At the end of 1995 and stretching into January 1996, the federal government "shut down" because of an impasse between President Bill Clinton and House Republicans led by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The issue was increased taxes vs. less spending. Sound familiar? The government re-opened when a bipartisan agreement was reached to balance the budget by 2003. It wasn't for reasons that included, but were not limited to, two wars. Now the national debt is racing toward an unsustainable $17 trillion.
This time around it isn't about closing government. It's about "sequestration," which President Obama, the Democrats and their big media toadies are styling as economic Armageddon.
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been a box-office hit and nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including best picture, best director and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrayed our 16th president. I haven't seen the movie; therefore, this column is not about the movie but about a man deified by many. My colleague Thomas DiLorenzo, economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, exposed some of the Lincoln myth in his 2006 book, "Lincoln Unmasked." Now comes Joseph Fallon, cultural intelligence analyst and former U.S. Army Intelligence Center instructor, with his new e-book, "Lincoln Uncensored." Fallon's book examines 10 volumes of collected writings and speeches of Lincoln's, which include passages on slavery, secession, equality of blacks and emancipation. We don't have to rely upon anyone's interpretation. Just read his words to see what you make of them.
In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, "I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists." In a Springfield, Ill., speech, he explained, "My declarations upon this subject of negro slavery may be misrepresented, but can not be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were created equal in all respects." Debating with Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of ... making voters or jurors of Negroes nor of qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality."
Don't anyone tell Marco Rubio, John McCain or Jeff Flake that nearly 80 percent of Hindus voted for Obama, or who knows what they'll come up with.
I understand the interest of business lobbies in getting cheap, unskilled labor through amnesty, but why do Republican officeholders want to create up to 20 million more Democratic voters, especially if it involves flouting the law? Are the campaign donations from the soulless rich more important than actual voters?
Without citing any evidence, the Rubio Republicans simply assert that granting 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens amnesty will make Hispanics warm to the GOP. Yes, that's worked like a charm since Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986!
Just as Lenin's body remains on public display in Russia, because one never knows when he might be useful to rally the masses, so, too, does the ghost (but thankfully not the body) of the late Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) remain a useful symbol for Democrats in Washington.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are the latest to summon McCarthy's ghost. After Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-Texas), asked defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel whether he had been compensated by foreign interests hostile to the United States for speeches he made in which he seemed to favor their aspirations, Boxer said of Cruz's tenacious questioning, "It was really reminiscent of a different time and place, when you said, 'I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such and such a date,' and of course nothing was in the pocket. It was reminiscent of some bad times."
I am indebted to Amity Shlaes for gently correcting a joke of mine that dates back to July 8, 1972. On that date in the New York Times, I joshed that President Calvin Coolidge "probably spent more time napping than any president in the nation's history" and therefore was a successful president. My joke was a play on an earlier joke by H. L. Mencken, and now Shlaes has corrected both of us. She has written a very impressive biography titled simply "Coolidge," wherein she never mentions Cal's naps but rather what made him the most successful president of the 1920s. He reversed the economic insolvency of President Woodrow Wilson, and set the economy on the road to growth, a road made rocky by Cal's successor, President Herbert Hoover, and rockier still by Hoover's successor, Franklin Roosevelt.
Though one would not know it today, Coolidge was the most successful president of the 1920s. Vice President Coolidge came to the presidency on the death of President Warren G. Harding in August 1923 and won the presidency outright in 1924 with 54 percent of the vote over the Democrat, John W. Davis, who had 28.8 percent of the vote, and the Progressive, Robert M. La Follette, who won just 16.6 percent of the vote. Moreover, Coolidge had won every race he ever contested from his first run for city councilman in 1898 to the governorship of Massachusetts in 1918, usually by astoundingly large margins. His combination of civility, effectiveness, standing by the law and, as president, tax cuts, budget balancing, and growth, was wildly popular with American voters, as was his singular asset, taciturnity.
If radical gun-grabbers have their way, your daughters, mothers and grandmothers will have nothing but whistles, pens and bodily fluids to defend themselves against violent attackers and sexual predators. Women of all ages, races and political backgrounds should be up in arms over the coordinated attack on their right to bear arms.
In Colorado this week, male Democratic legislators assailed concealed-carry supporters and disparaged female students who refuse to depend on the government for protection. The Democrat-controlled House passed a statewide ban on concealed-carry weapons on college campuses, along with several other extreme gun-control measures that will undermine citizen safety and drive dozens of businesses out of the state.
Hey, remember when President Obama crusaded against Medicare fraud and vowed to crack down aggressively on scammers who've bilked the program out of an estimated $90 billion? Like Archie and Edith Bunker used to sing: Those were the daaaays.
While Democrats pretend to protect the elderly and disabled, leaders of the People's Party have pocketed gobs of campaign contributions from fat-cat donors tied to massive Medicare rip-off schemes.
Many conservatives point to great modern men and leaders, such as Ronald Reagan, as models we can follow, and I concur with their sentiments. But I think the best leaders lived long ago, during the founding of our republic, away from the limelight and luster of today's politics and Washington drama.
With Feb. 18's being Presidents Day and Feb. 22's being the actual day George Washington was born, I thought there would no better time to honor the man I consider to be one of the greatest leaders ever born. And I'm going to take a few weeks (columns) to do it.
There's still a lot of confusion in the Republican Party in the aftermath of the 2012 election. Part of the confusion stems from the struggle between the party establishment based in Washington and the party's base of voters all over the country. Sixty-three percent of Republican voters nationwide recognize that their leaders in Washington have lost touch with the base.
Added to that challenge is the debate over what type of change is needed. Some argue that the party needs to simply change the message and find a better way to sell its product. Others argue that more substantive policy changes are needed.
President Obama must have been stunned at the "audacity" of Dr. Benjamin Carson in challenging his core assumptions right to his face in front of thousands of people at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Obama is not used to being challenged, especially in public, even if indirectly and without being specifically named. From the look on his face, it was obvious Obama was none too pleased with Carson's message or with his "presumptuousness" in presenting it in that forum, while he had to sit still and — remain silent.
Liberals ignored my book "Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From the Seventies to Obama" throughout the fall. Now that I'm safely home from my book tour, they feel free to jabber on about their make-believe history of the civil rights movement with abandon.
In the hackiest of all hacky articles, Sam Tanenhaus, the man responsible for ruining The New York Times Book Review, has written a cover story in The New Republic, titled: "Original Sin: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people."
President Obama's approach to so-called "climate change" appears to include recycling old ideas.
In his State of the Union address, the president recycled the idea of spending more on education, though we are still getting unsatisfactory results. A fact he inadvertently acknowledged by saying we're not keeping up with other countries in science and math. He maintained there are tens of thousands of jobs available but companies can't fill them because public schools aren't teaching students what they need to know. We spend huge sums on education already, so money and achievement must not be related.
In the past few weeks, I've highlighted ways we can reduce violent crime in the U.S. But I've saved the best and most powerful solutions for last because they work from the inside out.
In Part 1, I revealed how rational and rewarding it would be to post armed guards at our schools. In Part 2, I showed how reducing the number of firearms in the U.S. would not curb violent crime. In Part 3, I began to discuss the first of two ways in which our Founding Fathers expected to produce and maintain civility and decency in society. They esteemed all human life as equal and possessing intrinsic value far above the rest of creation, albeit while struggling with executing their beliefs as much as any generation — e.g., with slavery and the treatment of Native Americans and women.
There's a story told about a Paris chief of police who was called to a department store to stop a burglary in progress. Upon his arrival, he reconnoitered the situation and ordered his men to surround the entrances of the building next door. When questioned about his actions, he replied that he didn't have enough men to cover the department store's many entrances but he did have enough for the building next door. Let's see whether there are similarities between his strategy and today's gun control strategy.
Last year, Chicago had 512 homicides; Detroit had 411; Philadelphia had 331; and Baltimore had 215. Those cities are joined by other dangerous cities — such as St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., Flint, Mich., and Camden, N.J. — and they also lead the nation in shootings, assaults, rapes and robberies. Both the populations of those cities and their crime victims are predominantly black. Each year, more than 7,000 blacks are murdered. Close to 100 percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.
An unsigned and undated Justice Department white paper, obtained by NBC News, reports The New York Times, "...is the most detailed analysis yet to come into public view regarding the Obama legal team's views about the lawfulness of killing, without a trial, an American citizen who executive branch officials decide is an operational leader of Al Qaeda or one of its allies."
The proviso is they must pose "an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." If "an informed, high-level official" of the government decides they are a threat, the paper says, and if capture is not feasible, they may be killed.
Having just lost an election, many Republicans are anxious to remake our party in the image of Democrats. The theory seems to be that whatever we're doing isn't working, so we better change everything.
But in fact, whatever Republicans did in 2012 -- other than an overly long primary fight -- worked amazingly well, given the circumstances.
In a detailed analysis of the 2012 election, William A. Galston, a fellow with the liberal Brookings Institution, makes a number of fascinating observations that Republicans would do well to consider before embracing amnesty, abortion, gay marriage and Beyonce.
Under pressure from religious and conservative groups, the Obama administration has offered another compromise on the issue of birth control coverage within the Affordable Care Act. While exempting churches and some religiously affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, from supplying the coverage, the new proposal calls for their employees to receive stand-alone private insurance policies providing birth control coverage at no cost. Insurance companies will foot the bill, but only the naive can possibly think the cost won't find its way back to the institution in the form of higher health premiums.
Numerous lawsuits filed against this and other portions of "Obamacare" will proceed and for good reason: the federal government seems intent on setting rules on matters of conscience and worse, defining what constitutes a church, or religious institution.
Put on your shocked faces: Since my bipartisan call last week for Democratic women to join the Ladies Against Senator Sleaze-Bob movement, not a single Democratic woman in Washington has signed up. Here's the thing. The brewing scandal involving N.J. Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is not just a "sex scandal." It's a crony corruption scandal of sordid, soap operatic proportions.
Maybe if Menendez were a contestant on "The Bachelor," he'd finally command more widespread female attention. For their part, the Democratic women on Capitol Hill seem as uninterested in the alleged exploitation of underage prostitutes as they are in cozy donor deals, tax evasion and Medicare fraud.
A senior Defense Department official said the ban on women in combat should be lifted because the military's goal is "to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field." I'd like to think the goal of the military should be to have the toughest, meanest fighting force possible. But let's look at "gender-neutral playing field."
The Army's physical fitness test in basic training is a three-event physical performance test used to assess endurance. The minimum requirement for 17- to 21-year-old males is 35 pushups, 47 situps and a two-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds or less. For females of the same age, the minimum requirement is 13 pushups, 47 situps and a 19:42 two-mile run. Why the difference in fitness requirements? "USMC Women in the Service Restrictions Review" found that women, on average, have 20 percent lower aerobic power, 40 percent lower muscle strength, 47 percent less lifting strength and 26 percent slower marching speed than men.
Conservatives are always told they don't do enough to reach across the aisle. We're divisive, obstructionist and hostile to bipartisanship. So in the spirit of unity and comity, I'm announcing the formation of a new social justice group: Ladies Against Senator Sleaze-Bob.
Now all I need are some principled Democratic ladies and liberal media lionesses to step up to the plate with me to protest the vulgar, sexist behavior of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.
The Senate's "advice and consent" role doesn't require it to rubber-stamp a presidential appointee for secretary of defense who senators believe would weaken America in this increasingly dangerous world.
Notwithstanding former Sen. Chuck Hagel's diminished view of the post — "I won't be in a policymaking position" — the secretary of defense is an exceedingly important position and must be filled with someone who understands the complexity and gravity of the threats we face.
In the past two weeks, I've highlighted ways we can reduce violent crime in the U.S. But I've saved the best and most powerful solutions for last because they work from the inside out.
In Part 1, I revealed how rational and rewarding it would be to post armed guards at our schools. In Part 2, I showed how reducing the number of firearms in the U.S. would not curb violent crime. Today and next week, I will discuss an age-old solution that America's Founding Fathers knew was key for maintaining civility in our communities — a solution being mimicked by a few nonprofit organizations in our public schools.
Apart from finding out that Barack Obama did far worse in his re-election than nearly any other incumbent who won re-election, the only thing that perked me up after Nov. 6 was coming across a Time magazine published after the 2004 election, when George W. Bush won a second term.
In the mirror image of all the 2012 post-election analyses, the Democrats were said to be finished, out of ideas, hopelessly unpopular. It's like watching MSNBC, with the word "Democrats" replaced with "Republicans."
Democrats had thrown everything they had into beating Bush, crushing the Howard Dean wing of their party and running a moderate -- a Vietnam veteran, no less! They had George Soros, Michael Moore and Code Pink working like fiends to topple Bush.
President Barack Obama is not just a radical leftist; he is obviously so ensconced in his ideology that he believes — or wants you to believe — that anyone who opposes him must have sinister motives.
One of his recurring themes is that some Republicans would work with him but can't do so for fear of reprisal from Grover Norquist on taxes, the National Rifle Association on guns, the conservative House caucus, radio talk show hosts and your garden-variety racists, who allegedly oppose Obama just for sport.
Let's look at experts. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was a mathematician and scientist. Newton has to be the greatest and most influential scientist who has ever lived. He laid the foundation for classical mechanics, and his genius transformed our understanding of science, particularly in the areas of physics, mathematics and astronomy. What's not widely known is that Newton spent most of his waking hours on alchemy; his experiments included trying to turn lead into gold. Though he wrote volumes on alchemy, after his death Britain's Royal Society deemed that they were "not fit to be printed."
Lord William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907) was a Belfast-born British mathematical physicist and engineer. Kelvin's major contribution was in thermodynamics, and he is widely recognized for determining the correct value of absolute zero, approximately minus 273 degrees Celsius. In his honor, absolute temperatures are expressed in Kelvin units. Being an expert in one field doesn't spare one from being an arrogant amateur in others. Based on his knowledge of heat dissipation, Kelvin criticized geologists of his day and claimed that Earth was between 20 million and 100 million years old. Kelvin also said that "X-rays will prove to be a hoax," but he changed his mind after he experienced an X-ray of his own hand. Kelvin also predicted, "I can state flatly that heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
The good news is: Obama and the Senate Democrats have no intention of passing more idiotic gun legislation in response to the Newtown massacre. The bad news is that they also have no intention of passing any legislation about the mentally ill, which would actually do something to reduce these mass shootings.
Instead, the Democrats will jawbone about "assault weapons" and other meaningless gun laws for the sole purpose of scaring soccer moms into hating the National Rifle Association. Expect to hear a lot about Republicans preferring "the gun lobby" to "children." (Which is evidently not at all like preferring the teachers lobby to children.)
Martial arts movie legend Jackie Chan deserves a rhetorical roundhouse kick to the mouth. So does his pal PSY, the Korean rapper whose "Gangnam Style" music video has racked up more than a billion views worldwide. Both men have raked in big bucks from Western fans while trashing the very freedoms and cultures that made them superstars.
Last week, The Washington Post spotlighted a recent interview Chan did with Chinese TV in which he accused America of being "the most corrupt country in the world." The Hong Kong-born Chan also admitted proudly that he is a propagandist for the Communist Chinese government. He openly advised his fellow countrymen to speak with forked tongues when addressing foreign press: "We know our country has many problems. We (can) talk about it when the door is closed. To outsiders, (we should say) "our country is the best."
Former senator Chuck Hagel is a suave, energetic, spirited fellow. He is intelligent, and from his early youth apparently patriotic and undoubtedly courageous. He showed that in Vietnam. Hagel has been a Republican senator and an accomplished businessman. Now he is President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of defense. Because he is President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense he is attracting dutiful scrutiny, and that is all to the good. This is not your ordinary presidency. In domestic policy and foreign policy President Obama is showing every indication of attempting to be an epochal president (with four million fewer votes for his second term than for his first).
That is to say, he poses a distinct break from Ronald Reagan's model of government and even from Franklin Roosevelt's. In the economy he seems to be resurrecting the welfare state on the model of France or perhaps Spain. In foreign policy he famously promises to "lead from behind," as illogical as that sounds. In both areas his exemplars are sure losers, but his party and his partisans seem not to have noticed.