Archive for April, 2013
April 18th, 2013 at 6:51 pm
House GOP to Follow ‘Regular Order’ on Immigration Bill

Robert Costa says that if the Senate passes the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, the House of Representatives stands ready to put the brakes on the latest piece of “must pass” legislation. Their mechanism: Regulator order.

“Regular order” allows House Republicans to dictate the pace of legislation and makes “grand bargains” of any sort harder to pass. Consider immigration. Several sources close to the leadership say that even if the Senate passes something on immigration, the bill will be immediately sent to the committees, and then either sent back to the Senate with changes, or rewritten in a bicameral conference committee. This means that the chance of the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill coming to the House floor, as is , is nearly non-existent. House Republicans would first have to mull it, schedule hearings, and then tinker with its legislative language .

That tweaking process could take months, which is just fine with many Republicans, who’d like the public to have as much time as possible to chew over the controversial elements of Obama’s prized bills. The caucus consensus is: The more time Congress takes to consider a bill, the more time the public has to sour on its components.

Unlike ObamaCare where Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic majority rubberstamped the Senate’s rewrite of the nation’s health insurance market, House Republicans want to make sure they know exactly what’s in the Gang’s immigration bill before voting on it.

If necessary, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is even floating the idea of breaking the Gang’s carefully balanced 1,500 page bill into separate pieces. That way, the most popular measures – such as enhanced border security measures – would likely become law, leaving less desirous elements out until supporters can figure out a way to sell them to the American people.

For a caucus that runs only one-half of one branch of government, regular order sounds like a good strategy to employ.

April 17th, 2013 at 6:45 pm
Immigration Reform Snarled by ObamaCare?

Hat tip to Investor’s Business Daily for pouncing on what will be a very unpopular unintended consequence of passing the Senate Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill:

Under the immigration reform bill, some employers would have an incentive of up to $3,000 per year to hire a newly legalized immigrant over a U.S. citizen.

In avoiding one controversy — the cost of providing millions of newly legalized immigrants with ObamaCare subsidies — the Senate “Gang of Eight” may have risked walking into another.

The bipartisan legislation released Wednesday dictates that those granted provisional legal immigrant status would be treated the same as those “not lawfully present” are treated under the 2010 health law.

That means they would neither be eligible for ObamaCare tax credits nor required to pay an individual tax penalty for failing to obtain qualifying health coverage. It also means some employers would face no penalty for failing to provide such workers affordable health coverage.

So, in order to avoid the charge that legalization would give illegal immigrants citizen-like access to ObamaCare subsidies, the Gang of Eight simply bars them from access. But that means that legalized immigrants are cheaper to hire than comparable native-born workers who will be competing with more people for less jobs.

There may be a fix, but it will be messy.

Good luck with that.

April 17th, 2013 at 4:08 pm
Pressure Builds Against Tom Perez

Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez, about whom I have written here several times, has his nomination hearing in Senate committee tomorrow. The opponents are getting geared up, with a new video out, with a damaging, related hearing Tuesday in the House, and with lots of other activity. At that House hearing, former DoJ whistleblower J. Christian Adams had lots of interesting things to say, including this:

Unfortunately, over the last few years, the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department has seen instances of embezzlement, employee abuse, harassment, theft, and perjury. Little to nothing has been done by Division management in response. In some cases, Division management has defended, promoted or given awards to the wrongdoers. The Division has implemented hiring practices which, according to the Justice Department Inspector General, have created the perception of an ideologically lopsided workforce. Division management has rejected the recommendations of the Inspector General and resisted making changes to ensure non-ideological hiring at the Division.

And, specifically about Perez, he noted this:

Mr. Perez has repeatedly provided false or inaccurate testimony under oath on two important matters: First, which Justice Department officials were involved in the decision to dismiss the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party; and, second, whether or not he knew that a corrosive and abusive atmosphere existed inside his Division toward employees willing to enforce voting laws without regard to the race of the victims. On both counts, Mr. Perez provided wholly inaccurate testimony under oath.


The Inspector General omitted entirely from the IG Report a second and far more serious instance of Mr. Perez’s inaccurate testimony – namely his false testimony under oath about an open and pervasive hostility toward race neutral enforcement of the law throughout the Civil Rights Division.
This hostility toward race neutral enforcement of civil rights laws – namely that the race of the victim and defendant should have no relevance in enforcement decisions – went far beyond mere policy decisions. The pervasive hostility festered into abuse, name calling, harassment, and racial attacks on DOJ employees – both black and white – who were willing to enforce the law in a race neutral fashion.

