Sunday, December 18, 2011


MUDD: Do know what the penalty for fraud is on Deneb Five?
SPOCK: The guilty party has his choice. Death by electrocution, death by gas, death by phaser, death by hanging...
MUDD (interrupting): The key word in your entire peroration, Mister Spock, was, d-d-death.
-From the Star Trek episode I, Mudd

Osama bin Laden's fate was sealed as soon as his exact whereabouts became known to the U.S. military (thanks in part to intelligence obtained from the waterboarding of 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed). Unlike a convicted citizen of Deneb Five, the "choice" of the means of death would not be bin Laden's. The President of the U.S. would decide whether it would be a missile strike or execution by special ops. There is no mainstream politician in America (Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul don't count) who would have spared bin Laden. Yet Obama uses the bin Laden case to fend off criticism that he's an appeaser - "Ask Osama bin Laden...whether I engage in appeasement..."
Actually, it would be more revealing to ask Vladimir Putin or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Hugo Chavez or Kim Jong Il that same question. (It would also be much more likely to receive any response. Recall Obama's comment in a 2008 Memorial Day speech -
"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes – and I see many of them in the audience here today..."
Apparently, not only can Obama see dead people, he wants to talk to them).

Sorry Barack. If there's one word that most closely describes your foreign policy, it's appeasement. And what has it accomplished? In the case of Iran, Charles Krauthammer explains,

For his exertions, Obama earned (a) continued lethal Iranian assistance to guerrillas killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, (b) a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador by blowing up a Washington restaurant, (c) the announcement just this week by a member of parliament of Iranian naval exercises to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, (d) undoubted Chinese and Russian access to a captured U.S. drone for the copying and countering of its high-tech secrets.

How did Obama answer that one?

On Monday, he politely asked for the drone back.

On Tuesday, with Putin-like contempt, Iran demanded that Obama apologize instead. “Obama begs Iran to give him back his toy plane,” reveled the semi-official Fars News Agency.

Just a few hours earlier, Secretary Clinton asserted yet again that “we want to see the Iranians engage . . . we are not giving up on it.”

Tough talk indeed.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Losing Iraq

One of these guys looks very happy (thinking he's picked up some votes, no doubt) - the other, not so much.

Fouad Ajami in today's WSJ explaining what Obama squandered in Iraq.

Also this from the (recently) late, (somewhat) great Christopher Hitchens writing in The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2004, considering a question that the Left (understandably) wants left unexamined - what would be the state of Iraq and the Middle East had Saddam Hussein remained in power?

A few more years of Saddam Hussein, or perhaps the succession of his charming sons Uday and Qusay, and whole swathes of Iraq would have looked like Fallujah. The Baathists, by playing off tribe against tribe, Arab against Kurd and Sunni against Shiite, were preparing the conditions for a Hobbesian state of affairs. Their looting and beggaring of the state and the society—something about which we now possess even more painfully exact information—was having the same effect. A broken and maimed and traumatized Iraq was in our future no matter what.

Obviously, this prospect could never have been faced with equanimity. Iraq is a regional keystone state with vast resources and many common borders. Its implosion would have created a black hole, sucking in rival and neighboring powers, tempting them with opportunist interventions and encouraging them to find ethnic and confessional proxies. And who knows what the death-throes of the regime would have been like? We are entitled, on past experience, to guess. There could have been deliberate conflagrations started in the oilfields. There might have been suicidal lunges into adjacent countries. The place would certainly have become a playground for every kind of nihilist and fundamentalist. The intellectual and professional classes, already gravely attenuated, would have been liquidated entirely.

All of this was, only just, averted. And it would be a Pangloss who said that the dangers have receded even now. But at least the international intervention came before the whole evil script of Saddam's crime family had been allowed to play out. A subsequent international intervention would have been too little and too late, and we would now be holding an inquest into who let this happen—who in other words permitted in Iraq what Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright and Kofi Annan permitted in Rwanda, encouraged by the Elysee. . . .

I hope I do not misrepresent my opponents, but their general view seems to be that Iraq was an elective target; a country that would not otherwise have been troubling our sleep. This ahistorical opinion makes it appear that Saddam Hussein was a new enemy, somehow chosen by shady elements within the Bush administration, instead of one of the longest-standing foes with which the United States, and indeed the international community, was faced.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Obama's Class Warfare

President Obama's latest divisive campaign speech in Osawatomie, Kansas last week has drawn some pointed critiques. The best of these were written by Charles Krauthammer, Mark Steyn and Rich Lowry. Links and a few excerpts follow.

Where to begin? A country spending twice as much per capita on education as it did in 1970 with zero effect on test scores is not underinvesting in education. It’s mis-investing. As for federally directed spending on innovation — like Solyndra? Ethanol? The preposterously subsidized, flammable Chevy Volt?

Our current economic distress is attributable to myriad causes: globalization, expensive high-tech medicine, a huge debt burden, a burst housing bubble largely driven by precisely the egalitarian impulse that Obama is promoting (government aggressively pushing “affordable housing” that turned out to be disastrously unaffordable), an aging population straining the social safety net. Yes, growing inequality is a problem throughout the Western world. But Obama’s pretense that it is the root cause of this sick economy is ridiculous...

...In Kansas, Obama lamented that millions “are now forced to take their children to food banks.” You have to admire the audacity. That’s the kind of damning observation the opposition brings up when you’ve been in office three years. Yet Obama summoned it to make the case for his reelection!...

...This is populism so crude that it channels not Teddy Roosevelt so much as Hugo Chávez. But with high unemployment, economic stagnation, and unprecedented deficits, what else can Obama say?

He can’t run on stewardship. He can’t run on policy. His signature initiatives — the stimulus, Obamacare, and the failed cap-and-trade — will go unmentioned in his campaign ads. Indeed, they will be the stuff of Republican ads.

What’s left? Class resentment. Got a better idea?

The president of the United States came to Osawatomie, Kan., last week to deliver a speech of such fascinating awfulness archeologists of the future sifting through the rubble of our civilization will surely doubt whether it could really have been delivered by the chief executive of the global superpower in the year 2011...

...His opponents, he told us, “want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess . . . . And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules . . . . It doesn’t work. It has never worked.” He blamed our present fix on “this brand of ‘you’re on your own’ economics.”

This is a deliciously perverse analysis of the situation confronting America and a fin de civilisation West. In what area of life are Americans now “on their own”? By 2008, Fannie and Freddie had a piece of over half the mortgages in this country; the “subprime” mortgage was an invention of government. America’s collective trillion dollars of college debt has been ramped up by government distortion of the student-loan market. Likewise, health care, where Americans labor under the misapprehension that they have a “private” system rather than one whose inflationary pressures and byzantine bureaucracy are both driven largely by remorseless incremental government annexation. Americans are ever less “on their own” in housing, education, health, and most other areas of life — and the present moribund slough is the direct consequence.

