Earlier this week, Mitt Romney got into trouble for saying, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." To comprehend why the political class reacted as if Romney had just praised Hitler, you must understand that his critics live in a world in which no one can ever be fired -- a world known as "the government."
(And a tip for you Washington types: Just because a person became rich without working for government doesn't mean he is "Wall Street." A venture capital firm in Boston that tries to rescue businesses headed for bankruptcy, for example, is not "Wall Street.")
Last week's column started off asking: "What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done?" The answer is that human greed is what gets wonderful things done. I wasn't talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I was talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves.
Think about greed and racial discrimination. In 1947, when the Brooklyn Dodgers hired Jackie Robinson, why did racial discrimination by major league teams begin to drop like a hot potato? It wasn't feelings of guilt by white owners, affirmative action or anti-discrimination laws. It turned out that there was a huge pool of black baseball talent in the Negro leagues. It became too costly for teams to allow the Dodgers to gain a monopoly on this talent. Black players won the National League's Most Valuable Player award for seven consecutive seasons. Had other teams not stepped in to hire black players, allowing the Dodgers to hire them, it might have given the Dodgers a virtual monopoly on world championships.
LISBON, Portugal -- When the Republican presidential candidates tire of bashing each other, perhaps they will start addressing the expansion of radical Islam. Only Rick Santorum raised the issue in last Saturday's debate in New Hampshire.
Next door in Spain, two new satellite TV stations recently signed on. They won't be airing "Judge Judy," but instead are broadcasting Islamic theology and political propaganda. It was not coincidental that the launch of Islamic TV in Spain coincided with Christmas. One of the early broadcasts featured a story, from Islam's perspective, on the Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus. Not surprisingly, it differs significantly from the biblical account with which even secular Americans are familiar.
We've been dealing with liberal media bias for years, but George Stephanopoulos' performance in the Republican presidential debate Saturday night in New Hampshire was particularly egregious.
In many of these MSM-moderated debates, liberal moderators have tried to stir up personal fights between candidates, which diverts our focus from more important issues and, before national television audiences, shifts attention far away from Barack Obama and his disastrous agenda.
Here is the operating motto of the Obama White House: "So let it be written, so let it be done!" Like Yul Brynner's Pharaoh Ramses character in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments," the demander in chief stands with arms akimbo issuing daily edicts to his constitution-subverting minions with an imperious wave of his hand. His entourage of insatiable usurpers never rests.
Can't delude legislators into adopting a $1.5 billion Kabuki summer-jobs makework boondoggle? Create an unfunded program through executive fiat.
President Obama is calling for dramatic defense cuts that could threaten our national survival while obstructing structural reforms to our entitlement programs that are essential for our national financial survival. It just doesn't get much worse than this.
President George W. Bush attempted in good faith to reform Social Security, and Democrats savaged him. Rep. Paul Ryan proposed a comprehensive financial plan that would, as painlessly as possible, restore national fiscal sanity, and Obama and his Democrats have misrepresented the plan (saying it would end Medicare) and used class warfare and fear-mongering to kill it in the cradle.
How does one measure whether a life was a success, or a failure?
Some would measure it by recognition, that is, how many knew the person's name. For others, the measure of a successful life would be the amount of wealth accumulated, or possessions held. Still others would say a life was successful if the person made a major contribution to society -- in medicine, sports, politics, or the arts.
President Obama's decision in 2010 to cut NASA's budget and abandon the Constellation program, established by the Bush administration, which was charged with returning Americans to the moon by 2020 and creating an "extended human presence on the moon," has created a vacuum, which China will attempt to fill.
China has announced an ambitious five-year plan that includes the launch of space laboratories, a manned spaceship to the moon and the creation of its own global satellite navigation system that will almost certainly be used for military purposes.
What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done? It's really a silly question, because the answer is so simple. It turns out that it's human greed that gets the most wonderful things done. When I say greed, I am not talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, lobbying for special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I'm talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves. Let's look at it.
This winter, Texas ranchers may have to fight the cold of night, perhaps blizzards, to run down, feed and care for stray cattle. They make the personal sacrifice of caring for their animals to ensure that New Yorkers can enjoy beef. Last summer, Idaho potato farmers toiled in blazing sun, in dust and dirt, and maybe being bitten by insects to ensure that New Yorkers had potatoes to go with their beef.
I think it's very difficult for any of us to be objective about any subject, especially something we care deeply about, but my objective observation is that liberals tend to be less aware of and less willing to admit their biases.
We see this often, which I'll get to, but first, let me relate how this phenomenon most recently came to my attention.
A friend of mine hands me what looks like a business card. It says, "Don't Die Stupid." As America begins another round of voting to select the next president, or retain the current one, what we need is a stupid test. Flunk it and you shouldn't vote.
