STUDY: U.S. policy has moved increasingly left over the last 70 years

Matt Grossman is a political scientist at Michigan State University. Last week he published an interesting op-ed in The Washington Post enttitled “U.S. policy has gone liberals’ way for 70 years.”

It shreds the establishment Republicans’ claims that moderate, centrist positions are a path to electoral victory. The reason?

Conservatives in Congress are the prime suspects in Washington’s dysfunction. Veteran congressional watchdogs Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann called the previous session the “worst Congress ever,” and they did not hold back in assigning blame: “The Republicans are the problem,” they said. After a fruitless government shutdown last fall, even House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at conservative groups and passed bills over the opposition of his caucus.

In response, conservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.

The reason: the progressive left has framed the debate and the playing field for decades leaving the GOP to play non-stop defense.

…Of the 509 most significant domestic policies passed by Congress, only one in five were conservative, in that they contracted the scope of government funding, regulation or responsibility. More than 60 percent were liberal: They clearly expanded government. The others offered a mix of liberal or conservative components or took no clear ideological direction. When significant policy change occurs in the executive branch, it is even less likely to be conservative; only 10 percent of the executive orders and agency rules that policy historians cited were conservative.

Even labeling as conservative policy government expansions in pursuit of conservative goals, such as traditional values or tougher sentencing,
makes little difference in this conclusion; few significant policy changes fall into this category, though we hear about them often in campaigns…

In other words, when Congress acts it is almost invariably expanding government, not constraining it.

There is a good reason why conservatives are often charged with obstruction. When government is more active, it is usually moving policy to the left. When Congress has doubled its normal productivity, many more liberal laws pass but not necessarily more conservative laws. There was only one session of Congress, the two years after the Republican takeover in 1994, that was both active and conservative, but it did not last. Under President Ronald Reagan, the executive branch made more conservative policy changes only during the first two years of his presidency. Productive policymaking means more domestic spending, more business regulation and wider government responsibility.

The view that normal legislating and bipartisan compromises lead to expanded government is no tea party illusion; it is an accurate reading of the past 70 years.

…the federal government has continually expanded its role in education, civil rights, the environment and health care — and Republican presidents have played large roles in this. Nixon entrenched the Great Society and oversaw the environmental revolution. Reagan was less active domestically but signed more government expansions than contractions. President George H.W. Bush brought us landmarks such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and his son brought us No Child Left Behind and a new Medicare entitlement.

This history does not bother some Republicans, who see opportunities to fashion new ideas and bargain in pursuit of conservative objectives. But even past policymaking designed to promote markets, safeguard morality and protect the homeland usually expanded government. If contraction is the goal, a positive policy agenda is unlikely to succeed…. The arc of the policy universe is long, but it bends toward liberalism. Conservatives can slow the growth of government but an enduring shift in policy direction would be unprecedented. History shows that a do-nothing Congress is a conservative’s best-case scenario.

All of this tells me that the only way to constrain government is to convene an Article V Convention of the States and to pass amendments similar to those described in The Liberty Amendments.

The federal government seems incapable of controlling itself, so it is incumbent upon the states to do so.

Hat tip: Mark Levin

Doug Ross @ Journal

70 years ago today, two men escaped from Auschwitz. Here’s the true story.

Vrba-Wetzler(Washington, D.C.) — Seventy years ago today, two men pulled off the greatest escape in human history — from a Nazi death camp in southern Poland.

Most of the world doesn’t know their names, but we should.

Rudolf Vrba was only 19 when he escaped Auschwitz. Fred Wetzler was only 25.

They are my heroes. They executed their ingenious plan on April 7th, 1944, and not simply to save their own lives, but to tell the world the truth about what Adolf Hitler was really doing to annihilate the Jewish people. They risked their lives to proclaim the truth, and in the process they helped save more than 100,000  Jewish lives.

It is their stories that inspired me to write The Auschwitz Escape. Now here is a brief version of the true story.

REMEMBERING FOUR HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST

By Joel C. Rosenberg

To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.

In 1933, the world was blindsided by the rise of Adolf Hitler. 

In 1939, it was stunned by the German invasion of Poland and the Nazi leader’s bloodthirsty quest for global domination. Perhaps most tragically, most of the world did not understand Hitler’s plan to annihilate the Jews until it was almost too late.

Today, we face dangerous new threats from Iran, North Korea, and a rising czar in Russia, not from Germany. Yet curiously, in recent weeks Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have each warned that as we confront current challenges we must be careful to learn the lessons of history regarding how the world failed to understand the threat posed by Hitler and the Nazis and deal with it decisively, before events spun out of control.

I agree, and as an example, I would point the extraordinary events that occurred in the spring of 1944. 

