At Issue this week... February 19, 2014 Abortion Tyrrell (23) Amnesty Schlafly (11) Answer Man Seamans-Shook (14) Biden, Joe Bozell (15) CBO Report Charen (16) Harsanyi (17) Kudlow (17) Lambro (14) Lowry (5) Saunders (29) Checks and Balances Jeffrey (18) Murchison (1) Napolitano (2) Christie, Chris Coulter (7) Clinton, Hillary Elder (12) Saunders (13) Cotton, Tom Greenberg (30) Dear Mark Levy (19) Death Penalty Prager (20) Debt Ceiling Towery (10) Dependency Buchanan (21) Williams (21) Florida Special Election Will (10) Foreign Policy Buchanan (31) Health Care Jacoby (22) Krauthammer (23) Morris (18) Immigration Reform Chavez (9) Iran Barone (30) IRS Farah (12) McCaughey (13) Jobs Lambro (24) Lincoln, Abraham Greenberg (25) Media Bias Charen (4) Obamacare Limbaugh (3) Obama Presidency Limbaugh (6) Will (5) Political Values Jacoby (9) Presidential Lies Thomas (4) Random Thoughts Sowell (25) Republican Party Massie (8) Sochi Olympics Lowry (26) Solis, Hilda Malkin (28) Stewart, Lynne Malkin (15) Success Barone (26) Norris (27) WW II Bay (29)
Checks and Balances by William Murchison
The people’s will? What’s that? This isn’t exactly a new topic, I regret to say. For weeks there’s been national conversation — and the requisite component of shouting — over the Obama White House’s determination to stream the legislative music of its choice. Other people’s choices? Those of the states, say, or even of Congress? Sorry, the president can’t hear a word you’re saying. He’s rocking to his own beat. OVER JUST the last couple of days came two more instances of lofty Obaman disdain for others’ views. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder led the way, pushing the federal government toward authoritative affirmation of a question the White House evidently believes to be settled — to wit, whether gay marriage should be the law of the whole land. As if in accompaniment, the Homeland Security and State departments undertook to redefine what Congress had supposed it meant in blocking the admission of terror supporters to the United States. Well, you know — the president promised in his State of the Union address to put his particular spin on circumstances through ordering particular things to happen, things Congress could not be coaxed into doing. We are accordingly to expect more and more executive orders and directives — the czars called them ukases — putting flesh, insofar as the White House can get by with it, on Obaman intentions. The president’s apologists argue that presidents have always issued such orders, as indeed they have, rarely, however, with the intention of sprinting ahead of legislative intent and the will of the people. Hamilton, in No. 70 of the Federalist Papers, argued that “Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government.” An executive, all the same, executes; he doesn’t legislate. He doesn’t, as a rule, seek to short-circuit popular deliberations as expressed in laws. Let us consider what our president is up to here. He wishes to affirm what he identifies as the right of gay people to wed. He has said so. But the country hasn’t. As 2014 began, 17 states and the District of Columbia agreed, legislatively or under judicial coercion, with Obama. This meant the rest of the country — 33 states, two thirds of the whole — dissented, preferring to emphasize the historically nor-
mative understanding of marriage as the joining of man and woman. To which Atty. Gen. Holder says, essentially, nyaaah, nyaaah, nyaaah! Holder, the government’s chief legal officer, directs that the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages in federal settings such as prisons
Murchison (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
and courts; and will do so, what’s more, even in states so backwards as to disagree with administration policy. “We’re right; you’re stupid” is the attorney general’s position. ON TERRORISM, Congress deliberately used a broad brush in attempting to paint the portrait of a relatively safe America. No one who had supported terrorism could come here. Well, State and Homeland Security now think better of that formula. Now you’re excused from suspicion if provided terrorism only “limited material support” or participated in “routine” social or commercial transactions. Whatever “routine” will mean for implementation purposes.
The government desires to help those whom Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont describes as deserving refuges and asylum-seekers, contrasted with boxcutter-carrying variety. Always there is a need to draw intelligent distinctions between classes of folk. But by executive edict? And with the world more unsettled, perhaps, than in the past 10 years? What of Congress’ intentions meanwhile? Do the people’s elected representatives write laws for the entertainment of the executive branch or do duly enacted, duly passed, duly signed statutes enjoy useful immunity from the inspection of presidents and their henchpersons? THE ADMINISTRATION’S capacity for celebration of its own insights won’t wear off, we must assume, pending Republican re-capture of the Senate this fall or the White House in 2016. This means hard times ahead for the good old separation-of-powers, checks-and-balances doctrine we used to credit with helping keep America free. At least we can talk about it again — understanding the consequences of treating it like a musty memory of the constitutional convention, a device as dated as wigs and quill pens. February 11, 2014
CHECKS AND BALANCES: February 6, 2014
Executive order tyranny: Rule by pen and phone Can the president legally bypass ConTo be sure, deportation can be ruingress and rule the government by decree? ous, particularly to a family with chilThe answer to the question above dren who were brought here as infants is: No. But you wouldn’t know that by and have become fully Americanlistening to President Obama. In the i z e d . But the conditions past three weeks, for deportation, and the president has for avoiding demade it clear how portation, can only he plans to run the be established by (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate executive branch Congress, not by of the federal govthe president or his ernment in the next three years: with a appointees. When he lays down a list of pen and a phone. conditions that permit persons in America to avoid complying with federal law, IN A MENACING statement at he is not enforcing the law; he is rewrita cabinet meeting last month, as well ing it. Only Congress can lawfully estabas during his recent State of the Union lish the circumstances under which those address and in a pre-Superbowl inter- who are candidates for deportation may view with my Fox News colleague Bill legally avoid it. O’Reilly, the president has referred to his As well, when the president creates pen and his phone as a way of suggesting the conditions for avoiding compliance that he will use his power to issue execu- with federal law, he can hardly be said tive orders, promulgate regulations and to be enforcing it. Yet, enforcing federal use his influence with his appointees in law is the heart of the president’s job. the government’s administrative agen- The Framers were so concerned with cies to continue the march to transform the potential of presidents to decline to fundamentally the relationship of the enforce laws with which they disagreed federal government and individuals to that they inserted the word “faithfully” his egalitarian vision when he is unable in the presidential oath when describing to accomplish that with legislation from his enforcement obligations, and then Congress. they inserted the oath itself into the ConHe has carried out that threat already. stitution. The inescapable conclusion In June 2012, facing a presidential elec- from this is that the Framers intended tion campaign that he feared he might lose American presidents to enforce all of and wishing to keep socially conservative the laws that Congress has written, even Hispanics from voting for Mitt Romney, those they dislike, even those they conthe president directed the Department of demn, even those that may frustrate their Health and Human Services (HHS) — the friends, even those that may harm their same folks who failed miserably at rolling political interests. On the other hand, American presiout Obamacare — to establish standards of behavior for millions of illegal immi- dents have some discretion when it grants, which, if followed to the govern- comes to enforcing laws and may set priment’s satisfaction, would get them off of orities that are not inconsistent with the laws themselves. Obama, like all of his government deportation lists.
predecessors, has issued dozens of executive orders and signed off on thousands of regulations that have been lawful and helpful. That’s because, as president, he is the chief executive officer of the executive branch of the federal government and is largely responsible for the professional behavior of the three million persons who work under him as they follow his lead in enforcing federal law.
of a law, and that he is utterly without power to do so, no matter his purpose. He revealed the corruptibility of power when three libertarian Republicans in Congress came to his assistance and he rebuffed them. Shortly after the president told insurance carriers to disregard the onset date of Obamacare, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, offered legislation in Congress to delay the onset of Obamacare lawfully for one year and thus lawfully permit the return of the 6.2 million canceled policies for one year — and Obama threatened to veto that legislation should Congress pass it. The same president who claims the unlawful power to rewrite federal law on his own would use his veto power to prevent Congress from doing so lawfully. His preferences surely constitute no less than a perversion of the roles assigned to the branches of government by the Constitution.
THUS, EXECUTIVE orders that complement, supplement and further the laws that Congress has enacted, orders that guide officials in the executive branch as to the president’s wishes, priorities and goals, orders that clarify but do not contradict federal laws, can actually be helpful — and such orders are invariably lawful and constitutional. But Obama seems to have had different kinds of orders in mind when he spoke of his pen and his phone — ones much more akin to the HHS regulations on avoiding deportation — and he has made no effort to hide his intentions. HOW DANGEROUS is a president Two months ago, as the effective date who wants to rule by pen and phone? of Obamacare was about to set in and Where will he strike next? How will this after weeks of denying the obvious, the end? Will this deliver us to tyranny? president acknowledged that the rollout of Obamacare was a disaster and that the cancellation of 6.2 million soon-tobe substandard health insurance policies was profoundly contrary to his assurances that that would never happen and was acutely harmful to those who lost their •USPS: 762-710/•ISSN: 0088-7403 Published by Hampton Publishing Co. coverage. (Established 1876) To counter the effects of the rollout Division of Mid-America Publishing Corp. and the cancellations, the president told The Conservative Chronicle is published insurance companies to reinstate the subweekly for $73.00 (U.S.) per year by Hampton Publishing Co., 9 Second Street N.W., Hampstandard insurance policies for a year unton, IA 50441, and entered at the Post Office at til the rollout could be corrected. Thus, Hampton, Iowa 50441, as periodicals postage on his own, he attempted to change the under the Acts of Congress. effective date of the onset of Obamacare Editorial Offices Conservative Chronicle, P.O. Box 29, from Jan. 1, 2014, which is the date in the Hampton, IA 50441. Ph. 1-800-888-3039. law after which the substandard policies Editorial Coordinators, Kevin and Ruth Katz are unlawful, to Jan. 1, 2015, which is the Circulation & Subscriber Services date he now prefers. Conservative Chronicle P.O. Box 29, The president has reminded us countHampton, IA 50441-0029. Ph. 1-800-8883039. Circulation Manager, Deb Chaney. less times that he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law Subscription Rates One Year.......................................... $73.00 School and therefore understands the (Call for outside USA rates for Air Mail) Constitution. He doesn’t act like he unSingle Copy........................................ $3.00 derstands it. He surely knows that only POSTMASTER: Send address changes Congress can change the effective date to Conservative Chronicle, P.O. Box 29,
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February 19, 2014 OBAMACARE: February 11, 2014
Socialism, not access to care, is Obama’s prize
ach passing day is more incrim- have bought into a flawed thesis: that the inating for President Obama’s only way to measure the alternatives is Obamacare, as the news is like by counting the number of people they a relentless prosecutor amassing evi- would insure.” I think she is half-right. They dence against a serial killer. concerned about afYet the more evidence that rolls in a r e n ’ t fordability of health condemning the care. But most president’s “sighaven’t bought into nature achievethe flawed thesis; ment” — wouldn’t they are knowyou love to have (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate ingly trying to that albatross hung around your epitaph? — the more en- promote it, in order to distort the importrenched Obama becomes, making clear tant metrics in assessing our health care that his heart is not with the American system: quality of care, access, cost and people or their needs but stubbornly choice. They know that insurance coverfixated on self. His singular goal is not age resonates well with focus groups, so to provide “affordable health care” but they have foisted it onto the discussion to slay those who are trying to take his as the primary yardstick. Obama’s real “baby” away from him, with the de- focus with Obamacare, of course, is on none of these things. Rather, he knows ranged obsession of Captain Ahab. that Obamacare is the best vehicle to THE BIG ruse Obama and his hench- drive this nation toward socialized medmen manufactured to sell this sham in icine, which is the first destination on the the first place was the myth that 50 mil- trip to socialism writ large. If it were otherwise, there is no way lion Americans were uninsured. (I won’t go into the details again to prove how Obama would stick by his destructive that was a deliberate fabrication.) That baby monster as the daily evidence was deceitful enough, but their real hat mounts to incriminate every single astrick was to conflate insurance coverage pect of it in devastating detail. He would with affordable and quality care, which mercifully destroy it in the crib. Speaking of which — it’s time for another are not necessarily the same. Bloomberg View columnist Lanhee Obamacare disaster update. This is a representative sampling, in Chen homes in on this very point, in opining why the Obamacare alternatives summary form, of the Obamacare news Republicans have offered have been ig- from the past few days: The Wall Street Journal reports that nored. Chen writes: “The main reason is that much of the mainstream media, insurers are facing pressure from reguas well as Democrats who support the lators and lawmakers about Obamacare law, isn’t all that concerned about the af- plans that offer limited choices of docfordability of health care. Instead, they tors and hospitals. Many of the top doc-
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PRESIDENTIAL LIES: February 11, 2014
A trust deficit, ruining U.S. credibility
ost people accept the notion Speaker John Boehner says he and his that politicians don’t always fellow Republicans can no longer trust tell the truth. Some lies are the president due to what they believe harmless enough; others more conse- is his repeated lies. Last quential. week, Boehner said Lyndon JohnHouse Republicans son skirted the are not prepared truth when he to move ahead on promised during immigration re(c) 2013, Tribune Media Services the 1964 presiform this year bedential campaign not to send any more cause they do not trust President Obama American troops to fight a land war in to follow the law. Boehner and his GOP Southeast Asia. He knew then that Amer- colleagues are particularly disturbed ican intervention would eventually be by the president’s assertions he can go necessary, but the lie helped him win the around Congress when he wants to, election. After the election, Johnson sent changing the health care law and writing additional troops, more American lives executive orders when it suits his fancy. were lost and the war escalated. Claiming an American president is not trustworthy ruins whatever credibilRICHARD NIXON claimed he ity he brought to the office and this presiknew nothing about Watergate. “I am not dent brought a lot. Most people wanted a crook,” he said. Lies. to believe in him and a large majority did In 1976, Jimmy Carter promised never believe in him at the start. Many no lonto lie to us, a promise that rested on a per- ger do, as his declining approval ratings ception of his own virtue. Given his sad demonstrate. record, the country might have willingly exchanged veracity for competence. MEDIA BIAS: February 11, 2014 Bill Clinton? We know about one of his most famous lies, emphasized by that wagging finger and video showing him lying under oath as he labored to define the word “is.” Clinton’s lies led to his emember the IRS scandal? impeachment. The public didn’t seem It’s gone. Poof. So flaccid to care that much because as Democrats has press interest in the story and the media repeatedly said, it was “just about sex” and everyone lies about become that President Barack Obama made bold in an interview with Fox sex. Former CBS News anchor Dan Rath- News to say there was not a “smidgen of er had a curious spin on lying when he corruption” in the IRS’s conduct. told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that even though IT REQUIRES terrific confidence Clinton lied about not having sex with Monica Lewinsky, he still believed Clin- in the passivity of the press to float the ton to be an honest man: “I think you can discredited “Cincinnati did it all” dodge be an honest person and lie about any since we know that IRS employees in that office were taking direction from number of things,” said Rather. George W. Bush was accused of ly- Washington. We further know that IRS ing when he justified invading Iraq and offices in Calif., Okla., Wash., D.C. toppling Saddam Hussein by claiming and other places have been identified as he had weapons of mass destruction. singling out groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names. WMDs were never found. Obama’s confidence in the press is President Obama’s most famous lie (so far) has been his promise: “If you like not misplaced. Despite juicy opportuyour (insurance) plan you can keep it.” nities to delve into the story of governSame with your doctor, he said. And he ment abusing its power, reporters have promised health insurance and treatment let the matter drop. There was no smoking gun showing costs would go down under Obamacare. that Obama personally ordered the haNot for everyone. Oops. According to CNN.com, former con- rassment of conservatives, some explain. gressional chief of staff and Washington Is that the standard? Because it seems lobbyist Ed Uravic, author of the book the press applied a different yardstick Lying Cheating Scum, claims, “Every to Chris Christie. Well, there’s a “scanpresident has not only lied at some time, dal attention cycle,” says the Columbia Journalism Review. To some extent, this but needs to lie to be effective.” is true. But there are different rules for A PRESIDENT can lie up to a point, Democrats, and particularly for Obama. To review: When the behavior of the but when a president’s lies extend beyond protecting the country (white lies) IRS was first revealed in May of 2013, and drift into a darker area that is self- the press furor was considerable. The serving (black lies) it is something quite president was alarmed enough about the different, often prompting public rejec- damaging story to hold a press conference. “If ... IRS personnel engaged in tion when he’s exposed.
In dealing with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan employed a Russian proverb, “trust but verify.” Boehner and the Republicans seem to be saying there is no need to verify with this president, because he can’t be trusted.
THE INABILITY by a major party to trust a president is more than lamentable; it is not good for the country and our standing before other nations and groups that wish to do us harm.
Poof: A scandal disappears
the kind of practices that have been reported on,” he said, “ ... then that is outrageous, and there is no place for it.” He continued, “I will not tolerate it, and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.” Or not. Now it’s just “bone-headed decisions out of a local office.” This is tamely accepted. If it concerned just a local office, why did
Charen (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
Obama fire the director of the IRS? Why did Lois Lerner plead the Fifth and resign? (Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee erred by not granting her use immunity and intensely questioning her about what really happened. They could still do it.) IT WAS ALSO a non-scandal when the Justice Department appointed an Obama donor to investigate the IRS. Nor did the press follow up on uncontested accounts of IRS employees leaking confidential taxpayer information — which is a felony. Last week, Catherine Engelbrecht, a small businesswoman from Texas who founded True the Vote and King Street Patriots, testified about her ordeal at the hands of the federal government. After she became politically active, she was subject to personal and business audits
by the IRS going back several years. Then the FBI came knocking to ask about someone who attended one of the meetings of the King Street Patriots. The IRS returned with an armamentarium of questions about True the Vote. Then the Occupational Safety and Health Administration showed up to examine her business with a fine-tooth comb. (They fined her $17,500.) Finally, the Engelbrechts were graced with a visit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Engelbrecht’s experience should chill anyone concerned about government intimidation, overreach, arrogance and abuse of power. But most of all, it should alarm the press — supposedly the fierce guardians of the First Amendment. The press made Sandra Fluke a household name when she testified before a House subcommittee about the terrible injustice she would suffer if taxpayers did not purchase her contraceptives for her. Yet Engelbrecht, an ordinary person merely attempting to join with other Americans in petitioning the government for redress of grievances, was hammered by a succession of powerful government agencies. Not even a bleat from the press about this flagrant assault on free speech. GOVERNMENT agencies should operate in a strictly neutral and nonpartisan fashion. If they become politicized, we’ve entered banana republic territory. The press, by failing to beat the drums on this, is complicit in corruption that goes far beyond a “smidgen.”
February 19, 2014 OBAMA PRESIDENCY: February 9, 2014
The administration’s magic words and numbers
arack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy, and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for thinking that saying things is tantamount to accomplishing things, and that good intentions are good deeds. So, his presidency is useful after all, because it illustrates the perils of government run by believers in magic words and numbers. THE LAST progressive president promised Model Cities, with every child enjoying a Head Start en route to enjoying an Upward Bound into a Great Society. Today’s progressive president also uses words — and numbers — magically emancipated from reality. Thirty months have passed since Obama said: “The time has come for
President Assad to step aside.” Today, The “.1” is an especially magical numJames Clapper, director of national in- ber, given the modifier “roughly” attelligence, says Bashar al-Assad’s grip tached to 1,300 tons. The English Civil War was not fion power has “strengthened.” In last ended by negotiamonth’s State of the Union address, n a l l y tions between OliObama defined ver Cromwell and success down Charles I; Cromby changing the well seized power subject: “Ameriand Charles lost can diplomacy, (c) 2013, Washington Post Writers Group his head. Amerbacked by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical ica’s Civil War ended when Robert E. weapons are being eliminated.” If say- Lee capitulated to U.S. (“Unconditional Surrender”) Grant. Russia’s civil war ing so makes it so, all is well. Assad, however, seems tardy regard- ended when Leon Trotsky’s Red Army ing this elimination, perhaps because defeated the White forces. Spain’s civil the threat of force was never actually war ended with Francisco Franco in made. The Democratic-controlled Sen- Madrid and remnants of the loyalist ate nullified the threat by its emphatic forces straggling across the Pyrenees reluctance to authorize force. Reuters into France. China’s civil war ended recently reported that Assad had surren- when Chiang Kai-shek skedaddled to dered “4.1 percent of the roughly 1,300 Formosa (now Taiwan), leaving the tons of toxic agents” he supposedly has. mainland to Mao. But Syria’s civil war
Democrats consider all this and pronounce themselves well-pleased. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., sees only upside in people working less: “What that means is instead they might be able to tuck their child in bed at night and read a bedtime story, or go to an activity, which means they’re better off.” Harry Reid found his inner libertarian: “We live in a country where we should be free agents. People can do what they want.” Obviously, if you are afraid to earn more because government will take away a subsidy, you aren’t a free agent. White House economic adviser Jason Furman made an inapt comparison. “Getting rid of Social Security and Medicare would cause more 95-yearolds to work,” he said. “You wouldn’t judge whether Social Security or Medicare are good or bad based on what they do to labor supply.” No, you wouldn’t — because they are programs for the elderly. Discouraging work among 95-year-olds is different than discouraging work among people in the prime of their lives. No one told us when the bill was being considered that Obamacare would have some of the same effects as a retirement program.
THE MAGIC number eight percent identified the level above which Obama’s administration said unemployment would not rise, thanks to the 2009 stimulus. Seven dollars is the figure, plucked from the ether, that Obama says will be saved by every dollar spent on “high quality” universal preschool, which is probably defined, with tidy circularity, as preschool that saves seven dollars for every dollar spent on it. Forests continue to be felled to produce the paper on which are printed the continuing studies demonstrating that America, which has more than two million miles of natural gas pipelines and about 175,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines, would not be menaced by the 1,179 miles of Keystone XL. The new State Department study says construction “would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect, and induced).” Obama, of course, has his own number. In a July 24, 2013, interview with the New York Times, he said construction “might create maybe 2,000 jobs.” The workforce participation rate is at a 36-year low; in the second half of the fifth year of the recovery, a smaller fraction of the population is employed or looking for work than was when the recovery began. Nevertheless, the administration is cheerful about the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that the Affordable Care Act will substantially slow the growth of employment and compensation over the next decade. The decrease is projected to be nearly three times larger than the CBO had previously predicted. The ACA’s insurance subsidies, which decline with rising income and increase with falling income, will cause many people to choose to stop working, or to work less, or to stop looking for work, thereby reducing the number of hours worked by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021. An administration spokesman did not dispute the CBO’s key finding but hailed it as evidence that the ACA is increasing Americans’ choices. Really.
THE LATEST CBO numbers are part of the growing list of facts about Obamacare that, if they had been widely acknowledged before its passage, would have doomed it in Congress. But that debate seems so long ago. It was back when both political parties professed to be pro-work.
MANY OF the words and numbers bandied by Obama and his administration may reflect an honest belief that the world is whatever well-intentioned people like them say about it. So, Obama’s critics should reconsider their assumption that he is cynical. It is his sincerity that is scary.
CBO REPORT: February 6, 2014
The party of less work
he Democrats once styled themselves the party of workers. Now, they are the party of people who would have been workers, if it hadn’t been for Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office released a new analysis of the economic effects of the health care law that estimates that it will reduce the number of workers, in effect, by 2.5 million in 2024.
THIS UNLEASHED a torrent of arguments from the Democrats implicitly denigrating the value of work. Perhaps not since Southern “fire-eaters” attacked Northern “wage slavery” in the mid-19th century has a good honest day’s work been talked about so dismissively. The old jobs crisis was people not having jobs; the new jobs crisis is people having to work. The party devoted to combating inequality is now blithely unconcerned about a law discouraging people — especially people down the income scale — from earning more. So much for its championing of economic mobility. White House press secretary Jay Carney declared the CBO report a validation of the law: “We noted that as part of this new day in health care, Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide coverage for their families and would have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. This CBO report bears that out.” If only the number of people effectively dissuaded from working were five million, or 7.5 million, the health
care law would be an even more stunning triumph of sound public policy and true American values. A few caveats are in order: We aren’t talking about jobs that are eliminated in the usual sense of discouraging employers from hiring, as some Republican talking points suggested. And the 2.5 million number isn’t for jobs per se, but for “full-time equivalent” positions, i.e., the cumulative lost hours of millions of people deciding to work less.
Lowry (c) 2013, King Features Syndicate
Nonetheless, the number is devastating. Democrats like Jay Carney want to pass it all off as ending the “job lock” that keeps people in a job only to preserve their health insurance. There is a little something to this, but it isn’t the main problem. Obamacare has created a vast apparatus of subsidies, penalties and taxes that is effectively anti-work. THE CBO EXPLAINS that Obamacare’s subsidies, by giving people more resources, allow “some people to maintain the same standard of living while working less.” And the way they phase out creates another disincentive, as “subsidies decline with rising income (and increase as income falls), thus making work less attractive.” The penalties and taxes, meanwhile, “will ultimately induce some workers to supply less labor.”
— after the massacres, torture, chemical weapons — supposedly will be resolved by a negotiated regime change: with words. Next, words will supposedly result in Iran ending the decades-old and hugely expensive nuclear weapons program that it says is nonexistent, and will proceed.
OBAMA PRESIDENCY: February 7, 2014
At what point do people scream ‘enough?’
resident Obama must believe will initially cause unemployment and he’s politically untouchable at then later recover. An administration that cared about this point, given his seeming indifference to the multitude of scan- the American people wouldn’t have next 48 hours trying dals, failures and other outrages for spent the to distort this inwhich he is directformation into a ly responsible. pretzelized news I intended to nugget that is less write this coldamaging to umn solely on (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate the administrathe devastating tion. The White Congressional Budget Office report putting the final House and Democrats came out of the nail in the Obamacare coffin — or at woodwork trying to turn this spoiled, least it would be the final nail in a sane rancid, inedible lemon into lemon meworld — but everywhere I turn in the ringue pie with dollops of whipped news, I’m bombarded with evidence cream. Senate Majority Leader Harry of equally troubling nightmares. So, in Reid spun this as a positive developfairness to balance and diversity, I de- ment because it lets Americans be “free cided not to dwell on CBO-gate alone agents.” House Minority Leader Nancy but to share with you the smorgasbord Pelosi brags that people “are no longer job-blocked.” of disasters. The CBO’s projections aren’t hard LET’S BEGIN with CBO-gate, to believe, because they are consiswhich does deserve its own column tent with what we are already observbut will now have to accept but a few ing. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf paragraphs here. I’m not so sure what’s said, “By providing heavily subsidized more outrageous, the egregious news health insurance to people with very itself or the administration’s and the low income and then withdrawing Democratic Party’s disgracefully de- those subsidies as income rises, the act creates a disincentive for people to ceitful spinning in denying it. There are just no two ways about it. work.” Consider another major news item On Tuesday, the CBO released a report forecasting that the laughably titled that screamed its way onto my comAffordable Care Act will cause the puter screen. Tim Armstrong, CEO equivalent of more than two million for AOL, said Obamacare will cost his full-time employees leaving the U.S. company an additional $7.1 million, workforce in the next decade. Note that so it has to decide whether to pass that the nonpartisan CBO didn’t say the law cost onto employees or cut other ben-
efits (which, I might note, also would come out of the employees’ pockets — you know, those little guys Obama professes to care about). A less anecdotal report, from the Washington Examiner, reveals that a Duke University survey of top companies found that 44 percent are considering reducing health benefits to current employees because of Obamacare. ALSO STARING out at me from my desktop was the Washington Post report that according to an analysis from Avalere Health, fewer than two million Americans enrolled in Medicaid in 2013 because of the Affordable Care Act. The analysis concludes that there were between 1.1 million and 1.8 million ACA sign-ups but says that many Medicaid enrollees would have signed up even without the law. So the administration is not only grossly exaggerating the number of sign-ups — at some 6.3 million — but also taking credit for them when many would have happened anyway. Even CNN described this report as a blow to the
Obama administration, saying, “Just a fraction of the more than six million people the Obama administration has touted as being determined eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare are new enrollees.” Next, I saw the Daily Caller’s report that the administration has unilaterally changed the law to allow immigrants with “limited” terror contact into the United States. These new exemptions are to a law that bars certain asylum seekers and refugees who provided “limited material support” to terrorists who are believed to pose no threat to the U.S. Doesn’t that make you feel giddy? My cyberspace monitor then directed my attention to a disturbing Fox News report that the infernal Obamacare website doesn’t provide a way for customers to appeal errors when enrolling online for insurance. Now here’s a concrete example of how much this administration cares about the “little guy.” Fox, incidentally, did not break this story. the Washington Post did and said that the problem has already impacted some 22,000 Americans who believe they got stiffed by the website by being overcharged, by being steered into the wrong policies or otherwise. A House committee is investigating. The Wall Street Journal also elbowed its way onto my screen, describing President Obama’s claim that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” or political motivation in the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of groups applying for tax-exempt status as a “fairy tale.” In a separate story, the Journal reported that insurers are facing pressure from regulators and lawmakers about plans that offer limited choices of doctors and hospitals, which insurers say is vital to keep down coverage prices because of Obamacare. In other news, there’s the ongoing Obama cover-up on Benghazi and the recent confirmation from experts that our budgetary outlook is headed straight to Hades because of unconscionable spending and Obama’s singular refusal even to consider entitlement reform. THERE’S PLENTY of good news, but I’ll save my column on the Gospel for Easter.
February 19, 2014 CHRIS CHRISTIE: February 5, 2014
Chris Christie and a bridge too far-fetched By sheer coincidence, that was New Jersey governor Chris Christie Christie’s job at the 2012 Republican deserves to be defended. Convention. As the keyThe gravamen of the media’s case National speaker, it was his asagainst Christie on Bridgegate seems n o t e signment to “deliver to be that he is a a knockout blow” to “bully” — which Obama. I painstakingly Let’s see how gleaned from the he did. fact that the gov(c) 2013, Ann Coulter In Christie’s ernor is called a “bully” one million times a night on entire gaseous convention speech, he MSNBC and in hundreds of blog post- talked about New Jersey (ad nauseam), his parents, his kids, his upbringing, ings and New York Times reports. every tedious detail of his tedious life CHRISTIE IS not a bully. If any- — “I coached our sons Andrew and Patthing, he’s a pansy, a man terrified of the rick on the fields of Mendham, and ... liberal media, of Wall Street, of Silicon I watched with pride as our daughters Valley, of Obama, of Bruce Springsteen, Sarah and Bridget marched with their of Mark Zuckerberg, of Chuck Schum- soccer teams in the Labor Day parade.” Just before I dozed off, I seem to reer. It’s a good bet he’s afraid of his own shadow. (In fairness, his shadow is member Christie sharing his seven-layprobably pretty big and scary.) About er dip recipe. The guy whose role it was to attack the only thing Christie doesn’t seem the president mentioned Obama exactly afraid of is the buffet at Sizzler. Even Christie’s defenders call him one time. Once. And even then, not by a bully, but in an admiring way. Fox name. Here is Christie the Lion-Hearted News’ Bill O’Reilly recently said of the governor: “One reason Mitt Romney taking the fight to Obama: “You see, lost to President Obama was that Gov- Mr. President, real leaders do not follow ernor Romney is too much of a gentle- polls. Real leaders change polls.” And that’s how Christie bravely man. He apparently did not have the ‘fire in the belly’ to deliver a knockout threw down the gauntlet to Obama on blow. But Christie does and is therefore Benghazi, on Obamacare, on skyrocketing unemployment, on crony capitalism, a threat to the Democratic Party.” O’Reilly thinks Christie would have on astronomical government spending gotten in Obama’s face? (I mean other and so on. He said: “Real leaders do not than for a quick make-out session with follow polls.” Accusing a politician of following Obama during Hurricane Sandy?)
polls is the biggest cliche in politics afIt was as if Christie had sent his ter “He’s dividing us!” In Obama’s case, speech to MSNBC for pre-approval. it isn’t even true. Would that he folAnd it’s not just one godawful lowed polls! If he did, we never would speech. Christie’s daily checklist aphave gotten Obamacare. pears to consist of two items: (1) Suck up to liberals. (2) Ask waiter for more OF COURSE, there wasn’t much bread. time for Christie to talk about Obama, After a 30-minute conversation with because the main theme of his conven- Sen. Chuck Schumer last fall, Christie tion speech was: Chris Christie, Augus- capitulated to the Democrats’ need for tus Corpulus. 30 million more voters by directing He said “I” 37 times and “me” eight his temporary Senate appointee to vote times, breaking Kim Kardashian’s old for the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill. record for a single tweet. He only men- Schumer considered Christie so imtioned our actual nominee (Mitt Rom- potent that he immediately leaked the ney) seven times — in order to tell us news that he had buffaloed Christie on how we were all going to have to sacri- amnesty in a single phone call. fice and make hard choices, and RomThe people amnesty helps are Demoney was just the man to tell America the crats, who get multiple millions of new bad news and make us all suffer. voters, and the soulless rich, who don’t I suppose Christie considered it more care about the country and don’t care than sufficient to announce that he, per- about the culture. They just want cheap sonally, supported Romney: “If you’re labor. willing to fight with me for Mitt RomInstead of standing up for the longney, I will fight with you.” suffering middle class that is the backHe — Chris Christie! — supported bone of the Republican Party — much Romney. What more could voters want? less the lower class lionized in so many Bruce Springsteen songs — Christie sided with Silicon Valley billionaires and Wall Streeters on their servant problem, while also helping Democrats with their demographic problem. A few months later, Christie doubled down on amnesty by granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens. There isn’t a wall high enough to stop illegal immigrants from sneaking across the border when the reward waiting on the other side is free health care, jobs, driver’s licenses and college tuition subsidized by American taxpayers. But at least Christie no longer has to lie awake at night wondering if Mark Zuckerberg will be his friend. True, Christie yelled at a few public school teachers, but they richly deserved it. Taking a page from John McCain, the main targets of Christie’s wrath are his fellow Republicans. This has won him the respect of his most crucial constituency, liberal journalists, who have been precisely as loyal to him as they were to McCain. IF CHRISTIE looks guilty in Bridgegate, it’s not because he’s a “bully.” It’s because he believes lawbreaking is no big deal. Maybe he’s hoping his BFF Obama will grant him amnesty.
REPUBLICAN PARTY: February 9, 2014
Are Republicans becoming Repulic-crats or Whigs?
s I was channel surfing, I Obama’s illegal, gun-running operachanneled past a news sta- tion Fast and Furious. It was during the Attorney General Eric tion on which Rep. Trey time that was under fire for Gowdy (R-SC) was holding court with Holder refusing to comply his usual profiwith a Congressional ciency for great subpoena. After his sound bites. And patented blusterwhen it comes to ing, Greta asked great sound bites, (c) 2013, Mychal Massie Gowdy if he and Gowdy has few (if any) equals, which is no small thing Congress were going to find Holder in when one considers he belongs to a Par- contempt of Congress specifically because of Holder’s refusal to comply with ty known for sound bites. the Congressional subpoena. Gowdy THE PROBLEM is sound bites are looked like a deer in headlights as he not synonymous with actionable plans suddenly stuttered and stammered, but of action that are in the best interest he never did answer her simple quesof We the People.More often than not, tion. It was yet another transpicuous exgreat sound bites are the pontifications of those who love the applause they re- ample of all-talk Republicans. Their ceive from voters with short memory hollow talk is the window dressing that spans juxtaposed to those who would draws the eyes and attention of unsustreat them like the snake oil salesmen pecting Republican voters who do not realize they are supporting a Party that they are. Not too long ago I had a conversa- no longer exists. Talk may sound good tion with a hardcore, uncompromising but if it isn’t backed up with action it is conservative. She and I spoke specifi- hollow rhetoric. Karl Rove and the Republican estabcally about Gowdy. I explained to her that my position pursuant to him is not lishment of — which Gowdy is certainto trust him. Sure, he talks tough, but ly a key component — are not just deso does Boehner, and all conservatives termined, they are committed to turning know that Boehner folds more quickly the Republican Party into a “big tent.” than a linen shirt wrinkles, and when The problem is “big tent” is code for it comes to agreeing to bad deals that everything we true conservatives and favor Obama, Boehner will forever be Tea Party people stand against. If the remembered as Obama’s weakest oppo- Republican Party supports the majority of things we oppose what difference is sitional link. I recall seeing Gowdy on Greta Van there between them and Democrats? The establishment Republicans are Susteren’s show giving one of the sound bite performances he’s best known for becoming bolder and more obvious in during the Congressional hearings on their contempt for true conservatives
and specifically the Tea Party. I contend that it is their open hostility for We the People who believe in the Republican Party of old that will be their demise. They are challenging history in a belief that theirs will have a different outcome from the Whig Party that today is as forgotten as the ancient cultures that are periodically unearthed. THE WHIGS were at one time a political force having elected four presidents in the 19th century and controlling both houses of Congress for a period of time. They numbered within their ranks Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and an Illinois Congressman named Abraham Lincoln. The Whig Party accomplished great things during its brief history. They were
responsible for the Boston Tea Party; they were the early conservatives. But the deep fissures of slavery destroyed them from within, giving rise to today’s Republican Party in 1856. As the Party follows the path of Karl Rove, Reince Priebus and other establishment “Republi-crats,” such as those in leadership in both the House and Senate, even more contentious divisions are forming that threaten a repeating of political history. And that, my friends, would be a good thing. We have toiled to support a Party whose leadership is blatantly hostile to true conservatives and those who hold the Constitution sacrosanct. They are pushing and supporting legislation that rewards illegal aliens, who spit on our sovereignty, with amnesty. Karl Rove said one of the candidates we supported should be murdered. They deride and vilify the Tea Party and its followers. Leadership under John Boehner has betrayed us on the debt ceiling, etc. Eric Cantor was exposed trying to deceive us on Obamacare. Speaking of which, it is my contention that Republican leadership is not interested in repealing Obamacare; they are only interested in having a form of same that they can place their imprimatur upon. We need true conservative leadership, and those who recognize the Constitution as the true legal foundation of America. As I have warned in my exclusive mychal-massie.com website feature “Behind The Political Curtain,” we must not blindly follow establishment Republicans who use fear tactics and sound bites to steal our votes. We must not allow ourselves to be used like the Democrats use blacks. JUST AS THE progenitors of the Republican Party stood on principle in 1856 by walking away from that which they knew was wrong, so must we do today.
February 19, 2014 POLITICAL VALUES: February 9, 2014
Political values aren’t coded in skin color
few days before the Super Bowl, MSNBC embarrassed itself with an obnoxious tweet implying that “rightwing” conservatives are such bigots that they were bound to “hate” a Cheerios commercial featuring a biracial couple and their adorable daughter, Gracie. The backlash was blistering and instantaneous, and the cable channel apologized and deleted the tweet. WHEN IT comes to playing the race card against anyone to its right, MSNBC is a recidivist. The smear over the Cheerios ad came just a few weeks after an on-air panel smirkingly joked about Mitt and Ann Romney’s newly-adopted black grandson and how incongruous he appeared in the family’s Christmas photo. That flap also triggered an uproar, followed by multiple apologies. Count me among those who can’t imagine anyone this side of the fever
swamps viewing that sweet Cheerios ad the racial makeup of their families. Not surprisingly, Lindgren found, or the Romneys’ quiver full of grandchildren with any kind of racial disap- there was nothing in the data to back up suggestion that conproval, let alone one driven by politics. MSNBC’s servatives are more That some on the likely than liberals left can so cato frown on biracial sually traffic in families. such slander re“Among famiflects nothing but (c) 2013, Boston Globe lies with steptheir own bigotry children or adoptagainst conservaed children,” he wrote for the Volokh tives. If you asked me, I’d have said that Conspiracy, a legal blog hosted by the was self-evident. (As a right-winger Washington Post, “11 percent of conwith kids of different colors, I may be servatives were living in mixed-race biased.) But Jim Lindgren, a law pro- households compared to 10 percent of fessor and sociologist at Northwestern liberals.” Broadening the analysis to inUniversity, decided to double-check. He clude families with biological children turned to the General Social Survey, a of an interracial couple (like Gracie in comprehensive national survey that for the Cheerios spot), Lindgren found that years has been compiling sociodemo- 11.9 percent of self-identified conservagraphic statistics on U.S. residents — tives live in mixed-race families comincluding (among many variables) data pared to 11.4 percent of liberals. When on respondents’ political leanings and the numbers were sorted by party af-
IMMIGRATION REFORM: February 7, 2014
Killing immigration reform
ike Hamlet pacing the stage in angst-ridden doubt, Speaker John Boehner this week delivered the message that immigration reform is dead for 2014. It’s not that he doesn’t realize the issue is important. It’s not that he doesn’t believe our current immigration system is broken. It’s just that he’d rather suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune than take arms to end the sea of troubles brewing in the GOP.
BOEHNER BLAMES President Obama for his troubles. And he has a point — up to a point. Republicans don’t trust that the president will actually enforce a new law that includes stronger border security. Indeed, the president already has shown he’s happy to ignore pesky provisions of laws with which he doesn’t agree — think not only his manipulation of Obamacare but also his decision to ignore federal drug statutes on marijuana, to name only two examples. So why would Republicans believe the president will enforce border security? Never mind that this administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any administration in modern history: two million people. The AFL-CIO and other immigrant advocacy groups want the president to stop all future deportations until a new law is passed. Vice President Joe Biden has said the president won’t accede to these demands, but his word isn’t worth much in Republican circles. But the bigger problem for Boehner
and other Republicans who know that passing immigration reform is the right thing to do — for the country — is that they are afraid anti-immigrant groups with deep pockets will target them for defeat in their re-election bids. This is a tragedy for the GOP. It speaks of a profound lack of true leadership — and the decision endangers conservatism for future generations.