The year 2011 has drawn to an end, and as I look back, I see several of my predictions that appear pretty sound. President Barack Obama is dead in the water and will be beaten in 2012. I have made that prediction over and again this year and I think it will be borne out.
Another observation I've made is that liberalism is dead. By the coming election, it will be the rare psephologist who fails to notice. Say, the occasional MSNBC political expert may still think liberalism is full of brag and bounce after the fall elections, as will the Sunday morning news know-it-alls. But after the Nov. 6 elections, with the Senate and the presidency added to the Republicans' trophy chest, I think my observation will be commonly accepted.
With 2011 drawing to a close, it is time to account. As an early-and-often chronicler of Chicago-on-the-Potomac, I am amazed at the stubborn and clingy persistence of President Barack Obama's snowblowers in the media. See no scandal, hear no scandal, speak no scandal.
Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan asserted in May -- while Operation Fast and Furious subpoenas were flying on Capitol Hill -- that "one of the least remarked upon aspects of the Obama presidency has been the lack of scandals." Conveniently, he defines scandal as a "widespread elite perception of wrongdoing."
In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.
Taxes can be raised and lowered. Regulations can be removed (though they rarely are). Attorneys general and Cabinet members can be fired. Laws can be repealed. Even Supreme Court justices eventually die.
But capitulate on illegal immigration, and the entire country will have the electorate of California. There will be no turning back.
Paul Stefan James lived for only forty-two minutes – with a heartbeat, but never taking a breath. It seemed like a cruel coincidence that his mother’s Chicken Soup for a Mother’s Soul calendar had those words to offer on his birth date.
Is there, or should there ever be, a point when a state is no longer penalized for its discriminatory past?
Not according to the Department of Justice, which last Friday rejected a South Carolina law that would have required voters show a valid photo ID before casting their ballots.
Justice says the law discriminates against minorities. The Obama administration said, "South Carolina's law didn't meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting." Why South Carolina? Because, the Justice Department contends, it's tasked with approving voting changes in states that have failed in the past to protect the rights of blacks.
Last week, I documented more than a dozen ways in which, in just the past six months, the Obama administration is trampling on the religious liberties of America's finest military service members. (If you haven't read Part 1, you can find it here.)
I am very disappointed by the dissolution of religious liberties in the U.S. military. Times have sadly and radically changed since my father served in World War II, since I served four years in the Air Force and since my two brothers, Wieland and Aaron, served in the Army in Vietnam. (My brother Wieland paid the ultimate price there in the line of duty.)
Anyone who knows me knows that for my whole life, I've been a huge supporter of our U.S. military personnel, whom I congratulate about their victory in Iraq. But when our president and officials in the U.S. Department of Defense exchange a war abroad for a religious war at home, can't we see that something else is seriously awry in this administration?
It's one thing to watch "merry Christmas" be omitted from signs in your favorite department store but quite another to see Bibles withheld from wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It's true! On Dec. 2, the Family Research Council reported that it had discovered a memo released in September at the esteemed military hospital, in which Navy officials announced that "no religious items (including Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit."
Americans need only to open the daily newspaper or turn on the nightly news in order to see the media’s double standard. Each day we continue to hear the Occupy Wall Street movement’s hijacked the slogan of "the 99 percent" which has been forced it into our lexicon and the media’s daily lingo. And almost comically, Time magazine has decided that "The Protester" is 2011's Person of the Year.
The Daily Caller's Mary Katharine Ham, reminds us to travel back in time to appreciate the media double standard as she points out that:
Fellow right-wingers: Is our objective to taunt Obama by accusing him of "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior," of being "authentically dishonest" and a "wonderful con" -- and then lose the election -- or is it to defeat Obama, repeal Obamacare, secure the borders, enforce e-verify, reform entitlement programs, reduce the size of government and save the country?
If all you want is to lob rhetorical bombs at Obama and then lose, Newt Gingrich -- like recent favorite Donald Trump -- is your candidate. But if you want to save the country, Newt's not your guy.
Scruffy progressive protesters locked themselves together across railroad tracks, blocked traffic and shouted profanities at police on Tuesday in a coordinated "West Coast Port Shutdown." Truckers lost wages. Shippers lost business. This is what the Occupy Wall Street movement calls "victory."
Aging Big Labor bosses toasted one another from the sidelines as they declared the "rebirth of the labor movement." What's really going on? It's an old-school power grab by a decrepit union wrapped in self-deluded social media do-goodism.
The most disturbing aspect of President Obama's "60 Minutes" interview is how sincere he sounded when misrepresenting his record. I'm not sure whether I would prefer that he be lying or self-deluded, but there's plenty of each to go around.
Obama is a left-wing ideologue, a true believer, who is convinced that his agenda is mandated by a superior moral imperative (from who knows where) and that it must be advanced irrespective of the consequences, because no matter how bad they might be, they would have been worse without his agenda.
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.