Archive for the ‘History’ Category
A former supervisor of mine occasionally sends out videos or pictures to a group of friends. I’m fortunate to be part of that group. The videos and pictures are frequently about principles that this great nation was founded on. Sometimes, they’re about mocking trendy things that tear at the fabric of this great nation. This video doesn’t fit neatly into either of those categories. It fits into a category all its own:
This video fits into the category of ‘When America was great, America was good, too.’ In the course of my lifetime, I’ve seen a handful of people that I consider great Americans. Ronald Reagan sits atop that group. He isn’t alone. He’s joined by Billy Graham, Bob Hope, Red Skelton and John Wayne.
These men shared a compelling set of traits that’s in short supply these days. That set of traits are humility, modesty and a willingness to work together. It’s important to note that these heroes didn’t tolerate big egos or mean-spiritedness.
That’s why America was good when it was a great and prospering nation.
Natan Sharansky’s op-ed provides a stunning contrast between the Obama administration’s Iran capitulation and President Eisenhower’s negotiations with the then-Soviet Union. Check this out:
For starters, consider that the Soviet regime felt obliged to make its first ideological concession simply to enter into negotiations with the United States about economic cooperation. At the end of the 1950s, Moscow abandoned its doctrine of fomenting a worldwide communist revolution and adopted in its place a credo of peaceful coexistence between communism and capitalism. The Soviet leadership paid a high price for this concession, both internally, in the form of millions of citizens, like me, who had been obliged to study Marxism and Leninism as the truth and now found their partial abandonment confusing, and internationally, in their relations with the Chinese and other dogmatic communists who viewed the change as a betrayal. Nevertheless, the Soviet government understood that it had no other way to get what it needed from the United States.
The Soviets capitulated because they didn’t have any options. Soviet negotiators thought that President Eisenhower was a serious, hard-nosed negotiator. They didn’t fear him like they feared President Reagan but they knew they couldn’t take liberties with Eisenhower.
As a result of their capitulation, the Soviets experienced a shaming that they never recovered from. It took several more decades before the gulags closed and the dissidents were freed but the Soviets had been dealt a stunning defeat.
Imagine what would have happened if instead, after completing a round of negotiations over disarmament, the Soviet Union had declared that its right to expand communism across the continent was not up for discussion. This would have spelled the end of the talks. Yet today, Iran feels no need to tone down its rhetoric calling for the death of America and wiping Israel off the map.
The Iranians sized up President Obama and figured it out that he wasn’t a serious negotiator. To the Iranians, President Obama looked like a mark in a con man’s sights. They figured that President Obama could be flipped. That’s because they knew he was a desperate man in search of a legacy. As a result, the Iranians played hardball with him.
The sanctions were working. Iran’s mullahs would’ve been toppled if President Obama was interested in that. Unfortunately for Israel and the US, President Obama wasn’t interested in dealing the Iranian regime a death blow. Because President Obama zigged when other administrations would’ve zagged, Iran is poised to become a Middle East hegemon with a nuclear weapon.
While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.
President Obama’s legacy will be his administration-long apology tour. He’s felt that the United States wasn’t a force for good. This will be his fitting epitaph:
It’ll take a generation to clean up all the history-changing messes he’s created. President Clinton said that the 1990s represented a “vacation from history.” On 9/11, history came to collect on that debt.
It might well be that 2009-2016 will be called the United States’ vacation from being the United States.
Technorati: Natan Sharansky, Soviet Dissident, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Leader of the Free World, Negotiations, Soviet Union, President Obama, Capitulation, Iran, Legacy, Sanctions, Apology Tour, Democrats
Lynne Cheney has a bone to pick with the College Board, which she writes about eloquently in this op-ed. Here’s what’s got Mrs. Cheney upset:
If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
—President Ronald Reagan, speech at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 1987
It isn’t that Lynne Cheney has a problem with President Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate. It’s the context in which the College Board uses President Reagan’s speech that’s got her upset:
President Reagan’s challenge to Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev remains one of the most dramatic calls for freedom in our time. Thus I was heartened to find a passage from Reagan’s speech on the sample of the new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam that students will take for the first time in May. It seemed for a moment that students would be encouraged to learn about positive aspects of our past rather than be directed to focus on the negative, as happens all too often.
But when I looked closer to see the purpose for which the quotation was used, I found that it is held up as an example of “increased assertiveness and bellicosity” on the part of the U.S. in the 1980s. That’s the answer to a multiple-choice question about what Reagan’s speech reflects.
No notice is taken of the connection the president made between freedom and human flourishing, no attention to the fact that within 2 1/2 years of the speech, people were chipping off pieces of the Berlin Wall as souvenirs. Instead of acknowledging important ideas and historical context, test makers have reduced President Reagan’s most eloquent moment to warmongering.
This stuff might as well come straight out of the Obama foreign policy handbook.
But I digress.
It’s apparent that Mrs. Cheney thinks the College Board is filled with members of the PC Police:
When educators, academics and other concerned citizens realized how many notable figures were missing and how negative was the view of American history presented, they spoke out forcefully. The response of the College Board was to release the sample exam that features Ronald Reagan as a warmonger.
It doesn’t stop there. On the multiple-choice part of the sample exam, there are 18 sections, and eight of them take up the oppression of women, blacks and immigrants. Knowing about the experiences of these groups is important—but truth requires that accomplishment be recognized as well as oppression, and the exam doesn’t have questions on subjects such as the transforming leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.
The AP Test should be used to show which students have the best grasp of American history — all of American history. It’s cheating the brightest students when many of the most influential Americans aren’t used in a history test.
According to this article, President Obama has turned the US Air Force into a pro-Iranian Air Force:
According to the report, Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff Beni Gants to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.
The sources added that Gants and his commanders prepared the requested plan and that Israeli fighter jets trained for several weeks in order to make sure the plans would work successfully. Israeli fighter jets even carried out experimental flights in Iran’s airspace after they managed to break through radars.
However, an Israeli minister “who has good ties with the US administration revealed Netanyahu’s plans to Secretary of State John Kerry” and as a result Obama then threatened to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.
It’s simply stunning that President Obama would threaten to shoot down Israeli jets if they tried destroying Iran’s uranium enrichment plants. Has President Obama gone totally insane? The thought that President Obama would shoot down Israel’s jets to protect Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities is like hearing President Obama lifting protection from Poland to tell Putin he was a trusted ally.
President Obama’s foreign policy has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel to it. It’s like we’re being told that the sun sets in the east and rises in the west. Nothing about President Obama’s foreign policy makes sense.
Netanyahu had to abort the operation and since then relations between Israel and the United States have been declining, according to the sources quoted in the report.
President Obama is the most anti-Israel president in US history. Whoever’s in second isn’t close. The thought that a US president is willing to protect the biggest state sponsor of terrorism while shooting down our best ally in the region’s planes indicates President Obama’s priorities aren’t America’s priorities.
President Obama is an historic president … for all the wrong reasons.
On this day in 1776, men of great integrity gave us an incredible gift. On July 4, 1776, they gave us the Declaration of Independence. Though it’s 238 years old, we’re still benefiting from these men’s wisdom. They suffered greatly to turn that declaration into reality. This society will be hurt, though, if we don’t appreciate what they gave us. Let’s look at the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
What these incredible men gave this nation is a system of government that prevents another man from becoming our king, legislature and judge.
Eventually, another group of great men wrote our Constitution. The principles listed in the Declaration of Independence became the pillars upon which the Constitution was written. When the Constitution was written, it created 3 co-equal branches of government, the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. They were seperated so nobody could become ultimate ruler.
Later in the Declaration of Independence, they listed their grievances. Here are some of the most noteworthy grievances:
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
Because of these usurpations, this nation’s Founding Father understsood the importance of creating an independent judiciary, a legislature to write laws and a president that is accountable to We The People in executing those laws. They understood that presidents should respect the fact that they are given their “just powers from the consent of the governed.”
That’s the system they created. Unfortunately, we’ve had to deal with corrupt presidents from time to time. This is one of those times. Fortunately, the Founding Fathers gave us a system to deal with these situations. This week and last, the courts pushed back against this corrupt president.
