Enjoy a special message from the Gipper. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
This year marks not only the 50th anniversary of the shooting of John F. Kennedy but also the 45th anniversary of the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy, which occurred in June 1968. Was there a common source motivating the assassins of both Kennedys—that is, Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan?
That renowned political philosopher Mick Jagger speculated on a source. “I shouted out ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’” asks the lyrics in the 1968 song by The Rolling Stones. “When, after all, it was you and me.” The song was titled, “Sympathy for the Devil.” It was, The Rolling Stones suggested, the Devil who had killed the Kennedys, along with his accomplices.
I must say I can’t disagree with that one—a rare area of agreement between me and Mick Jagger.
There is, however, a more earthly answer. And it was provided, surprisingly, by a rising political star in the immediate hours after the shooting of Bobby Kennedy. That star was the new governor of California, Ronald Reagan.
RFK was shot in Governor Reagan’s state. Reagan was no stranger to Bobby Kennedy. He had debated him a year earlier on national television, which didn’t go well for RFK, with Reagan clearly outshining him. Kennedy told his handlers to never again put him on the same stage with “that son-of-a-b—-.”
That debate occurred five years after Bobby Kennedy had intervened to get Reagan fired from his long stint as host of the top-rated GE Theatre on CBS—a fact unknown until it was revealed by Michael Reagan in his excellent book, The New Reagan Revolution. Typical of Reagan, he harbored no bitterness toward RFK. That was quite unlike Bobby Kennedy, a man who personally knew how to hold a grudge.
On June 5, 1968, Reagan was full of nothing but sympathy for RFK. He appeared on the popular television show of Joey Bishop, one of the extended members of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. Bishop and Reagan were old Hollywood friends, and Bishop extended the governor a platform to address the shooting. A transcript of Reagan’s appearance on that show was grabbed by his young chief of staff, Bill Clark, who died just a few months ago. Clark shoved it in a box that ended up in the tack barn at his ranch in central California. It lay there until I, as Clark’s biographer, dug it out three decades later.
That rare surviving transcript reveals a Reagan who spoke movingly about RFK and the entire Kennedy family. Condemning the “savage act,” Reagan pleaded: “I am sure that all of us are praying not only for him but for his family and for those others who were so senselessly struck down also in the fusillade of bullets…. I believe we should go on praying, to the best of our ability.”
But particularly interesting was how Reagan unflinchingly pointed a finger of blame in the direction of Moscow. Reagan noted that Kennedy’s killer, Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Arab and also a communist, had shot Kennedy because of his support of Israel during the Six Day War that had occurred exactly one year earlier. On that, we now know beyond dispute what Reagan knew then: That war had been shamelessly provoked by the Kremlin.
Looking to exploit divisions in the Middle East and further exacerbate America’s foreign-policy problems at the time (we were mired in Vietnam), Soviet officials cooked up false intelligence reports claiming that Israeli troops had been moved into the Golan Heights and were readying to invade Syria. They peddled the malicious, phony information to Egypt and other Arab states for the explicit purpose of creating a military confrontation with Israel. The Israeli leader, Levi Eshkol, immediately denounced the accusation, telling the Soviet ambassador to his face that there were no Israeli troops there whatsoever, and offering to personally drive him to the Golan at once. Acting on orders, the ambassador flatly refused, shouting “Nyet!” at Eshkol and storming out of the prime minister’s residence. The Egyptians, too, checked their intelligence sources and found no evidence of Israeli troops in the Golan. Nonetheless, the pieces were in motion, and one thing dangerously led to another until everything spiraled out of control. Within mere weeks, the Six Day War was on—precipitated by the Kremlin. The egregious depths of Soviet disinformation spawned a major Middle East war.
RFK supported Israel in that war. Sirhan Sirhan never forgave him for that. He killed him for that.
Again, Ronald Reagan knew about the Soviet role in instigating the conflict, which he apparently pieced together via various reports at the time. As a result, he linked Bobby Kennedy’s assassination to the USSR’s mischief in the Middle East. “The enemy sits in Moscow,” Reagan told Joey Bishop. “I call him an enemy because I believe he has proven this, by deed, in the Middle East. The actions of the enemy led to and precipitated the tragedy of last night.”
Moscow had precipitated the Six Day War in June 1967, which, in turn, had prompted RFK’s assassin in June 1968.
