August 18, 2014
Column: Every Honorable Citizen Must Condemn Partisan Indictment of Rick Perry
I hope and pray that my Democratic friends are outraged by yet another criminalization of political differences with the bogus criminal indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
What is this all about, you ask -- in case you haven't heard?
Well, a grand jury indicted Perry on Friday on first-degree felony charges for allegedly abusing his powers by vetoing $7.5 million of funding over two years for the unit run by Texas state prosecutors who investigate public corruption. Perry is also charged with the third-degree felony of coercion of a public servant.
Perry didn't do this under cover of darkness; he threatened to veto the funding bill and followed up on his threat.
Why did he threaten and carry out this veto? The public integrity unit investigates allegations of corruption and political wrongdoing in Texas. The unit was overseen by Democratic Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's office. Perry said he was not about to allow a woman of Lehmberg's character supervise an ethics department with a budget of $7.5 million of taxpayer money. "If Travis County wanted to separately fund that office," said Perry, he would have had no objections to it.
August 14, 2014
Column: Obama's Incomprehensible Iraq Policy Not So Incomprehensible
I am constantly amazed at the tendency of some to use the perspective of hindsight to condemn decisions of those who did not possess the supernatural gift of predictive prophecy at the time they made their decisions.
So when a friend asked whether I believe that those who supported George W. Bush's decision to attack Iraq should feel remorse, considering the chaos and genocide occurring there now, I said "no," with some qualifications.
I believe that Bush and his team based their decision to invade Iraq on the best available intelligence (as to weapons of mass destruction) and a reasonable belief that Saddam Hussein fostered and supported terrorism -- not to mention his serial violation of multiple U.N. resolutions -- and thereby represented a threat to the national security interests of the United States and its allies.
Democrats, who initially supported the war for political reasons, later conveniently withdrew their support for political reasons and lied through their teeth about their former support and the facts leading to it. Through their relentless, vicious attacks on Bush, they systematically undermined the public's confidence in the war and our ability to optimally wage it.
Should the Bush team have better anticipated the strength and resilience of the insurgency after our toppling of Saddam? I suppose so, but in this age of terrorism and asymmetrical war, I'd contend that such events are less predictable than they might have been before.
August 11, 2014
Column: Fact-Challenged and Extreme? Do You Really Want to Go There, Mr. President?
President Obama claims that the extremism and reality-challenged nature of his political opponents explain his limitless policy failures, which, of course, he also refuses to acknowledge. This is truly rich but nothing new.
Obama told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, "What you've seen with our politics ... is increasingly politicians are rewarded for taking the most extreme, maximalist positions." He continued: "Sooner or later, that catches up with you. You end up not being able to move forward on things we need to move forward on. ... We need to rebuild our infrastructure. You go to the Singapore airport and then you come back to one of our airports and you say, 'Huh?' We're not acting like a superpower."
Obama said we need "to revamp our education system." "All these things are doable. Our fiscal position, actually, now is such -- you know, the deficit's been cut by more than half -- where we're in a position to make some smart investments that have huge payoffs, that historically have not been controversial, historically have garnered bipartisan support. But because of this maximalist ideological position, we've been blocked. ... That ideological extremism and maximalist position is much more prominent right now in the Republican Party than the Democrats."
How did he describe the Republican maximalist extremism? He noted that while "the Democratic consensus" is "pretty common-sense, mainstream" and generally "fact-based and reason-based," the Republican position is "a lot of wacky ideological nonsense. He said: "We're not denying science. We're not denying climate change. We're not pretending that somehow, having a whole bunch of uninsured people is the American way."
Can you say "delusional"? Republicans are extreme? Not fact- or reason-based?
August 07, 2014
Column: Compromise With Obama? Surely, You Jest!
It's time to revisit the widely disseminated myth that compromise in politics and governance is the highest virtue.
Recently, I heard a television host whom I like and respect lament that Congress left town without taking action on our border crisis. Members of Congress, the argument goes, just need to get together, put aside their partisanship and get something done. After all, even couples going through an acrimonious divorce can sit down in the same room, close the doors and work out some agreement.
But getting something done isn't always preferable to doing nothing, especially if the proposed action would make things worse. Would this host, for example, say that granting instant amnesty to every one of the people who have crossed our border illegally in this latest surge would be preferable to not acting? I pray not.
I think part of the problem is that this host assumes that President Obama shares the host's good faith -- that he wants to work with Republicans in Congress to enforce the border and properly deal with those who have entered illegally.
How do you compromise with someone who doesn't even share your goals and who has no intention of compromising with you, even if he pretends otherwise? President Obama arguably brought on this invasion himself by issuing his lawless executive order in 2012 declaring that he would stop deporting young illegal immigrants if they met certain requirements. He sent an unmistakable signal that children entering the nation illegally would receive amnesty -- and we have concrete evidence that this was a driving factor in the current border invasion.
August 04, 2014
Column: Obama's Unprecedented Impeachment Dare
Tell me: Has any other United States president ever goaded the opposition party to bring impeachment proceedings against himself? Has any other so sneeringly mocked and taunted the other party?