The Inspector General omitted entirely from the IG Report a second and far more serious instance of Mr. Perez’s inaccurate testimony – namely his false testimony under oath about an open and pervasive hostility toward race neutral enforcement of the law throughout the Civil Rights Division.

This hostility toward race neutral enforcement of civil rights laws – namely that the race of the victim and defendant should have no relevance in enforcement decisions – went far beyond mere policy decisions. The pervasive hostility festered into abuse, name calling, harassment, and racial attacks on DOJ employees – both black and white – who were willing to enforce the law in a race neutral fashion.

I should have more on this soon.

April 16th, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Legalization Bad for Low-Income Native Workers?

Now that the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill has been slowed down a bit, it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider what economic trade-offs might occur if millions of illegal immigrants become eligible to enter the job market. Since many of these newly eligible workers are low-skilled, they’ll be competing with low-skilled, low-wage native workers in an economy with 7.6 percent unemployment.

Members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are taking notice, says Byron York:

Last week, three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote to Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, arguing that legalizing currently illegal immigrants will have far-reaching effects on African-Americans.

“Such grant of legal status will likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wages when they do obtain employment,” the commissioners wrote. “The increased employment difficulties will likely have negative consequences that extend far beyond economics.” Among those consequences, according to the commissioners: increased crime, incarceration, family breakdown, and more.

A recent review of the academic literature by Harvard economist George Borjas confirms the negative impact mass legalization will have on low-skilled native wages:

For American workers, immigration is primarily a redistributive policy. Economic theory predicts that immigration will redistribute income by lowering the wages of competing American workers and increasing the wages of complementary American workers as well as profits for business owners and other “users” of immigrant labor. Although the overall net impact on the native-born is small, the loss or gain for particular groups of the population can be substantial.

The best empirical research that tries to examine what has actually happened in the U.S. labor market aligns well with economy theory: An increase in the number of workers leads to lower wages.

If you increase the supply of something, you lower its value. If they want a way to frame opposition in positive terms, expect to see Republican opponents of the Gang of Eight’s reform bill to become the champions of the forgotten working class.

April 15th, 2013 at 5:08 pm
Me on Fox About the Tea Parties

On Friday, Chris Stirewalt of Fox News, one of journalism’s true good guys, put me on his show, Power Play, to discuss the achievements and challenges of the Tea Party movement in their first four years, and where they go from here. Key takeaway: The Tea Parties are focusing more and more on state and local issues, and having some real success there.


April 15th, 2013 at 12:54 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Another Diversion
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

April 15th, 2013 at 10:02 am
Podcast: North Korea Threats Draw Concern
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In an interview with CFIF, Bruce Herschensohn, author, foreign policy expert, Pepperdine University School of Public Policy senior fellow and a member of CFIF’s Board of Directors, discusses North Korea and the responses from the United States and China, the continued crisis in the Middle East and the legacy of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Listen to the interview here.

April 12th, 2013 at 2:14 pm
In Federal Filing, CFIF Petitions GSA to Reform or Replace LEED Rating Standard
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This week, in an official comment filed with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), CFIF called for reform or replacement of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard endorsed by the GSA.  Americans deserve a building certification system that is more fair, open, evidence-based and that uses consensus-based standards.

Although the issue of forest certification remains rather obscure to most Americans, its regulation significantly impacts the price consumers pay for wood products, not to mention America’s struggling domestic timber industry.  Unfortunately, a vocal group of environmental activists only endorses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, and prefers it as a monopoly, while irrationally demonizing competing forest certification systems.  Among other things, those activists successfully pressure Fortune 500 companies into accepting the exclusive use of FSC-certified products, and many government and rating agencies to only award green “credits” to forest products recognized by FSC.

