Friday, November 30, 2012

Obama's America: Ignored, Incompetent and Impotent!

I took my wife away for a two day birthday celebration so this memo is delayed and  focuses mainly on two events. The failure of the Obama administration to ward off the U.N. vote regarding a Palestinian State and Obama's unwillingness to get serous about fiscal matters.

I have already written about how I believe Israel may have bloodied Hamas' nose but in the end I believe the events that led to the cease fire enhanced Hamas' diplomatic standing.  I further believe Israel will regret the U.N. vote and Netanyahu  should have done more to make Obama stop it from happening. (See 1 below.)
Our son and daughter in law's Sweet Tammy's, after years of hard work, long hours and much frustration, appear to have finally broken through and are beginning to establish their brand beyond their current marketing area of Pa. and Ohio.

This is a comment made about one of their products when they set up a booth at a recent national distributorship event: "Sweet Tammy’s. Artisanal Breads and Pastries. Delicious, couldn’t possibly get closer to homemade, dairy-free and natural. Their booth was mobbed. I do hope they follow several admirers’ advice (including mine) to make their cookies smaller, so we can enjoy them more often."

They will soon have their new web page re-established for on-line ordering.
Hostess Bakery plants shut down Friday the result of a union strike idling some 18,000 workers.The Obama administration will hire most all of these displaced employees. The State Department will hire the Twinkies, the Secret Service the Ho Hos, the generals will  sleep with the Cupcakes and all the Ding Dongs are going to Congress.
Listen to Bill Whittle:
American influence is now either ignored or not used effectively. Obama and his incompetents have seen to that rather effectively.

Historical events are often conveniently forgotten.  (See 2 and 2a below.)
Obama continues to be more interested in political strategizing and maneuvering than solving the fiscal problem.

Quote of Cicero's: "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance."       - Cicero , 55 BC  (See 3 and 3a below.)
Gaza Contradictions Into 2013
By Yisrael Ne'eman

Now that the eight day "Pillar of Defense" operation is over once again Hamas, Israel and the Middle East find themselves facing multiple contradictions on two levels, one as concerns international diplomacy and the second when relating to bilateral Palestinian-Israeli relations (more about this in the next article).  Most blatant is the move by Fatah's Abu Mazen for international recognition of non-member state status in the United Nations to be presented today, November 29th, exactly 65 years after the vote on the UN Partition Plan in support of the two-state solution, one Arab and one Jewish.  The Arab bloc voted against the resolution in 1947.

The Americans and Europeans are pro-Fatah, support Abu Mazen and stand behind the two state solution.  Interestingly Hamas opposes the Fatah move at the UN because it implies recognition of Israel.  At best they favor a temporary two state arrangement as a step by step process for Israel's elimination.  For Hamas such a move is anathema since it is seen as legitimizing non-Islamic (Jewish) territorial control over waqf lands in the Middle East.  Any and all such negotiations and compromises are condemned in Articles 11, 13, and 32 of theHamas Covenant.  Israel also opposes the Palestinian Authority bid for non-member state status believing it must be achieved through direct negotiations between Ramallah and Jerusalem.  Rather amusing but Israel and Hamas find themselves on the same side but for totally different reasons.  Hamas demands Israel's destruction and will not tolerate any compromise while Israel wants a directly negotiated settlement with the PA, not one imposed through international diplomacy.

Back to Gaza we see the two non-Arab Middle Eastern powers Iran and Turkey vying for influence in a mini-battle for power.  The Turks as Sunnis appear to have the upper hand. Egypt as the Arab world's most populous nation and the only one bordering Gaza claims an even greater stake in the territory, especially since the Jihadi activists in the Sinai Peninsula both influence and are impacted by events in the Strip.  Furthermore the Egyptian – Turkish rivalry for control in the Arab world has continued on and off over some 200 years since Mahmet Ali challenged the Ottomans.  Yet, supposedly everyone is "on the same side".  In truth international rivalries inside the Gaza Strip are continuing and intensifying.

Along the 14 kilometer Rafiah land border the Gaza blockade is Egyptian, yet few remember this most important fact. Israel supplies fuel, water and basic foodstuffs according to agreement from her side of the frontier into the Strip.  At times this supply line is disrupted by Islamic terrorists, including Hamas.  Even President Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egypt does not want to be drawn into a clash with Israel, at least for the time being.  On the other hand Hamas actions in Gaza appear far too radical even if ideologically they are in line with Egyptian Brotherhood doctrine.  Hamas is heavily influenced by the Salafists and even Al-Qaeda who believe in continual Jihad against Israel.  Morsi and those more centrist types in the Brotherhood fear being outmaneuvered at home and losing power to the extremists.  The Salafists did get 25% of the overall vote in the Egyptian elections of 2011 – 2012.  Lest one forget Islamism in the Palestinian arena set the inspirational tone for the other wings of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Egypt.  Further radicalization in Gaza can easily spread to Cairo and Morsi will be outflanked to the right.

What is most contradictory here is that despite all efforts by everyone trade and military contraband between Gaza, Sinai, Iran and terror organizations continues to flourish through the hundreds of tunnels passing under the border.  Economic and military pressure on Gaza will only work if the tunnels are destroyed, and no one wants to take that task.

Egypt is seen as having brokered the Hamas-Israel cease-fire in the name of US and Western interests.  The Egyptian army is financially dependent on the Americans for billions of dollars in aid.  Egypt did America's (and Israel's) bidding and those in power may be forced to pay the price or outmaneuver the West to save their own rule.  Morsi's American tango will backfire if he does not move swiftly to erase any images of being a Western lackey, a definition the Salafists/Al Qaeda could certainly adopt.  Halting the right wing fanatics can only be done by further consolidating power and this can only be accomplished by eradicating any vestiges of the previous Mubarak secular dictatorship.  Better yet the liberal democratic activist elements most responsible for sparking the revolution can be repressed simultaneously.  First Morsi reigned in the military and now he is overriding the Mubarak era secular judiciary.  Morsi and the Brotherhood claim such concentration of power is necessary to ensure future democratization of Egypt.  In reality he is crushing all secular opposition, whether of the Mubarak shade or the liberal democratic type.  Here the Salafists are appeased, at least for the meantime.  The Pillar of Strength operation acted as a catalyst for an inevitable process whereby the Brotherhood conquers the center in the post revolutionary era, unless of course the right wing rises and overthrows the regime.  The liberal democrats do not stand a chance. The Salafists on the other hand may be absorbed within the ruling Brotherhood framework, at least in part, as the regime moves towards a Sharia legal system.

So where does this leave the West?  Political diplomatic realism demands continued support of Egypt provided the Gaza-Sinai border with Israel remains quiet.  At best this can work for a few years.  Paradoxically, US/European gratitude will allow for the destruction of liberal democratic forces in Egypt.
The Pillar of Strength operation has ramifications well beyond the immediate Israel-Hamas issues.  Such matters will be discussed in the next article.
By Rick Richman
 Back in 2005, after Israel removed every soldier and settler from Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that “from this day forward, there will be no security turmoil and weapons chaos and abductions, which are not characteristic of our culture.” He proved a poor prognosticator regarding Palestinian culture: given the chance to live “side by side in peace and security” with Israel, the Palestinians demonstrated they could not do so even with themselves.

Abbas was expelled from Gaza in 2007; there have been no parliamentary or presidential elections since 2006; no functioning Palestinian legislature exists; Abbas is entering the 95th month of his 48-month term; he cannot set foot in half of his purported state (in the words of Israel’s UN ambassador, he cannot even see it with binoculars); he has refused to negotiate with Israel for more than four years; he demands recognition of a Palestinian state while refusing to recognize a Jewish one; and he now seeks admission to the UN as a non-member state even though “Palestine” meets none of the four requirements under international law for a state.