The federal government already runs a sprawling, massively redistributionist system of taxes and benefits. The top 1 percent earns about 17 percent of all income and pays about 37 percent of all federal income taxes. By the reckoning of Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, the welfare system has paid out roughly $16 trillion since the beginning of the War on Poverty.

But President Obama implied that some people are poor because other people are rich, an assumption of class antagonism antithetical to the American idea and tenuously connected to the evidence. Consider a concrete example. The president’s former top budget official, Peter Orszag, departed the administration to work at Citigroup for $2 million to $3 million a year. Putting aside the seemliness and the merits of Orszag’s pay and that of his cohorts on Wall Street, how does his paycheck make it harder for anyone else to get ahead? Orszag’s income doesn’t increase out-of-wedlock childbearing, incarceration, or lack of work effort — all significant obstacles to advancement up the income scale.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Optimistic Pessimist

The usually dour and despondent Conrad Black makes a cheerful prediction.

"As long as there is an alternative that can speak and tie up its shoelaces in the morning, I do not believe that this administration can be reelected. It is so unrelievedly incompetent that its fecklessness is more a matter of sadness and embarrassment than of the rage that engulfed George W. Bush. This, I surmise, is why the liberal establishment, the Times editorial writers and columnists, the Hollywood groupies, the rich fundraisers, don’t detect that the ship is sinking, and still squeal with delight as the Republican challengers fail to generate more than tentative or reluctant enthusiasm. But they are reading the wrong dials; there will be a Republican nominee. The country will not reelect this mockery of an administration, and whoever the Republican is will be elected and inaugurated, even if he has operated an open-air dog kennel on the wings of an airborne aircraft while groping relays of stewardesses."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The War On Tchochkes

Mark Steyn manages to mine entertainment and hilarity from a subject as dull and dreary as the Congressional "Super" Committee on deficit reduction.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mister Softee

Until I get around to writing my own essay cataloging the catastrophe of Barack Obama, President of the United States, there's Mark Steyn (NRO) to express some shared sentiments about this bewildering phenomenon.

‘The way I think about it,” Barack Obama told a TV station in Orlando, “is, you know, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft.”

He has a point. This is a great, great country that got so soft that 53 percent of electors voted for a ludicrously unqualified chief executive who would be regarded as a joke candidate in any serious nation. One should not begrudge a man who seizes his opportunity. But one should certainly hold in contempt those who allow him to seize it on the basis of such flaccid generalities as “hope” and “change”...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Obama's Austerity Plan

From Mark Steyn's latest column (NRO).

"As its own contribution to the end of the world as we know it, the Obama administration has just released a document called “Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction.” If you’re curious about the first part of the title — “Living Within Our Means” — Veronique de Rugy pointed out at National Review that under this plan debt held by the public will grow from just over $10 trillion to $17.7 trillion by 2021. In other words, the president’s definition of “Living Within Our Means” is to burn through the equivalent of the entire German, French, and British economies in new debt between now and the end of the decade. You can try this yourself next time your bank manager politely suggests you should try “living within your means”: Tell him you’ve got an ingenious plan to get your spending under control by near doubling your present debt in the course of a mere decade. He’s sure to be impressed."

Saturday, September 17, 2011


One aim of the Obama administration, and its allies in Congress, has been to drive up the costs of the nation's traditional energy sources - oil, gas and electricity - in order to advance its goal of a "green" driven economy. The idea is to make new technologies - wind, solar, and biomass - which are presently costly, inefficient and unreliable, appear attractive relative to cheaper, efficient and reliable older technologies. The strategy has yielded mixed results. While renewable sources have failed to make much of a contribution to the nation's energy needs, some progress has been made in fleecing consumers. Oil and gas prices have risen, in part, due to the administration's reluctance to issue new drilling permits. Obama's proposal to remove tax incentives for oil exploration, if enacted, will also have an inflationary effect. Passage of "cap and trade" legislation would have caused electricity prices to soar. The bill made it through the Pelosi House before failing in the Senate. Democrats still hope that they can achieve similar results by regulatory fiat - the EPA has passed rules limiting CO2 emissions from factories, oil refineries and electric utilities.

The government hasn't always been intrusive in matters best left to private initiative. In the late 19th century there was a recognized need to replace horses as the chief mode of transportation. As a New York Times article points out,

Back then, 100,000 to 200,000 horses lived in the city (New York). A typical horse produced from 15 to 30 pounds of manure (with the average output about 22 pounds) and about a quart of urine a day, usually distributed along the course of its route or deposited in the stable…

…The manure piles attracted huge numbers of flies, and one journalist writing in Appleton Magazine in 1908, charged that each year 20,000 New Yorkers died from “maladies that fly in the dust, created mainly by horse manure.”

…The horses posed another sanitation problem when they dropped dead — sometimes from overwork, sometimes from disease (like horse distemper and other maladies that caused horses to swell overnight). In 1880, New York City removed 15,000 dead horses from its streets. But sometimes a big carcass would simply be left to rot until it had disintegrated enough for someone to pick up the pieces.

Yet the federal government didn’t plow taxpayer money into the production of primitive, yet pricey gasoline powered motor vehicles. The market was allowed to respond to the problem and the result was Henry Ford’s assembly line. In our time, a “green” Henry Ford has yet to emerge.

Common sense dictates that new technologies should be well developed before being put into large scale practice. For Obama, politics will trump common sense every time. And politics was the impetus behind the Solyndra scandal. The loan guarantee to a company clearly headed toward bankruptcy was just a small part of the first "stimulus" bill but it exemplifies the bill’s true focus, not job creation, but payouts to Democratic constituency groups and campaign contributors. However, there's more to the affair than just logrolling.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy (NRO) has written a lengthy review of the facts of the case. I've excerpted some passages.

McCarthy describes the Solyndra scandal as

...not just Obama-style crony socialism as usual. It is a criminal fraud. That is the theory that would be guiding any competent prosecutor’s office in the investigation of a scheme that cost victims — in this case, American taxpayers — a fortune.

In 2003… the Justice Department famously charged Martha Stewart with securities fraud. Among other allegations, prosecutors cited public statements she had made in press releases and at a conference for securities analysts — statements in which she withheld damaging information in an effort to inflate the value of her corporation and its stock.

That’s exactly what President Obama did on May 26, 2010, with his Solyndra friends about to launch their initial public offering of stock.
The solar-panel company’s California factory was selected as the fitting site for a presidential speech on the virtues of confiscating taxpayer billions to prop up pie-in-the-sky clean-energy businesses.

...the company was hemorrhaging money and, even with the loan, would lack the necessary working capital to turn that equation around. Yet they caved under White House pressure to sign off in time for Vice President Joe Biden to make a ballyhooed announcement of the loan in September 2009. An OMB e-mail laments that the timing of the loan approval was driven by the politics of the announcement “rather than the other way around.”

[An aside - Timing is a major tactic of Obama politics. Two examples. Troop levels will be reduced in Afghanistan on September 15, 2012, during the thick of the fighting season, but just before the election. The pernicious effects of the tax rate increase and full Obamacare implementation will be felt in 2013 and 2014, after the election].

