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Mark Steyn

Steyn on America

Super du Jour

A few horse-racey thoughts before Super Tuesday. To pre-empt the usual objections, let me emphasize that what follows concerns itself not with my personal preferences but with what is electorally likely:

~Donald Trump seems set for a pretty super day, winning at least ten of the twelve states, and more likely eleven, or possibly a full sweep. The exceptions are Ted Cruz's home state of Texas (where there is conflicting polling evidence) and perhaps, if you cling to the pre-Nevada conventional wisdom about Trump's organizational weakness in caucus states, Minnesota. But a ten-state victory for Trump will still be a super-duper Tuesday for him, and a stinker for Cruz and Rubio.

~If Cruz loses Texas, he's over. His base-maximization strategy relied principally on a twin appeal to ideological conservatives and evangelical Christians. So far the conservative pitch is working better than the evangelical one, which went nowhere in South Carolina and Nevada to the point where Cruz supporter David Limbaugh has advised him to ease up on the God stuff. In my psephological analysis last week, I noted that to eke out the most minimal victory in the electoral college a Republican candidate has to win either Colorado or New Hampshire: That's simply the arithmetical reality. In a general election, Cruz's insufficiently lightly worn religiosity will not carry either of those two states. But even in primary season he appears to have a limited appeal. Cruz is in third or fourth place in seven of the twelve Super Tuesday states. No-one thinks Massachusetts will be competitive this November, but its 42 delegates in Tuesday's primary would come in handy at a brokered convention. Yet, according to which of the two recent polls you believe, Cruz is either 30 or 40 points behind Trump. Pace David Limbaugh, maybe it's not just the televangelist mien: At their best, his Iowa predecessors, Huckabee and Santorum, who won respectively eight and eleven states, had an undeniable emotional connection with voters which the dry, prosecutorial Cruz seems to lack.

~Marco Rubio and John Kasich are in at least until their home states vote on March 15th - or perhaps until just before: if polls show they're certain to lose, as both Florida and Ohio presently suggest, the sitting senator and sitting governor may decide to pull out pre-humiliation. Rubio had a better night than Cruz on Thursday: his jabs against Trump were both lower and jollier, and his morning-after shtick lower and jollier still - he taunted Trump as a pants-wetter. But at some point even a media darling has to win something. Rubio has the best shot at denying Trump victory, but, absent a total collapse of the mogul on Tuesday, Marco can't win the nomination himself except via some brokered-convention machinations. And too many distant second- or third-place finishes from Oklahoma to Vermont risk turning him into spring's Jeb: a man who (as Clive James remarked in another context) has all the qualities of leadership except followers.

~Kasich is hanging on till the contest moves to the midwest with Michigan on March 8th, but Ben Carson may be gone by Wednesday. He was inadequate in the debate - charmingly inadequate to be sure, but inadequate nonetheless. Were both men to withdraw, some of Kasich's vote would go to Rubio and some of Carson's to Cruz. But combined the principal beneficiary would be Trump.

~By March 16th there will be three candidates in the race. But, if Trump's percentage in states he wins on Tuesday is closer to Nevada's 46 per cent than to New Hampshire's 35 per cent, the other two won't matter.

~One policy note: Trump has now pledged to strengthen the libel laws to favor the plaintiff in suits against the media. So his Tweet siding with Michael E Mann against me does not appear to be an accidental aberration. Thus in November America seems likely to have a choice between two candidates who want to rein in the First Amendment: I didn't see that one coming, although,what with his years of delaying tactics and general obstructionism, evidently Mann did. Judging from responses to Senator Ben Sasse's Twitter feed, principled supporters of free speech are somewhat thin on the ground.

~Ultimately, Trump's hostile takeover of the Republican Party has only been possible because of the rigid inflexibility of America's party system. The two-party one-party state, unchanged in 150 years, is unique in the western world, where parties are born and die according to whether there's a market for them. If a genuine market in parties were possible here, this season there would probably be a nationalist party, a conservative party, and a soft-right party - and, over on the other side, a corporatist party and a socialist party. In the British House of Commons, there are currently 11 parties represented, plus four independents. In the Canadian House of Commons, there are five parties. In New Zealand, seven. When The Washington Post's Michael Gerson warns that a Trump nomination would break apart the Republican Party, the implication is that the health of the Republic depends on maintaining the same two parties of the Civil War era for all eternity. Why?

from Campaign 2016, February 27, 2016

 

Nitwits of the Round Table

The experts who've gotten everything wrong this last year lay out their latest surefire analyses

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The Math and the Map

With South Carolina's Republican primary and Nevada's Democrat caucus behind us, the potential match-ups for November are fast shrinking. On the GOP side, there's a frontrunner, two weakish second-place guys, and a fourth candidate who'll hang in at least until Ohio. The exit-polling suggests Donald Trump is drawing his voters from across all demographic groups and ideological inclinations...