Under the Montevideo Convention (1933), a state “should possess the following qualifications”: (1) a defined territory; (2) a government; (3) capacity to enter into relations with the other states; and (4) a permanent population.  “Palestine” lacks a “defined territory.” A “defined territory” cannot include an area whose status and borders can only be defined, under longstanding international agreements, by negotiations….

“Palestine” lacks a “government.” It is ruled half by a terrorist group and half by an unelected administrative entity. Its last election occurred nearly seven years ago, and it has no capacity (much less inclination) to hold a new one. The government of each half considers the government of the other half illegitimate, and both are correct: one regime took power by a coup, and the other remains in power four years after its term expired….

“Palestine” lacks the “capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” Abbas has no capacity to bind the rulers of Gaza, nor even to implement his own commitments in the area in which he can at least set foot. While in office, he failed to implement his prior obligations, including Phase I of the Roadmap (which mandated the dismantling of Hamas and other terrorist groups), and he is currently an unelected official, unrecognized by half his putative state, with no capacity to bind “Palestine” to anything.

“Palestine” lacks a “permanent population.” Most of the population considers themselves not putative citizens of a new state but perennial “refugees”…who reject any suggestion they should form the permanent population of a new state. They consider themselves instead to be temporary residents (and UNRWA, the UN agency devoted to caring for them, is legally a “temporary” UN body) who seek to “return” to a different state, not to be permanent residents where they currently live.

When you refuse to negotiate a defined territory;… when you lack a government that controls your purported territory;…when you lack the capacity to enter into relations with other states;…when you have residents who reject permanent residence and assert instead a “right” to “return” to another state, you meet none of the requirements for a state.

The irony is that between 2000 and 2008, the Palestinians received three formal offers of a state, and rejected them all…. Now one group of Palestinians seeks UN recognition as a “non-member state,” when they fail to qualify as a state at all, and they ignore the fact they could already have been a member-state three times over (or more), had they simply said yes….

Once again, “Palestine” is all set to be a failed state, no more ready for statehood than it was a year ago. Article 10 of the Montevideo Convention provides that the “primary interests of states is the conservation of peace.” The Palestinian gambit at the UN is not intended to produce peace, but to provide a platform for law-fare. It will do nothing to bring the Palestinians closer to the state they could have had long ago, if a state were really what they wanted, and it will in fact put peace further away.

2a)Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader Promises "Savage Round" of Fighting
by John Rossomando  

A leader of the third-largest Palestinian faction told the Egyptian newspaper El-Balad Thursday that the truce with Israel will be brief and that Palestinians are braced for a "more savage and bloody round" of fighting with Israel.
"We are preparing for a new, more savage round," Dr. Mohammed Al-Hindi, a leading Palestinian Islamic Jihad figure told the newspaper. "We are in a short truce (hudna), the Israeli enemy is preparing for further rounds of war in Gaza."
The "resistance factions" must be prepared for the next battle, which will be more violent and "start the curve of the collapse of the Israeli occupation," Al-Hindi said Wednesday night at a ceremony honoring journalists working in the Gaza Strip.... read more:

----------------------------------------------------------------3)GOP Rejects Obama Offer of $1.6 Trillion Tax Increase

Congressional Republicans dug in to fight President Barack Obama’s plan to skirt the fiscal cliff, rejecting his tax-and-spending proposal as the president heads out today to sell it to the American public.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner shuttled among congressional leaders yesterday with a plan to trade $1.6 trillion in tax increases for $400 billion in unspecified entitlement program cuts, Republican congressional aides said.

Republicans complained that the offer was little more than a rehash of old budget proposals, setting the stage for more contentious negotiations over the next several weeks as the year-end deadline approaches for more than $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases to kick in.

“If the president is going to lead on this critical issue, he has to propose a plan that can actually pass,” said Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. “This is simply not a serious proposal.”
Obama today is scheduled to visit a manufacturing plant in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, about 33 miles north of Philadelphia, to emphasize his call for an extension of George W. Bush-era tax rates for middle-income households. He is using the approach of the holidays to argue that families will curb spending if they don’t know whether they will have to pay more taxes next year.
Angry Birds

The president is going to a facility of the Rodon Group, which is the only U.S. manufacturer of K’NEX Brands, which makes Tinkertoys, K’NEX Building Sets and Angry Birds Building Sets. The company also produces plastic parts for the construction and pharmaceutical industries.
The fiscal plan presented by Geithner yesterday was modeled on Obama’s budget proposal from February and includes at least $50 billion in economic stimulus spending for this fiscal year, according to the aides. It would permanently increase the U.S. debt limit to avoid the need for congressional action, said one of the aides, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Geithner met separately with each of the top four leaders in Congress in their first direct talks since Obama hosted the leaders Nov. 16 at the White House.

Obama and congressional Democrats have insisted that the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire at the end of this year for the top 2 percent of taxpayers. The tax cuts should be extended for middle-class taxpayers, they contend.
Entitlement Programs

Republicans reject higher tax rates for all income levels. They are seeking an overhaul of entitlement programs in exchange for raising tax revenue through other methods, such as limiting deductions. They want a higher Medicare eligibility age and an alternative yardstick for calculating inflation that would reduce Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, according to a Republican aide who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

The administration has been consistent about its plans during the campaign and after the Nov. 6 election, said Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat.

“The voters knew what the president was saying,” Mikulski said. “They voted for the president. The election’s over. Let’s get on with it.”

Geithner’s offer, as described by two Republican aides, is based on Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget and his 2011 proposal to the deficit-cutting supercommittee, which last year didn’t come up with a plan all sides could accept.
Top Earners

It would raise taxes for top earners by $1.6 trillion over the next decade with higher rates on income, capital gains, dividends and estates, along with limits on tax breaks. It would call for about $400 billion in cuts to entitlement programs, which Republicans have deemed insufficient.

The plan would either extend or replace a payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the year, according to the Republican aides. It would protect millions more people from having to pay the alternative-minimum tax and defer by a year the federal spending cuts set to start taking effect in January.

The administration hasn’t taken a public position on the extension of the payroll tax cut, which reduces employees’ share of the tax for Social Security to 4.2 percent from 6.2 percent. The current break, which started in 2011, expires Dec. 31.

Geithner said in a Nov. 16 Bloomberg Television interview that the U.S. should abolish the debt ceiling, arguing that it enabled the threat of default in 2011. “The sooner the better,” he said. Republicans have used previous debates over increasing the debt limit to hold out for policy changes.

Infrastructure Spending

The proposal seeks infrastructure spending similar to what Obama proposed in September 2011 in his American Jobs Act, which included $50 billion for roads, rails and airports and $30 billion for schools.

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that if Congress doesn’t avert the fiscal cliff, the economy might slip into recession next year and boost the unemployment rate to 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with 7.9 percent now.

House Speaker John Boehner, while urging Obama yesterday to propose “serious spending cuts,” avoided publicly discussing specific options for a budget deal. The speaker wouldn’t say how large a spending cut he seeks for an agreement by year’s end.

It’s not “productive for either side to lay out hard lines” because “there are a lot of options of how to get there,” said Boehner, an Ohio Republican.
‘Waiting Game’

Boehner “knows that part of it is a waiting game until the pressure builds to where there is decision,” said Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa. “Barack Obama and John Boehner in the end are going to offer something back here.”

