Author archives: Rob Schwarzwalder

Reich Redux

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 10, 2010

Readers of my occasional contributions to this site realize I have written several times about the going economic commentary of former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

I do this out of no personal animus: By all accounts, Mr. Reich is a lively, warm, and indisputably intelligent man. However, he is a man whose economic misunderstandings border on the fabulous fabulous in the literal sense, the sense in which Gullivers Travels was fabulous. Absurd, gigantic, the stuff of satire. And just plain wrong.

Last evening, during his weekly Marketplace Radio commentary, Mr. Reich commented on the Presidents plan to provide tax reduction for businesses. Mr. Reich was intellectually apoplectic, reduced to explaining his understanding of the rudiments of the American economy:

The reason businesses aren’t investing in new plants and equipment has nothing to do with the cost of capital. It’s because they don’t need the additional capacity.

Well, Ill grant him this: capacity is related to productivity. However, capacity exists because capital is inaccessible (see below). And then, Mr. Reich persists:

Obama’s proposed corporate tax cuts won’t generate more jobs, because they won’t put any more money in worker’s pockets … Obama’s whopping proposed corporate tax cuts help legitimize the supply-side dogma that the economy’s biggest obstacle to growth is the cost of capital, rather than the plight of ordinary working people.

Two broad observations:

(1) Mr. Reich argues that we should put more money in workers pockets so they will spend more and thereby foster greater demand and thus stimulate corporate output, which means new hires and more jobs.

As usual, Mr. Reich is wrong. Most of the workers to whom he refers already pay, at best, modest taxes. Although I strongly support tax reductions for virtually everyone who pays them, the fractional amount of money a tax cut for the working lower-income (not quite the same ring as tax cuts for the rich, but more accurate) would put in their pockets would do little to induce economic growth.

Or perhaps Mr. Reich is thinking of some kind of direct federal payment to workers, of having the Treasury Department fabricate yet more money and dispense an arbitrary but politically potent amount of it to a favored group. Naturally, this would create more federal debt and serve as an at-best temporary infusion of capital into the economy. Sort of like a fiscal heroin injection.

Heres a better idea: If we lower taxes on corporations and provide incentives (e.g., making the R&D tax credit permanent, as Republicans have long advocated and which the President now suggests) to enhance innovation and improve Americas global competitiveness, companies will begin to hire more employees (i.e., workers, in Mr. Reichs parlance). These people will then start paying taxes, buying things of all types (from new cars to groceries) and thereby stimulate the market through wonder of wonders the private sector itself!

(2) Mr. Reich asserts that President Obama wants corporate tax reductions to lower the cost of capital.

This is part right, but misses the larger point. Corporate tax reduction encourages investment, productivity improvements, and frees up capital itself. A business that is not growing cannot access capital. A business that is growing and private sector growth happens, in large part, when the tax burden is not excessive creates jobs, eases the plight of those in the lower income brackets, and builds a stronger America.

Robert Reich has a marvelously mellifluous voice which is a delight to the ear. His obvious passion for people on the down-side of advantage is compelling. But he is wrong, in fact, philosophy, and policy. Thats what makes him, and his compeers in the American Left, so dangerous.

Escaping History Not an Option

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 1, 2010

On the credenza behind his Oval Office desk, President Obama has placed a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

This is admirable, in that Lincoln represents the very definition of American greatness. Perhaps, though, Mr. Obama might take some time to ponder something the 16th President wrote in an 1862 message to Congress: We cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.

That was true during the Civil War, and it remains true today, which is why the image Mr. Obama used last night that we have now turned a page in Iraq is unsettling.

In the sense that our combat operations have been completed, he is right. And as the President said, our Armed Forces have fought with valor and tenacity, and deserve the gratitude and honor of a proud and thankful nation.

However, it is noteworthy that President Obama opposed the war in Iraq from its inception and, as a Senator, voted against the surge that enabled American forces to quell the rising militancy of Iraqs Islamist terrorists.

This should be said, not to encourage contempt for the Commander in Chief but because it calls into question his strategic judgment. No one is right all the time, and Mr. Obamas placement of a major new combat force in Afghanistan under General Petraeus was a brave choice, one opposed by the Presidents left-wing base.