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Bush Whacked

Prince Jeb abandons his claim to the throne

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Notes After New Hampshire

On Friday evening I'll be starting my Australian tour by checking in with Chris Kenny on Sky News at 8pm Aussie Eastern Time. If you're in the vicinity of the receiving apparatus, I hope you'll dial us up. ~Long, long ago - August 12th last year, in fact - I wrote: The integrity of a nation's borders and the privilege of its citizenship is certainly a "truly conservative" principle. More practically for this election, it may be the one on which all the others depend... And, as Ann Coulter says ...

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The March of Trump, and the Feel of Bern

As I was saying at the dawn of this day: 1) Trump; 2) Kasich; 3) Rubio; 4) Bush; 5) Cruz. Number One and Two were correct, and at this hour Numbers Three, Four and Five are all jostling together at 11 per cent...

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That Smell Isn't the Ethanol

A year ago, I wrote:

For me, the issue this US election season is the corruption. Sure, I'd like a balanced budget and less debt and repeal of Obamacare, but I'm getting used to being sold out on those issues. So I'm down to the bare minimum requirement for a politician: The corruption nauseates me, and, if it doesn't nauseate the candidates, then that explains a lot about why nothing happens on any of those other matters. It's in the air, it's in my nostrils, and I'm sick of choking on it...

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Second-Degree Bern

Thank God that's over. You don't have to be an Amtrak conductor to want to punch the next guy who says, "There are three tickets out of Iowa." In the end, Ted Cruz won eight delegates and Donald Trump seven. Which doesn't sound so bad for Trump. Except that Marco Rubio also won seven delegates. Had the caucus been held 24 hours later, Rubementum might have pushed Trump to third place...

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The World They Made

On Wednesday's show Rush Limbaugh discussed the Trump phenomenon through the lens of a 20-year-old Sam Francis article: "Imagine giving this advice to a Republican presidential candidate: What if you stopped calling yourself a conservative and instead just promised to make America great again?" What do you think might happen in the current climate, where the middle class in the country feels totally left out of everything going on? They feel like they've been targeted by every liberal Democrat ...

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The Winnowing

Having endured "these stupid ten-man TV debates" for six months, Trump found himself in a seven-man show and for the first time played for the full two hours - and dominated...

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The Stupid Party Gets Stupider

The GOP responds to the State of the Union ...by attacking its own base

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Notes on a Phenomenon

Mark crosses the Connecticut River to check out a Donald Trump rally in the heart of Bernie Sanders' Vermont

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"Somebody's Lying. Who Is It?"

Hillary Clinton accidentally encounters a real interviewer

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Predators for Hillary

Clinton, Cosby, rape and respectability

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The GOP Don't Never Dance With Them What Brung Them

What happened off-camera during Mark's appearance at the US Senate

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Markey Mark

An "international bestselling author, a Top Five jazz recording artist, and a leading Canadian human rights activist" walk into the US Senate - and they're all the same guy!

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Jersey Sure

I have a strong dislike of the current fashion among American's decrepit and unreadable newspapers for "fact-checker" columns, because the practice attempts to cloak run-of-the-mill hacks in an aura of dispassionate authority that they do not, in fact, possess. Case in point: The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, who has awarded "four Pinocchios" to Donald Trump, for claiming to recall seeing "thousands" of Jersey City Muslims celebrating on September 11th 2001. Mr Kessler wrote: Trump says that ...

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The Week in Nothing to do with Islam

The British Home Secretary, Theresa May, was a little behind the curve when she reacted to the bloodbath in Paris by insisting that "the attacks have nothing to do with Islam". This is the old spin that, although some terrorists might claim to be Muslim, there's nothing inherently Muslim about their terrorism. But why be so modest? In the United States, the most senior members of the Democrat establishment are taking it to the next level. Secretary of State John Kerry: It has nothing to do with ...

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He Likes Ike

The debate? Well, I thought the most interesting moment came when Donald Trump brought up Eisenhower: Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower—a good president, great president, people liked him. 'I Like Ike', right? The expression 'I Like Ike'? - moved a million and a half illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border: They came back. Moved them again, beyond the border: They came back. Then moved them way south. They never came back. To the establishments of ...

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Murphy's Law

As we come to an end of another grim week in politics, two views of how Campaign 2016 is going from Team Bush

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The Alpha Female of a Beta-Male Debate

Bernie didn't join the party. The party joined him...

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Get Lost, You Palace-Guard Creeps

As the week ended, Obama's palace guard in the American media were demanding that every other Republican candidate distance himself from Donald Trump's failure to correct, among thousands of attendees at his events, one who apparently is under the reprehensible illusion that the President is a Muslim. Any candidate who plays this game with the Obamamedia is a fool. Assuming for the sake of argument that the questioner is genuine and not a plant (like, say, the 14-year old all-American schoolboy ...