Continuing with McCarthy's column -

Why so much pressure to give half a billion dollars to a doomed venture? The administration insists it had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Solyndra’s big backers include the George Kaiser Family Foundation. No, of course not. George Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil magnate, just happens to be a major Obama fundraiser who bundled oodles in contributions for the president’s 2008 campaign. Solyndra officers and investors are said to have visited the White House no fewer than 20 times while the loan guarantee was being considered and, later, revised. Kaiser, too, made several visits — but not to worry: Both he and administration officials deny any impropriety. You’re to believe that the White House was just turning up the heat on OMB and DOE because Solyndra seemed like such a swell investment.

Solyndra’s backers disclosed the auditors’ bleak diagnosis in March 2010. The government had thus been aware of it for two months when President Obama made his May 26 Solyndra speech — the speech Solyndra backers were clearly hoping would mitigate the damage.

As president, Obama had a fiduciary responsibility to be forthright about Solyndra’s grim prospects — in speaking to the American taxpayers whose money he had redistributed, and to the American investors who were about to be solicited for even more funding. Instead, he pulled a Martha Stewart.

The president looked us in the eye and averred that, when it came to channeling public funds into private hands, “We can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra.”
He bragged that the $535 million loan had enabled the company to build the state-of-the-art factory in which he was then speaking. He said nothing about how Solyndra was continuing to lose money — public money — at a catastrophic pace. Instead, he painted the brightest of pictures: 3,000 construction workers to build the thriving plant; manufacturers in 22 states building an endless stream of supplies; technicians in a dozen states constructing the advanced equipment that would make the factory hum; and Solyndra fully “expect[ing] to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world.”

Not content with that rosy portrait, the president further predicted a “ripple effect”: Solyndra would “generate business for companies throughout our country who will create jobs supplying this factory with parts and materials.” Sure it would. The auditors had scrutinized Solyndra and found it to have, from its inception, a fatally flawed business model that was hurtling toward collapse. Obama touted it as a redistribution success story that would be rippling jobs, growth, and spectacular success for the foreseeable future.

...with numbing predictability, the Obama administration proceeded with an unjustifiable restructuring. In exchange for lending some of their own money and thus buying more time, Solyndra officials were given priority over taxpayers with respect to the first $75 million in the event of a bankruptcy — the event all the insiders and government officials could see coming from the start, and that hit the rest of us like a $535 million thunderbolt last week.

(My emphases)

Will Obama will receive the same punishment meted out to Martha Stewart?
Certainly. As soon as Bill Clinton is jailed for lying to a grand jury.
Apparently, Democratic presidents committing felonies face no consequences for their actions.

At least Obama and friends have learned their lesson, no?
No. Michelle Malkin writes that the money continues to flow into the green sinkhole.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dr. K In 2012

If I had the authority to appoint a president, the decision would be easy - Charles Krauthammer. Here is the clearest, most sensible analysis of the Social Security problem and how to fix it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Here again is the passage from a column by Victor Davis Hanson that I posted last week.

If one had collated everything candidate Obama declaimed about the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism policies from autumn of 2007 to November 2008, then one would have expected a President Obama to dismantle the entire Bush-Cheney national-security apparatus upon entering office, to pull out of Iraq (he originally said this should be done by March 2008, no less), and to keep our military out of the Middle East. Instead, Obama retained Secretary of Defense Gates, stuck to the Bush-Petraeus withdrawal plan in Iraq, expanded Predator-drone attacks in Waziristan, surged into Afghanistan, bombed Libya, and embraced everything from Guantanamo to renditions. That about-face, I think, was the most radical political development of the last quarter-century, and was treated with near silence by the media. It was as if, Code Pink, and Michael Moore had simply vanished from the face of the earth sometime around January 2009.

The question is, Why? Why did President Obama so casually and thoroughly discard Candidate Obama’s firmly stated (if not firmly held) belief that his predecessor’s antiterrorism policies were needless, ineffective and damaging? A belief shared nearly unanimously by his liberal-left base and by much of the sycophantic media.

The answer is (or should be) obvious. Candidate Obama, being Obama, didn’t know what he was talking about. He was ignorant, as were (are) his supporters, of the seriousness of the threat facing the U.S. from Islamic extremism. That threat isn’t just some concoction of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz neo-con cabal. It’s real. Bush’s final Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, is one of the most passionate and convincing spokesmen warning of the dangers we face. He notes that as a federal judge, the bench did little to prepare him to deal with the daily briefing he received as AG about the threat to America. “It is way beyond, way beyond anything that I knew or believed”.

Once Obama learned the details of the threat, he had no choice but to maintain the elaborate and highly successful anti-terrorism architecture that Bush had put in place. After all, as Mark Steyn points out, Obama can’t have a terrorist attack interfering with his plan to impose his socialist vision on the country.

As I saw it in November, 2008, there would be three beneficial consequences to Obama’s election. 1) The U.S. would have its first black president; 2) Democrats would be forced to accept the reality of the War against Radical Islam; and 3) We would be spared the calamity of a President Hillary Clinton. The first two have been realized. There’s a better than even chance the third will be.

A couple of good 9/11 columns –

Charles Krauthammer castigates those who deny the success of our reaction to the 9/11 attacks.

Our current difficulties and gloom are almost entirely economic in origin, the bitter fruit of misguided fiscal, regulatory, and monetary policies that had nothing to do with 9/11. America’s current demoralization is not a result of the War on Terror. On the contrary. The denigration of the War on Terror is the result of our current demoralization, of retroactively reading today’s malaise into the real — and successful — history of our 9/11 response.

And Mark Steyn writes what you would expect him to write for this anniversary, deriding the touchy-feely commemorations that completely miss the true significance of 9/11.

Upon arrival at the foot of the towers, two firemen were hit by falling bodies. “There is no other way to put it,” one of their colleagues explained. “They exploded.”
Any room for that on the Metropolitan Museum’s “Peace Quilt”? Sadly not. We’re all out of squares.

Mayor Bloomberg’s office has patiently explained, there’s “not enough room” at the official Ground Zero commemoration to accommodate any firemen. “Which is kind of weird,” wrote the Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle, “since 343 of them managed to fit into the exact same space ten years ago.”

343 NYFD firemen died that day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


One of my favorite scenes in the movie Amadeus has the composer Antonio Salieri conducting the ending of his latest Opera (Axur, re d'Ormus). At the conclusion of the piece, the (mostly musically illiterate) audience gives him a rousing ovation. The Austrian Emperor (Joseph ll) makes his way to the stage to proclaim that what was just heard was the greatest opera ever composed. After the Emperor leaves, Mozart approaches Salieri. Salieri, who idolizes Mozart as a composer (while detesting him personally), asks him if he was pleased by the opera. Mozart responds with sarcasm, which the clueless Salieri fails to detect.

Mozart - "I never knew music like that was possible".

Salieri – "You flatter me."

