"A popular Government, without popular information, or the means
of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own
Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." --James
Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, 1822
Feb. 23, 1945
Those depending upon a benevolent government will find the same benevolence a sheep may find among a pack of wolves.
What freedom of speech? Where the government decides which utterances are allowed
By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
The photos of 40 of the world's government leaders marching arm-in-arm along a Paris boulevard on Sunday with the president of the United States not among them was a provocative image that has fomented much debate. The march was, of course, in direct response to the murderous attacks on workers at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by a pair of brothers named Kouachi, and on shoppers at a Paris kosher supermarket by one of the brothers' comrades.
The debate has been about whether President Obama should have been at the march. The march was billed as a defense of freedom of speech in the West, yet it hardly could have been held in a less free-speech-friendly Western environment, and the debate over Mr. Obama's absence misses the point.
In the post-World War II era, French governments have adopted a policy advanced upon them nearly 100 years ago by Woodrow Wilson. He pioneered the modern idea that countries' constitutions don't limit governments; they unleash them. Thus, even though the French Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, French governments treat speech as a gift from the government, not as a natural right of all persons, as our Constitution does.
The French government has prohibited speech it considers to be hateful and even made it criminal. When the predecessor magazine to Charlie Hebdo once mocked the death of Charles de Gaulle, the French government shut it down — permanently.
The theory of anti-hate speech laws is that hate speech often leads to violence, and violence demands police deployment and thus, the expenditure of public resources. So the government can make it illegal to spout hatred in order to conserve its resources. This attitude presumes, as Wilson did when he prosecuted folks for publicly singing German songs during World War I, that the government is the origin of free speech and can lawfully limit the speech it hates and fears. It also presumes that all ideas are equal, and none is worthy of hatred.
When the massacres occurred last week in Paris, all three of the murderers knew that the police would be unarmed and so would be their victims. It was as if they were shooting fish in a barrel. Why is that? The answer lies in the same mentality that believes it can eradicate hate by regulating speech. That mentality demands that government have a monopoly on violence, even violence against evil.
So, to those who embrace this dreadful theory, the great loss in Paris last week was not human life, which is a gift from G0D; it was free speech, which is a gift from the state. Hence the French government, which seems not to care about innocent life, instead of addressing these massacres as crimes against innocent people, proclaimed the massacres crimes against the freedom of speech. Would the French government have reacted similarly if the murderers had killed workers at an ammunition factory, instead of at a satirical magazine?
How hypocritical was it of the French government to claim it defends free speech. In France, you can go to jail if you publicly express hatred for a group whose members may be defined generally by characteristics of birth, such as gender, age, race, place of origin or religion.
You can also go to jail for using speech to defy the government. This past weekend, millions of folks in France wore buttons and headbands that proclaimed in French: "I am Charlie Hebdo." Those whose buttons proclaimed "I am not Charlie Hebdo" were asked by the police to remove them. Those who wore buttons that proclaimed, either satirically or hatefully, "I am Kouachi" were arrested. Arrested for speech at a march in support of free speech? Yes.
What's going on here? What's going on in France, and what might be the future in America, is the government defending the speech with which it agrees and punishing the speech with which it disagrees. What's going on is the assault by some in radical Islam not on speech, but on vulnerable innocents in their everyday lives in order to intimidate their governments. What's going on is the deployment of 90,000 French troops to catch and kill three murderers because the government does not trust the local police to use guns to keep the streets safe or private persons to use guns to defend their own lives.
Why do some in radical Islam kill innocents in the West in order to affect the policies of Western governments? Might it be because the fruitless Western invasion of Iraq killed 650,000 persons, most of whom were innocent civilians? Might it be because that invasion brought al Qaeda to the region and spawned the Islamic State? Might it be because Mr. Obama has killed more innocent civilians in the Middle East with his drones than were killed by the planes in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001? Might it be because our spies are listening to us, rather than to those who pose real dangers?
What does all this have to do with freedom of speech? Nothing — unless you believe the French government.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0115/napolitano011515.php3#V7jQgv3mBxKAouyS.99
Iran's emerging empire
By Charles Krauthammer
While Iran's march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran's march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked. In Washington, that is. The Arabs have noticed. And the pro-American ones, the Gulf Arabs in particular, are deeply worried.
This week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized control of the Yemeni government, heretofore pro-American. In September, they overran Sanaa, the capital. On Tuesday, they seized the presidential palace. On Thursday, they forced the president to resign.
The Houthis have local religious grievances, being Shiites in a majority Sunni land. But they are also agents of Shiite Iran, which arms, trains and advises them. Their slogan — "God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel" — could have been written in Persian.
Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen's government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It's not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East.
In Syria, Iran's power is similarly rising. The mullahs rescued the reeling regime of Bashar al-Assad by sending in weapons, money and Iranian revolutionary guards, as well as by ordering their Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, to join the fight. They succeeded. The moderate rebels are in disarray, even as Assad lives in de facto coexistence with the Islamic State, which controls a large part of his country.
Iran's domination of Syria was further illustrated by a strange occurrence last Sunday in the Golan Heights. An Israeli helicopter attacked a convoy on the Syrian side of the armistice line. Those killed were not Syrian, however, but five Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and several Iranian officials, including a brigadier general.
What were they doing in the Syrian Golan Heights? Giving "crucial advice," announced the Iranian government. On what? Well, three days earlier, Hezbollah's leader had threatened an attack on Israel's Galilee. Tehran appears to be using its control of Syria and Hezbollah to create its very own front against Israel.
The Israelis can defeat any conventional attack. Not so the very rich, very weak Gulf Arabs. To the north and west, they see Iran creating a satellite "Shiite Crescent" stretching to the Mediterranean and consisting of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. To their south and west, they see Iran gaining proxy control of Yemen. And they are caught in the pincer.
The Saudis are fighting back the only way they can — with massive production of oil at a time of oversupply and collapsing prices, placing enormous economic pressure on Iran. It needs $136 oil to maintain its budget. The price today is below $50.
Yet the Obama administration appears to be ready to acquiesce to the new reality of Iranian domination of Syria. It has told the New York Times that it is essentially abandoning its proclaimed goal of removing Assad.
For the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs, this is a nightmare. They're engaged in a titanic regional struggle with Iran. And they are losing — losing Yemen, losing Lebanon, losing Syria and watching post-U.S.-withdrawal Iraq come under increasing Iranian domination.
The nightmare would be hugely compounded by Iran going nuclear. The Saudis were already stupefied that Washington conducted secret negotiations with Tehran behind their backs. And they can see where the current talks are headed — legitimizing Iran as a threshold nuclear state.
Which makes all the more incomprehensible President Obama's fierce opposition to Congress' offer to strengthen the American negotiating hand by passing sanctions to be triggered if Iran fails to agree to give up its nuclear program. After all, that was the understanding Obama gave Congress when he began these last-ditch negotiations in the first place.
Why are you parroting Tehran's talking points, Mr. President? asks Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Indeed, why are we endorsing Iran's claim that sanctions relief is the new norm? Obama assured the nation that sanctions relief was but a temporary concession to give last-minute, time-limited negotiations a chance.
Twice the deadline has come. Twice no new sanctions, just unconditional negotiating extensions.
Our regional allies — Saudi Arabia, the other five Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt and Israel — are deeply worried. Tehran is visibly on the march on the ground and openly on the march to nuclear status. And their one great ally, their strategic anchor for two generations, is acquiescing to both.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer012315.php3#Tq72OiGpB1z6LRhC.99
Obama's Doubly Deceitful SOTU
By David Limbaugh
It was an otherworldly experience to watch President Obama delivering his State of the Union speech. Even after watching him for seven years, I can't decide who the primary victim of his deceit is, him or us.
Is it even possible for this guy to extricate himself from campaign mode? Is there ever a time when he's not puffing his product? His incessant salesmanship would be bad enough if he truly had a stellar record.
If we give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is just self-deceived, then the culprits are probably his blinding ideology and his narcissism.
His ideology compels him to believe that his policies are working even when they're not, because even objective evidence demonstrating otherwise doesn't seem to register with him. And narcissism surely accounts for his navel-gazing tunnel vision that fools him into believing he's a bipartisan conciliator.
For him to hold himself out as a uniter and effusively praise himself for his economic and foreign policy record is surreal.
For years, we have heard his bipartisan rhetoric in one breath and, in the next, his threat that it will be his way or the highway. What honest and self-aware person could say he is ready to work with Republicans while blasting them as paid partisan hacks and threatening to veto anything they send to him that doesn't fully embrace his own imperial demands?
It's far easier for me to understand his dogmatism than to get my mind around his holding himself out as a uniter in the midst of it. It's either the highest form of sophisticated deceit (involving the lowest form of cynicism) or an alarming case of his residing in an impenetrable bubble where he hears only himself and those who agree with him.
If we don't give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he really knows his record doesn't square with his claims, I think we can still attribute his other-directed deceit to a combination of his ideology and his narcissism. He is so convinced that his primary goal of fundamentally changing the United States is imperative that he's willing to lie through his teeth to further that goal. And in his case, his narcissism insulates him from feeling any guilt at all about it.
Regardless of whether Obama is lying to himself, to us or both — and it's probably a great deal of both — his report card does not correspond to the objective facts, in a frightening number of ways.
Let's look at a few examples in this short space.
He briefly mentioned Obamacare — to brag about more people being covered by insurance. What he didn't tell us is that most of these gains were caused by an expansion of Medicaid, which historically delivers lower-quality care and reduced access to it — defeating the ostensible purposes of Obamacare. More importantly, most of Obamacare's nominal coverage expansion has been nullified by reductions in coverage for people with employer-based insurance.
He shamelessly took credit for an energy boom and lowering gas prices. These have occurred not because of his policies but in spite of them. Increases in production are because of more drilling on private and state land, not federal land. Energy produced from private-sector fracking — a practice he opposes — is also responsible for much of the increased productivity and lower prices.
Obama beamed about reducing the deficit, but as The Heritage Foundation reports, this is about the only time he'll be able to make that claim. That's because most of his prior deficits were horrendous and annual deficits over the next decade are projected to average almost $1 trillion. More disturbing, however, is that entitlements consume about half of our tax revenues and are projected to swallow 100 percent of revenues within 15 years. Yet Obama steadfastly obstructs entitlement reform.
Obama takes credit for a growing economy, but if the economy is finally growing — and the evidence is mixed — it's been a long time coming. His vaunted middle-class policies are not helping the middle class, which has suffered under his presidency. He has presided over the slowest recovery in 50 years. Plus, workers at the lower end of the pay scale have seen their average weekly hours dropping significantly — as opposed to higher-paid workers. Though he cites decreasing unemployment, he omits that most of the job gains are among part-time workers and that the unemployment numbers are further misleading because they ignore the enormous number of people who have quit the workforce altogether. The labor participation rate is at its lowest point in decades, and only a quarter of this can be attributed to a change in demographics.
Among his numerous misstatements on foreign policy, Obama would have us believe that Islamic jihad and al-Qaida are not significant enough problems even to warrant a mention. We have "turned the page." How can a president be so out of touch as to take this position when the Islamist terrorist threat is expanding and becoming deadlier?
By one metric, though, Obama has been the most successful president in our history: He is well on his way to fundamentally transforming this nation — for the worse.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh012315.php3#EVKd3IdZ0h2SLV80.99
An entitlement epidemic
By George Will
America's national character will have to be changed if progressives are going to implement their agenda. So, changing social norms is the progressive agenda. To understand how far this has advanced, and how difficult it will be to reverse the inculcation of dependency, consider the data Nicholas Eberstadt deploys in National Affairs quarterly:
America's welfare state transfers more than 14 percent of gross domestic product to recipients, with more than a third of Americans taking "need-based" payments. In our wealthy society, the government officially treats an unprecedented portion of the population as "needy."
Transfers of benefits to individuals through social welfare programs have increased from less than 1 federal dollar in 4 (24 percent) in 1963 to almost 3 out of 5 (59 percent) in 2013. In that half-century, entitlement payments were, Eberstadt says, America's "fastest growing source of personal income," growing twice as fast as all other real per capita personal income. It is probable that this year a majority of Americans will seek and receive payments.
This is not primarily because of Social Security and Medicare transfers to an aging population. Rather, the growth is overwhelmingly in means-tested entitlements. More than twice as many households receive "anti-poverty" benefits than receive Social Security or Medicare. Between 1983 and 2012, the population increased by almost 83 million — and people accepting means-tested benefits increased by 67 million. So, for every 100-person increase in the population there was an 80-person increase in the recipients of means-tested payments. Food stamp recipients increased from 19 million to 51 million — more than the combined populations of 24 states.
What has changed? Not the portion of the estimated population below the poverty line (15.2 percent in 1983; 15 percent in 2012). Rather, poverty programs have become untethered from the official designation of poverty: In 2012, more than half the recipients were not classified as poor but accepted being treated as needy. Expanding dependency requires erasing Americans' traditional distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor. This distinction was rooted in this nation's exceptional sense that poverty is not the unalterable accident of birth and is related to traditions of generosity arising from immigrant and settler experiences.
Eberstadt's essay, "American Exceptionalism and the Entitlement State," argues that this state is extinguishing the former. America "arrived late to the 20th century's entitlement party." The welfare state's European pedigree traces from post-1945 Britain, back through Sweden's interwar "social democracy," to Bismarck's late-19th-century social insurance. European welfare states reflected European beliefs about poverty: Rigid class structures rooted in a feudal past meant meager opportunities for upward mobility based on merit. People were thought to be stuck in neediness through no fault of their own, and welfare states would reconcile people to intractable social structures.
Eberstadt notes that the structure of U.S. government spending "has been completely overturned within living memory," resulting in the "remolding of daily life for ordinary Americans under the shadow of the entitlement state." In two generations, the American family budget has been recast: In 1963, entitlement transfers were less than $1 out of every $15; by 2012, they were more than $1 out of every $6.
Causation works both ways between the rapid increase in family disintegration (from 1964 to 2012, the percentage of children born to unmarried women increased from 7 to 41) and the fact that, Eberstadt says, for many women, children and even working-age men, "the entitlement state is now the breadwinner of the household." In the past 50 years, the fraction of civilian men ages 25 to 34 who were neither working nor looking for work approximately quadrupled.
Eberstadt believes that the entitlement state poses "character challenges" because it powerfully promotes certain habits, including habits of mind. These include corruption. Since 1970, Americans have become healthier, work has become less physically stressful, the workplace has become safer — and claims from Social Security Disability Insurance have increased almost sixfold. Such claims (including fraudulent ones) are gateways to a plethora of other payments.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a lifelong New Deal liberal and accomplished social scientist, warned that "the issue of welfare is not what it costs those who provide it but what it costs those who receive it." As a growing portion of the population succumbs to the entitlement state's ever-expanding menu of temptations, the costs, Eberstadt concludes, include a transformation of the nation's "political culture, sensibilities, and tradition," the weakening of America's distinctive "conceptions of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and self-advancement," and perhaps a "rending of the national fabric." As a result, "America today does not look exceptional at all."
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will012215.php3#pOTs1fjauJr7sZDS.99
Republicans Must Unify on Major Issues
By David Limbaugh
If we can't have a wholly unified Republican Party, can the GOP at least agree on some major issues that are essential to the Republican brand and, more importantly, help to get this country back on the right track?
If we can't come together on some of the basic issues that have always defined us, how do we effectively oppose President Obama's ongoing destructive agenda? How do we sell ourselves in 2016 as not just a plausible but an imperative alternative?
Part of our problem, especially in presidential races, is that too many among us are fearful that if they advocate truly conservative solutions, we'll be scorned by the media, the PC culture, the finger-wagging Democratic Party and the liberal establishment and lose elections. They simply don't believe in the power of our ideas anymore.
As President Obama is set to deliver his latest demagogic State of the Union address, which will launch the next year's worth of partisan warfare, we need to make a decision. Are we going to oppose him — really oppose his lawlessness and his anti-growth and anti-defense policies? Can't we all agree that Obamacare must be repealed? Are we going to put forth our positive ideas as if we really mean them?
Obama's perverse vision for fundamentally transforming America extends to all policy and cultural platforms — from foreign policy to domestic policy, including social issues, on which he works with community-organizing groups in the private sector, as well as issuing unconstitutional edicts from his public perch, to advance his "progressive" social vision for America.
Elsewhere on the domestic side, his plot for transformation is also multifaceted and complex. Though he has sometimes paid disingenuous lip service to believing in the free market, his actions betray his words. He offers nothing that evinces any belief in the power of the people to produce absent government superintendence or in rudimentary economic truths such as the fact that people respond positively to incentives and negatively to disincentives.
He views the economy as a fixed pie, with the only variable being how its pieces are distributed. The more he can gouge the "rich" and "upper middle class" and siphon off their wealth to "the middle class" and poor the better he has performed. When he says he wants to improve the lot of the middle class, he doesn't mean that he wants to implement policies that will lead to growth whereby the middle class will thrive; he wants to transfer payments from the wealthier, which he mistakenly claims would improve the relative lot of the less wealthy.
He is imposing his redistribution mania across the board, from his misnamed stimulus bill to health care to extending unemployment benefits and paid pregnancy leave to removing the work requirement from welfare reform to moving more and more people onto government programs, including food stamps. Some of his "innocuous" ideas are completely under the radar, such as his program for the government to subsidize students' after-school snacks and evening dinner, which reportedly feeds some 1 million children now. Where does this money come from?
In the meantime, he is planning ostensibly free community college for all Americans and, in his State of the Union speech, is going to propose another grandiose scheme to hike taxes on the "wealthy," to the tune of $320 billion, by increasing yet again their capital gains tax rates and closing their so-called tax loopholes. With Obama, you get this unmistakable sense that he is not just transferring resources in a misguided sense of compassion for the transferees but relishing in punishing the involuntary transferors.
What's tragically ironic about all this is that despite all Obama's professed concern about the middle class, most of his programs are killing the middle class, and his planned programs would make things even worse. Just this past weekend, Reuters published a sobering piece lamenting that "Obama enters the final two years of his presidency with a blemish on his legacy that looks impossible to erase: the decline of the middle class he has promised to rescue." Though Obama and his fellow liberals supposedly have good intentions, their policies often produce the exact opposite effect of what they promise. How can he possibly think he is enabling economic growth when he is demonizing the work ethic and glorifying idleness?
Obama simply can't escape from his zero-sum mindset to understand that we have a dynamic economy and that a lowering tide — caused by a war against the rich, productive, business, entrepreneurship and industry — sinks more boats and a rising tide lifts all boats.
Republicans, in unison, need to press for a full repeal of Obamacare and otherwise recapture and communicate their belief in the power of an unleashed free market to produce robust economic growth rather than compete with liberals in the phony-compassion department, which is futile. They need to make their compelling case for defending America. And above all, they need to graduate from their apparent fear that articulating conservative ideas would hurt them in the 2016 elections.
We can have vigorous internal debates over the other very important issues, as well, including immigration, but let's prove to the American people we represent a stark contrast from the status quo — that we are bullish on America and firmly believe that the American people have the resilience and readiness to resurrect themselves from this nightmare.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh012015.php3#rsvXDsZrDVDPEMsq.99
'Diversity' in Action
By Thomas Sowell
Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe, and European governments' counter-attacks are more than just a passing news story.
Europe is currently in the process of paying the price for years of importing millions of people from a culture hostile to the fundamental values of Western culture. And this is by no means the last of the installments of that price, to be paid in blood and lives, for smug elites' Utopian self-indulgences in moral preening and gushing with the magic word "diversity."
Generations yet unborn will still be paying the price, whether in large or small installments, depending on how long it takes for the West to jettison Utopianism and come to grips with reality.
Meanwhile, in the United States, no one seems to be drawing any lessons about the dangers of importing millions of people from fundamentally different cultures across our open border. In America, "diversity" has still not yet lost its magical ability to stop thought in its tracks and banish facts into the outer darkness.
Perhaps here, as in Europe, that verbal magic can only be washed away in the blood of innocent victims, many of them yet unborn.
To cross our open border with Mexico, you don't have to be Mexican or even from Central America. You can be from Iran, Syria or other hotbeds of Middle Eastern terrorism.
It is one of the monumental examples of political irresponsibility that the southern border has not been secured during administrations of either party, despite promises and posturing.
Many fine people have come here from Mexico. But, as with any other group, some are just the opposite. With open borders, however, we don't even know how many people who cross that border are Mexican, much less anything more relevant, like their education, diseases, criminal records or terrorist ties.
There are some politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — who just want to get the issue behind them, and are prepared to leave the consequences for others to deal with in the future, just as they are leaving a staggering national debt for others to deal with in the future.
These consequences include irreversible changes in the American population. Ethnic "leaders" and welfare state goodies guarantee the fragmentation of the population, with never-ending strife among the fragments. People who enter the country illegally will get, not only equal benefits with the American people who created those benefits, they will get more than many American citizens, thanks to affirmative action.
We cannot simply let in everyone who wants to come to America, or there will be no America to come to. Cultures matter — and not all cultures are mutually compatible, as Europeans are belatedly learning, the hard way. And "assimilation" is a dirty word to multiculturalists.
State and local officials who blithely violate their oath to uphold the law, and indulge themselves in the moral posturing of declaring their domains to be "sanctuaries" for people who entered the country illegally, are unlikely to reconsider until disastrous consequences become far too big to ignore — which is to say, until it is too late.
Meanwhile, harsh punishments are reserved for people in business who fail to carry out the law-enforcement duties that elected officials openly declare they are not going to carry out.
To many in the media, the only question seems to be whether we are going to be "mean-spirited" toward people who want to come here — especially children who were brought here, or sent here, "through no fault of their own."
It is as if those children had some pre-existing right to be in the United States, which they could lose only if they did something bad themselves. But those children had no more right to be here than children in India, Africa or other places with millions of children living in poverty.
Surely we can think ahead enough to realize that children living in this country illegally are going to grow up and have children of their own, with cultures and values of their own — and ethnic "leaders" to promote discontent and hostility if they don't get as good results as people who have the prevailing American culture, beginning with the English language.
You can't wish that away by saying the magic word "diversity" — not after we have seen what "diversity" has led to in Europe.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell012115.php3#Ky4FBFsBmiurByAB.99
Obama to Further Tighten the Noose on 'Big Awl'
By David Limbaugh
I am guessing you don't know one of the major things President Obama was doing while snubbing France and world leaders who convened in Paris to express solidarity in the civilized world's war against radical Islamic terrorism.