It is when his judgment is driven by his statist impulses that our eyebrows should raise. Mine did when, last night, Mr. Obama called upon America to tackle (our) challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad.

This calling is wholly unrealistic domestic needs never animate national will with the same intensity as does a military crisis. Part of the reason is that we presume prosperity; for most Americans, its always just around the corner, and thus fighting for energy independence, as Mr. Obama called for last evening, will never produce a martial spirit.

Another reason is that a military adversary is tangible and visible. Our enemies have faces. Things like deflation, unemployment, energy production, and technological innovation do not. They are concepts, not targets.

No national calling can ever be created similar to that inspired by immediate and serious threats to our survival as a people threats like al-Qaeda and Nazism.

As troubling, if not more, was the Presidents inference that we can now afford the luxury of turning inward, as if the cessation of American combat operations in Iraq means we can shift our gaze more exclusively to our own economic needs.

Mr. Obamas penchant is to transform America, as he said repeatedly during his presidential campaign. Mr. Obama and his colleagues on the Left view the national landscape as a gigantic machine with which they can tinker and to which they can make whatever improvements they wish in some sort of domestic bubble. Make the World Go Away is, for them, less an Elvis Pressley anthem than a political demand.

Mr. Obama is bright and sophisticated. He is mindful of the realities of a grim world. Still, he seems dragged into global leadership with a grudging sense of duty, not a mature understanding that to be the American President is to lead freedoms march, not merely walk with it. He must remember, as Lincoln did, that we cannot escape history.

Another young President understood this well. Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities.

Theodore Roosevelt saw international leadership not as a burden to be born but an opportunity to be greeted with resolve and optimism. May Barack Obama learn from his example.

Boy Scouts Build Men

by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 4, 2010

On Sunday, the New York Times carried a story by reporter Katharine Q. Seelye on the 100th anniversary Jamboree of American Scouting being held at Ft. A.P. Hill in Virginia.

In the dextrous patois of the elite Left, Ms. Seelye succeeded in talking down to nearly three million boys and their families. Instead of celebrating the myriad contributions of Scouting to our nation, her agenda-heavy story raised every shibboleth of American liberalism in an attempt to belittle a great organization.

In her account, we read nothing about young men mentored by older boys who become like brothers and strong men who serve as the father-figures many lads would never otherwise have. We never learn that Scouting has produced more presidents, astronauts, scientists, and leaders in business and religion and industry than readily could be numbered. Scouts provide millions of hours serving their communities —- including some of the neediest people among us —- each year. An incredibly impressive list of Scouting’s achievements and contributions can be found here.

This is, for me, a personal matter: My sons are Scouts, on track to make Eagle, and we attended part of the Jamboree. Our time was spent talking with boys from Seattle and Dallas, eating with others from New Jersey, trading patches of every shape and variety and seeing, in many displays and activities, the panoply of American ingenuity, grit and bravery (our Armed Forces were admirably represented) spread before us.

I have seen Scouts take boys and help turn them into confident, capable, resourceful young men whose character is well-defined and whose ambitions are informed by service and teamwork. Each week of the school year, and frequently throughout the summer, my sons join with boys of every race and ethnic heritage to laugh uproariously at ridiculous jokes and absurd skits, learn more skills than I could likely ever teach them and, through cooperation and friendly competition, subtly but indisputably get honed for manhood.

That’s what Scouting really is about: Manhood. Scouting teaches youths to become fine men, physically and mentally, men who believe in God and honor the law and defend our country. This seems to drive many liberals to distraction.

Here are some responses to the more piquant quips in Ms. Seelye’s recitation of Scouting’s inadequacies, through which she reveals not insight but a sad and clueless bitterness:

  1. Scouts do not bar atheists. Scouts affirm faith in God. Thereby, atheists bar themselves.
  2. Scouts bar homosexuals because homosexuality is incompatible with Scouts’ Judeo-Christian foundations and because of the many case of homosexual abuse of boys in Scouts over the decades, as Seelye herself notes in her article.
  3. Scouting does represent “wholesomeness,” but in today’s morally failing America that should be a source of celebration, not condescension.
  4. Admittance of girls would fundamentally change the nature of an inherently masculine organization. Although girls are allowed in Scouting until the age of 13, the name of the group is “Boy Scouts,” not “Child Scouts” or “Teen Scouts.” Girls Scouts of America and American Heritage Girls exist for a reason.
  5. Scouting actively reaches out to minority populations. Many of America’s most prominent African-American and Latino leaders have been involved in Scouting, and were it not for Scouting, many inner city youth would never experience the out-of-doors in a meaningful way. Perhaps if Ms. Seelye had taken a moment to visit BSA’s Website, she would have seen the large section devoted to “Ethnic and Generational Diversity,” and read the extensive report on Scouting’s demographic outlook.
  6. Scouting has lost numbers due the relentless assault on the family and on the virtues that long have been the bedrock of our nation. This is not the fault of Scouting but is, rather, a reflection on the values and conduct of a society that is losing its moral moorings. All the more reason for Boy Scouts.
  7. Scouting is not “in the woods,” as Seelye claims. Scouting is not some kind of quaint reliquary of an earlier age. It is alive and well, and knows exactly where it is.

Every week, millions of boys across America lift their right hands and, with three fingers pointing upward, recite the following. If these commitments are anachronistic or irrelevant to our national life, our country is in dire straits indeed:

Scout Oath (or Promise):

On my honor I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my country

and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,

mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Reality Confronts Oliver Stone

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 27, 2010

Oliver Stone has made commercially successful and patriotically challenged films for nearly 30 years. Starting with Platoon, he has made a career of highlighting Americas real or perceived failings and generally diminishing the greatness of our country.

His film “Platoon” portrays America’s war in Viet Nam as an exercise in murder and American soldiers as moral primitives. Stone merits personal credit for his heroism as an Army soldier in Viet Nam, for which he received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster. Yet his brave conduct cannot excuse the worst possible excesses of a relative handful of American servicemen as representative of those who served in Southeast Asia.

Wall Street” excoriates investment houses to the point that no parody of the film could ever so richly mischaracterize the nature of risk, initiative and profit more fully than does Stone (after making a boatload of money running-down the economic system that made his wealth possible, Stone has produced a “Wall Street” sequel that is due out soon). His sordid and uproariously conspiratorial “JFK” fosters the belief that President Kennedy was killed by factions of the U.S. government. Stones “Nixon” is a wife-slapping lush. For such efforts, Hollywood has bestowed Oscars upon him.

Stone’s is an upside down world, where nothing is at it appears. For Stone, hidden meanings, invariably dark, lurk behind every corner. Prosperity for some always means oppression of the many. Liberty is a word used by the powerful to hold-down the poor. And so on, ad nauseum. Whatever the roots of Stone’s twisted vision, its distortions have been popularized in one morally tainted film after another.

Today, Stone’s understanding of true evil has given even his Left-wing defenders pause. In an interview published over the past few days, he decries “Jewish domination of the media” and asserts that Hitler’s Holocaust is over-emphasized. He summarized his profound views of American international relations by saying, “Israel has (vile obscenity) United States foreign policy for years.” Even the liberal Huffington Post called this “Stone-Cold Jew Baiting.”

In Stone’s world, Hitler “is an easy scapegoat,” and Joseph Stalin, mass murderer extraordinaire, has to be “put in context.” Stone whose father was Jewish, interestingly - is also a great admirer of brutal dictators like Fidel Castro and fascist thugs like Hugo Chavez, about whom he has made a glowing documentary.

Stone subsequently has apologized for his anti-Semitic comments, but his odd fascination with vileness today caught up with him. Never one to let truth get in the way of his perturbed historical narrative, Stone was today confronted by a reality that finally wearied of him. It’s called decency, something with which the talented but twisted filmmaker is all too unfamiliar.

Let us pray that Mr. Stone will turn his formidable talent as a filmmaker to truth that is bracing but ennobling, beauty that might be hard-won but is still inspiring, and goodness that while not sugary still enriches - and that his evidently troubled inner life will be transformed by a grace God alone can give.

Vernon Baker, An American Hero

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 16, 2010

Vernon Baker, winner of the Congressional Medal Of Honor for extraordinary heroism in the Second World War, has died at 90 at his home in tiny St. Marie’s, Idaho.

Baker was an African-American. He received his Medal of Honor (52 years after earning it) in a special White House ceremony, where President Clinton presented it to him.

Baker was only 5‘2”, but would not let his height, nor the bigotry he fought against, stop him from defending his country. A member of the all-black 92nd Infantry Division, his Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:

Then Second Lieutenant Baker demonstrated outstanding courage and leadership in destroying enemy installations, personnel and equipment during his company’s attack against a strongly entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. When his company was stopped by the concentration of fire from several machine gun emplacements, he crawled to one position and destroyed it, killing three Germans. Continuing forward, he attacked and enemy observation post and killed two occupants. With the aid of one of his men, Lieutenant Baker attacked two more machine gun nests, killing or wounding the four enemy soldiers occupying these positions. He then covered the evacuation of the wounded personnel of his company by occupying an exposed position and drawing the enemy’s fire. On the following night Lieutenant Baker voluntarily led a battalion advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire toward the division objective. Second Lieutenant Baker’s fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces” (Source).

Yet the military ignored him and other black heroes for decades until an Army-ordered review found Baker and six other African-Americans more than deserving of the nation’s highest honor for heroism.

Despite the bigotry he experienced as a young man - initially, he was even rejected by the Army itself - Baker said, Ive never seen color. I look out and I see America. I love you, America.”

Vernon Baker came back to a country stilled marred by racism, but he refused not to live the American Dream. He continued to serve in the Army and then, for two decades, worked for the U.S. Red Cross.

Baker moved to St. Maries for a simple reason: In the great Idaho outdoors, he loved to hunt. St. Maries is near beautiful Lake Coeur D’Alene and about two and one-half hours from Canada. It is one of the most lovely places in the United States, a fitting place for a gentleman-warrior like Vernon Baker to enjoy his final years.

He was married twice; his first wife passed away in 1986, and he leaves behind his second wife, Heidy - a German native. He and his first wife raised three children, and with Heidy he had a stepdaughter and a stepgrandson.

Vernon Baker also leaves a nation forever grateful for his sacrifice, his courage and his patriotism. His overarching legacy is to make every citizen of our country prouder to be an American.

Robert Byrd, Senator for Spending

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 28, 2010

The death of Senator Robert C. Byrd should give thoughtful Americans pause. Sen. Byrd was married for 69 years and was never tied to any moral or financial scandal. His personal life seems to have been exemplary, and in an age of tawdry political scandals this is not a small thing.

That he was briefly a member (a “Kleagle”) of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s became a rightful source of lifelong shame to him. The legacy of his racist past popped up from time to time, as when he used a coarse racial epithet in a 2004 interview with FOX News.

Today, though, the media are waxing rhapsodic about Sen. Byrd’s love of the Constitution. Many outlets are noting that he carried a small copy with him and that it was “well worn.” The Associated Press even writes that “Byrd’s lodestar was protecting the Constitution. He frequently pulled out a dog-eared copy of it from a pocket in one of his trademark three-piece suits.”

No one can dispute that Sen. Byrd frequently cited the Constitution and the prerogatives of the Senate. Yet, one might question whether or not the Constitution truly was his “lodestar.”

Sen. Byrd voted for some of the most anti-constitutional justices in Supreme Court history, men and women for whom the Constitution is legal putty to be reshaped in whatever form their ideological predispositions direct. He voted for an unconstitutional mandate upon all Americans that requires them to purchase health insurance. He supported Roe v. Wade and, perhaps most famously, welcomed his role as one of the Senates’ most vigorous pork-barrel spenders.

I’m going to do everything I can for the people of West Virginia. That’s my duty! You can call it pork, if you want to, but that’s all right. I know what my duty is. My duty is to my people,” Sen. Byrd argued.

His people, indeed. In an embarrassing speech in 2002, he even called himself “Big Daddy” for his ability to funnel money to West Virginia projects.

Sen. Byrd called the Appropriations Committee, of which he was chair for many years, “the greatest committee.” In one sense, he was right - Appropriations has authority to spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually, which even in spendthrift DC is real power.

Sen. Byrd steered hundreds of millions to the Mountaineer State. Perhaps it is for that reason that Sen. Byrd’s name now graces nearly 40 locations in West Virginia.

Yet the Constitution nowhere gives Congress the authority to cull monies from the citizens of the various states and redistribute it as Senate power-brokers so desire. This is nothing more than legalized theft, and it is anti-constitutional.

Sen. Byrd, in all his writing and pondering about the U.S. Senate, its rules and its duties, should perhaps have taken counsel from the Senate’s first president, Thomas Jefferson: “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

Being a big spender of other people’s money is not the worst epitaph a statesman can have. Not the best, but not the worst.

Miracle at the New York Times, Trouble for America

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 18, 2010

We live in a world where the extraordinary has become commonplace.

A laptop computer in a coffee shop in Tulsa can link to a climber on Mt. Everest. We walk into a typical suburban supermarket and are faced with an overwhelming variety of every imaginable foodstuff, from 300 types of ice cream to 15 varieties of mozzarella cheese. Intricate surgery can be performed remotely through electronic “arms.” Finely-crafted telescopes can take us into the far reaches of a previously unexplored universe.

These things are amazing. But this morning I am deeply gratified that I have lived to see the day when the front page printed-edition of The New York Times carries a headline that more generally would befit Rush Limbaugh’s website than the cover of the Gray Lady: “Strong Steps or Oversteps? BP Is Latest Example of Tactic by Obama.”

Do wonders never cease?

The Times cites the President’s successful effort to get BP to commit to a $20 billion compensation fund as a “display of raw armtwisting” through which Mr. Obama “has reinvigorated a debate about the renewed reach of government power, or, alternatively, the power of government overreach.” The article concludes with this: “(Mr. Obama should) avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.”

This is only the latest episode in which the President has used the pretext of a crisis to seize power. No one excuses whatever legal or ethical lapses BP committed in the Gulf. Eleven men are dead, and countless gallons of crude oil continue to spew into the water around the Gulf Coast.

Yet what would Mr. Obama have done if BP had declined setting up such a massive fund and, instead, stuck to the $75 million mandated by law? Outlawed the firms presence on our shores? Filed a massive, punitive, bankrupting lawsuit?

Mr. Obama used American concerns with our medical insurance system to ram-through an unconstitutional mandate that all citizens possess health insurance, and included in his legislation provisions that provide federal subsidies to abortion providers. Additionally, the impenetrable measure is almost incalculably expensive.

He used a recession to ram through a “stimulus” package that places the federal government in the role of doling out hundreds of billions of dollars to private industry, thereby becoming a principal source of industrial growth. This growth will collapse, however, once the paper on which it is running crumbles in the fiscal wind. Then what?

He leveraged a crisis in the auto industry to make two of the three largest American auto companies fiefs of the federal government, to the point of forcing one of their boards to fire its CEO.

He eliminated private-source education loans, making college students dependent on Uncle Sam for their post-secondary education.

He is seeking to push homosexuals into the military, diminish religious liberty, skewer the public understanding of abortion (by saying we must reduce the need for abortion his Administrations term of art he insinuates that such need sometimes exists), consolidate the private financial system into a federally-run bureaucracy, and make homosexuality culturally normative.

His Treasury Department is pumping out money at an obviously unsustainable rate, placing us on the path to hyper-inflation and, thus, federal seizure of private assets to avert complete default.

Just wait until America faces a serious military emergency - say, another 9-11 style attack. How will this President use it to advance his vision of an America where “solidarity” trumps liberty?

When America’s liberal paper of record wonders about Mr. Obama’s overreach, it’s clear something is registering with even the elites: This is a different kind of presidency, a giant step down the road to serfdom described in the 1940s by Friederich Hayek.

In 1781, Thomas Jefferson - as much a prophet as a future President - wrote in his Notes on Virginia, “Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” From entitlements to stimulus packages to assorted federal power-grabs, we are at grave risk of becoming a subservient people, intellectually anesthetized by the superficial veneer of government-induced prosperity and security at the cost of our liberty, prosperity, self-reliance and, most essentially, virtue.

The Bible warns us not to place our trust in princes (Psalm 146:3), and for a reason: Our confidence must be in God and, as citizens, in the pathway for public life laid out in the Constitution.

Is it? And if it is, shall we oppose the collapse of the America we have known and love? The answer seems clear, if only we will act on it.

He, Being Dead, Yet Speaketh: The Sad Legacy of Sen. Edward Kennedy

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 16, 2010

The late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) believed in “rights” for homosexuals, federally funded abortion premised on the validity of Roe v. Wade, high taxes, an expansive and ever-expanding federal government, an anemic national defense and a host of things at which conservatives rightly recoil.

Now, newly released KGB documents give hard evidence of the Senator’s efforts to secretly work with the Soviet government (the KGB, no less) to undermine the foreign and military policies of President Reagan. The documents are indisputably accurate, and some of them were first reported in The Times of London as early as 1992, and were written about in 2006 by distinguished Grove City College professor and biographer Paul Kengor.

Kennedy had an engaging smile and, to those to whom he chose to show it, great personal warmth. But for sheer brute-force politics, he had few equals. Consider the case of Dr. Carol Iannone, a brilliant scholar at New York University. Dr. Iannone was nominated by the first President Bush to serve on the advisory panel of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Not a cabinet or sub-Cabinet post, not a vital national security position - an academic advisory board.

Yet Kennedy fiercely opposed her. Why? Because, he reportedly told confidants, he needed something to show he had not lost his clout after the embarrassing revelation of his 1991 Easter weekend sexual behavior (conducted in the presence of his then-young son Patrick).

Here’s how the Chicago Tribune describes what happened:

(Senate Labor and Human Resources) Committee insiders-who can be presumed to know more than mere Capitol Hill observers-say that political considerations back home in Boston may be part of it. Kennedy still dominates Massachusetts politics, in large part because of the seniority and power he wields as a committee chairman. Once in a while you have to flex your muscles to show you have that power, they said. Iannone … provided one of few opportunities for Kennedy to knock someone into the ditch.

Kennedy won: Dr. Iannone’s nomination was defeated. Her career was diminished and the nation lost the benefit of her service. But Ted got a bit of his street cred back and, to him, that’s what really mattered.

I confess to having a high level of disdain for the legislative career of the late Senator, a once stout advocate for the unborn who “matured” and for roughly 35 years never met a pro-abortion proposal he didn’t like. And then there was his sordid (at least until his second marriage) personal life.

Yet to think he sought to undermine the President of the United States on vital matters of foreign policy and jeopardize the security of our country - and for his own presidential aspirations, no less, according to the KGB files - drops him down to a deeper level of infamy altogether.

A Twisted Philanthropy

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 15, 2010

Joan Hinton was not a household name, but her work on the Manhattan project was historic. After earning her Ph.D. in physics in only two years, she was hand-picked to become a researcher on one of America’s most stunning technological achievements - the development and production of an atomic bomb.

Then she had an attack of conscience. In her obituary in today’s New York Times, she is quoted as telling National Public Radio, I did not want to spend my life figuring out how to kill people … I wanted to figure out how to let people have a better life, not a worse life.

So, she became a philanthropist who devoted her life to finding the cure to diseases. Well, not quite: Dr. Hinton moved to China and became a devoted Maoist Communist. I’m not making this up.

According to the Times, “For the past 40 years, she worked on a dairy farm and an agricultural station outside Beijing, tending a herd of about 200 cows.”

Did she regret her choice? Not in the least. The Times goes on to quote an interview she gave in 2008 to The Weekend Australian: “It would have been terrific if Mao had lived … Of course I was 100 percent behind everything that happened in the Cultural Revolution it was a terrific experience.”

Just how “terrific?” Minimally one million people died during the Cultural Revolution due to persecution by the infamous Red Guards. Religious persecution was intense, and the families of “running dogs” (Chinese whose devotion to Communism was deemed insufficient) were brutalized; there are even reports of the cannibalism of young children by some Red Guards.

In total, roughly 30 million Chinese (possibly as many as 70 million) died under Mao’s reign from enforced starvation or outright murder.

Through it all, American born Dr. Hinton remained a devotee of Chairman Mao. In an interview with NBC News in 2004, journalist Catherine Rampell wrote that “Hinton gushes fervent praise for the Cultural Revolution, Maos mass mobilization of Chinese youth to criticize party officials, intellectuals and bourgeois values, from 1966 to 1976.” Dr. Hinton even used archaic and ludicrous Maoist language to denounce the “renegades” and “capitalist roaders” - code terms for freedom-lovers who would not fully bend the knee to Beijing’s dictators.

Dr. Hinton now faces the Judge of all the earth, not the beatific images of Mao Zedong with which she festooned her apartment. How sad. How very sad.

Dawn Johnsens Failed Self-Reinvention

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 11, 2010

In an op-ed in today’s Washington Post (Restoring Leadership and Integrity to the Office of Legal Counsel), President Obama’s former nominee to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel Dawn Johnsen writes that “There is no simple answer to why my nomination failed.” However, she argues that her “torture memo” regarding the Bush Administration’s position on handling terrorists was essential to the collapse of her attempted appointment.

Perhaps her view of the way to treat combatant prisoners was a source of consternation to conservatives. But there is another reason why ultimately she withdrew her nomination: Ms. Johnsen is a pro-abortion zealot, and a sufficient number of pro-life Senators found her views outside the mainstream that she finally gave up her more than 14 month effort to achieve Senate confirmation.

Ms. Johnsen began her career working as Legal Director of the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League (currently NARAL Pro-Choice America). Her affinity for abortion at any time and for any reason is clearly documented. Consider a few choice (pun intended) quotes:

Granting rights to fetuses in a manner that conflicts with womens autonomy reinforces the tradition of disadvantaging women on the basis of their reproductive capability. By subjecting womens decisions and actions during pregnancy to judicial review, the state simultaneously questions womens abilities and seizes womens rights to make decisions essential to their very personhood. The rationale behind using fetal rights laws to control the actions of women during pregnancy is strikingly similar to that used in the past to exclude women from the paid labor force and to confine them to the ‘private’ sphere.” — Dawn Johnsen, The Creation of Fetal Rights, 95 Yale Law Journal, 624-25.

To clarify: In Ms. Johnsen’s view, women’s autonomy (her ability to do whatever she wants with her body) trumps any possibility that the unborn child she is carrying has value independent of her mother and merits legal protection as a living person.

Here’s another gem:

In practice, both consent and notification laws amount to a parental veto power over a minors decision to an abortion. Do not, as part of an affirmative legislative strategy, introduce even a liberalized version of a parental consent or notification law. — Internal NARAL memo quoted in William Saletan, Bearing Right, p. 289 (Memo, Dawn Johnsen and Marcy Wilder to NARAL Staff and Consultants, Pro-Choice Legislative Strategy for Minors Access to Abortion Services, 9/5/89)

To clarify: Parents are not to know if their minor daughters have a major medical procedure that could permanently alter their lives. One can only wonder if parents should, in Ms. Johnsens view, be informed of such things as their childrens heroin addiction, membership in the KKK or attendance at a satanic worship service. Or even, as under current law, if the school nurse gives them aspirin.

One more: Ms. Johnsen wrote in a legal brief (Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 [1989], signed by the National Womens Law Center) that requiring a woman to carry a child to term is disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude.

Ms. Johnsen would be quite right if pregnancy was merely a physical burden similar to a sack of potatoes belted around ones waist. She is quite wrong, however, because pregnancy is the carrying of a distinct person within ones womb, the most sacred of trusts, the most noble of callings.

We can be grateful that a person of Ms. Johnsens dark moral vision is not working in the federal government. Given her view of the unborn, for her to dispense justice would be a virtual oxymoron.

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