This from one of my memo readers who loves to quote TJ: "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson
This from my English e mail friend:Women most probably won't understand this, so ask a man to explain it to you. It took me three goes to explain it to my wife!
A wife asks her husband "Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6!"
A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk.
The wife asks him, "Why the hell did you buy 6 cartons of milk?"
He replied, "They had eggs."
Barton Biggs believes we need a shovel ready government. I thought that was what QE2 was all about. (See 1 below.)
George Gilder suggests that even if Americans disregard supporting Israel on a moral basis they can readily do so on an economic one. (See 2 below.)
The guts of our weak recovery. (See 3 below.)
Recent Gallup Poll reveals what I have been writing - many Jews remain mentally enslaved but the percent is decreasing. By the time Nov 2012, rolls around I suspect Obama will receive 50% of the Jewish vote unless he continues to demonstrate his deep seated contempt for Israel such as recognizing the legitimacy of The Muslim Brotherhood. (See 4 below.)
Washington Post suggests otherwise while Stuart Rothenberg still asks questions about Obama's general poll strength. (See 4a and 4b below.)
Are America, France, Britain and Turkey working to allow Assad survive in a weakened position? If so, thought Obama was against nation building but perhaps not against nation shaping? (See 5 and 5a below.)
1)Barton Biggs: US Needs Depression-Era Tactics to Spur Growth
By Forrest Jones
Only a huge new government intervention is going to fuel robust economic growth, a hedge fund manager says. Massive hikes in government infrastructure spending similar in scope to those used in the Great Depression are needed, says Barton Biggs, managing partner at Traxis Partners.
Otherwise, get used to anemic growth rates and continued high unemployment figures.
"What the U.S. really needs is a massive infrastructure program… similar to the WPA back in the 1930s," Biggs tells The Wall Street Journal, referring to Works Progress Administration, a public development program that employed millions.
Otherwise, economic growth rates will be stuck around 2 percent at best, far from 3.5 percent to 4 percent before the recession.
The Federal Reserve recently wrapped up a $600 billion bond buyback program intended to stimulate the economy. Such policy, known as quantitative easing, isn't likely to return since it was designed to make lending conditions more attractive but not immediately put large numbers of people back to work, Biggs says.
Unemployment continues to plague the U.S. economy, making millions of Americans feel the country is still mired in recession even though the economic downturn officially ended two years ago.
In fact, the situation is getting worse.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate rose in May to 9.1 percent from 9 percent in April, with employers adding just 54,000 net jobs.
Employers added an average of 220,000 jobs per month in the previous three months.
"You're seeing soft patches nationwide," says Mike Lynch, a regional economist at IHS Global Insight, according to the Associated Press.
2)The Economic Case for Supporting Israel
America needs the Jewish state's technology and innovation as much as it needs us. By GEORGE GILDER
America's enemies understand deeply and intuitively that no U.S. goals or resources in the Middle East are remotely as important as Israel. Why don't we?
Israel cruised through the recent global slump with scarcely a down quarter and no deficit or stimulus package. It is steadily increasing its global supremacy, behind only the U.S., in an array of leading-edge technologies. It is the global master of microchip design, network algorithms and medical instruments.
During a period of water crises around the globe, Israel is incontestably the world leader in water recycling and desalinization. During an epoch when all the world's cities, from Seoul to New York, face a threat of terrorist rockets, Israel's newly battle-tested "Iron Dome" provides a unique answer based on original inventions in microchips that radically reduce the weight and cost of the interceptors.
Israel is also making major advances in longer-range missile defense, robotic warfare, and unmanned aerial vehicles that can stay aloft for days. In the face of a global campaign to boycott its goods, and an ever-ascendant shekel, it raised its exports 19.9% in 2010's fourth quarter and 27.3% in the first quarter of 2011.
Israelis supply Intel with many of its advanced microprocessors, from the Pentium and Sandbridge, to the Atom and Centrino. Israeli companies endow Cisco with new core router designs and real-time programmable network processors for its next-generation systems. They supply Apple with robust miniaturized solid state memory systems for its iPhones, iPods and iPads, and Microsoft with critical user interface designs for the OS7 product line and the Kinect gaming motion-sensor interface, the fastest rising consumer electronic product in history.
