Advertisements

10 Fascinating Facts on President Ronald Reagan’s Birthday

reagans_with_michael_jackson

It’s the 106th birthday of Ronald Reagan, and since he was one of the most widely recognized world leaders, it’s not hard to find some interesting facts about the 40th president.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. Reagan had a long career as an actor and union leader before he became the governor of California in the 1960s and won presidential elections in 1980 and 1984.

Here are 10 facts about President Reagan you may not know.

1. Reagan really did enjoy jelly beans. According to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Libraryhis favorite flavor was licorice. Reagan started eating jelly beans in 1967 as he was trying to quit a pipe-smoking habit. He switched to Jelly Bellies a decade later.

2. One food that Reagan didn’t like was brussels sprouts. This is according to the Reagan Library website. In her autobiography, Nancy Reagan said her husband wasn’t a fussy eater since he traveled on the public speaking circuit for decades, but he also didn’t like tomatoes.

3. Reagan’s nickname of “Dutch” was given to him at an early age by his family. Reagan’s ancestry is Irish on his father’s side and Scots-English on his mother’s side. The name came from his childhood haircut, among other things.

4. The future President’s last movie role was in the 1964 release, The Killers. Based on an Ernest Hemingway story, it was Reagan’s only role as a villain in a film, and it was the first made-for-TV movie. However, The Killers was considered too violent for TV, and released to movie theaters instead.

thatcher-reagan

5. The future President lost partial hearing in one ear when he was hurt on a movie set in the late 1930s, after a gun was fired next to his ear. Decades later, President Reagan wrote to Michael Jackson offering his support after Jackson was burned filming a TV commercial.

6. Ronald Reagan started out in life as a Democrat and supported the New Deal efforts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reagan officially became a Republican  in 1962, but he had grown more conservative during the 1950s as he toured as a General Electric spokesman.

7. Reagan was not the original choice to star in “Casablanca,” instead of Humphrey Bogart. The urban legend over the issue is documented on snopes.com, and it started with a paragraph in a Warner Brothers’ press release issued before the movie was made. Bogart was always expected to play the lead role. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Obama Is Still Living In His Bubble

obama-bubble

President Obama patted himself on the back for a job well done at a press conference on Monday, after voters rebuked his policies in the November election.

2016 Election: Voters just rejected his policies, rejected his Pollyannaish view of the economy and handed his party defeats at every level of government. But as far as President Obama is concerned, everything he’s done is magic.

“Between 2009, when Barack Obama took office, and today, as he prepares to retire from it, more than 1,100 Democratic elected officials lost their jobs to Republicans. That number is unprecedented.”

— John Podhoretz and Noah Rothman, in Commentary

After the shellacking they took in the election last week, Democrats have been counseling each other to get outside their liberal “bubble” so they can reconnect with regular Americans. But not Obama.

cxj3xsgxcaep8l1

At his press conference on Monday, Obama failed to show a scintilla of humility. His economic polices are working, ObamaCare is doing better than expected, all is well. “We should be very proud,” he said, that “when we turn over the keys the car is in pretty good shape.”

Proud? Is he kidding? Let’s review the evidence.

First, Obama has just suffered one of the harshest repudiations on record.

Despite Obama’s continued insistence on his own masterful handling of the economy, working class Americans handed the keys to the candidate who pledged to undo just about all of Obama’s so-called achievements. Trump vows to repeal ObamaCare, do a 180 degree turn on Obama’s tax policy, undo Dodd-Frank, reverse course on his immigration policy, walk away from Obama’s global warming agreements and heavy-handed regulations. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dinesh D’Souza Unveils Hillary Clinton Video Ahead of DNC Speech

hillary_clinton_and_eva_peron_split

The clip coincides with the launch of a new website where D’Souza answers critics who claim his movie distorts facts. ‘Detractors and several film reviewers have been challenging many of its claims’. Example claim: ‘Democrats had backed slavery and the Ku Klux Klan decades ago’.  This is in dispute, really? (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

5 percent of critics gave ‘Hillary’s America’ a positive review, compared to a favorable review from 82 percent of the audience.