Four men pulled off the greatest escapes in all of human history, from a Nazi death camp in southern Poland. They did not simply escape to save their own lives. Nor did they escape merely to tell the world about a terrible crime against humanity that had been – and was being – committed. What set these true heroes apart is that they planned and executed their escapes in the hope of stopping a horrific crime before it was committed – the extermination of the Jews of Hungary.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of these escapes, and to draw attention to the significance these unknown – or unremembered – events, and the lessons they have to teach us, I recently wrote a work of historical fiction, The Auschwitz Escape. I changed the names of key figures involved so as not to put words in their mouths that cannot be verified to be their own. But it is my deepest hope that the book will cause many to dig into the real history of these remarkable heroes.

Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler were Slovak Jews. They escaped from Auschwitz on April 7, 1944.

[NOTE: In the novel, I explain exactly how they did it, what supplies they needed, what their escape route was, how they outfoxed the guards, etc. — an extraordinary story.]

Arnost Rosin was also a Slovak Jew. Czeslaw Mordowicz was a Polish Jew. Together they escaped from Auschwitz on May 27, 1944.

Upon making it safely to Czechoslovakia, Vrba, only 19 years old, and Wetzler, 25, linked up with the Jewish underground. They explained Auschwitz was not simply a labor camp, as most thought, but rather a death camp. The Nazis were systematically murdering prisoners, mostly Jews, using poison gas called “Zyklon B,” then burning their bodies in enormous ovens.

The men explained the Nazis were dramatically enlarging an expansion camp a few miles from Auschwitz called “Birkenau,” building new train tracks, enormous new gas chambers, and massive new crematoria. They had also completed ramps leading all those arriving in the cattle cars directly into the gas chambers.

Vrba and Wetzler said they had heard SS guards talking about Hungarian “salami” that would soon be arriving. They knew from their jobs as clerks in the camp that none of Hungary’s nearly 450,000 Jews had yet arrived, even though Jews from most of Europe had come already. 

They urged the Czech Jewish leaders to warn Hungarian Jews immediately so they would revolt and not get on the trains. They also urged that the Allied leaders be notified so they would mount an operation to liberate Auschwitz.

Both men were asked to separately draft detailed eyewitness reports. Their reports were then cross-checked, compiled into a single report, and then simultaneously translated into multiple languages.

Eventually, Mordowicz, 23, and Rosin, 30, escaped as well. When they got to Czechoslovakia, they wrote up reports of their own, which were added to the existing document. But all this took precious time the Hungarian Jews did not have.

The report, known as “The Auschwitz Protocol,” was sent to Jewish and Allied leaders in early June 1944. Excerpts were leaked to the press, creating an international uproar. But the Germans had begun deporting Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in massive numbers on May 15th. And “The Auschwitz Protocol” landed in the hands of President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and their top aides just as the Allies were executing the D-Day invasion of Normandy and trying to liberate France.

On July 2nd, the U.S. began bombing Budapest. Admiral Miklos Horthy, the Nazi-backed Regent of Hungary, feared the air raid was in reprisal for the Jewish deportations. He ordered the trains halted. Thus, while, more than 300,000 Hungarian Jews had already been sent to Auschwitz and gassed, 120,000 more Hungarian Jews were saved from deportation and certain death.

Sir Martin Gilbert, the British historian, would later note, “The Auschwitz Protocol” was responsible for “the largest single greatest rescue of Jews in the Second World War.”

That said, neither the U.S. nor the British military took direct action to liberate Auschwitz during the war. Nor did they bomb the train lines to the death camps, or bomb the camps themselves, as Jewish leaders had implored. 

When the Soviets finally entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, only 7,000 prisoners remained alive. More than 1.1 million had already been exterminated.

Why didn’t Washington and London take decisive action upon receiving detailed, inside intelligence? Couldn’t they have at least tried to stop the Holocaust, or at least disrupt it, knowing the hellish nightmare people in the camps were experiencing?

Historians have been debating this for years. Yet the issues are not academic. Today, our leaders also face urgent questions. 

Let’s consider just one. Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” It has threatened to create world without the “Great Satan” (aka, the U.S.), as well. The mullahs are actively developing the ability to build nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. 

Do we currently have inside sources giving us accurate intelligence on the state of Iran’s nuclear program? If diplomacy and sanctions fail, should the West take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the mullahs can set into motion a Second Holocaust? 

Rather than attack ourselves, should the U.S. support an Israeli preemptive strike? What are the risks of launching such a strike? What are the risks of delay? 

Would history forgive us if we wait too long and Iran strikes first?

The moral courage that Rudolf Vrba, Alfred Wetzler, Arnost Rosin, and Czeslaw Mordowicz demonstrated seventy years ago was extraordinary. They understood the nature and threat of evil, and they risked their lives to tell the world the truth. 

They deserve to be remembered and heralded by Jews and Christians and all who care about freedom and human dignity. 

We must never forget what they did, and why they did it. But we must also be ready to act wisely, bravely and decisively if a mortal threat rises again. For if we learn nothing else from the history of the Holocaust, we had better learn this: Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.

