Sadly, the former President and his allies were not willing to promote their policies or stand up to their false accusers on many an occasion, so his great work in Africa has gotten lost in the muck of our MSNBC-era world.
I’d suggest that there’s one president whose contribution dwarfs all the others. Unlike Hoover, he launched his program while he was in office, and unlike FDR, he received virtually no votes in return, since most of the people who have benefited aren’t U.S. citizens. In fact, there are very few Americans around who even associate him with his achievement. Who’s this great humanitarian? The name might surprise you: it’s George W. Bush.
I should say, right up front, that I do not belong to the former president’s political camp. I strongly disapproved of many of his policies. At the same time, I think it’s a tragedy that the foreign policyshortcomings of the Bush administration have conspired to obscure his most positive legacy — not least because it saved so many lives, but because there’s so much that Americans and the rest of the world can learn from it. Both his detractors and supporters tend to view his time in office through the lens of the “war on terror” and the policies that grew out of it. By contrast, only a few Americans have ever heard of PEPFAR, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President Bush announced in his State of the Union address in 2003.
In 2012 alone, PEPFAR directly supported nearly 5.1 million people on antiretroviral treatment — a three-fold increase in only four years; provided antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV to nearly 750,000 pregnant women living with the disease (which allowed approximately 230,000 infants to be born without HIV); and enabled more than 46.5 million people to receive testing and counseling.
“Bush did more to stop AIDS and more to help Africa than any president before or since,” says New York Times correspondent Peter Baker, who’s writing a history of the Bush-Cheney White House that’s due to appear in October. “He took on one of the world’s biggest problems in a big, bold way and it changed the course of a continent. If it weren’t for Iraq, it would be one of the main things history would remember about Bush, and it still should be part of any accounting of his presidency.”
Yet one of the loudest and shrillest groups that carried the “BusHitler” signs? The Gay Political Left in America. They should be ashamed. But they have no morals or principles, so they aren’t capable of admitting they tarnished a great leader in George Bush.
PS – Barack Obama still has a lot of evolving to do on gay marriage to come close to the support of the issue demonstrated by former Vice President Dick Cheney — another of the Gay Left’s boogeymen.
In making the case for civil rights for black Americans in the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often cited not just the founding (and other defining) documents of our country, but also its patriotic hymns.
In his “I Have a Dream” speech spoken almost fifty years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he referenced the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution as well as the Emancipation Proclamation. He recited verses from “My country ‘Tis of Thee.” He did not fault the American ideal, instead wanted to make that ideal real for all citizens of this great republic.
In that great address, he spoke the word, “free” or “freedom” twenty-five times. He knew the word defined as aspect of the American ideal. And he was ever the optimist:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. (more…)
To celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the greatest man of the century immediately preceding this one, I repost the piece I wrote three years ago to make the occasion as I revised it two years ago.
Today marks the 138th anniversary of the birth of the greatest man of the century concluded just about a decade ago. On November 30, 1874, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace. His father was Lord Randolph Churchill, his mother the former Jennie Jerome, the second daughter of the American financier Leonard Jerome. His very parentage thus embodied the special relationship between the United States and United Kingdom.
Indeed, it was Churchill himself who coined the term to describe the relations between the two powerful Anglophone democracies.
Like a red head born almost exactly 134 years after him, Churchill was two months premature. (The combination of those two characteristics must be a sign of greatness!) Like that young Californian, the great Briton had trouble sitting still, traveling to Cuba, India, Sudan and South Africa to fight for his country (and sometimes dubious causes) before his 30th birthday. He would write about his experiences; his books would earn him fame and fortune.
First elected to parliament in 1900 as a Tory, he broke with his party over tariffs, preferring free trade and the Liberals. He would rejoin the Conservative Party in 1925, staying with the Tories, through his two terms as Prime Minister and until the end of his life. Noting that Churchill “stood for Parliament under six labels,” one of his biographers, Paul Johnson wrote that “He was not a party man. . . . His loyalty belonged to the national interest, and his own.”
And Churchill saw the British national interest clearly linked to that of the United States and Western democracies.
While forever associated with the two great wars of the last century, the man himself may well have enjoyed the thrill of battle, but he was well aware of the horrors of war and did his utmost to prevent it. A warmonger he clearly was not, though he did understand that war was sometimes necessary to prevent even worse evils. (more…)
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Most Republicans who watch this video will learn nothing new about Mitt Romney, but it is striking that CBS News would run a piece so favorable to the Republican presidential nominee (this close to the election).
Via Glenn Reynolds.
Ever since I first heard of Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor held captive in that horrible subnormal nation by its rulers for the crime of apostasy, I’ve had as my homepage at work the American Center for Law and Justice website which had been counting the days of his incarceration.
That count has ended.
While I was out of town this weekend with my partner and away from the news, Pastor Nadarkhani was released by the court that had originally sentenced him to death. The charge of apostasy has been reduced to that of evangelizing, and his punishment to time served.
There is so much to say that if I did would look like gift-horse material. For now, let’s all just say a prayer of thanksgiving that he has been delivered from these savages and is currently back in the embrace of his family.
Let’s also further pray that now that he’s out of jail he will find safety. All to often in places like Iran, prisoners of conscience are released from official bondage only to be torn apart by the mobs that populate such backward countries.
If you’d like to know more about Pastor Nadarkhani and his trials, check out the link to the ACLJ above.
Glenn Reynolds quotes my fellow University of Virginia School of Law Federalist Don Boudreaux who in his centennial appreciation of the Nobel-prize winning economists offered this contrast between Mr. Friedman’s ideas and those of the incumbent President of the United States:
Note that Friedman would heartily agree with President Obama that no one prospers in today’s economy exclusively through his or her own individual efforts. Where Friedman would disagree – and disagree strongly – is with Obama’s suggestion that the main source of help that each of us gets from others is government. While government might supply some necessary pieces, such as highways and law courts, the vast bulk of what society supplies for each person’s sustenance and success comes not from government but from the ongoing private efforts of millions of individuals acting in free markets.
GDANSK, Poland — Polish officials unveiled a statue of former President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II on Saturday, honoring two men widely credited in this Eastern European country with helping to topple communism 23 years ago.
People look at a new statue of former President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II that was unveiled in Gdansk, Poland, on Saturday, July 14, 2012. The statue honors the two men whom many Poles credit with helping to topple communism.
The statue was unveiled in Gdansk, the birthplace of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement, in the presence of about 120 former Solidarity activists, many of whom were imprisoned in the 1980s for their roles in organizing or taking part in strikes against the communist regime.
The bronze statue, erected in the lush seaside President Ronald Reagan Park, is a slightly larger-than-life rendering of the two late leaders. It was inspired by an Associated Press photograph taken in 1987 on John Paul’s second pontifical visit to the U.S.
Below is the original AP photo and the new statue of these two great leaders for freedom in the last century.
One of the truly great character actors of the last century has passed. According to IMDb, “Ernest Borgnine, the rugged, stocky actor with a brassy voice and the face of the local butcher, died today in Los Angeles at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of renal failure. He was 95.”
A few years ago at Outfest, I had the good fortune to meet this great actor and good man. He was attending the screening of a film in which, I believe, he played a bit part. He was a real class act, agreeing to pose for pictures with volunteers and other festival patrons. When I told him how much I enjoyed his performance in Marty (for which he won an Oscar) — and how that film has stood the test of time, moving us still today, his face lit up in a smile. ”We made a good picture”, he said.
To my father’s generation, he was one of the most ubiquitous and versatile character actors on the big screen and the lead in the TV series, McHale’s Navy for which he won an Emmy nomination. My generation got him in TV movies and mini-series. And my nieces and nephews know him primarily as Mermaidman on the long-running cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants. This first generation American (his parents were born in Italy) has indeed had a distinguished career.
Ernest Borgnine has been gainfully employed in the entertainment industry for over six decades — and leaves behind an incredible body of work, including a number of classic films. He will be missed, but his performances will endure.
FROM THE COMMENTS: ”He”, observed ohiochili, “could make you believe he was a saint or a scumbag.” Yes, he could.
. . . the year 1776 had been as dark a time as those devoted to the American cause had ever known–indeed, as dark a time as any in the history of the country. And suddenly, miraculously it seemed, that had changed because of a small band of determined men and their leader.
. . . .
[That leader George Washington] was not a brilliant strategist or tactician, not a gifted orator, not an intellectual. At several crucial moments he had shown marked indecisiveness. He had made serious mistakes in judgment. But experience had been his great teacher from boyhood, and in this his greatest test, he l earned steadily from experience. Above all, Washington never forgot what was at stake and he never gave up.
Again and again, in letters to Congress and to his officers, and in his general orders, he had called for perseverance–for “perseverance of spirit,” for “patience and perseverance,” for “unremitting courage and perseverance.” Soon after the victories of Trenton and Princeton, he had written: ”A people unused to restraint must be led, they will not be drove. Without Washington’s leadership and unrelenting perseverance, the revolution almost certainly would have failed.
What accounts for this great’s perseverance against such incredible odds? Perhaps we would know more had his wife Martha not burned all but two of his letters. Perhaps, his strength lay in the cause for which he fought or perhaps in the depth of his love for her.
Whatever its cause, the Father of our Country does provide an example of leadership in tough times, a reminder to keep your head up even as the events — and your enemies — bring you down. That’s not just a reminder for leaders, but for all of us. (more…)
Former Vice President Cheney who didn’t have to wait for the promptings of gay activists threatening to withhold campaign contributions to come out for civil unions and gay marriage has joined his wife Lynne in expressing delight that their daughter Mary married her beloved Heather Poe:
“Our daughter Mary and her long time partner, Heather Poe, were married today in Washington, DC,” the Cheneys said.
As I mentioned a few days ago, both Bruce and I have read and relished David McCullough’s history of the first year in the life of our republic, 1776. As I listen to this book now, I occasionally feel ashamed of myself for ever having complained when things have not gone as well as I would have liked them to go.
How ever, I wonder, did George Washington hold up in the difficult Fall of 1776 when everything seemed to go wrong, when a general he trusted, Nathaniel Greene, made a bone-headed decision to defend an indefensible fort (Fort Washington lacked a fresh water supply) when another general Charles Lee sought to undercut him, when his army was dispirited, many troops deserting, the remainder forced to retreat across New Jersey with the enemy close on it heels. His situation then was far worse than anything I have ever faced.
Yet, despite all that, as one of the great man’s future presidential successors, James Monroe, observed when joining up with the ragtag army in retreat:
I saw him . . . at the head of a small band, or rather in its rear, for he was always near the enemy, and his countenance and manner made an impression on me which I can never efface. . . . [The great man's expression, McCullough writes, "gave no sign of worry."] A deportment so firm, so dignified, but yet so modest and composed, I have never seen in an other person.
So was Washington in retreat during the Revolution’s darkest hour. Such is the mark of a leader, composed in a crisis, not whining about his sorry situation or blaming others, not even, in this man’s case, blaming the generals who had offered advice which made a bad situation worse. (more…)
Perhaps because I have been listening to David McCullough’s 1776* as I drive around LA that I take issue with the opening of Jay Cost’s Weekly Standard piece on Obama’s Dilemma (referenced in my previous post):
Political winds are funny things. When they are blowing in from behind, leaders look poised, in control, and powerful. When they are blowing into their face, they look overwhelmed, out of their depth, and utterly impotent. We have seen this time and again over the years with presidents.
Following his success in Boston in the spring of 1776, George Washington faced incredibly adverse winds in New York that summer, with an enormous British fleet gathering as he attempted to hold the city. He failed in that attempt, having to retreat first across the East River, then across the Hudson, then through New Jersey and finally into Pennsylvania before turning the tables and undertaking his famous crossing.
After overcoming his initial shock at the overwhelming scale of the British invasion, Washington retained his poise and maintained control over his army. He succeeded as much because he knew how to manage defeat as because of his skills on the battlefield. In short, when the winds were blowing in his face, he stood tall and refused to let himself appear overwhelmed — or out of his depth.
He would not, at least not publicly, whine about the problems he inherited — or the tab left by another general. He appeared resolute in the face of adverse circumstances. George Washington didn’t let the strong winds blow him down.
Time and again, however, the man who currently holds the job Mr. Washington once held has shown his unfitness for the office. He laments the sorry situation he faces. Mr. Washington faced it head on. As did Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III.
Mr. Obama wants us to feel sorry for us as he blames his horrible, no good, very bad predecessor. George Washington didn’t ask for our pity; he sought to earn his men’s respect.
All too often, our friends in the legacy media sensationalize the actions of rogue soldiers in the U.S. military who act against express orders or in a manner at odds with their training. More often than not, our service members perform their duties bravely — and with honor.
Weichel, a Rhode Island National Guardsman, was riding along in a convoy in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan when some children were spotted on the road ahead.
The children were picking up shell casings lying on the road. The casings are recycled for money in Afghanistan. Weichel and other soldiers in the convoy got out of their vehicles to get them out of the way of the heavy trucks in the convoy.
The children were moved out of the way, but an Afghan girl darted back onto the road to pick up some more casings that lay underneath a passing MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle. The huge armored trucks can weigh as much as 16 tons and are designed to protect the troops they carry from roadside bombs.
Weichel spotted the girl and quickly moved toward her to get her out of the way. He succeeded, but not before he was run over by the heavily armored truck. The girl was safe, but Weichel later died of his injuries.
Dennis Weichel helps define the greatness of this nation. He risked — and gave — his life to save a young girl in harm’s way.
Our hearts go out to his children. His example inspires us all.
We often speak on this blog on the intolerance we gay conservatives experience from our liberal peers, but in one particular gay environment, Outfest, Los Angeles’s gay and lesbian film festival, I have, by and large, experienced nothing but tolerance from other volunteers and theater managers holding different political views from my own.
Chief among those individuals was Thom Mosley, the man who taught me how to manage a theater when I was promoted. Even upon learning my politics, he continued to treat me, as he had previously treated me–as he treated all individuals–with dignity and with grace. Yeah, he’d rib me from time to time, but in a jovial and good-natured way. And he listened when I offered my opinion.
He had the rare gift of composure in a crisis. Few could manage a sold-out show — or difficult filmmakers — with greater class than he.
He demonstrated those qualities to which we should all aspire. Thom passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was a great — and a good — man. He will be missed.
May the Holy One bring comfort to his family and friends at this difficult time.