Another wonderful story about the Gipper
The 100th anniversary of his birth has brought to the fore many stories about him. The one below is from "Dr Sanity", a female psychiatrist
I vividly recall the day I met President Reagan almost exactly 20 years ago. It was one of the saddest days of my life. I was at the Johnson Space Center memorial service for the Challenger astronauts on the Friday after the Challenger accident. The President had come to JSC to honor the fallen crew and to heal the nation.
As the crew surgeon for that mission, I accompanied the families of the crew to a private meeting with President and Mrs. Reagan before he spoke to the large crowd of employees and officials. I felt a little out of place at this private meeting, so I tried to stay off to the side as, one by one, Reagan greeted all the immediate family members and talked with them.
Much to my surprise, after he visited with them for a while, he walked over to where I was standing. Apparently he had asked who I was, because he addressed me as "Doctor" and held out his hand, saying, "It must be especially hard for you today to have lost those who looked up to you as their doctor and who put their trust in you." He said it very quietly and his sincerity and genuine concern for what I was experiencing resulted in bringing tears to my eyes. Until that moment, I had managed to keep it all together and not show my feelings in public.
The next thing I knew, the President of the United States had put his hand on my shoulder and was comforting me; telling me that he understood my loss and that he knew I had been trying to be strong and take care of all the family members of the crew; but that he could see I was suffering too.
I had voted for Reagan in both the '79 and '84 elections (it was the first time I had voted Republican instead of Libertarian), but it wasn't until that moment that I truly understood the personal power of the man; his genuine warmth and the depth of his concern for someone he didn't even know. He instinctively seemed to understand that I had deliberately put aside my personal feelings about the tragedy because I had the awesome responsibility of taking care of all the crew family members (who were also my patients).
It crossed my mind even then, that he was telling me how much he identified with my situation and the responsibilities of my job. He had an entire nation to take care of, but it didn't mean he didn't personlly mourn for those who had died. It could be that I read too much into what he said, but I don't think so. He could have ignored me since I was standing off to the side from all the family members. But he went out of his way to find out who I was and then chose to come over to me.
I remember telling him in a choked voice how much his understanding meant to me and he looked at me with those clear, direct eyes of his and said, "You will be able to handle it. I know you will."
It seemed that I stared into those eyes for a long time (but it was probably only seconds) and then he turned away and signaled to the others that it was time to start the memorial service.
I actually got to stand on the platform while he spoke. This had been the spot prearranged for me to be so I would be able to observe the families in the front row and be ready to respond if they needed me. I couldn't have been more than ten feet or so away from the President during his remarks.
I never spoke to President Reagan again, but at the end of the ceremony; after the missing man formation of T-38's had flown overhead, I accidently caught his eye, and he winked at me.
I will always remember his kindness and strength.
The End of the Imaginary Age of Civility
After the Tucson shooting, liberals lectured America, and especially conservatives, on the alleged need for more civility (even though there was no evidence that the shooter was influenced by any uncivil political rhetoric, and the shooter was not a conservative).
But the new era of civility didn't last long, if it ever existed at all. Some of the very people who loudly demanded civility from others quickly returned to their own deeply-ingrained habit of trash talk and hate-filled vitriol.
Liberal actor and activist Richard Dreyfuss set up a project to promote "civility in political discourse" after the shootings. When he was asked about a liberal radio host's yearning for the death of the "dirtbag" Dick Cheney, he praised it as "beautifully phrased," endorsing an intemperate diatribe that also branded Cheney as an "enemy of the country," and a "freakin' loser."
The liberal lobbying group Common Cause, which had hectored America about the need for civility, helped organize a demonstration outside a conference in California where participants called for the lynching of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Liberal Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) helped usher in the new Age of Civility by likening Republicans to Nazis like Joseph Goebbels.
The Washington Post and New York Times enlisted two prominent practitioners of trash talk to lecture America about the need for civility. Al Sharpton preached about the "dangers of inflammatory rhetoric" in the Washington Post, despite his own past history of helping incite a deadly race riot, and a court judgment against him for defamation arising out of the Tawana Brawley hate-crime hoax.