I assure you it was something close to his heart — as opposed to fighting Islamic jihad. It was something that will thrill the anti-business, anti-energy extreme environmentalists but will not warm the hearts of American businesses and energy producers, and it is not good news for America's currently overhyped economy.
Yes, you heard me right; despite all the faux euphoria projected by the administration and the media, this economy is not bouncing back. According to Gallup CEO Jim Clifton, for the first time in 35 years, the United States is no longer first but 12th (12th!) among developed nations in business startup activity. More businesses are closing than opening. Four hundred thousand businesses are being born each year in America, but some 470,000 are closing. That's because America, under this president, is a business-hostile zone.
What is President Obama planning on doing about this disturbing problem? Two things. First, he will deny the problem even exists as he continues to fraudulently proclaim that America's businesses are smoking-hot. Second, he will exacerbate the problem with yet new business-killing, energy-killing lawless executive regulations honoring earth goddess Gaia with an involuntary sacrificial offering from the American energy industry. His regulations will dramatically cut methane emissions over the next decade.
Based on his record in office and his continuing with these new regulations, it's hard to tell whether he's more motivated by his allegiance to environmental cultism or a visceral aversion to business. Or perhaps those interests are so interlocked that we needn't quibble over which is dominant on Obama's priority list.
Obama's fellow pseudo-scientists, convinced that methane — the primary component of natural gas — traps heat in the atmosphere even more than carbon dioxide, are determined to target it to prevent global warming, I mean climate change. The regulations will require the oil and gas industry (which leftist enviro-wackos regard as double evil because they are both "big awl" and "big bidness") to cut methane emissions by between 40 and 45 percent by 2025.
But not to worry; the implementation and monitoring of these draconian regulations will be quarterbacked by the power-mad, self-righteous and unaccountable Environmental Protection Agency. What could go wrong?
What the administration isn't telling us is that regardless of how efficient methane is at trapping heat in the atmosphere, there is far less of it in the atmosphere than the evil, dreaded carbon dioxide. What the administration also forgets to emphasize, though it is on record acknowledging it, is that methane admissions have already been reduced by more than 16 percent since 1990, even though natural gas production has risen by 37 percent during that time period. One might think that a priorities-balanced administration would be a bit more concerned with the current rise of Islamic jihad than with the significant and demonstrable decline of methane emissions, but here I go digressing again.
Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, said: "EPA's proposed methane regulation is redundant, costly and unnecessary. Energy producers are already reducing methane emissions because methane is a valuable commodity. It would be like issuing regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream."
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, were more pointed in their criticism. "Studies show that while our energy production has significantly increased, methane emissions have continued to decline," they said in a statement. "This is something that should be celebrated, not bound by new red tape. Our success has been — and should continue to be — rooted in new efficiencies created through technology and innovation, a commitment to continued safety enhancements, and greater permitting certainty."
American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard noted that these new regulations threaten to shut down energy development by raising costs on producers.
You would think that a president who is always urging others to compromise and work together might at least pretend to be conciliatory on these energy issues, especially after he has been so duplicitously destructive in opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But you would be wrong. It's as if Obama rejoices in provoking the newly elected Republican congressional majority.
Instead of trying to justify why these new regulations are even needed — and in any event how they could be needed urgently enough to justify the damage they will do to the energy industry and the economy — the White House simply expects us to accept its "Twilight Zone" version of reality. Actually, according to the administration, these new regulations will benefit the economy.
Isn't it wonderful to have a pro-business president who is staying so focused on the rising global threat of radical jihad?
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh011615.php3#PJFYPmqwmLbbW8wZ.99
As long as Obama brought up the cost of college ...
By Ann Coulter
I gather from Obama's "free" community college proposal that his plan for dealing with the Republican Congress over the next two years is to throw out ridiculously expensive ideas no one has ever heard of before, and then denounce Republicans for being naysayers.
Community college is already incredibly inexpensive. The only thing that will jack up the price is making it "free." How about a big federal program to provide every American with free toilet paper? Coincidentally, that's about all most college degrees are good for these days.
Obama's moronic proposal has presented the GOP with a fantastic opportunity. Since he brought it up, how about Republicans get to the bottom of why college is so expensive?
The cost of a college education has increased by more than 1,000 percent only since 1978. Nothing else has gone up that much -- not health care, consumer goods or home prices. The explosion in college tuition bears no relation to anything happening in the economy.
Would anyone argue that colleges are providing a better education today than in 1978? I promise you: People coming out of college in the '50s knew more than any recent Yale graduate -- unless we're only counting knowledge of sexual practices once considered verboten.
They're teaching gender studies, ethnic studies, moral equivalence and hatred of America. Did the Japanese Really Start World War II or Did We? It's worse than not reading Shakespeare. They're reading Shakespeare for homosexual imagery. As Yale professor Daniel Gelernter says, colleges are "threatening to become an elaborate, extremely expensive practical joke."
The fact that 80 percent of Weathermen -- the violent '60s radicals -- are full college professors tells you all you need to know about the state of higher education today.
The cost of college spirals continuously upward not because the product has gotten better -- it's gotten much, much worse -- but because college loans are backed by the taxpayer.
The government is chasing its tail every time it increases student financial aid. If the government hiked college loans and subsidies by $1 million per student, colleges would promptly raise tuition to: [current tuition] plus $1 million.
Americans are being bamboozled into paying any price for a college degree because they are relentlessly told that if they don't go to college, their lives will be hell. And they're told this not only by the colleges, but by the government.
The sales pitch is manifestly false. According to an article by Adam Davidson in The New York Times magazine last June,
"(m)ore than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they make substandard wages in jobs that don't require a college degree." Evidently, most jobs don't depend on a degree in women's studies.
More than a third of college graduates, Davidson says, will never make enough money to repay their student loans.
If any other business made such false claims about a product, there would be massive congressional hearings, media denunciations and prison sentences for the CEOs. A college degree is the most expensive purchase most families will ever make, other than their home.
Right before our eyes, Democrats are colluding with colleges to create a market bubble for an increasingly worthless product, and they're doing it by making the exact same promise that banks made about home mortgages before the housing market crash: Sure it's a lot, but it's an investment in your future!
Instead of hauling college administrators to court, Democrats are active participants in the fraud, acting as Big Education's carnival barkers. It's as if the government is telling people: "If you don't smoke, you'll never be cool."
Why is the left not willing to admit that education is an industry, just like Lockheed Martin, Enron or Philip Morris? Democrats love to rail about the high costs of everything else -- pharmaceuticals, health care, mortgages, missile systems, contraception and so on. College is a business, too -- a cartel that fixes prices, preys on teenagers and lies to consumers.
But liberals won't make a peep about the College Industrial Complex because college professors are brainwashing students into leftist politics. Every year, another 10 million graduates emerge, hating God, their parents, America and Republicans. For this, parents are spending $50,000 a year.
The education industry is how leftists make capitalists pay for socialism. It was a smart move for cultural Marxists to capture the country's education establishment. GOOD THINKING, CULTURAL MARXISTS!
It's not the fault of the students that they're getting a crappy product at inflated prices. They've been lied to by shady education peddlers, including the Democratic Party.
Let's see if the middle class is more interested in the cost of college tuition or the Democrats' endless global warming initiatives.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/coulter011515.php3#GSjOZQqtyTgouL6t.9
The Better Option
By John Stossel
It's easy to "fire" a business that rips you off. Just go to a different one. It's a lot easier to patronize another business than to get government to fix the problem.
But bad businesses and the politicians they own, I mean influence, often don't want you to have that choice.
I've written about how taxi companies don't like competition from ride-sharing services like Uber. Taxi companies, rightly, say it's unfair that they have to obey all kinds of rules and get complicated licenses that Uber drivers don't get.
Rather than getting rid of the excessive regulations, many local politicians just say that new competition is "unfair" and ban ride-hailing services. They've banned Uber in places like Thailand, Spain, Nevada and Massachusetts.
But customers like ride-hailing services. Uber is a multi-billion dollar business -- despite being banned and despite Uber executives doing some sleazy things.
Government claims we need all its regulations to keep us from being ripped off. But their endless rules don't stop rip-offs. For years, Las Vegas tourists have complained that cabbies cheat them by taking them to the strip via a roundabout route. Undercover cops ran tests and found that one in three Vegas taxis break the rules.
Firefox founder Blake Ross blogged about this after a cabby ripped him off.
Government responded to this problem as governments usually do. It issued complex rules and warnings. Ross calls it a five-part plan:
• Plan A: people with guns. "Uniformed cops stopped occupied cabs at random and offered to prosecute drivers who were taking inefficient routes ... slowing you down to make sure your driver isn't slowing you down."
But that didn't work. The authorities' chief investigator said only three passengers pressed complaints: "They just wanted to get to their hotels." Duh. Tourists didn't want to spend their vacation in court over a $10 rip-off.
• Plan B: big signs.
"Each sign," writes Ross, "enumerates the proper taxi fares for every conceivable trip ... using approximately twice as many words as it took Ronald Reagan to tear down the Berlin Wall."
And more time. It took the taxicab authority two years to put up the signs. "All things take time in government," said the administrator. The signs didn't stop the cheating.
• So government implemented Plan C: a big online spreadsheet listing bad drivers. That didn't work either.
• On to Plan D: a PDF. Bureaucrats love PDF's. Las Vegas asks you to print out a witness statement for people who have been taken on an overly long route and "complete the sworn affidavit in view of a public notary."
I like how Ross sums up plan D. Just carry "a desktop computer, a printer, envelopes, stamps, a fax machine [and] notary ... note the driver's full name, permit number and physical appearance. If you don't have this information memorized for some reason, just ask the driver while you're locked in the car with him ... explain that you're trying to have him fired."
Ross actually bothered to try out the government's complaint system when he was ripped off, but he never heard back from any Vegas official. That's how government consumer protection typically operates.
• Finally, Plan E: The Nevada Taxicab Authority "convened a committee." The committee, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, will "draw up guidelines ... for a software ... package designed to let the authority track cab movements."
Nevada estimates that this will cost about $6 million per year, writes Ross, "and you'll pay for this through an increase in your taxi fares, which are already about double the price of an UberX ride. "
But Uber already has a solution if drivers cheat: On the Uber app, customers give that driver just one star. Within hours, Uber adjusts your fare. If the driver scams people again, he's fired.
Simple. Better. That's the free market.
But Vegas officials kicked the company out of town.
Government is force. Government can always win, even when it's wrong.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0115/stossel011415.php3#bcodgPwLDt026FcQ.99
Notice when otherwise outspoken Obama suddenly becomes muted, mealy-mouthed?
By Charles Krauthammer
On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as the New York Times put it, "reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities."
Again? Already? Had not 4 million marchers and 44 foreign leaders just turned out on the streets of France to declare "No" to intimidation, and pledging solidarity, indeed identification ("Je suis Charlie") with a satirical weekly specializing in the most outrageous and often tasteless portrayals of Muhammad? And yet, within 48 hours, the new Charlie Hebdo issue featuring the image of Muhammad — albeit a sorrowful, indeed sympathetic Muhammad — sparked new protests, denunciations and threats of violence, which in turn evinced another round of doubt and self-flagellation in the West about the propriety and limits of free expression. Hopeless.
As for President Obama, he never was Charlie, not even for those 48 hours. From the day of the massacre, he has been practically invisible. At the interstices of various political rallies, he issued bits of muted, mealy-mouthed boilerplate. Followed by the now-famous absence of any high-ranking U.S. official at the Paris rally, an abdication of moral and political leadership for which the White House has already admitted error.
But this was no mere error of judgment or optics or, most absurdly, of communications in which we are supposed to believe that the president was not informed by staff about the magnitude, both actual and symbolic, of the demonstration he ignored. (He needed to be told?)
On the contrary, the no-show, following the near silence, precisely reflected the president's profound ambivalence about the very idea of the war on terror. Obama began his administration by purging the phrase from the lexicon of official Washington. He has ever since shuttled between saying that (a) the war must end because of the damage "keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing" was doing to us, and (b) the war has already ended, as he suggested repeatedly during the 2012 campaign, with bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda "on the run."
Hence his call in a major address at the National Defense University to "refine and ultimately repeal" Congress' 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, the very legal basis for the war on terror. Hencehisaccelerating release of Gitmo inmates — five more announced Wednesday — fully knowing that up to 30 percent have returned to the battlefield (17 percent confirmed, up to 12 percent suspected but not verified). Which is why, since about the Neolithic era, POWs tend to be released after a war is over.
Paris shows that this war is not. On the contrary. As it rages, it is entering an ominous third phase.
The first, circa 9/11, involved sending Middle Eastern terrorists abroad to attack the infidel West.
Then came the lone wolf — local individuals inspired by foreign jihadists launching one-off attacks, as seen most recently in Quebec, Ottawa and Sydney.
Paris marks Phase 3: coordinated commando strikes by homegrown native-speaking Islamists activated and instructed from abroad. (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo killings, while the kosher-grocery shooter proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State.) They develop and flourish in Europe's no-go zones where sharia reigns and legitimate state authorities dare not tread.
To call them lone wolves, as did our hapless attorney general, is to define jihadism down. It makes them the equivalent of the pitiable, mentally unstable Sydney hostage taker.
The Paris killers were well-trained, thoroughly radicalized, clear-eyed jihadist warriors. They cannot be dismissed as lone loons. Worse, they represent a growing generation of alienated European Muslims whose sheer number is approaching critical mass.
The war on terror 2015 is at a new phase with a new geography. At the core are parallel would-be caliphates: in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State; in Sub-Saharan Africa, now spilling out of Nigeria into Cameroon, a near-sovereign Boko Haram; in the badlands of Yemen, AQAP, the most dangerous of all al-Qaeda affiliates. And beyond lie not just a cast of mini-caliphates embedded in the most ungovernable parts of the Third World from Libya to Somalia to the borderlands of Pakistan, but an archipelago of no-go Islamist islands embedded in the heart of Europe.
This is serious. In both size and reach it is growing. Our president will not say it. Fine. But does he even see it?
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer011615.php3#o9UsLBTUr2S6qXzl.99
By Walter Williams
"Whether one is a conservative or a radical, a protectionist or a free trader, a cosmopolitan or a nationalist, a churchman or a heathen, it is useful to know the causes and consequences of economic phenomena." That quotation, from Nobel laureate George J. Stigler, is how Dr. Thomas Sowell begins the fifth edition of "Basic Economics." It's a book that explains complex economic phenomena in a way that many economists cannot. And, I might add, it provides an understanding of some economic phenomena that might prove elusive to a Ph.D. economist.
(Buy it at 34% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition for 43% discount by clicking here)
"Basic Economics" is a 653-page book, not including the index. One doesn't have to start reading it at the beginning. Near the book's end, there's a section titled "Questions," and it points the reader to answers. How about this question: How can the prices of baseball bats be affected by the demand for paper or the prices of catcher's mitts be affected by the demand for cheese? Another question easily answered is: Why would luxury hotels be charging lower rates than economy hotels in the same city? Then there's: Can government-imposed prices for medical care reduce the cost of that care? I'm not going to give the answers away; you'll have to read the book. The bottom line is that an understanding of material contained in "Basic Economics" would prevent us from falling easy prey to charlatans, hustlers and quacks.
Sowell points out that the most basic thing that can be said about economics is that we live in a world of scarcity. That means — whether our policies, practices and institutions are wise or unwise, noble or ignoble — there is never enough of anything to satisfy all of our desires. What are sometimes called "unmet needs" are inherent to any society, whether it's capitalist, socialist, feudal or any other kind of society.
Economics is not just about goods and services that we enjoy as consumers. It's more fundamentally about productivity — that is, how the use of land, labor, capital and other inputs that go into producing the volume of output determines a nation's wealth. Decisions about how to use those inputs may be more important than the resources themselves. There are countries, such as Japan and Switzerland, that have far greater wealth than countries — for example, Uruguay and Venezuela — that are far richer in natural resources.
I would add as an aside to Sowell's discussion that the human mind is the ultimate resource. I've asked students why it was that George Washington didn't have guided missiles with which to pummel the British or a cellphone to communicate with his troops. After all, the physical resources that are necessary to make missiles and cellphones were around at the time. In fact, the physical resources were also around at the time of the caveman. What wasn't around was the ingenuity from the human mind to make missiles and cellphones.
One part of Sowell's introductory chapter deals with the role of economics. A popular misconception is that economics is about opinions, running a business or the ups and downs of stock markets. Economics is a systematic study of cause and effect, showing what happens when you do specific things in specific ways. The path to understanding outcomes is to examine consequences of decisions in terms of incentives they create rather than goals they pursue.
Paying attention to goals rather than incentives has been responsible for disastrous public policy. The minimum wage law is one example. Its goal is to provide "living wages." It creates incentives for employers to reduce and seek substitutes for labor and thereby causes unemployment for some workers. Rent control laws are enacted to provide "affordable housing." They provide incentives for landlords to convert apartments to condominiums, create black markets and reduce housing construction in rent-controlled areas.
The fact that Sowell's "Basic Economics" has been translated into seven different languages speaks well of its usefulness in transmitting fundamental economic understanding. Reading it can benefit ordinary people, as well as Ph.D. economists.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams011415.php3#DbBxyJ6TxMJek2Ek.99
New Year's Irresolution
By Thomas Sowell
President Barack Obama's absence from the great gathering in Paris of national leaders from other countries, to show their solidarity with France in its opposition to Islamic terrorists, was another sign of the Obama administration's continuing irresolution in the face of terror.
Even the recent courageous message of Egypt's president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, calling on his fellow Muslims around the world to "revolutionize" the interpretation of Islam, to make it more compatible with peaceful relations with other peoples, put no steel in the spine of Barack Obama.
From his earliest days in the White House, our president has downplayed the terrorist threat from Islamic extremists. He declared victory as he pulled American troops out of Iraq, setting the stage for a huge defeat when ISIS moved in to create their own new government, on both Iraqi and Syrian soil — while committing atrocities against men, women and children not seen since the days of the Nazis.
Undaunted, President Obama has since reaffirmed his determination to similarly pull American troops out of Afghanistan, with a similar declaration that they are no longer needed. He proceeds as if he can declare a war over when it suits the political convenience of his administration.
But a war is not over until the enemy stops fighting. The terrorist enemies of Iraq and Afghanistan are enemies of the United States as well. ISIS has left no doubt of that by beheading Americans and spreading the videotapes of these beheadings for the enjoyment of like-minded people in the Middle East and beyond.
Not even the movement of the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism — Iran — toward building a nuclear bomb has caused the Obama administration to change its vision of the world. For Obama, the question has never been how to stop Iran from going nuclear, but how to stop Israel from stopping Iran from going nuclear.
He has accomplished that by public declarations of support for Israel, while engaging in protracted negotiations with Iran that serve only to allow Iran to fortify and proliferate the sites of its nuclear facilities, to the point where Israel's bombers may no longer be able to destroy those facilities.
At one time, information was leaked that Israel had a secret arrangement with Azerbaijan for Israeli bombers to land there and refuel on their way back from bombing Iran's nuclear facilities.
It is doubtful if anyone in the Obama administration would have dared to leak Israel's military secrets without knowing that it was all right with the president. Since it is unlikely that very many people in the White House had this information, the leaker's identity could hardly have remained secret from the president.
Barack Obama cannot be unaware of the consequences of these and other foreign policy decisions that undermine the security of America and America's allies. He is not stupid, nor is there any reason to believe that he is cowardly.
Instead, there is a remarkable consistency between Obama's domestic policies and his foreign policies on both economic and military matters. It was a sign of this consistency that he was proposing to have the taxpayers pay for free community college education while everyone else was focused on the terror attacks in Paris.
Barack Obama's vision of the world, both at home and abroad, is one in which some people and nations are undeservedly far better off than others in many ways.
In the Obama view of the world, those who are undeservedly thriving ("You didn't build that!") are to be forced to pay for benefits to those who are not thriving, whether the latter are people on welfare, community college students or immigrants from poorer nations, who are to be let into the United States to take a share of Americans' prosperity.
On the international stage, it is the same principle, where the problem is seen as Western nations being undeservedly better off than other nations, both economically and in terms of greater military power. Here too, Obama is for redistribution, even at the expense of his own country — if someone with such a "citizen of the world" viewpoint really thinks of America as his country, rather than a staging area for his world-changing, ideologically-driven crusades.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell011315.php3#zrCocTRSmQR7sKU6.99
Obama Handcuffs America in War on Terrorism
By David Limbaugh
In the wake of President Obama's pathetic disengagement over the Islamic jihadist attacks on Paris, people are once again decrying his lack of leadership, but the problem is something more fundamental than leadership.
Even if Obama were a gifted leader, when it comes to many issues, especially confronting radical Islam, he wouldn't know where to lead us. If you misapprehend a problem, you can't possibly navigate, much less lead, toward a solution.
From the beginning of his term in office, Obama has evidenced a deep moral confusion, a distorted worldview perhaps based on a bizarre upbringing. It's not that he doesn't distinguish between good and evil; it's that he often doesn't clearly recognize which is which.
He professes to be a Christian, yet his behavior screams otherwise. Even if he actually is a Christian, he undeniably has a nostalgic attraction and sympathy for Islam, which, among other things, obscures his grasp of the enormity of the threat the world faces from Islamists.
His approach to combating Islamic terrorism is first to downplay its existence and pervasiveness. Beyond that, it is obvious he rejects the idea that there is anything inherent to Islam that leads to radicalism and violence.
Like many of his fellow leftists, he believes Islamic radicalism is a result of historical abuses of Muslims, poverty caused by an inequitable distribution of the world's resources, and some kind of mutual irrational distrust between Islam and the Western world.
From the very beginning of his term, with his speech in Cairo and otherwise, he has shown he believes that Westerners are perhaps the main problem. He has lectured us for what he thinks is our distorted perception of Islam and has labored to rehabilitate the image of this religion. Do you remember him doing likewise for the Christian religion or for Christians? Or instead, do you remember his bitter-clingers slander?
He has carried his attitude on this well beyond rhetoric and into governance. At the highest levels of his executive infrastructure, he has directed that we change the way we think and speak about jihad, radical Islam and Islamic terrorism. He has encouraged the federal vernacular to be changed to sanitize references to Islam from our description of acts of terrorism — even those that are unquestionably committed by Islamic terrorists.
This political-correctness lunacy has had real consequences, such as handcuffing the federal government and preventing it from thoroughly investigating and monitoring the suspicious contacts and actions of Nidal Hasan, a U.S. army major and psychiatrist who fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others in the Fort Hood shootings of 2009.
This attitude has continued right into the present, as Attorney General Eric Holder — curiously designated to be Obama's representative on the Paris attacks — stubbornly refuses to call out these attackers for who they are and what they represent.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls pulled no punches in identifying the culprits and declaring, unambiguously, that France is at war against radical Islam. "It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity," said Valls. "Our indignation must be clear, total and last longer than three days. It must be permanent."
When pressed by NBC's Chuck Todd and ABC's George Stephanopoulos to embrace Valls' declaration, Holder conspicuously, fecklessly and disgracefully demurred. Holder said: "I would say that we are at war with terrorists who commit these heinous acts and who use Islam. They use a corrupted version of Islam to justify their actions." But he wouldn't say we are at war with radical Islam. He and Obama prefer to call radical jihadis "extremists," wholly omitting any reference to Islam or Islamism. Obama, as distinguished from every other Western leader, will not say Islamic terrorists made these attacks.
Even Democratic commentator Doug Schoen has had enough. He wrote: "To speak about the most serious terrorist attack on Western soil since 9/11, London and Madrid, in between speeches about his free community college plan demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding for the gravity of the situation in Paris and, indeed, the world. ... (Obama's) words ... came off as inauthentic at best and offensive at worst. ... We are at war with radical Islam. And President Obama needs to say it."
Lest you think this is merely a semantic quibble, please explain why President Obama refused to attend the Sunday march of world leaders in Paris, in which more than 40 European leaders and almost every French official joined in solidarity for a massive unity rally against the attacks and against radical Islam. Explain why he didn't at least send in his place Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry. Moreover, explain why Holder was an outright no-show for the event.
Obama spends more time downplaying and denying Islamic terrorism and releasing dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo Bay than he does leading this nation in a war against it. That's because he is not committed to a war against it — and for another two years, he will be our commander in chief. God help us all.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh011315.php3#yQAOSRHf2FHdmuHk.99
Lamenting Liberty Lost: What an outsider grasps
By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
A British author, residing in the United States for the past 30 years, created a small firestorm earlier this week with his candid observations that modern-day Americans have been duped by the government into accepting a European-style march toward socialism because we fail to appreciate the rich legacy of personal liberty that is everyone's birthright and is expressly articulated in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Os Guinness, the author of more than a dozen books defending traditional Judeo-Christian values and Jeffersonian personal liberty, argued that we should embrace individual liberty and personal dignity and reject the "no givens, no rules, no limits" government we now have. He went on to opine that the government today is not the constitutionally restrained protector of personal freedoms the Framers left us, but rather has become the wealth-distributing protector of collective interests the Founding Fathers never could have imagined.
Yet the problem is a deep one. The Framers believed in the presumption of liberty, which declares that we are free to make personal choices, and the government cannot interfere with our liberties unless we violate the rights of others. Stated differently, the federal government cannot interfere with our personal choices by writing any law it wants; it can only regulate behavior or spend money when the Constitution authorizes it to do so.
However, for the past 100 years, the federal government has rejected the Madisonian concept that it is limited to the 16 discrete powers the Constitution delegates to it, and has claimed its powers are unlimited, subject only to the express prohibitions in the Constitution. Even those prohibitions can be circumvented since government lawyers have persuaded federal courts to rule that Congress can spend tax dollars or borrowed money on any projects it wishes, whether authorized by the Constitution or not. The courts have even authorized Congress to use federal tax dollars to bribe the states into enacting laws that Congress is powerless to enact, and Congress has done so.
The Declaration of Independence defines our personal liberties as inalienable aspects of our humanity, and the Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with those liberties — such as thought, speech, press, association, worship, self-defense, travel, privacy, due process, use of money and private property, to name a few.
The teaching of these founding documents is that our liberties are natural — their source is not the government — and they are personal, not collective. We don't need a government permission slip to exercise them; we don't need to belong to a group to enjoy them; they cannot be taken away by a congressional vote or a presidential signature.
Even though everyone who works for the government takes an oath to uphold the Declaration and the Constitution, very few are consistent with what they have sworn to do. We know that because on the transcendental issues of our day — life, liberty, war and debt — the leadership of both political parties and the behavior of all modern presidents have revealed a steadfast willingness to write any law and regulate any behavior or permit any evil, whether authorized by the Constitution or not.
Take life. Abortion is the most deadly force in America today. Abortions lawfully kill a baby every minute — that's 1.1 million babies a year and 45 million killed since the Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. A simple one-line statute — "The fetus in the womb is a legal person" — could have been enacted by a simple majority vote in Congress and signed into law by any of our so-called pro-life presidents, thus stopping the slaughter. It never happened.
Take liberty. Both parties support the Patriot Act and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act apparatus, which together invade privacy, infringe upon free speech, permit federal agents to write their own search warrants and allow domestic spying on all of us all the time. This demonstrates that our political leaders do not believe that our rights are inalienable, but can be interfered with and regulated by them. They have written laws that literally permit federal agents to undertake the very acts the Constitution was written to prohibit.
Take the lethal combination of war and debt. Both parties support perpetual war and perpetual debt. The leadership of both parties has permitted every modern president to kill whomever he pleases in foreign countries without lawful declarations of war and to do so by going into a $17 trillion hole of debt, with no end in sight. Today, 20 cents of every tax dollar collected goes to interest on pre-existing government debt. Today's taxpayers are still paying interest on the $30 billion Woodrow Wilson borrowed to finance World War I in 1917.
The British author is correct. Unless we have a radical change in the direction of government — its size, cost, focus, intrusiveness and rejection of first principles — and unless we elect people to the government who truly believe the Declaration and the Constitution mean what they say, we will continue our march toward the federal destruction of the presumption of liberty.
It is a slow march, but a steady one.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0115/napolitano010815.php3#2hBC8Z1GXS0RtVxr.99
Jeb Bush: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Waterboy
By Michelle Malkin
Allow me to unite America's left, right and center in just three words: No, Jeb, No.
Former GOP Florida governor Jeb Bush made the obvious official this week when he announced on Facebook that he's "actively exploring" a 2016 White House run. Of course, he's running. That's what inveterate politicians do.
Well, I hate to break it to Jeb Inc. There's no popular groundswell for Bush Part III. None, zip, nada. Independents, progressives and conservatives are all weary of the entrenched bipartisan dynasties that rule Washington and ruin America. Only in the hallowed bubble of D.C. and New York City elites does a Jeb Bush presidential bid make any sense.
Jeb's indulgent (and ultimately doomed) enterprise has three privileged constituencies: Big Business, Big Government and Big Media. This iron triumvirate explains how the failed campaigns of so-called "pragmatic," "thoughtful" and "moooooderate" liberal Republican candidates such as John McCain, Jon Huntsman and Bob Dole ever got off the ground. The "Reasonable Republican," anointed and enabled by the statist Big Three, serves as a useful tool for bashing conservatives and marginalizing conservatism.
For Republicans who argue that Jeb is the most "electable" choice, I ask: What planet are you on? After two disastrous terms of Barack Obama's Hope and Change Theater, the last thing the Republican Party needs is an establishment poster child for Washington business as usual. I mean, really? A third Bush who's been working for his dad, his dad's friends or the government since 1980?
A Beltway-ensconced scion so chummy with the Clinton family that he awarded close family friend — and potential 2016 nemesis — Hillary a "Liberty Medal" last year as chairman of the National Constitution Center?
That's the GOP donor bigwigs' "fresh idea" for "American Renewal?"
To blunt criticism from the grassroots base on the right, Jeb's cheerleaders at the Wall Street Journal cite his "conservative" gubernatorial record of cutting taxes and privatizing jobs. So we're supposed to swoon when a GOP governor acts like he's supposed to act on standard, bread-and-butter GOP issues? Whoop-de-doo.
One thing Jeb's promoters won't be emphasizing: Over the course of his eight years in the Florida governor's mansion, government spending skyrocketed. The libertarian Cato Institute notes that Florida general fund spending "increased from $18.0 billion to $28.2 billion during those eight years, or 57 percent" and that "(t)otal state spending increased from $45.6 billion to $66.1 billion, or 45 percent."
Like big-spending father, like big-spending big brother, like big-spending second son and lil' brother.
I have another interpretation of Bush's "conservative" Florida years: It's called biding his time. Yes, Jeb put in his obligatorily GOP service on taxes and the Second Amendment. Not because he was wedded to deep-rooted principles, mind you. But because the "conservative" facade will come in handy during the primaries when he has to defend radical, divisive positions on his two defining national policy issues: Education and immigration.
Jeb Bush's agenda is neither left nor right. His agenda is the agenda of the D.C. headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Remember: The chamber is a politically entrenched synod of bipartisan special interests. As I've said before, these fat cats do not represent the best interests of American entrepreneurs, American workers, American parents and students or Americans of any race, class or age who believe in low taxes and limited government.
The chamber's business is the big business of the Beltway, not the business of mainstream America. And so is Jeb Bush's.
The Chamber supports mass amnesty for cheap, illegal alien workers. Jeb Bush supports mass legalization of cheap, illegal alien workers and accuses those of us who oppose it on constitutional, sovereignty, security and fairness grounds of lacking "compassion."
The Chamber supports the top-down, privacy-undermining, local autonomy-sabotaging Common Core racket. Jeb Bush spearheaded and profited from Common Core — and accuses those of us who oppose it of opposing academic excellence for our own children. Jeb's problem isn't just Common Core. It's that he has no core. Instead of retreating from the costly federalized scheme that has alienated teachers, administrators and parents of all backgrounds, Bush has doubled down with his Fed Ed control freak allies and corporate donors.
The reign of Obama ushered in massive cronyism, corporate favoritism and Boomtown boondoggles galore. We've lived too long already under the boot of arrogant D.C. bureaucrats who've exploited their power to serve their friends.
No more business as usual: Stop Jeb Bush.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin121714.php3#DTuwYMVBXEKQwFJY.99
The US Constitution and Religious Liberty
By David Limbaugh
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a fascinating op-ed by William A. Galston, "The Christian Heart of American Exceptionalism," much of which I agree with but some of which I don't.
Galston argues that the idea of American exceptionalism should not be discounted and that its primary source is the "durability of American religious belief" — mostly Christianity. Bravo.
This will doubtlessly come as a shock to zealots for the blurry concept of multiculturalism, which on its face dictates that all cultures are equal and that all who disagree with the notion are more or less bigoted. At a deeper level, the concept is actually rooted in resentment toward Western and American culture.
But Galston's piece essentially argues that all cultures aren't equal and that those grounded in the Christian faith produce the healthiest and most prosperous societies. He doesn't say that exactly, but I think it's a reasonable inference from his words. He does say, "The durability of American religious belief refutes the once-canonical thesis that modernization and secularization necessarily go hand in hand."
I believe this is demonstrably true and very important, but I want to focus on a separate, though related, point Galston goes on to make.
He writes that the durability of American religious belief "is all the more remarkable because our Founders drafted a deliberately secular constitution," though he admits that the majority of the states had established religions at the time (1789) and that the American people were pervasively Christian.
I don't want to get hung up on semantics here, but I think the term "deliberately secular constitution" is unintentionally misleading. It is true that the Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office, which Galston points out, but let's not stop there.
The freedom of religion and the freedom of religious worship were of such paramount importance to the Framers that they guaranteed them in the very first two clauses of the very first amendment to the Constitution, the establishment clause and the free exercise clause.
Because activist courts throughout our history have distorted the original understanding of the establishment clause, it must be emphasized that it does not mandate a strict separation of church and state; it does not prohibit all federal support of religion; it does not apply to the states at all; and the driving force behind it was a consensual dedication to the idea that the federal government should not establish a national church — because to do so would diminish religious liberty. The free exercise clause, by its very terms, expressly guarantees the freedom of worship.
So though the Constitution prohibits the formal establishment of one predominant national church or religion, it is not proactively secular and is aggressively protective of religious liberty, an idea that is inherent in the document.
There's much more. Though historians disagree on the point, I believe that the overwhelming majority of the Framers and the larger group of the Founding Fathers were Christian, with notable exceptions. I believe that their Christian worldview led to much of the uniqueness of the Constitution, especially those provisions most critical to safeguarding our political and religious liberties.
The idea of unalienable rights flows from the Judeo-Christian precept that an all-loving God created man in his image, entitling him to dignity, freedom and rights that cannot be divested by the state. Yes, this idea was expressed in the Declaration of Independence, but it certainly flowed through to the drafting of the Constitution, which established a system of limited government for the purpose of protecting our individual liberties.
Further evidence that the Framers subscribed to the Christian worldview can be seen in their structure of government. Believing in the Fall of Man (and mankind's depravity), as well as man's creation in God's image, they devised a governmental scheme to guard against man's intrinsic and historical tendency toward absolutism. They divided and diffused governmental power by creating three coequal branches of the federal government, with an intricate system of checks and balances so that each branch would serve as a check against the others becoming too powerful. They created a bicameral legislature, divided power between the state and federal governments, and included the Bill of Rights for the same reason.
I am not so sanguine as Galston appears to be elsewhere in his piece about the continuing dominant influence of Christianity among Americans, irrespective of the findings of the Pew Research Center Galston cites.
That is indeed encouraging as far as it goes, but the reality on the ground and in practice is that militant secular forces are currently winning the "culture war" in this country and are succeeding, by political and cultural bullying, in diminishing our religious liberties.
It is wonderful that Pew confirms that so many Americans still believe in much of the historicity of Christianity, but it would be much more reassuring if more would recognize the threats their freedoms are facing, because at the core of all of our liberties is our religious liberty. If it falls, the remainder of our liberties will tumble like dominoes. And without it, the rest are far less important anyway.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh010915.php3#RVq2W2bYruOkTCv4.99
By Michael Reagan
I'm not a huge fan of John Boehner.
But now that he has both houses of Congress to work with, let's give him a chance to move the Republican offense down the field to the end zone.
After fighting off a challenge to his speakership this week, Boehner has held on to his job as the starting QB of the GOP's legislative team in Washington.
Boehner and his Boys of Winter have a lot of hard work to do for the next two years, on and off the field.
But thanks to six years of fumbles by Obama at home and away, and Republican victories in the midterm elections last fall, the GOP is looking like the team to beat in 2016.
The Republican position in Congress is stronger than it's been in decades.
Boehner has the largest majority - 246 to 188 - in the House since Truman was president. And the Senate is solidly in Republican hands with a 54-seat majority.
It's now or pretty much never if Republicans hope to retake the Oval Office and reverse the damage done to America by Team Obama.
But before QB Boehner even thinks about which legislative play to call first - "Keystone -- 686 Pump F-Stop, on two"? - he and his party need to do some cheerleading for their own team.
Boehner has been badly roughed up by everyone since 2011. The liberal media mock him.
The conservative media have booed him unmercifully and he was almost sacked by some of his own teammates for being a wimpy conservative or a stooge of Obama.
But Boehner and the Republican House he has presided over deserve credit for a miraculous accomplishment that few people, even Republicans, know about.
Thanks mostly to the House, Congress has actually reduced federal spending for the last two years.
The cuts are nowhere near what they should be -- $3.60 trillion in 2011 to $3.54 trillion in 2012 to $3.45 trillion in 2013.
But it's an important turnaround. It's the first two consecutive years of federal spending cuts since 1953. Republicans should be tooting their own horn about that spending drop from coast to coast, because the liberal media sure aren't going to do it.
Meanwhile, Boehner's game plan for the next two years is nothing new or complicated. The people of America want the Congress to work - and get to work.
They want it to pass legislation that will create jobs and opportunity for Americans.
It's up to Congress - and QB Boehner -- to make that happen by pushing through laws to kill ObamaCare, cut taxes, cut spending budgets, slash regulations and repeal legislation (like ObamaCare) that harms the economy.
If President Obama wants to veto everything a Republican Congress passes, fine.
Let him become known as the obstructer in chief. Let Americans see that he's the one whose policies need to be rejected in 2016.
Boehner and his conservative Congress have to be careful, however. They need to approach the Washington political "game" the way Ronald Reagan did.
My father looked at the legislative process in Washington like it was a football field.
He knew that if you move the ball 10 yards at a time, you'll eventually get to the end zone and you'll accomplish something.
He knew politics is always a work in progress. It's the art of negotiation.
Boehner and the Republican Congress don't need to do everything this week or all at once.
The worst thing QB Boehner could do is to start throwing a bunch of Hail Mary passes into the end zone. He should move the ball 10 yards at a time.
If he plays it right, Republicans will score their TD and win the Super Bowl - the presidency of the United States in 2016.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michael/reagan010815.php3#zE4viBrR2D8Z7T3a.99
The 'Equality' Racket
By Thomas Sowell
Some time ago, burglars in England scrawled a message on the wall of a home they had looted: "RICH BASTARDS."
Those two words captured the spirit of the politicized vision of equality — that it was a grievance when someone was better off than themselves.
That, of course, is not the only meaning of equality, but it is the predominant political meaning in practice, where economic "disparities" and "gaps" are automatically treated as "inequities." If one racial or ethnic group has a lower income than another, that is automatically called "discrimination" by many people in politics, the media and academia.
It doesn't matter how much evidence there is that some groups work harder in school, perform better and spend more postgraduate years studying to acquire valuable skills in medicine, science or engineering. If the economic end results are unequal, that is treated as a grievance against those with better outcomes, and a sign of an "unfair" society.
The rhetoric of clever people often confuses the undeniable fact that life is unfair with the claim that a given institution or society is unfair.
Children born into families that raise them with love and with care to see that they acquire knowledge, values and discipline that will make them valuable members of society have far more chances of economic and other success in adulthood than children raised in families that lack these qualities.
Studies show that children whose parents have professional careers speak nearly twice as many words per hour to them as children with working class parents — and several times as many words per hour as children in families on welfare. There is no way that children from these different backgrounds are going to have equal chances of economic or other success in adulthood.
The fatal fallacy, however, is in collecting statistics on employees at a particular business or other institution, and treating differences in the hiring, pay or promotion of people from different groups as showing that their employer has been discriminating.
Too many gullible people buy the implicit assumption that the unfairness originated where the statistics were collected, which would be an incredible coincidence if it were true.
Worse yet, some people buy the idea that politicians can correct the unfairness of life by cracking down on employers. But, by the time children raised in very different ways reach an employer, the damage has already been done.
What is a problem for children raised in families and communities that do not prepare them for productive lives can be a bonanza for politicians, lawyers and assorted social messiahs who are ready to lead fierce crusades, if the price is right.
Many in the media and among the intelligentsia are all too ready to go along, in the name of seeking equality. But equality of what?
Equality before the law is a fundamental value in a decent society. But equality of treatment in no way guarantees equality of outcomes.
On the contrary, equality of treatment makes equality of outcomes unlikely, since virtually nobody is equal to somebody else in the whole range of skills and capabilities required in real life. When it comes to performance, the same man may not even be equal to himself on different days, much less at different periods of his life.
What may be a spontaneous confusion among the public at large about the very different meanings of the word "equality" can be a carefully cultivated confusion by politicians, lawyers and others skilled in rhetoric, who can exploit that confusion for their own benefit.
Regardless of the actual causes of different capabilities and rewards in different individuals and groups, political crusades require a villain to attack — a villain far removed from the voter or the voter's family or community. Lawyers must likewise have a villain to sue. The media and the intelligentsia are also attracted to crusades against the forces of evil.
But whether as a crusade or a racket, a confused conception of equality is a formula for never-ending strife that can tear a whole society apart — and has already done so in many countries.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell010615.php3#Ic3hRyTBRSTDq1T8.99
Liberals' Use of Black People, Part II
By Walter Williams
Last week's column focused on the ways liberals use blacks in pursuit of their leftist agenda, plus their demeaning attitudes toward black people. Most demeaning are their double standards. It was recently reported that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip, spoke at a 2002 gathering hosted by white supremacist leaders when he was a Louisiana state representative. Some are calling on Scalise to step down or for House Speaker John Boehner to fire him. There's no claim that Scalise made racist statements.
Hardly anyone blinks an eye at the Rev. Al Sharpton's racist statements, such as: "White folks was in the caves while we (blacks) was building empires. ... We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was. ... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it."
Sharpton again: "So (if) some cracker come and tell you 'Well, my mother and father blood go back to the Mayflower,' you better hold your pocket. That ain't nothing to be proud of. That means their forefathers was crooks." Sharpton also offered, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."
Despite such racism, President Barack Obama has made Sharpton his go-to guy on matters of race. But not to worry. Obama himself spent 20 years listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's anti-Semitic and racist sermons. The news media and intellectual elite don't condemn Sharpton or Obama, because they have two standards of behavior: one for whites and a lower one for blacks.
The news media's narrative about the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, is that a white cop shot and killed an unarmed black man who was holding his hands up. Their New York City narrative is that a white cop used a chokehold that killed a black man. The news media people and their liberal allies know the facts, but they need to promote the appearance of injustice to keep black people in a state of grievance.
During grand jury testimony about the Ferguson incident, seven black witnesses testified that Michael Brown was charging the policeman when he was shot. The autopsies, performed by three sets of forensic experts, including one representing Brown's family, confirmed Officer Darren Wilson's version of the event. The news media's narrative of Eric Garner's death in New York is that he died because a chokehold had stopped his breathing. He actually died later, in an ambulance, where his heart stopped while being taken to a hospital. The chokehold was instrumental in triggering Garner's pre-existing health problems of acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and heart disease, but he was not choked to death as claimed by the media. Both Brown and Garner would be alive today if they had not resisted arrest. But pointing that out would not serve the purpose of keeping blacks in a perpetual state of grievance.
I'm old enough to remember the racist lynching mentality of yesteryear. Regardless of the evidence, if a white woman merely accused a black man of raping her, the man was all but dead. Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, during the summer of 1955, was accused of flirting with a white woman. Klansmen took him to a barn. They beat him and gouged out one of his eyes. Then they shot him in the head and tossed his body in the Tallahatchie River.
The New York Times published the street name on which Officer Wilson lived. Had the frenzied mob caught up with him, regardless of evidence, he might have suffered the same fate as Till.
Multiethnic societies are inherently unstable, and how we handle matters of race is contributing to that instability. Decent Americans should see the dangers posed by America's race hustlers, who are stacking up piles of combustible racial kindling, ready for a racial arsonist to set it ablaze.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams010715.php3#LsOIPiLp4lRyMHmU.99
Correcting the Revisionists on the Reagan Record
By David Limbaugh
My daughter asked me my opinion on an article she read in Vanity Fair attempting to debunk the presidential record of Ronald Reagan. I happily responded.
The writer of the piece is veteran liberal commentator Michael Kinsley, who used to be a regular on William F. Buckley Jr.'s "Firing Line" and CNN's "Crossfire." It's not as though he appeared out of nowhere, studied the evidence anew and shared a novel theory. He's been dissing Reaganomics for decades along with other Democrats and liberals, whose only recourse is to distort the Gipper's phenomenal record.
Why is this even relevant, you ask? Well, according to Kinsley, "every serious G.O.P. presidential aspirant invokes the glorious era of Ronald Reagan, to which the country must return. Ignore the fact that, for the likes of Paul Ryan and Rand Paul, Reagan's actual record — from increased bureaucracy to higher deficits — should be seen as a complete failure."
Ever since Reagan's two terms in office, Democrats have been trying to recast those years of remarkable peacetime growth without inflation as a time of abject greed, when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. But the facts have never corroborated their propaganda.
To really understand Reagan's record — and thus mainstream conservatism still today — you must remember just how bleak things were during the Carter years. At the end of Jimmy Carter's term, unemployment was 7.4 percent and galloping toward double figures; inflation was already in double digits; and interest rates were a staggering 21.5 percent. There was no end in sight.
Indeed, I remember the general malaise that gripped the nation at that time — the attitude of despair, fatalism and resignation. America's best years, according to Carter's apologists, were behind her, and it wasn't his fault that things were so abysmally bleak.
Reagan, against all naysayers, promised that the proper policies could unleash the sleeping economic giant again and that we could return to sustained, robust growth and prosperity. Once elected, despite strong opposition from Democrats in Congress, he fulfilled his promise.
Reagan inherited a steep recession but, unlike President Obama today, did not keep using it as an excuse well into his presidency. Reagan didn't need excuses, because his policies began to produce results very quickly.
Reagan had pushed for a 30 percent across-the-board cut in marginal income tax rates, but Democrats in Congress forced a reduction to 25 percent and delayed its implementation. But once the bill passed and kicked in, the results were dramatic.
Along with Reagan's policy of deregulation, his tax cuts produced an economic boom that continued for almost eight full years — from November 1982 to July 1990 — with not a scintilla of a recession.
Reagan's policies led to the largest period of economic growth to date in the history of the nation. The economy was nearly a third larger at the conclusion of the Reagan years than at the beginning, and real median family income grew by $4,000, as opposed to almost no growth during the Ford-Carter years.
Like President John F. Kennedy, Reagan demonstrated that reducing marginal income tax rates could increase revenues. Revenues almost doubled during the Reagan years, and even after adjusting for inflation, they increased by some 28 percent. Reaganomics also shattered the long-established economic textbook axiom that there is a trade-off between unemployment and inflation. Despite nearly 20 million new jobs, there was barely any upward pressure on prices.
Though Democrats preached that under Reagan, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, in fact the plight of all income groups improved. Not only that but upward mobility, which received its last rites under Carter, made a dramatic comeback, as a Treasury Department study revealed that 86 percent of the people in the lowest 20 percent of income in 1979 graduated into higher categories during the '80s. More people in every income group moved up than down except — ironically — the top 1 percent of earners.
Moreover, the real Reagan record puts the lie to the liberal manta that the rich didn't pay their "fair share." In the first place, average effective income tax rates were cut more for lower-income groups than for higher-income groups. In 1991, after the Reagan cuts had been in place for almost a decade, the top 1 percent of income earners paid 25 percent of income taxes; the top 5 percent paid 43 percent; and the bottom half paid only 5 percent. How is that for fairness?
Unfortunately, Reagan didn't achieve the spending reductions he'd envisioned, though some misinformation exists here, too. Military spending constituted much of the increase — by design and by necessity after Carter's gutting of our vital defenses. But the rate of domestic spending grew more slowly under Reagan than under his immediate predecessors and would have been reduced far more but for recalcitrant big-spending Democratic congressmen.
The military spending, coupled with Reagan's coherent peace-through-strength foreign policy, yielded immeasurable dividends, as the Soviet Union soon disintegrated. And no, my revisionist liberal friends, this was not because of a willing, enlightened Mikhail Gorbachev.
President Reagan is still the model for conservative presidential aspirants — and for very good reasons that will not be erased, no matter how earnestly liberals try.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh010615.php3#JEXwyXRbTvPFyprO.99
A Year of Anniversaries
By Thomas Sowell
2014 has been a year of anniversaries. It was the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War — a war which many at the time saw as madness, and predicted that it would be the harbinger of a Second World War a generation later.
2014 was also the 70th anniversary of the fateful landing at Normandy that marked the beginning of the end of World War II.
2014 was likewise the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that marked the beginning of the end of racial segregation, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of the beginning of President Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty" programs.
Anniversaries are opportunities to look back at historic turning points, compare the rhetoric of the time with the reality that we now know unfolded — and to learn hard lessons about the difference between rhetoric and reality for our own time.
A hundred years ago, the President of the United States was Woodrow Wilson — the first president to openly claim that the Constitution of the United States was outdated, and that courts should erode the limits that the Constitution placed on the federal government.
Today, after a hundred years of courts' eroding the Constitution's protections of personal freedom, we now have a president who has taken us dangerously close to one-man rule, unilaterally changing laws passed by Congress and refusing to enforce other laws — on immigration especially.
Like Woodrow Wilson, our current president is charismatic, vain, narrow and headstrong. Someone said of Woodrow Wilson that he had no friends, only devoted slaves and enemies. That description comes all too close to describing Barack Obama, with his devoted political palace guard in the White House that he listens to, in contrast to the generals he ignores on military issues and the doctors he ignores on medical issues.
Both Wilson and Obama have been great phrase makers and crowd pleasers. We are still trying to cope with the havoc left in the wake of Woodrow Wilson's ringing phrase about "the self-determination of peoples."
First of all, it was never "self-determination." It was the arbitrary determination of the fate of millions of people in nations carved out of empires dismembered by the victors after the First World War. Neither the Irish in Britain nor the Germans in Bohemia were allowed to determine who would rule them. Nor was anybody in Africa.
The consequence of fragmenting large nations was the creation of small and vulnerable nations that Hitler was able to pick off, one by one, during the 1930s.
Minorities who protested that they were being oppressed under the Austro-Hungarian Empire got their own nations, where their own oppression of other minorities was often worse than they had experienced in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
We are still trying to sort out the chaos in the Middle East growing out of the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. How long it will take to sort out the havoc left behind by Barack Obama's foreign policies only the future will tell.
It should be noted that, after the charismatic Woodrow Wilson, none of the next three presidents was the least bit charismatic. Let us hope that the voters today have also learned how dangerous charisma and glib rhetoric can be — and what a childish self-indulgence it is to choose a president on the basis of symbolism. Woodrow Wilson was the first Southerner to be elected president since the Civil War, as Obama was to become the first black president. But neither fact qualified them to wield the enormous powers of the presidency. Nor will being the first woman president, the first Hispanic president or other such firsts.
Since 2014 has been the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty," we should note that this was another war that the Johnson administration lost. Both President Johnson and President John F. Kennedy before him said that the purpose of the "war on poverty" was to help people become self-supporting, to end dependency on government programs. But 50 years and trillions of dollars later, there is more dependency than ever.
Let's hope we have learned something from past debacles.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell010215.php3#QHBwvbEhfG1Vx0Ek.99
Are Facts Obsolete?
By Thomas Sowell
Some of us, who are old enough to remember the old television police series "Dragnet," may remember Sgt. Joe Friday saying, "Just the facts, ma'am." But that would be completely out of place today. Facts are becoming obsolete, as recent events have demonstrated.
What matters today is how well you can concoct a story that fits people's preconceptions and arouses their emotions. Politicians like New York mayor Bill de Blasio, professional demagogues like Al Sharpton and innumerable irresponsible people in the media have shown that they have great talent in promoting a lynch mob atmosphere toward the police.
Grand juries that examine hard facts live in a different world from mobs who listen to rhetoric and politicians who cater to the mobs.
During the controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin, for example, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus said that George Zimmerman had tracked Trayvon Martin down and shot him like a dog. The fact is that Zimmerman did not have to track down Trayvon Martin, who was sitting right on top of him, punching him till his face was bloody.
After the death of Michael Brown, members of the Congressional Black Caucus stood up in Congress, with their hands held up, saying "don't shoot." Although there were some who claimed that this is what Michael Brown said and did, there were other witnesses — all black, by the way — who said that Brown was charging toward the policeman when he was shot.
What was decisive was not what either set of witnesses said, but what the autopsy revealed, an autopsy involving three sets of forensic experts, including one representing Michael Brown's family. Witnesses can lie but the physical facts don't lie, even if politicians, mobs and the media prefer to take lies seriously.
The death of Eric Garner has likewise spawned stories having little relationship to facts. The story is that Garner died because a chokehold stopped his breathing. But Garner did not die with a policeman choking him.
He died later, in an ambulance where his heart stopped. He had a long medical history of various diseases, as well as a long criminal history. No doubt the stress of his capture did not do him any good, and he might well still be alive if he had not resisted arrest. But that was his choice.
Despite people who say blithely that the police need more "training," there is no "kinder and gentler" way to capture a 350-pound man, who is capable of inflicting grievous harm, and perhaps even death, on any of his would-be captors. The magic word "unarmed" means nothing in practice, however much the word may hype emotions.
If you are killed by an unarmed man, you are just as dead as if you had been annihilated by a nuclear bomb. But you don't even know who is armed or unarmed until after it is all over, and you can search him.
Incidentally, did you know that, during this same period when riots, looting and arson have been raging, a black policeman in Alabama shot and killed an unarmed white teenager — and was cleared by a grand jury? Probably not, if you depend on the mainstream media for your news.
The media do not merely ignore facts, they suppress facts. Millions of people saw the videotape of the beating of Rodney King. But they saw only a fraction of that tape because the media left out the rest, which showed Rodney King — another huge man — resisting arrest and refusing to be handcuffed, so that he could be searched.
Television viewers did not get to see the other black men in the same vehicle that Rodney King was driving recklessly. Those other black men were not beaten. And the grand jury got to see the whole video, after which they acquitted the police — and the media then published the jurors' home addresses.
Such media retribution against people they don't like is part of a growing lynch mob mentality. The black witnesses in Missouri, whose testimony confirmed what the police officer said, expressed fears for their own safety for telling what the physical evidence showed was the truth.
Is this what we want? Grand juries responding to mobs and the media, instead of to the facts?
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell123114.php3#qFG80sl1czJrM2Ir.99
By Thomas Sowell
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
• Now that Barack Obama is ruling by decree, he seems more like a king than a president. Maybe it is time we change the way we address him. "Your Majesty" may be a little too much, but perhaps "Your Royal Glibness" might be appropriate.
• It tells us a lot about academia that the president of Smith College quickly apologized for saying, "All lives matter," after being criticized by those who are pushing the slogan, "Black lives matter." If science could cross breed a jellyfish with a parrot, it could create academic administrators.
• Mitt Romney seems to be ready to try again to run for president in 2016. But most defeated presidential candidates who ran again lost again. There are much stronger Republican candidates available now than there were in 2012, including governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. At this crucial juncture in the nation's history, why run a retreaded candidate?
• Explaining differences in achievements between groups often pits those who attribute these differences to ability against those who attribute differences to barriers. Neither seems to pay much attention to differences in what people want to do. Few guys from my old neighborhood were likely to end up as violinists or ballet dancers, simply because that was not what they were interested in.
• When Professor Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T. boasted of fooling the "stupid" American public, that was not just a personal quirk of his. It epitomized a smug and arrogant attitude that is widespread among academics at elite institutions. There should be an annual "Jonathan Gruber award" for the most smug and arrogant statement by an academic. There would be thousands eligible every year.
• Every society has some people who don't respect the law. But, when it is the people in charge of the law — like the President of the United States and his Attorney General — who don't respect it, that is when we are in big trouble.
• Has anyone asked the question, "How could so many people across the country spend so much time at night marching, rioting and looting, if they had to get up and go to work the next morning?"
• Hillary Clinton's idea that we have to see the world from our adversaries' point of view — and even "empathize" with it — is not new. Back in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, "I have realized vividly how Herr Hitler feels." Ronald Reagan, however, made sure our adversaries understood how we felt. Reagan's approach turned out a lot better than Chamberlain's.
• Our schools and colleges are laying a guilt trip on those young people whose parents are productive, and who are raising them to become productive. What is amazing is how easily this has been done, largely just by replacing the word "achievement" with the word "privilege."
• There are few modest talents so richly rewarded — especially in politics and the media — as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights.
• Republicans complain when Democrats call them racists. But when have you ever heard a Republican counterattack? You don't win by protesting your innocence or whining about the unfairness of the charge. Yet when have you heard a Republican reply by saying, "You're a lying demagogue without a speck of evidence. Put up or shut up!"
• President Obama's establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba was not due to what the American public wanted or even what his own party wanted. It was a decision in defiance of both, just as his decisions about military matters ignore what generals say and his decisions about medical matters ignore what doctors have said. Yet pundits continue to depict him as a helpless lame duck president.
• When the political left wants to help the black community, they usually want to help the worst elements in that community — thugs they portray as martyrs, for example — without the slightest regard for the negative effect this can have on the lives of the majority of decent black people.
• If anyone in the mainstream media is at a loss for what New Year's resolution to make, try this: Stop "spinning" or censoring stories about race, and try telling the plain truth, if only for the novelty of it.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell123014.php3#BiaJXCfVFzGhlFgm.99
Libs' Use of Black People as stalking horses
By Walter Williams
Back in the day, when hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their quarry. They would walk on the opposite side of the horse until they were close enough to place a good shot on whatever they were hunting. A stalking horse not only concealed them but also, if their target was an armed man and they were discovered, would take the first shot. That's what blacks are to liberals and progressives in their efforts to transform America — stalking horses.
Let's look at some of the ways white liberals use black people. One of the more obvious ways is for liberals to equate any kind of injustices suffered by homosexuals and women to the black struggle for civil rights. But it is just plain nonsense to suggest any kind of equivalency between the problems of homosexuals and women and the centuries of slavery followed by Jim Crow, lynching, systematic racial discrimination and the blood, sweat and tears of the black civil rights movement.
The largest and most powerful labor union in the country is the National Education Association, with well over 3 million members. Teachers benefit enormously from their education monopoly. It yields higher pay and lower accountability. It's a different story for a large percentage of black people who receive fraudulent education. The NEA's white liberals — aided by black teachers, politicians and so-called black leaders — cooperate to ensure that black parents who want their children to have a better education have few viable choices.
Whenever there has been a serious push for school choice, educational vouchers, tuition tax credits or even charter schools, the NEA has fought against it. One of the more callous examples of that disregard for black education was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's cutback on funding for charter schools where black youngsters were succeeding in getting a better education. That was de Blasio's way of paying back New York's teachers union for the political support it gave him in his quest for the mayor's office.
White liberals in the media and academia, along with many blacks, have been major supporters of the recent marches protesting police conduct. A man from Mars, knowing nothing about homicide facts, would conclude that the major problem black Americans have with murder and brutality results from the behavior of racist policemen. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are about 200 police arrest-related deaths of blacks each year (between 300 and 400 for whites). That number pales in comparison with the roughly 7,000 annual murders of blacks, 94 percent of which are committed by blacks. The number of blacks being murdered by other blacks is of little concern to liberals. Their agenda is to use arrest-related deaths of blacks to undermine established authority.
Liberals often have demeaning attitudes toward blacks. When Secretary of State John Kerry was a U.S. senator, in a statement about so many blacks being in prison, he said, "That's unacceptable, but it's not their fault." Would Kerry also say that white prison inmates are also faultless? Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin told us: "It has yet to be shown that the absence of a father was directly responsible for any of the supposed deficiencies of broken homes. ... (The problem) is not the lack of male presence but the lack of male income." The liberal vision is that fathers and husbands can be replaced by a welfare check.
Liberals desperately need blacks. If the Democratic Party lost just 30 percent of the black vote, it would mean the end of the liberal agenda. That means blacks must be kept in a perpetual state of grievance in order to keep them as a one-party people in a two-party system. When black Americans finally realize how much liberals have used them, I'm betting they will be the nation's most conservative people. Who else has been harmed as much by liberalism's vision and agenda?
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams123114.php3#wRlr0x4pJyA7Cuo4.99
The cold-blooded murder of two New York City policemen as they sat in their car is not only an outrage but also a wake-up call. It shows, in the most painful way, the high cost of having demagogues, politicians, mobs and the media constantly taking cheap shots at the police.
Those cheap shots are in fact very expensive shots, not only to the police themselves but to the whole society. Someone once said that civilization is a thin crust over a volcano. The police are part of that thin crust. We have seen before our own eyes, first in Ferguson, Missouri and then in other communities, what happens when there is just a small crack in that crust, and barbarism and arson burst out.
That can happen anywhere. So can what happened in New York. "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."
It is a painful irony that, on the eve of the murders of these two police officers in New York, some of the city's police were already saying that, in the event of their deaths, they did not want Mayor Bill de Blasio to attend their funerals.
We can only hope that Mayor de Blasio has some residual decency, so that he will not defile these two officers' memorial services with his presence. No politician in the country has done more to play the race card against the police and spread the notion that cops are the big problem in minority communities.
It so happens that the police officers killed were both members of minority groups — Officer Rafael Ramos, Hispanic, and Officer Wenjian Liu, Asian. It so happens that a substantial part of the New York City police force are members of minority groups.
But you might never know that from the story told by demagogues who depict the black community as a "colonial" society being "occupied" by white policemen who target young blacks. Mayor de Blasio joined the chorus of those saying that they have to warn their black sons how to cope with this situation.
"What can we say to our sons?" some demagogues ask. They can say, "Don't go around punching strangers, because it is only a matter of time before you punch the wrong stranger."
Mayor de Blasio has made anti-police comments with Al Sharpton seated at his side. This is the same Al Sharpton with a trail of slime going back more than a quarter of a century, during which he has whipped up mobs and fomented race hatred from the days of the Tawana Brawley "rape" hoax of 1987 to the Duke University "rape" hoax of 2006 and the Ferguson riots of 2014.
Make no mistake about it. There is political mileage to be made siding with demagogues like Al Sharpton who, as demagogue-in-chief, has been invited to the White House dozens of times by its commander-in-chief.
Many in the media and among the intelligentsia cherish the romantic tale of an "us" against "them" struggle of beleaguered ghetto blacks defending themselves against the aggression of white policemen. The gullible include both whites who don't know what they are talking about and blacks who don't know what they are talking about either, because they never grew up in a ghetto. Among the latter are the President of the United States and his Attorney General.
Such people readily buy the story that ghetto social problems today — from children being raised without a father to runaway rates of murder — are "a legacy of slavery," even though such social problems were nowhere near as severe in the first half of the 20th century as they became in the second half.
You would be hard pressed to name just five examples from the first half of the 20th century of the kinds of ghetto riots that have raged in more than a hundred cities during the second half. Such riots are a legacy of the social degeneracy of our times.
Calling this social degeneracy "a legacy of slavery" is not just an excuse for those who engage in it, it is an excuse for the ideology of the intelligentsia behind the social policies that promoted this degeneracy.
Let those who have laid a guilt trip on people in our times, for evils done by other people in past centuries, at least face their own responsibility for the evil consequences of their own notions and policies. If they won't do it, then the rest of us need to stop listening gullibly to what they are saying.
The race card is nothing to play with. It can ruin us all.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell122314.php3#tYuHwteK7qq8mLzb.99
A license to debate: State takes aim at the First Amendment
By George Will
The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Tex., on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state's Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles. This skirmish is of national interest because it implicates a burgeoning new entitlement: the right to pass through life without encountering any disagreeable thought.
Under Texas's specialty license plate system, plates can be created by the legislature by specific enactments, or they can, for a fee, be designed by individuals, nonprofits or businesses. In the private instances, Texas is selling space for advertising. The specialty plates exhort (Be a Blood Donor), emote (I'd Rather Be Golfing), celebrate (NASCAR, many universities) and commemorate (Buffalo Soldiers, Korea Veteran).
The Texas SCV's design caused a commotion because the organization's logo includes the Confederate battle flag. The Texas committee that approves specialty plates approved the SCV plate before it disapproved it because an official considered the plate "controversial." The Texas Transportation Code says that the state may refuse to create a plate "if the design might be offensive to any member of the public." Yes, any.
A district court rejected the SCV's contention that this decision was unconstitutional, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that specialty plates are private speech, so the state had violated the First Amendment by engaging in viewpoint discrimination against the SCV.
Texas is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, probably in vain. The SCV's brief notes that "every circuit to address a specialty plate program enabling private parties to submit their own specialty plate designs has held that the plates constitute private speech, the First Amendment applies, and regulation has to be viewpoint neutral."
But there is, believe it or not, a body of license plate law. In 1977, the Supreme Court upheld the right of a Jehovah's Witness in New Hampshire to edit out, with tape or metal shears or otherwise, that state's license plate slogan "Live Free or Die." The plaintiff held that "life is more precious than freedom" and that the state could not compel him to "foster" religious or political "concepts" with which he disagreed.
Some language that is put on plates by legislative action — e.g., Idaho's "Famous Potatoes" — is government speaking its mind and need not be neutral. In Illinois, where specialty plates require a specific legislative enactment, when a pro-life group sought a "Choose Life" plate, the state decided to exclude the subject of abortion, pro and con, so the denial was viewpoint-neutral.
Texas, however, denied the SCV plate explicitly because it, with its flag, was "offensive," which is an impermissible reason for denying speech. The hearing that forbade the SCV plate approved a Buffalo Soldiers plate even though some Native Americans had said they were offended by this reference to the 19th-century African American military units that participated in battles against Native Americans. In 2011, however, the Supreme Court held:
"The Constitution does not permit the government to decide which types of otherwise protected speech are sufficiently offensive to require protection for the unwilling listener or viewer. Rather . . . the burden normally falls upon the viewer to avoid further bombardment of [his] sensibilities simply by averting [his] eyes."
The new entitlement aims to spare the people this burden. At many American colleges and universities, where thinking goes to hibernate, freedom of expression is restricted for the purpose of sparing the delicate sensibilities of the most exquisitely sensitive people on the campuses. The First Amendment is construed to stipulate that there shall be no abridgement of free speech — unless the speech annoys, saddens, angers, dismays or otherwise discombobulates the emotional equilibrium or intellectual serenity of any listener.
Inevitably, this entitlement is expanded to include the right to assume a fetal position and be absolved of burdens if news of some event in the wider world distresses some students. So, Columbia University Law School recently allowed students to postpone final exams if these frail flowers felt that their performance would be "impaired" because they had been traumatized by the fact that grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and New York did not indict police officers in cases involving Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Columbia evidently is training lawyers for a United States so tranquil it will not need any lawyers. Tranquil because silent.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will121814.php3#pqx5v7eL3UR7J4Ld.99
Black Progression and Retrogression
By Walter Williams
There is no question, though it's not acknowledged enough, that black Americans have made greater gains, over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time, than any other racial group in mankind's history. What's the evidence? If black Americans were thought of as a nation with their own gross domestic product, they'd rank among the 20 wealthiest nations. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, who headed the mightiest military in mankind's history. A few black Americans are among the world's wealthiest. Many black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities.
The significance of all this is that in 1865, neither an ex-slave nor an ex-slave owner would have believed that such progress would be possible in less than a century and a half. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks to the greatness of a nation within which such progress was possible. That progress would have been impossible anywhere except in the United States of America. The challenge that lies before us is how those gains can be extended to a large percentage of black people for whom they appear elusive.
A good start to meeting that challenge is to recognize that much of the pathology seen in many black communities is entirely new in black history. Let's look at some of that history. In the late 1800s, depending on the city, 70 to 80 percent of black households were two-parent. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent. As late as 1950, only 18 percent of black households were single-parent. From 1890 to 1940, a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. In 1940, black illegitimacy was about 14 percent.
Today it's an entirely different story. Black illegitimacy is 75 percent. Close to 50 percent of marriage-age blacks never marry. Close to 70 percent of black households are female-headed. If one thinks family structure doesn't matter, consider that the poverty rate among black female-headed families is about 47 percent but among married families it has been in the single digits for more than two decades. It's not just poverty. Children raised by single parents are likelier to be physically abused; use drugs; engage in violent, delinquent and criminal behavior; have emotional and behavioral problems; and drop out of school.
What about employment? Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates were higher than those of whites. Today it's a mere fraction. Prior to the mid-'50s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent and less than that of whites. Who would argue that this more favorable employment picture was because there was less racial discrimination in the job market in earlier times? Labor laws such as the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — a federal minimum wage law for construction workers — and the 1938 federal minimum wage law for all workers reduced work opportunities for blacks.
Then there's the high crime rate. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation's population, they are more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it's 22 times that of whites. Along with being most of the nation's homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.
Older black people, who were raised in an era when there was far greater discrimination and who faced far fewer opportunities, need to speak out against behavior and excuses that their parents would have never accepted. Otherwise, the race hustlers, poverty pimps and white liberals will continue with the narrative that black problems are a result of racism and racist cops and condemn future generations of blacks to a lifetime of mediocrity.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams122414.php3#l4BzJqIykEYd4gkK.99
A legal warrior lighting fuses
By George Will
Scott Pruitt enjoyed owning a Class AAA baseball team here, but he is having as much fun as Oklahoma's attorney general — and as one of the Obama administration's most tenacious tormentors. The second existential challenge to the Affordable Care Act began here.
In the first, decided in June 2012, the Supreme Court saved the ACA by reading it imaginatively. The court held that although Congress could not, in the name of regulating commerce, penalize people for not engaging in commerce (buying insurance), the penalty linked to the individual mandate actually could be considered — although Congress did not so consider it — an exercise of Congress's enumerated power to tax.
That same year, Pruitt lit another fuse, this one involving statutory rather than constitutional construction. He filed a suit that in June may contribute to the most seismic domestic development of 2015.
The suit asks the court to read the ACA unimaginatively, as meaning what it plainly says: Subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are available only to people who purchase insurance through exchanges "established by the state." Thirty-seven states have refused or failed to establish their own exchanges. The justices may be disinclined to use the ACA's legislative history, or the candor of loquacious MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, to inform their deliberations. If, however, the justices do, they will see that Gruber, an ACA architect, says it was written to "squeeze the states" into establishing exchanges: "If you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits."
If the court holds that the ACA means what it plainly and purposively says, then billions of dollars have been disbursed through federal exchanges contrary to the law. The ACA will be crippled until Barack Obama negotiates help from a Republican-controlled Congress.
The Founders' bargain, Pruitt says, was that the states would surrender some sovereignty in exchange for representation in the federal government. But the growth of federal power has tended to reduce states to administrative extensions of the federal government, leaving them with "preemption without representation." So Pruitt has established within his office a "federalism unit" aimed at revitalizing federalism as a system of "vertical checks and balances."
Oklahoma is among 24 states in a suit initiated by Texas Attorney General (and Gov.-elect) Greg Abbott charging that Obama's unilateral changes in immigration policies are unconstitutional. The complaint is that Obama has injured these states by usurping the legislative power of Congress, in which the states' interests are represented, and by creating, through executive fiat, policies that will impose substantial costs on the states.
Another target in Pruitt's sights is the Environmental Protection Agency, which claims to have discovered in the Clean Air Act of 1970 a hitherto unnoticed authority perhaps sufficient to eliminate existing coal-fired power plants. Joined by 16 other state attorneys general, Pruitt argues that the federal government has the power to institute a national energy policy, which implicates the entire economy. But it cannot do so, preempting various of the states' powers, simply by locating authority in the creative reading of a 44-year-old statute.
And then there is the matter of puddles. Pruitt and other attorneys general are resisting the EPA's and the Army Corps of Engineers' contention that the 42-year-old Clean Water Act has a hitherto unsuspected capaciousness. The act, which allows regulation of "navigable waters," was passed under Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce, so "navigable waters" have been understood to be those suitable for transporting people and products between the states.
But M. Reed Hopper and Todd F. Gaziano of the Pacific Legal Foundation, writing in the Wall Street Journal, say the EPA now wants to control not just wetlands and other non-navigable waters but any water or normally dry land with a "hydrological connection" to actual navigable waters. These include, Hopper and Gaziano say, "arroyos in the desert as well as ditches and culverts hundreds of miles from" actual navigable waters. Pruitt and other attorneys general are contesting this bureaucratic imperialism whereby the EPA, by aggregating almost all of the nation's water and much of its land into EPA-designated "ecoregions," could regulate — and stifle — much of the nation's economic activity.
The good news about the ACA, immigration and the EPA is that federalism remains a fact. Come next month, federalism's vitality will be an increasingly inconvenient truth for Obama. Twenty-seven states will have Republican attorneys general who can try to restrain the federal Leviathan much as the Lilliputians restrained Gulliver.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will122014.php3#w2TGKdeHDZ4LsD1q.99
By Thomas Sowell
Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were "torture." But any serious discussion of a serious issue — and surely terrorism qualifies as serious — has to move beyond semantics and confront the ultimate question: "Compared to what alternative?"
If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of "torture"? Would you even care what the definition of "torture" was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?
Senator Dianne Feinstein's recent release of a massive report on the CIA's severe interrogation methods, used against captured Islamic terrorists, has set off a firestorm of controversy. It is hard to see what benefit the United States of America gains from releasing that report. But it is painfully obvious what lasting damage has been done to the security of Americans.
One of the most obscene acts of the Obama administration, when it first took office, was to launch a criminal investigation of CIA agents who had used harsh interrogation methods against captured terrorists in the wake of the devastating September 11, 2001 aerial attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Right after those terrorist attacks, when there were desperate fears of what might be coming next, these CIA agents were trying to spare fellow Americans another attack that could take thousands more lives, or perhaps millions more. To turn on these agents, years later, after they did what they were urged to do, as a patriotic duty in a time of crisis, is both a betrayal of those who acted in the past and a disincentive to those in the future who are charged with safeguarding the nation.
Other nations, whose cooperation we need, in order to disrupt international terrorist networks, see how their involvement has now been revealed to the whole world — including terrorists — because supposedly responsible American officials, in the Congress of the United States, cannot keep their mouths shut.
The public's "right to know" has often been invoked to justify publicizing confidential information. But is there any evidence that the American public was clamoring to learn state secrets, which every government has? I don't know where our nuclear weapons are located and I don't want to know, certainly not at the cost of letting our enemies know.
The ease with which politicians are willing to pull the rug out from under people whose job is to safeguard our lives — whether they are CIA agents, the police or the military — is not only a betrayal of those people but a danger to us all.
People who are constantly denouncing the police, including with demonstrable lies, may think they are showing solidarity with people in the ghettos. But, when police hesitate to go beyond "kinder and gentler" policing, that leaves decent people in black communities at the mercy of hoodlums and thugs who have no mercy.
When conscientious young people, of any race, who would like to help maintain peace and order see that being a policeman means having race hustlers constantly whipping up mob hostility against you — and having opportunistic politicians and the media joining the race hustlers — those young people may well decide that some other line of work would be better for them.
High crime areas need not only the most, but the best, police they can get. Taking cheap shots at cops is not the way to get the people who are needed.
When people who volunteer to put their lives on the line in the military to defend this country, at home and abroad, see their buddies killed on the battlefield, and sometimes themselves come back minus an arm or a leg, or with severe physical and mental damage that they may never get over — and then see some headstrong politician in the White House throw away everything they fought for, and see enemy forces take back places for which Americans shed their blood, that can be galling to them and a deterrent to others who might otherwise take their place in the future.
If we cannot see beyond the moment today, we will pay dearly tomorrow and in many more tomorrows.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell121614.php3#zyplIO2xPd4HUHRK.99
Stinking Border Politics
By Michael Reagan
Here's a modest proposal for solving the "Children's Invasion" on our southwestern borders.
Next time a planeload of "unaccompanied alien children" from Honduras or Guatemala is being dispersed to their relatives in the U.S., the pilot should divert the flight and land at Ronald Reagan National Airport in downtown Washington.
If the politicians in DC were forced to deal with the effects of the immigration mess they've made for a few days, they might be more interested in fixing it.
Instead of dispersing 52,000 illegal Latino kids around the country, or hiding them from sight on military bases, maybe the politicians in DC could house a few thousand Latino kids in tents on the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. They could call it "Obamaville."
OK, I'm dreaming...
But once again we can thank Washington for creating a problem for the rest of us that it can't or won't fix.
Emperor Obama is the culprit in chief.
He's been playing pool and reading Teleprompters at fundraisers while people in the border towns of Texas, Arizona and California are being burned.
It's the innocent citizens of the Southwest who've been forced to bear the costs of "welcoming" the Central American children who've risked their lives to hoof it to the U.S.A.
The big winners in this cynical political game will be the president and Democrats in Congress. The big losers will be the rest of the country.
Everyone knows what's going to happen when you disperse the Latino kids to their relatives and give them an order to appear at a court hearing. Mostly nothing. If 10 percent appear, it'll be a miracle.
Doesn't anyone in DC know that most of the illegal immigrants in the country are here not because they waded across the Rio Grande but because they overstayed their visas?
When you have a country with no immigration policy and a flock of political chickens in DC, this is the kind of border crisis you get.
The Republicans are afraid to even touch immigration policy. And the President and Democrats in Congress won't try to solve the current crisis because for them it's a great political opportunity to be exploited.
With congressional elections coming in the fall, and with their party facing certain disaster, Democrats know immigration is one of the few issues that can win them a few points at the polls.
Every Democrat in office wants every Hispanic voter on the planet to see that he is a lovable, bleeding-heart humanitarian. And that every Republican is a coldhearted meanie who just wants to send child immigrants back to where they came from.
If Republicans in Washington are forced to OK the $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations the president says is needed to address the border mess, they at least need to try to put some teeth in it.
They need to insist that the Border Patrol begin stopping the children's invasion at the U.S.-Mexican border, not after the border has been crossed. And they need to get President Obama to hold Mexico accountable for not stopping the invasion on its side of the border.
Mexico won't do any such thing, of course, because every single one of its border federales is being paid off by the Mexican drug cartels.
This border disaster was made in Washington by gutless politicians who are unable or unwilling to do anything on immigration but play stupid politics with everyone.
I'm tired of politics. We need to wake up and smell the stink coming from DC. If this border crisis doesn't do it, nothing will.
How to fight the lone wolf
By Charles Krauthammer
The lone wolf is the new nightmare, dramatized and amplified this week by the hostage-taking attack in Sydney. But there are two kinds of lone wolves — the crazy and the evil — and the distinction is important.
The real terrorists are rational. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, had been functioning as an Army doctor for years. Psychotics cannot carry that off. Hasan even had a business card listing his occupation as SoA (Soldier of Allah). He then went out and, shouting "Allahu Akbar," shot dead 13 people, 12 of them fellow soldiers. To this day, Hasan speaks coherently and proudly of the massacre. That's terrorism.
Sydney's Man Haron Monis, on the other hand, was a marginal, alienated Iranian immigrant with a cauldron of psychopathologies. Described by his own former lawyer as "unhinged," Monis was increasingly paranoid. He'd been charged as accessory to the murder of his ex-wife and convicted of sending threatening letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers.
His religiosity was both fanatical and confused. A Shiite recently converted to Sunni Islam, his Internet postings showed not just the zeal of the convert but a remarkable ignorance of Islam and Islamism. He even brought the wrong Islamic banner to the attack. He had to ask the authorities to provide him with an Islamic State flag.
Which led to a frantic search to find an Islamic State connection or conspiracy. But for the disturbed like Monis, the terror group does not provide instructions, it provides a script. It offers the disoriented and deranged a context, a purpose, a chance even at heroism.
I suspect this is the case with most of the recent cluster of lone-wolf terrorist incidents, from the beheading of a co-worker in Oklahoma to theQueens ax attack on New York City police. We fear these attackers because the psychopathological raw material is everywhere, in the interstices of every society. Normally in and out of mental hospitals, in and out of homelessness, some are now redirected to find a twisted redemption in terror.
Nonetheless, in the scheme of things, the crazies are limited in what they can carry out. They are too disorganized to do more than localized, small-scale damage. The larger danger is the Maj. Hasan with his mental faculties intact and his purpose unwavering.
The still greater threat is organized terror, as we were reminded just hours after Sydney by the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed at least 148, mostly children.
This is evil in its purest form. Consider that many of the children were killed not by explosive device or sprayed gunfire but by a single bullet to the head, the point-blank execution of an innocent, rivaling in sheer barbarism the mass murders of the Islamic State and its proud videotaped beheadings of hostages.
The purity of such evil is clarifying. It banishes thoughts of negotiation or compromise. Indeed, in response to the Peshawar atrocity, the Pakistani prime minister suspended his country's prohibition of the death penalty.
In the face of similar savagery, Barack Obama committed the United Statesto a military campaign against the Islamic State. Which, if successful, would not just affect the region. Reversing the fortunes of the terror masters abroad is the key to diminishing the lone-wolf threat at home.
These groups inspire and influence because of their prestige, which, as for most messianic movements, depends on their successes — measured in growing power, territorial conquest and persuasive propaganda.
You don't find many local terrorists invoking al-Qaeda nowadays. They fly the flag of the Islamic State. It is the strong horse, on the rise.
The first line of defense against lone wolves is, of course, protective measures: identification, tracking and preemption. But given the sheer number of the disturbed, unstable and potentially impressionable among us, and given the strictures that civil liberties have placed on prior restraint, that defensive posture can take us only so far.
The Islamic State has discovered that the projection of terror does not depend, al-Qaeda-style, on sending expeditionary cells to kill infidels abroad. It can do so long distance by inspiration, by wire, as it were. Which is why the ultimate line of defense against lone wolves is to turn the fortunes of the warrior tribes themselves, the script writers of jihad.
The great new specter is the homegrown terrorist. But he is less homegrown than we imagine. He is fed from abroad. Which is where, as ever since 9/11, the battle must be fought.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer122214.php3#oEAwXCFIU505IJfO.99
More 'Tolerance' From Stalinist Universities
By David Limbaugh
Honestly, sometimes leftist thought police surprise even me, not so much with their unreasonableness, extremism and tyrannical tactics but with their brazenness in openly showing who they are. Each new day's headlines trump yesterday's.
A few weeks ago, Fox News' Todd Starnes reported on a Marquette University student's encounter with his ethics instructor. The professor, Cheryl Abbate, was leading her "Theory of Ethics" class in a discussion about the application of philosophical theories to controversial political issues.
Among the issues listed on the blackboard were gay rights, gun rights and the death penalty. Professor Abbate removed gay rights from the list before the discussion began, with the summary explanation, "We all agree on this."
This puzzled the student, as he certainly did not agree with his instructor's view on the issue and believed it should have been open for discussion along with the other issues. He approached Abbate after class and expressed his opinion that the class should have been allowed to discuss gay rights.
The student recorded his conversation with Abbate without her permission or knowledge. Questions concerning the impropriety of that secret recording aside, the substance of the recorded exchange is illuminating.
The student asked, "Are you saying if I don't agree with gays not being allowed to get married that I'm homophobic?"
The teacher said, "I'm saying it would come off as a homophobic comment in this class."
After further discussion, Abbate said, "You don't have a right in this class (an ethics class) especially to make homophobic comments."
When the student persisted that he is not homophobic and that the professor was restricting his rights and individual liberties, Abbate shot back: "You can have whatever opinions you want, but I will tell you right now, in this class homophobic comments, racist comments, sexist comments will not be tolerated. If you don't like it, you are more than free to drop this class."
The student took her up on the offer and dropped the class. His complaint with university officials went nowhere.
As totalitarian and censorial as Abbate's behavior was, what followed was arguably worse.
Marquette professor John McAdams learned about the incident and expressed his strong disapproval on his blog, Marquette Warrior. McAdams wrote: "Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university."
Boy, did McAdams step in it. It's not just university students whose speech is suppressed there. On Dec. 16, McAdams received a letter from the dean relieving him of his teaching duties, saying he was under investigation and banned from campus.
To get a flavor of the terse three-paragraph letter, take a look at the first sentence of the final paragraph from Dean Richard C. Holz: "You are to remain off campus during this time, and should you need to come to campus, you are to contact me in writing beforehand to explain the purpose of your visit, to obtain my consent and to make appropriate arrangements for that visit."
In its letter to McAdams, the university did not specify the charges against him, but President Michael R. Lovell wrote a letter to the campus community and said: "This is a matter of official policy, but it's also a matter of our values. Respect is at the heart of our commitment to the Jesuit tradition and Catholic social teaching. ... The university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff. ... We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format."
There you have it. We have a professor at a university (a Catholic one, no less) — an institution ostensibly dedicated to intellectual and academic inquiry and the free flow of ideas and expression — prohibiting certain relevant views from even being discussed in the classroom, encouraging a dissenting student to drop the class if he doesn't approve of the Stalinist tactics, and casting opposing views as "hatred."
Then we have another professor who expresses his strong dissent of such Stalinist practices and is consequently subjected to worse Stalinist practices in the form of being summarily suspended from his duties and banned from the campus as if he were a serial felon or known terrorist.
Do leftists even pretend to be intellectually open and behaviorally tolerant anymore? If they do, will anyone take them seriously?
Defenders of these abominably indefensible actions will tell you, indignantly, that they give no quarter to those who are intolerant. But what they mean is that they are militantly intolerant of people who express views different from their own, even if the people expressing those views are highly respectful of everyone concerned.
What scares me more than the left's deliberate muzzling of people's expression is that it's doing so with an air of moral superiority, coupled with a perfect blindness to the perniciousness of its actions, its overt hypocrisy and its moral bankruptcy.
The enemies of liberty and tolerance continue their scorched-earth oppression of their political opponents under the fraudulent banners of tolerance and liberty — and it is truly sickening and highly disturbing.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh122214.php3#MHqlvGPAEjBk62Ao.99
By John Stossel
Control freaks want to run your life. They call themselves "public servants."
But whether student council president, environmental bureaucrat or member of Congress, most believe they know how to run your life better than you do.
I admit I was once guilty of this kind of thinking. As a young consumer reporter, I researched what doctors said was bad for us and what products might harm us. Then I demanded that the state pass rules to protect us from those things.
The concept of individual freedom was not yet on my radar screen. I apologize. I was ignorant and arrogant.
But at least I had no real power. I couldn't force consumers to avoid unhealthy things or pay for certain kinds of health care. I couldn't force any business to stop selling something. Only government can do that. Only government can use force.
Sadly, government is filled with people just as ignorant and arrogant as I was.
Economist Matthew Mitchell of the Mercatus Center likes to point out that governments impose regulations without acknowledging that the new rules will have unintended consequences.
Bans on smoking in restaurants and bars is one of the control freaks' favorite campaigns. "A recent Cornell study," Mitchell says on my show this week, "found that in those areas where they introduced bans on smoking, you saw an increase in accidents related to alcohol. The theory is that people drive longer distances in order to find bars that either have outside seating or are outside the jurisdiction."
I selfishly like smoking bans. I don't like breathing others' smoke. But the majority of us shouldn't force our preferences on the minority, even if they do things that are dangerous. Smokers ought to be allowed to smoke in some bars, if the bar owners allow it. But today in about half the states, no one may smoke in any bar.
It's totalitarianism from the health police. If secondhand smoke were dangerous enough to threaten non-smokers, the control freaks would have a point, but it isn't. It barely has any detectable health effect at all.
Rule-makers always want more . At first, they just asked for bans on TV's cigarette ads. Then they demanded no-smoking sections in restaurants. Then bans in airplanes, schools, workplaces, entire restaurants. Then bars, too. Now sometimes even apartments and outdoor spaces.
Can't smokers have some places?
So far, smokers just ... take it. But maybe that's changing. The town of Westminster, Massachusetts, recently held hearings on whether to ban the sale of tobacco products altogether, and 500 angry people showed up.
One said, "I find smoking one of the most disgusting habits anybody could possibly do. On top of that, I find this proposal to be even more of a disgusting thing." Good for him.
Mitchell warns that "we are accustomed to thinking about the federal government and federal overreach. But a lot of the most intrusive regulations happen at the local level," as in Westminster.
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police charged two pastors and a 90-year-old volunteer with giving food to poor people in public. Florida law declares it illegal to give away food in an outdoor location without providing public toilets. The restrictions were instated in the name of "public health and safety."
In New Jersey, churches were forced to stop offering Thanksgiving dinners to poor people because they didn't have "properly licensed commercial kitchens."
A court threw out a soft drink ban imposed on my city, New York, by then-mayor Bloomberg, but my new control-freak mayor, Bill de Blasio, plans to reinstate the ban.
The rules keep coming. Another New York regulation, banning trans fats in restaurants, led to stringent bans on which foods people were allowed to donate to the hungry. I'd think the poor have bigger problems than trans fats.
Their biggest problem is the same one we all have: too much government.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1114/stossel111914.php3#k3v22AkXexBJo13o.99
'Heartless' Americans, don't let Obama manipulate you
By Ben Carson
Like millions of other Americans, I appreciate the plight of billions of people throughout the world who would like nothing more than to find themselves in the United States, where they could enjoy a much higher standard of living and wonderful opportunities for advancement.
It certainly seems like a compassionate thing to offer them legal status in America and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. It should first be considered, however, that we have millions of people already mired in dire poverty in our inner cities, rural townships and places such as Appalachia who would certainly appreciate a helping hand before we extend one to foreigners. The same principle is seen when you board an airplane and hear the announcement, "In case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Put yours on first, and then administer help to those around you." There are many around us already in need of help.
According to President Obama, only those five million or so illegals who have been in America for five years or more will benefit from his largesse. He indicates that they will not be eligible for health care and other benefits. Obviously, this fits right into the same category as his promise: "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."
Once illegals have legal status, it will be difficult to deny them any of the multitudinous entitlements that are freely distributed throughout our society. Also, we must remember that illegals who have been here for less than five years only have to claim that they have been here longer than that in order to collect goodies. In effect, instead of helping five million people, we probably will be aiding at least twice that many.
Even this would not be a problem if we had plenty of money. The sad fact is our national debt is approaching $18 trillion. If you paid that back at a rate of $1 billion per day, it would take nearly 50 years. Many powerful nations before us have met their fate through fiscal irresponsibility. What makes our leaders think we are immune from the destructive forces of a shaky financial foundation?
The founders of our nation feared that the time would arise when an individual or group of individuals in our government would become intoxicated with their power and attempt to impose their will upon the entire society through dictatorial decrees rather than through the legal process established by our Constitution. For this reason, they established three separate but equal branches of government, dividing the powers. This ingenious method of power division worked beautifully until recently, but hopefully, we are about to experience a demonstration of how the separation of powers preserves the integrity of our system. It will require that the legislative and judicial branches of government manifest the necessary courage to stand up for the people they represent.
The American people should not be manipulated into believing that they are heartless simply because they want to preserve the rule of law in our nation and look after their own before they take in others. We also have to consider the millions of people who have immigrated here legally, as well as those who are in the queue. It is incredibly unfair to them to grant amnesty to those who have jumped ahead of them in line illegally. I hope all of our government officials will recall the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, with particular emphasis on the part that says: "with liberty and justice for all."
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1114/carson112614.php3#zox4Ezji4kuwIyyx.99
A Time for Torture
By Michael Reagan
A poll released this week found 51 percent of Americans approve of the harsh interrogation tactics the CIA used immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Imagine what those numbers would have been on Sept. 12, 2001.
The NBC/Wall Street Journal survey is in synch with the results of similar opinion polls that show a majority of Americans are not naive about what "torture" is or isn't or when it should be used.
About half of those polled called the CIA's use of water boarding, sleep deprivation and other tough interview methods "torture," but a majority still approved of it.
About 30 percent of Americans — most of them Democrats — told NBC they think the CIA went too far in the early days of the Bush administration. About 80 percent of Republicans approved the CIA's tactics.
Dick Cheney got beat up this week by the liberal media, Senate Democrats and the holier-than-thou crowd for refusing to use the word "torture" to describe the CIA's methods of extracting information from evil people who wanted to kill us or who knew where Osama Bin Laden's home address was.
As for the future, 45 percent of those polled say the CIA should continue to use the same interrogation tactics while 28 percent said they should not.
Interrogating our enemies during war is a dirty business.
It's not anything like that classy old 1950s quiz show "What's My Line," where a panel of well-dressed celebrities like Steve Allen had 10 questions to figure out the occupations of the mystery contestants.
"Mr. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, did you ever mastermind a plan to blow up the World Trade Center?"
"OK, panel. Eight down and two to go."
I have a little story for anyone who thinks America's rough interrogation tactics really deserve to be called "torture."
During the mid-1980s, when I was on a vacation in Italy, my wife and I were being protected by the U.S. Secret Service and its Italian equivalent.
A few years earlier, the leftist Red Brigade had been terrorizing Italy, assassinating people, kidnapping business executives, setting off bombs, robbing banks and blowing off people's kneecaps as they walked down the sidewalks.
In 1981, after the Red Brigade kidnapped U.S. General James Dozier, it took Italy's counter-terrorism agency 42 days to rescue him -- without firing a shot.
I asked one of the unshaven, rugged, glass-eating Italian secret servicemen working in our motorcade detail how they finally found out where General Dozier was being held.
He told me that after his colleagues caught a few members of the Red Brigade they were taken to the basement and interrogated.
The terrorists became very talkative after their genitals were placed in a vise.
The agents who used this persuasive technique — which also led to the capture of hundreds of Red Brigade members and put the deadly terrorist group out of business — were disciplined by their superiors.
They were suspended for five days and went to the beach.
As the Italians proved, sometimes in war you have to use "enhanced" interrogation methods to get the successful ending you want.
In 2001 we found ourselves in a bloody war against terrorists. The White House knew it. The CIA knew it. Even the media and Democrats in Congress knew it. The American people figured it out too.
What the CIA did to extract information from the Islamist terrorists was not nice, but it was not really torture.
We shouldn't be second-guessing and beating up on the CIA, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and all the other men and women who've helped to keep us safe for the last 14 years.
We should be thanking them.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michael/reagan121814.php3#c1hLB8Zw4wV2SJQl.99
Should Profiling Be Banned?
By Walter Williams
Last week, the Obama administration announced new curbs on racial profiling by federal law enforcement. Before deciding whether this is good or bad policy, we might try to develop a description/definition of racial profiling or any other kind of profiling.
A good definition of profiling in general is the use of an easily observed physical characteristic as a guess for some other, difficult-to-observe characteristic. The reason people profile is that information is costly and they seek methods to economize on information costs. One way to do that is through profiling.
Imagine a chief of police in a city where there has been a rash of automobile hubcap thefts and he's trying to capture the culprits. Should he have his officers stake out and investigate residents of senior citizen homes? What about spending resources investigating men and women 40 or older? I would imagine that he would have greater success in capturing the culprits by focusing most of his resources on younger people — and particularly on young men. Doing so would more likely lead to the capture of the culprits because hubcap theft is a young man's game. My question to you is whether you'd bring charges against the police chief because he used age and sex profiling — and didn't investigate seniors and middle-aged adults.
Some years ago, a Washington, D.C., taxicab commissioner, who is black, issued a safety advisory urging D.C.'s 6,800 predominantly black cabbies to refuse to pick up "dangerous looking" passengers. Cabbies in D.C. and other cities often bypass black males for fear of robbery or of being taken to an unsafe neighborhood. We seriously misunderstand the motives of a taxi driver who racially profiles and passes up a black customer if we use racism as the sole explanation for his behavior.
The reality is that race and other behavioral characteristics are correlated, including criminal behavior. That fact does not dispel the insult, embarrassment, anger and hurt a law-abiding black person might feel when being stopped by police, being watched in stores, being passed up by taxi drivers, standing at traffic lights and hearing car door locks activated, or being refused delivery by merchants who fear for their safety in his neighborhood. It is easy to direct one's anger at the taxi driver or the merchant. However, the behavior of taxi drivers and owners of pizza restaurants cannot be explained by a dislike of dollars from black hands. A better explanation is they might fear for their lives. The true villains, to whom anger should be directed, are the tiny percentage of people in the black community who prey on both blacks and whites and have made black synonymous with crime.
There's little-noticed racial profiling in medicine. Some racial and ethnic groups have a higher incidence of mortality from various diseases than the national average. Mortality rates for cardiovascular diseases are approximately 30 percent higher among black adults than among white adults. Cervical cancer rates are almost five times higher among Vietnamese women in the U.S. than among white women. The Pima Indians of Arizona have the highest known diabetes rate in the world. Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as it is among white men. Would one condemn a medical practitioner for advising greater screening and monitoring of black men for cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer or greater screening and monitoring for cervical cancer among Vietnamese-American women or the same for diabetes among Pima Indians? It surely would be racial profiling — using race as an indicator of a higher probability of some other characteristic.
God would never do profiling of any sort, because God is omniscient. We humans lack that quality and must depend upon sometimes-crude substitutes for finding out things. By the way, my attempting to explain profiling doesn't require one to take a position for or against it any more than the attempt to explain gravity requires one to be for or against gravity.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams121714.php3#hxRA2o531VtGSzW4.99
A license to debate: State takes aim at the First Amendment
By George Will
When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government's left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example of public disputes masking hidden deceptions. Here is what happened.
Last week was dominated by two huge news stories. One was the revelation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of torture committed by CIA agents and contractors on 119 detainees in the post-9/11 era — 26 of whom were tortured for months by mistake. In that revelation of anguish and error were the conclusions by CIA agents themselves that their torture had not produced helpful information. President Barack Obama acknowledged that the CIA had tortured, yet he directed the Department of Justice not to prosecute those who tortured and those who authorized it.
The other substantial news story was the compromise achieved by Congress and the White House to fund the government through the end of September 2015. That legislation, which is 2,000 pages in length, was not read by anyone who voted for it. It spends a few hundred billion dollars more than the government will collect in tax revenue. The compromise was achieved through bribery; members of Congress bought and sold votes by adding goodies (in the form of local expenditures of money borrowed by the federal government) to the bill that were never debated or independently voted upon and were added solely to achieve the votes needed for passage. This is how the federal government operates today. Both parties participate in it. They have turned the public treasury into a public trough.
Hidden in the law that authorized the government to spend more than it will collect was a part about funding for the 16 federal civilian intelligence agencies. And hidden in that was a clause, inserted by the same Senate Intelligence Committee that revealed the CIA torture, authorizing the National Security Agency to gather and retain nonpublic data for five years and to share it with law enforcement and with foreign governments. "Nonpublic data" is the government's language referring to the content of the emails, text messages, telephone calls, bank statements, utility bills and credit card bills of nearly every innocent person in America — including members of Congress, federal judges, public officials and law enforcement officials. I say "innocent" because the language of this legislation — which purports to make lawful the NSA spying we now all know about — makes clear that those who spy upon us needn't have any articulable suspicion or probable cause for spying.
The need for articulable suspicion and probable cause has its origins in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which was written to prohibit what Congress just authorized. That amendment was a reaction to the brutish British practice of rummaging through the homes of American colonists, looking for anything that might be illegal. It is also a codification of our natural right to privacy. It requires that if the government wants nonpublic data from our persons, houses, papers or effects, it must first present evidence of probable cause to a judge and then ask the judge for a search warrant.
Probable cause is a level of evidence that is sufficient to induce a judge into concluding that it is more likely than not that the place to be examined contains evidence of crimes. In order to seek probable cause, the government must first have an articulable suspicion about the person or place it has targeted. Were this not in the law, then nothing would stop the government from fishing expeditions in pursuit of anyone it wants to pursue. And fishing expeditions turn the presumption of liberty on its head. The presumption of liberty is based on the belief that our rights are natural to us and that we may exercise them without a permission slip from the government and without its surveillance.
Until last week, that is. Last week, Congress, by authorizing the massive NSA spying to continue and by authorizing the spies to share what they have seized with law enforcement, basically permitted the fishing expeditions that the Fourth Amendment was written to prevent.
How can the president and Congress defy the Constitution, you might ask? Hasn't every member of the government taken an oath to uphold the Constitution? Doesn't the Constitution create the presidency and the Congress? How can politicians purport to change it?
The answers to these questions are obvious, as is the belief of most of those in government that they can write any law and regulate any behavior and ignore the Constitution they have sworn to uphold whenever they want, so long as they can get away with it.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1214/napolitano121814.php3#hZosVkexyrbKS4JT.9912-18-14
A travesty of a report: The authors have forgotten our history
By Charles Krauthammer
The report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding CIA interrogation essentially accuses the agency under George W. Bush of war criminality. Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein appears to offer some extenuation when she reminds us in the report's preamble of the shock and "pervasive fear" felt after 9/11.
It's a common theme (often echoed by President Obama): Amid panic and disorientation, we lost our moral compass and made awful judgments. The results are documented in the committee report. They must never happen again.
It's a kind of temporary-insanity defense for the Bush administration. And it is not just unctuous condescension but hypocritical nonsense. In the aftermath of 9/11, there was nothing irrational about believing that a second attack was a serious possibility and therefore everything should be done to prevent it. Indeed, this was the considered opinion of the CIA, the administration, the congressional leadership and the American people.
Al-Qaeda had successfully mounted four major attacks on American targetsin the previous three years. The pace was accelerating and the scale vastly increasing. The country then suffered a deadly anthrax attack of unknown origin. Al-Qaeda was known to be seeking weapons of mass destruction.
We were so blindsided that we established a 9/11 commission to find out why. And we knew next to nothing about the enemy: its methods, structure, intentions, plans. There was nothing morally deranged about deciding as a nation to do everything necessary to find out what we needed to prevent a repetition, or worse. As Feinstein said at the time, "We have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves."
Nancy Pelosi, then ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, was briefed about the interrogation program, including the so-called torture techniques. As were the other intelligence committee leaders. "We understood what the CIA was doing," wrote Porter Goss, Pelosi's chairman on the House committee. "We gave the CIA our bipartisan support; we gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities."
Democrat Jay Rockefeller, while the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked in 2003 about turning over Khalid Sheik Mohammed to countries known to torture. He replied: "I wouldn't take anything off the table where he is concerned."
There was no uproar about this open countenancing of torture-by-proxy. Which demonstrates not just the shamelessness of Democrats today denouncing practices to which, at the time and at the very least, they made no objection. It demonstrates also how near-consensual was the idea that our national emergency might require extraordinary measures.
This is not to say that in carrying out the program there weren't abuses, excesses, mismanagement and appalling mistakes (such as the death in custody — unintended but still unforgivable — of two detainees). It is to say that the root-and-branch denunciation of the program as, in principle, unconscionable is not just hypocritical but ahistorical.
To make that case, to produce a prosecutorial brief so entirely and relentlessly one-sided, the committee report (written solely by Democrats) excluded any testimony from the people involved and variously accused. None. No interviews, no hearings, no statements.
The excuse offered by the committee is that a parallel Justice Department inquiry precluded committee interviews. Rubbish. That inquiry ended in 2012. It's December 2014. Why didn't they take testimony in the interval? Moreover, even during the Justice Department investigation, the three CIA directors and many other officials were exempt from any restrictions. Why weren't they interviewed?
Answer: So that committee Democrats could make their indictment without contradiction. So they could declare, for example, the whole program to be a failure that yielded no important information — a conclusion denied by practically every major figure involved, including Democrat and former CIA director Leon Panetta; Obama's current CIA director, John Brennan; and three other CIA directors (including a Clinton appointee).
Perhaps, say the critics, but we'll never know whether less harsh interrogation would have sufficed.
So what was the Bush administration to do? Amid the smoking ruins of Ground Zero, conduct a controlled experiment in gentle interrogation and wait to see if we'd be hit again?
A nation attacked is not a laboratory for exquisite moral experiments. It's a trust to be protected, by whatever means meet and fit the threat.
Accordingly, under the direction of the Bush administration and with the acquiescence of congressional leadership, the CIA conducted an uncontrolled experiment. It did everything it could, sometimes clumsily, sometimes cruelly, indeed, sometimes wrongly.
But successfully. It kept us safe.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer121214.php3#EMobBFMFHq8H7z3D.99
Tax reform optimism
By George Will
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
— Mr. Micawber in "David Copperfield"
If America's long-term economic growth were 3.5 percent, the result would be the restoration of cheerfulness. If long-term growth is closer to 2 percent, the result will be continuing social disappointment and political crankiness.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, did his considerable best to deliver the indispensable igniter of sustained growth — tax reform. As he leaves Congress after 12 terms, passing the gavel to an equally able reformer, Paul Ryan, Camp remains confident that it can be done. Such serenity is strange in today's Washington, where even events that cause cheerfulness are for that reason depressing.
The euphoria occasioned by the economy adding 321,000 jobs in November indicates that we have defined success down. In the 1960s, there were nine months in which more than 300,000 jobs were added, the last being June 1969, when there were about 117 million fewer Americans than there are now . In the 1980s, job growth exceeded 300,000 in 23 months, the last being November 1988, when there were about 75 million fewer Americans than today .
To demonstrate how young people "are not getting the kind of start others got," Camp offers a graph charting the "fraction of young adults living with older family members." Beginning in the middle of the last decade, the line goes almost straight up, to almost 46 percent. For those 25 to 34, median household income plunged 8.9 percent between June 2009 and June 2012,the first three years of the recovery .
Surely it is time to give earners on the lower rungs of the ladder of upward mobility a boost by cutting their payroll taxes. This can be paid for by ending the nonsense of taxing at the low capital gains rate the income that fabulously wealthy hedge fund managers call "carried interest."
There is consensus about the broad contours of tax reform: Lowering rates and recouping lost revenue by closing loopholes, and by improved economic growth, justify "dynamic scoring." This means estimating the revenue and growth effects of tax changes that improve incentives to work, invest and consume. And save: The median savings of households 10 years from retirement is a paltry $12,000; nearly one-third of those 55 to 64 have no savings.
Consensus abruptly ends when dealing with details begins. Suppose the deductibility of mortgage interest were capped at a $500,000 mortgage level (involving less than 5 percent of houses on the market). But all 435 congressional districts have this in common: They all have real estate interests (bankers, brokers, builders) who will object. But, says Camp, if tax reform delivers faster growth, housing prices will rise because more people will be working and in the housing market.
Charitable giving, too, is highly correlated with economic growth. Were the deductibility of charitable contributions limited in a context of improved economic growth, charitable giving would increase: People give more when they are prospering. Such giving surged after Ronald Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 50 percent to 28 percent in 1986. Although this rate reduction also lowered the value of the charitable deduction, it ignited growth, hence cheerfulness, hence largess.
Camp would prefer to have just two tax brackets (10 percent and 25 percent) but thinks that, for political reasons, a third is necessary "because of the Derek Jeters of the world." There are so many high-earning athletes and entertainers, and corporate chief executives are earning so much more than in the 1980s, that a 35 percent bracket for income over $400,000 (less than 1 percent of taxpayers) is needed to serve the optics of equity.
One prerequisite for tax reform, Camp says, is presidential engagement. Of today's president, Camp says: "I haven't really seen why he is there."
Because comprehensive tax reform inevitably would leave no faction unscathed, Camp's optimism might seem misplaced. But optimism comes easily to a man two years into remission from lymphoma, the treatment for which cost him much of his hair. Said his son, with the savoir-faire for which the young are known: "Don't worry, Dad. It was going anyway." Camp is going from Congress with the knowledge that he advanced the cause of reform, and hence of American revival, and that, as Jefferson said, "The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches."
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will121314.php3#xODEZDehiXMJkcGC.99
What's Rule of Law?
By Walter Williams
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams121014.php3#6OP76mAP75V5IRJb.99
President Barack Obama said just before the recent Ferguson, Missouri, riots, "First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law." Most Americans have little or no inkling of what "rule of law" means. Many think it means obedience to whatever laws legislatures enact. That's a vision that has led to human tragedy down through the ages. Historically, it sanctioned the divine right of kings, whereby a monarch was subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. More recently, it's a vision that included the Nuremberg laws, which led to the genocide of European Jews, and the brutal laws of the regimes of Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, which led to tens of millions of murders.
Let's ask ourselves what the characteristics of laws in a free society should be. Let's think about baseball rules (laws) as a way to approach this. Some players, through no fault of their own, hit fewer home runs than others. In order to create baseball justice, or what's sometimes called a level playing field, how about a rule requiring pitchers to throw easier pitches to poorer home run hitters? Alternatively, we could make a rule that what would be a double for a power hitter is a home run for someone who doesn't hit many homers.
Some pitchers aren't so good as others. How about allowing those pitchers to stand closer to home plate? Better yet, we could rule their first two pitches as strikes, regardless of whether they are or not. In the interest of baseball justice, we might make special rules for some players and not for others. That would level the playing field between old players and young players, black players and white players and fast runners and slow runners. Umpires would become arbiters of baseball justice.
You say, "Williams, you can't be serious! Can you imagine all the chaos that would ensue: players lobbying umpires, umpires deciding who gets what favor, and lawsuits — not to mention violence?" You're absolutely right. The reason baseball games end peaceably — with players and team owners satisfied with the process, whether they win or lose — is that baseball rules (law) are applied equally to all players. They're fixed, and umpires don't make up rules as they go along. In other words, baseball rules meet the test of "abstractness." They envision no particular game outcome in terms of winners and losers. The rules that govern baseball simply create a framework in which the game is played.
Laws or rules in a free society should have similar characteristics; there should be "rule of law." Rule of law means that laws are certain and known in advance. Laws envision no particular outcome except that of allowing people to peaceably pursue their own objectives. Finally, and most importantly, laws are equally applied to everyone, including government officials.
Sir Henry Sumner Maine, probably the greatest legal historian ever, wrote, "The movement of the progressive societies has hitherto been a movement from Status to Contract." In non-progressive societies, rule of law is absent. Laws are not general. They're applied according to a person's status or group membership. There's rule not by legis, the Latin word for law, but by privilegium, the Latin term for private law.
Let's look at our country and ask whether we live under rule of law. Just about every law that Congress enacts violates the requirements for rule of law. How do we determine violations of rule of law? It's easy. See whether the law applies to particular Americans, as opposed to all Americans. See whether the law exempts public officials from its application. See whether the law is known in advance. See whether the law takes action against a person who has taken no aggressive action against another. If one conducts such a test, he will conclude that it is virtually impossible to find a single act of Congress that adheres to the principles of the rule of law. The supreme tragedy is Americans do not want rule of law.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams121014.php3#6OP76mAP75V5IRJb.99
I Don't Care if Obama Thinks We're Stupid; Just Repeal Obamacare
By David Limbaugh
Instead of using this space to pretend the newly released CIA "torture" report confirms that the United States is the most evil nation in the history of the universe, I'm going to address Jonathan Gruber's confirmation that he believes we're all stupid.
Assuming you are not under any rocks or haven't been in an underground bunker without access to media, you will have heard that Gruber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the principal architect of Obamacare, made some unflattering comments about his fellow Americans.
At a panel event last year, discussing how the administration was able to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, Gruber openly admitted that the administration deceived the American people in numerous important respects about the legislation, bragged about the administration's lack of transparency in the process and outright called the American people "stupid," which I think is arguably the least of these three sins, though it's the one getting the most airplay.
Read Gruber's own words: "You can't do it politically. You just literally cannot do it. OK? Transparent financing and also transparent spending. I mean, this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? So it's written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money — it would not have passed. ... Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass. ... Look, I wish (health economist) Mark (Pauly) was right (that) we could make it all transparent, but I'd rather have this law than not."
This week, Gruber, tail between his legs, desperately backpedaled before Congress, pretending that he didn't mean a thing he said, that he had only acted arrogantly in an effort to portray himself as a very smart cookie.
He told Congress: "I'm not an elected official, nor am I a political adviser. ... I behaved badly, and I will have to live with that, but my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is a milestone accomplishment for our nation that has already provided millions of Americans with health insurance. ... It's never appropriate to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I knew better. I know better. I'm embarrassed, and I'm sorry."
This is truly insulting, for now he's also treating us as stupid, not just his fellow Obama voters. When he attributed the passage of the bill to the "stupidity" of the American voters, he was necessarily talking about Obama voters, because the rest of us weren't going to be persuaded to go along with this socialist scheme no matter how ornately he dressed it up with deceit.
But by telling Congress that he didn't really mean any of what he said, he and those in the administration he colluded with on this, including Obama, are playing us non-Obama voters for fools, as well. Reread his comments to the panel. There's no escaping his clear meaning.
He revealed that the administration was very calculating in getting the bill passed. His comments on the panel weren't throwaway remarks. They show that the administration deliberately and premeditatedly mischaracterized the nature of the mandate to the CBO (as a penalty and not as a tax); otherwise, by Gruber's admission, the bill would have died.
We non-Kool-Aid drinkers knew this at the time, so this is not news to us. Gruber also doubly reaffirmed the administration's intention to deceive when he said that he wishes it could have passed the bill by being open and honest about it (transparent) but that the bill would never have passed had the administration been honest. It's right there in his words, spoken before he got in trouble, not after. Obama and company made a conscious decision to lie because they'd "rather have this law than not."
So while people are making a big fuss over Gruber's calling Americans stupid, they ought to be far more outraged that he admitted the administration purposefully lied to us. This is the real story, and it reveals, once again, the character and mentality of this entire administration, for Gruber was speaking not merely for himself but about the entire administration, beginning with Obama.
No one wanted this socialist law more than Obama, and he has shown in every way imaginable that he went to extreme lengths to get it enacted — and he has done the same to keep it in force. We always knew that Obama's end-justifies-the-means mindset and dogmatic ideological fervor led to his corruption and lawlessness, but now we have his principal Obamacare architect admitting it — and then lamely lying to Congress after the fact in an embarrassingly failed effort to deny he meant it.
This is all disgraceful and underscores how imperative it is that Obamacare be fully repealed and that the newly elected GOP Congress get a backbone and stand up to this cadre of scofflaws.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh121214.php3#YMdYWKG7ora7BQWQ.99
Is Law Optional?
By Thomas Sowell
The fiasco of "Rolling Stone" magazine's apology for an unsubstantiated claim of gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house — and the instant rush to judgment of the university administration in shutting down all fraternities, when those charges were made — should warn us about the dangers of having serious legal issues dealt with by institutions with no qualifications for that role.
Rape is a crime. It belongs in a criminal justice courtroom. And those found guilty belong behind bars for a long time.
What could possibly have led anyone to believe that college professors or campus administrators should be the ones making decisions about charges of criminal acts that can ruin the lives of the accuser or the accused?
Many years ago, the late William F. Buckley said that he would rather be ruled by people with the first hundred names in the Boston phone book than by a hundred Harvard professors. Having spent more than half a century on academic campuses across the country, I would likewise rather have my fate decided by a hundred Americans chosen at random than by a hundred academics.
Have we forgotten the charges of gang rape against members of the Duke lacrosse team in 2006 — and how quickly the lynch mob mentality swept across the campus, before there was a speck of evidence to indicate whether the young men were either guilty or innocent?
Do we want people punished, based on other people's preconceptions, rather than on the facts of the individual case? Apparently there are ranting mobs who do, and many in the media who give them a platform for spouting off, in exchange for the mobs' providing them with footage that can attract an audience.
The law is not the place for amateurs. We do not need legal issues to be determined by academics, the media or mobs in the streets.
Every society has orders and rules, but not every society has the rule of law — "a government of laws and not of men." Nor was it easy to achieve even an approximation of the rule of law. It took centuries of struggle — and lives risked and sacrificed — to achieve it in those countries which have some approximation of it today.
To just throw all of that overboard because of mobs, the media or racial demagoguery is staggering.
A generation that jumps to conclusions on the basis of its own emotions, or succumbs to the passions or rhetoric of others, deserves to lose the freedom that depends on the rule of law. Unfortunately, what they say and what they do can lose everyone's freedom, including the freedom of generations yet unborn.
If grand juries are supposed to vote on the basis of what mobs want, instead of on the basis of the evidence that they see — and which the mob doesn't even want to see — then we forfeit the rule of law and our freedom that depends on it.
If people who are told that they are under arrest, and who refuse to come with the police, cannot be forcibly taken into custody, then we do not have the rule of law, when the law itself is downgraded to suggestions that no one has the power to enforce.
For people who have never tried to take into custody someone resisting arrest, to sit back in the safety and comfort of their homes or offices and second-guess people who face the dangers inherent in that process — dangers for both the police and the person under arrest — is yet another example of the irresponsible self-indulgences of our time.
Force cannot be measured out by the teaspoon, and there are going to be incalculable risks every time force is resorted to, because no one can predict what is going to happen in the next moment. Anyone involved can end up in the hospital or the morgue. Let the responsibility lie with whoever forces a resort to force.
When it comes to dealing with mobs, the idea that the police should not show up in riot gear, or with anti-riot equipment that looks menacing or "military" — lest this "inflame" the mob — is an idea that might have seemed plausible to some in 1960. But we have had more than half a century of experience to the contrary since then.
The "kinder and gentler" approach was used in Detroit during its 1967 ghetto riots. More people died in those riots than in any other 1960s riots, the great majority of the dead being black.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell120914.php3#MvegzmdSwrgFml51.99
The real civil war: Dems struggle for footing --- and purpose
By Charles Krauthammer
Old habits die hard. The media are so enamored of the continuing (and largely contrived) story about the great Republican civil war that they fail to appreciate that the real internecine fight is being waged on the other side of the aisle.
I grant that there's a lot of shouting today among Republicans. But it's aritual skirmish over whether a government shutdown would force the president to withdraw a signature measure — last time, Obamacare; this time, executive amnesty.
And it will likely be resolved with the obvious expedient of funding the government through next year, except for a more short-term extension for homeland security. That way, defunding the executive order could be targeted to just the issue at hand, namely immigration, and would occur when the GOP holds the high ground — control of both houses of Congress.
It's a tempest in a teapot, and tactical at that. Meanwhile, on the other side, cannons are firing in every direction as the Democratic Party, dazed and disoriented, begins digging itself out of the shambles of six years of Barack Obama.
The fireworks began even before Election Day with preemptive back-stabbing of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, by fellow Democrats. This was followed after the electoral debacle by bitter sniping between Obama and Harry Reid when Reid's chief of staff immediately — and on the record — blamed the results on Obama. In turn, Obama got his revenge last week by sabotaging a $450 billion "tax extender" deal that Reid had painstakingly negotiated.
But the Democrats' civil war goes far beyond the petty and the personal. It's about fundamental strategy and ideology. The opening salvo was Sen. Chuck Schumer's National Press Club speech, an anti-Obama manifesto delivered three weeks after Election Day openly denouncing Obamaism, its policies and priorities. In essence: Elected with a mandate to restore the economy and address the anxieties of a stagnating and squeezed middle class, Obama instead attacked, restructured, reorganized and destabilized a health-care system that was serving the middle class relatively well.
Eighty-five percent of Americans already had health insurance, argued Schumer. Yet millions have suffered dislocations for the sake of a minority constituency — the uninsured — barely 13 percent of whom vote.
This has alienated the Democrats' traditional middle-class constituency. Indeed, in a 2013 poll cited by the New York Times' Thomas Edsall, by a margin of 25 percent, people said Obamacare makes things better for the poor. But when the question was, does it make things better "for people like you," Obamacare came out 16 points underwater. Moreover, for whites, whose support for Democrats hemorrhaged in 2014, 63 percent thought Obamacare made things worse for the middle class.
That's how you lose elections, Schumer argued . And forfeit large chunks of the traditional Democratic coalition. Health care was not a crisis in 2009 (nor in 1993 when Hillarycare led to another Democratic electoral disaster); it was an ideological imperative for Barack Obama and the liberal elites in charge of Congress — their legacy contribution to the welfare state.
As are Obama's current cherished causes — climate change and amnesty for illegal immigrants. These are hardly the top priorities of a working and middle class whose median income declined as much during the Obama recovery as during the Great Recession.
The underlying Schumer challenge is that catering to coastal elites and select minorities is how you end up losing 64 percent of the white working class — which, though shrinking, is almost 50 percent larger in size than the black and Hispanic electorates combined.
While Schumer lobbed artillery at Obama's faculty-room liberalism, the left — through Elizabeth Warren's progressive populism — kept up its fire on the party center. Warren is looking beyond Obama to Hillary Clinton, cozy as Clinton is (Schumer, too) with Wall Street, the bête noire of the party base. Which is why Clinton actually said: "Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs" — a stupendously clumsy attempt to parry Warren by parroting her.
From opposite sides of the (Democratic) spectrum, Schumer and Warren are trying to remake and reorient the Democratic Party post-Obama. So while Republicans are debating the tactics of stopping presidential lawlessness — an inherently difficult congressional undertaking, particularly if you still control only a single house — Democrats are trying to figure out what they believe and whom they represent.
Which do you think is the more serious problem?
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer120514.php3#T3tqpOpZ36Is1AbJ.99
Blacks the media hate (and Rand Paul isn't wild about)
By Ann Coulter
Now that the Ferguson grand jury documents have been made public, even MSNBC has had to quietly drop its fantasy of Michael Brown being gunned down like a dog in the street by Officer Darren Wilson. Instead, MSNBC is defending the looters.
On Monday night, MSNBC's Chris Hayes objected to anyone referring to the people who "set fires or looted as 'thugs.'"
His guest, former Seattle chief of police Norm Stamper, said, "I could not agree more." (Stamper did such a bang-up job dealing with the World Trade Organization riots in 1999 that he was forced to resign -- which may explain why he is the left's favorite police chief.)
Hardworking black people in Ferguson poured their lives into their stores, depended on them to support their families and shopped at them to improve their quality of life. I wonder if they appreciated Hayes' principled opposition to calling the arsonists "thugs."
Instead of exquisite sensitivity to the feelings of black thugs, how about considering the feelings of black citizens who want to live in safe neighborhoods?
There's a reason so many black people supported Officer Wilson's account and that a black woman walked into a burning convenience store in the middle of the riot to extinguish the fire with gallons of milk.
In "Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama," I told the true stories of dozens of allegedly racist crimes sensationalized by the media. In almost all of them, there were unheralded black heroes who stood up for law and order against "the community."
When Exeter student Edmund Perry got himself killed by mugging a cop, at least a half-dozen black witnesses supported the cop's version. While The New York Times was droning on about Perry as "a prized symbol of hope," Perry's black neighbors were testifying to the grand jury that his brother admitted they had mugged a cop.
At least three black friends of the Central Park rapists told the police that the defendants had confessed to attacking the jogger. (In what must have been an oversight, those witnesses didn't make it into Ken Burns' movie.)
A young black woman, who was in Bernie Goetz's subway car with her husband and child when Goetz shot four black muggers, told the jury, "Those punks got what they deserved."
Goetz's lawyer Barry Slotnick made no effort to keep blacks off the jury. His faith was rewarded: Goetz's biggest defender on the jury was a black bus driver from Harlem. It is well known by prosecutors that working and married blacks make great jurors.
But we never hear about those black people. Why, that would spoil everything!
There are loads of movies about black criminals -- rewritten the way the media were hoping the story would come out, but didn't. (Movie: "Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story." Spoiler alert! The tale of a racist white cop who shot an innocent black honor student for no discernible reason.)
How about a movie paying tribute to the African-American eyewitnesses in Ferguson who told the truth to the grand jury?
Who speaks for them?
It's sure not Sen. Rand Paul.
We need video footage of blacks burning other blacks' stores down juxtaposed with clips of Sen. Paul saying that the reason "three out of four people in prison are black or brown" may be "because of the color of their skin or their economic status." Another possibility -- I'm just throwing it out there -- is that the reason black, brown or white people are in prison is because they've committed crimes.
Improving their "economic status" doesn't seem to help. The two men arrested for trying to buy bombs in Ferguson in order to blow up the Gateway Arch and kill the prosecutor and chief of police were prevented from buying as many bombs as they had hoped because they needed to wait for more money to be transferred onto a girlfriend's EBT card (Electronic Benefits Card -- food stamps).
For claiming the drug laws are racist, Sen. Paul seems to imagine his portrait is being hung in black homes across America, between pictures of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy. "White people do drugs too," Paul tells admiring white liberals in the media, "but either they don't get caught or they have better attorneys or they don't live in poverty."
If Rand Paul thinks black people are rooting for black crack dealers to go free, he's even crazier than his old man.
It was African-Americans, exploding in rage at the devastation crack was inflicting on their neighborhoods in the 1980s, who demanded severe penalties for crack cocaine. In a typical news story from 1986, Julius Lee, the black city commissioner in Fort Pierce, Florida, said, "Drugs are terrible things, but these cocaine rocks are the terriblest of the terrible." Black grocer Eugene Gibson sadly remarked, while sweeping the sidewalk in front of his store, "We're in a world of trouble here. ... It's these cocaine rocks."
A few years later, in 1989, black columnist Dorothy Gaiter perfectly expressed the feelings of the (non-crack dealing) black community in The Miami Herald: "Crack sellers should be locked up and their bounty taken away from them. The jails are crowded with murderers and others who deserve to be there, but the crack seller is a murderer too. He's a lethal seducer of our young, a destroyer of our neighborhoods. Being poor is no crime and should not result in a sentence to live among the lawless."
But now Sen. Paul is pushing the idea that the drug laws black people begged for were actually part of a racist plot to lock up African-Americans. It's like something out of Maxine Waters' dream journal.
The only people impressed with Rand Paul's defense of black criminals are the ones who will never be victimized by them.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/coulter120414.php3#CQJ8Xwx5R5AbE5tq.99
Congress Must Fight Back Against Obama's Lawlessness
By David Limbaugh
The word is that Republican leaders in Congress are relaxing their resistance.
Isn't it axiomatic that if you reward bad behavior you'll get more of it and that if you punish it you'll deter it? Then why would certain Republicans choose to reward behavior they are on record condemning?
I'm talking about not the president's making policy choices we disagree with but which he has constitutional authority to implement. Increasingly, he has become a law unto himself, rewriting substantive provisions of laws Congress not only opposes but has expressly rejected.
His recent executive actions on immigration and health care are breathtaking in their scope and unprecedented in their overt illegality.
Why would Obama stop? He certainly has no respect for the United States Constitution, so there is no chance he will rein himself in. Nor will he listen to dissenting voices. As the public's disapproval of his policies and behavior increases, his self-imposed isolation bubble hardens. One wonders whether he listens to anyone outside of his own narcissistic voice, White House consigliore Valerie Jarrett and first lady Michelle Obama.
Even The Washington Post's editorial board has come down squarely against Obama's action on immigration, in its editorial titled "President Obama's unilateral action on immigration has no precedent."
The writers dispute the White House's claim that Obama's unilateral action to legalize the presence of millions of immigrants is consistent with actions of previous presidents, saying, "In fact, it is increasingly clear that the sweeping magnitude of Mr. Obama's order is unprecedented."
In the first place, there is no small deception in the White House's comparing of Obama's order to that of President George H.W. Bush's 1990 order because it affected about the same percentage of immigrants (1.5 million of the 3.5 million immigrants at the time). The Post says, "The actual number affected by the 1990 order was clearly a fraction — perhaps a couple of hundred thousand people, at most — of the 1.5 million that Obama administration officials have cited."
In addition, Bush's action was consistent with legislation recently and subsequently enacted by Congress, whereas "Obama's move flies in the face of congressional intent — no matter how indefensible that intent looks."
The Post wrongly castigates Republicans for failing to pass an immigration reform bill but admits, "Republicans' failure to address immigration ... does not justify Mr. Obama's massive unilateral act."
The Post doesn't mention certain other hugely damning facts. President Obama's order isn't just an exercise of "prosecutorial discretion." His order won't just stop deportations; it will grant tentative status and work permits to illegal immigrants, as if he has the power to pass positive law without congressional approval and in defiance of Congress' express wishes.
If a mere discretionary act were all that is involved, why would Obama be planning for an amnesty processing facility with 1,000 new immigration agents in northern Virginia, as incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairman Jeff Sessions just discovered and reported?
Sessions said in a statement that this facility will "quickly approve applications for the President's illegal amnesty, which will provide work permits, photo IDs, Social Security, and Medicare to illegal immigrants — all benefits rejected by Congress. This action will mean that American workers, their sons, their daughters, their parents, will now have to compete directly for jobs, wages, and benefits with millions of illegal immigrants."
In the meantime, health care policy expert Betsy McCaughey reports that among the 3,415 federal regulations the Obama administration quietly imposed immediately before Thanksgiving, Obama has unilaterally made significant changes to the Affordable Care Act again. He is redefining what health plans will be deemed "adequate" for large employers under the law, and he's "asking" insurers to subsidize new benefits and warning that if they were to refuse, they might be forced to do so.
President Obama acts lawlessly so often and so egregiously that it seems some have grown numb to it. Sen. Sessions, to his great credit, is strongly recommending that Congress block federal dollars to implement his executive amnesty action. We need similar resistance on his many Obamacare overreaches.
Yet we hear the Republican leadership isn't on board with plans to actively challenge Obama. The Daily Caller is reporting, "House Speaker John Boehner will ask Rep. Nancy Pelosi to help him overcome 'snowballing' GOP opposition to the GOP leadership's draft 2015 government budget bill." Also, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has indicated that Boehner's aides have asked him to deliver Democratic votes to ensure passage of the amnesty-funding bill.
I don't know yet whether or to what extent these reports are true, but if there is a smidgen of truth to them, people must rise up in one voice against these ongoing outrages. Obama's lawlessness has to be stopped, and we won't stop it if the opposition party refuses to fight back and its leaders get in bed with Obama's Democratic enablers.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh120514.php3#mdhBXPkdiiSkI7Pb.99
Can Racial Discrimination Explain Much?
By Walter Williams
In the medical profession, there is the admonition primum non nocere, the Latin expression for "first, do no harm." In order not to do harm, at the minimum, requires accurate diagnostics. Suppose a patient presents with abdominal pains, and the physician diagnoses it as caused by the patient's ingrown toenails. If that isn't the cause, the physician can spend all the resources he wants treating the patient's ingrown toenails and not remedy the patient's abdominal pains.
The decency of accurate diagnosis should be given to analyzing the problems of a large segment of the black community. Very often, major problems are erroneously seen as being caused by racial discrimination. No one argues that racial discrimination does not exist or does not have effects. The question that's relevant to policy, as well as resource allocation, is: How much of what we see is caused by discrimination?
Let's apply this question to the tragic state of black education. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation's report card, the average black 12th-grader has the academic achievement level of the average white seventh- or eighth-grader. In some cities, there's even a larger achievement gap. If, as some people assert, this is the result of racially discriminatory education funding, then demonstrations, legal suits and other measures might be taken to promote funding equity. Also, resources could be spent to politically organize and elect black people as mayors, city councilors and school superintendents.
If the cause of the black/white achievement gap has little to do with racial discrimination, then focusing on discrimination will lead us to ignore or downplay factors that do affect black education. In some school districts, 700 teachers are annually assaulted and threatened. At one time, Philadelphia employed 500 school police officers. Similar stories of school violence can be told in other cities with large black populations, such as Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, California, and Newark, New Jersey. How useful is it to spend resources on discrimination while allowing unsafe and chaotic educational environments to exist?
Whether a student is black, white, orange or polka-dot and whether he's poor or rich, there are some minimum requirements that must be met in order for him to do well in school. Someone must make the student do his homework. Someone must see to it that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep. Someone has to fix him a wholesome breakfast and ensure that he gets to school on time and respects and obeys teachers. Here's my question: Which one of those basic requirements can be accomplished through a presidential executive order, a congressional mandate or the edict of a mayor, a superintendent of schools or a teacher? If those basic requirements aren't met, whatever else that is done in the name of education is for naught.
Spending more money on education is not a substitute. If it were, black academic achievement wouldn't be a problem. For example, in 2012, Washington, D.C., public schools led the nation in spending per pupil, at $29,409 (http://tinyurl.com/mpc82dq). In terms of academic performance, "the nation's report card" shows that over 80 percent of D.C.'s predominantly black eighth-graders scored either "basic" or "below basic" in reading and math. "Basic" indicates only partial mastery of the knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at grade level, and "below basic" means that the student doesn't even have partial mastery.
Other devastating problems that are faced by many blacks and cannot be attributed to racial discrimination are a high crime rate — featured by a homicide victimization rate of 51 percent — over 70 percent of blacks being born to single females and only slightly more than 30 percent of black children being raised in two-parent households.
Solutions to these truly challenging problems will not be found in the political arena or in government programs. For black politicians, civil rights leaders, the intellectual elite and others to blame racial discrimination for the problems of today is dereliction. If a medical practitioner made the same kind of incorrect diagnosis, we'd indict him for malpractice.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams120414.php3#z51ZTuKcg6ERU82l.99
Libs willing to fight to the last drop of black blood
By Ann Coulter
The riot in Ferguson reminds me, I hate criminals, but I hate liberals more. They planned this riot. They stoked the fire, lied about the evidence and produced a made-to-order riot.
Every other riot I've ever heard of was touched off by some spontaneous event that exploded into mob violence long before any media trucks arrived. This time, the networks gave us a countdown to the riot, as if it were a Super Bowl kickoff.
From the beginning, Officer Darren Wilson's shooting of Michael Brown wasn't reported like news. It was reported like a cause.
The media are in a huff about the prosecutor being "biased" because his father was a cop, who was shot and killed by an African-American. What an assh@le!
Evidently, the sum-total of what every idiot on TV knows about the law is Judge Sol Wachtler's 20-year-old joke that a prosecutor could "indict a ham sandwich." We're supposed to be outraged that this prosecutor didn't indict the ham sandwich of Darren Wilson.
Liberals seem not to understand that they don't have a divine right to ruin someone's life and bankrupt him with a criminal trial, just so they're satisfied.
The reason most grand jury investigations result in an indictment is that most grand juries aren't convened solely to patronize racial mobs. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was basically demanding an indictment of Wilson before Big Mike's body was cold. It was only because of racial politics that this shooting wasn't dismissed without a grand jury, at all.
Obama says anger is an "understandable reaction" to the grand jury's finding. Why? And why -- as almost everyone is saying -- are we supposed to praise the "peaceful protests"?
There's nothing to protest! A cop shot a thug who was trying to kill him. The grand jury documents make perfectly clear that Big Mike was entirely responsible for his own death. Can't the peaceful protesters read?
The night of the riot, Obama said the law "often feels as if it is being applied in discriminatory fashion." Maybe, but not in this case -- except toward Officer Wilson.
I know liberals were hoping they had finally found the great white whale of racism, but they're just going to have to keep plugging away. They might want to come up with a more productive way to spend their time, inasmuch as they're about 0:100 on white racism sightings.
Anyone following this case has seen the video of Big Mike robbing a store and roughing up an innocent Pakistani clerk about 10 minutes before being shot by Officer Wilson. They've seen him flashing Bloods gang signs in photos.
They know Brown's mother was recently arrested for clubbing grandma with a pipe over T-shirt proceeds. They've seen the video of Brown's ex-con stepfather shouting at a crowd of protesters after the grand jury's decision: "Burn this bitch down!"
Liberals will say none of that is relevant in court, but apparently they don't think actual evidence is relevant either. It's certainly relevant in the court of public opinion that the alleged victims are a cartoonishly lower-class, periodically criminal black family.
TV hosts narrated the riot by saying it showed "the community" feels it's not being listened to. Only liberals look at blacks looting and say, See what white Americans made them do?
That's their proof of injustice -- look at how blacks are reacting! (While I don't approve of the looting part, I do approve of the whole throwing-bottles-at-CNN part.)
The looters aren't the community!
The community doesn't want black thugs robbing stores and sauntering down the middle of its streets. The community doesn't want to be assaulted by Big Mike. The community didn't want its stores burned down.
That community testified in support of Officer Darren Wilson. About a half-dozen black witnesses supported Officer Wilson's version of what happened. One was a black woman, who saw the shooting from the Canfield Green apartments. Crying on the stand, she said, "I have a child and that could have been my son."
And yet, she confirmed all crucial parts of Wilson's account. She said "the child" (292-pound Big Mike) never had his hands up and the cop only fired when "the baby" was coming at him. "Why won't that boy stop?" she asked her husband.
I always want to know more about the heroic black witnesses. They are put in a position no white person will ever be in and do the right thing by telling the truth -- then go into hiding from "the community" being championed by goo-goo liberals.
White people don't feel any obligation to defend some thug just because he's white. Only blacks are expected to lie on behalf of criminals of their own race.
But real heroism doesn't interest liberals. They only ooh-and-ahh over blacks with rap sheets. The only meaningful white racism anymore is the liberal infantilization of black people
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/coulter112714.php3#0PymPMCUACm4qQdb.99
Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, "You're entitled to your own opinion but you're not entitled to your own facts."
Soon after the shooting death of Michael Brown, this 285-pound young man was depicted as a "gentle giant." But, after a video was leaked, showing him bullying the owner of a store from which he had stolen some merchandise, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed displeasure that the video was leaked. In other words, to Holder the truth was offensive, but the lie it exposed was not.
Many people who claimed to have been eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting gave opposite accounts of what happened. Some even gave accounts that contradicted what they themselves had said earlier.
Fortunately, the grand jury did not have to rely on such statements, though some in the media seemed to. What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury's decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said.
Three different medical forensic experts — one representing Michael Brown's parents — examined the physical facts. These facts included the autopsy results, Michael Brown's DNA on the door of the police car and on the policeman's gun, photographs of the bruised and swollen face of policeman Darren Wilson and the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown was shot.
This physical evidence was hard to square with the loudly proclaimed assertions that Brown was shot in the back, or was shot with his hands up, while trying to surrender. But it was consistent with the policeman's testimony.
Moreover, the physical facts were consistent with what a number of black witnesses said under oath, despite expressing fears for their own safety for contradicting what those in the rampaging mobs were saying.
The riots, looting and setting things on fire that some in the media are treating as reactions to the grand jury's decision not to indict the policeman, actually began long before the grand jury had begun its investigation, much less announced any decision.
Why some people insist on believing whatever they want to believe is a question that is hard to answer. But a more important question is: What are the consequences to be expected from an orgy of anarchy that started in Ferguson, Missouri and has spread around the country?
The first victims of the mob rampages in Ferguson have been people who had nothing to do with Michael Brown or the police. These include people — many of them black or members of other minorities — who have seen the businesses they worked to build destroyed, perhaps never to be revived.
But these are only the first victims. If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come.
Sometimes it is a particular neighborhood that never recovers, and sometimes it is a whole city. Detroit is a classic example. It had the worst riot of the 1960s, with 43 deaths — 33 of them black people. Businesses left Detroit, taking with them jobs and taxes that were very much needed to keep the city viable. Middle class people — both black and white — also fled.
Harlem was one of many ghettos across the country that have still not recovered from the riots of the 1960s. In later years, a niece of mine, who had grown up in the same Harlem tenement where I grew up years earlier, bitterly complained about how few stores and other businesses there were in the neighborhood.
There were plenty of stores in that same neighborhood when I was growing up, as well as a dentist, a pharmacist and an optician, all less than a block away. But that was before the neighborhood was swept by riots.
Who benefits from the Ferguson riots? The biggest beneficiaries are politicians and racial demagogues. In Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young was one of many political demagogues who were able to ensure their own reelection, using rhetoric and policies that drove away people who provided jobs and taxes, but who were likely to vote against him if they stayed. Such demagogues thrived as Detroit became a wasteland.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell120214.php3#pqj5cgphQJAhtwpq.99
Beware of Our Betters
By Thomas Sowell
Jonathan Gruber's several videotaped remarks about the gross deceptions that got ObamaCare passed in Congress should tell us a lot about the Obama administration. And the way that the mainstream media hesitated for days to even mention what Professor Gruber said, while they obsessed over unsubstantiated charges against Bill Cosby, should tell us a lot about the media.
Whatever did or did not happen between Bill Cosby and various women is not likely to affect the lives of 300 million Americans. But ObamaCare does.
For both the politicians and the media, this was not just an isolated incident. Gruber's videotaped discussions of the complicated deceptions built into ObamaCare with his help, designed to take advantage of what he called the "stupidity" of the public, are all too typical of the role played by the political left.
Neither the politicians nor the intelligentsia — including the media — want that role exposed for what it is.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi acted as if she had never heard of Jonathan Gruber, and had no idea who he was. But she too had been caught on tape, a few years ago, citing him as someone whose support of ObamaCare was supposed to show that the "experts" knew how good it was.
President Obama gave a somewhat more sophisticated version of the same act. He pointed out that Professor Gruber was not part of his staff. But he did not mention that Gruber had been to the White House 19 times, and the Obama administration had paid Gruber about $400,000 of the taxpayers' money for his supposedly unbiased expert opinion.
Gruber's own statements seem to indicate that his mathematical models were enough to baffle the Congressional Budget Office in its efforts to figure out how ObamaCare works. That kind of expertise apparently does not come cheap. Moreover, the 400 grand is chump change compared to the millions that Jonathan Gruber has reportedly raked in from state governments for his expertise.
Barack Obama is currently playing the same political game of parading experts by citing a list of prominent law professors who say that he is not exceeding his Constitutional power by granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Someone at the Fox News Channel has checked out these professors and found that every one of them whose political registration could be traced is a Democrat. But the names of these profs are still being paraded as if they were simply eminent scholars seeking the truth. Maybe. But maybe not.
Whether the issue is ObamaCare, amnesty for illegal immigrants or "global warming," when you hear that "all the experts agree," that may mean nothing more than that the fix is in. And "all" may mean considerably less than 100 percent — or even 50 percent.
No one can know for sure what motivated Professor Gruber to do what he did, or what motivated the media to stonewall as if he had never spilled the beans, or the liberal law professors to give Obama cover while he violated the Constitution.
But running through all of their actions seems to be a vision of the world, and a vision of themselves, that is a continuing danger to the fundamental basis of this country, whatever the specific issue might be.
Probably few people on the political left are opposed to the Constitution of the United States, much less actively plotting to undermine it. But, on issue after issue, what they want to do requires them to circumvent the three words with which the Constitution begins: "We, the people..."
Many on the left may want to help "the people." But once you start from the premise that you know what is best for the people, better than they know themselves, you have to figure ways around a Constitution based on the idea that the people not only have a right to choose their government and control government policy with their votes, but also that there are vast areas of the people's lives that are none of the government's business.
Jonathan Gruber's notion that the people are "stupid" is not fundamentally different from what Barack Obama said to his fellow elite leftists in San Francisco, when he derided ordinary Americans as petty people who want to cling to their guns and their religion. We need to see through such arrogant elitists if we want to cling to our freedom.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell112514.php3#Kdp5wOgkcqYfRKDO.99
Racial Quota Punishment
By Thomas Sowell
If anyone still has any doubt about the utter cynicism of the Obama administration, a recent agreement between the federal government and the Minneapolis Public Schools should open their eyes.
Under the Obama administration, both the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have been leaning on public schools around the country to reduce what they call the "disproportionate" numbers of black male students who are punished for various offenses in schools.
Under an implicit threat of losing their federal subsidies, the Minneapolis Public Schools have agreed to reduce the disparity in punishment of black students by 25 percent by the end of this school year, and then by 50 percent, 75 percent and finally 100 percent in each of the following years. In other words, there are now racial quota limits for punishment in the Minneapolis schools.
If we stop and think — as old-fashioned as that may seem — there is not the slightest reason to expect black males to commit the same number of offenses as Asian females or any other set of students.
When different groups of human beings have behaved differently in all sorts of ways, in countries around the world, for thousands of years of recorded history, why would we accept as dogma that the only reason one set of students gets punished more than others is because the people who are doing the punishing are picking on them?
Politically — which is the way the Obama administration looks at everything — any time they can depict blacks as victims, and depict themselves as their rescuers, that means an opportunity to get out the black vote for Democrats.
On the surface, this may look like a favor to blacks. But only on the surface.
Anyone with common sense knows that letting a kid get away with bad behavior is an open invitation to worse behavior in the future. Punishing a kid for misbehavior in school when he is 10 years old may reduce the chances that he will have to be sent to prison when he is 20 years old.
Other schools in other cities, which have also caved under pressure from the federal government, and agreed to lighten up on black kids who misbehave, have reported an increase in misbehavior, including violence. Who would have thought otherwise?
Letting kids who are behavior problems in schools grow up to become hoodlums and then criminals is no favor to them or to the black community. Moreover, it takes no more than a small fraction of troublemakers in a class to make it impossible to give that class a decent education. And for many poor people, whether black or white, education is their one big chance to escape poverty.
The people in the Obama administration who are pushing this counterproductive policy are not stupid. They are political, which is worse. They know what they are doing and they are willing to sacrifice young blacks to do it.
This punishment issue made me think back to the 8th grade, when I was punished by being kept after school, more often than any other kid in the class — black, white, Hispanic or whatever. I was bored in school and did various pranks to liven things up.
One day, after school, as I sat alone among the empty chairs in the classroom, the teacher said, sarcastically: "Well, here we are again, Sowell, just the two of us!"
"Good grief, Miss Sharoff," I said. "If we keep staying in after school together all the time, people will begin to talk."
"We will just have to live with the scandal," she said, without even looking up from the papers she was correcting.
Thank heaven there was no Obama administration to exempt me from punishment. Who knows how I might have ended up?
Years ago, there was a study of a working class community where there were black, Hispanic and Italian kids, and where many of the cops were Italian. When a black or Hispanic kid broke the law, the police took him down to the station and booked him. But, if an Italian kid did the same thing, they reacted differently.
The Italian cop would take the Italian kid out into an alley and rough him up. Then he would take him home to his family, tell them what had happened and leave him there — where the kid could expect another beating, instead of the wrist-slap punishment of the law. Those cops understood the realities of life that politicians ignore. And they were doing a favor to their own.
Read more at http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell111914.php3#WvSfoLT726vmDuhq.99
Administration Exploits Ferguson to Undermine Race Relations and Rule of Law
By David Limbaugh
I wish there were a way to address the Ferguson controversy without generating further controversy. But that's not an easy task.
I have believed for some time that the Obama administration has fanned the flames of racial tension in this country rather than attempt to extinguish them, despite its claims to the contrary. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, in my view, have been the main culprits, which is exceedingly unfortunate, considering the opportunity their historic roles present for making great strides toward racial harmony.
The question is: Do these gentlemen truly want to promote racial harmony?
If President Obama were trying to alleviate racial tensions, would he have accused the police department in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of "acting stupidly" in arresting a friend of his, Harvard professor Henry Gates? The statement was stunningly inappropriate because he took sides reflexively without benefit of all the facts and because presidents have no business weighing in on such local matters. Does anyone doubt that race was at the forefront of Obama's mind?
But if there was any doubt, Obama removed it when "the main message" he chose to impart from the Trayvon Martin matter was implied in this bizarre statement: "My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
Fast-forward to the present and we learn that just days after the grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson based on his shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the White House tweeted its endorsement of an article by Christopher Emdin, Ph.D., a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. The piece, "5 Ways to Teach About Michael Brown and Ferguson in the New School Year," appeared on The Huffington Post less than two weeks after the shooting incident and before all the facts were in and the grand jury was impaneled. In his introductory paragraphs, Emdin advises teachers and parents not to ignore these types of events: "Bringing the events in Ferguson to the classroom is not only best teaching practice but a way to establish powerful expectations for the academic year."
Parts of the article appear innocuous, such as the suggestion that teachers ask students what they have heard or know about Brown in order to "spark a powerful discussion that sets the tone for the school year." The teachers can use information gathered by the class to help "students unearth the facts, fiction, and mistruths in media coverage of the events in Ferguson."
But given the diametrically opposed views concerning the evidence, how would this professor propose to help students separate fact and fiction? Even after the grand jury decision, which was based on facts and evidence, people continue to have radically different views of what occurred.
Other parts of Emdin's article, unfortunately, are not so harmless. He tells teachers that students can "create a memorial to Michael Brown on a classroom bulletin board. This activity involves having students use whatever they feel skilled in to create something that would honor Michael Brown and other people who have been victims of police and other violence." Also, "students can use this opportunity to create a counternarrative to negative stories and images about Ferguson and Michael Brown."
Professor Emdin can advocate whatever he wants, but the president of the United States is endorsing his suggestions. This means that the chief executive officer of this nation is inspiring teachers to view Brown as a victim of police violence and to honor him as such.
Irrespective of whether young black men are disproportionately mistreated by law enforcement in this nation, that doesn't seem to be what occurred in the Ferguson case.
Isn't President Obama, by depicting Brown as a victim, undermining the grand jury in this case specifically and law enforcement and the justice system in general? Isn't he fomenting further distrust between the black community and law enforcement when it isn't warranted in this case? By taking this position, isn't he exacerbating racial tensions rather than helping to heal them?
Attorney General Holder, by refusing to honor the grand jury's findings and close the Department of Justice's investigation, similarly is creating the very kind of distrust that ostensibly ignited the senseless, abhorrent rioting and violence that have occurred in Ferguson. This assumes the riots were not orchestrated in advance by nihilists who used the grand jury's decision as an excuse.
If Obama and Holder want to raise public awareness about the mistreatment of blacks in the system, aren't they damaging their own cause by using a case in which the facts don't support that narrative? Why would they trivialize their cause?
This president promised to build on the racial harmony that was evidenced by his election to office, but he continues to breach that promise, which is resulting in increased racial tensions and a disintegration of the rule of law and that which it makes possible — ordered liberty.
President Obama and Eric Holder should use this occasion to rise above their own biases and unambiguously condemn the anarchy that has occurred in Ferguson over the past week and discontinue using this case as evidence of something that it is not. Americans deserve better.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/david/limbaugh120214.php3#w2TfZLp1Vwv1zTpj.99
The climate pact swindle
By Charles Krauthammer
Historic. Such is the ubiquitous description of the climate agreement recently announced in Beijing between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in which China promised for the first time to cap carbon emissions.
If this were a real breakthrough, I'd be an enthusiastic supporter. I have long advocated for a tangible global agreement to curb carbon. I do remain skeptical about the arrogant, ignorant claim that climate science is "settled," that it can predict with accuracy future "global warming" effects and that therefore we must cut emissions radically, immediately and unilaterally if necessary, even at potentially ruinous economic and social cost.
I nonetheless believe (and have written since 1988) that pumping increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere cannot be a good thing. We don't know nearly enough about the planet's homeostatic mechanisms for dealing with it, but prudence would dictate reducing CO2 emissions when and where we can.
However, anything beyond that, especially the radical unilateralism advocated by climate alarmists, would be not just economic suicide but economic suicide without purpose. It would do nothing to reduce atmospheric CO2 as long as China, India and the other developing nations more than make up for our cuts with their huge and increasing carbon emissions.
China alone is firing up a new coal plant every eight to 10 days. We could close every coal mine in Kentucky and West Virginia and achieve absolutely nothing except devastating Appalachia and, in effect, shipping its economic lifeblood to China.
The only way forward on greenhouse gases is global reduction by global agreement. A pact with China would be a good start.
Unfortunately, the Obama-Xi agreement is nothing of the sort. It is a fraud of Gruberian (as in Jonathan) proportions. Its main plank commits China to begin cutting carbon emissions 16 years from now. On the other hand, the United States, having already cut more carbon emissions than any nation on earth since 2005, must now double its current rate of carbon cutting to meet a new, more restrictive goal by 2025. In return for which, China will keep increasing its carbon emissions year after year throughout that period — and for five years beyond.
If this sounds like the most one-sided deal since Manhattan sold for $24 in 1626, you heard right. It becomes even more absurd when you realize that, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, China was on track to plateau its carbon emissions around 2030 anyway because of a projected slowdown in urbanization, population growth and heavy industry production. We cut, they coast.
The carbon-emission graph is stark. China's line is nearly vertical; America's is already inflected and headed downward. The Obama-Xi agreement simply ratifies U.S. unilateralism — the U.S. line declines even more steeply, while China's continues rocketing upward unmolested.
Proponents of the Obama-Xi deal will then point to a second provision: China's promise to produce 20 percent of its energy from non-carbon sources by 2030. But China had already been planning to begin substituting for its immense use of fossil fuels (mainly by using nuclear power) because Chinese cities are being choked to death by their traditional pollutants — sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury compounds, particulates, etc.
These are serious health hazards. CO2 is not. Whatever its atmospheric effects, CO2 does not poison the air. So in return for yet another Chinese transition that has nothing to do with CO2, Obama has committed the United States to drastic CO2 cuts.
Moreover, beyond substance, there is process. Or more accurately, its absence. What's the structure to sustain and verify the agreement? Where are the benchmarks? What are the enforcement mechanisms? This is just a verbal promise. Nothing more. Sixteen years from now, China is supposed to remind the world of its commitments and begin cutting?
I repeat: I would unequivocally support a real agreement with the Chinese where they cut contemporaneously and commensurately with the United States and where there is built-in reporting and independent verification. Such a bilateral agreement would need to be internationalized by bringing in such rising powers as India, Brazil, Indonesia, etc. This would be a breakthrough.
Climate enthusiasts will say that I refuse to take yes for an answer. Of course I would take yes for an answer. But the Obama-Xi agreement is not yes. It is "check back with me in 16 years." Aren't the people advocating this deal the same garment-rending climate apocalypticists who've been warning of irreversible planetary changes beginning now, and the supreme imperative of acting immediately?
Except, you see, for China, the world's No. 1 carbon polluter. It gets a 16-year pass.
Read more at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer112114.php3#aTvLqZE5raIrw4gp.99
Elite Contempt for Ordinary Americans
By Walter Williams
Jonathan Gruber, MITeconomist and paid architect of Obamacare, has shocked and disgusted many Americans. In 2013, he explained to a University of Pennsylvania audience: "This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies." He added that the "lack of transparency is a huge political advantage." Most insulting were his previous statements that "the American voter is too stupid to understand" and his boast of Obamacare's "exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter."
We recall that back in 2010, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." That comment was just as insightful as her response to a CNSNews.com reporter who asked, "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" Unable to respond intelligently, Speaker Pelosi gave her best political response: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" When asked recently about Gruber, Pelosi said: "I don't know who he is. He didn't help write our bill." She was quickly caught in a lie because during the 2009 health care debate, she mentioned Gruber's analysis at a news conference.
One little-noticed feature of Gruber's speeches was the type of place where he felt comfortable talking about the use of deception and mocking American intelligence. His speeches took place at the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rhode Island. Universities are home to the academic elite — people who believe they have more intelligence than and superior wisdom to the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Gruber and his fellow academic elite have what they consider to be good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. But every tyrant who has ever lived has had what he considered good reasons.
America's elite found on university campuses, in news media and in political office are chief supporters of reduced private property rights and reduced rights to profits, and they are anti-competition and pro-monopoly. They are pro-control and coercion by the state. Their plan requires the elimination or attenuation of the free market and what is implied by it — voluntary exchange. Their reasoning is simple. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrants think they should do. Therefore, tyrants want to replace the market and voluntary exchange with economic planning. Economic planning is nothing more than the forcible superseding of other people's plans by the powerful elite backed up by the brute force of government.
In a 1991 speech, Yale University President Benno Schmidt warned: "The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind." I watched the videos of Gruber's speeches. Academics raised little concern as to either the dishonesty of Obamacare or the claim that Americans were too stupid to understand.
A study by my George Mason University colleague Daniel B. Klein, along with Charlotta Stern of the Swedish Institute for Social Research, titled "Professors and Their Politics: The Policy Views of Social Scientists" (http://tinyurl.com/qxne3db) concluded: "The academic social sciences are pretty much a one-party system. Were the Democratic tent broad, the one-party system might have intellectual diversity. But the data show almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors when it comes to the regulatory, redistributive state: they like it. Especially when it comes to the minimum wage, workplace-safety regulation, pharmaceutical regulation, environmental regulation, discrimination regulation, gun control, income redistribution, and public schooling."
Focusing only on Professor Gruber's arrogance, we ignore the more important fact that he is highly representative of the academic mindset — the people who are brainwashing our youngsters.
Without the power to tax, politicians lose their power over the people... higher taxes...
Keep it Ringing!
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