“…as if a right to free contraception were now a constitutional right and we have to bargain with the genuinely constitutional right of freedom of religion in order to see to see where we’re going to go. That’s bad precedent…” That’s just one of many profound thoughts from Cardinal Francis George in his comments to the Catholic News Service on the the American bishops’ response to the HHS contraception mandate. Watch here:
Former Texas Republican State Chairman and ex-Reagan administration official Tom Pauken has released this statement on Karl Rove:
Karl Rove campaigned in 1980 against Ronald Reagan and for George Herbert Walker Bush in the Republican presidential primary in Texas. In the general election, I never heard at the time that Karl was running the Reagan campaign in our state. Karl was working for Gov. Clements, but the Reagan leaders in Texas were Ray Barnhart and Ernie Angelo. I knew most of the Reagan leaders around the state, and Karl was not part of that group and was viewed by the Reaganites as being part of the anti-Reagan faction in our state. I was in the Reagan administration on the President’s staff and Director of the Action agency. There were a number of Bush supporters who got appointments to various Commissions. I served as Associate Director of the White House Fellowship Program from 1970 to 1971. During the Reagan administration, I served on various White House Fellows selection panels during that period. Arlen Specter’s wife served on one of the panels with me. Being on a selection panel for that program is no evidence whatsoever that one was a Reagan Republican at the time.
Tom Pauken, former Reagan official and former Texas Republican State Chairman.
Again, the only reason this issue of Rove’s involvement in 1980 is relevant is Mr. Rove’s involvement with “Conservatives for Victory” — a group that many conservatives believe to be a stalking horse for GOP Establishment candidates.
In that context, Mr. Pauken’s statement speaks for itself.
Earlier today, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency due to a storm which could bring more than three feet of snow to the Bay State. As of this writing, there is a ban on vehicular traffic which is believed to be the first of its kind since the infamous Blizzard of ‘78.
I left work at noon and have spent most of the PM watching the Australian Baseball League championship between Perth and Canberra. Right now, I am watching Beyond Scared Straight. Why? I don’t know. Well, better to be here than out there or in there.
The snow is expected to fall until early tomorrow afternoon.
UPDATE 2/9/2013 @ 4:22 p.m.: Earlier this afternoon, my roomie Christopher and I walked down to Doyle’s (as we did during Hurricane Sandy). The snow buried many a car. It didn’t help that one of the snow plow operators saw fit to dump snow in the middle of our street. Those who weren’t shoveling snow were on skis, snowshoes or tobaggans making the best of the situation.
Upon our arrival at Doyle’s there were only a handful of people at the bar. But within half an hour the front room was nearly full. It was there we learned that Governor Patrick would lift the driving ban at 4 p.m. The T, Amtrak and Logan International remain shut down.
We did lose our cable for more than 12 hours but the web and the rest of the power have stayed intact. The only major challenge we have is how we will do our laundry which is situated in the basement next door. The sidewalk and stairs leading to the laundry room are covered in snow. Either I’ll borrow a shovel or go into town to buy one tomorrow and take care of it then.
UPDATE 2/9/2013 @ 6:25 p.m.: I borrowed a shovel from my downstairs neighbor. Beforehand I was on the phone with my Dad who told me to be careful when shoveling and to take it slow. When I saw the snow I had second thoughts but I would not be deterred. It took me 45 minutes to shovel the pathway and the stairs leading to the laundry room. Fortunately, I am in good shape so I wasn’t too tired. Actually, I was quite proud of my work. The laundry will keep until tomorrow. So will the snow.
John Brennan’s confirmation hearing was hot news yesterday. Yet by about 10 a.m. or so this morning, coverage of Brennan’s nomination had been pushed off the virtual front pages of sites like Politico, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Post to make way for stories about whether the Redskins should change their politically incorrect name and mascot, celebrity gossip, and Republican governors making an incremental shift on an obscure aspect of an old issue that has been covered to death: Obamacare (pun intended).
Full disclosure: I cared a great deal about this story and jumped at the chance to report it. I do not expect the world to agree with my personal “news instincts” any more than I expect it to start humming jazz on subway platforms or curl its collective hair. But it curls my hair double to see news of fundamental relevance to contemporary geopolitics forgotten as soon as it is broken.
John Brennan. President Obama’s nominee to direct the Central Intelligence Agency. To become one of the most powerful men in the world — in history, given the hegemony of the United States and ascendance of the intelligence community since 9/11. Yesterday’s hearing was his official time under the public-interest microscope. He was picked over for nearly four hours by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which usually meets in secret. Its members were unusually pointed and straightforward in their questioning, as Brennan was in his answers.
Discussion centered on, among other things, the deployment of weaponized UAVs in non-belligerent nations, including the killing of American citizens without trial and scores of innocent civilians without acknowledgement, intelligence-gathering programs using “enhanced interrogation techniques,” broad concerns about checks and balances between the three major branches of American government, and discussions of cyber warfare, which has immense implications for the regulatory future of the Internet.
To be sure, the news cycle moves more quickly than most people, certainly those outside the media, can realistically follow. Twitter burns through topics as fire does prairie grass, spitting out information like a machine gun. New media organizations race to be first. Established outlets strain for significance. Millions of self-styled Menckens, Sullivans, and Coulters offer their opinions. Nancy Grace shrieks about protecting innocent children while anatomical diagrams of where exactly the latest victim was bruised and beaten flash onscreen. Glenn Beck cries.
Mine is an easy argument to make: People should care about issues which affect their liberty and security. The media focuses on the wrong things because, frankly, the general public responds to them. This is not elitism. Elitism would be questioning the public’s motives or integrity. I appreciate that expecting people who get most of their current events from Jersey Shore to check out Google News would be like expecting me to start talking about my social life in acronyms. To each his or her own.
The problem with this state of affairs is that we are blinded to major events until they affect us as individuals, when it is too late for us to help ourselves. Then, in our distress, we find ourselves ignored by an uncaring world. How much do you personally know about zoning law? Probably very little, but I bet you would change that overnight if your municipal government declared your property blighted, seized it by eminent domain for a pittance — it is blighted, after all — and sold it to a commercial real estate developer.
Yesterday provided a historic opportunity for ordinary people to scrutinize programs and events that should give the United States of America existential pause. Today those who care, for their own peculiar reasons, may reasonably ask why some quarters of the media are acting as if it never happened. We may ask why history itself is being forgotten in a single day.
Last night on the O’Reilly Factor, Karl Rove said that he was the director of the Texas Reagan campaign in 1980.
There is a way to check exactly on Rove’s role in the Reagan era. There is a group called The Reagan Alumni. I am a member. The group includes anyone and everyone who played a role in the Reagan administration or Reagan campaigns. There is a directory. I have several issues.
Everyone is listed alphabetically, and in some issues again by state. So too positions held in campaigns and the Reagan administration.
Karl Rove isn’t listed.
What does this mean?
Let’s start with a statement released by Reagan biographer Craig Shirley. It reads as follows:
To: Fellow Conservatives
Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Karl Rove stated that he was the Director of the Texas campaign for Ronald Reagan in 1980. Since then, I’ve received several inquiries on this matter.
In the course of my research for Rendezvous with Destiny about the 1980 campaign, at no time did I come across Mr. Rove’s name in association with the Reagan campaign. Indeed, according to sources, he was with the George H. W. Bush campaign until he was fired for leaking to the media.
In 1976, as Chairman of the College Republicans, Rove was for Gerald Ford over Governor Reagan, as was all of the Republican National Committee.
The 1980 Texas campaign for Ronald Reagan was run by Ernie Angelo and the Field Director was Rick Shelby. Gary Hoitsma ran the media for Reagan in Texas in 1980.
In fact, Mr. Rove’s own bio on his website says he was on Governor Clements staff in 1980 and Clements was not on board with Reagan until after Detroit convention.
See pages 39, 173-174, Chapter 17 and pg 498 of Rendezvous with Destiny for details on the Texas campaign for Reagan in 1980.
Messrs. Angelo, Shelby and Hoitsma, described by Craig Shirley above, are all listed in the Reagan Alumni directories in precisely the positions Mr. Shirley lists.
Mr. Rove is nowhere to be found in directories for June of 1992, October of 1998, February of 2000 and February of 2001. Directories that contain thousands of names of those who worked for Reagan, all alphabetically listed along with positions held in a Reagan campaign or the Reagan Administration or both. Mr. Shirley himself is listed in these directories, as is Rove critic Mark Levin. As am I.
I should say that I personally saw Mr. Rove at a Reagan Alumni event — on February 6, 2001. The event, celebrating President Reagan’s birthday, was written up in the New York Times the very next day — on February 7, 2001. This was, of course, just after the new administration of George W. Bush arrived in Washington. Mr. Rove was not mentioned in the story by name. But the story had this paragraph:
The guest list included newly appointed senior officials of the Bush administration, many who came to Washington 20 years ago because of Mr. Reagan.
That is correct, and as I say, I can vouch for Rove’s presence. Although I believe Rove never “came to Washington 20 years ago because of Mr. Reagan.” He was, I believe, in Texas.
But why isn’t Rove listed in directories that contain literally thousands of names of those who worked for Ronald Reagan? Maybe Rove never bothered to send in his info. Certainly as someone who attended these Reagan Alumni meetings over the years in Washington or California, other than that one in Washington in 2001 I never recall seeing Rove. These events are somewhat akin to a college or high school reunion — albeit they carried political punch because of the members. The most prominent members of the Reagan era have attended these meetings over the years… names like Nancy Reagan (who played hostess to one meeting in California at the Reagan Library), Ed Meese, Jack Kemp, Jeane Kirpatrick and Pat Buchanan. They are a chance to see old friends and colleagues and even make new friends. Living in Texas as he did for a long time during this period, it’s understandable Karl Rove might not have journeyed to Washington to attend these events over the years if he were a member. But it would certainly seem an obvious thing for a political animal like Karl Rove to at least sign up for the directory — assuming he had the basic entry credentials.
But again, he isn’t listed.
It is mystifying why Mr. Rove would take to O’Reilly and utter such an easily checkable story.
As noted yesterday, Rove is merely the latest symbol of an old battle between the GOP Establishment and conservatives. Whatever he did or didn’t do for Reagan is both highly relevant — yet irrelevant.
Ronald Reagan trounced the GOP Establishment. But with the advent of the two Bush presidencies — set in motion by Reagan’s olive branch selection of George H.W. Bush as his vice president in 1980 — the moderates ascended.
The real problem here is that in 2013 many conservatives believe the Bush 43 presidency — in which Mr. Rove played such a key role — has played a real role in damaging the conservative brand. And they see Mr. Rove as a prime mover in an effort to ensure the defeat of conservatives in the 2014 elections — by putting over Establishment candidates who will proclaim their conservatism only to get to Washington and turn into Big Government enthusiasts.
Last night on O’Reilly Mr. Rove said this was not an ideological fight.
Most assuredly conservatives disagree.
This is a problem. A big one.
In testimony before a Senate committee Thursday, Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan admitted he doesn’t know what the word “tautology” means. This is a bit peculiar for the guy at the top of the education industry, who we would expect to be conversant with his native language. But it’s hardly disabling. English is a very large language, and language instruction in recent decades has been very small.
What’s more troubling is that, on the available evidence from a school near you, our Arne, and his legions of edu-bureaucrats, almost certainly doesn’t know what education means either. And as he is education minister for the most left-wing president in our history, he either doesn’t know or has no sympathy for the verity that education in America is a state and local responsibility. At least it was when we were still a republic, rather than the Dr. Moreau hybrid the political class has caused us to morph into.
A 29-year-old woman died Thursday after undergoing a late-term abortion at the Maryland clinic operated by the notorious Dr. LeRoy Carhart. However, despite Carhart’s international reputation, no major news organization is covering the reported death.
The victim, who was eight months pregnant, traveled from out of state to the Germantown Reproductive Health Center that Carhart operates in suburban Montgomery County, about 20 miles from Washington, D.C. The pro-life group Operation Life reports:
The woman, who came for a third trimester abortion from out-of-state, arrived at GRHC on Sunday and was seen by pro-life activists every day through Wednesday. Witnesses said she appeared “pale and weak.” Early Thursday morning, the woman began suffering chest pain and other discomforts. Her attempts to reach Carhart were unsuccessful. The woman was taken by her family from her hotel to a nearby hospital emergency room at approximately 5:00 a.m. Efforts by hospital staff to contact Carhart or get informational assistance from the abortion clinic were unsuccessful. The patient suffered massive internal bleeding into her abdominal cavity. She slipped into a Code Blue condition approximately six times before finally succumbing to her injuries at around 9:30 a.m. The case has been placed with the Medical Examiner for further investigation.
Carhart is a celebrity of the pro-abortion movement. Described as “one of the few doctors in the U.S. to openly perform late-term abortions,” Carhart was an associate of Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated in 2009. Michael Martelli of the Maryland Coalition for Life notes that Carhart “was hailed as a ‘hero’ in the film ‘After Tiller’ at the recent Sundance Film Festival.” Now that a 29-year-old woman has reportedly died as a result of Carhart’s butchery, however, it seems that no major news organization considers him newsworthy.
Neither the Washington Post nor the Baltimore Sun has yet reported on this woman’s death in Maryland, despite the fact that there was an 11 a.m. press conference today in front of the Germantown clinic. The story is also being ignored by the Associated Press, USA Today, the New York Times, and television news networks. As of 1:30 p.m. Friday, the largest organizations reporting the story were WorldNetDaily and LifeNews.com.
The local Montgomery Gazette was the only newspaper to send a reporter to the press conference, Martelli told me in a brief telephone interview this afternoon. Martelli said he had been contacted about the story by only a “few” reporters, “mostly from pro-life or Christian organizations.” The Maryland Coalition for Life has announced that it will hold a prayer vigil, memorial, and follow-up press conference at 9 a.m. Monday near the Germantown clinic where Carhart performed the botched abortion.
It has come to my attention that Donald Trump took the time to tweet my article on Karl Rove yesterday. For which I want to make a point of thanking him. (Here’s the link.)
In his typically shy and retiring fashion, Mr. Trump has not hesitated to express his opinion on Mr. Rove’s activities, as here.
This issue is not going away.
Tired of unionized government workers who agitate for public policy changes on your dime, at odds with your political preferences?
Then now is a good time to get behind legislation U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) have introduced that would put an end to “official time” — a controversial practice that allows federal employees to conduct union business during working hours unrelated to their work responsibilities.
In January, Rep. Gingrey introduced HR 107, which would prohibit the federal government from paying employees while they are conducting union business. Rep. Ross is an original co-sponsor. Official time is estimated to have cost taxpayers $1.3 billion over 10 years, according to a press release from the congressman.
Earlier this week, Rep. Ross introduced HR 568, with Rep. Gingrey as an original co-sponsor. The bill calls for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit an annual report to Congress on the use of official time by federal employees.
This is a strong one-two punch that is very deserving of support not just from conservatives, but all concerned taxpayers. Public employees who are part of a union have every right to express themselves and to lobby for policy changes. But they should not be permitted to advance their agenda during working hours at taxpayer expense.
“Rep. Gingrey and I worked together to introduce two bills that would address time reporting by federal employees, specifically as it pertained to union activities,” Ross said in a press release. “In 2011, federal employees spent roughly 3.4 million hours — at a cost of $155 million to the taxpayer — conducting union business while on duty in 2011. At a time when our country is more than $16 trillion in debt, we need to ensure that we are cutting all wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, no matter for which political side the union employees are advocating.”
I recently interviewed former American Spectator intern Greg Gutfeld on the weekly podcast that I host for the American Enterprise Institute’s “Values & Capitalism” project. A mere handful of weeks later was asked if I wanted to start blogging at The Spectacle. Coincidence?
My name is R.J. Moeller and I am a recent transplant to the once-fair city of Los Angeles. I’m also a member of the current “Millennials” generation who, apart from blogging/podcasting duties at AEI, moved from Chicago last year to begin working for syndicated talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager. I contribute weekly to the new pop-culture website Acculturated and help with social media for various outlets, including Ricochet.com. My interests include Twitter (@rjmoeller), the moral case for free enterprise, Christian theology, walleye fishing, and subverting progressive ideology in any and every way imaginable.
Aside from my deep-seated respect and admiration for Mr. Prager, the real reason I moved West was simple: When most young conservative guys in their /'20s want to “change things” they head to Washington, D.C., in hopes of landing a plumb job on Capitol Hill or in the beige-colored offices of (insert any think-tank name here). Their days consist primarily of boring meetings led by the 55 year old vision-less versions of themselves and happy hours jam-packed with Type A personalities who are just dying for you to ask them where they went to graduate school.
All right, so I may exaggerate a bit for effect — but not much. And, having been employed by one for the past two years myself, I clearly believe in the work that center-right groups like AEI, Heritage Foundation, etc. do in a place like D.C.
But when young liberals want to “change things” — or even if they have no interest in intentionally changing anything — they move to cultural centers like Los Angeles and start taking Improv classes, writing scripts, forming bands, and going to parties where being anything to the right of Saul Alinsky is grounds for possible excommunication from the artistic community.
We’re not losing to the Left simply because of poor policy-making. The “Big Tent” is not ever-fracturing because we’ve failed to plan enough conferences (for the Republican National Committee to bungle the handling of). And the greatest force for alleviating poverty the world has ever known — free market capitalism — isn’t an eye-roll-inducing term met with misguided indignation among an ever-increasing number of Americans because Mitt Romney saved his best stuff for one measly debate performance in October.
Politics is unmistakably down-stream of culture. It shapes the thinking and worldview of Americans under the age of 30 more than anything else. Popular culture despises everything the Right stands for not because movies or music are un-conservative things, but because the Right abandoned the culture (and corresponding cultural centers) like disillusioned and disgruntled inhabitants of an Old West boomtown circa 1850. The serious problem with this is that the boomtown we deserted was not only still lousy with supremely precious metals, but the folks who moved in when we moved out happened to be our fiercest ideological enemies.
The combination of fiscal licentiousness (economics), unchecked immigration (rule of law) and the moral decadence of Hollywood (values) has put my new home-state of California on a collision-course with a “manifest destiny” — a term, ironically, coined by Democrats in the 19th century — only socially-engineered utopias like Greece could be proud of. Both culturally and politically, California is the canary gasping its last few labored breaths in the coal mine.
And so have I.
Plus, the girls are hot.
Coming to you directly from the Hart Senate Office Building chamber where the Select Committee on Intelligence is conducting a hearing with John Brennan considering his nomination for the directorship of the Central Intelligence Agency:
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) began his first round of questioning with a simple statement: “I believe the issues before us really have nothing do with political party and have everything to do with the checks and balances that make our system so special,” namely the lack of legislative oversight regarding the executive branch’s lethal drone strike program, which is directed by the CIA. “Every American has the right to know when their government believes it has the right to kill them.”
Although he said “it was encouraging last night when” the president ordered that the Office of Legal Counsel release the classified memo outlining the legal justification for the lethal drone strike program, including strikes in sovereign non-belligerent nations and the killing of American citizens, he added that since last night he has “become concerned” that the materials in question were not actually provided, and directly questioned whether the Justice Department has faithfully carried out the expressed wishes of the president in this matter. This would have immense implications for the oversight function Senator Wyden expressed concern about, as well as the question of whether the judicial branch is fulfilling its appropriate role.
Senator Wyden also noted a lack of staff, lawyers, etc. with the appropriate knowledge to navigate the documents that have been disclosed, and asserted continued stonewalling by the executive on many other points, including matters of “secret law.” When Brennan was asked to convey the Senator’s message of concern about the Justice Department to the president, he agreed.
The longtime CIA man had his own revelations to share, however, at least based on the reaction in the room. When asked ‘what should be done next to ensure a public conversation about drones so the American people are brought in to understand what is happening’ and how the drone program is executed, Brennan began by saying that many people expressing concern over the program fundamentally misunderstand it. ‘There is a mistaken impression that we use drone strikes to punish terrorists for their past transgressions.’ But in his own words, “We only take this action as a last resort to save lives when there is no alternative to [address a] threat.” He added that he and his colleagues “agonize” over the appropriateness of each drone strike, including considerations of potential collateral damage.
After garnering an opaque verbal commitment to simultaneous ‘optimization’ of concerns for ethicality and legality on the one hand and operational effectiveness and national security on the other, Senator Wyden changed focus: “If the executive brand makes a mistake and kills the wrong person or the wrong group of people … do you believe the administration should acknowledge it?”
Brennan answered in the affirmative without hesitation, drawing wide-eyed gasps from the press gallery. Referring to strikes which kill innocent people, Brennan said, “I believe we need to acknowledge it. I believe that we need to acknowledge it to our foreign partners. I believe that we need to acknowledge it publicly … in the interest of transparency.” Since the Obama Administration only acknowledged the program’s mere existence in the last year or so and has been extremely tight-lipped it beyond general statements that, for example, civilian casualties have been low (Senator Feinstein cited numbers supplied by the Executive and, she said, verified by Congress placing the annual toll “in the single digits”), comprehensive public disclosures of civilian casualties would mark a dramatic change in policy. And yet it was Brennan himself who earnestly stated to Chairwoman Feinstein, “Honesty is the best policy.”
Protesters, mostly identifying themselves as members of Code Pink, have interrupted the early proceedings of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is considering President Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan to direct the Central Intelligence Agency.
Eventually Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lost patience and ordered that the chamber be closed to the public, with re-admission on a case-by-case basis. It does not appear anyone has been allowed back in, however, at least at present.
If Obamacare isn’t scaled back by 2014, the U.S. faces ruin. Mercatus Center research fellow Charles Blahous explains how.
When originally passed, Obamacare was projected to add $340 billion to federal deficits and $1.15 trillion to federal spending in its first 10 years (and much more subsequently). This was based on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) assumption that all states would expand their participation in Medicaid, adding 17 million to the rolls by 2022.
The Supreme Court’s decision in June 2012 to uphold the bulk of the legislation while striking down the federal government’s ability to force states to expand Medicaid, changed that picture. (The Advisory Board Company has a map up showing where states currently stand on implementing the Medicaid expansion.)
According to Blahous, CBO’s new estimates reflect a few possibilities.
First is Scenario 1. Assume some states won’t expand Medicaid, resulting in one-third fewer enrollees.
What happens to these six million people?
CBO assumes half will choose to go withtout insurance. This loss reduces projected federal expenditures.
CBO further assumes the remaining three million end up in federal health care exchanges. Federal costs increase. The health care exchanges are more expensive for those in this income group — an average federal subsidy of $9,000 a year per enrollee, versus an average federal subsidy of $7,000 per year under Medicaid
States have a fiscal incentive to decline Medicaid expansion and push eligible individuals into the more generous federal health exchanges.
The net effect of three million uninsured individuals plus three million in health exhchanges adds $340 billion to the federal deficit and increases federal spending to $1.2 trillion in the next decade.
And the even more costly option is Scenario 2.
Assume all states expand Medicaid and cover those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Further assume that those eligible for the more generous federal health care exchanges (those earning between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level) opt in. Costs rise even more dramatically.
Blahous puts it bluntly: the only way out is to cut back on the size of the health exchange subsidies, and allow governors more flexbility to improve Medicaid’s cost-effectiveness. The fiscal strains presented by ACA mean that the legislation’s stated goal of providing expanded health insurance coverage isn’t tenable. The financing simply does not work.
As a native Californian, this new radio ad from Texas Gov. Rick Perry particularly tickles me:
What’s especially amusing is the fact that Perry—through the funding of TexasOne, a public-private tourism partnership—advertised to the major metropolitan areas of California: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and even Sacramento itself.
Perry invites California businesses to “come check out Texas,” mentioning the “low taxes, sensible regulations, and fair legal system” in the state. Texas ranked number three for top state business climates in 2012, losing two places to No. 1 North Carolina and second-place Ohio.
Voters in California, meanwhile, approved Prop 30 in November, which increases the income tax for high earners and raises the sales tax a quarter of a percentage point from 2013 to 2016.
At times like these, I thank the Founding Fathers for preserving state sovereignty. For as James Madison writes in Federalist 39:
the local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority, than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere.
Ultimately, this competition benefits any American who seeks a light governmental burden.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, of course, blamed the media for ginning up the story: “You take a little radio ad and all you guys run like lap dogs to report it…It is not a burp. It’s barely a fart.”
The rest of Sen. Paul’s speech at Heritage yesterday wasn’t awful, but one paragrap was so incredibly asinine as to… well, words almost fail. But really, talk about jaw-droppingly awful! Read about it here.
Okay, please do go to the link above to read my comments on it. But so you’ll at least see what I’m objecting to, here is the paragraph in question, which manages to fit five myths into just a few sentences:
In the 1980s, the war caucus in Congress armed bin Laden and the mujaheddin in their fight with the Soviet Union. In fact, it was the official position of the State Department to support radical jihad against the Soviets. We all know how well that worked out.
The statement would be laughable, except that if people believe it, it will actually be dangerous.
Come on, Sen. Paul: You make a lot of sense on domestic matters. Surely you can avoid spewing junk like this when making a prepared speech about foreign policy. Surely.
As the federal government prepares the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for enforcement, millions of Americans may realize that “federal” certainly doesn’t mean “universal.”
According to The Washington Times, the Affordable Care Act will force approximately 7 million people from their employer-provided coverage, twice the CBO’s original estimate.
Even for those with employer-provided coverage, its high expense affects the lives of dependents. Dependents are actually exempt from the insurance mandate if their head of household pays below 9.5 percent of income for his premiums, making these family members ineligible for exchange subsidies.
Even if one can purchase insurance through a “health insurance marketplace,” choosing a plan is very complicated for the average person. States will have to hire thousands of “navigators” to consult the 30 million citizens signing up for health insurance across the country; California alone will have to certify 21,000 advisors for 700,000 people.
Out of this expensive and complex malaise rises Gov. Greg Herbert of Utah. Speaking at an American Enterprise Institute event on Wednesday, the governor emphasized health reform on the state level.
Gov. Herbert is currently negotiating with the Obama Administration for a certification of Utah’s Avenue H model, formerly labeled the “Utah Exchange.”
Herbert demands that Utah 1) operates its own exchange with state financing, 2) that it functions without the mandate, 3) that it distributes Medicaid funds outside of its own exchange, and 4) that it does not offer a premium tax credit through Avenue H.
Utah’s exchange is based upon three components: consumer choice, the free market, and a compassionate safety net.
The online exchange utilizes a defined-contribution plan in which employers grant a fixed tax-free contribution to their employees on a monthly basis. This can range up to $2,000.
The worker then chooses from a variety of insurance plans offered online through Avenue H, paying the rest of the premium himself.
Currently, 318 employer groups are enrolled in the exchange with over 7,500 covered employees.
Private insurance companies primarily operate the marketplace, as the responsible government department, the Office of Consumer Health Services, only employs five people with an annual budget of $600,000.
For Herbert, cost produces an acute issue for most citizens. “Obamacare doesn’t solve the problem of rising costs,” stated Herbert. For a state where 45.9 percent of the uninsured are aged from 18 to 34, the problem of expense can be severe.
The governor reasoned that because insurance covers most health expenses, people are not as conscientious of price; this encourages them to consume more services, thus increasing overall costs.
Avenue H attempts to force prices down by prohibiting insurance carriers from requiring employers to pay at least 50 percent of premiums, which currently happens in the state’s small business market.
“This debate is about people and their health care,” Herbert explained.
The state collaborates with private insurers to institute three different mechanisms to promote access, portability and further cost control: a premium aggregator function, a risk adjustment system, and sales commissions for brokers who work with both employers and individuals to select cost-effective plans.
Premium aggregation allows Utah citizens to pay premiums with combined contributions from multiple employers, while the “risk adjustment system” compensates companies for adverse selection. Similar to Switzerland’s policy, insurers with lower-than-average payouts transfer revenues to those with higher-than-average care costs.
