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When Martin Luther King Reached the Point of No Return PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Friday, 26 August 2011 09:12
I have begun the struggle and I can’t turn back. I have reached the point of no return." – Martin Luther King Jr.

The official dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial was scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 28, the 48th anniversary of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. (Because of Hurricane Irene, it has been delayed until September or Octorber.) If anyone deserves a national monument in his honor, it would certainly be Martin Luther King Jr., a man who inspired countless Americans, including myself, to take a stand against injustice.

King was an amazing individual: courageous, passionate about freedom, willing to tackle large-scale issues (such as materialism, militarism, and the Vietnam War), and relentless in his pursuit of justice; he stood his ground, even in the face of death threats and opposition from friends and associates. A warrior and a visionary, King saw firsthand what tyranny looked like and worked tirelessly to oppose it. As King observed, “The universe is on the side of justice.”

 
Ready, Ames, Fire: Why the Straw Poll Doesn’t Mean Much (Updated) PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Monday, 15 August 2011 13:20

(This is an updated version of the original article published August 10. The orginal version follows.)

The relevance of this past Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll is nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If a candidate doesn’t believe the straw poll important, there’s no reason a poor showing matters. Just ask John McCain, whose apathy toward Iowa earned him 10th-place finishes in 1999 and 2007 but didn’t stop him from earning his party’s presidential nomination in 2008.

If a candidate believes the straw poll important, a performance below expectations can mean the end of a campaign. Just ask Tim Pawlenty, who finished third on Saturday and withdrew the next day. Or Tommy Thompson, who dropped out of the presidential race after finishing sixth in the 2007 straw poll.

For a mix of both, ask Mitt Romney, who won the 2007 straw poll but didn’t win the Iowa Caucus or his party’s nomination. This year, he’s largely skipped Iowa, although he participated in August 11’s nationally televised debate from Ames. He finished seventh in Saturday’s straw poll, and you should read absolutely nothing into that.

Michele Bachmann certainly hopes that her victory Saturday portends good things for her campaign, but the past indicates that’s not a safe bet.

 
“Shared Sacrifice”: Obama’s Demagoguery PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Sheldon Richman   
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 07:28

The most offensive claim made during the debt-ceiling controversy is that there’s a moral equivalence between cutting government spending and raising taxes. President Obama asks for “shared sacrifice” to reduce the budget deficit. In his view, if the government spends more than it takes in – it currently borrows more than 40 cents of every dollar spent – the “balanced” approach is to “cut” spending and raise taxes.

There are quotation marks around “cut” for a good reason. No one – Republican House Speaker John Boehner included – wants to cut spending in the commonsense meaning of the term: namely, reducing government spending from today’s level ($3.8 trillion). No, in Washington-talk, to cut a budget is merely to reduce the rate of increase that would have occurred in the future if current law were left unchanged.

If the politicians were honest – and reporters committed to telling the public the truth – they would talk about smaller increases in spending, not “cuts,” but even that wouldn’t be entirely truthful, because in many cases the reduction in future increases itself is an illusion. It involves merely canceling the authority to spend money that no one expects to actually be spent.

 
The Plight of Marco Sauceda and the Loss of Our Freedoms PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Thursday, 28 July 2011 08:20

A person should feel secure in their own home. No matter black, white, Hispanic, Asian – I don’t care who they are – they should feel secure in their own home. The police have no right to come in your house and push you around and beat you up and do the things they did on March, 15, 2009.” – Ryan Deaton, defense attorney for Marco Sauceda

Too often, we elevate the events of the American Revolution to near-mythic status and forget that the real revolutionaries were neither agitators nor hotheads, neither looking for trouble nor trying to start a fight. Rather, they were people just like you and me, simply trying to make it from one day to another, a task that was increasingly difficult as Britain’s rule became more and more oppressive.

Caught up in the drama of Red Coats marching, muskets exploding, and flags waving in the night, we lose sight of the enduring significance of the Revolution and what makes it relevant to our world today. Yet the American Revolution did not so much start with a bang as with a whimper – a literal cry for relief from people groaning under the weight of an oppressive government’s demands.

 
Transparency Measure Is Ripe for Abuse PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Thomas A. Schatz   
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 08:31

The lowest qualified bid by the most competent contestant traditionally wins the government contract. Unfortunately, the “Change” gang now wants to fiddle with this decades-old, generally reliable formula.

President Obama hopes to throw another item onto the scale as bureaucrats weigh bids: political donations. A draft executive order would instruct federal officials to consider the political contributions of prospective government contractors. While this move is being portrayed as a matter of increased transparency, it will actually fuel unintended consequences and indirectly overturn an important Supreme Court decision on free speech.

 
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