks to move the Catholic employment? Has the Curia done good Church to a stance of non-belligerence, scholarly work on the economic impact if not neutrality, in the culture war for the of the minimum wage? The cultural revolution preached by soul of the West. There is a small problem with neutral- Marxist Antonio Gramsci is continuing ity. As Trotsky observed, “You may not its “long march” through the institutions be interested in war, but war is interested of the West and succeeding where the in you.” For the church to absent itself violent revolutions of Lenin and Mao
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needs to grow its subscriber base, and you are our best sales person because you know us best. Please tell your friends about the Conservative Chronicle when you visit with them in person, on the phone, by email, or on Facebook. Please refer them to our number, email or web site. If you would be interested in a way to make money by selling the Conservative Chronicle, please email email@example.com to find out about a possible commission arrangement. www.conservativechronicle.com 1-800-888-3039 firstname.lastname@example.org And when Christ admonished his apostles, “Go forth and teach all nations,” and ten of his twelve were martyred doing so, were they not engaged in the Church’s true commission — to bring souls to Christ. Pope Francis comes out of the Jesuits. Hence, one wonders: Did those legendary Jesuits like St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs make a mistake proselytizing and baptizing, when they could have been working on youth unemployment among the Mohawks? An Italian atheist quotes the pope as saying, “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil,” and everyone should “follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.” Does this not reflect the moral relaTHE POPE, says Goodstein, refers to proselytizing as “solemn nonsense.” But tivism of Prince Hamlet when he said to proselytize is to convert nonbelievers. to Rosencrantz, “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so?” Yet, is it not the church’s mission to differentiate good and evil and condemn the latter? “Who am I to judge,” Pope Francis says of homosexuals. Well, he is pope. And even the lowliest parish priest has to deliver moral judgments in a confessional. “[S]ince he became pope,” writes Goodstein, Francis’ “approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding.” Especially the atheists, one imagines. While Pope Francis has not altered any Catholic doctrines in his interviews and disquisitions, he is sowing seeds of confusion among the faithful, a high price to pay, even for “skyrocketing” poll numbers. If memory serves, the Lord said, “Feed my sheep,” not “get the smell of the sheep.” And he did not mean soup kitchens, but more importantly the spiritual food essential for eternal life. failed. It is effecting a transvaluation of all values. And it is not interested in a truce with the church of Pope Francis, but a triumph over that church which it reviles as the great enemy in its struggle. Indeed, after decades of culture war waged against Christianity, the Vatican might consider the state of the Faith. Our civilization is being de-Christianized. Popular culture is a running sewer. Promiscuity and pornography are pandemic. In Europe, the churches empty out as the mosques fill up. In America, Bible reading and prayer are outlawed in schools, as Christian displays are purged from public squares. Officially, Christmas and Easter do not exist.
BUT THEN those were different Jesuits. And that was long ago.
GLOBALISM: November 19, 2013
Good old Uncle Sam is a global sucker
t should be clear that teaching Americans we are now part of a global economy and teaching schoolchildren they are citizens of the world is a deceitful message to con us into a plan to add the poor countries around the earth to our list of welfare handout recipients. The United Nations globalists have gathered in Warsaw, Poland for another conference to devise language to talk the United States into opening our treasury to the world. THIS GANG of globalists used to spread scare talk about global warming, but when the globe stopped warming 16 years ago, they changed their language to dealing with climate change. At their shindig last year in Doha, Qatar, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told the world that the real purpose of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a “complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.” This year’s big climate news is Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines, but assessing liability is considered nearly impossible. Even the global warming advocates admit that it can take years for scientists to determine whether global warming contributed to that event or to its severity. This bunch is still licking its wounds about the refusal of the United States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. UNFCCC is also at work to replace the Kyoto Protocol with a new legally binding treaty, which is set for completion and signing in 2015 in Paris, France to go into effect in 2020. Of course the United States is paying for all the ongoing UN shenanigans. We pay nearly $567 million a year while two dozen of the 193 UN members pay only $1,000 or less, yet enjoy the same voting privileges. Voting rarely occurs anyway. Decisions are instead made based on consensus which is unilaterally determined by a facilitator leading the meeting, who manipulates the group to achieve predetermined outcomes. The predetermined outcomes expected from the Warsaw meeting are (a) expediting financing for the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund, which means a global tax scheme to transfer wealth from rich to poor countries, and (b) creation of a “loss and damage” fund to compensate poor nations that suffer climate-related tragedies such as Typhoon Haiyan. DEFINING AND developing a “loss and damage” mechanism is a top priority of this UN agency, and that means making developed countries responsible for insuring poor countries against natural disasters. Of course, the UN blames the U.S. for most natural disasters and
asserts we should pay for the loss and ence and unreliable computer models used to predict weather patterns. China damage. These talks started with the UN and India are two of the biggest carbon but they refuse to Framework Convention on Climate emitters contribute to the Change held in poor nations. Rio de Janeiro, The UN talks are Brazil, in 1992. about blame. The These pompous UN has made the globalists have (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate case that develconvinced themselves, and now want to convince the oped nations (i.e., the United States) are world, they can both predict and control to blame because we enjoy the fruits of the industrial revolution in our lifestyles the weather. The UN persists in its goal to con- by polluting a finite atmosphere and that vince the world that human activity causes global warming. Our standard of living is supposed causes global warming, and that global warming will devastate the earth. Even to be cheating developing nations from though the earth has not warmed since achieving lifestyles like ours. The UN 1998, UN agencies continue to issue re- calls it our “historical responsibility” to ports claiming that global warming not pay reparations in money and technology. only exists but is getting worse. On the first day of the Warsaw conTheir claims are based on pseudosci-
ference, the Philippine Climate Change Commissioner gave a speech blaming the Philippine typhoon on developed nations. Like our House Speaker John Boehner, Commissioner Naderev Sano embellished his remarks with real tears. Another Philippine delegate made similar emotional remarks, saying “we have to get support from someone else’s pocket.” Nobody thanked the U.S. for our enormous support already sent: food, medicines, blankets, Marines bringing water, generators and other critical supplies, and U.S. military aircraft and manpower for search and rescue. ONE BRIGHT light at the Warsaw conference is that the host, Poland, is trying to make coal less of a dirty word. Coal provides 88 percent of Poland’s electricity. Poland pointed out that forbidding coal is not the solution.
ACHIEVEMENT: November 19, 2013
The war against achievement
friend recently sent me a link to an inspiring video about an upbeat young black man who was born without arms. It showed him going to work — unlike the record number of people living on government payments for “disabilities” that are far less serious, if not fictitious. How is this young man getting to work? He gets into his car and drives there — using controls set up so that he can operate the car with his feet. WHAT KIND of work does he do, and how does he do it? He is involved in the design of racing cars. He sits at his computer, looking at the screen, with the keyboard on the floor, where he uses his toes as others use their fingers. His story recalls the story of Helen Keller, who went to an elite college and on to a career, despite being both deaf and blind. Her story was celebrated in books, in television documentaries and in an inspiring movie, The Miracle Worker. But our culture has changed so much over the years that the young man with no arms is unlikely to get comparable publicity. Helen Keller’s achievement was seen as an inspiration for others, but this young man’s achievement is more like a threat to the prevailing ideology of our times. The vision on which the all-encompassing and all-controlling welfare state was built is a vision of widespread helplessness, requiring ever more expanding big government. Our “compassionate” statists would probably have wanted to take this young man
without arms, early on, and put him in some government institution. But to celebrate him in the mainstream media today would undermine a whole ideological vision of the world — and of the vast government bureaucracies built on that vision. It might even cause people to think twice about giving money to able-bodied men who are standing on street corners, begging.
Sowell (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
THE LAST thing the political left needs, or can even afford, are self-reliant individuals. If such people became the norm, that would destroy not only the agenda and the careers of those on the left, but even their flattering image of themselves as saviors of the less fortunate. Victimhood is where it’s at. If there are not enough real victims, then fictitious victims must be created — as with the claim that there is “a war on women.” Why anyone would have an incentive or a motivation to create a war on women in the first place is just one of the questions that should be asked of those who promote this political slogan, obviously designed for the gullible. The real war — which is being waged in our schools, in the media and among the intelligentsia — is the war on achievement. When President Obama told business owners, “You didn’t build that!” this was just one passing skirmish in the war on achievement.
The very word “achievement” has been replaced by the word “privilege” in many writings of our times. Individuals or groups that have achieved more than others are called “privileged” individuals or groups, who are to be resented rather than emulated. The length to which this kind of thinking — or lack of thinking — can be carried was shown in a report on various ethnic groups in Toronto. It said that people of Japanese ancestry in that city were the most “privileged” group there, because they had the highest average income. What made this claim of “privilege” grotesque was a history of anti-Japanese discrimination in Canada, climaxed by people of Japanese ancestry being interned during World War II longer than Japanese Americans. If the concept of achievement threatens the prevailing ideology, the reality of achievement despite having obstacles to overcome is a deadly threat. That is why the achievements of Asians in general — and of people like the young black man with no arms — make those on the left uneasy. And why the achievements of people who created their own businesses have to be undermined by the President of the United States. WHAT WOULD happen if Americans in general, or blacks in particular, started celebrating people like this armless young man, instead of trying to make heroes out of hoodlums? Many of us would find that promising and inspiring. But it would be a political disaster for the left — which is why it is not likely to happen.
November 27, 2013 COLORADO: November 15, 2013
Colorado is a microcosm for American politics
olorado, writes National Journal’s always insightful Ronald Brownstein, is “America, writ small.” “A microcosm,” he goes on, “of the forces destabilizing American politics.” Of course, Colorado is not entirely typical of the nation. It has America’s lowest rates of obesity, for example — because of a young population and because most Coloradans live a mile or more above sea level. You burn more calories there just getting out of the car and walking to the mall. COLORADO HAS also been a success story for the Democratic Party. It voted twice for Barack Obama after years of voting Republican for president. It has a Democratic governor and legislature, and two Democratic U.S. senators — a complete reversal from 10 years ago. Much of that Democratic success can be ascribed to a few high-tech million-
Democrats have had only narrow aires and trust-funders who banded together and shrewdly spent big bucks to majorities in the Colorado legislature. advance Democratic and liberal causes, Nevertheless, they went ahead with a agenda, passing civil a process described definitively by Fred liberal unions for same-sex Barnes in the couples, in-state Weekly Standard. college tuition for But in the secchildren of illegal ond Obama term, immigrants and as things go sour (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate renewable energy for the president, they’re also going sour for Colorado’s requirements. After the movie theater massacre in liberal Democrats. Like Obama after 2008, Colorado Aurora, they passed a gun-control law Democrats may have over-interpreted with universal background checks and their victories. Democratic Gov. John limits on gun magazines. Hickenlooper, despite many advantages — the congenial personality of a brewLIKE OBAMA Democrats in Conpub proprietor, a popular record as mayor gress, they were heavy handed. On of Denver — won in 2010 with only 51 gun control, they didn’t allow citizens percent of the vote. And he was helped against the law to testify, contrary to when the Republican nominee’s cam- Colorado custom. In response, gun paign imploded and firebrand former control opponents got the necessary Rep. Tom Tancredo ran as an indepen- signatures to force recall elections of dent. two Democrats.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: November 14, 2013
What is so polarizing about Christie?
hey are at it again. They are again telling Republicans and conservatives how dreadful their political condition really is. I am speaking, of course, of the voices of the Kultursmog, and to hear them tell it we are in a heck of a heap. We lost the governorship of Virginia. Even worse, we won the governorship of New Jersey. What dreadful news. OF COURSE, in Virginia the Republicans lost to a congenital liar, backed by the most famous congenital liars in American politics, the Clintons. It is only a matter of time before he is in deep do-do. Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe’s campaign was an amalgam of lies as flagrant as his lie in his memoirs. There, for no reason whatsoever, he lied claiming the American Spectator charged Bill Clinton with ordering “the murder of political opponents.” When I asked him about this lie he did not simply shut down or ignore my inquiry. He actually initiated a series of puckish letters to me never admitting that he had lied but constantly caviling with me on some obscure point that he raised. The upshot of our correspondence was that he could never identify where it was that the American Spectator said Clinton had asked people to commit murder. McAuliffe performed similarly against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and if it were not for the fact that he had the funding to outspend Cuccinelli by two to one I have no doubt he would have lost. As it was, once Cuccinelli began tying him to Obamacare, McAuliffe’s
lead dwindled from double digits to just a margin of 2.5 percent. In the New Jersey race the Republicans won and with 61 percent of the vote. Yet, according the Kultursmog, they really lost because the victor, incumbent Governor Chris Christie, is a “polarizing force.” He offends the tea party, and that means he can never win higher office, for instance,
Tyrrell (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
the presidency. But wait a minute. Is not the tea party’s major concern the fiscal health of the Republic? It was in 2009 when the tea party was getting started. Back then if a candidate brought up the social issues that candidate was doomed with the tea party, according to the voices of the smog. Well, as Christie told the New York Times this week, “I’ve cut taxes, cut spending, reformed pensions and benefits. ... My record is my record. I’m proud of it. And it is a conservative record, governing as a conservative in a blue state.” As for the dreaded social issues, he is opposed to abortion and to gay marriage, though he called off a legal challenge to gay marriage in October perhaps seeing it as a futile fight. President Barack Obama might do the same with his monstrosity, Obamacare.
I will tell you he is as conservative as he says he is, and that it is a winning combination with funders, ordinary citizens, and even with journalists. Back in 2010 when I had him to a large American Spectator dinner in New York City he was a hit with just such a crowd. He was the complete gentleman, suave and amusing. He talked about economies in government, lowering taxes and balanced budgets. He is not polarizing at all. Once again the Kultursmog is in the dark about Republicans and conservatives. Yet we are told he cannot beat the Kultursmog’s “inevitable candidate,” Hillary Clinton. In the New Jersey exit polls she trounced the governor. So let me give you another set of polls. According to the Rasmussen poll, Hillary polled highest when a sampling of Democrats was asked “which candidate they would least like to see with the nomination.” A WSJ/NBC poll found that she had fallen from an April favorable rating of 56 percent to 46 percent and her negative rating was on the upswing to 33 percent. Doubtless, there will be more. She was the least popular first lady in history.
I DO NOT know if Christie is going to run for the presidency. Nor do I know if he could win, but I believe he is a contender and if he runs he will be contending for the nomination in a very competitive field of Republican candiDOUBTLESS THERE are people dates. As for the Democrats, they have who do not like Governor Christie and Hillary right now and, possibly, Joe think his star has risen far enough. Yet Biden. The Kultursmog is desperate.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other gun control advocates spent thousands against the recall. And both Democrats held seats where Barack Obama won about 60 percent of the vote in 2012. But both were soundly defeated last September. In the meantime, Hickenlooper’s job rating plunged below 50 percent when, though theoretically a supporter of capital punishment, he granted a reprieve to a murderer convicted of killing four people at a Chuck E. Cheese in 1993. Worse was to come. Hickenlooper has some credibility as an education reformer, from his appointment of Michael Bennet, now U.S. senator, to run Denver’s schools, to his support of state Sen. Mike Johnston’s teacher tenure reform bill. In 2013, the legislature passed an education bill promising new reforms and a new school finance formula that would take effect once voters approved $967 million in additional funding. Amendment 66 included raising the state income tax from 4.63 percent to five percent for incomes under $75,000 and 5.9 percent for those over. Amendment 66 supporters — including Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Colorado teacher unions — spent some $12 million in support of the amendment. Last week, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 66 by a 65 percent to 35 percent margin. It carried only in Denver and Boulder counties. Voters in the other 62 counties turned it down. This was a much more smashing defeat than political insiders expected. Coming as it did during the rocky Obamacare rollout, it looks like a rejection of big government generally and of the proposition that more government spending will produce better results. It was an especially stinging defeat for teacher unions, which also failed to oust a reform-minded school board in exurban Douglas County, south of Denver, and saw a pro-union school board thrown out in Jefferson County, the mixed suburbs west of the city. This does not necessarily spell defeat for Hickenlooper or the Democratic legislative majorities. As Brownstein points out, Colorado Republicans have been fielding stunningly weak candidates for major office in recent years. Weak candidates and the ultimately unsuccessful vote by 11 counties to secede from the state “have attached a whiff of extremism” to the state’s Republican Party, Brownstein writes. BUT LIKE VOTERS nationally on Obamacare, Colorado voters seem to be rejecting liberal policies Democrats assumed would be widely popular. An interesting lesson from “America, writ small.”
WEF SURVEY: November 15, 2013
Does the United States rank below Cuba?
he World Economic Forum has issued its annual report on the gender gap worldwide, and it has received respectful notice from the usual places (PBS, CNN, the Washington Post). But any report that places the United States below Cuba, the Philippines and South Africa deserves a little skepticism. In fact, the WEF places the U.S. 23rd in the world, below the Scandinavian countries, and those just named, but also below Lesotho. WHAT THE heck are they measuring? Well, for one thing, the report examines the difference between men and women within countries, not the absolute welfare of women in one country compared with another. Still, the study has been received as a report card on women’s well-being. Rubbish. One of the gender gap measures is the number of women in national political leadership. The U.S. ranked 60th for equality in political leadership. Only 18 percent of the members of Congress are women, and countries like Germany and Bangladesh that have (or have recently had) female chief executives get extra points. Do you believe that the WEF is telling us something useful when it reports that women in India, Mozambique and Senegal have greater “political empowerment” visa-vis men than American women? Counting up the number of women in parliament or the executive mansion doesn’t tell you much. Some countries have laws requiring a certain number of women to serve in the parliament. The WEF questionnaire specifically asks whether nations have imposed such quotas. India has one for village councils and has attempted to pass another for its Parliament, though it has yet to be ratified. But why should the World Economic Forum extend garlands to nations that deny to women (and men) the freedom to choose the best candidate, even if it happens to be a man? Indira Gandhi was prime minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 to 1984. Call it a great milestone for women if you like, but at the time, brides were still commonly bought and sold in India (many of them children), female infanticide was widespread, and women were barred from many sports, schools and other activities. THE U.S. RANKED sixth in “economic empowerment and opportunity” due to the high percentage of women in managerial and professional work, yet still below Mongolia, Burundi, Malawi and the Bahamas. Really? Yes, it seems that you get ranked based on the number of women participating in the labor force, even if they’re doing
The WEF study reinforces the usual menial labor. So all of those women making beds and emptying trash at ho- myths about women’s wages — reprotels in the Bahamas move their country ducing, for example, the widely dis“fact” that women above the U.S. in “economic empow- credited earn 70 cents on erment” because the dollar comfewer American pared with men in women are in the the United States. paid labor force. The study is also The U.S. (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate heavily weighted ranked 53rd on “healthy life expectancy” — an artifact in favor of the sort of social welfare of our lack of socialized medicine, an policies practiced by the northern EuNYU professor helpfully explained on ropean countries — plentiful childcare PBS. But life expectancy in the U.S. subsidies, generous family leave and for both men and women varies tre- so forth. The U.S. ranked high on “educamendously by income and region. One of the chief causes of diminished life tional attainment,” but frankly, while expectancy is violent death, which has this boosts America’s ranking on this little to do with the medical system. international gender gap comparison, Another is obesity, which increases the it’s a mixed blessing. According to the risks of diabetes, cancer and heart dis- National Center for Education Statisease. America is second only to Mexi- tics, women earned 57 percent of bachco in obesity rates, and, you guessed it, elor’s degrees, 62 percent of master’s women outrank men in the fat depart- degrees, and 53 percent of doctorates in 2010. That’s fine, except that 80 ment.
percent of women say that getting married is an important life goal, and most women prefer to marry men who are their equals or superiors in education and income. As women outstrip men in educational attainment, the pool of marriageable men shrinks, leading to more, not less, female unhappiness. That brings us to the main problem with surveys like these performed by ideologically zealous western academics. True well-being for women and men relies on the flourishing of both. Strong families and other social supports are probably more central to women’s success and happiness than the arbitrary metrics chosen by the WEF. IF THE U.S. ranks below Cuba on anything — except statistics like political prisoners — you know there’s a problem with the survey.
