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April 2016

‘The Speech’: When Reagan Electrified America, and Transformed It By Gene Kopelson

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from the introduction to Reagan’s 1968 Dress Rehearsal: Ike, RFK, and Reagan’s Emergence as a World Statesman, which was published earlier this month.

Ronald Reagan turned over in bed the night of October 27, 1964, to kiss his wife Nancy good night, but he was worrying about the speech, “A Time for Choosing,” he had given on behalf of the Republican candidate for president, Barry Goldwater. It had been recorded in advance and was aired on national television earlier that evening. “I was hoping I hadn’t let Barry down,” he wrote in his autobiography. The Reagans had returned home after watching the speech at the home of some friends (who later became his political supporters).

A scant two hours after going to sleep, shortly after midnight, Reagan was awakened by the shrill ring of their telephone. It was the operator from Citizens for Goldwater headquarters in Washington, D.C. She could barely contain herself, yelling, “The switchboard has been lit up ever since you signed off. It’s 3 a.m. and there’s been no letup!” Political operative Clif White, running the office, was amazed by the speed and intensity of the popular response to Reagan’s speech.

Some politicians didn’t watch it. George Romney was on a speaking tour in Michigan. Robert F. Kennedy, running for the Senate as a New Yorker and busy campaigning on Long Island, was conversing with President Johnson. Former vice president Richard Nixon, however, the losing 1960 presidential nominee, did tune in. Nixon was grateful to Reagan for campaigning on his behalf two years earlier, when Nixon ran for governor of California and lost.

Nixon had keen political insight and knew political talent when he saw it. He could spot a potential political competitor as well. Immediately after the speech, Nixon noted that the one Republican winner emerging from the Goldwater debacle was not even on the presidential ballot: Ronald Reagan. Nixon likely started to mull the ramifications of the speech. He may have begun to appreciate that Reagan’s clear call for individual freedom, coupled with his emergence into the political limelight, could threaten, from the conservative right, Nixon’s own ambitions: He was musing whether to seek the Republican nomination for president once again.

And of course many other, ordinary citizens also listened to Reagan’s speech and were deeply impressed. Like America as a whole and, for that matter, the world, the lives of those touched that evening by Reagan’s speech would never be the same. A few of these men and women would would become political operatives at the heart of Ronald Reagan’s first campaign for the presidency in 1968. Each of them had been transformed by the inspiring words they heard that October evening from Ronald Reagan four years earlier.

Brexit after Obama He came, he saw, he went. But did he conquer? By John O’Sullivan

The first opinion-poll results on President Obama’s intervention in the Brexit debate since he left London for Germany and the EU summit have now been published. They show two things of interest: a small movement toward the Leave campaign, and a clear majority of voters who disapproved of the president’s intervention.

Of four polls, all four shifted toward Leave, by between one and four percentage points. That still left Remain ahead in two polls, and Leave in the other two (but by smaller numbers, in or close to the margin of error). Probably the fairest interpretation is that Remain is slightly ahead but Leave is closing a small gap and that Obama helped to close it further.

Disapproval of Obama’s intervention is far clearer, however. Majorities of 55 and 60 percent were critical. This popular response was expressed in a cartoon of Obama seated opposite the Queen at a Palace dining table, saying airily, “She’ll have the fish” — as the Queen winces and the butler staggers back in horror.

But Obama is popular in Britain, and this reaction was not very harsh. It seems to have focused on his arrogance in telling the Brits that if they left the EU and wanted a separate U.S.-U.K. trade deal, they would have to go to the back of “the queue.” That word is a Britishism that commentators immediately cited as evidence that the speech had been written in Downing Street. It wasn’t personal arrogance so much as calculated pressure from both governments.

That episode illustrates one of the oddest elements in this referendum campaign. Though it’s quite common in modern politics (see Trump, passim) for outsiders and dissidents to denounce the overwhelming influence of “elites” or “establishments,” this is a rare occasion when the elites and establishments boast about it themselves.

Good News in Global Warming So far from being a villain, carbon dioxide is essential to life on earth. By Josh Gelernter

There were two big pieces of news out of NASA this week. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and scientists at the Southwest Research Institute discovered a new moon, orbiting a dwarf planet named Makemake (one of the many Pluto-esque bodies that live in the far reaches of the solar system). And NASA announced that the Earth is getting greener. Literally greener. Plant growth is way up.

Why is plant growth way up? Because of all the extra carbon dioxide in the air. According to the study, which was published this week in the scientific journal Nature, the total area of the planet that’s covered by plants has increased by more than 11 million square miles in the last 33 years. For perspective: North America, including Greenland, is a little less than nine and a half million square miles. Of course, not all of this increase is due to CO2 and global warming. But 78 percent of it is. (Says the study.)

This is very good news. Plants feed the world. It is not, however, unexpected news. Wall Street Journal readers may recall a piece published in May of 2013 called “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide,” by William Happer, one of Princeton’s top-flight physicists, and Harrison Schmitt, a geologist, a former Republican senator from New Mexico, and an Apollo astronaut who walked on the moon.

“In Defense of Carbon Dioxide” criticized the “conventional wisdom” about CO2 and the “single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas.” “Contrary to what some would have us believe,” wrote Schmitt and Happer, “increased carbon dioxide will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.”

Needless to say, they were right on the money.

Trump Would Press the Agenda That Drove His Voters from the GOP By Andrew C. McCarthy —

I wonder when the Trump backers will realize they’ve been had.

The 2016 GOP campaign has been overwhelmed by Donald Trump’s celebrity persona, by the can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it appearances where he might say or do anything — and “anything” includes expletives, incitements, and assorted idiocies that would have been disqualifying in the bygone times of, oh, five or ten minutes ago. But Trump is not the real story of the campaign. The real story is the Republican base’s rejection of the Republican establishment — i.e., the party leaders, prominent pols, lobbyists, and donors who make up the GOP component of the Washington ruling class.

It is, we’re told, an “insurgent election.” In the media narrative, which swallows whole Trump’s self-portrait, the “outsider” real-estate mogul’s ongoing clash with Senator Ted Cruz is the ultimate showdown of “Insurgent v. Insurgent.”

Alas, if you buy this storyline, you’re apt to miss a couple of things.

The first is that no one else is left. As we focus on the pitched battle between the two remaining candidates, it is easy to overlook that all the insiders’ preferred candidates have been swept aside — unless you count the vanity crusade of John Kasich (which I don’t, except as a subsidiary of the Trump campaign).

Fox takes hits on viewer numbers By Steve McCann

It appears that the SS Fair & Balanced (aka Fox News) is taking on water. In April CNN, for the fifth time in the past eight months, is ranked #1 in prime time. The last time CNN had this many prime time wins was 14 years ago (November 2001) in the post 9/11 period. Further, in April, CNN had the most growth of any television network (cable or broadcast) among total viewers in the most important demographic, adults 25-54 increasing this key viewership by triple digits in prime time.

Normally in an election season, particularly one this contentious, viewership always increases significantly. However, Fox has experienced only a 9% increase in prime time versus CNN’s 156% in the 25-54 age group. Thus CNN has now more actual viewers than Fox.

There is no question the overall tilt of Fox News during the past eight months has been pro-Trump — at time to the point of sycophancy. The worst being in prime time with the lone exception of Megyn Kelly. Considering the long and successful track record of the network, the only explanation is that they have struck the Trump iceberg that has sunk so many others who foolishly attached themselves to the Trump whirlwind.

On the other hand, while CNN is still a liberal-leaning network, they have been much more open to the other Republican candidates and have been more muted in their cheerleading for any one candidate. Perhaps they are secretly rooting for Trump to face Hillary in the general election secure in the knowledge that he cannot win in November, but they have maintained a veneer of actually being fair and balanced.

Why Pro-Trump Conservative Media Should Worry By Christian Toto


I didn’t give up on print newspapers even when the web starting delivering all the news I needed to my laptop.

I kept buying the daily paper, tucking it under my arm and taking it everywhere I went that day. Sure, I could find it all online, but I loved the feel of the paper in my hands. It also connected me to my early days as a newspaper reporter, eager to read my colleagues’ work.

Not anymore.

Now, when I see the newspaper on our front lawn, cocooned in its pristine orange wrapper, I just keep on walking. I’ll pick it up later. Maybe.

What day is recycling again? CONTINUE AT SITE

New ISIS Threat in French Shows All Child Jihadis, Obama Images By Bridget Johnson

ISIS released a new video today reminiscent of the “nasheed” song threats preceding and succeeding the Paris and Brussels attacks.

The new twist this time? Children — aka ISIS “cubs,” as the terror group calls them — doing the singing, making threats in French translated into English.

The video features more images of President Obama than the one or two that are usually dropped into most ISIS videos and publications. With a backdrop of a child in ISIS garb wandering through a bombed neighborhood, superimposed images show Obama speaking at the United Nations, Obama shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a bilateral meeting, Obama and Putin as well as Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at last November’s G20 summit in Turkey, and Obama again at the UN in two different scenes.

Secretary of State John Kerry is shown exchanging pleasantries with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Putin is also shown shaking hands with French President Francois Hollande.

The True Deniers By Anthony Bright-Paul

Here are some questions for the man-made or Anthropogenic Global Warmers. Since I have taken up the cudgels on various Facebook pages I am screamed at by numerous sycophants who declare that I am a simpleton and totally ignorant. I confess! But here are some questions for the man-made Global Warmers:

Do you deny that the Sun’s radiation causes the surfaces of the Earth to warm?

Do you deny that we are travelling round the Sun at over 66,000 miles per hour in an ellipse?

Do you deny that the Sun is one million three hundred thousand times as big as Planet Earth by volume?

Do you deny that the Sun on it corona is approximately 6,500C?

Do you deny that the Sun is between 91 to 95 million miles away?

Do you deny that the whole Solar system is within an arm of the Milky Way?

Do you deny that Outer Space is a vacuum?

Do you deny the 1st Law of Thermodynamics? That all heat has to be generated by work done?

Do you deny the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, that all heat by itself flows from hot to cold and never versa?

Do you deny that evaporation causes cooling?

Do you deny that Conduction demonstrates heat flowing from hot to cold?

Do you deny that Convection carries heat upwards and away towards Outer Space?

Do you deny that only Radiation can pass heat into or through a vacuum?

Do you deny that the Atmosphere is warmed at the bottom by conduction from the Earth’s surfaces?

Do you deny that the atmosphere cools by 2 degrees centigrade for every 1,000 feet of altitude?

Do you deny that 99% of the Atmosphere is composed of Nitrogen and Oxygen?

Do you deny that the Greenhouse Gases only occupy 1% and that Carbon Dioxide a mere 0.04%?

Do you deny that the gases of the Atmosphere do not generate heat?

Do you deny that at 10,000 feet the gases are cold, including CO2?

Michael Warren Davis Much to Celebrate, More To Do

You can see it in the faces of the Left’s champions as voters and the tide of history oblige them to confront the wreckage their policies have wrought, from the divisive separatism of multiculturalism to the morass of red ink that mires the West’s economies. Damage done, now to fix it.
I love the label “reactionary”. It’s far more useful as an anti-Right insult than those slightly more common slurs – Nazi, fascist, etc. – because, well, obviously no prominent right-wing leader is looking to Hitler and Mussolini as models of good government. The “reactionary” label, while less stinging, is at least believable. It doesn’t stink of hyperbole. You can say of conservative politicians like Tony Abbott, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Nigel Farage, and Boris Johnson, “They’re just raging against the modern world,” and even those gentlemen’s most ardent supporters will have a hard time rebuffing your claim. Boris, by the by, is a new hero of mine. He speculated that President Barack Obama’s call for Britain to remain in the EU is “a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire”.[1] As if we all haven’t been thinking the same thing.

But when conservatives describe themselves as reactionary, it’s like a nuclear warhead has detonated in the conversation. The “reactionary” accepts that the status quo – unstable globalist economies, unfettered immigration, cultural deterioration, and the like – are indeed hallmarks of modernity, and so they reject modernity out of hand. “This is the way the world is!” the Left insists, “You can’t stop progress.” To which the neo-reactionary replies, “Then the world is ugly and wrong. And if this is what you call progress, then it, too, is ugly and wrong and ought to be undone.”

Britain? Moderates? How’s That Again? by Douglas Murray

A new poll of British Muslims found that a majority hold views with which most British people would disagree. For instance, 52% of British Muslims think that homosexuality should be made illegal. An earlier poll found that 27% of British Muslims have “some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks” at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year.

Whenever opinion poll results come out, nearly the entire Muslim community, including nearly all Muslims in the media and all self-appointed groups of “Muslim community leaders” try to prove that the poll is a fraud.

If I had always known my “community” harboured such views, and a poll revealing this truth came out, I would be deeply ashamed. But when such polls emerge about the opinions of British Muslims, is that there is never any hint of introspection. There is no shame and no concern, only attack.

If there were indeed a “moderate majority,” when a poll comes out saying that a quarter of your community wants fundamentally to alter the law of the land and live under Sharia, the other 75% would spend their time trying to change the opinions of that quarter. Instead, about 74% of the 75% not in favour of sharia spend their time covering for the 25% and attacking the polling company which discovered them.

One often hears about the “moderate Muslim majority.” ‘After any terrorist attack, politicians tell us that, “The moderate majority of Muslims utterly condemn this.” After any outrage, commentators and pundits spring up to say, “Of course the vast majority of Muslims are moderate.” But is it true? Are the vast majority of Muslims really “moderate”?

A number of factors suggest perhaps not — most obviously the problem repeatedly revealed by opinion polls. Time and again, the results of opinion polls in the Western world, never mind in the Middle East or North Africa, show a quite different picture from the “moderate majority” aquatint.

True, such polls can often show that, for instance, only 27% of British Muslims have “some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks” at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year. True, that is only between a quarter and a third of British Muslims sympathizing with the blasphemy enforcement squad. On other occasions, such as recently in Britain with a new ICM poll commissioned by Channel 4, they find that a majority of Muslims hold views with which most British people would disagree. So for instance, the recent ICM poll found that 52% of British Muslims think that homosexuality should be made illegal. That’s a striking figure. Not 52% of British Muslims saying homosexuality is “not their cup of tea” or that they are “not entirely on board with gay marriage,” but 52% of British Muslims thinking that homosexuality should be made a crime under the law.