KEY LARGO, Fla.—At dinner with friends, I was asked what is wrong with Washington. The question presumes a standard by which "wrong" can be defined. I am frequently asked this question by people who do not live in "the swamp." They don't behave like Washington politicians. If a disagreement arises in their personal or professional life, they discuss it and usually compromise and work things out. Only in Washington, they note, does this rarely happen and when it does it makes headlines.
Perhaps Vladimir Putin was using his experience meddling in U.S. elections to meddle in his own. Putin "won" re-election last Sunday with about 76 percent of the vote, not as much as the 99 percent Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein "won" and maybe not as impressive as the nearly unanimous vote by the People's Congress to allow China's Xi Jinping to effectively be president for as long as he wishes, but impressive nonetheless.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether pro-life pregnancy help centers in California should be required to post notices informing women of the availability of abortions elsewhere. The pregnancy help centers are contesting the law, disingenuously named the California Reproductive FACT Act, claiming it violates their free speech rights, as well as undercuts the reason for their existence.
President Trump's critics, who include many establishment Republicans, are finding themselves left with few issues given the president's recent string of successes. How difficult it must have been for The New York Times, perhaps the most vehement media critic of the president (The Washington Post is a close runner-up) to have this headline on its Saturday front page: "Economy, in Sweet Spot, Adds 313,000 Jobs. It May Get Sweeter."
To what shall North Korea's latest pronouncement to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for certain "security" guarantees be compared? Choose from one of the following familiar promises: Of course I'll respect you in the morning; I promise to pay you back; I'm from the government and I'm here to help. There are more but you get the idea.
In "Hamlet," Shakespeare pens one of the most familiar lines—and best advice—ever written. Before Laertes leaves for Paris, his father, Polonius, tells him: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be..." We have ignored that advice for far too long, which is why the U.S. national debt is $20 trillion with more to come, thanks to the Republican Congress, which has passed a two-year spending bill that calls for $300 billion in new spending and removes caps applied by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." (Romans 13:1) That verse, written by Paul the Apostle, is one of the most difficult for modern evangelicals to fully accept. It was written at a time when the Roman authorities were bad dudes. They actively discriminated against the early Christians, murdering some, imprisoning others, including Paul, who was among their most ardent persecutors before his conversion.
One reason Democrats seem so fixated on importing illegal immigrants and allowing their children to stay and become citizens may be the exodus from high-tax and traditionally Democratic states. Anecdotal evidence is usually not helpful in determining trends, but when stories begin to accumulate and sound the same attention must be paid. Two friends of mine, who are longtime California residents, recently decided to move from that highly taxed state to states with lower taxes. As much as they love California, they tell me, they can no longer afford to live there.
"When prosperity comes, do not use all of it."—Confucius Is China about to do the United States a big favor, however unwittingly? According to Bloomberg, China is considering whether to slow, or even stop, purchases of U.S. Treasuries. At $3.14 trillion, China holds the world's largest foreign exchange reserves. It is also the largest underwriter of U.S. debt. Financial experts and political observers have long worried that becoming financially dependent on an unfriendly and rival nation is not good for the U.S. in the long term.
"Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer."—W.C. Fields