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Obamacare Endures the Death of a Thousand Facts

By 11.23.15

Until the 19th century, the Chinese practiced a method of torture called lingchi. Better known as “death by a thousand cuts” it involved slicing small pieces of flesh from a victim’s body, one by one, so that death was both protracted and utterly excruciating. This is what the realities of economics are doing to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The authors of health care “reform” believed they could ignore the dismal science. The laws of economics have rewarded this hubris by ruthlessly inflicting fact after agonizing fact on Obamacare. And, like all lingchi victims, it will eventually succumb.

A Further Perspective

The Grievance Generation

By 11.23.15

For 25 years we have pandered to our children and now we are witnessing the bitter fruits.

Whiny college kids now feel entitled to march in the streets screaming obscenities or taking over the university president’s office. And for what? Feeling slighted? Having their feelings hurt? Talk about rebels without a cause.

I’ve traveled to many campuses in recent weeks on a lecture series and have seen the tempest first hand. ‎Many of the kids are open minded with inquiring minds. They appear to be a minority.

They are shouted down by the intellectual thuggery of the left.

These students are angry at the world. They can’t deal with the stress of being told the polar ice caps are melting or that there is racism or sexism or as John Lennon famously put it: “this-ism, that-ism.” By the way I confronted a new grievance on campus last month. I was accused of “ableism” because I spoke of the virtues of high achievement, which evidently is offensive to the low achiev‎ers.

Special Report

A Little-Understood Engine of Campus Unrest: Racial Admissions Preferences

By 11.23.15

Why are some of the most privileged students in the nation plunging into a racial grievance culture and upending their campuses as though oppressed by Halloween costumes they don’t approve, imagined racial slights, portraits of Woodrow Wilson, a tiny handful of real racial epithets, and the like?

The reasons are of course multifaceted. But one deserves far more attention than it has gotten: Many or most of the African-American student protesters really are victims — but not of old-fashioned racism.

Most are, rather, victims of the very large admissions preferences that set up racial-minority students for academic struggle at the selective universities that have cynically misled them into thinking they are well qualified to compete with classmates who are, in fact, far stronger academically.

The reality is that most good black and Hispanic students, who would be academically competitive at many selective schools, are not competitive at the more selective schools that they attend.

Political Hay

Ratings Trump Respect and Dignity at NBC

By 11.22.15

Donald Trump is like a contagion who infects everyone around him. Once you’ve kissed, you can never wipe his saliva off your face. Consider the venerable (in its own view) NBC. This year, the network fired Trump, only to find it is Trump Lite.

On June 16, when Trump was announcing his candidacy for the White House, the billionaire reality-TV star faulted Mexico for sending problem people to the United States. Quoth Trump: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Those comments were stupid and racist — and they should have caused Trump to tank in the polls and ended his vanity campaign.

Instead, they cost Trump some must-miss NBC TV — the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Also, he wouldn’t appear on future episodes of Celebrity Apprentice. “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” a statement explained. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

Trump responded that NBC was “weak” and trying to be “politically correct.”


The Lady Macbeth of Little Rock

By 11.20.15

At the Democratic debate last Saturday night, Hillary Clinton was caught in a political blunder — she brought up her radical days as a ’60 student activist. As it happens, there was a lot more where that came from, as Daniel Wattenberg’s seminal piece from the 1992 campaign captured for all time. She was in short never one to go soft. Again, from the August 1992 American Spectator.

Another Perspective

The West’s Rude Houseguests

By 11.20.15

Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein relays an adage holding that “even God took his holidays in France” because among atheists “God himself could be carefree, a flaneur, like any tourist.” Idling outside of notice apparently appeals to God’s, or at least Allah’s, soldiers, too.  

A Further Perspective

Paris, ISIS, and American Responsibility

By 11.20.15

President Obama was right to acknowledge in his G20 speech that Paris is not the only great city run wet with blood at the hands of ISIS. In just the last month, ISIS operations have killed the innocent in Turkey, Bangladesh, Lebanon, and in a Russian plane over Egypt. It is right that American and Western sorrow extends to victims of terror wherever they are. It is heartening that Obama has ordered closer collaboration with the French, aiding our ally with intelligence and support, and it is encouraging that such support has already resulted in French airstrikes against important ISIS targets including a recruiting center, ammo dump, training camp, and command center.

But despite these laudatory details, the simple fact that there was a command center, training camp, ammo dump, and recruiting center still around for the French to bomb calls into question the President’s continued claim that his goal is to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. Obama’s been insisting this for more than a year but if he were serious one would think even the desultory kind of air campaign he’s commanded might have thought an ammo dump worth hitting.


Killing Reagan: What O’Reilly Didn’t Say

By 11.20.15

So. I have finally read Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency. 

Before the Paris attack that has, sensibly, reminded of the real world — something Ronald Reagan never lost sight of — Fox’s O’Reilly was in the news for challenges to the historical accuracy of his book. The charges first surfaced here with an article co-written by Reagan historians Craig Shirley, Kiron Skinner, Paul Kengor, and Steven F. Hayward.

Special Report

Hollande’s Churchill Moment

By 11.19.15

“The news from France is very bad and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune. Nothing will alter our feelings towards them or our faith that the genius of France will rise again.”
—Winston S. Churchill, 4 June 1940

With every murderous threat to civilization we are asked: “Where are our Churchills?” There isn’t one, and we should not expect one. Churchills are rare. They appear in extremis. The threat in 1940 was, if this is any consolation, more serious than the threat today.

There are however ways to look at the problem as Churchill did, learning from and applying his approaches—which seem to figure in the thinking of French President François Hollande, a partisan socialist suddenly become the de facto leader of the Free World. Churchill implored his countrymen “not to fall below the level of events.” M. Hollande has risen to the level. Mr. Obama has not, but events may have a way of floating him along with them.

Another Perspective

Syrian, Go Home

By 11.19.15

President Barack Obama wants the United States to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees next year — but in the wake of last week’s Paris attacks and reports that one of the terrorists may have had a valid Syrian passport with a stamp from Greece, more than half the governors in this country, a mostly Republican group, are opposed. They fear that a jihadi will embed with fleeing refugees. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, “Security comes first.”

The governors’ protests are wrongheaded — and not just because they lack the legal authority and manpower to stop refugees from crossing over their state lines. If the Islamic State group wants to orchestrate a terrorist attack on the homeland, it most likely would bypass the two-year refugee application process and instead smuggle its suicide killers over the porous American border or send in radicalized recruits posing as tourists with their European passports like the five dead Paris attackers who have been identified. Or the Islamic State could concentrate on subverting young men living in the United States; think of foiled New York subway suicide bomber Najibullah Zazi or the murderous Boston Marathon bombers.