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Political Hay

Not Smart to Make the NSA Go Dark

By 5.20.15

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., isn’t worried that, absent a Senate vote, key provisions of the Patriot Act are slated to sunset May 31. The GOP presidential hopeful told Meet the Press Sunday that a federal appeals court found the data-gathering authorized under the Patriot Act’s Section 215 is unconstitutional, “so really, it ought to stop.” He continued: “I don’t want to replace it with another system. I really think that we could get along with the Constitution just fine.”

Paul spoke to the same effect during a recent trip to San Francisco. He even has threatened a filibuster, if needed, to make the Patriot Act’s data collection program go dark.

The Energy Spectator

Russia Pushes Western Anti-Fracking Movement

By 5.20.15

Few things scare Vladimir Putin, the Russian head of state who routinely poses with his shirt off, flies airplanes to douse the fires threatening the lives of millions of Russians, shoots Siberian tigers with tranquilizer guns, and still finds time to steal Super Bowl rings. However, there is one thing the leader of Russia, an 8th degree black belt, actually fears: hydraulic fracturing.

The Hillary Watch

It Takes a Pillage

By 5.20.15

John sells his soul to the Devil. The price is fifty thousand dollars a week for the next four weeks. The first week the Devil shows up two days late and John complains.

The response is flippant.  “Hey, I’m the Devil.  I don’t do punctuality.”

The second week he shows up with only forty-nine thousand and John gets back to griping.  The response:  “I am the Devil.  I don’t do accuracy.”  The third week he comes with cash that is all crumpled and sticky. “I am the Devil. I don’t do cleanliness.”

When the final week rolls around the Devil gets his act together.  He shows up on time with a crisp $100,000 bill.  He hands it to John and asks for change.

“Sorry,” John replies, pocketing the bill.  “I am a sellout.  I don’t do honesty.”

Poor Devil, his technique is so outdated.  He needs to learn from the real masters, the Clintons. Listen closely to the defense offered up by Hillary for all the cash swallowed up by the family “foundation” and you will see how souls can be corrupted without paying a penny. In fact they will pay you for the honor.

Media Matters

The Myth of Objectivity

By 5.20.15

The self-appointed guardians of journalism often deny the existence of liberal media bias. The problem is wildly exaggerated, they have long said, even as Democratic aides like George Stephanopoulos have become reporters and reporters like Jay Carney have become Democratic aides.

The scandal of George Stephanopoulos donating to the Clinton Foundation while covering it is one more confirmation that conservatives have not overstated the problem of media bias. An equivalent offense by a Republican aide turned reporter would result in a hasty firing. But Stephanopoulos can count on his bosses to defend him to the hilt.

He has now apologized for making the donation, but the apology’s emphasis on his failure to go the “extra mile” in disclosing it indicates that he considers the matter minor. By putting his apology in those terms, he is suggesting that the real problem lies in the quickness of conservatives to perceive bias. In other words, he should have gone the “extra mile” in anticipation of that criticism but in a better world, a disclosure about donations to such a worthy “charity” wouldn’t be necessary.

The Current Crisis

Prince Charles’ Defense of the Patagonian Toothfish and More

By 5.20.15

Last week Prince Charles, in all likelihood the next monarch of Great Britain, suffered a defeat. For ten years he and his aides have resisted a concerted effort to make public certain letters written by him and sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair and several of his ministers. The British newspaper, the Guardian, had sought the letters—27 written in 2004 and 2005—under a Freedom of Information Act inquiry. Now Britain’s Supreme Court has ordered that the letters be released to the public. So this is one the royals lost and the anti-monarchists at the Guardian won. Yet, asking as purely a cisatlantic spectator, I cannot for the life of me discern why the Guardian sought these letters in the first place; or, for that matter, why Prince Charles objected to making them public.

A Further Perspective

Amid the Ruins of Obamacare

By 5.20.15

On Monday in these pages, David Catron filled our readers in about a most excellent plan by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to institute a Republican response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more accurately known as Obamacare. This column will bring to light another Republican bill, the Patient Freedom Act to be rolled out Thursday at the Hudson Institute by its author, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

The two bills are complementary. Cassidy calls them cousins. Both provide an aggressive political response to Obamacare without the kind of aggressive policymaking the Democrats’ utopian mishmash of mandates, taxes, and subsidies inflicted on the public.

Main Street U.S.A.

Rise Up for Free Speech!

By 5.19.15

Columnist and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers’ new book, The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech, links her snugly to the cause of unfettered thought and expression — important for conservatives, certainly but also for non-conservatives. As it should be for any American, come to think of it, as the “progressive” left pounds and pulverizes anyone of differing mind and purpose.

The politicization of almost everything has put at some risk, in the most talkative of ages, the broadly assumed right of First Amendment-cherishing Americans to speak their pieces. “The illiberal left,” says Powers, “... believes that people who express ideological, philosophical, or political views that don’t line up with their preferences should be completely silenced.” In other words, delegitimized as people worth hearing on the showing of “self-appointed overlords — activists, university administrators, journalists, and politicians — who have determined what views are acceptable to express. So, shut up — or else.”

Political Hay

Marco Rubio Seizes the Reagan Mantle

By 5.19.15

“America has a genius for great and unselfish deeds,” said Pope Pius XII. “Into the hands of America God has placed the destiny of an afflicted mankind.”

That’s an inspired quote from Pope Pius XII. I’m one of the few who has bothered to trace its origins. He stated it in an exclusive published in the January 5, 1946 Collier’s Weekly. I know because I’ve had to document it in my writings on Ronald Reagan. Reagan loved that quotation. He likely first read it in Hollywood, as an FDR Democrat who, like the pontiff, saw a unique greatness in America and its role on the global stage. The line would surface repeatedly throughout Reagan’s public speeches and personal letters, particularly during the mid-1970s—when he was running for president in the hopes of helping to make America great again.

I documented 11 occasions during his presidency where Reagan quoted Pius XII and/or that quotation. “In the days following World War II,” said Reagan in a typical example, “Pope Pius XII said: ‘The American people have a genius for great and unselfish deeds; into the hands of America, God has placed an afflicted mankind.’”

Special Report

Paul Shaffer: Television’s Man From Thunder Bay

By 5.19.15

It has been a long time since I watched The Late Show with David Letterman. Last I remember tuning in was to see Sixto Rodriguez perform a couple of years back. In recent years, I have been turned off by his increasingly strident left-wing posture and his vicious attacks on Sarah Palin on her children. He would apologize for his June 2009 “joke” about the then 14-year old Willow Palin being knocked up by New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, but as it turns out, the apology was insincere.

The only reason I will watch Letterman’s final show is because of the man who has been by his side for the past 33 years — Paul Shaffer.

London Calling

‘Binge Britain’ Has Ended — Get Over It

By 5.19.15

A certain amount of amnesia is required if you are to believe everything the “public health” lobby tells you. Alcohol is frequently in the media but the only story relating to drink that is genuinely newsworthy is the steep decline in drinking that has occurred in the last decade. Britain has been witnessing its biggest fall in alcohol consumption since the 1930s. This trend was ignored for a long time, but once it became clear that it was not a statistical blip the truth began to seep out.

The BBC, which has never seen an anti-alcohol press release it doesn’t like, asked in 2011: “Why is alcohol consumption falling?” After years of fretting about “24 hour drinking” and “pocket-money prices,” it admitted that “behind these stories is an unexpected truth — Britons have been drinking less and less every year since 2002.”