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The Trumping of Party

Donald Trump has now said that he would reverse President Obama's executive amnesty for "DREAMers" - illegal immigrants who've been here since they were children - and deport every last member of the Undocumented-American community. The amnesty for the kids was supposed to prefigure an amnesty for their parents - for what mean old politician would advocate breaking up families? But, as he told NBC's Chuck Todd, Trump plans to keep the families together by deporting every single one of them: ...

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The Two-Party One-Party State

Republican seat-warmers and the rise of Trump

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Pathway to Codswallop

In a thoughtful review of Ann Coulter's splendid new book, iconoclastic Democrat Mickey Kaus lists the open-borders advocates in American politics: ...the entire Democratic party, half the Republican party, half (secretly) of the politicians who claim to represent the other half of the Republican party, virtually the entire press (including Fox), virtually all of business, and virtually all big money political donors (including the Kochs!). The bit I've bolded helps explain the Trump bump in ...

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The Superbowl of Superholes

The GOP establishment has finally found a campaign issue: John McCain.

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Last Stand of the Old White Males

Bernie and the Donald mess up the best laid plans of their party establishments

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Insufficiently Independent to Hold an Independence Day Parade

Since you ask, no, I didn't have that Glorious a Fourth...

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Culture Trumps Politics, cont.

The landmark Supreme Court decisions are bulk-discounted this week, so here's this hour's. In my conversation with Hugh Hewitt yesterday, I said: As you know, Hugh, I'm not a believer in Supreme Courts that are as supreme as America's Supreme Court is...

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Hastert La Vista, Baby!

In its first 72 hours, the Denny Hastert scandal has galloped along at breakneck speed...

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Chris Wossname

With friends like Hillary...

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Uranium One, America Zip

One of the lessons learned by the Clintons back in the Nineties is that, if you're gonna have a scandal, have a hundred of 'em. And then it's all too complicated and just gives everyone a big headache, and they go back to watching "Friends" or "Baywatch" or whatever it was back then...

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Oligarchs for Hillary!

For me, the issue this US election season is the corruption

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The Hill to Lie On

Over at Breitbart News, John Nolte distills Hillary Rodham Clinton's autobiography into a single headline:

Dead Broke Hillary Dodged Sniper Fire With Her Immigrant Parents In Tuzla

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I'm Jimmying Cartier's and I'm Running for President

I think it's fair to say that the Hillary 2016 launch effortlessly surpassed expectations. It began with the official campaign announcement, deftly reminding us of her impressive résumé: She's fought children and families all her career.

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Bowe Jest

A year later, officialdom catches up with Steyn's assessment of an American deserter

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Tropic of Cankle

"Ignore the noise - Clinton will win in 2016," we are assured by a columnist in Hillary's journalistic namesake The Hill. "The email flap will be gone soon enough..."

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Basic Cable

Laws are for the little people

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O Beautiful, For Specious Guys...

If Obama were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

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The Life of Brian

NBC Nightly News with Walter Mitty reporting

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Emasculated and Enkindled

The problem with a victim culture is that so many people want to join the ranks of victimhood that eventually you run short of oppressors. As I say in my new book (personally autographed copies of which make a Christmas gift your loved one will cherish forever), Elizabeth Warren is the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out, but a dubious claim to be one 32nd Cherokee was enough to persuade Harvard Law School to promote her as their first "woman of color". No wonder so ...

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A Death in Syria

President Obama dishonors an American's death

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Big Climate Flops Out

Tom Steyer, Big Climate's Daddy Warmbucks, wakes up with the all-time worst dose of "climate depression"

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Ebola Yes, Bagpipes No

Thomas Eric Duncan has the distinction of being America's Patient Zero - the first but not the last person to develop Ebola symptoms in the United States. Is he a US citizen? No, he's Liberian. Is he a resident of the United States? No, he landed at Washington's Dulles Airport on September 20th, in order to visit his sister and having quit his job in Monrovia a few weeks earlier. So he's a single unemployed man with relatives in the US and no compelling reason to return to his native land. That ...

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Coalition of the Unwilling

Obama's foreign policy goes KA-BOOM!

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Cigars, But Not Close

Ferguson, Missouri, and the militarization of the police

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We Don't Need No Stinkin' Emails

The IRS is openly sneering at us now

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"Harmless as an Enemy, Treacherous as a Friend"

"I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans."

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Inequality Before the Law

The curious selectivity of "campaign finance" enforcement...

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The Road We're Kicking the Can Down

Three portents of decay - plus a bonus one

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The National Disgrace of Fort Hood

America dishonors the victims of Major Hasan, and adds insult to grievous injuries

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Introducing ObamaCow

If you like your cow, you can keep your cow

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The Two-Party One-Party State

The Republican Party is "simply not good enough"

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America Takes Early Retirement

Obama's courtiers hail a world without work

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Knockouts High and Low

On November 22, 1963, two other notable men died, and got relegated to the foot of page 37...

