I remember the first time I ever saw any of the Westboro Baptist Church. It was many years ago and I can't remember where it was but I saw a bunch of people at a distance holding up day glow colored signs that said, "GOD HATES FAGS" and "THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS."
When you travel as much as I do, you see some pretty strange sights and tend to catalogue such things as the antics of a bunch of local kooks out to grab some headlines.
Everywhere we turn these days, it seems, leftists are undermining and attacking capitalism on moral grounds. Their criticisms are directed not at merely certain corrupt corporations or individuals who abuse the system, but at the system itself.
Sadly, few conservatives, even conservative Christians, are willing or prepared to defend capitalism's virtues. Rather than tout it in terms of liberty, they sheepishly apologize for its allegedly inherent greed.
It's a testament to the power of propaganda and the appeal of emotion over reason that a system that has produced the greatest prosperity in world history is castigated on moral grounds, while those systems that have proliferated abject misery, poverty, tyranny and subjugation are hailed as morally superior.
Last week, President Barack Obama was backpedaling like a circus unicycle rider, after his compromise on extending Bush-era tax cuts for the country's top 2 percent of income earners. Because he had pledged repeatedly during his presidential campaign to raise those earners' taxes, he instantly was slammed by his political base. Even pro-Obama comedic commentators Jon Stewart and Bill Maher were left humor-speechless.
Feeling defensive and maybe even a bit insecure, Obama fired back in anger against people across the political spectrum. Wielding his verbal sword, the president poked and prodded: "Take a tally. Look at what I promised during the campaign. There's not a single thing that I've said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do. And if I haven't gotten it done yet, I'm still trying to do it."
"Missed birthdays, games, and plays end in tears," one congressional wife and mother of young children tells me, delighted by the "certainty of the calendar" for the next Congress. Hers is a reality that all too many parents -- in and out of Congress -- know is often unavoidable. But sometimes it can be managed. Seventy-six of the 87 new Republican members of Congress have children, 233 in total, a majority of whom are under 18. And they've got a leadership trying to make these scheduling problems a little less pervasive.
Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, has announced a schedule for the next Congress that looks something like what House Republicans have been promising for going on a year now. It's not about making life easier, but rather a little more efficient -- just a little saner -- on a fairly reliable calendar.
Immorality in government lies at the heart of our nation's problems. Deficits, debt and runaway government are merely symptoms. What's moral and immoral conduct can be complicated, but needlessly so. I keep things simple and you tell me where I go wrong.
My initial assumption is that we each own ourselves. I am my private property and you are yours. If we accept the notion that people own themselves, then it's easy to discover what forms of conduct are moral and immoral. Immoral acts are those that violate self-ownership. Murder, rape, assault and slavery are immoral because those acts violate private property. So is theft, broadly defined as taking the rightful property of one person and giving it to another.
If it is your belief that people do not belong to themselves, they are in whole or in part the property of the U.S. Congress, or people are owned by God, who has placed the U.S. Congress in charge of managing them, then all of my observations are simply nonsense.
There's a lot of noise today about promoting political squishiness to a virtue and endorsing the notion that compromise for its own sake is noble. I uncompromisingly dissent.
First, let's understand that compromise for pragmatic purposes or out of political necessity is wholly different from compromise for its own sake. It is the latter I reject, recognizing that the former is, by definition, sometimes the best of the bad options. Those types of decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis with a thorough evaluation of the available options and the short- and long-term implications of settling for the imperfect solution.
When jihad-bent American Muslims target American soldiers on American soil, why does America yawn?
The Fort Hood massacre has faded from view. The Little Rock Army recruiting station ambush barely registered on the national radar screen. And the arrest this week of a Baltimore-area bomb plotter, intent on blowing up a military center and murdering our troops in the name of Allah, was met with a collective shrug. It's pointless to rally citizens around "never forget" when their heads are in the sand.
The "grand bargain" agreed to by the White House to preserve the Bush-era tax rates, extend unemployment insurance for another year and reduce the payroll tax for 2011 doesn't get to the heart of the country's main financial problem: overspending.
The Irish were told this week they are going to have to bite the bullet and sharply reduce their expectations of what government can do for them, as it cuts spending and broadens the tax base. But liberal Democrats in the United States remain on a different track: increasing debt and waging nonstop class warfare. Did they miss the message of last month's election?
This is where the self-indulgence of the '60s and the excesses of the modern Gilded Age have led us.
The Great Denial continues. The liberals continue to labor under the assumption that nothing very bad happened in early November. They are still supreme. The columnists go on as though nothing is amiss. This week, E.J. Dionne consulted with three defeated members of Congress and passed on to President Barack Obama their advice on how to succeed during the next two years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues as if she is speaker for life, though it probably will be a generation until another Democrat holds the post. Mental illness can be amusing.
The fact is that the Democrats lost badly in the midterms, and they probably are going to lose again in 2012. The Republicans picked up six seats in the Senate and more than 60 in the House. They won 683 legislative seats nationwide and gained six governorships. That will give them a powerful say in redistricting. Moreover, in 2012, the Democrats have to defend 23 seats in the Senate, and they probably will lose the presidency, unless the Republicans run a platypus.
There is no such thing as a "free" government benefit. Ask small-business owners who are footing skyrocketing bills for bottomless jobless benefits. While politicians in Washington negotiate a deal to provide welcome temporary payroll, income and estate tax relief to America's workers, struggling employers wonder how long they'll have to pay for the compassion of others — and whether they can survive.
The Beltway deal hinges on extending federal unemployment insurance for another 13 months. This would mark the sixth time that the deadline has been extended since June 2008.
Have you noticed among the Obama-supporting elite a desperate agony upon realizing that he is not quite the messiah he made himself out to be and as which they willingly embraced him?
Many leftists are disgusted with Obama for supposedly betraying the cause on a number of issues, which tells us how irredeemably liberal they are. But their sense of betrayal runs deeper than ideology.
On December 7, the notorious radical mastermind of “WikiLeaks,” turned himself in on a sexual assault charge in London. But in the liberal media, the condemnations are few. There are no real enemies to the media elite’s left, especially if they can be (very loosely) identified with journalism. Julian Assange may be highly motivated to cripple American “imperialism,” but his relentless efforts to disrupt American foreign policy is a good thing when the media are manipulating the government’s reaction by choosing which leaks they will publish and promote.
Time magazine editor Richard Stengel, for example, told Charlie Rose on PBS that Assange is an “idealist” that “sees the U.S. since 1945 as being a source of harm throughout the planet,” but he’s not really opposed to him. He put Assange on the cover of Time with an American flag gagging his mouth and feigned a position of balance. In his “To Our Readers” letter, Stengel conceded Assange is out to “harm American national security,” but there is a public good unfolding, in that “the right of news organizations to publish those documents has historically been protected by the First Amendment.” Our founding fathers, Stengel huffed, understood that “letting the government rather than the press choose what to publish was a very bad idea in a democracy.” He tapped the reader on the chest: “I trust you agree.”
Americans the world over could die because of these intelligence betrayals. But hip, hip, hooray for the freedom of speech that got them killed?
Last week, I detailed seven occasions in the past few months at which President Barack Obama omitted the words "by their Creator" from direct quotes of the Declaration of Independence: "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Though you can read the actual quotes in detail in Part 1, let me briefly remind readers where and when they occurred:
People who take polls for a living will tell you that depending on the methodology, the sample, how a question is asked and the understanding of the ones being polled, the outcome can pretty much be predetermined.
If you are dependent on a superior for your job and that superior tells you he wants a certain conclusion reached about a policy he wishes to implement, that, too, can affect the outcome.
It took a man to break the porcelain ceiling in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a hard time in Kyrgyzstan recently. She explained that "it requires, for a woman, usually in today's world still, an extra amount of effort." She explained that people tend to be extra critical of a female politician and how she looks. A member of the press went on to ask her what designer she wears. "Would you ever ask a man that question?" she shot back.
If only John Boehner had been there.
Hillary's professorial moment happened as the incoming male Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced plans to build a women's restroom by the House floor back in Washington.
That's right. We endured a national adulation campaign back in November 2006 after it became clear that Democrats would give a woman the Speaker's gavel for the first time in American history. San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi told Katie Couric at the time: "As a woman, I'm very, very thrilled because I carry a special responsibility. I've broken the 'marble ceiling.' This Congress is steeped in tradition and history, and it's very hard for a woman to succeed to the level that I have, and I think it sends a message to all women that if this can happen, anything can happen." She broke the "marble ceiling"-- but evidently porcelain was beyond her power.
The curator elites at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery were happily abusing the trust of the American taxpayer, with radical gay activists pushing a gay agenda, replete with the religiously bigoted, sadomasochistic and homoerotic fare, all under the auspices of “art.” Then something happened. The public complained. Now these radicals are shocked – shocked! – that the “censors” are out to destroy their “artistic freedom.”
It’s like a bad rendition of “Groundhog Day.” How many times must we relive this foolishness?
The sponsors tell us that “Hide/Seek” is “the first major exhibition to examine the influence of gay and lesbian artists in creating modern American portraiture," and how these gay and lesbian artists have made “essential contributions to both the art of portraiture and to the creation of modern American culture."
But that isn’t enough. Theirs is a political message as part of a political agenda. To quote from their program, they want to strike a blow for “the struggle for justice, so that people and groups can claim their full inheritance in America’s promise of equality, inclusion, and social dignity.”
Open-borders radicalism means never having to apologize for absurd self-contradiction.
The way illegal alien students on college campuses across the country tell it, America is a cruel, selfish and racist nation that has never given them or their families a break. Yet despite their bottomless grievances, they're not going anywhere.
I suppose it is to be expected that the Great Recession should be accompanied by a sweeping national pessimism in which our purported leaders and commentators express historic despair, while the people and corporations mope about, convinced that the sun will not come up tomorrow.
Such an intensity of self-loathing and lack of confidence has not been heard since the French contemplated their disgraced future in June 1940 when they annihilated their nation, and the great light that was France, by surrendering to the Germans.
My campaign for mayor of Chicago against Rahm Emanuel is getting under way. I already announced on Sean Hannity's nationally televised program and have Sean's endorsement. After careful consideration, Rush Limbaugh undoubtedly will be aboard and Mark Levin and, of course, the tea partyers. Moreover, I already have two major newspapers endorsing me, The New York Sun, which was very kind in noting my talents and relative integrity compared with the opposition, and The Washington Times — also very kind. Neither had a good word to say for Emanuel. Perhaps more endorsements are coming. Frankly, I would not be surprised if both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times endorsed my candidacy. I am as clean as a hound's tooth!