Margaret Wente has a good summary of the downward spiral of the climate change movement, even as the Netherlands rebukes the UN IPCC for factual inaccuracies related to the country's susceptibility to global warming, India forms its own climate change body after concluding that it "can't rely" upon the UN IPCC and a BBC poll shows that Brits are becoming increasingly skeptical of man-made global warming (74%) and global warming in general (25%).
Oh yeah - and DC is presently suffering the heaviest snowfall since 1922. Just mentioning.
Lech Walesa, the iconic leader of Poland and the Solidarity movement which played such a pivotal role in the collapse of Communism, recently spoke on the state of America's global leadership.
The United States is only one superpower. Today they lead the world. Nobody has doubts about it. Militarily. They also lead economically but they're getting weak. But they don't lead morally and politically anymore. The world has no leadership. The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations. There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we lost that hope.
Alongside the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II (who was particularly vital to Walesa) in the free West, Lech Walesa and others such as the Czech Republic's Vaclav Havel in the communist East comprise the handful of heroes who delivered the world from communism. Walesa saw moral bankruptcy face-to-face in Soviet-controlled Poland - let us hope his vision of America, if correct, is a fleeting decline which Americans will be sufficiently diligent to correct.
One year after his election as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has commented that while Orthodox and Catholic Churches "have similar positions on many problems facing Christians in the modern world," he noticed "growing differences with Protestant denominations."
"Pope Benedict XVI has taken a stance close to the Orthodox one," the Patriarch noted, whereas "the Russian Church has seen less Protestant communities cooperating in the cause of preserving the Christian legacy" due to "the relentless liberalization of the Protestant world.
"Alas, not only have [Protestants] failed to conduct a real propagation of the Christian values among the secular society, many Protestant communities prefer to adjust to its standards."
Since the Great Schism in 1054 AD, Catholics and Orthodox have been a single church in imperfect communion - it's sort of like brothers in a thousand year family feud. Protestantism, on the other hand, broke communion with the ancient churches in the 16th century and now exists as a separate religion. As Catholics and Orthodox have recently made gestures toward reconciliation, the gulf between these faiths and Protestantism has continuously widened.
Comprising one-third of the world's population, these faiths constitute the dominant intellectual and moral force of Western history. The great question remains whether they are presently striving to guide Westerndom in the same direction.
According to a Gallup poll, "a majority of Democrats and liberals say ... they have a positive view of socialism, compared to a minority of Republicans and conservatives." Thankfully, members of both parties respond positively to "small business, free enterprise, and entrepreneurs." The terms polled are noteworthy--Walter Lippmann invented the term "big business" as derisive, just as Marx (or his contemporaries) did for "capitalism."
Democrats today appear to be very much in the spirit of the man FDR called "their commander-in-chief," the future president who declared that socialism and democracy are in principle the same.
While Dems (apart from the outbursts of a silly staffer, of which the Hill is full) will likely not begin appealing explicitly to socialism, its functional equivalents of community, civil society (of a certain sort), and solidarity may appear more often in their rhetoric. They would be better off heeding Bill Galston, who tries to dispute Harvey Mansfield's assault on Obamacare.
Over 20 years ago the late John Wettergreen loved to call out liberals who labelled themselves "civic republicans" or such, in the spirit of the founders. He once got a prominent American historian to admit that her talk of "republicanism" was simply a "chicken word for socialism." Gallup seems to confirm that more on the left have gotten the courage of their convictions, or at least of their feelings.
A young researcher in Philadelphia's "Historical Society of Pennsylvania" has reassembled an early draft of the U.S. Constitution penned by James Wilson in 1787.
I fully concur with the assessment of the find as the discovery of a national treasure, but more endearing still is the wonderful nerdiness of the researchers at the unfolding of the discovery: "This was national scripture, a piece of our Constitution's history. It was difficult to keep my hands from trembling." As other researchers "realized what was happening, there was a sort of hushed awe that settled over the reading room. One of them said the hair on her arms stood on end." Bless their little patriotic socks.
Tim Tebow and his mom are causing a circus of flurry among liberals with an anticipated 30 second pro-life ad during the Superbowl. Pam Tebow contracted dysentery while a missionary and was advised to abort her son rather than risk fetal defects. She refused, and Tim turned out to be not only one of the greatest athletes in sporting history, but likely one of its most worthy role-models.
Abortion groups immediately condemned the ad, which hasn't been released and apparently never actually mentions abortion, favoring the theme: "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life." NOW described such a message as "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning." Even some pro-choice advocates have been stunned by the hypocrisy and venom of their movement, leading a pro-choice WaPo column to scold that these fraudulent feminist groups "aren't actually 'pro-choice' so much as they are pro-abortion." Even the presidents of Planned Parenthood and the serpentine Catholics for Choice are alarmed by the vitriol (the pro-choice article contains useful statistics).
In case you were doubtful as to the need for moral advertisement, the WaPo also reports on the newest twist in broadcasting innovation: a "faux-reality Web-based docudrama featuring actors trying to decide whether to have an abortion." Viewers will be asked to cast votes - American Idol style - to decide whether the mothers abort. Tim Tebow, how we need thee now!
Concluding a threat which was somewhat close to my heart, the Dept. of Justice has cleared Bush administration attorneys targeted for memos they authored on interrogation techniques. In an act of unprecedented malice and intimidation, Obama initiated a witch-hunt on Bush officials who enforced policies with which he disagreed. Specifically, he directed the DOJ to investigate attorneys who had provided legal opinions confirming water-boarding and other enhanced interrogation measures were consistent with Geneva Convention requirements.
The President brought the power of the Department of Justice against attorneys of the former administration for providing a legal opinion with which he happened to disagree. I can imagine few examples of a more tyrannous and unprincipled assault on free-speech and democracy. Obama, through Attorney-General Holder, sought to punish civil servants for thinking differently than him (and the thinking was very plausibly correct on the substance).
DOJ originally concluded that the lawyers violated professional rules of conduct and sought disbarment (though the left demanded imprisonment). However, a final reviewer seems to have softened the conclusion to a mere reprimand. DOJ didn't explain the reversal, but noted the reviewer was "a highly respected career lawyer who acted without input from Holder." I'm certain the latter statement was meant to protect Holder from the reckless wrath of the bloodthirsty left, though it only serves to prove his truancy from the actual administration of justice.
Esoteric writing, I hardly need remind many NLT readers, is a form of writing in which the writer appears to be saying one thing, but in fact, is saying another. This technique often involves writing in such a way that the words, on the surface, suggest one conclusion, even as the underlying logic, if we follow it, suggests another. Most people, experience shows, don't bother following the logic closely. It's too much work.
This post by Roy Cordato on Obama's energy policy reminded me of that idea. The President proposes to elimate "'subsidies' for fossil fuels." Cordoto notes that that's open to question. The "subsidies" are not exactly what they seem. "In reality, to allow expensing of these payments is not a subsidy. It avoids the imposition of a tax penalty on oil drilling and is an example of how all production costs should be treated by the tax code."
"The immediate expensing of costs," Cordato argues, "puts all investment spending on an equal footing and ensures that the tax treatment of investments is consistent with sound economic principles of taxation." And he summarizes. "So Obama, in proposing to eliminate expensing of these drilling costs, is not abolishing a tax subsidy, but is imposing a tax penalty. And, given his often-articulated disdain for fossil fuels, he is probably quite aware of this fact."
I am reminded of Obama's comment, when he was a candidate about his policy with regard to coal power. There, his pride seems to have gotten the better of him, and he let the mask slip: "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."
In light of his clear preference for a single-payer health system, it is not unreasonable to speculate that he favors health reforms of the same sort.
A global prophesy upon which a growing consensus across the political, social and economic spectrum agree is that an emergent, dynamic China will vie for super-power status in the not-too-distant future. Roger Cohen finds his "mind wandering, fast-forwarding to 2040," and contemplating China's potential usurpation of America as the world's dominant nation. The contention is neither radical nor dependant upon radicalism - all things being equal, it is a potential (some argue, probable) consequence of present events. The physics of history dictate that forces in motion continue upon their trajectory absent a counter-force. As China is unlikely to encounter external opposition, the only question regards its risk of implosion.
In an attempt to analyze the nature of democracy in China, the American Enterprise Institute has used China as a test-case for the application of Tocqueville's political science in the modern world. The folks at AEI regard China as having entered a democratic social state governed through authoritarianism (as opposed to its opposite, liberal democracy). Tocqueville foresaw the advent of absolutism as the consequence of preferring equality above freedom. Liberal democracy requires a particular set of laws and mores (which Tocqueville recognized in America and found lacking in the French Revolution). I believe it would require a very discerning eye to detect them in China today.
That America has a secret "earthquake weapon!" Chevez, speaking truth to power, has blown the lid on the secret that "the 7.0 magnitude Haiti quake was caused by a U.S. test of an experimental shockwave system that can also create 'weather anomalies to cause floods, droughts and hurricanes.'"
You can't make this stuff up.
I remember this technology from my childhood, and ironically, it seems Hugo was also a closet G.I. Joe fan, because it was called the Weather Dominator - and it was awesome. But, assuming we didn't use the weapon to target Haiti, wouldn't it be great if a group of American scientists locked away in an underground weapons lab were really nervous for a few moments as they waited to see if the world took Hugo's accusation seriously...? Al Gore, eat your hat.
He lets us know that he admires Abraham Lincoln, yet his speeches could not be more different from Lincoln's in respect to argument. Lincoln used argument to transcend momentary feelings. Obama avoids it by recourse to vacuous words like "change" and"hope," never saying toward what or for what.This strikes me as an especially keen insight into the political soul of Obama. There can be no doubt that he is an admirer of Lincoln's . . . but why? What is it about Lincoln that he purports to admire? During the campaign he suggested that it had something to do with Lincoln's ability to unite discordant political elements in the pursuit of a common and higher purpose--a la Doris Kearns Goodwin's fine work, Team of Rivals. But how well did Obama understand Lincoln in this? Lincoln certainly did unite some discordant elements to achieve that higher purpose--and he did it with a seeming kind of Solomonic wisdom impossible not to admire (I suspect, even, if one was only his "worthy" opponent). But he also--as many of our Confederate sympathizing friends will be quick to point out--was not afraid of an argument that might divide. I suspect that Obama views himself in something of a similar position to Lincoln's--which is revealing in itself--and that the idea of Progress takes the place of Union in this metaphor. Obama is also not afraid of potential division, but he appears to be afraid of a genuine argument. But if Obama wants only to compare himself by way of method and forms to Lincoln, he ought to examine Lincoln's a little more carefully. How did Lincoln manage these political movements that Kearns Goodwin and so many other have rightly admired? What was his appeal or method of persuasion? (Oops, I already said too much in saying "persuasion.") Surely, Lincoln was a shrewd political actor. But he was more than that and, if we are to keep to our admonition that we learn more about men by understanding them as they understand themselves, then we ought to consult Lincoln more than Barack Obama in order to discover that thing that Lincoln considered the real demarcation of human improvement and progress--and therefore, the thing above all other things that an American statesman ought to strive toward when speaking to his fellow citizens. Lincoln appealed to the minds as well as to the hearts of his fellow citizens. He didn't consider anything--except the truth of human equality in rights--to be "off the table." And his understanding and respect for this ultimate principle made it imperative, for him, to be willing at all times and everywhere to give account of it.
This story reminds us why Unions, however necessary sometimes, can also cause a great deal of trouble.
A Queens teacher who collects a $100,000 salary for doing nothing spends time in a Department of Education "rubber room" working on his law practice and managing 12 real-estate properties worth an estimated $7.8 million, The Post found.
Alan Rosenfeld hasn't set foot in a classroom for nearly a decade since he was accused in 2001 of making lewd comments to junior-high girls and "staring at their butts," yet the department still pays him handsomely for sitting on his own butt seven hours a day. . . .
The DOE can't fire him.
"We have to abide by the union contract," spokeswoman Ann Forte said.