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Lawrence Wright quotes Osama bin Laden as saying: “Look at Vietnam, look at Lebanon. Whenever soldiers start coming home in body bags, Americans panic and retreat.” With President Trump’s announcement before Christmas, that prophecy is about to be fulfilled.
In a speech announcing her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, reminded me of some of the great orators of the past. Her speech was measured in tone, substantive in content and delivered with conviction. Collins is no conservative. She has voted in favor of abortion and same-sex marriage while toeing a more moderate line on economics. Her speech supporting Kavanaugh and denouncing the smears against him and the distortion of his judicial record was as good as any delivered by her more conservative colleagues.
As a longtime resident of Virginia, I am well aware of its sordid history when it comes to slavery, racism and discrimination. I can still remember “colored only” restrooms, water fountains, poll taxes and African-Americans forced to ride in the back of the bus. Virginia public schools in the 1950s were mostly segregated, as they had been since first established in 1870. Segregation was so bad in my home state of Virginia that even Native Americans were largely excluded from public education. It wasn’t until 1963, nine years after Brown v. Board of Education, that public schools were open to them. It took another five years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Charles C. Green et al. v. County School Board of New Kent County, Virginia, that the New Kent School Board had to “convert promptly to a (school) system without a ‘white’ school, and a ‘Negro’ school, but just schools.” This ruling quickened the pace of desegregation in Virginia.
It took two years, boycotts by fans, declining TV ratings, growing alarm among advertisers, a drop in the sale of gear and especially a public shaming by President Trump, but the owners of NFL teams have finally decided their players will not be allowed to kneel or make other protests during the playing of the national anthem. The NFL Players Association claims the owners’ decision violates the players’ “free speech rights.” No it doesn’t. Players are perfectly free to protest anywhere, anytime they wish, just not at the start of games for which the owners pay them large amounts of money they are unlikely to make elsewhere. If you think free speech rights are valid wherever and whenever one wants to speak, try protesting something on company time where you work and see how long you keep your job.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he could not have foreseen today’s Republican Party. A bill authored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would require the federal government to balance the budget each year was soundly defeated last week in the Senate. Even Paul admitted he thought the bill had no chance, but he told the Washington Post his purpose was to point out Republican hypocrisy. Paul accused his Republican colleagues of engaging in an “unholy alliance” with Democrats to keep increasing spending, thereby adding to the deficit and national debt, which now exceeds $21 trillion with no end in sight.
Somehow, I have never once heard the complaint that there are too many Holocaust movies being made. And it is simply inconceivable to me that a Jewish entertainer would say something so asinine.
In 1952, Shepherd Mead wrote a little book called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” In 1961, it became an award-winning Broadway musical. It’s an instruction book about how a young man with lots of drive and cunning can rise from the mailroom to the top of the company. One of the songs from the musical, sung by the main character, J. Pierrepont Finch, is “I Believe in You.” Finch sings it to a mirror. Today that song might be retitled “I Believe in Government.”
“A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.” (Proverbs 15:12) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken the route of many who would rather call names than have a serious debate about “climate change.” He characterizes those who question “settled science” as members of the “flat earth” society. When people resort to name-calling it is a sign they have lost an argument.
Assuming a rock-solid 40 Republicans stand against the health care reform bill now being debated in the Senate, it will take just one Democrat or independent to derail this monstrosity, which along with its House companion may be the most disastrous piece of legislation ever to be this close to enactment by Congress. So many lies have been told about the Senate and House bills that correcting them all might take more pages than the 2,000-plus pages that make the Senate version. Most people haven’t read them, but those who have are sounding the alarm. Dr. Stephen E. Fraser, of Indianapolis, wrote a letter expressing his objections to the House bill to Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat.
Not all revolutions begin in the streets with tanks and guns. Some advance slowly, almost imperceptibly, until a nation is transformed and the public realizes too late that their freedoms are gone. Such is the revolution now taking place in America. The ’60s crowd has emerged from the ideological grave and is about to impose on this country a declaration of dependence in the form of government-run health insurance and treatment.
The Obama administration has chosen the wrong New York venue to try five co-conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Instead of a Manhattan courtroom less than a mile from where the World Trade Center stood, the government should have chosen the Bronx Zoo, because a zoo is what will be created when this trial is held. In announcing the decision to try in a civilian court these “enemy combatants,” as the Bush administration rightly described them, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “For over 200 years, our nation has relied on a faithful adherence to the rule of law to bring criminals to justice and provide accountability to victims. Once again we will ask our legal system to rise to that challenge, and I am confident it will answer the call with fairness and justice.”
By now, the script should be disturbingly familiar. Whether in the Middle East, or increasingly in America, a fanatical Muslim blows up or goes on a shooting spree, killing many. This is quickly followed by “condemnations” from “Muslim civil rights groups,” like the Council on American-Islamic Relations. We are then warned by the president and some newspaper editorials not to jump to conclusions, or to stereotype. Yasser Arafat wrote this script, which he used with great success throughout his bloody career as a terrorist. Suddenly, the issue of gays in the military doesn’t seem as important as jihadists in the military.
“Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got
“That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change ...” (Bruce Hornsby song lyric) The Washington Post headline sounds as if a comedy writer, or someone fluent in George Orwell’s “Newspeak” wrote it: “Record-High Deficit May Dash Big Plans,” it said.
In olden days when “a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking” there was a morals clause written into an actor’s film contract. The purpose was to restrain an actor from engaging in public behavior that might offend the audience and harm ticket sales. Today, lewd and crude behavior can boost ticket sales and TV ratings and what passes for a morals clause deals with sexual harassment in the workplace.
If you were an enemy of America seeking her destruction, you would add to your pursuit of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons the undermining of this nation from within. You would do this largely through deception, putting on a peaceful face while subtly plotting ways to bring America down. That tactic was on display Friday in Washington as a crowd estimated at 3,000 Muslims gathered to pray. The organizer of the rally, Imam Abdul Malik of Brooklyn, N.Y., told Americans what we like to hear: “What we’ve done today, you couldn’t do in any Muslim country. If you prayed on the palace lawn there, they’d lock you up.”
When I was a kid, there was a bully in our neighborhood. He never picked on kids his own size and certainly not on anyone larger. Rather, he punched, pushed and kicked kids smaller and weaker than himself, especially those who refused to respond to his threats. Stirred by his adversaries’ impotent responses, the bully felt free to slug anyone he fancied. Most kids tried to avoid him, thinking their demonstration of weakness might protect them from being hit. It never did. Having set themselves up as easy targets, the bully went after these kids first. This lesson learned early in life has served me well as a citizen of the United States. It is why some choose to arm themselves, install alarm systems on their homes, own large dogs and learn self-defense. During the Reagan years, in matters of foreign policy, self-defense was known as “peace through strength.” And it worked. America’s strength and the assurance held by much the world that we were willing to use our muscle against threats served to deter those who might have wanted a piece of us.
Despite their control of all three branches of government, this has not been a good summer for liberal Democrats. Their health care “reform” bill, which has yet to be fully written, much less fully funded, has been exposed at town hall meetings as a power grab over life and death with the strong possibility that “do no harm” will be replaced by a utilitarian approach to treatment. The cap-and-trade measure (dubbed “cap and tax” by the Wall Street Journal) appears in trouble. Closer scrutiny has revealed it as one more reach into our pockets by politicians who never have enough of our money.
The debate – OK, the shouting match – we are having over “health care reform” is about many things, including cost, who gets help and who does not and who, or what, gets to make that determination. Underlying it all is a larger question: Is human life something special? Is it to be valued more highly than, say, plants and pets? When someone is in a “persistent vegetative state” do we mean to say that person is equal in value to a carrot? Are we now assigning worth to human life, or does it arrive with its own pre-determined value, irrespective of race, class, IQ or disability?
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – While America debates whether the federal government should dictate which insurance policies and medical treatments it will allow us to have, here in the United Kingdom, the conversation has “advanced” to the approval of assisted suicide. Debbie Purdy, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, has won a landmark ruling in the House of Lords that many believe will move Britain one step closer to self-destruction. Purdy must be told under what circumstances her husband could be prosecuted should he accompany her to the Dignitas euthanasia clinic in Switzerland. The director of public prosecutions will now be required to spell out exactly when the government will act if someone helps a friend take his or her own life abroad.