Being a disciple of Saul Alinsky might not be so easy as it would appear. President Obama and his minions obviously can't decide whom to scapegoat for the nation's credit downgrade and our financial crisis.
One thing is for sure: It's not in Barack Obama to accept personal responsibility for the consequences of his actions and policies. He still won't own this economy and the exploding spending spiral, reminding us at every turn that our problems are a result of what he "inherited" from President Bush.
Tragically, on Aug. 6, 30 U.S. service members — 22 of them belonging to the same elite unit that killed Osama bin Laden — were killed when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down during fighting in Afghanistan, allegedly by the Taliban. This was the deadliest incident for U.S. forces in the 10-year war.
During my two trips to Iraq, I had the honor of meeting many members of SEAL Team 6, and my brother Aaron is very close to many of them, as well. My wife, Gena, and I, along with my brother Aaron and his wife, Becki, send our deepest condolences and prayers to the families of these brave warriors. There are no words to describe the loss these families are facing, and they will need our greatest support, not only now but also in the future.
My father was a product of the Great Depression and World War II. Like so many others of his generation, he, like his parents before him, knew how to "do without."
When he told us, "we can't afford it," that did not mean our family was deprived of material things we deserved, instead it marked a boundary not to be crossed because on the other side, waiting to greet us, were the twin demons of bad credit and financial ruin. "Always pay the bank," was my father's sound advice. And so I have, which is why my credit score remains high.
Before moving on, I'd like to take one more stab at explaining the differing viewpoints of the opposing sides in the contentious internecine conservative debate over the debt ceiling and also assess the deal's winners and losers.
I honestly believe there were reasonable grounds for disagreement among conservatives concerning the best strategy and tactics to tackle what they agree — if all Democrats don't — to be a national debt crisis. By failing to cut one another slack, we'll only serve to divide our coalition and impede our shared agenda.
This was going to be a column insisting that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida run for president of the United States. Now. Even though he has ruled out the possibility; even though he is but a baby senator. (Neither of these considerations has invariably stopped people in the past.)
But no: That's not this column. Not because I don't think it might be an excellent idea, but because I take a man at his word. He has a young family that has already endured a long and brutal campaign. And I'm actually not a fan of leaping from two minutes in the Senate to a potential presidency. As one seasoned political pro puts it: "We don't do ourselves or our future leaders any favors by rushing the wine before its time. Reagan would not have been nearly as good a president had he won in '68 or '76 as he was in '80, having been tempered by failure and steeled by defeat and adversity."
Actor Matt Damon is a walking, talking public service reminder to immunize your children early and often against La-La-Land disease.
In Damon's world, all public school teachers are selfless angels. Government workers and Hollywood entertainers are impervious to economic incentives. And anyone who disagrees is a know-nothing, "corporate reformer" ingrate who hates education.
We are engaged in a long war — actually two long wars. The first and most commonly accepted of our wars is the long war against Islamofascists. It is not a war against vast armies. Comparatively speaking, it is just a war against a handful of thugs, but they want to strike at our heart, wherever we are ill-prepared, and if they can they will cause incalculable destruction. This we discovered on September 11, 2001. We are on the hem of wiping al-Qaeda out, but there are other thugs waiting. We must be vigilant against them. It will be a long war.
The second long war is at home on budgetary matters. That both the left and the right are in a fury about an early battle in that war, the debt-ceiling battle, suggests just how long that war will be. We have little consensus on this war. Yet a war it is, and a very long war I fear it will be. It is a war to balance the budget, putting the economy on a sustainable course, ensuring growth and jobs. It is a war to get the country back to a federal budget that accounts for 20 percent of GDP rather than the 25 percent of GDP that President Obama has snatched from us while we were not looking.
According to the website Politico, Vice President Joe Biden agreed "with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting" that congressional tea party members "acted like terrorists" in the way they stood against attempts to raise taxes and force spending reductions as part of the debt-ceiling deal.
Biden denied making the comparison. Given the heated rhetoric behind and in front of the scenes, the use of such a phrase, particularly in light of Biden's known salty language, has credibility.
The debt deal, if it sticks, is a triumph for the bipartisan, status quo-clinging Washington establishment. Here is a prediction: Between now and January 2013, total actual spending cuts will be minimal. That will result from the following: (1) The $900 billion deficit reduction is almost all back-loaded to the years beyond 2012. (2) The select committee created by the budget deal will fail to pass a "second tranche" deficit-cut package of an additional $1.5 trillion. (3) The "trigger" will be pulled that will identify an additional $1.2 trillion. (4) The pulled trigger won't require any more deficit reductions to go into effect until 2013, when a new Congress and either a new president or a re-elected President Obama will be able to re-decide (or repeal) all these decisions. That president will also have to decide what to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts, which if extended would be scored to increase deficit by $3.5 trillion over ten years. (5) The debt ceiling will not need to be raised until 2013.
What does it take to be able to own and operate a taxi and earn $30,000, $40,000 or more a year? You need to purchase a used car and liability insurance. Compared with other businesses, the startup cost to become a taxi owner/operator is modest; that's until you have to come up with money for a license. In May 2010, the price of a license, called a medallion, to own one taxi in New York City sold for $603,000. As referenced in my recent book, "Race and Economics," New York City is not alone. In Chicago, a taxi license costs $56,000, Boston $285,000 and Philadelphia $75,000. It's not rocket science to understand the effect of laws that produce these prices: They discriminate against anyone getting into the taxi business who lacks tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars or bank credit to be able to get a loan.
One of the most striking facts about the course of the Obama presidency so far is that Obama has no constructive solutions for anything, which is one reason he campaigned on vague promises. It's why he established bogus metrics, such as "saved or created jobs."
It's also why he's always pointing the finger of blame on others for his policy failures. Everyone knows by now that Obama's reckless and corrupt stimulus package failed to restrain unemployment as he had promised and that instead of accepting responsibility for it, he blamed Bush.
Last week, when President Barack Obama spoke to the National Council of La Raza, he said something that should alarm every American. He confessed that he'd like to "bypass Congress and change the laws" on his own. He added, "Believe me; the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you."
He doesn't need to promise us. We believe him, because we've been watching his rogue behavior since the moment he entered office.
Sometimes, the yelling stops long enough to remember that there are real people involved in abortions.
And not just the youngest one, who doesn't get a say in the decision.
I read the other day a piece about the "safe and successful" telemedicine abortions, getting "high grades" in Iowa. That's an abortion where a doctor doesn't even have to be present. The clinical efficiency with which the story was written was jarringly chilling.
They say the movie theatres make more money on popcorn, candy, and soft drinks than they do on the movie tickets. If that’s true, theatre owners really ought to reconsider the previews they’re airing. They can make you sick to your stomach.
I don’t know why Hollywood moviemakers are so fascinated by with flatulence and excrement. It’s become almost an obsession, a formality of sorts in the “humor” oeuvre.
"Millionaires and billionaires," President Obama says derisively, must make more "sacrifices" and live by the same rules the rest of America lives by. But there are seven little words that will never appear on the White House teleprompter: "And that means you, too, George Soros."
For all his (and his wife's) bashing of greedy Wall Street hedge-fund managers, Obama has shown nothing but love to the world's most famous hedge-fund mogul. The feeling is mutual and deep(-pocketed).
Think of Anders Behring Breivik, the man who bombed a government building in Norway before proceeding to coldbloodedly massacre scores of defenseless young people on a secluded island several miles away, as an Adolf Hitler of one. The first Adolf Hitler was a Hitler to millions. He captured an entire nation and terrified the world for years.
One imagines that the two, if ever they could have a quiet talk together, would have much to agree on. Both were meticulous planners, though I dare say Breivik was Hitler's superior. He would not delay an invasion of Russia. Both harbored grudges against threats to their culture from the foreign-born and what Breivik called the "cultural Marxists." I can well imagine the Führer admiring Breivik's taste in uniforms, his Aryan features and his longing for his viking past. Both were mama's boys.
The latest polls show the people are not happy with President Obama's handling of budget matters, but Republicans look even worse. And yet, while the GOP delivers one idea after another, Obama has offered nothing, instead just attacking, attacking, attacking, blaming everyone but himself in utter denial of the reality that no man on the face of this Earth is more responsible for our debt catastrophe than he.
Why then is the public blaming Republicans more? It is because of the ceaseless, shameless and oftentimes utterly dishonest attacks on them coming from Obama's media hit men. A day doesn't go by without a leftist "news" media outrage. They come in all shapes, too.
How have we arrived at this place where the fate of our federal budget — our economy, indeed our capacity to have a functioning federal government — seems to depend on what two men (the speaker of the House and the president) may or may not be secretly talking about in an interior room in the White House?
Meanwhile, elected representatives and senators, kept ignorant of those life-and-death discussions, are forced to wait. When the two men are finished — doubtlessly mere hours before "the world will end" — our elected representatives and senators will be stampeded to vote yes for a deal about which no one knows the details. Cattle may need to be stampeded; elected representatives of the American people never should be so compelled.
Here's what President Barack Obama said about our high rate of unemployment in an interview with NBC's Ann Curry: "The other thing that happened, though — and this goes to the point you were just making — is there are some structural issues with our economy, where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," adding that "you see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate." The president's statements suggest that he sees labor-saving technological innovation as a contributor to today's high rate of unemployment. That's unmitigated nonsense. Let's see whether technological innovation causes unemployment.
In 1790, farmers were 90 percent, out of a population of nearly 3 million, of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, only about 41 percent of our labor force was employed in agriculture. By 2008, fewer than 3 percent of Americans were employed in agriculture. Through labor-saving technological advances and machinery, our farmers are the world's most productive. As a result, Americans are better off.
Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. This one comes clothed in a Tigger costume, wrapped in blinders and bathed in the fetid Beltway odor of eau de Pass le Buck.
Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor. He won't, however, be vacating public office until "the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." Translation: Call off the U-Haul trucks. Wu's staying awhile.
As the White House and Congress debate cuts in federal spending, millions of dollars are being funneled overseas to help build many Islamic mosques and structures.