(Note: this article was originally published by FoxNews.com on March 18, 2014)

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

WARMAL COLDING TO SLAM U.S. AGAIN NEXT WEEK: Coldest Opening to Spring in at Least 50 Years

I’m so confused: I thought Al Gore promised that the polar icecaps were certain to melt by 2012. Instead, they seem to be moving southward:

Another massive cold wave headed for Eastern US next week to put temperature 20 degrees below normal

Senior WeatherBell Meteorologist Joe Bastardi commented:

I am 58.. never seen anything close to this for late March… [The] pattern next week has as much extreme potential for the time of the year as I can find. Coldest opening to calender spring in 50 yrs at least.

Weather forecast models such as the ECMWF and NCEP, both of which have had good track records this year in identifying polar vortex outbreaks in advance, are now forecasting a massive cold blast for the beginning of spring…

I’ve done a lot of reading and research over the years on “global warming”, “climate change”, or whatever it is they’re calling it these days.

It’s a scam, plain and simple. It’s a conspiracy by the United Nations (in the form of its very suspect IPCC panel) to control huge swaths of the world economy. I liken it to the U.N.’s criminal “Oil for Food” program, only on a much grander scale.

As far as I can tell, the people promoting this fraud are either Marxist radicals, deluded drones, or scientists looking for government handouts.

And if I ever see Al Gore on the street…

Doug Ross @ Journal

History repeating? Putin annexes Crimea 76 years to the week after Hitler annexed Austria.

Putin's Anschluss of Crimea.

Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea.

>> UPDATES:

ORIGINAL POST: (Washington, D.C.) – When I set out to write The Auschwitz Escape, I was eager to portray the drama of the greatest escape in human history — from a Nazi death camp in Poland.

But I was also a bit anxious because I usually write political thrillers about events that could happen in the future, not historical fiction inspired by events that happened in the past.

Yet on the very day of the novel’s nationwide release, it’s hard not to sense history is repeating itself: A dictator is rising to Europe. He smells Western weakness. He is sending troops into other countries. He is seizing land. He is claiming it as his own, and he is daring anyone to stop him. 

“Unfortunately instead of de-escalation we have [the] Anschluss of Crimea, which cannot be left without a response,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

Tragically, he is right — even The Moscow Times is calling Putin’s moves an “Anschluss.”

On March 13, 1938 — exactly seventy-six years ago this week — German dictator Adolf Hitler annexed Austria after sending Nazi military forces in to invade the country.

To give the illegal action a veneer of respectability, Hitler ordered a national referendum in Austria, and on April 10th, Austrians approved Hitler’s “Anschluss” (annexation) with a vote of 99.7% in favor.

Now, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has successfully launched his own “Anschluss” of Crimea. He sent Russian military forces in to invade the country. Then he orchestrated a national referendum in the southern Ukrainian region, and got a vote of nearly 97% in favor.

Today, in a speech in Moscow, Putin formally announced the annexation of Crimea.

“In our hearts we know Crimea has always been an inalienable part of Russia,” Putin said in a major address to the Russian parliament.

The problem is that so far there has been no serious response to Putin’s moves. Nor was there when he invaded Georgia in 2008. Nor was there when he sold arms and nuclear technology to the terrorist regime of Iran. Or when he sold arms to the bloodthirsty regime of Bashar Assad amidst the horrific war Assad is waging in Syria that has forced 42% of the Syrian people to flee their homes and has left more than 140,000 people dead.

Have we really forgotten the lessons of Hitler and the Holocaust so quickly?

To be clear, there is no evidence Putin is Hitler in the sense that he is building concentration camps and planning a “Final Solution” to annihilate the Jewish people. But Putin wants to be a Czar. He wants to restore the glory of Mother Russia. He wants to rebuild what was lost when the Soviet Union imploded. He sees the West full of “Neville Chamberlains,” leaders who are weak and indecisive. And he is on the move. This is what makes him so dangerous.

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HISTORY WORTH REMEMBERING: Consider this summary from the Encyclopedia Britannica: “In July 1934 Austrian and German Nazis together attempted a coup but were unsuccessful. An authoritarian right-wing government then took power in Austria and kept perhaps half the population from voicing legitimate dissent; that cleavage prevented concerted resistance to the developments of 1938. In February 1938 Hitler invited the Austrian chancellor. Kurt von Schuschnigg to Germany and forced him to agree to give the Austrian Nazis virtually a free hand. Schuschnigg later repudiated the agreement and announced a plebiscite on the Anschluss question. He was bullied into canceling the plebiscite, and he obediently resigned, ordering the Austrian Army not to resist the Germans. President Wilhelm Miklas of Austria refused to appoint the Austrian Nazi leader. Arthur Seyss-Inquart as chancellor. The German Nazi minister Hermann Göring ordered Seyss-Inquart to send a telegram requesting German military aid, but he refused, and the telegram was sent by a German agent in Vienna. On March 12 Germany invaded, and the enthusiasm that followed gave Hitler the cover to annex Austria outright on March 13. A controlled plebiscite of April 10 gave a 99.7 percent approval.”

KEY HEADLINES WORTH TRACKING:

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog