The Public Broadcasting System has a promotional television commercial that starts off with a picture of Lincoln´s statue in the memorial on the Mall in Washington and continues with pictures of national and local parks and other public facilities. It is accompanied by the soundtrack from the film “Dances with Wolves.” It is both majestic and inspiring. The theme of the commercial, set out in bold letters in front of Lincoln, is “THIS BELONGS TO YOU.” It ends with a picture of the United States Capitol. We just found out the commercial is a lie.
This past weekend, U.S. Delta forces converged on a man parking his car in broad daylight in the middle of Tripoli, Libya and nabbed a senior al-Qaeda operative who went by the nom du guerre Abu Anas al-Libi. Al-Libi was wanted by the United States for his role in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings. He is alleged to have conducted pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya prior to the August 7, 1998 suicide truck bombing there that killed more than 200 people and injured another 5,000. It is likely that al-Libi will be brought to
The conduct of the National Park Service over the last week might be the biggest scandal of the Obama administration. This is an expansive claim, of course. Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS, the NSA, the HHS mandate?—?this is an administration that has not lacked for appalling abuses of power. And we still have three years to go. Even so, consider the actions of the National Park Service since the government shutdown began. People first noticed what the NPS was up to when the World War II Memorial on the National Mall was “closed.” Just to be clear, the memorial is
Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” handily beat rivals in total viewers, an auspicious start for the network’s first new primetime program in more than a decade, as well as its host, Megyn Kelly. According to early Nielsen totals, Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” lured nearly 2.1 million viewers between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m,. Monday evening, compared with 997,466 for MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” and 529,946 for CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.” The figures could change slightly. MSNBC’s “Maddow” secured more viewers among audiences between 25 and 54 years of age, the demographic most coveted by advertisers in news
It would appear that one of Washington’s tried-and-true political maneuvers — the “pivot” — is now actively underway in the unfolding budget drama. For those who may not be familiar with the pivot, it’s a sophisticated tactic employed by skilled political pros that might go by the name of “changing the subject” in the rest of America. The basic idea is to get everyone talking about something that they weren’t talking about just a few days ago so that they will stop talking about what they were talking about a few days ago. In this case, the pivot is being orchestrated
WATERBURY, Conn. –Gun dealers in Connecticut are reporting a shortage in ammunition they say is due to laws restricting guns. At Northwest Sporting Goods and Supply in Winsted, for example, customers may not buy more than 200 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition. The Republican-American reports that owner Bill Berlinski says he or his staff calls wholesalers across the country to find ammunition. He says manufacturers are making bullets as fast as they can and retailers are selling them just as quickly. The shortage began shortly after a gunman killed 20 children and six educators at a Newtown school in December.
Until yesterday, 400,000 Defense Department employees were furloughed without pay due to the government shutdown. At the Treasury Department, the offices that enforce and monitor sanctions on North Korea, Syria, and Iran have been reduced to a skeleton crew. And large numbers of CIA analysts and logistics officers—including, until last week, 72 percent of the civilian workforce—have been told to stay home until the government has a 2014 budget. Yet while these and other federal agencies struggle to keep the lights on, John Kerry’s State Department appears to have largely avoided the pain. At Foggy Bottom—admittedly a much smaller agency than
WASHINGTON — At least eight Democratic members of the House were among about 200 people arrested Tuesday after they blocked a main street near the Capitol during a massive rally seeking to push Republicans to hold a vote on a stalled immigration reform bill. Police would not identify those arrested. Representatives of the social policy organization Center for Community Change and The Associated Press witnessed the arrests of Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill.; Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Joseph Crowley and Charles Rangel, both D-N.Y.; Al Green, D-Texas; and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Representatives of other groups whose
Tyranny, being as endemic to the human condition as other similar privations of the human good such as ignorance, vice, or sickness, is as old as mankind. What may be new, however, is the uniquely intractable form of tyranny that is currently metastasizing throughout the world, namely the rule of an authoritarian plurality of societal parasites. Our next thousand years of darkness, if such be our fate, will begin under the governance of a "parasitocracy." The modern West has defied ancient wisdom on so many fronts, introducing new modes of existence and coexistence, spreading prosperity and promise in hitherto inconceivable measures,
I’m tempted to call it a clown show but that would be insulting to clowns:(Snip for graphic) It ran for one hour and six minutes, with 12 different reporters being called on — although, notably, not Ed Henry of Fox News — and between them they couldn’t muster one question about the catastrophe that is Healthcare.gov or the spectacle of National Park Rangers locking senior-citizen tourists out of war memorials and/or inside their hotels. I admit that, near the end of it, when Twitter was already starting to buzz about the oh-fer on this week’s two unhappy topics, I started