Vital to the U.S. economy and military capabilities, tiny Israel's unparalleled achievements in industry and intellect have conjured up the familiar anti-Semitic frenzies among all the economically and morally failed societies of the socialist and Islamist Third World, from Iran to Venezuela. They all imagine that by delegitimizing, demoralizing, defeating or even destroying Israel, they could take a major step toward bringing down the entire capitalist West.
To most sophisticated Westerners, the jihadist focus on Israel seems bizarre and counterproductive. But on the centrality of Israel the jihadists have it right.
U.S. policy is crippled by a preoccupation with the claimed grievances of the Palestinians and their supposed right to a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza. But the Palestinian land could not have supported one-tenth as many Palestinians as it does today without the heroic works of reclamation and agricultural development by Jewish settlers beginning in the 1880s, when Arabs in Palestine numbered a few hundred thousand.
Actions have consequences. When the Palestinian Liberation Organization launched two murderous Intifadas within a little over a decade, responded to withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza by launching thousands of rockets on Israeli towns, spurned every sacrificial offer of "Land for Peace" from Oslo through Camp David, and reversed the huge economic gains fostered in the Palestinian territories between 1967 and 1990, the die was cast.
It's time to move on.
For the U.S., moving on means a sober recognition that Israel is not too large but too small. It boasts a booming economy still absorbing overseas investment and a substantial net inflow of immigrants. Yet it is cramped in a space the size of New Jersey, hemmed in by enemies on three sides, with 60,000 Hezbollah and Hamas rockets at the ready, and Iran lurking with nuclear ambitions and genocidal intent over the horizon.
Clearly, Israel needs every acre it now controls. Still, despite its huge technological advances, its survival continues to rely on peremptory policing of the West Bank, on an ever-advancing shield of antimissile technology, and on the unswerving commitment of the U.S.
But this is no one-way street. At a time of acute recession, debt overhang, suicidal energy policy and venture capitalists who hope to sustain the U.S. economy and defense with Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, U.S. defense and prosperity increasingly depend on the ever-growing economic and technological power of Israel.
If we stand together we can deter or defeat any foe. Failure, however, will doom the U.S. and its allies to a long war against ascendant jihadist barbarians, with demographics and nuclear weapons on their side, and no assurance of victory. We need Israel as much as it needs us.
Mr. Gilder is a founder of the Discovery Institute and author of "The Israel Test" (Richard Vigilante Books, 2009).
3) Inside the Disappointing Comeback.
By JON HILSENRATH And CONOR DOUGHERTY
Two years ago, officials said, the worst recession since the Great Depression ended. The stumbling recovery has also proven to be the worst since the economic disaster of the 1930s.
Across a wide range of measures—employment growth, unemployment levels, bank lending, economic output, income growth, home prices and household expectations for financial well-being—the economy's improvement since the recession's end in June 2009has been the worst, or one of the worst, since the government started tracking these trends after World War II.
In some ways the recovery is much like the 1991 and 2001 post-recession periods: All three are marked by gradual output growth rather than sharp snap-backs typical of earlier recoveries. But this recovery may remain lackluster for years, many economists say, because of heavy household debt, a financial system still damaged by the mortgage crisis, fragile confidence and a government with few good options for supporting growth.
There are bright spots. Exports, particularly of manufactured and agricultural goods, are improving, in part because of booming developing-country economies and the weaker dollar. They are expected to pick up in the second half of the year as the temporary shock fades from Japan's earthquake and tsunami. In a hint of this, the Institute of Supply Management on Friday reported an uptick in manufacturing for June. Higher corporate profits, stock prices and business investment also are supporting the expansion.
The economy's improvement since the recession's June 2009 end has been the worst, or among the worst, recorded across a wide range of measures since the government started tracking these trends after World War II.
Banks are less able or willing to lend than before the recession. Since the recovery started, banks have reduced money they make available through credit card lines from $3.04 trillion to $2.69 trillion and have reduced home equity credit lines from $1.33trillion to $1.15 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Policy makers, meanwhile, are reluctant to do more to stimulate economic growth. The Federal Reserve has already pushed short-term interest rates to near zero. Two rounds of quantitative easing that including purchasing $1.425 trillion in mortgage bonds and $900 billion in Treasury debt helped to stabilize the economy but failed to spur a vigorous recovery.
