Casey Stengel, a baseball legend who played on five teams and managed four, said: "It's easy to get good players. Getting them to play together, that's the hard part."
What's true in sports is definitely true in politics — even more so.
Many say that 'tis the season for GOP rivalry, but when does inference turn to infighting? When does public debate abandon solidarity? And when does friendly bantering turn into friendly fire that is fuel for our foes?
President Obama's much-ballyhooed speech in Osawatomie, Kan., was his best effort to put a happy face on class warfare. Though some were elated, fantasizing that he might be getting his messianic mojo back, even his reliable cheerleaders recognize there's no substance beneath the hot air rising.
Liberals get all dewy-eyed when Obama reverts to idealistic tones, as they are saps for perfect-world scenarios that never materialize. They love it when he co-opts history in service to their cause. So he traveled to Kansas seeking to identify with Teddy Roosevelt, the icon of rugged individualism, to lambast the evils of rugged individualism.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column titled "Free to Die" (9/15/2011), pointed out that back in 1980, his late fellow Nobel laureate Milton Friedman lent his voice to the nation's shift to the political right in his famous 10-part TV series, "Free To Choose." Nowadays, Krugman says, "'free to choose' has become 'free to die.'" He was referring to a GOP presidential debate in which Rep. Ron Paul was asked what should be done if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Paul correctly, but politically incorrectly, replied, "That's what freedom is all about — taking your own risks." CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer pressed his question further, asking whether "society should just let him die." The crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of "Yeah!", which led Krugman to conclude that "American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions." Professor Krugman is absolutely right; our nation is faced with a conflict of moral visions. Let's look at it.
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has been tracking views of press performance since 1985. In September 2011, Pew found that negative opinions about the performance of news organizations now match or surpass all-time highs.
In the poll, 66 percent of those surveyed stated news stories often are inaccurate and 77 percent think that news organizations tend to favor one side over the other. 80 percent of those surveyed said news organizations are often influenced by powerful people and organizations.
This negative opinion of the mass media has increased in recent years. In the Pew Research Center’s first survey on news attitudes in 1985, only 53 percent said that news organizations were often influenced by powerful people and organizations and tended to favor one side.
According to another poll conducted by Gallup in September 2011, Americans perceive a more liberal bias in the media than a conservative bias by a large margin since at least 2002. A significant majority of respondents perceive bias in the media.
Before you newly active Republicans commit to Newt Gingrich as your presidential nominee on the basis of the recent debates, here's a bit of Newt history you ought to know. I promise you, it's going to come up if he's the candidate.
The day after the Republicans' historic takeover of the House of Representatives in the 1994 election, Newt was off and running, giving a series of Fidel Castro-style speeches about "the Third Wave information revolution." It had the unmistakable ring of lingo from his new-age gurus, Alvin and Heidi Toffler.
In a season in which there is very little "peace on Earth" and even less "good will towards men," it is a particularly tough time for Jews, who may be finding it more and more difficult to tell who their real friends are.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta fired an unusually harsh salvo across the Israelis bow. In a speech at a Brookings Institution forum, he urged Israel to get to the "d--n table" for peace talks. It must have escaped Panetta's notice that the Palestinians are the ones refusing to come to the "d--n table" unless their unacceptable demands are met. These include, depending on the day, the cessation of construction projects, even on pre-1967 Israeli land, the so-called "right of return" of "Palestinian refugees," a concession by Israel to re-draw its borders to 1967 lines -- though such borders would be completely indefensible against an inevitable attack -- and the re-division of Jerusalem, which Israel rightly sees as its capital. Meanwhile, the Palestinian side concedes almost nothing and fulfills none of its promises. Neither is it held accountable for its behavior.
One of the nice things about human history is that no matter how much people or their leaders misjudge events and make a hash of things, within a few centuries, the debris is cleared away, and we can have another go at getting things right.
Yes, I am thinking about the Middle East. Whether or not there is a message in that turn of events, I'll leave it to theologians.
Wrapping himself in the mantle of Theodore Roosevelt's "National Greatness" agenda, President Obama urged the nation to stand strong and unite behind ... his umpteenth regulatory czar. Nothing symbolizes American strength and vigor more than another unaccountable Washington bureaucrat.