“‘Evita’s foundation funneled money given to the poor into her own bank accounts,’ D’Souza says in the clip. ‘Certainly, the Clintons wouldn’t steal from the poorest of the poor?’”

Hollywood Reporter: Hours before Hillary Clinton is set to accept the Democratic nomination for president, Dinesh D’Souza has releasedscene from his documentary film Hillary’s America that compares the former secretary of state to Eva Peron, the Argentine politician famously accused of money laundering in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita.

The release of the scene coincides with D’Souza launching a website that he says debunks criticisms of Hillary’s America by offering evidence that what he says about her and her party in his movie is historically accurate.

His “evidence” page cites various historical sources and quotes notable figures, like Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson, to make the case that Democrats had backed slavery and the Ku Klux Klan decades ago.

Since D’Souza’s movie opened two weeks ago, detractors and several film reviewers have been challenging many of its claims. The Hollywood Reporter’s reviewer likened the movie to a “highly subjective history lesson” while the Los Angeles Times said it “doesn’t even qualify as effectively executed propaganda.” On Rotten Tomatoes, only 5 percent of critics gave Hillary’s America a positive review, compared to a favorable review from 82 percent of the audience.

LBJ-poster

[Read the full story here, at the Hollywood Reporter]

Republican nominee for president Donald Trump, meanwhile, has endorsed the film. Read the rest of this entry »


Celebrating 50 Years of Medicaid & Medicare

medicare-50

 writes: This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, the healthcare entitlement programs that together cover 125 million Americans and last year cost nearly a trillion dollars.

When these programs were created back in 1965, no one ever thought they would get this big or cost this much. Congressional budgeters at the time thought Medicare, the healthcare program for the elderly, would cost about $12 billion by 1990. The actual cost that year was $90 billion.

We should have seen it coming. After all, it didn’t take decades for actual Medicare and Medicaid costs to overrun projections. That pretty much happened right away. In 1965, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicaid, the jointly funded federal-state program originally meant to cover the poor, would cost $238 million in its first year. It actually cost more than $1 billion. By 1971, Medicaid spending had reached about $6.5 billion, blowing away all previous estimates….(read more)

TheFederalist.com


Barack Obama, Re-Founding Father

progressive-re-founder

It isn’t just ‘Obama’s power grabs.’ It’s a redesign of the Founders’ original vision

renocol_DanHenningerDaniel Henninger writes: To the list of questions Hillary Clinton will never answer, add one more: Would a second Clinton presidency continue and expand Barack Obama’s revision of the American system of government that existed from 1789 until 2009?

The central feature of Mr. Obama’s rewrite of what one might call the Founding Fathers’ original vision has been to abolish Congress. Yes, the 535 men and women elected to Congress still show up at the old Capitol building, as they have since November 1800.

“If you put the president behind the wheel of a car in front of the White House to visit Congress, he’d probably get lost.”

But once past passage of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, the 44th president effectively retired Congress from its historic function. If you put the president behind the wheel of a car in front of the White House to visit Congress, he’d probably get lost.

This is not a joke if you are one of the many million Americans the Re-Founding Father has commanded, via vast executive power, to do what he wants you to do. He did it again last week.

“This is not the Democratic Party of Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton. It is the progressive left wing, which won party control by defeating the Clinton machine in 2008. As a matter of ideology, it is ‘impatient’ with the pace of change possible under the pre-2009 system of checks and balances.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, whose neo-constitutional function is to serve as a primary executor of Mr. Obama’s re-dos, waved into existence a massive expansion of the Clean Water Act. Landowners across America woke up to discover that the EPA has designated ponds, creeks, rivulets, ditches, catch basins and water-filled potholes as subject to what the Clean Water Act originally called “navigable waters.”

From somewhere on Capitol Hill, a plaintive Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat North Dakota’s voters bothered to elect in 2012, said: “It’s frustrating that after so much time, the EPA today decided to finalize this rule instead of . . . releasing a revised rule as our legislation would require.” Legislation?

ILLUSTRATION- DAVID GOTHARD

“With Congress rendered moribund, the new branch of the American political system is the federal enforcement bureaucracy.”

Conservatives by now are numb to Mr. Obama’s expansions of executive power. They call it an “abuse” of authority, and no doubt it is. “Abuse,” however, makes it sound like the whim of one politician, a Huey Long-like convulsion. This isn’t a one-off. This is how the modern Democratic Party governs. It is how a Clinton presidency would govern every day of the week.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

This is not the Democratic Party of Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey,Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton. It is the progressive left wing, which won party control by defeating the Clinton machine in 2008. As a matter of ideology, it is “impatient” with the pace of change possible under the pre-2009 system of checks and balances. Former law professor Elizabeth Warren could teach seminars on the progressive Re-Founding of America.

Elizabeth-Warren-Flag.pg

“Former law professor Elizabeth Warren could teach seminars on the progressive Re-Founding of America.”

Barack Obama, channeling decades of theory, says constantly that the traditional system has failed. He said it in his 2011 Osawatomie, Kan., speech: “It doesn’t work. It has never worked.” He has attacked Congress repeatedly as a failed institution, teeing it up for mass revulsion just as he did the 1%.

“This is not a joke if you are one of the many million Americans the Re-Founding Father has commanded, via vast executive power, to do what he wants you to do. He did it again last week…Landowners across America woke up to discover that the EPA has designated ponds, creeks, rivulets, ditches, catch basins and water-filled potholes as subject to what the Clean Water Act originally called ‘navigable waters.'”

With Congress rendered moribund, the new branch of the American political system is the federal enforcement bureaucracy. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] This Day in History: Tragic Launch of President Johnson’s Titanic “Great Society”

“In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing “just about always or most of the time”; today, 19 percent do. The former number is one reason Johnson did so much; the latter is one consequence of his doing so.”

— George F. Will

Source: The Washington Post – The slow decline of America since LBJ launched the Great Society” 

 


Washington Post: 50 Years Ago, March 8, 1965

wapo-selma

ccording the wire reports carried by the paper, more than 600 marchers had been walking across the bridge. Some were singing songs. Others were praying. Then officers on horseback descended on them. Almost 100 people were hospitalized with serious injuries.

[Fifty years after ‘Bloody Sunday’ march, struggles endure in Selma]

On page A3, the articles continued, and included a photo of a young civil rights leader named John Lewis being beaten by an Alabama State Trooper. (Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia, recently reminisced about Selma.)

imrs.php

The following day, the story pressed on. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had called for clergy to join the marches — prompting ministers from around the nation, many of them white, to travel to Alabama. Meanwhile, protests began here in D.C.

According to a March 9, 1965 piece by Post staffer Richard L. Lyons, 175 people picketed at the Department of Justice. Three of them attempted to enter the Attorney General’s office, and one had to be physically dragged away. Later in the day, another 25 people staged a sit-in at AG Nicholas Katzenbach’s office, and several Democratic members of Congress issued statements of outrage. Rep. James O’Hara, a Democrat from Michigan, declared that the beatings of the marchers were a “storm trooper action taken a the direction of a ruthless demagogue,” referring to Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

March9

By now, hundreds more demonstrators had begun arriving in Selma at King’s request. A second march was planned. State officials instructed King and the others not to go on with the march. Federal officials declined to directly intervene. Read the rest of this entry »


Jason L. Riley: Will Liberals Ever Forgive Daniel Patrick Moynihan for Being Right?

MOYNIHAN

Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years 

Jason L. RileyJason L. Riley writes: Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the future senator’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

“History has proved that Moynihan was onto something. When the report was released, about 25% of black children and 5% of white children lived in a household headed by a single mother. During the next 20 years the black percentage would double and the racial gap would widen. Today more than 70% of all black births are to unmarried women, twice the white percentage.”

“The fundamental problem is that of family structure,” wrote Moynihan, who had a doctorate in sociology. “The evidence—not final but powerfully persuasive—is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling.”

[Check out Jason Riley’s book Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” at Amazon]

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. Even worse, writes Harvard’s Paul Peterson in the current issue of the journal Education Next, Moynihan’s “findings were totally ignored by those who designed public policies at the time.” The Great Society architects would go on to expand old programs or formulate new ones that exacerbated the problems Moynihan identified. Marriage was penalized and single parenting was subsidized. In effect, the government paid mothers to keep fathers out of the home—and paid them well.

“Economists and policy analysts of the day worried about the negative incentives that had been created,” writes Mr. Peterson. “Analysts estimated that in 1975 a household head would have to earn $20,000”—or an inflation-adjusted $88,000 today—“to have more resources than what could be obtained from Great Society programs.”

“The most critical factor affecting the prospect that a male youth will encounter the criminal justice system is the presence of his father in the home.”

— William Comanor and Llad Phillips

History has proved that Moynihan was onto something. When the report was released, about 25% of black children and 5% of white children lived in a household headed by a single mother. During the next 20 years the black percentage would double and the racial gap would widen. Today more than 70% of all black births are to unmarried women, twice the white percentage.

moynihan1-articleLarge

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, right, an urban affairs adviser to President Richard M. Nixon, left, in 1970.

For decades research has shown that the likelihood of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, dropping out of school and many other social problems grew dramatically when fathers were absent. One of the most comprehensive studies ever done on juvenile delinquency—by William Comanor and Llad Phillips of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2002—concluded that “the most critical factor affecting the prospect that a male youth will encounter the criminal justice system is the presence of his father in the home.”

[Also see – Moynihan in His Own Words New York Times, September 19, 2010]

Ultimately, the Moynihan report was an attempt to have an honest conversation about family breakdown and black pathology, one that most liberals still refuse to join. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] LBJ in White House Bedroom Before Inauguration, 50 Years Ago Next Week

LBJ-WH

Via Twitter –  


Kate Scanlon: Barry Goldwater’s Lasting Impact on American Politics

Goldwater

Barry Goldwater Ran 50 Years Ago

Kate Scanlon writes: It was 50 years ago this month that then-Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., suffered one of the most lopsided defeats in the history of presidential elections.

He carried just six states and received only 38 percent of the popular vote. Not only had Democrats worked against him, but many in his own party disavowed him because he was true to his conservative principles.

dems_for_goldwater

“The mere idea that ‘Barry might make it’ is enough to give the Establishment the galloping colleywobbles,” wrote the Saturday Evening Post at the time.

And when he lost, the New York Times wrote that Goldwater “not only lost the presidential election yesterday but the conservative cause as well.”

goldwater2

Yet 16 years later, Ronald Reagan, his political heir, won the presidency in a landslide.

He had not lost the conservative cause. Columnist George Will argued that Goldwater “lost 44 states but won the future.”

B2m1ZVRIMAAHmRZ

[Heritage Event: The Barry Goldwater 1964 Campaign 50th Anniversary Forum]

In fact, Lee Edwards, who worked as director of information for the Goldwater campaign and serves as a distinguished fellow in conservative thought at the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, has called Goldwater “the most consequential loser in American politics.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Loneliest President Since Nixon

obama-oval-solo

Facing adversity, Obama has no idea how to respond

Peggy Noonan writes: Seven years ago I was talking to a longtime Democratic operative on Capitol Hill about a politician who was in trouble. The pol was likely finished, he said. I was surprised. Can’t he change things and dig himself out? No. “People do what they know how to do.” Politicians don’t have a vast repertoire. When they get in a jam they just do what they’ve always done, even if it’s not working anymore.

This came to mind when contemplating President Obama. After a devastating election, he is presenting himself as if he won. The people were not saying no to his policies, he explained, they would in fact like it if Republicans do what he tells them.

AP_Obama_Silhouette

You don’t begin a new relationship with a threat, but that is what he gave Congress: Get me an immigration bill I like or I’ll change U.S. immigration law on my own.

“He had family challenges and an unusual childhood, but as an adult and a professional he never faced fierce, concentrated resistance. He was always magic. Life never came in and gave it to him hard on the jaw. So he really doesn’t know how to get up from the mat. He doesn’t know how to struggle to his feet and regain his balance. He only knows how to throw punches. But you can’t punch from the mat.”

Mr. Obama is doing what he knows how to do—stare them down and face them off. But his circumstances have changed. He used to be a conquering hero, now he’s not. On the other hand he used to have to worry about public support. Now, with no more elections before him, he has the special power of the man who doesn’t care.

“In the meantime he is killing his party. Gallup this week found that the Republicans for the first time in three years beat the Democrats on favorability, and also that respondents would rather have Congress lead the White House than the White House lead Congress.”

I have never seen a president in exactly the position Mr. Obama is, which is essentially alone. He’s got no one with him now. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] This Day in History: Launch of President Johnson’s Titanic “Great Society”

JBJ-Great-Society

In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing “just about always or most of the time”; today, 19 percent do. The former number is one reason Johnson did so much; the latter is one consequence of his doing so.”

— George F. Will

 

Source: The Washington Post The slow decline of America since LBJ launched the Great Society” 

 


[VIDEO] The Great Society’s Triumph and Tragedy

The Great Society was launched on May 22, 1964, during Lyndon Baines Johnson‘s address at the University of Michigan. The speech was a milestone in American history, heralding fundamental changes that advanced racial equality while also decisively expanding the scale and scope of government. It is no exaggeration to say that the Great Society created the foundation for America’s modern welfare state. Half a century later, has America achieved Johnson’s vision?

LBJ-BW


The Great Society at Fifty

LBJ-BW

What LBJ wrought

For The Weekly StandardNicholas Eberstadt writes: May 22, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “Great Society” address, delivered at the spring commencement for the University of Michigan.

[Below: On Jan. 4, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson outlined his goals for a Great Society in his State of the Union. You can watch and read his entire speech at millercenter.org]

That speech remains the most ambitious call to date by any president (our current commander in chief included) to use the awesome powers of the American state to effect a far-reaching transformation of the society that state was established to serve. It also stands as the high-water mark for Washington’s confidence in the broad meliorative properties of government social policy, scientifically applied.

LBJtall

No less important, the Great Society pledge, and the fruit this would ultimately bear, profoundly recast the common understanding of the ends of governance in our country. The address heralded fundamental changes​—​some then already underway, others still only being envisioned​—​that would decisively expand the scale and scope of government in American life and greatly alter the relationship between that same government and the governed in our country today.

In his oration, LBJ offered a grand vision of what an American welfare state​—​big, generous, and interventionist​—​might accomplish. Difficult as this may be for most citizens now alive to recall, the United States in the early 1960s was not yet a modern welfare state: Our only nationwide social program in those days was the Social Security system, which provided benefits for workers’ retirement and disability and for orphaned or abandoned children of workers. Johnson had gradually been unveiling this vision, starting with his declaration of a “War on Poverty” in his first State of the Union months earlier in 1964, just weeks after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. In LBJ’s words,  “The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that,” he said, “is just the beginning.”

The Great Society proposed to reach even further: to bring about wholesale renewal of our cities, beautification of our natural surroundings, vitalization of our educational system. All this, and much more​—​and the solutions to the many obstacles encountered in this great endeavor, we were told, would assuredly be found, since this undertaking would “assemble the best thought and the broadest knowledge from all over the world to find those answers for America.”

Memorably, Johnson insisted that the constraints on achieving the goals he outlined were not availability of the national wealth necessary for the task or the uncertainties inherent in such complex human enterprises, but instead simply our country’s resolve​—​whether we as a polity possessed sufficient “wisdom” to embark on the venture.
Read the rest of this entry »


LBJ a Liberal Hero? In Your Dreams, Pal

LBJ-BW

Michael Kazin writes:  From 1964 to 1968, close to 34,000 Americans died in South Vietnam. We will never know how many Vietnamese women, men, and children perished during those years, but the total, according to most estimates, was at least one million. Among the dead were tens of thousands of civilians—blown apart by explosives dropped from planes, burned to death by napalm, or gunned down by U.S. troops whose commanders told them that, in a village considered loyal to the Vietcong, they should “kill anything that we see and anything that moved.” Their commander-in-chief was Lyndon Baines Johnson.

This past week, on the golden anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, four of LBJ’s successors went to his library in Texas to praise his character and his deeds. George W. Bush lauded him for turning “a nation’s grief to a great national purpose.” Jimmy Carter chided his fellow LBJtallDemocrats for not emulating Johnson’s determination to fight for racial equality. Barack Obama remarked that LBJ’s “hunger” for power “was harnessed and redeemed by a deeper understanding of the human condition, by a sympathy for the underdog, for the downtrodden, for the outcast.” Bill Clinton reflected that Johnson “saw limitless possibilities in the lives of other poor people like him who just happened to have a different color skin.”

Some liberal journalists echoed the chief executives, past and present. LBJ, wrote my friend E.J. Dionne, presided over “a consensual period when a large and confident majority believed that national action could expand opportunities and alleviate needless suffering. The earthily practical Johnson showed that finding realistic ways of creating a better world is what Americans are supposed to do.” Not a word about those countless people in Southeast Asia whose lives reached their unnatural limits when they encountered an American infantryman with an M-16 or a bomb dropped from a B-52.

Of course, to remember what the United States, during LBJ’s tenure, did to Vietnam and to the young Americans who served there does not cancel out his domestic achievements. But to portray him solely as a paragon of empathy, a liberal hero with a minor flaw or two, is not merely a feat of willful amnesia. It is deeply immoral. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama and the LBJ Delusion

LBJBO

John Aloysius Farrell  writes:  Lyndon Johnson recognized opportunity when he saw it. The body of John F. Kennedy had been tucked into an Arlington hillside for but a few days when Johnson summoned the leaders of Congress to the White House in late 1963. They were going to seize this moment of national unity, he told the assembled lawmakers, and move the vital legislation—on civil rights, taxes and other pressing issues—stalled in congressional cul de sacs.

LBJtallTo get the tax cut through the Senate, Johnson told the leaders, hewould have to pare federal spending. That meant chopping wasteful programs, like funding for antiquated Navy yards, from the Pentagon budget. They were relics from the world wars, LBJ said, barnacles in an era of ICBMs and nuclear warheads. At his side was Kenneth O’Donnell, Kennedy’s chief of staff.

“Where are you going to close them?” asked House Speaker John McCormack, a flinty Democrat from South Boston, knowing well that the yards were huge employers. Philadelphia, the Speaker was told. Brooklyn. And Boston. At which point McCormack drew on his cigar, turned in his chair, and blew a mighty cloud of smoke in Ken O’Donnell’s face.

“How did it go?’ Johnson wanted to know, after the meeting was done. Well, said O’Donnell, the Boston yard in Charlestown sat in the district of McCormack’s protégé—Rep. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill Jr. —who happened to be the deciding vote on the Rules Committee. “You’ll never get a piece of legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives as long as he’s there,” O’Donnell said. Read the rest of this entry »


The Fifty-Year War

NRO has a feature on the ‘War on Poverty‘, reviewing a taxpayer-funded big-budget blockbuster that took 50 years to make, only cost 15 trillion dollars, and is still in production…

LBJ-BW

This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s proclamation of a “war on poverty,” and the progress in this theater has not been encouraging. Trillions of dollars have been spent, and the number of Americans living in poverty is higher today than it was in 1964, while the poverty rate has held steady at just under one in five. That contrasts unpleasantly with the trend before President Johnson declared his war: The poverty rate had been dropping since the end of World War II. That progress came to a halt as President Johnson’s expensive and expansive vision began to be implemented in earnest, which coincided with the tapering of the postwar boom. By the 1970s, the poverty rate was headed upward. It declined a bit during the Reagan years, crested and receded again in the 1990s, and resumed its melancholy ascent around the turn of the century.

To understand the failure of the war on poverty requires understanding its structure, which itself is bound up in the idiosyncrasies of Lyndon Johnson’s politics. President Johnson played many parts in his political career: Southern ballast to John Kennedy’s buoyant Yankee idealism; an enemy of civil-rights reform and anti-lynching laws who reversed himself in 1964; a sometimes reluctant but in the end unshakeable Cold Warrior. But at heart President Johnson was a New Deal man, and his Great Society, of which the war on poverty was a critical component, was his attempt to resuscitate the spirit and the political success of Franklin Roosevelt’s program.

It was the New Deal that made Johnson’s Texas a fiercely Democratic state, as the older residents of New Deal, Texas, no doubt remember. Johnson’s House district was energetically anti-Communist, not especially segregationist, but above all wild about the New Deal. Johnson ran for the House as a New Dealer, and it was his association with FDR’s domestic agenda (and, according to biographer Robert Caro, a few thousand fraudulent ballots) that made him a senator and a force.

Read the rest of this entry »


FOOD STAMP NATION: Child Homelessness Spikes in NYC

men-depression-AP

Robert Wilde:  Andrea Elliott, in her NY Times article “Invisible Child,”articulates the disheartening existence of a family living on the meager support of government welfare. She invites her readers to look through the eyes of Dasani, the family’s 11-year-old girl.

The family has a complex relationship with the welfare programs that both keep them afloat and keep their situation hopeless.

Liberals advocate that welfare programs are designed to help the least fortunate and that they demonstrate a society’s compassion. However, sometimes too much compassion by the state can devolve into what recovering drug addicts would call “enabling.” Moreover, the “compassionate environment” provided by government often turns out to be wretched.

Read the rest of this entry »


JFK’s Signal Accomplishment: (Almost Blowing up the World, then) ‘Saving’ the World

(Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)

(Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)

Morton Kondracke displays some funny logic. My commentary is in italics.

I didn’t read or watch every observation of the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination (who could?)  but the ones I did gave short shrift to his signal accomplishment — saving the world from a nuclear holocaust.

Could it be because JFK played a provocative role in the nuclear confrontation in the first place? And other observers are more informed and realistic about this? The fact that JFK managed to back out of a nuclear crisis that he helped start is a “Signal Accomplishment”? Just a thought, Morton. Credit is due, Kennedy did act honorably, and skillfully, this is true. History records that. It’s been explored by scholars ever since. But let’s not pretend Kennedy swept in and saved the world.

The other view is that Kennedy brought the USA to the brink of a global nuclear war, then successfully avoided it. That might be the reason others haven’t touted it as a signal accomplishment. 

His cool restraint during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — resisting many advisers who were calling for bombing Soviet missile sites in Cuba — ought to earn him the top-of-the-heap public approval ratings he enjoys (90 percent in a CNN poll).

I doubt the ratings are based on that, though. His celebrated grace, glamour, wit, eloquence, inspiration of a generation to public service, his (belated) support for civil rights, the Camelot myth created by his widow — and, above all, his martyrdom — most likely are the major factors.

Grace, glamour, wit, eloquence…morbidly brazen womanizing, medical dependence on steroids and regular injections of powerful amphetamines to mask grave health problems….and recklessly bringing the USA to the brink of nuclear war. Okay, got it. Glamorous. 

Historians rate him lower than the public does. If you look at the excellent Wikipedia site, Historical Rankings of Presidents of the United States, he rates in the middle-upper tier in a dozen surveys of historians — 14th in a 2002 Sienna College survey.

Read the rest of this entry »


JFK: A Hawk in Life, a Liberal in Death

In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, arrive at Love Field airport in Dallas.

 Nov. 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, arrive at Love Field airport in Dallas.

What he was, he was:
What he is fated to become
Depends on us.

– W.H. Auden, “Elegy for JFK” (1964)

BOSTON — George Will writes:  He has become fodder for an interpretation industry toiling to make his life malleable enough to soothe the sensitivities and serve the agendas of the interpreters. The quantity of writing about him is inversely proportional to the brevity of his presidency.

He did not have history-shaping effects comparable to those of his immediate predecessor or successor. Dwight Eisenhower was one of three Americans (with George Washington and Ulysses Grant) who were world-historic figures before becoming president, and Lyndon Johnson was second only to Franklin Roosevelt as a maker of the modern welfare state and second to none in using law to ameliorate America’s racial dilemma.

The New York Times’ executive editor calls Kennedy “the elusive president”; TheWashington Post calls him “the most enigmatic” president. Most libidinous, certainly; most charming, perhaps. But enigmatic and elusive? Many who call him difficult to understand seem eager to not understand him. They present as puzzling or uncharacteristic aspects of his politics about which he was consistent and unambiguous. For them, his conservative dimension is an inconvenient truth. Ira Stoll, in JFK, Conservative, tries to prove too much but assembles sufficient evidence that his book’s title is not merely provocative.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why We Have Federal Deficits

6a00d8341c3e3953ef0167661243ea970b-320wiCharles Blahous writes: Today the Mercatus Center is releasing a study I completed earlier this year that comprehensively analyzes the policy decisions underlying federal deficits.  Too often partisan advocates focus on a limited time period to purposely throw blame on a targeted political figure.  Instead I dissected the entire budget, identifying deficit-driving policies regardless of when they were enacted.  The study was a mammoth undertaking; it required the digestion of practically every Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) budget report published over the past forty years.

The striking finding is that more than three-quarters of our long-term fiscal problem derives from a set of policy decisions made over a period of just seven years, 1965 to 1972.  1965 saw the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid, advocated for and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.  Both of these programs were later expanded in 1972 during the Nixon administration, as was Social Security.  Nothing done by any recent President or Congress carries long-term fiscal consequences as daunting as those arising from these 1965-72 decisions. Read the rest of this entry »


The Politics of Loss

 the politics of deciding who loses what, and when and how, is upon us. Neither party yet fully understands the implications of this shift

The politics of deciding who loses what, and when and how, is upon us. Neither party yet fully understands the implications of this shift

Jay Cost writes:  When political scientist Harold Lasswell, writing in the mid-1930s, defined politics as the decisions society makes about “who gets what, when, and how,” he might as well have been describing the debate over taxes and spending in the United States today. But what happens when the focus of the political debate changes from who gets what to who loses what? This concept is unfamiliar to Americans, who have enjoyed more than 100 years of (mostly) uninterrupted economic growth. Read the rest of this entry »


The One that wasn’t: LEFT REVOKES PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LIBERAL CARD, pouts, ponders replacement Messiah

Liberals have long seen the president as a leader who’s fallen short of liberal goals. | AP Photo

Liberals have long seen the president as a leader who’s fallen short of liberal goals. | AP Photo

 Now many liberals feel sure: Barack Obama was not the one they’d been waiting for.

The man who won the presidency in part due to his opposition to the Iraq War was suddenly leading a charge to use military force against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Republican refusal to go along was to be expected. The liberal backlash, though, was particularly intense. Read the rest of this entry »


3 More Reasons to Fear the IRS

So the IRS has admitted to sitting on applications for tax-exempt status by Tea Party groups for political reasons.

According to the government’s own investigation, applications containing terms such as Tea Party and Patriot were singled out for delays and holds even as groups with liberal-sounding names like “Bus for Progress” and “Progress Florida” sailed through the process.

President Obama said “the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable” and even fired the acting head of the Internal Revenue Service.

Regardless of how this particular scandal shakes out, there’s still going to be at least three good reasons to be scared as hell of the IRS.

1. It’s always been a political weapon.

John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all sicced the IRS on enemies and dissenters. And they were just following in the footsteps of Franklin Roosevelt, whose son said his father was “the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.”

2. Its rulings are super-complicated and capricious.

The federal tax code is longer than Atlas Shrugged, Ulysses, and the Old Testament put together. It’s so complicated that even former IRS commissioners need help preparing their returns.

3. It’s Obamacare’s enforcement mechanism.

Starting next year, the IRS will be the cop patrolling the Affordable Care Act’s mandates, with the agency overseeing some 47 tax provisions related to Obamacare. You won’t just be reporting income anymore. You’ll be explaining when, where, and how you bought health care as well.

 

via  Reason.com