The situation that is unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East has such a potential of changing everyday, that anything I write about the current situation could well be yesterday’s news by the time you read it.
I don’t think that a lot of us understand the ominous volatility of what’s going on and unfortunately that reaches into the highest levels of politics in this nation.
Tunisia was the first pot to boil over with Egypt coming shortly thereafter and Jordan showing signs of following suit.
It seems rather ironic that Hollywood doesn’t want to make movies about Ronald Reagan. Perhaps it’s because virtually no one in the industry can stand his belief system. Or it could be that Hollywood’s last effort was an exercise in character assassination. A made-for-TV movie planned for CBS in late 2003 was ignominiously taken off the schedule and moved to a premium pay-cable channel after outraged conservative protests (which, full disclosure, I heartily joined).
Hollywood liberals, editorialists, network anchors, and TV critics at that time exploded in horror over what The New York Times called the “Soviet-style chill” caused by Reagan supporters. “Censorship!” was the clarion call of the day. And week. And month.
On January 8, the owners of The History Channel announced that they were scrubbing a splashy, $30 million, eight-hour miniseries on “The Kennedys,” starring Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes (Mrs. Tom Cruise) as Jackie. The Kennedy family objected, and demanded it be pulled. On February 1, it was announced that a deal was struck to unload this massive project on the Reelz Channel, a tiny network where the project will be lost. “Censorship!”? This time, the free speech-loving critics are as quiet as church mice.
Oops, they did it again. President Obama's grabby-handed environmental bureaucrats have earned yet another spanking from the federal judiciary over their "determined disregard" of the rule of law. Isn't it time to give these misbehaving government hooligans a permanent timeout?
Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department Wednesday for defying his May 2010 order to lift its groundless ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Nine months later, not a single permit has been issued. Several deepwater platforms have moved out of the area to take their businesses — and an estimated 5,000 jobs — overseas. Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue and Gulf lease sales-related rent have also dried up.
Is there anything about the Obama administration that doesn't reek of discriminatory application and enforcement of laws and the arbitrary and capricious abuse of power?
Obama's best defense against the charge that he's doing outrageous things is that to correctly accuse him of committing these actions makes one look like a kook. Viewed alone, they are quite disconcerting. Taken together, especially with levels of audacity and arrogance that would impress any tyrant, they are immensely troubling.
Here's a modest proposal for liberals who say they support job creation: Stop smearing successful, law-abiding private companies whose values don't comport with yours. I'm looking at you, New York Times.
Chick-fil-A is an American success story. Founded by Georgian entrepreneur Truett Cathy in 1946, the family-owned chicken-sandwich chain is one of the country's largest fast-food businesses. It employs some 50,000 workers across the country at 1,500 outlets in nearly 40 states and the District of Columbia. The company generates more than $2 billion in revenue and serves millions of happy customers with trademark Southern hospitality.
So, what's the problem? Well, Chick-fil-A is run by devout Christians who believe in strong marriages, devoted families and the highest standards of character for their workers. The restaurant chain's official corporate mission is to "glorify God" and "enrich the lives of everyone we touch." The company's community service initiatives, funded through its WinShape Foundation, support foster care, scholarship, summer camp and marriage enrichment programs. On Sunday, all Chick-fil-A stores close so workers can spend the day at worship and rest.
My guess is that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is an amateur zoologist. Vinson is the federal judge who ruled Monday in Pensacola, Fla., that those who confected Obamacare cannot compel the citizenry to buy health insurance. Moreover, he found that because the 2,600-page bill was created without any "severability clause," the entire law is unconstitutional. The authors of Obamacare declared that without mandatory insurance, the whole bill would have been unworkable. Mandatory insurance was not severable from the law. Hence Judge Vinson, because of the way the bill was constructed, threw the whole law out. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to breathe life into this legislation or to bury it. I say R.I.P.
As learned as Vinson indubitably is — in the course of his meditations on Obamacare, he reread the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, James Madison's notes at the Constitutional Convention, certain cogitations of former Chief Justice John Marshall and more — the erudite judge surely noted a zoological curiosity. Conservatives and liberals are so different as to be drawn from distinct species of political animals. To me, the conservative always has appeared to be some form of mammal. The liberal is reptilian. I could be wrong. I wonder what Judge Vinson might say.
Whatever may happen in the hours after I write this column, two things are certain: The next chapter in the magnificent and ancient civilization of the Nile will be yet to be known. And the role that America plays in Egypt's great, unfolding story remains also in doubt.
I well understand the Obama administration's uncertain message in the first week of the Egyptian tumult. We have always been conflicted in such moments. America's founding idea has pointed to our ultimate objective — domestic and foreign:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The turmoil in Egypt must not be seen in isolation from other events in the world. Neither is it an aberration. It is the next scene in a long-running play whose final act is the domination of the world by radical Islamists.
The Obama administration has been delusional in its belief that dictators and religious fanatics can be coddled. It has also been dangerously wrong in thinking exposure to our way of life will make them more like us. In fact, such exposure has confirmed what they have been taught: that America and the West are secularists who mock God, sexualize women and live only for the pleasures of this world.
The history of radical Islamist movements is being repeated in our time. First there is infiltration and when their numbers are large enough, domination. Next comes subjugation, followed by eradication of nonbelievers. To think things will be different this time is folly.
In my "Black Education Disaster" column (12/22/10), I presented National Assessment of Educational Progress test data that demonstrated that an average black high school graduate had a level of reading, writing and math proficiency of a white seventh- or eighth-grader. The public education establishment bears part of the responsibility for this disaster, but a greater portion is borne by black students and their parents, many of whom who are alien and hostile to the education process.
Let's look at the education environment in many schools and ask how conducive it is to the education process. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationally during 2007-2008, more than 145,000 teachers were physically attacked. Six percent of big-city schools report verbal abuse of teachers and 18 percent report non-verbal disrespect for teachers.
An earlier NCES study found that 18 percent of the nation's schools accounted for 75 percent of the reported incidents of violence, and 6.6 percent accounted for 50 percent. So far as serious violence, murder and rapes, 1.9 percent of schools reported 50 percent of the incidents. The preponderance of school violence occurs in big-city schools attended by black students.
Is it not amazing that it’s taken the news media exactly 100 years to discover that Ronald Reagan was a role model? While he lived and even after he died, they shot every arrow and dropped every bomb they could on this man and his reputation. Now that it’s his 100th birthday and America is celebrating, they find him useful. They’re trying to rub Reagan’s magic all over a floundering Obama.
After Obama’s latest State of the Union speech – a dreary, boring spectacle for a normally riveting speaker – all three networks praised Obama as “Reaganesque,” as if he were one of the sunniest American exceptionalists. Time’s latest cover reads “Why Obama [Hearts] Reagan,” and the cover story inside is titled “The Role Model,” oozing that Obama “realized long ago that Ronald Reagan was a transformational president.”
Though tolerance is not the highest virtue and hypocrisy is not the lowest sin, liberals have a dearth of the former while demanding it and an abundance of the latter while forbidding it.
Washington University's withdrawn speaking invitation to Bristol Palin is a textbook example both of liberal intolerance and hypocrisy.
The university invited Palin to share her views on abstinence during its "Student Sexual Responsibility Week" in February. But when it was disclosed that the school had offered Palin $20,000 to speak, open-minded liberal students objected and the university withdrew the invitation.
Last week, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama was adamant about freezing U.S. government domestic spending over the next five years. But why not do the same for U.S. spending abroad?
The president said: "So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade."
Forget for a moment that I believe we need to cut government spending by at least 10 percent across the board (including in foreign support) and not just freeze it. Can you imagine American homes in which the primary breadwinners lost their jobs freezing their household spending but not doing the same in their financial support of almost every household in their neighborhoods?
Is the party of Lincoln the party of civil rights? Are Republican conservatives the new civil-rights leaders?
These are far from the most frequently asked questions in American politics, but they're worth raising.
The most underreported story regarding the recent State of the Union address was who was sitting in the Speaker of the House's box -- students, parents, teachers and the Catholic cardinal of the archdiocese of Washington. Some of the students are attending Catholic schools on a special scholarship, which freed them from the capital's failing public schools.
President Obama's storytellers recently launched a White House blog series called "Voices of Health Reform," where "readers can meet average Americans already benefiting from the health reform law."
I propose a new White House series: "Voices of Health Reform Waivers," where taxpayers can meet all the politically connected unions benefiting from exclusive get-out-of-Obamacare passes — after squandering millions of their workers' dues to lobby for the job-killing, private insurance-sabotaging law from which they are now exempt.
Obama's latest watchword, "investments," is not, as I originally assumed, simply a euphemism for government spending. It captures his entire economic philosophy — a philosophy that is permanently engrained in the core of his being and disastrous for America's "future."
President Bill Clinton shrewdly used the word as a more palatable substitute for income tax rate increases, saying taxpayers needed to "invest" more of their hard-earned dollars in America. But Obama's use of the term was different in two important ways. First, for him, "investments" would apply to the spending side of the fiscal equation. He would ask our support in his plan to "invest" more government money in infrastructure and education.
Secondly, and more significantly, Obama used the term to candy-coat his fundamental lack of confidence in the private sector and free market, as well as his commitment to faith in government as the primary engine for economic growth.
If anyone doubts that our entertainment industry and our entertainment media are evangelists for a revolution of sexual immorality (or in their lingo, “progress”), he needs only to read the latest cover story in Entertainment Weekly magazine, a “special report” on gay teen characters on TV, and “How a bold new class of young gay characters on shows like 'Glee' is changing hearts, minds, and Hollywood.”
Gay “Glee” actor Chris Colfer and his boyfriend on the show, Darren Criss, lovingly put their heads together on the cover. Colfer just won a Golden Globe for his part, which is another way the Hollywood press rewards propagandizing the youth of America. In his acceptance speech, he lamented anyone who would say a discouraging word about teen homosexuality, somehow putting all of those words in mouths of bullies: “Screw that, kids!”
In this cover story, Colfer likens the gay couple he and Criss play to beloved and iconic teen-romance “Happy Days” characters from the 1970s: “They're kind of like the Joanie and Chachi of our generation,” he suggests. That line was played up in large promotional type over a full-page photograph of the couple.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama at times sounded like he was channeling Ronald Reagan: cutting the deficit, hailing private enterprise and individual initiative, talking about the future. But for all his eloquence, the president wrapped his liberal ideology in conservative sheep's clothing.
On the surface, the president said many things with which conservatives might agree, but words can mean something, or they can mask true intentions.
There was no indication the president plans to retreat on his far-left agenda of the last two years. Why should he? That would require denying who he is.
Absent the glamorous rhetoric, let's examine the major subjects on which the president touched.
Last week, the president wrote in the Wall Street Journal an article titled "Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System" in which he announced that he had issued an executive order to review all government regulations on a cost-benefit ratio basis. In itself, this is a good idea, although the president makes it explicit that the cost-benefit analysis must take account of — as benefits — intangible factors such as "equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts." Plenty of leeway there for career regulators and liberal political appointees to justify almost any oppressive regulation they may stumble over.
But what startles one is the that such a proposal could come from the same administration that has for the last two years been saddling the American economy and our personal lives with more new legislatively mandated regulations than we have ever experienced in such a short time.
Ah so, every day, in every way, it becomes ever clearer that Rahm Emanuel's campaign for mayor of Chicago and mine have striking similarities. Rahm went off to Washington two years ago to pursue politics on the national stage. I left Chicago about 40 years ago to pursue politicians on the national stage, particularly huckster politicians. Two of my targets were Rahm's old boss Bill Clinton and the president's boss, Hillary.
This fall, we returned rather recklessly, both to run for mayor. I immediately had major newspapers supporting me and at least one national figure, Sean Hannity, on his estimable TV show. Rahm flummoxed around in the city. His ill-considered campaign was attacked as that of a "carpetbagger" after it became clear that he had not lived in his home for the past two years. His house was in possession of one Rob Halpin, who refused to leave. It was the gesture of a patriot. Critics have hardly questioned my Chicago residency. His friendship with Rod Blagojevich, the disgraced former governor, has been raised. Anyone who has looked into the matter knows I am clean as a hound's tooth. Yet Rahm and I do have the nagging question of our residency. Two judicial panels have taken it up, and this week the second, an appeals court, rejected him. Now his fate is with the Illinois Supreme Court. The courts have not dealt with me yet.
"We're going to have to out-educate other countries," President Obama urged this week. How? By out-spending them, of course! It's the same old quack cure for America's fat and failing government-run schools monopoly. The one-trick ponies at the White House call their academic improvement agenda "targeted investing" for "winning the future." Truth in advertising: Get ready to fork over more Cash for Education Clunkers.
Our government already spends more per capita on education than any other of the 34 wealthiest countries in the world except for Switzerland, according to recent analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Overall inflation-adjusted K-12 spending has tripled over the past 40 years, the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy points out. Yet American test scores and graduation rates are stagnant. One in 10 high schools is a dropout factory. And our students' performance in one of the most prestigious global math competitions has been so abysmal that the U.S. simply withdrew altogether.
National debt is over $14 trillion, the federal budget deficit is $1.4 trillion and, depending on whose estimates are used, the unfunded liability or indebtedness of the federal government (mostly in the form of obligations for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drugs) is estimated to be between $60 and $100 trillion.
Those entitlements along with others account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls mandatory or non-discretionary spending. Then there's discretionary spending, half of which is for national defense. Each year, non-discretionary spending consumes a higher and higher percent of the federal budget.
Once again the “news” media yawned as tens of thousands of Americans clogged the streets of Washington on January 24 for the annual “March for Life.” This year’s protests should have gained more attention since it came in the wake of absolutely vomit-inducing news from Philadelphia that an abortionist named Kermit Gosnell was charged by the District Attorney with a series of murders.
In a horrific 261-page report, Gosnell is accused of delivering seven babies alive and then killing them with scissors. He also allowed a woman who had survived 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal to be incompetently overmedicated on Demerol and die at his clinic.
So much for abortion being “safe, legal, and rare.”
By now those holiday bills have arrived. Those who have charged too much have cut back on spending until the bills are paid. Some have gone on the spending wagon, cutting their plastic into tiny pieces.
Not the U.S. government. Unlike mere mortals, the government can print and borrow seemingly limitless amounts of money and so has little incentive to stop spending. Some blame China for our predicament, but that's like blaming American Express for your monthly bill. China is merely the banker. Our spending habits are the problem.
Under the radar this past week was President Barack Obama's executive order for a review of government regulations in hope of showing that bigger government isn't bad news for economic growth and business.
Of course, the president didn't word it that way. In his op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Obama wrote that he just wants to "make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation."
For those who argue that Obama deserves a second chance at proving he's not at war with American business and the free market, I ask what he has done to indicate he's changed his philosophy that drives that war.
It's admirable to give people the benefit of the doubt in personal relationships, but we are talking about more than a personal relationship here and have a responsibility not to ignore the evidence. That evidence tells us that he is still an intractable left-wing ideologue committed to destructive progressive policy prescriptions.
Has our financial mess brought us to the brink of getting beyond the culture wars?
It's a question that we might just see play out on Capitol Hill in the coming months, as the new political majority seeks to make the late pro-life congressman Henry Hyde proud, by prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion and de-funding Planned Parenthood.
"Hell no," now-Speaker John Boehner said, when he was in the minority, to the comprehensive, conscience-offending health-care legislation that Congress and the White House insisted upon last year. So now that he's Speaker, the first big vote under his watch was to repeal the president's signature piece of legislation.
Let's give the "climate of hate" rhetoric a rest for a moment. It's time to talk about the climate of death, in which the abortion industry thrives unchecked. Dehumanizing rhetoric, rationalizing language and a callous disregard for life have numbed America to its monstrous consequences. Consider the Philadelphia Horror.
In the City of Brotherly Love, hundreds of babies were murdered by a scissors-wielding monster over four decades. Whistleblowers informed public officials at all levels of the wanton killings of innocent life. But a parade of government health bureaucrats and advocates protecting the abortion racket looked the other way — until, that is, a Philadelphia grand jury finally exposed the infanticide factory run by abortionist Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., and a crew of unlicensed, untrained butchers masquerading as noble providers of women's "choice." Prosecutors charged Gosnell and his death squad with multiple counts of murder, infanticide, conspiracy, abuse of corpse, theft and other offenses.
Time will tell, but I reject the somewhat cynical view that the House Republicans' vote to repeal Obamacare is purely symbolic. I think it's quite significant.
We are engaged in a war to save our nation from crippling debt and systematic assaults on our Constitution and our liberties and to preserve our prosperity. No setback has to become a permanent defeat. But neither will any victory remain secure, for the forces working against us are tireless and relentless.
No matter how many times history has proved socialism disastrous, there will always be those promoting it, as if the past never occurred or its lessons are unlearnable.
The other day, I received a call from a very agreeable lady at C-SPAN, asking me to do a show with them called "In Depth." It will take a lot of time, as they want to interview me on all the books I have written. Also, it will last three hours! That is a marathon. I can hardly listen for three hours, much less talk. Yet I have been a fan of C-SPAN for years, so I could hardly say no. Also, I am an advocate of the printed word. I want it to survive. It seems to me the printed word has been under assault for decades. The Internet is the latest threat against it. First there was the camera. Then came TV. Now there is the Internet, on which everyone writes and no one reads. In a world where everyone is a writer and no one a reader, how long can the printed word last? We live in a blizzard of words, but no one is reading seriously.
The first question I have been asked before appearing on C-SPAN's "Book TV" Feb. 6 is what my favorite books might be. They have changed over the years, but I think today there are at least a score of books that I return to every few years. Let me share them with you.
What should the congressional GOP's policy objectives be for the next two years regarding federal deficits and prosperity?
Two very different strategies are being considered by authentic conservatives: 1) attempt to govern from their majority in the House and actually try to start the process of reducing the costs of entitlements (most conspicuously Social Security and Medicare) as a path back to prosperity and good jobs; or 2) recognize that the GOP cannot govern without holding the White House, and that, therefore, they should not touch entitlements but merely tinker with discretionary spending and frame the issues for 2012 when they may win the presidency and Senate, as well as hold the majority in the House.