At a briefing yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney responded to questions about Republican complaints that the administration wasn’t offering specifics by holding up a proposal Obama presented in September 2011.

Carney said the plan “is very detailed” in how the White House would make cuts and “It is of a piece with his budget that he put forward in February 2012.”

The place where details are missing is “anything specific, politically feasible, or substantial from the Republican side on revenues,” Carney said.

The administration and Democrats say tax rate increases are necessary because deduction caps won’t generate enough money, especially if they are designed to protect charitable contributions and to avoid affecting 98 percent of taxpayers.

A $25,000 cap on deductions with those features would raise about $450 billion over 10 years, less than one-third of what the administration wants, according to a blog post on the White House website by administration economists Gene Sperling and Jason Furman. Keeping tax rates constant would make it more difficult to overhaul the tax code in the future, they said.
That would require any future tax overhaul “to raise taxes on middle-class families simply to preserve lower rates for the most fortunate,” they wrote.


 3a)Boehner: Obama Must 'Get Serious' About Fiscal Cliff

House Speaker John Boehner said President Barack Obama must “get serious” about the fiscal cliff while the speaker remains “hopeful” about talks aimed at averting more than $600 billion in
spending cuts and tax increases.

Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters today in Washington that there has been no substantial progress in talks between the White House and congressional leaders in the past few weeks. “This is a moment for adult leadership,” he said.“Despite the claims that the president supports a balanced approach, the Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts,” Boehner said. Unless there is a “serious” discussion of spending cuts, “there is a real danger of going off the fiscal cliff,” he said.

Boehner spoke after meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who is Obama’s lead negotiator on a deal to avoid an end-of-the-year fiscal cliff.

Geithner is meeting separately with each of the top four leaders in Congress in the first round of direct talks with congressional leaders since Obama hosted them on Nov. 16 at the White House.
Chief Executives

Yesterday chief executives from more than a dozen U.S. corporations shuttled from the Capitol to the White House and pressed for an agreement. Union leaders had visited Capitol Hill to lobby against any compromise that would cut entitlement programs as Republicans press for benefit cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that if Congress doesn’t avert the fiscal cliff, the economy could slip into recession next year and boost the unemployment rate to 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with 7.9 percent now.

Obama and Boehner said yesterday they were eager to reach a compromise before the end of the year, without publicly offering concessions. Republicans are demanding an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and an alternative yardstick for calculating inflation that would reduce annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, according to a Republican aide who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Same Proposals

While these are the same proposals the president considered as part of failed debt talks last year, Democrats are now ruling out changes to Social Security as part of an agreement. Meanwhile, Republican leaders have shown no signs they’ll answer the president’s call for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue by ending the George W. Bush-era tax rates for top earners. Fresh revenue should come from a tax overhaul in 2013, they say.

Amid the negotiations, Obama plans to have a private lunch today at the White House with Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee he defeated in the Nov. 6 election.
Obama spoke with Boehner on the phone last night about negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff, said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Boehner. Smith did not provide details.

Geithner and the president’s congressional liaison, Rob Nabors, are meeting today with Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Leaving Office

Geithner, 51, has said he plans to leave office next month after securing a deficit compromise, his last deal with Congress in a four-year tenure that also has included shepherding the Dodd-Frank financial rules overhaul to passage.

Obama was criticized by Republicans for taking his message on the road. Obama and Boehner are pursuing a different approach to talks this year after several rounds of face-to-face meetings between Obama and congressional leaders failed in 2011, according to a Republican congressional aide.
Both sides have appointed negotiators, with Geithner as Obama’s lead emissary. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan, both Republicans, are advising Boehner and attended today’s meeting.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Drowning in Debt But Cannot Cut A Dime!

This is the message of my book: We made it!
Malkin, unemployment and  owls. (See 1 below.)

Sowell and Stephen Moore's book.  (See 1a below.)
Looming 'Obamascare' crisis. (See 2 below.)
Obama can cry racial bias all he wants but based on her performance regarding the embassy attack in Libya, Rice is not trustworthy and independent enough to be Secretary of State.  (See 3 below.)
Pipes on Gaza and Philadelphia.  (See 4 below.)

Another read on the Gaza operation.  (See 4a below.)
Quite often in defeating your adversary you must embrace their own tactics or become like them.  (See 5 below.)
Reports of the true debt ($87 trillion not $16 trillion) are coming out and should frame the debate about whether sending should be a serious issue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1)Obama the Job-Killing Owl-Killer

Welcome to the pretzel logic of liberal environmental protection: In order to "save" owls, the Obama administration is going to shoot them dead.
This is not -- I repeat not -- an Onion parody.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House released a big fat policy turkey: its final critical habitat rule for the endangered northern spotted owl. The Obama plan will lock up 9.6 million acres of land (mostly, but not all, federal) in Oregon, Washington and northern California. This is nearly double the acreage set aside by the Bush administration. Thousands of timber workers (along with untold thousands of related support jobs) will be threatened in the name of sparing a few thousand spotted owls from extinction.
As House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., pointed out earlier this year, timber-dependent counties hit hard by the federal land grab and unending environmental litigation remain racked by high unemployment. "The loss in economic activity caused by the original spotted owl plan caused an astounding decrease in federal tax receipts of nearly $700 million per year -- all from rural Northwest communities."
Despite two decades of massive government intervention and the near-destruction of the northwest timber industry, the furry bird is vanishing faster than ever. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, "(t)imber harvest on 24 million acres of federal land had dropped 90 percent from its heyday" by the year 2000. Yet, northern spotted owls are now "disappearing three times faster than biologists had feared." Indeed, spotted owl populations in key parts of Washington State "are half what they were in the 1980s." And overall, the bird has seen a 40 percent decline over the past 25 years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Punishing loggers and bringing the timber industry to its knees have made vengeful environmental groups fat and happy. But the northern spotted owl they claim to care so much about is catastrophically worse off thanks to green zealotry. One root cause: habitat loss (thanks in part to raging wildfires resulting from poor forest management and green opposition to thinning/controlled burns).
The other major, nonhuman culprit: the barred owl.
These barred owls began migrating from the East Coast in the 1950s, and the USFWS reports that the larger, more aggressive and more adaptable birds "are known to displace spotted owls, disrupt their nesting and compete with them for food." Barred owls are more prolific breeders, less finicky about their food and less picky about where they live. They also don't bow down before the Endangered Species Act or the hallowed "threatened" status of its weaker brethren. They are brutal predators known to slam into spotted owls, slicing them with their talons and decapitating them in their nests.
Conservation groups whine that barred owls are victims of "scapegoating." But USFWS Director Dan Ashe spoke the truth earlier this year: "We can't ignore the mounting evidence that competition from barred owls is a major factor in the spotted owl's decline."
Instead of admitting failure and letting nature take its course, however, command-and-control bureaucrats have appointed themselves Mother Nature's judges, juries and executioners. Their "main priority" is "reducing competition from barred owls." How? By gunning them down. Final details are still in the works, but the agency has floated past removal schemes that involve "luring territorial barred owls into close range ... using recorded calls and an owl decoy. ... A shotgun would be used to prevent wounding and ensure rapid and humane death." Experts say such an eradication plan would need to continue for centuries.
Twenty years of regulatory salvation have failed the northern spotted owl. Who believes that another top-down government exercise in species engineering -- this time backed with bullets -- will do the trick? When the government picks winners and losers, taxpayers always get screwed. No matter the job losses. No matter the death toll. Arrogant and unaccountable central planners never give a hoot.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is


An Overdue Book

Nov 28, 2012
If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore's new book, "Who's The Fairest of Them All?", Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

The point here is not to say, "Where was Stephen Moore when we needed him?" A more apt question might be, "Where was the whole economics profession when we needed them?" Where were the media? For that matter, where were the Republicans?
Since "Who's The Fairest of Them All?" was published in October, there was little chance that it would affect this year's election. But this little gem of a book exposes, in plain language and with easily understood facts, the whole house of cards of assumptions, fallacies and falsehoods which constitute the liberal vision of the economy.

Yet that vision triumphed on election day, thanks to misinformation that was artfully presented and seldom challenged. The title "Who's The Fairest of Them All?" is an obvious response to liberals' claim that their policies are aimed at creating "fairness" by, among other things, making sure that "the rich" pay their "fair share" of taxes. If you want a brief but thorough education on that, just read chapter 4, which by itself is well worth the price of the book.

A couple of graphs on pages 104 and 108 are enough to annihilate the argument about "tax cuts for the rich." These graphs show that, under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before.

There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes. Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions.

This is not just a theory. It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. That hard evidence is presented in clear and unmistakable terms in "Who's The Fairest of Us All?"

Another surprising fact brought out in this book is that the Democrats and Republicans both took positions during the Kennedy administration that were the direct opposite of the positions they take today. As Stephen Moore points out, "the Republicans almost universally opposed and the Democrats almost universally favored" the cuts in tax rates that President Kennedy proposed.

Such Republican Senate stalwarts as Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole voted against reducing the top tax rate from 91% to 70%. Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills led the charge for lower tax rates.

Unlike the Republicans today, John F. Kennedy had an answer when critics tried to portray his tax cut proposal as just a "tax cut for the rich." President Kennedy argued that it was a tax cut for the economy, that changed incentives meant a faster growing economy and that "A rising tide lifts all boats."

If Republicans today cannot seem to come up with their own answer when critics cry out "tax cuts for the rich," maybe they can just go back and read John F. Kennedy's answer.

A truly optimistic person might even hope that media pundits would go back and check out the facts before arguing as if the only way to reduce the deficit is to raise tax rates on "the rich."

If they are afraid that they would be stigmatized as conservatives if they favored cuts in tax rates, they might take heart from the fact that not only John F. Kennedy, but even John Maynard Keynes as well, argued that cutting tax rates could increase tax revenues and thereby help reduce the deficit.

Because so few people bother to check the facts, Barack Obama can get away with statements about how "tax cuts for the rich" have "cost" the government money that now needs to be recouped. Such statements not only promote class warfare, to Obama's benefit on election day, they also distract attention from his own runaway spending behind unprecedented trillion dollar deficits.
By JOhn Hayward

Two weeks ago, I tallied up the score in the state rebellion against ObamaCare.  About half of the states have either forthrightly refused to set up their ObamaCare insurance exchanges, or opted for a state/federal “partnership” arrangement.  Most of the 16 outright refusals have come from Republican governors, who generally cite three reasons for insisting that the federal government run its own ObamaCare exchanges in their states:
1. The governors don’t want to get saddled with the expense of setting up and running those exchanges.
2. The states feel that they would be very junior partners in the ObamaCare enterprise, without much in the way of local control, so the whole concept of a “state-run” exchange is really just a fig leaf of federalism for a monstrous central bureaucracy.
3. Perhaps the most damning indictment offered by the recalcitrant governors is that ObamaCare’s regulations are still largely unwritten.  The governors felt they were being asked to sign a contract that still contained a shocking number of blank pages and penciled-in notes.
An article in The Hill on Sunday shed more light on point number 3.  ”The Obama administration faces major logistical and financial challenges in creating health insurance exchanges for states that have declined to set up their own systems,” noted author Elise Viebeck, who went on to say it was “a situation no one anticipated when the Affordable Care Act was written,” because “the law assumed states would create and operate their own exchanges, and set aside billions in grants for that purpose.”
What?  ”A situation no one anticipated?”  How could that be true?  The governors resisting President Obama’s health-care takeover are not seceding from the Union.  ”Rebellious” is a description of their attitude, not their legal status.  They’re not breaking, or even challenging, any laws; they’re exercising a provision written into ObamaCare, and it’s one of the relatively few sections of that disastrous law that actually was written in ink, at the time of passage.  State governors were always given the option of asking the federal government to run the exchanges in their states.
Is it possible that the power-hungry bureaucrats, clueless central planners, and back-room dealmakers who cooked up ObamaCare truly believed they would get nearly 100 percent compliance from state governors – many of whom were well-known limited-government Republicans – and didn’t really have a “Plan B” for dealing with a sizable number of governors exercising an option that was always present in the law?  If that’s true, it’s another demonstration of the dangerous incompetence of ObamaCare’s authors and signatories.
The surprises just keep coming in the Hill article.  Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation, is quoted as saying, “You can’t simply deploy one federal exchange across the board.  Each state is different – their eligibility systems are different, their insurance markets are different.  [HHS is] going to have to build these exchanges to fit into the context of each state.”
You mean you can’t run the national health insurance system out of Washington?  Now they tell us!  Chalk up another win for ObamaCare’s critics!
Here’s a taste of how completely unprepared our new health-care commissars were for this entirely predictable turn of events:
Every state must have an exchange by Jan. 1, 2014, meaning HHS doesn’t have a lot of time to do a massive amount of work. The department could quickly run through a $1 billion fund designated for implementing the exchanges.
Experts have predicted that the department will soon have to tap budgets from its other programs to cover exchange costs. Other have said it might charge fees on the insurance purchased in its exchanges once they are launched.
And as it moves forward, the department will continue to deal with political battles. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday said repealing Obama’s law should be one of the topics discussed in budget discussions in the lame-duck session.
The bitter irony is that all of this billion-dollar confusion is happening because ObamaCare seeks to replace far less expensive and more efficient market forces with one-size-fits-all mandates and central planning.  The purpose of these health care exchanges is to create a titanic fifty-state bureaucracy that helps consumers find the best Washington-approved health care policies, and collect all of the tax credits owed them – a sort of “” for health insurance, as Viebeck describes it.
In other words, it’s a hideously expensive and clumsy replacement for market competition and advertising.  Instead of allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines and win over customers with advertising – by far the most efficient way to educate consumers about the features and benefits of any product – we’ve got a red-tape nightmare machine that’s already running over budget and failing to meet deadlines, as the federal politicians who seized control of the health insurance market belatedly realize their arrogance in presuming to know local conditions better than the people who live there.
Imagine if, instead of ObamaCare, we had a market-friendly system that simply removed barriers to interstate competition and provided modest incentives to third-party companies to create these “ for health insurance” websites.  You’d probably be using them already, instead of listening to bureaucrats stammer about how they’ll need another billion dollars and a few extra years to set them up, because people who actually read the ObamaCare legislation decided to activate one of its countless provisions.
And this is only happening because ObamaCare is a gigantic fraud, not a properly-written piece of legislation.  The “state exchanges” are an accounting trick designed to make ObamaCare look like less of a strain on the federal budget, shuffling billions of dollars in costs off Washington’s books and into state capitals.  When ObamaCare’s inevitable fiscal collapse arrives, the states would be on the hook to serve as tax collectors to make up some of the shortfall.  What reasonable governor wants to be part of that, especially when the option to create state exchanges later remains on the table?  And the only reason a right of refusal was written into the state-exchange boondoggle was to make ObamaCare look less oppressive… a deceit that will become increasingly obvious as this misbegotten system continues its collapse, and the word “optional” is redacted from more of its pages.

Lowry to Newsmax: Rice Meeting Signals Stormy Confirmation Battle

By Paul Scicchitano and John Bachma

Tuesday’s meeting between U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and three of her most ardent GOP critics provides a window into the stormy Senate confirmation battle that lies ahead if President Barack Obama taps Rice to be his next secretary of state, National Review editor Rich Lowry tells Newsmax TV.

“Usually these sorts of meetings everyone comes out saying, ‘okay, well we may have some disagreements, but we understand each other better and some of our concerns are alleviated,’” observed Lowry in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. “Those three senators came out saying the exact opposite.”

In a closed-door meeting that Rice requested, the ambassador answered questions from Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte about her much-maligned explanations about the cause of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Lowry, a Newsmax contributor, insists that it would now be a mistake for Obama to nominate Rice based on her icy Capitol Hill reception.

“It seems clear you only do these meetings if you’re preparing to nominate her or you want to pave the way to nominating her,” said Lowry, explaining that such closed-door meetings are typically reserved for nominees. “That would be a big mistake on the part of President Obama just on this narrow Benghazi question, just because if she’s nominated, it lights a fire under the whole thing. She’s going to have to answer, presumably, very uncomfortable questions under oath.”

Lowry, nevertheless, suspects that Obama won’t be dissuaded. “If I’m in the White House calculating my political interests, I would not want to nominate her because I would want this thing to go away. But the president seems as though his back is up on this,” Lowry explained.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack, Rice said the administration had been operating under the assumption that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad and ignited mob protests on U.S. embassies around the Middle East and in North Africa.

While the Obama administration later begun to call it a terrorist attack carried out by al-Qaida-linked militants, Republicans have seized on the administration's changing narrative, saying the administration was too slow to label it a terrorist attack because, they said, the White House did not want to admit its policies had failed to defeat al-Qaida and quell anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.

Lowry noted that the president bristled at the notion anyone would have challenged Rice’s comments.

“On top of all this, it just may be that he knows, likes her and considers her the best candidate for the job so he’s going to go with her no matter what,” predicted Lowry, who doesn’t have a preference between either Rice or Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who is also rumored to be on the short list to replace Hillary Clinton when she steps down as secretary. 
“John Kerry has made a career of being wrong about almost every major foreign policy question facing our nation. I expect whoever it is to be a bad candidate, actually, and someone who I disagree with pretty fundamentally,” said Lowry, who gives a slight nod to Kerry between the two.

“He would seem better suited for secretary of state just because he’s actually engaged in some diplomacy and, obviously, he’s a veteran with a military background but he seems better suited on the foreign affairs issues,” according to Lowry. “But if Rice goes to state, maybe Kerry will end up at defense.”

Lowry also rose to the defense of conservative activist Grover Norquist, who has been under increasing fire since the election for his anti-tax increase pledge that he has gotten Republican lawmakers to sign throughout the U.S. — from state capitols to Capitol Hill.

“They can’t stand Grover because he represents the anti-tax convictions of the Republican Party. If there weren’t a Grover Norquist someone would have to invent him,” said Lowry. “He just represents kind of the fundamental convictions of the party. This is a trickier situation than in the past because Republicans could technically abide by the pledge and do nothing — cut no deal with the president —and that will mean taxes will go up, all of the Bush tax cuts will expire. Taxes will go up on something like 98 percent of Americans in a massive way.”

He said he would not be surprised if lawmakers are unable to reach a deal with the president by Jan. 1 to avoid the fiscal cliff, even as a new CNN poll finds that most people would blame the GOP for such a failure as they have in the case of government shutdowns of the past.

“In this case, it might be a little different because people associate Democrats with tax increases more than Republicans. So it might be that they would tend to blame Democrats naturally more if taxes go up,” said Lowry. “The problem, though, is the president has the bully pulpit. The media hates Republicans. The image of the party is still very low so there’s a real risk that Republicans just get blamed no matter what for any bad thing that happens.”

He said that it is important for Republicans “to get a leg up on the blame game right away” and point out that a number of Democrats appear all too willing to allow the U.S. to go over the fiscal cliff. 

“The House very rapidly — and may have to do this multiple times — should pass a bill extending all of the tax cuts for everyone and make it clear that Republicans do not want taxes to go up,” he said, noting that a failure to reach a deal will also damage President Obama’s reputation. 

“The president really is going to want some sort of deal because one of the lessons he took away from the debt ceiling fight last time is that when there’s a poisonous contention in Washington, he can blame Republicans all he likes, and he certainly will do that, but it also hurts him and it hurts his image.”


Gaza's Notthe Key, Philadelphi Is

By Daniel Pipes 

The Second Hamas-Israel War of Nov. 10-21 inspired a mighty debate over rights and wrongs, with each side appealing to the large undecided bloc (19 percent of Americans according to CNN/ORC, 38 percent according to Rasmussen). Is Israel a criminal state that has no right to exist, much less to deploy force? Or is it a modern liberal democracy with the rule of law that justifiably protects innocent civilians? Morality drives this debate.
To any sentient person, it is obvious that Israelis are 100 percent justified to protect themselves from wanton attacks. A cartoon from the First Hamas-Israel War of 2008-09 symbolically showed a Palestinian terrorist shooting from behind a baby carriage at an Israeli soldier in front of a baby carriage.
The tougher question is how to prevent further Hamas-Israel wars. Some background: If Israelis are 100 percent justified in protecting themselves, their government also bears complete responsibility for creating this self-inflicted crisis. Specifically, it made two misguided unilateral withdrawals in 2005:
From Gaza: Ariel Sharon won reelection as prime minister in Jan. 2003 in part by mocking a rival who called for the unilateral withdrawal of all Israeli residents and soldiers from Gaza; then, inexplicably, in Nov. 2003 he adopted this same policy and put it into effect in Aug. 2005. I dubbed this at that time, “one of the worst errors ever made by a democracy.”
From the Philadelphi Corridor: Under U.S. pressure, especially from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sharon signed an agreement in Sep. 2005, called “Agreed Arrangements,” that withdrew Israeli forces from the Philadelphi Corridor, a 14-km long and 100-meter wide area between Gaza and Egypt. The hapless “European Union Border Assistance Mission at the Rafah Crossing Point” (EUBAM Rafah) took their place.
Trouble was, the Egyptian authorities had promised in their 1979 peace treaty with Israel (III:2) to prevent “acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, or violence” but in fact permitted massive smuggling of armaments to Gaza via tunnels. According to Doron Almog, a former head of Israel’s Southern Command writing in early 2004, “smuggling has a strategic dimension” because it involves sufficient quantities of arms and materiel “to turn Gaza into launching pad for ever-deeper attacks against Israel proper.”
Almog considered these policies “a dangerous gamble” by the Mubarak regime and a “profound strategic danger” that could “endanger the Israeli-Egyptian peace accord and threaten the stability of the whole region.” He attributed the lax Egyptian attitude to a mix of anti-Zionist views among officialdom and a readiness to vent the Egyptian public’s anti-Zionist sentiments.
Sharon arrogantly signed the “Agreed Arrangements,” contrary to the strong opposition of Israel’s security establishment. Of course, by removing this layer of Israeli protection, an “exponential increase” in the Gaza arsenal predictably followed, culminating in the Fajr-5 missiles that reached Tel Aviv this month.
To permit Israeli soldiers effectively to prevent armaments from reaching Gaza, David Eshel of Defense Update argued in 2009 for the IDF taking back the Philadelphi Corridor and increasing its size to “a fully sterile security line of about 1,000 meters,” even though this would mean having to relocate about 50,000 Gaza residents. Interestingly, the Palestinian Authority’s Ahmed Qurei privately endorsed similar steps in 2008.
Almog goes further: noting deep Iranian involvement in Gaza, he advocates making the Philadelphi Corridor into a no-man’s-land by widening it to about 10 km. Ideally, he writes me, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will build this anti-smuggling obstacle and the American military will have a continued role policing the border. Second best, Israelis do this alone. (The still-operational Gaza-Jericho Agreement of May 1994 establishes a “Military Installation Area” under Israel’s full control – in effect, the Philadelphi Corridor – that provides Jerusalem with the legal basis to take back this crucial border.)
In contrast, Michael Herzog, formerly a high-ranking official in Israel’s defense ministry, tells me it is too late for Israel to take back the Philadelphi Corridor; that international pressure on Egypt to stop the flow of arms to Gaza is the solution. Likewise, former ambassador Dore Gold backs joint U.S.-Israel “arrangements” to keep out new weaponry.
I am skeptical about an effective American role, whether military or diplomatic; Israelis alone have the incentive to close down the arms transfers. Western governments should signal Hamas that they will encourage Jerusalem to respond to the next missile attack by retaking and enlarging the Philadelphi Corridor, thereby preventing further aggression, humanitarian tragedy, and political crises.

