Commentary

Brooks: The Best Solutions for Poverty 8-4-15

When my mother’s grandparents first came steaming into New York harbor from Denmark in 1890, they were risking everything to get to a country where everyone could earn success. After a few years, they owned their own farm in South Dakota.

Most of you listening have a similar family story. That’s why mobility is such a big part of the American Dream.

People still want this, but the shadow of pessimism is growing. In December 2014, 76 percent of Americans said they were dissatisfied with the United States.

The problem is that Americans have come to think the game is rigged and the American Dream isn’t available to everyone.

Conservatives are in possession of the best solutions to the problems of poverty and economic mobility. We need to communicate—in the title of my latest book—“The Conservative Heart.” We need to put forward a hopeful, optimistic governing agenda—one that focuses on improving the lives of all people, especially the most vulnerable, through authentically conservative policies.

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Brooks: What Can America Learn From Greece? 8-3-15

Greece and the European Union may have temporarily staved off disaster but many worry that austerity will impose considerable short-term pain on Greek citizens and further depress the country’s struggling economy.

What can America learn from this?

At first glance, liberals and conservatives seem to draw opposite lessons. The left sees the Greek disaster as evidence that austerity and belt-tightening are unfair and painful. Meanwhile, the right sees the disaster as a lesson in the need for fiscal restraint and the dangers of big deficits.
Both arguments get something right. Blunt austerity is disastrous for the most vulnerable. Suicides have spiked in Greece since the financial crisis as unemployment rates have surged upward.

But this terrible austerity is the inevitable outcome of runaway spending, fueled by an ever-growing desire to expand the social safety net across the entire Greek society.

So what is the takeaway lesson for the United States? If social safety net programs metastasize into expansive middle class entitlements, the genuine poor get left behind when it comes time to pay the bill.

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Hewitt: Clearing The Haze 7-31-15

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

The Colorado Springs Gazette has published a special report on the impact of marijuana legalization on the Centennial State—a special section, called “Clearing the Haze” piloted by their editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen.

The results are not pretty:

Legal marijuana has not raised a penny for the schools as promised but has instead created an enormous addiction problem among young Coloradans.

The state has also attracted cross-country criminals and indeed even the very cartels that proponents had hoped would be set back by legalization.

And the thousands of marijuana establishments that have sprung up are poorly regulated and the dope is particularly strong.

In short, it’s a public policy disaster.

And it all remains very illegal under federal law. All that needs to happen is for a president and an attorney general to take note of the facts on the ground and act.

Look for this issue to raise its head in the Republican presidential debates. And expect Colorado to try and find a way to put a very bad genie back in its bottle.

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Medved: Why They Can’t Hide 20 Million Illegals 7-29-15

Any constructive discussion of immigration issues must rely on facts, not just feelings. Unfortunately, some of the loudest voices in this debate frequently cite a number with no basis in reality, claiming 30 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The actual number, according to all credible sources, is 11 million. It would be impossible to hide nearly 20 million people from ruthless politicians—Democrats  would find the missing illegals to build their own power with more federal funds and more representation in Congress.

Under the Constitution, the House is apportioned based on the “whole number of persons” in a district, not limited to citizens or legal residents. Democrats have every reason to overestimate the number of illegals, not underestimate them. Twenty million more undocumented immigrants works out to 25 seats in the House of Representatives. No working politician, liberal or conservative, would ever ignore or obscure such significant numbers.

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Brooks: Enough Of The Outrage 7-29-15

Most of us would say we dislike the destructive rhetoric that accompanies political discourse today. In the last election cycle at least half of American adults felt the presidential campaign was too negative. In reality, we often don’t realize when we participate in political hatred because it comes in roughly three different forms.

 

  • The first is what some psychologists call “hot hate,” based on anger. Imagine yourself yelling at the television, and you get the picture.

 

  • For other haters, the hot variety is a little too crude. They prefer “cool hate,” based on contempt, and express disgust for another person through sarcasm, dismissal or mockery.

 

  • The last variety is “anonymous hate.” Three Canadian psychologists found that habitual Internet commenting is strongly correlated with hateful personality pathologies.

It’s time to declare your independence by not consuming the overheated outrage and negative punditry—even if it comes from those with whom you agree. Avoid indulging in snarky, contemptuous dismissals of Americans on the other side. And always own up to your views.

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Mohler: A Turning Point In Our Nation’s Conscience 7-28-15

The recent release of a series of videos showing the senior staff of Planned Parenthood casually discussing the sale of organs from aborted babies is a moral challenge thrown right in the face of all Americans. The initially-released video reveals Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, discussing the intentional harvesting of organs and other tissues from babies aborted in Planned Parenthood clinics.

While casually reaching with her fork for salad, Dr. Nucatola openly tells a group she believes to be medical researchers that there is a great demand for fetal livers, but “a lot of people want intact hearts these days.” Dr. Nucatola went on to explain in chilling detail that abortionists often plan in advance how to harvest desired organs. We must hope and pray that these videos will mark an important turning point in our nation’s conscience. Images and words can become seared in our minds. The horrifying knowledge of harvested baby hearts must lead to our own broken hearts.

A nation that will allow this, will allow anything.

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Medved: Some Fights Aren’t Worth Having 7-27-15

Americans who admire Donald Trump say they like the fact that he’s a “fighter” but they ought to realize that some fights aren’t worth having. Why, for instance, get involved in a major brawl with John McCain? The Arizona Senator is one of the few prominent Republicans, it seems, who isn’t running for president, so what’s the point of insisting he’s not a war hero or, even more absurdly, denigrating his academic record at Annapolis more than 60 years ago?

It’s important for Republicans to keep control of the Senate, so why attack a sitting Senator of your own party, who will almost surely continue as chairman of the Armed Services Committee? Trump’s pattern of feuds and childish insults—calling all who disagree with him “dopes” and “dummies”—is hardly presidential, and would be positively dangerous in foreign policy. It’s not just his simplistic approach to issues, but also his needlessly combative temperament, that disqualify him as a serious candidate.

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