Mozart – "No no. One hears such sounds and what can one say but… Salieri!"

So it was with President Obama’s latest campaign speech Thursday night, badly disguised as a fix for the economy. “When one hears such words what can one say but…Obama!"

It’s been said – quite frequently nowadays – that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This actually seems more like stupidity to me. Whichever way you label it, liberals are clearly afflicted. I read recently that government stimulus packages have three effects – two of which are negative. There’s the initial temporary positive jolt to the economy – the sugar rush after eating a candy bar. This is followed by a depressive reaction as the stimulus passes through the system and flickers out – the sugar hangover. Then, finally the bill comes due – the candy bar needs to be paid for, with interest.
The first stimulus package, passed by a Democratic Congress (without a single Republican assenting vote – good for them), and signed by the president, cost roughly $850 billion. It caused a brief, minor uptick in growth, which then faded. We’re now suffering through the second phase – slow growth, high unemployment – which will worsen as the economy is further burdened with the expectation of higher taxes to pay the bill.

Liberals (notably, Paul Krugman) speculate that the stimulus didn’t work because it wasn’t big enough. (That’s what she said). Even if that were true, and it isn't, tacking on a smaller one ($450 billion) after the small beneficial effect of the first has died away, is certain to fail. For Obama, that doesn’t matter so much as the campaign imperative to show that he’s “doing something”.

Holman Jenkins has a perceptive column in the WSJ today which captures Obama’s true sentiments. Jenkins’ piece is written as a satirical first draft of Obama's Thursday speech. A few excerpts –

Jobs are the No. 1 priority of the American people. Jobs are the No. 1 priority of my administration's rhetoric. Jobs have not been the No. 1 priority of my administration's policies, however.

Consider my background. I don't know much about business and, frankly, don't care to. You see, I have a self-reinforcing image of Barack Obama. I am high-minded. Business people are greedy and, somehow, lesser. I stay focused on that.
Some might say, "Had I known this I never would have voted for you." A) You weren't listening carefully; and B) that was my intention, my art. To conceal—for instance, by dropping one's Gs—is what it means to be an effective left-wing ideologue in America these days.

In closing, let us recognize that an election is approaching. The time is upon us when my administration must ratchet up its rhetoric to make it sound like your agenda (jobs, growth) is my agenda.
Indeed, I will begin tonight by junking the more revealing passages of this draft speech and pretending that I place a higher value on job-creating pragmatism than on my progressive shibboleths.
This, I hope, will cause you to re-elect me. Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ten Years After

Excerpts from Historian Victor Davis Hanson's column on NRO today.

"Someone somewhere did something that kept us safe, but we were strangely afraid to acknowledge that there was any utility in the very protocols and foreign operations that had weakened our enemies to the point of an inability to replicate 9/11."

"If one had collated everything candidate Obama declaimed about the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism policies from autumn of 2007 to November 2008, then one would have expected a President Obama to dismantle the entire Bush-Cheney national-security apparatus upon entering office, to pull out of Iraq (he originally said this should be done by March 2008, no less), and to keep our military out of the Middle East. Instead, Obama retained Secretary of Defense Gates, stuck to the Bush-Petraeus withdrawal plan in Iraq, expanded Predator-drone attacks in Waziristan, surged into Afghanistan, bombed Libya, and embraced everything from Guantanamo to renditions. That about-face, I think, was the most radical political development of the last quarter-century, and was treated with near silence by the media. It was as if, Code Pink, and Michael Moore had simply vanished from the face of the earth sometime around January 2009."

"The age-old idea that killing die-hard enemies wins wars and ensures the peace is for some antithetical to the spirit of counterinsurgency doctrine, at least superficially so…Tens of thousands of hard-core jihadists from as far away as Algeria, Chechnya, Egypt, the Gulf monarchies, Libya, Syria, and Yemen obeyed the calls for jihad issued by the likes of Osama bin Laden, Dr. Zawahiri, and Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi. They flocked to al-Qaeda’s “main theater” of jihad in Iraq — and in Baghdad and throughout Anbar Province were killed in droves by the U.S. military and its Iraqi allies. Only off the record will military officers confess that the eventual American success in Iraq was due in some part to doing away with murderous jihadists and impressing the local population with our martial superiority. And even off the record, few will suggest that the absence of such killers from the world’s pool of hard-core terrorists may well have made life safer at home. We are in a new age when we “beat” or “subdue” the enemy but do not admit that we do that often through killing him. The Iraq War has become a story about troop levels, hearts and minds, and training the Iraqis, but not much about a shooting war in which thousands of jihadists lost."

"Conventional wisdom about our various responses to 9/11, and especially during the depression that followed from the Iraqi insurgency, dictated that the entire Arab Middle East would be set afire by U.S. intervention and retaliation…But in fact, while there were a few terrorist incidents, there were no oil embargoes, no mass uprisings, no concentrated attacks on U.S. bases."

"…for nearly 30 years Dick Cheney was a centrist fixer, praised by liberals as fair-minded, bipartisan, and sober and judicious in his rhetoric. He supported Ford over Reagan, tried to cut lavish weapons systems at the Pentagon, and brought a Wyoming humbleness to his Washington power-brokering. Then suddenly this all vanished with cries of “war criminal,” as the puerile Ronald Reagan Jr. recently exclaimed on MSNBC…Somehow bloggers and op-ed writers have established by their selective outrage a narrative that it was immoral of Cheney to approve the waterboarding of three confessed terrorists like KSM, but quite moral of Obama to expand fivefold the Predator targeted-assassination program that served as judge, jury, and executioner of suspected terrorists — and of any living thing in their vicinity when the Hellfire missiles obliterated their compounds."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

NPR, The Tea Party, and Race

Last week, Brent Bozell wrote a column examining the ever fertile subject of media bias at NPR. He gave the following example.

Let's just take one show, the Aug. 22 evening newscast "All Things Considered," perhaps one of the most ill named programs in the history of radio. Conservatism is never considered. It is only besmirched, assaulted and rhetorically dismembered.
NPR anchor Robert Siegel was covering the new Martin Luther King memorial statue on the National Mall in Washington D.C. So in order to consider all things, he asked black wacko-leftist Julian Bond if Tea Party activists were racist.
Siegel threw this softball at Bond: "Some people read into the Tea Party's almost neuralgic reaction to government spending, a sense that white people figure black people benefit disproportionately from federal programs. Do you suspect a racial subtext to that whole argument?" Bond said, "absolutely," "there is a racial animus there."