The final paragraph of the Declaration is telling, too:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
This Declaration emphatically said that this nation would be based on the belief that these states would be free and independent, that each of the states had the authority to wage war and negotiate the terms of the cessation of war and to sign treaties with other nations. In the minds of the Founding Fathers, each of the states was its own sovereign nation. In fact, when the Revolutionary War ended, France recognized each of the states as a sovereign nation.
These principles were so important to the Founding Fathers that they pledged their lives, their considerable fortunnes and their sacred honor in fighting for these principles.
Had they lost the war, the signatories understood that they’d be tried and convicted of treason, which would likely be followed by their execution. Despite that risk, they said they’d rather fight for the blessings of liberty than living under King George III’s tyranical government.
Thank God they made the right choice.
This article is frightening on multiple levels. First, here’s what happened that started this disaster:
Canyon High School, based in Anaheim Hills, issued an apology to 16-year-old Haley Bullwinkle, a student there, after first telling her that a T-shirt she wore to school violated its dress code policy on clothes depicting and promoting violence. The garment in question: a T-shirt with a photo of the American flag and a hunter, along with the words, “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”
It never occurred to the sophomore that the shirt she grabbed when she was running late for school a couple of weeks ago would land her in trouble with officials. But Bullwinkle was confronted by a security guard outside of class and told she had to change her shirt or face a suspension. She cooperated and wore a top the school provided for the duration of the day, but the incident frightened the teenager, and outraged her parents.
Simply put, Canyon High School tried to prevent Ms. Bullwinkle from exercising her First Amendment rights. At least the school apologized. Plenty of schools wouldn’t have done even that much.
This is the frightening part:
Calls from Yahoo Shine to principal Kimberly Fricker and superintendent Michael Christensen weren’t returned, but Fricker did apologize to the Bullwinkle family. Superintendent Christensen also released a statement saying, “Campus staff will be trained so that an incident like this does not occur again.”
Here’s a radical thought. Instead of putting the staff through training, perhaps schools should just teach the Constitution as part of each year’s history class. After teaching the Constitution, it’d be appropriate to then teach students, and apparently faculty, staff and administration, about the Bill of Rights. (Students could even earn extra credit for reading the Federalist Papers.)
The class could be taught by KrisAnne Hall through a Skype connection. I’d bet she’d be willing to teach students, faculty, staff and administration about the history of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the various state conventions and the documents that the Founding Fathers used to write the Constitution.
With that type of class being taught for an entire quarter, the chuckleheads who tried to silence Ms. Bullwinkle wouldn’t need additional training because they’d know censorship is one of the worst violations of the First Amendment.
Technorati: Haley Bullwinkle, First Amendment, Speech Codes, Canyon High School, Censorship, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, Founding Fathers, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, History
If people doubted that Newt Gingrich was gaining traction, this information should put an end to that speculation:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has raised more money in October than during the previous three months combined, he told reporters Tuesday as he laid out his vision for his campaign’s turnaround.
During the previous fundraising quarter that spanned July, August and September, Gingrich raised $800,000.
With fundraising totals like that, it’ll be surprising if Newt isn’t soon seen as a top-tier candidate by inside-the-Beltway pundits. Activists are already warming up to him, with some committing to support him with others giving him a first serious look.
If Newt’s debate performances continue, which I suspect they will, his recent fundraising spike will continue. If that happens, which is a big if, Newt will have caught fire at the right time. It’s always better to finish strong than to start strong, then fizzle.
“If we continue to improve at this pace, I think we’ll be able to run a full-blown campaign to be totally competitive in terms of advertising and other things, by the time we get to early January,” Gingrich said.
A fully-funded Gingrich would be a difficult opponent, both in the GOP primaries and in the general election. He’s easily the smartest man on stage in terms of policy, whether the subject is national security, tax reform, regulation reform, implementing free market solutions to the nation’s biggest problems or on comprehensive energy policy.
“There was an unedited opportunity to listen to me and to decide that I had, that I actually represent a campaign of real substance,” he said of his role in GOP debates. “Given the press coverage of June, July and August, that was sort of a great surprise to people.”
The DC pundits started with an animus towards Gingrich, most likely because he wouldn’t play their games as Speaker. The new storyline that’s popped up this week is that Newt’s yesterday’s news, which I regard as the DC media’s latest attempt to downplay Newt’s solutions.
The more people see the top-tier GOP candidates, the more they’ll discard the DC media’s charicatures. They’ll start forming their own opinions of the candidates. I’d argue that that’s what’s fueling Speaker Gingrich’s rise.
It’s difficult to say that someone who’s both a world class historian and a futurist “yesterday’s news.” As more people get to studying Newt, the more impressed they’ll be. That doesn’t guarantee him the nomination victory.
Now that people are upset that the $787,000,000,000 stimulus bill didn’t “create or save” the 4,000,000 jobs that President Obama once predicted, the Obama administration is shifting gears. Their latest strategy might best be titled “If at first you don’t succeed, rewrite recent history.” Karl Rove’s latest WSJ column highlights President Obama’s tactics:
So what’s a president to do when the promises he made about his economic stimulus program fail to materialize? If you’re Barack Obama, you redefine your goals and act as if America won’t remember what you said originally. That’s a neat trick if you can get away with it, but Mr. Obama won’t. His words are a matter of public record and he will be held to them.
President Obama hadn’t been challenged on his flip-flops prior to getting to the big stage. He certainly wasn’t challenged by the Illinois media. He certainly wasn’t challenged by the DC media. Now that he’s graduated to the big leagues, though, center-right bloggers and especially Jake Tapper will keep him honest. Relatively speaking of course. Mr. Rove will certainly hold him accountable:
In February, Mr. Obama said this about the goals of his stimulus package: “I think my initial measure of success is creating or saving four million jobs.” He later explained the stimulus’s $787 billion would “go directly to…generating three to four million new jobs.” And his Council of Economic Advisors issued an official analysis showing that the unemployment rate would top out in the third quarter of this year at just over 8%.
President Obama is pretending that ARRA “has worked as intended.” Unemployment has jumped from 7.6 percent to 9.5 percent, a 25 percent increase since the bill’s enactment and since we aren’t close to 4,000,000 jobs being saved or created or a combination thereof.
If the plan has worked as intended, then isn’t it a pretty worthless plan? I mean, didn’t the American people vote for President Obama with the hope that he’d solve our economic problems? I’m betting that the American people didn’t hope he’d enact policies that caused massive job losses and that wouldn’t jumpstart the economy. I’m betting that they wouldn’t agree with President Obama that ARRA “has worked as [they] intended.”
As is Mr. Obama’s habit, he has answered his critics by creating straw-man arguments. In last weekend’s radio address, he attacked detractors as those who “felt that doing nothing was somehow an answer.” But many of Mr. Obama’s critics didn’t feel that way. They offered, and Mr. Obama almost completely ignored, constructive ideas to jump-start the economy.
For example, House Republicans offered an alternative recovery package of immediate tax cuts and safety-net measures that cost half as much as Mr. Obama’s stimulus program. Republicans have also calculated that their plans would have created 50% more jobs than the stimulus. They reached that estimate by using the same job-growth econometric model that the president’s Council of Economic Advisors used for the stimulus.
There’s a reason why President Obama’s JA ratings have dropped. People don’t trust him like they did when he first got in office. Too often, President Obama has promised people things that he’s later failed to deliver on. That’s the shortest path to a credibility problem that I can think of.
President Obama’s first 6 months in office is marked with lots of stumbles and few successes for the American people. If that doesn’t change soon, Democrats will have to defend President Obama’s revisionist history during the 2010 campaign. Good luck with that.
If you haven’t read Victor Davis Hanson’s article for NRO, put that down as today’s must reading. VDH excoriates President Obama for “making things up.” I particularly appreciate the fact that he isn’t gentle in his excoriation of President Obama. Here’s a sample:
The â€œBig Lie.â€ Team Obama says that Judge Sotomayor misspoke when she asserted that Latinas were inherently better judges than white males. Yet the people around Obama knew before Sotomayor was nominated that she has reiterated such racialist sentiments repeatedly over many years.
Obama complained that his deficits were largely inherited, even though his newly projected annual deficit and aggregate increase in the national debt may well, if they are not circumvented, equal all the deficit spending compiled by all previous administrations combined.
The president lectures Congress on its financial excesses. He advocates â€œpay as you goâ€ budgeting. But he remains silent about the unfunded liabilities involved in his own proposals for cap-and-trade, universal health care, and education reform, which will in aggregate require well over a trillion dollars in new spending on top of existing deficits â€” but without any â€œpay as you goâ€ proposals to fund them.
By the same token, his promise that 95 percent of Americans will receive an Obama â€œtax cutâ€ is impossible. Remember, almost 40 percent of households currently pay no income taxes at all, and the $1.7-trillion annual deficit will necessitate a broad array of taxes well beyond those assessed on incomes above $250,000.
Obama talks about cutting federal outlays by eliminating $17 billion in expenditures, one-half of one percent of a $3.4-trillion budget. Here the gap between rhetoric and reality is already so wide that it simply makes no difference whether one goes completely beyond the limits of belief. Why would a liberal â€œbudget hawkâ€ go through the trouble of trying to cut 10 or 20 percent of the budget when he might as well celebrate a 0.5 percent cut and receive the same amount of credit or disdain? If one is going to distort, one might as well distort whole-hog.
Simply put, there isn’t a whopper that President Obama isn’t willing to tell if he thinks it’ll help him win an argument. President Obama hasn’t proven an ability to say no to telling big whoppers. I suspect that that’s because he’s willing to do anything to accumulate power and praise. Simply put, he’s a narcissist, perfectly willing to say anything to anyone if it’s said in the furtherance of achieving a goal.
President Obama isn’t the only administration official who is comfortable with telling whoppers. Vice President Biden is adept at it, too:
Vice President Joe Biden says â€œeveryone guessed wrongâ€ on the impact of the economic stimulus. Biden says the economy was worse off than anyone thought when officials estimated the number of jobs that could be saved or created under the administrationâ€™s $787 billion stimulus spending.
It’s long past time since the fawning traditional media held Democrats accountable on anything that wasn’t a scandal. If they scrutinized this administration’s statements and actions properly, this administration would have a job approval rating in the 40s.
Did anyone on the networks, other than Jake Tapper, report that Caterpillar’s CEO disputed President Obama’s statement about the impact of President Obama’s stimulus plan? Has anyone at the networks challenged President Obama’s saved or created nonsense?
As long as the traditional media treat President Obama with kid gloves, this administration’s lies will continue.
Fortunately for the American people, they don’t have to rely on the traditional media for their information. Fortunately, blogs and right-leaning websites like NRO are perfectly content to hold President Obama accountable for his doublespeak.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
During his interview with Brit Hume, President Bush said that winning in Iraq took priority over winning the 2006 elections. I’m thankful that he winning was his top priority. Here’s what he told Hume:
“During the darkest days of Iraq, people came to me and said, ‘You’re creating incredible political difficulties for us,'” the current president said as his term draws to a close. “And I said, ‘Oh, really? What do you suggest I do?’ And some suggested retreat, pull out of Iraq.
“But I had faith that freedom exists in people’s souls and therefore, if given a chance, democracy and Iraqi-style democracy could survive and work,” the president said. “I didn’t compromise that principle for the sake of trying to, you know, bail out my political party.”
Thankfully, we had someone in the White House who took terrorism seriously. Unfortunately, the 42nd president didn’t take it serious.
Twenty years from now, serious historians will record that President Bush’s decisions liberated 50,000,000 people while preventing numerous terrorist attacks after the horrific attacks of 9/11. Twenty years from now, serious historians will say that terrorism wasn’t a priority for President Clinton even after the bombing of the Khobar Towers or after the bombing of the East African embassies or after the bombing of the USS Cole. Twenty years from now, serious historians will credit President Bush with liberating Iraq and Afghanistan, countries that will be strong American allies.
It’s rare that an American president puts their greatest priorities on liberty. It was certainly a high priority for JFK, FDR, Reagan and Lincoln. Though I don’t rank President Bush as high as I rank that group, I do recognize that he liberated more people than JFK and Lincoln.
Achieving important goals like spreading liberty and ridding nations of tyrannical rulers is more important than winning elections because our nation’s security is important to several generations’ well-being whereas the political pendulum swings back and forth.
Cross-posted at California Conservative