If Richard Cordray, the stalled White House nominee to enforce the Dodd-Frank financial bureaucracy, is not approved, the wheedler-in-chief warned in Osawatomie, Kan.: "Every day we go without a consumer watchdog in place is another day when a student or a senior citizen or member of our Armed Forces could be tricked into a loan they can't afford — something that happens all the time."
As I heard Barack Obama and his propaganda minister, Jay Carney, endorsing tax cuts as a vehicle for economic growth, I was reminded, again, of George Orwell's "1984" and the striking similarities between his Oceania and the American left's vision for America.
Oceania's Big Brother regime had "four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided," the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Plenty. Each department was dedicated to the opposite principle suggested by its title. "Truth" disseminated lies. "Peace" promoted war. "Love" enforced uniformity of thought. And "Plenty" manipulated the economy to impoverish the people while enriching the ruling class. God was expelled and absolute truth abolished, while "doublespeak" was promoted.
We live in a bipolar culture. We allow ourselves to be drenched in sexual images in movies, on television and on the Internet and then defend First Amendment protection to even the most graphic of them. Then, when a politician acts out what culture promotes, we criticize him, especially if he's conservative, branding him with the equivalent of a "scarlet letter."
In our not too distant past, a feeling of shame made people go into hiding after an adulterous relationship was exposed. Now they go on television to talk about the sleazy details. They either deny it (Herman Cain), admit it and say they've asked God for forgiveness (Newt Gingrich), or pay no political price at all (space limitations prevent me from listing the legion of politicians that fall into this last category.)
She's perfect. Miley Cyrus, Hollywood's perpetually half-dressed wild child with an insatiable appetite for attention, jumped in front of the Occupy Wall Street bandwagon this week. The young Disney mogul unveiled a YouTube anthem hailing the aimless, anti-capitalist protesters. Smells like opportunistic teen queen spirit.
Like so much of the warmed-over, Big Labor-underwritten Occupy movement, Miley's musical tribute to its foot soldiers is a worn-out derivative remix. She took "Liberty Walk," a year-old single; spliced in video footage of union marchers carrying carbon-copy "TAKE BACK OUR DEMOCRACY" signs; tossed in random scenes of global discontent from London to China to San Diego to Salem, Oregon; slapped on a treacly dedication to "the thousands of people who are standing up for what they believe in" (like, whatever that is); stirred; auto-tuned; and released:
Benefiting from a hint from an article titled "Is Harry Potter Making You Poorer?", written by my colleague Dr. John Goodman, president of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, I've come up with an explanation and a way to end income inequality in America, possibly around the world. Joanne Rowling was a welfare mother in Edinburgh, Scotland. All that has changed. As the writer of the "Harry Potter" novels, having a net worth of $1 billion, she is the world's wealthiest author. More importantly, she's one of those dastardly 1-percenters condemned by the Occupy Wall Streeters and other leftists.
When Barney Frank announced the other day that he was shuffling off stage after three decades in the Congressional limelight, I was brought back to 1980, when some very thoughtful friends from Harvard told me to watch him. Paul H. Weaver had been an aide to Irving Kristol, the godfather of neoconservatism, which was lustrous in those days, and rightly so.
Paul was one of the brightest young neo-cons of his generation. I always took him seriously. He thought that Congressman Frank was principled, stupendously intelligent and of good cheer — a wit. It seemed Frank was going to be another Daniel Patrick Moynihan, or at least an Allard Lowenstein, the former congressman and principled liberal activist who had recently been murdered.
With the mainstream media giddily reporting on an alleged affair involving Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, how long can it be before they break the news that their 2004 vice presidential candidate conceived a "love child" with his mistress, Rielle Hunter?
The left is trying to destroy Cain with a miasma of hazy accusations leveled by three troubled women. Considered individually, the accusations are utterly unbelievable. They are even less credible taken together. This is how liberals destroy a man, out of nothing.
At the dawn of his administration, President Obama opined: "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." Magical rays of white-hot sunlight emanated from his media-manufactured halo. And then bureaucratically engineered darkness settled over the land.
For three years, White House officials have rolled out countless executive orders and initiatives touting open government. Just this week, they unveiled plans to move federal archival records from a paper-based to an electronic system. But behind the scenes, Obama's lawyers systematically have stymied public information requests, carved out crater-sized disclosure loopholes, fought subpoenas on scandals from Fast and Furious to Solyndra, and made routine the holiday document dump.
Seventy years ago this month, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and brought America into a war that had begun in Europe in 1939.
In his masterful new book "December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World," Craig Shirley takes readers back to a very different America. Through hundreds of stories and advertisements culled from newspapers, Shirley not only transports us back to that tumultuous time, but reminds this generation that denial about an enemy's intentions can have grave consequences.
The GOP presidential nomination process is a roller-coaster ride — sometimes uplifting, other times discouraging, but we press forward.
President Obama and his agenda are unspeakably disastrous for the nation, so this election matters more than any in my lifetime. The national debt clock is ticking faster than Obama's heart beats for big government, and his re-election would guarantee virtual national bankruptcy. That's why the grass-roots tea party phenomenon sprouted, and it's why there is so much scrutiny of the GOP candidates.
In Part 1, I discussed how the mainstream media, billionaire progressives such as George Soros, the White House and even the Occupy movement are in cahoots with one another.
In Part 2, I discussed the MSM's maneuvering to coronate their choice for the GOP presidential nomination, Soros' covert investments in the 2012 presidential election, and Agenda 21's relation to progressivism and the Occupy movement.
During the presidential campaign of 2000, George W. Bush was criticized by some conservatives for calling himself a "compassionate conservative." Some believed the term to be redundant.
Now we're in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign and candidate Newt Gingrich has called for a "humane" policy on illegal immigrants. Gingrich wants illegal residents who have been in America for 25 years to stay, so as not to "separate families."
For more than half my life I was a 99-percenter. I kept my first pay stubs in the news business to remind me where I came from and what was necessary in order to get where I am today.
In 1975, while working at a TV station in Houston, I wrote a letter to a friend in Washington complaining about my stalled career and low salary. "I will probably die here with my boots on, boots bought on a revolving charge and not fully paid for," I griped. My memory is not that good. He kept the letter and showed it to me a few years ago. We laughed.
Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, the phonograph, the DC motor and other items in everyday use and became wealthy by doing so. Thomas Watson founded IBM and became rich through his company's contribution to the computation revolution. Lloyd Conover, while in the employ of Pfizer, created the antibiotic tetracycline. Though Edison, Watson, Conover and Pfizer became wealthy, whatever wealth they received pales in comparison with the extraordinary benefits received by ordinary people. Billions of people benefited from safe and efficient lighting. Billions more were the ultimate beneficiaries of the computer, and untold billions benefited from healthier lives gained from access to tetracycline.
President Barack Obama, in stoking up class warfare, said, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." This is lunacy. Andrew Carnegie's steel empire produced the raw materials that built the physical infrastructure of the United States. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft and produced software products that aided the computer revolution. But Carnegie had amassed quite a fortune long before he built Carnegie Steel Co., and Gates had quite a fortune by 1990. Had they the mind of our president, we would have lost much of their contributions, because they had already "made enough money."
Bored with the Penn State scandal because it didn't implicate any prominent Republicans, the mainstream media have suddenly become obsessed with Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." They are monomaniacally fixated on luring Republicans into raising taxes.
If Democrats could balance the budget tomorrow and quadruple government spending, they'd refuse the deal unless they could also make Republicans break their tax pledge. That is their single-minded goal.
President Obama's cheerleaders are starting to peel away along with his approval ratings, and it's a fascinating sight to behold. They offer different reasons, but they all boil down to one obvious thing — Obama is first and foremost about Obama — and one less obvious: He has been a failed president.
Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, admittedly more centrist than most of their Democratic counterparts, penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal urging Obama "to abandon his candidacy for re-election." The authors conclude that the only way Obama could possibly win in 2012 would be "to wage the most negative campaign in history," because he has no successful record to run on. If he would happen to win in that way, he wouldn't be able to govern, they say, so he should step aside and allow Hillary Clinton to run.