That policy causes the market to become increasingly distorted, with real costs for producers of wood and the environment, and fewer choices for consumers.  A recent study by the American Consumer Institute estimated the costs of carrying that policy to its endpoint.  Namely, FSC certification as a binding requirement for American forests means consumer welfare losses in a number of markets, totaling $10 billion for wood products and $24 billion for paper products markets each year.  Another destructive consequence of the FSC monopoly is that wood from almost 75% of America’s certified forests is placed off-limits.  While that single-source arrangement benefits the FSC and activists, it imposes significant costs on the domestic forestry industry and discourages competition.  That’s because FSC holds foreign landowners to lower standards than U.S. foresters.  For example, harvesting 600-year-old Russian trees occurred on FSC-certified property.  Such an arrangement discriminates against domestic foresters and increases the likelihood of builders seeking foreign suppliers of wood.  In fact, 90% of FSC’s certified land is found abroad, making it fairly easy for businesses to access foreign timber.  Typically, the government interferes with the market to ostensibly protect American industries.  Here, sadly, it is relying on an unaccountable third-party to do the opposite.

The current LEED policy also jeopardizes American jobs;  penalizes smaller landowners who use other certification systems;  discourages the use of many common building materials and other products that are regularly found in construction projects, such as PVC piping, foam insulation, heat reflective roofing and LED lighting face.

Meanwhile, there exists little to no clear environmental benefit to using FSC over alternatives like SFI or ATFS.  A recent study published in the Journal of Forestry examined the impact of FSC and SFI forest certification in North America, and found few differences in land management outcomes of those two alternative systems.  Additionally, the League of Conservation Voters, National Alliance of State Foresters and National Association of Conservation Districts also favor a more level playing field for certification.   Those groups possess much better on-the-ground expertise than the activists who come from marketing backgrounds and lack credentials pertaining to land management or environmental science.

We conclude:

We already witness too many government policies picking winners and losers in the marketplace.  For the federal bureaucracy to allow a third-party environmental group to do so is appalling.  Given USGBC’s agenda and arbitrary actions, it is reckless to empower that organization to dictate a government-sanctioned standard, especially when that standard stifles growth and kills off American jobs during this time of economic uncertainty…  LEED in its current incarnation as the government-approved standard is simply unacceptable.  American consumers, small businesses and our domestic timber industry deserve much better, and the era of the USGBC’s taxpayer-subsidized monopoly must end.”

Meanwhile, in an excellent Forbes commentary this week, George Mason University fellow Jon Entine echoes our view.  Entitled “Forestry Labeling War Turns Ugly as Greenpeace Bungles Logging Industry Attack,” Entine neatly examines the contradictions and tensions contaminating the current forest certification regime:

Policies regarding the procurement of timber, use of building codes and what businesses can sell to their customers should be informed by facts and science, not scare tactics. Greenpeace’s deception is only the latest propaganda effort that has muddied rather than clarified the issues surrounding forestry practices. With a majority of forests lacking certification, we need common-sense incentives and more certification options to achieve sustainable forestry management goals. Consumers and the general public deserve much better than the disinformation campaigns that have shadowed this debate.”

Fortunately, the GSA review period offers the opportunity to return credibility to the building certification system.

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April 12th, 2013 at 1:28 pm
ObamaCare Crack-up Looms as Next GOP Messaging Disaster

Don’t look now, but with ObamaCare failing to deliver on its promises before it even takes effect, Democrats are already starting to lay the blame on the one party least responsible for this policy monstrosity: Republicans.

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services and the point person for ObamaCare’s implementation, told a Harvard School of Public Health audience that instead of saying, “let’s get on board, let’s make this work,” Republican opponents coerced her into fighting “state-by-state political battles.” Sebelius complained, “The politics has been relentless,” according to Investor’s Business Daily.

This from the woman whose refusal to honor the conscience rights of religious employers elevates the right to “free” contraception over the First Amendment.

But just because Sebelius’ charge that ObamaCare’s completely foreseen failure is actually Republicans’ fault is laughable to anyone who knows the facts, don’t assume that the GOP communications apparatus can be counted on to frame those facts effectively.

After all, this is the same universe of consultants and staff that got outmaneuvered last election season on liberal talking points like the GOP’s “War on Women,” and Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment.

If the Left wants to present Sandra Fluke and “The Life of Julia” as exemplars of modern feminism, why can’t the Right counter with the common sense observation that what liberals really want is a government sugar-daddy who pays for sex and then subsidizes any consequences thereafter?

And rather than deny that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, why don’t Republicans instead hit back with the explosive growth of food stamps and the unprecedented extension of unemployment benefits in the Age of Obama?  Throw in the Obama Phone mentality, and people will start to understand that there are real costs to the liberal vision of welfare.

All this to say I hope Republicans have learned their lesson about how to contest Democratic smear campaigns.  It would be a shame if when ObamaCare comes off the rails next year the GOP fails to capitalize electorally because no one clearly makes the case that only liberals are to blame for the mess they created.

April 12th, 2013 at 11:52 am
The Obama-Bloomberg Axis

Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon has a must-read opinion piece today explaining why President Barack Obama’s policy agenda ignores the economic and employment concerns of millions of Americans to focus on much less salient issues like gun control and amnesty.

In short, to understand Obama’s refusal to concentrate like a laser beam on improving the nation’s economic outlook, one has to remember that the President cares more about wealthy liberal pet projects from the likes of New York’s billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg than about anyone on Main Street.

The Bloomberg style has several distinctive features. The first is a complete indifference to or dismissal of middle class concerns. In this view, it matters less that the middle class is enjoying full employment or economic independence or a modicum of social mobility or even action on issues it finds important, and more that it has access to government benefits generous enough to shut it up.

Recall that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Bloomberg was far more interested in seeing the Yuppie-filled New York City Marathon take place, and in linking the storm to apocalyptic climate change, than in mobilizing the combined forces of municipal and state and federal government to take care of the white working class on Staten Island and in the Rockaways. Similarly, Barack Obama has nothing new to say on the economy or deficit, but delivers speech after speech on gun regulations that would not have stopped the Sandy Hook massacre, while his allies in the Senate work to import low-wage labor on the one hand and high-end Silicon Valley labor on the other. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the nation hopes for better days.

Another hallmark of the Bloomberg style is its insufferable condescension. One need only have heard the tiniest whine of a Bloomberg speech to know what I’m talking about. The preening attitude of superiority manifests itself in a form of moral blackmail. Adversaries of the Bloomberg-Obama agenda are not simply mistaken. There is, it is implied, something wrong with them personally.

Sound familiar? You can read the entire piece here.

April 11th, 2013 at 2:16 pm
Podcast: Social Security, Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal and Other Horror Stories for Taxpayers
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In an interview with CFIF, Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union, discusses Social Security, President Obama’s 2013 Budget proposal and the need for tax reform.

Listen to the interview here.

April 10th, 2013 at 5:24 pm
Gang of Eight Border Strategy: Let DHS Decide

The New York Times is reporting that new details are emerging about the border security component of the Senate’s bipartisan, self-appointed “Gang of Eight” plan for comprehensive immigration reform.

The following is particularly interesting:

According to the draft, the legislation would provide $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to draw up and carry out a five-year border security plan. Officials must present the plan within six months, and no immigrants can gain any provisional legal status until the plan is in place.

The plan must include how border authorities will move quickly to spread technology across the border to ensure that agents can see along its entire length. The authorities will also have five years to reach 90 percent effectiveness in their operations, a measure based on calculations of what percentage of illegal crossers were caught or turned back without crossing.

Homeland Security officials also have six months to draw up plans to finish any border fencing they deem necessary.

The problem with this proposal is that it puts the responsibility and the discretion over how to secure the border in the hands of the very people who are committed to keeping them open.

As I wrote last week, the Department of Homeland Security is refusing to create a metric to track border security. According to White House aides, that’s because President Barack Obama doesn’t want a distracting – and damning – focus on DHS’s failure to capture more than half of illegal border crossers to derail his push for legalization and amnesty.

Simply giving DHS $3 billion to do a job it is already on record as refusing to do is nonsensical.

Now that Congress has found the one area where the Obama administration refuses to regulate, it’s time for the people’s representatives and senators to get back in the game and pass a border security program that specifies in detail what DHS’s job is, and puts in serious penalties for refusing to implement the law.

April 10th, 2013 at 4:00 pm
O’Reilly Speaks O-So-Wrongly About New Orleans

Bill O’Reilly quite literally has no clue what he is talking about when he trashes New Orleans by effectively endorsing Geraldo Rivera’s ignorant description of everything outside of the French Quarter as a “vast urban wasteland” and directly says that local claims to the contrary are just “putting a happy face on things that aren’t happening.” The fact is that every single word of the citizens’ groups letter to O’Reilly is true. I write this not as a native, but as somebody who has done extensive research on this for an as-yet-to-be-written story for a major publication.

In education, civic reform, entrepreneurship, flood protection, and all sorts of other areas, New Orleans actually has become a model of how to do things right. The Wall Street Journal noted as much in a recent piece, as well. Finally, as for crime, as of about 15 months ago (the last available stats I looked at), the odd truth is that while the murder rate is atrociously high (most of it concentrated in several small geographical pockets, which doesn’t make it okay but does mean that most of the city is far safer than the overall number indicates), the overall rate of violent crime per capita puts New Orleans better than at least 70 other American cities. In other words, rape, armed robbery, etcetera are all well down — and while horrid random acts of violence occur there, as they do in any city, they are actually less common than in many, many other places of the same size.

In short, O’Reilly and Rivera are just plain wrong on this one. The Crescent City is an exemplar not of urban decrepitude, but of hugely successful urban renaissance.

April 9th, 2013 at 5:21 pm
Obama DHS Caught Misleading Congress About Border Crossing Data

Here’s everything you need to know about the corruption of border security under Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, helpfully summarized in two stats and one quote by Byron York.

“According to internal reports, Border Patrol agents used the airborne radar to help find and detain 1,874 people in the Sonora Desert between October 1 [2012] and January 17 [2013],” reported the Los Angeles Times last week. “But the radar system spotted an additional 1,962 people in the same area who evaded arrest and disappeared into the United States.”

That means officers caught fewer than half of those who made the crossing in that part of Arizona. If those results are representative of other sectors of the border, then everything the administration has said about border security is wrong.

“These revelations are in stark contrast to the administration’s declaration that the border is more secure than ever due to greater resources having been deployed to the region, and that lower rates of apprehensions signify fewer individuals are crossing,” Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote in an April 5 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

New information is coming to light almost daily as members of Congress try to assess whether the federal agencies responsible for ensuring the integrity of America’s borders are, in fact, doing their job.

These revelations of malfeasance are compounded by the secretive deliberations of the so-called “Gang of Eight” as they haggle over an estimated 1,500 page version of comprehensive immigration reform that Democrats are trying to rush through the Senate without formal debate.

The more we learn about how badly the Department of Homeland Security is failing to police the border, the less congressional Republicans should entertain any thoughts about comprehensive immigration reform.

April 9th, 2013 at 2:35 pm
Jindal “Parks” Controversial Income-for-Sales Tax Swap

With opposition from Louisiana’s business and religious communities, as well as resistance from Republican state lawmakers, Governor Bobby Jindal announced he will “park” his plan to replace the state’s income tax with a higher sales tax.

The devil was in the details, says Josh Barro, a Bloomberg economics and financial writer.

The other problem was that Jindal’s method of tax-base expansion was not very sensible. An ideal sales tax should apply to all consumption exactly once, meaning it should include business-to-consumer transactions and exclude business-to-business transactions. Taxing transactions between businesses leads to “tax pyramiding”: a sale is taxed multiple times before reaching the final consumer, meaning the tax embedded in the price far exceeds the actual tax rate. This is unfair and also inefficient, because it punishes businesses that choose not to vertically integrate: If I run a restaurant, my customers pay more tax if I buy my pastries from a third-party baker than if I bake them myself. (Depending on how my state taxes pastries.)

Jindal’s administration was bragging that his plan would cause lots of tax pyramiding. An official in Jindal’s department of revenue told the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee that 80 percent of the new sales tax on services would be borne by businesses. This announcement was meant to be an explanation of how the plan could cut taxes on individuals in all income brackets. But it caused yet two more problems. One, it led the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, normally friendly to Jindal, to come out against the plan. Two, it undermined the case for reform: Sales-tax base broadening is supposed to make the tax base more ideal, but Jindal was effectively announcing that it would not.

For conservatives, it is part of Economics 101 to remind liberals that all taxes paid by businesses get passed on to consumers.  With a statewide popularity rating now lower than President Barack Obama’s, it’s too bad the very bright Governor Jindal had to (re)learn that lesson the hard way.

April 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

April 8th, 2013 at 4:59 pm
THIS WEEK’s RADIO SHOW LINEUP: CFIF’s Renee Giachino Hosts “Your Turn” on WEBY Radio 1330 AM
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Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.”  Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 (CDT)/5:00 pm (EDT):  Bruce Herschensohn, American Political Commentator, Author and Foreign Policy Expert – North Korea;

4:30 (CDT)/5:30 pm (EDT):  Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity – Immigration Reform;

5:00 (CDT)/6:00 pm (EDT):  Sally Pipes, President, CEO and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute – ObamaCare; and

5:30 (CDT)/6:30 pm (EDT):  Pete Sepp, Executive President of National Taxpayers Union – Sequestrations vs. 2013 Tax Increase.

Listen live on the Internet here.   Call in to share your comments or ask questions of today’s guests at (850) 623-1330.

April 8th, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Iron in the Dame

It was October of 2001 at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama. The distinctively clipped, English accent of the speaker was unmistakeable. “The protection of freedom in the world today depends on the global alliance of the English-speaking peoples,” she said.

And, as always, Margaret Thatcher was right.

This was one of the final three or four public speeches that Lady Thatcher ever gave. About six weeks later, it was announced that she had suffered a series of small strokes over the preceding three or so months — indeed, there were signs in Point Clear, as the evening wore on, of a little bit of confusion and repetitiveness from the great lady — and that she therefore would stop giving speeches. But for the first hour or so of the evening, the former British Prime Minister was very much at the top of her game, clear and eloquent and insightful.

Her point was not that English-speaking peoples are inherently superior — far from it. Her point was that the political institutions and cultures of the English-speaking peoples were the ones most respectful of liberty (the only exception, perhaps, is Switzerland), and the ones also most protective of it. The United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and increasingly India, she said, along with a few other scattered former colonies of Great Britain — all with the common heritage stemming from the British republican/constitutional system that began developing with Magna Carta — were devoted to free markets and individual liberty. If these English-speaking peoples do not stand strong for the values of liberty, and are not willing to defend them, then nobody else will do so, or at least not with effectiveness.

It was a very good point. True, and inspirational.

Margaret Thatcher, who served in Parliament with an elderly Winston Churchill, was very much a proponent of this quintessentially Churchillian worldview. Also, of course, she shared Churchill’s revulsion for Communism, especially as exemplified in the Soviet empire. And by the fall of 2001, in a new millennium, she clearly recognized international jihadism as a threat approximately as great as the one the Soviets had posed.

Domestically, meanwhile, she was far firmer than Churchill in favor of free markets, against the excesses of the welfare state and the unionized power grabs, and for limited government.

Many words will be written about what an important and effective ally she was for Ronald Reagan as Reagan led the international alliance that destroyed that Soviet empire. Many words will be written about her stalwart personal character, her courage, her intelligence, and her grace. The laudatory words will certainly be on target. She was one of the great leaders of the 20th Century — or, indeed, of any century since the Enlightenment.

On the very night that Ronald Reagan died in 2004, I happened to be in London. In fact, at approximately the moment Reagan died, I was finishing up a meal at Rules of London, sitting at a corner table, staring at a wonderful wall mural of a very well done imaginary image, somewhat whimsical, of Margaret Thatcher dressed in a suit of armor with an iron lance in her hand. The expression on her face was resolute — and serene in its resolution.

I rather imagine that Thatcher herself probably loved that mural inside London’s famous restaurant. My wife and I certainly did.

Margaret Thatcher was very much of the character of the spirit of the best of medieval chivalry — a female Lord Percival whose heart on all essential matters was pure and whose public virtue was married to unflinching courage.

Today she joined Reagan, and her beloved husband Denis, and Churchill, in the Lord’s joy. May she rest in the Lord’s peace forever.

April 8th, 2013 at 9:34 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Hope and Change
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

April 7th, 2013 at 6:37 pm
Mayor Nutter is a Tyrannical Race Hustler

I’m just sorry I’m not a resident of Philadelphia, because I would love to be investigated and denounced by the city’s Human Rights Commission, and by the mayor. What a bunch of freedom-killing jack-donkeys.

I refer to this excellent piece by The Weekly Standard’s Mark Hemingway. In it, he describes how, at the mayor’s urging, Philadelphia magazine has been told to explain itself at an April 18 meeting of the commission, with regard to an article it published called “Being White in Philadelphia” in which white residents complain about how too much of public life is conducted through a racial prism. Fifty years ago, it would have been Martin Luther King Jr. who was making such a point — but now that white residents want color-blindness, the nutty mayor wants to chill the speech of those making King’s point.

There should be a special place in Hades for those who exacerbate racial tensions and who threaten our sacred freedom of speech. The editors of Philadelphia, meanwhile, ought to show up at the commission hearing and, very defiantly, give the mayor and the commission unmitigated hell — and dare them to take any action, of any kind, against the magazine.