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Pat Buchanan - What would Reagan do?

President Reagan was holding a meeting in the Cabinet Room on March 25, 1985, when Press Secretary Larry Speakes came over to me, as communications director, with a concern. The White House was about to issue a statement on the killing of Major Arthur Nicholson, a U.S. army officer serving in East Germany. Maj. Nicholson had been shot in cold blood by a Russian soldier.

Speakes thought the president's statement, "This violence was unjustified," was weak. I agreed. We interrupted the president, who reread the statement, then said go ahead with it.

What lay behind this Reagan decision not to express his own and his nation's disgust and anger at this atrocity? Since taking office, Reagan had sought to engage Soviet leaders in negotiations, but, as he told me, "they keep dying on me."

Two weeks earlier, on March 10, 1985, Konstantin Chernenko, the third Soviet premier in Reagan's term, had died, and the youngest member of the Politburo, Mikhail Gorbachev, had been named to succeed him. Believing Gorbachev had no role in the murder of Maj. Nicholson, and seeking a summit with the new Soviet leader to ease Cold War tensions, Reagan decided not to express what must have been in his heart.

Which raises a question many Republicans are asking: What would Reagan do — in Syria, Crimea, Ukraine?

Is Sen. Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, or Gov. Jeb Bush or Chris Christie the candidate most in the Reagan tradition, the gold standard for the GOP?

We cannot know what he would do, as we live in a post-Cold War world. But we do know what Reagan did.

In the battle over the Panama Canal "giveaway," Reagan stood against Bill Buckley and much of his movement and party. "We bought it, we paid for it, it's ours, and we're gonna keep it," he thundered. The Senate agreed 2-1 with Jimmy Carter to surrender the Canal to Panama's dictator. Reagan's consolation prize? The presidency.

Reagan came to office declaring Vietnam "a noble cause" and determined to rebuild U.S. military might and morale, which he did in spades. His defense budgets broke the spine of a Soviet Union that could not compete with the booming America of the Reagan era. What's our strategy, his first National Security Council adviser Dick Allen asked him. Replied Reagan: "We win, they lose."

Reagan saw clearly the crucial moral dimension of the ideological struggle between communism and freedom. He called the Soviet Bloc "an evil empire." Yet he never threatened military intervention in Eastern Europe, as some bellicose Republicans do today.
Reagan would not be rattling sabers over Crimea or Ukraine.

When Gen. Jaruzelski's regime smashed Solidarity on Moscow's orders, Reagan refused to put Warsaw in default on its debts. But he did deny Moscow the U.S. technology to build its Yamal pipeline to Europe. Given Europe's dependency today on Russian gas, a wise decision.

When the Soviets deployed triple-warhead intermediate-range missiles in Eastern Europe, the SS-20, Reagan countered with nuclear-armed Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe. Only when Gorbachev agreed to take down all the SS-20s, did Reagan agree to bring the Pershings and cruise missiles home.

When Gadhafi blew up a Berlin discotheque full of U.S. soldiers in retaliation for the Sixth Fleet's downing of two Libyan warplanes, Reagan sent F-111s in a reprisal raid that almost killed Gadhafi.

Ronald Reagan believed in the measured response.

He hated nuclear weapons, "those god-awful things," he used to say, and seized on the idea of a missile defense, SDI. And while he was ready to trade down offensive missiles, when Gorbachev at Reykjavik demanded he throw the Strategic Defense Initiative into the pot, Reagan got up and walked out.

Would Reagan go into Syria? Almost surely not. On the last day of his presidency, he told aides the worst mistake he made was putting U.S. Marines into Lebanon, where 241 Americans perished in the terror bombing of the Beirut barracks.

He had no problem working with flawed regimes, as long as they stood with us in the cause that would decide the fate of mankind.

The East-West struggle was the top priority with Ronald Reagan, which is one reason he vetoed sanctions on South Africa.

Whatever her sins, Pretoria was on our side in the main event.

But while Reagan would not challenge Moscow militarily in Central Europe, he provided weapons to anti-Communist guerrillas and freedom fighters in Afghanistan, Angola and Nicaragua to bleed and break the Soviet Empire at its periphery and make them pay the same price we paid in Vietnam.

Reagan was an anti-Communist to his core, having fought them in the Screen Actors Guild in the 1940s. But he was never anti-Russian, and wanted always to keep the channels open. He ended his presidency as he had hoped, being cheered while strolling through Red Square with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Ronald Reagan never wanted to be a war president, and there were no wars on Reagan's watch. None. The Gipper was no neocon.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 03:23

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Susan Estrich - Obamacare needs to be fixed

As I walked into the pharmacy, the technician who has kept track of all of my prescriptions for years was on an endless call trying to figure out who is going to deliver her baby and where.

The good news: Her new plan, which fully complies with the Affordable Care Act, provides much more comprehensive coverage and lower co-pays than the one she used to have.

The bad news: Neither the obstetrician who has taken care of her for the past six months nor the hospital where she had planned to give birth are covered by the plan.

Ouch.

Now, this young woman is really good at dealing with insurance companies. It's what she does all day long — getting prescriptions approved, figuring out why they aren't being approved, going back and forth with doctors and insurance companies about what they will and will not cover. No neophyte, she.

And as I signaled her that I could wait, that she should finish her conversation, she never lost her cool. Me, I would have been a wreck if someone had told me six months into a pregnancy that the doctor with whom I had developed a close and trusting relationship or the hospital that I had always relied on were no longer on my list, and that my choices — within any reasonable geographic distance — basically came down to six doctors I'd never heard of and a hospital I'd never set foot in.

She was not a wreck. But she wasn't happy. Who would be? Six months pregnant and interviewing doctors who are themselves overwhelmed because they are, in fact, on so many plans.

Now that the website is working and the administration is taking credit for hitting its sign-up goal and former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (who is hardly the only one at fault for all the "hiccups" or "potholes" or just plain mistakes along the way) has taken her leave, now the hard part starts.

Exactly what kind of care are people going to receive under the Affordable Care Act? And who is going to provide it?

Who knows? Certainly not most of the doctors I talk to.

I walked into one practice last week that has four doctors, and there was a big sign at the front about which doctor you could see based on which plan you are on. Not surprisingly, the most senior doctor was only seeing Medicare patients and people like me, with pre-existing, employer-provided, expensive group plans.
I walked into another practice, and the rule was basically pay as you go. No lines there.

At the hospital where I get tests, there was a big sign advising patients to call a toll-free number to find out whether the plans they are considering would allow them to continue using the hospital. The short answer is that many of them don't.

Welcome to the shakedown period. Welcome to the host of problems that need to be fixed.

While Republicans keep railing against Obamacare, the reality is that it's not going to be repealed, at least not as long as Barack Obama is in the White House. And if you ask me, not afterward, either.

I don't know anyone with a 20-something-year-old on their plan (which you couldn't do before) or with a pre-existing condition (And who, after a certain age, doesn't have some pre-existing condition?) who is yearning to go back to the bad old days when gastritis, not to mention heart disease or cancer, could make you uninsurable. There are many features of the new system that most of us would agree are better than those of the old one.

But not all. The business of what doctors you can see, what hospitals you can use — very big problem. The waiting lines for doctors who accept all kinds of plans — very big problem. The confusion and expense of having a "new" plan that costs more because it covers services you don't need and at the same time forces you to leave the doctors who know you — not so good.

"Mend it, don't end it" used to be the Clinton administration's slogan about affirmative action.

Obamacare should not be repealed, and it won't be. But it needs to be fixed, and that's not a problem the IT guys and girls can solve. So fasten your seatbelts. We're in for some rocky times, and the politicians and leaders who focus on trying to solve the problems, rather than trying to score points off of them, are the ones who deserve our support.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:43

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Froma Harrop - Lessons not learned in Boston bombing

Airport gift shops throughout New England are piling "Boston Strong" T-shirts in vivid colors. "Boston Strong" became a rallying cry of solidarity after the terrorist bombing last year at the Boston Marathon.
As the anniversary of the attack — and the next race on April 21 — approaches, emotional coverage of the event and aftermath is reaching feverish levels. A multipage spread in The Washington Post, "How Boston Stayed Strong," heaves with charged language: "harrowing," "carnage," "horrific."
So it's really odd to see these pained reminiscences alternating with rebukes of a National Security Agency surveillance program designed to prevent such assaults. Actually, the disconnect is something to behold.
One hears Rep. William R. Keating, D-Mass., complaining that federal agencies could have prevented the bombing. They did not heed warnings from Russian intelligence that one of the suspected bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was becoming radicalized.
But nine months earlier, Keating voted for the Amash amendment, which would have closed down the NSA's collection of phone and other records. (It bears repeating that the agency may not listen in on the actual content of such communications without a court order.)
Fortunately, it was defeated by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats ready to brave the hysteria — unleashed by ambitious populists and conformist media too lazy to examine the realities of national security in the age of widespread spy technology and terrorists armed with explosive devices far scarier than weaponized pressure cookers.
So what will it be? Are Americans to rely on Russian spies, with their own agendas, to keep them safe? By the way, the Russian security apparatus is famously insensitive about people's privacy.
Okay, but what good is the NSA program if it didn't catch the Tsarnaev brothers before they acted? Bad question. The agency doesn't "see" everything.
"No, NSA ops should not have been expected to 'catch' Tsarnaev online, because that's just not how NSA does its job," John Schindler, intelligence expert at the U.S Naval War College and former analyst at the NSA, told me.
"(The) FBI would have had to have tipped NSA off first, as seems not to have happened. Ball to FBI."
The NSA said it did use the program to rule out the likelihood of a second strike in New York City.
Meanwhile, Americans must better steel themselves against terrorism. Only three people died in the marathon bombing. I hesitate to use the word "only,'' because every death was a tragedy, and dozens of others were grievously wounded.
But during this month's Afghan elections, at least 47 people were killed. And terrorists across the globe are massacring innocents by the dozens on a daily basis.
When a cafe is bombed in Israel, the blood is immediately scrubbed away, and shattered windows are replaced. By the next day, the place is open again for business. Shrugging it off lessens the bombers' reward in inflicting pain.
By contrast, Boston virtually shut down for days after the bombing. Cellphone service choked. Bostonians were rushed indoors. There was no Amtrak and almost no taxis. Schools and businesses closed.
Of course, the NSA should not be allowed to do anything it wants. Nor should we ignore the potential for abuse, given the march of progress in photo recognition software, DNA analysis and such.
But that Americans are shuffling aside the memory of Sept. 11, 2001 — the outrage that launched the NSA program — is a wonder. The idea that we are magically protected seems a weird offshoot of "American exceptionalism."
Deep thinking on how we can confront the threat of terrorism is in order for the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. Grown-ups can work with nuance.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 08:29

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Michelle Malkin - Aunt Zeituni's legacy

Zeituni Onyango, President Obama's illegal alien aunt, died this week of cancer and other complications. I hope she rests in peace. America, however, should be up in arms.

Auntie Zeituni is an enduring symbol of all that is wrong with this country's immigration "policy" — or rather, its complete lack of a coherent, enforceable system of laws and rules that puts the national interest first. She was a beneficiary of the welfare state run amok, enabled by bipartisan fecklessness. To the bitter end, she bit the hand that fed her with predictable ingratitude and metastatic entitlement.

Zeituni's 14-year illegal overstay is a reminder that our temporary visa program is an abysmal joke. Like millions of foreign students, business people and tourists to this country, Auntie Zeituni obtained a short-term visitor visa in 2000. It had an expiration date. She was supposed to go back to Kenya in two years after traveling here with her son, who had been accepted at a college in Boston.

But like millions of other "temporary" visa overstayers, Auntie Zeituni never went home. And despite billions spent on homeland security and immigration enforcement, no one ever went looking for her to kick her out of the country after her time was up.

Auntie Zeituni had no job skills, no special talent, no compelling reason to keep her here in America as an asset to our culture or our economy. She didn't value the American Dream. She was a dependency nightmare. She collected $700 a month in welfare benefits and disability payments totaling $51,000. Somehow, Auntie Zeituni also drummed up money to apply for asylum and finagled her way into both federal and state public housing in Boston.

She contributed nothing to this country. The only "work" she did was gaming the system, complaining about her lot and blaming everyone else for her problems while they subsidized her 14-year illegal overstay.

Auntie Zeituni's ridiculous asylum application and what happened afterward are reminders that our asylum and deportation systems are appalling jokes. Auntie Zeituni's bogus request was rejected by the immigration court system. A judge ordered her to return to Kenya in 2003. She appealed.

She lost. A judge again ordered her to leave in 2004.
But Auntie Zeituni never went home. Like an estimated 700,000 other deportation absconders, she evaded the judicial order for nearly a half-dozen years and continued to feed at the government trough. When the Bush administration had the chance to put the pedal to the enforcement metal in 2008, they caved. Pandering to pro-amnesty forces, Bush officials issued a 72-hour cease-and-desist order to all fugitive apprehension teams to spare Obama embarrassment over his auntie right before Election Day.

As an Immigration and Customs Enforcement source told me at the time: "The ICE fugitive operations group throughout the U.S. was told to stand down until after the election from arresting or transporting anyone out of the U.S. This was done to avoid any mistakes of deporting or arresting anyone who could have a connection to the election, i.e., anyone from Kenya who could be a relative. The decision was election-driven." Such stand-down non-enforcement orders are standard operating procedure in Washington.

Auntie Zeituni's illegal activity and ingratitude were rewarded time and time again. She got multiple bites at the immigration court apple, where it ain't over till the alien wins. Despite twice being ordered to go home, the feds allowed her bogus case to be reopened. After breaking visa laws, campaign finance laws (she donated illegally to Obama three times), deportation rules and judicial orders, she was allowed to have yet another hearing. Her manufactured claim of a "credible fear of persecution" in Kenya made a mockery of every legitimate case for asylum or refugee status.

"If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen," Auntie Zeituni demanded. She griped that America had "used" her and then cashed in on a book about her travails called "Tears of Abuse". And then, after a decade of doing absolutely nothing to enhance the well-being of our country, she received a coveted green card in 2010.

Neither Republican nor Democratic leaders in Washington had the will to kick this trash-talking freeloader (or her drunk-driving, deportation-evading, amnesty-securing deadbeat brother Omar Onyango) out of our home. Auntie Zeituni's story is a disgraceful reminder that the only thing worse than the ingrates thumbing their noses at our immigration laws are the people in power on both sides of the aisle enabling them.

Open-borders bipartisanship is suicide.

(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Pat Buchanan - In Silicon Valley, they burn heretics

"There is a gay mafia," said Bill Maher, "if you cross them you do get whacked."

Maher, the host of HBO's "Real Time," was talking about the gay activists and their comrades who drove Brendan Eich out as CEO of Mozilla. Eich, who invented JavaScript and co-founded Mozilla in 1998, had been named chief executive in late March.

Instantly, he came under attack for having contributed $1,000 to Proposition 8, whereby a majority of Californians voted in 2008 to reinstate a ban on same-sex marriage. Prop 8 was backed by the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church and the black churches, and carried 70 percent of the African-American vote.

Though Eich apologized for any "pain" he had caused and pledged to promote equality for gays and lesbians at Mozilla, his plea for clemency failed to move his accusers. Too late. According to The Guardian, he quit after it was revealed that he had also contributed — "The horror, the horror!" — to the Buchanan campaign of 1992.

That cooked it. What further need was there of proof of the irredeemably malevolent character of Brendan Eich?

Observing the mob run this accomplished man out of a company he helped create, Andrew Sullivan blogged that Eich "has just been scalped" by gay activists. Sullivan went on: "Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole thing disgusts me, as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society."

Yet, the purge of Eich, who, from his contributions — he also gave to Ron Paul — appears to be a traditionalist and libertarian — is being defended as a triumph of the First Amendment.

James Ball of The Guardian writes that far from being "a defeat for freedom of expression," Eich's removal is a "victory — the ouster of a founder and CEO by his own people, at a foundation based on open and equal expression."

Eich's forced resignation, writes Ball, "should be the textbook example of the system working exactly as it should."

Ball seems to be saying that what the gay mob did to Eich at Mozilla is what the heroes of Maidan Square did in driving President Viktor Yanukovych out of power and out of his country.

This is how the democracy works now.

Mitchell Baker, the executive chairwoman of Mozilla Foundation, who escorted Eich out, said in her statement: "Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."
George Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

What Baker is saying is that you have freedom of speech, so long as you use your speech to advocate equality.

And what do we do with those who use their freedom of speech to express their view, rooted in religion and history, that traditional marriage is not only superior to same-sex marriage, the latter is a contradiction of the natural and moral law.

And what of those institutions that teach and preach that outside traditional marriage sexual relations are wrong?

One such is the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church whose 1976 catechism, "The Teaching of Christ," describes homosexual acts as "sexual vices" and "sexual perversions."

Is that just yesterday's church and yesterday's belief?

Well, one of the compilers of that catechism was Donald W. Wuerl of Angelicum University in Rome, who would appear to be the same cleric as Cardinal Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., who is now one of the inner circle advising Pope Francis I.

Yet, it is not only Catholic, Mormon, Evangelical and Protestant churches that believe this, but the Islamic faith, perhaps a majority of Americans, and more than a majority of the world's peoples.

Up until last year, Barack Obama opposed same-sex marriage.

What the Brendan Eich episode teaches us, where a man was driven from a position he had earned, because of his beliefs, and was abandoned and left undefended by false friends and gutless peers in Silicon Valley, is this: In the new dispensation, opposition to same-sex marriage disqualifies you from leadership and may legitimately be used to bring about the ruin of your career.

This is the new blacklist.

The old blacklist declared that if you were a member of the Communist Party that toadied to Stalin, and you refused to recant and took the Fifth Amendment, you would not be permitted to work in Hollywood. We are Americans, said that Hollywood, and we believe in American values.

Now, nearly seven decades later, the Stalinists of the '40s are martyr-heroes in Hollywood. And in Silicon Valley conservatives and traditionalists who oppose same-sex marriage are to be denied top jobs and driven into social exile.

The new blacklist means that while diversity of races, genders and sexual orientations is mandatory, diversity of thought and opinion is restricted. In Silicon Valley, they burn heretics.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 296

 
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