October 12 marks the 12th anniversary of the bombing of the USS Cole. The grim milestone comes as President Obama faces mounting questions about his administration's dereliction of duty during the murderous attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. And it comes just a day after resurgent al-Qaida thugs pulled off the drive-by assassination of a top Yemeni security official who worked at the U.S. embassy in Sanaa.
These are not "bumps in the road." These are gravesites on the blood-spattered path to surrender.
Well, apparently I am not crazy after all. The polls have caught up with me, and they—apres le debat—are coming around to my point of view. Governor Mitt Romney is ahead in the race for the White House, and he will probably be residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2013.
I have been saying it for weeks, recognizing that the polls are weighted too heavily toward the Democratic candidate, employ too small a sampling—as little as nine percent of the electorate—and do not take into account the most important issue, the economy. Still, before the debate the polls were heavily against me, and my colleagues were beginning to question my judgment. No, make that my sanity. Now they are again reassured. I am allowed to work alone in my ninth-floor office with the window open. The polls show Romney pulling ahead even in battleground states after he demonstrated in debate last week that we need something more than a ceremonial president in the White House. It is a dangerous world that we live in.
The hottest ticket on Broadway continues to be "The Book of Mormon," a musical that pokes fun at the Mormon faith in particular and Christianity in general. It is also full of profanity and blasphemy. If there was a show called "The Book of Muhammad," the Eugene O'Neill Theatre probably would have been burned down by now. New Yorkers are selective when picking their targets.
Now there's a new musical called "Scandalous," about a colorful, some would say corrupt, evangelist named Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church. In the early part of the 20th century, Aimee was more famous than any TV evangelist today. She combined a considerable amount of show business with an equal amount of religiosity and packed them in at her Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, which remains in operation today, long after her death.
Remember when President Obama bragged about Joe Biden's fiscal discipline cred in 2009? "To you, he's Mr. Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the Sheriff," Obama warned government employees. "Because if you're misusing taxpayer money, you'll have to answer to him."
Fast-forward to 2012. Call in the search teams. Since being appointed the nation's stimulus spending cop, Sheriff Joe has taken a permanent donut break. He's AWOL on oversight. In fact, he's been bubble-wrapped, boxed and kept completely out of sight. The garrulous gaffe machine hasn't sat down for a national media interview in five months.
The third definition of "patriot" in the Oxford English Dictionary is "A person actively opposing enemy forces occupying his or her country; a member of a resistance movement, a freedom fighter. Originally used of those who opposed and fought the British in the American War of Independence."
The term first was used in the U.S. by Benjamin Franklin in a 1773 letter. It referred to people who stood in opposition of those pledged to the British Crown — the Tories aka loyalists.
Autumn in New York — that sound like the title of a song! In fact, it sounds like the first line of a song, and so it is. Autumn is a lovely time of year in many places, but for me my favorite place at this time of year is New York City. As the song goes, it seems "so inviting." And one of the great events marking autumn in New York is the Columbus Day Parade. It reminds us of what a great melting pot it has been, and, one hopes, it always will be.
Christopher Columbus opened the New World to European migration in 1492. He prefigured the spirit of America with his daring, his sense of duty and his piety. Samuel Eliot Morison, in the second volume of his two-volume history, "The European Discovery of America," portrayed Columbus as a truly heroic figure, an exemplary captain of the ocean waves, to introduce us all to the admirable adventure that America has proved to be. 68 years ago, the Italian-Americans in New York City's Columbus Citizens Foundation gave Columbus a fitting memorial in the Columbus Day Parade, and this year on October 8, once again all Americans can come out to honor him and share in the glory that is the American melting pot.
Dr. Thomas Sowell's "'Trickle Down Theory' and 'Tax Cuts for the Rich'" has just been published by the Hoover Institution. Having read this short paper, the conclusion you must reach is that the term "trickle down theory" is simply a tool of charlatans and political hustlers.
Sowell states that "no such theory has been found in even the most voluminous and learned histories of economic theories." That's from a scholar who has published extensively in the history of economic thought. Several years ago, Sowell, in his syndicated column, challenged anyone to name an economist from any economic school of thought who had actually advocated a "trickle down" theory. To date, no one has quoted any economist who ever advocated such a theory. Trickle down is a nonexistent theory. Those who use it simply argue against a caricature rather than confront an argument actually made.
Mitt Romney's main advantage in his first debate with President Obama on Wednesday may be that the president will be speaking without a teleprompter. His second advantage is the president's record and how he has failed to fulfill many of his promises.
While the president will probably recycle his class warfare themes, Romney should focus on the president's domestic failures and on Republican initiatives that have worked in the past. We Americans didn't just crawl out of a cave. There is history.
It's time to take stock of where we stand as a nation. The election of 2012 offers us a stark contrast, between candidates who are looking to protect our Second Amendment rights and those who seek to restrict those same freedoms. Over the past month, I've been alerting you to some dangers on the horizon. As we consider the path we are about to embark upon, it's good to recall what's at stake.
We need to prevent the next president from appointing a Supreme Court that would reverse the two landmark Second Amendment cases — Heller and McDonald. In those decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that all American citizens, no matter where they live, have the right to legally possess a firearm as a means of self-defense. These decisions were a tremendous accomplishment, and they finally ratified what our Founding Fathers envisioned when they drafted the Second Amendment.
Sometimes, as the saying goes, the truth really is stranger than fiction. There may have been some wild plotlines on "Walker, Texas Ranger," but there was nothing that compares to the scandal surrounding "Fast and Furious" — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation that resulted in the loss of a distinguished Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.
The congressional investigation into "Fast and Furious" has been going on for more than a year, but it was stonewalled by Attorney General Eric Holder, who instead opened an internal investigation by the Department of Justice's inspector general. Tens of thousands of internal Justice Department documents supplied to the inspector general were withheld from Congress, despite having been requested in a lawful subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This act of stubborn defiance resulted in Holder's becoming the first attorney general to be voted in contempt of Congress. Now Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report finally has been released, but it leaves some critical questions unanswered. Before delving into specifics, let me thank Townhall's Katie Pavlich for her help deciphering the report, as well as her groundbreaking reporting on this issue from day one.
I am the mom of a 12-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy. They have been huge fans of Nickelodeon TV programming throughout their childhoods. We even took them to the Nick Hotel in Florida, where we stayed in a SpongeBob SquarePants family suite. But enough is enough.
Like disgusted parents across the country, I put my foot down and am standing up for decency: No more Nick.
The presidential debate season is upon us with President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, scheduled to square off Wednesday night in the Political Class version of a cage match.
Heading into the debates, the conventional wisdom suggests that Romney has fallen way behind and has to dramatically change the course of the race in these head-to-head events. Some even suggest that the debates are Romney's only chance to bring about a change in the race.
NEW YORK -- Prior to leaving Egypt for the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi told The New York Times the United States needs to "fundamentally change" its approach to the Arab world. That includes, he said, showing greater respect for Arab values, as well as helping to build a Palestinian state.
Is there an Arab equivalent for the Yiddish word "Chutzpah"? It isn't the policies and attitude of the United States toward the Arab world that need changing. It's the attitude and policies of the Arab world that need to change. For a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who still subscribes to the group's radical beliefs, to blame America for problems in the Arab world is like blaming the mirror for what it reflects.
Democrats spent the first century of this country's existence refusing to treat black people like human beings, and the second refusing to treat them like adults.
After fighting the Civil War to continue enslaving black people and then subjecting newly freed black Americans to vicious, humiliating Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan violence, Democrats set about frantically rewriting their own ugly history.
Here's a question: If there's a disaster, a war, a severe drought or some other calamity that restricts future supplies of a commodity — such as oil, coffee or corn — what is the intelligent thing for people to do right away? If you said "use less now and try to produce more," you'd be absolutely correct. That's not rocket science, but understanding the machinery involved in getting people to do so is a bit more challenging.
The best way to get people to use less and produce more is to allow prices to rise. For example, say a Middle East conflict restricts oil supplies and causes prices to rise. The effect of higher prices for oil is that it gives individuals incentive to eliminate or reduce the low-valued uses of oil. For example, a low-valued use of oil is for homeowners to allow the heat that it generates to seep through walls and leaky windows. Higher oil prices create incentives to homeowners to install insulation. Higher gasoline prices force motorists to economize by taking measures such as carpooling and taking fewer low-valued trips.
On Friday, March 30, 2012, Hisham Y. Altalib visited the White House. According to visitor logs, Altalib was received by Joshua DuBois, the director of President Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Four days later, White House officials welcomed a foreign delegation of the radical Sharia-enforcing Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt.
The White House meeting with overseas Muslim Brotherhood leaders was reported in April by a few mainstream journalists and questioned loudly by conservative media. But the White House confab in March with U.S.-based Altalib — which appears to be a prep session with the global Muslim Brotherhood's American advance team — has received no attention until now.
Call me Pollyannaish, but I believe Mitt Romney will defeat Barack Obama in November. Let me give you some of my reasons:
1) Romney's campaign message is essentially positive; Obama's is overwhelmingly negative. People always prefer promises of something better, but Americans are especially hungry now because times are very tough. Romney is offering concrete and realistic plans to help America grow again and create millions of new jobs. Romney's message and agenda appeal to all Americans, not just certain groups, and tell them they are not imprisoned in their current economic "station" as Obama would have them believe. Though Obama's promises of "hope and change" in 2008 were vague, at least he presented them as something positive. Today he tells us we must accept an America in decline both internationally and domestically. He insists that 8 percent unemployment is the new normal and that we must adjust to the malaise because it is going to take a long time to make a dent in it.
So what about the Democrats' would-be tempest about Mitt Romney's alleged 47 percent gaffe? Is there any "there" there?
Mitt's statement was made at a private fundraiser, where he was trying to explain that his message of reducing taxes would obviously not resonate with the 47 percent of Americans who are not paying income taxes. It's purely logical; you aren't going to entice those who aren't paying taxes with promises of lower taxes.
Last time I checked, Americans were responsible for making our own laws. We do not invite foreign nations to have a say in how we govern ourselves within our own borders. Yet if you follow what's been going on with the United Nations this year, you know that the USA came perilously close to having other countries dictate our gun laws. And the fight isn't over yet.
The United Nations has been debating an arms trade treaty for nearly a decade now. Though the treaty is ostensibly focused on military arms, it has long been clear that the majority of U.N. delegates consider our personal firearms to be crying out for international regulation, as well. The focus of the treaty would be a demand that governments regulate the sale and possession of firearms worldwide — all of them, including yours and mine.
The health care debate is a great example of why Americans hate politics.
Both Republicans and Democrats pursue their plans with ideological zeal and reckless disregard for the truth in hopes of winning 51 percent of the vote. Voters hold their nose and choose but would rather have their leaders search for consensus. That would require taking a little bit from the president's plan, a little bit from the Republicans and a lot from what voters think should be done.
Within the past decade, I've written columns titled "Deception 101," "Stubborn Ignorance" and "Exploiting Public Ignorance," all explaining which branch of the federal government has taxing and spending authority. So here it is again: The first clause of Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, generally known as the "origination clause," reads: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." Constitutionally and by precedent, the House of Representatives has the exclusive prerogative to originate bills to appropriate money, as well as to raise revenues. The president is constitutionally permitted to propose tax and spending measures or veto them. Congress has the authority to ignore the president's proposals and override his vetoes.
There is little intellectually challenging about the fact that the Constitution gave Congress ultimate taxing and spending authority. My question is this: How can academics, politicians, news media people and ordinary citizens continually make and get away with statements such as "Reagan's budget deficits," "Clinton's budget surplus," "Bush's tax cuts" and "Obama's spending binge"? I know that the nation's law schools teach little about Framer intent, but I wonder whether they tell students that it's the executive branch of government that holds taxing and spending authority. Maybe it's simply incurable ignorance, willful deception, sloppy thinking or just plain stupidity. If there's an explanation that I've missed, I'd surely like to hear it.
When President Obama intervened in Libya last year, he claimed that "it's in our national interest to act" to remove a tyrant who -- in response to Bush's invasion of Iraq -- had just given up his weapons of mass destruction and pledged to be America's BFF.
Apparently Gadhafi neglected to also tell Obama, "I've got your back."
The November elections are a Republican landslide begging to materialize, but will the GOP make it happen? I believe so. I'm not buying these negative polls, but to increase our chances, let's sharpen the message, not dilute it.
A recent Fox News story reports that Romney and Ryan are both beginning to emphasize a bipartisan message rather than sharpen the contrasts between Obama's manifest failures and their plan for America. They must not follow this suicidal path.
I believe freedom is worth fighting for. I am committed to protecting the freedoms our forefathers guaranteed to us in our Constitution. There are many politicians who disagree with me, although they are loath to admit it, but their true colors show in voting records on critical legislation. And part of what makes America great is that every two years, we, too, cast our votes, rendering judgment on whether lawmakers have fulfilled their promises. And every four years, as in 2012, our opportunity extends to the highest office in the land.