But Reagan wasn’t finished positioning blame where it deserved to be placed. Eight days later, on July 13, 1968, Reagan delivered a forgotten speech in Indianapolis. Both the Indianapolis News and Indianapolis Star reported on Reagan’s remarks, but the only full transcript I’ve seen was likewise located in Bill Clark’s private papers. In that speech, Reagan leveled this charge at international communism, with an earlier Kennedy assassination in mind: “Five years ago, a president was murdered by one who renounced his American citizenship to embrace the godless philosophy of communism, and it was communist violence he brought to our land. The shattering sound of his shots were still ringing in our ears when a policy decision was made to play down his communist attachment lest we provoke the Soviet Union.”
Reagan was spot on. As many conservative writers are currently noting, liberals in the immediate moments after the JFK assassination sought to blame everything but Oswald’s love of communism, love of the Soviet Union, and love of Castro’s Cuba as motivations for what he did. Some blamed the climate of alleged “hate” and “bigotry” and “violence” in Dallas for the shooting. They ached to blame the right, fulfilling James Burnham’s timeless maxim: “For the left, the preferred enemy is always to the right.” Amazingly, they attempted to label Oswald a “right-winger,” which was utterly upside down. He was a left-winger, as far left as one could get. Oswald was a completely committed communist. He was head over heels for Castro’s Cuba in particular. He adored Fidel. After defecting to and then leaving the Soviet Union after a long stay there, he went back to Texas (with a Soviet wife) and then tried everything to get to Havana and serve the revolution there. JFK and Fidel despised one another; each wanted the other dead. Guess who Oswald sided with on that one?
The Warren Commission later agonized over the possible motivations of Oswald. In the end, it determined that it “could not make any definitive determination of Oswald’s motives.” To its credit, the commission “endeavored to isolate the factors which contributed to his character and which might have influenced his decision to assassinate President Kennedy.” It listed five factors, which appear on page 23 of the huge commission report. Among the five, the fifth underscored Oswald’s “avowed commitment to Marxism and communism,” and noted specifically his ardor for Moscow and Havana. The commission concluded that this did indeed contribute to Oswald’s “capacity to risk all in cruel and irresponsible actions.”
Nonetheless, Oswald’s passion for international communism, from Russia to the Western Hemisphere, has been downplayed by the American left and many Americans generally from the literal moment we learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot.
One American who was never blind to that motivation was Ronald Reagan. More than that, Reagan wasn’t naïve to the role of international communism in the shooting of RFK either.
For the record, this is not to say that Lee Harvey Oswald or Sirhan Sirhan acted as conscious, deliberate agents trained and ordered by the Soviets or the Cubans, though some—such as Ion Mihai Pacepa—have examined that possibility in depth. Their actions, however, cannot or should not be separated from the malevolent force of international communism, which unquestionably played a role in their ultimate deadly actions.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and New York Times best-selling author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”
Editor’s note: This article first appeared at American Spectator.
Come on, Oprah.
You’re way too smart to be this stupid.
When are you going to get off this kick about Barack Obama being disrespected more than previous presidents just because he is a black man?
It’s getting embarrassing, Oprah.
You’re one of America’s great talents and greatest success stories.
You’re a self-made billionaire, an astute multimedia mogul, a beloved cultural icon.
You’re admired around the world for your generosity and good works. Your opinions and endorsements influence what millions of people read, how they think, and who they vote for.
But after five years of President Obama’s reign, you apparently still haven’t learned a thing about presidential politics and race relations in this country.
You proved it again just last week in Britain when you were plugging that movie “The Butler.”
You were asked — for the umpteenth time — by the BBC whether you thought President Obama was being treated unfairly or criticized disproportionately by the media and others because he was black.
You said, “When the senator yelled out, ‘You’re a liar’ — remember that? Yeah, I think that there is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs, and that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American.”
I realize your primary job in London was to promote “The Butler,” the movie about the real-life black butler who worked in the White House for eight presidents that was so bad I dubbed it “The Butler from Another Planet.”
But was your response to the BBC reporter’s question — a variation of the same claim you’ve made before — really the most thoughtful thing you could come up with?
Were you jet-lagged? Exhausted? Were you weary of being asked the same dumb question and having to give the same cliched answer?
Come on, Oprah. You’re off your usual game.
Using the example of the president being called a liar in Congress as proof that President Obama is a victim of racism is getting pretty stale.
It occurred in 2009. And it wasn’t a senator; it was South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson who yelled out “You lie” when Obama was overpromising the benefits of his Affordable Care Act to a joint session of Congress.
Oprah, you’re great. But you need to brush up on your history and current events.
America still has racists and bigots. They come in all colors and creeds. But you, better than anyone, must realize that the American people, especially the young, are increasingly colorblind.
You couldn’t have become the most influential woman on the planet and America’s richest black woman if white audiences hadn’t fallen in love with you and your TV talk show.
And President Obama couldn’t have been elected twice without the broad support of white voters who cared more about his hopes and promises than the color of his skin.
