Poisoned Minds, Poisoned Bodies in Syria

“Humane killer” appears to be an oxymoron that startles with contradiction. Yet talking of war is a way of drawing a fine distinction, not a contradiction. The civilized world clarifies an understanding of how a civilized man can kill an enemy while separating human from inhumane.

When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turned poison gas against the rebels and their families, everyone could agree that even in a civil war — where passions burn hottest — that’s inhumane, and it’s not forgivable.

The harsh and mechanical reporting of war rarely invites poetry to make a correspondent’s points, but a reader with a yearning for a more penetrating reality turns to the poignant verse of Wilfred Owen, the young British poet who was called to duty when the poisonous mist of chlorine gas settled over the trenches in the Great War of 1914-1918. The poet who dreamed of joining bards and birds “singing of summer scything” turned the poetic power of observation to describe a victim on the front, fumbling with helmet and mask, too late to protect himself from the poison that leaves him “guttering, choking, drowning.” We see the victim’s white eyes wilt on his face, like a “devil’s sick of sin” and listen to “the gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.”

Tanks and machineguns killed many more soldiers in the Great War than gas, but the poison could linger when it did not kill, terrifying and demoralizing both the soldier on the front and the public back home. It was such an inhumane way to kill that its use led to the Geneva Protocols that outlawed chemical warfare in 1925.

Although powerful images of “ordinary” battlefield and civilian deaths have been blamed on both government and rebels in Syria, there’s less talk about the grim inhumanity of the weapons than identifying a political rationale for our own self-interest. The fighting simply didn’t feel up close and personal when President Obama argued against getting “mired” in such a grim and difficult dilemma. A year has passed since he drew a blood-red line that would be the outer limits of American patience and then declined to follow through when Assad looked at the red and saw it as green.

Photographs of the dead, of women, children and whole families, shouldn’t have been necessary to get President Obama’s full attention. He could have helped the rebels when they were winning. But the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer, even for a president who leads from behind. The appeal to good will and fair play hasn’t worked. He neither “reset” relations with Russia nor did he establish a “new beginning with Muslims around the world,” as he promised in Cairo in 2009.

His approach in the Middle East was simple, even elegant, says Walter Russell Mead in a trenchant analysis in The Wall Street Journal. The president’s policy was well-intentioned, carefully crafted, consistently pursued, and a colossal failure. “The U.S would work with moderate Islamist groups like Turkey’s AK Party and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to make the Middle East more democratic,” he argues. “This would kill three birds with one stone.”

This would narrow the gap between the “moderate middle” of the Muslim world (such as it might be) and demonstrate how peaceful, moderate parties can achieve results and isolate terrorists and radicals. The democratic gains that would be achieved would improve economic and social conditions to the point of reducing the appeal of fanaticism that drives people into terrorist camps. It seemed so simple.

The clarity of hindsight exposes many errors in the president’s thinking about the world and America’s place in it, but no error is so clear now as his refusal to aid the Syrian rebels before their ranks were swollen with radicals and terrorists nobody can trust. The cost in human life from chemical warfare rather than politics inevitably drives us toward getting an involved, unhappy result. Though that may be, many of the rebels are neither friendly nor inclined to learn democracy. The president in failing to win what once appeared to be an easy victory over a dictator backed by Russia and Iran now looks weak and uncertain. President Vladimir Putin in Russia and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran are entitled, from the evidence the president himself furnished, to think Obama is dithering, indecisive and irresolute. We can expect them to act accordingly.

But if an Assad victory would be awful, a rebel triumph might eventually be worse. In the sixth year of his presidential odyssey, Obama is poised to sail through Scylla and Charybdis, anarchy and despotism. Rough seas lie ahead.

Write to Suzanne Fields at: suzannefields2000@gmail.com. To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Is Article V in Our Future?

Attacks on the U.S. Constitution are coming from all sides. The New York Times opened its op-ed page to several liberal professors of government: One calls our Constitution “imbecilic,” another claims it contains “archaic” and “evil provisions” and a third urges us to “rewrite the Second Amendment.”

Out of exasperation with the flouting of the Constitution by Barack Obama and his acolytes, and the way Congress is letting them get by with these violations, several conservative authors and pundits are promoting the calling of a national convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. They believe a series of amendments can put our country on a wiser path.

The authority for such a procedure is Article V of our Constitution, so they are calling their plan of action an Article V convention. However, they are fooling themselves when they suggest that Article V creates a path to bypass Congress with a “convention of states.”

The only power the states have under Article V is the opportunity to submit an “application” (petition) humbly beseeching Congress to call a convention. Hundreds of such applications have been submitted over the years, with widely different purposes and wording, many applications were later rescinded and some purport to make the application valid for only a particular amendment such as a federal balanced budget or congressional term limits.

Article V states that Congress “shall” call a convention on the application of two-thirds of state legislatures (34), but how will Congress count valid applications? We don’t know, and so far, Congress has ignored them anyway.

If Congress ever decides to act, Article V gives Congress exclusive power to issue the “Call” for a convention to propose “amendments” (note the plural). The Call is the governing document which determines all the basic rules such as where and when a convention will be held, who is eligible to be a delegate (will current office-holders be eligible?), how delegates will be apportioned, how expenses will be paid and who will be the chairman.

