What do George Soros, labor unions and money-grubbing former GOP Rep. Steven LaTourette all have in common? They're control freaks. They're power hounds. They're united against tea party conservatives. And they all have operated under the umbrella of D.C. groups masquerading as "Main Street" Republicans.
LaTourette heads up the so-called "Main Street Partnership," which claims to represent "thoughtful," "pragmatic," "common sense" and "centrist" Republican leadership. Reality check: The pro-bailout, pro-debt, pro-amnesty, anti-drilling group founded by former liberal New York GOP Congressman Amory Houghton includes three liberal Senate Republicans (John McCain, Mark Kirk and Susan Collins) and 52 center-left House Republicans. LaTourette himself is a self-serving Beltway barnacle who held office for nearly two decades. Now he's leveraging his new tea party-bashing platform to benefit a family-operated lobbying business.
If it weren't for a shamelessly dishonest, hyper-protective liberal media, the American people would know, unanimously and without doubt, that Obamanomics is killing American jobs. There is no silver lining in the December jobs numbers.
Experts and analysts were expecting this latest jobs report, released Friday, to show 200,000 new payroll jobs in December, but there were only 74,000, which is 37 percent of the goal. Not 90 percent, not 80, not 70, not even 50 percent. Just 37 percent.
With Republicans tying themselves in knots over the Democrats' destructive, but superficially appealing, demand that unemployment benefits be extended to two and a half years, I return to my suggestion that Republicans stop playing defense and go on offense.
For every issue that MSNBC loves to prattle on about, gloating that it will cost Republicans this or that demographic, there's an equivalent issue to use against the Democrats. (The difference is: Our proposals would actually be good for the country.)
There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers." A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey reported in the American Economic Review (1992) found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. If you're searching for a consensus in a field of study, most of the time you can examine the field's introductory and intermediate college textbooks.
Economics textbooks that mention the minimum wage say that it increases unemployment for the least skilled worker. The only significant debate about the minimum wage is the magnitude of its effect. Some studies argue that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage will cause a 1 percent increase in unemployment, whereas others predict a higher increase.
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a "war on poverty." Today, with roughly the same number of people below the poverty level as in 1964 and with many addicted to government "benefits," robbing them of a work ethic, it is clear that the poor have mostly lost the war.
In 1964, the poverty rate was about 19 percent. Census data from 2010 indicates that 15.1 percent are in poverty within a much larger population.
Here's a question that I've asked in the past that needs to be revisited. Unless one wishes to obfuscate, it has a simple yes or no answer. If one group of people prefers strong government control and management of people's lives while another group prefers liberty and desires to be left alone, should they be required to enter into conflict with one another and risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences on the other group? Yes or no. My answer is no; they should be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways.
The problem our nation faces is very much like a marriage in which one partner has an established pattern of ignoring and breaking the marital vows. Moreover, the offending partner has no intention to mend his ways. Of course, the marriage can remain intact while one party tries to impose his will on the other and engages in the deviousness of one-upsmanship and retaliation. Rather than domination or submission by one party, or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.
In his classic novel "1984," George Orwell warned about the evils of a totalitarian state dominated by a single ruling party with total power over its inhabitants. Oceania, his fictional superstate, is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The character known as "Big Brother" reminds everyone he is constantly monitoring the citizens of Oceania, mainly by "telescreen."
At the end of 2013, the federal government may not yet have telescreens, which in Orwell's imagination had the ability to eavesdrop on people's conversations and broadcast propaganda, but it does have the nonfiction equivalent -- data collection, drones and other technological invasions of privacy. Our government does have the National Security Agency.
Instead of always taking incoming fire, how about Republicans start sending some back? It's great that they stopped HillaryCare, but if they had actually fixed health care by forcing health insurance plans to be sold in a competitive free market, there would have been no opportunity for shyster Democrats to foist Obamacare on us.
It's fantastic that we caught the Boston Marathon bombers, but why don't Republicans fix an immigration system that brings foreign terrorists and mass murderers to our country? Let the Democrats explain why we couldn't make room for a Danish surgeon because we needed another Chechnyan terrorist.
Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that "economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world" and concluding that "this opinion ... has never been confirmed by the facts." He went on to label unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny." Let's look at the pope's tragic vision.
First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.
I'm interrupting my series on Common Core State Standards for public schools to join the appeal to Iran and North Korea for the release of American hostages like imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini and missionary Kenneth Bae. And I'm also calling upon President Obama and Congress to step up their action, stand for religious freedom and fight for the release of these godly men, whose crimes were nothing more than exercising their faith.
For those who haven't followed the news on these men of the cloth, pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years by an Iranian court last January for starting house churches in the 2000s, an era in which they weren't even regarded as a threat to Iran's security.
Whenever liberals are in a tight spot, they adopt the scorched-earth policy of argumentation. With no answer, they start demanding that you define words: What do you mean "liberal"? What do you mean "democracy"? What do you mean "patriotism"?
They retreat from argument, burning the English language as they go.
Advocates of Common Core State Standards love to point out how 45 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted this new national public school regimen. What they're not telling you, however, is how federal and state funds were used to muscle its adoption or how expert reviews and efficacy shortfalls have prompted political and educational action in at least 17 of those states to restrict or reverse the tides of CCSS rollout, according to a brand-new report in The Huffington Post.
In August, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah withdrew from the assessment groups designing tests for the CCSS. And in September, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order restricting Florida's involvement with the CCSS national assessments because of concerns over federal overreach of the program. Congress.org reported, "Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah are all currently considering full withdrawal with other fiscally conservative states sure to follow."
On a break from pretending to believe they live in a country bristling with violent white racists, the Non-Fox Media have been trying to debunk stories about the "Knockout Game," in which young black males approach random strangers and try to knock them out with one punch.
The left's leading line of defense against the Knockout Game is to argue that young black males have always been violent, so, hey, this is nothing new.
In a March 2008 column, I criticized pundits' concerns about whether America was ready for Barack Obama, suggesting that the more important issue was whether black people could afford Obama. I proposed that we look at it in the context of a historical tidbit.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was nearly .300 in his first year. He led the National League in stolen bases and won the first Rookie of the Year award. There's no sense of justice that requires a player be as good as Robinson in order to have a chance in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter is that as the first black player, he had to be.
In Part 1 of my series on the Common Core State Standards being infused into 45 state public school systems, I revealed how the feds spent $350 million of taxpayer money, giving grants and waivers to muscle states and local school districts to accept the standards. And that was after 2009, when feds awarded, in the Department of Education's words, "governors approximately $48.6 billion ... in exchange for a commitment to advance essential education reforms ... including: college- and career-ready standards (aka CCSS)."
In Part 2, I showed how the feds are injecting their progressive agenda into curricula taught to U.S. kids in elementary, middle and high schools via their educative minions posted in academic arenas and among CCSS curricula creators.
"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." -- John Lennon
"Black Friday" was a metaphor beyond the merchants' bottom line. Headlines on last Friday's Drudge Report reflect a culture that is being trampled by the greed and me-only attitude of a growing number of us:
Back in September, The New York Times promoted Bill de Blasio's mayoral candidacy with an editorial titled, "Don't Fear the Squeegee Man." The editorial informed readers that crime wouldn't get worse under de Blasio because "policing is far better than it used to be, thanks to innovations by Mayor David Dinkins." (Emphasis added -- the Times was not being sarcastic.)
Under the policing "innovations" of Mayor Dinkins, the annual murder rate in New York City rose to an all-time high of 2,245 in Dinkins' first year in office. After four years of hard work, the murder rate had dropped by about 10 percent, to a merely astronomical 1,995 per year.
After months of the feds doing everything they could to distance themselves from the origin and launch of the controversial Common Core State Standards, more and more of Washington's tentacles are surfacing through public rage, implementation revelations and the White House's own foot-in-mouth disease.
After Education Secretary Arne Duncan cast bigoted blame on "white suburban moms" for nationwide resistance to CCSS — an oops from which he still is reeling in public humiliation and maternal fury — White House spokesman Jay Carney dodged Duncan bullets by claiming ignorance to his statements. But then Carney buried the White House in federal ownership of CCSS by saying, "I can just tell you that the secretary of education and everybody on the president's team dedicated to this effort is focused on making sure that we do everything we can, working with states and others."
My parents voted for Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. I had not yet developed a political worldview, but as a freshman at American University in Washington, D.C., I stayed up late to watch the election returns slowly trickle in before going to bed at 2 a.m. with the outcome still undecided.
The following year I was hired as a copyboy at NBC News, delivering wire service "copy" to news reporters in the network's Washington bureau. White House correspondent Sander Vanocur invited me to accompany him to observe the swearing-in of Adlai Stevenson as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
I'm with Alec Baldwin on punching aggressive paparazzi photographers. I'm with him against the word police. I'm with him on the stalker. I'm with him on using an electronic device on a plane before takeoff. I'm with him on Kim Basinger playing visitation games with their daughter.
What are conservatives doing demanding Baldwin's head for calling some pestilential paparazzi a "c*ck-s*cking little f*g." It is perfectly obvious Baldwin was just cursing the guy out with whatever bad words popped into his head, not engaging in "homophobia" against an actual gay person.
Last week, I explained what the Common Core State Standards are and how, despite the federal government's saying it's staying out of the classroom standards business, there is much evidence to show that the feds are intricately linked to them.
The first way I demonstrated that was by pointing out that the feds have spent $350 million of taxpayer money, funding and giving grants and waivers to muscle and bribe states and local school districts to accept CCSS. And all of that was done without a single act of Congress, meaning the federal government — including the White House — dumped protocol again to dodge accountability.
According to some estimates, there are more than 100 million traffic signals in the U.S., but whatever the number, how many of us would like Washington, in the name of public health and safety, to be in sole charge of their operation? Congress or a committee it authorizes would determine the position of traffic signals at intersections, the length of time the lights stay red, yellow and green, and what hours of the day they can be flashing red.
While you ponder that, how many Americans would like Washington to be in charge of managing the delivery of food and other items to the nation's supermarkets? Today's average well-stocked U.S. supermarket stocks 60,000 to 65,000 different items from all over the U.S. and the world. Congress or some congressionally created committee could organize the choice of products and their prices. Maybe there'd be some cost savings. After all, what says that we should have so many items from which to choose? Why wouldn't 10,000 do?
That simple fact explains the growth of federal power following World War II. It also explains why President Obama's health care law will spur a reversal of that trend.
The growth in federal power got started in the New Deal era, but the decisive event took place on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.
"Never before or since has America been so unified," according to historian Craig Shirley. "There were virtually no Americans against their country getting into World War II after the unprovoked attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor." In that unity, and in a desire to preserve the nation, Americans trusted their government as never before or since.
Shirley's book, "December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World" documents the change in a riveting day-to-day account.
Amidst a colorful description of the daily routines from a bygone era, Shirley recounts how President Franklin D. Roosevelt was swiftly authorized to do much more than expand the military and fight other armies. He was given more power than any president ever. In fairness to FDR, authorized is too tame a word. The president was expected to put all of the country's resources, private or public, to use in the war effort.
Before it was over, Roosevelt and his team ran all aspects of the American economy and life. That included banning the sale of private automobiles so that factories could build military aircraft, commandeering all raw materials needed for the war effort, censoring the media, wage and price controls, imprisoning citizens of Japanese origin, and much more.
But he won the war.
His successor, Harry Truman, began the process of winning the peace. After World War II, the U.S. enjoyed an economic boom unrivaled in history.
In short, the successful implementation of a response to Pearl Harbor gave the federal government a fair amount of credibility and a large dose of goodwill. Politicians of the time, sincerely convinced that a larger government would be good for the economy and the nation, seized the moment. In a clean break from America's history, Congress quickly declared that the federal government would instantly assume responsibility for managing the economy.
As long as the economy kept rolling along, nobody complained.
By the 1960s, however, the next generation of politicians was well along the way to squandering the good will and credibility it had earned.
Politicians of the '60s still dreamed of an ever-growing government role in running the country. Most of those in power remembered the heady days of World War II when the government ruled every facet of American life. They wanted such power for themselves.
But American voters didn't share the enthusiasm. Most were willing to accept a bigger role for the government than their parents and grandparents had, but there were limits. When the economy stumbled and the Vietnam War divided the nation, faith in government faded.
President Obama hoped to restore that faith so that voters would believe in government solutions as much as they did after Pearl Harbor. But pragmatic voters are more interested in reality than rhetoric. The failed implementation of Obama's health care law will leave the nation skeptical of central government solutions for decades to come.
To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
In a weird confluence of the nation's two most pressing issues -- Obamacare and our insane immigration laws -- this week we found out that the tens of thousands of "navigators" hired by the government to enroll people in Obamacare will include convicted felons.
Despite some "navigators" having already been exposed as having arrest warrants against them, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has no plans to screen out the criminals. (But rest assured: If your identity is stolen as a result of trying to sign up for Obamacare, no one will be more upset about it than President Obama.)
Corrected from earlier (see below) | Three famous men died on Nov. 22, 1963. The one getting the most attention, understandably, is John F. Kennedy. Less so the other two: Aldous Huxley, author of the futuristic novel "Brave New World," and Clive Staples Lewis.
Of the three, it was Lewis who not only was the most influential of his time, but whose reach extends to these times and likely beyond. His many books continue to sell and the number of people whose lives have been changed by his writing expands each year.
Columnist Michael Cohen, in an op-ed for the New York Daily News, tells us, essentially, that President Obama's lie that people could keep their health care plans if they liked them is not just defensible — because it was in service to the greater good of imposing Obamacare on an otherwise unwilling populace — but darn near laudable.
Obama is to be praised for having the courage to deceive us because we are not enlightened enough to know what is in our best interests. The headline of the column is "Behind Obama's lie, our own immaturity." The subhead digs the knife in further: "We can't handle the truth."
In 2007, a group of governors and state education chiefs got together to try to remedy the declining and degraded U.S. public academic system. Their goal was to establish a new set of standards that better prepared kids for college, careers and their ever-changing, hyper-connected and globally competitive world.
In short, as a result, the Common Core State Standards were born.
Washington's political class fundamentally misunderstands the role of politics and government in American society. They act as if government is the central force in American life and that its decisions guide the course of the nation. In historical reality, societal trends embrace new technology and the deep currents of public opinion lead the way. Government follows along a decade or two behind.
A quick review of our nation's history shows that the first 200 years were characterized by changing technology and expectations moving us to a more centralized nation.