Likewise, fiscal stimulus, either in the form of tax cuts favored by Republicans or spending increases favored by Democrats, looks unlikely given large federal deficits and the disappointing results of earlier efforts, including President Obama's $830 billion stimulus program of 2009.
The biggest problem may be household indebtedness. At the peak of the economic boom in the third quarter of 2007, U.S. households collectively had borrowed the equivalent of 127% of their annual incomes to fund purchases of homes, cars and other goods, up from an average of 84% in the 1990s. The money used to pay off that debt means less available for new spending. Households had worked their debt-to-income levels down to 112% by the first quarter, in part because banks have written off some debt as uncollectible.
Jurgen Schulz, owner of K-5, a San Diego area retailer that sells surfboards, skateboards and lifestyle apparel, sees more people living month-to-month. "Our sales trail way off the further it gets from pay period," he said. Mr. Schulz, in turn, didn't hire this year the six to eight seasonal workers his company usually brings on each summer.
Getting rid of debt could be a long and slow process.To get back to a 1990s debt-to-income ratio of 84%, households would either need to pay down another $3.3 trillion of debt, or see their incomes rise $3.9 trillion. That's equivalent to about nine years' worth of income growth in normal times, estimates Credit Suisse economist Dana Saporta.
Debt constraints are especially hard on consumers who before the crisis relied on credit cards or home equity lines to keep spending when they needed money. Now many of those lines have been limited or cut.
With less access to credit, many families are finding the only way to make ends meet is to cut spending.
"Every single month you're struggling, struggling, struggling," said Javier Toro, 49, a father of three. He makes $13 an hour as a customer service representative at a non-profit that administers a program offering free energy efficiency upgrades to homeowners. The program, funded by the 2009 stimulus law, ends in a few months as government funds dry up. He's paying about $100 a month to keep current on $3,000 in credit card debt, but making no headway paying down principal. To make ends meet, he's cut his cable and Internet service, and the fixed telephone line to his rented home.
He said, "You don't see when this is going to stop."
Debt and a dismal job market have hurt consumers' confidence, which further damps their willingness to spend. The University of Michigan finds that 24% of households expect to be better off financially within a year's time. That's the lowest this measure has been at this point in a recovery since World War II.
Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said job growth had been "significantly faster" than the recovery in the 2000s, though there was a long way to go. He added that recovering from a bubble-based expansion driven by consumer spending and housing toward more exports and investment was tough work. "We can't just go back to what we did before," he said.
4)Gallup Poll shows Jewish support for Obama down to 60%
By JEREMY SHARON
Support for US president among American Jews at lowest point this year; weakest among Jews who regularly attend synagogue, poll finds.
A Gallup poll, released on Tuesday, surveying attitudes of Jewish Americans showed that communal support for US President Barak Obama has fallen to its lowest point this year, with 60 percent of American Jews giving him a positive job approval rating and 32 percent now disapproving of the job the president is doing.
This follows a general decline in support from Jewish Americans for Obama, having fallen from the 83 percent job approval he enjoyed at the beginning of his administration, although this reflects the same rate of decline in support as has occurred in the general US population, Gallup says.
The level of Jewish support Obama received in the last election is not guaranteed for 2012,said Larry Grossman, director of publications and a senior official at American Jewish Committee, regarding the poll.
He still gets the majority of the Jewish vote, the question is will there be backsliding from the very high percentage he got last time? This might be significant in swing-states with large Jewish populations, although itâ€™s too early to make definitive pronouncements at this stage of the game,â€ Grossman added.
According to the poll results, Obamaâ€™s foreign policy address to the US State Department on May 19 did not have a major impact on Jewish opinion, despite the negative reaction from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Obamaâ€™s support in his speech for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians based on the pre-1967 lines.
At the time, the presidentâ€™s job approval rating in general, and among Jews, was artificially high at 68 percent, following the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden. According to Gallup, Obamaâ€™s 45-day average job approval rating among Jews before his speech was 65 percent, and 62 percent in the following 45 days, a decline falling within the 6-point margin of error for the poll.
The continuing fall in Jewish support for Obama might also be significant regarding the level of contributions Jewish Democratic donors will provide for the 2012 presidential campaign.
"There are a lot of reports that these donors are now on the fence," says Grossman, "they may not be as generous to Obama as they were last time around."
"Things could easily change though, Jews don't just vote on Jewish issues. The economy is front and center for all American voters so if the economy turns around between now and then everything could change."
According to Gallup's poll, support for Obama is weakest among Jews who regularly attend synagogue, standing at 51 percent, whereas those who seldom or never attend services stands at 70 percent.
4a)Article in today's Wash. Post re Jewish support not eroding for Obama.
" Maybe support for Obama among Jews will ultimately erode, and stories suggesting that’s the case are ahead of the curve. The evidence, however, suggests the exact opposite — Jewish voters remain firmly in the Democratic camp, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. But no matter — “Jews abandoning Democrats” is one of those zombie memes sustained by the futile efforts of Jewish conservatives to make it a self-fulfilling prophesy, and as long as it remains a seductive storyline for political reporters and commentators, it’ll never die no matter how many times it’s shown to be false."
4b) Are Obama’s Polls Worse Than Meet the Eye?
By Stuart Rothenberg
On their face, President Barack Obama's poll numbers are mediocre but not terrible. His 46 percent job approval in the June 15-19 Pew Research Center survey is far better than President George W. Bush's worst Pew Research Center job numbers, for example.
In March of 2006, Bush's job approval fell to 33 percent in Pew polling, and immediately before the 2008 elections, in late October, his job approval stood at 20 percent, while a stunning 70 percent disapproved. In December 2008, as he was about to leave office, Bush's job ratings stood at 24 percent approval and 68 percent disapproval.
In comparison with those numbers, Obama looks wildly popular.
But Obama continues to earn much higher marks, in part, because his base, including liberal Democrats and African-Americans, has been standing by him, which has tended to prevent his overall job approval numbers from falling as much as they otherwise might.
For example, while Obama's job approval in the Pew survey stood at 46 percent among all adults, it was 87 percent among African-Americans and 81 percent among liberal Democrats.
In comparison, the president's job approval stood at 77 percent among all Democrats, at just 42 percent among independents and at a weak 39 percent among white independents.
Bush couldn't count on the support of a group the way Obama can count on support among African-Americans, who have a strong incentive to see the president in a positive light.
Many of Bush's previously strongest supporters had turned on him by the time the final months of his presidency rolled around. In December 2008, for example, his job ratings among conservative Republicans stood at 66 percent approval and 25 percent disapproval. In comparison, Obama's disapproval among African-Americans was a minuscule 5 percent in the mid-June Pew Research poll.
Because that likely won't happen to Obama, his overall job numbers aren't as useful in understanding his political standing as Bush's were. With Obama, independent voters or even white voters, who still constitute close to three-quarters of the national electorate, provide a better measure of the president's political prospects than do his overall job approval numbers.
In the 2008 national exit poll, Obama won independents, 52 percent to 44 percent, over Republican nominee John McCain. In the recent Pew Research Center survey, only 42 percent of independents said they approved of the president's performance, while 46 percent disapproved.
Of course, all of the president's numbers could change between now and November 2012, but for now, they constitute a considerable problem for him, since independents are a key swing constituency and Obama's strong showing among swing voters was one of the most important reasons why he did so well overall and in key states such as Ohio and Florida.
Obama's problem is also apparent when looking at his standing among white independents. McCain narrowly won the group 49 percent to 47 percent. But in the Pew survey, only 39 percent of white independents approve of the president's job performance, while 51 percent disapprove.
The Pew survey has another interesting number that is worth noting.
The survey found that 46 percent of respondents think the economic condition of the economy is "poor," compared with 8 percent who said either "excellent" or "good" and 45 percent who said "only fair."
But if you look at the cross-tabs provided in the analysis, only 37 percent of Democrats said that the economy is poor, while 52 percent of Republicans picked that description and 50 percent of independents called it poor.
What's the deal? Are Democrats, who are often associated with more downscale voters, doing better in the current economy than Republicans and independents? That's unlikely.
The more logical answer is that Democrats chose to say things aren't as bad as others see them because they wanted to be supportive of the president and understood that saying current economic conditions are "poor" would be an indictment of Obama's leadership.
Sometimes, our partisanship colors how we view reality, rather than our view of reality coloring our partisanship. That's an important thing to remember as we look at survey data.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.
5)Assad delays Hama crackdown to sustain US-Turkish plan for his survival
The United States, Britain, France and Turkey are spearheading a plan to preserve Bashar Assad as Syrian president while cutting away his support system of relatives and political and military chiefs and replacing them with "moderate opposition" figures, according to Washington and Middle East sources. Assad is lending the move qualified cooperation. Last week, he let the first foreign correspondents into the country to report from Damascus and even interview opposition members – although never far from his minders. He has also allowed Western go-betweens to establish mechanisms for "national dialogue" with opponents and rebel representatives as a mark of his willingness to gradually pacify protest and begin the process of democratic reform.
This move accounts for Assad's privileged position in US public statements. US President Barack Obama and other US officials have never said he must go – like the Egyptian, Libyan and Tunisian leaders - notwithstanding his uniquely brutal crackdown on dissent at the cost of thousands of lives.
This policy found public expression for the first time on July 1 when US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told CNN: "Al Assad has made terrible mistakes and obviously abused his people," but increasing pressure from the United States and Syria's neighbors may be pushing al-Assad toward more representative, responsive government."
Military sources are less optimistic. Profound mistrust on both sides raises huge obstacles in the path of this objective. Washington, London, Paris and Ankara suspect that the as-yet non-existent national dialogue will not stop Assad continuing to send tanks and live bullets against demonstrators. The Syrian leader suspects the West is using diplomacy to throw him off guard against Turkish military intervention backed by the United States.
He will not have missed the report Sunday, July 3 in Turkey's largest daily Huriyet. The article captioned "A Turkish Buffer Zone inside Syria," asks: "Could Turkish troops enter Syria without seeking Damascus' permission first, and set up shop there? You bet."
Military sources point out Turkish units have been deployed on the Syrian border ready to cross at a moment's notice for more than two weeks.
The Syrian president's Iranian military and intelligence advisers explain to him that a Turkish buffer zone would not just be there to care for Syrian refugees; it would become a stronghold for Syrian politicians claiming to speak for the opposition. They would establish a transitional administration there on the same lines as the anti-Qaddafi Libyan rebel authority in Benghazi which has already gained the recognition of 17 governments.
Assad's Iranian advisers warn him that the US and Turkey are preparing to apply to North Syria the lessons drawn from the Libyan conflict.
Sources add neither Washington nor Ankara were prepared for another obstacle to their plans for Syria. The 300,000 residents of Hama, unaware of the diplomatic balls in play, are standing firm, determined to forcibly resist any attempt by the Syrian army to occupy their city.
The Syria ruler has therefore deployed large units around Hama, which are gnawing at its outskirts, but avoided ordering them to go into the city center. Assad knows this order would result in a bloodbath savage enough to halt the Western bid for dialogue in its tracks and end the respite it has given him. More Syrians would then head for the Turkish border in their tens of thousands, giving Ankara the pretext for sending Turkish troops streaming into northern Syria.
Once again, all parties are eyeing the coming Friday to watch the number of protesters turning out in Aleppo, Syria's second largest town and its commercial hub. A sizeable outbreak of protest there would give Assad's grip on power another hefty jolt.
5a)Obama, the LBJ of our time
Ambitious adventures marked by no plan for victory
By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
Mr. Obama essentially has admitted defeat. He has publicly announced that U.S. forces will begin to pull out and that the process will be accelerated by the summer of 2012 - just in time for the election campaign. The administration has set a definite timetable for the American drawdown. In 2014, the transfer of responsibility for fighting from NATO to the Afghan government will be completed. The troops finally are coming home.
