July 4 — the sum of our struggles, strife and exceptionalism as a people

For many of us the Fourth of July means barbecue — hot, beer — cold and fireworks to mark the birth of a nation.

Let me tell you about a Fourth when I learned how much more it means.

On a warm evening about thirty years ago we watched fireworks from the balcony of my father’s office on the East River. As the sound of the explosions bounced off the skyscrapers around us like thunder a broad, strong looking man stepped inside the office and stood in the corner his face almost paralyzed with anxiety.

I summoned my father and we went to him. The man quietly explained that the sound of rockets being shot into the air followed by the flash of lights and color and deafening noise returned him to the fields of Vietnam where he served as United States Army Ranger.

My father put his hand on his shoulder and agreed that the fireworks reminded him too of the mortar fire he experienced and the loves lost as a Marine at Iwo Jima. Within a few minutes his wife and many of the partygoers returned inside knowing that someone was not feeling well and gathered in quiet support.

The Army veteran seemed embarrassed and apologized,” I’m sorry to break up the party.” My mother responded with tears in her eyes, looking at the veterans of two wars “If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t be able to have this party.” And then the Ranger led us all back to the fireworks.

Read more here.

US falls to 5th in global competitiveness

The U.S. has tumbled further down a global ranking of the world’s most competitive economies, landing at fifth place because of its huge deficits and declining public faith in government, a global economic group said Wednesday.

The announcement by the World Economic Forum was the latest bad news for the Obama administration, which has been struggling to boost the sinking U.S. economy and lower an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent.

Switzerland held onto the top spot for the third consecutive year in the annual ranking by the Geneva-based forum, which is best known for its exclusive meeting of luminaries in Davos, Switzerland, each January.

Singapore moved up to second place, bumping Sweden down to third. Finland moved up to fourth place, from seventh last year. The U.S. was in fourth place last year, after falling from No. 1 in 2008.

The rankings, which the forum has issued for more than three decades, are based on economic data and a survey of 15,000 business executives.

The forum praised the U.S. for its productivity, highly sophisticated and innovative companies, excellent universities and flexible labor market. But it also cited “a number of escalating weaknesses” such as rising government debt and declining public faith in political leaders and corporate ethics.

Read more here.

Is Obama Trying to Weaken America?

Michael Medved argues today in the Wall Street Journal that Obama Isn’t Trying to ‘Weaken America,’ citing Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and an article by Victor Sharp on “the well-regarded American Thinker website.”

Medved may have a valid point that portraying Obama as some kind of Manchurian candidate and railing against his “evil intentions” is not a good strategy to win votes in 2012.

Medved however misses the point of many of Obama’s critics: Obama would like America to take its place in the world community as one nation among many. He does not believe that American values are exceptional. He does not believe that America’s military superiority and superpower status is good for the world. He believes that it’s unfair that Americans consume so much of the world’s resources. He believes that the income inequality in America is unfair.

When Obama attempts to fundamentally change and transform America, conservatives think he is destroying America. Obama however believes that he’s improving the country, guiding it away from a consumerist, jingoist, capitalist past to a better future. Obama’s intentions are not evil; it’s the consequences of his actions that conservatives believe will weaken America.

Thomas Lifson adds: Jack Kerwick addressed the point that Obama’s vision of “improving” America might appear to be weakening it yesterday in his article, Does Obama Want the Best for America or Does He Want to Destroy It?

An open letter to President Obama from Jon Voight

An open letter from actor Jon Voight to President Obama:

June 22, 2010

President Obama:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone’s enemy — and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm’s way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.

You have brought this to a people who have given the world the Ten Commandments and most laws we live by today. The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientists and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs. But the underdogs you defend are murderers and criminals who want Israel eradicated.

You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.

With heartfelt and deep concern for America and Israel,

Jon Voight

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