Article V also gives Congress the power to determine whether the three-fourths of the states required for ratification of amendments can ratify by the state legislature’s action or by state conventions.

The most important question to which there is no answer is how will convention delegates be apportioned? Will each state have one vote (no matter how many delegates it sends), which was the rule in the 1787 Philadelphia convention, or will the convention be apportioned according to population (like Congress or the Electoral College)?

Nothing in Article V gives the states any power to make this fundamental decision. If apportionment is by population, the big states will control the outcome.

Article V doesn’t give any power to the states to propose constitutional amendments, or to decide which amendments will be considered by the convention. Article V doesn’t give any power to the courts to correct what does or does not happen.

Now imagine Democratic and Republican conventions meeting in the same hall and trying to agree on constitutional changes. Imagine the gridlock in drafting a constitutional plank by caucuses led by Sarah Palin and Al Sharpton.

Everything else about how an Article V Convention would function, including its agenda, is anybody’s guess. Advocates of an Article V convention can hope and predict, but they cannot assure us that any of their plans will come true.

If we follow the model of the 1787 Convention, will the deliberations be secret? Are you kidding? Nothing is secret any more. What are the plans to deal with protesters: the gun-control lobby, the gay lobby, the abortion lobby, the green lobby, plus experienced protestors trained by Obama’s Organizing for Action, at what would surely be the biggest media event of the year, if not of the century.

There is no proof that the VIPs promoting an Article V convention have any first-hand knowledge of the politics or procedures of a contested national convention. Don’t they realize that the convention will set its own agenda and that states will have no say over which amendments are considered?

A recent example of how a convention chairman wielding the gavel can manipulate what happens is the way the 2012 Democratic National Convention chairman ruthlessly called the vote wrong when a delegate tried to add a reference to God in the party platform. The chairman got by with declaring the amendment passed even though we all saw on television that the “Noes” won the vote.

The whole process is a prescription for political chaos, controversy and confrontation. Alas, I don’t see any George Washingtons, James Madisons, Ben Franklins or Alexander Hamiltons around today who could do as good a job as the Founding Fathers, and I’m worried about the men who think they can.

Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 20 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of the New York Times Best-Seller titled “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.” She can be contacted by e-mail at phyllis@eagleforum.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

The Myth of Liberal Compassion

What will it take for the country to wake up to the destructive ravages of liberalism — and finally do something about them?

Liberals continue to masquerade as exclusive proprietors of compassion, but their policies stubbornly undermine their possessory claim. Indeed, Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America is nothing less than America’s decline and destruction in the name of compassion and fairness.

You can’t scan a day’s news without seeing proof of this. Let’s look at just two items in today’s news digest.

The Cato Institute has released a report documenting that in Obama’s America, “welfare pays better than work.” Cato’s Michael Tanner concludes that the federal government funds 126 programs targeted at low-income Americans, a shocking 72 of which involve the transfer of cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. This does not include the many assistance programs provided by state and local governments.

The Cato study examines the state-by-state value of welfare for a mother of two children. In the state of New York, for example, “a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.”

Because welfare benefits aren’t taxable, a New York wage earner would have to earn in excess of $21 per hour to do better than his welfare recipient counterpart, which is more than a beginning teacher makes. Though benefits vary among the states, for many recipients, especially long-term dependents, welfare pays substantially more than an entry-level job.

Ponder the powerful disincentive this constitutes to work — just like the endless extension of unemployment benefits over which Obama is always willing to shut down the government.

How can a society that embraces the work ethic not shudder in horror at this development? Yet a great portion of our society and political class doesn’t.

Obviously, this state of affairs threatens America’s fiscal integrity and is punitive to those in the workforce. Perhaps what’s not so obvious, at least to bleary-eyed utopians, is that such excessive transfer payments ultimately harm the recipients in the long term. So do punitive taxes on the “rich.” A powerful piece in The Wall Street Journal on Monday demonstrates that “targeting the wealthy kills jobs.” In other words, folks, liberal compassion is not compassionate.

Cato posits that the best cure for poverty is still a job. And contrary to what the compassion snobs doubtlessly believe, even minimum-wage jobs can launch people out of poverty.

A specific remedy is to strengthen work requirements in welfare programs. In fact, we’ve done it, and it worked. But Obama didn’t like it and reversed it because he is trapped in his radicalized worldview, a narrow-minded ideology that misinforms him that we have a closed economy with a fixed amount of income — a finite, zero-sum pie that offers the opportunity for individual growth only through redistribution. Is it any wonder he has given us perpetual economic malaise?

In our next news item of the day, we read about the enormous expansion of the regulatory state under Obama and how it will outlast his term in office.

In my most recent two books, in which I chronicled President Obama’s ongoing assault on America, I substantiated the frightening growth of the regulatory state under Obama, which has since become even worse — by Obama’s design. Just as he lied about increasing domestic oil production, he falsely claimed he has streamlined our regulatory climate.

He’s frequently huffed that he will use all tools at his disposal — many of them regulatory — to advance his agenda when Congress won’t bend to his will. He has acted unilaterally on immigration, labor, energy, gun control, cybersecurity, sentencing guidelines for drug offenses and the environment, to name a few.

The Hill reports that in Obama’s first three years in office, the Code of Federal Regulations increased by 7.4 percent, almost twice the rate of President George W. Bush’s first term. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, asserts, “It would be difficult for anyone to pretend that this isn’t a high water mark in terms of regulation.”