Since 2010, low enrollment in the exchange has concerned some; according to an Avenue H survey of employers, most do not enroll because of both higher premiums within the exchange and the complexity of both the application process and the health questionnaire.
While 2010 reforms attempted to equalize prices inside and outside Avenue H, premiums were still $60-150 more expensive (page 9) in the exchange according to one small group purchaser, possibly because of underwriting group rates according to the health status of each employee.
Enrollment has increased, but the state still has not invited large businesses to enroll. As of November 2012, the government is attempting to appeal to more groups by providing more education and decision support while improving the user interface of the Avenue H website.
The Affordable Care Act prohibits ratings based upon health status, beginning in 2014.
Even with these challenges, Utah provides an inspiring model of reform in a nation of “sorcerer’s apprentices,” reminding us that while the feds dictate, the states act.
I’m as surprised as anyone, considering my recent TAS punditry on who would succeed Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior. Sally Jewel, 56, the CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), has no experience in public service, yet according to the AP, she enjoys the support of both the Sierra Club for work devoted to environmental non-profits, and of the Western Energy Alliance thanks to her previous career as a petroleum engineer for Mobil Oil Corp. In 2011 she introduced President Obama at a White House seminar titled “America’s Great Outdoors,” which promoted the $300 billion–6.5 million jobs U.S. outdoor recreation industry, along with Michelle Obama’s efforts to get kids exercising outdoors as a way to combat childhood obesity. At today’s White House introduction ceremony the president called her an “expert on energy and climate issues,” and these will certainly be mentioned in Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address. Her confirmation hearing shouldn’t be particularly rocky, but her knowledge of the broad national canvas of the Interior Department is likely shallow. As for the president, this pick is either brilliant in its bipartisan consensus, or will prove to be a disaster as a Beltway rookie wades into the political, bureaucratic, and legal quagmire that are the federal public lands agencies.
Senator and Republican presidential prospect Rand Paul gave a highly anticipated speech today at the Heritage Foundation, asking his fellow Republicans and citizens to fundamentally rethink American foreign policy. Appealing to the theory of George Kennan and the practice of Ronald Reagan, the junior senator from Kentucky advocated a thoughtful but firm policy of containment to balance legitimate concerns about foreign threats posed by radical jihad in particular with conservative ideas. In his words, “I’d argue that a more restrained foreign policy is the true conservative foreign policy, as it includes two basic tenets of true conservatism: respect for the Constitution and fiscal discipline.”
Politically, this stance could be interpreted as part of Paul’s larger project to simultaneously win over ideological conservatives, who feel they lack a voice in Republican leadership, and woo younger and independent voters, who do not see a place for themselves under the GOP tent.
Senator Paul’s remarks began with a specific focus on the threat of radical Islam, but gradually expanded to a discussion of containment policy, famously outlined in Kennan’s “Long Telegram” from Moscow, which Paul proffered as the foundation for a new American foreign policy. The invocation of Reagan, made on his 102nd birthday, was thoughtful in tone but tactically aggressive, a challenge to the neo-conservative claim on his legacy:
Jack Matlock, one of Reagan’s national security advisors, wrote, “Reagan’s Soviet policy had more in common with Kennan’s thinking than the policy of any of Reagan’s predecessors.” … Reagan’s foreign policy was much closer to what I am advocating than what we have today. The former chairman of the American Conservative Union [and current President of the National Rifle Association*] David Keene noted that Reagan’s policy was much less interventionist than the presidents of both parties who came right before him and after him.
The rub of Senator Paul’s speech, however, was an outline of concrete, albeit broad, policy changes he would make to move America toward prudent containment grounded in conservative principle:
Since the Korean War, Congress has ignored its responsibility to restrain the president. Congress has abdicated its role in declaring war.
What would a foreign policy look like that tried to strike a balance? First, it would have less soldiers stationed overseas and less bases. Instead of large, limitless land wars in multiple theaters, we would target our enemy and strike with lethal force.
We would not presume that we build nations nor would we presume that we have the resources to build nations. Many of the countries formed after WWI are collections of tribal regions that have never been governed by a central government and may, in fact, be ungovernable.
When we must intervene with force, we should attempt to intervene in cooperation with the host government.
Intervention against the will of another nation such as Afghanistan or Libya would require a declaration of war by Congress. Such constitutional obstacles purposefully make it more difficult to go to war. That was the Founders’ intention: To make war less likely.
We did not declare war or authorize force to begin war with Libya. This is a dangerous precedent. In our foreign policy, Congress has become not even a rubber stamp but an irrelevancy. With Libya, the president sought permission from the UN… from NATO… from the Arab League - everyone but the U.S. Congress! And how did Congress react? Congress let him get away with it.
The looming debt crisis will force us to reassess our role in the world.
Although the political ramifications of this daunting philosophical discussion are easy to take for granted – for everything in Washington is political – the ultimate success or failure of Senator Paul’s new vision hinges on its reception by Americans of all stations, from the small business around the corner to the marble halls of power.
*Transcript updated to reflect remarks as delivered.
American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio made an appearance on Washington’s WMAL radio today. In the course of his appearance he referred to the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell as a “hater.” Twice.
I will be discussing this tomorrow in my regular column. But in the meantime, I have inquired of Mr. Collegio and he has issued the following statement:
My words — they belong to no one else.
Bozell called us “fake conservatives” — which is language that perniciously and unfairly judges the motives of others, and fails to acknowledge that there might be honest differences on strategy within the conservative movement.
For my part: I said that in the heat of a talk radio debate, I regret contributing to the vitriol, and I apologize to Mr. Bozell if it offended him. Believe it or not, I’m a big fan of both him and MRC.
Senator Rand Paul addressed the Heritage Foundation today on the topic of foreign policy. Though he was met by an eager and full auditorium, he did not invite time for questions.
The senator began memorably:
“Foreign policy is uniquely an arena where we should base decisions on the landscape of the world as it is … not as we wish it to be. I see the world as it is. I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist.”
He went on to put this into a context: “that the West is in for a long, irregular confrontation not with terrorism, which is simply a tactic, but with Radical Islam.”
With these ingredients, he began to identify both the nature of radical Islam as a relentless movement that spanned borders, and though a minority to be distinguished from Islam itself, was often mainstream and supported by radicalized governments. He noted that, “though often militarily weak, radical Islam makes up for its lack of conventional armies with unlimited zeal.”
In light of this reality, Paul acknowledged that outright occupation on the McCain “100 years” model fans radical Islam’s flames, but he also rejected the notion that “glad hands and winning smiles” worked any better. Instead, Senator Paul spoke favourably of George Kennan and the policy of containment.
Though never succinct enough to be on a bumper sticker, Senator Paul demonstrated how some of the elements of Kenan’s containment policy were effective in ending the Cold War and could be similarly effective in combating radical Islam. By bringing a policy that seeks the “application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points” to match the enemy, Paul sought to show that it could utilize a “preponderance of strength” better than the Truman doctrine’s “everywhere, all the time” model.