In Griswold v. Connecticut, Justice William O. Douglas wrote for the majority that the right to "privacy" was to be found in the "penumbras" and "emanations" of other constitutional protections such as the first amendment. The vagueness of the terms used by Justice Douglas has encouraged not only the judiciary, but the executive branch to legitimize dubious interpretations of the Constitution in order to further the progressive agenda by fiat. It appears the "penumbras" and "emanations" idea is being revisited concerning the national debt limit. Once again, Bill Clinton´s suggestion in 2011 that Obama unilaterally raise debt ceiling in accordance with
Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who became a household name this summer after her gutsy filibuster to stop Gov. Rick Perry’s abortion restrictions, announced her candidacy last week to replace Perry. Democrats are giddy with excitement because Davis’ star power, they believe, has given them their first real hope in nearly two decades of pulling this reliably red state into their orbit. But Republican Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz might also want to wish her luck. Her candidacy is an early field test of their political strategy: Using filibusters on narrow issues that resonate with core constituencies as
The spectacle of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and, yes, John Boehner giving almost daily media announcements on the debt ceiling impasse ought to remind us once again that the principal problem of our nation is government and that the principal problem of government is Washington. The Constitution granted very few powers to the federal government, and the Founding Fathers well understood the problems of a distant and insulated central government ruling from afar the vast expanses of America. A recurring theme in the Declaration of Independence is the remoteness of London, and Washington today is as remote -- in
President Obama has made many promises about his signature health care plan, but one of the simplest was an assurance that it would lower national health care spending and save every family thousands of dollars. For example, in May 2009 he hailed "comprehensive health care reform -- so that we can do what I pledged to do as a candidate and save a typical family an average of $2,500 on their health care costs in the coming years." But now government actuaries have reached a different conclusion, finding that ObamaCare will actually increase health care spending by $621 billion over the next
WASHINGTON -- His Asia trip was scrapped, most of his staff has been furloughed and he´s refused to hold negotiations with House Republicans. So on Tuesday, President Barack Obama was looking for something to fill his time. His destination? The White House briefing room, where reporters and photographers packed in for a hastily arranged news conference, eager for any sign of a breakthrough in Washington´s latest round of gridlock. But there was little to say that hadn´t already been said.That didn´t keep Obama from saying it all again. He promised that his opening statement would be brief - then proceeded
The government has been shut down since October 1st and President Obama has decided to close Washington by making life as inconvenient as possible. He did this before with the Sequestration when he would not permit any White House tours. Instead of understanding that he should work for the best interests of Americans, helping them wherever possible, he has done just the opposite. It appears he sees this as a game where he wants to win at all costs with the clear loser the American people. In response there is the possibility of a new rally, "Million Vet March On
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei -- U.S. officials said Wednesday that the Obama administration is poised to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Egypt. The announcement is expected this week, once official notifications have been made to all interested parties. The U.S. has been considering such a move since the Egyptian military ousted the country´s first democratically elected leader in June. It would be a dramatic shift for the Obama administration, which has declined to label President Mohamed Morsi´s ouster a coup and has argued that it is in U.S. national security interests to keep aid
The Black Swan is Arithmetic. She is coming and she is already here. In Detroit, you see her in the debris of a once great American city. The Perfect Storm is the confluence of events that will wreak economic havoc on America. It need not have anything to do with the current debt ceiling controversy. Most don´t see it coming. For them, it will bring shock and awe. Nassim Nicholas Teleb is credited with developing the metaphor -- based on the sudden discovery that all swans are not white -- of the black swan, to refer to widely unexpected events that come
Could this be the end of Monument Syndrome? Across the country, ordinary Americans are rising up in revolt against the old Washington tactic of closing public parks and memorials during selective government "shutdowns" to score political points. Tax-paying tourists are tossing off the orange traffic cones and "Barrycades." Enough is enough. The movement started with waves of World War II veterans who flew to D.C. last week as part of the Honor Flight Network. (The nonprofit group brings our surviving heroes to visit the memorials that honor their service and sacrifice.) The vets and volunteers breached the fences last week, exposing
His nickname is ‘El chino’ (the Chinese) because of his strong Maoist tendencies when a law student. Long a solicitor, Carlos Zanini is Argentine president Cristina Fernandez (and of her deceased husband Nestor Kirchner) most trusted aide and top of the Kirchnerite ‘nomenclature’. Every morning candidates, governors, mayors and top officials call on his office at Casa Rosada (Government House). Media shy and low profile, although nobody questions his instructions, Zanini’s post is Legal and Technical Secretary of the Argentine Executive.
Megyn Kelly did not hold back during the premiere of her new show, “The Kelly File,” Monday on Fox News, bluntly kicking off with her first guest Sen. Ted Cruz. “What’s it like to be the most hated man in America?” Kelly asked the Texas senator. To answer, Cruz drew on the prose of none other than William Shakespeare. “Look, I think there have been more than a few Democrats who were throwing rocks in my direction. To quote the bard, ‘methinks she doth protest too much.’ They are throwing every insult they can,” Cruz (R-Texas) said. Kelly, citing a poll from
NEW YORK — Another man has been arrested in connection with a fight that left a motorcyclist critically injured and an SUV driver badly beaten on a New York City street. Police arrested Clint Caldwell on gang assault and other charges Tuesday. He´s the sixth person arrested following the September melee. It´s unclear if he has a lawyer. There´s no phone listed for him at his Brooklyn address. An undercover detective apparently seen on video pounding on the SUV during the melee is among those arrested. Two people familiar with the case say the detective was on a motorcycle and
PRINCETON, N.J. — Gunshots have been reported at a historic building on Princeton University´s campus. The New Jersey Ivy League university says on Twitter police cordoned off Nassau Hall on Tuesday after public safety officials got a report of gunshots there. No injuries have been reported. Nassau Hall is Princeton´s administrative center. Princeton´s website calls Nassau Hall the centerpiece of its campus and a university and national landmark. It says it moved classes from Newark to Nassau Hall in Princeton when the building was completed in 1756.
The revamped $100 bill costs 12.5 cents to produce — a 60% increase over the 7.8 cents it cost to print the older version of the bill. The government has printed 3.5 billion of the new $100 bills, which it began delivering to financial institutions Tuesday. How soon customers will see the new bills depends on their distance from a regional Fed office, demand, and a few other factors. Among the reasons it’s more expensive than the older currency: Its new security features, which help prevent counterfeiting. For one, there’s a blue 3-D ribbon running through the center of the
Poland has pulled a destructive stunt worthy of Argentina. It is seizing half of the Polish people’s private retirement funds. All government bonds in these pension-plan portfolios are being forcibly transferred to the government. Since the bonds are no longer held by investors, the government is declaring that the national debt has been reduced by the face value of those securities. Neat trick, including the spin on this Soviet-style seizure: The government is calling the nationalization a “pension overhaul.” The ghosts of Stalin and Lenin must be smiling. Barack Obama must be wondering why he hadn’t thought of something like this
For three years, Congress and the White House have been building to this moment. Not the debt limit or Obamacare specifically, but this clarifying moment of Washington dysfunction. President Obama has led us here by continually thwarting the will of Congress and dismissing its role in our constitutional republic. This must end. The president not only has refused to negotiate on issues of debt and spending but also has mocked the very idea of engaging with Congress. President Obama has repeatedly made clear that he feels it is beneath the office of the presidency to work in a bipartisan way