An Atlanta television news station, WSB, reported that "the State Department is sending millions of dollars to save mosques overseas. This investment has received criticism as the United States makes an effort to slash nearly $4 trillion in government spending." The anchor noted that the U.S. Agency for International Development has granted copious funds for mosques in Cairo, Cyprus, Tajikistan and Mali.
Dodd-Frank, the 2,300-page financial "reform" monstrosity spearheaded by Capitol Hill corruptocrats, turned 1 this week. It made too-big banks bigger. It made too-risky incentives riskier. It made a lousy economy lousier. Billed as a "consumer protection" act, Dodd-Frank has succeeded phenomenally — in protecting and stimulating the business-stifling business of government.
Dodd-Frank is a tyrannical triumph of rule-makers, lobbyists and other non-elected spongers over taxpayers. If you don't want an unseemly glimpse into the self-serving, sausage-making process that feeds the insatiable Beltway industry, read no further. The law's implementation process is so far-reaching and Byzantine that every member of Congress should be suffering migraines from it.
But it's not the congresswoman herself who is to blame for the pain. It's so many of the stories about her.
We're still months away from the first caucus or primary of the presidential nominating season, and already things have gotten way out of control. Accusations that Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann is heavily medicated on account of incapacitating headaches were just the latest attempts to nip her candidacy in the bud. A former aide insisted: "The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes."
Laura Ingraham calls her newest book "Of Thee I Zing" a “comedic intervention” on the sorry state of our popular culture. It begins with a declaration of independence from the moral soup in which we swim: “When in a coarse state of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the bonds between themselves and the cultural blight degrading the Republic...they should declare the causes that impel their separation.”
Ingraham's willingness to mix it up on the culture is refreshing and was apparent during her book interview on NBC's “Today,” where she underlined to Matt Lauer that Today's "own" Summer Concert Series included vile artists like woman-battering singer Chris Brown and F-bomb-dropping “artists” Enrique Iglesias and Cee-Lo. How big are these cultural icons? Ingraham and her collaborator on the book, Catholic TV journalist Raymond Arroyo, were amazed at what they thought must be the new homelessness on the streets of New York, but then realized people were camping out two nights early to acquire a choice spot to witness Chris Brown perform on NBC.
It seems Rep. Michele Bachmann is under increased scrutiny for her religious views, even as she climbs ever higher in the presidential polls. With tea party support, she is now No. 2 in the Republican polls even though she has been in the race for only a short time. The numero uno, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is himself the victim of gentler bigotry for his religious views. He is a Mormon. No, I did not say moron. I said Mormon.
What is Bachmann's transgression? She was, until recently, a member of a church that opposes homosexuality and gay marriage. It also takes issue with the Roman Catholic papacy. It is the Salem Lutheran Church of Stillwater, Minn. And by the way, it is no longer Bachmann's church. She now attends the evangelical church Eagle Brook, in another part of Stillwater, where she now lives. A close friend, JoAnne Hood, tells The New York Times that the Bachmanns "are absolutely not against the gays. They are just not for marriage" — presumably not for gay marriage. As for their position on the Catholic papacy, Hood is mum.
Last December, I reported on Harvard University professor Stephan Thernstrom's essay "Minorities in College — Good News, But...," on Minding the Campus, a website sponsored by the New York-based Manhattan Institute. He was commenting on the results of the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, saying that the scores "mean that black students aged 17 do not read with any greater facility than whites who are four years younger and still in junior high. ... Exactly the same glaring gaps appear in NAEP's tests of basic mathematics skills." Thernstrom asked, "If we put a randomly-selected group of 100 eighth-graders and another of 100 twelfth-graders in a typical college, would we expect the first group to perform as well as the second?" In other words, is it reasonable to expect a college freshman of any race who has the equivalent of an eighth-grade education to compete successfully with those having a 12th-grade education?
In Atlanta, the teachers cheat on exams so the students don't have to. It doesn't raise the knowledge level of our children, but it gets the school system past the next exam — even as the system continues its death spiral. We will know the spiral has reached its terminal station when there is full unionized teacher employment and complete student illiteracy.
Now, in this same spirit of treating the symptoms at the price of the patient soon dying, Moody's credit rating agency, according to Reuters, has proposed that the United States "eliminate its statutory limit on government debt to reduce uncertainty among bond holders."
On July 3, 1999, The New York Times exposed Al Gore for lying about his family in a national convention speech as vice president of the United States. In 1996, Gore had moved the Democrats to tears by claiming that when his sister Nancy died of cancer in 1984, he vowed then and there to oppose the tobacco industry. How courageous – and completely untrue. The Times found Gore campaigned in 1988 boasting of his tobacco-farming prowess. So he lied through his teeth. Network coverage from ABC, CBS, or NBC on this whopper, even as Gore prepared a presidential run? Zero.
On July 13, 2011, this cycle repeated itself, when The New York Times reported on another national Democrat lying about a death in the family in his convention address, presidential debates, just about everywhere. That was Barack Obama in 2008 claiming his mother Ann Dunham died of cancer battling with insurance companies all the way through. Dramatic? Yes. But an utter lie. Network coverage of this new jaw-dropper on ABC, CBS, and NBC? Also zip, zilch, zero.