Saturday, November 13, 2010

A very influential book

It isn't often that a book -- any book, even a popular, bestselling book like Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto -- can be said to have changed the course of American politics and history. The phenomenon is rare, extremely rare, usually taking both the country and even the author by surprise.

Yet Levin's book has done just that, saluted by Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in an exclusive talk with The American Spectator as "providing [the] intellectual balance and foundation" of the Tea Party movement. A movement that stands triumphant this week in the wake of the conservative landslide that Levin himself believes can revitalize the conservative cause that Ronald Reagan once led to the White House.

The results of the 2010 revolt against the Obama Era are staggering. The success of the Tea Party; the defeat of over 60 of Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats; the election of a half dozen U.S. senators, ten governors and almost 700 state legislators.

What startles even more is that one campaign after another focused on the issues Levin featured in his book -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, statism, the dangers of a powerful central government. Campaigns "motivated and inspired" specifically, says Bachmann, by Levin's Liberty and Tyranny.

Levin himself emerged as an unlikely rock star in the cause of the Constitution, the author literally besieged at book signings as thousands waited hours for a seconds-long meeting and signed copy. This video posted by a Levin fan of a book signing at Tysons Corner, Virginia, outside a rainy Washington, D.C., illustrates a fraction of the Liberty and Tyranny phenomenon that was sweeping the country.

Liberty and Tyranny's red, white, and blue flag-and-flame cover bearing Levin's bearded visage was waved aloft at Tea Party rallies. Bachmann marvels that "it's difficult to educate a nation" but says Tea Partiers made a point to "take copies of the book to town hall meetings" to grill House and Senate members on their knowledge of the Constitution they had taken an oath to obey.

The book's cover itself appeared in poster form. One memorable photo captured former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a rally seated next to a soldier, the Levin book clearly visible in her lap.

Another Liberty and Tyranny fan went to work mocking Obama's famous 2008 campaign poster, replacing Obama's image with an iconic rendering of Levin, the caption changed from "Hope and Change" to read simply: "The Great One." Inevitably, there was a bumper sticker with a simple message: Mark Levin: President 2012.

In 1960 Barry Goldwater, then a rising spokesman of the fledgling modern conservative movement as the U.S. Senator from Arizona, wrote The Conscience of a Conservative. The book, adapted from Goldwater's speeches by Brent Bozell, an editor at William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review (and the father of today's Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center), was an unexpected sensation. It explained what Goldwater called "the conservative philosophy" and "spelled out conservative principles in everyday language" -- challenging head on the then-consensus view that the liberal agenda was a stellar political gift to mankind.

Daring to ask questions that liberals of the day sought to portray as extremist and out of the mainstream -- just as they still do today -- the book had a first printing of a mere ten thousand. Eventually, it sold more than 4 million hardcover and paperback copies, helping to build the foundation for what became the modern conservative movement. It also helped Goldwater to the 1964 Republican presidential nomination while making possible Ronald Reagan's 1980 election and the Reagan Revolution that followed.

When Mark Levin decided -- in 2008 -- that it was time to write a book about the importance of what he saw as "the modern liberal assault on Constitution-based values" no one, Levin included, could see what was coming.

LEVIN IS, FAMOUSLY, a considerable talk radio star, ranked number four in the nation with eight and a half million listeners. He is as well the longtime head of the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation. A former Reagan aide, Justice Department lawyer (serving as chief of staff to Reagan attorney general Edwin Meese III, among other positions in the government) and conservative activist who began his march on liberalism as a precocious 13-year old, Levin is no recent entry into discussions of law, politics, or conservative principles.



Of Course Sarah Palin's 'Unfit': She's a Republican

How much of the "Sarah Palin is not ready for prime time" criticism is sincere? When the harping comes from the left, it's difficult to take it seriously. Try to follow the bouncing standards.

Barbara Walters gushed over John F. Kennedy Jr. and foresaw a political future for him. Never mind that the young man had flunked the New York bar exam -- twice.

"Dumb" former President George W. Bush, caricatured as a slacker in an Oliver Stone movie, made better grades in college than did Al Gore, his opponent in 2000. Gore dropped out of divinity school after earning five F's. Then he entered law school and dropped out. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-global warming crusade, and his documentary won an Academy Award, but Gore got a D in science at Harvard. Bush also scored higher on his verbal SAT than did Rhodes scholar and "brainy" presidential candidate Bill Bradley.

"Dumb" former President Ronald Reagan majored in economics. But the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who ran for the presidency, got expelled from Harvard for hiring someone to take a Spanish test.

"Dumb" Republican former President Gerald Ford was ridiculed as a bumbling doofus by Chevy Chase on "Saturday Night Live." Democratic former President Lyndon Baines Johnson famously quipped that Ford, who played football for the University of Michigan, "spent too much time playing football without a helmet." But Ford graduated from Yale Law School, the same school that produced Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The worldly and literate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who ran for president in 2004, didn't exactly kill on his military aptitude test. He got half the questions right and half the questions wrong -- dead average. He explained his poor showing by insisting, "I must have been drinking the night before."

Vice President Joe Biden's 1988 quest for the presidency evaporated when he plagiarized a speech by a British politician. When someone questioned his academic credentials at a campaign stop, the offended Biden claimed that he had a full academic scholarship at law school and graduated in the top half of his class. In fact, he had a need-based half-scholarship and graduated near the bottom -- 76th out of 85.

Biden, in his political career, has stacked up enough gaffes for a dozen politicians. Where to start? How about the time, during a 2008 campaign rally, when Biden stood at the podium and implored a local lawmaker to "stand up." The man in question was in a wheelchair. Or at a campaign rally when he said the opponent's plan would do nothing about "a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."

Biden opposed the first Gulf war, the "good" one. He voted for the Iraq War and co-authored a Washington Post op-ed piece in which he warned that our involvement would take a decade and urged the nation to show patience. When the war went south, along with public opinion, Biden suggested breaking Iraq into three parts. Then Biden reversed his support, said he regretted his vote, and opposed Bush's successful "surge."

Former CBS reporter Dan Rather tried to prove -- based on documents that turned out to be fraudulent -- that Bush received preferential treatment in getting into the Texas Air National Guard. Former President Bill Clinton, on the other hand, used familial political and social connections to deliberately delay issuance of his draft notice until after he began his first year at Oxford.

Ordered to report for induction the next summer, Clinton again used connections -- including the approval of Arkansas Selective Service director Willard Hawkins -- to join the University of Arkansas ROTC while he attended law school, getting him a reservist deferment and nullifying his draft notice.

Palin, if she decides to run, faces a grueling series of challenges -- just like the other candidates. Except she'll not benefit from the selective standard that liberals apply when evaluating "their own."



The Fed Trashes the Dollar

Pat Buchanan

If it is the first responsibility of the Federal Reserve to protect the dollars that Americans earn and save, is it not dereliction of duty for the Fed to pursue a policy to bleed value from those dollars? For that is what Chairman Ben Bernanke is up to with his QE2, or "quantitative easing."

Translation: The Fed is committed to buy $600 billion in bonds from banks and pay for them by printing money that will then be deposited in those banks. The more dollars that flood into the economy, the less every one of them is worth.

Bernanke is not just risking inflation. He is inducing inflation.

He is reducing the value of the dollar to make U.S. exports more competitive and imports more expensive, so that we will consume fewer imports. He is trying to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit by treating the once universally respected dollar like the peso of a banana republic.

Sarah Palin has nailed cold what Bernanke is about:

"We shouldn't be playing around with inflation. It's not for nothing Reagan called it 'as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.'

"The Fed's pump-priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed's proposals 'clueless.' When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it's time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist.

"We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings."

Egging Ben on is the Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Fed policy is too timid, says Krugman.

When Bernanke said we are not "going to try to raise inflation to a super-normal level," he blew it, says Krugman, and "there goes the best chance the Fed's plan might actually work."

What the Fed should do, he says, is change expectations "by leading people to believe that we will have somewhat above-normal inflation ... which would reduce the incentive to sit on cash."

But "sit on cash" is a definition of saving. Is saving bad? Once, Americans were taught that saving was a good thing.

Not to Krugman. He wants to panic the public into believing the money they have put into savings accounts and CDs will be rapidly eaten up by Fed-created inflation, so they will run out and spend that money now to get the economy moving again.

Whatever the economics of this, the morality of it is appalling.



Obamacare Hits the Most Vulnerable

Mona Charen

Everyone agrees that the burden of dealing with escalating health care costs should not fall on the most vulnerable, right? Democrats in particular are always at pains to convince us that they are sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate. Yet among the many new taxes Obamacare will impose is one that hits wounded veterans and sick children especially hard -- the 2.3 percent annual tax on medical device manufacturers set to begin in 2013.

All of those fantastic prosthetic limbs, powered wheelchairs, stents, pacemakers, artificial hips, and other miraculous technologies that improve the lives of maimed soldiers will now be more expensive. Some estimates suggest that the tax will amount to 17 percent of profits for the industry.

As Ed Morrissey reported last May, Massachusetts medical device companies have already begun to plan layoffs to cope with the new tax. According to the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, "(A)bout 90 percent of the 100 medical-device firms said they would reduce costs due to the new tax tucked into the recently passed health-care reform bill."

Almost certainly, this will mean reductions in research and development. As the maxim goes: If you want less of something, tax it. If you want more of something, subsidize it. By taxing medical devices, Obamacare has probably postponed the day my 17-year-old Type I diabetic son is most looking forward to -- the invention and marketing of an artificial pancreas.




Obama’s Labor Department again pushes forced unionism: "You are at work one day and a couple of police vehicles pull up. They go into the administrative office area and the next thing you know, your CEO is escorted out in handcuffs. While the local news crews are capturing the moment permanently, a buzz quickly circulates through the company that the union had him arrested for egregious corporate corruption. The ‘perp walk’ is reserved for hardened criminals in order to give our law enforcement agencies an opportunity to showcase their abilities to protect the public.”

NASA’s Webb Telescope in money trouble : "NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the long-anticipated successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is in serious financial trouble, according to a project review panel. The culprits: bad management and flawed budgets from managers, the panel concludes — not hardware challenges or a tightfisted Congress. Overall, the telescope’s cradle-to-grave budget, currently pegged at $5 billion, will need another $1.5 billion to live up to its scientific promise, the review panel estimated in a report released late Wednesday afternoon.”

Typical British government data security: "The British Ministry of Defence is investigating how an army officer’s laptop containing sensitive military data was bought on eBay for less than £20 ($32). The Toshiba Satellite A30 laptop computer, which is now held by the MoD, contained details of every police command post in a town in Helmand in Afghanistan, along with photos of each post and a list of the men, their ammunition, patrols and weapons. The files were not encrypted or password sensitive. It also contained details on those who had joined the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army."


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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)


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