Obama is being beat up for political reasons, not racial ones. Just take off those black-and-white glasses, Oprah, and read the headlines.
Obamacare is a disaster. Obama’s economic policies are failing, and his administration is incompetent.
The president’s bipartisan critics in the media and in Congress don’t care what color his skin is, just as the “disrespecters” of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Ronald Reagan didn’t care about their white skin.
Oprah, let’s face it. It is you who is still fixated on the color of the president’s skin.
You need to update and upgrade your thinking. What you say matters. People trust you. They expect intelligent thoughts about race from you, not outdated and predictable cliches.
Imagine if you had said something to that BBC reporter like, “You know, that’s a really dumb and racist question. President Obama isn’t America’s black president, he’s America’s president. He’s taking his lumps because he’s been screwing up. It happens to presidents all the time. Except for a few racists, no one in America cares anymore what color the president’s skin is. Neither do I. I only care about the job he’s doing.”
That would have been an Oprah-worthy answer — and an important message about race for America.
Photo credit: Story Accents (Creative Commons)
Eighty percent of Americans consider themselves Christians—but today, many of them consider themselves a persecuted remnant. Is it mere paranoia? Remember, even the paranoid have enemies.
An Anti-Defamation League poll in 2005 found that 64 percent of Americans believed that religion was under attack in the U.S. It was 75 percent among Christians who attend church regularly. A Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum by lawyer Jay Alan Sekulow warned in 2012:
All across America, religious institutions and individuals are being subjected to increasing restrictions on their free exercise of religion and freedom of speech—a crackdown that can be seen in a variety of different contexts ranging from employers or health care professionals being required to provide or facilitate abortions against the dictates of their faith to street evangelists and public school students seeking to share their religious viewpoints with others. This rising disregard for religious liberty represents a marked break from the long-standing American tradition of accommodating religious practice and expression that predates the ratification of the Constitution.
Under the Obamacare health care law, religious employers will be required to pay for insurance to cover medical procedures such as abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization procedures they oppose on moral grounds. Religious individuals too will be forced to participate in such programs or pay fines. Employers and employees of actual houses of worship are excluded from the requirement, but not religious charities, schools, hospitals, or other related institutions at the center of Christian life. Some are opposing these provisions in court, demanding exemptions from the law. They are not optimistic. Many now believe the entire establishment is against them.
It is clear that not all of this is paranoia. The atheist professor, author, and producer Richard Dawkins is not even subtle about it. One of his scripts—aired on British television and later on American public TV—was titled The Root of All Evil? Evil, naturally, was religion. He criticized all “three Abrahamic religions,” because their “irrational roots are nourishing intolerance and murder” around the world. They “preach morality, peace, and hope; in fact, they bring intolerance, violence, and destruction.”
His main target is Christianity since he considers it the most powerful. Dawkins characterized Christianity’s belief that Jesus had to be “hideously tortured and killed so that we might be redeemed” as a “nasty sadomasochistic doctrine.” He complains that Christian religious schools promote a “poisonous system of morals.” He compares the teaching of religion to a virus that infects young people and spreads from generation to generation. He considers families teaching religion to be “child abuse.” These views are now suitable for prime time television.
Or consider former Yale dean and classics scholar Donald Kagan. He recently complained to the Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Kaminski that democracy seems to have run its course in America and the West as the morality that has sustained them has atrophied. What morality? While the “Romans had no qualms about quashing their enemies, big or small” and the U.S. had relentlessly won two world wars “and imposed and protected the current global order, the recent record shows failed or inconclusive engagements.” The problem is that “We’re a certain kind of culture which makes it hard for us to behave rationally when the rational thing is to be tough.” The culture that makes this difficult is “unsubtle Christianity” and its strong strain of pacifism. “Who else has a religion filled with the notion ‘turn the other cheek’? Who ever heard of such a thing? If you’re going to turn the other cheek, go home. Give up the ball.” Today, such sentiments about Christianity run in the country’s leading newspapers and pass without any notice at all.
Every day, even first-rate newspapers and quality television shows display total ignorance about the first 1,500 years of Western civilization. Following Voltaire, moderns consider the whole formative period of our culture to be a “dark age,” contrary to any serious modern scholarship about the period. No major Western worldview has had reason to look at the age favorably. Voltaire’s atheists believe that all thinkers before themselves were unenlightened; Protestants saw the whole period as repressed under a corrupt Papacy; and even post-Trent Catholics wanted to forget the whole previous era and begin over again. A recent Discovery Chanel documentary did bring in medieval scholars who demonstrated—by displaying its actual discoveries—that most thinking about the period is simplistic, but that was a rare exception.
Even serious, Christian-friendly authors like Avi Beker get it muddled. As Hillel Fradkin noted about Beker’s wonderful history of the Jews and anti-semitism, The Chosen, the author made the “common error” of believing that the Christian reaction to Jews was much worse than the Islamic reaction, whereas “Muslim persecution of Jews was equal if not greater than Christian persecution as Maimonides and Halevi both testified.” Part of the error was Beker’s “assimilation of the Holocaust to the history of Christianity.” Christian Europe often disposed many to be unfavorable to Jews; but “Nazism must be laid at the door of modernity,” not Christianity. While Beker is generous in praising modern Christianity for its toleration, his Enlightenment-centric history makes it difficult for him to understand the fact that “the most serious form of contemporary anti-semitism is not that of Christians but of Muslims and their sometimes secular allies on the left.”
The normal assumption is that such observations are the detached reflections of neutral experts merely reporting the facts. Take New York University Professor Thomas Nagel, the very model of academic objectivity. He wrote a fine book, Mind and Cosmos, that seeks a third way between materialism and religion, one that any theist could admire as a courageous and open-minded attempt at a reasonable solution. But his underlying thinking outside the book is not the cool rationality most assume to be the atheistic mindset. The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson reported that Nagel told the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga that he always pursues truth, but “if I ever found myself flooded with the conviction that what the Nicene Creed says is true the most likely explanation would be that I was losing my mind, not that I was being granted the gift of faith.”
Nagel conceded that pure materialism is rationally a failure, but continued “I want atheism to be true and I am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally hope I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” Nagel has become the object of unfair leftist scorn for questioning materialism, but can one imagine any traditionalist admitting a similar bias and surviving at all?
In fact, many passionately dislike what Christians and other religious people believe. That is fine as long as the passion is from the Nagels of the world who are merely seeking truth, ardently or otherwise. Even threats from those such as Dawkins can be answered. It is only when opponents use coercion and raw political power to limit freedom that a real menace emerges. It is in an Obamacare law where the implementing zealots are convinced that they know what is good for everyone that the threat resides. Much more danger comes from those who claim the whole truth and are determined to force it for the other person’s good, no matter how much that person abhors it.
As Albert Camus once noted, “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.”
Given the seemingly endless misrepresentations and outright lies surrounding the ObamaCare roll out, even those who once firmly supported the government-mandated healthcare plan have begun speaking out against it.
Former actress Patti Davis, the left-leaning daughter of conservative icon Ronald Reagan, was among those criticizing the law Monday on Twitter.
“Could the president please explain why I and others are losing our health ins. plans?” she wrote on the social media site. “Wasn’t supposed to happen!”
The site’s active conservative population quickly leapt into action, reminding Davis why her own father railed against big government liberalism during his illustrious political career.
“Your father feared this would come,” one user wrote. “Clearly you didn’t listen.”
Another response offered the following food for thought: “Socialism’s less fun when you’re on the sharp end, isn’t it sweetie?”
Bombarded with scathing retorts, Davis ultimately deleted the original comment. Thanks to the permanence of the Internet, though, her words are recorded for anyone to see.
She is among countless leftists whose myopic view of their own ideology prevents them from seeing the truth until it is too late.
This is not Davis’ first criticism of Obama, however. Upset with his impermeable partisanship, she issued an open letter to him earlier this month in which she said she is “trying hard every day to learn from the man whose DNA runs through my veins.”
She then suggested that Obama “could try a little harder to learn from him too.”
Though it is certainly refreshing to see more and more leftists come to their senses in light of this disastrous administration’s attack on the American way of life, it is a shame it has taken so long to happen.
If only more people had listened to and heeded Reagan’s wisdom while he was president, we might not be longing for those prosperous years today.
–Western Journalism staff writer
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Photo credit: isriya (Creative Commons)
A lot of people are asking what the heck is wrong with the Republican Party.
That’s no joke. Not for the GOP, not for the country.
The party of Ronald Reagan is getting weaker by the week.
Republican failure, Republican infighting, Republicans caving on their principles — it’s a grim soap opera, and it’s playing out on the cable news channels every day.
How did the Republican Party ever fall to such depths?
The GOP was flying high when my father led it to victories in 1980 and 1984 on platforms built solidly — and proudly — on conservative principles.
So how was he so successful? It wasn’t just his conservative gospel, his communication skills, or his sunny personality. My father had a man named Michael K. Deaver by his side for a long time.
When Deaver died in 2007, The Washington Post called him the “media maestro” who “shaped President Ronald Reagan’s public image for 20 years, transforming American politics with his powerful gift for image-making.”
Yes, Mike Deaver was a master of media stagecraft. But he was much more. He was the public relations arm of Ronald Reagan. He understood politics, the media, and the heart and mind of my father.
Deaver was able to marry all those things for the betterment of Ronald Reagan — and therefore the betterment of the Republican Party, conservatism, and America.
You don’t see anyone like Deaver in today’s fractious Republican Party.
You don’t see anyone who understands how important it is to use the mainstream media to create the political perceptions that ultimately change the political reality.
Even though they talk about my father incessantly, Republican Party “leaders” don’t understand that it was Deaver and others, such as Lyn Nofziger, who made him a success.
They weren’t consultants to my father or the Republican Party. They were around Ronald Reagan because they were true believers in Ronald Reagan.
Right now, I don’t know if the Republican Party has anyone it can trust to lead it out of the basement. John Boehner can’t get anything done because Republicans are so fractionalized.
As we said last week, it’s been government by tantrum; but at some point, that’s got to end.
This is where a Deaver or a Nofziger — the adult supervision — would have come in and said, “This is what needs to be said and done to save the GOP’s butt and reputation.”
So what can the Republican Party do now to show itself in a better light — not to Republicans, not to the Tea Party, but to the nation as a whole?
The GOP is always going to be a minority party; so the only way it can win in the long run is when it’s inclusive, not exclusive.
The GOP has to come out of this Obamacare/government shutdown debacle showing itself to be more inclusive, instead of being exclusive and pushing people out, which they can no longer afford to do.
At this point, the president is not leading. But neither are the Republicans. They’re fighting, but they’re not leading.
It doesn’t matter that the Republicans’ failed attempt to stop or delay Obamacare was a “good fight” for conservative principles and the long-term good of the American people.
The drawn-out, poorly thought-out fight was doomed from the start and only weakened the GOP brand further.
To genuine conservatives, the GOP has become a party of spineless losers whose core beliefs about the size, scope, and legitimate activities of government are virtually interchangeable with Democrats.
Yes, Republicans need another great leader to resurrect the party of Ronald Reagan. But they also need another Michael Deaver.
Otherwise, we may see the disintegration of the GOP as an important political force in the running of a government that gets bigger and nastier every day.
The behavior of the National Park Service during the government shutdown has been truly shocking. As has been widely reported, Park Service employees have been told to make life as uncomfortable as possible for people, and they have flourished in that endeavor. They have acted crudely and unprofessionally, allowing themselves to be used politically by the White House in its PR campaign.
If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, then please start Googling. There are frightening first-person accounts everywhere. Among the worst examples was a case innocently covered by a small Massachusetts newspaper that reported on a group of tourists traveling to Yellowstone National Park. The tourists described the Park Service as “Gestapo”-like in its tactics.
That, of course, is an exaggeration. But the fact that a group of apolitical citizens would invoke such hyperbole to describe how they were treated really says something.
The Weekly Standard, a conservative source, argues in an editorial that the Park Service’s conduct “might be the biggest scandal of the Obama administration.” The Standard rattled off examples of abuses during the shutdown, highlighting the most egregious of them all, the shameless scene at the World War II Memorial:
People first noticed what the NPS was up to when the World War II Memorial on the National Mall was “closed.” Just to be clear, the memorial is an open plaza. There is nothing to operate. Sometimes there might be a ranger standing around. But he’s not collecting tickets or opening gates. Putting up barricades and posting guards to “close” the World War II Memorial takes more resources and manpower than “keeping it open.”
No question. What happened at the World War II Memorial was pure political exploitation. The spectacle of elderly, heartbroken, wheelchair-bound vets voyaging thousands of miles to remember their fallen brothers, maybe for a final earthly time, only to be denied by cruel, intransigent Republicans, was apparently too delicious to pass up.
But even then, as the Standard noted, the barricading of the World War II Memorial was “just the start of the Park Service’s partisan assault on the citizenry.” It noted other historical sites that are privately owned and operated, where “the Park Service doesn’t actually do anything.” Nonetheless, the Park Service mustered the resources to deploy officers to forcibly remove volunteer workers and visitors. As the Standard put it, the Park Service “is now in the business of forcing parks they don’t administer to close…. It’s one thing for politicians to play shutdown theater. It’s another thing entirely for a civil bureaucracy entrusted with the privilege of caring for our national heritage to wage war against the citizenry on behalf of a political party. This is how deep the politicization of Barack Obama’s administration goes.”
Sadly, federal employees have been conscripted in the politicization. Not unlike the IRS, NPS agents are abusing their powers. They are being tasked as a political/ideological arm of the state. This is precisely not what civil servants are to be.
As a personal sidenote, the National Park Service falls under the Department of Interior, once run by my late friend Bill Clark. Clark had great respect for the department, its mission, and its employees. Clark died in August. If he had seen Interior employees enlisted and behaving like this, he would have been extremely disappointed.
And so, my reaction to this egregious behavior by the National Park Service is one word: privatize.
I’m not talking about privatizing the parks, a suggestion others have raised. Here’s a crucial fact about privatization that most people don’t understand: privatization frequently involves not ownership, but operation. It’s often wiser to privatize not ownership, but operation. (Roads are an example. Let the government own the roads, but their maintenance can be contracted.) That’s particularly true when government employees operating a service become unionized, entrenched, and over-extended. And that’s precisely what we should now consider with the National Park Service.
The beauty of privatizing management rather than ownership is that ownership is permanent, but management is not. This means that if a management group doesn’t perform to expectations, another can be hired. The hiring process should be regularly and competitively contracted. This “competitive bidding” process keeps current management on its toes and accountable. If it performs badly, it can be replaced—unlike the government employees running the National Park Service, which is a protected class with a monopoly on its service.
Let’s privatize the National Park Service.
This recommendation will anger NPS employees. But the fault resides with them, their actions, and their willingness to be manipulated. They’ve demonstrated the roguish tendencies of some federal employees who blindly follow orders. They embody the dangers of big, unaccountable government. Let’s respond by taking power from those employees so this cannot happen again.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared at Forbes.com.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and New York Times best-selling author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”
Bill de Blasio, the Obama-backed Democrat “progressive” poised to become New York City’s mayor, is under attack by “Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid empire,” his supporters are charging. It’s a reference to the New York Post examining the candidate’s ties to the Nicaraguan Solidarity Network, a Communist-front organization that still supports the Marxist regime in Nicaragua headed by Communist Sandinista Daniel Ortega.
In fact, however, it was The New York Times that originally disclosed de Blasio’s fondness for the “foreign revolution” in Nicaragua, in a major piece that shocked even some liberals. The Times article revealed de Blasio’s pro-communist activities and his prediction back in 1991 that Islam would become a major political force.
Combined with de Blasio’s anti-police views, including his announced desire to can the tough New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the revelations are worrying New Yorkers concerned about terrorism coming back to the city in a major way. The September 11, 2001 Islamic terrorist attacks in the city killed nearly 3,000 people. Years before that, the Cuban-backed Puerto Rican terrorist group, the FALN, carried out numerous terrorist bombings in the city, including an attack on Fraunces Tavern in 1975, which killed four people.
De Blasio’s comrades in the Communist Nicaraguan Sandinista movement were praised by Libya’s lunatic leader Muammar Gaddafi as having the will to “fight America on its own ground,” and they promised a “revolution beyond our borders” in Nicaragua. The Sandinistas, who were backed by the Soviet Union and Castro’s Cuba, seized power in Nicaragua in 1979 and fought in the Middle East with the PLO. In 2012, Sandinista leader and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega hosted former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a guest of honor.
The Nicaraguan Solidarity Network, which still exists, has run an item, “Nicaragua Solidarity Back in the News,” noting the media focus on its former comrade de Blasio. It points out that he not only visited Nicaragua, in order to support the regime, but went on a “honeymoon” to Castro’s Cuba. The nature of this “honeymoon” has never been fully explained, and the New York media don’t seem particularly interested in this aspect of his background. He is married to a former lesbian who joined what would become the Combahee River Collective, described by The New York Times as “an influential collection of black feminist intellectuals.”
Castro’s Cuba protects several fugitives from American justice, including FALN leader William Morales and convicted cop-killer and Black Liberation Army terrorist Joanne Chesimard.
We conducted our own inquiry into the nature of de Blasio’s “solidarity” activity by taking a look at the records of the U.S. Peace Council, housed in the “Peace Collection” at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. The U.S. Peace Council was a Communist Party-dominated organization associated with the World Peace Council, a Soviet front. It played a mostly behind-the-scenes role in “peace” activities throughout the 1980s, although Congress and the FBI did probe its Communist ties in various hearings and investigations.
One of the documents identified the U.S. Peace Council as having helped “initiate” the Nicaraguan Solidarity Network. One of the Peace Council officials, Robert Cohen, a member of the National Lawyers Guild, played the role in starting up the pro-Sandinista organization. “We are doing the same with El Salvador now,” said the document, alluding to the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, also known as CISPES.
These activities took place during the late 1970s and ‘80s when communists were threatening a complete takeover of Central America and the Caribbean. President Ronald Reagan liberated the island of Grenada in 1983 from a Communist seizure of power and supported anti-Sandinista freedom fighters and the pro-American government of El Salvador. Eventually, the Sandinistas were forced under U.S. military pressure to hold free elections, and the Communist terrorists in El Salvador made a peace deal with the government.