However, it is too little, too late. Mr. Obama has mismanaged and bungled the Afghan campaign. He ordered the “surge” of 33,000 U.S. troops in the hope of repeating the success in Iraq. Yet there was one major difference: He never defined victory. Instead, he saddled our forces with strict rules of engagement that made success on the battlefield impossible. The U.S. military was reduced to the Peace Corps with guns. Its strategic mission was not to smash al Qaeda and the Taliban; rather, it was to build roads, hospitals and schools. The Afghans were to love us, and Mr. Obama hoped economic-development projects and lavish foreign aid - international socialism - would bribe enough hearts and minds. Nation-building trumped war-making.
His humanitarian imperialism has failed. The Taliban are resurgent. Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda remains entrenched in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Constant drone strikes, combined with our ceaseless meddling in domestic affairs, have only fueled anti-Americanism. We are no longer seen as liberators, willing to take the fight to Taliban jihadists, but as the very opposite: an imperial army that wishes only to expand its geopolitical footprint while lacking the desire to defeat the enemy. We are widely viewed by many Afghans as feckless occupiers.
Mr. Obama was never serious about winning. This is his most reprehensible and immoral act as president, one that will haunt him and America for years to come. Under his command, more than 1,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan. They were sacrificed to bolster his political standing at home. Mr. Obama did not want to be seen as weak in the war on terror. But he never had a clear strategy for victory, and he refused to listen to his commanders on the ground. Now that the tide of public opinion has turned against the failed campaign, the president seeks to reposition himself as a responsible dove. He has been driven by one overriding impulse: cheap expediency.
The consequences will be disastrous. Our departure will be celebrated by Islamists everywhere; the Taliban will triumphantly claim they outlasted - and defeated - the “Great Satan.” Our prestige as the world’s remaining superpower will be dealt a severe blow. We will be seen as an unreliable ally and a weak adversary, a paper tiger that can be bled to death by a band of primitive fanatics.
“My soul, and the soul of thousands of Taliban who have been blown up, are happy,” Taliban leader Jamal Khan told the Daily Beast of his reaction to Mr. Obama’s announcement of a U.S. troop pullout. “I had more than 50 encounters with U.S. forces and their technology. But the biggest difference in ending this war was not technology but the more powerful Islamic ideology and religion.”
The vacuum is being filled by our mortal enemies. Kabul is forging an alliance with Iran, China and Pakistan. Anticipating Washington’s withdrawal, Afghan President Hamid Karzai already is looking for patrons in Tehran and Islamabad. He also is negotiating a power-sharing agreement with the Taliban. Moreover, America’s retreat has emboldened Mr. Karzai to erect a creeping dictatorship. He is accused of stealing millions in U.S. aid. He recently disqualified many opposition lawmakers who won in September elections from serving in parliament. His thuggish behavior has triggered a backlash. Minorities - Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras - have formed a political alliance. Their goal: to stop Mr. Karzai’s growing authoritarianism. They fear that the Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethno-national group and the one to which Mr. Karzai belongs, are seeking to impose centralized rule. In short, the country is fracturing along ethnic and tribal lines. Once again, civil war looms.
This week’s deadly suicide attacks on Kabul’s InterContinental Hotel highlight the West’s failure to stabilize Afghanistan. The hotel is supposed to be the most secure place in the whole country; it is where many Western diplomats and journalists stay when visiting. It is Kabul’s equivalent of Baghdad’s infamous Green Zone, a supposedly impregnable security perimeter. If the Taliban can hit it, nothing - and no one - is safe.
When Mr. Obama proclaimed his surge in 2009, I warned that it would lead to defeat and catastrophe. Like President Johnson in Vietnam, Mr. Obama repeated a fundamental error: committing America to war without the political will and military means to win. LBJ’s mistake eventually cost 58,000 U.S. lives and consigned much of Southeast Asia to totalitarian communism. It also cost him re-election.
Mr. Obama is the LBJ of our time: an overly ambitious president wedded to socialism at home and nation-building abroad. He is defined by failure. And as Americans continue to come home in body bags, dying for a lost cause and a failed war, public anger will only grow and intensify. Vietnam destroyed LBJ. Afghanistan will destroy Mr. Obama.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute