Turnabout is Fair Play: From Monoblogue….

From Michael Swartz and Monoblogue….

While I’m pleased the Daily Times ran my op-ed yesterday (adding to the original title I use above), it’s sort of a pale pastel of what I originally had in mind. But they wanted me to get it down around 500 words so I complied. Here is the original version I wrote on Tuesday for comparison.

I was a Tea Partier before being one was cool.

For years I’ve believed in the principles of fiscal conservatism and limited government. I seethed just as much when President Bush adopted No Child Left Behind and the budget-busting Medicare Part D as I did when President Clinton vowed to “fix” the welfare reform package he’d just signed because it was too harsh for his progressive base to take. It makes me angry that the federal budget goes up and bureaucracy gets worse year after year regardless of who sits in the Oval Office or runs Congress.

Yet progressives always sneeringly ask those in the Tea Party movement, “what government programs would you cut?” Well, I have my list but others have theirs, too – that’s part of the problem with having a decentralized movement. And I also understand that responsible budget cutting is not expressed in terms of strictly dollars and cents because there needs to be a simultaneous effort at the federal and state levels to eliminate mandates which tie the hands of local government. There’s no simple answer, so we speak in those broad generalities that most of us agree with – limiting government to that which follows the intent of the Constitution as envisioned by our nation’s founders.

Given that setup, I’ll turn the question on its head and ask my friends on the left: how should we achieve the full funding that you desire for all of your pet programs? My home county came up $22 million short of departmental requests on a budget of $113 million while the state of Maryland counts on nearly $400 million of federal grants to patch the hole in its FY2011 budget. Needless to say Uncle Sam is just a wee bit short on funding for what Washington wants to spend.

Usually their answer is to tax the wealthy, so allow me to play this game of “what-if.”

Given that our President is the leader of the free world, one would think his CEO position is the most powerful job one can get. For this he makes a salary of $400,000 annually. (We all know that the perks of free housing, unlimited travel allowances, Secret Service protection, and so forth make the compensation package much more lucrative but the paycheck is still $400,000.) I can just hear the leftists say, “well, since the most powerful guy in the world makes that much no one else should make more. People can earn all they want but after $400,000 we’re going to tax them at a 100% rate.” Okay, done.

Unfortunately, that decision would have severe consequences. Those who have the capital to pay such a punitive tax rate also have the wherewithal to relocate to a financially friendlier port-of-call. Just as we’ve seen in Maryland with a much less comparatively severe “millionaire’s tax,” capital will flee at a rate heretofore unseen. As we’ve proven repeatedly with “sin” taxes, the old adage that to get less of something you tax it will come true – with undesirable results.

Somewhere there is a balance between those services we need government to provide and what we’re willing to pay for them, but to the average Tea Party participant the pendulum has swung too far off center. However, a pendulum can also swing too far in the opposite direction and cutting too much away can bring on its own set of problems – if there were no government at all our society would dissolve into a pit of chaos and anarchy.

By attempting to paint the Tea Party with the same broad brush as anarchists and others of a radical ilk, the progressives project their issues onto our side. Those who rail against Tea Partiers need to realize that we, too, see the world as complex. We know solutions don’t come simply, but we also know that continuing in the same direction will only make the situation worse.

Then again, it was your side who believed in a conceptual and unspecific hope and change during our last national election. Who are the rational ones now?

Michael Swartz is a blogger and political writer who lives near Salisbury. He is a regular contributor of features to the Patriot Post internet newsletter and writes on national issues as a syndicated columnist through Liberty Features Syndicate. He can be reached at lfs.mswartz@gmail.com.

Next time I’ll know about how long of a feature to write (slightly shorter than my LFS op-eds) so don’t be surprised if you see these things more often.

The New Deal as Revolution

Whittaker Chambers at His Desk at Time Magazine

by Alan Snyder

Whittaker Chambers had a secret. He had worked in the American Communist underground for most of the 1930s. His break from that underground had been hazardous; he hid his family for quite some time before surfacing. When he did, his unique writing talent earned him a place at Time magazine, where he eventually rose to be one of its senior editors.

In 1939, with the outbreak of WWII, Chambers decided he needed to inform the FDR administration of what he knew about those currently working in the underground. Through an intermediary, he obtained an interview with Adolf Berle, the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of security. During his evening with Berle, Chambers disclosed a long list of individuals who could be threats to the country during a war that he sensed the U.S. would eventually have to enter.

Berle seemed alarmed by the revelations. Chambers was relieved that now the truth would come out. Yet when Berle took this information to FDR, he was rudely dismissed—FDR didn’t care.

When Chambers finally realized the administration was apathetic to the traitors in its midst, he had to reassess what he knew of FDR and his policies. In his classic autobiography, Witness, he describes how this rebuff affected him:

And with astonishment I took my first hard look at the New Deal. . . . All the New Dealers I had known were Communists or near-Communists. None of them took the New Deal seriously as an end in itself. They regarded it as an instrument for gaining their own revolutionary ends. I myself thought of the New Deal as a reform movement that, in social and labor legislation, was belatedly bringing the United States abreast of Britain or Scandinavia.

What shocked Chambers was that he recognized for the first time that the New Deal was far more than a reform movement. It was ”a genuine revolution, whose deepest purpose was not simply reform within existing traditions, but a basic change in the social, and, above all, the power relationships within the nation.”

This “revolution” was not taking the same form as the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, but its effect was just as sinister:

It was not a revolution by violence. It was a revolution by bookkeeping and lawmaking. In so far as it was successful, the power of politics had replaced the power of business. This is the basic power shift of all the revolutions of our time. This shift was the revolution.

Chambers was quite prescient in this analysis. American historians have long noted that in the last half of the nineteenth century, presidents played second fiddle to business leaders. This never sat well with progressives. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson made strides in the shift to power politics, but they suffered a setback in the 1920s under Harding and Coolidge, who were ingrained with the principles of self-government and sanctity of private property.

Then came the Depression and all the wonders that government could perform to ease the plight of the American people. Chambers saw that even though the New Deal was not an overt socialist/communist ploy, it worked in tandem with that philosophy. New Dealers, most of whom would have never considered themselves either socialists or communists, were, due to their progressive policies, fellow-travelers. As Chambers explains,

Thus men who sincerely abhorred the word Communism, in the pursuit of common ends found that they were unable to distinguish Communists from themselves, except that it was just the Communists who were likely to be most forthright and most dedicated in the common cause.

Critics of Witness often howled at Chambers’s association of liberals with socialists and communists. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, they cried. Yet Chambers put his own reputation on the line giving his witness before Congress in 1948, as he testified in the landmark Alger Hiss case. He knew, from personal experience, that the difference between liberalism and communism was in degree only: both put their faith in man and rejected faith in God; therefore, they shared a common worldview.

Chambers summarized the symbiotic relationship quite nicely:

Every move against the Communists was felt by the liberals as a move against themselves. . . . The Communists were fully aware of their superior tactical position, and knew that they had only to shout their innocence and cry: “Witch hunt!” for the liberals to rally in all innocence to their defense.

Some things don’t change: we are still undergoing a revolution by bookkeeping and lawmaking, and we continue to hear the snarls of “witch hunt” whenever this revolution is challenged. What we need now is the same tenacity shown by Chambers. He completed his “witness.” What will we do?

Blumenthal and the Liars’ Party

By Bruce Walker

Richard Blumenthal served in Vietnam — or at least he told the American people that he did. According to people who know Blumenthal, his war record grew over the years. That hapless tool of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, the New York Times, found no less than eight articles between 2003 and 2009 in which Blumenthal spoke of his service in Vietnam. Now, it seems, the Connecticut Democrat politician did not serve in Vietnam at all. In fact, Blumenthal took extraordinary steps to avoid service in Vietnam.

Lying about military service is bad, but what Blumenthal said in response to the New York Times story is uglier. In damage control mode, Blumenthal whined, “On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service, and I regret that. But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to my country.” Blumenthal, of course, did not “misspeak.” He did more than lie about his military service: He lied about lying. This is a special moral pathology of the left.

Think John Edwards, the man whom Democrats wished to be our vice president, the man who might have won the presidency in 2012. In October 2007, when confronted with allegations that he had had an affair with Rielle Hunter, Edwards said, “The story is false. It’s completely untrue, ridiculous.” In July 2008, Edwards admitted to having an affair with Hunter, but denied paternity of a love child with her, offering to take a paternity test. One of his staffers, Andrew Young, a married man with three children, said that he fathered Hunter’s child. When confronted with a photo showing Edwards holding Hunter’s baby, Edwards said “I don’t know anything about the photograph; I don’t know who that baby is.” Then in January 2010, Edwards admitted to having fathered Francis Quinn Hunter with Rielle Hunter. Edwards denied the truth at every turn and attacked those who spoke the truth. The John Edwards story is not about marital infidelity. It is the surreal tale of pathological lying.

What would it have been like to have a pathological liar like Edwards in the White House? We need not guess; we know. On January 26, 1998, an angry Bill Clinton addressed the rumors of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. He looked straight into the television camera and said, “I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m not going to say it again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never.” Clinton might have admitted the affair. He might have dodged the issue. He chose neither course. Instead, Clinton issued an adamant, clear statement denying his dishonesty and compounding his lies.

These lies of Blumenthal, Edwards, and Clinton are not the sort of lies usually bandied about in political battles. Their lies were not lies about health care, Iraq, global warming, unemployment rates, or any of the accepted free fire zones of partisan rhetoric. Honest people can differ on these sorts of issues. Indeed, arguments about these issues are the very stuff of political debates. The lies of Blumenthal, Edwards, and Clinton did not involve ideology or policy at all. Clinton was, as Bob Kerry once advised, a “very good liar” on policy matters, but that is something different. The lies of these four Democrats were wholly personal and self-serving.

The lies smell like John Kerry’s repeated statements over many years about his service in Indochina, in which he claimed that he spent Christmas 1968 in Cambodia under Nixon (October 14, 1979); that he was on a gunboat in Cambodia on Christmas 1968 (March 27, 1986); that upon orders, he took his swift boat in Cambodia on Christmas 1968 (1992 AP story); and that he executed combat missions into Cambodia (May 2000). John Kerry never fought in Cambodia at all. Richard Nixon was not president in December 1968.

Was this just a mistake? Was Kerry’s memory at fault? Kerry himself said that this 1968 Christmas in Cambodia was “seared in his memory.” How did Kerry respond to being caught in blatant lies about his military service? His operatives coined the term “swift-boating” as a pejorative for those who destroy reputations by defamation — even though what these veterans stated was true.

There is a pattern to this misbehavior. Blumenthal, Edwards, Clinton, and Kerry lied about their personal lives, hiding sins or inventing heroism. Each man was very specific in his false statements. All four of these men were lawyers, and three out of four were married to lawyers. Two of the four — Clinton and Blumenthal — were chosen as Attorney General for their home states, a position that should be held by scrupulously honest men.

All of these four lying Democrats are leftists. None of the four admitted their lies until they were caught. Even then, all four used lawyerly weasel words to cloud their clear dishonesty and attack those who discovered their lies. Is it worth noting that three of these four — Clinton, Kerry, and Edwards — were chosen by Democrats to run on their national ticket? Does it mean something that Blumenthal was intended to fill the seat of Chris Dodd, another leftist Democrat lawyer who was up to his neck in unethical behavior? Serial liars like these men are quickly known to their colleagues and co-partisans. That fact speaks as much to the party whose standard they bear as it does to the liars themselves. Which party? The Liars’ Party.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.

Americans For Prosperity–Salisbury, Maryland Chapter

May 26th meeting at Brew River, 7pm.

The Wicomico County AFP (Americans for Prosperity™) is composed of a cross section of hundreds of Wicomico County citizen activists committed to educating their fellow citizens about the lack of local fiscal restraint and the consequences of irresponsible government spending.

A recent poll [1] details Maryland citizen concerns:
• 79% would favor freezing government spending.
• 62% of Maryland citizens are concerned about our fiscal direction.
• 58% want fiscal restraint.
• 29% of Maryland voters are concerned about the economy and jobs.
• 18% more are concerned about taxes and spending.
• 9% more are concerned about the deficit.
• Remove unnecessary barriers to entrepreneurship and
opportunity to keep jobs in Wicomico County and attract new jobs.

Stop complaining and do something about it on May 26th!

AFP will be conducting a job interview of Andy Harris for Congress at Brew River, 7 pm, May 26th to decide if he can lead us out of this mess, as we continue our meet the candidate series.

Contact AFP: john.galt54@gmail.com

At West Point, Obama talks up national security strategy

By Michael D. Shear

WEST POINT, N.Y. — President Obama on Saturday pledged to shape a new “international order” as part of a national security strategy that emphasizes his belief in global institutions and America’s role in promoting democratic values around the world.

Speaking to the graduating class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point — the ninth wartime commencement in a row, he said — the commander in chief who is leading two foreign wars expressed his faith in cooperation and partnerships to confront the economic, military and environmental challenges of the future.

“The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times,'” he said in prepared remarks. “Countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing its wounds.”

The administration is set to officially release the president’s first national security strategy next week, and Obama’s preview on Saturday suggests it will be far different than the first one offered by his predecessor in 2002. In that prior document, President George W. Bush formally called for a policy of preemptive war and a “distinctly American internationalism.”

Obama has spoken frequently about shaping new alliances with the world, and of attempts to repair the U.S. image abroad after nearly a decade in which Bush’s approach was viewed with suspicion in many quarters. In his commencement speech to the graduates, the president emphasized his beliefs in those alliances.

“Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation,” he said. “We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice — so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don’t.”

Obama said the United States will pursue a strategy of “national renewal and global leadership.”

And yet, even as he calls for global cooperation, Obama has intensified America’s own war in Afghanistan. And his administration has repeatedly confronted the dangers of Islamic terrorism on U.S. soil, including unsuccessful attempts to down a Detroit-bound airliner and to explode a car bomb in New York’s Times Square.

To the men and women in the hall, many of whom are headed to Afghanistan because of the expansion of the war he announced here six months ago, Obama pledged “the full support of a proud and grateful nation.”

The president expressed confidence in the military’s ability to succeed in Afghanistan, but warned of a “tough fight” ahead as the United States helps the Afghan people to rebuild its civil institutions and its security system so they can battle the Taliban and other extremists on their own.

“We have brought hope to the Afghan people; now we must see that their country does not fall prey to our common enemies,” he said. “There will be difficult days ahead. But we will adapt, we will persist, and I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan.”

In Iraq, he said, the United States is “poised” to end its combat operations this summer, leaving behind “an Iraq that provides no safe haven to terrorists; a democratic Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self-reliant.”

“You, and all who wear America’s uniform, remain the cornerstone of our national defense and the anchor of global security,” he said. “And through a period when too many of our institutions have acted irresponsibly, the American military has set a standard of service and sacrifice that is as great as any in this nation’s history.”

But he said civilians must answer the call of service as well, by securing America’s economic future, educating its children and confronting the challenges of poverty and climate change. He said the country must always pursue what he called the “universal rights” rooted in the Constitution.

“We will promote these values above all by living them — through our fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution, even when it’s hard; and through our commitment to forever pursue a more perfect union,” he said.

To the cadets themselves, he praised their pursuit of being “soldier-scholars” and lauded the records of academic excellence the Class of 2010 has set. He also took note of the fact that the class’s top two graduates this year are both women, reflecting, he said, the “indispensable role” that women play in the modern military.

As they become commissioned officers in the Army, Obama told the graduates of West Point that the country owes them a debt of gratitude.

“Here in the quiet of these hills, you have come together to prepare for the most difficult tests of our time'” Obama said. “You signed up knowing your service would send you into harm’s way, and did so long after the first drums of war were sounded. In you we see the commitment of our country, and timeless virtues that have served our nation well.”