This matched another concern that Paul highlighted—the reality of fiscal limitation. Whereas occupation and overwhelming force are not financially possible everywhere and for all time, Paul noted that a containment policy is actually financially viable, and better suited to the limitless patience of radical Islam.
For substantiation, Paul turned to Reagan. He highlighted that Reagan combined strong language and diplomacy with restraint and a “strategic ambiguity” where others would understand “a policy in having no stated policy.”
Senator Paul drew a strong link between the two, and also to himself when he noted that “one of Reagan’s national security advisors wrote ‘Reagan’s Soviet policy had more in common with Kennan’s thinking than the policy of any of Reagan’s predecessors.’” The bottom line being that such an approach contained communism until it killed itself, and was the best option looking forward to countering radical Islam.
That former Congressman and GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul would smear an American hero like Chris Kyle following his death speaks a great deal to his character or lack thereof.
Yesterday, Paul sent out a Tweet which read:
Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense.
It makes you wonder if these were the sort of letters Paul sent to the families of fallen soldiers who resided in his district. Needless to say, this justly provoked outrage. Glenn Beck described Paul as “the newest member of the Westboro Baptist Church.” Paul should have thanked Kyle for his service to his country and then kept his goddamn mouth shut. A few hours later, Paul took to Facebook. Try as he much he couldn’t resist jumping on his soapbox:
As a veteran, I certainly recognize that this weekend’s violence and killing of Chris Kyle were a tragic and sad. My condelences and prayers go out to Mr. Kyle’s family. Unconstitutional and unnecessary wars have endless unintended consequences. A policy of non-violence, as Christ preached, would have prevented this and similar tragedies.
Paul’s first two sentences could have atoned for his Tweet. But he just had to jump on his soapbox. Blaming Kyle’s death on “unconstitutional and unnecessary wars” is no better than Obama and company blaming the Sandy Hook massacre on insufficient gun control.
A word of advice to Ron Paul. You might want to avoid Navy SEAL bars. There will be a lineup of guys waiting to pop you in the jaw just like Kyle did to Jesse Ventura after the former Minnesota Governor dissed the SEALS. Yeah, I know Ventura says it never happened and sued Kyle. Regardless, Paul should heed my advice for his own good.
Truth is stranger than fiction. But please, please, please let him try…
Reg Presley, lead singer of 1960’s British pop group The Troggs, died yesterday of lung cancer as well as complications from a series of strokes. He was 71.
Although The Troggs are best known for the Chip Taylor penned “Wild Thing”, Presley wrote two of their other hits “With a Girl Like You” and “Love Is All Around” which hold up remarkably well nearly half a century after they were recorded.
Here’s an interview from nearly 20 years ago at the Glastonbury Festival in which Presley discusses crop circles. The young lady conducting the interview seems to fancy him.
Much celebration is surrounding the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, observed January 28 — and rightly so. But not enough is being made about the production of films and mini-series which bring her novels to life in the most brilliant ways.
The only thing that would improve Andrew Davies’ 1995 adaption of Pride and Prejudice is if it didn’t have an end. A reader of P&P will find virtually no disparities between the mini-series and the book, putting one in conceivable danger of not needing to read the print version. Such is not the case with the abomination that is the 2005 Hollywood version starring Keira Knightly, however, the worth of which amounts to a mocking diversion worthy of a Mystery Science Theater feature.
Davies’ Pride and Prejudice truly has it all. In the course of one (six-hour) viewing, an audience encounters every type of human character and experiences every type of emotion. Elements both of tragedy and comedy are mixed irresistibly with rich romance, and captured throughout is the delightfully uncomfortable kind of awkwardness that makes the viewer squirm sympathetically.
It is rare to find any screen representation as good as the book, but this comes close. It is a truth universally acknowledged that any attempt to improve upon Davies’ production will forever fall short. It’s aesthetically beautiful and cast to a T. The themes of love and marriage, duty, honor, society, and class are timeless. This being said, it would be criminal not to read the book which inspired this cinematical treasure. Some phrases, invaluable to everyday life, would be missed:
“I am excessively diverted.”
“It’s been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.”
“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
“I have not the pleasure of understanding you.”
“Is not general incivility the very essence of love?”
“Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.”
Another Austen rendering, Sense and Sensibility, came out in 1995, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. It’s no Pride and Prejudice, but it’s very good, and Hugh Grant takes graceless bumbling to remarkable new heights. Gwynth Paltrow also plays an excellent Miss Woodehouse in the 1996 production of Emma, but as it is neither of these novel’s 200th birthday, I will put off expounding, as Mr. Collins would say, my “excellent judgment in all matters within the scope of [my] understanding.”
Whole Foods Founder & CEO John Mackey is a man on many missions. He advocates good eating and wholesome living, of course, but he also has a higher calling. He wants to defend liberty. He wants to champion capitalism in the public square. He wants to share the beautiful ideas of Hayek, von Mises, and Friedman, which opened his eyes to “how the world really works.” And he wants you to revel in the wonder of a system that has surrounded you with previously unimaginable prosperity. He wants you to understand it and love it so you will defend it too.
Mackey discussed the ideas behind his new book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business in a conversational interview with Tucker Carlson Monday evening at the Cato Institute. Although the book itself was hardly referenced, Mackey’s libertarian message of confident capitalism grounded in compassionate values was clear. Two points in particular stood out. According to Mr. Mackey, businesspeople exhibit great ignorance about the capitalistic system. His view is shared by Cato President John Allison and organizations such as the Bastiat Society, which was founded to educate businesspeople about the market process. Entrepreneurs’ reluctance to embrace market principles and espouse capitalism’s virtues places them in a disadvantageously defensive position in dealing with its many critics. Mackey’s vision is that businesspeople espouse the system by which they benefit society.
The second consideration of note was existential, a pall hanging over all else like the specter of collectivism. We need to have two major conversations in the 21st century, Mackey said. The first is about how to roll back government, which has grown so large as to threaten calamity. The second is defining the proper roles of government, which he sees as legitimate and important but, as a minarchist, severely limited. He did not address these broad concerns, however; his main purpose was presenting a compelling narrative intended for a uniquely vulnerable, strategically important audience. As noted, he pitched his book as a resource for businesspeople to empower themselves in a world that badly misunderstands them.
One observation of particular insight was the unfortunate double standard businesspeople face in the court of public opinion. If a politician heinously betrays the public trust, even with the widely acknowledged corruption that pervades politics, his profession isn’t diminished in the public eye. By contrast, Bernie Madoff and countless other business crooks stain the humble entrepreneur with their sins.
Mackey also addressed the state of economic freedom in America today:
We’re in decline. And we’re in decline because our economic freedom’s being stripped away. … The critics dominate the narrative, and the people who defend capitalism make a big mistake: they concede the moral high ground. … We’ve got to recapture the narrative, and that’s what in the book we try to do. … People don’t support capitalism to the same extent they did because they equate capitalism with crony capitalism. … Most people are going to pursue that. And if the government’s giving away money, most people are going to line up to get it. … I think businesspeople need to speak up if we want to keep a free society. And we’ve already fallen to 18th (in global economic freedom).