4a)The Gaza Operation: Less a War than an Anti-Iran Coup

The eight-day Gaza duel between Israel and Hamas was the showcase.  Behind it, a coup went forward, masterminded by at least three intelligence wizards: Israel’s Mossad Direct Tamir Pardo, Turkish National Intelligence Organization – MIT chief, Hakan Fidan and the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Jassim al Thani, who also heads the emirate’s intelligence service.  The CIA was in close touch.

Their aim was to abort the military ties Tehran was cultivating with Hamas before the Gaza Strip is grabbed as Iran’s springboard to Cairo. To this end, wave upon wave of multiple missile assaults on Israel were provoked.
The coup action was designed as Part One of US President Barack Obama’s overall plan, which is to harness the Arab Spring to key US objectives. His partners were - and are - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Obama’s next stop is Syria where matters are coming to a head on several fronts.

The plan, if Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense worked, was to chart a new future for the radical Hamas terrorists by their transformation into the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people for which they still need some grooming and more than a touch of the airbrush.

Hamas has the advantage of being the most popular boy on the Palestinian block, which is why the Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has avoided an election for six years.
In the short term, the Israeli miniwar was meant as a vivid lesson for Tehran about the fate awaiting its Arab allies. Hizballah is advised to watch what happened to Hamas before its leader Hassan Nasrallah looses tens of thousands of rockets with which Iran filled its armory against Israel.

For these objectives, Israeli ground action was not necessary at any stage of the Gaza operation.

Its opening shot was a bull’s eye, eliminating Hamas’s military commander, the pro-Tehran Ahmed Jabari and Iran’s kingpin in Gaza.
Iron Dome stole the show by knocking out most of the 1,000 missiles launched from Gaza before they hit town centers. Israel lost six dead. Many of the injured were shock victims.
So was the coup strategy played out in Gaza a success?
Time will tell; Israel has meanwhile begun easing its land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip. Turkey and Qatar are committed to major investments in the Gaza economy to make it more prosperous than the rival West Bank.  And the US and Egypt have undertaken a joint effort to stem the flow of Iranian arms to Gaza through the smuggling routes of Sinai.

A million things could go wrong along the way. However, the same coalition has meanwhile shifted it sights from Gaza to Syria. NATO is about to post Patriots with American crews on the Turkish-Syrian border and the rebels are finally beginning to hem Assad’s military resources in

Conservatives Must Learn the Dark Arts of Image Manipulation

By J.R. Dunn
Okay, we've had the End of the Republic, the degenerate electorate thesis, and the ritual beating of Mitt Romney. I hope everybody has had their catharsis, because it's time to get serious.
It's typical in an election lost by the right for every last factor is poked at, examined, and raked over the coals except for the single most important element, always and forever overlooked: conservatism itself.
I contend that much of the problem with current right-of-center electoral efforts involves conservatism as currently practiced. This has nothing to do with conservative principles, or any public preference for moderation in politics. It has to do with how conservatism is expressed, and can be summed up as conservatism's failure to sell itself.
Romney ran a fine campaign. No one in the current GOP lineup -- certainly not those who opposed him in the primaries -- could have done better. He deserved to win. That he did not win is something that historians in years to come will be scratching their heads over, particularly in light of the inevitable disasters that will follow the reelection of the Chicago Moses. 
Romney was also unable, as anyone else would have been unable, to overcome the drag created by conservatism's failure to examine and correct its longstanding flaws. Even as tunnel-visioned a group as the left has been able to figure out these shortcomings in detail and utilize them in its electoral strategy. We have seen the results in the last two presidential elections. It can only get worse if conservative unwillingness to confront its failings continues.  Electoral possibilities will close further until we once again achieve the status of the Republicans at the height of the New Deal -- a vestige of a once powerful political force, active only as a distant chorus to the main action.
One of the major failings of millennial conservatism -- possibly its major failing -- involves image. There's certainly nothing new about this. Conservatism has always had problems dealing with questions of image, ranging from the days when they had no idea there was such a thing, to the days when image was viewed as a novelty and thus suspect (in much the same way as shirts with attached collars and cars that started without the help of a crank), to today, when... well, to today, because things have not changed in any substantive respect.
Several common stereotypes of conservatism exist and are utilized to define and destroy conservative candidates and movements. These include the twittering, ambiguous urban right-wing intellectual, (Steven Colbert has made quite a tidy fortune caricaturing this group), the backwoods wild man wearing camo and a white hood, a Kalashnikov in one hand and a Bible in the other, the greedy, cold-blooded businessman, and a variant on the backwoods theme distinct enough to form its own category, the crazed evangelical (the left uses the term "fundamentalist", not knowing the difference between evangelicals, Pentecostals, or, for that matter any other type of Christian.)
What all these have in common is that they are clown images -- laughable, easily caricatured, and, like all clowns, sinister and menacing at base. They are neither rigid nor fixed, and possess enough variety so that virtually any GOP or conservative spokesman or candidate can be slotted into a particular stereotype, and often more than one.  None have any positive aspect. All are intended to degrade, dehumanize, and remove the individual in question from serious consideration. Leftists and their captive media utilize these stereotypes to construct a narrative in which the GOP -- and conservatism beyond it -- produces such types as a matter of course, decade after decade and generation after generation, and that little else can be expected of either.
Image manipulation has been a useful tool for the left ever since liberalism turned transcendental as long ago as the New Deal. FDR put a lot of effort into attacking business interests as "malefactors of great wealth," slimy manipulators exploiting a helpless public, secure behind their green dollar-sign vests while the Depression raged outside their well-carpeted offices. In fact, businessmen and bankers of the early 30s were as overwhelmed and terrified as any everyday wage earner.  The suicides of ruined financiers and company owners are far from mere legend. (One of the iconic photos of the Depression depicted a former stockbroker, middle-aged, well-dressed, and with a slight shameful smile on his face, selling apples on a New York street corner. He had gotten tired of fleecing the public, I guess.)
Since that time left-wing image manipulation has continued unabated through the Cold War (when conservatives were pilloried as McCarthyists), the Civil Rights Era (racists, naturally enough), the Reagan era, (the "decade of greed"), and the Bush era, which introduced "neocons", a distortion of a very real faction which no leftist could have accurately defined if hung out a window by his heels.
Under this onslaught, conservatives simply sat there stupefied, like pinstriped versions of those clown dolls that pop back up when hit. The left worked every possible theme from every possible angle through every possible medium, from the printed press through entertainment, though academia and finally though the Net and social media. These efforts have been highly effective, and are one of the primary explanations as to why left-wing progressivism remains a serious force in a society so inhospitable to it.
(Note that the typical left-wing image -- various shades of congenital rebel -- carries little of the ignominy attached to those pinned on the right, and in fact, has considerable innate appeal to the inexperienced, uneducated, and plain foolish.)
These images have become received wisdom among the public at large, beyond debate or necessity of proof. They are fully integrated into public consciousness and have virtually become matters of instinct -- people hear "conservative", "Republican", or "neocon" and immediately picture one stereotype or the other. They govern all discussions of conservatism in this country -- anyone who doubts this has never spoken to a liberal.
You can look long and hard to find any sign of effort by the conservative movement to combat or correct these stereotypes, from the day of their first appearance to the moment that you logged onto this site, and you will find nothing.
The typical leftist method is to create and maintain the stereotype and then slot individuals into the one that they share superficial characteristics with. The individual is then saddled with all kinds of baggage usually having no relevance or connection to his actual status or character. He has to battle his way through all of it simply to reach the starting line. Ten years after Senator Joe McCarthy nearly wrecked the anti-communist movement though a display of pure opportunism (I have long thought that somewhere in the KGB archives, there exists a large file on the successful penetration agent, Iosif Makartov),  presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was hit from all sides with the label of anti-communist extremist.  Goldwater was plainspoken and made a number of remarks that, taken out of context, seemed to validate the charge. (It's seldom pointed out that most of these comments -- on Soviet aggression, the Vietnam war, the welfare state, social decadence, and crime, were borne out in detail by the end of the decade.) Goldwater was beaten by Lyndon B. Johnson in one of the most lopsided landslides in American political history. Within two years Landslide Lyndon couldn't have won a vote to be run over by a bus.
A little over twenty years later in 1986, Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Bork was -- and remains -- one of the most perspicacious legal minds in the country.  His record was impeccable, his credentials beyond criticism. So the left, in a campaign that came out of nowhere, simply made their case up. Bork was characterized as what might be called the legal variant of the Northeastern conservative template: a cold , cruel intellect enslaved by dusty legal tomes, quite satisfied to let people suffer so long as all the i's were dotted. Aided by a substantial wave of media hysteria, it worked quite well. In a shameful display of senatorial pusillanimity, Bork went down to defeat. No figure of similar stature has been nominated to the Court in the years since.
With almost clockwork timing, 22 years later Governor Sarah Palin, a reform politician of high reputation, was selected as GOP vice-presidential candidate. This presented some problems to the left, Palin being a woman, a reformer, a maverick politician, and having an attractive family including a recently born child afflicted with Down syndrome. It didn't stop them. Using every possible means, and attacking every conceivable target -- including her family (and not forgetting her disabled son), the left poisoned Palin's image to extent not seen since the Goldwater era.
Palin's life in Alaska, which remains a frontier state, enabled the left to utilize the dangerous backwoods hick motif. The governor's status as a convinced evangelical Christian gave them further ammunition (e.g., an incident in which Palin had welcomed an African pastor by taking part in ritual utilized to protect African believers against witchcraft. What would have been commendable multiculturalism from a leftist was transformed into lurid primitivism by a willing media.)
This campaign reached its climax long after the election ended when a known lunatic, Jared Laughner, shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several other victims (all of them forgotten today, including a federal judge). Attempts were made to depict Laughner as a right-wing maniac in the classic mold, though it turned out that his sole interest in politics had to do with proper use of grammar, a subject on which he had previously engaged in a public shouting match with Rep. Giffords.
Gov. Palin was dragged into this mess on the grounds that her call to "target" Giffords for electoral defeat had somehow led to the shooting. (It should be recalled that only a short time previously numerous artists and entertainers had been calling for the assassination of George W. Bush with no public outcry whatsoever.)
Palin's case marked the nadir of character assassination by the left and in a saner epoch will be looked back on as a milestone in the deterioration of American progressive politics.
With Mitt Romney, the choice of stereotype was obvious: that of the rapacious cold-blooded businessman derived from Gordon Gekko, J.R. Ewing, and the little man on the Monopoly cards. Romney, a man who tithed, who had once shut down his multimillion-dollar firm to free his entire staff to search for the missing daughter of a company employee, a man who had spent a year overseas as a missionary, was the farthest thing in the world from any such figure. But the caricature, in the absence of any conservative pushback whatsoever, was extremely effective. Most of Romney's vote deficit involved middle-income voters in the $30,000 to $50,000 range, apparently fully convinced by the portrayal of Romney as a corporate looter. (The sad irony here is that it is precisely these voters who have suffered most -- and will suffer further -- under the Obama regime. There are few other cases where the American public has so clearly voted against its own interests.) So effective was it that the left's fallback, Romney as religious crazy -- Mormonism having its doctrinal oddities -- remained unused.
In all these cases the victims went on to disprove the left's contentions in detail. Barry Goldwater served in the Senate for nearly another thirty years, being praised on his retirement by the very media outlets that had attacked him so brutally in 1964. Robert Bork stands as one of the most incisive and penetrating (if often too gloomy) of contemporary social critics. Governor Palin effectively rallies the conservative rank and file and shakes up the left with an occasional tweet or two while (wisely, I think) biding her time. No doubt exists that Mitt Romney will find a means of serving his country as he has done so ably in the past.
A detailed analysis of leftist tactics and techniques in this regard can wait. What is important is the conservative response. Disheartening as it may seem, this has been almost exclusively negative, when it has occurred at all.
The typical conservative reaction to leftwing image manipulation consist of simple paralysis, a deer-in-the-headlights response composed of equal parts fear, confusion, and ineptness. One recent example involves Virginia politician George Allen. Running for the Senate in 2006, Allen drew attention to a Democratic stalker named S.R. Sidarth, at a rally, calling him "macaca", a word of West African origin, evidently derived from the macaque monkey and meaning a silly or trivial person (certainly apropos in this case, since Sidarth wore his hair in a Mohawk and dressed with similar flamboyance). Although the term has no discernible racial content, the Washington Post , followed by the media sphere as a whole, accused Allen of racism -- Sidarth was Hindu and thus, although as Caucasian as Willy McGilly, an honorary "person of color."
Rather than challenge his attackers, respond with "so what?" or produce a Photoshopped picture of a macaque with a Mohawk (as I would have done), Allen panicked and froze like a spotlighted rat. He compounded the offense several weeks later when a reporter confronted him with evidence that he had Jewish ancestry. Rather than give a hearty "Mazel tov!" Allen turned and ran off without a word. Although the onetime favorite in the race, he was soundly beaten, as he deserved to be. (Despite this clear record of spinelessness, the Virginia GOP could apparently find nobody better and ran him once again in 2012. He was again whipped, and his political career should be considered over.)
Such examples could be extended almost infinitely. Neither the GOP nor the conservative establishment lifted a finger to defend Robert Bork in 1986. The Heritage Foundation, long known for its concern with judicial matters, spent the summer promoting a trivial book extolling its "third generation" of activists, none of whom had any further impact. When an even more repellent campaign was executed against Clarence Thomas, he wisely (and against much conservative "advice") acted on his own, swiftly turning the tables against his tormentors.
During the Bush administration, attacks against the president amounting to calls for his assassination (on the grounds that he was a "fascist dictator") were allowed to pass unchallenged. Rhetoric of this type would have horrified the country under previous administrations. Because conservatives chose to hide under rocks, threats of violence have become a standard means of harassment for figures ranging from Lawrence O'Donnell to the SEIU.
The conservative reaction can only be viewed as an expression of cowardice. So the public views it, and they are quite correct. A politician or party that will not stand up for its own reputation is unlikely to stand up for anything at all -- principle, tradition, or the interests of the voters.
But this is far from the lowest class of response. That belongs to the conservative turncoats, a large group among the upper conservative punditry, who are not only easily led into stereotyping their own but can often be found taking the lead. These include Kathleen Parker, David Brooks, David Frum, Peggy Noonan, and Andrew Sullivan. This group reacted with vigor to the appearance of Sarah Palin, not only jumping on the bandwagon of what, at base, was a public assault on a mother and her family,  but taking the reins and  clearing traffic for it. One of them, Andrew Sullivan, a gay man with the squeamishness concerning childbirth and child rearing often displayed by gay men, topped them all with a grotesque conspiracy theory in which the governor's son Trig had actually been borne by her daughter Bristol, thus adding a gamey whiff of backwoods sexuality to the saga.
In 2012, Peggy Noonan, whose stint as a junior speechwriter for Ronald Reagan gave her a vastly inflated reputation for political wisdom, joined in attacks on Mitt Romney after the exposure of his 47% speech. Noonan's comments were, as always, shallow and forgettable. But what mattered was her presence -- the simple fact that a noted "conservative" was chiming in served to validate leftist accusations, in this case of the "heartless businessman" variety. It has become commonplace for the left to haul one of these media right-wingers out when they want to tear down an opposition politician. They never seem to have a problem finding one.
And yet, at the same time, these people are still esteemed by conservatives, still honored, their advice and presence still sought after. This is clear evidence of a serious strain of decadence within the conservative movement.
Which could also be said of the third major class of response, that of embracing the stereotype, of taking it on as a kind of costume, and even pushing it farther than the left themselves. I knew a noted spokesman for one of the major conservative media organizations who used to appear at public lectures with two heavy-set young men standing at either side of the lectern wearing camo fatigues and sunglasses, thus turning himself from conservative spokesman into Benito Mussolini. This same kind of behavior can be found at all levels of the movement from comment threads all the way to the top. Rush indulges in it all too often. Ann Coulter has made a career of it. While definitely a crowd-pleaser, it is, in the end, self-defeating. These stereotypes were constructed by the left for a reason -- to manipulate the public at large, ignorant of political subtleties and unfamiliar with doctrine, into certain visceral reactions to conservatives and their ideas. They were created to destroy conservatives. Why play along with them? 
It's not at all clear why no effort has been put into combating leftist image manipulation and stereotyping. I suspect it has to do with the faux elitist roots of  old guard -- the aping of an imaginary WASP ruling class that one still finds among Northeastern conservatives. Answering, or even giving attention to such insults is considered to be in bad taste and evidence of poor breeding, something beneath the notice of true gentlefolk. We simply don't do that kind of thing, you see.
Well, we'd better resign ourselves to getting our seersucker rumpled and start doing that kind of thing. Inaction may have been excusable fifty years ago, when the major papers, the two newswires, and all three networks were owned and operated by convinced liberals. In the age of the internet and social media, it is excusable no longer. There are vast resources that remain unused in the image wars. We need to learn how to use them.
The value of deterrence cannot be overlooked. Conservatives should select one or more representative leftist icons and Palinize them. Susan Rice, with her decades-long record of incompetence, mendacity, dishonesty, and sleaze (this woman tried to cover up the Rwanda massacres, long before the Benghazi attack), would make an excellent target.
Many old-school conservatives would stand aghast at such a campaign on grounds of brutality and incivility, and they would be as correct as they are irrelevant. There comes a certain point where you must take up the weapons of your opponent if you wish to survive. That point came and went when some clever network exec in the spring of 1964 said, "Let's make Goldwater into a Nazi."  During both world wars, Germany was rightfully condemned by the Western allies for ordering U-boats to sink ships without warning. Then the Allies themselves, out of sheer necessity, adapted the same strategy, utterly destroying the Axis navies and merchant marines with tremendous loss of life. With their action, the Germans opened a door, and had to accept whatever came through. The same is true of the left today.
Punishment is also useful. Every time a leftist media figure employs a degrading stereotype, or insults an innocent party, or suggests that a political figure be assaulted or killed, they need to be punished. The social networks, Twitter and Facebook being the leading examples, comprise perfect weapons for such an effort. Thousands of tweets or emails will send the heads of the network execs spinning, with calls sent out for Larry or Ed or Rachel to drop by the office before they go the studio. Make them pay a price -- now they pay no price whatsoever. All it would take is a little organization.
Another method would be to turn around the stereotypes and begin ridiculing the left on the same level -- not as individuals, but as clowns. This has become known in recent years as Alinskyite ridicule, though it goes back eons before Hammurabi. Calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" merely generated sympathy for her. Turning her into a clown uncertain what to do with a condom if one was handed to her would have shut the whole campaign down in short order. (How about the Facebook "Sandra Fluke Condom Support Group"?)  This kind of thing works, doesn't take much in the way of effort, and we can be sure the left will provide plenty of ammunition.
The same tools can be used to create more friendly stereotypes, to project the image we want to project. In this election Mitt Romney's essential decency and humanity were totally lost. Next to no effort was made to put them across. (Romney himself was forbidden to toot his own horn by his religious convictions.) A few years ago, the National Rifle Association, after decades of fumble-figured PR ("We're only hunters! Honest!"), hit on the "I am the NRA" campaign, featuring attractive NRA members of all sexes, races, and ethnic backgrounds. The campaign worked well, humanizing gun owners and turning back concerted left-wing attempts to characterize the organization as something along the lines of a Jared Laughner fan club.  Similar campaigns featuring conservatives or Republicans is not difficult to envisage.
Such efforts are long overdue. The tools are at hand. We need to learn all there is to know about image generation, narrative strategies, propaganda, and the tricks of the media.
The first difficulty will involve members of our own team. A change of attitude is necessary. We shouldn't expect much from the Northeastern cons -- they're too eager to surrender, and many of them are only nominally conservative at this date.  (They probably feel rather flattered by Colbert's portrayal in any case.)
But the new conservative activists, often dismissed as the Tea Parties, are another story. They are the ones who can remake the conservative image into something that will attract rather than repel. The 2012 election has clearly revealed how high the stakes are. This is a knock-down, drag-out battle, a battle that the movement has so far declined to accept. We must stop refusing to play the game as it has to be played -- refusing to learn, refusing to move into a new era, refusing to step beyond the stereotypes.
Above all, we need to stop walking into sucker punches, playing the game the way the left wants us to play it. The world will never respect anyone who allows that to be done to him. The image of the simpering twit is the first one we need to shed.
Leftist control of the conservative image is no longer acceptable. In the first decade of the 20th century, the Russian socialists split into two warring factions. The smaller one -- nearly miniscule, as a matter of sheer numbers -- adapted the name "Bolsheviks" (the "majority" party) and forced the name "Mensheviks" (Guess?) on the much larger opposing faction. Twenty years later the Bolsheviks controlled Russia, and the Mensheviks were on their way to the Gulag.
Conservatives must seize control of their own image, or risk becoming the Mensheviks of the 21st century.