Less than 60 days remains before Election Day. I don't need to tell you how important this election is to the future of our country. The stakes are high, and that's why I proudly serve as honorary chairman of Trigger The Vote, the National Rifle Association's nonpartisan campaign to register voters who support the Second Amendment. As a proud gun owner and defender of our Constitution, I am working within the system to make sure my voice is heard in Washington.
Originally syndicated September 6 | At this Democratic National Convention, I am going to be particularly interested in the crowds on the floor. Who cares about what Bill Clinton says? He does not mean it anyway. In the 1990s, he governed like a Republican after saying that "the age of Big Government is over." Incidentally, he governed pretty well. He would have made a good moderate Republican, so long as he had good conservative majorities in the House and the Senate to keep him — you will excuse the word — honest. Now, of course, he has committed another of his episodic tergiversations, writing a book in praise of behemoth government, as though the 1990s never happened.
The same can be said for Senator Jean-Francois Kerry. In 2004 he accepted his party's presidential nomination and continued his fiction that he was a war hero, ludicrously saluting the throng at the convention with "I'm John Kerry, and I am reporting for duty." As though the rest of the nation had forgotten that he came home from the Vietnam War, protesting it, and appeared before a taped congressional inquiry to incriminate his fellow servicemen with lies. Then he flew off to France to be used as a pawn by the Communist Vietnamese — war hero indeed. Possibly Senator Harry Reid could be interesting if he would only tell us what he knows about that cow he has been rumored to canoodle with, and, to be sure, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is always good for a few laughs.
The political press will keep buzzing over whether Clint Eastwood's unconventional speech helped or hurt Mitt Romney and whether the snafu over Israel and God in the Democratic platform will do any lasting damage to President Obama. Republican reporters will think former President Clinton talked too long, and Democrats will note that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talked more about himself than about Romney.
Let's pretend that we have the political guts to expand economic opportunities for people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. What vested interests should be attacked, and what economic regulations should be targeted for elimination?
It doesn't take a lot of money to become a taxi owner-operator and earn more than $40,000 a year. One needs a car, an insurance policy and ancillary interior equipment to make a car a taxi. In New York City, to be a taxi owner you'd have to purchase a license -- called a medallion -- that in June 2012 cost $704,000. New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission restrictions that generate such a license price outlaw taxi ownership by people who don't have access to a $704,000 loan. By contrast, in Washington, D.C., the annual fee for a license to own a taxi is $125. I'll let you guess which city has more taxis per capita, cheaper fares and more black taxi ownership.
How little we know about holy Islam! When those poor wretches who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib were pictured for all the world to see naked with underpants on their heads, we were told that the naked male Islamic body must never be seen in public. Yet we have been seeing naked male Islamic bodies for years — often with their hands tied behind their backs and their heads chopped off. Their assailants were devotees of Islam, often very zealous. Few Westerners committed these atrocities, and if they were caught, they were punished. Then too we were told that mosques were revered places of worship by Islam, and they must not be subject to attack or used in acts of violence. Alas, for years, mosques have been blown up. Their inhabitants have been gunned down, even impaled on sharp blades. These were not the acts of unbelievers or of warriors from the Godless West. Rather, they were the acts of the faithful, often members of the same sect or tribe.
Just this weekend in Libya — now freshly liberated from Moammar Gadhafi, his body perforce treated roughly — ancient and venerated shrines of the majority Sufi persuasion were destroyed. In Tripoli at the crack of dawn on Saturday, the centuries-old Sidi Al-Sha'ab shrine was flattened by bulldozers. Two separate government security forces idly stood by. The day before in the city of Zlitan, Libya's most revered Sufi mosque was vandalized, and an adjoining library had its priceless collection of theological treatises torched. The attackers were fellow Libyans. No Westerner was in sight.
Political junkies get excited about the Republican and Democratic national conventions, but for many Americans they provide a stark reminder of how out of touch our political system has become. The strange rituals and bad jokes seem oddly out of place in the 21st century, almost as strange as seeing an engineer use a slide rule rather than an iPad to perform some complex calculation.
While partisan activists tune in when their team's big show is on the air, most unaffiliated voters view the conventions as a waste of time and money. For the past week or so, everyone I know in the political world has been talking about the latest convention buzz. But I live far from Washington, and most people I talk to aren't wrapped up in politics. Among that group, the most common response to mentioning the convention was something along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, I forgot that was going on now."