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The Current Crisis

America, Love It Or Leave It

By 2.26.15

When former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he did not think that “the president loves America,” was he right? Of course he was. The record is strewn with President Barack Obama’s statements of contempt for America. In a quieter setting I would think that Professor Obama would agree. He would then go on to brag about his love for higher things: for humankind, for the world community, for the planet, the green planet.

Recall in 2009 when Obama told a European audience that “There have been times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive toward” Europe. I cannot remember exactly when “America” or even an American president expressed these sentiments, but I guess Obama and his speechwriters can. He has also expressed his contempt for the American system of commerce. In a speech abundant with contempt for capitalism he said—and I shall only pick out one passage—“if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

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Another Perspective

Uncle Don and Uncle Brian

By 2.25.15

For some reason the strange saga of Brian Williams reminds me of another equally bizarre story concerning Uncle Don, who ran a popular radio show for kids on WOR in New York when I was a preschooler in the distant past.

I listened to Uncle Don religiously in those days. It was every mother’s choice of wholesome entertainment for kids circa 1930s and my mom was no exception. Uncle Don sang songs and opened his program with a warm and cozy little ditty that went like this:

This is Your Uncle Don. Hello nephews, nieces too,
Mothers and daddies, how are you?
This is Uncle Don all set to go,
With a meeting on the ra-di-o!

Okay, so I had to google the exact words, but heck it’s been eight decades since I heard that tune. I do remember his cuddly voice. He would sing cute songs and announce kids’ birthdays; listening to Uncle Don was a standard routine for children about five or six.

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The Hillary Watch

Déjà Vu All Over Again

By 2.25.15

We all know — and are still suffering for — the fact that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was defeated by an incumbent who had (and continues to have) abysmal approval ratings while presiding over an economy that is leaving millions of Americans living a nightmare rather than the American Dream.

Prior to the 2012 election, polls, reporters and pundits across the political spectrum pointed out how Barack Obama was vulnerable. That conversation, as true as it was, neglected the weaknesses of Mr. Romney, which were further magnified to the point of caricature by the Obama machine and its useful pawns in the “mainstream” media.

When it comes to 2016, it is becoming increasingly likely that we’ll see a mirror image of this play out to the benefit of the GOP.

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Media Matters

The Semi-Spin Zone: Bill O’Reilly and His Critics

By 2.25.15

Fox news host Bill O’Reilly’s critics are eager to turn him into the next Brian Williams but they lack the damning evidence to do so. Their scrutiny of his coverage from Argentina during the Falklands war suggests imprecision on his part but fails to establish that he committed a Brian Williams-level whopper.

Williams told a bizarre and verifiable falsehood, which any reasonable observer would conclude wasn’t a good-faith mistake but a deliberate lie. O’Reilly’s claims about his coverage are far more murky and don’t fall neatly into the category of a deliberate lie.

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A Further Perspective

The Unique Horror of Beheadings

By 2.25.15

War is hell. We see gruesome killings on the battlefields as a tragic result of combat. We have become sadly accustomed, even jaded, to reports of the numbers of troops and innocent civilians killed in action.

Some are blown to bits by mortar shells, barrel bombs, or IEDs. Some are shot in the head or heart and die instantly. Still others die from massive gunshot wounds received in an intense firefight . And then, there are those severely wounded who are medivacked off the battlefield only to die later on an operating table.

But, beheading is killing of a much different kind. The result is the same—a dead body, grieving family and friends. But, the means are barbaric, gruesome, grotesque. It's inhuman and inhumane. It’s intended to horrify and it does just that.

It inspires rage and calls for revenge. It becomes the catalyst for massive retaliation. Politicians promise to pursue the perpetrators to the ends of the earth and to deliver them to justice.

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The Hillary Watch

Clinton Inc. Comes to Silicon Valley

By 2.24.15

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton addresses the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women. The former first lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state comes to the Bay Area at a time when I hear more people, on the left and the right, cringing at the prospect of Clinton’s heading the Democratic ticket next year — and, worse, squaring off against Jeb Bush in a Bush-Clinton rerun. To many, a Clinton nod has the grim inevitability of death and taxes.

Still, Clinton is a fit keynote speaker for a conference that boasts the theme “Lead On.” According to a press release, the event “will feature one-of-a-kind discussions among thought leaders and industry experts about how women can rise to the top of their organizations; insight and expertise about navigating career and life transitions, and interactive sessions offering practical advice to help create and grow positive personal experiences outside the workplace.” For even if she failed to win the White House in 2008, Clinton surely has crashed the glass ceiling.

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The Nation's Pulse

Feds Fiddle While Superbugs Spread

By 2.24.15

Seven patients at UCLA Ronald Reagan medical center contracted a deadly superbug from an utterly routine medical procedure. Two have died. A third, an eighteen-year-old boy, fights on for his life after 83 days in the hospital, mostly in intensive care. All this suffering was preventable. If the CDC and the FDA had alerted UCLA and other hospitals about medical equipment they knew was contaminated, patients would not have been put at risk. The agencies had already watched the same lethal problem unfold in Chicago, Seattle, and elsewhere but they swept it under the rug.

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The Obama Watch

Reagan, Like Rudy, Tied Democrats to Communists

By 2.24.15

It is amusing to watch the furies unleashed in both the White House and the liberal media over former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s citing of the Communist Frank Marshall Davis as an influence on the young Barack Obama. And Giuliani’s insistence that, partly as a direct result of that influence, the president doesn’t “love America the way we do.”

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Main Street U.S.A.

Yes, the Academy — Again!

By 2.24.15

Neil Patrick Harris mocked the, shall we say, non-diversity of the Oscars lineup, but more clamorously received in the political theater of the moment was Patricia Arquette’s summons to get with the equal-pay-for-women cause. Which you might have assumed had slipped from causiness after 52 years of effort in Washington, D.C., to eradicate the imputed pay gap.

Not so. Because, look, “inequality” continues to vex and disgrace the progressive ideal of an America where variations among citizens, as to income, looks, tastes, intelligence and the like, are the result of nefarious Old Guard plots.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963, by Ms. Arquette’s reckoning, seems not to have worked out; nor anything meant since then to “equalize” men and women — the civil rights laws, the Lilly Leadbetter Fair Pay Act, the National Equal Pay Task Force, etc. One federal action after another — and still the pay gap persists! The usual reproach along this line is that full-time women workers take home only 77 percent of the bacon carried off by their male counterparts.

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Special Report

An ISIS Side to America’s History?

By 2.24.15

President Obama’s prayer breakfast speech urging Christians and Americans to avoid a “high horse” before condemning Islamists in light of the Crusades and Jim Crow has provoked wider reflection on comparative national and cultural sins.

Recently, prominent interfaith dialogue advocate Miroslav Volf of Yale Divinity School, in a conversation about ISIS, suggested that early founders of America like the Puritans were not altogether different from radical Islamists.

“I love America, but its first founders, like Muslim extremists, advocated killing for blasphemy, adultery, idolatry,” Volf explained in a tweet. When challenged, he asked how long Roman Catholicism took to embrace religious liberty and suggested that radical Islam, with time and globalization, would transition to tolerance.

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