AMERICAN DREAM: November 20, 2013
America’s last chance at the dream
don’t know if anyone else noticed, but 150 years ago today, former President Abraham Lincoln delivered these words on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa., where more than 51,000 Americans sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom: “FOURSCORE AND seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they
gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
place them on the central government in the form of a Constitution that clearly guaranteed the rights of the people, limited the powers of Washington and reserved the powers not explicitly enumerated to the federal government to the states. To preserve that dream, it’s no longer enough to restrain further abuses; we must reverse them. We need to recapture the spirit of the founders and make ourselves spiritually, morally and intellectually worthy of self-government. Or we can go the way of the other nations of the world — the fallen empires, the kingdoms, the lands where rulers ruled and its people quivered in fear of their government. Today may seem like any other day in American history. But until Americans awaken from their slumber and reject the path of tyranny, I’m not sure how many more days we have left of the American dream.
America has forgotten — not just the words uttered by Lincoln, but also that this country was indeed founded as one nation under God, committed to a new birth of liberty, guided by a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Will we allow that vision, that dream, that goal, to perish? Will this be the generation of Americans to throw ARE YOU CONTENT to be of the away the very concept of self-governgeneration of Americans who betrayed ment under the rule of law? the dream and left your children, grandSOMETIMES, WE need to leave children and great-grandchildren a nathe United States to remember what it tion less than the one into which you represents. Having just returned to the were born? Are you content to be part states after nearly two weeks outside of the generation of Americans who the country, I find my perspective to- weren’t willing to sacrifice their lives, day is from above the clouds. I witness their fortunes and their sacred honor in America squandering what may be its the name of liberty? Are you content last chance to hold on to the dream to see America squandering its last of its founders, who sought to leave chance to hold on to all that made this a unique mark on world history — to country great, prosperous and blessed remove the shackles off people and by God?
November 27, 2013 GOVERNMENT WASTE: November 13, 2013
To speak to a Nigerian prince about your health care ...
n a weird confluence of the na- prime target for scammers and con arttion’s two most pressing issues ists. To much fanfare, in 2006 Medicare — Obamacare and our insane immigration laws — this week we found announced that only seven percent of ments were a result of out that the tens of thousands of “navi- its payfraud. Two years later, gators” hired by the New York Times the government reported that it was to enroll people actually 31.5 perin Obamacare will cent — and that include convicted (c) 2013, Ann Coulter Medicare had agfelons. gressively hidden Despite some “navigators” having already been ex- the fraud from outside auditors. Do you think a privately run insurposed as having arrest warrants against them, the Department of Health and ance company would take three years to Human Services (HHS) has no plans to notice that one-third of its payouts had screen out the criminals. (But rest as- been obtained by fraud? But with federal sured: If your identity is stolen as a re- programs, there’s a powerful incentive sult of trying to sign up for Obamacare, not to look for fraud. That would merely no one will be more upset about it than vindicate critics of big government! In 2012, Medicare’s crack investigaPresident Obama.) tors noticed that more than a billion dolMAYBE IT’S a blessing that the lars in home health care payments for Obamacare website has crashed more 2008 had gone to one single county in often than the Soviet Union’s commer- Florida — more than all such payments made to the rest of the entire country. cial air fleet did. Do you think it would take five years In addition to convicted felons, navigators are drawn from labor unions, for a private insurer to figure out it had community organizers, former ACORN been scammed out of $1 billion by a few staffers and front-groups for the Demo- health care professionals in one county? Anyone else would notice being stolen cratic National Committee. Call right up and give all your pri- from, but not the government. It’s not vate financial and medical information their money. Wherever there’s a government proto those guys! What could go wrong? (Before Obamacare was even online, gram, there’s a gigantic opportunity for Minnesota’s health exchange emailed criminals. A staggering percentage of the the Social Security numbers and other health care workers scamming Medicare identifying information for about 2,400 and Medicaid are foreign-born — much Americans to a man applying to be a higher than their numbers in the medical profession generally. “navigator.”) If you call today, you can sign up for THUS, IN THE Department of JusObamacare plus learn about a Nigerian prince in exile who’s willing to share his tice’s most recent press releases about vast inheritance with you in exchange criminal convictions for Medicare and Medicaid fraud against the taxpayer — for your bank account numbers. Which reminds me, federal health solely for the four-day period ending insurance programs have long been a Nov. 7 — we have:
— Nov. 7, 2013 Mehran Javidan, owner of Acure, a home health care company in Oak Park, Mich., was paid more than $2.2 million from Medicare based on fraudulent physical therapy files he submitted between December 2008 and November 2010. — Nov. 7, 2013 Javed Rehman, Tausif Rahman and Muhammad Ahmad — no relation to the Tsarneav brothers — fraudulently obtained Medicare beneficiary information to bill Medicare for home health services, swindling approximately $13.8 million from Medicare. — Nov. 7, 2013 Eliza Lozano Lumbreras, San Juanita Gallegos Lozano, Manuel Anthony Puig and Romelia Puig used their operation of the Mission Clinic and La Hacienda Family Clinic to submit false claims to Medicare and Medicaid, stealing approximately half a million dollars from the taxpayers between 2001 and 2006. — Nov. 6, 2013: Karen Kallen-Zury, Daisy Miller and Christian Coloma were convicted for receiving approximately $40 million from Medicare for patients not eligible for psychiatric treatment because they were not severely mentally ill. — Nov. 6, 2013: Jose Rojo, Antonio Macli, Jorge Macli and Sandra Huarte in Miami paid patient recruiters to refer ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to their clinic for services that were never provided. They were paid more than $11 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare. — Nov. 4, 2013: Godwin Umotong, Leslie Omagbemi, Munda Massaquoi, Comfort Gates, Ovsanna Agopian and Boghos Babadjanian were convicted of fraudulently billing Medicare of millions of dollars for office visits and diagnostic tests that were never performed, more than $1.3 million of which Medicare paid. — Nov. 4, 2013: William Dale Sidener was convicted of submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare and receiving $4,677.00 in payments for services not performed. These are Eric Holder’s press releases, not mine. Do you notice anything that stands out about the list of convicts? Would any of their names have sounded strange to Ben Franklin? Of 22 people convicted
of defrauding American taxpayers by fraudulently billing Medicare or Medicaid, at least 17 have almost comically foreign names. None of the scammers should be foreigners! We can’t do anything about our native-born crooks, but why are we importing them? Enormous, unwieldy corrupt government programs run by arrogant bureaucrats would be bad enough in 1950. But after decades of our Third World-only immigration policies, one can’t help noticing that Medicare and Medicaid are beckoning Disneylands for foreign-born thieves. The problem isn’t their complexion, it’s their culture. In America, we think only dumb people become criminals. That’s not true in the Third World! Nigeria, for example, leads the world in criminal enterprises. Every level of Nigerian society is criminal, with the smart ones running Internet scams, the mid-range ones running car theft rings, and the stupid ones engaging in piracy and kidnapping. At the University of Lagos, you can major in credit card fraud. There were almost no Nigerians in the United States until the 1970s. Today, there are nearly 250,000 Nigerians in the U.S. (committing the cyber-crime Americans just won’t do!). In 2011, we took in more immigrants from Nigeria than from the United Kingdom (9,246 from the U.K. and 9,344 from Nigeria). Of course, Obamacare never would have passed without decades of massive immigration from the Third World. Liberals didn’t change any minds — they changed the voters. In order to pass Obamacare, Democrats had to bring in the Third World to vote Democratic. The downside is that the country is now chock-full of people who come from cultures where criminality and government corruption is a way of life — at the very moment that the country is expanding a government-run health insurance program already shot through with fraud and abuse. Only confiscatory tax rates can support such a system. GOSH, I sure hope our new Somali and Nigerian immigrants have Germanstyle rectitude and are very honest about reporting all their income to the government.
2016 ELECTION: November 17, 2013
Is there a hint of 2016 election excitement?
he New Republic magazine large financial institutions, is a William was, appropriately, the stimu- Jennings Bryan for our time: She has lant that last week gave the risen from among Harvard’s downtrodproclaim: “You shall Democratic base a frisson of anticipa- den to not crucify mankind tion about a posupon a cross of desible Elizabeth rivatives.” Warren presidenBefore she sank tial candidacy in to a senator’s sala2016. Now in her (c) 2013, Washington Post Writers Group ry, she was among 11th month as a Massachusetts senator, she is suited the one percenters, whose annual into carry the progressive torch that was comes now begin at $394,000. Hillary fueled 99 years ago this month by the Clinton recently made more than that from two speeches, five days apart, New Republic’s founding. for Goldman Sachs, a prowling Wall ITS FIRST editor was Herbert Cro- Street carnivore that Warren presumly, whose 1909 book The Promise of ably wants to domesticate. Between American Life — Theodore Roosevelt Warren, hot in pursuit of malefactors of read it, rapturously, during his post- great wealth, and Clinton, hot in pursuit presidential travels — is progressiv- of great wealth, which candidate would ism’s primer: “The average American be more fun for the kind of people who individual is morally and intellectually compose the Democrats’ nominating inadequate to a serious and consistent electorate? Such people are in politics for, among conception of his responsibilities as a democrat,” so national life should be other satisfactions, the fun of it. Ameria “school.” “The exigencies of such cans profess detestation of politics and schooling frequently demand severe its practitioners, but their behavior becoercive measures, but what school- lies their rhetoric. Last month, a poll ing does not?” And “a people are saved reported that 60 percent of Americans many costly perversions” if “the official favor voting out of office all congresschoolmasters are wise, and the pupils sional incumbents, including their own representatives. But just 11 months beneither truant nor insubordinate.” Today the magazine, whose birth fore this poll revealed the electorate’s was partly financed by a progressive (supposedly) extraordinary dyspepsia, heiress, Dorothy Payne Whitney, is voters re-elected 90 percent of repreowned by Facebook co-founder Chris sentatives and 91 percent of senators. Hughes. Warren, a scourge of (other) Most Americans most of the time have economic royalists, and especially of better things to do than feel strongly
(aggrieved or otherwise) about politics. They are not as angry about goings-on in Washington as they say they are, or imagine themselves to be, or think they ought to be when a pollster takes their emotional temperature. SINCE ANDREW Jackson, with his collaborator (and presidential successor) Martin Van Buren, displaced the politics of deference to elites with the politics of mass mobilization by parties, the electoral scramble has been popular entertainment. Analyses of Chris Christie’s appeal are neglecting something:
He has fun seeking and wielding power, and his fun is infectious. Can Democratic activists, for whom politics is catnip, cheerfully contemplate the uncontested nomination of someone who will be 69 on Election Day 2016, who will have been conspicuous in the nation’s life for a quarter of a century, and who cultivates nostalgia for the last decade of the previous century? Can forward-leaning, clench-fisted MSNBC viewers really work themselves into a lather of excitement about the supposed feminist triumph of smashing the ultimate “glass ceiling” for a woman whose marriage took her to the upper reaches of politics? Do Democrats, ankle-deep in the rubble of Obamacare’s paternalism, really want to nominate the author of Hillarycare? Before a Democraticcontrolled Congress spurned it, she explained her health care plan this way (a delicious quotation excavated by the Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins): “We just think people will be too focused on saving money and they won’t get the care for their children and themselves that they need. ... The money has to go to the federal government because the federal government will spend that money better.” COME 2016, Clinton may be the one thing no successful candidate can be, and something Warren (or some other avatar of what Howard Dean in 2003 called “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party”) would not be: boring. The social scientist Robert Nisbet called boredom “one of the most insistent and universal” forces that has shaped human behavior. It still is. So, all those who today regard Clinton’s nomination as it was regarded in 2008 — as a foregone conclusion — should ask themselves: When was the last time presidential politics was as predictable as they think it has become?
November 27, 2013 OBAMACARE: November 19, 2013
A devastating poll on Obama — and Obamacare “The Affordable Care Act’s political position has deteriorated dramatically over the last week.” That, coming from longtime Obamacare cheerleader and Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein, was pretty strong language. And it was only Wednesday. THAT WAS the day after the release of a devastating Quinnipiac national poll. It showed Barack Obama’s approval rating at 39 percent, with his disapproval rating at 54 percent — sharply down from 45 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval on Oct. 1, the day the government shutdown began and healthcare.gov went into (limited) operation. Democrats hoped that Republicans would take a shellacking in public opinion for the Oct. 1-16 government shutdown. They did, briefly. But Quinnipiac’s survey, conducted three weeks after the shutdown ended, indicated that the Obamacare rollout inflicted much more
Obama carried voters under 30 by 66 damage on the Democratic brand — and percent to 32 percent in 2008 and 60 perthe party’s leader. Quinnipiac’s numbers on Obamacare cent to 37 percent in 2010. He carried oldby one point in the first were also exactly the same as their num- er voters election and lost them bers on Obama: 49 to Mitt Romney in percent favored the second. the health care Obama did even legislation, 55 better with Hispanpercent were op(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate ics: 67 percent to posed. Moreover, 31 percent in 2008 a near-majority — 46 percent — said the president know- and 71 percent to 27 percent in 2012. This ingly deceived them when he assured was one of the few demographic groups Americans over and over that they could among which he ran stronger than four years earlier. keep their health insurance plans. But that was then, and this is now. There are few names a president can be called that are more damaging than Quinnipiac shows young voters disapproving of Obama 54 percent to 36 perliar. The numbers are particularly daunting cent and Hispanics disapproving 47 perwhen you look at the groups that Demo- cent to 41 percent. cratic pollster Stanley Greenberg identiBOTH GROUPS rate him negativefies as major parts of “the big cultural and demographic wave that threatens to ly on the economy, the federal budget, swamp the Republican party” — young immigration, foreign policy and health care. Bare majorities, 51 percent of both voters and Hispanics.
GOP ESTABLISHMENT: November 15, 2013
Rove/McConnell using Gestapo warfare
ave you put into context what the Republican Party is doing to tea party people and every other group that dares represent the interest of the people? Think about the following: it’s not new; I’ve been saying it for a long time, but because it’s important I’m going to say it yet again in another way. Karl Rove is on record making it expressly clear that no candidates will receive one red cent of campaign help from his 527 PACs. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, praised the defeat of a tea party candidate in South Alabama. McConnell is the ranking Republican in the Senate, and he is responsible for accomplishing little more than bringing in large caches of money for himself and those like him since he has been in office. And I’m not interested in hearing that Democrats have had the majority in the Senate blah-blah-blah. Two Democrats with a stone and a bucket of creek water could stymie Republican efforts.
SCF helps fund, among other conservatives, tea party candidates. The message is clear that McConnell, Rove, Boehner, and the Republican establishment are going to every length to ensure that only those they approve of have a chance of getting elected. The NRSC is infamous for supporting and funding the most notorious left-wing Republicans such as Charlie Crist, R-FL.
MCCONNELL CALLED for other Republicans to boycott companies who support tea party candidates, and he has also made it clear that no tea party candidates will receive a dime of campaign help. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) served notice to Jamestown Associates, one of the most prominent Republican advertising firms, that it would no longer be receiving contracts with the campaign committee because it also works with the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF). The
THE TRUTH is that Rove, McConnell, et al. have a good thing going for themselves, and they do not want anything or anyone to upset their liberal, ideological apple cart. It’s not about electability. That’s a bald-face lie. It’s about them getting the type of candidate they want. The problem with that is it doesn’t allow for the types of candidates We the People want. If it were purely about winning campaign races, they would remember the stunning and historic, record-breaking
Massie (c) 2013, Mychal Massie
This is being done under the guise of electability. Supposedly the concern of the Republican establishment is that only candidates with a chance to win get funded and they believe Conservatives are unelectable. This is the brainchild of Karl Rove. This is the architecture he has been busy erecting. The truth, however, is a different story.
campaign successes the tea party engineered in 2010. Tea party candidates represent the will of We the People. Establishment candidates represent the will of the rich and powerful who benefit from tawdry deals like amnesty for illegal aliens. I was the lone voice in the media warning people that Rove and the Republicans were going to do all they could to torpedo and destroy the tea party. But not enough heeded my warning. I continue to warn that in the next election cycles we must be willing to take the bold stance that we will not support candidates promoted by those who are openly working to prevent the will of We the People from being realized. We must be willing to either stay at home or only support true conservative candidates who are not beholding to Republican hierarchy. What Rove, McConnell, Boehner, NRSC, et al. are doing to undermine the will of the people is tantamount to what takes place in Third World countries under the control of dictators. This is the United States of America, and We the People must defend our Constitutional right to select and elect the candidate of our choice not be told by Rove, et al. who we will support. WHAT THEY are doing is unconscionable, and it is necessary to combat them just as our forefathers fought the throne of King George. We are today as they were back then, being governed and taxed without representation.
groups, say Obama cares about people like them. Obamacare, popular among both groups in 2012, is now an Obama albatross. Young voters oppose it 51 percent to 42 percent and Hispanics 50 percent to 44 percent. Majorities of both groups give Obama negative ratings on health care. One must note that this is just one poll and that opinions may change as events unfold. But it looks very much like the astonishingly disastrous Obamacare rollout has moved opinion decisively against the president and his trademark policy. And all those predictions — not just by Democrats — that the Republican Party faced extinction because of overwhelming opposition from Millennials and Hispanics look to be, like Mark Twain’s famous obituary, premature. There’s one other interesting result from Quinnipiac. Has the Obama administration “been competent in running the government?” Overall, 53 percent said no and only 43 percent said yes. Young voters (47 percent said yes, 46 percent said no) and Hispanics (51 percent said yes, 46 percent said no) were only slightly more positive. The fiasco of the healthcare.gov website undoubtedly contributed to this. But perhaps Americans are also starting to notice that this president is not performing his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law — and in this case, a law he and his party wrote. The Obama administration announced last July that it is not enforcing Obamacare’s employer mandate. It has admitted that it cannot verify the eligibility of applicants for Obamacare subsidies. (Come and get it!) It says it will provide subsidies for those buying insurance through the federal health care exchanges in 36 states — even though the legislation nowhere authorizes that. And last Thursday, as congressional Democrats were panicking and supporting measures to allow people to keep their current health insurance policies, Obama announced that he would not impose penalties on policies that don’t comply with the law. That was plainly a transparent attempt to fob off the blame for cancelled policies on insurers and state regulators who complied with the law as written. It is a political ploy inconsistent with the rule of law. Quinnipiac and other pollsters are not in the habit of asking Americans whether presidents are faithfully executing the law. The assumption has been that, unlike in Russia, they mostly are — or were. THE FRAMERS of the Constitution regarded refusal to faithfully execute the law as tyranny. Barack Obama, with his Swiss cheese exceptions to Obamacare, seems to take a different view.
BIG GOVERNMENT: November 17, 2013
Head Start ... and other federal failures
hen the government shutdown began on Oct. 1, it forced the closing of Head Start facilities in several states, stopping educational services for thousands of low-income kids. So heart-rending was this spectacle that a pair of Texas philanthropists gave $10 million to keep the programs going. DEMOCRATIC REP. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas appeared at a rally of parents protesting the Head Start closures, holding up a child’s chair and declaring, “Here is the empty chair of the next astronaut. Here is the empty chair of a captain in the United States military.” House Republicans were not about to be accused of depriving poor children. They approved a measure to provide funding for Head Start, with one member attesting, “As we work our way out of this government shutdown mess, we shouldn’t let some of our most vulnerable citizens, low-income children with no recourse, suffer.” That was not good enough for President Barack Obama, who prevailed in his insistence that the House agree to fund the government across the board through Jan. 15. Amid the bitter quarrel, no one bothered to ask whether Head Start is actually serving the purposes that justify its budget. Maybe that’s because they know the answer is no but aren’t willing to face being denounced for cruelty to disadvantaged tots. For decades, Head Start has consistently disappointed anyone who expected it to make a real difference in the fortunes of the poor. A 2010 study by the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that though there were modest benefits to participating kids, they soon evaporated. “The benefits of access to Head Start at age four are largely absent by first grade for the program population as a whole,” it admitted. “For threeyear-olds, there are few sustained benefits.” A federal social program that burns though billions of dollars, year in and year out, despite showing scant value to those it’s supposed to help? That may sound like a regrettable anomaly. In fact, as David Muhlhausen documents in his new book, Do Federal Social Programs Work? (Praeger), it’s pretty much the norm. THE AUTHOR, a longtime scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation, appears to have reviewed every study of these undertakings, as evidenced in 47 pages of footnotes. The overwhelming majority, he finds, don’t accomplish anything resembling their stated mission, and some even “produce harmful outcomes.”