Ex-congressman Paul Kanjorski (D) lectured about the need for "civility" in the Times, despite his October 2010 statement that Florida governor Rick Scott (R) should be shot.
The Post op-ed writers who endorsed the calls for civility then paved the way for yet more civility, both by branding conservatives as spiteful lobotomy patients, and by insinuating that opponents of gun control are collectively guilty of subversion and nativism, writing that "the descriptions of President Obama as a `tyrant,' the intimations that he is `alien' and the suggestions that his presidency is illegitimate are essential to the core rationale for resisting any restrictions on firearms."
Even as it prattled about the need for civility, the New York Times editorial board directed readers to its earlier diatribe that baselessly accused Republicans, the Tea Party, and conservative media of creating a climate of "division" and "anger" that made the Tucson shootings possible. The Times did so even though a column by its own David Brooks had earlier pointed out that there was "no evidence" that the shooter was influenced in any way by conservatives.
While the Post and the Times don't seem at all concerned about the death threats recently made by liberal activists against Republican lawmakers in Florida and in Wisconsin, they are very up in arms about factual references to the health care law as being "job-killing" (a claim based partly on Congressional Budget Office findings that Obamacare would reduce the size of the American labor force by perhaps 800,000 people).
The Post's Dana Milbank seems to think that criticizing the killing of an inanimate object (like a job) is violent rhetoric, and he recently wrote a long, sanctimonious editorial devoted almost entirely to the alleged incivility of referring to Obamacare as "job-killing," which he regards as rhetorical "poison."
Since the big-government policies they favor typically wipe out jobs (like the $800 billion stimulus package, which wiped out jobs in America's export sector, while subsidizing foreign green jobs, and which the CBO admitted would shrink the size of the U.S. economy in "the long run"), it's not surprising that liberal journalists like Milbank would want to squelch discussion of "job-killing" policies.
How About More Freedom at Home First?
Watching the wave of unrest in the Middle East, there are lessons to consider regarding how we view the world and how we manage our lives here at home. I'd call it getting perspective on what you can control and what you can't.
Washington is filled with "experts" who are more than ready to tell us the future and how to control it, whether we are talking about health care, retirement, energy, environment, or what have you. The fact that they are wrong 100 percent of the time never seems to discourage us from going down the same path again and again.
On the other hand, there are things we can do that are far more useful ways to use our brains. We can identify the correct principles by which to live and allow those to guide how we conduct our affairs.
Getting back to the Middle East, the most effective thing we could have been doing, and can do now, is set an example. If we want to promote freedom, how about starting at home?
The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal publish annually an Index of Economic Freedom in which they rank 179 nations by economic freedom -- size of government, regulations, tax and trade policy, monetary policy, etc. The Index rankings correlate almost perfect with prosperity. The more a nation is economically free, the more prosperous it is likely to be.
When the Index was published in 2010, it showed that the nation with the biggest drop in economic freedom among the world's 20 largest economies was none other than the United States. The drop was so large that the U.S. was re-categorized from the top tier of "free" economies and dropped to the second tier of "mostly free."
It turns out that the most important thing we could have been doing -- staying free ourselves we haven't been doing.
If we'd been doing what we should have, we'd set an example for others, we'd have better judgment regarding what is wrong with them, and we'd be more prosperous and therefore stronger and more influential.
If we can't solve our own problems, how can we solve those of others? If we don't know what freedom is here, how can we know what it is elsewhere?
It's time to get perspective about what we can do, what we can't do, and get our own house in order.
Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood
My concern (as well as that of many others who are watching this revolt go down in real time) is this: if Mubarak splits then who, pray tell, is going to fill that governmental vacuum? ElBaradei? George Washington? George Michael? Rumpelstiltskin? Ron Paul's Egyptian cousin Abdul Rafiki Paul? Who? I won't even venture to guess what unlucky person gets that temporary gig, but I will go out there on a limb and tell you what political party, I believe, is going to rule that roost. Y'all ready? Drum roll, please: The Muslim Brotherhood. They seem to be the only polity over there that has their crap together. And I do mean crap.
So, who is this Muslim Brotherhood? Well, if you listen to the wizards on the Left they're just some dudes in the Middle East trying to make sense of it all politically and create a better tomorrow "for the people."
Now, I'm not an expert on Egypt, or all things Islamic, but I can use Google. When the news feed started pouring in and the eager Egyptian "freedom fighters" started "freeing" Cairo and demanding that Mubarak get the hell out of Dodge, I heard the Muslim Brotherhood's name get dropped on FOX News, so I opened my MacBook, went to Google, and typed in MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD to see if there was something funky about these folks.
From a prima facie standpoint, the name "Muslim Brotherhood" sounds innocent enough. I mean, they're not named the Muslim Mother Snatchers, or the Islamic Incinerators, but rather the Muslim Brotherhood. Brotherhood sounds sweet enough, don't it now? Who could find anything wrong with an organization whose name connotes acting with warmth and equality toward one another.
So I Googled `em up, and here's what I found: First of all, their flag is kind of a disturbing amalgam of swords, a Koran and squiggly writing. I wonder what the squiggly writing says under them swords? Hmmm.
Then secondly, and more importantly, Shariah: The Threat to America (thanks to Frank Gaffney) states the following:
* "The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928. Its express purpose was two-fold: (1) to implement Sharia worldwide, and (2) to re-establish the global Islamic State (caliphate). (DG: Uh, that doesn't sound democratic to me-especially if I were a chick, happened to be boinking my neighbor, or if I were a homosexual. Sharia, I hear, has zero democratic policy toward the aforementioned, as in, "Silence! I kill you!")
* "Therefore, Al Qaeda and the MB have the same objectives. They differ only in the timing and tactics involved in realizing them." (DG: Still not getting the democratic vibe.)
* "The Brotherhood's creed is: `God is our objective; the Koran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.'" (DG: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot).
* "It is evident from the Creed, and from the Brotherhood's history (and current activities) . that violence is an inherent part of the MB's tactics. The MB is the root of the majority of Islamic terrorist groups in the world today." (DG: The NYT never told us this.)
* "The Muslim Brotherhood is the `vanguard' or tip-of-the-spear of the current Islamic Movement in the world. While there are other transnational organizations that share the MB's goals (if not its tactics)-including al Qaeda, which was born out of the Brotherhood-the "Ikhwan" is by far the strongest and most organized. The Muslim Brotherhood is now active in over 80 countries around the world." (DG: I wonder if they're in America? Nah.)
Yikes. It appears the Brotherhood's history isn't democratic and that they put the "ick" in radical Muslim fundamentalism. When I say they're fundamentalists, I mean that in the classic sense of the word: namely, no fun, mostly dumb, and quite mental.
I'm sure many who are stuck in Egypt want true freedom. And when I say freedom, I mean from all forms of oppression, including the worst form of subjugation: Sharia law. However, I fear those who really want freedom from Mubarak's dictatorship are going to quickly become slaves of Sharia, via the Muslim Brotherhood, whether they like it or not. Call me judgmental, but I smell Sharia all over this thing, and I believe life is really going to begin to suck for secular Egyptians, Israel, America and the rest of the world that wants nothing to do with Islamic enslavement.
FL: Gov. Scott unveils plan to cut $5 billion in spending: "New Republican Gov. Rick Scott received wild applause from about 1,000 tea party activists when he said the $65.9 billion budget proposal he rolled out Monday would cut government waste and lower taxes. Scott is proposing $5 billion in spending cuts in the next budget year beginning July 1 and another $2.6 billion more the following year."
The US is NOT the freest country in the world: "Whether you take a holistic approach to freedom or analyze any number of specific categories the United States of America consistently is proven not to be the freest country. Countries in Scandinavia, Western Europe [and] the English Speaking Far East do much better comparatively when examined either way but often still prove far from ideal. Americans can and should see the assaults on their freedoms as an opportunity to improve and live up to the legend we all grew up believing"
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)