Only a card carrying liberal (part of an NPR correspondent's job description) could make the association between an MLK memorial unveiling and the Tea Party. However, any opportunity to attack the Tea Party, no matter how flimsy, is too precious to waste, and playing the race card is much easier than going through the contortions of putting a positive spin on government hyperspending. So Siegel makes his speech and a designated crony nods his assent, and propounded is the ludicrous idea that those expressing alarm over the unconscionable explosion of the nation’s debt must be racists.
This is what passes for “journalism” at NPR. A responsible practitioner of journalism would have provided an antagonist to counter Siegel’s position – a Michele Bachman or, even better, a black tea party advocate like Allen West. Or, better yet, sticking with the interviewer's theme of anti-black discrimination and political parties, he might challenge Bond with the following:

Mr. Bond, I would like you to comment on two favorite policy prescriptions of progressives – the minimum wage and welfare. First, bear with me for a moment as I read to you a passage from Economist Thomas Sowell’s book, “Basic Economics”.

Even though 1949 – the year before a series of minimum wage escalations began – was a recession year, black teenage male unemployment that year was lower than it was to be at any time during the later boom years of the 1960s. The wide gap between the unemployment rates of black and white teenagers dates from the escalation of the minimum wage and the spread of its coverage in the 1950s. The usual explanations of high unemployment among black teenagers – inexperience, less education, lack of skills, racism – cannot explain their rising unemployment, since all these things were worse during the earlier period when black teenage unemployment was much lower.
Taking the more normal year of 1948 as a basis for comparison, black male teenage unemployment then was less than half of what it would be at any time during the decade of the 1960s and less than one third of what it would be in the 1970s.
Unemployment among 16 and 17-year-old black males was no higher than among white males of the same age in 1948. It was only after a series of minimum wage escalations began that black male teenage unemployment not only skyrocketed but became more than double the unemployment rates among white male teenagers. In the early 21st century, the unemployment rate for black teenagers exceeded 30%. After the American economy turned down in the wake of the housing and financial crises, unemployment among black teenagers reached 40%.

Numbers like that support Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman's assertion that the minimum wage is the most anti-black law on the nation's books.*

Now, welfare.

In his book, "The Politically Incorrect Guide To Capitalism”, Robert P. Murphy quotes welfare policy expert Robert Rector,

The welfare system that has existed for the past 30 years may best be conceptualized as a system that offered each single mother with two children a “paycheck” of combined benefits worth an average of between $8500 and $15,000, depending on the state. The mother had a contract with the government. She would continue to receive her “paycheck” as long as she fulfilled two conditions: 1. She must not work. 2. She must not marry an employed male.

Economist Walter Williams points out the results of this policy -

In 1940, 86 percent of black children were born inside marriage, and the illegitimacy rate among blacks was about 15 percent. Today, only 35 percent of black children are born inside marriage, and the illegitimacy rate hovers around 70 percent.

Even as late as 1963, just before LBJ began his ”War On Poverty”, 77% of black children were born to families with both a father and a mother.

As Mr. Sowell has noted, the war on poverty has been able to accomplish what slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and other forms of discrimination has not: it has largely destroyed the black family.

So, Mr. Bond, given that Democrats overwhelmingly support a steadily increasing minimum wage and an ongoing expansion of welfare payments – one might say they have an almost neuralgic reaction to attempts to limit them – and, seeing the destructive effect that these policies have had on the black community, do you suspect that the Party is acting to purposely create and perpetuate a permanent black underclass dependent on government largesse?

Or to put it more succinctly, Mr. Bond, isn’t the Democratic Party racist?


*For a short video of Friedman discussing the negative effects of the minimum wage see

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obama Dodges A Bullet

...with the announcement that Paul Ryan will not be his opponent in 2012.

From an editorial in today's WSJ -

Among the current crop of candidates, none has managed to articulate free-market principles and policies with Mr. Ryan's fluency or conviction.

A couple of days ago, before Ryan announced his intention not to run, Mona Charen wrote the following,

All of the Republican candidates talk about spending and debt, but Paul Ryan is the acknowledged master of the subject, not just in Congress but also in the entire Republican party. It is the Ryan budget that has come to define a party willing to make dramatic and politically risky cuts in the name of saving the country from bankruptcy. Ironically, it is the Ryan budget that would save Medicare — not the blinkered denial that passes for the Democrats’ plan. It is Ryan, with his mastery of detail combined with a sincerity rarely found among elected officials, who is best able to explain it.

He is, additionally, the most knowledgeable and articulate antagonist to Obamacare in the party — one who has reduced the president to sputtering incoherence in a direct confrontation. In February 2010, during the health-care debate, Ryan was among the Republican leaders who met with the president and Democratic leadership. In a six-minute presentation, Ryan eviscerated and embalmed Obamacare. The statistics rolled off his tongue with easy fluidity. He was direct and unflinching without being rude or needlessly aggressive. If that was a foreshadowing of what a presidential debate would look like, President Obama would be profoundly overmatched on this most critical issue.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Ryan

All Republicans running for office have a significant handicap to overcome – the comfortspeak of the left. As Jeane Kirkpatrick once explained on William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line” program, socialism has achieved its undeserved political success mainly due to its soothing rhetoric. Words like “fairness”, “sharing”, “equality” and “community” pervade socialist and left-wing language. Conservative talking points seem cold by comparison – “free-markets”, "individual responsibility”, “private property rights”. Even the words “freedom” and “liberty” can have a negative connotation, suggesting that, “you’re on your own” (as Democrats invariably accuse Republicans of telling the downtrodden).

Michael Barone recently observed that, “The problem for Republicans is that it’s impossible to foresee exactly how free-market policies will improve people’s lives”.
I remember reading a few years ago some liberal columnist (I'm thinking Anna Quindlen?), mocking President G. W. Bush for speaking of the double taxation of dividends as some sort of a moral crime. Well, it is, since it impedes capital investment which in turn restricts economic growth and job creation. Increased poverty results.

In politics, intentions often trump results. For instance, it is nothing short of criminal how “progressive” policies such as the minimum wage, rent control, restricted school choice, and unrestrained welfare (e.g. - Aid To Dependent Children) have devastated the black community. Yet, somehow, Republicans are portrayed as “racists” for opposing those policies.

As I was searching online for a reference to Kirkpatrick’s comments, I came across the transcript of an excellent and spirited talk given by Jay Nordlinger a decade ago. Nordlinger spoke of the unwarranted timidity with which Republicans defend their beliefs, ideas, and even their identity as Conservatives. He urged Conservatives to “straighten their backs” and aggressively promote their superior ideology.

With the importance of the upcoming 2012 presidential race, it is essential that Republicans nominate someone who will heed Nordlinger’s exhortations. Paul Ryan meets that criterion.
Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard reported Tuesday that Ryan is now seriously considering running. Hayes reports that Ryan isn’t impressed with any of the announced GOP candidates. And he understands that the stakes are high.

“…the way I see 2012 – we owe it to the country to let them choose the path they want our country to take. And I just have yet to see a strong and principled articulation of the kind of limited government, opportunity society path that we would provide as an alternative to the Obama cradle to grave welfare state.”

If Ryan does run it will be due to his sense of obligation and not because of ambition. Cynics would deride that statement, but at 41 Ryan would be better off waiting at least until 2016 for his initial shot at the presidency. He seems happy where he is now, heading the House Budget Committee where he wields considerable influence. It’s only the urgency of the moment that would compel him to act now.

Ryan is unquestionably the most important Republican today. Even if he doesn’t run, it will be the Ryan domestic agenda that the GOP nominee will carry into the campaign. Few other than Ryan himself have the knowledge and conviction to do this effectively. Republican Jane Corwin had neither the knowledge nor the conviction and she lost the special election in New York’s 26th Congressional district last May. It’s not rocket science. Even lacking Ryan’s expertise, all she had to say was that Ryan’s plan saves Medicare, the status quo destroys it. Corwin’s failure must not be repeated on a national scale.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Passing Thoughts

In an editorial Tuesday (8/9) in the WSJ, Bret Stephens asks, politely, "Is Obama Smart?" (The less polite version would pose the same question with an antonym of smart). Stephens' answer - no.

One piece of evidence that Obama is intellectually challenged is his confusion of wealth and income. He (and most liberals) want to increase taxes on, not the wealthy – millionaires and billionaires in Obamaspeak – but, high earners – actually, not very high - individuals making over $200,000 (couples over $250,000). This group is collectively our most productive. They create wealth. They may or may not be wealthy, but their talent and energy is essential to rejuvenate our economy. Punishing them by confiscating their earnings is stupid.

Three years after the fact I still can't get over that someone closely associated with anti-American radicals could ever be seriously considered for the presidency, much less get elected. Norman Podhoretz in Saturday's WSJ tries to explain this astounding phenomenon.

To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass.

OK, that explains liberaldom. What about the rest of us?
Podhoretz's piece is a response to a New York Times column by Drew Westen which asks "What Happened To Obama?". In his column, Podhoretz addresses the issue of Obama's long-held and fervent anti-Americanism. own answer to the question, "What Happened to Obama?" is that nothing happened to him. He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president, and it is this rather than inexperience or incompetence or weakness or stupidity that accounts for the richly deserved failure both at home and abroad of the policies stemming from that reprehensible cast of mind.

Obama has been criticized recently for not canceling his vacation plans during the latest spate of bad economic news. Even lefty Maureen Dowd recently urged the president to stick around and give the country a "pep talk". (His latest pep talk on Monday caused the Dow to drop an additional 200 points beyond the 400 it had already lost). Even normally docile, Obamaphilic reporters are demanding to know why the president isn't doing more to "create jobs". (This ignores the fact that the government can't create jobs. It can only impede job creation. And its performance in that area has been first rate lately).
Wanting Obama to skip his vacation and work at cleaning up the mess he's made reminds me of the old Jewish joke - The food is bad. Yeah, and such small portions. Obama's doing a lousy job as president and he's not on the job enough.
He should be encouraged to stay away.

Democrats in the House and Senate have not produced a budget for two and a half years. The president proposed a joke of a budget in February that was so unserious it was rejected by the Senate, controlled by his party, unanimously (97-0). (That has to be unprecedented). The only budget that currently has legislative approval is the Ryan budget, passed by the House a mere three months after Republicans regained control. Aside from the loopy leftist ideology, Democrats can't manage even the most fundamental activities of governance.

So, Barack, how's that Muslim reachout program going for ya? When cowboy G. W. Bush was in the White House, 9% of Egyptians had a favorable impression of the U.S. With President Obama it's 5% and Obama's overall ratings in the Arab world are now lower than Bush's were.

When Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot by a lunatic last January, the left and the media (redundant, I know) virtually accused Sarah Palin of pulling the trigger because she had used the word "target" to urge the defeat of specific Democrats, including Giffords, in elections. Now the Politico website quotes a prominent Democratic strategist as follows.

Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,”

Think there will be outrage on the left about this?

Speaking of lunatics - It says a lot about the defensiveness and paranoia of the Obama White House that in its campaign to demonize Fox News it called anchorman Bret Baier a lunatic. Bret Baier? You have to be a lunatic to call Baier one.

Our Future (Continued)

The recent riots in Britain so perfectly fits the narrative that Mark Steyn has been making for so long - the decline and impending collapse of Western civilization due, in large part, to the alienation of unassimilated masses of citizens, many of them immigrants, disaffected because national leaders lack the pride and backbone to promote and defend the culture and values of that civilization.
So, naturally, Steyn's weekly NRO column deals with Britain's malaise. And he opens with a couple of "I told you so's."

The trick in this business is not to be right too early...


As it happens, Chapter Five of my book is called “The New Britannia: The Depraved City.” You have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat me to Western civilization’s descent into barbarism.

No Steyn column is complete with at least one riotous bon mot. Noting that a 21 year old British man with learning disabilities was allowed to fly to Amsterdam to have sex with a prostitute at taxpayer expense, Steyn asks,

Why do they need a Dutch hooker? Just another hardworking foreigner doing the jobs Britons won’t do? Given the reputation of English womanhood, you’d have thought this would be the one gig that wouldn’t have to be outsourced overseas.

Much of Steyn's coumn is deadly serious though and should be read by anyone foolish enough to be enraptured by the fantasy of beneficent and benign "big government".

This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want” to be accomplished by “co-operation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life’s vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. ...Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity. The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate. Marriage is all but defunct, except for William and Kate, fellow toffs, upscale gays, and Muslims.

Big Government means small citizens: It corrodes the integrity of a people, catastrophically. Within living memory, the city in flames on our TV screens every night governed a fifth of the earth’s surface and a quarter of its population. When you’re imperialists on that scale, there are bound to be a few mishaps along the way. But nothing the British Empire did to its subject peoples has been as total and catastrophic as what a post-great Britain did to its own.

In Peggy Noonan's WSJ column today, she quotes a British journalist, Max Hastings, who concurs with Steyn's vision.

"The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. . . . Nobody has ever dared suggest to them that they need feel any allegiance to anything, least of all Britain or their community. . . . Not only do they know nothing of Britain's past, they care nothing for its present."

A similar tone is struck by Ann Coulter. Louis XVI, British authorities are paralyzed by their indifference to their own civilization. A half-century of berating themselves for the crime of being British has left them morally defenseless. They see nothing about England worth saving, certainly not worth fighting for -- which is fortunate since most of their cops don't have guns.




Monday, August 8, 2011

Bush Did It

Here is an excerpt from a Yahoo news story on the Standard and Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt from AAA to AA+.

S&P on Aug. 5 lowered the U.S. one level to AA+ while keeping the outlook at “negative” as it becomes less confident Congress will end Bush-era tax cuts or tackle entitlements.

Reading this, one would surmise that one of S&P's primary concerns, vis-a-vis the U.S. debt rating, was Congress' unwillingness to raise taxes. Here is what the S&P report actually said.

“Standard & Poor’s takes no position on the mix of spending and revenue measures that Congress and the Administration might conclude is appropriate for putting the U.S.’s finances on a sustainable footing...The (debt-ceiling increase) plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.”

So, in reality, the agency explained the downgrade solely as a reaction to Congress' failure to address the issue of entitlements, "the key to long-term fiscal sustainability". Regarding ending the "Bush-era" (or any other era) tax cuts ("revenue measures"), S&P "takes no position".
Now, one might argue that S&P was wrong to downgrade U.S. debt, or that its reason for doing so was mistaken, but the fact is the agency specifically pinpointed lack of entitlement reform as that reason. Yet, the Yahoo news report couldn't resist the opportunity to associate the word "Bush" with the downgrade. This misinformation, whether its source is Reuters or AP or some other major organization, has now been widely disseminated.

It's the seeemingly minor, yet frequent and pervasive lies and distortions, like the one above, that makes media bias so damaging.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Future?

Stanley Kurtz (NRO) presents a nice synopsis of the origins of the financial meltdown, spotlighting the key roles played by Fannie Mae, ACORN and, yes, President Obama. This is a grossly under-reported story and had the press done its job in 2008, we would have probably been spared the ongoing disaster of this presidency.

As America teeters on the brink of a second financial crisis, I think back to 2008, and the irony of a suprime mortgage fiasco propelling to the presidency a man who’d spent a career abetting the folks who’d caused the crisis to begin with.

Read the whole thing.

Well, we can't undo that first mistake but there's still hope we can prevent a second. I saw Marco Rubio speak for the first time recently and I agree with Bill Kristol that he would make a very impressive national candidate. And I also agree with Kristol when he suggests that (Paul) Ryan-Rubio (or its reverse) is as good a ticket as the GOP (and thus the nation) could come up with. Both are smart, knowledgeable, young and attractive and Rubio has the further benefit of neutralizing, if not reversing, the Dems advantage among Hispanics. Both Ryan (Wisconsin) and Rubio (Florida) are from swing states - another plus. But most important, unlike many Republicans and all Democrats, they have innovative ideas that address our most serious issues - economic growth (and all the good things that go with it - job creation, higher revenues, less poverty), entitlement reform, and tax reform. Crucially, Ryan and Rubio are convincing and forceful advocates. They won't get squishy when challenged.

It seems like every presidential election is declared to be an existential contest, but 2012 certainly appears to be that. So why not go with the best we have. And if, somehow, the electorate still chooses the same radical dunce for its leader, then it deserves the resulting catastrophe.

[Mark Steyn, always the optimist, gives us until mid-decade to turn things around and prevent armageddon - see column link below. And if you think that's an exaggeration, check out these photos of Detroit, (link below) a city that hasn't had a Republican mayor or city council member since the sixties. Not one. (Republican Louis Miriani's mayoral term ended January, 1962 and he may have been the last GOP council member, exiting in 1966. For this he deserves a statue)].


Friday, August 5, 2011

Two Schools Of Thought

NRO on Friday (8/5) featured a surprising column praising two female celebrities of conservative opinion, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. The surprise is that it was written by Conrad Black, a member of the Analytical School of conservative thinkers. For Analysts, a group that includes George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Ramesh Ponnuru, rational argument is paramount. Derisive put-downs are secondary, though in the hands of the sharp-witted Will, Krauthammer, Black and others, very effective.

Coulter and Ingraham belong to the Incendiary School. This group includes the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Incendiary-ists also utilize persuasive logic, (Coulter is particularly good at this, as Black points out), though merely as a vehicle for ad hominem attacks. They live to insult and enrage.

Rarely does either group have much to do with the other. Indeed, National Review, generally an Analytical publication, banished Coulter from its pages when, shortly after 9/11, she recommended converting all Muslims to Christianity.

Black understands that Coulter's outrageousness is carefully calculated to disturb all the right people.

The mindless reflexiveness with which the soft Left responds to Coulter, especially, is premeditated by her and is a vastly entertaining send-up of the boring, high-minded liberals that she can turn on like a spigot at will, to her own amusement and profit.

Black, in summarizing Coulter's and Ingraham's philosophy, provides a concise manifesto of American conservatism.

Most conservative commentators attack high taxes, meddlesome government, deficit spending, and foreign adventurism, and leave it at that. They are essentially Coolidgeists: laissez-faire, individualistic, agnostic isolationists. Ingraham and Coulter share most of that ambition to roll back the state and the depredations of taxes, but they are not unrealistic about the great world largely full of countries and people that do not wish America well. And they know that the backbone of this civilization is composed of the Judeo-Christian ethos and belief, the spirit of enterprise, the notion of service to the nation, the pursuit of literacy in all things, a carefully directed martial capability and spirit, and the rule of law (which they do not confuse with the racketeering of gonzo prosecutors, and the national addiction to frivolous and vexatious litigation).

Coulter's characterization of FDR as a socialist draws criticism from Black who is a rare conservative admirer of the New Deal and its author. Otherwise, he is unabashedly enthusiastic about her and Ingraham.

There is nothing like them in other countries, nor much like them in this one...They are outstanding bearers of that timeless message that has reprehensibly few public champions, certainly not including the incumbent president.

Speaking of FDR, here's a quote by Henry Morgenthau, his Secretary of the Treasury.

"We are spending more money than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot."

At least one current Democrat agrees. This from former Clinton and Obama economic team member, Larry Summers.

"...if Hitler had not come along, Franklin Roosevelt would have left office in 1941 with an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent and an economic recovery strategy that had basically failed.”

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Funny, Mark

From Mark Steyn's latest column on NRO.

...the Lockerbie bomber has been appearing at delirious pro-Qaddafi rallies. Remember the Lockerbie bomber? He was returned to Libya because he was terminally ill and only had three months to live. That was two years ago. It’s amazing what getting out of the care of the Scottish National Health Service can do for your life expectancy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Democrats' Two-Minute Hate

Jay Nordlinger posted the following on NRO.

I realize I’m a partisan, and getting worse, I’m afraid. I’ve long wanted to be a nice, above-the-fray neutralist. But life has not allowed that.
Anyway, I’m going to make a point about the Democratic party. Nancy Pelosi said the following about Republicans: “They don’t just want to make cuts. They want to destroy. They want to destroy food safety, clean air, clean water, the Department of Education. They want to destroy your rights.”
I want to ask you: How do you do business with someone like that? How do you do business with a party like that? “They want to destroy”? (I’ll grant that we think the Department of Education a total boondoggle.) “They want to destroy your rights”?
I’m reminded of why I revolted against the Democratic party long ago: They all talked like this. They all regarded their opponents as monstrous or subhuman. And I knew it was bunk.
One more thing: Nancy Pelosi is not some street-corner lunatic. She’s not yet another columnist, or “commenter,” at the Huffington Post. She is the leader of the Democratic party in the House! If that’s not representative — what is?

A couple of other points about Pelosi's rant. It's funny how - and Nordlinger touches on this - she equates worthy, fundamental goals like clean air and water with worthless, bureaucratic extravagances like the Department of Education. (Pelosi writing the Declaration of Independence - "...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Public Television and High Speed Rail.")

Also - What is Pelosi's intended audience?
Her base, who curse and scream, as in an Orwellian two-minute hate, as she basks in the glory of their approval?,
Or - does she think she's actually making a persuasive argument to enlist the support of independents and undecideds.
Either way, it's quite pathetic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two Of A Kind

Humberto Fontova, forceful advocate for the liberation of Cuba, juxtaposes the philosophies and methods of Anders Breivik and Che Guevara.,_anyone/page/full/

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Fair Share"

The Tax Foundation reports that between 1986 and 2008, the share of federal income taxes paid by the top 5% of earners has risen to 59% from 43%. Between 1986 and 2009, the percentage of Americans who pay zero or negative federal income taxes has increased to 51% from 18.5%.

- From a column by Arthur C. Brooks in the WSJ today. Cartoon by Chip Bok.

This after Bush's "tax cuts for the very rich".

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Climate Change Comes To Saturn

Those wasteful, decadent, climate change denying Saturnians really need to cut back on their carbon emissions.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cut Taxes, Raise Revenues

Oblivious as they are to the immorality and danger of saddling future generations with our excesses, Democrats aren't really interested in eliminating the deficit or reducing our debt burden. When feeling political pressure to address the problem, the solution proposed is invariably "revenue increases". In the language of President Obama and Democrats, "revenue increases" means tax hikes.
As Thomas Sowell so clearly explains in his book "Basic Economics", tax increases and revenue increases are two separate, though not necessarily unrelated, issues. This was nicely illustrated by the following factoid which appeared in a recent WSJ editorial (6/30).

After the Bush investment tax cuts of 2003, tax revenues were $786 billion higher in 2007 ($2.568 trillion) than they were in 2003 ($1.782 trillion), the biggest four-year increase in U.S. history.

(My emphasis).

Revenue began falling after 2007 as Government interference in the housing market crashed the economy. The deficit, (which was actually decreasing from 2004 to 2007), was caused by spending increases which accelerated under Bush (and the Democratic Congress) and went ballistic under Obama.

Steyn Returns

Mark Steyn recently took an extended hiatus from his column-writing duties to do...what? Well, in his absence I speculated that a) he had a serious illness, b) he was fighting yet another legal battle against Canadian authorities trying to censor him, or, c) he was writing a book. Happily, it was c). Lights Out, Steyn's look at the lawsuit brought by the Canadian Islamic Congress against Maclean's magazine for publishing excerpts from his book, America Alone, will soon appear in bookstores (both real and virtual). Can't wait. In the meantime, Steyn is in top form in three recent columns in NRO.

I particularly enjoyed the first one, a series of hilarious zingers seamlessly linked into an organic whole. Ah, to be able to write like this.

And, as we are about to get hit by the Obamacare tsunami, here also is Steyn's review of The Barbarian Invasions, the devastating portrait of Canada-style Government controlled healthcare. (Steyn broke into journalism as an arts critic).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't Know Much About Economy

Articles on NRO explaining how Obama's "stimulus" package (Jonah Goldberg) and obeisance to unions (Charles Krauthammer) have significantly worsened the U.S. economy.

On a a related note -
Peter Kirsanow (NRO) listed five items the mainstream media considers less important than Sarah Palin's recently released e-mails. I found one of these particularly noteworthy.

An analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that if the number of people looking for work today were the same as the number when President Obama took office, the reported unemployment rate for May would be 11 percent rather than 9.1 percent.

(Cartoon appeared in the Weekly Standard).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gandhi Was Wrong

Excellent column by Jonah Goldberg (NRO) on the importance of economic growth.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

You Say You Want A Revolution

Anyone who thinks that Paul Ryan's proposal to save Medicare is a radical attempt to push granny (wheelchair bound of course) off a cliff should read Andrew McCarthy's column on NRO (link below).

And for those who don't actually know what's in the Ryan plan, (most people), visit the other link below.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We're All Neocons Now

A couple of items from the WSJ Notable and Quotable column - First from Tuesday's issue (2/15/2011).

From an article in the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Feb. 7:

Suddenly it seems everyone knew all along that President Mubarak was a villain and the U.S., who supported him until recently, was even worse. However it was actually former President George W. Bush who always believed in the democratization of the Muslim world and was broadly ridiculed by the Left for his convictions. . . .

Painful as it may be to admit, it was the despised George W. Bush who believed in the democratization of the Muslim world and incurred the scorn and mockery of the Left for his conviction. Everyone was sure—without knowing any Muslims—that the Western model of democracy could not be applied in a backward society like Iraq. Everyone knew that the neo-conservative belief in the universal desire for freedom and progress was naïve nonsense. It is possible that the critics were right, albeit for the wrong reasons. The prospect of stability and order seems to be at least as important to many people.

Then from Thursday's issue (2/17/2011), on a somewhat related subject,

Historian Victor Davis Hanson writing at, Feb. 13:

In times to come, the period between the failed campaign of John Kerry and the Democratic control of the Congress, coupled with the beginning of the successful surge, should be known as "The Insane Years." This was the era in which Guantanamo was a gulag, renditions were the stuff of Hollywood movies, and Bush and Cheney were deemed veritable war criminals. Was it all a dream, those nightmare years of 2004-07?

I recall all that only because Oprah was just quoted as calling for more civility to be shown President Obama ("even if you're not in support of his policies, there needs to be a certain level of respect"), echoing the president's own post-Tucson insistence on a new amity between opponents. Bill Maher recently expressed outrage over the uncivil tone shown Barack Obama in Bill O'Reilly's Super-Bowl Day interview. I think such concern for deference and conciliation is altogether fine and good; but, again, do we recall the crazy years of not so long ago?

This was the period in which Michael Moore called for U.S. defeat in Iraq and dubbed the Islamists who were killing our own soldiers "Minutemen." . . .

I do remember 2007, when the New York Times gave a discount to for the ad hominem "General Betray Us" ad. Hillary that day suggested the general's testimony required a suspension of disbelief. Barack Obama assured us the surge had failed, and Joe Biden lectured Petraeus on trisecting Iraq—in the days before Iraq became, in Biden's words, "our greatest achievement."

Hanson gets one thing wrong. It wasn't the time (2004-2007) that was insane. It was, it is, the left - which seeks to vilify, ridicule and delegitimize any person or idea opposing its own. In the unlikely event of a Sarah Palin presidency, there would be an "insane era" far surpassing any that have come before it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For Occupants Of Glass Houses

With leftist commentators shamefully and nonsensically (though not unpredictably) blaming "tea-party rhetoric" for the shootings in Tucson this past weekend, it's worthwhile, I think, to check out a small sampling of "liberal rhetoric" from the not so distant past.

Consider the likely reaction of the media and the left if these threats had been directed at our current president.

Update 1/12/2011 - Krauthammer's commentary

Monday, January 3, 2011

Living Well

A fallacious liberal talking point (one of many) is the alleged stagnation of Americans' real income over the past few decades. A couple of recent columns by Victor Davis Hanson and Michael Barone debunk this myth, arguing that our standard of living has improved immeasurably over the period.