There was a sound idea behind LBJ’s The dismal results might be excused as the price of showing concern for peo- approach, namely that the way to help ple in genuine need, if not for the fact the disadvantaged was to give them the become prosperous. that these efforts cost so much — $443 tools to Head Start would billion in 2011, confer a boost in exceeding three learning that would percent of gross have a permadomestic product. nent payoff. The This book, (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate Job Corps would whose importance is inverse to its likely readership, equip them with the skills to earn good excludes Social Security, unemploy- wages. Upward Bound would prepare ment insurance and veterans’ benefits them for college. But the federal govbecause they must be earned through ernment didn’t really know how to do work. Muhlhausen concentrates on the these things. Great Society programs enacted in the Anything coming out of Heritage will 1960s under President Lyndon B. John- be dismissed by critics as right-wing son, which were meant to “eradicate propaganda, but Muhlhausen backs up the fundamental causes of poverty by his findings with masses of data. He also providing opportunity to the poor” and finds comparable results for Republican “ultimately make redistribution unnec- social programs aimed at reducing teen essary.” So far, you may have noticed, sexual activity and strengthening famithey have accomplished neither objec- lies. His overall conclusions, in any case, tive. are not particularly novel or radical.
Isabel Sawhill, co-director of the liberal Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families, wrote in 2010 that in the 10 most rigorous assessments of individual federal social programs, “nine of these evaluations found weak or no positive effects.” When I contacted Ron Haskins, a welfare expert also at Brookings, he cited a few successful ventures but said, “I generally agree that social programs do not work.” NO QUANTITY of stirring words or noble intentions can justify expensive measures that leave little trace behind. Our elected officials generally agree that withholding money from social programs shortchanges the poor. They fail to notice that for the most part, providing money has the same effect.
OBAMA PRESIDENCY: November 18, 2013
Barack Obama loses his cool
arack Obama is the coolest president we’ve had since John F. Kennedy, at least according to conventional standards for such things. Obama has always been a brand as much as a politician, one that has been perceived as sleek, smart and up to date. Then along came Healthcare.gov. Its failure to launch is a signal event in the long political battle over Obamacare and perhaps an inflection point in the president’s image. It’s hard to maintain a sense of truly being on the cutting edge of change when you can’t build a website.
The Obama team’s technological prowess reinforced the sense that it owned the future. Except it had no bearing on how the president would or could run the government. We’ve now learned that the president doesn’t know how to make a government website work, or know to check to
Lowry (c) 2013, King Features Syndicate
in the president’s second inaugural address where he spoke of how “we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government.” Government doesn’t excel at new ideas and technology, which is why the landscape is littered with failed government IT projects. The president now ruefully cites irrational procurement rules as a cause of Healthcare.gov troubles, as if these rules are news to him. At the end of the day, the president has been a dazzling frontman for what is, in essence, the Department of Motor Vehicles. He has created a glittering image of hope and change that has little to do with a rumbling, ramshackle federal government that is still largely built along mid-20th-century lines. Instead of imbuing government with his sense of cool, he has been left apologizing for a government failure that profoundly runs against the zeitgeist. We celebrate the Internet entrepreneurs who can take an idea and, with pluck and creativity, make it into a reality that we can’t live without. It is one of the ironies of the Obama Era that the same kids whose lives are defined by a dizzying array of endlessly changing choices have voted for a president invested in protecting a government that embodies the opposite. It may be that after five years, they are beginning to get a clue. A new Quinnipiac poll shows young people disapproving of the president 54 percent to 36 percent.
see if it’s going to work. “Neither he and I are technology geeks,” Vice President Joe Biden explained the other day, “and OBAMA’S COOL was, in part, we assumed that it was up and ready to an artifact of world-class marketing. run.” Graphic designer Michael Bierut writes WHEN SELLING the prospective in the book Designing Obama (yes, there’s such a book) of how impressed glories of his website, President Obama he was watching Obama rallies in 2008: compared it to Travelocity and Amazon, “The awe-inspiring part was the way all leaders in a private sector that is highly the signs were faithfully, and beautifully, flexible and reactive and where failure set in Hoefler & Frere-Jones’s typeface means extinction. Government is nothGotham.” If only the folks at Health and ing like that. It never has been and never Human Services were consumed with will be. It is plodding and bureaucratic, beholden to political imperatives and such attention to detail. The tech community loves the presi- often stuck in practices that make no dent, and his presidential campaigns sense. A presidential campaign can hire have been exercises in technological mastery far outstripping the competi- whomever it wants without taking action. The Romney campaign’s humilia- count of procurement rules or any other tion was made complete last year with bureaucratic impediment. It is a private the spectacular Election Day failure of entity subject to the laws of competition. its voter-tracking system ORCA, which It exists more in the world of Traveloccrashed without having been properly ity than Healthcare.gov. THE IMAGE was that fine logo and The launch of Healthcare.gov should tested (and it wasn’t even run by Kathcast a shadow over the stirring passage typeface; the reality is Healthcare.gov. leen Sebelius).
November 27, 2013 OBAMA PRESIDENCY: November 15, 2013
Political trouble: Can this presidency be saved?
verybody knows this presi- for one (1) year. After that, who knows? dent is in political trouble, Which is why his latest attempt to aseven the president himself. suage their anger might suceeed, but one (1) year. It’ll be a For he faces a growing crisis of confi- for only uncertainty and dence, and it’s got his name all over it: year of anxiety, for what Obamacare. happens after that? Day after day, The president may Barack Obama’s wind up not easing “signature (c) 2013, Tribune Media Services this confidence of achievement” becrisis in his presigins to look like his signature failure. And the more he dency but prolonging it. If you think this is a political crisis, tries to grapple with it, tweak and twist it, and generally rearrange the deck it’s nothing compared to the rebuke adchairs on this ship still again, the more ministered to another smooth-talking trouble he invites. And the more abject president a couple of decades ago. Reand prolix his apologies for it become, member the congressional elections of 1994? They were dubbed the Republithe bigger this fiasco becomes. can Revolution, and for good reason. THURSDAY THE president of- The GOP took control of both houses of fered a hazy, temporary fix for only Congress that year by impressive, even one part of this fine mess he’s got us all historic, margins. It picked up eight into, and maybe only because it’s the seats in the Senate and gained 54 in the part that’s drawn the most fire for now: House. And it did so by offering voters forcing millions of Americans to give a Contract With America that promised up the insurance they have now and just about a complete reversal of all the still want. But other snafus are sure to man in the White House that year had come to represent — ever bigger and be revealed. Even if the president manages to ever worse government. The political turnaround that fatechange this law by executive fiat, as has become his wont, it remains a po- ful year was more than dramatic; it litical, administrative and logistical was historic. Talk about a change: Benightmare. His glib assurances that fore those midterm elections in 1994, some kind of Technical Surge will turn Republicans hadn’t held a majority in this political albatross into a political the House for 40 years — not since the Congress that was elected alongside asset ... resound ever more hollow. Millions of Americans may actually Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. Elections have consequences, as have believed his promise that they could keep their private insurance if this president was fond of reminding they liked it. But that was before all the country when he was riding high those cancellation notices began arriv- after his electoral sweep in 2008. The ing — and even more may now be on consequences of those congressional elections back in ‘94 reverberated far the way. The president has assured all those and wide. And our political class got anxious policyholders that they really the message. To cite just one example: will be able to keep their insurance — The day after the election returns were
in, a Democratic senator from Alabama named Richard Shelby announced he was now a Republican. He still is. And he hasn’t faced significant opposition since. While they were sweeping the congressional elections that year, the Republicans also won control of 20 state legislatures from the Democrats, giving them a majority of those legislatures for the first time in half a century. All told, the GOP picked up 472 legislative seats and 12 governorships that historic year. THE REACTION of the president who was so thoroughly rebuked in 1994 — Bill Clinton, the Man From Hope — stands in marked contrast to the backing-and-filling this president has been doing as he steadily loses the confidence of the American people. Bill Clinton didn’t deny defeat; he learned from it. By the next presidential election, he’d announced that “the era of big government was over,” and he’d reinvented his party with a little help from his friends known as New Democrats. Reversing course 180 degrees after those midterm elections, Democrats joined Republicans in reforming a welfare system that had been creating an underclass of dependent Americans generation after generation. Bill Clinton’s party came out for balanced budgets and free trade (see NAFTA), and a stronger defense. Compare that about-face with the graceless retreat of today’s Democratic administration under pressure. No wonder Barack Obama and ill-organized company face a growing crisis of confidence. Bill Clinton and friends, aka the New Democrats, proceeded to reinvent their party after 1994 and went on to make an historic comeback. Do you think Barack Obama and his administration can? It all depends on whether they follow Bill Clinton’s advice — and example. He may have been known as Slick Willie, but there was nothing tricky about Bill Clinton’s complete coursereversal midway through his first presidential term. It was forthright, clear and above all effective. How would Bill Clinton handle this developing crisis over Obamacare? The other day he gave his successor in the White House some sound advice:
Keep his promise to let Americans keep their health care insurance if they like it. Even if the law setting up this “affordable” health care system has to be changed. As it needs to be. Pronto. That’s just what Republicans have been pressing for in Congress, and they’re picking up support from one Democratic senator after another who faces re-election — Mark Pryor here in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Kay Hagan in North Carolina, to name a few. All are sounding increasingly anxious about their chances of reelection. As they have reason to be. But so far Barack Obama is granting them only a partial, one-year reprieve — not a complete pardon — from the political consequences of their decisive votes for Obamacare. This president needs to do more than just delay this crisis of confidence; he needs to end it. He can start by listening to Bill Clinton and keeping his promise. By law, not executive order. After that, you know this administration won’t be able to hide still other multiplying problems with Obamacare, and its temporary fixes will bring only temporary relief. Which is why this administration needs to change its whole course, not just feint this way and that before sticking with what increasingly looks like a disaster in the making. It’ll be instructive to see how this administration reacts to this growing crisis. By apologizing (profusely) for just this one defect of so many in his prize program, the president has made a good start. It’s not easy for a proud man convinced of his own superiority over us lesser mortals to face up to a great mistake. The question now is whether the president can finish the job and turn this whole, sinking craft around. NOTE TO Republicans: Resist the temptation to gloat. It’s not becoming or useful. Remember that, when a president is in trouble, the country is, too. The president has sounded Retreat; he’s offering one small step back toward a free market — and a free society. Encourage him to take many more such steps, till Obamacare as a whole begins to fade away. Save all those I Told You So’s, for now is the time to test the president’s sincerity, not dismiss it. For this isn’t the end of the Obamacare story. It is bound To Be Continued
OBAMACARE: November 15, 2013
Stumbling bumbling fumbling news conference
e learned a few interest- does the president even bother signing ing things from President laws passed by Congress if he can simply Barack Obama’s rambling, alter or ignore statuses within the legiswhenever the vagaries analogy-filled news conference Thurs- l a t i o n of politics demand it? day. Reading liberal punWe learned that dits, it seems that if there was a fumthe core purpose ble. We learned has moral authorthat technology is (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate ity (the uninsured hard. In fact, the president went on for an extended period need help), anything goes when it comes of time explaining government’s histori- to process. And when Nancy Pelosi was cal struggles with IT issues. Considering asked today what she made of the brouthat the entire backbone of the law is de- haha surrounding Obamacare, she said: pendent on this technology and expertise, “We’ll be good, we’ll be good. We’ll do how can anyone truly believe that the what we have to do, and that’s what we’ll Nov. 30 deadline set for HealthCare.gov do.” Indeed, they do. There are two legto work properly is going to be met? And islative efforts underway to “fix” the core why should anyone trust that IT will work “incorrect truth” of Obamacare, so why do we need an administrative fix? If legisbetter in the future? FINALLY, NEAR the end of the lation was poorly written or unworkable, news conference, the president made an WE ALSO learned, despite this tra- isn’t fixing it a matter for Congress? interesting claim: Obamacare was really And Obama offered no answer for why a choice driven by an incentive for stabilditional technology deficit, the president was not “informed directly” about the he kept promising Americans that they ity, not disruption. “We chose a path that challenges facing the website, because he could “keep their insurance if they liked was the least disruptive,” he said. Though would never be “stupid enough to say this it” long after he knew better. Though, he pollsters rarely measure the importance is going to be as easy as shopping around did point out that other Democrats were of “stability” in American life, I think peddling the same line. on Amazon or Travelocity.” it’s probably one of the most vital factors We learned that buying insurance is complex business — more complex even SOCIAL SECURITY: November 15, 2013 than buying an airline ticket. It’s not “like buying a song on iTunes,” the president said. It’s “a much more complicated transaction.” But one of the selling points of Obamacare exchanges was that they would simplify the process. Exchanges here’s more to the deceit and curity and Medicare taxes? If you said that were supposed to offer consumers nodishonesty about Social Secu- I do, you’re right again. The Social Secuhassle, straightforward choices. rity and Medicare discussed in rity and Medicare fiction was created beAnd least surprising of all, we learned my recent columns. Congress tells us that cause Americans would not be so passive that insurance companies are about to be one-half (6.2 percent) of the Social Se- if they knew that the tax they are paying scapegoated for the entire mess. Accord- curity tax is paid by employees and that is double what is on their pay stubs — not ing to the Associated Press: “Insurance the other half is paid by employers, for to mention federal income taxes. companies will be required to inform con- a total of 12.4 percent. Similarly, we are sumers who want to keep canceled plans told that a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent about the protections that are not included is levied on employees and that another under those plans. Customers will also be 1.45 percent is levied on employers. The notified that new options are available of- truth of the matter is that the burden of fering more coverage and in some cases, both taxes is borne by employees. In (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate tax credits to cover higher premiums.” other words, we pay both the employee So insurance companies that were can- and the so-called employer share. You The economics specialty that reveals celing policies in compliance with Obam- say, “Williams, that’s nonsense! Just look this is known as the incidence of taxaacare will now be blamed for failing to at what it says on my pay stub.” OK, let’s tion. The burden of a tax is not necessarprovide policies that probably no longer look at it. ily borne by the party upon whom it is exist? Is it even feasible for these insurlevied. The Joint Committee on Taxation ance providers to offer the same or simiPRETEND YOU are my employer held that “both the employee’s and emlar plans to consumers who’ve already and agree to pay me $50,000 a year, out ployer’s share of the payroll tax is borne lost them? of which you’re going to send $3,100 to by the employee.” The Congressional In essence, it sounds as if insurance Washington as my share of Social Secu- Budget Office “assumes — as do most companies will be mandated to inform rity tax (6.2 percent of $50,000), as well economists — that employers’ share of consumers about how awful their plans as $725 for my share of Medicare (1.45 payroll taxes is passed on to employees in are and how wonderful the government’s percent of $50,000), a total of $3,825 for the form of lower wages than would othplan can be. the year. To this you must add your half erwise be paid.” Health insurance is not of Social Security and Medicare taxes, an employer gift, either. It is paid for by AND WHAT does this accomplish which is also $3,825 for the year. Your employees in the form of lower wages. other than alleviating the political pres- cost to hire me is $53,825. sure today? Not much. At some point, ANOTHER PART of Social Security If it costs you $53,825 a year to hire these policies will be canceled, and pri- me, how much value must I produce for it and Medicare deception is that the taxes vate insurers will continue to abandon the to be profitable for you to keep me? Is it are officially called FICA, which stands individual marketplace. our agreed salary of $50,000 or $53,825? for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. We also learned that when it comes to If you said $53,825, you’d be absolutely First, it’s not an insurance program. More Obamacare, process means nothing. Why right. Then who pays all of the Social Se- importantly, the word “contribution” im-
driving hostility toward Obamacare from independents and moderates. Everything about Obamacare implementation has created the perception of anarchy — the arbitrary implementation of laws, people losing the plans they have, the way it was passed and the problems it has caused in Washington — and this news conference only reinforced that perception.
Do Americans prefer deception?
plies something voluntary. Its synonyms are alms, benefaction, beneficence, charity, donation and philanthropy. Which one of those synonyms comes close to describing how Congress gets Social Security and Medicare money from us? There’s more deceit and dishonesty. In 1950, I was 14 years old and applied for a work permit for an after-school job. One of the requirements was to obtain a Social Security card. In bold letters on my Social Security card, which I still possess, are the words “For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.” That’s because earlier Americans feared that their Social Security number would become an identity number. According to the Social Security Administration website, “this legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning in 1972.” That statement assumes we’re idiots. We’re asked to believe that the sole purpose of the removal was for design purposes. Apparently, the fact that our Social Security number had become a major identification tool, to be used in every aspect of our lives, had nothing to do with the SSA’s getting rid of the legend saying “For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.” I WONDER whether political satirist H.L. Mencken was right when he said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
November 27, 2013 FEDERALISM: November 14, 2013
Freedom, federalism and First Amendment
ne of the bedrocks of our long as we have not surrendered the governmental infrastructure freedom to travel, we can still move to is federalism. This is the more freedom-friendly states. This is not an academic theory; constitutional recognition of the legal real-world conseorigins of the United States as a union it has quences for my Fox of independent News colleague states. America Jana Winter. Jana is started, of course, an investigative with 13 colonies, reporter for foxwhich became 13 (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate news.com. Like all states, and gradugood folks on her end of journalism, Jana ally added 37 additional states. Though the federal government is a has developed sources. In the course of behemoth today, it was created when investigating the July 20, 2012, slaugheach of those states ceded some of their ter in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., sovereignty to the federal government. Jana learned from sources to whom she They did this in writing. The writing is promised confidentiality that the alleged the Constitution, and it explicitly states murderer, James Holmes, sent a notethat the governmental powers not ceded book to his treating psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, a state-owned are retained by the states. school. This information was earthPRESIDENT REAGAN reminded shattering for the Holmes case because us of the origins of the country in his it triggered the argument that a governfirst inaugural address when he stated, ment psychiatrist ought to have known “All of us need to be reminded that the of Holmes’ violent ideations a week befederal government did not create the fore he allegedly carried them out in a states; the states created the federal gov- movie theater. At the time Jana learned and reported ernment.” He also said that the beauty of the retention of powers by the states about the Holmes notebook, all witnessis that they are likely to exercise those es in the Holmes case were under a court powers differently and become labora- order not to speak with anyone, least of tories of democracy — hence, Reagan’s all reporters. When Holmes’ lawyers famous quip that one of the benefits of learned that Jana reported on the noteliving in the U.S. is federalism, because book, they subpoenaed her notes, and lawyers for Fox moved to quash the “you can vote with your feet.” So, if you don’t like the over-regulat- subpoena. Fox’s lawyers argued that her ed Massachusetts, you can move to New sources were protected by a Colorado Hampshire, and if you don’t like the shield law. That law compels lawyers over-taxed New Jersey, you can move who are seeking the names of reporters’ to Pennsylvania. This is easier said than confidential sources to seek them elsedone, but the principle subsists, and as where before approaching the reporter.
