The period of the Obama tenure, and now the 2012 election, are forcing Americans to reconsider, in a way I’m not sure we have for a good 200 years, what the vote means, and what politics means to our lives. Since 1792, the sense has gradually crept upon us that when we elect a president, we are electing our collective future. That sense took a giant leap forward with the FDR presidency, and frankly, it took another one when Reagan entered office.
The Tumultus Post-Americanus is now well underway. There is no initiative on our collective part – we have done nothing but react in the last three years – and possibly even less appreciation of how the world is changing. The forms of international discourse – the processes of the UN, the G-8 and G-20, the IMF – are being adhered to now because they are a convenience, not because they produce anything useful.
We must not let our concept of the purpose and character of a tax be corrupted, precisely because taxing us is a power accorded Congress in the Constitution. The definition of “tax” is, in fact, the most important limit on what Congress can do with its power to tax. In the wake of the Obamacare ruling, defining “tax” is defending our liberty – or, from the opposite perspective, attacking it.
Understand this: it doesn’t matter if ObamaCare is repealed next year. Repeat as necessary until understood. The SCOTUS ruling is on the books. Congress can make you buy anything, as long as it fines you if you don’t. The concept of constitutional limits on the power of government has been effectively removed from our guiding idea of law and jurisprudence.
This is what a tax now looks like? This is an open invitation to “tax” via whatever mandate sounds good to you. What sort of unequal-before-the-law mandate would not fit this definition of a tax? Congress can do anything it wants, by the logic of this decision, with the judicial precedent set that levying mandates equals using the power to tax.
Ever since the case of the offensive ceramic pigs in 1998, the British have been assiduously refining their methods for dealing with offenses to Islam.
Ideological statism is not a mere cultural alternative, it is absolutely evil. Reagan had no doubt of what was right and wrong in this regard: “It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy.” But Reagan’s refusal to gloss over evil never produced discouraging rhetoric. It was always accompanied by a hard-nosed optimism about what was good in the Western culture of freedom and restraints on the state.
For many people, especially younger ones, ideas about which government rules and “services” we can happily do without will be new and startling. But it is possible to slip the surly bonds of the Regulated Man construct and envision a better future. Wisconsin has taken an important step toward that future. Walker’s Wisconsin is what “Forward” looks like.
The holiday from history is over, although we may be the last ones to see it. Neither Russia nor Iran – nor China, North Korea, or Syria, for that matter – is very interested in signing anything with the West right now. Good deals based on the old assumptions aren’t as tempting when better ones seem to lie just over the horizon.
For the United States, issuing attack threats in the manner of Hugo Chavez is not a convincing posture. I don’t know if the Israelis will find it reassuring; I suspect the Europeans and Iranians will find it annoying, and decide to ignore it.
If a civic or political group, meeting publicly, is not willing to have its activities and statements recorded truthfully by critics, its purpose is suspect. There can be no good purpose for preventing third parties – i.e., the whole of society, whether friendly or critical – from seeing what is said and done at a public event sponsored by the Palestine Society.
When Romney speaks of the US auto industry recovering, he is speaking in the language of big, dirigiste government, accepting at face value the short-term effect of a bailout process that has served mainly to perpetuate unprofitable but politically entrenched conditions. It guarantees that more subsidies will be needed down the road.
The whole world knows the peril Chen and his family are in. The right approach here is not to seek a “solution” that gets the governments of China and the US off the hook; it’s to stand by Chen and demand that he be treated with the respect for his rights as understood in the Helsinki Accords. While China is not a signatory to the Accords, their standard for freedom, travel and emigration, and reunification of families is the touchstone to be invoked in this instance.
President Barack Obama's recent self-congratulatory comments on the killing of Osama bin Laden must be viewed against the backdrop of past presidents, and how they related to the role of the military.
President Obama recently unveiled the Atrocities Prevention Board, and appointed Samantha Power as its head; the same Samantha Power that has called Israel a "major human rights abuser." This is only one of the many troubling aspects of this new initiative.
A solution in which the Syrian people are empowered to operate more freely in a true multi-party government, under the aegis of multinational protection against both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, would be the most desirable, achievable outcome. It is not possible to broker this outcome while ignoring Russia.
Iran is making full use of strategic ambiguity on the high seas to advance its interests and dictate outcomes. Unless each new measure is directly challenged, strategic ambiguity would be a lot more fun for Iran than for the rest of us.
Did Iran's warships actually visit Syria this past week as was widely reported, or did was that Iranian disinformation?
The only way to secure a positive outcome in Syria is to use US power, under US strategic direction, to do it. This has never necessarily meant military intervention, but it does necessarily mean acting with purpose and determination, rather than throwing random reconnaissance assets into the fray while handing the political problem over lock, stock, and barrel to the Arab League and the UN.
Robert Mackey at New York Times’ The Lede has a Friday post entitled “Crisis in Syria Looks Very Different on Satellite Channels Owned by...