Asked how his values impact his business, he replied, “I understand the principles that lead to prosperity in society. I understand property rights. … I understand that it’s business that’s uplifted humanity,” citing examples of remarkable progress in the last 200 years. Whether he will succeed is, of course, unknowable at this juncture, but as an autodidact possessed of great idealism and an entrepreneurial impulse for action, John Mackey offers a unique approach to an intractable problem: Helping the individual understand his or her precious liberty, that it may be held dear.
Did you get the many ironies of the newly-released DOJ memo on drone wars? Recall that the administration tried to deep-six it, while all the while releasing Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel memos in order to embarrass their authors. Then we learned why Obama kept his memo under lock and key. It authorizes the killing of al Qaeda members in foreign countries even if they aren’t plotting an attack on the U.S. No problemo. Just like skeet-shooting back at Camp David. The irony is that, back in 2009, the administration said we aren’t in a “war on terror.” We are so much more moral, so very much more sophisticated than that. We could just hug ourselves! But if Obama can pull the trigger on terrorsts who aren’t about to attack the U.S., what is that if not a war on terror?
In my column nearby on Karl Rove, I included several links to articles discussing his new “Conservative Victory Project.”
Here’s one more. A big one more.
Mark Levin spent the first hour of his radio show last night on this very topic. To say he peeled the paint on the subject would be to understate. The Republican Establishment, he said, “really don’t believe” in either constitutionalism or capitalism. He focused on a sore point with conservatives — the amount of spending by the GOP Congress and the Bush 43 administration.
“We have to be honest with ourselves,” said Levin.
He went on to spend the entire first hour of his show on this topic. To say that he was honest would understate. He was blistering.
Here’s the link to the first hour of the show.
Last night, as millions of viewers across America watched, Beyoncé Knowles wiggled, shook, thrusted, strutted, shrieked, and convulsed during the Super Bowl halftime show. Her outfit left little to the imagination, except perhaps to speculate on which Satanic cult lent her the risqué costume. The singer’s choice of moves and attire bars her from future complaints of being reduced to a sex object.
But Michelle Obama is proud of Beyoncé, tweeting her approval of the “phenomenal” performance and courteously attaching her initials to the tweet, in case people still don’t know who the FLOTUS is.
What was “mo” proud of? Beyoncé’s commitment to unbridled sexiness in front of a family audience? The performance was lengthy and Beyoncé’s physical endurance impressive — a result of Michelle’s “Let’s Move!” campaign?
Another question: did Michelle O. tweet her pride when The Who performed a tamer, more wholesome show in 2010? Or when Bruce Springsteen wore clothes to entertain the nation in 2009? Maybe the FLOTUS was just proud that Beyoncé didn’t lip-synch this time.
Scientists in the UK have confirmed that 500-year-old remains found under a parking lot in Leicester are those of King Richard III.
Didn’t you just know the sumbitch would end badly?
Cornell Law School professor and high-profile conservative blogger William Jacobson has launched a new website, ElizabethWarrenWiki.org, to definitively compile all of the information on the background of Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“I decided after the election that I didn’t want this information to get lost. No single place brought it all together. So I created a resource for future people who research her,” Jacobson, the founder of the conservative blog Legal Insurrection, told me in a phone conversation last week.
The site, structured like a Wikipedia page, chronicles Warren’s affiliation with the Occupy movement, her deep-pocketed donors and legal clients, and, among other things, her claim to have been the first nursing mother to take the bar exam in the state of New Jersey. But most of Jacobson’s research centers on Warren’s ultimate scarlet-letter scandal: her fraudulent claim to Cherokee heritage, which scored her a fraudulent teaching job at Harvard.
“The Boston Herald got the ball rolling on the Cherokee issue. But then you saw the mainstream media completely cover for her for months throughout the campaign. She managed to ride out the Cherokee issue because she went silent on the media for months and the media didn’t care. The Boston Globe and national publications let her get away with it,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson’s wiki page is a veritable yearbook for the conservative online journalists who covered the Indian scandal, exhaustively, throughout the late spring and summer of 2012, before we realized that our loudmouthed, funny headline-writing presence in the Scott Brown media tent was starting to turn off female voters.Continue reading…
Today’s CQ Roll Call newsletter illustrates one of the biggest obstacles to a functional gun regulation debate:
With no mention of banning AR-15-style rifles or jumbo ammunition clips, the [Mayors for Illegal Guns Washington-area Super Bowl] ad underscores how quickly the focus of gun control advocates has turned away from those ideas and almost entirely toward the background checks.
The problem? Clips and magazines are two different things.
Simply put, a clip is something that introduces cartridges into a magazine.
For my part, I nearly referred to cartridges as bullets in the course of making the distinction CQ Roll Call failed to, which demonstrates how easy it is for individuals who have not spent a lot of time handling guns to fundamentally misunderstand how they work.
Such misunderstanding is a recipe for bad policy, and in this context bad policy has clear life-and-death ramifications. Arguments surrounding gun regulation should be scrutinized for such errors on both sides, though perhaps one more than the other.
Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis, the inspiration for the 1992 movie, “A League of Their Own,” died of natural causes at her California home Saturday at 88.
“League” is a conventional baseball movie, save that all the players are women. The league in question is the “All-American Girls Baseball League.” It was formed in 1943 by chewing gum magnate and Chicago Cubs owner Phil Wrigley when the draft was sucking up the nation’s male baseball talent. (This was a time when you could refer to a female-type person over the age of two as a “girl” without being hauled up on charges.)
The players wore short skirts and played every day. It was mostly a Midwestern business. The teams had cutsie names like the Fort Wayne Daisies, the Racine Belles, and the Grand Rapids Chicks. Pepper caught and played shortstop for several teams.
In the movie, Pepper is played by the appealing Geena Davis. The less-than-appealing Rosie O’Donnell is also in the movie, but TAS readers can close their eyes while she’s on the screen. Tom Hanks does a good job as the boozy, on-the-way-down manager, Jimmy Dugan. He delivers the now famous line, “There’s no crying in baseball,” after one of his players bursts into tears of frustration.
When the men came back in ’45 and ’46, interest in “girl’s” baseball diminished, but the league lingered on until 1954. Pepper went back to softball, but never forgot her years playing the real deal. “Baseball was the thing I had the most fun doing. It was like breathing,” she said in a 1995 interview. (I can relate. Misfortunately my own talent for the game never approached my love of it, thus a misspent life in journalism. As a youngster attempting to master this difficult game I often wanted to cry, and probably would have had it been allowed.)
For those who haven’t seen it, the movie is worth the time. It contains remarkably few liberal sermonettes considering the subject.
RIP Pepper. I’m sure you’re playing in the highest league now.
Paul Harvey’s narration of “God Made a Farmer” made a lasting impression as a Dodge Ram commercial during this year’s Super Bowl. As the lights continue to go out against our will, we should also remember this excerpt from Paul Harvey’s worthy career:
PAUL HARVEY’S ‘IF I WERE THE DEVIL’ TRANSCRIPT
“If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of it’s real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’
“To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
“And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
“If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
“Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
“If I were the devil I’d take from those, and who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet? I could get whole states to promote gambling as thee way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work, in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing on what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”
The Leadership Program of the Rockies Annual Retreat, which I’ll be attending for the 8th year in a row in late February at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, is always one of the highlights of my year. Full of lovers of liberty, and packed full of some of the most interesting speakers you’ll ever hear (if you’re interested in politics, and especially if you have a conservative/libertarian pro-free market viewpoint), this year’s event promises to be another great one. And the hotel is so fantastic, that even non-political spouses love the event.
The keynote speaker for the Friday night dinner will be Fox News reporter and libertarian champion John Stossel. Other great speakers (see regularly-updated list here) will include Bill Whittle, Mia Love, Yaron Brook, and — the person I’m most looking forward to hearing — DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Janice Rogers Brown, whom I’ve written about several times as one of the best (most principled) judges in America. If the Saturday lunch speaker is who I think it is, that will be fantastic, too, but I don’t have official confirmation yet, so I won’t say who I think it is.
Click here or on the picture below to open the printable PDF file with information about Retreat attendance, or learn more and register online here. The sooner you book, the better your chances of getting one of the block of discounted rooms.
The 2011 retreat, one of the best so far, featured Charles Krauthammer as the dinner’s keynote speaker, along with a raft of other great people addressing the crowd on politics, economics, and foreign policy.
You can see highlights of the 2011 Retreat here:
This year’s Retreat will be held on Friday and Saturday, February 22nd and 23rd, at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, and LPR has an incredible discounted room rate available for Retreat attendees. Just ask for the Leadership Program rate when you call hotel reservations at (866) 837-9520.
It’s likely that this year’s event will be sold out, so please book soon.
As always, there will be a VIP reception – at which you’ll be able to say hello to John Stossel and other speakers and have your photo taken with Stossel – available to those who purchase a package which includes it. The number of attendees permitted at the VIP reception is limited in order to maintain a true “VIP” feeling about that part of the event.
I hope to see you at this great event. You’ll be telling your friends for months afterwards how much fun you had, how much you learned, and how many interesting people you met. So again, please visit the LPR Retreat web page to get more information and register!
Here’s something I wish I’d noted earlier. This should be the end of all the ridiculous soft soap being talked about Marco Rubio:
Women already are in combat to begin with. We should be putting our best soldiers forward regardless of their gender.
Probably, though, it won’t be. Still, I’m not worried. Rubio is only one in a long line of candidates for “Next Savior of the GOP”: Perry, Bachmann, Cain, Christie, Daniels, Jindal, Portman, Ryan, Jeb Bush. All of them are a far cry from the greatest president ever elected as a member of the party founded in my home state in 1854.
Most of this year’s Super Bowl commercials were fairly non-descript.
The last thing I expected to hear was the voice of the late Paul Harvey narrating “God Made a Farmer” for a Dodge Ram commercial.
A new generation of TV viewers has now been introduced to Harvey’s rich, resonant voice and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Then there was the lucky ginger haired nerd who got to kiss Bar Refaeli.
Still, the night belonged to Paul Harvey.
The Baltimore Ravens narrowly won Super Bowl XLVII 34-31 over the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.
It appeared the Ravens would run away with the game. The Ravens took a 28-6 lead at the beginning of the 3rd quarter on a 108-yard touchdown return by Jacoby Jones. Earlier in the game, Jones had received a 56-yard touchdown from Ravens QB Joe Flacco who was named Super Bowl MVP. The much maligned Ravens QB completed 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards. Three of those passes went for TDs.
But at 13:22 of the 3rd Quarter, the lights went out in New Orleans. OK, it was half of the Super Dome. This resulted in a delay of more than half an hour.
When the game resumed, the 49ers surged. SF QB Colin Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore while David Akers kicked a field goal. Before you knew it, the Ravens lead was cut to 28-23.
Justin Tucker kicked a field goal to give the Ravens a 31-23 lead but Kaepernick responded with a 15-yard touchdown rush to bring the 49ers with two points. Kaepernick opted to attempt a two-point conversion to tie the game but couldn’t get the job done.
Tucker kicked another field goal for the Ravens to make it 34-29. The 49ers did manage to earn a safety in the dying seconds of the 4th Quarter but it all did take time off the clock.
The Ravens win their first Super Bowl in 12 years. Ray Lewis goes out a champion, Art Modell smiles in Heaven while John Harbaugh bests brother Jim.
In the Soviet Union the government manifestly failed. It oppressed and murdered its own citizens while leaving the mass of people in poverty. However, since the illusion of success had to be maintained at all costs, volunteerism was discouraged. After all, there were no problems which required private action.
Today the Russian government fails its people. Not quite so dramatically as the old Soviet Union, but still, bad enough. Without totalitarian controls, people now are volunteering to help those in need. Which is wonderful. But it isn’t easy.
Reports the Washington Post:
The rapid emergence of volunteer efforts, fueled in large part by social media, coincides with the eruption of public political protest — and that’s not by happenstance. There is an overlap between the political opposition and those who have become fed up with a corrupt government that delivers little and who have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Legislation to regulate volunteers has been introduced in the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, by President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Backers say it will ensure that volunteer activity conforms to the government’s priorities and doesn’t conflict with Kremlin policy.
Officials aren’t the only ones hostile to volunteerism. Russia’s Soviet past, when the government controlled all aspects of life, has left it with a population that is accustomed to the idea that the government should provide for its citizens and that is suspicious of volunteer organizations. A 2012 poll found that more than half the population disapproves of them, said Boris Dubin, a sociologist with the Levada Center in Moscow.
When communism collapsed hope for rapid reform and transformation of the Soviet empire was high. It turns out that it was harder than most of us imagined for people to make the admittedly huge jump from totalitarian communism to democratic capitalism. The Central and Eastern European states, which spent less time as part of the Evil Empire, recovered the most quickly, though Bulgaria and Romania continue to have difficulties even as members of the European Union.
However, the new countries which emerged from the U.S.S.R. suffered not only politically and economically, but culturally. Including the widespread assumptions that government is supposed to take care of all problems and that people are supposed to do what the government wants. The idea of people organizing to help one another remains foreign, more than two decades after the Soviet Union disappeared into oblivion.
The tragedy of Soviet communism continues.
Former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was shot and killed yesterday at a gun range outside of Fort Worth, Texas yesterday. He was 38.
Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield was also killed during the incident.
Kyle was the most decorated sniper in the history of the U.S. military killing more than 150 insurgents mostly in Iraq earning him two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars. Last year, Kyle released his best selling autobiography American Sniper.
The book was controversial as Kyle had claimed he punched former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura in a Navy SEAL bar in California in 2006. However, Ventura contends the incident never occurred and filed a defamation suit against Kyle last August. The case is still pending at the time of Kyle’s death.
Last night, authorities arrested Eddy Ray Routh in connection with the double homicide. His motive for the killing is unknown although Routh is apparently a former Marine who was diagnosed with PTSD.
Kyle is survived by his wife and two children.
UPDATE: Routh was an unemployed ex-Marine who did a tour of duty in Iraq in 2007. Kyle apparently took down and out veterans to the shooting range and was doing the same for Routh.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?