That law also permits the incarceration of reporters who decline to obey any court order compelling the production of the names of their sources. HOLMES’ LAWYERS apparently want the names of Jana’s sources because they believe them to be law enforcement personnel who violated the gag order. Criminal defense lawyers can have a field day on cross examination of cops when they have caught the cops breaking a law they have sworn to uphold. On the other hand, the press, which is the eyes and ears of individuals, a role it enjoys under the First Amendment as interpreted by numerous Supreme Court cases, would be fruitless if reporters could not promise confidentiality to sources. This goes back to the Pentagon Papers case in which the Supreme Court held that matters of material public interest in the hands of reporters — no matter how acquired — may “freely” be published. Freely means free from government retribution. Here is where federalism enters the picture. Jana lives and works in New York. She was ordered by a state judge in Colorado to reveal her sources and
threatened with incarceration. New York law does not permit incarceration for failure to reveal sources. So, Fox’s legal team filed an application in a New York state court to block the order of the Colorado state judge. That application was denied by a trial judge, and that denial was upheld by an appeals panel by a 3-to-2 vote, and earlier this week, the case was argued before New York’s highest state court, the Court of Appeals. This should be a no-brainer. Jana voted with her feet and chose to live and work in the most First Amendmentfriendly state in the union. She should be protected by New York law. If she is not, then all reporters will lose their confidential sources, and all Americans will be in the dark when whistleblowers know awful truths but are unwilling to pay the price of public revelation. In this era of the Internet, all information is available everywhere all the time. Just because the information in the Holmes case was about an event in Colorado does not mean that Colorado law should control the fate of a New York reporter. The controlling factor should be freedom: the freedom of sources to reveal truths, the freedom of reporters to publish truths, and the freedom of sources and reporters from government retribution. There is always a common theme in these reporter sources cases, and Jana’s is no different. Invariably, the awful truth is about a failure of government — in this case a government psychiatrist. The government hates and fears the truth. Yet, if the government could control the flow of news, it would only tell us what makes it look good, and we would lack the knowledge with which to make prudent judgment about its policies. Thomas Jefferson once remarked that he’d prefer newspapers without government to government without newspapers. A PROPER application of federalism could save the values of the First Amendment and the freedom of Jana Winter. If not, we face the ancient spectacle of a courageous reporter being jailed not for committing a crime, but for telling a truth. And the confidential sources will dry up, and the whistleblowers will clam up, and the government will control more of our lives.
GOVERNMENT WASTE: November 14, 2013
Deficit is coming down, but only because of sequester
The sequestration cuts didn’t touch ave the federal budget cuts, known as “sequestration,” programs such as Social Security and had any impact on your per- Medicaid, or federal pay rates, includmilitary. sonal life? How about the 16-day par- ing the House and Sential government ate budget leaders shutdown? are meeting to find Despite all of a compromise on the hand-wringing a long-term budhere in Washing(c) 2013, United Media Services get that could reton, and President peal the sequester Obama’s hysterical warnings of fiscal and social up- cuts. But if they’re not successful, the heaval, economic pain and deprivation, sequester will remain, reducing expenrelatively few Americans said these ditures over the coming years. Right now, the automatic sequester spending cuts had an impact on their cuts are on track to significantly shrink daily lives, according to surveys. The government’s so-called essen- deficits by about $1 trillion over the tial services were not affected in any next eight years. Sequester critics say this is a bad way significant way. The economy grew, albeit very slowly, but it was growing to curb spending, because it is indisslowly before the sequester cuts or the criminate in its targets. Good programs get cut, while bad programs that should shutdown. be slashed deeply or abolished survive THE COUNTRY went about its with their accounts mostly intact. Still, the sequester has by all accounts business. The stock market rose to new heights, untroubled by the spend- been an effective budget-cutting weaping cuts, and earnings rose for many on at a time when Congress has been corporations, boosting their equity val- unable to agree on a slimmer budget. Or ues, which in turn benefited millions of at least one that Obama, who worships 401(k) retirement plans for America’s at the altar of Big Government, will sign. Don’t bet on that happening. workers. According to the Congressional BudFurloughed federal employees got paid for their time off. And the economy get Office, for the first 11 months of this continued to create more jobs, though fiscal year, total federal outlays were at its same old, persistently sluggish down by $127 billion. OK, that’s not nearly enough to get us to a balanced pace. You will recall that the automatic se- budget. But it’s not chopped liver, eiquester came about in the Budget Control ther. Thanks to the sequester, spending is Act of 2011 that took effect on March 1 of this year. It called for $85.4 billion in being cut — and for the first time since annual reductions, which worked out to the end of the Korean War, it has declined two years in a row. $42 billion in actual cash outlays. That’s what the sequester has To the average American, that sounds like a lot of money — and it is — but achieved, with relatively few Ameriit’s relatively a thimble-full compared to cans noticing much, if any, impact on a $3.6 trillion federal spending budget their lives. But it’s only a start, and a that is racing toward $4 trillion in the very modest one. The budget is still on an unsustainable path. next couple of years.
That’s what Douglas Elmendorf, the Congressional Budget Office director, told a bipartisan joint committee of Congress on Wednesday. He didn’t mince words. IF CONGRESS doesn’t change its spending habits, and do so soon, the mushrooming federal debt — the largest since World War II — will reach 100 percent of GDP in 25 years. In other words, we will owe more debt than the entire size of our economy. The special joint committee, formed in October under a deal by Congress to end the government shutdown, has until Dec. 13 to come up with a compromise budget. Whether it can reach an agreement remains to be seen, let alone pass the House and the Senate. Certainly, there are plenty of places where big budget cuts can be made, and that few Americans would notice. Let’s start with Obama’s $90 billion green energy slush fund that has doled out money to a number of companies that have gone bankrupt, leaving taxpayers holding the bag in bad loans and grants. Many of the recipients of this money were big contributors to his campaign. An estimated 50 energy companies bankrolled by the Obama regime went broke or are now in financial distress. Obama says his pet program will continue no matter how much money it is losing. The liberal Brookings Institution says the administration will spend more than $150 billion on energy boondoggles like this one if the program continues. The Department of Agriculture dishes out billions of dollars in farm subsi-
dies, much of it to wealthy farmers or to rich investors who own companies that received such subsidies. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based research outfit, recently reported the government shelled out $11.3 million in taxpayer subsidies from 1995 to 2012 to 50 billionaires or businesses that owned an interest in large farming enterprises. These recipients included Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, investment tycoon Charles Schwab, and S. Truett Cathy, who owns fast-food chain Chickfil-A. “The billionaires who got the subsidies have a collective net worth of $316 billion, according to Forbes Magazine,” the New York Times reported. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program has spent tens of billions of dollars in upscale, wealthy communities that do not meet the minimum test of need. A typical example of this program’s wasteful spending was exposed by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual Waste Book: A New Hampshire beer brewing company “is still getting a $750,970 ... grant to build a new brewery and restaurant facilities.” The government is awash in similarly wasteful federal spending, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in widespread fraud, abuse and other forms of rampant fiscal skullduggery. IT’S A TAWDRY business Obama never discusses because he is one of its most enthusiastic practitioners.
ANSWER MAN: November 16, 2013
T h e A n s w er M an COLOR 1. People with achromatopsia suffer from this disorder. Name the condition. 2. What are the primary colors, and why are they considered to be primary? 3. There are five Olympic rings. Name the colors and what they repre(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate sent. 4. During the first six months of life, 5. From what element does turquoise what color are a zebra’s black stripes? derive its distinctive color?
November 27, 2013 ECONOMY: November 20, 2013
Economic revival key to avoiding strategic decline
igh unemployment rates, which persist for years, slowly transform from difficult economic problems into multi-dimensional strategic decline. In the worst cases, decline fuels despair and creates the social conditions that spawn violent dictatorships. SINCE THE early 1980s, several European countries have confronted structural unemployment. In a recent Moody’s Analytics report, economist Martin Janicko argues that “the financial, economic and sovereign debt crises” associated with the Great Recession “aggravated” Europe’s dire unemployment problem. Moody’s estimates of structural jobless rates in four EU nations ought to appall everyone: Spain, 20 percent; Greece, 17 percent; Portugal, 12 percent; and Italy, 10 percent. Other sources argue these figures are low. Length of unemployment in these countries has increased.
Discouraged people quit seeking work, a Greek Nazi regime seems outlandish, a reignited hard left-hard right civil war and this muddles statistics. These four nations belong to NATO. is less easily discounted. On Nov. 1, the ist terror group Militant At the moment, all four have demo- l e f t Popular Revolutionary cratically elected Forces murdered two governments. All Golden Dawn party of them, however, members, ostensiare plagued by bly retaliating for massive debt and (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate a murder commithave authoritarian legacies. Dictator Francisco Franco ted by a Golden Dawn supporter. Forruled Spain until 1975. The Salazar re- get strategic decline. A civil war insures gime dominated Portugal until 1974; Greek strategic devastation. The Great Depression saddled Amerthat same year, the Colonels military junta collapsed in Greece. 1943’s Allied ica with tragically high unemployment invasion of Sicily felled dictator Benito rates for over a decade. In 1933, unemployment topped 24 percent. Whatever Mussolini, Adolf Hitler’s partner. 2013: Greece’s Golden Dawn Party the long-term effects of FDR’s New disputes the label neo-Nazi, but it es- Deal policies, they curbed unemploypouses national socialist policies that ment and alleviated the disaster’s more it claims will solve Greece’s debt and severe social consequences. Yet it took a greater tragedy to defeat unemployment problems. Hitler made similar promises to German voters dis- the Great Depression, World War II’s enchanted with Weimar-era troubles. If war of national survival. The U.S. econ-
OBAMACARE: November 20, 2013
Obamacare is disappearing
ike old soldiers, Obamacare may never die. It may just fade away. Certainly each of its provisions is shrinking before our eyes. The most obvious evidence of its vanishing is the dismal enrollment data. With only 106,000 people signing up by mid-November, it risks becoming a trivial footnote to the health care landscape. WHILE THE glitch-plagued federal exchange has an excuse for its pathetic total of 26,000 enrollees, the state exchanges appear to have worked reasonably well but produced only 79,000 more. With about a quarter of the country using state exchanges, one can assume that had the entire country been relatively glitch-free, about 300,000 would have signed up in the first six weeks of the program’s 26-week enrollment period. Projecting out over the entire period, we reach fewer than 1.5 million enrollments nationally, a ridiculously low figure. With Medicare enrolling 46 million, Medicaid reaching over 100 million with the new expansion, and even the State Children’s Health Insurance Program for children topping seven million, it’s hard to take seriously a program that has so limited an enrollment. The bill’s requirement for minimum levels of health insurance coverage wanes by the day as President Obama waives it for a year for pre-existing policies and the House votes to repeal it entirely. With 20 percent of the House
Democrats voting to grandfather in policies permanently, the odds are that marginal Senate Democrats will force passage of something akin to the Landrieu bill barring insurance companies from canceling policies in perpetuity.
Morris (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
NOR ARE the so-called “death panels” doing much better. The Independent Payment Advisory Board, scheduled to go into operation next year, has yet to be appointed much less confirmed. Nor is it likely ever to meet. The Board’s mission is to force reductions in Medicare spending to bring the program into line with budgetary guidelines. But the low rate of medical inflation is vitiating its purpose. Most health economists estimate that Medicare costs, per capita, will rise only at about the rate of GDP growth or less. One expert suggests a likely rate of increase of only 0.5 percent for this year. At such a low rate of Medicare growth, the IPAB provisions would not kick in. The Board would not be called upon to impose any cuts. Health economists predict a continuing low rate of medical inflation, suggesting that the board might become an anachronistic appendage of a once massive legislative edifice, likely facing repeal when the statute permits it in 2017.
omy’s 1940s militarization produced a macro-economic surge that reversed the macro-economic decline. This revival exacted a blood price: over a million Americans dead and wounded. TO THEIR everlasting credit, since the Great Recession began in 2008, governments around the world have sought macro-economic solutions other than global war. These attempted solutions, however, mimic economic militarization, often to an uncomfortable degree in terms of stifling job-creating economic innovation by favoring powerful political constituencies and restricting market choices. If you Google “militarized economy” you won’t find the term used quite like I just used it. “Command economy” appears, defined as one where government controls supply and price. Government dictates production and distribution of goods and services, not free market choice. Several websites cite the USSR as a premier example of a command economy. Historian Bruce Porter, in his insightful book, War and the Rise of the State, argues command economies are really war economies. In the World War II, the U.S. had one. Porter knows by documenting the military origins of the command economy-inclinations of the welfare state he gets a gadfly’s twofer. He incites America’s dovish, militarydespising political left- and right-wing, free enterprise hawks who extol military virtues. Militarized economic intervention is justified as a response to crisis. However, continuing to add debt without producing economic recovery leads to perpetuated crisis; the long-term result is strategic decline. The U.S. unemployment rate is hotly disputed. NY Post columnist John Crudele argued last July, rather convincingly, that the U.S. 2013 rate is 10 percent, not 7.3 percent as the Obama Administration maintains. This week, Crudele cited evidence that in 2012 the Census Bureau lied when it said unemployment dropped below eight percent just prior to the 2012 election. 2012’s eight percent (four years of Recession) beats 1933’s 24 percent, but in 2009 the Obama Administration promised 5.3 percent.
The employer mandate has already been delayed by the president’s action. The individual mandate has fines so token as to make a mockery of the idea that there even is mandate. How are fines of one percent of income, rising to 2.5 percent, going to induce people to spend 9.5 percent of their income on policies they don’t want? And the fines themselves are not likely to be enforced with any rigor. The IRS is barred by statute from seizing bank accounts or property to collect the fines and may only move to take income tax overpayments from those who fail to pay the fine. Lacking the coercion of cancellations or fines, the Obamacare population will, remain small and will include mainly very needy people. This process of adverse selection will drive up premiums until they drive out the young and the healthy. Soon we will be left with a slightly larger pool of high risk patients than are already covered in state and federal pools. So all that will be left are some very WHAT DO WE do? Though coungood consumer protection insurance reforms requiring coverage of pre-existing ter-intuitive to big (militarized econconditions and a ban on cancellation or omy) government advocates, microeconomic revival may be the route to premium hikes in the event of illness. American and global recovery. Micro BEYOND THAT, there will be a means individuals, as in entrepreneurs vestigial administrative superstructure and small businesses seeding local ecoerected to run a massive, national health nomic growth, which ultimately has the care system for which only 1.5 million macro-effect of producing new wealth. people participate showed up. Like a This route, however, is slow, and polimonument in the desert, it will gather ticians cannot take credit for ideas that sand and erode over time. Obama’s leg- pay off beyond the next election cycle. acy.
November 27, 2013
Obamacare deception: You may not know the half
ust when you think things can’t the government to absorb one-sixth of the get much worse with Obamacare, economy. In his non-apology (“it’s on me, but another shoe drops. Correction: darned if I’m going to This thing has enough dropping shoes I’ll be give an inch in my to fully fit a centifervent obsession to pede. impose socialized That Obama medicine on you”), deliberately lied Obama dug him(please excuse the (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate self a deeper hole. redundancy, but it is apparently necessary to clarify one’s He told us that only some five percent meaning in this postmodern age) in tell- of the American people would lose their ing people they could keep their plans plans. Most people, he assured us, get and doctors is now beyond dispute. He health insurance through their employer and his handlers have tried to obfuscate and won’t be affected. He wants us to forget that he demanded the issue with further deception but have fallen way short of passing the laugh we change the entire health care system for a smaller percentage of Americans test. than that — those eight million to ten SOME LIBERALS have taunted me million who not only can’t afford health on Twitter that all politicians lie. Well, insurance but also don’t qualify for any that certainly ends the inquiry, does it government assistance — as I’ve noted not? Forever after, we’ll yield to this cyn- before. Five percent is an insignificant ical pronouncement and decline to hold number when Obama has directly caused any politicians accountable. Perhaps we their harm, but three percent is astronomshould dispense with all moral codes al- ical when it serves his purpose of advancing statism. together, because we’re all sinners. Too bad for Obama that his problems Of course, anyone who makes these kinds of arguments advertises himself as don’t end with this inconsistency, which too intellectually dishonest to be taken se- exposes his hypocrisy and opportunism. riously. Do you think any of these people He was lying about the five percent figwould so casually excuse a person lying ure, as well. to them in their personal or business lives WE’VE ALREADY seen a number about an important matter? So from the perspective of those of us of news stories reporting that the adminisin the real world, Obama has himself in tration knew that Obamacare would force far more than five percent of Americans quite a pickle. The entire country — at least that por- out of their plans. But my friend Andy tion that is not brain dead or brainwashed McCarthy has just put the final nails in — knows Obama lied to all Americans to this coffin, in his latest piece for National deceive them into supporting his plan for Review (http://www.nationalreview.com/
article/364176/obamas-5-percent-conjob-andrew-c-mccarthy/page/0/1). Andy refers to Obama’s latest excuse as the “five percent” con job. In the first place, the individual health care market is not five percent but eight percent. This additional three percent is probably some 10 million more Americans. No big deal, right? But that’s not the half of it — literally. Andy notes that the administration’s internal estimates have shown, for at least three years, as reported in the Federal Register, that most of the 156 million Americans covered by employer plans will also lose their coverage under Obamacare. He adds that the administration also let the cat out of the bag in a letter to state insurance commissioners, wherein it
admitted that small businesses — not just “individuals” — would be among those whose plans would be canceled. Just in case the administration tries to worm out of these latest damning revelations, Andy presents another one that should put such disingenuous denials finally to rest. In a brief submitted to the federal district court in Washington by Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services in a case over the conscience clause (another matter poisoned by Obama’s abject deception), the administration conceded that “even under the grandfathering provision,” it is estimated that “a majority of group health plans will have lost their grandfather status by the end of 2013.” Point. Game. Set. Match. In the meantime, on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y., outright admitted that Obama’s “keep your plan” promises were false. She said: “We all knew. The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy.” So, you see, the entire national Democratic Party apparatus has conspired to deceive Americans about a vital matter — their own health care — in order to advance its agenda. You still think this is just about health care? Well, another Democratic leader, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, admitted that with Obamacare, what Democrats are “trying to do is change a values system in our country.” THAT PRETTY much sums up modern liberalism as embodied in the Democratic Party. Come hell or high water, Democrats will coerce us, via the power of the federal government, into thinking and believing as they do and living under their utopian Leviathan state. Obamacare must be repealed — yesterday. November 19, 2013
This Week’s Conservative Focus
Why liberals are panicked about Obamacare “Even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.” — Bill Clinton, Nov. 12 SO THE FORMER president asserts that the current president continues to dishonor his “you like your plan, you can keep your plan” pledge. And calls for the Affordable Care Act to be changed, despite furious White House resistance to the very idea. Coming from the dean of the Democratic Party, this one line marked the breaching of the dam. It legitimized the brewing rebellion of panicked Democrats against Obamacare. Within hours, that rebellion went loudly public. By Thursday, President Obama had been forced into a rear-guard holding action, asking insurers to grant a one-year extension of current plans.
The damage to the Obama presidency, a transformational liberalism designed however, is already done. His approval to expand the role of government, enrating has fallen to 39 percent, his low- large the welfare state and create yet entitlements (see, for est ever. And, for the first time, a major- n e w example, his call for ity consider him universal preschool in u n t r u s t w o r t h y. his most recent State That bond is not of the Union adeasily repaired. dress). At stake, how(c) 2013, Washington Post Writers Group The centerpiece ever, is more than the fate of one presidency or of the cur- of this vision is, of course, Obamacare, rent Democratic majority in the Senate. the most sweeping social reform in the At stake is the new, more ambitious, so- last half-century, affecting one-sixth of cial-democratic brand of American lib- the economy and directly touching the eralism introduced by Obama, of which most vital area of life of every citizen. As the only socially transformational Obamacare is both symbol and concrete legislation in modern American hisembodiment. Precisely when the GOP was return- tory to be enacted on a straight partying to a more constitutionalist conserva- line vote, Obamacare is wholly owned tism committed to reforming, restructur- by the Democrats. Its unraveling would ing and reining in the welfare state (see, catastrophically undermine their underfor example, the Paul Ryan Medicare lying ideology of ever-expansive central reform passed by House Republicans government providing cradle-to-grave with near unanimity), Obama offered care for an ever-grateful citizenry.