Last week, I discussed how Occupy protesters are being directly aided by the mainstream media and indirectly aided by White House stimulus money, as well as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's and even Vice President Joe Biden's households. I also detailed how the mainstream media are accelerating their progressive blitz not only to hasten the second coming, or election, of President Barack Obama but also to help him and other progressives in reaching their final goal of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
I believe the MSM are also bent to coronate a particular GOP candidate whom they feel could be beaten most easily by Obama. I believe that candidate is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, for the sole fact that the powers behind the MSM believe his presidential run would fracture the Republican Party and cause a third-party candidate to run, dividing the conservative vote, just as Ross Perot did in 1992 and 1996.
Now it's Newt's turn. Having risen to the top in some opinion polls, the former speaker of the House is taking heat for large consulting fees paid to him by the government-sponsored mortgage company Freddie Mac for wisdom a New York Times editorial said was so simplistic it might have come from a fortune cookie.
As Republican presidential candidates rise only to fall when their imperfections are brought to light, Republican voters risk disappointment in 2012 by playing the left's game on their turf and by their rules. What they must do instead is to protect their "product" at a time when the opportunity to hold Barack Obama to one term, while taking the Senate and increasing their House majority, has never looked better.
It is open season for the liberal media on any GOP presidential candidate who displays the audacity to surge in the polls, the latest targets being Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. A reasonable case can be made for some of these criticisms, and conservatives often concede the weaknesses, but there is no justification for this same media's ongoing cover-up for the current White House occupant.
Can you imagine how differently our political climate would be if the mainstream media had the slightest inclination toward fairness and balance? The liberal media have never, to my knowledge, shined the spotlight on Obama's many embarrassing gaffes. They have rarely called attention to his deceit, broken promises and policy failures.
According to CBS News, "the number of people in the U.S. living in poverty in 2010 rose for the fourth year in a row, representing the largest number of Americans in poverty in the 52 years since such estimates have been published by the U.S. Census Bureau." MSNBC said, "The U.S. poverty rate remains among the highest in the developed world." Let's look at a few poverty facts.
Heritage Foundation researchers Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield laid out some facts about the poor in their report "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor" (9/13/2011). Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. The average poor American has more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. Ninety-six percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry during the year because they couldn't afford food.
You can't spell "accountability" without "A," "C" and "T." But in Washington, government officials routinely get away with "taking personal responsibility" by mouthing empty words devoid of action. Heads nod in collective agreement that mistakes were made. But heads never roll. The Obama administration has raised this accountability charade to an art form.
At a House Energy Committee hearing on the half-billion-dollar bankrupt Solyndra loan-guarantee disaster, Energy Secretary Steven Chu made a grand pretense of falling on his sword. The neon-green solar energy zealot told lawmakers in prepared testimony that the "final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind." But again and again, Chu admitted, those decisions were made with serial cluelessness about the political jockeying, dire financial warnings, legal red flags and conflicts of interest that "everybody (else) and their dog" knew about (as GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas politely pointed out).
So now, apparently, we have to go through the cycle of the media pushing Newt Gingrich. This is going to be fantastic.
In addition to having an affair in the middle of Clinton's impeachment; apologizing to Jesse Jackson on behalf of J.C. Watts -- one of two black Republicans then in Congress –- for having criticized "poverty pimps," and then inviting Jackson to a State of the Union address; cutting a global warming commercial with Nancy Pelosi; supporting George Soros' candidate Dede Scozzafava in a congressional special election; appearing in public with the Rev. Al Sharpton to promote nonspecific education reform; and calling Paul Ryan's plan to save Social Security "right-wing social engineering," we found out this week that Gingrich was a recipient of Freddie Mac political money.
A just released book, "Bowing to Beijing" by Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II, will change forever the way you think about China — even if, like me, you already have the deepest worries about the Chinese threat. As I opened the book, I was expecting to find many useful examples of Chinese military and industrial efforts to get the better of the United States and the West.
Indeed, there are 100 pages of examples of the most remorseless Chinese successes at stealing the military and industrial secrets of the West and converting them into a growing menace — soon to be a leviathan — bent on domination and defeat of America. The authors itemize the sheer, unprecedented magnitude of this effort. But the opening chapters dealt with human rights abuses, and my first thought as I started reading was that I wanted to get right to the military and industrial examples.