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Posts By Author » Jonah Goldberg

Obama put’s politics first, border security second
  12 Jul 2014     12:02 am

All you need to do is look at the headlines out of Central America to see why tens of thousands of children are ending up at our border.
“In Columbia (sic), Rising Violence Breeds New Doubts” (N.Y. Times); “Guatemala Seen Slipping Into a Haven For Drugs” (LA Times); “Democracy Jeopardized as New Wave of Violence Sweeps Guatemala” (AP); “The Volcano That is Guatemala” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); “A New Dark Age for Latin America?” (Miami Herald); “Murder Soars in El Salvador” (Washington Post); “Social Breakdown Turns Deadly in Guatemala” (Washington Post); “Roadside …

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Hollywood, Where Liberal Values Reign — Except At The Box Office
  9 Jul 2014     12:09 am

In the film “Obvious Child,” Jenny Slate plays Donna Stern, a stand-up comedian who specializes in making jokes about her private parts, with the occasional foray into fart humor. She is about to go onstage. Her friend offers her some encouragement: “You are going to kill it out there!”

Donna replies: “I actually have an appointment to do that tomorrow.”
Donna’s talking about her abortion appointment.
Get it? It’s funny because it’s true. Or if you’re like me, you think it’s not funny because it’s true.
Many critics think it’s funny. One dubbed it …

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Resentment Behind The Waning Patriotism Of Liberal Americans
  4 Jul 2014     12:04 am

You wouldn’t think, five years into the Obama presidency, that so many liberal Americans wouldn’t like America.
A new Pew survey found that 44 percent of Americans don’t often feel pride in being an American, and only 28 percent said that America is the greatest country in the world. Respondents who “often feel proud to be American” were overwhelmingly conservative (from 72 percent to 81 percent depending on the kind of conservative). A majority (60 percent) of “solid liberals” said they don’t often feel proud to be an American.

The polling data …

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Alito Agrees: Your Birth Control Is Not Your Boss’ Business
  2 Jul 2014     12:01 am

Abortion-rights protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court building on Monday holding signs that read “Birth Control: Not My Boss’s Business.”

Much to their chagrin, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito agreed in his ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
Of course, that’s not how supporters of the government’s contraception mandate see it. They actually believe that birth control is their boss’ business, and they want the federal government to force employers to agree.
More on that later, but it’s first worth noting how we got here.
First, contrary to a lot of lazy punditry, there …

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Warren Positioned To Take Advantage Of Clinton’s Flaws
  27 Jun 2014     12:04 am

Paging Elizabeth Warren: This is your moment.
In 2007, Democrats were delirious with rage about the Iraq war. Hillary Clinton, the “inevitable” presidential front-runner, had voted for the war and refused to apologize for it. Other leading candidates, including Joe Biden, John Edwards and Chris Dodd, voted for it too. This left a huge opening for a credible antiwar candidate. Barack Obama, inexperienced and underqualified, nonetheless jumped into the vacuum. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the issue that obsesses the base of the Democratic Party is income inequality. I …

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A Questionable Game Of ‘Shut Up’ On Iraq
  25 Jun 2014     12:01 am

It’s a fact of human nature that it’s easier to talk about who’s to blame for a problem than it is to figure out what to do about the problem.
Case in point: There’s a near-riot in liberal circles over the very idea that supporters of the Iraq War should even be allowed to criticize the president’s handling of the current Middle East crisis, never mind offer advice on how to proceed.

The Atlantic’s James Fallows says Dick Cheney and company “have earned the right not to be listened to.” Slate magazine’s …

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The naked self-interest of the bureaucratic class
  20 Jun 2014     12:04 am

For understandable reasons, the IRS scandal has largely focused on the political question of whether the White House deliberately targeted opponents. To date there’s no evidence that it did. That’s good for the president, but it may not be good for the country, because if the administration didn’t target opponents, that would mean the IRS has become corrupt all on its own.

In 1939, Bruno Rizzi, a largely forgotten communist intellectual, wrote a hugely controversial book, “The Bureaucratization of the World.” Rizzi argued that the Soviet Union wasn’t communist. Rather, it …

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The IRS Email Scandal: Where’s The Outrage?
  18 Jun 2014     12:01 am

“Congressional investigators are fuming over revelations that the Internal Revenue Service has lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency’s tea party controversy.”

That’s the opening sentence of the Associated Press story on the IRS’s claim that it lost an unknown number of emails over two years relating to the agency’s alleged targeting of political groups hostile to the president.
But note how the AP casts the story: The investigators — Republican lawmakers — are outraged.
Is it really so hard to imagine that if this were …

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The Arab Spring Is Over Welcome To The Jihadi Spring
  13 Jun 2014     12:04 am

The Arab Spring is over. Welcome to the Jihadi Spring.
Across a huge swath of what, up until recently, had been known as Iraq and Syria, a transnational movement of Sunni Islamic extremists has taken control. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has conquered — without much effort — Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, along with most of the province of Nineveh. It also took Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. Along the way it has ransacked banks (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars), pillaged weapon stockpiles (including …

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Reading between the lines of Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’
  11 Jun 2014     12:03 am

Hillary Clinton’s State Department memoir, “Hard Choices,” has just come out, and who among us can contain their excitement?
Not Mike Allen, author of the incestuously insider Politico column “Playbook.”

In Monday’s installment, he began, “Welcome to Hillary Week!”
But the exclamation point was ironic, for Allen immediately dropped what he calls a “truth bomb”: “‘Hard Choices’ is a newsless snore, written so carefully not to offend that it will fuel the notion that politics infuses every part of her life. In this book, like in ‘The Lego Movie’ theme song, everyone is …

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Bergdahl’s free, but at what cost?
  6 Jun 2014     12:04 am

There he goes again. At a press conference in Brussels Thursday, President Obama was asked if he was surprised by the controversy over his decision to trade Bowe Bergdahl for five high-ranking Taliban leaders.
His response was vintage Obama: “I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington.”

Thus establishing from the start that he considers the controversy to be a kind of partisan farce, he proceeded to rebut criticisms virtually no one has made. This is Obama’s favorite rhetorical trick; he builds and then tears apart a straw man …

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Advice for presidential GOP candidates: Do your homework
  4 Jun 2014     12:02 am

Good for Rick Perry.
After a fairly disastrous first go at the White House, he’s gearing up for a second try. Over the weekend, he told NBC News’ Kasie Hunt: “I was not prepared properly.” In 2012, he told CNN that the “idea you can just stroll in there and be in the mix and be successful, I think is a bit of a stretch. But, anyway, you live and learn.”

That’s a bit of an understatement. The last time around, Perry parachuted into the Republican primary right after the Iowa straw …

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Mass killers hold culture — and country — hostage
  30 May 2014     12:04 am

Can we please stop holding the country hostage to crazy people?
Every year a tiny number of mentally ill people go on horrific killing sprees. It just happened in California. I won’t name the person because I think the media attention lavished on these horror shows encourages some of these young men — and they are almost all young men — to seek fame or validation through bloodshed.

In an entirely human response, we get spun up into a frenzy of finger-pointing. In the aftermath of the Gabby Giffords shooting, many of …

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Putin’s well-worn fascist lies
  28 May 2014     12:06 am

Vladimir Putin, with the aid of his vast propaganda machinery, has convinced many Russians that the interim government in Ukraine is expressly Nazi and fascist. And while there were some neo-Nazi goons among the protesters who brought down the corrupt government of Victor Yanukovich, and there are definitely ultranationalists among the coalition resisting Moscow, it’s simply a transparent lie that the current government is fascist.

That hasn’t stopped some left-wing writers and crackpots in the West from buying the Russian claim that the United States is in cahoots with a “fascist …

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Hillary’s dilemma: How to distance herself from Obama
  23 May 2014     12:04 am

Hillary Clinton is in a pickle. She’s a shoe-in for her party’s presidential nomination because of Barack Obama’s failures. But those failures might keep her from getting the job. Her husband’s “law of politics” is that elections are always about the future, but she’s stuck in the past.

In 2008, Obama pandered to liberal hopes while Clinton appealed to their good sense. Obama promised miracles and magic. Clinton promised more homework.
“Cynicism” was Obama’s real opponent, he explained. And he used Clinton as a stand-in for it. She played her part, pointing …

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The peculiar madness of ‘trigger warnings’
  21 May 2014     12:04 am

Trigger warning: I am going to make fun of “trigger warnings.”
Of course, if you’re the sort of person who takes trigger warnings very seriously, you probably don’t read this column too often. So maybe my mockery will miss its target, sort of like making fun of the Amish on the Internet — it’s not like they’ll find out.

In fairness, the Amish are actually very impressive people. Even though some Amish communities are more tolerant of technology than the stereotypes suggest, their Anabaptist puritanical streak leaves me cold. On the whole, …

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Moral compass points toward retribution in Nigeria
  16 May 2014     12:04 am

Here’s a question. If — and this is a big if — the United States could dispatch a swarm of heretofore secret super-drones to find and kill every member of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, would you be in favor of doing it?

I’ll even modify it for those of you who are squeamish about killing terrorists who slaughter men, women and children with abandon. What if the drones could simply paralyze the terrorists long enough for the U.S., or the Nigerians or some duly authorized force of U.N.-sanctioned “good …

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Supreme Court rules on public prayer — but should it?
  9 May 2014     12:04 am

The notion that something can simultaneously be wrong and constitutional really seems to bother a lot of people. Consider the Supreme Court’s recent decision on public prayer.
In Greece v. Galloway the court ruled, 5-4, that the little town of Greece, New York, could have predominantly Christian clergy deliver prayers at the beginning of city council meetings.

As a constitutional matter, the majority’s decision seems like a no-brainer to me. The authors of the Constitution permitted — and required! — prayer at similar civic gatherings when they were writing the document and …

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Policing thought crime
  8 May 2014     12:04 am

In 1920, a bond salesman walked into Joseph Yenowsky’s Waterbury, Conn., clothing store. Yenowsky was a tough sell. During their lengthy conversation, Yenowsky told the salesman he thought Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Bolshevik leader, was “the brainiest man” in the world. The bond salesmen turned Yenowsky in to the police for sedition. Yenowsky got six months in jail under a Connecticut statute.

This was hardly an isolated incident during the so-called “Red Scare” of the World War I era. In Syracuse, three activists were arrested for circulating fliers protesting the conditions …

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Whatever happened to free-speech panic?
  2 May 2014     12:41 am

After the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, members of the American left found one thing they could all agree on: America’s Our First Amendment rights were in peril.

The American Prospect insisted on Sept. 12, when the rubble was still burning and the dead had not yet been retrieved, that “a number of government agencies and their cheerleaders would be clearly tempted to lock the Bill of Rights away in some basement dustbin of the National Archives.” Two weeks later, novelist Barbara Kingsolver warned, “Patriotism threatens free speech with death.” She …

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