President Obama in a fix
resident Barack Obama just admitted that the “settled law of the land” isn’t the least bit settled, and it hasn’t been sabotaged by Republicans so much as by the ignorance and incompetence of his own administration. Presidents have had worse press conferences than President Obama’s announcing a “fix” for people losing their health insurance, but probably not much worse. He had to resort to his desperation executive maneuver under the pressure of a full-blown Democratic panic on Capitol Hill and rebuke from none other than Bill Clinton.
health care legislation.” They aren’t so inclined. They not only tied themselves to the law, they repeated Obama’s false promise themselves, and evidently don’t appreciate it one bit. Maybe they genuinely didn’t know better. Our representatives in Congress can’t be expected to read or
Lowry (c) 2013, King Features Syndicate
understand legislation they support to transform a major sector of the American economy. These are busy and important IN AN INTERVIEW with Ozy.com, people, after all. But at the very least, the the former president addressed those mil- president’s policy staff could have let lions of Americans getting cancellation them in on the joke. notices from their insurance companies, OBAMA’S PROMISE on insurance despite Obama’s infamous promise that they could keep their plans. “I personally wasn’t just injudicious, it was completebelieve,” Clinton said, “even if it takes a ly impossible. It wasn’t an incidental change in the law, the president should falsehood but ran counter to the central honor the commitment the federal gov- premise of his own health care law. Peoernment made to these people and let ple losing their current insurance isn’t an unintended consequence of the law; it is them keep what they got.” The words were barely out of Clin- an intended consequence without which ton’s mouth before the speculation over much of the law doesn’t work. Its vihis motives began. For the sake of argu- ability depends on people being forced ment, let’s be overly credulous and as- from their current policies and onto the sume that he simply thinks it’s wrong for exchanges. That’s why Obama’s “fix” is so deepa president to lie to people about whether ly cynical. Its purpose is to provide the they can keep their health insurance. If Democrats were inclined to catch greatest possible political cover while the falling flag of Obama’s credibility having the smallest possible real-world as they once were with Clinton’s, they effect. The White House hopes congresmight take a page from the 1990s and sional Democrats can point to the admininsist that “everyone lies about historic istrative action as addressing the problem
of cancellations, at the same time insurers and state regulators won’t be able to reverse field and undo the train of policy cancellations already underway. The White House vehicle is, as usual, a unilateral and undemocratic act. There’s no reason that the president couldn’t have asked Congress to change the law, except he wouldn’t have total control over the process. It’s not clear, though, that his ploy will work. At the end of the day, it might not forestall congressional action, and it may be that insurers manage to preserve enough policies outside of the exchanges to further undermine the struggling health care law. At the very least, the president has again shown that he is perfectly happy to rewrite the law, when it suits him. At his press conference, he repeatedly said that he and his team had fumbled the ball on Obamacare implementation and misunderstood basic things, like how people buy insurance. These are the same people who think they possess the administrative mastery to run highly complex law-remaking swaths of the American economy. AS FOR HIS promise about people keeping their insurance, the president admitted he knew it wasn’t going to be true for everyone. Even his fix is only good for a year, because he ultimately needs those people on the exchanges. He never meant his promise, and he still doesn’t. No wonder even Bubba might be shocked. November 14, 2013
FOR FOUR YEARS, this debate has been theoretical. Now it’s real. And for Democrats, it’s a disaster. It begins with the bungled rollout. If Washington can’t even do the website — the literal portal to this brave new world — how does it propose to regulate the vast ecosystem of American medicine? Second, arrogance. Five million freely chosen, freely purchased, freely renewed health care plans are summarily canceled. Why? Because they don’t meet some arbitrary standard set by the experts in Washington. For all his news conference gyrations about not deliberately deceiving people with his “if you like it” promise, the law Obama so triumphantly gave us allows you to keep your plan only if he likes it. That’s the very definition of paternalism. Lastly, deception. The essence of the entitlement state is government giving away free stuff. Hence Obamacare would provide insurance for 30 million uninsured, while giving everybody tons of free medical services — without adding “one dime to our deficits,” promised Obama. This being inherently impossible, there had to be a catch. Now we know it: hidden subsidies. Toss millions of the insured off their plans and onto the Obamacare “exchanges” where they would be forced into more expensive insurance packed with coverage they don’t want and don’t need — so that the overcharge can be used to subsidize others. The reaction to the incompetence, arrogance and deception has ranged from ridicule to anger. But more is in jeopardy than just panicked congressional Democrats. This is the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency, the embodiment of his new entitlement-state liberalism. If Obamacare goes down, there will be little left of its underlying ideology. Perhaps it won’t go down. Perhaps the web portal hums beautifully on Nov. 30. Perhaps they’ll find a way to restore the canceled policies without wrecking the financial underpinning of the exchanges. Perhaps. The more likely scenario, however, is that Obamacare does fail. It either fails politically, renounced by a wide consensus that includes a growing number of Democrats. Or it succumbs to the financial complications (the insurance “death spiral”) of the very amendments desperately tacked on to save it. IF IT DOES FAIL, the effect will be historic. Obamacare will take down with it more than Mary Landrieu and Co. It will discredit Obama’s new liberalism for years to come. November 15, 2013
OBAMA PRESIDENCY: November 19, 2013
Public opinion has turned sharply against Obama
“Half or more now say he is not a resident Obama and the Democrats woke up Tuesday morn- strong leader, does not understand the ing to the stunning headline problems of ‘people like you,’ and is not and trustworthy,” the that his approval ratings have plunged h o n e s t survey found. to the lowest point These sharply dein his presidency. clining numbers are Even worse, not just the result polls showed he of the collapse of was losing sup(c) 2013, United Media Services Obamacare in the port among his last several weeks. party’s political base, which has become increasingly They have been on a downward slide all disenchanted and divided over his trou- year. Among registered voters, perceptions ble-plagued health insurance law, not to mention his terrible performance in an of Obama as a strong leader have fallen 15 points since January and 12 points anemic economy. on questions of honesty and trustworthiIN THE PAST month, Obama’s ness. His overall approval score has job-disapproval score has shot up to 63 percent among independents and up to dropped to 42 percent, down six points 50 percent among self-described mod- in a month, with his disapproval rating erates, two of the key swing voter blocs at 55 percent. Other polls, like Gallup, showed his approval rating falling to that helped him win a second term. Opposition to his health care law has near 40 percent. A Quinnipiac Universisoared to a record high of 57 percent, ty survey, among others, has it slipping with 46 percent saying they’re “strongly into the 30s. The bleak political reality that was against it,” according to the Washington slowly dawning on his top White House Post’s latest poll. But his failing grades from voters run advisers is that Obama’s numbers are not even deeper than this: 63 percent disap- going to be turned around anytime soon prove of his handling of the bungled, by a quick fix of Obamacare. That’s not widely unpopular health care program, going to happen. Administration insiders tell reportup from 53 percent last month. At the same time, a growing number ers that the software’s obstacle-plagued of Americans see him as an incompetent online application program will not be chief executive who’s out of touch with fixed by the latest deadline at the end of his administration and the policies he this month. Early applications were embarrassingly minuscule (106,000), when has championed. “For the first time in Obama’s presi- tens of millions of beneficiaries, includdency, a bare majority of Americans, 52 ing younger, healthy people, are needed percent, say they have an unfavorable to make the government-run program financially viable. impression of him,” the Post reported.
WORSENING THE White House’s troubles was Obama’s flip-flop to let individuals buy insurance policies without the costly new benefits the law prescribes. Most of the states’ regulators rebelled, saying they were not sure their state laws would allow them to do that. “Honestly, it’s just a big mess right now. ... I don’t know what to tell people,” said Kansas insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger. Meantime, the president’s party was coming apart at the seams on Capitol Hill, as vulnerable Democrats who voted for Obamacare and are up for reelection next year fear a massive political backlash against them from angry voters. House Republicans seized on their opportunity last week to bring up a bill that would allow Americans to keep their canceled insurance policies. Senior White House advisers hastily called closed-door meetings with Democrats, pleading with them to stand firm behind Obamacare. When the roll was called, 39 skittish House Democrats abandoned Obama and voted for the GOP-sponsored bill, which went much further than the president’s temporary, one-year reprieve. The GOP measure would allow Americans to keep the health insurance policies they had purchased for as long as they wanted. The White House said Obama would veto it if it reached his desk. Looking a bit deeper into that vote, there was this “run for cover” sign of how politically lethal the Obamacare law has become in Congress. Among the 26 members of the Democratic Congressional Committee’s “Frontline” incumbent-protection group, 23 voted for the GOP bill to water down Obamacare.
“Republicans hope the remarkable show of Democratic disunity in the vote is a sign of things to come,” writes Post political blogger Chris Cillizza. Indeed, besides polling evidence that Americans are turning sharply against Obamacare, there were broader signs that a majority was opposed to any intrusion by the federal government into the nation’s privately run health care system. Gallup released polling figures Monday that showed 56 percent of Americans surveyed did not believe it was the government’s responsibility to make sure all of our citizens had health care coverage. This is a stunning reversal in the mood of the country as more Americans have begun experiencing the sudden loss of their economic freedoms and the job-killing disruptions under Obamacare’s punishing mandates. Prior to 2009, “a clear majority consistently said the government should take responsibility for ensuring all Americans have health care,” Gallup said. That no longer seems to be the case. Throughout the year, the news media have been gleefully telling us that the Republicans were going to suffer huge political losses in the 2014 elections for the brief, partial government shutdown and their persistent opposition to Obamacare and other administration policies. But they’re not pushing that partisan line anymore on the nightly news. It’s the Democrats who are now threatened by widespread losses in Congress for trying to shove Obamacare down our throats. AND IT’S OBAMA who is poised to go down in flames as one of the most incompetent presidents in our history.
November 27, 2013 DEAR MARK: November 16, 2013
President’s patch, 14th Amendment, five percenters DEAR MARK: The president has done what many of you on the right wanted him to do and letting individuals keep their health insurance plans if they liked them. He is fulfilling his promise, so shouldn’t you get off of his case and let his team fix the website? — The Bronze Planner Dear Bronze: Not so fast. President Obama hasn’t actually delayed anything; he’s allowing for “enforcement discretion.” According to the Washington Times, “Mr. Obama will leave it up to state health insurance commissioners to decide which sub-standard plans can still be offered by insurance companies, and he has pledged that his administration won’t penalize them for still offering those plans even though they violate the Affordable Care Act.” Let’s see, Obama broke his promise to America when he promised we could keep our plans and now insurance companies are supposed to trust that the administration won’t penalize them for extending those policies? Obama’s solution sounds like running a red light and wondering if the police officer will selectively ticket you or not. Fool me once ... Also, I’m going to stay on the president’s case. Obama has come up with a political — not a practical — solution to one of the major problems with Obamacare. Obama came to this decision after getting an earful from “red state Democrats” that are up for re-election in 2014. He’s also witnessed
his popularity numbers drop faster than the Titanic, which might be pricking his thin skin. I have been reading a fascinating book by L.K. Samuels called In Defense of Chaos. In it, Samuels references sociologist Robert K. Merton, who in 1936, discussed the “law of unforeseen consequences” in a paper called
(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
“The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action.” Merton discusses several sources of unanticipated consequences, including ignorance, error and imperious immediacy of interest. The latter describes a situation “in which someone is so eager to do something that he will purposely ignore any possible failure from side effects.” Sounds like President Obama hit all three of these with his Affordable Care Act and his so-called solution. DEAR MARK: How is it that Obamacare and so many of the president’s ongoing alterations and carve-outs are not illegal under the 14th Amendment? Wouldn’t that also prevent lawmakers and their staffs from exempting themselves from requirements under Obama’s “law of the land? — Matt in Arkansas
Dear Matt: You’re referring to the equal protection clause, which basically means that everyone has to be treated the same under the law. On the surface, it appears Congress violated the 14th Amendment by exempting itself from Obamacare. The sleight of hand they used is that the taxpayers will be paying 75 percent of their health care benefits. Once again, a group of politicians successfully adhered to the letter of the law while violating the spirit of the law. DEAR MARK: All over the news and Internet people are crying about losing their substandard health insurance policies because of the Affordable Care Act. Personally, I think it’s the greedy insurance companies, but either way, people — it’s less than five percent of the country, and you can all get a better plan. Stop crying and let the ACA finish rolling out. — Waa, Waa, Waa Dear Waa: The five percent of people losing their health policies that Democrats seem to think is no big deal translates to millions of people. With that in mind, what if we were talking about abortions? Would the left accept the premise that we should outlaw all abortions because only 2.2 percent of women have abortions each year? The left would scream bloody murder. (Pun very much intended.) Gosh, I’m sorry to inject logic into an argument with liberals.
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MEDIA BIAS: November 14, 2013
PunditFact/PoliticFact: Media bias strikes again ... at me
Yet PunditFact determined that since hen PunditFact — the new offspring from the folks a) it is difficult to quantify the cost of at PolitiFact — contacted mandates, and b) experts disagree, my statement — all three me, they wanted sources for “all of the e n t i r e “eyepopping” asserclaims” in the foltions — are scored lowing statement “mostly false?!” This I made Nov. 4 on is nonsense. CNN’s Crossfire: For added mea“In 1900, at (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate sure, PunditFact all three levels quoted one tax of government — federal, state and local — government professor: “Mr. Elder’s statement is too took less than 10 percent of the Ameri- vague to be useful for any purpose other can people’s money. Now, we’re talking than generating ‘hallelujahs!’ from the about 35 percent, and when you add a choir he is preaching to.” Nice touch. So I challenged PunditFact on my dollar value to mandates, we’re talking radio show, and to PunditFact’s credit, almost 50 percent.” the editor agreed to an interview. After WHAT’S THE problem? PunditFact our interview, I sent him the following rated the statement as “mostly false.” letter: “Thanks again for coming on. You’re For added measure, PunditFact called a stand-up guy. the assertions “eye-popping.” “I respectfully and formally request No, I was not “mostly false.” At worst, I was “mostly true.” Broken that you re-visit your rating — in hopes down, “all” of my “claims” consist of that I will get a fair one. I made good arguments this evening in our interview three assertions. They are: 1) On size of government in 1900: — and you knew it. “My quote consisted of three factual “Less than 10 percent.” PunditFact doesn’t bother to even mention their assertions. “You’ve admitted that the first two findings on this “claim” — no doubt because the number I gave is accurate. In were correct, leaving us with the ‘cost’ of mandates as our only unresolved isessence, PunditFact admits I’m right. 2) On amount government now takes: sue. “Katie’s letter (Katie Sanders is the “Now ... 35 percent.” PunditFact admits reporter who wrote the piece) spoke of I’m right. 3) On amount government takes at all fact checking ‘all’ my ‘claims.’ “In the ‘mostly false’ fact check, you levels when you “add a dollar value to mandates:” I said, “Almost 50 percent.” call my assertions — plural — ‘eyeThis requires judgment and assignment popping.’ Plural, of course, means you of value to things that are difficult to not only found my ‘almost 50 percent’ quantify. But there is a cost, even by the claim ‘eye-popping,’ but you had to Elder-was-wrong experts PunditFact have found at least one of my two other assertions ‘eye-popping,’ as well. cited — and the cost is north of zero.
“Katie said ‘all,’ not ‘both.’ ‘All,’ to me, means three claims — not one, not two. “Two of my ‘eye-popping claims’ were true, but I still get ‘mostly false.’ “You essentially said that it was the most ‘eye-popping’ of my claims — so you gave it more weight. That is also unfair. “FIRST, PUNDITFACT switched the goal posts from being concerned about ‘all’ my assertions, to ignoring the two that check out. “Second, why do you think the ‘almost 50 percent’ part was the most ‘eye popping’ assertion? I don’t. I’m willing to bet, as I said in our interview, that Katie was gob-smacked when she heard that in 1900 government took less than 10 percent and now it takes 35 percent! But this ‘eye-popping’ (and truthful) assertion checks out and gets ignored.
Suddenly, you focus only on the ‘almost 50 percent’ part. Unfair. “Finally, you say ‘you could find no expert’ to corroborate the 50 percent number. Really? I offered Grover Norquist’s organization, and it assigns an even higher number to the cost of mandates. You rejected that. Nobody at the American Enterprise Institute? Nobody at the libertarian Reason Foundation? Nobody at Heritage? Nobody at the Competitive Enterprise Institute? “I won’t even bring up the lenient grade you gave Ed Schultz when he exaggerated the number of teachers Gov. Chris Christie supposedly ‘fired’ by over 30 percent — and still got a ‘half truth.’ “Soft on lefties, hard on conservatives? “Please reconsider. I take my credibility quite seriously, and you’ve slammed my character and integrity. Stuff like this affects one’s stature and even career. You should have been more considerate and respectful. “I treated you with courtesy and respect tonight. I hope you will do likewise. “Larry.” Media tells us that the lost and “schizophrenic” GOP cannot decide between the tea party and “more mainstream candidates.” But if liberal media bias didn’t exist, it wouldn’t matter whether they nominated Texas’ Sen. Ted Cruz or New Jersey’s Christie. UCLA Professor Tim Groseclose, author of the media bias book Left Turn, says that in presidential elections, liberal media bias gives Dems an eight to 10 point advantage out of the gate. Were the media truly “fair and balanced,” the voting electorate, writes Groseclose, would resemble red state Texas. THE OLD LINE goes, “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own set of facts. Yet leftwing factcheckers give us leftwing “facts.”
November 27, 2013 FEDERALISM: November 14, 2013
Obamacare proves the virtues of federalism
o issue in recent years has polarized Americans as much as Obamacare. It produced a party-line vote in Congress, a near-fatal court battle, a revolt by states that refused to run exchanges or expand Medicaid, dozens of House votes to repeal it and, now, a bungled launch that could be its undoing. It’s a barroom brawl that never ends. BARACK OBAMA’S health care plan hit nerves that are still radiating pain among many people. But being a federal program, it couldn’t accommodate the many Americans who want a different approach. It’s a zero-sum game. One side has to win, and the other has to lose. It didn’t have to be that way. Why is same-sex marriage, which was once
Just because Vermont and New politically preposterous, faring so much better than health care reform? Why has Hampshire are the Mary-Kate and Ashliberalization of marijuana laws hap- ley of states doesn’t mean they want the things. One has a state pened without provoking threats of se- s a m e income tax, and one cession? One simnever will. The ple reason: Those people of Maryland changes have wouldn’t want to taken place at the live under the laws state level — and (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate that suit Mississiponly in states that pians, and vice versa. Decentralization chose them. They’re the product of an ingenious allows peaceful coexistence. State prerogatives have long been a but often unappreciated ingredient of our system of government: federalism. cause of conservatives, but some libIn a nation with 317 million people erals have come to prize them as well. spanning a continent, there are great dif- Oregon successfully fought off a federal ferences in culture, politics, religion and court challenge to its law allowing docbarbecue. What allows us to be united tors to prescribe medicines for patients states rather than warring ones is that on who want to end their lives. If legalizamany things, we can agree to disagree. tion of marijuana had to win the approv-
CULTURE WAR: November 15, 2013
Upside-down ratings games
This is hard-core pornography labeled as a European “art” flick. But “the MPAA rating is a voluntary guideline that we as a theater are not obligated to enforce,” proclaimed the IFC Center in a statement. “In this case we feel it is unnecessarily restrictive and we will indeed admit high-school-age patrons to screenings of this percepTHE MOST recent example came tive and moving film at the IFC with the raging ten-minute lesbian-sex Center.” scene that wowed the Cannes Film Festival (and won their Golden Palm) in Blue Is the Warmest Color. The IFC Center in New York’s Greenwich Vil(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate lage decided to shred the NC-17 rating for this movie because “it is our judgDON’T OVERLOOK the profit ment that it is appropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers who are looking motive: They’re showing the film nine ahead to the emotional challenges and times a day at the IFC Center ... because this “transgressive” and “revelatory” opportunities that adulthood holds.” One might ask how exactly the IFC love story just happens to be made by Center draws a line at how to admit IFC Films. Notice they aren’t handing only the “mature, inquiring” teenagers? out free tickets to their porn movie. In an interview in the New York Times, Certainly, 99.9 percent of teenagers are “looking ahead to the emotional chal- IFC Center general manager John Vanlenges and opportunities” of sexual ac- co insisted the ratings were too starchy for Greenwich Village: “It means that a tivity. What will they see if they enter? 17-year-old freshman at New York UniFrom Cannes, Vulture magazine report- versity could not see the film, and we ed “intensely erotic, incredibly realis- disagree about how much protection tic, quite lengthy, and almost certainly teens need from the content of this film unsimulated sex scenes,” one lasting in particular.” This isn’t just about New York. Shred ten minutes. “Walkouts began around minute nine. That turned into sponta- the ratings there, and what hip city folneous applause (and relieved laughter) lows suit first? In case you think these leftists would when the women climaxed and finished prefer complete ratings anarchy for a minute later.” In a YouTube video, lesbians were young people, think again. Last year, asked what they thought of the sex lobbyists wrote in the journal Pediatrics scenes. One joked it seemed like an in- that any scenes of smoking should earn fomercial for a kitchen product: “It can an automatic “R” rating. The new feminist trend comes from chop, it can slice, it can dice, it can puSweden, where the Swedish Film Inree, it can eat out your [rectum].’” he Motion Picture Association of America put the modern movie-ratings system in place in 1968 for parents to protect children under 18 from ultraviolent or sexually explicit material. Since 1968, avantgarde leftists have been trying to knock this voluntary system down.
stitute has endorsed a new trend in that leftist country’s most sophisticated theaters. To get an “A” rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test — named for American lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who created a feminist standard in her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” in 1985. A movie “must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.” In an AP story, one Swedish commissar announced “The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test.” In Beverly Hills, AP found actress Jada Pinkett Smith to boost it: “A feminist ratings system? That’s so interesting! I say, hey, let’s see if it works!” An American feminist group called the Representation Project wants this rating brought to the United States. Jennifer Siebel Newsom sent a mass email insisting, “Let’s spread the news and discuss this step forward with everyone we know — including our local theaters! Ask them to consider implementing the ‘Bechdel test’ or write a letter to a Hollywood studio executive expressing your desire to see more films that value women and girls. Let’s use Sweden’s progress as motivation to continue to transform the entertainment industry and our own culture!” USING THIS lesbian-feminist test, Blue Is the Warmest Color can be transformed from an NC-17 into some kind of “A-plus.” These women were too engaged in hardcore sex with each other to even think about discussing a man.
al of Congress, Coloradans would still be waiting for it. FEDERALISM IS equally suited to the right and the left. Gun-rights advocates can have their way in Texas, while gun-control supporters can prevail in California. Laws allowing the carrying of concealed handguns gained attention when Florida passed one in 1987, which soon spread. But some states, like New York, exercise considerable discretion over who gets a permit. Supporters of gun control often complain that permissive policies in some states undermine tough ones elsewhere. But the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence contends that “states need to adopt strong gun laws because gun laws really do matter. Many of the states with the strongest gun laws also have the lowest gun death rates nationwide.” Most of the effects of a state’s laws are felt by its residents. If they don’t like those consequences, they have the power to bring about a change in the law. And if they can’t get it changed, they have the option of moving to a state whose laws they like better. On policies made in Washington, those same people have far less say — and they can’t escape. The combination can breed intense resentment. One reason abortion has been a live wire for so long is that the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade imposed the same basic rules on every state. More latitude would have defused much of the emotion. Even in immigration policy, where the feds necessarily take the lead role, there is room for diversity. Some states grant in-state tuition at public universities to young people brought here illegally by their parents, and some states deny it. Some give driver’s licenses to undocumented foreigners, and some don’t. Those here illegally can make their choices accordingly. Health insurance reform might have taken a similar route. Massachusetts, in fact, enacted a plan on which Obamacare was modeled. The fact that no other state adopted it should have been a clue it wasn’t ready for Broadway. Had several other states successfully implemented similar plans, they would have dispelled doubts and provided useful real-world data on how to make this option work. At some point, its performance might have overcome enough doubts to evoke broad bipartisan support for a national version. THE FEDERALISM model doesn’t satisfy ambitious reformers who are certain there is only one good way to address an injustice. But that’s not a bug. That’s a feature.
MEDIA BIAS: November 19, 2013
The truth about a very dangerous game
ew York City police authorities are investigating a series of unprovoked physical attacks in public places on people who are Jewish, in the form of what is called “the knockout game.” The way the game is played, one of a number of young blacks decides to show that he can knock down some stranger on the streets, preferably with one punch, as they pass by. Often some other member of the group records the event, so that a video of that “achievement” is put on the Internet, to be celebrated. THE NEW YORK authorities describe a recent series of such attacks and, because Jews have been singled out in these attacks, are considering prosecuting these assaults as “hate crimes.” Many aspects of these crimes are extremely painful to think about, including the fact that responsible authorities in New York seem to have been caught by surprise, even though this “knockout game” has been played for years by young black gangs in other cities and other states, against people besides Jews — the victims being either whites in general or people of Asian ancestry. Attacks of this sort have been rampant in St. Louis. But they have also occurred in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and elsewhere. In Illinois the game has often been called “Polar Bear Hunting” by the young thugs, presumably because the targets are white. The main reason for many people’s surprise is that the mainstream media have usually suppressed news about the “knockout game” or about other and larger forms of similar orchestrated racial violence in dozens of cities in every region of the country. Sometimes the attacks are reported, but only as isolated attacks by unspecified “teens” or “young people” against unspecified victims, without any reference to the racial makeup of the attackers or the victims — and with no mention of racial epithets by the young hoodlums exulting in their own “achievement.” Despite such pious phrases as “troubled youths,” the attackers are often in a merry, festive mood. In a sustained mass attack in Milwaukee, going far beyond the dimensions of a passing “knockout game,” the attackers were laughing and eating chips, as if it were a picnic. One of them observed casually, “white girl bleed a lot.” That phrase — White Girl Bleed A Lot — is also the title of a book by Colin Flaherty, which documents both the racial attacks across the nation and the media attempts to cover them up, as well as the local political and police officials who try to say that race had nothing to do with these attacks.
Chapter 2 of the 2013 edition is ti- itics, may think that they are trying to tled, “The Knockout Game, St. Louis avoid provoking a race war by ignoring Style.” So this is nothing new, howev- or playing down these attacks. But the prevent a race war is er new it may be to some in New York, way to by stopping these thanks to the meattacks, not trying dia’s political corto sanitize them. rectness. If these attacks Nor is this continue, and game just a pass(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate continue to grow, ing prank. People more and more have been beaten unconscious, both in this game and in people are going to know about them, the wider orchestrated racial attacks. regardless of the media or the politiSome of these victims have been per- cians. Responsible people of all races manently disabled and some have died need to support a crackdown on these attacks, which can provoke a white from their injuries. backlash that can escalate into a race BUT MOST OF the media see no war. But political expediency leads in evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. In the opposite direction. What is politically expedient is to such an atmosphere, the evil not only do what Attorney General Eric Holder persists but grows. Some in the media, as well as in pol- is doing — launch campaigns against
schools that discipline a “disproportionate” number of black male students. New York City’s newly elected liberal mayor is expected to put a stop to police “stop and frisk” policies that have reduced the murder rate to onefourth of what it was under liberal mayors of the past. Apparently political correctness trumps human lives. PROVIDING COVER for hoodlums is a disservice to everybody, including members of every race, and even the hoodlums themselves. Better that they should be suppressed and punished now, rather than continue on a path that is likely to lead to prison, or even to the execution chamber.
BIG GOVERNMENT: November 20, 2013
Only the self-reliant remain free Who had more freedom? Was it the pioneer who rode horseback across the Midwest, settled in a wide-open space without paved roads, grocery stores or hospitals, and he had to build his own home, cultivate his own food and educate his own children? OR WAS IT the less-adventuresome brother he left behind in an Eastern city who lived next door to a hospital, across the street from a public school and kitty corner from a grocery store — but in his later years, he could only get to work if he rode a public transit line and if the transit line ran on time? I vote for the pioneer. He was not dependent on government. His brother was. Self-reliance and freedom are inseparable. Americans once knew this in their very souls. Now, coaxed by those with a socialistic vision of government, we are beginning to forget it. We are becoming ever more dependent on government and putting our freedom at risk. It is a simple as that. The Census Bureau recently published some remarkable data. As of the end of 2011, it said, there were approximately 151,014,000 who received one or more benefits from the federal government. That was 49 percent of the population of the country, which then stood at 306,804,000. Some of the people receiving federal benefits had paid payroll taxes their entire working lives in return for the privilege of living in government dependency during their retirement.
49,901,000 were on Social Security, according to the Census Bureau, and 46,440,000 were on Medicare. Others, however, were simply on the dole. 108,592,000 people in the United States as the end of 2011 were enrolled in one or more federal meanstested welfare programs, ac-
Jeffrey (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
framing the Constitution? Could he have struck out West and settled Iowa? What would he do if the government decided to stop providing him with the basics of life? What if a financial crisis made it impossible for the government to continue to provide him with the basics of life? Or what if the government decided to use its leverage over people who are dependent on it to force them to do things that are morally wrong? Today, for example, the federal government is telling all Americans they must buy health insurance and that almost all of them must buy coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. Those Americans who take a federal subsidy to buy health insurance in the Obamacare exchanges have no choice at all: They must buy health insurance that covers abortion drugs. The government concedes that this violates the religious and moral convictions of many Christians, but the government does not care.
cording to the Census Bureau. Those 108,592,000 welfare recipients outnumbered the 101,716,000 people who worked full time that year. For each person in this country who gets up each week day and goes to work, and works a long day, and does it week after week after week, there is now more than one other person who is living off the taxes that person and his fellow full-time workers pay and off the new net debt the Treasury must IF OBAMACARE is cemented into continually issue to cover the cost of a government that routinely exceeds tax American life and culture, the government will soon be paying for the majorrevenues. ity of American’s health care and this THE WELFARE takers, according government has already demonstrated to the Census Bureau, included, among it is willing to use its leverage over others, 13,433,000 who relied on the health care to force people to make government to provide them with immoral decisions on a matter that inhousing or a subsidy for their housing, volves the deliberate destruction of in49,073,000 who took food stamps, and nocent human life. Government dependency does not 82,457,000 living in households on liberate, it enslaves. If America does Medicaid. Think of the person who took his not recapture its pioneering spirit soon housing, food and health care from the and begin dismantling the welfare state, government. Could he have helped in it will dismantle us.
November 27, 2013 KENNEDY MYTH: November 19, 2013
Nixon and Kennedy: The myths and reality And after the missile crisis, Bobby Had there been no Dallas, there would Kennedy pushed the CIA to eliminate been no Camelot. There would have been no John F. Castro, eliciting a warning from Fidel could play this game. Kennedy as brilliant statesman cut off that two Lyndon Johnson in his prime, had it said that under the not been for those Kennedys, the CIA riveting days from had been running Dealey Plaza to “a da--ed Murder Arlington and the (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate Inc. in the Cariblighting of the bean.” Eternal Flame. What caused Nikita Khrushchev to Along with the unsleeping labors of an idolatrous press and the propagandists think he could get away with putting who control America’s popular culture, rockets in Cuba? His perception that those four days created and sustained the JFK was a weak president. Kennedy had denied air cover for the Kennedy Myth. Cuban patriots at the Bay of Pigs, resultBUT, OVER 50 years, the effect has ing in the worst debacle of the Cold War. He was then berated and humiliated by begun to wear off. The New York Times reports that in Khrushchev at the Vienna Summit in the ranking of presidents, Kennedy has June 1961. In August, Khrushchev built the Berfallen further and faster than any. Ronald Reagan has replaced him as No. 1, and lin Wall. Kennedy sat paralyzed. In September, Khrushchev smashed JFK is a fading fourth. Kennedy is increasingly perceived to- the three-year-old nuclear test-ban morday as he was 50 years ago, before word atorium with a series of explosions feacame that shots had been fired in Dallas. turing, at Novaya Zemlya, a 57-megaton That he was popular, inspirational, “Tsar Bomba,” the largest man-made charismatic, no one denied. But no one blast ever. “Less profile, more courage,” the would then have called him great or near great. His report card had too many C’s, placards read. F’s and Incompletes. IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, JFK had His great legislative victory had been the passage of the Trade Expansion Act Averell Harriman negotiate a treaty for of 1962. His tax cut bill was buried on neutralizing Laos, resulting in Hanoi’s virtual annexation of the Ho Chi Minh the Hill. His triumph had been forcing a with- trail through Laos into South Vietnam. Where Eisenhower had 600 advisers drawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba. But we would learn this was done by a secret in Vietnam, JFK increased it to 16,000 deal for the withdrawal of U.S. missiles and gave his blessing to a generals’ coup from Turkey and a secret pledge not to in which our ally, President Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated. invade Cuba.
Then and there, Vietnam became America’s war. Kennedy had made a famous phone call to Mrs. Martin Luther King during the 1960 campaign when her husband had been arrested. Yet, he kept his administration away from the March on Washington and directed J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Dr. King to learn of his associations with Communists. Since his death, Kennedy’s reputation has been ravaged by revelations of assignations and mistresses from Marilyn Monroe to Mafia molls to White House interns from Miss Porter’s School. All of this was covered up by his courtier journalists who would collaborate in perpetuating the Kennedy myth and collude in destroying their great hate object, Richard Nixon. Yet, contrast what Nixon did, with what JFK failed to do.
Where Kennedy managed to get Gov. George Wallace to admit two black students to the University of Alabama, Nixon desegregated 70 percent of all Southern public schools. Where the JFK-LBJ administration spent eight years putting 535,000 U.S. troops into a war they could neither end nor win, Nixon withdrew all U.S. troops in four years, brought home the POWs, and left every provincial capital in South Vietnamese hands. Where Kennedy had the Peace Corps, Nixon ended the draft, gave 18year-olds the right to vote, created an Environmental Protection Agency and a Cancer Institute and an Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Where Kennedy gave speeches about detente, Nixon negotiated the greatest arms treaties since the Washington Naval Agreement — SALT I and the ABM treaty — ended decades of hostility between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China, rescued Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and pulled Egypt out of the Soviet bloc into the U.S. camp. Creating a new majority that would dominate presidential politics until 1992, Nixon was rewarded with a 49state landslide in 1972. Whereupon a press elite that had maintained a conspiracy of silence on Kennedy’s misconduct, seized on Nixon’s failure to deal decisively with misconduct in his campaign to bring him down in the first successful coup d’etat in U.S. political history. The mythologizing of JFK and demonization of Nixon tell us less about respective accomplishments than the moral character of an establishment, which, though it had lost America by ‘72, still controlled the culture, media, bureaucracy and Congress. AND AS THEY brought down Nixon with Watergate, they would seek to bring down Reagan with Iran-Contra. But that coup failed.
CULTURE WAR: November 19, 2013
The Midas touch and the leftist touch
he Midas touch is named for been deconstructed, if not ridiculed. the mythological Greek King There is no pursuit of excellence or of Midas who is said to have spiritual or moral elevation, and no aim been able to turn everything he touched to inspire. Indeed, the opposite is more often the rule. The ugly, the into gold. deliberately offenThe left has sive, the moronic the opposite abiland the scatologiity: to turn virtucal are celebratally everything it ed: The 24-foot touches into rub(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate sculpture of a dog ble. Sometimes it lifting its leg and happens quickly; sometimes it takes generations. But it peeing in front of the Orange County Museum of Art; Piss Christ, the cruciis inevitable. fix in the artist’s urine shown at galALMOST THE only time this is not leries around America; and exhibits true is when the left takes a position composed of menstrual blood are but that is shared by non-leftists. But what- a few examples. — Environmental Laws ever the left transforms in its direction While all rational people want to is damaged, and often destroyed. Name the institution or the value protect the environment, environmentransformed by the left and that insti- talism has become a destructive leftist religion. Millions of Africans have died tution or value is ruined. of malaria because of the environmenHere is a partial list: talist-induced bans on DDT. Environ— Education Since the left came to dominate uni- mentalist opposition to modifying rice versities, schools of education and, in- to include Vitamin A led to the deaths creasingly, high schools, each has be- of about eight million Third World comes inferior to what it was prior to children. In 2012 alone, wind turbines have created killing fields for birds and left-wing influence. Universities have become to the left bats. The American prairies are being what seminaries are to religions — a destroyed by the environmentalists’ place to indoctrinate students. Truth push for ethanol. — The Culture is derided as a false construct and is The cultural left has created and no longer the goal of most university professors (outside of math and the celebrated an unbelievable coarsening natural sciences). Schools of education of the culture, especially injurious to teach left-wing doctrines and brand- the young. Examples of Hollywood’s new notions of teaching that are almost degradation of culture in film and on always inferior to what existed earlier. television are too numerous to mention. We will suffice with mentioning — Art and Music The left-wing influence on art and only MTV, one of the most damaging music has been almost entirely destruc- cultural forces in the lives of American tive. Notions of greatness in art have young people; and the sex-drenched
universities from an f-saw exhibition to the ubiquitous “sex week.” — The Military For decades, the left has sought to weaken the American military, the most potent force for peace and liberty on planet earth — by, among other things, obtaining huge cuts in military spending (not only through sequestration) and social engineering experiments such as placing women in combat units. — California Thanks to the left’s total dominance of California political life, the left, in the words of the most respected observer of California life, Chapman University’s Joel Kotkin, “has turned the California Dream into a nightmare.” — Black America Left-wing policies have done incalculable damage to black America. Left-wing mayors of nearly every major American city have supervised the economic ruin of many of those cities. Decades of rhetoric reinforcing black victimhood have served only to stymie black progress and increase anger. And left-wing welfare policies have been the primary contributor to the 70 percent rate for children born out-ofwedlock and the concomitant decline of black fatherhood. — The Economy The left-engineered welfare state with its monumental national debts is crushing the economies of virtually every European country that has adopted them, and it will do the same to the American economy. Even the proudest achievements of the left — Medicare and Medicaid — will soon be unsustainable, as will Social security if the retirement age is not raised by at least a few years. — Men and Women
Thanks to left-wing attitudes inculcated in women from high school on, more and more women consider marriage and family second in importance to career success. This will lead, as it already has, to unhappiness among vast numbers of women who eventually realize that career isn’t nearly as meaningful to them as it is to most men. Meanwhile, the anti-boy policies in elementary schools and high schools — books assigned that appeal far more to girls, the end of games at recess that boys enjoy and need — have directly led to boys falling more and more behind girls in academic and professional achievement. Meanwhile, left-wing denigration of marriage (except same-sex marriage) has led to the lowest rates of marriage in Western history, and the left-winginduced secularization of society has massively contributed to historically low birth rates in America and Europe. — God and Religion For over half a century, the left has made war on Judeo-Christian religions in the popular culture and through legislation, beginning with the Supreme Court’s 1962 decision banning this voluntary and non-denominational prayer in New York State schools: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.” The consequences of this enforced secularization of American life in terms of human happiness and ethical behavior are — and will increasingly be — disastrous. IT TURNS out that there is little difference between the Midas touch and the leftist touch. Both end up destroying everything.
November 27, 2013 JOE SCARBOROUGH: November 20, 2013
Joe Scarborough doesn’t care about GOP victory
oe Scarborough is out with a new book again, lecturing conservatives on the best road forward. Here’s the first sign it should be ignored (just like the previous ones): It will be reviewed by the New York Times, while Mark Levin’s truly important, best-selling books are not. IT’S THE same formula for the Scarborough TV tour: an appearance next to Barbara Walters on ABC’s The View, spots on CBS This Morning and Charlie Rose: The Week on PBS. The liberal media really want Scarborough to tell Republicans what to do. And why not? Might that be because their recommendations are similar? Scarborough insists Republicans have to moderate, moderate, moderate. “We” need a Republican Party that enables more of President Barack Obama’s political dreams, because
that’s what the people want ... or at least Gingrich wave of 1994? Were Scarborough’s positions, so in line with the media people. It’s annoying faux conservatives look conservative base when he was elected, ical indulgences?” to real conservatives to give credibility “ideologThis is a man who to views antithetihas found a real cal to conservahome at MSNBC. tives. Scarborough In fact, Scarcites William F. borough isn’t at Buckley as he de(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate all “da-- tired” of clares in the book, “We have to stop electing amateurs who Democrats winning the White House. serve as little more than ideological On The View, he declared a willingness indulgences, who exploit resentments to vote for a Democrat if Republicans that play well enough among the base, keep on their current MSNBC-upsetting but whose positions make them nonvi- path. Would anyone who watched Mornable in general elections.” Why is this? ing Joe in 2008 or 2012 believe that “There is no substitute for victory, and I Scarborough took to the air with every for one am da-- tired of my party losing breath to ensure Obama was defeated? presidential elections.” I’M SORRY if that question was a There is not a comma in this passage that isn’t dishonest. Where would this choking hazard. Let’s take just a few man be today if Republicans weren’t samples of evidence from 2012, when “electing amateurs” like him in the Newt Republicans nominated Mitt Romney.
ARTICLE V CONVENTION: November 19, 2013
Bold play for an Article V convention
ed up with Washington? Angry that elections don’t seem to matter when it comes time to solving problems? Disgusted by the polarization that puts politicians’ careers ahead of taxpayer interests? Frustrated because you don’t think anything can be done about it? Indiana State Senator David Long (R-Ft. Wayne) has experienced all of these feelings, but has chosen not to accept the status quo. He has a plan for returning power to the people where the Founders wanted it to reside. LONG IS promoting an unused section of the U.S. Constitution as the ultimate check on big government. Article V provides two paths to amending the Constitution. One is through two-thirds of both houses of Congress, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the states. The other begins at the state level, where two-thirds of the legislatures ask Congress to call “a convention for proposing amendments.” States would send delegates to this convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. Then, three-fourths of the states would ratify any amendments approved by the convention, either by their legislatures or special ratifying conventions. Long notes that the Founders wanted the states to be able to amend the Constitution as a means of checking a runaway federal government. They understood human nature and its lust for power. In a telephone conversation, Sen. Long claims the biggest objection to an Article V convention is that those who participate might take the opportunity
to engage in mischief and wreck the Constitution. But, he says, the ability of delegates to go beyond the limits set by their respective legislatures would be clearly restricted and delegates who attempt to exceed their authority would be removed.
Thomas (c) 2013, Tribune Media Services
The Indiana legislature has passed two measures that would, according to Long, “Require delegates to take an oath to uphold the state and U.S. Constitutions and abide by any instructions given to delegates by the General Assembly.” It also establishes “Indiana’s intention to send two delegates and two alternate delegates to an Article V convention.” WRITING IN Federalist No. 85, Alexander Hamilton expressed faith in the states to control out-of-control government: “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” Long says he has commitments from representatives of at least 26 state legislatures to attend a Dec. 7 meeting at George Washington’s home in Mt. Vernon, Va. The goal is “not to decide on any amendment to be considered, but to put together a structure on how a convention will be run.” Once that structure is in place, the convention would hope
to establish a framework for reigning in overspending, overtaxing and over-regulating by the federal government and moving toward a less centralized federal government. I asked him if any Democrats have signed on. “We’ve tried to get Democrats involved, but the Democratic Party is pushing back hard to keep any Democrats from attending.” Long says while one California Democratic legislator has expressed interest, he thinks that Southern and some Western states (but not California) will get behind the idea, though he admits achieving the goal will be difficult. Because both parties have failed to curtail the escalating size, reach and cost of centralized government, Long says, “States’ rights have been trampled — rendering the 10th amendment, (which protects state rights), almost meaningless.” He adds, “The bigger modern-day threat to America is not a runaway convention, but a runaway federal government.” Call it a “Long shot,” but it is one worth attempting. The Preamble to the Constitution begins: “We the people.” It is the people who lend power to the federal government. If the people lend it, the people can also reclaim it when government exceeds its constitutional authority. SEN. DAVID LONG may have discovered the only path left for attaining fiscal solvency. If he succeeds, future generations might recall Dec. 7, not only for Pearl Harbor, but for the beginning of a second American Revolution.
— On March 31, Scarborough mocked Romney for mutilating himself (rhetorically) — “He is a cutter, a political cutter” — and then ridiculed a poll result showing the GOP losing by 25 to Obama among women. “I guess that idea of chaining women to a radiator in the kitchen, that the Republicans wanted to put on platform, not going over.” — On April 4, Joe “Da-- Tired of Losing” Scarborough announced on his show: “I’ve yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won’t say it on TV because they’ve got to go on TV, and they don’t want people writing them nasty emails. I obviously don’t care. ” — On Sept. 8, Scarborough appeared on Today to trash Romney’s chances. “This is one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember ... Unemployment is still eight percent-plus, the economy is still in tatters, and Mitt Romney is blowing this race.” At the end of the segment, he added, “I’m going to go put a bag over my head now, so I will talk to you soon.” — On Sept. 14, Scarborough lashed into Romney for a “horrific, irresponsible press conference” after the attacks in Benghazi. (Romney spoke before word came of four Americans dying.) “If Mitt Romney had kept his mouth shut, if he had not acted like a rank amateur, if he had not embarrassed himself — and by the way internally the campaign understands they screwed up, he’s moved on, they know that. So no conservative can say, ‘Oh, the mainstream media, blah, blah.’ ... Romney got in the way of the media looking at the president.” — On Sept. 28, Obama-loving CBS late-night host David Letterman publicized Morning Joe with the title “Joe Scarborough: Sweet Je---.” CBS then played an MSNBC clip that began with an incredibly standard campaign event where Romney encouraged the crowd to chant “Romney-Ryan.” It ended when the camera switched back to the set showing Scarborough with his hands covering his face in shame as he said, “Sweet Je---!” The Letterman audience roared. —O n Oct. 29, Scarborough appeared on Today to insist Hurricane Sandy would help elect Obama. “Mitt Romney had momentum ... This was Mitt Romney’s best weekend, and it stops. The momentum stops.” IF SCARBOROUGH were really “da-- tired” of losing, he might wonder why he’s crushed daily in the ratings by Fox & Friends. It’s not just ideologically indulgent Republicans he’s tried to defeat; it’s all Republicans. Please, Joe, no more lectures about your conservative credentials.
COMMON CORE: November 20, 2013
Arne Duncan’s war on women and children
ust when you thought the Obama administration couldn’t antagonize America any further, along comes Education Secretary Arne Duncan. He didn’t just attack “white suburban moms” and children over their criticism of the Common Core “standards”/ testing/data-mining program. The feds’ top educrat also managed to insult every one of the nation’s minority families and educators who oppose Fed Ed’s threat to academic excellence, local control and student privacy. ON FRIDAY, while defending the beleaguered Common Core program in a meeting with state school superintendents, Duncan unleashed a brazen race and class warfare attack on grassroots foes. As the Washington Post reported, Duncan sneered that he found it “fascinating” that the revolt came from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” As a brown-skinned suburban mom opposed to Common Core, I can tell you I’ve personally met moms and dads of all races, ethnicities, backgrounds and parts of the country over the past year who have sacrificed to get their kids into the best schools possible. They are outraged that dumbed-down, untested federal “standards” pose an existential threat to their excellent educational arrangements — be they public, private, religious or homeschooling. Duncan’s derision exposes the very control-freak impulses that drive Common Core. He condescendingly implies that the only reason “white suburban moms” object to Common Core is that their children are too dumb to score well on tests — which, by the firsthand accounts of educators from urban New York City schools to rural Kentucky schools to every corner of the country, are a complete and utter mess. THOUSANDS OF moms and dads immediately took to social media to speak truth to bigoted Fed Ed power. The nonpartisan Mothers Against Duncan (MAD) group on Facebook declared: “Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has insulted the Moms of America and our children! This MAD group is intended to be a gathering place where America’s Moms can show him that he picked the WRONG group to mess with!” Patti McKelvey wrote: “I am so angry about the latest comment out of Arne Duncan’s mouth. I find it incredibly insulting. I am a clinical laboratory technologist. I have two (master’s) degrees. I am a grandmother. He has stirred a real hornet’s nest now — white suburban middle-class women should not be
messed with. Nor should parents of any reaucrat: “Secretary Duncan, you and race, creed or religion who care about the feds may control the purse strings, but WE (moms of every color and lotheir (children’s) education.” control our ‘brilliant’ Daphne Scott Yuhas posted: “I c a t i o n ) children’s shoe ain’t white, and strings. We have it doesn’t matthe final authority, ter a da--, but I and we’re saying am a Mom, and no to your ‘higher I am now in an(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate standard’ and your gry Mommy Bear high stakes tests... YOU work for US! mode! Watch out!” Elle Commanderr, a “white former Get that right, and you and the mothers urban now suburban pi--ed off mom,” of America will get along a whole lot directly addressed Duncan: “Education better.” Duncan now says his dog-whistle without representation is as egregious as taxation without representation. Our tirade was clumsily worded. But he’s children are not YOUR children nor do used the same talking points before. we wish to ‘assimilate’ them to this non- What’s crystal clear is that Duncan and sense in ANY area I know of ... subur- his top-down dictators presume that only technocratic elites in Washington can ban, urban or otherwise.” Michigan homeschool mom Karen determine what quality standards and Braun, who signed her letter to Duncan curricula look like. He pretends that mi“Your boss,” ripped the tone-deaf bu- nority parents and students in inner-city
charter and magnet schools with rigorous locally crafted classical education missions simply don’t exist. A textbook liberal racist, Duncan whitewashes all minority parents and educators who oppose Common Core out of the debate. THIS IS A White House war on uppity women and children of all colors. Duncan’s a bigot, a bully, an elitist and a foot-in-mouth fool all rolled into one — and he continues to enjoy the support of the president. The relentless Beltway attacks on Common Core critics also give lie to the oft-repeated claim that the top-down initiative was “state-led” and grassroots. It should not go unnoticed that the most vocal and defensive advocates of the beleaguered Fed Ed boondoggle are not local teachers or parents, but pale-faced Beltway bureaucrats and their corporate allies.
BIG GOVERNMENT: November 19, 2013
How times have changed since 1963!
ould John F. Kennedy have sought to shove national health care down the national gullet? The question takes on poignancy in a week full of Kennedy look-backs and looks all around at the works, the style and the obsessions of Barack Obama. WE COULD put the question another way: Is Obama the spiritual heir to the president slain in Dallas 50 years ago this week? Inviting disagreement as well as affirmation, I reply: No way, no how. It is a conclusion that would startle many — from across the political spectrum — who thought they saw in JFK and his fellow New Frontiersmen the start of a new radicalism. We have learned in the last 50 years what “radical” really means. It means, among other things, disconnected from respect for the delicate mixture of good and bad in every human arrangement. It means, let’s send attributes such as prudence and judgment and caution to lie in the road so a truck can run over them. It means, stick it to others rather than ourselves — and let the devil (though no good radical really believes in an antiquated figure like Satan) take the hindmost. Kennedy failed all of the above tests. He was no radical. He was no Barry Goldwater either, yet it seems worth noting that Goldwater, who had served in the Senate alongside him, regarded Kennedy as “a helluva nice of fellow ... a very, very fine man” — an assessment unlikely to have been levied in
favor of a stuff-government-downtheir-throats kind of guy. None of Kennedy’s policies, foreign or domestic, departed dramatically from those he had inherited. He actually promoted tax cuts!
Murchison (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
The radical at the New Frontier revels turned out, startlingly enough, to be the homely Texan who succeeded Kennedy in the White House. Lyndon Johnson decided the time had come to reconstitute America, going beyond the principle of equality to the enforcement thereof, backed by federal dollars and power. He declared war on poverty, raising expectations that the government could somehow or other underwrite happiness; he thrust the federal snout, via federal funding processes, into the realms of education, hitherto a state function, and into health care via Medicare. THE TOP-DOWN, or toss-the-dice approach, was Johnson, never Kennedy. At least it was the new Johnson, whom no one, least of all his Texas constituents, had ever seen during his pragmatic, difference-splitting days in the Senate. It is fair to say that some of what Lyndon attempted, worked, such as the extension of federal protection to the voting rights of Southern blacks. The war on poverty, by contrast, fizzled. Medicare fed into — guess what? The Affordable Care Act.
The familiarity of Medicare after 48 years of experience disguises the limits of dice throwing. The system needs a major money infusion in order to continue. Never mind that, says the current president and his Congress, who are rolling the dice more grandly, swaggeringly and with bigger stakes than ever before, as they corral one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The Kennedy style — caution, a certain prudence in action, a defensiveness when it came to government overreach — looks better than it looked at the time. We might have appreciated it better at the time if we could have recognized Kennedy caution as the last remnant of old-style American skepticism as to the efficacy of federal meddling in affairs large and small. The founding principles of the republic had included faith in the ability of “the states and the people respectively” (in the language of the Tenth Amendment) to address most of their own problems. The New Deal undermined that principle; the Great Society, under Johnson, knocked it in the head. WE DIDN’T know in November 1963 what was coming our way. Who could have foreseen the likes of Obama, Pelosi or Sen. Reid — or for that matter, the Clintons? The dam burst after Nov. 22 1963, on account of powerful, pentup forces pounding hard against the spirit of restraint. The American past — the past of responsible freedom — no longer inspired, no longer satisfied. It was onward to the Affordable Care Act.
November 27, 2013 COMMON CORE: November 19, 2013
Feds’ three tentacles in the Common Core (Part 2)
ast week, I explained what the Common Core State Standards are and how, despite the federal government’s saying it’s staying out of the classroom standards business, there is much evidence to show that the feds are intricately linked to them. The first way I demonstrated that was by pointing out that the feds have spent $350 million of taxpayer money, funding and giving grants and waivers to muscle and bribe states and local school districts to accept CCSS. And all of that was done without a single act of Congress, meaning the federal government — including the White House — dumped protocol again to dodge accountability. WITH THEIR monetary tentacles reaching over state lines and into classrooms, their second step is to inject their progressive agenda into curricula taught in elementary, middle and high schools. And that is easily accomplished because their educative minions pervade academic arenas and CCSS curricula creators. Common Core advocates pride themselves in saying that the standards don’t set curricula, that they only set goals (or what they call “benchmarks”) that educators utilize to help their students reach the academic stars. They say states and local school districts, administrators and educators will fashion curricula. In fact, the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee, a group under the California County of Superintendents Educational Services Association, issued a form titled “Frequently Asked
Questions (About) Common Core Stan- prove them and doesn’t mandate them. dards,” in which it is categorically stated: And we never will. Anyone who says “The Standards don’t dictate the details otherwise is either misinformed or willf u l l y misleading.” of academic curriculum.” “Never will?” Even Education Mr. Duncan, I Secretary Arne don’t know what Duncan regurgipolitical pipe dream tated the vision you live in, but to of Common Core (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate say that the federal this way: “Tight government “never on goals but loose on means — that’s our theory of change. will” write or influence any portion of It’s the exact opposite of how No Child any national educational standards or Left Behind was structured.” (There’s curricula when it has the Department that plural fed-ownership language of Education overseeing the whole ball of wax is about as unrealistic as saying again, “that’s our theory of change.”) “Tight on goals but loose on means” that the feds “never will” get involved in the health care business. Sure, local — sounds like a good plan, right? Here’s the problem. You’ve heard the districts and states can create and control version of the golden rule, “He who has their curricula, just as we citizens can the gold makes the rules.” Here’s the ac- keep our medical plans if we like them! ademic version: “He who sets the stan- That’s all federal fantasy, not based upon dards controls the curricula and even the historical facts of the feds’ overreaching, educators.” Despite how CCSS defend- influencing and controlling anything and ers say that dictating standards doesn’t everything that is national. lead to determining the content taught in DUNCAN AND President Barack classrooms, that’s exactly what it does. Proof of the link is found in the fact that Obama don’t need to have a meeting when Common Core standards are com- in the Oval Office to draft modes in pletely implemented in 2015, at least 85 which to shape and influence academic percent of states’ curricula will be based curricula. They only have to post their leftist minions in positions of influence upon them. Get it?! Of course, in public, advocates, in- throughout the academic world; those cluding Duncan, state categorically people will do their dirty work for them. — loud and proud — that the feds are And it’s already happened! In fact, concerned parents and educacompletely hands-off when it comes to CCSS curricula. Duncan told one group tors across the country just had their curof journalists back in June: “The federal ricula fears grow legs when CCSS Enggovernment didn’t write them, didn’t ap- lish lessons for elementary classrooms
were discovered with partisan political statements in them. These are the types of covert moves that experts and citizens have warned about and hoped never would become a reality. Fox News reported recently: “Teaching materials aligned with the controversial national educational standards ask fifth-graders to edit such sentences as ‘(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair,’ ‘The wants of an individual are less important than the wellbeing of the nation’ and ‘the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.’” What?! Do those statements sound like the principles upon which our republic was founded or socialist dogma and indoctrination? The statements are in a worksheet titled “Hold the Flag High,” in which students are instructed about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War and assigned to make sentences describing a U.S. president’s duties “less wordy by replacing the underlined words with a possessive noun phrase.” And remember that Common Core standards have been applied to only two subjects, mathematics and English language arts. Consider what secular progressive agenda awaits when other standards, such as those for social sciences, roll out. And yes, 45 states already have swallowed the entire CCSS pill, without ever looking at or considering CCSS benchmarks for all the remaining school subjects. Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin cited University of Arkansas professor Sandra Stotsky, who said months before this revelation that federal partisan politics invaded CCSS curricula: “An English curriculum overloaded with advocacy journalism or with ‘informational’ articles chosen for their topical and/ or political nature should raise serious concerns among parents, school leaders, and policymakers. Common Core’s standards not only present a serious threat to state and local education authority, but also put academic quality at risk. Pushing fatally flawed education standards into America’s schools is not the way to improve education for America’s students.” AND WHILE the protests, debates and storms rage about CCSS, the children of America remain the sacrificial guinea pigs in this political, crippled and inept system that we call public education. Next week, I will give you the third piece of evidence for the feds’ collaborations and entanglements within CCSS — namely that the feds are creating a national database to store your kids’ private information obtained through a technological project within CCSS.
OBAMACARE: November 15, 2013
No real mea culpa in litany of dodges and excuses
don’t know how President Obama fraud but mouthed a number of other specould get more surreal. At this cious arguments to distract from his culpoint, it’s hard to tell whether he’s pability and blame his opponents. Like a jet fighter pilot sending more dishonest or delusional. out chaff and flares to At Obama’s divert a heat-seeking news conference missile, Obama tried Thursday, CBS’ desperately to disMajor Garrett guise this colossal pressed him, es(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate failure as mostly a sentially, to admit website problem. he’d flagrantly lied when he promised Americans that with How many times did he use the term? His propaganda ministers were careful the advent of Obamacare, they could keep their health care plans and their in the words they chose for him. Obama said he “fumbled the rollout.” Fumbles doctors if they liked them. are, by definition, accidental. Plus, he THOUGH OBAMA did pay lip ser- deserves credit for the good things he’s vice to admitting he shouldn’t have made wrought. “There are a whole bunch of the promise “unequivocally,” he quickly things about (the rollout) that are workdegenerated into a disjointed string of ing really well which people didn’t notice meaningless verbiage involving nuanc- ... because they weren’t controversial.” es, grandfathering, great-grandfathering Controversial? Try nonexistent. Having changed the subject, he clumand whatnot, all designed to confuse us and excuse himself. Besides, he insisted, sily positioned himself as an outsider many congressmen made the same “sin- again, just as frustrated and injured by the cere” pledge that he made concerning technical problems caused by his execukeeping their plans. “They did it, too, tive incompetence as the rest of us. Even here, he didn’t fully concede the full-on Mommy.” The unequivocal truth is that Obama failure of the website. He took pains to made the claim unequivocally not describe how complex the task his IT through excess passion born of selfless team has undertaken, thus implying it is magnanimity but as a calculated maneu- understandable they are having so many ver to sell his unpopular plan. It was not, problems. (That should make some lateas he stated, sincere. Had he not made the night skits.) Obama also blamed the website probclaim unequivocally, he wouldn’t have been able to cram the bill through, even lems on the lack of government IT prowith the unconscionable level of arm- curement overall. Never mind that this mini-despot doesn’t need to depend on twisting he engaged in. It’s beyond offensive that he blithely government procurements. He just orders waved off his premeditated lie as a bare what he wants — in this case, hundreds of millions. But I guess that isn’t enough misstatement. Obama not only was not forthcoming for this mind-blowing complexity. But in accepting actual responsibility for his hey, if you were allowed to say anything
you wanted without fear of contradiction for five years, you might say ludicrous things, too. Obama further comforted us with the dubious assertion that a million people have accessed the website but just haven’t gotten around to picking their plans yet. After discharging all his chaff, fighter pilot Barack prepared his sidewinder missiles to fire back on Republicans, without whose obstruction Obamacare and its rollout would presumably be running swimmingly. After all, progressives have been trying to make this happen for a hundred years, and he is not about to let mere catastrophic failure disrupt his signature socialist achievement. IF IT JUST weren’t for the shutdown... And if every state governor would follow the lead of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and just sign up hundreds of thousands of more people into Medicaid, all
would be wonderful. ... And if Republicans hadn’t refused to offer their own ideas (which they have), we wouldn’t be suffering through this rollout. Having regained his confidence through the sheer power of his own rhetoric to convince himself, he shifted to his usual righteous indignation mode. No matter what kind of problems we may be experiencing, he assured us that he isn’t going back on his promise of providing affordable care to everyone. No, America the ugly is the only rich nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee its citizens health insurance. He went right back to using his fraudulent number of 40 million uninsured (after having been shamed into backing away from it before) and saying he won’t walk away from their chance to get health insurance for the first time. I can’t get over the fact that no one, especially in news conferences, challenges his false premises about the uninsured or points out that his beloved Affordable Care Act, even if it works as planned, will leave millions of uninsured, giving the lie to this entire sordid scheme. But in my estimation, the most disturbing announcement Obama made during his news conference was that he will allow “insurers to continue offering individual insurance plans for another year even if they do not comply with the law’s rules for minimum benefits.” Have Americans gotten so numb to his glib violations of the Constitution that they don’t even flinch anymore when he presumes to unilaterally change his formerly sacrosanct “law of the land” through administrative order? This must not stand. IF REPUBLICANS, collectively, have any moral courage left, they will not yield to his lawless “fixes” or cooperate in legislatively salvaging this law, not for partisan reasons but because anything that helps save this law helps destroy America’s health insurance and health care system.
November 27, 2013 DISASTERS: November 13, 2013
Making sense of the cruelty in the world
This too is an old, old question, one orrific disasters like Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into that philosophers and artists in every the Philippines last week age have grappled with. Around 450 the Flemish painter with devastating and lethal effect, have years ago, Pieter Bruegel always raised the acutely posed most excruciating the challenge in questions: Why “Landscape with is the world so the Fall of Icarus.” full of grief and (c) 2013, Boston Globe It depicts a scene cruelty? Why do from Greek mysuch bad things thology — the death of the boy who, happen to good and innocent people? What philosophers of religion call with wings made of wax and feathers, “the problem of evil” is the greatest rashly flies too close to the sun, then emotional obstacle to faith in God. plummets to his death in the sea when How can a God of love and justice per- the wax melts. In Breugel’s great work, Icarus is drowning, but no one seems mit so much savagery and suffering? to care. The farmer keeps plowing, an THESE ARE ancient questions, idle shepherd daydreams, a fisherman but they never grow old: Every catas- concentrates on his line. It isn’t too trophe, whether natural or man-made late to save Icarus, but the world just — every plague and tsunami, every goes about its business. Breugel’s painting hangs in the Mumassacre and pogrom — raises them sée des Beaux Arts in Brussels. That is anew. But how God can abide such unde- where W. H. Auden viewed it in 1938, served misery isn’t the only enigma and was moved to distill its message that should torment us. How can hu- about human apathy into a haunting poem. man beings abide it?
... how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on. Auden’s poem appeared just weeks after Kristallnacht, the massive Nazi
C.S. LEWIS: November 15, 2013
Kennedy, Huxley and Lewis
hree famous men died on Nov. 22, 1963. The one getting the most attention, understandably, is John F. Kennedy. Less so the other two: Aldous Huxley, author of the futuristic novel Brave New World, and Clive Staples Lewis. Of the three, it was Lewis who not only was the most influential of his time, but whose reach extends to these times and likely beyond. His many books continue to sell and the number of people whose lives have been changed by his writing expands each year. ON THE 50TH anniversary of his death, C.S. Lewis remains perhaps the 20th century’s most towering intellectual practitioner of the Christian faith. Lewis combined humility — rare among those who have achieved fame — with a style that relied less on argumentation than on logic and persuasion. He asks readers to join him on a journey he himself has taken and, like a tour guide, shows us a better world and a better life than the one he describes in The Chronicles of Narnia as being “always winter, but never Christmas.” A friend of mine once said, “Humility is so light a grace that once you think you’ve achieved it, you’ve lost it.” In so many places — from Washington to Hollywood — people have never had to worry about losing humility, because most have never possessed it. And that
is said in all humility. It is a major reason, I think, why Pope Francis is enjoying so much favorable attention, including from non-Catholics and even non-Christians. The pope exudes humility in the style of Mother Teresa. There is a natural —
Thomas (c) 2013, Tribune Media Services
or supernatural — attraction to such people because it is a quality most know they should have, but are unsure where to find it. Many refuse to even embark on the journey. While no one has ever been argued to faith, C.S. Lewis provided a considerable number of arguments to counter those who do not share his beliefs.
moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” It was this passage and Lewis’ chapter on pride that brought Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man,” the late Charles Colson, among many others with hard hearts, to faith. On Sept. 8, 1947, Time magazine featured Lewis on its cover. It rightly called him “the most popular lecturer in the University,” which was Magdelen College, Oxford. Like many great writers, most of Lewis’ honors have come posthumously, including this November 22 when a memorial stone to Lewis will be added to Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, alongside others commemorating the accomplishments of Charles Dickens, John Milton, Jane Austen and Geoffrey Chaucer.
IN PERHAPS his most influential work, Mere Christianity, Lewis addresses people who call Jesus of Nazareth something He never called Himself: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the SOME PEOPLE long for another one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of C.S. Lewis, but the original should sufthings Jesus said would not be a great fice for at least another 50 years.
pogrom that was the opening act of Hitler’s genocide against the Jews. The world knew what was happening, but did nothing to prevent it. TYPHOON HAIYAN, tearing through Tacloban on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, has evoked a very different response. As with so many other recent calamities — horrors as different as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis — the awful news from the Philippines was followed instantly by offers of help and an outpouring of aid. Governments and charitable organizations swung quickly into action. Tens of thousands of private citizens have already donated money to try to alleviate some of the suffering. Why there is so much cruelty in the world is something humans have always struggled to make sense of. When harrowing things happen to blameless victims, the impulse to be angry with God is understandable. “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” Abraham demands in Genesis on learning that God intends to wipe out an entire city. “Far be it from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” For most of us there may never be a satisfying answer to such questions. When you see images of the despair and destruction the Philippine typhoon left in its wake, what comfort can there be in scientific or philosophical justifications? It is hard to live without understanding. But would a genuinely fulfilling explanation leave us better off? Suppose we could gaze on the suffering in Tacloban and somehow understand why it was all for the best. Would that make us more likely to try to end such suffering? Or would it make us more likely to be like the ploughman in Breugel’s painting, who “heard the splash, the forsaken cry,” but didn’t think it was important to do anything to save the drowning Icarus? WHEN BAD things happen to good people, our job isn’t to philosophize. It is to help. We can’t know why there is so much anguish in this world. But each of us can try to reduce it.
IMMIGRATION REFORM: November 14, 2013
A need for compromise on immigration
ne reason Washington makes after California’s two arrived. For a so much bad history is that lucid exposition of all this, read FerM. Bordewich’s America’s so many people here know gus Debate: Henry Clay, so little history. This helps explain why G r e a t Stephen A. Doug“comprehensive” las, and the Comimmigration repromise That Preform is founderserved the Union. ing: Too few of Now, consider today’s legisla(c) 2013, Washington Post Writers Group the “comprehentors know what sive” immigration bill passed this year happened 163 years ago. by the Senate, and Sen. Marco Rubio’s confidence that it knows everything. SENATE MINORITY Leader judgment that “if we stick to the posi- What should be the hourly wage of an Mitch McConnell does know. The tion of all or nothing, we’re going to agricultural sorter in 2016? The Senate most important Kentuckian since Hen- end up with nothing.” bill (through an explanation given on The bill, in the writing of which Ru- page 318) says $9.84. And the hourly ry Clay, McConnell knows how his hero Clay, who was called “the great bio participated, is 1,197 pages long. wage of a worker in a nursery? Twenty compromiser,” failed to engineer Sencents less than the agricultural sorter’s IT IS 1,193 pages longer than the wage. Some senators know everyate passage of a comprehensive compromise in 1850. McConnell, who National Archive’s parchment copy of thing. wrote his senior thesis at the Univer- the Homestead Act of 1862, which is The bill also contains a remarksity of Louisville on the Compromise one of the most important legislative able geographical insight: Nevada is of 1850, knows that this was achieved acts in American history. Passed when a border state. Your eyes tell you its by the canniness of Stephen A. Doug- there were few national laws regulat- southern tip is about 200 miles from las. His is a name not much mentioned ing immigration, the Homestead Act the Mexican border, but the bill, which on Capitol Hill since he died in 1861 was designed to attract immigrants to includes $46.3 billion in border secusettle the continent’s interior. at age 48. rity spending, decrees that Nevada is Today’s Senate bill is gigantic be- eligible for border pork. In 1850, the “Little Giant” — he stood 5 feet 4 — was in his first term cause it deals with everything. Its size Immigration reforms should address as senator from Illinois. He would win is proportional to Washington’s serene three problems — border security (the his third term in 1859, defeating the tall man who was president when Douglas IMMIGRATION REFORM: November 14, 2013 died. Douglas’ great achievement — the compromises of 1850 — helped save the union by releasing steam from the sectional crisis. This delayed the Civil War — the “irrepressible conflict” — until a decade of immigraouse Speaker John Boehner That statement confirms the right’s tion and industrialization had made told reporters Wednesday long-standing suspicion that the left the North more prepared to win it, and that the GOP leadership has doesn’t really want immigration reuntil two other Illinois men, Abraham no intention of going to conference form, not when Democrats can use Lincoln and U.S. Grant, emerged. committee on the Senate’s comprehen- the issue to lather up anti-GOP anger By 1850, the country’s sectional sive immigration bill passed in June. among Latino voters. Obama did not hostilities, fueled by slavery, had been House Majority Whip Kevin McCa- deliver on his 2008 promise to push an exacerbated by the war with Mexico. rthy told Coalition for Humane Im- immigration bill during his As the North’s population grew and migrant Rights of Los Angeles Directhe House of Representatives became tor Angelica Salas last week that the increasingly hostile to the expansion House would not pass its immigration of slavery, the South focused on pre- package this year. Not enough time. serving the Senate balance of slave (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate and non-slave states while the nation BUT IN Washington, there’s aldigested the land acquired in the war. ways time for the blame game. This The tangle of disputes concerned week, The Hill ran a two-part autopsy first year in office, even though Demoseveral matters — fugitive slaves, the on immigration reform and concluded: crats controlled the White House, Senslave trade in the District of Columbia, “Both parties are responsible for the ate and House during the first two years statehood for California and creation effort’s demise.” of his presidency. Only after Demoof territorial governments for Utah and Boehner wouldn’t commit. His crats lost the House in 2010 did that New Mexico. A Texas-New Mexico rank-and-file didn’t trust President Ba- lame-duck body pass the DREAM Act border dispute and some other matters rack Obama to enforce a new law, giv- to offer citizenship to children brought were added to the witches’ brew. en the president’s 2012 executive order into the country illegally by their parClay, depressed and exhausted after to flout immigration law and halt the ents. Because supporters couldn’t defailing to assemble a Senate majority deportation of DREAM Act-eligible liver the 60 votes needed in the Senfor a comprehensive bill that addressed residents. ate — five Democrats voted no — it each subject, went to Rhode Island The White House pressed House tanked. to rest. Douglas, however, proposed Democrats not to reach a deal before breaking the comprehensive bill into the Senate, even though the House is SALAS TOLD me Tuesday that separate measures, which passed. He the linchpin. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., both parties hold “equal responsibilcobbled together several different ma- told The Hill: “It is clear to me that there ity” for the measure’s failing. She injority coalitions. was no strategy on the White House’s sisted her group doesn’t want to keep There were 60 senators when the part post-Senate victory. Because the the issue alive to help one party bury process began but 62 before it ended, Senate victory was the strategy.” the other.
least important problem; about 40 percent of those here illegally came on visas they overstayed), the needs of America’s workforce, and the status of the 11 million here illegally. If McConnell were majority leader, the bill would be broken into manageable bits, and there might be found a different majority coalition for each. BUT THE MAJORITY leader is a Democrat (Harry Reid from the border state of Nevada) whose party has one overriding interest — turning as many of the 11 million into voters as fast as possible. They are holding all immigration reforms hostage to this objective. Which shall be the case unless and until McConnell is majority leader.
D.C. immigration game on timeout
There is a way forward. The GOP caucus has been working on piecemeal bills to address immigration reform, including its own version of the DREAM Act, the Kids Act. The problem is, Salas noted, nothing is in writing yet. “At least show your cards,” she challenged. National Journal reported that Republicans are fighting over whether to allow DREAM “kids” to sponsor their undocumented parents for green cards. Understandably, Salas objects. “Every citizen has that right,” she said. If this Kids Act treats all citizens equally, her group would be wise to support it. Republicans would be wise to pass a Kids Act early next year. Otherwise, their main contribution to the immigration debate will be passage of a measure to resume deporting DREAMers spared by Obama’s pen. Is that the message they want to send to Latino voters? I’D RATHER Americans hear the words of Kids Act supporter Eric Cantor. The House majority leader said in February, “One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents.”
November 27, 2013 IRAN: November 12, 2013
John Kerry hits a bump in Geneva
verything was all set. The scen- eign policy: an end to Iran’s plans for ery had been painted, the light- a nuclear weapon. It would be a fitting ing arranged, the actors given match for his Signature Accomplishdomestic policy, their lines and put through their paces. ment in the one that bears The proper air his name even if of suspense had he might wish it been maintained didn’t: Obamacare. throughout the The big show in opening acts, and (c) 2013, Tribune Media Services Geneva was all a now the curtain sham, of course. was about to rise on the grand finale. The management But the suspense had to be maintained. wasn’t quite ready to admit it, maybe Nobody in the administration was aleven to itself, but the Happy Ending had lowed to reveal the ending, at least not already been written. All the players had on the record. The script doctors at the White House to do was follow the script. had faced a hard choice: Either keep THE STARS were already practic- Iran from developing a Bomb of its own ing their bows. The supporting cast of or settle for containing that fanatical foreign ministers from far and wide — regime after it had one. By now it was Teheran to Paris, Moscow even unto clear that the choice had been made, no Beijing — was in the wings and ready matter how many times this administrato go on with the show. One by one they tion denied it: Teheran would be allowed had arrived at the Geneva Cabaret to to have its Bomb and Washington would take their places backstage. And what an worry about how to contain a nuclearassemblage they were: the representa- ized Iran later. Good luck. It was all there in the script: Iran tives of six world powers — the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, would publicly (if only publicly) forsake Russia and China (the one on the main- its plan to join the world’s Nuclear Club, land). Plus one more country that very and in turn the West, with the eager supmuch wanted to be a world power: Iran. port of the Russians and Chinese, would Then it would be camera, lights, action! back off its economic sanctions against It promised to be the diplomatic that country just as those sanctions were blockbuster of the year, maybe the cen- having their desired effect. Grand displays of nationalist sentitury. The most convincing performance since the one at Munich in 1938, the one ment and mass demonstrations against that had assured Peace in Our Time, or the Great Satan may be well and good in their place, but not if they threaten so the rave reviews had declared. Now, in Geneva, the curtain was people’s livelihoods. The natives were about to go up on the Signature Ac- growing restless, and so Teheran had to complishment of this president’s for- pretend it was ready to forsake its plans
for a nuclear weapon. The deal was set the pop of champagne corks, and the fifor the signing; it was all over but the nal group picture. ... cheers and applause. Give ‘em a happy But then ... a bump in the road. The ending every time. At least for a while. French objected. The French! Yes, the heirs of collaborationist Vichy, of Petain THE GREAT SHAM at Geneva and Laval, had once again become the was to be maintained to the last minute, French of Verdun and “They Shall Not in tandem with the mullahs’ Great Stall, Pass!” There’s always one guy in the which was winning them still more time outfit who doesn’t get the word, one to expand Iran’s network of nuclear player who refuses to recite his tame plants from Fordo and Bushehr to Arak lines. Who would have thought only a ... till the whole complex was unassail- few years back that the French would able, its components scattered all over step forth as in days of old and retrieve the map, buried underground in hard- the banner of Leader of the Free World ened bunkers, all those centrifuges spin- that the current American administration ning like mad. Soon it would be too late has been only too eager to let fall. to stop the Iranians despite the West’s In Libya, in Mali and now at Geneva empty protests and futile UN resolu- the French have resumed their old role tions. It was all over but the ceremonial as a bulwark against aggression. The resigning, to be followed by curtain calls, sult: Showtime has had to be postponed, maybe even called off. Then there’s the wild card: Israel, which has already taken out two budding nuclear plants in its near neighborhood, first in Iraq and then Syria. Unlike the Czechs at Munich almost a century ago, the Israelis may not be prepared to go gently into that not so good night. The sacrificial lamb could yet turn out to be a lion. A remnant of a people wiped out once before, the Israelis seem to understand what is at stake in this show: their existence. Nor do their Arab neighbors seem happy at the prospect of being dominated by Teheran. And so an intermission has been called in this diplomatic opera. BUT, LEST we forget, the clock is still ticking. Message to Jerusalem: If you’re going to strike, if you even can strike at that distance, sooner would be better than later. Yes, the results of such a strike would be unpredictable. But the results of just waiting for Iran to complete its Bomb are all too predictable. And not at all assuring. For the whole, ever volatile Middle East. And the world.
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•NEWSPAPER• •DATED MATERIAL•
Obamacare Postmaster: Timely Material Please deliver on or before 11/27/13 Periodicals Postage Paid Mailed 11/21/13
Read David Limbaugh, Charles Krauthammer & Rich Lowry on Pages 16-17
This week our CONSERVATIVE FOCUS is on:
Read Betsy McCaughey’s Column on Page 1
Obama Wants to Rule by Edict
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 • Volume 28, Number 48 • Hampton, Iowa