De Blasio, who captured the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City on September 10, is running against Republican Joe Lhota in the general election on November 5. De Blasio’s Marxist views were largely ignored during the campaign because of the media interest in another Democratic primary candidate, sex pervert and former congressman Anthony Weiner.
But after de Blasio won the nomination, The New York Times apparently thought his background deserved some attention, and the story about his pro-Sandinista activities was published. The paper sent a reporter to examine the records of the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York, which included incriminating documents about de Blasio.
After these revelations, De Blasio was even asked about the influence of Marxism on his current views, a question he dismissed as antiquated. Still, he has not disavowed previous statements in support of “liberation theology” and “democratic socialism.”
He was an aide to former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, who was closely associated with the Democratic Socialists of America.
Curiously, it also turns out that de Blasio has had three different names; but he refuses to talk about that in any depth, either.
Now that de Blasio is positioned to crush Lhota, in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by six to one, some media attention is being paid to his far-left views; and it appears that de Blasio’s Marxist supporters are starting to get worried. Hence, their attacks on the “Murdoch Empire” and the New York Post, the paper following up on de Blasio’s extreme views.
The Nicaragua Solidarity Network is advising its activists to write a letter to the editor of the New York Post protesting the paper’s scrutiny of de Blasio.
The national office of the group says, “Former Nicaragua solidarity activist Bill de Blasio is the frontrunner in the NYC mayoral election. The right-wing is pulling out all the old lies against Nicaragua from Reagan’s dirty war against the Sandinistas in order to tar de Blasio. While the Nicaragua Network/Alliance for Global Justice has no position for or against any candidate for political office in New York or anywhere else, we do have an interest in countering the current slanders against Nicaragua.”
The Alliance for Global Justice, the parent organization, is funded by billionaire leftist George Soros and provides money and support for such organizations as Occupy Wall Street and the Bradley Manning Support Network, named for the Army traitor. Soros has personally endorsed de Blasio for mayor.
As we noted in a previous article, beneficiaries of largesse from the Alliance for Global Justice have also included Code Pink, the Venezuela Solidarity Network, and ANSWER—the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism group.
Code Pink is the hard-left organization that includes luminaries such as Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, a fundraiser for Obama. When they are not protesting U.S. foreign policy, they are working to undermine Israel.
De Blasio is their candidate in New York City.
This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo credit: azipaybarah (Creative Commons)
“Waaaaa! You’re not playing fair!”
“Waaaaa! You’re going to bankrupt America!”
“Waaaaa! You guys started it!”
The crybabies in Washington are at it again.
Arguing, name-calling, and throwing heated rhetoric around like “extortion” and “blow the whole thing up,” our so-called leaders are acting like out-of-control little kids in a sandbox.
They haven’t begun hitting each other over the head with chairs or waving weapons around on the Senate floor, but give them time.
It’s government by tantrum again. It’s government by threat and scare tactic and selective shutdown of federal programs.
It’s government by and for the people in government, instead of government by and for the people who elected them.
It’s the petty, partisan kind of government we’ve been getting for too long and the kind we can’t afford and don’t deserve.
And it’s time for the bums in Congress and the president to quit trying to score political points over the debt ceiling and start acting like responsible adults.
The House and the Senate need to get their legislative acts together.
They need to pass the 13 appropriations bills like they’re supposed to, negotiate their differences in conference committees, and then do the job they were elected to do — pass the darn legislation.
We all know that Washington is not going to let the U.S. government default on Oct. 17, so let’s cut with the fear mongering and rhetoric.
All it does is make the markets fearful. It makes investors fearful. It makes retired people fearful.
By delaying and dithering and crybabying, our so-called leaders in Washington have made everyone in America nervous — and angry.
One reason the D.C. crowd can’t lead is because they’re so politically spineless. They can’t decide how to vote on anything important without reading a poll. I bet they don’t pick a tie to wear until they’ve consulted Gallup.
But leadership is not looking at polls. Leadership is leading.
My father was a leader. He went through six government shutdowns under Tip O’Neill. But Ronald Reagan led, and we came through the 1980s with a growing economy that benefitted all Americans.
We need leaders in Washington. We don’t need whiners. We don’t need fear-mongers.
We don’t need poll-watchers and wimps who can’t make a principled vote on issues of national importance like the debt ceiling, the budget, or Obamacare.
If no one has the courage to stand up and lead in Washington, maybe we should default.
Maybe we need to show the rest of the world that America has finally hit bottom.
Maybe we should admit that we’ve finally become Europe or Greece. That we’ve finally become the United States of California.
All because we lack leadership.
As far as I can tell, most of the people in the United States are completely fed up with all the B.S. in D.C.
I think they’d agree with me that starting today, the message from all of us to our federal politicians should be: “Get the job done, or resign — all of you.”
In the wake of the partial government shut-down, with the vivid reminder of closures of our national monuments, many people blame the President and Democrats who agree with him. Others blame the Republicans in Congress.
Neither side appears to have wavered much from their mantras, shown much independence, or demonstrate any ability to negotiate.
And that’s the problem.
Without strong leaders in Congress willing to negotiate to get things done on key policy issues, the mantra falls to the President. When the President and the Congress fail to agree, the government shuts down.
There are many complicated aspects to the Washington drama that involve the debt ceiling, the appropriations process, continuing resolutions, and lots of other hard to understand “process” issues that Congress must follow.
But beyond the weeds and sausage-making are simple approaches that impact American families and people who own small businesses. We negotiate with our business colleagues and families to reach civility, certainty, and common ground using common sense. Washington has lost track of these simple principles.
Relationships are critical in Washington. The lack of trust between the President and Congress is evident, and it’s frustrating to Americans watching.
It falls to the President to be the “adult” when it comes to negotiating on budget priorities in the wake of congressional bickering. He must act like he’s the head of the household when family members are squabbling in the Congress.
Instead, he’s thumbing his nose at Republicans and playing the blame game. He thinks that because the polls say that Congress shouldn’t shut down the government because of problems with Obamacare, he’s somehow “winning”.
U.S. Majority Leader Harry Reid jumped into the fray as well, calling Speaker Boehner a ‘coward’. Really?
Everyday Americans wonder why the Congress and the President are acting like school yard bullies who can’t get along. If they were in their kids’ play yard, they’d tell their kids to avoid these bullies. Now, everyone looks like a bully in Washington.
These real life, working families are becoming more frustrated by the day. They create jobs, pay the household bills, drive their kids to school, and like to hike in a scenic park on the weekend. If their weekend getaway is a national park, it may be closed. And that’s why they’re pissed.
Republicans are to blame as well. They must do a better job defining the debate beyond just Obamacare. There is a lack of a big picture understanding of what bloated government programs really cost. The price tag has increased. We are now $17 trillion in debt. Who’s paying for this? Our kids will bear this burden.
As families struggle to find good jobs and an increasing number of baby boomers remain under-employed, there is more focus on family and personal budgeting.
Still, the Republicans’ message hasn’t penetrated. They need to talk beyond their base on the risks of Obamacare to Latinas who own small businesses and Asian moms who worry about the cost of their kids’ education. They need to build a greater awareness that the sweeping health care reform known as Obamacare is too risky of an investment to make right now.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn said today that the Obamacare price tag started at $863 million but that the price tag has gone up. Rep. Peter Roskam said on CNBC that Obamacare would cost $1.9 trillion over 10 years. That’s a lot of dough to shell out for a program that is showing problems with implementation and enrollment its first week. The uncertainty of the price points and the way the law is structured is a problem that the Obama Administration ignores.
Americans watching the Washington drama will be weary of signing up for Obamacare because they lack trust in their government in the wake of bickering and shutdowns.
The last time the government was shut down was seventeen years ago. At that time, I worked on Capitol Hill. It was 1996, and it was the classic battle between President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, and U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Back then, Bob Dole was able to make a deal with Clinton and Gingrich and get things moving again. Yes, it was a Presidential election year; but in spite of the political posturing (remember Dole ran against Clinton), they got it done because they truly believed that the American people deserved a well-run government. Neither side got exactly what they wanted, but they were able to negotiate a deal.
A friend who was part of the Reagan Revolution said to me today:
“I never thought I’d say this – but I miss Bill Clinton”.
It wasn’t an endorsement of Hilary 2016, but a statement from a time when a Democrat President was willing to work with a Republican Congress to get things done.
The expectation was set years earlier by Republican President Ronald Reagan, U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill (a Democrat), and Howard Baker, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader. I’ll never forget a picture that Tip O’Neill penned to Senators Bob Dole and Howard Baker. It read:
“We three, Americans first.”
These are two examples of divided government under two different Presidents. They understood that they needed to get along and get things done.
President Obama is the head of American government and needs to spend some time getting to know the people in Congress. He must extend a more welcoming hand, find common ground, and expend some of his political capital and work with – not against – his family in Congress. People expect that of our leader. To do anything less is childish and unbecoming of a head of state.
This commentary originally appeared at ThoughtfulWomen.org.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath