Marvin J. Folkertsma

Marvin J. Folkertsma

Dr. Marvin Folkertsma is a professor of political science and fellow for American studies with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The author of several books, his latest release is a high-energy novel titled "The Thirteenth Commandment."

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President Obama’s Environmental Purity Agency

July 10, 2014 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Battle for the Mind, The Global Challenge, The Law

The rollout of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new draft regulation to limit greenhouse gases was accompanied by a brilliant political cartoon that showed a pair of hapless fellows with automobile mufflers protruding from their mouths, apparently to prevent any renegade More>

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A Decent Respect: Renewing the Spirit of ‘76

July 4, 2014 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Content of Character, The DNA of Greatness, The Path to Freedom

July 4, 1776 gave birth to perhaps the most revolutionary political document in the history of civilization, submitted by men who proclaimed, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, … More>

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V&V Flashback—Remembering the Significance of D-Day

June 6, 2013 | by | Topic: The American Story, The DNA of Greatness, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

Editor’s note: This piece first ran on our site on May 30, 2012.

At 0227 hours on the morning of June 6, 1944, Lieutenant Robert Mathias saw the red light flash above the door of his C47 “Dakota” aircraft, … More>

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American Politics as a Confidence Game

December 13, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom, The Persuaders

Reading post-2012-election news reports can be hazardous to one’s mental health, particularly for the sanity-challenged among us. But perhaps the singularly most prescient comments come from long ago—from the pen of America’s most profound novelist, Herman Melville, whose … More>

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The Decline and Fall of America

November 16, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom

A few days after the election of 2012 the very talented Michael Ramirez published a political cartoon that perhaps conveyed a more profound meaning than he anticipated. He depicted a pair of hands extending from star-studded sleeves (presumably from a … More>

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Mitt Romney and the Politics of Virtue

October 2, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Content of Character, The Path to Freedom

When Mitt Romney blurted out his now notorious 47-percent lament, liberal gaffe-o-meters went ballistic, acting as though he were an American Ebenezer Scrooge who had just shoved Tiny Tim Cratchit into a ditch and then burned down a crutch factory. … More>

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President Obama’s Munich Moment

September 21, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

In September 1938 the British prime minister had a problem. The Third Reich’s psychopath-in-chief was scorching the airwaves in one of his trademark rants, this time about the supposed oppression of Germans living in Czechoslovakia. He threatened war unless Western … More>

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Remembering the Significance of VJ Day

August 8, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Global Challenge, The Path to Freedom

Consider this fictitious scenario: In the summer of 1950, President Thomas E. Dewey faced a national security crisis of extraordinary proportions—one that his advisors agreed likely would define his presidency. After beating his Democratic opponent in 1948 by a comfortable … More>

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The Obama Nullification Doctrine

July 17, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Law, The Path to Freedom

In December 1828, South Carolina had 5,000 copies of John C. Calhoun’s “Exposition and Protest” printed and distributed throughout the state. A defiant document, Calhoun’s “Exposition” outlined a theory of constitutional interpretation first adumbrated in the infamous Kentucky and Virginia … More>

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Remember Victory-In-Europe Day

April 30, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The DNA of Greatness, The Global Challenge

December 1941 is usually remembered by Americans as that fateful month when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, thus thrusting the United States into World War II. However, consider an alternate scenario: Adolf Hitler appears triumphantly before the Reichstag announcing the destruction … More>

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Sick Chickens and Sick Laws

April 11, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Law, The Path to Freedom, The Persuaders

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A Centennial Verdict on Progressivism (1912-2012)

March 9, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom

Contemporary liberals fondly recall their progressive forebears from a century past, who railed against trusts and fought for social justice. Certainly, their forebears did much to make them proud; after all, who now could argue against measures that purified the … More>

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God and Man at CPAC: Facing the 2012 Election

February 13, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom

Amidst the hoopla, cheers, and ear-piercing whistles of enthusiastic approval for Republican presidential nominees at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, several themes emerged. The most important of these centered on the conflict between what may be titled American foundationalism … More>

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Remembering the Battlers of the Bulge

January 3, 2012 | by | Topic: The American Story, The DNA of Greatness, The Global Challenge

On December 16, 1944, the men of Lieutenant Lyle Bouck’s platoon had their all-night vigil interrupted by a pre-dawn fusillade of artillery rounds from a hundred German guns, their muzzle flashes punctuating the darkness like a volley of fireballs hurled … More>

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Wall Street, the Mob, and the French Connection

October 28, 2011 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom

In “The Wild One,” Marlin Brando plays Johnny, a leather-jacketed vagabond sporting a black-brim hat perched on his head at a rakish angle, below which lurk piercing dark eyes and a sneer of contempt in answer to the question, “What … More>

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America’s Orwellian Liberalism

October 17, 2011 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom, The Persuaders

The ink was barely dry on the asterisk in Jimmy Hoffa Jr.’s rant about taking out those “sons-of-b*tches”—referring to Tea Party members—when the vice president made his own contribution at a Labor Day rally. “This is a fight for the … More>

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America’s Mark Twain Conservatives

September 14, 2011 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom, The Persuaders

Attempting to categorize conservatism in the 21st century runs the risk of plunging into the briar patch of academic labeling or the fever swamp of left-wing vitriol. In the first category, one finds such designations as conservatism, neo-conservatism, and paleo-conservatism, … More>

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Obama: From Truman’s Whistle-Stop to Wilsonian Folly

August 22, 2011 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Persuaders

President Obama’s tour through the Midwest in a coal-black Darth Vader-mobile home begs comparison with past presidential excursions. I’m thinking of those made by presidents Harry Truman and Woodrow Wilson.

First, the president repeated his Trumanesque mantra about his version … More>

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The Significance of Congressman Allen West

July 29, 2011 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness, The Path to Freedom

Amidst the rhetorical pyrotechnics surrounding July’s debt-ceiling debates, another controversy streaked across the sky like a comet, flared for an instant, then receded into the maelstrom of ongoing partisan attacks. The shooting star in question involved an exchange between two … More>

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Americans Without Chests

July 15, 2011 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom

As Americans prepared to mark the birth of their country with the usual outpouring of celebratory events, pundits on the political right were scratching their heads over President Obama’s most recent comment about America’s free-enterprise system.

This time, corporate jet … More>

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May the Farce Be With You: Lessons for 2012 from Lincoln and Louis

June 16, 2011 | by | Topic: The American Story

Karl Marx famously quipped that great historical events and personages appear twice, first as tragedy and second as farce. The tragedy he had in mind was the French Revolution and the farce was its pale successor that took place in … More>

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Spring Contrasts: Madison, Wisconsin vs. Tuscaloosa, Joplin, and the Mighty Mississippi

May 25, 2011 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness

Madison, Wisconsin’s winter follies relinquished their national attention to Tuscaloosa’s tornado in April, events along the Mississippi in May, and finally to the most recent twister in Joplin, Missouri, where genuine suffering puts into perspective tenured teachers who are learning … More>

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America’s March of Folly

April 7, 2011 | by | Topic: The American Story, The Path to Freedom

The budget deficits from the first two years of the Obama administration are of sufficient magnitude to spring Dr. “Billions and Billions” Carl Sagan from his grave. Sagan could sue for copyright infringement for misuse of astronomical numbers.

On second … More>

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Murders and Moral Bankruptcy: Where Have You Gone, Eyre Crowe?

March 16, 2011 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

In January 1907, a German-born official in the British Foreign Office wrote a memorandum that since has been indelibly linked to his name for its incisive analysis and uncanny prescience. Eyre Crowe had good reason to scrutinize Germany’s foreign-policy initiatives. … More>

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Of Morlocks and Black Swans

February 11, 2011 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom

Two books that should top any reading list for progressives who believe in “winning the future” by waging war against its current inhabitants are H. G. Wells’ classic The Time Machine and Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan. The … More>

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Dealing with the Debt Monster: A Political Lesson from Millard Fillmore

December 2, 2010 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom

In January 1850, President Zachary Taylor peppered the air with language bluer than a Union uniform. He asserted that he would personally lead an army against traitors who threatened secession and would string ‘em all up with as much determination … More>

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How the Progressives Will Win

October 22, 2010 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom

Karl Marx once commented that voters’ choices in a democracy constituted little more than deciding which bourgeois party would oppress them the most. The old misanthrope’s views on such matters are usually worth ignoring, but he had a point with … More>

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A Tea Party American Cheat Sheet

October 8, 2010 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom, The Persuaders

The Tea Party Movement, otherwise known as the Great Peasant Revolt of 2010, has been greeted by the country’s ruling class with all the sympathy that Voltaire expressed toward the Catholic Church: “Kill the infamous thing!”

Although the American Revolution … More>

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When Regimes Reach Insanity

May 6, 2010 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom

On August 25, 1914, in a spate of disorder, shots rang out from the Belgian town of Louvain, instigating its German occupiers to launch a frenzy of looting and destruction. Crazed soldiers butchered civilians, ransacked buildings, and finally burned the … More>

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The Politics of Arrogance

March 3, 2010 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

On the eve of the German offensive against France in August 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm confidently asserted to some departing troops, “You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees.” The German monarch was known neither for his … More>

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The Relevance of Scott Brown

January 28, 2010 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom

Republicans have greeted Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts with the sort of relief expressed by Winston Churchill when he learned that Pearl Harbor had prompted America to finally enter the war; for the first time in years, he “slept the … More>

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Finally, an Honest Con Game

December 1, 2009 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom

“This is not funny, this is serious stuff!” intones a flock of furrow-browed politicos about that well-dressed couple who conned their way into a White House shindig. Yes and no, in that order, because some of us think this incident … More>

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Barack and the Buchanan Precedent

November 24, 2009 | by | Topic: The American Story

Presidential comparisons that greeted Barack Obama’s election ranged from the sublime to the transcendent. He was variously described as the second coming of John F. Kennedy, a re-embodiment of Franklin Roosevelt, and even a budding Abraham Lincoln—a sort of Savior-in-Chief … More>

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Washington’s Masque of the Red Death

October 30, 2009 | by | Topic: General

New administrations normally inspire commentators into rummaging through a thesaurus to extract that single phrase or word that is apposite to the times. Instead musing about a reincarnation of The Square Deal, The New Deal, The Great Society, or the … More>

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Obama and the Verbal Culture

October 16, 2009 | by | Topic: General

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama demonstrates at least three important points about the current political scene. First, in a one-word Joe Bidenesque fashion, Mr. Obama’s selection can be described as amazing, stupendous, fantastic, and … More>

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A Tale of Two Narratives—and the Palin Paradigm

September 18, 2008 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom, The Persuaders

Reactions to Governor Palin’s selection as Senator McCain’s running mate ranged from laughter to incredulity and then from alarm to panic. Indeed, editorials on the danger she poses to Senator Obama’s once inevitable coronation in November now radiate furrowed brows … More>

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Obamacalypse Now: A Tale of Two Journeys

August 30, 2008 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Senator Obama’s pre-emptive election victory tour through Europe has inspired a variety of comparisons, ranging from General Eisenhower’s post-war ticker-tape procession in New York City to Bill and Ted’s excellent adventures through time. Another analogy, one not cited yet (to … More>

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How to Avoid Being Bamboozled

June 2, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

What a difference a century makes, specifically a turn of the century. Shortly after the 19th century ended, the United States had a president who was the real deal, whose honesty, sincerity and courage would be challenged only by those … More>

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Enviro-Extremists vs. the Machine in the Garden

May 27, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

Political Cartoonists are national treasures. The best ones are able to distill an entire think tank’s worth of commentary into a single frame or two, thus saving our country untold barrels of the dark stuff from the national emergency inkwell … More>

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Obama and the Picture of Dorian Gray

April 30, 2008 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

In Oscar Wilde’s most chilling work, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the cynical, aging Lord Henry exclaims to his perpetually youthful friend, “I wish I could change places with you, Dorian. The world has cried out against us both, … More>

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Bill Buckley’s Defiance of Big History

March 5, 2008 | by | Topic: The DNA of Greatness

One probably had to live through the times to better appreciate the real significance of William F. Buckley. A deserving plethora of encomia—wouldn’t he use a word like this?—currently suffuses conservative media outlets, cataloguing the great man’s kindness, humility, extraordinary … More>

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Audacity of Hope vs. Audacity of Courage

February 25, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

They swoon, they faint, they genuflect, they take pictures, scribble notes, cheer until their voices sound like Darth Vader with a cold, and clap until their fingers explode from their hands like short bursts from an assault rifle. And those … More>

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The 2008 Primaries and the “Deep Issue” Deficit

February 20, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

Exactly 218 years ago in February 1790, a group of Quaker representatives submitted petitions to the House of Representatives to end the slave trade immediately, an action that sent Representative James Jackson from Georgia into a sputtering rage. A colleague … More>

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Barack’s Elusive “King Moment”

January 30, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

When Barack Obama burst onto the national scene after his victory in the Iowa caucuses, many felt that a breath of fresh air was sweeping across the land, one that also gave the Clintons the chills. For other denizens of … More>

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Looking to Lincoln: 2008 and the Lincoln Standards

January 25, 2008 | by | Topic: The American Story

If word association and body language were the principal criteria to judge the current crop of Democratic candidates, then Barack Obama would win the most vacuous campaign slogan award—I want change!—and Hillary Clinton would strut away with the Oprah Winfrey … More>

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Soft Treason

October 2, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

The departure of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from free soil was no doubt accompanied by sighs of relief or expressions of regret, depending on one’s views about the wisdom of inviting to a university a man who has denied the Holocaust, threatened … More>

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Multiculturalism as a Peculiar Institution

September 13, 2007 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

In 1857 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down what has since been regarded as one of its most notorious decisions. In Dred Scott v. Sandford, Chief Justice Roger Taney delivered the opinion of the court, which, in the words … More>

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America’s Two Politburos

August 8, 2007 | by | Topic: The American Story

Just when you think it’s impossible to improve on the bar scene in Star Wars, the House of Representatives ends its summer session with a script that would have put Steven Spielberg to shame. Although blows were not exactly exchanged, … More>

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A Reaganesque Speech for Our Time

August 3, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

If President Reagan were to give a speech today, what might he say? Perhaps something like the following. Let’s hear one more from the Gipper:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Let me begin by thanking you for your gracious welcome and for … More>

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This is Political Criticism?

July 26, 2007 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

If political rhetoric—on subjects about which elected officials know little or nothing—is discovered to somehow exacerbate global warming, then our weary planet is indeed in deep trouble. Or perhaps not. Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison’s comments that compared Hitler to Bush, … More>

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The Real Danger of Global Warming Policy

July 11, 2007 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

Amidst the rock concert mania surrounding a post-July 4th global warming consciousness raising, it is important for citizens to understand the difference between reasoned debate about public policy and the verbal pyrotechnics of a crusade. The politics of policy formation … More>

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The Cowardice of Their Convictions

February 4, 2007 | by | Topic: The American Story

The new Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 24 approved a non-binding resolution on the Iraq  war that demonstrated the cowardice, lack of wisdom and political posturing of the Senators who voted for it. The committee’s intention, in Senator Biden’s … More>

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“Peace in Our Time” with the Iraq Study Group

January 5, 2007 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Poor ISG!  While its members completed their parade across assorted political platforms during the last month of 2006, their pontifications died faster than a flock of houseflies on a sun-baked window ledge, and with about as much dignity.  It’s not … More>

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End of Shock and Awe

December 6, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

One of the most notable scenes in Rocky One followed Apollo Creed’s reaction to a lightning punch that sent him reeling to the canvas, his glazed eyes struggling to catch the number of the locomotive that just smashed into his … More>

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Iraq and the Ghosts of 1940

November 20, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

As bad news from Iraq  assaults viewers with machine gun bursts of gloom every day, predictions about consequences of an American defeat range from the deadly serious to the catastrophic. The elephant-in-the-living-room analogy of course is Vietnam, with its hideous … More>

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Road from North Korea Leads to Tehran

October 11, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

The law of unintended consequences undoubtedly will be put on bold display over the course of the coming months, or most certainly over the next few years. The reason has to do with the likely ripple effects of North Korea’s … More>

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Why the War on Terror Will Not be Won

October 6, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

For five months in 1945, 66 of Japan’s largest cities were laid waste by fleets of B29 Superfortresses, resulting in 8 million homeless and over 2 million casualties (killed and maimed). The commander who ordered this devastation was General Curtis … More>

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The Pope’s Lose-Lose Choice

September 20, 2006 | by | Topic: The Content of Character

Representatives of the religion of peace have had their hands full over the past week or so with organizing demonstrations, burning the pontiff in effigy, promising to assassinate him, instigating church bombings, killing at least one nun, and generally threatening … More>

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Today’s Media Does WWII

April 20, 2006 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

In a fascinating documentary about Dwight Eisenhower, entitled, “Ike: The War Years,” one particularly arresting scene shows the general (superbly played by Robert Duvall) standing before a room filled with reporters, all ravenous to snatch the least lagniappes of hard … More>

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The Anti-Politics of Russ Feingold

March 31, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

If Senator Russ Feingold ever lost any sleep about how to get his name on the front side of a hyphen after the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act, without question he succeeded with his latest gambit to stick it to … More>

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Recent Headlines Review: Inconceivable!

March 14, 2006 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

Sometimes lack of focus is a good thing. It allows restless eyes to wander across an insane landscape of newspaper headlines that proclaim every absurdity, outrage, and shameless prevarication possible. All of which can leave a stupefied mind to scream … More>

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Portrait of an Anti-American

March 6, 2006 | by | Topic: The American Story

They come in all shapes and sizes, without regard to age, race, color, credo, Speedo, national origins, pedigree, filigree, or no degree.  They are full-blooded, half-blooded, sixteenth-blooded, green-blooded, one-sixty-fourth-blooded something or other, Vulcanese, Pekinese, or strip tease.  They are mono-cultural, … More>

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Islamo-cartoon-ophobia: The Aftermath

March 2, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Karl Marx, taking his cue from Hegel, once commented that great historical events occur in two versions: first as tragedy and second as farce. Let’s parse the farce part first. Clearly, Nickelodeon should reconsider starting a new channel in Riyadh; … More>

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Eurabia or Bust

February 20, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Start the jeopardy music, Alex, here’s our question—EU for a thousand.  Okay, contestants, listen up!  How long will it take for Europe to become overwhelmingly Islamic?  A century?  A half-century?  A quarter century? Or, a quarter past three p.m. next … More>

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Flags for Books

February 14, 2006 | by | Topic: The Global Challenge

Flags R’ Us must be doing a brisk business these days, what with the pandemic of national banner burning sweeping across the Muslim world from Jeddah to Jakarta.Here’s a thought: maybe Scandinavians could borrow a page from McDonalds’ and blurt … More>

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Parody: Blazing Headlines!

October 18, 2004 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

First, the background.  In one of the funniest movies ever produced, Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks managed to spoof both Westerns and racial prejudice by inserting an African-American Sheriff into a town called Rock Ridge, a place saturated with citizens who … More>

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Another Close Election? Maybe Not

October 8, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

Consider the following scenario.  Articles of impeachment are voted on in the House of Representatives against the President, who is acquitted in the Senate.  This comes after a divisive war, which pitted political elites and their followers throughout the country … More>

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What? Me Trust You?

October 7, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

The last time Americans got involved in a major culture war, citizens across the land dusted off their Springfield muskets and joined the nearest regiment. This time every attorney worth his or her shingle is going down a checklist that … More>

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A Parody: Euro-Kerry

October 7, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story

Here’s a pesky thought for Kerryites. The chances of the French warming up to their guy if he becomes President are about as great as Jacques Chirac smothering his escargot with Heinz Ketchup.

Consider the following scenario. John Kerry’s just … More>

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Kerry, Command and Control?

September 30, 2004 | by | Topic: The Path to Freedom

With the economy improving, hurricane winds blowing, and discussions about national health care on sick leave, it is fair to suggest that the coming debates between President Bush and Senator Kerry will focus on leadership.  Bush can run on his … More>

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VISION & VALUES CONCISE: Whose Country Is It, Dude?

September 29, 2004 | by | Topic: The American Story, Vision & Values Concise E-publications

In the early 1960s, impressionist Vaughn Meader developed a great routine about President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, who served as Attorney General of the United States. It seems the two got involved in a family spat about … More>

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To CBS: Here’s Your Sign

September 17, 2004 | by | Topic: The Persuaders

The principle culprit of the major media’s latest round of non-stop insipid news coverage is of course CBS News and its Sixty Minutes II report based on what the network claimed was a number of documents that cast doubt on … More>

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