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Thus Spake Obama

If you like your cake, you can keep your cake

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A Phalanx of Lies

A uniquely fraudulent governmentalization of health care

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Obamacare's Magical Thinkers

If you're looking for an epitaph for the republic...

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Potemkin Parliament

The least dispiriting moment of another grim week in Washington was the sight of ornery veterans tearing down the Barrycades around the war memorials on the National Mall, dragging them up the street, and dumping them outside the White House...

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Shutdown Simulacrum

The shutdown that isn't a shutdown, the ceiling that isn't a ceiling, and the rollout that isn't a rollout...

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Worse Is the New Normal

A few years ago, after the publication of my book America Alone, an exasperated reader wrote to advise me to lighten up, on the grounds that "we're rich enough to be stupid."

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Next stop, banana republic

"This is the United States of America," declared President Obama to the burghers of Liberty, Missouri, on Friday. "We're not some banana republic."

He was talking about the Annual Raising of the Debt Ceiling, which glorious American tradition seems to come round earlier every year. "This is not a deadbeat nation," President Obama continued. "We don't run out on our tab." True. But we don't pay it off, either. We just keep running it up, ever higher. And every time the bartender says, "Mebbe you've had enough, pal," we protest, "Jush another couple trillion for the road. Set 'em up, Joe." And he gives you that look that kinda says he wishes you'd run out on your tab back when it was $23.68.

Still, Obama is right. We're not a banana republic, if only because the debt of banana republics is denominated in a currency other than their own – i.e., the U.S. dollar. When you're the guys who print the global currency, you can run up debts undreamt of by your average generalissimo. As Obama explained in another of his recent speeches, "Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt." I won't even pretend to know what he and his speechwriters meant by that one, but the fact that raising the debt ceiling "has been done over a hundred times" does suggest that spending more than it takes in is now a permanent feature of American government. And no one has plans to do anything about it. Which is certainly banana republic-esque.

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An Accidental War

I see the Obama "reset" is going so swimmingly that the president is now threatening to go to war against a dictator who gassed his own people. Don't worry, this isn't anything like the dictator who gassed his own people that the discredited warmonger Bush spent 2002 and early 2003 staggering ever more punchily around the country inveighing against...

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Obamacare's Hierarchy of Privilege

On his radio show the other day, Hugh Hewitt asked me about running for the Senate from New Hampshire. My pollsters and PACs haven't fine-tuned every detail of my platform just yet, but I can say this without a doubt...

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Idiot Big Brother

On Thursday, the Washington Post's revelation of thousands upon thousands of National Security Agency violations included this fascinating detail...

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Know Thine Enemy

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked. Three years, eight months, and eight days later, the Japanese surrendered.

These days, America's military moves at a more leisurely pace. On November 5, 2009, another U.S. base, Fort Hood, was attacked — by one man standing on a table, screaming "Allahu akbar!" and opening fire.

Three years, nine months, and one day later, his court-martial finally got under way...

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Lords of the Transition Team

Let us put aside, as he so rarely does, Anthony Weiner's spambot penis, and consider his wife and putative first lady...

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The Downfall of Detroit

To achieve this level of devastation, you usually have to be invaded by a foreign power...

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A Dagger at the Heart of Justice

Just when I thought the George Zimmerman "trial" couldn't sink any lower, the prosecutorial limbo dancers of the State of Florida magnificently lowered their own bar in the final moments of their cable-news celebrity...

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The Simulacrum of Self-Government

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 — just another day in a constitutional republic of limited government by citizen representatives...

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Big Politically Correct Brother

Every time I go on his show, my radio pal Hugh Hewitt asks me why congressional Republicans aren't doing more to insist that the GOP suicide note known as "the immigration deal" include a requirement for a border fence. I don't like to tell Hugh that, if they ever get around to building the fence, it won't be to keep the foreigners out but to keep you guys in...

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The All-Seeing State

A few years ago, after one corruption scandal too many, the then Liberal government in Canada announced that, to prevent further outbreaks of malfeasance, it would be hiring 300 new federal auditors plus a bunch of ethics czars, and mandating "integrity provisions" in government contracts, including "prohibitions against paying, offering, demanding or accepting bribes." There were already plenty of laws against bribery, but one small additional sign on the desk should do the trick: "Please do not attempt to bribe the Minister of the Crown as a refusal may offend. Also: He's not allowed to bribe you, whatever he says." A government that requires "integrity provisions" is by definition past the stage where they will do any good.

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The Lois Lerner Defense

The IRS advances to "pre-auditing"

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The Autocrat Accountants

When everything's a tax issue

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The Benghazi Lie

A failure of character

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The Immigration Transformation

Most countries in the world have irrelevant numbers of "immigrants." In the Americas, for example, only Canada, America, and the British West Indies have significant non-native populations. In Mexico, immigrants account for 0.6 percent of the population, and that generally negligible level prevails all the way down through Latin America until you hit a blip of 1.4 percent with Chile and 3.8 percent in Argentina. There's an isolated exception in Belize, which, like the English Caribbean, has historical patterns of internal migration within the British Commonwealth, such as one sees, for example, in the number of New Zealand–born residents of Australia. But profound sweeping demographic transformation through immigration is a phenomenon only of the Western world in the modern era, and even there America leads the way.