President Obama is not only not the uniter he promised to be; he is the agitator in chief. Just consider the contrast with President George W. Bush, who didn't even defend himself often, much less deride, needle and dare Democrats to oppose him.
It's just like Obama, the dutiful disciple of 1960s leftist radical Saul Alinsky, to divert our attention from his official misconduct by demonizing Republicans and conservatives rightfully challenging his lawlessness.
Obama knows he has habitually exceeded his executive authority, but it's not so much the frequency of his overreaches that is unique. He boastfully claims he hasn't issued so many executive orders as his predecessors did. But that's just more of his misdirection.
It's not unlike his absurd statement that there has been more oil drilling under his administration than under others. What tripe. He conveniently omits that most of the drilling has occurred on private, not government-owned, land.
July 31, 2014
Column: Democrats, the Constitution and the Rule of Law
Have we arrived at the point in our nation that a Democratic president and powerful members of his administration can act as lawlessly as they choose without any significant objection or protest from the Democratic Party, the liberal media and Democratic voters?
Deny it as they might, liberals seem to have less fealty than conservatives to the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.
Stop right there, you say. Democrats are no different from Republicans. Both parties are equally guilty.
Well, as much as it pleases some to invoke moral equivalency excuses when caught in wrongdoing, it simply isn't true that Republicans and conservatives are anywhere close to being as culpable as Democrats and liberals in thwarting the Constitution and the rule of law to achieve their ends.
There is a simple reason for that: Liberals believe, as a matter of their ideology, that the ends justify the means. We see it in practice every day. Liberals routinely distort facts and manipulate language to achieve their ends. As part of that, they will say that Republicans are guilty of precisely what they are doing. Manufactured projection is one of their most effective tools.
July 28, 2014
Column: Halbig Is an Opportunity for Supreme Court To Rededicate Itself to Rule of Law
True, the Halbig case, if it makes its way to the Supreme Court, will present an opportunity for Chief Justice John Roberts to redeem himself from his abominably activist salvation of Obamacare. But more important, it will be an opportunity for the high court to reaffirm this nation's commitment to the rule of law.
In Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that under the Affordable Care Act federal health insurance subsidies are available for policies purchased only on state exchanges and not those purchased on the federal exchange.
If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will also have a rich opportunity to slap down the out-of-control, politicized Internal Revenue Service. Under this administration, the IRS has behaved as though it were a super-legislature with authority not just to promulgate regulations beyond its narrowly prescribed statutory power, but also to change laws wholesale in order to serve the administration's policy ends.
A proper wrist slapping of the IRS might well send a long overdue message to all federal administrative agencies -- take the renegade EPA, for example -- that they don't have carte blanche to do whatever they decide to do.
The ACA provides for the establishment of state exchanges through which consumers can purchase health insurance. The law did not make the establishment of such exchanges mandatory, and only 14 of the 50 states did so.
July 24, 2014
Column: Obama's Utopian Statism Is Both Below and On the Radar
It's no wonder President Obama tries to lock his normally fawning liberal media out of his fundraisers. He says things he doesn't want even them to hear -- or report. Sometimes they complain, but their disgraceful loyalty never wanes.
On the West Coast earlier this week to meet donors from two top Democratic super PACs, he specifically excluded the press. According to Politico, "the reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal's house in the Seattle suburbs where Obama sat for a Senate Majority PAC fundraiser with a $25,000 entrance fee."
The same thing happened the next morning, when he didn't even tell his media cheerleaders what floor of the downtown San Francisco Four Seasons hotel he was on while panhandling with major donors for the House Majority PAC.
Christi Parsons, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, emitted a toothless protest, saying: "We think these fundraisers ought to be open to at least some scrutiny, because the president's participation in them is fundamentally public in nature. Denying access to him in that setting undermines the public's ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing." You think?
Then why do you all continue to cover for this man and his policies? Why do you never hold him accountable for his ongoing whopper that he is running the "most transparent administration in history"?
July 21, 2014
Column: Moral Equivalence Is Usually Moral Negligence
Efforts to proclaim moral equivalence are not always misguided; sometimes each side is equally at fault or close enough. But these efforts are often misguided and unhelpful -- and sometimes harmful.
Throughout my life, there has been an increasing trend to attach moral equivalence to all kinds of disputes and conflicts, such as Israel vs. Hamas, which is the subject of a future column. I assume this is mostly an outgrowth of our culture's descent into moral relativism, but it's also a product of our intellectual laziness.
We see it everywhere. It is a common practice in describing marriages gone wrong. "It takes two." "Who's to say who is more at fault?" Well, that sounds good and is often true, but how about in the case of the spousal or child abuser?
But where I find it most troubling is in partisan politics. There the trend toward moral equivalence is the wrongdoer's best friend. If we dismiss every despicable and corrupt act with the mindless cliche "everyone does it," then we excuse the wrongdoer for his misconduct and encourage further misbehavior.
Sure, both sides are often at fault, but that isn't always the case, and it doesn't make you a better person to say otherwise if it isn't true.