"Mainstream media" are alarmed by reports that billionaires Charles and David Koch are considering the purchase of Tribune Company's eight daily newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.
When Warren Buffett spent $344 million to purchase 28 newspapers, there were mostly sighs of relief from journalists glad to keep their jobs. However, reaction to reports of the Koch brothers' interest in buying the Tribune papers was quite different. Charles and David Koch, you see, are conservative libertarians, not liberals. Will the Kochs, gasp, force their conservatism on readers? Will they sully journalism's good name? Truth is, no one knows what the Kochs plan to do.
I think the current controversy over immigration reform points to a larger issue in America today, which is that Americans are essentially split on the very idea of what America is and should be.
It used to be that Americans mostly agreed that in order to attain citizenship, immigrants had to not only come to this country legally but also demonstrate, after training and study in the American system, that they believed in the unique United States Constitution and embraced what it means to be an American. Though that still occurs in the naturalization process, we seem to have abandoned it altogether in connection with the immigration debate.
You can tell the conservatives liberals fear most because they start being automatically referred to as "discredited." Ask Sen. Ted Cruz. But no one is called "discredited" by liberals more often than the inestimable economist John Lott, author of the groundbreaking book "More Guns, Less Crime."
Lott's economic analysis of the effect of concealed-carry laws on violent crime is the most thoroughly vetted study in the history of economics, perhaps in the history of the world.
In 1787, when delegates at the Constitutional Convention were divided and at an impasse regarding how to build our government and frame the U.S. Constitution, 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin appealed to the other delegates to pray for divine intervention to help them out of their darkness:
Addressing a meeting of Planned Parenthood last Friday, President Obama accused pro-lifers of wanting to "turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century."
Like any decade, the '50s had its problems -- racism, discrimination, sexism -- but I'll defend the '50s on other grounds, if the president will defend the decade that followed. In the '50s, for much of mainstream America drugs were something you bought at a pharmacy with a prescription; living together meant getting married first, then having babies; abortion was not legal; our culture wasn't the enemy; metal detectors were instruments one took to the beach to find loose change and schools and the streets were mostly safe.
Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio seems well meaning enough. As second-generation conservative Americans, I know we both share a common passion for this great land of opportunity. But when it comes to comprehending the real agenda of the open-borders zealots he's allied himself with, Rubio doesn't have a clue.
And his abject ignorance threatens all of us who cherish American sovereignty and exceptionalism.
America's political and cultural left is, step by step, demonizing and marginalizing Christians and Christian values, to the point that even the congenitally apathetic should be concerned.
Fox News' Todd Starnes reports that the U.S. military has blocked access to the Southern Baptist Convention's website on an undetermined number of military bases because it supposedly includes "hostile content." Just a few weeks before, as noted in this space, an Army briefing labeled evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics as religious extremists.
The people of Boston are no longer being terrorized by the Marathon bombers, but amnesty supporters sure are.
On CNN's "State of the Union" last weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham's response to the Boston Marathon bombers being worthless immigrants who hate America -- one of whom the FBI cleared even after being tipped off by Russia -- was to announce: "The fact that we could not track him has to be fixed."
Post-publication note from Chuck: At the time I wrote the column below, news had not broken about the massive and devastating explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. Of course, all of my condolences and commendations about the victims and crisis care community in Boston I extend with profound correlations to my own heartbroken neighbors in Texas. One television news report estimated that 700 first responders were deployed immediately into action there. Let no one say the selfless and sacrificial American spirit isn't alive and well!
As with others across the nation, my wife, Gena, and I are so proud of the first responders and host of rescuers, medical personnel, law enforcement personnel, firemen, military members, crisis counselors and good Samaritans who immediately were called into action and undoubtedly saved lives, limbs and souls because of their heroic efforts. Truly, America's best shine brightest during our country's most difficult and darkest moments.
The last time there was a terrorist attack on America, we got the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration. Each entity has spent billions to keep us safe, but neither could stop two brothers, Tamerlan, a permanent resident, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a newly minted U.S. citizen, who lived in America and, reportedly, became radicalized jihadists, from killing and maiming innocent people at the Boston Marathon last week.
According to Dana Priest and William M. Arkin of The Washington Post, "Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States. ... An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. ... In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings -- about 17 million square feet of space."
I wonder why President Obama feels he has the right to be outraged when legislators don't automatically roll over to his policy demands. I suspect that his moral indignation is more about personally losing than it is about policy issues themselves.
For indeed, President Obama was obviously furious when his gun control bill failed to muster sufficient votes to pass the Senate. Politico reported, "More than anything, it was an emotional blow to Obama, who was as irritated at the four members of his own party as he was at the 90 percent of Republicans who defeated the bill."
Suppose you buy a gallon of gas for $3. How much did it cost you? You say, "Williams, that's a silly question. It cost $3." That's where you're mistaken, because there's a difference between price and cost. To prove that price and cost are not the same, consider the following. Suppose you live and work in New York City and routinely pay $15 for a haircut. Imagine you were told that there's a barber in Boise, Idaho, who can give you the identical haircut for just $5. Would you start going to the Boise barber? I'm betting you'd answer no because even though the price is cheaper, the cost is greater.
We might think of price as the money that's actually given in exchange for the transfer of ownership. When you purchased the gallon of gas, you simply transferred your ownership of $3. What the gas cost you is a different matter. One way to determine the cost of a gallon of gas is to ask yourself what sacrifice you had to make in order to have $3 to buy it. Say that your annual salary is $75,000. Your total federal income tax, state income tax, local taxes and Social Security and Medicare taxes come to about 35 percent of your salary. That means that in order to purchase the $3 gallon of gas required that you earned about $4.60 in order to have $3 after taxes. That means a gallon of gas costs you $4.60 worth of sacrifice. But that's not so costly as it is to a richer person — for example, someone earning a yearly salary of $500,000. He has to earn more than $5 before taxes in order to have $3 after taxes to purchase gas.
When Republicans start lying like Democrats, you can guess they are pushing an idea that's bad for America. During his William Ginsburg-like tour of the Sunday talk shows last weekend, Sen. Marco Rubio was the Mount Vesuvius of lies about his immigration bill.
Here is how Rubio explained the powerful border-enforcing mechanism in his bill on "Fox News Sunday," which he denied was merely a meaningless goal:
When asked on left-leaning MSNBC why President Barack Obama refrained from describing the Boston bombings as a "terrorist attack" David Axelrod, Obama's longtime political advisor, readily saw a political opportunity. The blood had not yet been washed away from the streets. We had yet to count up the casualties. Yet Axelrod saw a political opening, an opportunity to advance one or another of his pet political issues. So he said, "I'm sure what was going through the president's mind is — we really don't know who did this — it was tax day." Yes, tax day!
This is not the response of a normal mind. A normal mind would not, given the promiscuity of public bombings in the Middle East and now another bombing here in America, think it was provoked by "tax day." Conceivably the bombs in Boston were the work of small-government libertarians or of Tea Partiers. They could even be the work of vegetarians, but that was not the question. Axelrod was asked why the president was not describing the bombings as a terrorist attack. It certainly looked more like the work of terrorists — either left-wing lunatics or right-wing lunatics — than tax protesters.
In brief remarks to the nation yesterday on the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama said that "we all have a part to play in alerting authorities. If you see something suspicious, speak up." In Washington, D.C., electronic signs urged commuters to be on guard. Law enforcement, big-city mayors and security experts all echoed that famous post-terrorism refrain: "If you see something, say something."
Does America lack "compassion" and "humanity" for uninvited foreigners? Quite the contrary. While open-borders activists rail against "injustice" and demand new "pathways to citizenship," official U.S. policy rewards countless line-jumpers with permanent residency and taxpayer-subsidized benefits.
Case in point: the massive "Temporary Protected Status" (TPS) program run by the Department of Homeland Security.
Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that agents for the Internal Revenue Service are bypassing warrants and sifting through the email and other electronic communications of American citizens.
Those documents disclosed that "agents were told they didn't need a warrant to root through emails, texts or Facebook pages of people (the IRS) is investigating," according to Fox News.
The old adage "better late than never" might not apply in the case of President Obama's tardily filed budget.
It's one thing to habitually arrive late for scheduled appearances selfishly to build suspense and annoy those in attendance, but it's another to present this document two months late and after both the House and Senate have passed their own respective budgets.