Over 20 percent of all the immigrants on the planet are in the United States. The country's foreign-born population has doubled in the last two decades to 40 million — officially...

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The Collapsing of the American Skull

One of the most ingenious and effective strategies of the Left on any number of topics is to frame the debate and co-opt the language so effectively that it becomes all but impossible even to discuss the subject honestly. Take the brothers Tsarnaev, the incendiary end of a Chechen family that in very short time has settled aunts, uncles, sisters, and more across the map of North America from Massachusetts to New Jersey to my own home town of Toronto. Maybe your town has a Tsarnaev, too: There seems to be no shortage of them, except, oddly, back in Chechnya...

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Co-Existing with the Caucasian Killers

This has been a strange and deadly week in America. On Monday, two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, the first successful terrorist attack on a civilian target on American soil since 9/11.

In America, all atrocities are not equal...

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Government-by-fake-disaster-movie

A few weeks ago, Ann Coulter announced that she was bored of American politics and spending her days watching Turner Classic Movies. I confess that, when it comes to Beltway melodrama, I, too, am fighting vainly the old ennu...

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Magical Fairyland budgeting

"I'm also issuing a new goal for America," declared President Obama at his "State of the Union" on Tuesday. We'll come to the particular "goal" he "issued" momentarily, but before we do, consider that formulation: Did you know the president of the United States is now in the business of "issuing goals" for his subjects to live up to?

Strange how the monarchical urge persists even in a republic two-and-a-third centuries old. Many commentators have pointed out that the modern State of the Union is in fairly obvious mimicry of the Speech from the Throne that precedes a new legislative session in British Commonwealth countries and Continental monarchies, but this is to miss the key difference. When the Queen or her viceroy reads a Throne Speech in Westminster, Ottawa or Canberra, it's usually the work of a government with a Parliamentary majority: in other words, the stuff she's announcing is actually going to happen. That's why, lest any enthusiasm for this or that legislative proposal be detected, the apolitical monarch overcompensates by reading everything in as flat and unexpressive a monotone as possible. Underneath the ancient rituals – the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod getting the door of the House of Commons slammed in his face three times – it's actually a very workmanlike affair.

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Easy to see why Tehran endorses Hagel

You don't have to be that good to fend off a committee of showboating senatorial blowhards. Hillary Clinton demonstrated that a week or so back when she unleashed what's apparently the last word in withering putdowns: What difference does it make?

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Hillary lip-synced more than Beyoncé

If I'm following this correctly, according to one spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band, at Monday's Inauguration Beyoncé lip-synced to the national anthem but the band accompanied her live. However, according to a second spokesperson, it was the band who were pretending to play to a tape while Beyoncé sang along live. So one or the other of them was faking it. Or maybe both were. Or neither...

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What Is the Future of Conservatism?

Not to be too pedantic, but for there to be a "future of conservatism in America" there first has to be a future in America. And that's a more open question than my more optimistic comrades like to admit. The Brokest Nation in History has just told the rest of the world that it is incapable of serious course correction–and around the planet prudent friends and enemies will begin planning for a post-American order.

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Hagel vs. too-big-to-fail Defense Department

If you had buttonholed me in the Senate men's room circa 2003 and told me that a decade hence Joe Biden would be America's vice president, John Kerry Secretary of State, and Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense, I'd have laughed and waited for the punch line: The Leahy administration?

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Senate plan ignores key to shrinking debt?

(Video) Mark on the fiscal cliff from Fox & Friends...

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Two months of arguing over 10 hours of savings

The politics of the "fiscal cliff" deal is debatable: On the one hand, Boehner got the "Bush tax cuts" made permanent for most Americans; Obama was forced to abandon his goal of increasing rates for those earning $250,000. On the other, on taxes Republicans caved to the same class-warfare premises (the rich need to pay their "fair share") they'd successfully fought off a mere two years ago; while on spending the Democrats not only refused to make cuts, they refused to make cuts even part of the discussion.

Which of the above is correct? Who cares? As I said, the politics is debatable. But the reality isn't. I hate to keep plugging my book "After America" in this space, but if you buy multiple copies they'll come in very useful for insulating your cabin after the power grid collapses. At any rate, right up there at the front – page six – I write as follows:

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Not the absurdity he thought he was exposing

A week ago on NBC's "Meet The Press," David Gregory brandished on screen a high-capacity magazine. To most media experts, a "high-capacity magazine" means an ad-stuffed double-issue of Vanity Fair with the triple-page perfume-scented pullouts. But apparently in America's gun-nut gun culture of gun-crazed gun kooks, it's something else entirely, and it was this latter kind that Mr. Gregory produced in order to taunt Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.

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The Massacre of the Innocents

"Lullay, Thou little tiny Child

By by, lully, lullay..."

The 16th-century Coventry Carol, a mother's lament for her lost son, is the only song of the season about the other children of Christmas...

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The Doctor Won't See You Now

A few years ago, my small local hospital asked a Senate staffer if she could assist them in obtaining federal money for a new building. So she did, expediting the process by which that particular corner of northern New Hampshire was deemed to be "under-served" and thus eligible for the fed gravy...

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America not paying its fair share

Previously on "The Perils of Pauline":

Last year, our plucky heroine, the wholesome apple-cheeked American republic, was trapped in an express elevator hurtling out of control toward the debt ceiling. Would she crash into it? Or would she make some miraculous escape..?

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Jill Kelley for secretary of state

Let us turn from the post-Thanksgiving scenes of inflamed mobs clubbing each other to the ground for a discounted television set to the comparatively placid boulevards of the Middle East...

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Reality doesn't need to win Electoral College

Amid the ruin and rubble of the grey morning after, it may seem in poor taste to do anything so vulgar as plug the new and stunningly topical paperback edition of my book, "After America" – or, as Dennis Miller retitled it on the radio the other day, "Wednesday"...

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Biggest Big Government can't keep lights on

In political terms, Hurricane Sandy and the Benghazi consulate debacle exemplify at home and abroad the fundamental unseriousness of the United States in the Obama era...

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Benghazi bungle requires act of urgent political hygiene

"We're going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video," said Hillary Clinton. No, not the person who made the video saying that voting for Barack Obama is like losing your virginity to a really cool guy. I'll get to that in a moment. But Secretary Clinton was talking about the fellow who made the supposedly Islamophobic video that supposedly set off the sacking of the Benghazi consulate. And, indeed, she did "have that person arrested..."

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Democrats find their issue, in a binder

So the other morning a reader emails me a picture of a handful of women demonstrating outside the headquarters of the Ohio Republican Party – in what we expert analysts round about this point in the quadrennial election cycle like to call the critical battleground of the Buckeye State. The women each wore two giant pieces of cardboard, front and back. Ah, I thought, a timely protest...

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Step Aside, Reporters — Poets Take On The Debate

(AUDIO) Pundits and reporters, step aside — we have poets with their thoughts on Wednesday night's presidential debate. One from the right, Mark Steyn, and the other from the left, Calvin Trillin.

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Will Big Bird ever leave the government nest?

Apparently, Frank Sinatra served as Mitt Romney's debate coach. As he put it about halfway through "That's Life":

"I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly ... ."

That's what Mitt did in Denver. Ten minutes in, he jumped right on Big Bird, and then he took off – and never looked back, while the other fellow, whose name escapes me, never got out of the gate. It takes a certain panache to clobber not just your opponent but also the moderator. Yet that's what the killer Mormon did when he declared that he wasn't going to borrow money from China to pay for Jim Lehrer and Big Bird on PBS. It was a terrific alpha-male moment, not just in that it rattled Lehrer, who seemed too preoccupied contemplating a future reading the hog prices on the WZZZ Farm Report to regain his grip on the usual absurd format, but in the sense that it indicated a man entirely at ease with himself – in contrast to wossname, the listless sourpuss staring at his shoes.

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The President of Tomorrow, and the wreckage of today

One of the reasons why Barack Obama is regarded as the greatest orator of our age is that he's always banging on about some other age yet to come – e.g., the Future!

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'Barack & Hillary at the movies'

I see the Obama campaign has redesigned the American flag, and very attractive it is, too. Replacing the 50 stars of a federal republic is the single "O" logo symbolizing the great gaping maw of spendaholic centralization. And where the stripes used to be are a handful of red daubs, eerily mimicking the bloody finger streaks left on the pillars of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as its staff were dragged out by a mob of savages to be tortured and killed. What better symbol could one have of American foreign policy? Who says the slick, hollow, vapid marketing of the Obama campaign doesn't occasionally intersect with reality?

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Choice not part of this future

According to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, invited to address the Democratic convention and the nation, America faces a stark choice this November...

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Racist dog whistles and the men who hear them

American racism is starting to remind me of American alcoholism. At the founding of the republic, in the days when beer was thought of as "liquid bread" and a healthy nutritional breakfast, Americans drank about three-to-four times as much as they do now. Today the United States has a lower per capita rate of alcohol consumption than almost any other developed nation, but it has more alcoholism support groups than any other developed nation...

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War on women? The real war is on children

The Democratic Party, never inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth, does have a tendency to flog him to death. So it is with a fellow called Todd Akin, a GOP Senate candidate who unburdened himself of some ill-advised thoughts on abortion and "legitimate rape," and put Missouri back in play for the Democrats. Less-ambitious political parties would be content with that little windfall, but the Dems have decided to make – what's his name again? Oh, yeah – this guy Akin the face of the Republican Party...

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Half-wit demagoguery, hard truths

Americans, according to a Winston Churchill quote of uncertain provenance, always do the right thing after they've exhausted all other possibilities. More verifiably, Sir Winston, upon being asked if he had any criticism of the United States, replied tersely: "Toilet paper too thin, newspapers too fat." But that was then. Today, America is a land of two-ply toilet paper and one-ply newspapers...

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Obama the great disabler

The other day, I passed a Republican Party county office here in my home state, its window attractively emblazoned with placards declaring "Believe in America. Romney 2012" and "New Hampshire Believes. Romney 2012."

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Obama builds roadblocks, not roads

On the evidence of last week's Republican campaign events, President Obama's instant classic – "You didn't build that" – is to Mitt Romney what that radioactive arachnid is to Spider-Man: It got under his skin, and, in an instant, the geeky stiff was transformed into a muscular Captain Capitalism swinging through the streets and deftly squirting his webbing all over Community-Organizerman. Rattled by the reborn Romney, the Obama campaign launched an attack on Romney's attack on Obama's attack on American business. First they showed Romney quoting Obama: "He said, 'If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.'" And then the Obama team moved in for the kill: "The only problem? That's not what he said." Indeed. What Obama actually said was: "If you've got a business, you, you didn't build that. [Interjection by fawning supporters: "Yeeaaaaah!"] "Somebody else made that happen."

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Lights out for U.S.-style Big Government

...No advanced society has ever attempted Big Government for a third of a billion people – because it cannot be done without creating a nation with the black-hole finances of Stockton, California, and the recent Black-Hole-of-Calcutta fetid, airless, sweatbox utility services of Rockville, Maryland...

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A lie makes Obamacare legal

Three months ago, I quoted George Jonas on the 30th anniversary of Canada's ghastly "Charter of Rights and Freedoms": "There seems to be an inverse relationship between written instruments of freedom, such as a Charter, and freedom itself," wrote Jonas. "It's as if freedom were too fragile to be put into words: If you write down your rights and freedoms, you lose them."

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Earthly woes mount as Obama's rhetoric soars

Round about this time in the election cycle, a presidential challenger finds himself on the stump and posing a simple test to voters: "Ask yourself – are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

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Eternally shifting sands of Obama's biography

It used to be a lot simpler. As E.C. Bentley deftly summarized it in 1905: "Geography is about maps But Biography is about chaps." But that was then, and now Biography is also about maps. For example, have you ever thought it would be way cooler to have been born in colonial Kenya? Whoa, that sounds like crazy Birther talk; don't go there!

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America's Slow Suicide

Mark tells Charles Adler why he believes America is in the midst of a slow suicide.

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The Michael Graham Show

Mark joins Michael to discuss John O'Sullivan's upcoming appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire and more...

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Democrats should let sleeping dogs lie

A couple of days ago, Obama campaign top dog David Axelrod threw in the towel on the dog war. "I thought it was a little absurd to talk about what the President had done as a 10-year-old boy," he sniffed to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, which is as near as the suddenly sheepish attack dog will ever get to conceding that Barack Obama is the first dog-eating president in the history of the Republic...

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Buying 'Buffett Rule' makes you a fool

In the end, free societies get the governments they deserve. So, if the American people wish to choose their chief executive on the basis of the "war on women," the Republican theocrats' confiscation of your contraceptives, or whatever other mangy and emaciated rabbit the Great Magician produces from his threadbare topper, they are free to do so, and they will live with the consequences...

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Wait and see how flexible he'll be

As Bob Hope and Bing Crosby observed in "The Road To Bali": "He gets his shirts straight from Paris Cigarettes from the Nile He talks like a highbrow But he plays Chicago style..."

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Land of legalisms

ObamaCare is an affront to self-government: It's not just that the legislators who legislate it don't know what's in it, nor that citizens can ever hope to understand it, but that even the nation's most eminent judges acknowledge that it is beyond individual human comprehension.

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Gradual insolvency about to speed up

I was in Australia earlier this month, and there, as elsewhere on my recent travels, the consensus among the politicians I met (at least in private) was that Washington lacked the will for meaningful course correction, and that, therefore, the trick was to ensure that, when the behemoth goes over the cliff, you're not dragged down with it. It is faintly surreal to be sitting in paneled offices lined by formal portraits listening to eminent persons who assume the collapse of the dominant global power is a fait accompli. "I don't feel America is quite a First World country anymore," a robustly pro-American Aussie told me, with a sigh of regret...

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America's longest war will leave no trace

Say what you like about Afghans, but they're admirably straightforward. The mobs outside the bases enflamed over the latest Western affront to their exquisitely refined cultural sensitivities couldn't put it any plainer: "Die, die, foreigners!" And foreigners do die. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Loftis, 44, and Army Maj. Robert Marchanti II, 48, lost their lives not on some mission out on the far horizon in wild tribal lands in the dead of night but in the offices of the Afghan Interior Ministry. In a "secure room" that required a numerical code to access. Gunned down by an Afghan "intelligence officer." Who then departed the scene of the crime unimpeded by any of his colleagues.

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The all-you-can-eat salad bar of rights

CNN's John King did his best the other night, producing a question from one of his viewers: "Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?" To their credit, no Republican candidate was inclined to accept the premise of the question. King might have done better to put the issue to Danica Patrick. For some reason, Michelle Fields of The Daily Caller sought the views of the NASCAR driver and Sports Illustrated swimwear model about "the Obama administration's dictate that religious employers provide health care plans that cover contraceptives." Miss Patrick, a practicing Catholic, gave the perfect citizen's response for the Age of Obama: "I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans."

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Sorry, Newt. Only the debt ceiling will reach the moon.

Had I been asked to deliver the State of the Union address, it would not have delayed your dinner plans: "The State of our Union is broke, heading for bankrupt, and total collapse shortly thereafter. Thank you and goodnight! You've been a terrific crowd!"

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GOP not so 'Grand'

VIDEO: The Republican primary process hasn't left Mark Steyn filled with hope for the near future. Find out why in this interview with Michael Coren on The Arena.

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Ron Paul beckons GOP to Fortress America

In the 2010 election the New Hampshire Republican Party took 298 out of 400 House seats, 19 out of 24 state Senate seats, and all five seats on the Executive Council. A little over a year later, in the state's presidential primary, the same (more or less) electorate gave over 56 percent of its votes to a couple of moneyed "moderates," one of whom served in the Obama administration and the other of whom left no trace in office other than the pilot program for Obamacare. Another 23 percent voted for Ron Paul.

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Politics trumps Left's empathy

Lest you doubt that we're headed for the most vicious election year in memory, consider the determined effort, within 10 minutes of his triumph in Iowa, to weirdify Rick Santorum

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Our Sick State

A couple of months back, I was with a friend of mine when she suddenly collapsed and I found myself having to run her to the emergency room. After a fairly harrowing 14 hours, the hospital released her, the doctor writing her a prescription for the still-very-intense pain she was in. So we stopped at her local Kinney Drugs in Vermont. Despite having been called in by the doc, the prescription wasn't ready. Come back in an hour. Heigh-ho. So we left it an hour and a half, and then, not wishing ...

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THE COCOON OF DENIAL

Ring in the same old same old

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THE GINGRICH GESTALT

Newt's world is one of more government, more bureaucracy, more dependency

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MORE MORE MORE. HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?

As the SS Spendaholic heads for the abyss, Steyn proposes a new national anthem

 

NO MAN'S LAND

Steyn on Penn State: What's illegal, what's wrong, and what's the difference.

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AUSTERITY FEVER GRIPS WASHINGTON!

...from the Superfriends' Supercommittee to the Social Security lifestyle glossy

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REVOLUTION KARAOKE

The grand convergence of the non-productive classes

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DIAPER CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN

It's Awareness-Raising Day Awareness Day!

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MOMENTARY MADNESS

The youth of "Occupy Wall Street" share the same assumptions as their parents and grandparents

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BIG SLOTH AND THE AMERICAN AUTUMN

It's American Autumn ...and you know what comes after that: America's college kids demand more government-funded lethargy

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SOFT SELL, HARD CONSEQUENCES

There was no due diligence on Obama in 2008, and the press has no plans to change that.

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IN THE DANGER ZONE

'It's the end of the world as we know it," sang the popular musical artistes R.E.M. many years ago. And it is. R.E.M. has announced that they're splitting up after almost a third of a century. But these days who isn't? The eurozone, the world's first geriatric boy band, is on the verge of busting apart. Chimerica (Prof. Niall Ferguson's amusing name for the Chinese-American economic partnership that started around the same time R.E.M. did) is going the way of Wham!, with Beijing figuring it's ...

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THE "PASS THIS BILL NOW!" BILL

The president has taken to the campaign trail to promote his American Jobs Act. That's a good name for it: an act. "Pass this bill now!" he declared 24 times at a stop in in Raleigh, North Carolina, and another 18 in Columbus, Ohio, and the act is sufficiently effective that, three years into the Vapidity of Hope, the president can still find crowds of true believers willing to chant along with him: "Pass this bill now!" Not all supporters are content merely to singalong with the ...

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THE HOLE AT THE CENTER

Guest-hosting for Rush on Friday, I mentioned that, for a writer, one of the pleasures of doing the show is that a listener's call will start your mind heading to places it might never have got to if you were just sitting in a room typing away. One example of that occurred last year when I was hosting the show during the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, and my resulting riff attracted a lot of commentary. I subsequently expanded my thoughts in After America, and it seems appropriate to excerpt ...

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LIFE, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT

That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the "debt ceiling" negotiations the other day: "What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today." It's always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to ...

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