These rules and regulations are not only smothering our economy but also destroying our individual liberties and threatening our constitutional framework because they are promulgated and enforced by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.

You don’t need to be an economist to understand that Obama’s massive taxing, spending and regulations are causing America’s economic decline. You don’t need to be a sociologist to grasp that his runaway welfare schemes are robbing people of their dignity while doing little to alleviate poverty.

At some point, Obama and his fellow liberals need to be judged for the effects of their policies, not the grandiosity of their self-congratulatory rhetoric.

It’s often said that there is nothing compassionate about being charitable with other people’s money. It’s not said often enough that arrogant liberal experiments in forced “fairness” are affirmatively cruel because they comprehensively destroy wealth and prosperity and greatly harm the people they promise to benefit.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Government Shutdown Myths Needing To Be Debunked

Senator Ted Cruz (R.-TX) is doing grassroots America an enormous favor on several fronts. By standing resolute in his assertion that Obamacare can and should be defunded, he is showing the way to dismantle a malignant socialist monster that fundamentally threatens the American ideal. Perhaps of greater importance is that in the process he is smoking out those liberal Trojan Horses who have infested the GOP, and who will ensure its ineffectiveness for as long as they are allowed to remain in its midst.

 In one of the most frequently quoted but deliberately mischaracterized political statements of all time, Ronald Reagan proffered the concept of the Republican Party as a “Big Tent.” By this he intended to encourage those of varying ideologies to put aside their differences and follow his leadership in achieving a greater America. And after eight years of a booming national economy, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the retreat of worldwide communism, few could honestly argue with his track record of success.

 Sadly, by 1996, his view of the party had been completely undermined and mutated into a pathetic caricature of its former potential. In a futile attempt to “broaden the base,” Senator Bob Dole (the Republican candidate running against incumbent Bill Clinton) invoked his own completely altered “Big Tent,” while claiming Reagan’s mantle to give it legitimacy. In Dole’s version, the goal was to stand for as little as possible, thereby making a more welcoming place for those with disparate viewpoints. But while Reagan’s “Big Tent” was built on courage, principle, and leadership, Dole’s was contrived from an effort to pander and follow. Historically, undecided voters have been far more inspired by the former, and disenfranchised by the latter.

 The consequences of such misbegotten thinking were painfully evident on Wednesday, November 7 1996, as the inept and scandal plagued Bill Clinton easily swept into his second term. Nor has the GOP Establishment learned anything since that dismal day. Despite liberal assurances of Barack Obama’s invincibility and inevitability, throughout both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, tracking polls showed that a conservative opposition could render him extremely vulnerable. Sadly, the moment Obama’s Republican opponents began to receive criticism for their “extremism” from his cheerleaders in the media (a sure sign they were gaining), they would compliantly back down and cede the moral and philosophical high ground to him, at which point their momentum would predictably dissipate.

 In contrast, Cruz accepts each attack from the left as an opportunity to reiterate his governing philosophy, a strategy that has significantly propelled him to the forefront of political debate. And to the horror of liberal Democrats who know how fragile their facade of a socialist utopia is when confronted by a bold and articulate conservative, thus far, all of their efforts to relegate him to the status of a pariah have backfired. Instead he continues to gain prominence and esteem in the American Heartland.

 His latest engagement with the left could deal a potentially fatal blow to Obamacare by completely defunding it. Considering the piecemeal methods by which the Democrats have continued to spend trillions of dollars and bloat the government since April of 2009, while avoiding the accountability of having a real budget, it ought to be obvious to the GOP that the stage is set for a direct confrontation between extra-constitutional leftists and traditional America. Sadly, such an encounter would require political “spine,” a commodity that is appallingly scarce among Beltway Republicans. Instead, per their customary methods they find it easier to attack Cruz than to stand up to the out-of-control Democrat Party.

 Notable Republicans and “conservative” pundits have gone to great lengths to assure America that Cruz’s plan could never work, and would ultimately prove disastrous to the GOP (an ironic assessment which presumes that their typical actions have ever enjoyed a track record of success). To support this notion, they regularly hearken back to the 1995 Budget Battle, in which Bill Clinton shut down the government rather than sign on to a Republican budget that he considered “Draconian.” Accepting the Democrat revision of history in its entirety, Republicans insist that the shutdown yielded disastrous losses for the GOP, possibly including the presidential election of the following year.

 As usual, the facts simply do not support this contention. A rarely mentioned fact is that, just prior to the government restarting (the “shutdown” was itself drastically overblown), it was Bill Clinton whom the public held responsible for the impasse. Fortunately for Clinton, “Republican” Senate Leader Bob Dole rode to his rescue, completely caving by signing on to a stopgap “continuing resolution,” with his famous pronouncement of “Enough is enough!” At that point, with Dole essentially exonerating Clinton and accepting blame for the rancorous standoff, public scorn shifted to him and his party.

 So although Dole and his successors steadfastly maintain that the government shutdown damaged them politically, it was in fact the government restart that cost them credibility with the voters. Nevertheless, this myth has remained at the forefront of GOP politicking ever since. According to those learned party insiders, the only manner in which to deal with the Democrats on such controversial issues is to constantly surrender to them. Thus has the GOP, despite occasional majority status and even when holding the White House, allowed the liberal agenda to advance with little or no resistance.

 It is perhaps for this reason more than any other that the Republican “Old Guard” detests Ted Cruz more stridently than any member of the Democrat opposition. Contrary to their efforts to continue “business as usual” as an ineffective minority party, Cruz insists that they employ the means available to them in order to truly contest the liberal onslaught. Such a course would deem them at least partially responsible for the governing actions that ensue, and this is a possibility that they truly abhor. In their self-serving world, it is better to allow the establishment of a socialist state, and the eradication of constitutional principle, than to be the targets of criticism for upsetting the apple cart.

 If Ted Cruz accomplishes anything other than actually defunding Obamacare, it will be to enlighten Americans as to where the real battle against liberalism needs to be fought and won, which is deep within a Republican Party that is far too comfortable having abandoned its political soul.

 Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.

Progressives and Blacks

Sometimes I wonder when black people will reject the patronizing insults of white progressives and their black handmaidens. After CNN’s Piers Morgan’s interview with the key witness in the George Zimmerman trial, he said: “Rachel Jeantel is not uneducated. She’s a smart cookie.” That’s a remarkable conclusion. Here’s a 19-year-old young lady, still in high school, who cannot read cursive and appears to be barely literate. Morgan may have meant Jeantel is smart — for a black person.

Progressives treat blacks as victims in need of kid glove treatment and special favors, such as racial quotas and preferences. This approach has been tried in education for decades and has revealed itself a failure. I say it’s time we explore other approaches. One approach is suggested by sports. Blacks excel — perhaps dominate is a better word — in sports such as basketball, football and boxing to such an extent that blacks are 80 percent of professional basketball players, are 66 percent of professional football players and, for decades, have dominated most professional boxing categories.

These outcomes should raise several questions. In sports, when have you heard a coach explain or excuse a black player’s poor performance by blaming it on a “legacy of slavery” or on that player’s being raised in a single-parent household? When have you heard sports standards called racist or culturally biased? I have yet to hear a player, much less a coach, speak such nonsense. In fact, the standards of performance in sports are just about the most ruthless anywhere. Excuses are not tolerated. Think about it. What happens to a player, black or white, who doesn’t come up to a college basketball or football coach’s standards? He’s off the team. Players know this, and they make every effort to excel. They do so even more if they have aspirations to be a professional player. By the way, blacks also excel in the entertainment industry — another industry in which there’s ruthless dog-eat-dog competition.

Seeing as blacks have demonstrated an ability to thrive in an environment of ruthless competition and demanding standards, there might be some gains from a similar school environment. Maybe we ought to have some schools in which youngsters are loaded up with homework, frequent tests and demanding, top-notch teachers. In such schools, there would be no excuses for anything. Youngsters cut the mustard, or they’re kicked out and put into some other school. I’m betting that a significant number of black youngsters would prosper in such an environment, just as they prosper in the highly competitive sports and entertainment environments.

Progressives’ agenda calls for not only excuse-making but also dependency. Nowhere is this more obvious than it is in their efforts to get as many Americans as they can to be dependent on food stamps; however, in this part of their agenda, they offer racial equal opportunity. During President Barack Obama’s years in office, the number of people receiving food stamps has skyrocketed by 39 percent. Professor Edward Lazear, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-09, wrote in a Wall Street Journal article titled “The Hidden Jobless Disaster” (June 5, 2013) that research done by University of Chicago’s Casey Mulligan suggests “that because government benefits are lost when income rises, some people forgo poor jobs in lieu of government benefits —unemployment insurance, food stamps and disability benefits among the most obvious.” Government handouts probably go a long way toward explaining the unprecedented number of Americans, close to 90 million, who are no longer looking for work.

This is all a part of the progressive agenda to hook Americans, particularly black Americans, on government handouts. In future elections, they will be able to claim that anyone who campaigns on cutting taxing and spending is a racist. That’s what Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said in denouncing the Republican 1994 call for tax cuts. He said, “It’s not ‘spic’ or ‘nigger’ anymore. (Instead,) they say, ‘Let’s cut taxes.'”

When black Americans finally recognize the harm of the progressive agenda, I’m betting they will be the nation’s most conservative people, for who else has been harmed by progressivism as much?

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

ABC’s Good Morning Sex

Network morning “news” shows are aimed directly at women aged 25 to 54. ABC’s “Good Morning America” is routinely winning the ratings race by skipping the boring “hard news” and focusing heavily on real-life soap operas, such as the Jodi Arias murder trial or the Ariel Castro kidnapping outrage. It isn’t news at all. It’s infotainment.

But what really caused jaws to drop recently was ABC promoting its latest sex-drenched Sunday night soap opera to those women. Viewers saw a naked man and woman in bed, with a side breast shot and the man’s hand grasping the top of the woman’s thigh — on TV at breakfast time. As usual, this eye-grabbing sex scene wasn’t between spouses. That’s never scandalous enough.

The new show is called “Betrayal,” and it’s all about a neglected wife who commits adultery. The plot twist is her new lover turns out to be a defense lawyer who’s opposing her prosecutor husband in a big murder trial. “Desperate Housewives” is gone, but Sunday night’s still a favorite dumping ground for sleazy TV.

Rebeca Seitz is a blogger and promoter of family-friendly entertainment. She could not believe what she saw on ABC with her young children on the morning of Aug. 8, just before 8:30.

In a blog post that quickly went viral, Seitz protested, “This wasn’t primetime. This was a commercial about a primetime show airing while we all enjoy cornflakes and coffee and wish our kiddos a good morning. My kid saw that. Not because I took him to a movie wholly inappropriate for his age. Not because I quit parenting and just told him to turn on the TV at 10 p.m. and watch whatever.”

She argued that ABC’s bosses felt “Betrayal” wouldn’t be a success due to good writing, acting, lighting or camera work. “Someone decided that what was needed to get people to actually watch ‘Betrayal’ was taking off the actors’ clothes and having them simulate sex — at least the Hollywood version of it.”

Then it’s somehow the parent’s job to screen ABC commercials that display nudity with no warning.

Seitz posted a picture to Facebook, which spread the shock and outrage. Then Facebook notified her the picture had been “reported as inappropriate due to nudity” and then removed the porny screen shot.

So Wild West Facebook has higher moral standards than “Good Morning America”!

The creator of “Betrayal,” David Zabel, told the recent TV critics tour in Hollywood that he realizes it’s “a challenge” to get audiences to find sympathy for two cheating spouses, but added: “They’ve overcome it on “Scandal” — another ABC show, where one of the cheaters is the president of the United States. Like every other salesman of filth, Zabel blathers that he’s aiming for a “cable sensibility” that’s “much more sophisticated and adult.”

When he aims for cable, he doesn’t mean the Disney Channel. Do you ever wonder what Walt Disney would think of what happened to his company, once so beloved for entertaining … families?

ABC keeps churning out trashy soaps that fail, from “Dirty Sexy Money” to “Good Christian Bitches” to “666 Park Avenue.” One TV critic who viewed the pilot episode said, “42 minutes of ‘Betrayal’ felt like two years of watching very, very expensive paint dry on the wall of an apartment you could never afford to live in.”

Seitz was overwhelmed by the online support she received, but she was also disappointed by the flocks of people who told her they had surrendered their remote controls and gave up on insisting Hollywood should have standards for the masses. To Seitz, that sounds like waving a white flag of surrender.

“Television is one of — if not the — most powerful, effective forms of media for transmitting our beliefs, our cultural norms, what we deem entertaining and encouraging as a society. I’m trying desperately to understand the merits of just removing ourselves from it,” she wrote. “When we do that, we cede the territory … and it becomes what it has become, which is what our children inherit. If we don’t engage, what changes?”

We’ve seen the trend that begs for resistance. The executives who’ve ripped the Mickey Mouse ears off ABC are exactly like the rest of the Tinseltown elite. Money is the object, and stimulating the viewer with ever-darker material is the method.

They only see children as part of a 2-to-17-demographic on a chart that won’t make them enough money. The serious profits are in tantalizing and titillating young to middle-age adults, and there’s never a poor time to sell them glamorous immorality.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

The Spiritual Element Of America’s Downward Spiral

The liberal media is in high gear, attempting to convince Americans that their prospects are suddenly rosy. The economy is ostensibly in full rebound mode (again), and the annual federal deficit is projected to crash below the $1 trillion mark for the first time since Obama has been in office. So why are Americans reluctant to believe that their country is on the path to a bright and robust future? Could it be that people still measure their “quality of life” by some standard other than the state of the economy (Admittedly, this presumes that the economy is actually improving, which is more wishful speculation than objective truth)? Increasingly, America is reaping the consequences of its moral and spiritual collapse, and the dismal condition of the economy (Yes, it is dismal, once the flimsy veneer of liberal spin is removed) is only a symptom of the overall degradation of America. On numerous fronts, life in the country is in decline, and despite the best efforts of the left to redefine reality in a manner that puts their agenda in a good light, things will only continue to worsen for as long as the people of this country refuse to recognize the immutable truths of right and wrong, and determine once again to abide by them. In one of the most blatant manifestations of such deterioration, consider the accelerating encroachments of militant Islam. Advocates of Sharia law, with all of its oppression and brutality, are advancing from beachheads which they established in America only a few short years ago. The basic premises of the religious freedom, enjoyed by Christians in America since before the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, are being relentlessly eradicated, precept by precept, under the bogus auspices of “separation of Church and state.” Meanwhile, municipalities, states, and even the federal government establish policy and conduct business with ever increasing deference to Islamic demands. Somehow we are expected to believe that the Founders would see the federal government raze that little white Church down the road to protect us from the “threat” it apparently poses, while inviting those Imams and their Mosques to help define law, justice, and freedom for America. But this appalling situation did not result from Islam having gained sufficient strength to surpass the Judeo-Christian principles on which Western culture was built, and by which it has flourished. Rather, it is the dilution and dissipation of those principles which left the nation morally and philosophically bankrupt, and created a void that the Islamists are perfectly willing to fill with their barbaric and oppressive ideology. Despite the vapid assertions of leftists and even some claiming to be on the “right” who deny religion and morality (read: Christian principle) as a basis for Western law, and who believe that society can be improved if it becomes “neutral” on such matters, somebody’s religion will ultimately prevail. And if “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is jettisoned as a basis for upholding the rights of all, a more Darwinian system will arise in which the strong will suppress the weak by any brutal means necessary. This is the historical norm, while the American experiment has been a glorious exception. Yet America is far from being at the “tipping point” after which such an onslaught could no longer be repulsed. In truth, the leftist/countercultural offensive is being perpetrated by a “paper tiger,” which still lacks either the numbers or philosophical strength to overwhelm traditional America. What it does possess is a good propaganda machine to create an impression of its vast and inexorable power. Worse yet, many on the right are reverting to a defeatist and pacifist attitude which only emboldens and thus empowers the seditious powers seeking to eradicate the America of John Adams and Patrick Henry, and supplant it with a Marxist collectivist state in which the highest aspiration of the citizenry is merely to subsist. A few recent events bear witness of the mire into which America has been dragged, and by which it will be devoured if the people of the Heartland do not firmly resolve to extricate their beloved land from it. As he awaited trial for what could be a capital offense, Major Nidal Hasan, who murdered thirteen Americans and wounded dozens of others at Fort Hood Texas in 2009, was allowed to grow a beard in deference to his Islamic religion, despite still remaining on the Army payroll at a cost to taxpayers of over $300,000. By this string of travesties, not only Hasan’s victims, but all of the American people are being betrayed and mocked. Meanwhile, out of concern for the sensitivities of Muslims and homosexuals in the United States military, an edict has recently been issued which prohibits Christian servicemen and women, including Military Chaplains, from sharing their faith, despite this being a basic tenet of Christianity. In short, the Army of General George Washington, who kneeled and prayed at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777, is being supplanted by one that frowns on such a practice while embracing sexual deviancy and a theology that is hostile to such Western institutions as the Church and the Constitution. As this assault on the institutions of this great America advances, and among such institutions the Military was once an unshakable cornerstone, it is increasingly difficult to even voice any dissent over such matters in public without becoming a target of official efforts to be silenced. Hence, another fundamental principle of the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights is being dismantled. Can any of the others long remain immune? Leading the way in America’s plunge from greatness to desolation in recent decades has been the once great state of California. In an act that could only have been the punch line of bad jokes in times past, Governor Gerry Brown recently signed AB1266, a law that allows K-12 students “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities, and facilities,” regardless of their gender. At a time in their lives when young people are seeking to comprehend the increasing complexities of life, and are most in need of caring adult guidance to help them sort through the confusion of it all, they are instead abandoned to the clutches of those in government most willing to pander to societal fringe movements that will exploit them as pawns. Meanwhile, the rights of children to be free from invasive encroachments by the opposite sex in locker rooms and restrooms have been callously cast by the wayside. However, the liberal establishment, led by those bastions of morality the Democrats, have indeed found an affront to decency that is abhorrently unacceptable to them, and worthy of the loudest and severest condemnation. It seems that a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair had the temerity to wear a Barack Obama mask and behave in a manner that mocked its namesake. The denunciations were immediate and fierce, the sanctimony unparalleled. Here is a behavior that cannot and will not be tolerated if we are to have any hope that the nation will endure. And these nauseating excesses of feigned liberal indignation have continued unabated for several days running. Forget, for the moment, the abject hypocrisy of these moralizing leftists who are happy to demean conservatives when any occasion arises, including at the announcement of a death. Consider instead the time and effort being devoted to this incident, while other real travesties of justice and morality, rampant throughout the nation, are completely ignored. In contrast, no harm came to any individual at the Missouri State Fair, and no person’s private property was encroached upon or confiscated. Yet the left was affronted and on that basis alone we are told that an indefensible wrong had been committed. Right and wrong have now devolved to the point that they are arbitrarily defined, on a case by case basis, at the whim of a political cabal that is only concerned with the advancement of its agenda. No economic uptick, no reduction in unemployment rolls, and no rosy prognostication of a rebound in the business sector will restore and secure the blessings of liberty to this and future generations if the conscience of the nation continues to be polluted in this current manner. Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.

Obamacare Is a Nuclear Missile That Must Be Shot Down

Instead of the GOP focusing all its energy on infighting over the so-called “tactical” decision of whether to defund Obamacare, how about remembering who the real enemies of freedom are and directing its energies toward the Democrats, who are propping up this monster?

It is painful to witness the expenditure of so much negative energy among people who all say they oppose the law. This law is so bad and so unpopular and its negative consequences so apparent that we would have to be complete incompetents not to be able to make this case to the American people, the majority of whom already agree.

Why not rip a page right out of President Obama’s political playbook and go directly to the people? It obviously works for Obama, even though he doesn’t have the facts or history on his side; there has never been such a radical disconnect between a president’s miserable record and his approval ratings.

He’s just doing what he’s done all his adult life: agitating and community organizing. He’s on a never-ending campaign, because that is all he knows. He knows nothing about governing and, truth be told, doesn’t want to bother with it, provided he can order his subordinates to implement his big strokes.

This time, he’s campaigning to resurrect and salvage the most atrocious policy albatross ever foisted on the free American people by an arrogant, out-of-touch federal government that has come to believe it has the right to force us to do whatever it believes is good for us, collectively, individuality and liberty be damned.

People register disgust and dismay at Obama’s cynically self-degrading appearance on Jay Leno’s show, but Obama’s laughing all the way to the political bank — again. He makes a mockery of the serious policies he pretended to discuss there and a greater mockery of the media by offering softball answers to softball questions from an entertainer while continuing to refuse to submit himself to any real exchange with the media in a bona fide news conference.