Chavez (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
IF THE REPUBLICAN Party becomes the party of nativists, it will die. If the GOP defines itself primarily by what it is against, it will lose Hispanics, but also young people, women, suburbanites and the business community. Some argue that putting immigration reform on hold this year is the smart thing to do because the debate would become a distraction in an election that should focus on the disastrous failure of Obamacare. But that is true only if the tiny — though influential — group of anti-immigrant fanatics decide to make it so. Right now these groups and individuals think they can blackmail the Republican leadership. “You put immigration reform on the legislative agenda this year, and we will pack your townhall meetings, bombard your congressional offices with phone calls and let-
filiation, they showed 9.5 percent of Republicans living in mixed-race families vs. 11.2 percent of Democrats. Crunching the stats by both race and ideology, 2.0 percent of white conservatives live in mixed-race families, while 2.4 percent of white liberals do. NONE OF THESE differences are statistically significant. Taken together, they reinforce the ugliness of MSNBC’s taunting insinuation that to be politically right-of-center is to be racially intolerant, or that there is something inherently liberal in forging ties of love across the color line. But there is also a message here that conservatives and Republicans should be taking to heart, one that has nothing to do with liberal closed-mindedness. In the ongoing debate over immigration reform, there are reasonable arguments on all sides — arguments about the economic, social and environmental impact of increasing the number of immigrants, sealing the U.S.-Mexican border, or offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. What is not a reasonable argument, it seems to me, is the claim that more immigrants must mean fewer Republicans. “At the current accelerated rate of immigration — 1.1 million new immigrants every year — Republicans will be a fringe party in about a decade,” writes Ann Coulter in a recent column. She cites a wide swath of polling data showing that most immigrants not only come from “societies that are far more left-wing than our own,” but that “they bring their cultures with them.” Hispanic and Asian immigrants may have little in common economically or culturally, but “both overwhelmingly support big government, Obamacare, affirmative action, and gun control. ... How are Republicans going to square that circle?” But that kind of essentialist argument is as flawed as the claim that interracial families must be left-wing, or that a conservative message of liberty, opportunity and patriotism can only appeal to voters with white skin. For more than half a century after the Civil War, blacks were a solid Republican constituency, and the most Democratic-leaning states were the most hostile to black voting rights. Yet attitudes change — sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not — and voting patterns with them. Political values aren’t coded in our DNA. Party loyalty isn’t a function of immigration status.
ters and emails, and maybe even field primary opponents against you,” they threaten. But what if GOP leaders started speaking with one voice and said, “No, we won’t be blackmailed.” Or course, it would take not only courage but also facts to take on the yahoos. They should start by acknowledging that securing our border requires more than fences, high-tech surveillance and deportations. We could virtually end illegal immigration tomorrow if we adopted a guest worker program that allowed people to come here legally instead of sneaking across the border. In 1953, more than a million Mexicans crossed our border illegally. That is equivalent to almost two million in today’s numbers given the smaller U.S. population at the time. With the passage of the Bracero Program, which permitted Mexicans to come as guest workers, the number of illegal border crossings dropped by more than 90 percent. Republican leaders got it right two weeks ago when they adopted their policy statement on immigration reform. “The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for reWHERE DO you stand on amnesalistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States,” they ty? Whom you support for president? Would you ever watch MSNBC? If said in the statement. you’re looking for the answers in the BOEHNER NEEDS to get back up color of your skin, you’re definitely doon stage and marshal his troops, not ing it wrong. slink off in defeat before he’s even tried.
DEBT CEILING: February 6, 2014
Weak House GOP too afraid on debt ceiling
e’ve been waiting for this moment to arrive for some time. Now it is upon us, and neither the Republicans in Washington nor investors in Wall Street really want to talk about it. It’s time to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. For Republicans, particularly in the fractured GOP House conference, we have heard muted noises, but little real guidance as to whether they will demand anything from President Obama in exchange for once again allowing the limit on the federal debt to be raised. They know the president will refuse to negotiate with them.
AFTER THE GOP shutdown the government for a brief period of time last year, endless polls were produced to somehow show that the public blamed Republicans for the shutdown. Ironically, when it started, some polls showed more Americans blaming Obama. That quickly shifted to basically equal blame for Republicans in Congress and the president. And after the media got to work on the matter, polls soon started putting the blame on Republicans alone. Had the president’s own disastrous web launch of Obamacare not commenced at the same time, the press would have ridden the GOP shutdown until it was beaten to the ground. Lost in all of the news blur was the fact that most economic indicators revealed that the shutdown of government had little if any impact on the economy. That seems lost on everyone, including the weak-kneed Republican establishment that cringes at the mere thought of a meaningful showdown with President Obama. Instead, House members have been wringing their hands, trying to decide what, if anything, they will ask of a president who in his own State of the Union address made it clear that he will ignore them and, whenever possible, will govern by fiat. Oh, they have considered ideas such as asking for concessions over the Keystone Pipeline, a muddle-headed idea if ever there was one. We are just now learning that our nation is in its best shape in years in regard to access to oil and energy, so do we want to bring things to a halt over an issue that less than 20 percent of Americans even remotely understand? So inside the beltway in thinking. So special interest. So stupid. How about this one, Congress? Why not take the one thing the entire nation fears or despises and take a stand on it? Why not demand an end to this absurd Affordable Care Act, leaving only the portions for pre-existing conditions and older kids on their parents’ insur-
ance years intact. Those are the only actions, were to actually do so, they two parts of Obamacare that get any would cause panic. That’s because Wall Street is about approval from anyone, including most as in touch with the real Democrats. world as Dick Nixon But no. These in his months in ofRepublicans are fice. The economy facing re-election, is still sputterand we all know ing, and the averthat being re(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate age bloke hasn’t elected is far more important to them than having a show- felt any real extra coin in his pocket. down with President Obama of real But, hey, this market is bulletproof and should just keep charging like a bull, substance, right? What would all those silk-stocking AND EVEN IF the Republicans in the House, who have a majority mainly experts on Wall Street do if those unbecause of all the hot air they bellowed washed and ghastly conservatives in out in 2010 about taking just such bold Congress stood up to President Obama
and refused to raise the debt ceiling? We all know that S&P had the nerve to downgrade U.S. credit a few years back, and look what the Obama Justice Department is doing to them. And heavens forbid the markets get spooked for a few weeks and stocks fall to where they should be versus their overvalued current status. Wall Street would shriek. WE WILL find out if the GOP that won the House in 2010 still has any courage in the next few weeks. But I’m betting on the silk-stocking crowd and the president who sees only his perfect reflection in the mirror. And the debt just keeps on growing.
FLORIDA SPECIAL ELECTION: February 6, 2014
The stakes of a special election
ecause it is this year’s first federal election, attention must be paid to the March 11 voting to fill the congressional seat vacated by the death in October of Florida Republican C.W. “Bill” Young, who served in Congress 43 years. If Democrat Alex Sink wins, the significance will be minimal because she enjoys multiple advantages. Hence if Republican David Jolly prevails, Republicans will construe this as evidence that Barack Obama has become an anvil in the saddle of every Democratic candidate. MATTERS ARE, however, murky. Tip O’Neill’s axiom that “all politics is local” has been rendered anachronistic by the national government that liberals such as O’Neill created. Today’s administrative state touches everyone everywhere, so all politics is partly national. Politics in Florida’s 13th Congressional District today concerns the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Obama carried this Gulf Coast district, a one-county constituency near Tampa, by 3.8 points in 2008 and 1.4 in 2012. Although Sink never lived in the district until very recently, she has almost 100 percent name recognition here because she has run statewide, almost winning the governorship in 2010 when she carried the county by 5.7 points. Between 2007 and 2011, she was Florida’s chief financial officer. After Young died, the national and state Democratic parties moved with more dispatch than seemliness. With a robust disregard for traditional niceties, they moved Sink into the 13th District. Her real home in another county is, Jolly says — he exaggerates — closer to Disney World than to this district’s beaches. They also prevented a primary challenge from anyone who really
lives here, thereby allowing Jolly to say national Democrats decided no local Democrat was qualified to represent the locals. While she rented an apartment and began raising money, Jolly fought a nine-week primary race, from which he emerged on Jan. 14 finan-
(c) 2013, Washington Post Writers Group
cially depleted. He worked for Young for many years, which helps his resume, but then became a Washington lobbyist, which does not. He thinks it should, saying mordantly that politics “is the one industry in which experience and qualifications count against you.” He notes that whoever wins next month will have to run again in November and if he is running then, the Republican House leadership will want to give him some plums beneficial to his district — perhaps assignment to committees to protect seniors and veterans. THIS IS A purple but not a polarized district, with 35 percent Democrat and 37 percent Republican. Although the district gave the world the first Hooters restaurant, the district is unusually elderly, white and disapproving of Obamacare. It also is smoldering about the flood insurance program. The NFIP is yet another entitlement program that is proving to be more durable, and more emblematic of modern America, than Mount Rushmore. The federal government has long subsidized insurance for homeowners who live in coastal areas or flood plains. This entitlement, covering about 5.5 million of America’s 122 million housing units,
is necessary because otherwise people would be required to pay the costs of the risks they choose to run for living where they are pleased to live. The NFIP enables the disproportionately wealthy people who own beach properties to socialize their storm losses while keeping private the pleasures of their real estate. The NFIP is another illustration of the entitlement state’s upward distribution of benefits. Recent attempts to reform the NFIP — to end subsidized rates for 1.1 million properties and to change rates based on improved risk assessments — threaten to raise by thousands of dollars the annual insurance costs of some property owners here. Both Sink and Jolly are competitively indignant. But the U.S. Senate, an unsleeping defender of entitlements benefiting the privileged (witness the new farm bill), has recently derailed reform. Sink will benefit from the national trend allowing early voting to obliterate Election Day. Any Floridian who has ever requested an absentee ballot henceforth gets one automatically. Seventy-seven percent of the Republican primary votes here were cast by mail in the Jan. 14 primary, and absentee ballots will be mailed on Feb. 7. Furthermore, early voting at polling places begins March 1, so many — perhaps most — votes will be cast before Jolly has raised much of the money necessary to communicate his message. INSTEAD OF A community deliberation culminating in a shared day of decision, an election like the one here is diffuse and inferior. If Sink wins, Republicans nationally can shrug; if Jolly wins, Democrats should tremble. But no matter who wins, the district loses because it has lost Election Day.
February 19, 2014 AMNESTY: February 11, 2014
Let’s all read the polls about amnesty
he Congressional Budget Of- club types) keeps pushing for various fice just reported that Obam- versions of amnesty that will import acare will shrink the U.S. millions of foreigners to take jobs from cans, all the way from workforce by 2.5 million full-time A m e r i entry-level jobs to jobs. That’s stuncollege graduates ning confirmation imported on H-1B of how Barack visas. Establishment Obama’s favorite spokesmen talk a lot legislative legacy (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate about devotion to is (as even Demothe free-market crats have admitsystem, but they ignore the Economics ted) a “train wreck.” 101 lesson that increasing the labor supTHE JOB LOSS is caused by busi- ply reduces job opportunities and wages. Businesses do market research to nesses reducing their employees’ hours in order to avoid paying the employee identify public opinion about their prodmandate to buy insurance. Even more ucts, and politicians buy a lot of pubstriking is the callous way Obama’s lic opinion polls to identify voters who friends are trying to put a happy face on support their views and learn how those this bad news by claiming that Ameri- numbers can be increased. Today’s pubcans who are reduced to part-time jobs lic opinion polls prove that Republicans by Obamacare will be better off because are fools to support any form of amnesty they are liberated to exercise choice or continuing to import millions of forabout how they spend their unemployed eigners who reject conservative views hours. As the New York Times wrote, it and will vote for the Democrats who will be “more possible” to leave jobs (or support big government and spending. The Pew Research Center found that reduce hours for less pay) because “new government subsidies will help pay pre- 75 percent of Hispanic immigrants and 55 percent of Asian immigrants prefer a miums.” Fifty million Americans of working- “bigger government providing more serage (18 to 65) are not employed, and this vices” and only 19 percent of Hispanics number has held constant throughout and only 36 percent of Asian immigrants the Obama presidential years. That’s an prefer a smaller government. So why is awesome 31 percent, a devastating blow anybody surprised that 71 percent of to families’ livelihood, self-respect, and Hispanics and 73 percent of Asians votbelief in America as the land of oppor- ed for Obama in 2012? The 2010 Cooperative Congressiotunity. Republicans should be addressing nal Election Study found that 69 percent the issues of jobs and Obamacare, but of immigrants support Obamacare. Pew the tone-deaf Republican Establishment Research found that 53 percent of His(the chamber-of-commerce, country- panics have a negative view of capital-
ism, which is even higher than views of self-identified supporters of Occupy Wall Street. Polls show that Republican emphasis on patriotism and national sovereignty is likely to alienate many immigrants. A Harris poll found that 81 percent of native-born Americans believe that our schools should teach students to be proud of being American compared to only 50 percent of immigrants who have become naturalized U.S. citizens. A SURVEY that compared immigrants’ views on the U.S. Constitution and international law is particularly shocking. A Harris poll found that 67 percent of native-born citizens believe our Constitution is a higher legal authority than international law, but only
37 percent of naturalized citizens share that view. Even the mainstream pro-Obama media admit the significance of these poll results. The New York Times Washington bureau chief admitted that “The two fastest-growing ethnic groups — Latinos and Asian-Americans — are decidedly liberal.” University of Alabama Political Scientist George Hawley observed, “immigrants are well to the left of the American public on a number of key issues.” Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute pointed out that it “is not immigration policy that creates the strong bond between Hispanics and the Democratic Party, but the core Democratic principles of a more generous safety net, strong government intervention in the economy, and progressive taxation.” Ronald Reagan signed a generous amnesty in 1986. Then, in the 1988 election, George H.W. Bush received only 30 percent of the Latino vote, seven percentage points less than Reagan himself had received. Amnesty advocates like to point to the effective assimilation of millions of immigrants from about 1880 to 1920 as a model to encourage similar largescale immigration today. However, that was followed by a national pause in immigration from the 1920s to the 1960s, which allowed newcomers to assimilate, to learn our language and customs, and to adapt to our unique system of government. Moreover, it still took decades before those immigrants moved into the Republican column. Before they did, those immigrants and their children provided much of the political support to pass the New Deal and the Great Society. THE BOTTOM LINE is that amnesty or any version thereof is suicide for the conservative movement and the Republican Party.
HILLARY CLINTON: February 6, 2014
Hillary has a ‘Woody Allen’ problem
ylan Farrow, now 28 years old, is the adopted daughter of Oscar-winning director Woody Allen. In “An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow,” published in the New York Times, Dylan accuses her father of inappropriately touching her “for as long as I could remember.” She said: “When I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me.”
NOT GOOD news for Mr. Allen — or for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Here’s why. Dylan’s brother, Ronan Farrow (formerly known as Satchel) is Allen’s biological child. Ronan Farrow was appointed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s special adviser for the Office of Global Youth Issues in 2011. He has long sided with his sister, considering his dad a monster who serially molested his sister and who, through his representatives, called his mother and sister liars. Former President Bill Clinton’s defenders did the very same to accusers Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers, et al, that Ronan believes Woody did to his mother and sister. These women — most of whose claims were eventually admitted to by Bill Clinton — were shamed and blamed. Was Hillary involved in these verbal attacks? To what degree was the famously hands-on wife of Bill involved — or even worse — leading the “nuts or sluts” strategy used to malign his accusers as either crazy or of questionable morals? Media justify the attention on socalled “Bridgegate” because, after all, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a likely GOP presidential candidate. Why does Hillary Clinton get a pass over the serious allegation that she bullied a woman who claims Bill raped her? Juanita Broaddrick, an operator of nursing homes, accused former President Bill Clinton, then Arkansas’ attorney general, of rape. Broaddrick, then a Clinton campaign volunteer, described what allegedly happened in a Little Rock hotel room. “Stupid me, I ordered coffee to the room,” she said. “I thought we were going to talk about the campaign.” Broaddrick told Dateline NBC: “I first pushed him away. I just told him ‘no.’ ... He tries to kiss me again. He starts biting on my lip. ... And then he forced me down on the bed. I just was very frightened. I tried to get away from him. I told him ‘no.’ ... He wouldn’t listen to me.”
What does this have to do with Hill- and she said, ‘Do you understand? EVERYTHING that you do,’ I mean, cold ary? Broaddrick claims that two weeks chills went up my spine. That’s the first I became afraid of that after the rape, at a political event, Hill- time woman.” ary approached Bill Clinton pubher. “She came lically called White over to me, took House intern ahold of my hand Monica Lewinand said, ‘I’ve (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate sky, a liar. heard so much Bill denied about you and I’ve been dying to meet you. ... I just having an affair with Gennifer Flowers, want you to know how much that Bill publicly called her a liar, while surroand I appreciate what you do for him.’ gates trashed her as a “saloon singer.” Years later, Clinton finally admitted ... that, yes, Flowers told the truth when “THIS WOMAN, this little, soft- she said their relationship had been spoken — pardon me for the phrase — sexual. The President’s defenders disdowdy woman that would seem very missed allegations by former Arkansas unassertive, took ahold of my hand and staffer Paula Jones, who accused thensqueezed it and said, ‘Do you under- Gov. Bill Clinton of sexual misconstand? Everything that you do.’ I could duct. Clinton defender-in-chief James have passed out at that moment and I Carville said, “If you drag a hundred got my hand from hers and I left. ... dollar bill through a trailer park, you She was just holding onto my hand. never know what you’ll find.” In the midst of all this, Hillary apBecause I had started to turn away from her and she held onto my hand peared on television — and blamed
political opponents. “The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it,” she said, “is this vast rightwing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.” During the ‘12 campaign, the media spent considerable time on an unproven accusation that teenage Mitt Romney abused a gay high school classmate by cutting his hair nearly 50 years ago. When will Hillary face questions about her role in the mistreatment of Bill’s alleged victims of sexual assault, abuse or harassment? What, if anything, did she say to Broaddrick? AND HOW much did she know when she self-righteously blamed their scandals on the “vast rightwing conspiracy?” Allegations of threats, abuse and thuggery are one thing when, like Allen, one makes movies. But Hillary may become the president of the United States.
IRS: February 12, 2014
IRS political-targeting smoking gun
hen President Barack Obama says there isn’t a “smidgen” of political targeting by the IRS, he’s right. There is now overwhelming, conclusive evidence the IRS is systematically targeting nonprofit organizations that promote views and actions contrary to those of Obama and his party.
lars to provide the service to the government. Do you think that would fly? Do you think liberal and left-wing groups would stand by and willingly submit for scrutiny their mandatory IRS compliance filings and applications for tax-exempt
THE LATEST shocker, even to experts following the IRS for decades, is published by WND today. It’s a simple story but presents an open-and-shut case that the IRS has been discriminating against conservatives for nearly 20 years — and the Obama administration has knowingly taken advantage of policies implemented by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and set them on hyperdrive. Here’s what WND found in an investigative report published today: In the late 1990s, after the Clinton administration was found to be directing politically motivated audits through the IRS, the agency found a way to have a nongovernmental agency do its dirty work. Since then, a left-wing nonprofit organization, the Urban Institute, has been paid by the government to review the tax filings of thousands of other nonprofits — including conservative groups. Think about that. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. Imagine if liberal nonprofits’ activities and donations were reviewed by, say, the Heritage Foundation, which got tens of millions of dol-
(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
status to an organization known to oppose their agendas? Is there any doubt in your mind that the liberal and left-wing groups would be screaming from the housetops over such blatant unfairness? That’s what has been going on for nearly two decades after Bill Clinton’s IRS established the precedent of using the tax agency to attack its political enemies and adversaries. AND THIS HAS only gotten worse under the Obama administration. How do we know? Because the Urban Institute, which gets most of its money from government contracts, has been receiving record amounts of taxpayer dollars since tea party groups and other conservative organizations discovered in the last two years that they were being singled out for discriminatory targeting. Do you see why I call this the smoking gun in the political abuse of the IRS,
which is still the most feared agency in the federal government? I’m optimistic all fair-minded people involved in government will see this scandal for what it is. They might disagree over the motivations for setting up the Urban Institute as the policeman for most nonprofit groups. They might disagree that the Urban Institute has been unfair to groups with which it disagrees. They might disagree that the Obama administration has taken advantage of this bad decision made by the Clinton administration and exploited it. But no fair-minded, clear-thinking person could honestly say that placing the Urban Institute in charge of reviewing filings by other nonprofits with opposing views and agendas could possibly be equitable, just and an idea beyond reproach. It’s a scandal demanding a thorough investigation by Congress or an independent prosecutor. By the way, there’s a lot more to this scandal. This is the tip of the iceberg. WND will be publishing much more information about it. It’s a story that goes back 20 years — a story few fully understand, a story that has been deliberately obscured by some in the media and underappreciated by even the targets of this outrageous government abuse. IT’S TIME to alert your members of Congress, make noise, share the stories with your friends and talk radio shows, and prepare for battle.
February 19, 2014 IRS: February 12, 2014
IRS regulations: An end to fair elections
he Obama administration and game while barring the rival team from New York’s senior senator, wearing shoes or helmets. Schumer laid out the plan in a speech Democrat Chuck Schumer, are conspiring to muzzle their political on Jan. 23. He bashed tea partiers as “a but extreme part of opponents before fall’s midterm elec- s m a l l America,” called tions, and to litertheir commitment ally outlaw free to smaller governspeech. They are ment “quack medirushing through cine,” and said a change in IRS (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate their “undue powregulations that would prevent tea party organizations er” and “stranglehold over our politics and other not-for-profits, called 501(c) and policies” must be broken. He said, “It is clear we will not pass (4)s, from engaging in customary preelection activities, such as get-out-the- anything legislatively as long as the vote drives, debates and forums, and House of Representatives is in Repubdistributing brochures that rate candi- lican control, but there are many things dates. The regulation would even pro- that can be done administratively by the hibit these groups from criticizing in- IRS ...” The proposed IRS regulation Schumcumbent officeholders within 60 days er is advocating would trample the Conof a general election. stitution’s guarantee of free speech and THIS REGULATION would de- assembly. Moreover, it far exceeds how stroy fair elections. It would silence federal law allows the IRS to constrain 501(c)(4)s, many of which support the political activities of nonprofits. In Republican causes, while imposing no short, it is a lawless attack on political restraints on labor unions, the shadow speech. Schumer’s intolerance toward his poarmy of the Democratic Party, which are exempt. They will be free to use phone litical rivals makes you wonder whether banking, door-to-door canvassing, and he belongs in the Senate at all, much advertising for their candidates, while less chairing the committee overseetea party groups will be gagged. It’s like ing voting rights and election law. God, letting one football team suit up for the help us.
SCHUMER SHOWS no shame over siccing the IRS on his political rivals. The Obama administration, on the other hand, claims on the pages of the Federal Register that the proposed regulation is needed because of the “lack of a clear and concise” set of rules about what nonprofits can do. That’s a lie. The IRS has used the same rules to grant tax-exempt status since 1959,
HILLARY CLINTON: February 11, 2014
The Clintons in the war on women
o Americans want another Clinton in the White House? As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flirts with running in 2016, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also a potential White House candidate, has put an interesting spin on Bill Clinton’s White House years. Democrats shouldn’t accuse the GOP of waging a “war on women,” he recently told Meet the Press, because President Clinton was a “sexual predator” with former intern Monica Lewinsky.
THE NEXT skirmish in the war on the war on women came from the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on papers archived at the University of Arkansas Libraries by Diane Blair, a deceased political science professor and close friend of Hillary’s. According to Blair’s notes, in 1998, the then first lady told her friend that her husband’s relations with Lewinsky — a “narcissistic loony toon” — represented “gross inappropriate behavior,” but it was “consensual,” as in “not a power relationship.” One of the uglier archived documents is a 1992 campaign memo written by attorneys Nancy McFadden, now chief of staff to California Gov. Jerry Brown, and
Loretta Lynch, president of the California Public Utilities Commission from 2000 to 2002. Under the heading “Defensive Research: Tying up ends and seeing ahead,” the memo’s first item no doubt referred to Genni-
Saunders (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
fer Flowers, who said she had an affair with Bill Clinton: “Exposing GF: completely as a fraud, liar and possible criminal to stop this story and related stories, prevent future non-related stories and expose press inaction and manipulation.” SIX YEARS later, President Clinton admitted under oath to having had sex with Flowers, so it turns out Flowers wasn’t the “liar” in this little tale. Didn’t matter. With both Flowers and Lewinsky, Clinton operatives’ first impulse was to smear the women as liars. Longtime Clintonista Lanny Davis bashed Paul for “attacking Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton’s conduct.” So much for the 1992 campaign slogan of a Clinton candidacy’s offering
“two for the price of one.” Ditto Hillary Clinton’s role as Bill Clinton’s chief enabler; remember how she dismissed the Lewinsky scandal as the product of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” It’s “old news,” Davis told me. Veteran GOP strategist Ken Khachigian, however, pointed out that accusations of “inappropriate behavior” in the 1990s torpedoed Herman Cain’s presidential aspirations in 2012. There ought to be the “same standard” for both parties. And don’t get me started with Mitt Romney’s famed 1983 ride with the family dog on the roof. Paul’s remarks may well backfire. If anything, the Lewinsky saga seemed to prop up President Clinton’s favorable poll ratings. BUT YOU have to give Paul this much: He rightly pointed out the chasm between how Clinton Democrats treat women as an interest group and how they treat them as people. When Bubba strayed, only the women paid. The McFadden-Lynch memo serves as a reminder of what the Clinton machine does to women who speak out. They become loose ends who need to be tied up.
and applications were processed without confusion until 2010. That, apparently, was when Lois Lerner, director of the tax-exempt division at the IRS, began singling out groups bearing in their names the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” for scrutiny and harassment. The proposed regulation would codify the abusive tactics she tried to hide by pleading the Fifth before Congress last spring. The IRS scandal is not over. It’s just beginning. Congressmen Darrell Issa called the proposed regulation “a veiled attempt to stifle the exercise of constitutionally protected speech.” Numerous Republican lawmakers asked the newly appointed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to withdraw the regulation, but he was noncommittal, saying he can only do what is in his control. That is the problem. This is not an IRS scandal. Obama and Democratic Party chieftain Schumer are willing to sacrifice the fairness of our two-party system — the jewel in America’s crown — to push through their agendas. How else to explain the failure of the FBI, tasked with investigating IRS abuses, to ever interview even one alleged victim? Yet Obama shrugs that there wasn’t a “smidgen of corruption.” Not a smidgen? An overflowing cauldron. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., vowed last week that the committee “will fight any and all efforts to restrict the rights of groups to organize, speak out and educate the public, just as unions are allowed to do so.” SOUNDS GOOD. But what can one house of Congress do? The president has vast regulatory machinery to make a sham of the 2014 elections and all this nation stands for.
CBO REPORT: February 6, 2014
Obamacare forecast to reduce full-time employment
he fiery debate over Obamacare this week sparked new fears about the harm it will inflict on our economy, jobs,and the rising costs of medical care. They were ignited by the Congressional Budget Office’s troubling forecasts of the health insurance law’s impact on all of us, which raised many more questions than answers. But a few things became clearer in the aftermath of this week’s firefight between the White House, Democrats and the law’s Republican critics: THE LAW WILL further reduce our nation’s dwindling workforce. It will cut the hours worked among many Americans as employers attempt to avoid its employment health care costs. And the vastly inflated enrollment numbers used by President Obama and his administration do not hold up to serious scrutiny. The White House, whose dishonesty index skyrocketed when five million Americans lost the insurance they liked and their doctors, defended the program. Obama’s health care law is “helping labor markets, is helping businesses and is helping jobs,” said Jason Furman, the president’s chief economist. That’s not how Sen. Bob Corker, RTenn., described the CBO’s outlook on what Obamacare would do to the U.S. economy in the years to come. “Today’s CBO report gives a sobering outlook on our economy. It confirms what we’ve known all along: The health care law is having a tremendously negative impact on economic growth.” Stripped of its other economic analysis, the CBO essentially forecasts that
more than two million Americans who ported Wednesday that when the CBO have relied on obtaining health insur- report came out, “few Democrats pubance through an employer will see licly defended the law, a sign that lawtheir work hours reduced or will stop makers recognize its vulnerability.” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, working altogether as a result of the D-N.Y., said at the Affordable Care House Budget Act’s medical Committee hearing benefits. on the report that Why? CBO the CBO’s findDirector Douglas (c) 2013, United Media Services ings triggered Elmendorf of“hysteria” on his fered this answer Wednesday at the House Budget Com- side of the aisle. Maybe that’s why Obama devoted a mittee’s hearing that made some Demmere 462 words to his signature law in ocrats cringe: “By providing heavily subsidized his State of the Union speech that was health insurance ... to people with very 6,778 words long. low incomes ... the (Affordable Care THE CBO TRIED to steer a midAct) creates a disincentive for people to work relative to what would have dle course through its thorny economic been the case in the absence of the forecasts. It insisted that businesses would not significantly cut employ(law).” Then Budget Committee Chairman ment rolls or reduce hours worked Paul Ryan, R-Wis., weighed in with to stay under a 30-hour threshold to this jaw-breaking observation: “These avoid providing workers with health changes, they disproportionately af- care benefits. No one believes that exfect low-wage workers. Translation — cept its most ardent defenders. But the CBO does forecast longWashington is making the poverty trap term employment trouble ahead in worse.” All of this opens up a new politi- future years, saying Obamacare will cal can of worms for an unpopular law result in the economy losing 2.3 milthat has been racked by multiple de- lion full-time workers by 2021. That is bacles in its botched website rollout, almost three times its earlier estimates. Then there are the wildly exaggershaky finances, despotic mandates and ated estimates by the administration new constitutional court challenges. The latest revelations further threat- on the number of Americans who’ve en Democratic lawmakers with wide- signed up for Obamacare and its exspread retaliation from the voters in panded Medicaid program. The administration claims that 6.3 the 2014 midterm elections. And there were new signs this week that many of million Americans became eligible for Obamacare’s once-stalwart defenders Medicaid between October and Dewere distancing themselves from the cember because of the new law. But a study by the health care industry controversial law. The Washington Post, one of the consulting firm Avalere Health found law’s most enthusiastic backers, re- a much smaller number (between one or two million) actually signed up because of the Obamacare law. Many were renewals in the usual ebb and flow of the Medicaid enroll-
ment population that have more to do with rising or falling incomes, the study found. Judith Solomon, vice president of health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told the Post that Avalere’s numbers were likely more accurate than the administration’s figures. One of the biggest and most politically explosive issues raised by the CBO report became lost in all of the mumbo-jumbo murkiness of its findings. It was left to Paul Ryan to lay bare one of Obamacare’s worst offenses: that it will hurt many millions of Americans, especially the poorest, most vulnerable in our economy. At one key point in the hearing, Ryan bored deeper into Obamacare’s many flaws, asking CBO’s Elmendorf that if the new law would reduce the labor participation rate, as he says, wouldn’t it therefore hurt economic growth? Elmendorf agreed that, yes, that would happen. But there were broader problems in CBO’s estimates, according to the University of Maryland’s business school economist Peter Morici. The impact would be worse than CBO forecasts. “CBO once again low-balls the impact of the Affordable Care Act on labor force participation and the economy,” he writes in his analysis of the report. The economic growth rate “and employment for most workers will be harmed,” he said. THIS IS JUST the tip of the economic iceberg that lies beneath Obamacare. Higher, unbreakable poverty rates, disincentives to work and a shrinking American workforce that will further weaken our sluggish economy are just the beginning of what awaits us under this harmful law.
ANSWER MAN: February 9, 2014
The An s wer Man “WHO SAID IT?” 1. This Founding Father’s last words were thought to be: “Is it the Fourth?” Name him. 2. This Founding Father died on the same day as the previous patriot. His last words were quoted as being: “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” 3. This U.S. president was once quoted as saying, “I love to be alone and yet to be with people.” Name him. 4. This famous writer once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Name him.
SeamansShook (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
5. This U.S. president’s wife was known for her quick wit and quoted as saying: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Name her.
February 19, 2014 JOE BIDEN: February 12, 2014
Joe Biden — the media’s secret Quayle
Now take Biden’s latest gaffe about Biden’s unleashed some jaw-dropping gaffes that the networks have skipped. New York City. Hong Kong’s airport In 2008, he bashed his friend John Mc- is shiny and new, he reported. “But if I ed you and took you Cain: “John’s last-minute economic plan blindfoldto LaGuardia Airdoes nothing to port in New York, tackle the numberyou must think, ‘I one job facing the must be in some middle class, and third world counit happens to be, (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate try.’ I’m not jokas Barack says, a ing,” he said. New York Mayor Bill de three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.” Katie Couric earned a Cronkite Award Blasio called it “inappropriate,” saying for shoving Sarah Palin around in 2008, Biden’s speech was “not the right way to but a few days earlier, she threw softball talk about it.” If a Republican had said this, it would questions at Biden — and Biden still managed to mangle history: “When the be declared a racial slur, and there would stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roo- be heck to pay. But Biden is Biden, and sevelt got on the television and didn’t gets another mulligan. The New York just talk about the, you know, the princes Times helpfully wrote a story headlined POLITICALLY, BIDEN is a Joke of greed.” Roosevelt wasn’t president in “Some See Biden’s ‘Third World’ DeMan Walking. But shhh, we’re not sup- 1929, and there was no television. But scription of LaGuardia as Too Kind.” posed to notice. It might make the presi- Couric didn’t correct him, and ABC ig- Time magazine explained de Blasio’s ties to Clinton, “for whom he worked as nored it. NBC noticed, briefly. dent who selected him look bad. idden just below the surface of the liberal media is a barely noticed trend of patronizing contempt: Joe Biden is the Democrats’ Dan Quayle, but because he is a Democrat, they’ll do anything to avoid treating him like they treated Quayle. The Washington Post recently trumpeted a new poll that showed Hillary Clinton was cleaning Biden’s clock in an early poll among Democrats, 73 percent to 12 percent. The Post saw this as great news for Clinton but not as disastrous news for the man who’s currently in his second term as vice president. Try to imagine Al Gore pulling 12 percent in a presidential poll during Clinton’s second term.
LYNNE STEWART: February 7, 2014
The left’s valentine to a jihad-enabler
hat are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Bleeding-heart progressives across the country are raising money for “an evening of music, song and sharing love for recently released People’s Lawyer Lynne Stewart.” Warm fuzzies for one of the world’s most notorious terrorist helpers? I can’t think of a more stomach-turning way to mark the holiday.
THANKS TO the Obama administration, Stewart walked out of prison on New Year’s Eve. She is reportedly suffering stage-four breast cancer. Now she’s passing the plate among her supporters, asking them to foot the bill for her health insurance deductibles and copays, as well as for a “special diet, vitamins and other healing methods.” What, no Obamacare? Has Stewart shown exceptional remorse or good behavior to warrant such compassion? Don’t forget: Both the Bureau of Prisons and a federal judge previously had denied Stewart’s petition for a compassionate release, but a U.S. Attorney intervened. This preferential treatment is extraordinary: Since 1992, the annual average number of prisoners who receive compassionate release has been less than two-dozen. Let me remind you of what she did, who benefited, who died and how she has acted since being caught red-handed and freed. Stewart was convicted in 2005 of helping terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman — the murderous Blind Sheik — smuggle coded messages of Islamic violence to outside followers in violation of an
explicit pledge to abide by her client’s court-ordered isolation. Rahman, Stewart’s “political client,” had called on Muslims to “destroy” the West, “burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air or land.” He issued bloody fatwas against U.S. “infidels” that inspired the 1993 WTC bombing, the 1997 massacre of Western tourists in Luxor, Egypt, and the 9/11 attacks.
(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
Stewart ignored a judge’s communications ban, transmitting Rahman’s edicts of violence to fellow jihadist Rifa’l Ahman Tara in Egypt. She smuggled out a coded order to his followers lifting a ceasefire between his terrorist group and the Egyptian government. She personally delivered one of the messages to a Reuters reporter. FAR FROM the innocent grandma her supporters continue to portray her as, Stewart was caught on video making distracting “covering noises” — tapping the table, shaking a water jar — for the Blind Sheik’s translator to evade the communications ban. After receiving a measly initial sentence of 28 months for abetting terrorism, the disbarred civil rights attorney was resentenced to 10 years in jail. A federal panel of judges felt the need to spotlight her smugness. “From the moment she
committed the first act for which she was convicted, through her trial, sentencing and appeals,” Judge Robert Sack of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, “Stewart has persisted in exhibiting what seems to be a stark inability to understand the seriousness of her crimes.” Stewart failed to understand “the breadth and depth of the danger in which” her crimes had “placed the lives and safety of unknown innocents, and the extent to which they constituted an abuse of her trust and privilege as a member of the bar,” the panel concluded. This jihad-coddling grandmother remains defiant. She called 9/11 an “armed struggle.” Upon her initial sentencing, she boasted that she could serve the term “standing on her head.” After she was convicted of aiding and abetting Rahman, she told an interviewer she “would do it again.” She has repeatedly told liberal sycophantic journalists that she would not have done anything differently. After a jubilant return to New York City upon her release last month, Stewart thanked Louis Farrakhan, bragged about her (convicted cop-killer) Mumia Abu Jamal pin, condemned the government that had just released her and vowed to continue her radical advocacy of “political prisoners.” No regrets, no remorse, no repentance. STEWART DOESN’T need to solicit President Obama and the White House for a Valentine’s Day donation. They delivered her the biggest “LUV YA” candy heart a terror-enabler could ask for: her release papers sealed with a kiss. XOXO.
Senate campaign manager in 2000, could be coloring de Blasio’s strong rebuke of Biden.” IN DECEMBER, Biden upset feminists while talking to female employees at an Internet company in Japan. Biden was scheduled to address the company’s female employees and “discuss the economic impact of women in the corporate world.” Instead, while talking to the women, he blurted, “Do your husbands like you working full time?” Network coverage? Zero. CBS This Morning covered the Biden Asia trip for four days in a row but never found time for that clip. If a Republican like Rick Santorum had said it, it would have been painted as a dark male chauvinist moment. The most recent proof of the media’s disinterest in Biden’s outrages came in a Feb. 7 interview on CNN’s New Day. Anchor Kate Bolduan displayed her servility to the Democrats in the opening chatter about how much Biden loves Amtrak trains. Her first question asked about what he hopes to achieve as the leader of a new presidential task force on job training. Riveting, CNN, just riveting. The so-called worldwide leader in news couldn’t muster a single question about the ongoing failures of Obamacare, the IRS harassment of conservative groups, the muddle of Afghanistan or the fiasco in Benghazi. Instead, Bolduan pestered Biden about when he would announce whether he would run for president and whether his wife would approve, with zero mention of his very weak polls. Before that, she wondered: “Can I ask you one fun question about Corvettes?” This was Bolduan’s toughest question: “What do you say to your fellow Senate Democrats who have made it pretty clear that they don’t want the president anywhere near their state this election cycle? And you jokingly kind of said, OK, I’ll stay out of it. But what do you say to them?” Biden replied, “I know I’ve been invited to go into well over 128 races so far. And so there’s some places the president is considerably more popular than I am.” Even here, some so-called reporters seemed more like press secretaries than reporters. Shira T. Center at the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call helpfully guessed that CNN had provided this hot scoop: “Biden Boasts Democrats Want Him to Campaign for Them.” BIDEN IS A national embarrassment, so much so that even with the national media doing their best to cover up, still the never-ending gaffes make their way out to John Q. Public, who will never vote him into any national office ever again.
February 19, 2014
The new workers’ party and the decline of work
he Obama administration’s has 1.3 million fewer jobs than it had response to the Congressional in 2008. The employment rate among Budget Office’s prediction 24-54-year-olds, the prime working that Obamacare will cause 2.5 million population, plummeted in 2009 and has fewer Americans to work in the com- scarcely recovered since. ing years is an opThe Democrats portunity for Rehave struck out publicans to seize in their efforts to the moral high improve the jobs ground on the ispicture. The $1 (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate sue of work. trillion stimulus Rather than package proved not to contain “shovdispute the CBO’s analysis — which el-ready jobs” (and few of any other would have been awkward, as the kind). Obamacare encourages employWhite House has touted CBO’s pre- ers to reduce employees’ hours, indictions in the past — the administra- creases taxes on a significant share of tion is spinning the jobs loss as a kind the economy, and adds layers of stifling of liberation. No longer tied down to bureaucracy to an already-burdened the pesky need to earn a salary, some sector. Extending unemployment comAmericans will be able to follow their pensation to 99 weeks ameliorated the bliss. pain of being out of work, but may also have dulled the incentive to search for THE IS PART of a pattern from replacement jobs. The same was true this administration (it would be crude of dramatically increasing the disabilto call it a “war on work”), of incen- ity rolls — a permanent alternative to tives, disincentives, taxes, regulations work. Increasing the minimum wage and other decisions that make jobs adds a barrier to employment just when more difficult to find and unemploy- we need fewer. ment more entrenched. The administration touts the number If a Republican were in the White of new jobs in the energy sector, but House, the state of unemployment in all of those have come from exploraAmerica would be on everyone’s lips. tion on privately owned land. Pressure As Michael Strain outlines in National from environmentalists prevents the Affairs, the absolute number of long- president from opening public lands term unemployed and their share of the to drilling and approving the Keystone jobless are both at post-World War II pipeline. The symbol of this adminishighs. Five years after the end of the tration isn’t a guy in a hard hat but PaGreat Recession, the economy still jama Boy cradling his hot cocoa.
During the Cold War, the surest sign that a political party would spell doom to the average person was if it had the word “workers” in its title. Leftist governments destroyed the standard of living of scores of millions of people around the globe (when they didn’t kill them outright). It was all in the name of the “workers” and sometimes “peasants.”
moral, familial and even spiritual crisis for those affected. Americans derive a large measure of their self-esteem from work. Prolonged joblessness is linked to depression, disease, family breakups, suicide and, of course, poverty. Just as Republicans are wise to offer alternatives to Obamacare (as Sens. Tom Coburn, Richard Burr and Orrin Hatch have recently done), they should be proposing policy initiatives to create THE DECLINE of work is more jobs. Strain suggests several: relocation than an economic challenge — though subsidies to help people move from it is clearly that. It is also a profound high-unemployment regions to those with more job openings, eliminating barriers to entry, like excessive licensing requirements (it requires an average of 372 training days to become a cosmetologist, compared with 33 days to become an emergency medical technician), permitting more high-skilled immigration (25 percent of engineering and tech businesses founded between 1995 and 2005 had at least one immigrant founder), and decreasing the minimum wage for the first six months of employment for those who’ve been unemployed for longer than 27 weeks. PART OF THE Democrats’ approach is to make unemployment more bearable, whether through Obamacare subsidies, disability payments or prolonged unemployment insurance. The other part of their program is to make unemployment more likely, through higher minimum wages, more regulation of businesses, a less friendly environment for investment and sweetheart deals for politically connected firms. Republicans should seize the opportunity to become the party of jobs — the true party of workers. February 7, 2014
This Week’s Conservative Focus
Obama’s work trap: Contrasting visions
o let me get this right. Team Obama taxes millionaires who create jobs, while Obamacare creates incentives not to work at those jobs. No wonder recovery is so anemic. The policy here is to create fewer jobs and induce people to work less at those jobs. If my logic is correct, this runs counter to the most basic principles of our economy and our country. I THOUGHT the American Idea (see Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan) had at least something to do with the virtues of work, family and opportunity. But what I see from the Obama administration are policies that undermine these ideals. Here’s a contrasting vision: Last week I interviewed the great entrepreneur Harold Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources, who has harnessed the technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to completely revolutionize the energy sector of our economy. He has turned North Dakota
into Saudi Arabia. Energy indepen- roughly 10 million oil-and-gas royalty owners now exist across the country. I dence is in sight. Now, the energy sector is responsible am going to bet the energy revolution for roughly 10 percent of our growth. has created thousands of new millionThis reminds me of And tens of thousands of energy jobs a i r e s . Bill Gates, Steve are now being creJobs and Mark ated at very high Zuckerberg, whose wages, all while wildly successour trade deficit ful entrepreneuris evaporating and (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate ial ventures also our entire Middle created thousands of new millionaires. East foreign policy may be changing. Of course, the Obama administration Not just investors, but low-level staffers is taking credit for the oil-and-gas revo- who got just a little bit of stock when lution. But they initially opposed it and, Microsoft or Apple or Facebook was in fact, had nothing to do with it. And started. They became millionaires. if they opened up federal lands and offAND THAT money didn’t go under shore drilling, the energy success would be even greater. But that’s not happen- mattresses. One way or the other it circulated through our economic system, ing. The fact is, the energy revolution is creating thousands of new companies, a perfect down-home example of free vastly more jobs and even more milmarket economics at work, not govern- lionaires. In other words, wealth creates busiment planning. One of the things that caught my eye nesses that create jobs that create a risabout the Harold Hamm story is that ing tide that lifts all boats.
Unemployment is freedom
bamacare will reduce American workforce participation by the equivalent of two million full-time jobs in 2017, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office. Work hours would be reduced by the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs in 2024, a tripling of the previous estimates.
IF YOU BELIEVE this report — and I’m not sure why we pay this much attention to CBO projections — you can then believe that Obamacare discourages work, pushes people out of the labor market and, consequently, leads to fewer people having jobs. Certainly, it is well within the parameters of political rhetoric for the opposition to assert that the CBO has found that Obamacare is “costing” or “killing” American jobs. It is no more a “lie” to say so than it is to claim that Mitt Romney was “shipping jobs overseas” or for an administration to assert that it “created jobs” — or to use any of the other countless shorthand terms we use for economic consequences in political debate. But the only way to blunt the negative force of the CBO findings was to deflect from the numbers and gin up a controversy over semantics. And the synchronicity and speed in which leftwing punditry accomplished this task was pretty extraordinary: No, absolutely false, the term “killing jobs” implies that the problem is on the labor demand side, but the CBO, as any honest person
can see, is talking about the labor supply side. So really, “jobs” aren’t being lost; people just don’t want to work. “Obamacare is inducing labor demand to shrink!” doesn’t have quite the same punch as “Obamacare is costing us jobs!” — though both are accurate. Yet all of a sudden,
Harsanyi (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
a precise elucidation on every underlying economic reason for what’s happening must be offered with each and every mention of the CBO report. Otherwise, “lies.” WELL, UNLESS you spin the projection as good news. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman told reporters that Obamacare allows greater “choice” not to work. White House press secretary Jay Carney followed. And soon, left-wing media followed. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler prepared a bizarre factchecking piece that was helpfully titled “No, CBO did not say Obamacare will kill two million jobs.” “First, this is not about jobs offered by employers. It’s about workers — and the choices they make,” wrote Kessler. Yes, the choice not to work at a job. Using Kessler’s logic, each time some clueless reporter mentions the word “jobs” in any story
about the labor force participation rate — or the unemployment rate, for that matter — he or she may be lying to the public. Magically, liberals argue it is a good thing that Americans will drop out of the labor market and a “lie” to claim that Obamacare is the impetus for impeding job growth. Yes, for an estimated $1.2 trillion over the next decade, we can subsidize your freedom. In ordinary times, if a projection found particular legislation to be the impetus for more than two million people dropping out of the labor force during serious economic stagnation, newspapers might have reported it in a negative light. And maybe that was their initial intent here. But within a few hours, many were changing headlines. Here are a few, according to the Post’s Erik Wemple: Politico at first: CBO: Lower enrollment, bigger job losses with Obamacare. Politico now: Report reignites debate over Obamacare and jobs. UPI at first: CBO: Obamacare to cost 2.3 million jobs over 10 years. UPI now: WH disputes media claims on CBO Obamacare study. WHAT WAS once a story about Obamacare’s discouraging work and impeding job creation is now a dispute about semantics. Mission accomplished. February 7, 2014
I say this because President Obama doesn’t seem to get this. He is hung up on inequality. But why is wealth- and income-inequality bad? If the oil-royalty owner makes $1 million while the roustabout in the field in North Dakota or Texas or Ohio or Pennsylvania makes $100,000, there is greater inequality, but everybody benefits. What Obama doesn’t get is that the creation of successful millionaires is not a zero-sum game. The millionaire’s success does not come at the expense of everyone else. In fact, that success makes everyone better off. Free-market capitalism should make us all equal at the starting line, and that should lead to better, though unequal, outcomes at the finish line. The point here is opportunity, freedom and economic dynamism. More millionaires create healthier economies with more jobs, stronger families and better lives than our parents and grandparents had. But now comes a new CBO study of Obamacare, which exposes a perverse incentive system that will cause the equivalent loss of 2.5 million jobs over the next decade as people work less, not more. In the Obama scheme, an industrious person climbing the ladder of opportunity is penalized heavily for his or her success. Health care subsidies are reduced as a result of her higher income, while marginal tax rates go up as she shifts into a higher tax bracket. So she loses the government benefit and her effective federal tax climbs higher. There is no ladder of opportunity here. It’s really a work trap that becomes a poverty trap. It’s similar to the other traps found in welfare, food stamps, unemployment compensation and the marriage penalty. Democrats defend this work trap as providing more leisure time. But they forget to tell you that the perverse health care incentives that lead to less work also lead to less income, less wealth, less opportunity and less economic freedom to prosper. So step back for a moment, and look at the contrasting visions of Harold Hamm and Obamacare. Mr. Hamm’s roustabouts and millionaires create huge incentives to work and prosper. President Obama’s health care plan creates huge incentives not to work, not to supply labor, not to work harder and not to create the opportunity for a rosier future. THE FORMER is an optimistic vision. The latter is profoundly pessimistic. This whole central-planning rigmarole called Obamacare runs counter to the great traditions and values of America. February 6, 2014
CHECKS AND BALANCES: February 12, 2014
How much power will Congress let Obama seize?
ould Congress stop President Barack Obama if he unilaterally declared he was raising the federal income tax rates for families that earn between $50,000 and $99,000 per year? This week, Obama swept aside the plain and unambiguous language in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that he personally signed and fought all the way to the Supreme Court to maintain, so he could unilaterally suspend the law’s requirement that the government extract penalty “payments” from businesses that do not comply with a mandate to provide their workers with health insurance.
IT DOES NOT appear Congress is going to do anything about this remarkable usurpation of power. So, if the president can unilaterally cut the payments some businesses are required by law to make to the government, why can’t he unilaterally increase the payments extracted from some families? Why can’t he just set tax rates at whatever level he pleases? Why can’t he do the same with spending? Do the actual words in our laws still bind the people sworn to execute them? No. Has Obama violated his oath of office? Yes. On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It said that if “any applicable large employer fails to offer to its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer sponsored plan ... for any month ... there is hereby imposed on the employer an assessable payment.” The law specified that the “term ‘applicable large employer’ means, with respect to a calendar year, an employer who employed an average of at least 50 full-time employees on business days during the preceding calendar year.” It then set an absolute statutory deadline for such employers to provide such coverage: “The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after Dec. 31, 2013.” On July 2, 2013, Obama’s Treasury Department announced that the administration was changing the statute’s employer-mandate deadline from Dec. 31, 2013 to the beginning of 2015. Obama did not consult Congress about this, let alone seek a legislative change to the actual law. He simply had his Treasury Department announce that his administration was changing the law. This week, Obama did it again. The Treasury Department announced that for businesses that have between 50 and 99 full-time workers, the dead-
line for providing health insurance the president: “He shall take care that will now be the beginning of 2016. If the laws be faithfully executed.” a business has 100 or more full-time And it requires him to take workers, Treasury this oath: “I do soldeclared, they emnly swear (or will be permitted affirm) that I will to insure as few faithfully execute as 70 percent of the Office of (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate their workers in President of the 2015 and not be United States, and penalized. will to the best of my ability, preserve, The words of the actual law remain protect and defend the Constitution of on the books: “this section shall ap- the United States.” ply to months beginning after Dec. 31, The Constitution gives Congress, 2013.” We now know they are mean- not the president, the power to make ingless. laws. Obama is usurping that power And they are not the only words and Congress is letting him — just as it Obama has rendered meaningless. let him usurp its power over authorizing military force when he unilaterally LAST JULY, when Obama first ordered the U.S. military to intervene unilaterally suspended the employer in Libya’s civil war. mandate, I wrote in this column that Yet more profound than Obama’s he was violating both the Constitution disrespect for the law and the Constiand his oath of office. tution is his disrespect for the inalienArticle II of the Constitution says of able God-given rights of individuals.
As a state senator, he famously led the effort to defeat a bill that would have simply declared a born baby a person. Today, he is fighting cases in multiple federal courts, including the Supreme Court, arguing that his administration has the right, through a regulation issued by the Health and Human Services Department, to force Christians to act against their faith in providing insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. The question is not whether Obama will violate the law, overstep the Constitution and obliterate the most sacred rights of individuals, including the right to life and the freedom of conscience. He already has done all these things. THE QUESTION is whether this Congress, or the next, will do anything about it.
HEALTH CARE: February 12, 2014
Medicaid: Barrier to education
n state capitols throughout America, a drama will play out this coming year and in every subsequent year for at least a decade. Legislators and governors will find themselves unable to provide decently for education without cutting back on the ambitious Medicaid expansion built into Obamacare. Even in those states that opted not to participate in raising the eligibility levels for Medicaid — and took the out Justice Roberts gave them — the Medicaid rolls will rise as more of those previously eligible sign up through the well-publicized federal exchanges.
THE EXPLOSION in Medicaid cost and enrollment represents a dire threat to educational quality in all 50 states. Simply put, improving our failing schools will have to wait as Obamacare drives up state health spending. Last year, education ate up $286 billion of the $1.5 trillion in state spending — about 19 percent. But Medicaid gobbled up $478 billion — or 32 percent. But this is just the beginning. Due to lower medical inflation, Medicaid spending has grown only at about two percent a year during the past two budget cycles. However, due to Obamacare’s increased Medicaid enrollment, Medicaid spending is projected to rise 12.2 percent in 2014, 7.9 percent in 2015 and 2016, and 6.6 percent per year thereafter. Meanwhile, state total spending is projected to hold fair-
ly steady at $1.5 trillion (http://www. usgovernmentspending.com/). The left is going to have to choose between Medicaid and education. We cannot afford both. Of course, states can still raise taxes and join jurisdictions like Detroit into their slow spiral to oblivion.
Morris (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
Is the Medicaid spending worth it? Is it a good trade to swap our children’s future for a perceived increase in health care quality for today’s poor? Does increasing Medicaid help to improve the health of the new recipients? The seminal study says: not by much. THE STUDY came about when Oregon expanded its Medicaid program in 2008, using a lottery to determine who would benefit from the limited expansion. Amy Finkelstein, an economic professor at MIT, and Katherine Baicker from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed the results in what came to be called the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. The researchers found “no measurable health benefits in the Medicaid group for several chronic conditions, including hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.”
They did find that expanding Medicaid coverage caused the newly enrolled to throng emergency rooms. Finkelstein said: “Medicaid coverage increases emergency department use, both overall and for a broad range of types of visits, conditions, and subpopulations, including visits for conditions that may be most readily treatable in primary care settings.” In fact, she reported a 40 percent hike in ER visits among the newly enrolled. The control population and the Medicaid population in the study differed only in “the fact that some have insurance and some don’t.” So is the Medicaid expansion worth it? Is it an effective way to use state resources to tell an entire generation of children that they will have to wait for good schools until the Medicaid expansion experiment has run its course? Or will it be too late for them? IN LIGHT OF the lack of evidence that allowing poor adults under the age of 65 to get free medical care improves their health, are we justified in diverting funds that would likely otherwise go to schools, better teachers and enriched curriculums? With students throughout the nation no longer able to study such subjects as science, social studies and foreign languages due to financial limitations, are we right to make Medicaid the sole object of our generosity? Ask the kids.
February 19, 2014 DEAR MARK: February 8, 2014
Obamacare job loss, liberal sensibilities, Jay Leno DEAR MARK: The Obama administration’s response to the CBO report that the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs will be lost because of Obamacare is a joke. President Obama’s people are actually trying to convince us that this job loss is a good thing for Americans and proves once again how wonderful Obamacare is. Will they get away with this? — Can’t Fool Me Dear Can’t: Liberal politicians have pulled themselves out of a lot of tailspins before, but this one might be a little tougher to explain away, as the CBO is generally regarded as nonpartisan. The CBO report is devastating to Obamacare, so team Obama and his liberal minions are spinning faster than a figure skater at the Sochi Olympics. The premise the administration is trying to sell is that Obamacare is actually “empowering” American workers by giving them the freedom to choose to leave full-time jobs and move to part-time work with the help of government subsidies for health insurance. Liberals are even trying to promote a new term called “job lock.” According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman Adam Jentleson, “job lock is when people feel they have to stay in a job for the health benefits.” Really, libs are trying to fool us with some new-fangled terminology? The spin hits hyper speed when the presidential mouthpiece Jay Carney implies that this part of the Affordable
Care Act was intentionally put in the legislation so people could pursue their dreams. The liberal thinking is that under Obamacare people are free to choose part-time work and take government subsidies paid for by other people in order to pursue their personal dreams. He failed to mention the people forced into part-time work because of the ACA. But why ruin the liberal dream?
(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
Team Obama’s spin is flawed on every level, but let’s look at two. First: When 2.5 million full-time employees drop out of the workforce and take government subsidies, the U.S Treasury will take a big hit on tax revenue. Second: If a person goes from full-time to part-time just for subsidized health care, how will they pay the remainder of their bills such as rent, gas, food, etc.? Oh, that’s right — more government subsidies. Some pundits have pointed out that Obamacare redistributes wealth from the “makers to the takers.” With Colorado and Washington legalizing pot, I see Obamacare sending money from the “earners to the burners.” DEAR MARK: In his interview with FOX’s Bill O’Reilly, President Obama tried to ex-
plain that today’s liberalism is actually “sensible.” The president was good at giving vague answers, but how in the world could he make that claim? — Sharon in Oklahoma Dear Sharon: Simple, liberal sensibilities are far different from the sensibilities of mainstream Americans. For instance, we’ve been told by liberals how great Obamacare would be, yet this week the CBO reported that 30 million people will remain uninsured after Obamacare is fully implemented. So after all this economic upheaval, we’re left with the same number of uninsured we began with. That is like cutting off the end of a blanket, sewing it onto the other end and claiming that it’s a larger blanket. That, my friend, is an example of sensible as defined by liberals.
DEAR MARK: With Jay Leno leaving the Tonight Show, I saw that Bill Clinton was his favorite political target with Leno telling over 4,600 Clinton jokes. Isn’t it funny that President Obama thinks he has it so tough? — Heeeere’s Johnny Dear Johnny: I’m not sure where you get your information because as far as I can tell Jay only told one Bill Clinton joke; the rest were true stories. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses and bartenders.
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DEATH PENALTY: February 11, 2014
Why do progressives want the Boston bomber to live?
ederal prosecutors have an- — assert that it provides an ‘illusion of nounced they are seeking ultimate punishment.’ The group noted penalties, even the death penalty for Boston that death when granted, are marathon bomber rarely carried out.” Dzhokhar TsarSo, then, a man naev. He and his who placed a brother, Tamerlan bomb next to an Tsarnaev, mur(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate eight-year-old dered three people and wounded more than 260. In addi- boy and blew him up along with other tion, they shot a Boston police officer innocent people must not be executed because executing such people is “disto death. criminatory and arbitrary,” is “inherentIN KEEPING with what the citizens ly cruel and unusual punishment,” and of progressive Massachusetts consider because the death penalty provides only to be progressive values, the great ma- an “illusion of ultimate punishment.” How is executing Tsarnaev “discrimjority of them oppose the death penalty for Tsarnaev. Only one out of three citi- inatory and arbitrary?” Against whom? Muslims? Males? Chechens? How is it zens supports his execution. The Boston Globe reported that, “inherently cruel?” Why isn’t life in prison from the age when asked to explain the ACLU’s opposition to executing Tsarnaev, “Carol of 19, which may include time in soliRose, executive director of the Ameri- tary confinement, inherently cruel? And “inherently unusual” is logically can Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said that the union opposes the almost impossible. Almost nothing hudeath penalty ‘because it is discrimina- mans do is inherently unusual. Whattory and arbitrary and inherently vio- ever is unusual is so because cultures lates the constitutional ban against cruel have decided that it is. Is eating insects unusual? In America it is. In parts of and unusual punishment.’” “Rose pointed out,” the Globe added, Africa it isn’t. But it is certainly not in“how the community rallied around the herently unusual. Likewise, capital punslogan, ‘Boston Strong,’ and said ‘that ishment is only unusual in cultures that means not letting terrorists or anyone have declared it so. In fact it is much else shake us from staying true to our more accurate to say that keeping all murderers alive is unusual. It violates values.’” The Globe also reported that “oppo- the most basic human instinct for fairnents of the death penalty — the Boston ness and justice. And the Boston Bar Association’s Bar Association declared its opposition to capital punishment earlier this month claim that the death penalty provides
only an “illusion of ultimate punishment” is either meaningless or untrue. The death penalty is surely more of an “ultimate punishment,” whatever that term means, than imprisonment. ALL THESE arguments are so morally and intellectually weak that one must search elsewhere for the reason people believe that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev must be allowed to keep his life. Where shall we search? Given that opposition to the death penalty is deemed a progressive position — meaning a left-wing position — one has to place this opposition within the general framework of leftism. Two major char-
acteristics of leftism, as explained in my last column, are a sympathy with, if not full adherence to, pacifism, and an unwillingness to confront evil. It is true of global evil. The left didn’t fight Communists nearly as much as it fought anti-Communists (“Cold Warriors,” was a common left-wing epithet). In our time, the left doesn’t fight Islamism nearly as much as it fights those who fight Islamism (“Islamophobic” is the epithet for such people). And it is true of individual evil. The left regards murderers, rapists, thieves and other violent criminals more as victims than as contemptible. Violent criminals do what they do because of poverty, racism and inequality, progressives argue. And these are not the only reasons violent criminals aren’t to blame. Secular progressive thought also denies free will, viewing all our behavior as ultimately attributable to genes and environment. Between blaming society and denying free will, progressives are more interested in understanding violent criminals than in punishing them. That explains why in Norway, for example, the maximum sentence for murder is 21 years in prison, and few Norwegian murderers spend more than 14 years behind bars. IN THEIR HEARTS, most progressive opponents of capital punishment think Norway has it right — including with regard to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whom they see as a young, naive victim of his older Islamist brother and his Islamist mother. On the other hand, the hearts of proponents of capital punishment focus on the photo of Tsarnaev placing a bomb next to an eight-yearold, and believe in that moment he forfeited his right to live. On this issue, the right and left not only have differing ideas, they have different hearts.
February 19, 2014 DEPENDENCY: February 11, 2014
The end of the line for the welfare state?
he Congressional Budget Office did not exactly say Obamacare would cost the nation 2.5 million jobs. But what it did say is vindication of what conservatives have preached since Barry Goldwater stood in the pulpit 50 years ago: The more liberal the welfare state, the greater the disincentive to work and the more ruinous the impact upon a nation’s work ethic. THE CBO HAS just given us a statistical measure of that truth. The Obamacare subsidies, it said, will cause some to quit work, others to cut back on the hours they work, and others to hold off going to work, so as not to lose the benefits. The cumulative impact of all these decisions will be equal to the loss of 2.5 million jobs by 2024. A devastating blow to an economy where the labor force participation is at a 30-year low. The CBO has put a number of what
As Robert Rector of Heritage Founeveryone knows to be true: If people don’t have to work to provide the needs dation wrote in January, if we judge of their daily lives, some will drop out Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society only the dollars spent to imand become permanent charges on the by prove the lives of the poor public purse, deadbeats. and near-poor, an The father of astronomical $20 modern liberaltrillion, it was a ism, FDR, never success. Rector disputed this. describes its di(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate As he warned in mensions. 1935, welfare is “The federal government runs more “a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the huthan 80-means tested programs that proman spirit.” This used to be called common sense. vide cash, food, housing, medical care Growing up, we all knew or read that and targeted social services to poor and those who inherited great wealth often low-income Americans. “Government spent $916 billion ended up never holding a “real job” and spent their days in a life of self-indul- on these programs in 2012 alone, and roughly 100 million Americans regence. However, a related and larger ques- ceived aid from at least one of them, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. tion is raised by the CBO: If Obamacare alone will cost the (That figure doesn’t include Security or equivalent of 2.5 million lost jobs to the Medicare.) “Federal and state welfare spending, U.S. economy, what is the impact of our entire welfare state on the vitality and adjusted for inflation, is 16 times greater than it was in 1964.” dynamism of the U.S. labor force?
DEPENDENCY: February 12, 2014
Dependency, not poverty
here is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor” (http://tinyurl.com/448flj8), report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.
THE CENSUS BUREAU pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it’s 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8eight percent. For married white families, it’s five percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?
There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery
Williams (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
... showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940?” Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity? NO ONE CAN blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married cou-
ple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it’s $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long. Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation” (http://tinyurl.com/kmhy6es). Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some. THERE’S VERY little guts in the political arena to address the basic causes of poverty. To do so risks being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive. That means today’s dependency is likely to become permanent.
Yet, if we judge the Great Society by its goal, providing the poor with their basic family needs so they can go out into the marketplace and find jobs and join their fellow Americans, it has been, writes Rector, “a catastrophe.” SCORES OF millions of Americans are today less able to achieve self-sufficiency through work than were their grandparents. And by providing for all the needs that the father used to provide for his family, the Great Society has helped make fathers superfluous. We have created a system where a teenage girl who becomes pregnant can have all her basic needs met by government. This is a primary cause of the rise in illegitimacy in America from six percent of all births in 1963 to 41 percent today, and to 53 percent among Hispanics and 73 percent among AfricanAmericans. And that record illegitimacy rate is directly tied to the drug use rate, the dropout rate, the crime rate and the incarceration rate. If the goal of the Great Society was to turn America’s tax consumers into taxpayers, it has been a total failure. We have now a vast underclass of scores of millions who are dependent upon government for most or all of their basic needs, a class among whom many, if not most, have lost the ability to survive without government money, food and shelter. This is something new in America, something we did not know with the Irish boat people of the 1840s, the Okies in Dust Bowl days or during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Monday’s New York Times reveals a relevant and startling fact. Only eight percent of the cab and rental car drivers in New York City are native-born Americans. Three times as many yellow cabdrivers in New York were born in Bangladesh than in the USA. What is happening in America is that the vast cohort of working men and women, immigrants, illegal and legal, who have come in recent decades, 30 to 40 million, have displaced, have dispossessed, the native-born. But we may be coming to the end of the line. From Detroit to Greece to Puerto Rico, government’s ability to expand the benefits of the welfare class by taxing the working and middle class is reaching its limit. TAXPAYERS ARE rebelling, budgets are falling dangerously out of balance, and the welfare state is beginning to buckle under the load. Perhaps T. S. Eliot was right: “This is how the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”
HEALTH CARE: February 5, 2014
Bay State’s model of health care ‘reform:’ Wait for it
s Massachusetts, now in its sev- law would be “a model for the nation,” enth year under Chapter 58, the and indeed it was the template of the health care overhaul signed into Affordable Care Act — as President and many Demolaw by Governor Mitt Romney in 2006, O b a m a crats have reada preview of what ily acknowledged. the rest of the Which suggests country can exthat what’s happenpect under Obaming in Boston is acare? If so, my (c) 2013, Boston Globe unlikely to stay in fellow Americans, Boston. you’d better get “Long wait times in Boston may used to waiting. be driven in part by the health care reACCORDING TO a national sur- form initiative that was put in place in vey of approximately 1,400 medical Massachusetts in 2006,” the new study practices in 15 major metropolitan mar- notes. As the share of residents without kets, the average wait for new patients health coverage has shrunk to three perscheduling a non-emergency doctor ap- cent, “many patients in Massachusetts pointment between June and November are encountering difficulty in accessing 2013 was 18.5 days. In Boston, howev- physicians. ... Long appointment wait er, patients had to wait an average of 45 times in Boston could be a precursor days, and considerably more than that of what is to come nationally should for some specialties. The wait was 66 some 25 million people or more evendays to see a family physician and 72 tually obtain health insurance through the ACA.” days to see a dermatologist. The Massachusetts Medical Society With 450 doctors per 100,000 residents, Boston has a higher ratio of phy- raises similar concerns. In a statewide sicians to population than any other survey last year, it found that half of metro market in the study, which was primary-care practices were not acconducted by Merritt Hawkins, a Texas- cepting new patients. Among those that based health care search and consulting were, wait times averaged 39 days for firm. All other things being equal, such an appointment with a family physian abundance of providers ought to cian, and 50 days for an internist. The mean shorter waits for an appointment, numbers have fluctuated over the years. But the trend is clear, and disturbing: not the longest in the country. But all other things haven’t been The share of family physicians and inequal for Massachusetts, especially ternists available to new patients has since the enactment of Chapter 58. dropped by one-fifth over the last seven Romney accurately predicted that the to nine years.
HEALTH INSURANCE doesn’t guarantee accessible and affordable health care, not even in the state with the nation’s highest concentration of medical providers. Through a combination of penalties, subsidies, mandates and moral suasion, Massachusetts has succeeded in achieving near-universal insurance coverage for Bay State residents. But that doesn’t mean that those residents are getting the care they need, from the providers they prefer, at prices they can afford. Chapter 58 hasn’t brought down health insurance premiums, as its proponents were sure it
would. Nor has it saved the commonwealth millions of dollars, freeing Beacon Hill to concentrate on other public priorities. Last fall, amid the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare exchanges, the president flew to Boston to defend the law in a speech at Faneuil Hall, where Romney had signed the Massachusetts legislation seven years earlier. “I’m confident these marketplaces will work,” Obama said, “because Massachusetts has shown that the model works. What Massachusetts really shows is that it’s possible, in a state where roughly 90 percent of population already had health insurance, to deploy an elaborate series of carrots and sticks and boost coverage levels to about 97 percent. Beyond that, as the Pioneer Institute’s health-policy analyst Joshua Archambault demonstrated in a series of eye-catching graphics at the time of Obama’s Boston visit, the Massachusetts experiment only confirms that health care reform is a lot easier to proclaim than to accomplish. Romney’s law didn’t make a dent in the number of patients showing up in the state’s emergency rooms. It didn’t keep insurance premiums from racing ahead of inflation. It didn’t relieve taxpayers from having to pour hundreds of millions of dollars annually into more and more “free” care for safety-net users. And it hasn’t made it any easier to get a doctor’s appointment without a long wait. ANDREW DREYFUS, the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, often introduces himself to out-of-state audiences by telling them: “I am from the future.” Now there’s a scary thought.
February 19, 2014 HEALTH CARE: February 7, 2014
The health care myths that we live by
wedish researchers report that antioxidants make cancers worse in mice. It’s already known that the antioxidant beta-carotene exacerbates lung cancers in humans. Not exactly what you’d expect given the extravagant — and incessant — claims you hear made about the miraculous effects of antioxidants. IN FACT, they are either useless or harmful, conclude the editors of the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine: “Beta-carotene, vitamin E and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful.” Moreover, “other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases.” So useless are the supplements, write the editors, that we should stop wasting time even studying them: “Further large prevention trials are no longer justified.”
Such revisionism is a constant in ties about the workings of our staggermedicine. When I was a child, tonsillec- ingly complex health care system. Take tomies were routine. We now know that, three recent cases: except for certain indications, this is Emergency room usage. grossly unnecessary surgery. Not quite I t ’s long been assumed as harmful as that that insuring the unonce-venerable insured would save staple, bloodlethuge amounts of ting (which probmoney because ably killed George they wouldn’t (c) 2013, Washington Post Writers Group Washington), but have to keep usequally mindless. ing the emergency After “first, do no harm,” medicine’s room, which is very expensive. Indeed, second great motto should be “above that was one of the prime financial ratioall, humility.” Even the tried-and-true nales underlying both Romneycare and may not be true. Take the average adult Obamacare. temperature. Everyone knows it’s 98.6 Well, in a randomized study, Oregon F. Except that when some enterprising recently found that when the uninsured researchers actually did the measure- were put on Medicaid, they increased ments — rather than rely on the origi- their ER usage by 40 percent. nal 19th-century German study — they found that it’s actually 98.2. PERHAPS THEY still preferred the But if that’s how dicey biological immediacy of the ER to waiting for an “facts” can be, imagine how much more office appointment with a physician. problematic are the handed-down veri- Whatever the reason, this finding con-
ABORTION: February 6, 2014
On abortion, good news for babies
oes everyone agree that the recent news on abortion is actually quite promising? Abortions are in decline. Abortion is at its lowest level since Roe v. Wade in 1973 legalized it. There were 1.05 million abortions in 2011, down 13 percent from the 1.21 million abortions committed in 2008. We are heading back in the direction of the 1.03 million abortions committed in 1975. All this information comes from the Guttmacher Institute’s report “Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2011,” and the Guttmacher Institute favors abortion along with the more humane forms of birth control. So when even the Guttmacher Institute agrees abortion is down, it has got to be down.
NOT ONLY IS the number of abortions down, but also the incidence of abortion. The frequency of abortions has dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1000 women in 2011. That, too, is the lowest since 1973. The decline is widespread across the country, a national trend. In 2011, there were some 40,000 fewer abortions than in 2010. In recent years, abortion has been falling by four and five percent a year. Also the number of abortion facilities has declined. Between 2008 and 2011 the number declined by four percent. The number of women with unintended pregnancies choosing abortion dropped from 47 percent to 40 percent from 2000 to 2010. The debate about abortions is having
an effect, and the opponents of abortion are winning. This is a long-term debate, however, and it has been uphill all the way. When the Supreme Court intruded into the debate with its decision, it was up to the opponents of abortion to organize nationwide, and that is what they have done. The opposition to abortion has grown and so have the
Tyrrell (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
laws making an abortion harder to get. Brenda Zurita, a research fellow for the Concerned Women of America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, asserts that since 2010 the number of “pro-life laws” has multiplied: “In 2011, there were 92 prolife laws passed; in 2012, there were 43 passed, and in 2013, there were 70 more.” She adds that 81 clinics closed in 2013. The fact is, increasingly abortion is unlikely to be a spur of the minute decision. IN READING these statistics, I note that there is a heretofore invisible agent in the abortion debate. We all know about the women at the helm of the pro-abortion movement — most of them call themselves feminists. But has anyone noted that it is women who are leading the anti-abortion movement, too? Sure there is ex-governor Sarah Palin, who led the fight with tireless ad-
vocacy and even by example, taking her baby with Down syndrome to term. She has braved the abuse of the pro-abortion militants and deserves the support of all Americans. Yet, has anyone noted the ordinary women leading the movement at the local level? Women are taking responsibility for their lives and the lives that they carry in their wombs. They are doing what Irving Kristol once remarked women in pre-feminist societies always did, to wit: They stood as society’s last line of defense for morality. When feminists transformed abortion into a “women’s issue” they ignored the millions of women who always opposed abortion as pre-eminently a moral issue. They also ignored the millions of irresponsible men who were delighted to leave abortion as a women’s issue. These men never wanted to be held accountable for the child they fathered in the first place. Yet women and men have recognized steadfastly that abortion is one of the foremost moral issues of our time. They have moved the conscience of America to consider the moral heft of abortion and slowly, steadily they are rolling back Roe v. Wade. IN ANSWER to my initial question, everyone does not agree that the abortion news is good. But now the mindless acceptance of abortion has been challenged. The champions of abortion have to face up to the fact. There is a growing number of Americans who fear that abortion is killing babies and it ought to be stopped.
tradicted a widely shared assumption about health care behavior. Medicaid’s effect on health. Oregon allocated by lottery scarce Medicaid slots for the uninsured. Comparing those who got Medicaid to those who didn’t yielded the following stunning result, published in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first two years.” To be sure, the Medicaid group was more psychologically and financially secure. Which is not unimportant (though for a $425 billion program, you might expect more bang for the buck). Nevertheless, once again, quite reasonable expectations are overturned by evidence. Electronic records will save zillions. That’s why the federal government is forcing doctors to convert to electronic health records (EHR), threatening penalties for those who don’t by the end of 2014. All in the name of digital efficiency, of course. Yet one of the earliest effects of the EHR mandate is to create a whole new category of previously unnecessary health workers. Scribes, as they are called, now trail the doctor, room to room, entering data. Why? Because the EHR are so absurdly complex, detailed, tiresome and wasteful that if the doctor is to fill them out, he can barely talk to and examine the patient, let alone make eye contact — which is why you go to the doctor in the first place. Doctors rave about the scribes, reports the New York Times, because otherwise they have to stay up nights endlessly checking off boxes. Like clerks. Except that these are physicians whose skills are being ridiculously wasted. This is not to say that medical practice should stand still. It is to say that we should be a bit more circumspect about having central planners and their assumptions revolutionize by fiat the delicate ecosystem of American health care. In the case of EHR, for example, doctors were voluntarily but gradually going digital anyway, learning through trial and error what best saves time and money. Instead, Washington threw $19 billion (2009 “stimulus” money) and a rigid mandate at the problem — and created a sprawling mess. THIS IS NOT to indict, but simply to advocate for caution grounded in humility. It’s not surprising that myths about the workings of the fabulously complex U.S. health care system continue to tantalize — and confound — policymakers. After all, Americans so believe in their vitamins/supplements that they swallow $28 billion worth every year.
JOBS: February 7, 2014
Lackluster job growth: ‘No breakout’ year yet
e are in the sixth year of the reign of Obama, where America’s prolonged economic illness is met with one excuse after another. Where accountability is evaded at all costs by replacing Harry Truman’s “The Buck Stops Here” with “Blame Somebody Else.” Exhibit A: Last week, administration supporters, advisers and the news media were insisting the anemic number of jobs created in December (74,000) and January (113,000) was due to the severe winter weather and would soon turn around.
BUT IF THE polar vortex was the cause of the lower jobs count, how is it that construction was one of the relatively stronger job sectors in the last two months? After December’s shockingly weak jobs report, liberal economists and administration officials were predicting we would see the monthly jobs count soar in the new year. President Obama told the nation that 2014 would be “a breakout year,” but the minuscule number of jobs added last month fell far below the 200,000 jobs predicted by forecasters. Liberal Wall Street economist Mark Zandi said he was “very sure” December’s tiny job count would be “up and revised away” in the months to come. Zandi, one of the talking heads on the CNBC business channel, insisted the economy was on the brink of seeing much higher job growth in January.
“I wouldn’t pay any attention at all saying “that the results reflect a genuto these numbers,” he said on CNBC’s ine slowdown in economic growth.” This is a story of monumental imJan. 10 broadcast of Squawk Box about — economic, political the worrisome December report by the plications and social — yet the U.S. Bureau of LaWashington news bor Statistics. media have been When the complicit in playing show’s host, Anit down, coming drew Sorkin, (c) 2013, United Media Services up with excuses, asked him “to take whitewashing the us a month out. numbers or ignoring them altogether. What do these numbers ... look like?” In a nation with a workforce that Zandi replied: “It’s 200k, we’re once numbered in the 160 million looking at 200k monthly job growth.” Jared Bernstein, a former top eco- range, and that suffers from a serious nomic adviser in the Obama adminis- shortage of good-paying jobs, two tration, similarly wrote a column in the straight months of mediocre job numNew York Times saying that December’s bers is front-page news. But the Post buried January’s jobs report inside. jobs number “will later be revised.” But the 1,000 jobs added after the The White House must have breathed feds had massaged December’s num- a sigh of relief. The network news shows dutifully bers didn’t change the math equation much, and there were grave doubts job did their part by kissing off Obama’s creation would improve significantly in dreadfully sluggish job numbers. NBC’s Brian Williams gave the report the coming months. Even Washington’s top economic a few sentences and quickly went on to reporters, who had been talking up the other, lesser stories. Obama economy every chance they WHEN THE networks do stories got, were surprised at the back-to-back on unemployment, which is rare, one shallow jobs reports came in. “This was supposed to be the year name is never mentioned: Obama. It is the economy took off. Instead, new as if he is on one planet and the chronidata released Friday show that 2014 cally weak economy is on another, and stumbled out of the gate,” wrote the neither he nor his policies have anyWashington Post’s economics reporter thing to do with the latter. Not so when we heard about “ReaYlan Q. Mui. This was “the second straight month ganomics” over and over each night in of lackluster hiring,” Mui wrote, not- the 1980s, until Ronald Reagan ended ing that economic analysts were now the recession in two years with the help
of huge monthly job-creation figures in the hundreds of thousands. Well, Obama and his supporters can make all of the excuses they want, and the news media can ignore it night after night, but the jobless American people who suffer from Obamanomics know what’s going on. And they’re fed up. The Gallup Poll, which regularly takes the pulse of the nation for its Economic Confidence Index, released new numbers Tuesday that found public confidence in the U.S. economy has fallen to its lowest level since December. Last week, when the polling took place, only 39 percent of Americans “said the economy was getting better, while 55 percent felt it was getting worse.” Nearly 40 percent of the latter called the Obama economy “poor.” “Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the future of the economy,” Gallup said. And no wonder. Look at the abysmally low economic growth rate under this administration when compared with more recent presidencies. Here’s what New York Times economics writer Nelson D. Schwartz wrote on Jan. 30: Even after including the fourth quarter’s 3.2 percent GDP growth rate, “the economy has expanded at an annual rate of 1.8 percent under President Obama, half the pace of growth in the first five years of the Clinton administration,” and below the 2.5 percent annual growth rate for George W. Bush in his first five years. Don’t be fooled by the lower 6.6 percent unemployment rate. It fell a notch, but “largely because 91,000 additional working-age adults chose not to seek employment,” says University of Maryland business economic Peter Morici. Most of the decline in the jobless rate has been due to our shrinking labor force, as a result of discouraged, long-term unemployed adult workers who’ve given up looking for jobs that don’t exist. Weak employment growth is due to bad policies that have slowed business investment with higher capital gains and corporate tax rates, blunted energy production by blocking the XL pipeline, and undercut manufacturing growth because of Senate Democratic opposition to fast-track, job-creating trade expansion. Stanford University economist Keith Hennessey notes that Obama’s policies are all about worker “protections” and “assistance” like those in France, where the jobless rate is 10 percent. “WE’RE NOT there yet,” Hennessey says, “but all of Obama’s policies push us toward a European-style model.”
February 19, 2014 ABRAHAM LINCOLN: February 12, 2014
The key to it all: Lincoln’s birthday, 2014
n Italian exchange student once asked me what he should know in order to understand America. The best I could come up with on the spot was the U.S. Constitution, jazz and baseball. Later it would come to me that to study each of those only in the abstract, as just a rule book or a series of notes on a page, would be less than useful to someone trying to understand America. The notes would be there, but not the music. The rules of the game would be there, but not the spirit. That spirit cannot be appreciated apart from the history that gave rise to it, and which it shapes in return. WHAT WAS the country’s spirit like as Abraham Lincoln delivered his second Inaugural Address as president of the United States on Saturday, March
4, 1865? What must it have been like to tion of what had caused The War. As if standing on the heights of history, Mr. be there that day? Picture it: The new vice-president would cel- Lincoln would come as close as anyhas to answering that ebrate his swearing-in by delivering a one ever question. And his drunken rant about would not be the his modest beginpartisan answer nings and little one might have else. All around expected from the the capital lay the (c) 2013, Tribune Media Services leader of one side evidence of a great on the cusp of viccivil war that had consumed almost four long years, and tory in a terrible war: “Both parties deprecated war; but left the land covered in blood and ruin, widows and orphans and graves ... and one of them would make war rather was only then grinding to an uncertain than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it close. That was the dispiriting scene as the perish. And the war came.” once and future president rose to adAND THE WAR came. Like an dress those assembled there, and a shatawesome act of justice from on high, as tered nation. Even now, and certainly then, if to expiate the terrible sin of centuries learned scholars would debate the ques- of slavery: “These slaves constituted
RANDOM THOUGHTS: February 11, 2014
Some random thoughts Random thoughts on the passing scene: It is amazing how many people still fall for the argument that, if life is unfair, the answer is to turn more money and power over to politicians. Since life has always been unfair, for thousands of years and in countries around the world, where does that lead us?
I AM SO OLD that I can remember when sex was private. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” applied to everybody. However fascinated the U.S. Supreme Court may be with the concept of “diversity,” every one of the nine justices has a degree from one of the eight Ivy League institutions, out of the thousands of institutions of higher learning in this country. How diverse is that? Despite the rhetoric, the goals or the intentions of the political left, the world they seek to create is a world where decisions are taken out of the hands of ordinary citizens and transferred to third parties. Obamacare is the latest example of this trend, and can now join the long list of the “compassionate” catastrophes of the left. It is fascinating to see academics full of indignation over the “exploitation” of low-wage workers by multinational corporations in Third World countries, when it is common on their own academic campuses to have young men get paid nothing at all for risking their health, and sometimes their lives, playing football that brings in millions of dollars to the college and often gets coaches paid higher salaries than the president of the college or university. I don’t happen to like the idea of
“stop and frisk.” However, I like even less the idea of armed hoodlums going around shooting people. Those who refuse to see that everything has a cost should be confronted with the question: “How many more young blacks are you willing to see shot dead, because you don’t like ‘stop and frisk’?”
Sowell (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
If you think human beings are always rational, it becomes impossible to explain at least half of history. The ancient Greeks understood that carrying any principle to extremes was dangerous. Yet, thousands of years later, some Western nations take tolerance to the extreme of tolerating intolerance among immigrants to their own societies. Some even make it illegal — a “hate crime” — to warn against intolerant foreigners who would like nothing better than to slit the throats of their hosts, but who will settle for planting a few bombs here and there. HOW DO THE clever Beltway Republicans and their consultants explain how Ronald Reagan won two consecutive landslide election victories, doing the opposite of what they say is the only way for Republicans to win elections? I don’t know why it bothers me when I see a good-looking woman who could be truly beautiful if she only took the trouble. But I can recall a woman like that who was educated at Berkeley, and
who apparently thought attention to her appearance was not hip. Unfortunately, her husband met another woman, who had not gone to Berkeley, and who did not have this inhibition — or many other inhibitions. With his decision declaring Obamacare constitutional, Chief Justice John Roberts turned what F.A. Hayek called The Road to Serfdom into a super highway. The government all but owns us now, and can order us to do pretty much whatever it wants us to do. Anyone who wants to read one book that will help explain the international crises of our time should read The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill. It is not about the Middle East or even about today. It is about the fatuous and irresponsible foreign policies of the 1930s that led to the most catastrophic war in human history. But you can recognize the same fecklessness today. In a time of widespread disillusionment with both political parties, someone has noted that the only thing these parties say that is believed by the public are their accusations against each other. ONCE, WHEN I was teaching at an institution that bent over backward for foreign students, I was asked in class one day: “What is your policy toward foreign students?” My reply was: “To me, all students are the same. I treat them all the same and hold them all to the same standards.” The next semester there was an organized boycott of my classes by foreign students. When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.
a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. ... Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. ... The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” The Almighty has His own purposes. There is something biblical in those words. The victor would assign no blame that all did not share. If he had been unyielding in war, Abraham Lincoln would be more than magnanimous in victory. He would be humble, as his nation, North and South, had been humbled. The Almighty has His own purposes. Yet man must do what he can, without thought of vengeance or vainglory. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in. ...” Abraham Lincoln understood that the crisis he faced was too great for smallness on his part, or on his country’s. He would look beyond victory and defeat, beyond grief and vengeance, toward understanding, forgiveness, healing, hope. Toward a renewed and ever-new Union. The continuing and defining American challenge, said Tocqueville in his still unmatched study of Democracy in America, is to find the right balance between liberty and equality. In his Second Inaugural, Abraham Lincoln did not choose one or the other, or even portray them as opposing forces. He presented liberty and equality as one, each bracing the other, like the timbers of a great ship, as inseparable as the Union itself. Or in Daniel Webster’s words, Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable. The good ship Union would sail on long after its captain had departed, and it still heads, as always, in the direction of freedom — and not freedom for just this nation. For such a vessel cannot but help roil the waters all around, sending out ripples who knows how far, lifting the hopes of others just at the sight of its tall masts, its billowing sails, as it proceeds on its own undeterrable course. Despite the debris and wreckage in its wake, despite all the fears and animosities within and without, despite headwinds and gusts that send it off course, mutinies and failures of will, seizures of trepidation and indecision, it sails on, its flag still there. Undeterrable. I NOW REALIZE that, when my young Italian friend asked for the key to understanding America, I should have just handed him a copy of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, and said: “Here it is. Now go and study.”
SUCCESS: February 7, 2014
Americans learn to succeed by learning from failure
merica succeeds because Americans fail and forgive. That’s the intriguing message — or part of it — of Megan McArdle’s new book The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. McArdle, a Bloomberg blogger and columnist, stands out among economic writers, and not just because she’s the only woman among them who is 6 feet 2 inches. She combines a shrewd knowledge of economics and practical experience with a writing style that every so often segues into comedy monologue. AMERICANS FAIL a lot, she argues. Most new businesses fail. Most predictions are wrong. As the screenwriter William Goldman wrote about Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything.” And attempts to guard against failure can result in greater failures later on. Children prevented from roughhousing at recess may engage in riskier behavior later. Antibiotic overuse makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics, which then don’t work when you really need them. But good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment — from failures. The key question is how you respond, whether you learn from failure and rebound. Drawing from pre-history, McArdle contrasts farmers and foragers, the hunter-gatherers who lived before the development of agriculture. Foragers tend to share success with neighbors, in the expectation that others will share later. They see success as the result of luck — the hunter who happens to spy a particularly vulnerable mammoth. Farmers tend to share success only with family members. They see success — a plenteous harvest — as the result of their own families’ hard work and conscientiousness. They see no reason to share it with the lazy and feckless. Americans, in McArdle’s view, have values like those of farmers. Much more than Europeans, they believe that there is a connection between effort and reward. Those who have earned more deserve it. Europeans tend to believe that success comes mostly from luck. They enlist government to, in President Obama’s words to Joe the Plumber, “spread the wealth around.” But in some respects, Americans behave like foragers. They’re often ready to forgive failures. High-tech entrepreneurs like to hire people whose businesses failed because it shows a willingness to take chances. The U.S., McArdle points out, has the most accessible bankruptcy laws in the world. You can slough off your debts (except for student loans) relatively easily. In supposedly progressive Denmark, they hang over you for life.
Though not technically part of the The result is that, contrary to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s adage, there are many, millennial generation (those born after 1980), McArdle presents a Millennials’ many second acts in American life. the world. Americans also, though McArdle view of Sudden macrodoesn’t mention economic shifts can this, donate far result in months of more to charsoul-deadening ity than Europeunemployment ans do. Great phi(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate (she was working lanthropists have in IT just as the created beneficial institutions — Andrew Carnegie’s li- dot-com bubble burst). The future is wildly unpredictable, braries, John D. Rockefeller’s research medical schools, many donors’ univer- failure is frequent, success seemingly serendipitous (her freelance blogging sities — which Europe can’t match. got her a job blogging at the Economist). Her advice is to avoid enterprises MCARDLE MOSTLY ignores religion, but this blend of farmer property- that are in long-term decline, such as owning and forager sharing is in line General Motors starting in the 1970s. In with Christian teaching. There is such a business and public policy, try to learn thing as sin, and it should be penalized. from well-conducted experiments — But there is also the possibility of for- but recognize that successful trials can’t giveness and redemption and a duty to always be replicated on a large scale. Don’t rush to conclude that disasshare in your own way.
ters like the 2008 financial crash are the result of conspiracy or the errors of one easily identified group of malefactors. Bubbles happen in any free market economy and are hard to identify until they burst. “The world is an increasingly insecure place,” she writes, “and there is no way to make it less risky.” The best way ahead is to admit mistakes quickly, understand that you may well fail, but you can usually rebound and punish rule-breaking promptly and consistently but lightly. THIS BOOK about people who fail is also a book about how a nation succeeds. The “American Bourgeois Synthesis,” McArdle writes, is good but not perfect, promoting entrepreneurship but over-penalizing some mistakes. Americans — and America — can succeed, but only if people learn from their failures.
SOCHI OLYMPICS: February 10, 2014
Putin’s potemkin games
f there were an Olympic competition for gross expression of authoritarian egotism, Russian President Vladimir Putin would win the gold medal going away. His Sochi Olympics are a vanity project joined to the blundering power of the Russian state. Only a leader drunk on his own power would insist on transforming a tiny subtropical resort town (average February temperature: high 40s) into the site of the Winter Olympics, and only an unaccountable political system would let him get away with it. It is the misfortune of Russia to have both. Let the games begin.
THE SCALE of the construction involved has been gargantuan. And so has the corruption. When Russia won the games in 2007, it said it would spend $12 billion on them; it only underestimated by roughly a factor of five. Russian expert Leon Aron of the American Enterprise Institute notes that the 28 miles of highway and railway linking Sochi to the nearby mountains has cost more than $8 billion, enough to pave the roadway with mink furs. The building spree was in the tradition of Peter the Great’s creation of the new capital of St. Petersburg out of nothing in the 18th century, or Josef Stalin’s forced industrialization in the early 20th. In other words, development by diktat. The rapid construction spawned the shoddy work that went viral on Twitter as #SochiProblems: Brackish drinking water (although that’s the norm for
too many Russians). Missing manhole covers. A bathroom door that locked a bobsledder inside. It is about what you would expect if a strongman ruling by whim demanded just-in-time delivery of a new city from graft-addled construction companies ruthlessly exploiting migrant labor.
Lowry (c) 2013, King Features Syndicate
FOR PUTIN, any cost, and any means, was worth it. Like the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, these games are priceless political propaganda. By securing them, Putin also bought the tacit cooperation of the global media, which might scoff at the glitches and tsk-tsk at his regime’s anti-gay discrimination, but at the end of the day will always “oooh” and “aaah” at the spectacle of it all and accentuate the positive. The opening ceremonies inevitably delivered a potted, whitewashed version of Russian history (anything approaching accuracy would be too dark and disturbing). NBC Sports gently played along. A narrator for the network called the Revolution of 1917 “one of modern history’s pivotal experiments,” a euphemism that makes the ascension to absolute power of a grim, murderous ideology sound as innocuous as Thomas Edison fiddling with prototype light bulbs in Menlo Park. When during the ceremony a little girl let go of a red balloon to symbolize
the end of communism, Meredith Vieira said it represented “the end of the 20th century dream” and called it “a bittersweet moment.” After all these decades, communism is still the totalitarianism with the best PR. Gazing over the spectacular pageantry was the all-powerful maestro of the games. Evidently, no detail was too small. One of the bearers of the Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies was Alina Kabaeva, a rhythmic gymnast who once won an Olympic gold medal but whose real accomplishment is being romantically linked to Putin. That was enough to earn her a place of honor among a select few of Russia’s top athletes, including tennis star Maria Sharapova. Assuming no terrorist attack or other catastrophe, the games will suit Putin’s purposes nicely. He needs triumphs on the world stage to distract the Russian public from the country’s oligarchic government, its meltdown in public health and its economic dysfunction. International legitimacy and prestige aid the cause of his misrule, and the International Olympic Committee is happy to provide them by the bucketful. IT IS APPEARANCES that matter most in these Potemkin games. When one of the five Olympic rings failed to materialize during the opening ceremonies, Russian TV viewers saw a doctored version with all five rings immaculately displayed. Vladimir Putin willed it, and it was so. It is good to be czar.
February 19, 2014 SUCCESS: February 11, 2014
So what is your ‘back 16 Japan’ move?
merican snowboarder Sage responded, “Send it! What do you have Kotsenburg, a native of to lose?” Though he had made his mark as a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, made snowboarder back in the decision of his life in Olympic com- c h a m p i o n Kotsenburg was alpetition over the weekend, and it paid the U.S., ready being cast as off big-time, with an underdog in the the first American Olympics — espegold medal — cially while in the and the first gold shadow of megamedal in general (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate star Shaun White, — in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Whatever who withdrew from the men’s slopeour aspirations, his example shows us style competition a few days earlier. He was up against not only 11 other the way to our ticket to gold, too. Olympic competitors but also his own AFTER EARNING his place in the internal risk walls and emotions. I can finals by finishing second in the semi- imagine he could feel his heart poundfinals earlier on Saturday, the 20-year- ing as adrenaline surged through his old Kotsenburg called his elder brother body at the starting gate while he was Blaze, who was at home in Park City, alone thinking of his upcoming unUtah, and U.S. coach Bill Enos to run tried trick. I’m sure he asked himself, if by them a risky and, some would say, even momentarily, “What if I don’t pull off the back 16 Japan?” It could have crazy idea, according to USA Today. Kotsenburg wanted to throw some- meant the agony of defeat before his thing into his first Olympic finals run largest audience ever. Well, Kotsenburg faced his fears and — a trick he never had done before in either practice or prior competition. It is slam-dunked his back 16 Japan and called a “back 16 Japan,” which is es- the slopestyle snowboarding contest, sentially spinning backward 4 1/2 times which was also making its Olympic de(1,620 degrees of rotation) while grasp- but as an event. He received a score of ing the back part of one’s snowboard 93.50 on that first run — a high score (Japan). It is also known as a backside that slayed the following nine competitors and even held throughout the secdouble-cork 1620 Japan. At first, I’m sure coach Enos and ond runs of competition, too. Kotsenburg was ecstatic and knew brother Blaze raised their eyebrows at the idea. One might try that daring trick exactly why he won: a single risk, a on a practice run back in Park City, single trick, a single act of competibut at the Olympics during the finals? tive courage, to which he also added Kotsenburg said to his coach, “I think his unique hold on the board, named I might go back 16 Japan.” The coach the “Holy Crail.” He said somewhat
shocked and laughing after the run, “I ended up landing it and winning with it.” (Isn’t that exactly how all of us have felt after doing something we thought we could never do?) Kotsenburg demonstrated something I’ve believed all of my life, during my careers in martial arts, movies and television: There’s no reward without risk. There’s no higher compensation without facing the challenge. There’s no gold without the bold. THE REASON that athletes — like entrepreneurs, educators and myriad others who advance in life — are often successful is that they are willing to face their fears and even failure. They won’t give up; they won’t give in. They may fall to the ground in defeat from time to time, but by sheer determination — and often God’s grace and a little help from friends — they will rise again to meet the challenges of a new day. So I know that Kotsenburg’s U.S. teammates in the slopestyle competition, Chas Guldemond and Ryan Stassel, though they didn’t win a medal this time, will not give up their future hopes and goals.
Kotsenburg’s own attitude about the possibility of failure before his back 16 Japan was this: “I really want to medal just as much as the next guy, but my attitude in the run: If I land, that’s cool; if not, I need to try harder, obviously. That’s just how I snowboard.” In the end, I believe we all have to answer with our lives the question Kotsenburg’s coach asked him on the phone: “What do you have to lose?” Taking a chance is almost always risky. But what’s the alternative? You’ve heard it said that “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” It’s also true that a rut is merely a grave with the ends knocked out. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m certainly not saying that I believe we all should risk life and limb. Remember that Kotsenburg is a trained professional and was stepping up and out in his area of calling and expertise. Logic should precede the leap — or at least build its platform. Is risk difficult? That’s an understatement. But is the goal worth the gamble? I believe so; otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am. I go to the words of my hero, John Wayne, who said, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” Kotsenburg said in an interview after winning Olympic gold: “Honestly, it feels like a dream right now ... seriously the craziest thing ever. ... I didn’t really ... think it would happen.” The road to the next level is always uphill, but so is better living. And the only thing that often separates us from it is our (next) “back 16 Japan.” So what is your “back 16 Japan?” I don’t know specifically what it is for you, but I bet you do. And it’s likely the next move you need to make to get to a new plateau — to attain your award. KOTSENBURG STANDS on the shoulders of his predecessors in modeling for us our next step in life. Truly, America’s first gold medal in the Winter Olympics can be our ticket to gold, as well. Congratulations, Sage! You were willing to pay the price, and now you have the prize!
HILDA SOLIS: February 12, 2014
Culture of corruption postscript: The Hilda Solis files
ut on your super-shocked fac- $1 million in contributions from labor es, everyone: Former Obama unions and spent thousands of dollars sion spots described administration official Hilda on televigroup in its report to Solis, who is now running for yet anoth- by the the FEC as “elecer government potioneering comsition in Los Anmunications.” The geles, is embroiled scheme circumin yet another vented vaunted union corruptoc(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate McCain-Feingold racy scandal. The Hope and Change hits just keep on com- campaign finance reforms barring so-called soft money donations from ing. unions and corporations alike. Despite SOLIS SERVED as President No apparent violations of both basic discloMore Business As Usual’s first secre- sure and campaign finance rules, Solis tary of labor. Remember waaaay back skated. — Upon winning confirmation, Solis then, when “most transparent administration in history” had not yet become quickly went to work doling out plum an automatic punchline? Well before political appointments at the Labor DeSolis’ confirmation, it was already clear partment and fat pay raises to a halfshe was a poster child for left-wing slea- dozen of her former Capital Hill staffers. Americans for Limited Government zeball politics: — Solis’ husband’s businesses failed found that “the appointees had signifito pay thousands of dollars in tax liens, cant pay increases averaging 50 percent which were 16 years old, until she was upon changing jobs; one employee’s salary nearly doubled.” Cha-cha-chanominated. — While she was in Congress, So- ching! After stepping down from her Obama lis served as director and treasurer of a union-promoting lobbying group, cabinet position last year, Solis is back American Rights at Work, which was in the political spotlight. With massive pushing her Big Labor “card check” union backing of some $500,000, she’s legislation to eliminate the secret ballot, running for the powerful Los Angeles undermine worker choice and obliterate County Board of Supervisors. Question: Why did she step down privacy protections. — Solis failed to disclose those inter- from her cushy White House post? Inest-conflicted positions to the House on quiring local reporters in Los Angeles her financial disclosure forms. In effect, wanted to know. Last week, the Los Angeles Times she was lobbying herself — while the group she worked for raked in at least reported that her resignation coincided
with an FBI inquiry into her role at an Obama re-election campaign fundraiser in 2012. When the paper asked the Solis campaign whether she had informed Obama of the FBI probe, a spokesman responded tersely: “It is inappropriate for a cabinet official to (discuss) private communications with the president.” Oh, now we care about what’s appropriate? LOL. IT ALSO TURNS out that for the entire last year she served as President Obama’s labor secretary, Solis had retained a high-priced Washington, D.C., law firm “to address legal issues” involving the fundraiser and possible violations of the federal Hatch Act — which prevents cabinet members from directly grubbing for campaign cash. Solis had incurred a debt of between $50,000 and $100,000 for the legal bills. Her campaign says it’s almost “all” paid off, but won’t specify by how much. On Monday, the latest eruption of corruptocracy shook the Solis machine. Hews Media Group-Community News obtained a lawsuit filed in California’s
Central U.S. District Court claiming that Solis “was provided thousands of dollars worth of free private jet travel without declaring the trips on the federal government required forms, paid for by the powerful International Union of Operating Engineers based in Pasadena during the same period she was undergoing confirmation hearings to become part of Obama’s cabinet.” IUOE Local 12 owns a Cessna Citation XL jet, which ferried Solis back and forth between the coasts. IUOE First Vice President William Waggoner, a defendant in the suit, reportedly bragged to fellow union officials that he was providing her transportation. Put on your super-duper shocked faces: Solis, the serial disclosure dodger, failed to report the in-kind donation to the Federal Election Commission as required by law. Birds of a dirty feather flock together. Solis’ pal Waggoner and his fellow IUOE brass have been accused by rankand-file union members of systemic embezzlement, kickbacks, shakedowns, nepotism and intimidation. According to federal class-action litigation, the IUOE’s former national leader made death threats against dissenting members; officials allegedly took kickbacks from employers who shortchanged pension and training funds. The L.A. Times detailed more charges, including that “one former local official siphoned off union money for entertainment and his girlfriend’s breast enhancement; and another flew to auto races and family gettogethers on an $8.6-million jet ostensibly purchased for union business.” Courthouse News reported on another lawsuit against IUOE officials exposing how Waggoner’s alleged “nepotism and a bad investment vehicle led to the evaporation of $50 million in IUOE pension funds.” Union members are accusing Waggoner of pressuring local branches “to invest their pension funds in Amalgamated Bank’s product line, which were sold by Waggoner’s wife, Patricia, one of the bank’s vice presidents.” JET-SETTING UNION crony Solis has the gall to brag about her record fighting income inequality and defending Big Labor rights. Maybe she should focus less on closing the wage gap and more on closing her truth and ethics gap.
February 19, 2014 WW II: February 12, 2014
1944: The Anzio idea, the Rapido reality
ity. British infantry attacked on Jan. 17 Rome and counter-attacked the Britand made gains along the Garigliano. ish salient on Jan. 20. Allied forces However, on Jan. 18, concealed Ger- landed at Anzio on Jan. 22, 1944, and little initial resistance. man artillery and machine guns shred- m e t Jeeps reconned a Roded the U.S. 36th man suburb. HowInfantry Division ever, the bulk of An(Texas Division) zio force remained as its GI’s dragged near the seaport, assault boats and (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate consolidating the bridging gear beachhead. Then across a wide plain toward the Rapido River. Ger- German tanks and infantry occupied man observers in the mountains had the positions in the hills east of Anzio. The grenadier divisions blunted the 36th’s assault battalions under constant British penetration. Panzers surrounded surveillance. German armor reserves did react to Anzio as German artillery pounded the the Monte Cassino attack; the Allied beach and port. The tandem Anzio and Monte CassiHOWEVER, WHEN executed, the generals got that right. Two panzer “Anzio idea” produced an ugly real- grenadier divisions left positions near no operations were supposed to break
he complex operation could be summarized with deceptive simplicity. First, punch Monte Cassino, the fortified gut of the Nazi’s western Gustav Line. Hit the sector hard, with aerial bombardment and artillery barrage. Then rush veteran British and American infantry across the Garigliano, Rapido and Liri Rivers to assault the German front. When the panzer reserve counter-attacks, throw a sea-borne left hook deep in the German rear. For maximum psychological effect, land the amphibious end-around just southwest of Rome, on the beaches around the resort town of Anzio.
CBO REPORT: February 9, 2014
ACA: Paying more to work less
n 2010, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted the Affordable Care Act as a bill “not only about the health security of America; it’s about jobs. In its life, it will create four million jobs, 400,000 jobs almost immediately.” A newly released Congressional Budget Office analysis reported that Obamacare is expected to shrink the workforce by 2.5 million full-time jobs by 2024. So you can stow that Pelosi quote in the warehouse of discarded Obamacare promises. Grab a forklift, and you can park it behind President Barack Obama’s pledge, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” HOUSE SPEAKER John Boehner seized on the CBO report to bolster his assertion that Obamacare is a “job killer.” After he tweeted that Obamacare is “expected to destroy 2.3 million jobs,” PolitiFact rated the tweet “mostly false” because employers won’t kill the jobs; workers will. The CBO determined that “workers will choose to supply less labor — given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive.” To many Democrats, apparently, that’s all good. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., marveled that parents who work three part-time jobs now could afford to work two: “They might be able to tuck their child in bed at night ... or go to an activity, which means they’re better off.” (To my mind, they’d be better off in an economy that offers more full-time jobs with benefits.) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hailed Obamacare for ending “job lock” — the term for people sticking with a
job they don’t like in order to retain employer-based health care. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, however, sees a different kind of job lock. The CBO predicted that the “largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lowerwage workers.” To Ryan, that means the government is dangling incentives for young people not to work or to work fewer hours so that they can continue to receive subsidies; he fears young people will lock themselves from job opportunities that let them “join the middle class.”
Saunders (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate
AT A HEARING Wednesday, Ryan stipulated that the problem with Obamacare is “not that employers are laying people off” but that when the workforce isn’t supplying labor to the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs, that “lowers economic growth.” CBO Director Doug Elmendorf replied, “Yes, that’s right, Mr. Chairman.” He actually admitted that Obamacare hurts economic growth. Here’s a bit of news you won’t find among the White House’s top talking points: According to the CBO, the penalty for employers who don’t provide health care to their workers “will be borne primarily by workers in the form of reduced wages.” Workers stand to make less money — and that, too, presents an incentive to work less. On the high end, small-business owners may decide to shrug, Atlas-like — work less, earn less.
San Carlos, Calif., insurance agent Tony Uccelli tells me that mere months into Obamacare, he already sees clients discussing how to manage their income. In his ZIP code, a head of household who makes $90,000 can qualify for a subsidy as high as $6,800; if he makes $100,000, he gets no subsidy and pays more than $3,500 in state and federal taxes on the last $10,000 earned. There is “no incentive for this person to keep working” through December, Uccelli says. The New York Times editorialized, “The new law will free people, young and old, to pursue careers or retirement without having to worry about health coverage.” There’s no denying the social benefit in enabling people to start their own businesses without fear of losing health care, but does this country really want or need more early retirees? White House spokesman Jay Carney has been happy to point out that the CBO report found “no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA.” Ignore what the CBO dismisses as “anecdotal reports.” YOU HAVE to love the budget bureaucrats’ logic. Analysts predict that working stiffs will decide to cut back their hours or decline employment because of Obamacare’s financial incentives, hence the 2.5 million drop in the workforce. Yet somehow large corporate interests will not shift jobs from full-time to part-time positions in order to avoid the requirement that they provide full-time staffers with approved health care plans or pay a $2,000 penalty. I guess that like me, they don’t care a whole lot about making loads of money.
the Italian stalemate. But mid-February 1944 found the Anzio force isolated and in danger of being destroyed. The U.S. corps commander at Anzio was relieved of his command. He argued he had too few troops to protect the beachhead and strike inland. But that was one of the operation’s complex risks. The Anzio idea relied on surprise and quick movement. The invasion got what units were available; it did not have the forces the mission actually required. INSTEAD OF high payoff, the January ‘44’s high-risk assaults produced high casualties, with gains measured in graveyards, not miles. Indeed, that had been the Allied experience on the Italian peninsula beginning with Salerno in September 1943. Winston Churchill dubbed Italy Europe’s soft underbelly. The difficult battles in October and November 1943, as Allied forces inched “up the Italian Boot,” demonstrated that the Prime Minister was dead wrong. German infantry knew how to lace Italy’s mountains and volcanic ridges with barbed wire and mines. As the Rapido fiasco demonstrated, German artillery could quickly turn the alluvial plains and marshes bordering Italy’s mountain rivers into kill zones. No one could fault the 36th’s citizen soldiers for the Rapido defeat. Even before Rapido, the 36th had a reputation for resilience, sacrificial effort and the ability to fight despite sustaining heavy casualties. In December 1943, the 36th Infantry Division, reinforced by the 504th Parachute Regiment (82nd Airborne Division) had endured grievous losses in the Battle of San Pietro as the division cracked the German defense on Monte Sammucro. U.S. Army captain (and Hollywood great) John Huston would later make the 36th and the sad village San Pietro the subjects of one of the war’s most poignant and gritty documentary movies. Thirtysixth Division Capt. Henry Waskow was killed in action at San Pietro. War correspondent Ernie Pyle memorialized the young officer in one of the greatest pieces of war literature ever written: a dispatch entitled “The Death of Captain Waskow.” THE 36TH COULD handle tough combat. The Rapido, however, was an utter disaster, one so bitter that division veterans and the Texas legislature would condemn it as a “murderous blunder” and “one of the most colossal blunders of the Second World War.” The Texans blamed U.S. Army Fifth Army commander Gen. Mark Clark. Seventy years after Rapido, surviving division vets still bristle when they hear the name “Mark Clark.”
IRAN: February 11, 2014
Obama seeking opening with Iran as Nixon did China?
s Barack Obama trying to shift alliances in the Middle East away from traditional allies and toward Iran? Robert Kaplan, author and geopolitical analyst for the Stratford consulting firm, thinks so. In a realclearworld.com article, Kaplan argues that the Obama administration sees the recently elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “as a potential Deng Xiaoping, someone from within the ideological solidarity system who can, measure-by-stealthy-measure, lead his country away from ideology and toward internal reform.” SUCH A development, he goes on, is “something that could, in turn, result in an understanding with the West.” That of course is not what the president and Secretary of State John Kerry say they’re up to. They say they’re trying to get Iran to agree to stop its nuclear weapons development. No talk of a new alliance. But Kaplan’s view provides a more convincing explanation of what they’ve actually been doing. It helps explain why Obama and Kerry remain equable in the face of Iranian officials’ public statements that they have not given up their nuclear program. It also helps explain their adamant opposition to the sanctions bill supported by 59 senators and a large majority in the House. That bill would apply enhanced sanctions if and only if the administration did not achieve its stated goals at the end of the six-month negotiating period agreed to in November and that took effect, after resolution of “technical” issues, in January. Obama spokesmen say the sanctions legislation might torpedo the negotiations and even lead to war. The Iranians, brought to the table by sanctions, will walk out if more sanctions are threatened. That makes little sense. Particularly because in his State of the Union message Obama said that he would be the first to insist on more sanctions if negotiations failed. Why oppose legislation that would make his own threat more credible? It would make sense, however, if Obama is trying to construct, in Kaplan’s words, “a concert of powers that would include America, Iran, Russia and Europe,” all opposed to Sunni al Qaeda terrorists. Kaplan compares Obama and Kerry on Iran with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger on China, attempting to reconcile with a long-shunned adversary based on shared common interests. But there are significant differences between Nixon and Kissinger’s opening to China and what Kaplan says Obama and Kerry are doing today. The first is that Nixon and Kissinger
IRAN’S MULLAH regime has been waited until they had strong concrete evidence that China’s leaders had inter- sponsoring armed attacks on Americans for 35 years. Its assaults on al Qaedaests consistent with America’s. As a candidate, Nixon wrote a 1967 type terrorists have been limited, so far record shows, to a bit Foreign Affairs article saying “we can- as the of help in Afghaninot simply afford stan a decade ago. to leave China The second difforever outside ference between the family of naIran now and tions.” But he (c) 2013, Creators Syndicate China then is that called that a longrun goal, dependent on China “accept- Obama and Kerry, in Kaplan’s account, ing the basic rules of international civil- place much stock in Rouhani as a change agent who will modify the character of a ity.” In office, Nixon and Kissinger lis- regime hostile to the U.S. for 35 years. Previous administrations have seen tened to Chinese officials’ denunciations of the Soviets and Soviet diplo- earlier Iranian presidents as change mats’ alarm over China. But only after agents too. Former Defense Secretary they observed a Soviet arms buildup Robert Gates in his book Duty notes that and armed clashes on the China-Soviet every president since Jimmy Carter has border did they actively pursue commu- tried to reach out to Iranian leaders “and nications with China through intermedi- every one of them has failed to elicit any meaningful response.” aries.
The reason is that the firmly antiAmerican supreme leaders, Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, hold the real power, not the occasional smiling frontman president. Nixon and Kissinger did not rely on some internal reformer to turn China around. Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms started four years after Nixon resigned, and his name does not appear in Kissinger’s memoir The White House Years. The Nixon-Kissinger opening did not rely on regime change — Kissinger’s account portrays them as puzzled by internal Chinese politics — but on a demonstrated common interest in cabining in the Soviet Union. DO OBAMA and Kerry really believe that we share such a common interest with the mullahs’ Iran?
TOM COTTON: February 4, 2014
You can almost hear this one squeal
nly one of this [Arkansas] farm state’s U.S. representatives voted against this year’s swollen ($100 billion a year) farm bill? Naturally, it would be Tom Cotton. Other congressmen talk a good game about the need to cut out the waste in an out-of-control federal budget that continues to mortgage the country’s future — and take from future generations by saddling them with more and more government debt. But this Tom Cotton acts. And, as in this case, votes.
HE’S ALWAYS been that way. He left a prestigious federal court clerkship to join the Army, where he went through both Airborne and Ranger training before two tours of duty in the Iraq/Afghanistan killing fields. While there, Capt. Cotton earned a Bronze Star, among other commendations, and the respect of the troopers he took on daily — or nightly — combat patrols. How rare, though not unknown: a congressman who acts on his patriotic convictions, and doesn’t just mouth them. Even as a Harvard undergraduate, the boy from Dardanelle, Ark., was writing columns in the Crimson defending conservative values, an act of derring-do in those frigid latitudes that should have earned him combat pay long before he was eligible for the real thing. He’s got True Grit, like Mattie Ross of Buddy Portis’ fine and not entirely fictional novel. She, too, came from “Yell County, near Dardanelle,” as she was always proud to say. Maybe it’s something in the water up around there.
Whatever it is, Capt. Cotton stands by his guns, and not just figuratively. As he did on this issue, outvoted but not outfought. And he could scarcely have found a worse example of Washington’s pork-barrel, log-rolling, deficit-enhancing ways to vote against than this year’s atrocious-as-usual farm bill. This thing’s got so much pork in it, you can almost hear it squeal.
Greenberg (c) 2013, Tribune Media Services
IF THERE was a special interest in the whole, sprawling, grasping farmindustrial complex now known as Agribusiness that didn’t get its cut, it got it by some other name. For example, the feds’ command-and-control system that keeps the price of milk and other dairy products artificially high is now called insurance, but that doesn’t make it any easier for poor families to afford milk. Those direct handouts in the millions to planters, whether they actually plant a crop or not, are still there — but they’re called Crop Insurance. There’s no surer sign than this rotating crop of euphemisms that something fishy is going on in government. And in the government-subsidized industry that American “farming” has become. Even the Obama administration’s tax on Christmas, specifically Christmas trees, is still there in this latest farm bill, but be sure to call it a Promotion Program.
Yes, there are good reasons, or at least good rationalizations, for Congress’s finally passing a farm bill this year, the best being to remove farmers’ uncertainty about just what role the feds will play on their farms before spring planting is here. Yes, the food-stamp rolls have grown since 2008 — in tandem with the Great Recession and the greater number of poor, even hungry folks. But it remains one of the better administered and just plain decent government programs in existence. It should never have been yoked with a gigantic vat of pork like the farm bill. But that’s how Washington has become accustomed to working, and what the American people have become accustomed to accepting in our public “servants,” even when they’re serving private greed. Passing a farm bill is a great triumph — but only for the farm lobby, not the rest of us. It takes a clear-eyed Tom Cotton to tell us what’s happening right before our eyes — and have the courage to vote against it. No wonder he’s become a rising star in his party. This year he’s taking on one of the Democrats’ old seatwarmers in the Senate — Mark Pryor, who’s never met a principle he couldn’t compromise and call the result “moderation.” WHAT A NICE change, and great senator, Tom Cotton might make. Talk about shaking things up. Nothing might do that in Washington like just telling the simple truth.
February 19, 2014 FOREIGN POLICY: February 7, 2014
Staying out of other people’s wars “If these negotiations [with Iran] fail, war dead are commemorated, including there are two grim alternatives,” said Hideki Tojo and 13 other Class A war Sen. Richard Durbin, “a nuclear Iran, or criminals. Asia today is like “19thwar, or perhaps both.” century Europe, Sens. John Mcwhere military conCain and Lindsey flict is not ruled Graham returned out,” said Henry from the Munich Kissinger at Musecurity confer(c) 2013, Creators Syndicate nich. ence saying that Cal Coolidge’s admonition not to even John Kerry agrees that President Obama’s Syrian policy has failed. They panic — “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that are urging another look at air strikes. nine will run into the ditch before they NORTH KOREA is warning that reach you” — is often wise counsel. should the annual U.S.-South Korean Yet, any of these five situations could military exercises go forward in March, bring about a war, a war involving us. For we are obligated by treaty to deit could mean war, possibly nuclear war. Philippines President Benigno Aqui- fend South Korea, Japan and the Philipno III this week compared his country’s pines. And the Obama “pivot” to Asia is situation to Czechoslovakia in 1938, seen by Beijing as a U.S. strategic move and the disputed islets off his coast in to contain China’s rise to superpower the South China Sea to the Sudetenland. status. The possibility of America being Like Hitler in Europe, Aquino is saying, dragged into a new war is growing. China is on the march in Asia. For not only is Beijing bullying its Aquino wants the world, i.e., us, to coastal neighbors, the Middle East is stand up to China. At Davos, Prime Minister Shinzo descending into a maelstrom. Libya is disintegrating. Egypt is Abe compared Japan’s clash with China over the Senkaku islands in the East moving toward a new military dictaChina Sea to German-British tensions torship. Sinai is a no man’s land. Syria on the eve of World War I. Though they is three years deep in a civil-sectarian were major trading partners, like China war with 130,000 dead. Sunni and Hezand Japan, said Abe, Germany and Brit- bollah groups car-bomb one another in Lebanon. Iraq is being torn asunder by ain went to war. China’s foreign ministry charged Sunni Islamists in Anbar, newly battling Abe with “saying these things for the the Shia regime in Baghdad. Tribalism purpose of escaping Japan’s history of tears at Yemen. Afghanistan may see a return of the Taliban when we go. aggression.” Nuclear-armed Pakistan is trying to China was enraged by Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine where Japanese reconcile with its own Taliban. Al Qa-
eda has denounced the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria for atrocities and dividing the rebel cause in Syria. Even the jihadi terrorists are fighting one another. BEHIND THESE conflicts is a Moslem awakening, a Sunni-Shia struggle for supremacy, the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia for primacy in the Gulf, and the ethnonational dreams of Pashtun, Baluch, Kurds and other tribes. Still, it is hard to see any U.S. vital interest so imperiled in these conflicts to justify plunging into another war in that hate-filled and blood-soaked region. Sarah Palin’s suggestion, “Let Allah sort it out,” begins to sound like the sage counsel of George Kennan. Twice since last summer, anti-inter-
ventionists have routed the War Party. First, with the popular uprising that swamped calls for strikes on Syria. Second, with this winter’s blockage of new sanctions on Iran that could have torpedoed negotiations. Yet in both cases the anti-interventionists succeeded because Obama has never at heart been a war president. And because the country does not want any more wars. A sign of the times was ex-Reagan speech writer and veteran Congressman Dana Rohrabacher telling C-SPAN the U.S. media give too much time to McCain and Graham, who do not speak for the Republican Party when they call for military action. They speak only for themselves. Yet, despite the victories of the antiinterventionists, the United States remains a hostage to war. Dating back to the early years of the Cold War, in the 1950s, we signed treaties obligating us to fight for scores of nations on five continents. NATO alone now requires us to defend 25 European countries, from Iceland to Estonia. How many of these war guarantees are vital to U.S. security? How many of these treaties, which could require us to go to war with nuclear-armed powers like Russia and China over tiny islets and minuscule nations half a world away, are truly in America’s national interest? The 2016 primaries are the setting for the Republican Party to debate and to adopt a new foreign policy for the 21st century, a policy that rejects the mindless interventionism of the McCains and steers us around, not into, the wars of the future that are surely coming. IT’S TIME for antiwar conservatism — staying out of other people’s quarrels and other nations’ wars — one of the oldest and proudest traditions of the republic, to regain its rightful place in the Grand Old Party.
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•NEWSPAPER• •DATED MATERIAL•
Postmaster: Timely Material Please deliver on or before 2/19/14 Periodicals Postage Paid Mailed 2/13/14
Read Mona Charen, Larry Kudlow & David Harsanyi on Pages 16-17
This week our CONSERVATIVE FOCUS is on:
Read William Murchison’s Column on Page 1
Short-Circuiting Our Laws
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 • Volume 29, Number 8 • Hampton, Iowa