There have been some attempts to revise history in a partisan way relative to the life of Nelson Mandela. Arnold Steinberg, therefore, deserves credit for his useful article explaining how President Reagan took a personal role in changing the minds of the rulers of white South Africa in the 80s.
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College campuses are full of hot-headed "progressive" rhetoric. But even in that closed environment--regulated by opinionated faculty--students may be figuring out that their hero, Barack Obama, has played them false.
By passing year after year of pension increases for public employees--at the behest of the public employee unions that supply much of the left's political finance and muscle--city and state governments around the nation are in deep trouble. In order to rescue themselves, states and localities are going to have to make pension cuts and also reductions in basic services. Today's youth will see these basic services deteriorate and myriad local taxes increase. They haven't done this to themselves--it was done to them.
To its great discredit, the American Medical Association, like the AARP that claims to represent older people and the major insurance companies, got in bed with Obamacare and helped get it passed. Unfortunately, as older people and insurance companies--not to mention the public--have found out, doctors now discover that the plan is a disaster.
Many already knew it, of course. In a fine article in The American Spectator today, Jonathan Witt, a fellow of the Acton Institute as well as of Discovery Institute, describes the damage. This is a good and novel piece, but I'm afraid it is not the last on the subject.
As the Daily Mail and others are reporting, a geneticist in Georgia contends as a scientific proposition that man descended from pigs as well as chimp-like apes ("Humans evolved after a female chimpanzee mated with a pig': Extraordinary claim made by American geneticist"). Since his is only a variation on Darwinian theory, not a repudiation of it, Dr. Eugene McCarthy's notion is to be treated with professional respect. His work is to be covered seriously.
Now, if his speculation were deeper and dealt with the increasingly daunting problems with Darwinian theory and with the growing evidence of intelligent design, he would have to be ignored or attacked for positions he does not hold.
Franklin Roosevelt was one of the most consummate politicians ever. Emitting charm and practical intelligence, he was the Democratic sun in the 30s and 40s. A hero of experimental and energetic big government, conservatives believe he prolonged the Depression rather than ending it and was naive about Stalin's post-World War II aims. Regardless of one's appraisal, FDR, like his wife Eleanor and his distant cousin Theodore, continues to dazzle historians.
The reunion, with descendants now reaching to great-great-grandchildren, was an odd encounter, where in a reception hall holding 160 you could say, "Hey, Ted!" and a sizable share of the room's males would turn their heads. There also were small platoons of "Elliotts" and "Nicks", and even some "Eleanors" and "Franks." It was happy confusion.
He surely didn't do it for the publicity. FDR feared, perhaps correctly, that if the public fully understood how much the Infantile Paralysis he contracted at age 39 (in 1921) disabled him his political career would be damaged. Polio terrified people at the time. He would not want to advertise his infirmity.
The media kept his wheel chair out of sight for his whole later career and FDR himself found inventive ways to appear at podiums to speak--in leg braces, often with one of his sons helping to hold him up--and to drive a car with special hand controls. What he was doing to help other polio sufferers was known, but not prominently.
Roosevelt believed that the stigma of polio would only worsen with a hospital style environment for the mostly young residents. Instead, he devised a campus-style facility, sending architects to the University of Virginia to gain ideas from Thomas Jefferson's classical columns and arcades. He wanted as much year-round color and folliage on the grounds as possible and saw to it that the eating hub of the facility was not a cafeteria, but a dining room with real tablecloths, fresh flowers and waiters in bow ties.
Most Thanksgiving holidays for two decades FDR managed to come to Warm Springs to carve the turkey in the dining room. Then, standing in his braces at the door, he greeted each resident as he or she exited. It was his way of showing personal interest, and also giving the clear message: If I can do this kind of thing, there is certainly hope for you. The Ken Burns documentary undoubtedly will demonstrate that, as with Theodore Roosevelt and with Eleanor, FDR's determination in life was strengthened by the hardships he overcame.
The whole environment in Warm Springs speaks of sturdy American simplicity. The Little White House, for example, is a modest cottage. It becomes a republic, not an empire. Regardless of politics, you cannot witness what this shows about FDR without serious respect.
According to Business Week, Poland is the darling of new hopes for Europe, the "most dynamic economy" around. International companies are locating branches there, tourism is booming, stadiums have been built, etc.
But down near the bottom of the story by Stephan Faris are hints about stubborn unemployment--reaching 26 percent among the young--and failed public development projects and excess borrowing.
A young Pole of our acquaintance is more than skeptical of the generally glowing report.
"You can present whatever you want if you need it for political reasons. Poland now is ruled by postcomunists and social-liberals, so in the media (which they own) they prove that we are a flourishing island. You don't feel that living in Poland. Of course the numbers which they presented are carefully chosen - they didn't mention a three fold growth in public debt, a doubling of unemployment (from 5% in 2007 to about 12% now), massive emigration, especially of the young people, and doubled inflation. This government is completely corrupted. According to the polls, this government is constantly losing support (even when they have virtually all media for their service). Believe me or not - the Polish situation is critical. It hasn't been so bad since communism. I don't think we will ever recover after this bad government."
An outsider would like to see some reporting on such a conflict of perspectives. Poland is an important, but under-reported, country.
People who have insurance provided by employers probably were confused--and misled-- as to whether they would be affected by Obamacare. The millions already irate about the false promises of the President and his Administration about the individual mandate are going to be joined by this time next year by scores of millions of those under employer-provided plans.
Meanwhile, senior citizens are targeted, too, and that reality still has to settle in. Yet many were suspicious in 2012 (and earlier), which may be why President Obama lost this age cohort in the election.
Sometimes a letter to the editor is better than an editorial, and that is the case of a letter to the Washington Times by Thomas Bower of Towson, MD that appeared today:
This paper was just posted at Family Security Matters by Discovery Sr. Fellow John C. Wohlstetter:
Iran's Thugs Smile, We Lose
Sunday morning's interim nuclear deal that six Western powers made with Iran's rulers is a disaster in search of catastrophe--the latter in the form of the planned final deal six months hence.
On Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace began his report on the deal having been reached with "While many were sleeping"; it would have been more accurate for him to have said "While our negotiators were sleeping."
President Obama's first official statement about the deal included this:
While today's announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran's nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.
The canary in the diplomatic coal mine, however, is this report, that the US had been secretly negotiating since March 2013 with Iran--(a) without telling its mortally-endangered ally, Israel until two months ago (seven months into the talks); and (b) negotiating (for one of the five meetings) with Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
by Discovery Sr. Fellow Scott Powell
Most everyone--economists and policywonks alike--take Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's statements at face value and refer to QE (quantitative easing) as a policy developed to help the private economy. QE may have started out with that objective, but after nearly four years of failure to spur job growth, combined with the accumulation of $6 trillion of new federal debt, it may be plausible that QE's purpose has morphed into a policy to enable government to borrow cheaply so that it can spend more money itself--more for corporate and low-income welfare, more to grow state power and more to buy votes.
You will search hard for examples of voices raised in the US Government, or even in the Christian community in the US, against the worsening persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Over half of the population of one million Christians in Iraq, for example, has now fled the country. The current population of Christians in Iraq is estimated at 400,000. Similar patterns of flight have developed in Egypt and Syria, among other countries.
The deputy prime minister of Turkey, whose government has done little for the Christian minority under either secularist or Islamic regimes, is proposing the conversion of Hagia Sophia--the great cathedral of Byzantium that later was turned into a mosque, and then in modern times into a museum that honors all its history--back into a mosque. There would be no point to this change other than an assertion of cultural hegemony. Istanbul has many, many mosques.
But the worst problem is the terrorist attacks against churches and Christian neighborhoods in Iraq and Egypt, not to mention Syria. Almost nothing is being said about it by American leaders.