Can you believe this cabal of fawning mainstream media sycophants still willing to serve as Obama’s doormats and his political cover?

But I digress.

Everyone, from Howard Dean to Max Baucus to Marco Rubio to John Boehner, knows this horrific law is a multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicle — a nuclear ballistic missile with multiple warheads aimed at the American health care system, American liberties and America’s fiscal integrity. Everyone knows this law cannot work, except to wreak havoc on everything and everyone it promises to improve.

Do you think that might be enough ammunition for the Republican Party to get its act together and call a cease-fire on one another and launch a united campaign with unprecedented focus and vigor to take out Obamacare’s missile payload before it fully hits the U.S. mainland?

Are we children here, afraid of ghosts and goblins — and our shadows? Are we so intimidated by this charlatan of a president that we lack the courage to stand up to him on an issue on which the public is on our side?

Why are so many on our side willing to throw in the towel and surrender on this law? Every day, Congress changes laws it purportedly made permanent the year before. It changes the tax laws as often as its members brush their teeth.

Or are they instead resigned to the fatalistic notion that our system has become so unworkable — or that they are so politically impotent and lethargic — that they prefer to roll over and accept the imposition of this nuclear nightmare and then wait to clean up the fallout after the bombs have dropped? Really?

We have the political equivalent of the Strategic Defense Initiative at our disposal because the American people are behind us, but we’re going to stand down for fear that some people might think of us as big bad meanies if we were to finally get off our rear ends and take perfectly constitutional steps to end this menace?

I come from the school that teaches that if you want something done, you do it. Your default position isn’t to wring your hands and expend all your creative energy figuring out why you can’t get something done — especially something of such paramount importance to the preservation of our republic.

Come on, my friends in the GOP establishment. Just once, quit using your juice to tell us how impractical and extreme we are and how you are just as conservative as we are but more prudent and pragmatic. It is not pragmatic to sit on your hands and idly watch the republic be assaulted on this level and do nothing but wait until that fictional time in the future when the law will implode on itself.

That’s laughably ridiculous. It’s not going to happen. Now is the time to shoot this missile down — as it has entered our atmosphere and before it detonates in our major cities and our countryside.

If we can’t draw a line in the sand on an issue this important and convince the American people that an already unpopular bill must be stopped in its tracks — while we watch as a failed president convinces the American people that his policies aren’t responsible for the misery he’s causing — then how can we say we deserve to carry the banner of liberty?

No more excuses. If you don’t have the stomach for it, please get out of the way and let those who do press forward; then thank them later.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Priebus Takes on Media Bias

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is doing the right thing. He’s making the national media’s blatant partisan bias a prominent issue right out of the gate to Campaign 2016. Priebus sent a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker and NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt demanding they cease efforts to air promotional Hillary Clinton films on their airwaves, or he’ll seek to stop any effort to allow presidential debates on their networks.

“It’s appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives,” the RNC chair declared.

“Their actions to promote Secretary Clinton are disturbing and disappointing. I hope Americans will question the credibility of these networks and that NBC and CNN will reconsider their partisan actions and cancel these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment.”

CNN’s response was especially pompous. Cutting off CNN debates “seems to be the ultimate disservice to voters,” they responded. As if CNN anchor John King leading off a debate by prodding Newt Gingrich about his sex life was a vital public service.

NBC protested that NBC News isn’t making the docudrama, as if they aren’t all in the same liberal boat. Their statement could have read: “We at NBC News are not Clinton puppets. Just because at the behest of President Clinton we hired his daughter Chelsea as a correspondent when she had zero journalistic experience doesn’t mean we should be considered in the tank.”

The other networks were spinning furiously. “Republicans are now threatening retaliation,” proclaimed ABC News anchor Josh Elliott. Then came Claire Shipman — White House spokesman Jay Carney’s wife — to spit on the “rabble” and their protest. “Enough, say rabble Republicans, who call the projects political ads.”

That’s ABC News for you. Republicans are “rabble,” while unwashed Occupy Wall Street activists are the conscience of the country.

The two networks have different plans. CNN has a “CNN Films” subsidiary that farms out political documentaries to “independent” (left-wing) filmmakers. For a Hillary film, they chose leftist Charles Ferguson, who didn’t sound “independent” in the CNN press release. “I am very excited to be making a film about Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose fascinating life and work embody so many of America’s, and the world’s, hopes and challenges.”

The “rabble” sees it differently.

NBC is making one of those annoying “docudramas” about Hillary, starring glamorous actress Diane Lane. Their Hollywood folks insisted this project has no script or production plan, so it’s “premature to draw any conclusions.” Greenblatt and Co. wants all the buzz that comes from announcing a Hillary drama, and none of the blowback about its inevitable political tilt.

It’s not “premature” to presume Hillary puff pieces. But it’s long overdue for the Republican Party to protest abusive treatment from the national media elite, especially in crucial debates.

It happened again on July 20, in a Virginia gubernatorial debate moderated by “PBS NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff. Many of the questions balanced out, but not on the social issues. Woodruff prodded Democrat Terry McAuliffe from the left: “A new poll this week showing 50 percent of Virginians, 55 percent of Virginia women, now favor same-sex marriage. So as governor, would you push to allow gays and lesbians in this state to have the right to marry?” She pushed twice for gay marriage.

For “balance,” she then whacked Republican Ken Cuccinelli on abortion from the left: “I want to ask if as governor, you would push for even tougher restrictions, such as those on states like Louisiana, where they include legally defining life as beginning at conception, in other words, effectively prohibiting virtually all abortions. And on contraception! Would you again seek to make several forms, common forms of contraception illegal, as you did several years ago?” Cuccinelli denied doing any such thing.

Woodruff also threw this follow-up at Cuccinelli: “You said several years ago that you believe that same-sex acts are ‘against nature’ and are ‘harmful to society.’ Do you still believe that?” The secular media moderators suggest a religious test: No Catholics need apply for public office. In Woodruff’s world, government should subsidize contraception and abortion, religious liberty be damned.

Woodruff also asked both candidates directly whether they thought Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell should resign over ethical scandals. She didn’t ask if Obama should resign over the IRS or Benghazi scandals.

Republicans need to go above and beyond and around the “objective” media in their debates. On the occasions when Republicans agree to these “objective” debate moderators, they have to take a page from Newt Gingrich in the last campaign and fight back against their relentless attempts to paint the GOP into some wacky and “extremist” corner.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Weiner in Cap and Bells

Let’s face it. Anthony Weiner is the comic relief we’ve been seeking: sexualized politics without a moral message. Salacious texting, a parody of sensual touching, doesn’t depend on the meaning of “is” or “was.” Vice in virtual reality is sexuality-lite, superficial fantasy, timorous titillation, shadows in the shallows of the Internet.

Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica has become so yesteryear. The former president is an aging adulterer from an earlier time. He broke ground in getting a public pass on his behavior, but he doesn’t want Huma and Anthony to sweep Hill and Bill into a satirical performance they can’t direct. Bubba did his bit for Cupid, officiating at the Abedin/Weiner wedding, but the couple exceeded the amount on the blank check of his blessings. If Huma thought she could get away with standing by her man just like the first lady, she was deluded, too. Anthony Weiner is no “comeback kid,” and though his wife looks stylish in Vogue, fashion statements don’t create a political strategy.

The would-be mayor is a court clown wearing cap and bells next to the former president, now philanthropist with gravitas. Huma’s “ups and downs” are roller coaster rides in an amusement park when compared to Hillary’s steep mountainous climbs to be the first women carved on Mt. Rushmore.

Tina Brown, furious at the male mismanagement of the gender wars, writes how the high-tech, high-testosterone political powers in Washington threaten to mess up decades of carefully crafted gender negotiations, ironically giving men the edge with their genital exposure, humiliating Hillary’s message of women’s empowerment. Standing by your man is reduced to falling on your face. She asks in the Daily Beast whether we could imagine a prominent woman in Washington politics uploading “a crotch shot of herself on Instagram.”

Electing Anthony Weiner’s female opponent, Brown suggests, would at least keep us safe from “private parts” racing around the Internet — one of the most bizarre feminist reasons yet for voting a woman into office.

The sexes are supposed to be equal, but when the middle-aged male libido enjoys renewed power, it turns out that his loud, lewd and sometimes laughable lust can also be forgivable. At least that’s what Eliot Spitzer thinks. Five years after paying for a high-priced hooker in a Washington hotel room, he believes he’s paid the piper of penance. New Yorkers, he says, should now let him manage cash payments of another kind as controller of New York City, and he feels secure enough to criticize Weiner as a bad choice for mayor without generating comparisons. (The polls support the former governor’s assessment.)

Spitzer has been able to limit his liabilities to drawing room comedy, which titillates and draws in an audience with intellectually understandable foibles found in people they know. Weiner, by contrast, stars in his own farce, the ugly American whose grotesque actions embarrass those watching and offer nothing but shame to the country’s cultural capital. The joke that’s circulating is that he chose the pseudonym Carlos Danger because Carlos Underpants was already taken.

“It’s almost as if a little child were playing at being a politician and trying to hide something,” Dr. Richard C. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, told The New York Times. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to come up with a diagnosis, when a public person who aims for a position of responsibility reveals himself to be a total jerk. Sins that once dominated moral judgment in a religious age have been replaced with explanations of “root causes” and a search for cures in our scientific age. Therapy replaces self-discipline.

We’ve come a long way from Freud’s world of repressed inhibitions. If privacy once camouflaged a multitude of sins, public exposure today desensitizes us to abnormal behavior. All kinds of exhibitionism on the Internet pass as normal behavior just as our current collective fixation on physical fitness obscures an obsessional nature. A hedonistic, permissive society is slow to judge aberrant behavior by any fixed standards so that we often overlook the more dangerous side of misbehaving.

Politicians, like entertainers, can often find professional outlets to hide serious symptoms until they crash and burn in front of us. The narcissistic attitudes that take people into these celebrity fields can also morph into the aberrations that take them out.

Elections can be decisive, but campaigns don’t offer the most precise tools to illuminate the character traits we expect from our leaders. Comic interludes such as the one provided by Anthony Weiner serve as distractions from larger problems we suffer as a society. In the final act we’re pretty much left with Puck’s perception, when he turned to Oberon and said, simply, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Write to Suzanne Fields at: suzannefields2000@gmail.com. To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM