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Blog, news and opinion

"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

 

Iwo Jima
Feb. 23, 1945
67 years

 Those depending upon a benevolent government will find the same benevolence a sheep may find among a pack of wolves.

Jim Mullen

Without  the power to tax, politicians lose their power over the people... higher taxes...
  more control.

Keep it Ringing!

 
D9C49A



4-24-14
 
Declaring the Obamacare Debate Over Won't Save Dems

By David Limbaugh

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Apart from gutting America's military, our standing in the world, our fiscal stability, the economy, the office of the presidency, conventional energy sources, the free market and religious liberty, Obama has little to boast about other than Obamacare, so let him go for it.

Yes, let him gloat, because the more he bloviates in defense of the indefensible — the more he spins the unspinnable — the more damage he'll do to the cause he's trying to promote: the election of Democratic congressmen in November.

Obama wasn't content with having just one news conference to tout the "success" of his Obamacare sign-up efforts, the one in which he fraudulently claimed he had met his goal of enrolling 7 million new people to fund this monster. As I've previously written, that number was staggeringly misleading for a variety of reasons, including that millions of new enrollees already had other coverage, far too few were in the necessary "young and healthy" category, 15 to 20 percent of the enrollees hadn't secured coverage because they hadn't paid their premiums, and an estimated 1 million more people lost their insurance and couldn't afford to replace it because Obamacare's mandated coverage provisions caused premiums to increase. (Also, how hard is it to add enrollees when uninsured Americans have a gun to their heads to force them to acquire insurance? Isn't this kind of like a bank robber's bragging about his "earnings?")

Obama conducted another self-congratulatory news conference just a few days ago to celebrate that 8 million people have now signed up, and this time, he was even more baselessly triumphant. As you may have heard, he declared — he is the president, after all — that the debate is now over and instructed his subjects — i.e., Republicans — that "it's well past time to move on."

Oh, maybe that's why he wouldn't respond to questions during the first news conference. Why should he have to provide information when there's nothing left to discuss? Silly us.

I'm not quite sure, though, that this "debate is over" edict is going to work too well, as a recent Fox News poll reports that 61 percent of Americans believe that Obama "lies" about important public issues either "most of the time" or "some of the time." As The Washington Examiner's editors aptly noted, "no other president in living memory has conducted himself in a manner that warranted even asking if such a description was appropriate."

There is just no getting around Obama's Obamacare lies: "If you like your doctor or health care provider, you can keep them," and health care insurance premiums for an average family of four will go down by some $2,500.

As painfully narcissistic as Obama is, the immediate reason he is so often sprinting to the presidential podium now — when he otherwise studiously avoids it — is not to defend Obamacare because it's his "baby," though that is a close second. It is to change the narrative on Obamacare in a desperate attempt to prevent an electoral bloodbath for Democrats in November.

Unhappily for Obama, one of his biggest Obamacare lies — the one that served as the main premise underlying our allegedly urgent need for Obamacare in the first place — has yet to be fully realized by the American public he continues to victimize with this law.

The primary impetus for Obamacare was that 46 million Americans were uninsured and Obamacare would correct that. Forget the unconscionable fraud in that number, and put aside the fact that Obamacare is not getting appreciably more people insured. Even if it ends up doing better, don't forget that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that after the law is fully implemented, some 30 million will remain uninsured.

The main fraud in Obama's sales pitch about the millions of uninsured is its implication that insurance coverage equals access to care. No matter how many net millions more, if any, end up with coverage, what about their access to care, the quality of care they will receive, their ability to choose their doctors and type of care, and the cost of it all — to individuals and to the government?

People are discovering the inevitable with Obamacare — that with their newly acquired insurance, many doctors will not accept them for treatment. This is forcing people to drive long distances to get physician and hospital care. People are being forced to switch doctors they like. Their premiums are being jacked up.

On top of all this, Obama's economy continues to tank, and he is demonstrating himself to be a foreign policy buffoon, dragging down America's image after promising to rebuild it.

Obama can declare the debate over all he wants to, but if the debate is now over, Republicans will win in November — big-time — which means, with a little hope and prayer, that we're moving that much closer to repealing his "signature achievement," restoring America's military, addressing the debt, reinvigorating the market and reinstituting policies of economic growth.

4-23-14
 
The zealots win again

By Charles Krauthammer


JewishWorldReview.com | The debate over campaign contributions is never-ending for a simple reason: Both sides of the argument have merit.

On the one hand, of course money is speech. For most citizens, contributing to politicians or causes is the most effective way to augment and amplify speech with which they agree. The most disdainful dismissers of this argument are editorialists and incumbent politicians who — surprise! — already enjoy access to vast audiences and don’t particularly like their monopoly being invaded by the unwashed masses or the self-made plutocrat.

On the other hand, of course money is corrupting. The nation’s jails are well stocked with mayors, legislators, judges and the occasional governor who have exchanged favors for cash. However, there are lesser — and legal — forms of influence-peddling short of the outright quid pro quo. Campaign contributions are carefully calibrated to approach that line without crossing it. But money distorts. There is no denying the unfairness of big contributors buying access unavailable to the everyday citizen.

Hence the endless law-writing to restrict political contributions, invariably followed by multiple fixes to correct the inevitable loopholes. The result is a baffling mass of legislation administered by one cadre of experts and dodged by another.

For a long time, a simple finesse offered a rather elegant solution: no limits on giving — but with full disclosure.

Open the floodgates, and let the monies, big and small, check and balance each other. And let transparency be the safeguard against corruption. As long as you know who is giving what to whom, you can look for, find and, if necessary, prosecute corrupt connections between donor and receiver.

This used to be my position. No longer. I had not foreseen how donor lists would be used not to ferret out corruption but to pursue and persecute citizens with contrary views. Which corrupts the very idea of full disclosure.

It is now an invitation to the creation of enemies lists. Containing, for example, Brendan Eich, forced to resign as Mozilla CEO when it was disclosed that six years earlier he’d given $1,000 to support a referendum banning gay marriage. He was hardly the first. Activists compiled blacklists of donors to Proposition 8 and went after them. Indeed, shortly after the referendum passed, both the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento and the president of the Los Angeles Film Festival were hounded out of office.

Referendums produce the purest example of transparency misused because corrupt favoritism is not an issue. There’s no one to corrupt. Supporting a referendum is a pure expression of one’s beliefs. Full disclosure in that context becomes a cudgel, an invitation to harassment.

Sometimes the state itself does the harassing. The IRS scandal left many members of political groups exposed to abuse, such as the unlawful release of confidential data. In another case, the Obama campaign Web site in 2012 published the names of eight big Romney donors, alleging them to have “less-than-reputable records.” A glow-in-the-dark target having been painted on his back, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot (reported the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel) suddenly found himself subject to multiple audits, including two by the IRS.

In his lone dissent to the disclosure requirement in Citizens United, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that American citizens should not be subject “to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or pre-emptive and threatening warning letters as the price for engaging in core political speech, the primary object of First Amendment protection.” (Internal quote marks omitted.)

In fact, wariness of full disclosure goes back to 1958 when the Supreme Court ruled that the NAACP did not have to release its membership list to the state, understanding that such disclosure would surely subject its members to persecution. “This court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one’s associations . . . particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.”

A different era, a different set of dissidents. But the naming of names, the listing of lists, goes on. The enforcers are at it again, this time armed with sortable Internet donor lists.

The ultimate victim here is full disclosure itself. If revealing your views opens you to the politics of personal destruction, then transparency, however valuable, must give way to the ultimate core political good, free expression.

Our collective loss. Coupling unlimited donations and full disclosure was a reasonable way to reconcile the irreconcilables of campaign finance. Like so much else in our politics, however, it has been ruined by zealots. What a pity.

4-22-14
 
Statistical Frauds

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | The "war on women" political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.

It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn — and that this is because of discrimination.

It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.

Constantly repeating the "77 percent" statistic does not make them the same. It simply takes advantage of many people's ignorance — something that Barack Obama has been very good at doing on many other issues.

What if you compare women and men who are the same on all the relevant characteristics?

First of all, you can seldom do that, because the statistics you would need are not always available for the whole range of occupations and the whole range of differences between women's patterns and men's patterns in the labor market.

Even where relevant statistics are available, careful judgment is required to pick samples of women and men who are truly comparable.

For example, some women are mothers and some men are fathers. But does the fact that they are both parents make them comparable in the labor market? Actually the biggest disparity in incomes is between fathers and mothers. Nor is there anything mysterious about this, when you stop and think about it.

How surprising is it that women with children do not earn as much as women who do not have children? If you don't think children take up a mother's time, you just haven't raised any children.

How surprising is it that men with children earn more than men without children, just the opposite of the situation with women? Is it surprising that a man who has more mouths to feed is more likely to work longer hours? Or take on harder or more dangerous jobs, in order to earn more money?

More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men. There is no point pretending that there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don't affect income.

During my research on male-female differences for my book "Economic Facts and Fallacies," I was amazed to learn that young male doctors earned much higher incomes than young female doctors. But it wasn't so amazing after I discovered that young male doctors worked over 500 hours more per year than young female doctors.

Even when women and men work at jobs that have the same title — whether doctors, lawyers, economists or whatever — people do not get paid for what their job title is, but for what they actually do.

Women lawyers who are pregnant, or who have young children, may have good reasons to prefer a 9 to 5 job in a government agency to working 60 hours a week in a high-powered law firm. But there is no point comparing male lawyers as a group with female lawyers as a group, if you don't look any deeper than job titles.

Unless, of course, you are not looking for the truth, but for political talking points to excite the gullible.

Even when you compare women and men with the "same" education, as measured by college or university degrees, the women usually specialize in a very different mix of subjects, with very different income-earning potential.

Although comparing women and men who are in fact comparable is not easy to do, when you look at women and men who are similar on multiple factors, the sex differential in pay shrinks drastically and gets close to the vanishing point. In some categories, women earn more than men with the same range of characteristics.

If the 77 percent statistic was for real, employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to, every time they hired a man to do a job that a woman could do just as well. Would employers be such fools with their own money? If you think employers don't care about paying 30 percent more than they have to, just go ask your boss for a 30 percent raise!

4-21-14
 
It can be done: Passionate about race issues but no race hustler was he

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Black journalist Chuck Stone was one of those people whose passing makes us think, "We shall not see his like again."

He was passionately interested in racial issues but he was never a race hustler. He followed nobody's party line but called the issues as he saw them.

Chuck Stone was a three-dimensional man, not like the cardboard cutouts with standard-issue liberal talking points that we see too often in the media today.

He was with the liberals on many issues, but he did not hesitate to advocate the death penalty, and he said: "We have got to stop apologizing for the self-destructive little savages in our communities." He called the defense of such people "committing genocide against ourselves."

Journalism was just one of his careers. At various times and places, Stone was a navigator for the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, and later an official of CARE, distributing food to the hungry in India. With a Master's degree from the University of Chicago, he sometimes taught at colleges.

Newsweek called Chuck Stone "an unpredictable political pundit and modern-day Renaissance man."

Stone picked up many honors and awards along the way, but perhaps the greatest honor was that accorded him by a foundation president who said simply, "people trust Chuck."

Armed and dangerous criminals surrendered to him, rather than to the police, trusting that he would try to get them a fair trial, or at least spare them a beating by the police.

By the same token, Stone was so respected by the governor of Pennsylvania that he was asked by the governor to go into a prison where armed inmates were holding hostages, in order to try to negotiate a peaceful end of the crisis.

Though widely praised later for his courage in going into this deadly situation, Stone said: "I was so scared I thought I was going to cry."

But courage does not consist in a lack of fear. Only a fool has no fear. Courage is the ability to get the job done in spite of fear. He got the job done.

When Chuck Stone was editor of The Chicago Defender, a black newspaper, his editorials attacking the Daley machine caused him to be fired. The powers that be at the newspaper apparently feared that these attacks could cause them to lose the advertising money they received from Mayor Daley's election campaign.

After he was fired by The Chicago Defender, Stone received a phone call from legendary Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, who knew him from his days as a reporter in New York. Powell offered him a job as his special assistant, saying: "Come on home to Big Daddy."

Chuck Stone's favorite career may have been serving as legislative aide to Congressman Powell, whom he admired but never canonized. He enjoyed being at the center of the political action, especially when Powell was at the peak of his political power and influence, and was considered to be "Mr. Civil Rights."

Among Stone's tasks was issuing "clarifying" statements after some off-hand remark by Powell had set off a furor. Stone later wrote a novel titled "King Strut," about a character much like the flamboyant Congressman.

What I most remember from my own brief contacts with Chuck Stone, years ago, was his comment after we exchanged views on racial issues.

"You are a black nationalist," he said. This was one of the few names I had never been called before.

"Come on, Chuck," I said. "I don't even own a dashiki."

"You are still a black nationalist," he insisted.

The term would certainly apply to Chuck Stone himself. He advocated self-help.

"Before there were food stamps," he said, "people fed their families. Before there was federal aid to education, black kids went to college." As for "black English," he called it a "cop out" from rigorous standards.

4-20-14

Happy Easter!

4-19-14
 
Pushing Back Against PARCC/Achieve Inc. Lobbyists

By Michelle Malkin

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Attention, class: A Common Core mouthpiece wants to rap my knuckles with his Gates Foundation-funded ruler. In response to my column two weeks ago about the marketing overlords pushing the Fed Ed racket, Chad Colby of Achieve Inc. demanded corrections. Let's go to school.

"I wanted to take a moment to highlight two points that were incorrect regarding Achieve," Colby complained. "Contrary to Ms. Malkin's assertion, Achieve employs no lobbyists and we never have."

No? Never? Someone didn't do his homework. Mr. Colby, meet Patricia Sullivan. She's the founding executive director of Achieve and a career lobbyist who has bounced around D.C. for the past quarter-century in influence-peddling positions for the Gates Foundation-funded National Governors Association, Council for Chief State School Officers and Center on Education Policy. She has "advocated" for trade groups, a teachers union and her own "consulting firm." That's Washington-speak for "lobbying."

And let me introduce Mr. Colby to Ronn Robinson, a founding senior vice president of Achieve and veteran Democratic and corporate education lobbyist for former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner and Boeing. According to The Hill newspaper's column titled, ahem, "Lobbying World," Not-a-Lobbyist Robinson left Achieve several years ago to lobby for the D.C.-based National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE).

NCEE is the multimillion-dollar Gates Foundation-funded advocacy (read: "lobbying") group founded by Marc Tucker, the godfather of Common Core-style schemes and top-down control masquerading as "reform." He has dominated the D.C. education-lobbying scene since before Bill Clinton was in office. Like Achieve, Tucker's NCEE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that crusades for ever-increasing federal involvement in every aspect of education while denying its brazen lobbying activities.

In the early 1990s, NCEE (established with $5 million in New York taxpayer-funded seed grants) paid Hillary Clinton more than $100,000 to direct the group's "Workforce Skills Program" while she worked at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. After the Clintons moved into the White House, Tucker sent a now-infamous letter to Mrs. Clinton outlining a radical progressive plan "to remold the entire American system" through a centralized national-standards Trojan Horse.

Tucker's proposal represented "a new approach to government" by elitist bureaucrats to "create a seamless web" that "literally extends from cradle to grave." The Clinton White House soon after delivered federal Goals 2000 and School-to-Work laws. Tucker has explicitly advocated that the United States "largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control." Today, his acolytes hail the creation of a "P20W" system to groom students from "prenatal" ("P") through graduate school ("20") and into the workplace (W").

Tucker's close ally, Mike Cohen, was one of the cadre of education radicals called on to shape his plan and was name-checked in his letter to Hillary. Cohen served as a top education adviser to Bill Clinton and his Education Secretary Richard Riley, and as a Don't-Call-Me-A-Lobbyist lobbyist for the NGA before becoming president of Achieve Inc. in 2003.

And that brings us back to Mr. Chad Colby and Achieve Inc.'s second complaint. As I reported in my column, the incestuous relationships among these lobbying groups and their Common Core boondoggle partners are deep and wide. I noted that in addition to staffing the Common Core standards writing committee and leading the public relations campaign, Achieve Inc. "is the 'project management partner' of the Common Core-aligned, tax-subsidized PARCC testing conglomerate."

Colby protested that "Achieve is no longer affiliated with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)" and that its "contract ended with them in December of last year." Clean break? Hah. Achieve and PARCC are inextricably intertwined.

Don't take my word for it. Take PARCC's. Though the contract with Achieve "ended" last year, a PARCC letter to Arizona education officials explains that no one's really going anywhere:

"The Achieve staff members that have conducted the work of PARCC over the last several years are transitioning to PARCC, Inc. so that they can continue to maintain the leadership and programmatic expertise that will see the project through the end of the development period, as well as the sustainment of the assessment moving beyond the grant. Many of them have been involved in work surrounding student assessment and academic standards for 15 or more years..."

Moreover, PARCC makes crystal clear that "the Achieve staff members that will make up PARCC, Inc. ... have been intimately involved in the development of each of PARCC's procurements, subsequent contracts and contract management."

Despite spending tens of millions of dollars on advocacy along with millions more in federal and state taxpayer grants and subsidies, the Beltway educrats' propaganda machine is crumbling. Tens of thousands of parents and students are now boycotting the racket's PARCC/Achieve field tests. States are withdrawing from standards, technology and data-collection plans in droves.

Looks like it's time to ask the Gates Foundation to pour more money down the Common Core/Fed Ed Not Lobbying vortex, Mr. Colby. Class dismissed.

4-18-14
 
Progressives don't grasp the Constitution

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected.

Now the nation no longer lacks what it has long needed, a slender book that lucidly explains the intensity of conservatism’s disagreements with progressivism. For the many Americans who are puzzled and dismayed by the heatedness of political argument today, the message of Timothy Sandefur’s “The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty” is this: The temperature of today’s politics is commensurate to the stakes of today’s argument.

The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.

Progressives consider, for example, the rights to property and free speech as, in Sandefur’s formulation, “spaces of privacy” that government chooses “to carve out and protect” to the extent that these rights serve democracy. Conservatives believe that liberty, understood as a general absence of interference, and individual rights, which cannot be exhaustively listed, are natural and that governmental restrictions on them must be as few as possible and rigorously justified. Merely invoking the right of a majority to have its way is an insufficient justification.

With the Declaration, Americans ceased claiming the rights of aggrieved Englishmen and began asserting rights that are universal because they are natural, meaning necessary for the flourishing of human nature. “In Europe,” wrote James Madison, “charters of liberty have been granted by power,” but America has “charters of power granted by liberty.”

Sandefur, principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, notes that since the 1864 admission of Nevada to statehood, every state’s admission has been conditioned on adoption of a constitution consistent with the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration . The Constitution is the nation’s fundamental law but is not the first law. The Declaration is, appearing on Page 1 of Volume 1 of the U.S. Statutes at Large, and the Congress has placed it at the head of the United States Code, under the caption, “The Organic Laws of the United States of America.” Hence the Declaration “sets the framework” for reading the Constitution not as “basically about” democratic government — majorities — granting rights but about natural rights defining the limits of even democratic government.

The perennial conflict in American politics, Sandefur says, concerns “which takes precedence: the individual’s right to freedom, or the power of the majority to govern.” The purpose of the post-Civil War’s 14th Amendment protection of Americans’ “privileges or immunities” — protections vitiated by an absurdly narrow Supreme Court reading of that clause in 1873 — was to assert, on behalf of emancipated blacks, national rights of citizens. National citizenship grounded on natural rights would thwart Southern states then asserting their power to acknowledge only such rights as they chose to dispense.

Government, the framers said, is instituted to improve upon the state of nature, in which the individual is at the mercy of the strong. But when democracy, meaning the process of majority rule, is the supreme value — when it is elevated to the status of what the Constitution is “basically about” — the individual is again at the mercy of the strong, the strength of mere numbers.

Sandefur says progressivism “inverts America’s constitutional foundations” by holding that the Constitution is “about” democracy, which rejects the framers’ premise that majority rule is legitimate “only within the boundaries” of the individual’s natural rights. These include — indeed, are mostly — unenumerated rights whose existence and importance are affirmed by the Ninth Amendment.

Many conservatives should be discomfited by Sandefur’s analysis, which entails this conclusion: Their indiscriminate denunciations of “judicial activism” inadvertently serve progressivism. The protection of rights, those constitutionally enumerated and others, requires a judiciary actively engaged in enforcing what the Constitution is “basically about,” which is making majority power respect individuals’ rights.

4-17-14
 
The counter to a 'war on women'

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | DETROIT--- Robert Griffin, now 90, who rose to be second in the Republican U.S. Senate leadership, was defeated in 1978. Since then, only one Michigan Republican, Spencer Abraham in 1994, has been elected to the Senate and for only one term. Evidence that former Michigan secretary of state Terri Lynn Land might end this GOP drought is that Democrats are attacking her for opposing “preventive health care.”

This is a phrase Democrats use to include abortion as they try to reprise their 2012 alarms about Republicans’ “war on women,” which began with the martyrdom of Sandra Fluke. She was the Georgetown University law student aggrieved because the Catholic university she chose to attend was not paying for her contraception. The median starting annual salary of Georgetown law graduates entering the private sector is $160,000. Wal-Mart sells a month’s worth of birth control pills for $9.

In the almost half-century since Lyndon Johnson’s flood of Great Society legislation, Democrats have had one significant new idea, Obamacare, which many Democrats consider one too many. Hence their reliance on the specter of Republican hostility to people with two X chromosomes.

Land is delighted to have Democrats raising the subject of “preventive” or other health care. It is one topic of about $5 million of Michigan ads by the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity. In one, a woman addresses Land’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Gary Peters:

“My name is Julie Boonstra and five years ago I was diagnosed with leukemia. I found out that I only have a 20 percent chance of surviving. I found this wonderful doctor and a great health-care plan. I was doing fairly well fighting the cancer, fighting the leukemia, and then I received the letter. My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare.”

Another ad features a woman who believes Obamacare is waging a war on her: “We have five kids. . . . Our health insurance plan was canceled because of Obamacare. . . . This new plan is not affordable at all. My husband is working a lot more hours just to pay for these new increases. I’m frustrated that government has caused this huge problem for our family.”

“We,” says Land, her Michigan chauvinism undiminished by this city’s collapse, “are the state that created the middle class.” High wages for autoworkers — higher than the companies could sustain — and employee discounts for cars enabled people to buy homes, then cottages and boats at nearby lakes. Now Obamacare — many Michiganders have had health plans canceled — is fueling middle-class insecurity.

Peters opposes the Keystone XL pipeline and favors cap-and-trade climate legislation that Land says jeopardizes the revival of Michigan’s manufacturing economy. Peters, a former state senator, has won three congressional elections. Land, having won statewide twice, is better known, and as secretary of state she concentrated on improving an experience most Americans dread — interacting with the department of motor vehicles.

In some recent polls she has a small lead in what may remain a close race. She has less to fear than Republicans used to have from Detroit’s Democratic vote. The city’s population has plunged from 1.8 million to 700,000, and today’s Democratic mayor wields a much diminished political machine while an emergency manager is in place. Only 3 percent of Michiganders live in the Upper Peninsula, but in a close race they could provide the margin of victory for Land. The UP’s conservatism can be distilled in six words: “I’m up here. Don’t bother me.”

Land represents Republicans’ most effective response to Democrats’ ­hyperventilating about the “war on women” — female candidates. It will be amusing to see such rhetoric tried in Iowa, where Joni Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard who served in Iraq, is seeking the Republican Senate nomination. She says in an ad: “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.” She rides a Harley and in a recent Des Moines Register column she said, “Those who know me well know that I carry a black purse everywhere I go. What many people don’t know is what’s inside: a Smith and Wesson 9 mm and my concealed carry permit.”

Many Democrats seem to prefer the sensibility of Fluke, a professional victim and virtuoso whiner. Michigan’s electorate, which has produced today’s Republican governor and legislature, may be ready, by electing a Republican senator for the third time in 42 years, to show what they think of “war on women” hysterics as a substitute for thought.
 

4-16-14

Please read my new article,
"Obama's pen and phone tyranny"

4-15-14

Taxing Life Away

By John Stossel


JewishWorldReview.com | It's tax time. I'm too scared to do my taxes. I'm sure I'll get something wrong and my enemies in government will persecute — no, I mean prosecute — me. So I hired Bob.

Bob's my accountant. I like Bob, but I don't like that I have to have an accountant. I don't want to spend time keeping records and talking to Bob about boring things I don't understand, and I really don't want to pay Bob. But I have to.

What a waste. Once, I calculated what I could do with the money I give Bob. I could have a fancy dinner out 200 times. I could buy a motorcycle. I could take a cruise ship all the way from New York to Venice, Italy, and back.

Better yet, I could do some good for the world. For the same money I waste on Bob, I could pay four kids' tuition at a Catholic high school.

The tax code is now complex enough that most Americans now hire Bob, or his equivalent. Instead of inventing things, doing charity work or just having fun, we waste weeks (and billions of dollars) on tax preparation.

And we change our lives to suit the wishes of politicians.

"What the tax code is doing is trying to choose our values for us," complains Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute. I think I choose my own values, but it's true that politicians use taxes to manipulate us. Million-dollar mortgage deductions steer us to buy bigger houses, and solar tax credits persuaded me to put solar panels on my roof. Brook objects to every manipulation in the code: "It's telling us charity is good!"

On my TV show, I respond: But charity is good! Brook retorts, "If you want to give to charity, great, (but) I might invest in a business that's more important."

That's possible, but since a charity will probably spend the money better than government will, isn't it good that the code encourages people to give? Steve Forbes argues that if taxes were flat and simple, Americans would give more . "Americans don't need to be bribed to give ... In the 1980s, when the top rate got cut from 70 down to 28 percent ... charitable giving went up . When people have more, they give more."

While freedom lovers complain about the byzantine complexity of the tax code, the politically connected tout their special breaks. The National Association of Realtors runs TV ads showing Uncle Sam offering first-time homebuyers an $8,000 tax break, while sleazily winking at the viewer.

The tax code oddity that may have the most destructive influence on America might be the fact that if you buy private health insurance, you pay more tax than if your employer buys you a plan.

It's why we ended up with a sluggish health care market unresponsive to individual desires — leading to the insistence that we need a government-managed alternative like Obamacare.

The code is incomprehensible. You can get a deduction for feeding feral cats but not for having a watchdog, for clarinet lessons if your orthodontist thinks it'll cure your overbite but not for piano lessons a psychotherapist prescribes for relaxation. It seems so arbitrary.

In the marketplace, individuals shop around for the most efficient, low-cost way of getting services they really want. Every time tax rules nudge us in a chosen direction, they preempt the market's signals.

Government gets moralistic about it, too, placing "sin taxes" on items like cigarettes and fat, plus luxury items like yachts that some find decadent. It's gone on for centuries. American colonists seem libertarian by today's standards, but they put extra taxes on snuff and "conspicuous displays of clothing."

That's one thing the Founders did that we shouldn't copy — but their otherwise rebellious attitude toward taxation is one that we should emulate. America suffers when government turns taxes into a manipulative maze.
 

4-14-14
 
Obama's Politicized, Lawless Executive Branch

By David Limbaugh

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Under the administration of President Barack Obama, as never before in my lifetime, there is reason to be a bit afraid of the federal government.

I have written two books documenting Obama's abuses of power, his assaults on the Constitution, his wars against business and energy, his abominably reckless spending, his divisiveness, his renegade Justice Department, his regulatory expansion, his executive orders, his overall lawlessness, and more.

Obama's conduct concerning Obamacare alone would be enough to get the impeachment wheels rolling for any other president. His flagrant, deliberate lies regarding almost every aspect of that horrible law and his defiant refusal to accept any accountability for it seem unprecedented to me. Yes, Bill Clinton looked us in the face and denied his adulterous tryst with Monica Lewinsky, but Obama's lies involve the nation's health care system and affect virtually every American.

Without any basis in the Affordable Care Act — or in any other law or constitutional provision — he has unilaterally handed out exemptions from that "law of the land" like candy and has suspended its operation at his absolute whim.

Obama's dismissiveness over the Benghazi, Libya, scandal and his overt conspiracy to deceive the public into believing that a video was responsible for the consulate attack are mind-blowingly callous and arrogant.

His collusive protection of Attorney General Eric Holder concerning the Fast and Furious scandal and his staggering disinterest in getting to the bottom of it are beyond comprehension.

His lack of contrition for the taxpayer waste he has personally generated in Solyndra-type ventures and in the non-job-producing stimulus is unconscionable, and his brazenness in pretending he is not blocking domestic oil production rises to the level of mocking Americans who disagree with him politically.

Has any president of this nation ever behaved and spoken as though he felt that being the president gave him royal powers — that he could just snub his executive nose at the other two coequal branches of the federal government and treat the states that didn't cow to his dictates as if they were bastard stepchildren? Has anyone in that office ever acted so entitled?

I have barely scratched the surface here, but now we have potentially explosive evidence implicating the administration and at least one Democratic congressman in a truly heinous scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service, which has used its enormous power unlawfully against certain citizens and groups based on their political views and affiliations.

As you've surely learned by now, emails just released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveal that there was improper communication between staff working for Democratic ranking member Elijah Cummings and the IRS during 2012 and 2013.

Cummings' staff allegedly made inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote, a conservative group dedicated to voter fraud prevention. The IRS has hassled and impeded the group in its effort to obtain tax-exempt status for two years. It appears that the IRS and Cummings asked True the Vote for almost identical information, raising the possibility there was collusion between them.

It wasn't as though this communication was innocuous. Emails show that Lois Lerner, who was the head of tax-exempt groups at the IRS at the time, apparently tried to get information to Cummings' staff about True the Vote. If no foul play was involved, why did Rep. Cummings adamantly deny that his staff had ever contacted the IRS regarding True the Vote? Why didn't Cummings disclose his contact with the IRS to the majority staff of the committee? What innocent explanation is there for the fact that the IRS and Cummings' staff were seeking identical information? And what possible purpose would they have in discussing this conservative group in the first place? This is blood-boilingly outrageous.

How can this administration get away with turning the executive branch into its own partisan instrument? We have learned that Lerner discussed the possibility of getting a job with Organizing for Action, an Obama campaign arm. In addition, reports are just emerging that a government watchdog is pursuing cases against three other IRS employees and offices who are suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama.

The Office of Special Counsel said it was commonplace for employees in a Dallas IRS office to have pro-Obama screensavers on their computers and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at their offices. In another case, according to the Office of Special Counsel, an employee working with the IRS' customer help line urged taxpayers "to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name." Finally, an IRS employee in Kentucky has reportedly been suspended for 14 days for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer.

Information has just begun to trickle out concerning all this misconduct, but there is no denying that this president has created a climate in the executive branch of the federal government that is openly partisan and decidedly hostile to political opponents.

With all the destruction and lawlessness from this administration, many people feel our situation is hopeless, but I am confident that there will be, in the not-too-distant future, both a political day of reckoning and a radical reversal in the direction this nation is heading. I have to believe it.

4-13-14
 
Leftist Thought-Gangsters Strike Again

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Let me see whether I have this right. Brendan Eich was forced to step down as CEO of Mozilla because it became public that he opposed same-sex marriage, the same position that President Barack Obama, darling of the LGBT community, held prior to his phony conversion.

Why didn't the left demand that President Obama resign as president of the United States prior to the consummation of his "evolution" on the issue in favor of same-sex marriage? Was it because liberals knew he was never actually opposed to same-sex marriage and that his stated opposition was an opportunistic ruse to make him electable?

It wasn't that long ago when support of traditional marriage was the majority position in this country. I imagine that it still is in reality, though fewer and fewer people have the courage to stand up for their convictions these days, even to the extent of admitting their honest feelings in response to polling surveys.

This politically correct thought control is getting out of hand. For a disturbing percentage of people on the left, freedom doesn't matter, nor do tolerance, inclusiveness and compassion. If you don't have the correct views — e.g., if you believe that marriage should still be defined as being between one man and one woman — you are not entitled to respect or even to the same rights and freedoms as others. The rationale is that because of your "intolerance" and "hate," you are of a different class, a subspecies — vermin — and you forfeit the privilege of being tolerated and deserve to be treated with hate yourself.

But not all these Stalinists on the left are so open about their own bigotry. To be sure, they support the mistreatment of people like Brendan Eich, who committed the unpardonable sin of voting for California's Proposition 8, but they "nuance" their arguments to depict themselves as less tyrannical.

For example, a New York Times writer opined that it's a mistake to draw the conclusion that the forced resignation of Eich was "an instance of political correctness run amok" or that it is "a sign that Silicon Valley has become militantly (in)tolerant, unwilling to let executives express their personal viewpoints on issues unrelated to their jobs."

Why? Because "Mozilla is not a normal company. It is an activist organization" whose "primary mission isn't to make money but to spread open-source code across the globe in the eventual hope of promoting 'the development of the Internet as a public resource.'" According to the writer, many people at Mozilla didn't consider Eich's views on gay marriage completely irrelevant to his role as chief executive. Some thought he was too "divisive" to be an effective leader.

How is this not bigotry, you ask? Well, because Mozilla is not an evil capitalistic company primarily out to make money but one involved in "a mission." "If his job was to motivate people, and he was instead causing people to question the community's ethic — well, at the least, you can say he wasn't doing a good job." Wow.

It's amazing how leftists can shape-shift arguments to rationalize their own intolerance. But the arguments of Matthew Riley MacPherson, a developer for Mozilla, are even worse.

According to MacPherson, Eich's fatal mistake wasn't his support of Proposition 8 several years ago. "Being on the losing side of history this one time is okay, because I've seen Eich be right about many things during just my tenure at Mozilla," wrote MacPherson. What made MacPherson realize Eich "was not ready to lead Mozilla — or any company — was his damage control (interview) on CNET."

In this interview, Eich did not cower, recant or acknowledge that he is the worst person in the world other than the Koch brothers. "Eich," wrote MacPherson, "was given the clear chance to publicly apologize on behalf of himself and Mozilla — something called for by many, including myself. When asked if he could do it all over and do it differently: the correct answer was 'yes'. But he didn't say he would do it differently. It was at that exact point in time that he failed as CEO. ... He failed to execute."

So these thought-gangsters would rather have as their CEO a mealy-mouthed coward who would disingenuously recant his position to conform to their demands than they would a leader who stands up for what he believes at the risk of incurring the left's unmitigated wrath and losing his job?

I don't know which are worse, the leftists who come right out and admit they won't tolerate an opposing viewpoint or those who delude themselves into believing that their own abysmal intolerance is actually just their sophisticated business judgment.

Both are outrageous and unacceptable.

The overarching issue in this sordid matter is not the propriety or advisability of same-sex marriage. It is freedom, the selective contempt many on the left have for it and their willingness to twist themselves into pretzels justifying the unjustifiable. Everyone should be alarmed about this.

4-12-14
 
Competition for thee, but not for me

By Ann Coulter


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Between having Republican presidential candidates fly to Las Vegas to kiss his ring, billionaire Sheldon Adelson has managed to fit in time to talk Sen. Lindsey Graham into sponsoring a bill banning Internet gambling.

As you may know, Sheldon Adelson is a CASINO OWNER. Internet gambling would compete with his casino business.

On the other hand, when it comes to the services Adelson isn't selling, but buying -- low-skilled workers -- he's for unbridled competition, preferring not to limit the supply even to people who are legally in the United States. (Weirdly, so is Lindsey Graham!)

Adelson is a big backer of amnesty, telling The Wall Street Journal: "It would be inhumane to send those people back, to send 12 million people out of this country. ... So we've got to find a way, find a route for those people to get legal citizenship."

As Milton Friedman said, "With some notable exceptions, businessmen favor free enterprise in general but are opposed to it when it comes to themselves."

Adelson is an especially telling example of the self-interest of businessmen on immigration. His newspaper, Israel Today, the largest newspaper in Israel, is wildly patriotic on immigration (and everything else).

Israel Today has trumpeted the success of the 15-foot razor-wire fence along Israel's 140-mile border with Egypt, triumphantly noting last August that, for the first time, "no infiltrations were recorded from the Egyptian border, compared to 193 from the same month last year."

Adelson himself had suggested just such a policy to the Los Angeles Times last year, saying he wanted to "Put a big fence around our country."

By "our country," he, of course, meant Israel. In America, he wants illegal immigrants pouring across the border to provide him with an endless supply of cheap labor.

Recently, Israel has been "rounding up" African refugees, giving them $3,500 and plane tickets to Uganda, to encourage them to "self-deport." Welcome to El Al Airlines. We're about to begin pre-boarding for Flight 259, offering non-stop, one-way service to Kampala, Uganda. At this time we'd like to invite our premium-plus illegal immigrants to board.

Wait! I thought we couldn't "round up" any illegal immigrants! I thought "self-deportation" was a laughable idea! Say, could Adelson buy The New York Times and start pushing those policies here?

For years, the cheap-labor lobby has told us: Immigrants are doing the work Americans simply will not do! We're tired of people who know nothing about our business telling us to pay our workers more. Where are they when beds are unmade? Where are they when crops are rotting in the field? It's not about how much we pay them per hour! Americans don't want these jobs.

But in last week's New York Times story about multimillionaire farmers who need taxpayer-subsidized cheap labor, the Times lost focus and forgot to lie. In one blockbuster sentence, the paper admitted that, last year, "the diminished supply of workers led average farm wages in the region to increase by roughly $1 an hour."

I believe we have an Earth-shattering revelation there! In other words, people were willing to do the work -- as soon as wages were raised. So, apparently, employers were not exploring every option to get workers, such as, for example, paying their employees ONE DOLLAR MORE.

In a catastrophic blunder of epic proportions, The New York Times had inadvertently stumbled across the laws of supply and demand.

Adelson might want to hang onto that Israeli citizenship, in case his preferred policy of amnesty ever does go through: His low-wage workers don't have especially enlightened views of the Jewish people.

The Anti-Defamation League has been taking polls on anti-Semitism in America for decades. In 2013, the ADL reported that -- "once again" -- foreign-born Hispanics had the highest rates of anti-Semitic views: 36 percent compared with 14 percent of all Americans and 20 percent of African-Americans. This was an improvement over 2011, when 42 percent of foreign-born Hispanics were found to have anti-Semitic views.

How might America's support for Israel be affected by having a populace that's 30 or 40 percent Hispanic?

The importation of more than a million poor people to America every year also has the effect of admitting a fair number of terrorists. Among them: Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, Mohammad Hassan Hamdan, Nidal Hasan, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Najibullah Zazi, Sulejman Talovic, Peter Odighizuwa, Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, dozens of Somali terrorists living in Minnesota, Omar Abdel-Rahman and the 9/11 terrorists.

I would think that this country's open-door policy toward terrorists would be of some concern to the owner of any Las Vegas casino -- a well-known terrorist target.

They won't be coming to kiss Adelson's ring.

4-11-14
 
How to Assist Evil

By Walter Williams

 
JewishWorldReview.com | "Engineering Evil" is a documentary recently shown on the Military History channel. It's a story of Nazi Germany's murder campaign before and during World War II. According to some estimates, 16 million Jews and other people died at the hands of Nazis (http://tinyurl.com/6duny9).

Though the Holocaust ranks high among the great human tragedies, most people never consider the most important question: How did Adolf Hitler and the Nazis gain the power that they needed to commit such horror? Focusing solely on the evil of the Holocaust won't get us very far toward the goal of the Jewish slogan "Never Again."

When Hitler came to power, he inherited decades of political consolidation by Otto von Bismarck and later the Weimar Republic that had weakened the political power of local jurisdictions. Through the Enabling Act (1933), whose formal name was "A Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich," Hitler gained the power to enact laws with neither the involvement nor the approval of the Reichstag, Germany's parliament. The Enabling Act destroyed any remaining local autonomy. The bottom line is that it was decent Germans who made Hitler's terror possible — Germans who would have never supported his territorial designs and atrocities.

The 20th century turned out to be mankind's most barbaric. Roughly 50 million to 60 million people died in international and civil wars. As tragic as that number is, it pales in comparison with the number of people who were killed at the hands of their own government. Recently deceased Rudolph J. Rummel, professor of political science at the University of Hawaii and author of "Death by Government," estimated that since the beginning of the 20th century, governments have killed 170 million of their own citizens. Top government killers were the Soviet Union, which, between 1917 and 1987, killed 62 million of its own citizens, and the People's Republic of China, which, between 1949 and 1987, was responsible for the deaths of 35 million to 40 million of its citizens. In a distant third place were the Nazis, who murdered about 16 million Jews, Slavs, Serbs, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians and others deemed misfits, such as homosexuals and the mentally ill.

We might ask why the 20th century was so barbaric. Surely, there were barbarians during earlier ages. Part of the answer is that during earlier times, there wasn't the kind of concentration of power that emerged during the 20th century. Had Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and Hitler been around in earlier times, they could not have engineered the slaughter of tens of millions of people. They wouldn't have had the authority. There was considerable dispersion of jealously guarded political power in the forms of heads of provincial governments and principalities and nobility and church leaders whose political power within their spheres was often just as strong as the monarch's.

Professor Rummel explained in the very first sentence of "Death by Government" that "Power kills; absolute Power kills absolutely. ... The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects." That's the long, tragic, ugly story of government: the elite's use of government to dupe and forcibly impose its will on the masses. The masses are always duped by well-intentioned phrases. After all, what German could have been against "A Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich"? It's not just Germans who have fallen prey to well-intentioned phrases. After all, who can be against the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act"?

We Americans ought to keep the fact in mind that Hitler, Stalin and Mao would have had more success in their reign of terror if they had the kind of control and information about their citizens that agencies such as the NSA, the IRS and the ATF have about us. You might ask, "What are you saying, Williams?" Just put it this way: No German who died before 1930 would have believed the Holocaust possible.

4-10-14
 
Gender and Race Equality

By Walter Williams


JewishWorldReview.com | There are several race and sex issues that need addressing. Let's look at a few of them with an ear to these questions: Should we insist upon equal treatment of people by race and sex or tolerate differences in treatment? And just how equal are people by race and sex in the first place?

According to the National Institutes of Health, male infants 1 to 3 months old should be fed 472 to 572 calories per day, whereas their female counterparts should receive 438 to 521 calories per day (http://tinyurl.com/nj35qvh). That's an official sex-based caloric 10 percent rip-off of baby females. In addition to this government-sanctioned war on women, one wonders whether the NIH has a race-based caloric rip-off where they recommend that black newborns receive fewer calories than white newborns.

Anyone who watches "Lockdown" on television will see gross racial segregation in California prisons — such as Pelican Bay, Corcoran and San Quentin — where prisoners are housed by race. Colored signs have hung above living quarters — for example, blue for black inmates, white for white, red, green or pink for Hispanic, and yellow for others (http://tinyurl.com/m7n4df8). Sometimes inmate yard times are racially segregated. Being 78 years old and having lived through an era in which I saw signs for white and colored water fountains, waiting rooms and toilets, I find California's racial segregation practices offensive. Prison Law Office, a public interest law firm that seeks justice for prisoners, criticizes such flagrant racial segregation policy, but I question its sincerity. Criticizing racial segregation while not uttering one word about flagrant prison sex segregation is at the minimum, two-faced. In my book, if the all-male military bastion is being eliminated, it stands to reason that prison segregation by sex should be eliminated. No decent American would accept the idea of a prison for blacks and another one for whites. If we value equality, we shouldn't accept one prison for men and another for women. There should be integration.

Speaking of sex segregation, there have been recent calls to end the ban on women in combat units, but there's no mention of the Army's sexist physical fitness test. For a male 17-21 years of age to pass, he must do 35 pushups, do 47 situps and run 2 miles in 16 minutes, 36 seconds. His female counterpart, who receives the same pay, can pass the fitness test by doing a mere 13 pushups, doing 47 situps and running 2 miles in 19 minutes, 42 seconds (http://tinyurl.com/yaphmzl). How can anyone who values equality and self-respect tolerate this gross discrimination? You say, "Williams, what's your solution?" I say we should either force women to come up to the physical fitness standards for men or pass men who meet the female standards of fitness. Maybe we should ask our adversaries which is better — raising female fitness standards or lowering those of males.

There are a couple of other inequalities that cannot be justified, much less tolerated, in a society that values equality. Jews are only 3 percent of the U.S. population, but they take 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates. That's a gross disparity, for which there is no moral justification. Ask any academic, intellectual, or civil rights leader and he'll tell you that equality and diversity means that people are to be represented across socioeconomic lines according to their numerical representation in the population. The fact that Jews are 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates can mean only one thing — they are taking the rightful Nobel laureates of other racial groups.

Jews are not the only people taking more than their fair share of things. Blacks are 13 percent of the population but have taken nearly 80 percent of the player jobs in the National Basketball Association. Compounding that injustice, they are highest-paid NBA players. Blacks are also guilty of taking 66 percent, an unfair share, of professional football jobs.

Any American sharing the value of race and sex equality and diversity should find these and other differences offensive and demand that the liberal and progressive elements in society eliminate them.

4-9-14
 
Bizarre Arguments and Behavior

By Walter Williams

JewishWorldReview.com | Some statements and arguments are so asinine that you'd have to be an academic or a leftist to take them seriously. Take the accusation that Republicans and conservatives are conducting a war on women. Does that mean they're waging war on their daughters, wives, mothers and other female members of their families? If so, do they abide by the Geneva Conventions' bans on torture, or do they engage in enhanced interrogation and intimidation methods, such as waterboarding, with female family members? You might say that leftists don't mean actual war. Then why do they say it?

What would you think of a white conservative mayor's trying to defund charter schools where blacks are succeeding? While most of New York's black students could not pass a citywide math proficiency exam, there was a charter school where 82 percent of its students passed. New York's left-wing mayor, Bill de Blasio, is trying to shut it down, and so far, I've heard not one peep from the Big Apple's civil rights hustlers, including Al Sharpton and Charles Rangel. According to columnist Thomas Sowell, the attack on successful charter schools is happening in other cities, too (http://tinyurl.com/nxulxc).

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently stated that we must revisit the laws that ban convicted felons from voting. Why? According to a recent study by two professors, Marc Meredith of the University of Pennsylvania and Michael Morse of Stanford, published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (http://tinyurl.com/pgolu8x), three-fourths of America's convicted murderers, rapists and thieves are Democrats. Many states restrict felons from voting; however, there's a movement afoot to eliminate any restriction on their voting. If successful, we might see Democratic candidates campaigning in prisons, seeking the support of some of America's worst people.

Decades ago, I warned my fellow Americans that the tobacco zealots' agenda was not about the supposed health hazards of secondhand smoke. It was really about control. The fact that tobacco smoke is unpleasant gained them the support of most Americans. By the way, to reach its secondhand smoke conclusions, the Environmental Protection Agency employed statistical techniques that were grossly dishonest. Some years ago, I had the opportunity to ask a Food and Drug Administration official whether his agency would accept pharmaceutical companies using similar statistical techniques in their drug approval procedures. He just looked at me.

Seeing as Americans are timid and compliant, why not dictate other aspects of our lives — such as the size of soda we may buy, as former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried in New York? Former U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman John Webster said: "Right now, this anti-obesity campaign is in its infancy. ... We want to turn people around and give them assistance in eating nutritious foods." The city of Calabasas, Calif., adopted an ordinance that bans smoking in virtually all outdoor areas. The stated justification is not the desire to fight against secondhand smoke but the desire to protect children from bad influences — seeing adults smoking. Most Americans don't know that years ago, if someone tried to stop a person from smoking on a beach or sidewalk or buying a 16-ounce cup of soda or tried to throw away his kid's homemade lunch, it might have led to a severe beating. On a very famous radio talk show, I suggested to an anti-obesity busybody who was calling for laws to restrict restaurants' serving sizes that he not be a coward and rely on government. He should just come up, I told him, and take the food he thought I shouldn't have from my plate.

The late H.L. Mencken's description of health care professionals in his day is just as appropriate today: "A certain section of medical opinion, in late years, has succumbed to the messianic delusion. Its spokesmen are not content to deal with the patients who come to them for advice; they conceive it to be their duty to force their advice upon everyone, including especially those who don't want it. That duty is purely imaginary. It is born of vanity, not of public spirit. The impulse behind it is not altruism, but a mere yearning to run things."

4-8-14
 
A Halo for Selfishness

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | The recent Supreme Court decision over-ruling some Federal Election Commission restrictions on political campaign contributions has provoked angry reactions on the left. That is what often happens whenever the High Court rules that the First Amendment means what it says — free speech for everybody.

When the Supreme Court declared in 2010 that both unions and corporations had a right to buy political ads, that was considered outrageous by the left. President Obama called the decision "devastating" and said it "will open the floodgates for special interests."

Those unfamiliar with political rhetoric may not know that "special interests" mean people who support your opponents. One's own organized supporters — such as labor unions supporting President Obama — are never called "special interests."

All politicians are against "special interests," by definition. They all want their own supporters to have the right to free speech, but not those individuals and groups so benighted as to support their opponents.

Even in an age of polarization and gridlock, the one area in which it is easy to get bipartisan support in Congress is in passing campaign finance laws, restricting how much money can be spent publicizing political candidates. What Congressional Democrats and Republicans have in common is that they are all incumbents, and they all want to keep their jobs.

Publicity is necessary to win elections, and incumbents get millions of dollars' worth of free publicity from the media. Incumbents can all pontificate in Congress and be covered by C-SPAN. They can get interviewed on network television, have their pictures in the newspapers, and send out mail to their constituents back home — and none of this costs them a dime.

Congressional staffs, paid by the taxpayers, are supposed to help members of Congress with the burdens of their office, but a major part of their staff's work is to help get them re-elected.

That's not just during campaign years. Everything members of Congress do is done with an eye toward re-election.

Any outsider who wants to challenge an incumbent at the next Congressional election has to pay hard cash to buy ads and arrange other forms of publicity, in order just to get some comparable amount of name-recognition, so as to have any serious chance of winning an election against an incumbent.

Few people have the kind of money it takes for such a campaign, so they have to raise money — in the millions of dollars — to pay for what incumbents get free of charge.

Campaign finance laws that restrict who can contribute how much money, who can run political ads, etc., are all restrictions on political challengers who have to buy their own publicity.

If truth-in-packaging laws applied to Congress, a campaign finance law would have to be labeled an "Incumbents Protection Act."

The very high rate of incumbent re-elections, even while polls show the public disgusted with Congress in general, shows how well incumbents are protected.

The media are accessories to this scam. So long as the information and opinions that reach the public are selected by mainstream media people, whom polls show to be overwhelmingly on the left, the left's view of the world prevails.

Hence the great alarm in the media, and in equally one-sided academia, over the emergence of conservative talk radio programs and the Fox News Channel on television.

No longer can the three big broadcast television networks determine what the public will and will not see, nor two or three leading newspapers determine what is and is not news. Nobody wants to give up that kind of power.

When businesses that are demonized in the mainstream media, and in academia, can buy ads to present their side of the story, that is regarded in both the media and academia as distortion. At the very least, it can cost the left their self-awarded halo.

It is fascinating to see how some people — in both politics and the media — can depict their own narrow self-interest as a holy crusade for the greater good of society. The ability of the human mind to rationalize is one of the wonders of the world.

4-7-14
 
How Foreign Is Our Policy?: Part II

By Thomas Sowell

 
JewishWorldReview.com | Japan recently turned over to the United States enough weapons-grade nuclear material to make dozens of nuclear bombs. This was one of President Barack Obama's few foreign policy "successes," as part of his nuclear disarmament initiative. But his foreign policy successes may be more dangerous than his "failures." Back in 2005, Senator Barack Obama urged the Ukrainians to drastically reduce their conventional weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles and tons of ammunition. Ukraine had already rid itself of nuclear missiles, left over from the days when it had been part of the Soviet Union.

Would Vladimir Putin have sent Russian troops so boldly into Ukraine if the Ukrainians still had nuclear missiles? The nuclear disarming of Japan and Ukraine shows how easy it is to disarm peaceful nations — making them more vulnerable to those who are not peaceful.

Ukraine's recent appeal to the United States for military supplies, with which to defend itself as more Russian troops mass on its borders, was denied by President Obama. He is sending food supplies instead. He might as well send them white flags, to facilitate surrender.

Critics who say that President Obama is naive and inexperienced in foreign policy, and blame that for the many setbacks to American interests during this administration may be right. But it is by no means certain that they are.

Another and more disturbing possibility is that Barack Obama, in his citizen-of-the-world conception of himself, thinks that the United States already has too much power and needs to be deflated. Rush Limbaugh, Dinesh D'Souza and some other critics have seen Obama's repeated sacrifices of American national interests as deliberate.

Monstrous as that possibility might seem, it is consistent not only with many otherwise hard to explain foreign policy setbacks, but also consistent with Obama's having been raised, literally from childhood, with anti-American mentors, beginning with his mother. He continued to seek out such people as an adult.

The ranting Reverend Jeremiah Wright was just one of these anti-American mentors.

President Obama's undermining of stable and unthreatening governments in Egypt and Libya, opening both to Islamic extremists, while doing nothing that was likely to keep Iran from going nuclear, seems more consistent with the views of Rush Limbaugh, Dinesh D'Souza, et al., than with the views of most other critics.

What is also more consistent with the Limbaugh and D'Souza thesis are such personal quirks as Obama's gross rudeness to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House and his otherwise inexplicable public debasement of himself and the United States by bowing low to other foreign leaders.

There was nothing to be gained politically by such actions. Nor by such things as his whispered statement to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that he should tell "Vladimir" that he — Obama — could follow a more "flexible" foreign policy after his last election was behind him.

What could be more "flexible" than denying Ukraine the military supplies needed to deter further Russian aggression? Or leaving Japan without material needed to create a nuclear deterrent quickly, while an aggressive China is expanding its military forces and its territorial demands in the region?

Domestically, the unbroken string of Barack Obama's grievance-mongering mentors included Professor Derrick Bell at the Harvard Law School, author of rantings on paper similar to Jeremiah Wright's rantings in his church.

Professor Bell was a man cast in the role of a scholar at top tier universities, who chose instead to take on the pathetic role of someone whose goal was — in his own words — to "annoy white people."

Derrick Bell was not a stupid man. He was a man placed where he should never have been placed, where there was no self-respecting role for him to play, without going off on some strange tangent. That Barack Obama literally embraced Professor Bell publicly in law school, and urged others to listen to him, says much about Obama.

It says much about those who voted for Obama that they paid so little attention to his life and so much attention to his rhetoric.

4-6-14
 
A Whole Lotta Democratic Corruption Going On

By Michelle Malkin


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Has Nancy Pelosi seen a newspaper lately? (Pro tip, hon: Like the Obamacare monstrosity, you have to read it to find out what's in it.) I'd love to see her face in the wake of the veritable epidemic of Democratic corruption now sweeping the country. Pelosi's blink count must be off the charts.

I'm going to make it easy on Pelosi and put all of the latest cases in one handy rogue's gallery reference list. But let's not be naive. It's clear to me that the Barack Obama/Eric Holder DOJ is clearing the decks before the midterms. Prediction: The FBI's GOP corruption shoe will drop right before the elections for maximum distraction and damage. For now, let's take stock of the jackassery:

—The Dirty Democratic Mayors' Club: Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Patrick Cannon, who bragged about partying with the Obamas to help grease the wheels for city projects, was arrested this week on federal corruption and influence-peddling charges. He's accused of accepting gobs of cash payoffs and Las Vegas trips.

The bust follows former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's conviction in January on corruption charges; former Trenton Mayor Tony Mack's February conviction on cash bribes for a downtown parking garage; and former San Diego mayor and serial groper Bob Filner's disgraceful resignation after conviction on sexual harassment-related charges; former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's conviction on extortion, bribery and conspiracy charges; and former Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Larry Langford's corruption and bribery conviction.

—California state Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, gun grabber by day, alleged arms-trafficking gangsta by night: Yee made a decades-long career out of sanctimoniously demonizing gun owners and railing against the Second Amendment. He was arrested this week on corruption charges after an FBI sting found probable cause to believe Yee had conducted wire fraud and engaged in a conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and illegally import firearms. The Chinatown pol went so far as to discuss "details of the specific types of weapons" with a prospective donor. Yee is currently a candidate for California's secretary of state office.

—Pennsylvania state Democratic Sen. LeAnna Washington, party animal: This week, a judge ruled that the Keystone State could proceed with a trial against Washington, who reportedly forced her legislative staff for eight years to use taxpayer time and money for an annual birthday party whose proceeds were diverted to her campaign account. She is charged with felony theft of services and felony conflict of interest. More than a half-dozen former employees blew the whistle. "I am the f—-ing senator," she screamed at one staffer who objected. "I do what the f—- I want, and ain't nobody going to change me."

—Rhode Island state Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox, multiple-raid target: The powerful Democrat, beloved by the left for his gay-marriage activism, announced last weekend that he is stepping down from office after FBI raids on his home and work office. Fox is the target of several criminal investigations by the U.S. attorney's office, FBI, IRS and state police. Mum's the word so far on the nature of the alleged criminal activity involved.

—California state Democratic Sen. Ronald Calderon, all in the corrupted family: Calderon is on a paid leave of absence after being hit with a 24-count federal indictment for bribery and corruption. His brother also was charged with multiple counts of money laundering and influence peddling. Prosecutors allege the legislator accepted nearly $100,000 in bribes, plane trips, gourmet meals and golf games in exchange for political favors. He also is accused of paying his daughter $39,000 for a phony office job and paying $40,000 in "consulting" fees for a campaign website that didn't exist.

—California state Democratic Sen. Roderick Wright, lying liar: Also on paid leave, the entrenched Los Angeles-area politician is now fighting his January conviction on felony perjury, false declaration of candidacy and fraudulent voting charges. Wright claimed to live in a rented room in an Inglewood home within his district, but the jury found his true residence was outside the district in upscale Baldwin Hills. The jury found he lied on candidacy declarations and voter registration documents and fraudulently voted in five elections.

—New York state Democratic Assemblyman Bill Scarborough, shady jet-setter: The FBI and state authorities raided his home and offices as part of a probe into his travel voucher practices. He blamed a "tabloid hit job" by the New York Post over questionable per diem claims totaling $60,000.

—Illinois state Democratic House Rep. Keith Farnham, child porn probe suspect: After sponsoring two bills to increase penalties for child porn possession, Farnham was the subject of state and federal raids last week on his home ... for possession of child porn. Over the weekend, he resigned his seat citing "serious health issues." There's a euphemism.

Remember: Nancy Pelosi famously promised to "drain the moral swamp" and end the "culture of corruption." She cast herself and her minions as America's political clean-up crew. But once again, the culture of corruption boomerang has swung back around to smack Democrats in their smug mugs. The cynical Swamp Drainers just hope you forget it all by election time. Don't.

4-5-14
 
Dear Mr. Colbert: Me so stupid. You so funny!

By Michelle Malkin



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Question: Who are the most prominent public purveyors of Asian stereotypes and ethnic language-mocking in America?

The right answer is liberal Hollywood and Democrats.

The wrong and slanderous answer is conservatives, which is what liberal performance artist/illegal-alien-amnesty lobbyist Stephen Colbert wants Americans to believe. Last week on his Comedy Central show, Colbert resurrected his "satirical" 2005 "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" skit, in which he speaks in pidgin English with a grossly exaggerated accent. He used it in a boneheaded attempt to ridicule Republican football team owner Dan Snyder and others who defend the Washington Redskins' name.

"Oh, I ruv tea. It's so good for you. You so pretty, American girl," Colbert, in his conservative talk-show host persona, jibber-jabbers in the 2005 segment. "You come here. You kiss my tea make her sweet. I need no sugar when you around. Come on my rickshaw, I give you a ride to Bangkok." Forward to 2014: To mock Snyder's recent creation of a foundation to benefit Native Americans, Colbert replayed the skit and jeered in character that he was "willing to show the Asian community that I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."

Last week, a group of diehard liberals, led by young Korean-American writer Suey Park, gave Colbert a hard time about his cringe-worthy act, which was accompanied by an awkward laugh track and left the distinct impression that the real Colbert enjoys crude ethnic-language mockery just a little too much.

Park and her liberal Twitter followers tenaciously questioned Colbert's use of "satire" that ends up stoking the racism it purports to mock and abhor. They obviously picked the incendiary #CancelColbert hashtag to force attention to their complaints. My view is and always has been that the answer to speech you disagree with is more and better speech. For me, #CancelColbert wasn't about censoring his show. It was about exposing his hypocrisy and don't-you-understand-satire double standards.

Park complained that Colbert and his defenders are race-baiting liberals who hide behind their self-professed progressivism. Absolutely. Progressives of pallor — hipster racists — have said and done some of the most bigoted things I've ever witnessed in my life and gotten away with it. And as one viewer noted, Colbert "obviously didn't use satire very effectively, because most people aren't talking about the Redskins issue or Dan Snyder." Indeed, many of his fans were too busy tweeting non-satirical anti-Asian bigotry, misogyny and ugly death threats.

I'm not surprised at many on the right who tripped over themselves to side with the entertainment industry Cool People — or "coolists," as Greg Gutfeld brilliantly captures them in his new book, "Not Cool." In elite circles, it is uncool to say you think Stephen Colbert is unfunny. The suck-ups go along with Colbert's painfully inane Ching-Chong Ding-Dong schtick because they want to show they "get" Cool Colbert's "satire."

Wake up. These smug liberal elites are not your allies in the fight against political correctness run amok. Colbert and company marginalize conservatism while laughing all the way to the bank. Why would conservatives enable them? Gutfeld explains: "Pick a political, cultural or moral universe, and in each one it's the cool who seek to punish, mock or thwart the uncool. They do this freely and without much resistance, for exacting cool revenge is so common that the uncool let it happen without a fight — a sort of cultural Stockholm syndrome."

Asians are also convenient, "uncool" punching bags. Unlike offended Muslim fanatics (see "The Mohammed Cartoons"), they're not going to issue fatwas, threaten beheadings or blow themselves up. Coward Colbert and his cable news persona would never dare offend the jihad-friendly brigade at CAIR; the only jabs he takes are at "Islamophobe" conservatives who worry about the poisonous spread of sharia law.

Colbert defenders "circled the wagons," as Rush Limbaugh pointed out on Monday, by griping instead about Limbaugh's 18-second imitation on radio of a Chinese government translator in 2011. "Notice how to get this guy out of the mess that he's in — apparently they have to link him to me. Why? I don't know."

Colbert needs partisan sycophants to go along with his selective clown-nose act, every step of the way, to provide him total immunity as he scrapes the bottom of the "comedy" barrel to portray the right as racist. Blaming Rush (or lazily mocking my 2004 book on internment, profiling and national security, as Colbert did on his show Monday night) deflects from the genuine offense taken by Park and other liberals at Colbert's widespread dissemination of yellowface caricatures.

The Comedy Central political operatives need to make conservatives the demons so his audience forgets that liberal actress Rosie O'Donnell gratuitously mocked "ching-chong" accents on the mainstream ABC network show "The View" while her liberal co-hosts and audience laughed it up.

Or that Vice President Joe Biden mocked Indian accents in a 2012 jobs speech in New Hampshire and complained in 2008 on the campaign trail that "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."

Or that former Secretary of State and leading 2016 Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton repeatedly has employed a degrading Southern accent to pander to black voters. (Google "I ain't noways tired.")

Or that Democrat Bob Beckel made fun of Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's State of the Union response address by likening it to a "call center ad in Mumbai."

Or that mainstream Hollywood productions from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (Mickey Rooney's I.Y. Yunioshi) to "Sixteen Candles" (Long Duk Dong) to the sitcoms "How I Met Your Mother" (an entire show in yellowface) and "2 Broke Girls" (Han Lee) have done more to disseminate and profit off of cheap, vulgar, bucktoothed Asian stereotypes than Rush Limbaugh ever did.

It's not the outrage that's manufactured, but Colbert's sanctimonious myth of left-wing purity and his phony indictment of conservatives as the predominant forces of intolerance in America.

But what do I know, Mr. Colbert? Me so stupid. You so funny.

4-4-14
 
Black community should abandon self-appointed leaders; must reject purveyors of dependency, victimhood

By Ben S. Carson


JewishWorldReview.com | Divide and conquer is an age-old strategy, effectively used by many in positions of power to ensure that they retain their wealth and authority.

During the dark days of slavery in America, there were many geographic areas where the number of slaves significantly surpassed the number of whites and slave owners.

This occasioned appropriate anxiety for the owners, who cleverly sowed seeds of discord among the different groups of slaves in an attempt to effectively destroy unity. For example, field slaves were told that the house slaves thought of themselves as superior.

This worked in most cases, although there were notable instances of secret cooperation between the slaves to accomplish various goals. It required real wisdom and insight to avoid easy manipulation by the slave owners, who usually used slaves loyal to them to accomplish their nefarious objectives.

In today's culture, there are political forces that see the descendents of slaves as useful objects for maintaining their positions of wealth and power. By promising to care for their every need, they create dependency.

Frightening those dependents into thinking that they will be abandoned if others are in control, they create loyalty that is undeserved but fierce — loyalty that translates into the real goal: votes. Anything or anyone that threatens this paradigm of victim and protector must be destroyed, lest the victims recognize the deceitfulness of their manipulators and revolt.

The most dangerous people to the modern manipulators are people who have freed themselves from the plantation mentality. They eschew the propaganda of victimhood and advocate for personal responsibility. They see the value found in the true compassion of a hand up rather than a handout.

The tragedy is that many "leaders" of the black community succumb to the mesmerizing poison of the controlling elites, who make them feel "cool" and important. I'm sure that some actually realize what is happening, but — like the kids you remember in high school — don't want to risk being ostracized and expelled from the "in crowd," and, therefore, remain silent.

It is so important for the black community to realize that there is tremendous strength in unity and that a disagreement on some issues does not have to create animosity. In fact, by engaging in open discussions rather than demonization, a great deal can be learned by all parties.

I am a registered independent, but I have many friends who are Democrats and many who are Republicans. One friend who identifies himself as a Democrat left Alabama at age 16 heading to Boston in search of employment. He accidentally ended up in Hartford, Conn., and worked in a lowly position as a construction aide for a hotel that was being built. This young black man from Birmingham had a strong work ethic and was gifted with common sense.

Today, he not only owns that hotel, but owns many other businesses and is a philanthropist. We do not disagree about most important things, but have some political disagreements, which have no negative impact on our friendship or our ability to work together on joint projects. If someone tried to exploit our differences, we would have a hearty laugh at their expense.

Those who spew venom at black conservatives would do well to read about the lives and philosophies of such luminaries as Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and many others, who refused to subscribe to the victim mentality.

They should make an attempt to understand what it takes to ascend from the lifestyle of Southern sharecroppers to the office of secretary of state of the United States of America.

Perhaps then, they would rally to the side of Condoleezza Rice, who achieved this and much more, including concert pianist. When the black community tolerates a group of liberal Rutgers professors who succeeded in disinviting her to their commencement because she is a black conservative, they embolden the controlling elites and dramatically minimize accomplishments that any ethnic group should be proud of.

We must fight for the precious hearts and souls of all of our young people. We have to give them the "can-do" attitude that characterized the rapid ascension of America. We must defang the dividers by ignoring them and thinking for ourselves.

I wish that those who are the haters and manipulators will take a moment to examine their hearts and motives. I hope they will think about using their intellectual talents for good.

They would be wise to ask themselves this question: How much good did being one of the cool guys in high school do in the long run? Let us all give honor to the concepts of hard work, integrity, kindness, compassion, personal responsibility, family values, and faith in and obedience to God.

Many people from all backgrounds gave up their freedom, their blood and even their lives to provide a life of liberty and dignity for those trapped by the chains of legal discrimination and hatred.

We must not allow their sacrifice to become meaningless by allowing "do-gooders" to substitute the chains of overt racism for the chains of dependency, low expectations, victimhood and misdirected anger.

Let's use our God-given wisdom to outwit the purveyors of division and deceit. Let's be loyal to the correct values and principles, regardless of the short-term personal cost. The long-term benefits will be well worth it.
 

4-3-14
 
Obama Tackled in the End Zone

By David Limbaugh

 
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's one thing to spike the football when you actually score a touchdown, but why is Obama celebrating in the end zone when he just got tackled for a safety?

What on earth is this man boasting about? Boasting is obnoxious enough when the braggart in question has accomplished something, but how many people do you know who brag when they've hurt millions?

Under the goal posts in the Rose Garden, Obama said: Obamacare "is doing what it's supposed to do; it's working. ... The debate over repealing this law is over; the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. ... I've got to admit, I don't get it. Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?"

This is outrageous, even for him.

If Obamacare is doing what it's supposed to do, then it was supposed to create chaos in the health care industry, increase our premiums, cause people to lose their doctors, reduce the quality of care and cost the government unconscionable sums of money.

Is that what Obama means by "it's working"? Is this what he envisioned that Obamacare would do?

If not, then why is he all puffed up? Why aren't Democrats sharing in his triumphant bliss? Why is he attacking those who are rightly criticizing this policy?

Obama looked us in the eye and said 7.1 million people have signed up for Obamacare, which is apparently close to the projected number of enrollees necessary to fund this boondoggle. But for that number to work — even if you assume it is legitimate — it has to be a net number.

What Obama didn't tell us is that this figure, in the abstract, means nothing. By throwing out 7.1 million as if it means the administration has met its goal, he is deliberately and brazenly deceiving the American people, because he knows it has not come close. The fact that he would take no questions on this matter is proof that he has something to hide.

It's as if Obama and his advisers were sitting around the table — or the putting green — and he told them, "Hey, we've almost reached the magic number of sign-ups." One of his advisers might have said, "Yes, but we're miles away from our goal." And Obama might have said: "Who cares? This is enough for a sound bite. This is enough for a press conference. This is enough to dupe the American people. Don't question me. Schedule that press conference. I'm the president."

In order for Obamacare to work, it needed some 7 million net new enrollees, at least 38 percent of whom would be young and healthy enough to subsidize the others, according to liberal projections.

But what did he get?

Well, he allegedly got 7.1 million enrollees on paper, but let's look at the myriad ways that number is reduced.

National Journal reports that an estimated 15 to 20 percent of these enrollees haven't paid their premiums, which means they won't be covered. So right off the bat, you have to reduce the number to between 5.7 million and 6 million, which means the figures already won't work.

Instead of 38 percent of these enrollees being in the young and healthy category, Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute reports that less than 30 percent of enrollees are younger than 35.

Also, RAND Corp. estimates that only about one-third of the new enrollees were previously uninsured, which means that two-thirds of the 5.7 million or 6 million cannot properly be counted in these figures. So we have fewer than 2 million net new enrollees. But we're still not finished.

In addition to this, RAND estimates that nearly a million more people lost their plan because of Obamacare and couldn't afford to replace it because Obamacare mandates coverage of additional risks and causes premiums to increase.

Does that mean we are actually down to about 1 million net new enrollees?

Not to destroy your day further, but on top of all this, Obamacare is projected to cost the government — meaning taxpayers — $2 trillion over the next decade, which isn't even being factored in here. And how many believe that number isn't grossly underestimated? Also, Obamacare is going to cause cuts to Medicare Advantage, which will reduce benefits or increase premiums for people by an estimated $35 to $75 per month.

As you can see, Obama is giving you only a fraction of the information you need to understand this picture and imparting the false impression that Obamacare is working now, and when premiums skyrocket next year, he can scapegoat the insurance companies and proceed to his beloved single-payer, full-blown statist scenario.

Obama must be still counting on the fact that he can fool enough of the people enough of the time — Election Day every two years — to continue his sinister plan to fundamentally transform this nation.

The polls are screaming that he's finally run out of juice. Pray it is so.

4-2-14

Probable Cause

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Except for the definition and mechanism of proving treason, no area of the Constitution addressing the rights of all persons when the government is pursuing them is more specific than the Fourth Amendment. The linchpin of that specificity is the requirement that the government demonstrate probable cause to a judge as a precondition to the judge issuing a search warrant. The other specific requirement is identity: The government must identify whose property it wishes to search or whose behavior it wishes to monitor, because the Fourth Amendment requires that all warrants specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

The principal reason for these requirements is the colonial revulsion over general warrants. A general warrant does not specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized, and it is not based on the probable cause of criminal behavior of the person targeted by the government.

With a general warrant, the government simply gets authority from a judge to search a haystack looking for a needle, and in the process, it may disturb and move all the straw it wants. Stated differently, a general warrant permits the government to intrude upon the privacy of persons as to whom it has no probable cause of criminal behavior and without stating what it is looking for.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court has been issuing general warrants to the National Security Agency (NSA) since 1978, but it was not until last June that we learned that these general warrants have been executed upon the telephone calls, text messages, emails, bank records, utility bills and credit card bills of all persons in America since 2009.

The constitutional requirement of probable cause is not political fancy; rather, it saves us from tyranny. Probable cause is a quantum of evidence that is sufficient to lead a neutral judge to conclude that the person about whom the evidence has been presented is more likely than not to possess further evidence of criminal behavior, or has more likely than not engaged in criminal behavior that is worthy of the government's use of its investigatory tools such that the government may lawfully and morally invade that person's natural right to privacy.

Last week, Robert S. Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which runs the NSA, engaged in a curious colloquy with members of the president's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Litt complained that presenting probable cause about individuals to judges and then seeking search warrants from those judges to engage in surveillance of each of those individuals is too difficult.

This is a remarkable admission from the chief lawyer for the nation's spies. He and the 60,000 NSA employees and vendors who have been spying on us have taken oaths to uphold the Constitution. There are no loopholes in their oaths. Each person's oath is to the entire Constitution — whether compliance is easy or difficult. Yet the "too difficult" admission has far-reaching implications.

This must mean that the NSA itself acknowledges that it is seeking and executing general warrants because the warrants the Constitution requires are too difficult to obtain. Stated differently, the NSA knows it is violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, because that amendment expressly forbids general warrants.

In my career as a lawyer, judge, law professor, author and television commentator, I have heard many excuses for violating the Constitution. I reject all of them when they come from one who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, yet I understand the intellectually honest excuses — like exigent circumstances — when they are based on duty. The NSA's excuses are not intellectually honest, and they are not based on duty. They are based on laziness.

But there was more than met the eye in Litt's testimony last week. Two days after Litt admitted to the use of general warrants, and while the president was in Europe, the White House leaked to the press its plans to curtail the massive NSA spying. Those plans, which would change only the appearance of what the NSA does but not its substance, have three parts.

The first change relieves the NSA of the need for general warrants to require delivery of massive amounts of data about innocent Americans as to which the NSA has no probable cause, because the second change requires the computer servers and telecoms to preserve their records — instead of the NSA preserving them — and make them "immediately" available to the NSA when it comes calling. And the third is the requirement of a warrant from a FISA judge before the NSA may access that stored data. But because that warrant is not based on probable cause but rather on NSA whim, it is a foregone conclusion that the general warrants for examination, as opposed to delivery, will be granted. The FISA court has granted well in excess of 99 percent of the general warrants the NSA has sought.

Litt must have known what the White House planned to leak when he made his "too difficult" complaint, as it fits nicely with this new scheme. Yet the scheme itself, because it lacks the requirement of probable cause that the Constitution requires, is equally as unconstitutional and morally repugnant as what the NSA has been doing for five years. Moreover, the NSA will not exactly go hat in hand to the computer servers and telecoms once it wishes to hear telephone calls or read emails or credit card bills. Its agents will simply press a few buttons on their computers when they wish, and the data they seek will be made available to them.

These so-called changes should be rejected by Congress, which should overhaul the NSA instead. Hasn't Congress seen enough? The NSA and the CIA spy on the courts, Congress, the military, the police and everyone in America. This keeps none of us safer. But it does lessen our freedom when those in whose hands we repose the Constitution for safekeeping look the other way. What other freedoms are slipping because Congress, too, thinks upholding the Constitution is too difficult?

4-1-14
 
How Foreign Is Our Policy?

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Many people are lamenting the bad consequences of Barack Obama's foreign policy, and some are questioning his competence.

There is much to lament, and much to fear. Multiple setbacks to American interests have been brought on by Obama's policies in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Crimea and — above all — in what seems almost certain to become a nuclear Iran in the very near future.

The president's public warning to Syria of dire consequences if the Assad regime there crossed a "red line" he had drawn seemed to epitomize an amateurish bluff that was exposed as a bluff when Syria crossed that red line without suffering any consequences. Drawing red lines in disappearing ink makes an international mockery of not only this president's credibility, but also the credibility of future American presidents' commitments.

When some future President of the United States issues a solemn warning internationally, and means it, there may be less likelihood that the warning will be taken seriously. That invites the kind of miscalculation that has led to wars.

Many who are disappointed with what seem to be multiple fiascoes in President Obama's foreign policy question his competence and blame his inexperience. Such critics may be right, but it is by no means certain that they are.

Like those who are disappointed with Barack Obama's domestic policies, critics of his foreign policy may be ignoring the fact that you cannot know whether someone is failing or succeeding without knowing what he is trying to do.

Whether ObamaCare, for example, is a success or a failure, depends on whether you think the president's goal is to improve the medical treatment of Americans or to leave as his permanent legacy a system of income redistribution, through ObamaCare, and tight government control of the medical profession.

Much, if not most, of the disappointment with Barack Obama comes from expectations based on his words, rather than on an examination of what he has done over his lifetime before reaching the White House.

His words were glowing. He is a master of rhetoric, image and postures. He was so convincing that many failed to connect the dots of his past life that pointed in the opposite direction from his words. "Community organizers," for example, are not uniters but dividers — and former community organizer Obama has polarized this country, despite his rhetoric about uniting us.

Many were so mesmerized by both the man himself and the euphoria surrounding the idea of "the first black president" that they failed to notice that there were any dots, much less any need to connect them.

One dot alone — the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose church the Obamas attended for 20 years — would have been enough to sink any other presidential bid by anyone who was not in line to become "the first black president."

The painful irony is that Jeremiah Wright was just one in a series of Obama's mentors hostile to America, resentful of successful Americans, and convinced that America had too much power internationally, and needed to be brought down a peg.

Anti-Americanism was the rule, not the exception, among Obama's mentors over the years, beginning in his childhood. When the young Obama and his mother lived in Indonesia, her Indonesian husband wanted her to accompany him to social gatherings with American businessmen — and was puzzled when she refused.

He reminded her that these were her own people. According to Barack Obama's own eyewitness account, her voice rose "almost to a shout" when she replied:

"They are not my people."

Most of Barack Obama's foreign policy decisions since becoming president are consistent with this mindset. He has acted repeatedly as a citizen of the world, even though he was elected to be President of the United States.

Virtually every major move of the Obama administration has reduced the power, security and influence of America and its allies. Cutbacks in military spending, while our adversaries have increased their military buildups, ensure that these changes to our detriment will continue, even after Barack Obama has left the White House.

Is that failure or success?

3-31-14
 
Deception 1342 of the Affordable Care Act

By Michael Reagan


The 31st is the deadline for signing up for ObamaCare, which has made the buying and selling of health insurance one of the most complicated, deceptive disasters in the history of Big Government.

The president could always whip out his Hugo Chavez pen again at the last minute and re-write another rotten plank of his Affordable Care Act.

But as it stands now, people will have to enroll in the ACA by the end of this month or most of them will not be eligible to get government insurance until January of 2015.

There are exemptions, as usual. If you experience a qualifying event — a new baby, a divorce, a job loss — you'll be able to sign up whenever you want. (Turn to Page 32,364 of your copy of the ACA for details.)

If you fail to enroll by the 31st, you'll be subjected to a little known provision of the ACA, Section 1984, I think it is, that says anyone who doesn't enroll by March 31 will be rounded up, deported to Syria or shot.

OK, I'm kidding. The reason you've never heard of that section was because I just made it up.

But there is a provision of the ACA that most people have probably never heard of that is just as unbelievable.

It's "Section 1342 -- Establishment of risk corridors for plans in individual and small group markets."

Translated from governmentese, Section 1342 is designed to bail out the big insurance companies when they lose billions of dollars because they have to provide health insurance they can't afford to provide.

In order to make ObamaCare work (by suckering millions of gullible Americans into thinking it was free or cheap), the White House and Democrats in Congress told insurance companies they had to offer affordable policies.

But the insurance companies balked. They knew in advance they couldn't possibly be able to offer ObamaCare's Cadillac policies at such low-low prices without soon incurring huge-huge losses.

No problemo, the generous ObamaCare-givers said to the insurance companies.

"We'll bury this little 'risk corridor' mumbo jumbo — Section 1342 — in the act somewhere. Congress won't find it for years. It guarantees that the federal government will cover your ObamaCare losses through 2016.

"Just don't blab about it, please, because it's kind of embarrassing for us progressives to be seen subsidizing Big Health Insurance."

It turns out that behind all the high-minded B.S. about providing every American with affordable healthcare, ObamaCare is simply another corporate welfare project.

Only this time it's for the benefit of health insurance companies.

Section 1342 reminds me of those sweet deals the big New York financial companies got when they and their pals in Congress teamed up to make the economy collapse in 2007-2008.

Those "too-big-to-fail" banks — and don't forget GM -- got their federal-taxpayer bailouts at the back end. Under Obama, the bailouts for insurance companies come at the front end.

We all remember those promises from Washington that "it will never happen again." Well, it's going to — in a very big way. Section 1342 ultimately will cost American taxpayers tens of billions.

I'm sorry to say most Americans won't even notice this latest example of crony capitalism. They'll be too busy figuring out how — or where -- to get the level of health care coverage they want or need.

Former New York State Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey said in the New York Post that the 1342 bailout section "is meant to hide the full failure of the president's signature health law until after the next presidential election."

She's right. But it's too late for Obama now. Because of the mess he's made of healthcare "reform," Democrats will be swept away by a Republican wave this November and, let's pray, again in 2016.

By then, if Republicans don't blow it, ObamaCare will be DOA and Section 1342 will be just another liberal nightmare, not a reality.
 

3-30-14
 
Obama the oblivious: He has shown little aptitude as president

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In explaining the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, President Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

An interesting discovery to make after having consigned the vast universe of American medicine, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to the tender mercies of the agency bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service.

Most people become aware of the hopeless inefficiency of sclerotic government by, oh, age 17 at the department of motor vehicles. Obama’s late discovery is especially remarkable considering that he built his entire political philosophy on the rock of Big Government, on the fervent belief in the state as the very engine of collective action and the ultimate source of national greatness. (Indeed, of individual success as well, as in “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”)

This blinding revelation of the ponderous incompetence of bureaucratic government came just a few weeks after Obama confessed that “what we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Another light bulb goes off, this one three years after passing a law designed to force millions of Americans to shop for new health plans via the maze of untried, untested, insecure, unreliable online “exchanges.”

This discovery joins a long list that includes Obama’s rueful admission that there really are no shovel-ready jobs. That one came after having passed his monstrous $830 billion stimulus on the argument that the weakened economy would be “jump-started” by a massive infusion of shovel-ready jobs. Now known to be fictional.

Barack Obama is not just late to discover the most elementary workings of government. With alarming regularity, he professes obliviousness to the workings of his own government. He claims, for example, to have known nothing about the IRS targeting scandal, the AP phone records scandal, the NSA tapping of Angela Merkel. And had not a clue that the centerpiece of his signature legislative achievement — the online Obamacare exchange, three years in the making — would fail catastrophically upon launch. Or that Obamacare would cause millions of Americans to lose their private health plans.

Hence the odd spectacle of a president expressing surprise and disappointment in the federal government — as if he’s not the one running it. Hence the repeated no-one-is-more-upset-than-me posture upon deploring the nonfunctioning Web site, the IRS outrage, the AP intrusions and any number of scandals from which Obama tries to create safe distance by posing as an observer. He gives the impression of a man on a West Wing tour trying out the desk in the Oval Office, only to be told that he is president of the United States.

The paradox of this presidency is that this most passive bystander president is at the same time the most ideologically ambitious in decades. The sweep and scope of his health-care legislation alone are unprecedented. He’s spent billions of tax money attempting to create, by fiat and ex nihilo, a new green economy. His (failed) cap-and-trade bill would have given him regulatory control of the energy economy. He wants universal preschool and has just announced his unwavering commitment to slaying the dragon of economic inequality, which, like the poor, has always been with us.

Obama’s discovery that government bureaucracies don’t do things very well creates a breathtaking disconnect between his transformative ambitions and his detachment from the job itself. How does his Olympian vision coexist with the lassitude of his actual governance, a passivity that verges on absenteeism?

What bridges that gap is rhetoric. Barack Obama is a master rhetorician. It’s allowed him to move crowds, rise inexorably and twice win the most glittering prize of all. Rhetoric has changed his reality. For Obama, it can change the country’s. Hope and change, after all, is a rhetorical device. Of the kind Obama has always imagined can move mountains.

That’s why his reaction to the Obamacare Web site’s crash-on-takeoff is so telling. His remedy? A cross-country campaign-style speaking tour. As if rhetoric could repeal that reality.

Managing, governing, negotiating, cajoling, crafting legislation, forging compromise. For these — this stuff of governance — Obama has shown little aptitude and even less interest. Perhaps, as Valerie Jarrett has suggested, he is simply too easily bored to invest his greatness in such mundanity.

“I don’t write code,” said Obama in reaction to the Web site crash. Nor is he expected to. He is, however, expected to run an administration that can.


3-29-14
 
Republicans and Blacks

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Recently former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added her voice to those who have long been urging the Republican Party to reach out to black voters. Not only is that long overdue, what is also long overdue is putting some time — and, above all, some serious thought — into how to go about doing it.

Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to "reach out" is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson — that is, people tied irrevocably to the Democrats.

Voters who want what the Democrats offer can get it from the Democrats. Why should they vote for Republicans who act like make-believe Democrats?

Yet there are issues where Republicans have a big advantage over Democrats — if they will use that advantage. But an advantage that you don't use might as well not exist.

The issue on which Democrats are most vulnerable, and have the least room to maneuver, is school choice. Democrats are heavily in hock to the teachers' unions, who see public schools as places to guarantee jobs for teachers, regardless of what that means for the education of students.

There are some charter schools and private schools that have low-income minority youngsters equaling or exceeding national norms, despite the many ghetto public schools where most students are nowhere close to meeting those norms. Because teachers' unions oppose charter schools, most Democrats oppose them, including black Democrats up to and including President Barack Obama.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's recent cutback on funding for charter schools, and creating other obstacles for them, showed a calloused disregard for black youngsters, for whom a decent education is their one shot at a better life.

But did you hear any Republican say anything about it?

Minimum wage laws are another government-created disaster for minority young people.

Many people today would be surprised to learn that there were once years when the unemployment rate for black 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent. But their unemployment rates have not been under 20 percent in more than half a century. In some years, their unemployment rate has been over 40 percent.

Why such great differences between earlier and later times? In the late 1940s, inflation had rendered meaningless the minimum wage set in 1938. Without that encumbrance, black teenagers found it a lot easier to get jobs than after the series of minimum wage escalations that began in the 1950s.

Young people need job experience, at least as much as they need a paycheck. And no neighborhood needs hordes of idle young men hanging around, getting into mischief, if not into crime.

Republicans have failed to explain why the minimum wage laws that Democrats support are counterproductive for blacks. Worse yet, during the 2012 election campaign Mitt Romney advocated indexing the minimum wage for inflation, which would not only guarantee its bad effects, but would put an end to discussing those bad effects.

Are issues like these going to switch the black vote as a whole over into the Republican column at the next election? Of course not. Nor will embracing the Democrats' racial agenda.

But, if Republicans can reduce the 90 percent of the black vote that goes to Democrats to 80 percent, that can be enough to swing a couple of close Congressional elections — as a start.

Even to achieve that, however, will require targeting those particular segments of the black population that are not irrevocably committed to the Democrats. Parents who want their children to get a decent education are one obvious example. But if Republicans aim a one-size-fits-all message at all blacks they will fail to connect with the particular people they have some chance of reaching.

First of all, Republicans will need to know what they are talking about. There are books like "Race and Economics" by Walter Williams, which show that many well-meaning government programs have been counterproductive for minorities. And there are people like Shelby Steele and the Thernstroms with valuable insights.

But first Republicans have got to want to learn, and to be willing to do some thinking, in order to get their message across.

3-28-14
 
The wages of weakness

By Charles Krauthammer



JewishWorldReview.com | Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he's got three more years of luck to come.

He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it's not in Russia's interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it's a sign of weakness.

Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia conquered it 20 years before the U.S. acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot.

Now Russia looms over the rest of eastern and southern Ukraine. Putin can take that anytime he wants — if he wants. He has already destabilized the nationalist government in Kiev. Ukraine is now truncated and on the life support of U.S. and European money (much of which — cash for gas — will end up in Putin's treasury anyway).

Obama says Putin is on the wrong side of history, and Secretary of State John Kerry says Putin's is "really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century."

This must mean that seeking national power, territory, dominion — the driving impulse of nations since Thucydides — is obsolete. As if a calendar change caused a revolution in human nature that transformed the international arena from a Hobbesian struggle for power into a gentleman's club where violations of territorial integrity just don't happen.

"That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior," says Kerry.

Makes invasion sound like a breach of etiquette — like using the wrong fork at a Beacon Hill dinner party.

Adolescent Universalism

How to figure out Obama's foreign policy? In his first United Nations speech, he says: "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation." On what planet?

He followed that with the assertion that "alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War" — like NATO? — "make no sense in an interconnected world."

Putin's more cynical advisers might have thought such adolescent universalism to be a ruse. But Obama coupled these amazing words with even more amazing actions:

(1) Upon coming into office, he initiated the famous "reset" to undo the "drift" in relations that had occurred during the George W. Bush years.

But that drift was largely due to the freezing of relations Bush imposed after Russia's invasion of Georgia. Obama undid that push-back and wiped the slate clean — demanding nothing in return.

(2) Canceled missile-defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic. Without even consulting them. A huge concession to Putin's threats — while again asking nothing in return.

And sending a message that, while Eastern Europe may think it achieved post-Cold War independence, in reality it remains in play, subject to Russian influence and interests.

(3) In 2012, Obama assured Dmitry Medvedev he would be even more flexible with Putin on missile defense as soon as he got past the election.

(4) The Syria debacle. Obama painted himself into a corner on chemical weapons — threatening to bomb and then backing down — and allowed Putin to rescue him with a promise to get rid of Syria's stockpiles.

Obama hailed this as a win-win, when both knew — or did Obama really not know? — he had just conferred priceless legitimacy on Bashar Assad and made Russia the major regional arbiter for the first time in 40 years.

(5) Obama keeps cutting defense spending. His latest budget will reduce it to 3% of GDP by 2016 and cut the Army to pre-Pearl Harbor size — just as Russia is rebuilding, as Iran is going nuclear and as China announces yet another 12%-plus increase in military spending.

Puzzling. There is no U.S. financial emergency, no budgetary collapse. Obama declares an end to austerity — for every government department except the military.

Who Was Going To Stop Him?

Can Putin be faulted for believing that if he bites off Crimea and threatens Kiev, Obama's response will be minimal and his ability to lead the Europeans even less so?

Would Putin have lunged for Ukraine if he didn't have such a clueless adversary? No one can say for sure. But it certainly made Putin's decision easier.

Russia will get kicked out of the G-8 — if Obama can get Angela Merkel to go along. Big deal. Putin does care about financial sanctions, but the Europeans are already divided and squabbling among themselves.

Next weekend's Crimean referendum will ask if it should be returned to Mother Russia. Can Putin refuse? He can already see the history textbooks: Catherine the Great conquered Crimea, Vlad (the Great?) won it back. Not bad for a 19th century man.

3-27-14
 
Facts and Factions

By Thomas Sowell

JewishWorldReview.com | At a time when polls show public opinion turning against the Democrats, some Republicans seem to be turning against each other. Even with the prospect of being able to win control of the Senate in this fall's elections, some Republicans are busy manufacturing ammunition for their own circular firing squad.

A Republican faction's demonization of their own Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is a classic example. If you listen to some of those who consider themselves the only true conservatives, you would never guess that Senator McConnell received a lifetime 90 percent ranking by the American Conservative Union — and in one recent year had a 100 percent ranking.

Ann Coulter — whose conservative credentials nobody has ever challenged — points out in her column that Mitch McConnell has not only led the fight for conservative principles repeatedly, but has been to the right of Ted Cruz on immigration issues.

Someone once said that, in a war, truth is the first casualty. That seems to be the case for some in this internal war among Republicans. As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts."

Why should those of us who are not Republicans be concerned about any of this?

Fortunately or unfortunately, we have a two-party system in this country. And — very unfortunately — we are at a crucial point in the history of America, and perhaps approaching a point of no return.

The unfolding disaster of ObamaCare is only the most visible symptom of a far deeper danger from a lawless administration in Washington that unilaterally changes laws passed by Congress. President Obama has nearly three more years to continue doing irreparable damage to the fundamental basis of American government and Americans' freedom.

Only Republican control of the Senate can rein in the lawless Obama administration, which can otherwise load up the federal courts with lawless judges, who will be dismantling the rule of law and destroying the rights of the people, for decades after Barack Obama himself is long gone from the White House.

Once that happens, even a future Republican majority, led by people with the kind of ideological purity that the Republican dissidents want, cannot undo the damage.

The Senate's power to confirm or not confirm presidential nominees to the federal courts is the only thing that can prevent Barack Obama from leaving that kind of toxic legacy in the federal courts, including the Supreme Court.

Only Republican control of both houses of Congress can repeal, or even seriously revise, ObamaCare. And only Republican control of both houses of Congress plus the White House can begin to reverse the many lawless, reckless and dangerous policies of the Obama administration, at home and overseas.

This year's elections and the 2016 presidential election may be among the most important elections in the history of this country, and can determine what kind of country this will be for years — and even generations — to come.

Those Republicans who seem ready to jeopardize their own party's chances of winning these two crucial elections by following a rule-or-ruin fight against fellow Republicans may claim to be following their ideals. But headstrong self-righteousness is not idealism, and it is seldom a way to advance any cause.

Politics, like war, is a question of power. If you don't have power, you can make fiery speeches or even conduct attention-getting filibusters, but that does not fundamentally change anything. And it has accomplished nothing in this case.

No doubt there can be legitimate differences of opinion about tactics and strategy on particular issues. But, if you don't have power, these are just empty clashes over debating points.

Certainly there has been much for which the Republican leadership has deserved to be criticized over the years — and this column has made such criticisms for decades. But, when the question is whether Mitch McConnell is preferable to Harry Reid as Majority Leader in the Senate, that is not even a close call.

If the rule-or-ruin faction among Republicans ends up giving the Democrats another Senate majority under Harry Reid, not only the Republican Party but the entire nation, and generations yet unborn, will end up paying the price.

3-26-14
 
The Left Versus Minorities

By Thomas Sowell

 
JewishWorldReview.com | If anyone wanted to pick a time and place where the political left's avowed concern for minorities was definitively exposed as a fraud, it would be now — and the place would be New York City, where far left Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched an attack on charter schools, cutting their funding, among other things.

These schools have given thousands of low income minority children their only shot at a decent education, which often means their only shot at a decent life. Last year 82 percent of the students at a charter school called Success Academy passed city-wide mathematics exams, compared to 30 percent of the students in the city as a whole.

Why would anybody who has any concern at all about minority young people — or even common decency — want to destroy what progress has already been made?

One big reason, of course, is the teachers' union, one of Mayor de Blasio's biggest supporters. But it may be more than that. For many of the true believers on the left, their ideology overrides any concern about the actual fate of flesh-and-blood human beings.

Something similar happened on the west coast last year. The American Indian Model Schools in Oakland have been ranked among the top schools in the nation, based on their students' test scores. This is, again, a special achievement for minority students who need all the help they can get.

But, last spring, the California State Board of Education announced plans to shut this school down!

Why? The excuse given was that there had been suspicious financial dealings by the former — repeat, former — head of the institution. If this was the real reason, then all they had to do was indict the former head and let a court decide if he was guilty or innocent.

There was no reason to make anyone else suffer, much less the students. But the education establishment's decision was to refuse to let the school open last fall. Fortunately a court stopped this hasty shut-down.

These are not just isolated local incidents. The Obama administration has cut spending for charter schools in the District of Columbia and its Justice Department has intervened to try to stop the state of Louisiana from expanding its charter schools.

Why such hostility to schools that have succeeded in educating minority students, where so many others have failed?

Some of the opposition to charter schools has been sheer crass politics. The teachers' unions see charter schools as a threat to their members' jobs, and politicians respond to the money and the votes that teachers' unions can provide.

The net result is that public schools are often run as if their main function is to provide jobs to teachers. Whether the children get a decent education is secondary, at best.

In various parts of the country, educators who have succeeded in raising the educational level of minority children to the national average — or above — have faced hostility, harassment or have even been driven out of their schools.

Not all charter schools are successful, of course, but the ones that are completely undermine the excuses for failure in the public school system as a whole. That is why teachers' unions hate them, as a threat not only to their members' jobs but a threat to the whole range of frauds and fetishes in the educational system.

The autonomy of charter schools is also a threat to the powers that be, who want to impose their own vision on the schools, regardless of what the parents want. Attorney General Eric Holder wants to impose his own notion of racial balance in the schools, while many black parents want their children to learn, regardless of whether they are seated next to a white child or a black child. There have been all-black schools whose students met or exceeded national norms in education, whether in Louisiana, California or other places around the country. But Eric Holder, like Bill de Blasio, put his ideology above the education — and the future life — of minority students.

Charter schools take power from politicians and bureaucrats, letting parents decide where their children will go to school. That is obviously offensive to those on the left, who think that our betters should be making our decisions for us.

3-25-14
 
Freedom Is Not Free

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | There may be something to the claim that all people want to be free. But it is a demonstrable fact that freedom has been under attack, usually successfully, for thousands of years.

The Federal Communications Commission's recent plan to have a "study" of how editorial decisions are made in the media, placing FCC bureaucrats in editorial offices across the country, was one of the boldest assaults on freedom of the press. Fortunately, there was enough backlash to force the FCC to back off.

With all the sweeping powers available to government, displeasing FCC bureaucrats in editorial offices could have brought on armies of "safety" inspectors from OSHA, audits from the Internal Revenue Service and many other harassments from many other government agencies.

Such tactics have become especially common in this administration, which has the morals of thugs and the agenda of totalitarians. They may not be consciously aiming at creating a totalitarian state, but shameless use of government power to crush those who get in their way can produce totalitarian end results.

The prosecution of Dinesh D'Souza for contributing $20,000 to a political candidate, supposedly in violation of the many campaign finance laws, is a classic case of selective prosecution.

Thugs who stationed themselves outside a polling place in Philadelphia to intimidate white voters were given a pass, and others accused of campaign finance violations were charged with misdemeanors, but Dinesh D'Souza has been charged with felonies that carry penalties of years in federal prison.

All of this is over a campaign contribution that is chicken feed, compared to what can be raised inside of an hour at a political fundraising breakfast or lunch.

Could this singling out of D'Souza for prosecution have something to do with the fact that he made a documentary movie with devastating exposures of Barack Obama's ideologies and policies? That movie, incidentally, is titled "2016: Obama's America," and every American should get a copy of it on a DVD. It will be the best $10 investment you are ever likely to make. (Editor's note: You can watch it in its entireity at the end of this column. But please finish the column, first.)

It doesn't matter what rights you have under the Constitution of the United States, if the government can punish you for exercising those rights. And it doesn't matter what limits the Constitution puts on government officials' power, if they can exceed those limits without any adverse consequences.

In other words, the Constitution cannot protect you, if you don't protect the Constitution with your votes against anyone who violates it. Those government officials who want more power are not going to stop unless they get stopped.

As long as millions of Americans vote on the basis of who gives them free stuff, look for their freedom — and all our freedom — to be eroded away, bit by bit. Our children and grandchildren may yet come to see the Constitution as just some quaint words from the past that people once took seriously.

The arrogance of arbitrary power is not confined to the federal government. An egregious case in Massachusetts involves a teenage girl from Connecticut named Justina Pelletier, who was being treated for a rare disease by doctors at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

When her parents brought this 15-year-old girl to an emergency room in Boston, the doctors there decided that her problem was not medical but psychological. When the parents objected, and sought to take her back to the doctors who had been treating her at Tufts University, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families charged the parents with "medical child abuse," and were granted legal custody of the teenager.

Once given arbitrary power over Justina, the DCF bureaucrats kept her all but isolated from her parents for more than a year. To add insult to injury, a judge issued a gag order, forbidding the parents from discussing the case publicly.

Only after Megyn Kelly on the Fox News Channel brought this case to national attention did the Massachusetts bureaucrats back off and turn the teenager's medical care back to the doctors at Tufts University. Whether her parents will get to see their daughter freely again is still up in the air.

Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what pious rhetoric goes with it. Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it or lose it. But is our generation up to fighting for it?

3-24-14
 
The 'Fairness' Fraud

By Thomas Sowell



JewishWorldReview.com | It seems as if, everywhere you turn these days, there are studies claiming to show that America has lost its upward mobility for people born in the lower socioeconomic levels. But there is a sharp difference between upward "mobility," defined as an opportunity to rise, and mobility defined as actually having risen.

That distinction is seldom even mentioned in most of the studies. It is as if everybody is chomping at the bit to get ahead, and the ones that don't rise have been stopped by "barriers" created by "society."

When statistics show that sons of high school dropouts don't become doctors or scientists nearly as often as the sons of Ph.D.s, that is taken as a sign that American society is not "fair."

If equal probabilities of achieving some goal is your definition of fairness, then we should all get together — people of every race, color, creed, national origin, political ideology and sexual preference — and stipulate that life has never been fair, anywhere or any time in all the millennia of recorded history.

Then we can begin at last to talk sense.

I know that I never had an equal chance to become a great ballet dancer like Rudolph Nureyev. The thought of becoming a ballet dancer never once crossed my mind in all the years when I was growing up in Harlem. I suspect that the same thought never crossed the minds of most of the guys growing up on New York's lower east side.

Does that mean that there were unfair barriers keeping us from following in the footsteps of Rudolph Nureyev?

A very distinguished scholar once mentioned at a social gathering that, as a young man, he was not thinking of going to college until someone else, who recognized his ability, urged him to do so.

Another very distinguished scholar told me that, although his parents were anti-Semitic, it was the fact that he went to a school with many Jewish children that got him interested in intellectual matters and led him into an academic career.

All groups, families and cultures are not even trying to do the same things, so the fact that they do not all end up equally represented everywhere can hardly be automatically attributed to "barriers" created by "society."

Barriers are external obstacles, as distinguished from internal values and aspirations — unless you are going to play the kind of word games that redefine achievements as "privileges" and treat an absence of evidence of discrimination as only proof of how diabolically clever and covert the discrimination is.

The front page of a local newspaper in northern California featured the headline "The Promise Denied," lamenting the under-representation of women in computer engineering. The continuation of this long article on an inside page had the headline, "Who is to blame for this?"

In other words, the fact that reality does not match the preconceptions of the intelligentsia shows that there is something wrong with reality, for which somebody must be blamed. Apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.

Women, like so many other groups, seem not to be dedicated to fulfilling the prevailing fetish among the intelligentsia that every demographic group should be equally represented in all sorts of places.

Women have their own agendas, and if these agendas do not usually include computer engineering, what is to be done? Draft women into engineering schools to satisfy the preconceptions of our self-anointed saviors? Or will a propaganda campaign be sufficient to satisfy those who think that they should be making other people's choices for them?

That kind of thinking is how we got ObamaCare.

At least one of the recent celebrated statistical studies of social mobility leaves out Asian Americans. Immigrants from Asia are among a number of groups, including American-born Mormons, whose achievements totally undermine the notion that upward mobility can seldom be realized in America.

Those who preach this counterproductive message will probably never think that the envy, resentment and hopelessness they preach, and the welfare state they promote, are among the factors keeping people down.

3-23-14
 
A Chilling Proposal

By David Limbaugh



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Any freedom-loving person would be outraged at the attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to inject itself into monitoring the practices of print and broadcast media organizations, but the outrage came almost exclusively from conservatives, which is highly instructive.

But liberals and conservatives are on such different planets that they don't even agree that this development — that only conservatives objected — is instructive, which is also instructive.

The Washington Post was hoist with its own petard in reacting with a subtly pointed headline, "Proposed FCC study of news organizations sparks conservative outcry," and exposing its own biases rather than those of conservatives.

Simply put, everyone should object to this proposed action, and the fact that only conservatives did shows they are the only ones acting as freedom's guardians. That liberals didn't object is bad but is made much worse by their opinion that conservatives' objection is itself objectionable.

If blindly ideological liberals had a clue, they'd understand that the primary reason conservatives object is not their fear that certain media outlets will be exposed as unfairly conservative. Conservatives strenuously oppose the proposed action because it is such a threat to our First Amendment liberties, and any government that would even casually contemplate such a move is one to be greatly feared — and beaten back.

Of course, conservatives also fear that government monitoring of media outlets would in fact lead to a disproportionate chilling of conservative expression, which is inevitable when those doing the monitoring are guaranteed to be liberals who delude themselves into believing that only liberally minded people are capable of being objective. If you think that is an exaggeration, listen to liberal hosts of the major networks assessing one another as committed, objective journalists while decrying the bias of conservatives. Their lack of self-awareness is stunning.

But even if conservatives are wrong about this, liberals have nothing to fear from us on this issue anyway, because we are not the ones proposing dangerous ideas to monitor, regulate and suppress speech. They are. In the past 50 years, any serious encroachments on First Amendment political and religious expression have come almost exclusively from the left — from campus speech codes to the Fairness Doctrine to Net neutrality.

Liberals are so intoxicated by their own biases that they don't recognize how absurd it is that they apparently believe they have a legitimate basis to be outraged at the ideological bias of conservative talk radio and the alleged conservative bias of Fox News Channel.

The major news networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — had a monopoly on television broadcast news for decades. They were almost exclusively liberal — a monolithic force in the gathering, dissemination and reporting of network television news. When CNN came on the scene, it certainly didn't change this liberal monopoly; we're talking Ted Turner — Mr. Jane Fonda — after all.

But with the advent of conservative talk, which was self-admittedly ideological because it was opinion journalism as much as it was news journalism, the liberal establishment went bonkers and cried foul. Liberals invoked the regulatory power of the government through the Fairness Doctrine in an attempt to emasculate this upstart medium because it was a potential threat to their monopoly.

Think about it. Conservatives had no voice for a half-century or more in television news and not much of one in the print media. They complained but never sought to use government to muzzle the glorified propagandists at the major networks. And these people had serious power. Go back and examine Walter Cronkite's influence on the Vietnam War.

Conservatives didn't try to regulate the speech of liberal news outlets, even when they had an unrivaled and unchallenged monopoly and pretended to be purely objective news outlets while being infected with bias at every stage of the news process. But at the first signs of a serious conservative presence — first with Rush Limbaugh's show and then with Fox News Channel — they screamed bloody murder, and they've been trying to muzzle it ever since. The conservative blogosphere has just about sent them over the edge.

The liberals' proper remedy to counter conservative talk — as if they needed to, given their continuing dominance on television news — was to start their own liberal shows and compete in the marketplace of ideas. Well, they did, and they failed repeatedly. Then they tried to get Big Brother to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine to "hush Rush." They've also tried and failed with the maniacally liberal MSNBC to unseat Fox News Channel as the dominant cable network. Such is their frustration at having lost their unchallenged monopoly that even the president of the United States himself takes personal shots at this network — as he does at conservative talk. What a bunch of babies! What a bunch of bullies! What a bunch of Stalinists!

Of all the horrifyingly destructive things this administration is doing to this country, nothing has scared me more in the past five years than this chilling proposal to chill speech.

Liberals are getting more and more brazen in their totalitarian propensities. We shouldn't let our guard down just because this latest effort appears to have stalled. Liberals are patient, tireless and relentless, and they'll try again when they think they can get away with it.

Keep your eyes wide-open!

3-22-14
 
We Must Reject Liberalism's Economic Death Sentence on America

By David Limbaugh

   
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There seems to be a common characteristic among those who follow the liberal orthodoxy, especially those in the old media. Their ideology and rabid partisanship prevent them from acknowledging, much less correcting, policy failures.

My brother, Rush, expounds the "Limbaugh theorem," which holds that President Obama studiously avoids accountability for his disastrous agenda by positioning himself, with the willing aid of the media, as an outsider — as one who is merely observing, rather than primarily causing, these failures.

For five years, he's mostly blamed President George W. Bush. The old media never call him on it, for example, in reminding him that he promised to lead us out of this economic hellhole way before now.

They never make him answer for his reckless stimulus package, which created hardly any permanent jobs and in which little money was allocated to infrastructure as he promised. They've never called him on his irresponsible predictions, corruption and waste on Solyndra and similar green projects. Indeed, they promote the propaganda that the financial meltdown of 2008, which liberal policies caused anyway, was worse than anyone thought, that the stimulus resulted in lower unemployment than would have occurred without it and that green project failures are just growing pains in a promising new field.

But Bush isn't the only scapegoat. As Obama doesn't have to worry about blatant inconsistencies, he can blame Bush one day, Republican obstructionists the next and ATMs the next. But now I've noticed a disturbing development in his blame game saga.

He has begun also to blame uncontrollable forces in America, as if the unfolding of history, through no fault of his own, has resulted in a degeneration of economic conditions and we are simply going to have to live with the new normal — one that lowers the bar on economic growth, employment, the labor participation rate, income, upward mobility and even, hyper-conveniently, health care.

Obama alternatively depicts himself as a proactive agent who has saved us from economic catastrophe by jacking up spending to world-record levels, as a victim of opposition forces preceding and during his term in office, and as a chief executive who is an impotent placeholder, one who is powerless to stop the inevitable forces of malaise that have insinuated themselves into the American economy but nevertheless honor-bound to mitigate the damage and retard our imminent national demise by spending us even further into bankruptcy and redistributing what little money remains to the non-rich as a matter of "fairness."

This wouldn't be so bad if the media weren't complicit in this charade. As exhibit A, I cite an article in New Geography in which the author lamented "the gradual descent of the middle class into proletarian status" as "the biggest issue facing the American economy, and our political system." No. The biggest issue facing this economy is Barack Obama and his war on the economy and jobs — e.g., his latest unilateral minimum wage hike, which experts say will kill a half-million jobs; Obamacare, which will cost the equivalent of 2.5 million more; his punitive taxes; his spending; his regulations; and his war on energy. He is the problem, not the uncontrollable, irreversible forces. Give me a break. This kind of story is all over the media: The perennially depressed Obama economy is not Obama's fault; it's not even Obama's economy. He can't help it; America is just going to hell, and it's beyond anyone's control.

Bull. America is not over; we can return to pro-growth policies if we summon the requisite political will. We can reduce our spending and taxes, reform entitlements, quit throwing money away on failed projects, and quit stirring up Americans against one another and inciting growth-paralyzing envy and resentment among groups of Americans. We do not have to resign ourselves to the fatalistic determinism Obama liberals are foisting on us simply because they refuse to accept responsibility for their policies and to join with us in reversing them.

Instructively, this isn't the first time in my adult life that I've witnessed this attitude of resignation to a crippling, permanent malaise allegedly beyond our control. During the Carter years, liberals were in unison in declaring America over instead of acknowledging that Jimmy Carter was a miserably failed president.

Once again, many liberals are in denial over their policy failures because they simply can't digest the possibility that liberalism doesn't work. Others do realize it at least a little bit but don't care very much, as long as they can continue to increase government control, redistribute income and otherwise advance their statist agenda. Some are impervious to the reality that capitalism facilitates prosperity; others understand it but happily oppose it anyway because they prefer the spreading of misery to great disparities in income, which their own policies, ironically, exacerbate.

Ronald Reagan refused to accept liberalism's fatalism and its death sentence on America and brought this country roaring back in remarkably short order. With the proper leadership from those who believe in America, we can do it again. We must do it again!

3-21-14
 
Young people don't change -- neither does the N.Y. Times

By Ann Coulter

  
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Let me begin by saying that I think the only issue in the 2014 election should be Obamacare. In fact, that should be the only issue in every election until it's repealed.

I also think all Republican candidates should be trained with shock collars and cattle prods to automatically respond, upon hearing some combination of the words "abortion," "rape" and "incest": "Yes, of course there should be exceptions in the case of rape or incest, and I also support giving rapists the death penalty, unlike my Democratic opponent, who wants to give rapists the right to vote. Now, back to what I was saying about Obamacare ..."

Yet and still, I'm not sure it's news that The New York Times ran into some kids at CPAC who are "pro-free market on fiscal issues and libertarian on social ones." ("Young Republicans Find Fault With Elders on List of Social Issues," March 10.)

First of all, young people are idiots. I love them, I was one once myself -– but they're idiots. We'll be interested in their opinions on the basic rules of civilization as soon as they have one of three things: a household to run, a mortgage or school-aged children. Being in college is like living in Disneyland.

Second, I've been reading that same column in The New York Times every few months for the last 20 years. Whether it's abortion, gays, God or drugs, Times reporters are like bloodhounds in sniffing out Republicans -- often kids -- who are "pro-free market on fiscal issues and libertarian on social ones." If something has been trending for decades without ever really catching on, it's probably not about to sweep the nation.

In 1988, the Times claimed Congress had "lost its taste for the social agenda" and quoted Sen. Warren Rudman of New Hampshire -- one of the GOP's last liberals and, consequently, the Times' lodestar for all things Republican -– saying that people like himself "felt deeply" that the social issues should be dumped.

In 1989, the Times was all atwitter about three typical Republicans who opposed the GOP's pro-life position. These "stalwart Republicans" were: Barbara Gimbel of Manhattan (Gimbels department store heiress), Barbara Mosbacher of Manhattan (banking heiress) and Pauline Harrison of Manhattan (DuPont heiress). All vowed not to support any pro-life candidates -- except Harrison, "because she had recently been appointed to the Republican State Committee representing the 66th Assembly District on Manhattan's East Side."

There's a reason you never hear the expression, "As goes Manhattan's Upper East Side, so goes the nation."

In 1990, the Times heralded the formation of a pro-choice Republican group, consisting primarily of Ann Stone and her husband, Roger.

In 1992, the Times missed the masses of socially conservative delegates at the Republican National Convention, but somehow bumped into several people who wanted to drop the family and God references.

In 1996 -- nearly 20 years ago! -- guess what the Times said young voters cared about? Young people were: "Conservative on economic issues and liberal-leaning on social issues like health care and abortion." It's almost as if today's generation of whippersnappers is exactly like their middle-aged counterparts 20 years ago!


In 1999, the Times reported that Republicans were "repositioning" themselves on the abortion issue, based on their recognition that "a more tolerant position" would help the GOP win the White House. The following year, pro-life Republican George W. Bush won the presidency.

In 2003, the Times again noticed that the Republican Party was considering "moving to the center on social issues in order to become even more competitive in state and national races." Former representative Joe Scarborough told the Times, "I think the country right now continues to get more conservative on economic issues and more progressive on social issues."

The year on the calendar changes, but the cliches stay the same.

In 2006, the Times triumphantly reported that former representative Dick Armey had denounced James Dobson and Focus on the Family as a "gang of thugs," and "real nasty bullies." Armey complained that while Republicans were talking about "gay marriage and so forth," Democrats were "talking about the things people care about, like how do I pay my bills?" (Of course, as soon as Democrats get elected, then all they talk about is transgender rights for kindergartners.)

In 2008, the Times found some "families that have been Republican for generations" carping about the "newcomers' agenda of opposition to abortion, gay rights and liberalized immigration policies."

In 2009, the Times reported that Republicans were "rethinking" their position on gay marriage because -- guess who didn't care about it? That's right: Young people! In another article that year, the Times said: "Many Republicans have been arguing that the party's focus on social issues is a mistake."

In 2012, the Times produced this gripping headline: "Young in GOP Erase the Lines on Social Issues." Yes, apparently, people with no responsibilities, no families to provide for, no children to worry about, and who had recently experienced their first hangovers, didn't care about the social issues.

As with every generation, the kids always think they're saying something fresh and new. "Social issues are far down the priorities list," Matt Hoagland told the Times, "and I think that's the trend." (How far down the list compared to "global warming"?)

So I guess, in addition to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, we can add to the list of "Things Young People Didn't Invent" the bright new idea of being "pro-free market on fiscal issues and libertarian on social ones."

Interestingly, when the Times reports on actual election results, rather than the opinions of 20-year-olds, the paper admits that the social issues are a huge boon to Republicans.

In 2004, for example, when traditional marriage initiatives were on ballots in dozens of states, the Times admitted that the measures "acted like magnets for thousands of socially conservative voters in rural and suburban communities who might not otherwise have voted" and even "tipped the balance" in close races. ("Same-Sex Marriage Issue Key to Some GOP Races," Nov. 4, 2004.)

Luckily, like every generation before them, someday, young people will eventually grow up and discover that you can't have conservative economic policies without also having conservative social policies. Imagine their embarrassment when they realize that a free society is impossible without lots of stable, married, two-parent families raising their children in safe, drug-free neighborhoods.

How about not letting them vote until they're at least old enough not to be on their parents' health insurance?

3-20-14
 
Freedom for Me, but Not for Thee

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Initially, I was gratified to learn that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was unafraid to take on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) over the issue of domestic spying.

The CIA is limited by its charter to stealing secrets from foreigners outside the U.S. However, in a recent dust-up, Feinstein took to the Senate floor to accuse the CIA of spying on staff members of her committee while they were examining CIA documents in Virginia. This may be the first acknowledgment by any senior government official who walks the halls of the intelligence community that the CIA engages in domestic spying.

For five years, the Senate Intelligence Committee has been examining classified CIA materials involving CIA use of torture during the Bush administration. It is doing so because a now retired CIA official admitted destroying evidence of torture. We may never know what torture the CIA was authorized to engage in, but we can conclude that along with its counterpart in the House, the Senate Intelligence Committee has either looked the other way or expressly approved CIA behavior that well transcends its charter. This unlawful behavior includes not only torture, but also killing Americans via the use of drones, and small-scale unpublicized warfare.

So, you can imagine the glee this defender of personal freedom and the rule of law initially felt when I learned that the CIA's erstwhile champion had had what appeared to be a change of heart. Feinstein surely is the most effective defender of the intelligence community on Capitol Hill. Until last week, she publicly supported and shielded but never criticized the massive spying on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA's cousin. She must have supported the CIA's torture, killings and warfare — but something about the torture caused her to induce her committee to engage in a full-scale investigation of the Bush-era torture her committee must have approved.

I say "must have" because, in this weird post-9/11 world, Congress does not review the CIA's behavior or expand its powers; these two congressional committees do. Because Congress chartered the CIA, and because the CIA charter does not contemplate behavior beyond stealing foreign secrets, and because only Congress can change federal laws, any expansion of the CIA's duties not authorized by Congress is unconstitutional — and yet aside from the point I address here.

The point I address here is that Feinstein's outrage was directed at CIA domestic spying for the wrong reasons. She not only expressed no outrage over NSA spying, including upon her 37 million California constituents, but she approved it. The CIA behavior that she condemns is the unapproved or unreported torture and the domestic spying on a dozen persons in another branch of government. The NSA behavior that she approves is spying on all Americans all the time. All of this behavior goes to the heart of personal liberty in a free society.

At that heart is the principle of personal sovereignty — the idea that individuals are sovereign and the state is merely one instrument with which to protect that sovereignty.

Yet the government of which Feinstein approves has been assaulting personal sovereignty by destroying personal privacy. Privacy is not only a natural right — it exists by virtue of our humanity — but it has sound historical and textual roots. A natural right is an area or zone of personal behavior that may not be interfered with by the government, no matter whose good that interference might serve.

The historical roots of privacy are the now well-known numerous instances of colonial antipathy toward the British practice of general warrants. General warrants were issued by British judges to British agents in London in secret, and they permitted and authorized British agents in America to search wherever they wished for whatever they sought. Sound familiar? The textual roots of privacy have been identified by the Supreme Court in numerous places in the Constitution, not the least of which is the Fourth Amendment prohibition of searches and seizures without warrants that identify the target and that are based on the probable cause of criminal behavior of the target.


Feinstein's farrago against the CIA was forceful yet personal. She has defended certain forms of torture when employed by the CIA to obtain intelligence from the victims of the torture. Yet she has deplored certain forms of torture — without identifying them — because the CIA apparently did not seek the permission of the congressional committees in advance or misrepresented the nature and severity of the torture to the committees afterward.

Her committee was undertaking an investigation into this unreported or under-reported torture when it noticed that the CIA had hacked into its computers. That hacking, which the CIA has denied, caused her to rip into the CIA on the Senate floor.

Do you see where Feinstein and her colleagues have taken us? They have taken us to a secret government willing to crush natural rights to privacy and bodily integrity — but only if Feinstein and her dozen or so congressional colleagues approve.

Is she seeking to expose torture because it is immoral, unlawful, unconstitutional and un-American or because she had not approved of it? Is she angry because the CIA illegally spied in the U.S. or because the CIA illegally spied in the U.S. on her staff? Who can be intellectually honest about anger over spying on a handful of colleagues and indifferent to or even supportive of spying on hundreds of millions of Americans?

You get the picture. She has no problem with experiments with our liberties, unless she and her staff are the victims.

If the government truly derives its powers from the consent of the governed, it must recognize that in areas of natural rights — speech, press, worship, self-defense, travel, bodily integrity, privacy, etc. — no one, not even a well-intended majority, can consent to their surrender for us. James Madison knew this when he argued that experiments with our liberties would be the beginning of the end of personal freedom.

We are now well beyond that beginning.
 

3-19-14

Jim Mullen
(freedomforusnow) Tweets

Obama's hubristic natural temperament & his background of male bonding with communists & Islamists are explosive mixtures. Anarchy awaits.

Obama is President because of his race & by the grace of mega-rich donors. Yet, his presidency has been predicated on racism & class warfare.

Obama has always been intent on breaking the American spirit, subverting the Constitution, governing by dictate, and weakening the US.

Republicans long ago lost their penchant for political battle. They strive to get along then cower in fear & retreat in panic from Democrats.

Democrats always set the bar & establish parameters for what will be acceptable in American politics & all manner of political correctness.

Leading the free world wasn’t even an afterthought to the ill-informed, misinformed, & government indoctrinated electorate who voted Obama.

Barack Hussein Obama’s miraculous ascension to the presidency of the US was the greatest marketing ploy ever conceived & executed.

To all of those Marxist Americans who voted for Obama, remember, this busted nation is for you. It looks good on you & YOU deserve it; enjoy.

Obamacare strips the dignity, freedom, income, wealth, & indeed, the health of Americans. Between Obama & Obamacare the US may be doomed.

Obama was marketed by the media, Hollywood, & the intelligentsia as America's & the world's savior. He's the worst thing ever for liberty.

Obamacare was never about healthcare or insurance reform. It was always about redistribution of income, wealth, & power. Pure Marxism!

Anyone who believes the Democrats will accept ownership of Obamacare has no clue as to the duplicity of the New Democratic Party. Obama who?

When Obama reads from his TelePrompter he reads the lies of his writers, which are the truthful examples from the darkness of his heart.

Cream rises to the top as does pond scum. Witness Barack Obama for a clear & distinctive example of the second. Political scum from Chicago.

Barack Obama had a chance to be a great President. Rather, he chose to be duplicitous, without character, a leftist ideologue, & anti-American.

If we ever yearn once more for liberty, we must look to the Constitution not government. Our Founders warned that government takes liberty.


3-18-14
 
A Rivalry of Government Hackers

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

   
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The government is caught up in another scandal in which federal agents have been accused of hacking into one another's computers.

When the CIA was established in 1947, Congress and President Truman were concerned that it might not confine itself to spying. Its sole statutory purpose was to steal secrets from foreign governments so that the U.S. would know what they were planning and could prepare for any behavior adverse to American government interests. By its nature, it was operating in secret, and because it lacked transparency, it lacked accountability. One of the statutory mechanisms to achieve accountability was to require the CIA to report to two committees of Congress, but in secret.

Over the years, as sometimes happens between regulators (the congressional committees) and the entity to be regulated (the CIA), they developed a chummy relationship. In this case, the relationship has been so chummy that at the behest of Presidents Bush and Obama the CIA has gone to the Senate and House Intelligence committees, instead of going to the full Congress, for permission to torture prisoners, kill Americans with drones and fight small-scale wars — all well beyond the statutory mission of stealing secrets.

The members of these committees are senators and representatives who apparently approve of the CIA's expanded role. Because the committees meet in secret, we don't know what the CIA requested, whether any members objected to any requests, whether the committees denied any requests or even precisely what was approved. The members of Congress who are on these committees have sworn oaths of secrecy.

These are the same committees that have given permission to the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on all Americans all the time, so we are probably justified in concluding that the committees and the intelligence agencies they supposedly regulate are more attuned to governmental power than to personal liberty.

The power of these committees effectively has established them as mini-Congresses that are unrecognized by the Constitution and are well outside its confines. The Constitution provides that "all legislative powers" are granted to Congress, not to a select few in Congress, but to Congress as a whole. This is a serious constitutional issue because Congress is mostly transparent and its members are directly answerable to the voters, yet the secrecy of these committees prevents their members from discussing what they know with other members of Congress, unless done openly on the floor of the House or Senate, which they rarely do. The mania for secrecy and the natural inclination of unaccountable governmental entities to grow rather than stabilize or shrink have resulted in the present state of affairs.

The present state of affairs has 95 percent of Congress in the dark about what the CIA is doing and the CIA getting its authority to exceed its statutory limitations from the other 5 percent. But a dispute has arisen between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee over the nature and extent of the CIA detentions and use of torture during the Bush years. In February 2009, the Senate Intelligence Committee decided to investigate the CIA.

After CIA stonewalling and after learning that a senior CIA official destroyed much evidence of torture, the Senate Intelligence Committee insisted on examining the CIA's secret files to learn what it did to those prisoners in its custody and what evidence was destroyed. Torturing prisoners and destroying government records are federal crimes. In order to facilitate the Senate investigation, the CIA was instructed to make its records digitally available to investigators, which it did at an unmarked subterranean facility in Virginia.

There, investigators have spent many months looking at CIA computer records of its Bush-era interrogation procedures. In the course of doing so, they learned that their computers in the CIA's secure facility — the ones they were using to examine CIA files in the subterranean room — were hacked. It appears to the Senate investigators that the hackers were CIA agents wanting to learn what the investigators found out about them. The CIA counters that the investigators actually hacked into CIA computers when they examined far more materials than the CIA had agreed to make available.

This is more than a schoolyard brawl. This is the unbridled and likely unlawful use of government computers and classified materials by CIA employees trying to dampen the enthusiasm of their regulators, or by Senate investigators accessing classified materials to which they may not be entitled. Either way, this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of warrantless searches and seizures. Any other persons who did this would be indicted for hacking. Because all of this is so secret, we don't know whether the Department of Justice is looking into who broke what laws.

But we do know that like its cousin the NSA, the CIA often acts above the law. It does so knowing that indictments for torturing, destroying evidence or computer hacking are unlikely, as any trial would expose the depths of this skullduggery, the unconstitutional system of mini-Congresses and the secrets these employees are trying to keep from their employers — the American people.

In a democracy, the government must be accountable to the people it serves. Secrecy and accountability are enemies. The natural right to know what the government is doing means that secrecy must be minimized. A Congress that rubber-stamps what secret agents want it to do by a secret procedure is a dangerous mix that will impair personal liberty in a free society.

In our post 9/11 world, the government has gotten away with hiding its worst behavior behind a veil of secrecy, publicly justified by the fears of a loss of safety that it has instilled in the public. That is not condoned by the Constitution. Under the Constitution, a free people are always entitled to know what the government is doing, and we are entitled to a government that obeys the laws it enforces against the rest of us so we can replace the government when it fails to protect our freedoms.

3-17-14
 
New Assaults on American Law

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | n the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA's most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate. This behavior constitutes the government's assaults on the American legal system. Those assaults have been conducted thus far on two fronts, one of which is aimed at lawyers who represent foreign entities here in America, and the other is aimed at lawyers who represent criminal defendants against whom evidence has been obtained unlawfully and presented in court untruthfully.

Investigative reporters at The New York Times recently discovered that the NSA has been listening to the telephone conversations between lawyers at a highly regarded Chicago law firm and their clients in Indonesia. The firm, Mayer Brown, has remained publicly silent about the revelations, as has its client, the government of Indonesia. But it is well known that Mayer Brown represents the government of Indonesia concerning trade regulations that govern exports of cigarettes and shrimp to the U.S. The lawyers on the other side of the bargaining table from Mayer Brown work for the federal government, which also employs, of course, the NSA.

Can the NSA lawfully tell lawyers for the government who are negotiating with Mayer Brown lawyers what it overheard between the Mayer Brown lawyers and their client? The answer, incredibly, is: Yes. Federal rules prohibit the NSA from sharing knowledge with lawyers for the federal government only about persons who have been indicted. In this case, Mayer Brown is attempting to negotiate favorable trade relations between Indonesia and the U.S., and the lawyers for the U.S. have the unfair advantage of knowing in advance the needs, negotiating positions and strategy of their adversaries. In the Obama years, this is how the feds work: secretly, unfairly and in utter derogation of the attorney-client privilege.

For 100 years, that privilege — the right of lawyers and their clients to speak freely and without the knowledge of the government or their adversaries — has been respected in the U.S., until now. Now, we have a lawyer who, as president, uses the NSA to give him advance warning of what his office visitors are about to ask him. And now we have lawyers for the federal government who work for the president and can know of their adversaries' most intimate client communications.

This is profoundly unfair, as it gives one side a microscope on the plans of the other. It is unwise, too, as clients will be reluctant to open up to counsel when they know that the NSA could spill the beans to the other side. In the adversarial context, for the system to work fairly and effectively, it is vital that clients be free to speak with their lawyers without the slightest fear of government intrusion, particularly when the government is on the other side of the deal or the case.

If you have spoken to a lawyer recently and if that lawyer is dealing with the federal government on your behalf, you can thank the constitutional scholar in the Oval Office for destroying the formerly privileged nature of your conversations.

But that is not the only legal protection that President Obama has destroyed. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case in which journalists in the pre-Snowden era challenged the government's spying on them. The government won the case largely because it persuaded the court that the journalists did not have standing to bring the lawsuit because, the court ruled, their fears of being spied upon were only hypothetical: They suspected that their communications with their sources were being monitored, but they couldn't prove it. In this post-Snowden era, we now know that the journalists in that case were being spied upon.

Nevertheless, during the oral argument in that case, government lawyers told the high court that should government prosecutors acquire from the NSA evidence of criminal behavior against anyone whom they eventually would prosecute and should they wish to use that evidence in the prosecution, the Justice Department would inform defense counsel of the true source of the evidence so that the defendant would have the ability to challenge the evidence.

Yet, last week, in a case in federal court in Oregon, the same Justice Department that told the highest court in the land last year that it would dutifully and truthfully reveal its sources of evidence — as case law requires and even when the source is an NSA wiretap — told a federal district court judge that it had no need or intention of doing so. If this practice of using NSA wiretaps as the original source of evidence in criminal cases and keeping that information from the defendants against whom it is used is permitted, we will have yet another loss of liberty.

Federal law requires that criminal prosecutions be commenced after articulable suspicion about the crime and the defendant. Prosecutions cannot be commenced by roving through intelligence data obtained through extra-constitutional means. That is the moral equivalent of throwing a dart at a dart board that contains the names of potential defendants and prosecuting the person whose name the dart hits.

For the past 75 years, federal prosecutors have not been permitted to use unlawfully obtained evidence in criminal cases, and they have been required to state truthfully the sources of their evidence so that its lawfulness can be tested. This rule generally has served to keep law enforcement from breaking the laws it has sworn to uphold by denying to its agents the fruits of their own unlawful activity.

Liberty is rarely lost overnight. It is lost slowly and in the name of safety. In the name of keeping us safe, the feds have spied on the lawyers who negotiate with them, lied to the lawyers whose clients they are prosecuting and misrepresented their behavior to the Supreme Court. As far as the public record reveals, they have not corrected that misrepresentation. They have done all of this in utter defiance of well-settled law and procedures and constitutional safeguards.

What will they do next?

3-16-14
 
An Unconscionable Silence

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The political philosopher Edmund Burke once remarked that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good folks to do nothing. A glaring example of the impending triumph of a constitutional evil that could be stopped by folks who have been largely silent is the tyranny coming from the White House. And the folks who can stop this and are doing nothing about it are our elected representatives in Congress.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It established the three branches of government, and it delegated "all legislative powers" to Congress. American law rarely uses the word "all." Yet the Framers chose that word precisely to confine law writing to Congress and to prevent a president from altering federal law by the selective manner of his enforcement of it and thereby effectively rewriting it.

The same Framers sought to guard against the same evils by compelling the president to swear at the commencement of his terms in office that he will "faithfully" enforce the laws. The use of the word "faithfully," like the use of the word "all," is intended to assure voters that they can count on a president who will do the job they hired him to do by enforcing federal laws, not evading them, and by enforcing them as Congress has written them, not as the president might wish them to be.

To be fair, many presidents, from the sainted Thomas Jefferson to the tyrannical FDR, put their own spin on federal law. Jefferson pardoned all those convicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts because he hated a statute that punished free speech and he boasted that he would not enforce that part of the acts (they expired under his watch). And FDR when barely two weeks in office issued an executive order criminalizing the possession of gold because he foolishly thought it would stabilize the banks, until an adviser reminded him that only Congress can write criminal laws (which he then persuaded Congress to do). Yet in President Obama we have a president whose personal interferences in the enforcement of federal laws reveal his view that he can rewrite them and even nullify them.

Presidential law writing violates the presidential oath of office, steals power from Congress, disrespects an equal branch of the government and, when unchecked, accumulates such power in the executive branch that it effectively transforms the president into a menacing tyrant who rejects his constitutional obligations and limitations.

Obama bombed Libya without a declaration of war from Congress. This arguably brought down the Gadhafi government, which led to the current state of lawlessness there, which produced the environment in which our ambassador was murdered in Benghazi in 2012 and established a dangerous precedent because Congress remained officially silent.

He has told the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here and subject to deportation that if they comply with a new set of rules they will not be deported. The constitutional problem is that the president wrote those rules. Only Congress can craft such rules, and by the president's doing so, he has schooled immigrants in how to avoid compliance with federal law.

The president has used drones to kill Americans, but claims he has done so lawfully because he complied with secret rules that he crafted. Under the Constitution, if the president wants someone dead, he must afford the person due process or ask Congress to declare war on the country housing the person. No worries, he says — he has followed the secret rules that he wrote to govern himself when deciding whom to kill.

The president's agents now acknowledge that they spy on all of us all the time, including members of the judiciary and Congress. This, too, was done pursuant to a secret presidential directive, secretly approved by judges acting as clerks and not under the Constitution, and by a dozen members of Congress sworn to secrecy. No law authorized this, and the president won't discuss it meaningfully, except to condemn its revelation.

And in a series of salvos that hit home, the president has modified the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) 29 times, by changing its various dates of effectiveness for some but not for others, by changing the meanings of terms for some but not for others, and even by diluting the signature obligation we all have to obtain the platinum insurance policies it commands for some and not for others. He has done all of this on his own, with no input from Congress. He has even threatened to veto any congressional effort to enact into law the very changes he alone has made.

His latest assault on the Constitution consists of a plan by the Department of Homeland Security, revealed earlier this week, effectively to follow us as we drive on public roads by photographing the license plate of all motor vehicles. This, too, was formulated without congressional approval or constitutional authority.

And while all of this is going on, Congress largely sits as a potted plant. In the Senate, Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have complained long and loud, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not permit legislation to address presidential lawlessness to reach the Senate floor. A few dozen Republicans in the House have complained, but Speaker John Boehner will not permit the House to address corrective legislation. Institutionally and officially, Congress is sleeping.

Can you imagine how a Democratic Congress would have reacted if Ronald Reagan had instructed the IRS to cease collecting capital gains taxes so as to spur economic activity; or how a Republican Congress would have reacted if Bill Clinton had instructed the IRS to add a 1-percent rate increase to the tax bills of billionaires so as to close a budget gap?

These are dangerous times because this is a lawless presidency and a pliant Congress. The president's willingness to violate the Constitution publicly calls into question his fitness for office. And that deafening silence from Capitol Hill manifests a spineless refusal to preserve constitutional government.

The whole purpose of dividing and separating governmental powers is the preservation of personal liberty by preventing the accumulation of too much power in one branch or, heaven forbid, in one person. Whoever permits this to take place lacks fidelity to the Constitution, is unworthy of holding governmental power in a free society and should be removed from office.

3-15-14
 
Rand Paul Gets It

By Michael Reagan

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I disagree with some of Rand Paul's more libertarian positions, especially on social issues. And I'm certainly not endorsing him or anyone else to be the Republican nominee for president at this time. But Sen. Paul of Kentucky did two things recently that won my favor.

He showed the 2,500 conservative activists at the CPAC conference last weekend that he understands what the GOP must do if it wants to take the Senate this fall and win back the White House.

And then on Monday he wrote a good column for Breitbart.com calling for his fellow Republican presidential wannabes to, as the headline said, "Stop warping Ronald Reagan's foreign policy."

CPAC, as all conservatives and political junkies know, is the annual bathing beauty competition for every Republican who's ever had a daydream about running for president.

Sen. Paul's brand of libertarian-leaning conservatism has shifted the GOP's center of gravity his way and everyone at CPAC knew it.

He was the landslide winner in the straw poll, taking 31 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz stumbled in second with 11 percent and neurosurgeon Ben Carson had 9 percent. The media's favorite conservative, Chris Christie, managed 8 percent.

At CPAC Sen. Paul had a personal victory, but he also did the right thing for the GOP. He went out of his way to give his full support to fellow Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, who's up for reelection.

It wasn't because Sen. Paul is moving to the McConnell center of the GOP, it was because he wants his party to win the U.S. Senate in the fall.

A Republican Senate is Prize Number One. Making friends and cementing cracks in the party is what's most important right now and Sen. Paul understands that side of the equation.

In his Breitbart column he did two good things. He reminded his more bellicose fellow presidential competitors that their hero Ronald Reagan was a peacemaker and a negotiator, not a war-maker.

Saying he admired Ronald Reagan because he "was not rash or reckless with regard to war," Sen. Paul pointed out that my father, who believed in "Peace Through Strength," was attacked harshly by the hawks in the Republican Party.

He was called an appeaser for meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland and for pulling American forces out of Lebanon after 241 Marines died in the suicide bombing there in 1983.

In his column Sen. Paul also told conservative Republicans something else they need to remember — something I've spent half my life preaching and he has been practicing.

Sen. Paul wrote that he doesn't claim to be the next Ronald Reagan and will not engage in disparaging his fellow Republicans for "not being sufficiently Reaganesque."

But, he said, no doubt thinking of Sen. Ted Cruz, "I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory."

Splintering itself is something the GOP has become really good at doing.

The 2012 presidential primary was a cluster suicide mission for conservative Republicans, which is why Moderate Mitt was the last candidate standing.

Then, because 25 percent of evangelicals stayed home in November rather than vote for Romney, we ended up with "The Obama Horror, Part 2."

Liberals speak with one voice. Conservatives are a squabbling family of factions -- social conservatives, economic conservatives and libertarian conservatives.

But if conservatives of all stripes want the GOP to win in 2016 they have to come together and pick their best candidate early, then let the party moderates fight among themselves and split their votes.

That's what happened in 1980. My father was the only conservative in the primary and he got to watch as the George H.W. Bush moderates and Rockefeller Republicans beat each other up and split their votes.

That's the way it should work in 2016 — after the GOP takes the Senate.
 

3-14-14
 
Eat Your Own Words, Debbie Wasserman Schultz

By Michelle Malkin


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At the end of 2013, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had some nasty words for yours truly. Irked that I used my Twitter feed to criticize her Obamacare propaganda efforts, Wasserman Schultz snarked back at me:

"Thanks for spreading the word! You'll be eating them next year. #GetCovered."

Classy as always. And completely wrong-headed as usual. Less than three months into 2014, how's dutiful Debbie and her Dear Leader's pet government takeover program doing? The most recent retreat measures — call it the Obamacare Endangered 2014 Midterm Democrats' Rescue Plan — include:

—Allowing insurers for two extra years to continue selling plans that otherwise would have been banned by Obamacare. Last fall, Americans across the country and from all parts of the political spectrum raised an uproar in the wake of millions of Obamacare-induced cancellation notices on their individual market health plans. President Obama trotted out a "keep your plan" Band-Aid effective through this year. Now, the "transitional period" will extend through October 2016 and cover policyholders until the following September, after Obama is safely out of office.

—Extending the open enrollment period for 2015 from November 2014 to February 2015, a month longer than originally scheduled. (It will no doubt be extended again as the midterm elections get closer.)

—Relaxing eligibility requirements for insurers to qualify for financial help under a three-year program intended to cushion insurers' costs of complying with Obamacare mandates.

—Exempting labor unions, universities and other self-insured employers from paying a fee that creates the above-noted fund.

In addition, the White House last month allowed medium-sized employers an extra year to comply with the Obamacare mandate to offer insurance to all full-time workers and reduced the percentage of workers that large companies are required to cover. These latest regulatory walk-backs by administrative fiat all come on the heels of dozens of administrative delays and rollbacks.

While Democrats complain about Republican Obamacare repeal efforts, we may be nearing a special inflection point at which the White House will have reneged on more Obamacare regulations than it's actually enforcing!

Remember: In November 2010, the White House began issuing thousands of waivers to unions, cronies, businesses and organizations that offered affordable health insurance or prescription drug coverage with limited benefits outlawed by Obamacare. The federalized health care architects had sought to eliminate those low-cost plans under the guise of controlling insurer spending on executive salaries and marketing. Despite the waivers, the mandate has led to untold disruptions in the marketplace and has prompted businesses to cancel the beneficial plans altogether and/or slash wages and work hours.

In April 2011, Obama signed a bipartisan-backed law repealing his own onerous $22 billion Obamacare 1099 tax-compliance mandate that would have destroyed small businesses inundated with pointless paperwork.

Last March, with the support of several key Democrats, the Senate voted to repeal the Obamacare medical device tax. But the vote has not been enforced. Device makers have cut back on research and development. And according to the medical device manufacturers industry group AdvaMed, the punitive tax has forced companies to lay off or avoid hiring at least 33,000 workers over the past year.

In December and January, when Wasserman Schultz was busy acting like a 2-year-old in response to Obamacare critics, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was busy:

—Delaying premium payment deadlines.

—Delaying high-risk insurance pool cancellations.

—Delaying equal coverage mandates that force companies to drop health benefits rewards for top executives.

—Delaying onerous "meaningful use" mandates on health providers grappling with Obamacare's disastrous top-down electronic medical records rules.

While Wasserman Schultz defiantly claims all Democrats will proudly run on health care in 2014 and 2016, endangered Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina was caught on camera just last week literally running away from a journalist who dared to ask her about the 24 times she falsely promised that if you liked your plan, you could keep it under Obama.

It's not just Hagan; every vulnerable Senate Democrat who rammed Obamacare down America's throat is now running for the hills. When the White House now talks about the "Get Covered" campaign, it's not about ordinary Americans getting health care. It's about covering the backsides of the Obama water-carriers who may very well lose their jobs. They're not just eating their words. They're choking on Obamacare's massive, inevitable, job-killing, life-threatening failures.

I'd like to tell bratty Wasserman Schultz that Obamacare critics will have the last laugh. But we're too busy weeping at the senseless government-induced wreckage around us.

3-13-14
 
Governed by Rules, Not Men

By Walter Williams


JewishWorldReview.com | What kind of rules should govern our lives? I'd argue that the best rules are those that we'd be satisfied with if our very worst enemy were in charge of decision-making. The foundation for such rules was laid out by my mother. Let's look at it.

My mother worked as a domestic servant. That meant that my younger sister and I often lunched at home by ourselves during our preteen years. Being bigger and stronger than my sister, I seldom divided the food evenly, especially the desserts. After a tiring day at work, Mom would be greeted by sob stories from my sister about my lunchtime injustices. Mom finally became fed up with the sibling hassles. She didn't admonish me to be more caring, fair, sensitive and considerate. She just made a rule: Whoever cuts the cake (pie, bread, meat, etc.) allows the other the first selection. With that new rule in place, you can bet that when either my sister or I divided food, it was divided equally.

You say, "That's a nice story, Williams, but what's the point?" The point is that the principle underlying Mom's rule is precisely the kind that is necessary for rules to promote fairness. In general, the rules that we should want are those that promote fairness, whether it's our best friend or it's our worst enemy who's the decision-maker. In the case of Mom's rule, it didn't make any difference whether I hated my sister's guts that day or she hated mine or whether my sister was doing the cutting or I was; there was a just division of the food.

Think for a moment about rules in sports, say basketball. One team loses, and the other wins, but they and their fans leave the stadium peacefully and most often as friends. Why? The game's outcome is seen as fair because there are fixed, known, neutral rules evenly applied by the referees. The referees' job is to apply the rules — not determine the game's outcome. Imagine the chaos and animosity among players and fans if one team paid referees to help it win or the referees were trying to promote some kind of equality among teams.

Billions of dollars and billions of hours are spent campaigning for this or that candidate in our national elections. You can bet that people are not making those expenditures so that politicians will uphold and defend the Constitution; they're looking for favors. The Constitution's framers gave us reasonably fair and neutral rules of the game. If our government acted, as the framers intended, as a referee or night watchman, how much difference would it make to any of us who occupies the White House or Congress? It would make little difference, if any. It would be just like our basketball game example. Any government official who knew and enforced the rules would do. But increasingly, who's in office is making a difference, because government has abandoned its referee and night watchman function and gotten into the business of determining winners and losers. Unfortunately, for our nation, that's what most Americans want.

Thomas Paine said, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil." Our Bill of Rights is an explicit recognition of the Founding Fathers' distrust of Congress. Just look at its language, with phrases such as "Congress shall not abridge," "shall not infringe," "shall not deny," "disparage" and "violate." If the framers did not believe that Congress would abuse our G0D-given, or natural, rights, they would not have used such language. If, after we die, we see anything like the Bill of Rights at our next destination, we'll know that we're in hell. To demand such protections in heaven would be the same as saying we can't trust God.

3-12-14
 
Black People Duped

By Walter Williams


JewishWorldReview.com | People in the media and academia are mostly leftists hellbent on growing government and controlling our lives. Black people, their politicians and civil rights organizations have become unwitting accomplices. The leftist pretense of concern for the well-being of black people confers upon them an aura of moral superiority and, as such, gives more credibility to their calls for increasing government control over our lives.

Ordinary black people have been sold on the importance of electing blacks to high public office. After centuries of black people having been barred from high elected office, no decent American can have anything against their wider participation in our political system. For several decades, blacks have held significant political power, in the form of being mayors and dominant forces on city councils in major cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, Memphis, Tenn., Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Oakland, Calif., Newark, N.J., and Cincinnati. In these cities, blacks have held administrative offices such as school superintendent, school principal and chief of police. Plus, there's the precedent-setting fact of there being 44 black members of Congress and a black president.

What has this political power meant for the significant socio-economic problems faced by a large segment of the black community? Clearly, it has done little or nothing for academic achievement; the number of black students scoring proficient is far below the national average. It is a disgrace — and ought to be a source of shame — to know that the average white seventh- or eighth-grader can run circles around the average black 12th-grader in most academic subjects. The political and education establishment tells us that the solution lies in higher budgets, but the fact of business is that some of the worst public school districts have the highest spending per student. Washington, D.C., for example, spends more than $29,000 per student and scores at nearly the bottom in academic achievement.

Each year, roughly 7,000 — and as high as 9,000 — blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Contrast this with the fact that black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and wars since 1980 (about 8,200) total about 18,500. Young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities. Black political power and massive city budgets have done absolutely nothing to ameliorate this problem of black insecurity.

Most of the problems faced by the black community have their roots in a black culture that differs significantly from the black culture of yesteryear. Today only 35 percent of black children are raised in two-parent households, but as far back as 1880, in Philadelphia, 75 percent of black children were raised in two-parent households — and it was as high as 85 percent in other places. Even during slavery, in which marriage was forbidden, most black children were raised with two biological parents. The black family managed to survive several centuries of slavery and generations of the harshest racism and Jim Crow, to ultimately become destroyed by the welfare state. The black family has fallen victim to the vision fostered by some intellectuals that, in the words of a sociology professor in the 1960s, "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 real issue to these intellectuals "is not the lack of male presence but the lack of male income." That suggests that fathers can be replaced by a welfare check. The weakened black family gives rise to problems such has high crime, predation and other forms of anti-social behavior.

The cultural problems that affect many black people are challenging and not pleasant to talk about, but incorrectly attributing those problems to racism and racial discrimination, a need for more political power, and a need for greater public spending condemns millions of blacks to the degradation and despair of the welfare state.

3-11-14
 
Solutions to Black Education

By Walter Williams

JewishWorldReview.com | A fortnight ago, my column focused on how Philadelphia's schoolteachers have joined public-school teachers in cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Columbus, New York and Washington in changing student scores on academic achievement tests. Teachers have held grade fixing parties, sometimes wearing rubber gloves to hide fingerprints. In some cases, poorly performing students were excused from taking exams to prevent them from dragging down averages. As a result of investigations, a number of schoolteachers and administrators have been suspended, fired or indicted by states attorneys general.

Most of these cheating scandals have occurred in predominantly black schools across the nation. At one level, it's easy to understand — but by no means condone — the motivation teachers have to cheat. Teachers have families to raise, mortgages, car payments and other financial obligations. Their pay, retention and promotions depend on how well their students perform on standardized tests.

Very often, teachers must deal with an impossible classroom atmosphere in which many, if not most, of the students are disorderly, disobedient and alien and hostile to the education process. Many students pose a significant safety threat. The latest statistics available, published by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, in a report titled "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012," tell us that nationwide between 2007 and 2008, about 145,100 public-school teachers were physically attacked by students, and another 276,700 were threatened with injury.

Should any of this criminal behavior be tolerated? Should unruly students be able to halt the education process? And, a question particularly for black people: Are we in such good educational shape that we can afford to allow some students to make education impossible? A report supported in part by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, titled "Reducing Suspension among Academically Disengaged Black Males" (http://tinyurl.com/my95jh3), suggests a tolerance for disruptive students.

There are some members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP and the National Urban League who attended school during the years I attended (1942-54). During those days, no youngster would have even cursed a teacher, much less assaulted one. One has to wonder why black leaders accept behavior that never would have been tolerated by their parents and teachers. Back then, to use foul language or assault a teacher or any other adult would have resulted in some form of corporal punishment in school or at home or both. Today such discipline would have a teacher or parent jailed. That, in turn, means there is little or no meaningful sanction against unruly or criminal behavior.

No one argues that yesteryear's students were angels. In Philadelphia, where I grew up, students who posed severe disciplinary problems were removed. Daniel Boone School was for unruly boys, and Carmen was for girls. Some people might respond: But what are we going to do with the students kicked out? Whether or not there are resources to help them is not the issue. The critical issue is whether they should be permitted to make education impossible for students who are capable of learning. It's a policy question similar to: What do you do when you have both drunken drivers and sober drivers on the road? The first order of business is to get the drunken drivers off the road. Whether there are resources available to help the drunks is, at best, a secondary issue.

There is little that the political and education establishment will do about the grossly fraudulent education received by many black youngsters, and more money is not the answer. For example, according to findings by Cato Institute's Andrew J. Coulson, Washington, D.C., spends $29,409 per pupil (http://tinyurl.com/mpc82dq). In terms of academic achievement, its students are nearly the nation's worst. The average tuition for a K-12 Catholic school is $9,000, and for a nonsectarian private K-12 school, it is $16,000. A voucher system would empower black parents to remove their children from high-cost and low-quality public schools and enroll them in lower-cost and higher-quality nonpublic schools.

3-10-14
 
Concealing Evil

By Walter Williams


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Evil acts are given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions, such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution, caring for the less fortunate, and the will of the majority. Let's have a thought experiment to consider just how much Americans sanction evil.

Imagine there are several elderly widows in your neighborhood. They have neither the strength to mow their lawns, clean their windows and perform other household tasks nor the financial means to hire someone to help them. Here's a question that I'm almost afraid to ask: Would you support a government mandate that forces you or one of your neighbors to mow these elderly widows' lawns, clean their windows and perform other household tasks? Moreover, if the person so ordered failed to obey the government mandate, would you approve of some sort of sanction, such as fines, property confiscation or imprisonment? I'm hoping, and I believe, that most of my fellow Americans would condemn such a mandate. They'd agree that it would be a form of slavery — namely, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.

Would there be the same condemnation if, instead of forcing you or your neighbor to actually perform weekly household tasks for the elderly widows, the government forced you or your neighbor to give one of the widows $50 of your weekly earnings? That way, she could hire someone to mow her lawn or clean her windows. Would such a mandate differ from one under which you are forced to actually perform the household task? I'd answer that there is little difference between the two mandates except the mechanism for the servitude. In either case, one person is being forcibly used to serve the purposes of another.

I'm guessing that most Americans would want to help these elderly ladies in need but they'd find anything that openly smacks of servitude or slavery deeply offensive. They might have a clearer conscience if all the neighbors were forced (taxed) to put money into a government pot. A government agency would then send the widows $50 to hire someone to mow their lawns and perform other household tasks. This collective mechanism makes the particular victim invisible, but it doesn't change the fact that a person is being forcibly used to serve the purposes of others. Putting the money into a government pot simply conceals an act that would otherwise be deemed morally depraved.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, confiscation and intimidation, to accomplish what are often seen as noble goals — namely, helping one's fellow man. Helping one's fellow man in need by reaching into one's own pockets to do so is laudable and praiseworthy. Helping one's fellow man through coercion and reaching into another's pockets is evil and worthy of condemnation. Tragically, most teachings, from the church on down, support government use of one person to serve the purposes of another; the advocates cringe from calling it such and prefer to call it charity or duty.

Some might argue that we are a democracy, in which the majority rules. But does a majority consensus make moral acts that would otherwise be deemed immoral? In other words, if the neighbors got a majority vote to force one of their number — under pain of punishment — to perform household tasks for the elderly widows, would that make it moral?

The bottom line is that we've betrayed much of the moral vision of our Founding Fathers. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who had fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison rose on the floor of the House of Representatives to object, saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." Tragically, today's Americans — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — would hold such a position in contempt and run a politician like Madison out of town on a rail.

3-9-14
 
Raise the minimum wage to $14 an hour using this one weird trick!

By Ann Coulter

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Democrats believe they've hit on the perfect issue to distract from the horror of Obamacare in the 2014 elections: the minimum wage.

Apparently, increasing the minimum wage was not important for American workers during the first five years of Obama's presidency -- least of all his first two years, when Democrats controlled Congress and could have passed anything. (And did!)

No. The minimum wage did not become a pressing concern until an election year in which the public's hatred of Obamacare is expected to be the central issue.

As The New York Times explained, Democrats see the minimum wage as an issue that "will place Republican candidates in a difficult position," and also as a tool "to enlarge the electorate in a nonpresidential election, when turnout among minorities and youths typically drops off."

(Unlike Republicans, Democrats consider it important to win elections.)

To most people, it seems as if the Democrats are giving workers something for nothing. But there are always tradeoffs. No serious economist denies that increasing the minimum wage will cost jobs. If it's not worth paying someone $10 an hour to do something, the job will be eliminated -- or it simply won't be created.

The minimum wage is the perfect Democratic issue. It will screw the very people it claims to help, while making Democrats look like saviors of the working class, either by getting them a higher wage or providing them with generous government benefits when they lose their jobs because of the mandatory wage hike.

Of course, the reason American workers’ wages are so low in the first place is because of the Democrats' policies on immigration. Republicans might want to point that out.

Since the late 1960s, the Democrats have been dumping about a million low-skilled immigrants on the country every year, driving down wages, especially at the lower end of the spectrum.

According to Harvard economist George Borjas, our immigration policies have reduced American wages by $402 billion a year -- while increasing profits for employers by $437 billion a year. (That's minus what they have to pay to the government in taxes to support their out-of-work former employees. Of course, we're all forced to share that tax burden.)

Or, as the White House puts it on its website promoting an increase in the minimum wage, "Today, the real value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly one-third since its peak in 1968."

Why were wages so high until 1968? Because that's when Teddy Kennedy's 1965 Immigration Act kicked in, bringing in about a million immigrants a year, almost 90 percent of them unskilled workers from the Third World.

Our immigration policies massively redistribute wealth from the poorest Americans to the richest. It's a basic law of economics that when the supply goes up, the price goes down. More workers means the price of their labor plummets.

Unfortunately, politicians spend a lot more time talking to rich employers than to working-class Americans. And the rich apparently have an insatiable appetite for cheap labor.

Having artificially created a glut of low-wage workers, now Democrats want to artificially raise their wages.

It's win-win-win-win-win for Democrats.

-- Employees who get a higher minimum wage are grateful to the Democrats.

-- Employees who lose their jobs because of the minimum wage hike are grateful to the Democrats for generous government handouts.

-- Poor immigrants who need government benefits are grateful to the Democrats.

-- American businesses enjoying the deluge of cheap labor are grateful to the Democrats.

-- Democratic politicians guaranteed re-election by virtue of ethnic bloc voting are grateful to the Democrats.

Do Republicans have any principles at all? Why isn't the GOP demanding an end to this dump of unskilled workers/Democratic voters on the country?

Democrats show how much they love the poor by importing a million more of them to America each year. But then they prevent the last batch of poor immigrants from getting decent, well-paying jobs by bringing in another million poor people the next year.

You want a higher minimum wage? Turn off the spigot of low-wage workers pouring in to the U.S. and it will rise on its own through the iron law of supply and demand.

In response to the Democrats' minimum wage proposal, Republicans should introduce a bill ending both legal and illegal immigration until the minimum wage rises naturally to $14 an hour.

Australia has a $15 minimum wage for adults -- more than twice the U.S. minimum wage. Meanwhile, their official unemployment rate is lower than ours: 6 percent compared to 6.6 percent in the U.S. -- and that's with a lousy $7.25 minimum wage.

Sound good? Try immigrating there. Australia has some of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world. Their approach to immigration is to admit only people who will be good for Australia. (Weird!) Applicants are evaluated on a point system that gives preference to youth, English proficiency, education and skill level.

Similarly, New Zealand will soon have an official minimum wage of $14.25 for adults. Even our Democrats aren't proposing that! New Zealand's minimum wage hit $10.10 -- the Democrats' current proposal for us -- back in 2006. Their unemployment rate is also 6 percent -- up from several years of 4 percent unemployment a few years ago.

Like Australia, New Zealand's immigration laws are based on helping New Zealand, not on helping other countries get rid of their poor people, which is our policy.

Instead of training the citizenry to look at the government as our paternal benefactor, distributing minimum wage laws and unemployment benefits in important election years, why don't Republicans put an end to the artificial glut of low-wage, low-skilled workers being imposed on the country by our immigration laws?

Republicans could guarantee a $14 minimum wage simply by closing the pipeline of more than 1 million poor immigrants coming in every year.

Businessmen will gripe, but maybe the GOP could explain to their Chamber of Commerce friends that they will help them by slashing oppressive regulations, reining in government bureaucracies, passing tort reform, etc. They'll also be able to cut taxes because the welfare state will shrink, a result of Americans going back to work.

But if the plutocrats insist on admitting another 30 million Democratic voters in order to get ever-cheaper labor, then, soon, Republicans won't be in a position to help them at all.


3-8-14
 
New Obama promise: If you like your life, you can keep it

By Ann Coulter

 
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Liberals are winning wild praise for their candor in admitting problems with Obamacare. It shows you the level of honesty people have come to expect of our liberal friends. Now, liberals are applauded for not lying through their teeth about something.

What are they supposed to say? This Obamacare website is fantastic! And really, haven't you already read all the magazines in your current doctor's office anyway?

The New York Times has described Obama's repeated claim that you could keep your insurance plan and keep your doctor under Obamacare as a mere slip of the tongue: "Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that."

Misspoke? How exactly does one misspeak, word for word, dozens of times, over and over again?

That wasn't misspeaking -- it was a deliberate, necessary lie. Even Democrats couldn't have voted for Obamacare if Americans had known the truth. It was absolutely vital for Obama to lie about people being able to keep their insurance and their doctors.

Of course, it was difficult for voters to know the truth because every time Republicans would try to tell them, the White House and the media would rush in and call the critics liars.

The White House posted a specific refutation of the "disinformation" about not being able to keep your doctor or insurance plan. That claim, the website said, was being disseminated by Republicans "to scare people."

Their proof consisted of a video of Obama clearly stating, "If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor."

A video of someone asserting the very fact in dispute does not rise to the level of "evidence," but it was more than enough for MSNBC.

Even when pretending to be critical of Obamacare, liberals lie about the real problems. They tell us they're worried about the percentage of young people signing up for Obamacare. The mix of young and old people in Obamacare is completely irrelevant. It won't help if a lot of young people sign up because their premiums are negligible.

To keep the system afloat, what Obamacare really needs is lots of healthy people, preferably healthy older people. Their premiums are astronomical -- and they won't need much medical treatment.

Premiums are set by your age, not your health. It doesn't matter if you never go to the doctor. Obamacare punishes you for having a healthy lifestyle. The Obamacare tax is a massively regressive poll tax on the middle-aged and the middle class.

Apart from those who are subsidized, everyone pays the exact same amount in penalties or insurance premiums for his age group. It doesn't matter if you don't make as much money as Bill Gates. Any 58-year-old male who doesn't qualify for a subsidy will pay the same Obamacare tax as Gates.

When Margaret Thatcher tried to impose the same tax per person, as a "community charge," there were riots in the street.

Our extremely progressive tax system, where nearly half the country pays no income tax at all, and the other half pays about 40 percent of their income, may not be fair. But most people also don't think it's fair to tax a guy making $80,000 a year the identical amount as one making $80 million a year. That's exactly what Obamacare does.

With Obamacare, the Democratic Party has foisted the most regressive tax possible on America. This ruthless assault on the middle class is all so we can have a health care system more like every other country has.

Until now, the United States has had the highest survival rates in the world for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Cancer comparisons are the most useful because all Western countries keep careful records for this disease.

For all types of cancers, European men have only a 47.3 percent five-year survival rate, compared to a 66.3 percent survival rate for American men.

European women have only a 55.8 percent chance of being alive five years after being diagnosed with any type of cancer, compared to 62.9 percent of American women.

American survival rates for breast, prostate, thyroid and skin cancer are higher than 90 percent. Europeans do not have a 90 percent survival rate for one of those cancers.

The European rates are even worse than they sound because many cancers are not discovered until the victim's death -- twice as many as in the U.S. All those cancers were excluded from the study.

Canadian cancer survival rates aren't much better than the European rates -- and they've been able to sneak into to the U.S. for treatment! Women in the U.S. have a 61 percent survival rate for all cancers, compared to a 58 percent survival rate in Canada. Men in the U.S. have a 57 percent survival rate compared to 53 percent in Canada.

That's why your insurance premiums have to go through the roof and your Obamacare tax is the same as Bill Gates'. So across the world, we'll all be equal, dying of cancer, heart disease and diabetes as often as everyone else.

It's not that Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism; it's that he wants to end it.
 

3-7-14
 
Misreading Putin, and history: Obama's thinking could be dangerous

By George Will

JewishWorldReview.com | One hundred years after a spark in Central Europe ignited a conflagration from which the world has not yet recovered and from which Europe will never recover, armed forces have crossed an international border in Central Europe, eliciting this analysis from Secretary of State John Kerry: “It’s a 19th-century act in the 21st century. It really puts at question Russia’s capacity to be within the G8.”

Although this “19th-century act” resembles many 20th century (and 16th, 17th and 18th century) acts, it is, the flabbergasted Kerry thinks, astonishing in the 21st century, which he evidently supposes to be entirely unlike any other. What is more disconcerting — that Kerry believes this? Or that his response to Putin’s aggression is to question Russia’s “capacity” — Kerry means fitness — for membership in the G8?

For many centuries, European peace has been regularly broken because national borders do not tidily coincide with ethnic, linguistic and religious patterns. This problem was intensified by World War I, which demolished the Habsburg, Romanov and Ottoman empires. Ukraine is a shard of the first two, and a neighbor of a remnant of the third.

The problems bequeathed by that war were aggravated by a peacemaker, one of Kerry’s precursors among American progressives eager to share with the world their expertise at imposing rationality on untidy societies. Unfortunately, Woodrow Wilson’s earnestness about improving the world was larger than his appreciation of how the world’s complexities can cause improvers to make matters worse.

Wilson injected into diplomatic discourse the idea that “self-determination” is a universal right and “an imperative principle of action.” Several of his Fourteen Points concerned self-determination. But of what “self” was he speaking? Sometimes he spoke of the self-determination of “nations,” at other times of “peoples,” as though these are synonyms. Wilson’s secretary of state, Robert Lansing, wondered “what unit has he in mind” and warned that “certain phrases” of Wilson’s “have not been thought out.” But they resonated. In the Atlantic Charter of 1941, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill affirmed the rights of “peoples.” The U.N. Charter endorses the self-determination of “peoples.” Which became a third ingredient, ethnic self-determination. Wilson had sown dragon’s teeth.

Lansing said the “undigested” word “self-determination” is “loaded with dynamite. ... It will, I fear, cost thousands of lives.” While Wilson was making phrases in 1918, a German corporal recovering from a gas attack was making plans. And on Sept. 27, 1938, the corporal, then Germany’s chancellor, said “the right of self-determination, which had been proclaimed by President Wilson as the most important basis of national life, was simply denied to the Sudeten Germans” and must be enforced. So Czechoslovakia was dismembered. Still, the war came.

Three months from the end of the war in Europe, the architects of the impending victory — Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin — met at a town on the Crimean peninsula where Putin is now tightening his grip. Conservatives who should know better have often said the Yalta Conference “gave” Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union. Actually, the Red Army was in the process of acquiring it. This process could no more have been resisted militarily by Stalin’s allies, which the United States and Britain then were, than Putin’s aggression can be.

“You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you,” supposedly said Lev Bronstein, as Leon Trotsky was known when he lived in the Bronx, before he made the Red Army, the parent of the forces Putin is wielding. Barack Obama, who involved the United States in seven months of war with Libya, perhaps because the project was untainted by U.S. national interest, is seeking diplomatic and especially economic leverage against Putin’s ramshackle nation in order to advance the enormous U.S. interest in depriving him of Ukraine.

Unless Obama finds such leverage, his precipitous slide into Jimmy Carter territory will continue. As an expression of disdain for a U.S. president, Putin’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula is symmetrical with Leonid Brezhnev’s invasion of Afghanistan late in Carter’s presidency. Large presidential failures cannot be hermetically sealed; they permeate a presidency. Putin’s contribution to the miniaturization of Obama comes in the context of Obama’s self-inflicted wound — Obamacare, which simultaneously shattered belief in his competence and honesty, and may linger as ruinously for Obama as the Iranian hostage crisis did for Carter.

This may be condign punishment for Obama’s foreign policy carelessness and for his wishful thinking about Putin as a “partner” and about a fiction (”the international community”) being consequential. It certainly is dangerous.

3-6-14
 
GOP displays smarter side

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | COLORADO SPRINGS

In today’s unforgiving politics, both parties often think: “If at first you don’t succeed, don’t darken our door again.” Ken Buck, however, had another idea.

In 2010, he peeved national Republican leaders by seeking the Colorado party’s Senate nomination against a candidate preferred by those leaders. He won the primary but maladroit campaigning erased his mid-October lead against Democrat Michael Bennet, who won the election — and now is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Last Wednesday, Buck complicated Bennet’s task of helping Democrats retain control of the Senate.

Until then, Buck had been seeking the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Mark Udall. Buck’s motto might have been, “If at first you don’t succeed, so what? Neither did Mickey Mantle.” (In 1951, the Yankees sent Mantle back to the minors.) Buck is a sizable fellow whose bulk and demeanor say “football,” but his persistence is not testimony to an inordinate love of, or skill at, the blocking and tackling of politics.

“Your parents,” he says, “warn you not to brag about yourself or beg, and what you do in politics is brag and beg.” You seek contributions to finance advertisements proclaiming your excellence. It speaks well of him that this does not come naturally. But speaking well, as that is understood in politics — circumlocutions serving tactical reticence — is not his forte.

Winston Churchill said Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was a bull who carried his own china shop around with him. Buck, a former Princeton football player, brings to politics an NFL linebacker’s negligible interest in subtlety, and a prosecutor’s — he is one — tenacity and pugnacity.

Before a 2010 campaign event, when questioned about Barack Obama’s citizenship, Buck, speaking near a tape recorder, laughingly said to someone, “Will you tell those dumbasses at the tea party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera?” When he was asked at a campaign stop last week about impeaching Obama, he explained earnestly that senators are the jurors in an impeachment trial and Democrats are a Senate majority. It was an answer technically correct but politically inept because it could elicit from hostile media a headline such as “Buck ponders Obama impeachment.” In 2010, Buck’s inability to deflect baiting questions with dusty answers led him, on national television, to disc

On Wednesday, the hidden — but inferable — hand of the national GOP shuffled Colorado’s political deck. Second-term Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, 39, who represents the sprawling district that includes the eastern half of the state and where Mitt Romney won 59 percent of the vote, will seek and probably win the Republican Senate nomination. Buck, who lives in the district, will seek and probably win the nomination for Gardner’s House seat.

This minuet demonstrates that the national GOP is becoming more energetic about influencing state parties’ candidate selections. In 2010 and 2012, weak candidates here and in Delaware, Missouri, Indiana and Nevada helped prevent Republicans from winning Senate control.

A recent Quinnipiac poll, which showed Udall only narrowly leading Buck (45 percent to 42 percent), recorded Obama’s approval in Colorado at 37 percent. Sixty percent of Coloradans oppose Obamacare. Gardner, who has a solid conservative voting record but does not have a serrated edge, is suited to purple Colorado.

In a forthcoming issue of the National Interest, Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington explains why Republicans rarely nominate the most conservative presidential candidate. Olsen says there are four kinds of Republican voters: moderates, somewhat conservatives, evangelicals and very conservative, secular voters. The somewhat conservatives are the largest cohort, about 35 percent to 40 percent of the national GOP. And, Olsen says, “they always back the winner”: Exit polls “from virtually any state caucus or primary since 1996” show “the winner received a plurality of or ran roughly even among the somewhat conservative voters.” They “are found in similar proportions in every state,” unlike evangelicals, who are found disproportionately in Southern and border states. In presidential years, moderates are the second-largest group, approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of all GOP voters — even including 31 percent to 39 percent in South Carolina since 1996.

More than 80 percent of Colorado voters, many of them independents, live on the Front Range, from Fort Collins to Denver to Pueblo. Last week, the national GOP may have found a template for making 2014 more rewarding and 2016, when its presidential nominee must win some blue and purple states, less daunting.
 

3-5-14
 
Why it is so sublime to be a liberal nowadays

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | The many jaundiced assessments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the fifth anniversary of its enactment were understandable, given that the sluggish recovery, now drowsing through the second half of its fifth year, is historically anemic. Still, bleak judgments about the stimulus spending miss the main point of it, which was to funnel a substantial share of its money to unionized, dues-paying, Democratic-voting government employees. Hence the stimulus succeeded. So there.

This illustrates why it is so sublime to be a liberal nowadays. Viewed through the proper prism, most liberal policies succeed because they can hardly fail. Each achieves one or both of two objectives — making liberals feel good about themselves and being good to liberal candidates.

Consider Barack Obama’s renewed anxiety about global warming, increasingly called “climate change” during the approximately 15 years warming has become annoyingly difficult to detect. Secretary of State John Kerry, our knight of the mournful countenance, was especially apocalyptic recently when warning that climate change is a “weapon of mass destruction.” Like Iraq’s?

Blogger Steven Hayward noted that Kerry, he of the multiple mansions and luxury yacht, issued this warning in Indonesia, where the average annual income ($3,420) suggests little latitude for people to reduce their carbon footprints. Never mind. Obama says “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”

When a politician says, concerning an issue involving science, that the debate is over, you may be sure the debate is rolling on and not going swimmingly for his side. Obama is, howeverhttp://, quite right that climate change is a fact. The climate is always changing: It is not what it was during the Medieval Warm Period (ninth to 13th centuries) or the Little Ice Age (about 1500-1850).

In Indonesia, Kerry embraced Obama’s “Shut up, he explained” approach to climate discussion: “The science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3-D movie.” Leaping scenes? The “absolutely certain” science is “something that we understand with absolute assurance of the veracity of that science.” And “kids at the earliest age can understand.” No wonder “97 percent” — who did the poll? — of climate scientists agree. When a Nazi publishing company produced “100 Authors Against Einstein,” the target of this argument-by-cumulation replied: “Were I wrong, one professor would have been quite enough.”

Climate alarmism validates the progressive impulse to micromanage others’ lives — their light bulbs, shower heads, toilets, appliances, automobiles, etc. Although this is a nuisance, it distracts liberals from more serious mischief. And conservatives incensed about Obama’s proposed $1 billion “climate resilience fund” — enough for nearly two Solyndra-scale crony-capitalism debacles — should welcome an Obama brainstorm that costs only a single billion.

Besides, the “resilience” fund will succeed. It will enhance liberals’ self-esteem — planet-saving heroism is not chopped liver — and will energize the climate-alarmist portion of the Democratic base for November’s elections.


Concerning that portion, there will now be a somewhat awkward pause in the chorus of liberal lamentations about there being “too much money” in politics because of wealthy conservatives. During this intermission, the chorus will segue into hosannas of praise for liberal billionaire Tom Steyer. The New York Times says he plans to solicit $50 million from similarly situated liberals, and to match this with $50 million of his own, and to spend the pile to “pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.” The Times says Steyer’s organization, NextGen Climate Action, is “among the largest outside groups in the country, similar in scale to the conservative political network overseen by Charles and David Koch.”

Conservatives should be serene about people exercising their constitutional right to spend their own money to disseminate political speech, including the speech of people who associate in corporate forms for political advocacy. The Supreme Court’s excellent 2010 Citizens United ruling, the mention of which sends liberals to their fainting couches, affirmed this right.

Still, there is a semantic puzzle: What are such “outside groups” outside of? Not the political process — unless the process is the private preserve of the political parties. Liberal campaign finance scolds seem to think so. Applying their mantra that “money is not speech,” they have written laws restricting contributions to parties, with the predicted effect of driving money into “outside groups.” This is redundant evidence of why the Law of Unintended Consequences might better be called the Law of Unending Liberal Regrets.
 

3-4-14

A New Assault on Freedom of the Press

Judge Andrew Napolitano |

Last week, a little noticed clash took place on Capitol Hill involving the fundamental values underlying the First Amendment. The issue was the lawfulness of publishing the secrets that were given to reporters by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. The disputants were Cong. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and FBI Director James Comey.

Rogers is the chief congressional apologist for the massive NSA spying apparatus. He is the current chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and in that capacity, he is one of the dozen members of Congress from both houses who were privy to much of the NSA spying before the Snowden revelations. In our perverse post-9/11 world, federal law actually permits this Gang of 12 to substitute for all 535 members of Congress with respect to knowledge of intelligence secrets.

Since 9/11, the Bush and Obama administrations have succeeded in claiming they have congressional consent for the massive NSA spying by merely getting a consensus from the Gang of 12. There is, of course, no provision in the Constitution for the substitution of all 535 members of Congress with a select group of 12 of them, but Congress and Presidents Bush and Obama have gone along with this. The kicker is that all members of the Gang of 12 have been sworn to secrecy and threatened with prosecution if they reveal to anyone, including other members of Congress, what the NSA and other intelligence agencies reveal to them. What kind of representative democracy is that?

Rogers is one of the chief architects and cheerleaders of this post-9/11 unconstitutional version of representative democracy. This is the same system that sends the NSA to judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for search warrants that purport to authorize the NSA to capture the content of every text message, email, telephone call, bank statement, credit card bill and utility bill of everyone in America. This apparatus, too, involves another Gang of 12: the 12 federal judges on the FISA court. They suffer from the same secrecy kicker as Rogers' gang does: They, too, are sworn to secrecy and have been implicitly threatened with prosecution if they violate their oaths.

These judges issue search warrants based on the NSA's unchallenged wishes, not based on the constitutional requirement of particularly identifying for the court the target of the search and then presenting evidence to the court that constitutes probable cause of criminal behavior on the part of the target. This, too, is unconstitutional, as it is the product of a congressional alteration of the Constitution. As most schoolchildren know, Congress cannot alter or amend the Constitution; only the states can. Yet, by instructing FISA judges to issue search warrants that do not meet the constitutional identity of target and probable cause standards, Congress has substantially altered the Constitution, and the judicial Gang of 12 has gone along with this.

As one of the architects of all this domestic spying, and as one of the believers that the public should be kept in the dark about it, Rogers has not been happy with the Snowden revelations. Snowden subscribed to the same oath of secrecy as the two Gangs of 12, but he also swore -- as have both Gangs of 12 -- to uphold the Constitution.

To Snowden, the people have a fundamental right to know that their government has cooked up the most massive secret violation of civil liberties in the nation's history, and his oath to uphold the Constitution compelled his revelations. To Rogers, Snowden must be a traitor or a spy.

Even the Obama administration has not bought that argument, as it only charged Snowden with the delivery of classified materials to unauthorized persons. It did not charge him with treason (waging war on the United States or giving aid and comfort to enemies of the United States) or spying (giving classified secrets to enemies of the United States).

Frustrated that Snowden is apparently living freely in Moscow, Rogers summoned the FBI director before his House committee to float a truly novel and pernicious theory of First Amendment law. At that hearing last week, he attempted to persuade Comey to accept his idea that publishing classified secrets is a crime if the publisher was paid for his work. So, if the owners of and reporters at The Guardian of London or The New York Times or The Washington Post, who publicly revealed the secrets Snowden gave them, were paid for their work, the Rogers argument goes, they, too, could be prosecuted for espionage.

Rogers is not a lawyer, but he is an ex-FBI agent. He should know the law, but it was necessary for Comey to tutor him. The law is clear and was stated by the Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case, and Comey publicly reminded Rogers of this: If classified materials are of interest to the public, their publication is protected.

Stated differently, it matters not how the journalist acquires the classified materials or whether the journalist and his bosses are paid for his work. If the classified materials are newsworthy, they can be published, and no one can be sued or prosecuted for doing so.

In the clash between government secrecy and public transparency, the Framers placed a value judgment in the First Amendment. Since the press is the eyes and ears of the public, and since the public needs to know what the government is doing so it can make informed decisions when electing people to the government, publishers and reporters are immune from criminal prosecution and civil liability for lifting the veil on the governments' secrets. An informed public is more likely to make better decisions than an ignorant one.

I am happy that Comey did not fall for Rogers' ignorant argument, and I am happy, too, that the argument will fall on deaf ears. In a free society, knowledge is superior to ignorance. Politicians who would criminalize publishing the truth should be voted out of office.
 

3-3-14

An Unconscionable Silence

Judge Andrew Napolitano

The political philosopher Edmund Burke once remarked that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good folks to do nothing. A glaring example of the impending triumph of a constitutional evil that could be stopped by folks who have been largely silent is the tyranny coming from the White House. And the folks who can stop this and are doing nothing about it are our elected representatives in Congress.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It established the three branches of government, and it delegated "all legislative powers" to Congress. American law rarely uses the word "all." Yet the Framers chose that word precisely to confine law writing to Congress and to prevent a president from altering federal law by the selective manner of his enforcement of it and thereby effectively rewriting it.

The same Framers sought to guard against the same evils by compelling the president to swear at the commencement of his terms in office that he will "faithfully" enforce the laws. The use of the word "faithfully," like the use of the word "all," is intended to assure voters that they can count on a president who will do the job they hired him to do by enforcing federal laws, not evading them, and by enforcing them as Congress has written them, not as the president might wish them to be.

To be fair, many presidents, from the sainted Thomas Jefferson to the tyrannical FDR, put their own spin on federal law. Jefferson pardoned all those convicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts because he hated a statute that punished free speech and he boasted that he would not enforce that part of the acts (they expired under his watch). And FDR when barely two weeks in office issued an executive order criminalizing the possession of gold because he foolishly thought it would stabilize the banks, until an adviser reminded him that only Congress can write criminal laws (which he then persuaded Congress to do). Yet in President Obama we have a president whose personal interferences in the enforcement of federal laws reveal his view that he can rewrite them and even nullify them.

Presidential law writing violates the presidential oath of office, steals power from Congress, disrespects an equal branch of the government and, when unchecked, accumulates such power in the executive branch that it effectively transforms the president into a menacing tyrant who rejects his constitutional obligations and limitations.

Obama bombed Libya without a declaration of war from Congress. This arguably brought down the Gadhafi government, which led to the current state of lawlessness there, which produced the environment in which our ambassador was murdered in Benghazi in 2012 and established a dangerous precedent because Congress remained officially silent.

He has told the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here and subject to deportation that if they comply with a new set of rules they will not be deported. The constitutional problem is that the president wrote those rules. Only Congress can craft such rules, and by the president's doing so, he has schooled immigrants in how to avoid compliance with federal law.

The president has used drones to kill Americans, but claims he has done so lawfully because he complied with secret rules that he crafted. Under the Constitution, if the president wants someone dead, he must afford the person due process or ask Congress to declare war on the country housing the person. No worries, he says -- he has followed the secret rules that he wrote to govern himself when deciding whom to kill.

The president's agents now acknowledge that they spy on all of us all the time, including members of the judiciary and Congress. This, too, was done pursuant to a secret presidential directive, secretly approved by judges acting as clerks and not under the Constitution, and by a dozen members of Congress sworn to secrecy. No law authorized this, and the president won't discuss it meaningfully, except to condemn its revelation.

And in a series of salvos that hit home, the president has modified the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) 29 times, by changing its various dates of effectiveness for some but not for others, by changing the meanings of terms for some but not for others, and even by diluting the signature obligation we all have to obtain the platinum insurance policies it commands for some and not for others. He has done all of this on his own, with no input from Congress. He has even threatened to veto any congressional effort to enact into law the very changes he alone has made.

His latest assault on the Constitution consists of a plan by the Department of Homeland Security, revealed earlier this week, effectively to follow us as we drive on public roads by photographing the license plate of all motor vehicles. This, too, was formulated without congressional approval or constitutional authority.

And while all of this is going on, Congress largely sits as a potted plant. In the Senate, Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have complained long and loud, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not permit legislation to address presidential lawlessness to reach the Senate floor. A few dozen Republicans in the House have complained, but Speaker John Boehner will not permit the House to address corrective legislation. Institutionally and officially, Congress is sleeping.

Can you imagine how a Democratic Congress would have reacted if Ronald Reagan had instructed the IRS to cease collecting capital gains taxes so as to spur economic activity; or how a Republican Congress would have reacted if Bill Clinton had instructed the IRS to add a 1-percent rate increase to the tax bills of billionaires so as to close a budget gap?

These are dangerous times because this is a lawless presidency and a pliant Congress. The president's willingness to violate the Constitution publicly calls into question his fitness for office. And that deafening silence from Capitol Hill manifests a spineless refusal to preserve constitutional government.

The whole purpose of dividing and separating governmental powers is the preservation of personal liberty by preventing the accumulation of too much power in one branch or, heaven forbid, in one person. Whoever permits this to take place lacks fidelity to the Constitution, is unworthy of holding governmental power in a free society and should be removed from office.


3-2-14
 
New Assaults on American Law

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | n the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA's most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate. This behavior constitutes the government's assaults on the American legal system. Those assaults have been conducted thus far on two fronts, one of which is aimed at lawyers who represent foreign entities here in America, and the other is aimed at lawyers who represent criminal defendants against whom evidence has been obtained unlawfully and presented in court untruthfully.

Investigative reporters at The New York Times recently discovered that the NSA has been listening to the telephone conversations between lawyers at a highly regarded Chicago law firm and their clients in Indonesia. The firm, Mayer Brown, has remained publicly silent about the revelations, as has its client, the government of Indonesia. But it is well known that Mayer Brown represents the government of Indonesia concerning trade regulations that govern exports of cigarettes and shrimp to the U.S. The lawyers on the other side of the bargaining table from Mayer Brown work for the federal government, which also employs, of course, the NSA.

Can the NSA lawfully tell lawyers for the government who are negotiating with Mayer Brown lawyers what it overheard between the Mayer Brown lawyers and their client? The answer, incredibly, is: Yes. Federal rules prohibit the NSA from sharing knowledge with lawyers for the federal government only about persons who have been indicted. In this case, Mayer Brown is attempting to negotiate favorable trade relations between Indonesia and the U.S., and the lawyers for the U.S. have the unfair advantage of knowing in advance the needs, negotiating positions and strategy of their adversaries. In the Obama years, this is how the feds work: secretly, unfairly and in utter derogation of the attorney-client privilege.

For 100 years, that privilege — the right of lawyers and their clients to speak freely and without the knowledge of the government or their adversaries — has been respected in the U.S., until now. Now, we have a lawyer who, as president, uses the NSA to give him advance warning of what his office visitors are about to ask him. And now we have lawyers for the federal government who work for the president and can know of their adversaries' most intimate client communications.

This is profoundly unfair, as it gives one side a microscope on the plans of the other. It is unwise, too, as clients will be reluctant to open up to counsel when they know that the NSA could spill the beans to the other side. In the adversarial context, for the system to work fairly and effectively, it is vital that clients be free to speak with their lawyers without the slightest fear of government intrusion, particularly when the government is on the other side of the deal or the case.

If you have spoken to a lawyer recently and if that lawyer is dealing with the federal government on your behalf, you can thank the constitutional scholar in the Oval Office for destroying the formerly privileged nature of your conversations.

But that is not the only legal protection that President Obama has destroyed. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case in which journalists in the pre-Snowden era challenged the government's spying on them. The government won the case largely because it persuaded the court that the journalists did not have standing to bring the lawsuit because, the court ruled, their fears of being spied upon were only hypothetical: They suspected that their communications with their sources were being monitored, but they couldn't prove it. In this post-Snowden era, we now know that the journalists in that case were being spied upon.

Nevertheless, during the oral argument in that case, government lawyers told the high court that should government prosecutors acquire from the NSA evidence of criminal behavior against anyone whom they eventually would prosecute and should they wish to use that evidence in the prosecution, the Justice Department would inform defense counsel of the true source of the evidence so that the defendant would have the ability to challenge the evidence.

Yet, last week, in a case in federal court in Oregon, the same Justice Department that told the highest court in the land last year that it would dutifully and truthfully reveal its sources of evidence — as case law requires and even when the source is an NSA wiretap — told a federal district court judge that it had no need or intention of doing so. If this practice of using NSA wiretaps as the original source of evidence in criminal cases and keeping that information from the defendants against whom it is used is permitted, we will have yet another loss of liberty.

Federal law requires that criminal prosecutions be commenced after articulable suspicion about the crime and the defendant. Prosecutions cannot be commenced by roving through intelligence data obtained through extra-constitutional means. That is the moral equivalent of throwing a dart at a dart board that contains the names of potential defendants and prosecuting the person whose name the dart hits.

For the past 75 years, federal prosecutors have not been permitted to use unlawfully obtained evidence in criminal cases, and they have been required to state truthfully the sources of their evidence so that its lawfulness can be tested. This rule generally has served to keep law enforcement from breaking the laws it has sworn to uphold by denying to its agents the fruits of their own unlawful activity.

Liberty is rarely lost overnight. It is lost slowly and in the name of safety. In the name of keeping us safe, the feds have spied on the lawyers who negotiate with them, lied to the lawyers whose clients they are prosecuting and misrepresented their behavior to the Supreme Court. As far as the public record reveals, they have not corrected that misrepresentation. They have done all of this in utter defiance of well-settled law and procedures and constitutional safeguards.

What will they do next?

3-1-14
 
War on the Little Guy

By John Stossel


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Marty the Magician performed magic tricks for kids, including the traditional rabbit-out-of-a-hat. Then one day: "I was signing autographs and taking pictures with children and their parents," he told me. "Suddenly, a badge was thrown into the mix, and an inspector said, 'Let me see your license.'"

In "Harry Potter" books, a creepy Ministry of Magic controls young wizards. Now in the USA, government regulates stage magicians -- one of the countless ways it makes life harder for the little guy.

Marty's torment didn't end with a demand for his license. "She said, from now on, you cannot use your rabbit until you fill out paperwork, pay the $40 license fee. We'll have to inspect your home."

Ten times since, regulators showed up unannounced at Marty's house. At one point, an inspector he hadn't seen before appeared. He hoped things had changed for the better.

"I got a new inspector and I said, oh, did my first one retire? She said, 'No, good news! We've increased our budget and we have more inspectors now. So we'll be able to visit you more often.'"

Here are your tax dollars at work.

The inspectors told Marty that the Animal Welfare Act required him to file paperwork demonstrating that he had "a comprehensive written disaster plan detailing everything I would do with my rabbit in the event of a fire, a flood, a tornado, an ice storm."

The federal forms list "common emergencies likely to happen to your facility ... not necessarily limited to: structural fire, electrical outage, disruption in clean water or feed supply, disruption in access to facility (e.g., road closures), intentional attack on the facilities ... earthquake, landslide/mudslide/avalanche ... "

Sadly, this Kafkaesque enforcement of petty rules is not a bizarre exception.

Some regulation is useful. But when we passively accept government regulation of everything, thinking we're protecting people from evil corporations run amok, we're really making life harder for ordinary people. Every profession, from cab driving to floral arrangement, is now burdened with complex rules.

You can't even give tours of Washington, D.C., the city that produces most of these insane rules, without getting a special license. Tour guides must pay about $200 for criminal background checks, provide four personal references, show passport photos and pass a written test -- a difficult one.

People who reflexively defend government may feel no pity for businesses that face extra costs: Let businesses pay fees and take tests -- we don't want unlicensed tour guides describing famous statues incorrectly! But these costs add up. Often, they make a small, barely profitable business impossible to operate. These rules also violate Americans' right to free speech. They are unnecessary. If tour guides are no good, people can patronize others. The government doesn't need to be gatekeeper.

These rules generally prevail because existing businesses are politically connected. They capture licensing boards and use license rules to crush competition from businesses just getting started.

In some places, you can't open a business like a limo service or moving van company unless you can prove that your business is needed and won't undermine existing businesses in the same field.

But undermining competition is the whole idea. If Starbucks or Home Depot had to prove new coffee shops and hardware stores were "needed," we wouldn't have those companies. Apparently they were needed, since these companies thrived, but no one could have "proven" that beforehand.

Jeff Rowes, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties group that defends many people caught up in regulatory cases, says, "America was conceived as a sea of liberty with islands of government power. We're now a sea of government power with ever-shrinking islands of liberty."

The little guys don't have an army of lawyers to defend those islands of liberty one regulatory battle at a time. We should get rid of most of these regulations -- and sail back, together, to a free country.
 

2-28-14

Putin Puts Ukraine Gambit Into Motion As Obama Sleeps


By Charles Krauthammer

 
JewishWorldReview.com | Henry Kissinger once pointed out that since Peter the Great, Russia had been expanding at the rate of one Belgium per year.

All undone, of course, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Russian President Vladimir Putin called "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century."

Putin's mission is restoration. First, restore traditional Russian despotism by dismantling its nascent democracy. And then, having created iron-fisted "stability," march.

Use the 2008 war with Georgia to detach two of its provinces, returning them to the bosom of Mother Russia (by way of Potemkin independence). Then late last year, pressure Ukraine to reject a long-negotiated deal for association with the European Union, to draw Ukraine into Putin's planned "Eurasian Union" as the core of a new Russian mini-empire.

Turns out, however, Ukraine had other ideas. It overthrew Moscow's man in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych, and turned to the West. But the EU and America had no idea what to do.

Russia does. Moscow denounces the overthrow as the illegal work of fascist bandits, refuses to recognize the new government created by parliament, withholds all economic assistance and, in a highly provocative escalation, mobilizes its military forces on the Ukrainian border.

The response? The EU dithers and Barack Obama slumbers. After near-total silence during the first three months of Ukraine's struggle for freedom, Obama said last week that Ukraine is no "Cold War chessboard."

Unfortunately, this is exactly what it is for Putin. He wants Ukraine back.

Obama wants stability, the New York Times reports, quoting internal sources. He sees Ukraine as merely a crisis to be managed rather than an opportunity to alter the increasingly autocratic trajectory of the region, allow Ukrainians to join the West and block Russian neo-imperialism.

Sure, Obama is sympathetic to democracy. But it must come organically, from internal developments, you see. Must not be imposed by outside intervention, but develop on its own.

But Ukraine is never on its own. Not with a bear next door. American neutrality doesn't allow an authentic Ukrainian polity to emerge. It leaves Ukraine naked to Russian pressure.

What Obama doesn't seem to understand is that American inaction creates a vacuum. His evacuation from Iraq consigned that country to Iranian hegemony, just as Obama's writing off Syria invited in Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to reverse the tide of battle.

Putin fully occupies vacuums. In Ukraine, he keeps flaunting his leverage. He's withdrawn the multibillion-dollar aid package with which he had pulled the now-deposed Ukrainian president away from the EU.

He has suddenly mobilized Russian forces bordering Ukraine. His health officials are even questioning the safety of Ukrainian food exports.

This is no dietary hygiene campaign. This is a message to Kiev: We can shut down your agricultural exports today, your natural gas supplies tomorrow. We can make you broke and we can make you freeze.

Kissinger once also said "in the end, peace can be achieved only by hegemony or by balance of power." Ukraine will either fall to Russian hegemony or finally determine its own future — if America balances Russia's power.

How? Start with a declaration of full-throated American support for Ukraine's revolution. Follow that with a serious loan/aid package — say, replacing Moscow's $15 billion — to get Ukraine through its immediate financial crisis. Then join with the EU to extend a longer substitute package, preferably through the IMF.

Secretary of State John Kerry says Russian intervention would be a mistake. Alas, any such declaration from this administration carries the weight of a feather.

But better that than nothing. Better still would be backing these words with a naval flotilla in the Black Sea.

Whether anything Obama says or does would stop anyone remains questionable. But surely the West has more financial clout than Russia's kleptocratic extraction economy that exports little but oil, gas and vodka.

The point is for the U.S., leading Europe, to counter Russian pressure and make up for its blandishments/punishments until Ukraine is on firm financial footing.

Yes, $15 billion is a lot of money. But it's less than one-half of one-tenth of 1% of the combined EU and U.S. GDP.

And expending treasure is infinitely preferable to expending blood. Especially given the strategic stakes: Without Ukraine there's no Russian empire.

Putin knows that. Which is why he keeps ratcheting up the pressure.

The question is, can this administration muster the counterpressure to give Ukraine a chance to breathe?

2-27-14

 Is Ukraine the Cold War's final episode?

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | One hundred years ago this coming Aug. 4, the day Britain declared war on Germany, socialists in the German Reichstag voted for credits to finance the war. Marxists — including Lenin, who that day was in what now is Poland — were scandalized. Marx had preached that the proletariat has no fatherland, only a transnational class loyalty to proletarians everywhere. “In 1918,” wrote Louis Fischer, Lenin’s best biographer, “patriotism and nationalism, born of the ‘subjectivism’ Lenin so disliked, were ideological crimes in Soviet Russia.”

These are history-shaping virtues in Ukraine today. Because the nation-state is the necessary framework for durable political liberty, nationalism is a necessary, although insufficient, impulse sustaining liberty. Marx, whose prophesies were perversely predictive because they were almost invariably wrong, predicted the end of nationalism. Economic forces, he said, determine political, cultural and psychological realities. So capitalism, with its borders-leaping cosmopolitanism, would dilute to the point of disappearance all emotional attachments to nations. Ukraine’s ferment is an emphatic, albeit redundant, refutation of Marxism.

The political elites who cobbled together the European Union hoped that the pooling of national sovereignties would extinguish the nationalism that, they think, ruined Europe’s 20th century. They considered the resulting “democracy deficit” — the transfer of national parliaments’ prerogatives to Brussels bureaucrats — a price well worth paying for tranquillity.

Now comes turbulent Ukraine, incandescent with nationalism and eager to preserve its sovereignty by a closer relationship with the European Union.

Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, is resisting the popular desire for constitutionally limited government and for a national existence more independent of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presence. Yanukovych wants to trade Ukraine’s aspirations for Putin’s billions.

Russia is ruled by a little, strutting Mussolini — the Duce, like Putin, enjoyed being photographed with his chest bare and his biceps flexed. Putin is unreconciled to the “tragedy,” as he calls it, of the Soviet Union’s demise. It was within the Soviet apparatus of oppression that he honed the skills by which he governs — censorship, corruption, brutality, oppression, assassination.

Remember when President George W. Bush peered into Putin’s eyes and got “a sense of his soul” as someone “very straightforward and trustworthy”? Remember when Putin fed the world the fable about rushing naked from his burning dacha — the fire started when Putin was in a sauna — before the rescue of his cherished crucifix, which had belonged to his sainted mother? Ukrainians, whose hard history has immunized them against the folly of wishful thinking, see in Putin’s ferret face the cold eyes of a prison warden.

Ukraine, whose population (46 million) and size are approximately those of Spain, is a potential economic power. Russia remains what the Soviet Union was, a third-world country with first-world military technologies. Its hunter-gatherer economy — name a Russian consumer good other than vodka and caviar you might want — is based on extraction industries (oil, gas, minerals).

Putin’s contempt for Barack Obama is palpable. Russia’s robust support of Bashar al-Assad is one reason Assad has, according to the Obama administration’s director of intelligence, “strengthened” his position in the period since Obama said Assad should “step aside.” Russia has been less than helpful regarding U.S. attempts to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Where, exactly, has Obama’s much-advertised but never defined “reset” of relations with Russia been fruitful?

Yet Obama seems so fixated on it that he will not risk annoying Putin by voicing full-throated support for the Ukrainian protesters. Obama participated in waging seven months of war against Libya, a nation not threatening or otherwise important to the United States. Yet Joe Biden’s Tuesday phone call to Yanukovych is, as of this writing, Obama’s strongest response to the Ukraine crisis, which matters to the political trajectory of the European continent.

Europe, which for many centuries was a cockpit for many fighting faiths, is now politically vanilla. And as a military or diplomatic power, “Europe” remains more a geographical than a political term. Still, the pull of European political culture has not lost its power. And if Europe’s historical amnesia is not complete, it should hear echoes of 1848 and 1989 in the voices of Ukrainians today.

The Soviet Union — “one of modern history’s pivotal experiments,” in the weasel words of NBC’s Olympics coverage — existed for seven miserable decades. Ukraine’s agony is a reverberation of the protracted process of cleaning up after the “experiment.” So, this is perhaps the final episode of the Cold War. Does America’s unusually loquacious 44th president remember how the words of the 40th — “Tear down this wall!” — helped to win it?
 

2-26-14
 
Bryan Stow and a Justice System that Is Criminal

By Dennis Prager

JewishWorldReview.com | On March 31, 2011, the opening day of baseball at Dodger Stadium, four San Francisco Giants fans, all paramedics, were there to cheer on their team.

As they left the stadium, in the parking lot, one of them, Bryan Stow, was attacked by a Dodger fan, who hit him so suddenly and with such force that Stow hit his head on the ground without being able to break his fall, which fractured his skull. But the attack didn't end there. Once on the ground, Stow was repeatedly kicked in the head and ribs.

As reported by CBS Los Angeles, "Stow's friend said he saw the assailant — whom he described as a Hispanic man between 20 and 30 years old — repeatedly kick Stow in the head with 'full wind-up' kicks after knocking him to the pavement with a 'haymaker punch' to the left side of his head."

A witness to the beating, Joann Cerda, stood over Bryan Stow as he lay motionless, and said she saw "Blood gushing from his ears," and didn't think Stow was still alive.

The result was severe brain damage.

He was left unable to walk, lost motor skills in his arms and hands, and is incapable of carrying on a normal conversation, controlling his bodily functions or caring for himself. He will require long-term care and 24-hour assistance for the rest of his life. He has a confused short-term memory, which makes work impossible. The care he will need for the remainder of his life is projected to cost 34 million dollars.

At the time of the attack, Bryan Stow was a 42-year-old father of two young children, an 11-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl.

His aging parents' lives have been transformed into that of full-time caregivers for their adult son. His children have half a father, his friends have essentially lost their friend, and his sisters have been devastated. At the home he shares with his parents, Stow must wear an adult diaper, cannot shower without help, can barely close his left hand, and because of his memory problems, has to be reminded why a plastic shunt protrudes from the base of his skull.

His medical care has already exceeded five million dollars and is estimated to end up costing an additional 34 million dollards over the course of his life, according to his family's attorney, Tom Girardi.

Get the idea?

Now what punishment do you think Marvin Norwood, 33, and Louie Sanchez, 31, the two sadists who did this, deserve?

I'll tell you what I think they deserve.

Sanchez, the primary assailant, deserves to be punched so hard in the head that he falls to the ground and his head smashes into concrete, and then violently kicked in the head three more times in the hope that he spends the rest of his life in diapers.

Of course, we don't do such things.

Instead we sentence such human debris to prison.

So, then, how much prison time do Norwood and Sanchez deserve? Given the life sentence they imposed on Bryan Stow and his family, I cannot see an argument for anything less than, let us say, 40 years to life.

What they got was not close.

Norwood has been sentenced to four years in prison and Sanchez eight years. (Norwood's time has already been served, but he is being held on a separate federal warrant on a weapons violation charge.)

As for restitution, that will be determined at a hearing scheduled for six months from now. Of two things, however, I am certain:

One is that they will have to pay virtually nothing approaching the needs of Bryan Stow. Yes, I know, they don't have anything near millions of dollars. But they should be forced to pay some significant percentage of whatever they money they ever acquire to Bryan Stow. The notion that people who permanently hurt other people "pay their debt to society" just because society has paid to house them in prison is not only absurd; it is meaningless. Norwood and Sanchez owe "society" very little. They owe Bryan Stow a fortune, and being imprisoned does absolutely nothing to meet that obligation.

The other thing of which I am certain is that Norwood and Sanchez will be harmed financially far less than tens of millions of divorced men who hurt no one, yet suffered financial devastation in the nation's family law courts.

Sanchez, the puncher and head-kicker, smirked during the heart-rending victim impact statements and the judge's castigation of the defendants' actions and unrepentant attitudes. That this man, who destroyed and damaged so many lives, will be out of prison in about four years mocks the notion of an American criminal justice system. The only valid part of that phrase is that our justice is very often criminal.

Louie Sanchez is why I so fervently hope there is a hell.

Until he goes there, however, we can help Bryan Stow and his family through support4bryanstow.com.

2-25-14
 
'Settled science' myth: Climate change is not a fact

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.

Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.

So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today’s climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?

They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.

Settled? Even Britain’s national weather service concedes there’s been no change — delicately called a “pause” — in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data is recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?

But even worse than the pretense of settledness is the cynical attribution of any politically convenient natural disaster to climate change, a clever term that allows you to attribute anything — warming and cooling, drought and flood — to man’s sinful carbon burning.

Accordingly, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”

How inconvenient. But we’ve been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of “extreme weather events” like hurricanes.

Nonsense. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricane when it hit the United States. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall . And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years. In fact, in the last half-century, one-third fewer major hurricanes have hit the United States than in the previous half-century.

Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years — of presumed global warming — has seen a 30 percent decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) versus the previous 30 years.

None of this is dispositive. It doesn’t settle the issue. But that’s the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.

Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).

Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.

But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon -belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”

Ah, settled science in action.

2-24-14
 
New Obama promise: If you like your life, you can keep it

By Ann Coulter

 
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Liberals are winning wild praise for their candor in admitting problems with Obamacare. It shows you the level of honesty people have come to expect of our liberal friends. Now, liberals are applauded for not lying through their teeth about something.

What are they supposed to say? This Obamacare website is fantastic! And really, haven't you already read all the magazines in your current doctor's office anyway?

The New York Times has described Obama's repeated claim that you could keep your insurance plan and keep your doctor under Obamacare as a mere slip of the tongue: "Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that."

Misspoke? How exactly does one misspeak, word for word, dozens of times, over and over again?

That wasn't misspeaking -- it was a deliberate, necessary lie. Even Democrats couldn't have voted for Obamacare if Americans had known the truth. It was absolutely vital for Obama to lie about people being able to keep their insurance and their doctors.

Of course, it was difficult for voters to know the truth because every time Republicans would try to tell them, the White House and the media would rush in and call the critics liars.

The White House posted a specific refutation of the "disinformation" about not being able to keep your doctor or insurance plan. That claim, the website said, was being disseminated by Republicans "to scare people."

Their proof consisted of a video of Obama clearly stating, "If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor."

A video of someone asserting the very fact in dispute does not rise to the level of "evidence," but it was more than enough for MSNBC.

Even when pretending to be critical of Obamacare, liberals lie about the real problems. They tell us they're worried about the percentage of young people signing up for Obamacare. The mix of young and old people in Obamacare is completely irrelevant. It won't help if a lot of young people sign up because their premiums are negligible.

To keep the system afloat, what Obamacare really needs is lots of healthy people, preferably healthy older people. Their premiums are astronomical -- and they won't need much medical treatment.

Premiums are set by your age, not your health. It doesn't matter if you never go to the doctor. Obamacare punishes you for having a healthy lifestyle. The Obamacare tax is a massively regressive poll tax on the middle-aged and the middle class.

Apart from those who are subsidized, everyone pays the exact same amount in penalties or insurance premiums for his age group. It doesn't matter if you don't make as much money as Bill Gates. Any 58-year-old male who doesn't qualify for a subsidy will pay the same Obamacare tax as Gates.

When Margaret Thatcher tried to impose the same tax per person, as a "community charge," there were riots in the street.

Our extremely progressive tax system, where nearly half the country pays no income tax at all, and the other half pays about 40 percent of their income, may not be fair. But most people also don't think it's fair to tax a guy making $80,000 a year the identical amount as one making $80 million a year. That's exactly what Obamacare does.

With Obamacare, the Democratic Party has foisted the most regressive tax possible on America. This ruthless assault on the middle class is all so we can have a health care system more like every other country has.

Until now, the United States has had the highest survival rates in the world for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Cancer comparisons are the most useful because all Western countries keep careful records for this disease.

For all types of cancers, European men have only a 47.3 percent five-year survival rate, compared to a 66.3 percent survival rate for American men.

European women have only a 55.8 percent chance of being alive five years after being diagnosed with any type of cancer, compared to 62.9 percent of American women.

American survival rates for breast, prostate, thyroid and skin cancer are higher than 90 percent. Europeans do not have a 90 percent survival rate for one of those cancers.

The European rates are even worse than they sound because many cancers are not discovered until the victim's death -- twice as many as in the U.S. All those cancers were excluded from the study.

Canadian cancer survival rates aren't much better than the European rates -- and they've been able to sneak into to the U.S. for treatment! Women in the U.S. have a 61 percent survival rate for all cancers, compared to a 58 percent survival rate in Canada. Men in the U.S. have a 57 percent survival rate compared to 53 percent in Canada.

That's why your insurance premiums have to go through the roof and your Obamacare tax is the same as Bill Gates'. So across the world, we'll all be equal, dying of cancer, heart disease and diabetes as often as everyone else.

It's not that Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism; it's that he wants to end it.
 

2-23-14
 
Breaking the grip of the unions

By George Will

JewishWorldReview.com | This year’s most important election will not occur in November, when more than 90 million votes will be cast for governors and national legislators. The most important election, crucial to an entire region’s economic well-being and to the balance of the nation’s political competition, has already occurred.

Last week at a Tennessee factory, workers rejected representation by the United Auto Workers union. The 712 to 626 vote — an 89 percent turnout — against unionizing the three-year-old Chattanooga Volkswagen plant was a shattering defeat for the UAW, for organized labor generally and for liberalism nationally. It was a commensurate victory for entrepreneurial federalism.

Sixty years ago, some 35 percent of the U.S. workforce was unionized, almost entirely in the private sector. Today, 11.3 percent is unionized . About half (49.6 percent) of this minority are government workers whose union dues do much to elect their employers. UAW membership has plummeted as far and fast as Detroit has — from 1.5 million in 1979 to about 380,000 in 2012. In 2011, UAW President Bob King said, “If we don’t organize these transnationals, I don’t think there’s a long-term future for the UAW.”

For 30 years the UAW has tried and failed to unionize a “transnational” — a factory making foreign-brand vehicles — in the South. The union may never have a better chance than it had in Chattanooga. The company, whose board includes representatives of a powerful German union, feigned neutrality but actually worked in close collaboration with the UAW. The union was given access to the plant, a workroom and other facilities, while groups opposing unionization were barred .

It is commonly, and carelessly, said that Washington bailed out “the” automobile industry. Actually, government bailed out two of the three companies in one of the two U.S. auto industries — the UAW-organized one. The other industry, located in the South and elsewhere — Americans making 30 percent of the vehicles Americans purchase — did not need rescuing because it does not have a UAW presence, which helped ruin General Motors, Chrysler and their headquarters city, Detroit.

UAW officials blamed last week’s failure on “outside special-interest groups,” which describes the UAW in Chattanooga. In a characteristically shrill and clumsy intervention before the voting ended, Barack Obama accused Tennessee Republicans of being “more concerned about German shareholders than American workers.” He missed the detail that the shareholders’ company favored the UAW. The UAW, too, blamed Tennessee’s Republican politicians. Well.

VW received $577 million in tax breaks and other incentives to locate in Chattanooga, so Tennessee officials surely were entitled to speak about how unionization might harm the investment already made and might diminish the likelihood of additional help. Nowadays, however, liberalism responds to its unpersuasiveness by trying to get government to silence (as with the Internal Revenue Service) or punish (it is the National Labor Relations Board’s turn) speech by liberalism’s critics. So, the UAW may ask the NLRB to overturn the vote because of unfair labor practices, which supposedly amount to the fact that the UAW was not the only speaker during the debate before the vote. Anti-UAW billboards noted Detroit’s current prostration, and Sen. Bob Corker called the UAW “a Detroit-based organization.” Its headquarters, Solidarity House, is in Detroit.

Soon — certainly by the end of June — the Supreme Court probably will rebuke Obama for having made recess appointments to the NLRB while the Senate was not in recess. But given his administration’s culture of breezy indifference to legality, the NLRB might tug its forelock and do as the UAW demands.

In November, a prescient UAW organizer said the union would “probably lose” in Chattanooga if workers were granted a secret-ballot election. That is, the UAW favored a “card check” faux election, whereby unionization is approved when a majority of employees, confronted individually by union organizers, sign a card. The UAW could not prevent a proper election, but with the NLRB’s permission the campaign was compressed to nine days. This minimized the time for UAW opponents to make their case.

Despite the UAW’s attempt to do for the South what it has done to Detroit, the South can continue to practice entrepreneurial federalism. Capital is mobile. It goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is well treated, so states compete to create tax and regulatory environments conducive to job creation. Liberals call this a “race to the bottom.” Conservatives call it a race to rationality.
 

2-22-14
 
The Lesson of Dunkirk

By Thomas Sowell

 
JewishWorldReview.com | Politics is often like war. Unfortunately, politicians, the media and the voting public seldom have the same degree of realism and discipline with which professional soldiers fight wars. You can indulge your emotions and base your decisions on wishful thinking in politics, in a way that you are not likely to when your own life is on the line in battle.

One of the most dramatic and heartening events of World War II was the miraculous evacuation of British troops trapped on the beaches of France in 1940, at Dunkirk. And its lesson is still relevant today.

The British troops were in France to help the French fight off the invading army from Nazi Germany. But the sudden collapse of the French army left the Brits stranded on the beaches, with the German army closing in on them.

The British navy's ships in the area were too large to move into the shallow waters close to the beaches, so as to evacuate the troops. Instead, hundreds of British civilians headed for Dunkirk in their fishing boats, recreational craft and practically anything else that would float.

These civilians, who risked their lives going into a war zone, helped nearly a hundred thousand British soldiers get back home across the English Channel.

How does this tie in with politics, especially with politics today?

Many Republicans wanted their party to fight the Obama administration before agreeing to raise the debt ceiling, in hopes of extracting at least some concession — on spending, on the Keystone pipeline or whatever.

Unfortunately, the Republicans had no more chance of winning that fight than the stranded British troops had of winning a battle against Hitler's army.

Whatever the Republicans threatened, President Obama could call their bluff. They would either have to back down or have a second government shutdown for which they would be blamed. Another shutdown could doom their chances of winning the Senate in the 2014 elections, and perhaps even cost them the House of Representatives.

In a war, you do not fight battles that you are certain to lose, if only because you will need your troops to fight later in battles you can win.

The British troops who escaped from Dunkirk came back to France four years later, as part of the massive invasion forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France and pushed on into Germany for the final defeat of the Nazi regime.

In politics, as in war, you need power to win, and you don't dissipate your forces fighting battles that you are sure to lose. Symbolism and emotional self-indulgence are just not worth it.

None of this says that the Republicans' leadership had a great track record prior to the most recent confrontations with the Democrats.

For that matter, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had a terrible track record in the years leading up to the desperate situation on the beaches at Dunkirk. But that was no reason to sacrifice troops who would be urgently needed for later battles, where the odds would be different.

There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington had followed the tactics being urged by people like Senator Ted Cruz and his supporters.

The army under General Washington was no match for the British army, in either military experience or firepower. The American army repeatedly had to withdraw, retreat and even flee to avoid being annihilated.

George Washington did not have to fight futile battles in order to prove his courage. He was already well known for being in the thick of battles, with bullets whistling around his head. But he had to wait for situations where he had the enemy at a disadvantage, and then strike.

When Washington made his celebrated crossing of the Delaware, he was headed for a dramatic victory, using soldiers he had saved for just such a moment. Wars are about winning, not futile symbolic gestures that leave you worse off. Politics must be the same, if you are serious about the issues.

2-21-14

 Cruz Control? Part II

By Thomas Sowell

JewishWorldReview.com | Senator Ted Cruz is a hero in some Republican circles — and the opposite among many of his Senate Republican colleagues.

At this crucial juncture in the history of America, internal battles within the only party that can turn things around are the last thing Americans need. Moreover, each side in this political civil war has all too many valid criticisms of the other.

The Republican establishment's criticisms of Senator Cruz are criticisms of his rule-or-ruin strategy, which can destroy whatever chance Republicans have of taking back the Senate in 2014 and taking back the White House in 2016. And, without political power, there is no real hope of changing things in Washington.

Senator Cruz's filibuster last year got the Republicans blamed for shutting down the government — and his threatened filibuster this year forced several Republican Senators to jeopardize their own reelection prospects by voting to impose cloture, to prevent Cruz from repeating his self-serving grandstand play of last year. The Republicans need every vote they can get in the Senate — plus additional votes by defeating some Democrats who are running for the Senate this fall. It can be a very close call. Jeopardizing the reelection of current Republican Senators is an act of utter irresponsibility, a high risk with zero benefits to anyone except Ted Cruz — and the Democrats.

However unjustified Senator Cruz's actions, the very fact that a freshman Senator can so quickly gain so many supporters, with so much enthusiasm, ought to be a loud warning to the Republican establishment that they have long been a huge disappointment to a wide range of Republican voters and supporters.

One of their most maddening qualities has for decades been their can't-be-bothered attitude when it comes to explaining their positions to the American people in language people can understand. A classic example was Speaker of the House John Boehner's performance when he emerged from a meeting at the White House a while back. There, with masses of television news cameras pointed at him, and a bank of microphones crowded together, he simply expressed his disgust at the Obama administration, turned and walked on away.

Here was a golden opportunity to cut through the Obama administration rhetoric and set the record straight on the issues at hand. But apparently Speaker Boehner couldn't be bothered to have a prepared, and previously thought out, statement to present, conveying something more than his disgust.

Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner is just the latest in a long line of Republican "leaders" with the same disregard of the need to explain their position in plain English.

That takes work. But it is work that any number of conservative commentators on radio and television do every day of the week. And they are very successful in getting across arguments that Republican politicians do not bother to try to get across.

Democrats are constantly articulating their talking points. Less than 24 hours elapsed after the Congressional Budget Office reported that ObamaCare was likely to cause many workers to have their hours cut back, before Democrats were all talking about the "freedom" this would give workers to pursue other interests, rather than being "locked-in" to long hours on a full-time job.

It was a slick and dishonest argument, but the point here is that Democrats immediately saw the need for articulation — and for all of them to use the same words and phrases, so as to establish their argument by sheer repetition.

Nor was this the first time that Democrats coordinated their words and phrases. A few years ago, Senator Chuck Schumer was secretly recorded giving fellow Democrats the word to use whenever describing Republicans — namely, "extreme."

When George W. Bush first ran for president in 2000, the word among Democrats was that he lacked "gravitas." People who had never used that word in years were suddenly saying "gravitas" 24/7.

The Republican establishment has more than a tactical deficiency, however. They seem to have no principle that they offer or follow with any consistency. Their lack of articulation may be just a reflection of that lack of principle. It is hard to get to the point when you have no point to get to.

Ted Cruz filled a void. But the Republican establishment created the void.

2-20-14
 
Cruz Control?

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Freshman Senator Ted Cruz says many things that need to be said and says them well. Moreover, some of these things are what many, if not most, Americans believe wholeheartedly. Yet we need to remember that the same was true of another freshman Senator, just a relatively few years ago, who parlayed his ability to say things that resonated with the voters into two terms in the White House. Who would disagree that if you want your doctor, you should be able to keep your doctor? Who would disagree with the idea of a more transparent administration in Washington, or a President of the United States being a uniter instead of a divider?

There are many things like this that freshman Senator Barack Obama said that the overwhelming majority of Americans — whether liberal or conservative — would agree with. The only problem is that what he has actually done as President has repeatedly turned out to be the direct opposite of what he said as a candidate.

Senator Ted Cruz has not yet reached the point where he can make policy, rather than just make political trouble. But there are already disquieting signs that he is looking out for Ted Cruz — even if that sets back the causes he claims to be serving.

Those causes are not being served when Senator Cruz undermines the election chances of the only political party that has any chance of undoing the disasters that Barack Obama has already inflicted on the nation — and forestalling new disasters that are visible on the horizon.

ObamaCare is not just an issue about money or even an issue about something as important as medical care. ObamaCare represents a quantum leap in the power of the federal government over the private lives of individual Americans.

Chief Justice Roberts' decision declaring ObamaCare constitutional essentially repeals the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which declares that powers not given to the federal government belong to the states "or to the people."

That central support of personal freedom has now been removed. The rest of the structure may not last very long, now that the Obama administration is busy quietly dismantling other bulwarks against the unbridled power of the government in general, and the unbridled power of the presidency in particular.

The Federal Communications Commission, for example, is already floating the idea of placing observers in newspaper editorial offices to "study" how decisions are made there. Nothing in the Constitution grants the FCC this dangerous power, nor is there any legislation authorizing any such activity.

But what the federal government can do is not dependent on what the Constitution authorizes it to do or what Congressional legislation gives them the power to do.

The basic, brutal reality is that the federal government can do whatever it wants to do, if nobody stops them. The Supreme Court's ObamaCare decision shows that we cannot depend on them to protect our freedom. Nor will Congress, as long as the Democrats control the Senate.

The most charitable interpretation of Ted Cruz and his supporters is that they are willing to see the Republican Party weakened in the short run, in hopes that they will be able to take it over in the long run, and set it on a different path as a more purified conservative party.

Like many political ideas, this one is not new. It represents a political strategy that was tried long ago — and failed long ago.

In the German elections of 1932, the Nazi party received 37 percent of the vote. They became part of a democratically elected coalition government, in which Hitler became chancellor. Only step by step did the Nazis dismantle democratic freedoms and turn the country into a complete dictatorship.

The political majority could have united to stop Hitler from becoming a dictator. But they did not unite. They fought each other over their differences. Some figured that they would take over after the Nazis were discredited and defeated.

Many who plotted this clever strategy died in Nazi concentration camps. Unfortunately, so did millions of others.

What such clever strategies overlook is that there can be a point of no return. We may be close to that point of no return, not only with ObamaCare, but also with the larger erosion of personal freedom, of which ObamaCare is just the most visible part.

2-19-14
 
Another Galling Betrayal

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | The Afghanistan government's recent release of dozens of imprisoned terrorists, many of whom had killed Americans, was a galling betrayal of those Americans who died defending Afghanistan against the Taliban terrorists — as well as those Americans who have returned home with arms or legs missing, or with minds traumatized beyond repair.

If we learn nothing else from the bitter tragedy of the war in Afghanistan, it should be that we should put an end forever to the self-indulgence of thinking that we can engage in "nation-building" and creating "democracy" in countries where nothing resembling democracy has ever existed.

It would be a feat to achieve one of these objectives, but to achieve both at the same time is a gamble that makes playing Russian roulette look like a harmless pastime.

F.A. Hayek said, "We shall not grow wiser until we learn that much that we have done was very foolish." Nothing is more foolish — and immoral — than sending men into battle to risk their lives winning victories that are later lost by politicians for political reasons.

That started long before the war in Afghanistan. Vietnam was a classic example. Years after that war was over, the Communist victors themselves admitted that they lost militarily in Vietnam, as they knew they would. But they won politically in America, with the help of Americans, including the media — as they also knew they would.

The war in Iraq was more of the same. American troops won that war but our politicians lost the peace. Terrorists have now taken over, and raised Al Qaeda flags, in some Iraqi towns that American troops liberated at the cost of many lives.

How did this happen? It happened much the same way it happened in Afghanistan. We insisted on trying to create a "democracy" in the Middle East — a place with a history going back thousands of years, without a single democracy.

What we created instead was a local ruler, placed in charge as a result of the blood and treasure of Americans, but independent of us, because he won an election that we insisted on holding — as if there are no prerequisites for democracy.

To compound the problem, we had members of Congress constantly talking about pulling out of Iraq, and demanding a timetable — despite what military madness it is to tell your enemy when you will be gone.

With American military support likely to be temporary and Iran's military presence next door certain to be permanent, how surprising is it that Iraq's leadership took Iran much more seriously than it took the United States?

Today, the Iraqi government is much more accommodating to Iran than to the United States, despite the fact that Americans put them in power. The very same scenario was repeated in Afghanistan, with President Obama himself announcing a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai saw the handwriting on the wall — and what it said was that American support was temporary but the Taliban was going to be around long after the Americans were gone. He too decided that it was better to try to get on the good side of our enemies, in this case by turning loose some terrorists.

It doesn't have to be this way.

After World War II, the American military took over the governments of Japan and West Germany. We did not start out by setting up some local leader who would be able to put his own interests above ours and work at cross purposes against us. Nor did we announce to the whole world when we planned to start reducing our troop levels in these countries.

Under the unchallenged supremacy of General Douglas MacArthur, Japan was indeed turned into a very different country, one in which democratic institutions could be phased in, at whatever pace the circumstances made prudent. Something similar happened in West Germany.

But this was not something that could be done quickly or on the cheap, with politicians sounding off in Congress about pulling out, and trying to micromanage from thousands of miles away. If we can't be serious, we have no right to send young Americans out into the hell of war.

2-18-14
 
Dependency, Not Poverty

By Walter Williams

 
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor" (http://tinyurl.com/448flj8), report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it's 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn't hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it's 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data "going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery ... showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940"? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it's $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the "need" to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, "you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what's left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you're still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation" (http://tinyurl.com/kmhy6es). Today's total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

There's very little guts in the political arena to address the basic causes of poverty. To do so risks being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensitive. That means today's dependency is likely to become permanent.

2-17-14
 
Schoolteacher Cheating


By Walter Williams

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Philadelphia's public school system has joined several other big-city school systems, such as those in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., in widespread teacher-led cheating on standardized academic achievement tests. So far, the city has fired three school principals, and The Wall Street Journal reports, "Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation's largest cheating scandals." (1/23/14) (http://tinyurl.com/q5makm3). Investigators found that teachers got together after tests to erase the students' incorrect answers and replace them with correct answers. In some cases, they went as far as to give or show students answers during the test.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, identifies the problem as district officials focusing too heavily on test scores to judge teacher performance, and they've converted low-performing schools to charters run by independent groups that typically hire nonunion teachers. But William Hite, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, said cheating by adults harms students because schools use test scores to determine which students need remedial help, saying, "There is no circumstance, no matter how pressured the cooker, that adults should be cheating students."

While there's widespread teacher test cheating to conceal education failure, most notably among black children, it's just the tip of the iceberg. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, published by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and sometimes referred to as the Nation's Report Card, measures student performance in the fourth and eighth grades. In 2013, 46 percent of Philadelphia eighth-graders scored below basic, and 35 percent scored basic. Below basic is a score meaning that a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level. Basic indicates only partial mastery. It's a similar story in reading, with 42 percent below basic and 41 percent basic. With this kind of performance, no one should be surprised that of the state of Pennsylvania's 27 most poorly performing schools on the SAT, 25 are in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's four-year high-school graduation rate in 2012 was 64 percent, well below the national rate of 78 percent. Even if a student graduates from high school, what does it mean? What a high-school diploma means for white students is nothing to write home about, as suggested by the fact that every year, nearly 60 percent of first-year college students must take remedial courses in English or mathematics. What a high-school diploma means for black students is nothing less than a disaster, as pointed out by Drs. Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom in their 2009 book, "No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning." They state that "blacks nearing the end of their high school education perform a little worse than white eighth-graders in both reading and U.S. history, and a lot worse in math and geography." Little has changed since the book's publication.

Hite rightfully said that test cheating by adults harms students, but that harm pales in comparison with the harm done by teachers awarding fraudulent grades and conferring fraudulent high-school diplomas, particularly to black students. You say, "Williams, what do you mean by fraudulent diplomas?" When a student is given a high-school diploma, that attests that he can read, write and compute at a 12th-grade level, and when he can't do so at the eighth-grade level, that diploma is fraudulent. What makes it so tragic is that neither the student nor his parents are aware that he has a fraudulent diploma. When a black person is not admitted to college, flunks out of college, can't pass a civil service test or doesn't get job promotions, he is likelier to blame racial discrimination than his poor education.

Politicians, civil rights organizations and the education establishment will do nothing about the fraud. In fact, they give their full allegiance to the perpetrators.

2-16-14

 The Enduring Spirit of the Tea Parties

By Ben Carson

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The famous Boston Tea Party involved disgruntled colonists who felt unfairly treated by the British Motherland, which was imposing an ever-increasing burden of taxation with little or no input from those being taxed.

The British reasoned that they were offering protection to the colonies, and therefore the taxes were justified.

Because the British Empire was almost continuously expanding and engaging in warfare, a great deal of revenue was required. There appeared to be plentiful natural resources and the capacity to develop them in the New World, and the monarch thought these could provide an endless source of revenue.

There was no consideration of the fact that the colonists worked hard to sustain themselves and also wanted to accumulate enough wealth to provide for their later years and for their families.

Interestingly, the much-maligned tea party of today faces the same concerns as the brave pioneers of old. They are also concerned about government overreach with programs such as Obamacare, unnecessary and unlawful surveillance of citizens, blatant and unchecked abuse by the Internal Revenue Service, and government coverups and media complicity.

Neither the Boston Tea Party's participants nor supporters of the modern tea party objected to paying their fair share of taxes, but both witnessed an incessant escalation of government spending, which was always taken out of their hides.

The concept of cutting back on government expenditures was as foreign to the British as it is to our government today, which provides lip service but no meaningful action.

Why do so many members of the political class go to such great lengths to demonize the tea party?

It is not a sophisticated political organization. It consists of a loosely knit group of American citizens from many backgrounds who are not ready to relinquish the power of the people to the hands of government entities whose interests and values do not seem to coincide with theirs.

I think it is because certain politicians have forgotten that they work for us and not the other way around. These politicians are deeply offended by anyone who would dare challenge their "wisdom" and authority.

Recently, a prominent senator publicly spoke out in favor of efforts to crush groups such as the tea party, which is considered by those like him to be comprised of troublemakers, rather than agents of free speech.

This attitude has not been denounced by the Obama administration, and it is antithetical to the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, which were once regarded as precious in America.

As we approach the elections of 2014 and 2016, the tea party and all other groups who respect the Constitution and our Judeo-Christian heritage should put aside minor differences and issues that could be addressed later and present a united front of common sense to combat forces that wish to fundamentally change America.

These forces will make every attempt to magnify a host of social issues on which legitimate differences will always exist. Our entire social system is people-centric, rather than government-centric.

Those who truly understand this will not fall easy prey to those who wish to distract and divide them on these issues. We who think logically will not be shaken by those who say, "These are not minor issues." We realize that they are simply up to their old tricks in an attempt to maintain their power.

Unfortunately, they do not understand the consequences of their misguided ideological agendas of change. They either have refused to read the history books or have engaged in the rewriting of history. In either case, honest reappraisal will educate them to the fact that governmental dominance does not create productivity and prosperity on behalf of the people.

It is obvious that our God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are jeopardized in today's environment of overt deceit by high government officials and blatant disregard of our Constitution.

When those in power pick and choose the laws they wish to enforce and grant waivers and exemptions to their favored groups, it is clear we are moving away from the principles of fairness and equality that once characterized our nation.

When the president can change laws with the stroke of his pen or a phone call and not be challenged by the other branches of government or by the media, we are in dire straits.

The central question is this: Do you trust the future of your children and grandchildren to this kind of governing structure? Or do you trust those patriotic citizens who wish to preserve the liberties that were fought for by the early Tea Party patriots and by those in "the greatest generation" who stormed the beaches of Normandy in the face of fierce machine-gun fire?

These modern-day patriots are ordinary citizens who toil day-to-day to provide food, education and safety for our citizens. These are the people who fill the ranks of the tea party. They are not demons; they are defenders of freedom. They are you and me.

2-15-14
 
Gray Matter, the Stuff That Really Matters

By Ben Carson

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A few years ago, I was participating in a national radio interview when the questioner asked me, "Dr. Carson, I notice that you don't speak very often about race. Why is that?" I replied, "It's because I'm a neurosurgeon."

The puzzled look on her face demanded further clarification.

I proceeded to explain that when I take a patient to the operating room and open the cranium, exposing the brain, I am operating on the actual thing that makes that person who they are. The hair, scalp and skull bones are merely external coverings of the critical entity — the brain — that determines all of the most important things about us as human beings. We have a choice of concentrating on superficial characteristics, which mean little or nothing, or concentrating on the source of our humanity, our intellect, our personality and the content of our character.

A few weeks ago, during her television program on the Fox News Channel, Megyn Kelly made reference to the racial makeup of Jesus Christ and Santa Claus. She indicated that in American culture they are usually portrayed as Caucasian. This ignited a firestorm of protests and disagreement, as do many innocent remarks in today's hypersensitive culture. There was little discussion of who Jesus Christ was or his message, nor was there much reference to the symbolism of Santa Claus. Instead, accusations of racist tendencies were leveled.

In the Bible, many characters are described in some detail when it is relevant to the story being told. The fact that there is little or nothing describing the physical appearance of Jesus should serve as an indicator of the irrelevance of racial descriptions for someone with such an important mission.

Why do we in America, almost half a century after the death of Martin Luther King, still continue to make judgments based on the color of one's skin rather than the content of one's character? Those who seem most concerned about race are the so-called "progressives," some of whom claim that if we stop fanning the flames of racial injustice, we will return to the days when racial prejudice was acceptable.

This kind of pessimism is unwarranted, and we need to remember that a great deal of the racism of the past was based on total ignorance, which bred fear and hatred. Those wishing to maintain the unjust status quo were in no hurry to allow the truth to be revealed to whites or blacks about the other side, because such revelations would dispel myths and foster harmony. Thus, segregation and blissful ignorance were maintained at all costs. The fear and loathing that characterize the political atmosphere in America today are also based on ignorance.

Too many people are willing to listen to the inflammatory rhetoric of the dividers who happily toss out accusations of racism against critics of the president of the United States whenever they disagree with his policies. Rather than acting like third-graders and calling each other names, why not actually discuss the policies themselves? Why not have a discussion about the gigantic issues facing our society, such as whether we want the government to control our lives and the lives of everyone around us, as opposed to the original vision for this country of individual independence and self-determination?

Many do not want such discussions to take place, because people will be forced to actually think about their true beliefs, rather than being manipulated for the political purposes of others. If we are to thrive, we must be able to see the big-picture issues and not get bogged down with superficial, peripheral problems. The direction of our country is a very big deal, and if we don't have a serious discussion about it, the nature of our society will change by default.

I am very grateful that God gave us racial variety. Who would want to go to the Smithsonian's National Zoo if every animal were a Thomson's gazelle? Who would visit the national aquarium if every fish were a goldfish? Who would want to get up in the morning if everybody looked exactly like them?

In an episode of "The Twilight Zone" many years ago, a very beautiful and smart young woman was regarded as unsuitable for society. It was revealed at the end of the episode that everyone else was quite ugly, which, for that society, was the norm. They judged the woman harshly because her external appearance was different. Obviously, creator Rod Serling was ahead of his time with his social commentary.

Maybe 2014 will mark a new beginning, a time when we stop judging people based on superficial characteristics. We will know that America has made substantial social progress when black Americans are not expected to adhere to any particular political philosophy, just as white Americans do not have a prescribed political doctrine to which they must adhere. Fortunately, we get to choose whether we are going to use the magnificent gray matter that sits between our ears — as opposed to our skin color — to determine who we are and our course of action. 

2-14-14
 
Obamacare's war on jobs

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the ongoing saga of the Affordable Care Act, oddly referred to by Democrats as the law of the land even as it is amended at will by presidential fiat, we are beginning to understand the extent of its war on jobs.

First, the Congressional Budget Office triples its estimate of the drop in the workforce resulting from the disincentive introduced by Obamacare’s insurance subsidies: 2 million by 2017, 2.3 million by 2021.

Democratic talking points gamely defend this as a good thing because these jobs are being given up voluntarily. Nancy Pelosi spoke lyrically about how Obamacare subsidies will allow people to leave unfulfilling jobs to pursue their passions: “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”

Nothing so lyrical has been written about work since Marx (in “The German Ideology”) described a communist society that “makes it possible for me to . . . hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner.”

Pelosi’s vision is equally idyllic except for one thing: The taxes of the American factory worker — grinding away dutifully at his repetitive mind-numbing job — will be subsidizing the voluntary unemployment of the artiste in search of his muse. A rather paradoxical position for the party that poses as tribune of the working man.

In the reductio ad absurdum of entitlement liberalism, White House spokesman Jay Carney was similarly enthusiastic about this Obamacare-induced job loss. Why, Obamacare creates the “opportunity” that “allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, and if they will work.”

If they will work? Pre-Obama, people always had the right to quit work to tend full time to the study of butterflies. It’s a free country. The twist in the new liberal dispensation is that the butterfly guy is to be subsidized by the taxes of people who actually work.

In the traditional opportunity society, government provides the tools — education, training and various incentives — to achieve the dignity of work and its promise of self-improvement and social mobility. In the new opportunity society, you are given the opportunity for idleness while living parasitically off everyone else. Why those everyone elses should remain at their jobs — hey! I wanna dance, too! — is a puzzle Carney has yet to explain.

The honest liberal reply to the CBO report is that a disincentive to work is inherent in any means-tested government benefit. It’s the unavoidable price of helping those in need because for every new dollar you earn, you lose part of your subsidy and thus keep less and less of your nominal income.

That’s inevitable. And that’s why we have learned to tie welfare, for example, to a work requirement. Otherwise, beneficiaries could choose to live off the dole forever. That’s why the 1996 Gingrich-Clinton welfare reform succeeded in reducing welfare rolls by two-thirds. It is not surprising that the same Obama administration that has been weakening the work requirement for welfare is welcoming the disincentive to work inherent in Obamacare.

But Obamacare’s war on jobs goes beyond voluntary idleness. The administration is now conceding, inadvertently but unmistakably, Obamacare’s other effect — involuntary job loss. On Monday, the administration unilaterally postponed and weakened the employer mandate, already suspended through 2015, for yet another year.

But doesn’t this undermine the whole idea of universal health coverage? Of course it does, but Obamacare was so structured that it is crushing small business and killing jobs. It creates a major incentive for small businesses to cut back to under 50 employees to avoid the mandate. Your business becomes a 49er by either firing workers or reducing their hours to below 30 a week. Because that doesn’t count as full time, you escape both the employer mandate to buy health insurance and the fine for not doing so.

With the weakest recovery since World War II, historically high chronic unemployment and a shockingly low workforce participation rate, the administration correctly fears the economic consequences of its own law — and of the political fallout for Democrats as millions more Americans lose their jobs or are involuntarily reduced to part-time status.

Conservatives have been warning about this for five years. This is not rocket science. Both the voluntary and forced job losses were utterly predictable. Pelosi insisted we would have to pass the law to know what’s in it. Now we know.

2-13-14
 
Random Thoughts

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Random thoughts on the passing scene:

It is amazing how many people still fall for the argument that, if life is unfair, the answer is to turn more money and power over to politicians. Since life has always been unfair, for thousands of years and in countries around the world, where does that lead us?

I am so old that I can remember when sex was private. "Don't ask, don't tell" applied to everybody.

However fascinated the U.S. Supreme Court may be with the concept of "diversity," every one of the 9 justices has a degree from one of the 8 Ivy League institutions, out of the thousands of institutions of higher learning in this country. How diverse is that?

Despite the rhetoric, the goals or the intentions of the political left, the world they seek to create is a world where decisions are taken out of the hands of ordinary citizens and transferred to third parties. ObamaCare is the latest example of this trend, and can now join the long list of the "compassionate" catastrophes of the left.

It is fascinating to see academics full of indignation over the "exploitation" of low-wage workers by multinational corporations in Third World countries, when it is common on their own academic campuses to have young men get paid nothing at all for risking their health, and sometimes their lives, playing football that brings in millions of dollars to the college and often gets coaches paid higher salaries than the president of the college or university.

I don't happen to like the idea of "stop and frisk." However, I like even less the idea of armed hoodlums going around shooting people. Those who refuse to see that everything has a cost should be confronted with the question: "How many more young blacks are you willing to see shot dead, because you don't like 'stop and frisk'?"

If you think human beings are always rational, it becomes impossible to explain at least half of history.

The ancient Greeks understood that carrying any principle to extremes was dangerous. Yet, thousands of years later, some Western nations take tolerance to the extreme of tolerating intolerance among immigrants to their own societies. Some even make it illegal — a "hate crime" — to warn against intolerant foreigners who would like nothing better than to slit the throats of their hosts, but who will settle for planting a few bombs here and there.

How do the clever Beltway Republicans and their consultants explain how Ronald Reagan won two consecutive landslide election victories, doing the opposite of what they say is the only way for Republicans to win elections?

I don't know why it bothers me when I see a good-looking woman who could be truly beautiful if she only took the trouble. But I can recall a woman like that who was educated at Berkeley, and who apparently thought attention to her appearance was not hip. Unfortunately, her husband met another woman, who had not gone to Berkeley, and who did not have this inhibition — or many other inhibitions.

With his decision declaring ObamaCare constitutional, Chief Justice John Roberts turned what F.A. Hayek called "The Road to Serfdom" into a super highway. The government all but owns us now, and can order us to do pretty much whatever it wants us to do.

Anyone who wants to read one book that will help explain the international crises of our time should read "The Gathering Storm" by Winston Churchill. It is not about the Middle East or even about today. It is about the fatuous and irresponsible foreign policies of the 1930s that led to the most catastrophic war in human history. But you can recognize the same fecklessness today.

In a time of widespread disillusionment with both political parties, someone has noted that the only thing these parties say that is believed by the public are their accusations against each other.

Once, when I was teaching at an institution that bent over backward for foreign students, I was asked in class one day: "What is your policy toward foreign students?" My reply was: "To me, all students are the same. I treat them all the same and hold them all to the same standards." The next semester there was an organized boycott of my classes by foreign students. When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.

2-12-14
 
Republicans to the Rescue?

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Some supporters of President Obama may be worried about how he and the Democrats are going to fare politically, as the problems of ObamaCare continue to escalate, and it looks like the Republicans have a chance to win a majority in the Senate.

But Democrats may not need to worry so much. Republicans may once again come to the rescue of the Democrats, by discrediting themselves and snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory.

The latest bright idea among Republicans inside the Beltway is a new version of amnesty that is virtually certain to lose votes among the Republican base and is unlikely to gain many votes among the Hispanics that the Republican leadership is courting.

One of the enduring political mysteries is how the Republicans can be so successful in winning governorships and control of state legislatures, while failing to make much headway in Washington. Maybe there are just too many clever GOP consultants inside the Beltway.

When it comes to national elections, just what principles do the Republicans stand for? It is hard to think of any, other than their hoping to win elections by converting themselves into Democrats lite. But voters who want what the Democrats offer can vote for the real thing, rather than Johnny-come-lately imitations.

Listening to discussions of immigration laws and proposals to reform them is like listening to something out of "Alice in Wonderland."

Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them. One of the big problems that those who are pushing "comprehensive immigration reform" want solved is how to help people who came here illegally and are now "living in the shadows" as a result.

What about embezzlers or burglars who are "living in the shadows" in fear that someone will discover their crimes? Why not "reform" the laws against embezzlement or burglary, so that such people can also come out of the shadows?

Almost everyone seems to think that we need to solve the problem of the children of illegal immigrants, because these children are here "through no fault of their own." Do people who say that have any idea how many millions of children are living in dire poverty in India, Africa or other places "through no fault of their own," and would be better off living in the United States?

Do all children have some inherent right to live in America if they have done nothing wrong? If not, then why should the children of illegal immigrants have such a right?

More fundamentally, why do the American people not have a right to the protection that immigration laws provide people in other countries around the world — including Mexico, where illegal immigrants from other countries get no such special treatment as Mexico and its American supporters are demanding for illegal immigrants in the United States?

The very phrase "comprehensive" immigration reform is part of the bad faith that has surrounded immigration issues for decades. What "comprehensive" reform means is that border control and amnesty should be voted on together in Congress.

Why? Because that would be politically convenient for members of Congress, who like to be on both sides of issues, so as to minimize the backlash from the voting public. But what "comprehensive" immigration reform has always meant in practice is amnesty up front and a promise to control the border later — promises that have never been kept.

The new Republican proposal is to have some border control criteria whose fulfillment will automatically serve as a "trigger" to let the legalizing of illegal immigrants proceed. But why set up some automatic triggering device to signal that the borders are secure, when the Obama administration is virtually guaranteed to game the system, so that amnesty can proceed?

What in the world is wrong with Congress taking up border security first, as a separate issue, and later taking responsibility in a Congressional vote on whether the border has become secure? Congress at least should come out of the shadows.

The Republican plan for granting legalization up front, while withholding citizenship, is too clever by half. It is like saying that you can slide halfway down a slippery slope.

Republicans may yet rescue the Democrats, while demoralizing their own supporters and utterly failing the country.

2-11-14

 Socialism, Not Access to Care, Is Obama's Prize

By David Limbaugh

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Each passing day is more incriminating for President Obama's Obamacare, as the news is like a relentless prosecutor amassing evidence against a serial killer.

Yet the more evidence that rolls in condemning the president's "signature achievement" — wouldn't you love to have that albatross hung around your epitaph? — the more entrenched Obama becomes, making clear that his heart is not with the American people or their needs but stubbornly fixated on self. His singular goal is not to provide "affordable health care" but to slay those who are trying to take his "baby" away from him, with the deranged obsession of Captain Ahab.

The big ruse Obama and his henchmen manufactured to sell this sham in the first place was the myth that 50 million Americans were uninsured. (I won't go into the details again to prove how that was a deliberate fabrication.) That was deceitful enough, but their real hat trick was to conflate insurance coverage with affordable and quality care, which are not necessarily the same.

Bloomberg View columnist Lanhee Chen homes in on this very point, in opining why the Obamacare alternatives Republicans have offered have been ignored. Chen writes: "The main reason is that much of the mainstream media, as well as Democrats who support the law, isn't all that concerned about the affordability of health care. Instead, they have bought into a flawed thesis: that the only way to measure the alternatives is by counting the number of people they would insure."

I think she is half-right. They aren't concerned about affordability of health care. But most haven't bought into the flawed thesis; they are knowingly trying to promote it, in order to distort the important metrics in assessing our health care system: quality of care, access, cost and choice. They know that insurance coverage resonates well with focus groups, so they have foisted it onto the discussion as the primary yardstick. Obama's real focus with Obamacare, of course, is on none of these things. Rather, he knows that Obamacare is the best vehicle to drive this nation toward socialized medicine, which is the first destination on the trip to socialism writ large.

If it were otherwise, there is no way Obama would stick by his destructive baby monster as the daily evidence mounts to incriminate every single aspect of it in devastating detail. He would mercifully destroy it in the crib. Speaking of which — it's time for another Obamacare disaster update.

This is a representative sampling, in summary form, of the Obamacare news from the past few days:

The Wall Street Journal reports that insurers are facing pressure from regulators and lawmakers about Obamacare plans that offer limited choices of doctors and hospitals. Many of the top doctors aren't included. This goes to access, choice and quality of care, and it was wholly foreseeable.

The blog "Legal Insurrection" notes that "the reimbursement rates are so low for hospitals that even major research hospitals ... are refusing to participate in any of the state health exchange plans unless reimbursement rates are renegotiated."

Bloomberg reports that at least six states and counties from Maryland to Oregon are getting inmates coverage under Obamacare and its Medicaid expansion. Swell — more than $6.5 billion in annual state costs for treating prisoners will be shifted to the federal government.

The Hill reports that a National Small Business Association study found that a doubling of health care costs is preventing many companies from growing.

Columnist John Podhoretz details the "risible" counterattacks that desperate Obamacare supporters are making against those who have cited the Congressional Budget Office's finding that Obamacare will cause the equivalent of more than 2 million people losing their jobs.

Stateline, the daily news service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, alarmingly reports that medical identity theft has risen sharply and that Obamacare and legitimate concerns over its insecure website have "raised the stakes" and made this very serious matter even more of a concern.

The Washington Examiner reports, "There is strong new evidence to suggest the administration's claims (that more than 9 million Americans have signed up for coverage under Obamacare or Medicaid) are grossly exaggerated and deeply misleading." Great — just another major issue on which the administration is deceiving the American people.

The Los Angeles Times reveals that even after we are beyond some of the Obamacare website glitches and long waits to get signed up, "some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office. ... People are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business." Though these problems were predicted, their severity is taking patients and doctors by surprise and frustrating all involved.

I found those items in five minutes without looking very hard. Is there any doubt in your mind that Obama is really after something other than his stated goals for Obamacare? If so, I respectfully suggest that you consider wiping the scales from your eyes.


2-10-14

 Escaping the rat maze of the welfare state

By Jonah Goldberg

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week marks the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty," and as the joke goes, "Poverty won." Five decades after a blizzard of programs began descending on the American people, the poverty rate remains essentially unchanged.

That's a little unfair. What counts as poverty today would not have seemed so impoverished 50 years ago, when many of the poor lived without electricity and were no strangers to hunger. Today, the biggest health problems of the poor are more likely to stem from obesity than anything approaching starvation. Defenders of the war on poverty -- and the massive bureaucracy that has built up around it -- insist that underfunding is to blame.

That's a tough sell. The Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector estimates that we've spent $20 trillion on these programs -- not counting Medicare and Social Security. We spend $1 trillion to $2 trillion more every year, depending on how you do the math. But apparently for liberals, that's still too stingy. Perhaps the problem isn't how much we're spending, but how we're spending it.

If you drew a Venn diagram of where the hard left and the libertarian right agreed, the overlapping shaded part would include a bunch of social issues -- gay marriage, drug legalization, etc. -- but almost no economic issues. Save one: the Universal Basic Income.

The UBI is a pretty simple idea. Everyone gets a check from the government. (Actually, it's a little more complicated than that depending on how you implement it, but you get the idea.)

Charles Murray, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute and a legendary libertarian social scientist, wrote a wonderful book a few years ago, "In Our Hands," in which he proposed an annual grant from the federal government of $10,000 for every American over 21 who stayed out of jail and still had a pulse. He was building on arguments made by two titans of libertarianism, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, who also supported some version of a UBI.

On the left, the idea has been popular for generations as a way to instantaneously alleviate poverty and to defeat the ol' devil of income inequality.

So what's the catch? Why aren't we getting a fat check from Uncle Sam every month? Some cite the cost, which obviously would be hefty. But that's a secondary problem. The real sticking point is that the libertarian argument is largely an either/or proposition, while the left-wing version is a both/and deal. The libertarians want to liquidate much of the welfare state and convert it into cash payments. The left's version is that the money would, for the most part, augment the welfare state.

New York University professor Lawrence Mead identified the chief flaw with both the libertarian and left-wing approaches to fighting poverty, either through existing welfare programs or through a UBI: the "competence assumption." This is the presumption that the intended beneficiaries of government anti-poverty programs always "behave rationally enough to advance their own self-interest." We all know enough people in our own lives (never mind what we know about ourselves) to realize this isn't always the case. Lots of folks are determined to do things that aren't in their long-term self-interest.

The problems afflicting many poor people are often of their own making, at least in part. Having children before getting married, dropping out of high school, etc., are transparently bad choices that millions of people make. (Also, some anti-poverty programs create incentives that make bad decisions seem rational.) But many poor people have just had rotten luck. There's good reason to believe that, with a little help, they can work their way up the economic ladder. And for countless others, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

For 50 years, we've run a massive experiment around one approach: that bureaucrats and social planners can fix the lives of others by telling them how to live. For some it's worked, for others it's been an abject failure. But few can claim it's all been a smashing success.

Perhaps a compromise can be worked out. Why not give poor people a choice? They can stay within the rat maze of the current welfare state, or they can cash out. According to Rector, 100 million Americans receive aid from the government at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. Surely some of them are equipped to spend that money better than the government. Why not give them a shot at proving it? If they fail, they can always switch back to the old system. If they succeed, well, that'd be a real victory in the war on poverty.

2-9-14
 
'Tolerance' Now Means Government-Coerced Celebration

By Dennis Prager

   
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Jack Phillips owns the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., about 10 miles from downtown Denver. In July 2012, two gay men, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, asked Phillips to provide the cake for their wedding celebration. Though same-sex marriage is not allowed in Colorado — the Colorado Constitution states that "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state" — the two men had been married in Massachusetts.

As acknowledged by all parties, Phillips told the men, "I'll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don't make cakes for same-sex weddings."

Jack Phillips is an evangelical Christian, and his religion does not allow him to participate in same-sex marriages or celebrations of same-sex marriages.

In other words, Phillips made it clear from the outset that he does not discriminate based on the sexual orientation of a prospective customer. He will knowingly sell his products to any gay person who wishes to purchase his baked goods.

Nevertheless, Craig and Mullins went to the ACLU, which then sued Phillips. On Dec. 6, administrative law Judge Robert N. Spencer handed down his decision:

"The undisputed facts show that Respondents [Masterpiece Cakeshop] discriminated against Complainants [Craig and Mullins] because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage, in violation of ? 24-34-601(2), C.R.S."

The section of the C.R.S. (Colorado Revised Statutes) cited by Judge Spencer reads:

"It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of ... sexual orientation ... the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation."

Thus, under penalty of fines and, potentially, jail:

1. Jack Phillips must participate in an event that the Colorado constitution explicitly prohibits.

2. He must do so against deeply held religious convictions.

3. He must do so despite the fact that there are hundreds of other cake makers in the Denver area.

Those who support this decision argue that religious principles do not apply here: What if, for example, someone's religious principles prohibited interracial marriages? Should that individual be allowed to deny services to an interracial wedding?

Of course not.

Here's why that objection is irrelevant:

1. No religion practiced in America — indeed, no world religion — has ever banned interracial marriage. That some American Christians opposed interracial marriage is of no consequence. No one assumes that every position held by any member of a religion means that the religion holds that position.

2. If opposition to same-sex marriage is not a legitimately held religious conviction, there is no such thing as a legitimately held religious position. Unlike opposition to interracial marriage, opposition to same-sex marriage has been the position of every religion in recorded history — as well as of every country and every American state until the 21st century.

3. The Colorado baker made it clear to the gay couple — as acknowledged by the court — that he would be happy to bake and sell cakes to these gay men any other time they wanted. Therefore, he is not discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation. He readily sells to people he knows to be gay. What he is unwilling to do is to participate in an event that he opposes for legitimate religious reasons. Until, at the most, 10 years ago, no one would have imagined that a person could be forced to provide goods or services for a same-sex wedding.

4. If a baker refused on religious grounds to provide the wedding cake for a polygamous wedding, should the state force him to do so? If a baker refused to provide a cake to a heterosexual couple that was celebrating living together without getting married, should the state force him to?

Some years ago, Jonah Goldberg wrote a bestseller titled "Liberal Fascism." If you think that title is an exaggeration, read the book. Or just watch what liberals are doing to those who oppose same-sex marriage.

In the name of tolerance, the left is eroding liberty in America.
 

2-8-14

 Politics of Hate and Envy

By Walter Williams

   
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Part of the progressive agenda is to create hate and envy. One component of that agenda is to attack the large differences between a corporation's chief executive officer's earnings and those of its average worker. CNNMoney published salary comparisons in "Fortune 50 CEO pay vs. our salaries" (http://tinyurl.com/c2b24rv). Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf's annual salary is $2.8 million. CNN shows that it takes 66 Wells Fargo employees, whose average salary is $42,400, to match Stumpf's salary. It takes 57 Wal-Mart employees, who earn $22,100 on average, to match CEO Michael Duke's $1.3 million. At General Electric, 44 employees earning $75,300 a year match CEO Jeff Immelt's $3.3 million salary. For people with little understanding, such differences seem patently unfair. Before touching on the fairness issue, let's look at some high salaries that progressives ignore.

Forbes lists the "Highest-Paid Football Players 2013" (http://tinyurl.com/kw4dv3d). Drew Brees, quarterback for the Saints, earned $40 million. If the average Saints organization employee earned $45,000, it would take almost 900 of them to match Brees' salary. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady earned $31.3 million, and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant earns $23.5 million for playing basketball. It would take the earnings of more than 1,200 workers making $45,000 a year to match the earnings of Brady and Bryant.

But the "unfair" salaries of sports players pale in comparison with movie stars. According to Forbes' listing of the highest-paid actors (http://tinyurl.com/k3p8djs), Robert Downey Jr. earned $75 million from June 2012 to June 2013. Channing Tatum: $60 million. Hugh Jackman: $55 million. Let's suppose the cameraman working with Downey earned $60,000. It would take the salaries of 1,250 of them to equal his salary. Oprah Winfrey's 2012 salary came to $165 million, thousands of times what the earnings of people who work for her are.

Though sports and Hollywood personalities earn multiples of CEO salaries, you'll never find leftists and progressives picketing and criticizing them. Why? The strategy for want-to-be tyrants is to demonize people whose power they want to usurp. That's the typical way tyrants gain power. They give the masses someone to hate. In 18th-century France, it was Maximilien Robespierre's promoting hatred of the aristocracy that led to his acquiring dictatorial power. In the 20th century, the communists gained power by promoting public hatred of the czars and capitalists. In Germany, Adolf Hitler gained power by promoting hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks.

I'm not equating America's progressives and liberals with Robespierre, Josef Stalin and Hitler. I am saying that promoting jealousy, fear and hate is an effective strategy for leftist politicians and their followers to control and micromanage businesses. It's not about the amount of money top executives earn. If it were, politicians and leftists would be promoting jealousy, fear and hatred toward multi-multimillionaire Hollywood actors, celebrities and sports stars. But there is no way that politicians could usurp the roles of Drew Brees, Kobe Bryant, Robert Downey Jr. and Oprah Winfrey. That means celebrities can make any amount of money they want and it matters not one iota politically. Do you think President Barack Obama would stoke the fires of hate and envy by remarking that he thinks that "at a certain point, you've made enough money" — as he did in a 2010 Quincy, Ill., speech — in regard to the salaries of Winfrey, Brees and Hollywood celebrities?

Why the high salaries? Ask yourself: If a corporate board of directors could hire a person for $45,000 who could do what a CEO could do, why would they pay CEOs millions? If an NFL team owner could hire a person with the athletic ability and decision-making capacity of Drew Brees for $100,000, why would he pay Brees $40 million? If some other actor could have created as many box-office receipts, why would movie producers have paid Downey $75 million?

There's another important issue. If one company has an effective CEO, it is not the only company that would like to have him on the payroll. In order to keep him, the company must pay him enough so that he can't be lured elsewhere.

2-7-14
 
A bridge too far-fetched

By Ann Coulter

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | New Jersey governor Chris Christie deserves to be defended.

The gravamen of the media's case against Christie on Bridgegate seems to be that he is a "bully" -- which I painstakingly gleaned from the fact that the governor is called a "bully" 1 million times a night on MSNBC and in hundreds of blog postings and New York Times reports.

Christie is not a bully. If anything, he's a pansy, a man terrified of the liberal media, of Wall Street, of Silicon Valley, of Obama, of Bruce Springsteen, of Mark Zuckerberg, of Chuck Schumer. It's a good bet he's afraid of his own shadow. (In fairness, his shadow is probably pretty big and scary.) About the only thing Christie doesn't seem afraid of is the buffet at Sizzler.

Even Christie's defenders call him a bully, but in an admiring way. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly recently said of the governor: "One reason Mitt Romney lost to President Obama was that Governor Romney is too much of a gentleman. He apparently did not have the 'fire in the belly' to deliver a knockout blow. But Christie does and is therefore a threat to the Democratic Party."

O'Reilly thinks Christie would have gotten in Obama's face? (I mean other than for a quick make-out session with Obama during Hurricane Sandy?)

By sheer coincidence, that was Christie's job at the 2012 Republican National Convention. As the keynote speaker, it was his assignment to "deliver a knockout blow" to Obama.

Let's see how he did.

In Christie's entire gaseous convention speech, he talked about New Jersey (ad nauseam), his parents, his kids, his upbringing, every tedious detail of his tedious life -- "I coached our sons Andrew and Patrick on the fields of Mendham, and ... I watched with pride as our daughters Sarah and Bridget marched with their soccer teams in the Labor Day parade."

Just before I dozed off, I seem to remember Christie sharing his seven-layer dip recipe.

The guy whose role it was to attack the president mentioned Obama exactly one time. Once. And even then, not by name.

Here is Christie the Lion-Hearted taking the fight to Obama: "You see, Mr. President, real leaders do not follow polls. Real leaders change polls."

And that's how Christie bravely threw down the gauntlet to Obama on Benghazi, on Obamacare, on skyrocketing unemployment, on crony capitalism, on astronomical government spending and so on. He said: "Real leaders do not follow polls."

Accusing a politician of following polls is the biggest cliche in politics after "He's dividing us!" In Obama's case, it isn't even true. Would that he followed polls! If he did, we never would have gotten Obamacare.

Of course, there wasn't much time for Christie to talk about Obama, because the main theme of his convention speech was: Chris Christie, Augustus Corpulus.

He said "I" 37 times and "me" eight times, breaking Kim Kardashian's old record for a single tweet. He only mentioned our actual nominee (Mitt Romney) seven times -- in order to tell us how we were all going to have to sacrifice and make hard choices, and Romney was just the man to tell America the bad news and make us all suffer.

I suppose Christie considered it more than sufficient to announce that he, personally, supported Romney: "If you're willing to fight with me for Mitt Romney, I will fight with you."

He -- Chris Christie! -- supported Romney. What more could voters want?

It was as if Christie had sent his speech to MSNBC for pre-approval.

And it's not just one godawful speech. Christie's daily checklist appears to consist of two items: (1) Suck up to liberals. (2) Ask waiter for more bread.

After a 30-minute conversation with Sen. Chuck Schumer last fall, Christie capitulated to the Democrats' need for 30 million more voters by directing his temporary Senate appointee to vote for the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill. Schumer considered Christie so impotent that he immediately leaked the news that he had buffaloed Christie on amnesty in a single phone call.

The people amnesty helps are Democrats, who get multiple millions of new voters, and the soulless rich, who don't care about the country and don't care about the culture. They just want cheap labor.

Instead of standing up for the long-suffering middle class that is the backbone of the Republican Party -- much less the lower class lionized in so many Bruce Springsteen songs -- Christie sided with Silicon Valley billionaires and Wall Streeters on their servant problem, while also helping Democrats with their demographic problem.

A few months later, Christie doubled down on amnesty by granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens.

There isn't a wall high enough to stop illegal immigrants from sneaking across the border when the reward waiting on the other side is free health care, jobs, driver's licenses and college tuition subsidized by American taxpayers.

But at least Christie no longer has to lie awake at night wondering if Mark Zuckerberg will be his friend.

True, Christie yelled at a few public school teachers, but they richly deserved it.

Taking a page from John McCain, the main targets of Christie's wrath are his fellow Republicans. This has won him the respect of his most crucial constituency, liberal journalists, who have been precisely as loyal to him as they were to McCain.

If Christie looks guilty in Bridgegate, it's not because he's a "bully." It's because he believes lawbreaking is no big deal. Maybe he's hoping his BFF Obama will grant him amnesty.

2-6-14
   
The Inequality Bogeyman

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | During a recent lunch in a restaurant, someone complimented my wife on the perfume she was wearing. But I was wholly unaware that she was wearing perfume, even though we had been in a car together for about half an hour, driving to the restaurant.

My sense of smell is very poor. But there is one thing I can smell far better than most people — gas escaping. During my years of living on the Stanford University campus, and walking back and forth to work at my office, I more than once passed a faculty house and smelled gas escaping. When there was nobody home, I would leave a note, warning them.

When walking past the same house again a few days later, I could see where the utility company had been digging in the yard — and, after that, there was no more smell of gas escaping. But apparently the people who lived in these homes had not smelled anything.

These little episodes have much wider implications. Most of us are much better at some things than at others, and what we are good at can vary enormously from one person to another. Despite the preoccupation — if not obsession — of intellectuals with equality, we are all very unequal in what we do well and what we do badly.

It may not be innate, like a sense of smell, but differences in capabilities are inescapable, and they make a big difference in what and how much we can contribute to each other's economic and other well-being. If we all had the same capabilities and the same limitations, one individual's limitations would be the same as the limitations of the entire human species.

We are lucky that we are so different, so that the capabilities of many other people can cover our limitations.

One of the problems with so many discussions of income and wealth is that the intelligentsia are so obsessed with the money that people receive that they give little or no attention to what causes money to be paid to them, in the first place.

The money itself is not wealth. Otherwise the government could make us all rich just by printing more of it. From the standpoint of a society as a whole, money is just an artificial device to give us incentives to produce real things — goods and services.

Those goods and services are the real "wealth of nations," as Adam Smith titled his treatise on economics in the 18th century.

Yet when the intelligentsia discuss such things as the historic fortunes of people like John D. Rockefeller, they usually pay little — if any — attention to what it was that caused so many millions of people to voluntarily turn their individually modest sums of money over to Rockefeller, adding up to his vast fortune.

What Rockefeller did first to earn their money was find ways to bring down the cost of producing and distributing kerosene to a fraction of what it had been before his innovations. This profoundly changed the lives of millions of working people.

Before Rockefeller came along in the 19th century, the ancient saying, "The night cometh when no man can work" still applied. There were not yet electric lights, and burning kerosene for hours every night was not something that ordinary working people could afford. For many millions of people, there was little to do after dark, except go to bed.

Too many discussions of large fortunes attribute them to "greed" — as if wanting a lot of money is enough to cause other people to hand it over to you. It is a childish idea, when you stop and think about it — but who stops and thinks these days?

The transfer of money was a zero-sum process. What increased the wealth of society was Rockefeller's cheap kerosene that added hundreds of hours of light to people's lives annually.

Edison, Ford, the Wright brothers, and innumerable others also created unprecedented expansions of the lives of ordinary people. The individual fortunes represented a fraction of the wealth created.

Even those of us who create goods and services in more mundane ways receive income that may be very important to us, but it is what we create for others, with our widely varying capabilities, that is the real wealth of nations.

Intellectuals' obsession with income statistics — calling envy "social justice" — ignores vast differences in productivity that are far more fundamental to everyone's well-being. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg has ruined many economies.

2-5-14

 Obama Administration Mandates Racism in Schools

By Mona Charen

ucation and Justice have teamed up to make the lives of students in tough neighborhoods even tougher. Framed as a measure to combat discrimination against black and Hispanic children, the guidelines issued by the Obama administration about school discipline will actually encourage racial discrimination, undermine the learning environments of classrooms and contribute to an unjust race-consciousness in meting out discipline.

Claiming that African-American and Hispanic students are more harshly disciplined than whites for the same infractions, the Obama administration now advises that any disciplinary rule that results in a "disparate impact" on these groups will be challenged by the government.

"Disparate impact" analysis, as we've seen in employment law, does not require any intentional discrimination. It means, for example, that if an employer asks job seekers to take a test, and a larger percentage of one ethnic group fails the test than another, that the test is de facto discriminatory because it has a "disparate impact."

In the school context, the federal government is now arguing that if a disciplinary rule results in more black, Hispanic or special education kids being suspended or otherwise sanctioned, the rule must be suspect. The "Dear Colleague" letter explains that a disciplinary policy can be unlawful discrimination, even if the rule is "neutral on its face ... and is administered in an evenhanded manner," if it has a "disparate impact" on certain ethnic and other groups.

The inclusion of special education students is particularly perverse, as special ed students frequently get that designation because their emotional disturbances cause them to misbehave in various ways. So if a rule against, say, knocking over desks, is found to be violated more frequently by special ed than regular ed students, then the rule must be questioned? That's circular.

As the CATO Institute's Walter Olson notes, the federal guidelines pass over one example of disparate impact with no comment — namely the dramatically more males than females who face disciplinary action nationwide. If we are to judge a rule's lawfulness by the disparate impact on males, no rule would survive the inquiry. Is it possible that more boys misbehave in the classroom than girls? To ask this question is to venture into an area the federal government would have us avoid. Actual infractions by individuals are not the issue. We must have group justice, not individual justice.

We've actually been down this road many times before. Various state and federal agencies have raised concerns about the large numbers of black and Hispanic students facing disciplinary action. Such concerns helped to generate the rigid "zero tolerance" policies the administration now condemns. Zero tolerance is a brainless approach to a subject that requires considerable finesse and deliberation, but the disparate impact rule is even more pernicious.

Under the new dispensation, teachers, principals and other officials will have to pause before they discipline, say, the fourth black student in a month. "How will this look to the feds?" they'll ask themselves. Will the student's family be able to sue us? A variety of solutions to the federally created problem will present themselves. School officials can search out offenses by white and Asian students to make the numbers come out right. Asian students are disciplined at rates far below any other ethnic group. Is this due to pro-Asian bias in our schools, or is it because Asians commit many fewer infractions? Oops, there we go into territory forbidden by the federal guidelines.

Another solution will be to ignore misbehavior by blacks and Hispanics. For classes with large numbers of minority students, this guarantees that the learning environment for the kids who actually want to learn will be impaired as teachers — reluctant to remove troublesome students — expend precious time on kids who are rude, threatening, loud or otherwise disruptive. Every minute of the school day taken up by bad kids is taken away from good kids. It's a true zero-sum game.

So the Obama administration's pursuit of group justice actually leads to injustice to individual students. Whites and Asians will be disciplined more than they merit it by their conduct, and fewer students of all groups will get the kind of classroom atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Even the students who get a pass on their bad conduct are disserved, as they will not have learned that disrespectful language, tardiness and even violence are unacceptable in society.

Everyone loses. Obama strikes again.

2-4-14

 Obama and the Grievance Industry

By Mona Charen

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | From one point of view, President Barack Obama's invocation of the hoary "77 cents" myth regarding the relative earnings of women and men was a shallow and cheap political pander. Democrats, eager to maintain their advantage with women voters, stoke grievance. It's the same playbook they've used to solidify their standing with black voters — suggest whenever and wherever possible that Republicans are racists. It's crude, offensive and libelous — but effective.

Yet Obama fancies himself an intellectual. Campaigning against Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia, the president chastised the Republican for challenging climate change, saying, "It has to do with what's true. It has to do with facts. You don't argue with facts." Many in the press and in progressive circles regard this president as a bit of a thought leader.

So it's remarkable that he is willing to betray how out of touch he is with social science by peddling the decades-old and utterly outdated idea that our great challenge as a society is ensuring women equal pay for equal work. He could not be more dated if he were issuing calls to improve phonograph needles.

Conservatives like Christina Hoff Sommers, Charles Murray and Kay Hymowitz, have long been drawing attention to the declining fortunes of boys and men in American society. They have been joined recently by nonconservative scholars and researchers as well.

A paper by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology economists, "Wayward Sons," published by the center/left think tank Third Way, outlines the startling decline in the fortunes of moderately to poorly educated men over the past several decades. The title of the opening chapter is direct: "Women Gain Ground, Men Lose Ground." Starting with the cohort born in 1951, a gender gap in high school completion has opened up and continues to grow. More girls than boys are graduating from high school.

The college picture is even starker. Whereas the high school graduation rate for males has stagnated (while women's has improved), college attendance for males has declined while women have advanced. "Females born in 1975 were roughly 17 percent more likely than their male counterparts to attend college and nearly 23 percent more likely to complete a four-year degree." Young women are also more ambitious and have higher hopes for their futures than young men.

Much attention has focused on the decline of blue-collar jobs over the past several decades, and "Wayward Sons" duly acknowledges that the loss of low-skilled jobs to automation, globalization and de-unionization may have contributed to the notable decline in wages suffered by less educated men in the past several decades. But the puzzling fact is women with equivalent levels of education have not suffered the same income declines, nor have women's labor force participation rates declined as men's have. While men's wages have declined for all but the most educated since 1979, women's wages have increased for all but the least educated. Women's income gains have far outstripped men's at every level of education, particularly among college graduates ages 40 to 64.

"Wayward Sons" considers the possibilities — are women better at the tasks a highly information-rich economy rewards? Is the loss of brawny jobs to blame for men's falling labor force participation and declining earnings? Each theory gets a hearing.

At length, the authors come to the elephant in the room: the dramatic change in family structure since 1970. In that year, 69 percent of black men without a high school diploma were married. By 2010, only 17 percent were. The marriage rate among non-college attending whites and Hispanics has declined precipitously as well.

The link between family composition and child welfare is well-established. What "Wayward Sons" adds is data on the differentially harmful effects of fatherlessness on sons versus daughters. "Growing up in a single-parent home appears to significantly decrease the probability of college attendance for boys, yet has no similar effect for girls." Boys from such homes "are 25 percentage points more likely to be suspended in the eighth grade than girls from these households, whereas the corresponding gender gap between boys and girls from households with two biological parents was only 10 percentage points."

A vicious cycle is clearly underway. Poorly educated women do not find marriageable mates among low-earning or jobless young men. Women then raise children alone and handicap their sons more than their daughters, and the cycle repeats itself.

The collapse of the marriage culture is arguably the "defining issue of our time." Neither men nor women thrive without marriage, but men and boys seem to suffer more. Fatherlessness is driving income inequality, child poverty and declining mobility. But Obama is manning the barricades on "equal pay for equal work" — a matter addressed by Congress in 1963.

2-3-14
 
Ted Cruz, the GOP's Obama

By Jonah Goldberg


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ted Cruz is no Joe McCarthy, as so many liberals bizarrely claim. But he might be the conservative Barack Obama.

The charge that he's the new McCarthy is something of a compliment from liberals. It means they don't like him, can't really explain why and need to demonize him instead. In other words, he must be doing something right.

For conservatives, the comparison to Obama probably stings more than the McCarthyite smear.

But think about it. Both men have impeccable educational credentials. Obama went to Occidental College, transferred to Columbia University and got his law degree from Harvard. Cruz went to Princeton University, where he was a national champion debater, and got a law degree from Harvard. Cruz's legal career was objectively more impressive than Obama's. He clerked on the appellate court and for Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the Supreme Court. He held numerous prestigious jobs in and out of government. Like Obama, he taught law, but Cruz was also the solicitor general of Texas and argued before the Supreme Court nine times.

National Review editor Rich Lowry identified one plausible source of elite liberal hatred for Cruz: betrayal. "Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2009 H.W. Brands biography of FDR, a traitor to his class." (I hate to correct my boss, but Brands didn't coin that phrase).

What liberals hate in Cruz, they love in Obama: a product of an elite education who confirms all their feelings of superiority. Obama took the desiccated ideas of campus liberalism and made them seem vibrant, stylish and even populist.

There are other similarities. But the most relevant one comes in their similar approach to politics (not political philosophy, where they are light years apart).

Both landed in the U.S. Senate, running with larger ambitions in mind and promising to be unstinting champions of their party's principles. Moreover, both grasp that historically the Senate whittles away presidential timber. Like John F. Kennedy, Obama was there just long enough to run for president. And while Obama was there, his chief goal was burnishing his presidential image, not racking up legislative accomplishments. Cruz has been a senator for eight months, and he already looks like a presidential contender

In 2012, Obama said the "most important lesson" of his first term was that "you can't change Washington from the inside." You need populist pressure from the outside. This was an odd claim on two counts. First, it's not true. His signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, was an entirely inside affair, an ugly partisan one involving mercenary horse-trading and countless backroom deals with industry and unions. Second, Obama, the community organizer, always believed salvation lay in organizing a movement. It was the premise at the heart of his 2008 campaign in which he told adoring throngs, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." It says something about Obama's arrogance that his biggest lesson from his first term was that he was right all along.

Still, this conviction led Obama to turn his presidential campaign into a private political army intended to rally his base for his legislative agenda. That effort has failed utterly. Organizing for Action couldn't even organize a congressional vote on gun control, never mind a win.

Cruz's fight to defund Obamacare rests on a similar outsider approach using the Tea Party and allied groups. As he recently told radio host Hugh Hewitt, "The strategy on this all along has been directed not towards Washington but towards the American people. It has been directed towards building a grassroots tsunami."

If Cruz's effort fails -- and I fear it will -- it will be for the same reasons that Obama's second term has been such a legislative dud. The way you bring change to Washington is through elections. After the elections, change comes from the unsightly process of consensus-building (aka sausage-making). Both Cruz and Obama have shown little interest in that approach.

Of course, there are huge differences between Obama and Cruz -- the most important is that they have completely divergent philosophies. That matters most, but it isn't everything. The inside game matters too. Cruz likes pointing out Obama's failures; he should also learn from them.

2-2-14
 
Fact-Free Liberals: Part IV

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | One of the things that attracted me to the political left, as a young man, was a belief that leftists were for "the people." Fortunately, I was also very interested in the history of ideas — and years of research in that field repeatedly brought out the inescapable fact that many leading thinkers on the left had only contempt for "the people."

That has been true from the 18th century to the present moment. Even more surprising, I discovered over the years that leading thinkers on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum had more respect for ordinary people than people on the left who spoke in their name.

Leftists like Rousseau, Condorcet or William Godwin in the 18th century, Karl Marx in the 19th century or Fabian socialists like George Bernard Shaw in England and American Progressives in the 20th century saw the people in a role much like that of sheep, and saw themselves as their shepherds.

Another disturbing pattern turned up that is also with us to the present moment. From the 18th century to today, many leading thinkers on the left have regarded those who disagree with them as being not merely factually wrong but morally repugnant. And again, this pattern is far less often found among those on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum.

The visceral hostility toward Sarah Palin by present day liberals, and the gutter level to which some descend in expressing it, is just one sign of a mindset on the left that goes back more than two centuries.

T.R. Malthus was the target of such hostility in the 18th and early 19th centuries. When replying to his critics, Malthus said, "I cannot doubt the talents of such men as Godwin and Condorcet. I am unwilling to doubt their candor."

But William Godwin's vision of Malthus was very different. He called Malthus "malignant," questioned "the humanity of the man," and said "I profess myself at a loss to conceive of what earth the man was made."

This asymmetry in responses to people with different opinions has been too persistent, for too many years, to be just a matter of individual personality differences.

Although Charles Murray has been a major critic of the welfare state and of the assumptions behind it, he recalled that before writing his landmark book, "Losing Ground," he had been "working for years with people who ran social programs at street level, and knew the overwhelming majority of them to be good people trying hard to help."

Can you think of anyone on the left who has described Charles Murray as "a good person trying hard to help"? He has been repeatedly denounced as virtually the devil incarnate — far more often than anyone has tried seriously to refute his facts.

Such treatment is not reserved solely for Murray. Liberal writer Andrew Hacker spoke more sweepingly when he said, "conservatives don't really care whether black Americans are happy or unhappy."

Even in the midst of an election campaign against the British Labour Party, when Winston Churchill said that there would be dire consequences if his opponents won, he said that this was because "they do not see where their theories are leading them."

But, in an earlier campaign, Churchill's opponent said that he looked upon Churchill "as such a personal force for evil that I would take up the fight against him with a whole heart."

Examples of this asymmetry between those on opposite sides of the ideological divide could be multiplied almost without limit. It is not solely a matter of individual personality differences.

The vision of the left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves — a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create "social justice" and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalting vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues — and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.


2-1-14

 School Choice and Common Core: Mortal Enemies

By Michelle Malkin


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The freedom-enhancing, life-improving power of school choice is more than a theory for me. It's more than a talking points memo or teleprompter speech. Unlike many of the politicians paying lip service to National School Choice Week this week, the issue of expanding educational opportunity and freedom for all is something I live, breathe, practice and witness every day.

My mother was a public school teacher who taught in a majority-minority district in New Jersey for more than two decades. She and my father worked hard to put their own children in a mix of public and private Catholic schools. My own two children have been enrolled in private schools, religious schools and public schools. After a great deal of research, we moved from the East Coast to Colorado to escape the corrupted, dumbed-down curriculum of an overpriced private girls' school.

Life lesson: It's not just government schools that are the problem. Many supposedly "elite" schools indulge in the senseless pedagogical fads that infect monopoly public schools.

Every family in America deserves maximized, customized choices in education. It is the ultimate key to closing that "income inequality" gap the politicos are always gabbling about. Yet, the White House and Democrats beholden to public school unions and their money are the ones blocking the school choice door.

We were blessed to find a community of parents and public school educators in Colorado Springs who embrace high standards, academic excellence and strong character education for students of every race, creed and class. Competition in the secondary-school marketplace provided a desperately needed alternative for educational consumers who wanted more and better for their kids.

For the past four years, our kids, now 13 and 10, attended a high-achieving public charter school that caters to a truly diverse student body.

Our 13-year-old is now in 8th grade at the charter school. This year, we opted to homeschool our youngest. We cobbled together a 5th-grade curriculum with excellent materials from the Calvert homeschool series, Memoria Press and classic Saxon Math. Another nearby public charter school offers a homeschool collective once a week.

Family participation is not an afterthought. It's the engine that drives everything. The dedicated parents, grandparents, foster parents and legal guardians I've met in the charter school movement and homeschooling community see themselves as their children's primary educational providers. Not the U.S. Department of Education. Not the White House. Not GOP politicians cashing in on top-down "education reform."

After several years of educational satisfaction, however, we've encountered another sobering life lesson: There is no escape, no foolproof sanctuary, from the reach of meddling Fed Ed bureaucrats and cash-hungry special interests who think they know what's best for our kids.

Big-government Republicans such as Jeb Bush and flip-flopping Mike Huckabee pay lip service to increasing school choice and supporting charter schools, private schools and homeschooling. Yet, they have been among the loudest GOP peddlers of the Common Core "standards"/textbook/testing/data collection regime thrust upon schools who want nothing to do with it.

"Alignment" with the new regime means mediocrity, mandates, privacy invasions and encroachments on local control and educational sovereignty. I've seen it in my daughter's polluted math curriculum. We are not alone. The threat is not just in one subject. It's systemic.

Derek Anderson, principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colo., wrote to me last fall about the existential threat his charter school faces. "Ridgeview Classical Schools is a K-12 charter school that offers a classical liberal arts education to approximately 800 students. We were established in 2001, and we have generally been one of the top three schools in Colorado since opening," he said. "Our most significant issue with Common Core and the PARCC exams is that we feel we will lose the autonomy and other protections granted to us when Colorado adopted its Charter Schools Act in 1994."

As I've noted, PARCC is the behemoth, federally funded testing consortium (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) that raked in $186 million through President Obama's Race to the Top program to develop nationalized tests "aligned" to the top-down Common Core program. Anderson and informed administrators, educators and parents like him understand: "PARCC is truly the enforcement mechanism that will coerce schools into adopting the Common Core curriculum. We cannot do this. It is entirely against the mission and philosophy of our school." It is, in short, sabotage. Anderson calls it an "almost existential dilemma. Our mission and philosophy are irreconcilable with Common Core's."

Homeschool mom of six and blogger Karen Braun of Michigan sees the threat to her choice, too. Her trenchant message: "True school choice allows a parent to choose any school that meets their child's needs, not just those that adopt Common Core State standards and assessments."

No fully funded school voucher system in the world can improve the educational experience if Fed Ed controls the classroom and homeschool room. Coerced conformity kills choice.

1-31-14

 Fact-Free Liberals: Part III

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Since this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the "war on poverty," we can expect many comments and commemorations of this landmark legislation in the development of the American welfare state.

The actual signing of the "war on poverty" legislation took place in August 1964, so the 50th anniversary is some months away. But there have already been statements in the media and in politics proclaiming that this vast and costly array of anti-poverty programs "worked."

Of course everything "works" by sufficiently low standards, and everything "fails" by sufficiently high standards. The real question is: What did the "war on poverty" set out to do — and how well did it do it, if at all?

Without some idea of what a person or a program is trying to do, there is no way to know whether what actually happened represented a success or a failure. When the hard facts show that a policy has failed, nothing is easier for its defenders than to make up a new set of criteria, by which it can be said to have succeeded.

That has in fact been what happened with the "war on poverty."

Both President John F. Kennedy, who launched the proposal for a "war on poverty" and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, who guided the legislation through Congress and then signed it into law, were very explicit as to what the "war on poverty" was intended to accomplish.

Its mission was not simply to prove that spending money on the poor led to some economic benefits to the poor. Nobody ever doubted that. How could they?

What the war on poverty was intended to end was mass dependency on government. President Kennedy said, "We must find ways of returning far more of our dependent people to independence."

The same theme was repeated endlessly by President Johnson. The purpose of the "war on poverty," he said, was to make "taxpayers out of taxeaters." Its slogan was "Give a hand up, not a handout." When Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation into law, he declared: "The days of the dole in our country are numbered."

Now, 50 years and trillions of dollars later, it is painfully clear that there is more dependency than ever.

Ironically, dependency on government to raise people above the poverty line had been going down for years before the "war on poverty" began. The hard facts showed that the number of people who lived below the official poverty line had been declining since 1960, and was only half of what it had been in 1950.

On the more fundamental question of dependency, the facts were even clearer. The proportion of people whose earnings put them below the poverty level — without counting government benefits — declined by about one-third from 1950 to 1965.

All this was happening before the "war on poverty" went into effect — and all these trends reversed after it went into effect.

Nor was this pattern unique. Other beneficial social trends that were going on before the 1960s reversed after other bright ideas of that decade were put into effect.

Massive "sex education" programs were put into schools, claiming that this was urgently needed to reduce a "crisis" of teenage pregnancies and venereal diseases. But teenage pregnancies and venereal diseases had both been going down for years.

The rate of infection for gonorrhea, for example, declined every year from 1950 through 1959, and the rate of syphilis infection was, by 1960, less than half of what it had been in 1950. Both trends reversed and skyrocketed after "sex education" became pervasive.

The murder rate had been going down for decades, and in 1960 was only half of what it had been in 1934. That trend suddenly reversed after the liberal changes in criminal laws during the 1960s. By 1974, the murder rate was more than twice as high as it had been in 1961.

While the fact-free liberals celebrate the "war on poverty" and other bright ideas of the 1960s, we are trying to cope with yet another "reform" that has made matters worse, ObamaCare.


1-30-14


 Imperial, Lawless Obama Threatens More Unilateral Action

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week, once again, we heard President Obama defiantly pronounce that he has no intention of letting a little thing like constitutional checks and balances get in his way and interrupt his royal prerogative.

"We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we're providing Americans the kind of help that they need," said Obama. "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone."

What other president has ever talked like this?

I thought Democrats had an aversion to "unilateral" executive action. Wasn't one of their pet peeves against President George W. Bush that he acted unilaterally in attacking Iraq? Never mind that this was a complete fabrication, in that Bush assembled the largest coalition of nations he could to join us in the effort.

Oh, this is different, you say, because Bush was allegedly acting unilaterally on the international stage? Well, apart from the fact that he wasn't, why should that bother liberals more than a president's acting unilaterally on domestic issues?

I'll tell you why: Liberals are more concerned about whether leftist foreign governments like us than they are about whether a president is acting within the scope of his constitutional authority.

In Bush's case, even if the false allegations that he was "going it alone" had been true, he secured a joint resolution of Congress before commencing "shock and awe."

Before contrasting Bush's actions on foreign policy with Obama's on domestic policy, let's recall how Obama operated in a comparable foreign policy situation. When he decided — unilaterally — to take military action in Libya, he did not even bother to consult Congress, much less get its approval, before initiating his intervention. He was in constant contact with his fellow leftists at the United Nations, however, consistent with his desire to please foreign leaders above complying with the Constitution.

For all of Obama's bellyaching during the 2008 presidential campaign about how much the United States was hated in the world by Muslims and non-Muslims alike under Bush, Obama has made things worse across the board.

How's that "reset" with Russia going, President Obama? Tell us again the juicy details of how you've incapacitated al-Qaida as it gobbles up formerly won cities in Iraq. Explain how our growing unpopularity in the Muslim world squares with your arrogant promise to heal those relations. Fill us in on the Saudi government's outright distrust of your administration. How about Britain? Germany? Israel?

Returning to the domestic front, Obama is continuing the pattern he has established throughout his time in office. In my first Obama book, "Crimes Against Liberty," I wrote, "The full strategy of using executive orders to circumvent Congress became clear following Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts" because much of his agenda remained stalled in Congress. "The New York Times reported Obama was planning on 'an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities.'" Obama proceeded to act unilaterally to create a bipartisan budget commission, to reverse the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and on a host of environmental regulations when Congress wouldn't pass his farcical cap-and-trade legislation, to name a few.

In my second Obama book, "The Great Destroyer," I related Obama's insolent threats to take executive action in his "next two years." "What I'm not gonna do is wait for Congress," he proclaimed in an interview on "60 Minutes."

This wasn't an idle threat. When the Senate wouldn't confirm his appointee to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established by Dodd-Frank, he carved out a "special advisory role" and appointed anti-capitalist Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren to serve temporarily. Then, when the Senate balked on confirming Richard Cordray to head the CFPB, he took the unprecedented step of exercising the recess appointments power when the Senate was technically still in session.

When a federal judge struck down Obama's executive order forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, his National Institutes of Health essentially told researchers they could disregard the court's ruling.

It would take me thousands of words to describe the other unconstitutional actions he's taken, from his executive orders to facilitate "stealth land grabs" to his orders on offshore drilling to his 19 executive actions on gun control to his outrageous executive action to do an end run around Congress' failure to pass the DREAM Act — and on and on.

Obama is simply a lawless president who regards his own counsel higher than his duty to obey the Constitution. He believes that advancing his political agenda justifies ignoring clear limitations on his power.

In rationalizing these imperial outrages, Obama tells us that he is going to provide the American people with the help they need — as if he is the sole arbiter of that, as if Congress is a potted plant and as if the Supreme Court is either impotent or a rubber stamp.

Obama's overreaches would be just as outrageous if he were providing Americans with what we need, but he is doing the opposite as he is systematically destroying the country.

What a nightmare!


1-29-14

 Obamanomics Is Killing Jobs; GOP Fiddles

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If it weren't for a shamelessly dishonest, hyper-protective liberal media, the American people would know, unanimously and without doubt, that Obamanomics is killing American jobs. There is no silver lining in the December jobs numbers.

Experts and analysts were expecting this latest jobs report, released Friday, to show 200,000 new payroll jobs in December, but there were only 74,000, which is 37 percent of the goal. Not 90 percent, not 80, not 70, not even 50 percent. Just 37 percent.

If these abominable numbers had occurred under George W. Bush's watch, the GOP would have had hell to pay for decades. But liberal presidents always get a pass in the form of wildly far-fetched excuses and rationalizations for their failed policies.

Attentive minds, however, will not be fooled. As the liberal media live by the dishonest rationalization, so they must die by it, as well. With the help of sympathetic economists, they have been whitewashing Obama's perennially anemic economy as being in "recovery" for 52 months now.

"Recovery" is supposedly an economic term of art indicating that economic conditions are improving at an acceptable pace, but if professional economists insist that their discipline requires them to describe what we've seen the past 52 months as a "recovery," then the term is meaningless. But it gives cover to Obama's media enablers — and, of course, to Obama. After all, if we have been in a recovery for almost all of Obama's tenure, doesn't that mean that he long ago lost the right to credibly claim that this "mess" is Bush's fault? Here again, his media megaphones have done his dirty work.

Those who insist on calling what we're seeing now a recovery should be aware that we're aware that 74,000 jobs are not even enough to keep up with America's population growth. They should also know that we know that more than four years into this "recovery," some 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks, which is almost twice the number we saw at the worst point of the most recent recession.

Now let me tell you about the other "shoe" of this story, which we are not waiting to be dropped — because it has already dropped with a resounding thud. Though the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.5 percent to 6.7 percent in this glorious 52-month period, 100 percent of this decline — not 90 percent, not 80, not 70, not 50, not 37 percent but every single molecule of it — was the result not of a growing job market but of 7.4 million potential workers leaving the workforce.

That's right; under Obama's "hope and change," 7.4 million people have simply lost hope and quit looking for work. Last month alone, 347,000 workers dropped out of the labor force. We have the lowest labor participation rate in 36 years.

Now take off that shoe and examine the dirty sock. If we adjust Obama's numbers to the labor force participation rate when the evil Bush left office, the unemployment rate has actually increased, from 9.7 percent to 10.9 percent, during Obama's blockbuster recovery.

Next, we anticipate two more shoes falling in the relatively near future that could have a substantially negative impact on the jobs market. Actually, it would be more accurate to describe them as heavy boots.

First, we have the ravages of Obamacare and what it is doing to destroy jobs by increasing the costs and risks of employing people and injecting untold uncertainty into the entire economy. Second, we will experience the continued assault on jobs by the compassionate left's (and feckless right's) extension of unemployment benefits.

Let's face it. Even though the liberal media have eventually been forced to reveal the dark side of Obama's jobs numbers, they are not going to be quick to tell you about the uncompassionate side of the ruling class's endless extension of unemployment benefits. And the Obama administration, which is interested far more in redistributing America's income than in improving the jobs picture, will never mention it.

So couldn't we beleaguered, constantly maligned-as-extremist conservatives expect that the political party that supposedly represents our principles, the GOP, could bring to the public's attention that what may masquerade as compassion in the short term is anything but compassion in the long term? That extending unemployment benefits would ultimately destroy American jobs? There's little serious debate about this.

Why can't Republican Party leaders get on the horn and tell the American people that what we need is not extending unemployment benefits ad infinitum but an end to Obama's growth-suppressing policies of increased spending, taxes, regulations and Obamacare?

Is it really that hard for Republicans to articulate the message of economic growth instead of offering liberal-compassion lite?

Or does the party establishment even believe in this message — in its platform — anymore? Inquiring minds are entitled to know.


1-28-14

 Thank these Republicans for ObamaCare

By Ann Coulter


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We have Obamacare for one reason and one reason only: For a brief, ghoulish period in recent history, Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

We don't have Obamacare because the public was clamoring for it. We have it because Republicans lost elections.

First, Republicans lost their majorities in the House and the Senate in 2006, thanks to George W. Bush's highly effective "Keep the Base at Home on Election Day" campaign, which consisted of pushing amnesty for illegal aliens.

Then in 2008, Republicans had the bright idea to run crazy-eyed crypt-keeper John McCain for president.

McCain supported: amnesty (until he needed our votes), retroactive Social Security benefits for illegal aliens, free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws, crackpot global warming legislation, criminal trials for terrorists and stem-cell research on human embryos.

He opposed: the Bush tax cuts, a marriage amendment to the Constitution, waterboarding terrorists and drilling in Alaska. Oh, also, he called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "dishonest and dishonorable." As suggested by the subtitle, all this is covered in Never Trust a Liberal Over Three-Especially a Republican.

As a consequence, Democrats won the presidency, as well as huge majorities in Congress. The last time Democrats had controlled the presidency, the House and the Senate was 16 years earlier, back in 1993. Remember what they did back then? The very first thing? (No, Clinton masturbating on an intern came later.) That's right: They tried to pass Hillarycare.

Hillarycare went down in humiliating defeat, so the Democrats patiently waited nearly two decades for the stars to be aligned again. Then, the very next time they had the presidency, the House and Senate, they went right back to national health care. (Notice that, in neither instance, was public opinion involved.)

If an alien landed and asked why America has Obamacare when most people hate it, we'd have to say: Because the Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate.

The Democrats' policy is: We vote and vote and vote, until it finally comes out their way, then we never vote again. This, too, is detailed in Never Trust a Liberal Over Three.

That's why the moment this greased-through, widely detested law was enacted, liberals began hailing it as the "law of the land." How dare you question "settled law"? Are you unpatriotic?

Democrats would never have been in a position to pass Obamacare if both sides of the Republican Party hadn't helped them win elections. The establishment Republicans screwed over our party with their greed, incompetence and lassitude, and the conservative purists screwed our party by running candidates who could not possibly win.

True, the tea party also gave us the majestic Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson, among a few other improvements. But was Dick Lugar really the biggest problem in the U.S. Senate? Wasn't Claire McCaskill a bigger problem?

And why are so many conservatives today burbling about the alleged deficiencies of Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell -- while ignoring the actual crimes of Democratic senators like Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, Mark Pryor from Arkansas and Mark Begich from Alaska?

All those Democrats voted for Obamacare -- and they're all up for election next year in states that could easily go Republican. If any one of these senators had voted "no" on Obamacare, it would not be law.

By contrast, McConnell not only voted against Obamacare, but presided over a Senate minority in which every single Republican voted against Obamacare, even that idiot McCain. Kentucky only seems like a red state because McConnell keeps winning elections there: It went for Clinton twice and has had a solid run of Democratic governors since 1947, interrupted by one-term Republican governors only twice in 66 years.

But McConnell is in hot water with Kentucky's "9/12 Project" -- a group with enough marketing savvy to have a name that no one understands.

The project's executive director, Eric Wilson, is hopping mad with McConnell because, when given a choice between raising taxes on all Americans or raising taxes only on those individuals making more than $400,000 a year, he chose to raise taxes only on the high earners.

It's the easiest thing in the world to be a purist, denouncing everyone else as a sellout and hack, while other people do the hard work of getting elected in blue states and preventing even rotten Republicans from voting for Obamacare. You want McConnell to stop all tax hikes? Give him a majority in the Senate.

Al Franken's Senate seat is another one that should be on Republicans' radar. He stole the 2008 election in Minnesota, going from a thousand votes down the day after the election to 300 votes up a few months later, after vast numbers of Franken votes kept being discovered in heavily Democratic districts. As economist John Lott pointed out at the time, the magically appearing votes for Franken were a statistical impossibility.

Obamacare could not have passed without the Democrats' prodigious vote theft in Franken's 2008 election. But if the Republican candidate had won, some conservatives would now be trying to take out moderate Republican Norm Coleman for being a "RINO." The far-left Democrat won, so conservatives can't be bothered to find someone to beat him.

The inability to distinguish Coleman and McConnell -- and whomever else the conservative purists have in their maw -- from Obamacare-ratifying Democrats is as insane as the left's inability to distinguish Saddam's rape rooms from the shortage of female CEOs in the U.S. Three and a half years after Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote, anyone who can't see a difference between the parties should be institutionalized.

There are some fantastic congressmen who could beat Franken in 2014, such as Rep. John Kline. But liberals are counting on tea party activists to insist on running someone who can't win.

Let me introduce you to Marianne Stebbins, a Ron Paul fan who helped lose the 2012 Senate election in Minnesota with a libertarian candidate, who lost to the Democrat 31 percent to 65 percent. She thinks the fight within the Republican Party is "frankly ... probably a more important debate than the one going on between the Republicans and the Democrats."

When your new health insurance premiums arrive in the mail, and you can't find a doctor in your plan who speaks English, tell me the fight between Republicans and Democrats is not that important.

1-27-14
 
GOP crafts plan to wreck the country, lose voters

By Ann Coulter


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As House Republicans prepare to sell out the country on immigration this week, Phyllis Schlafly has produced a stunning report on how immigration is changing the country. The report is still embargoed, but someone slipped me a copy, and it's too important to wait.

Leave aside the harm cheap labor being dumped on the country does to the millions of unemployed Americans. What does it mean for the Republican Party?

Citing surveys from the Pew Research Center, the Pew Hispanic Center, Gallup, NBC News, Harris polling, the Annenberg Policy Center, Latino Decisions, the Center for Immigration Studies and the Hudson Institute, Schlafly's report overwhelmingly demonstrates that merely continuing our current immigration policies spells doom for the Republican Party.

Immigrants -- all immigrants -- have always been the bulwark of the Democratic Party. For one thing, recent arrivals tend to be poor and in need of government assistance. Also, they're coming from societies that are far more left-wing than our own. History shows that, rather than fleeing those policies, they bring their cultures with them. (Look at what New Yorkers did to Vermont.)

This is not a secret. For at least a century, there's never been a period when a majority of immigrants weren't Democrats.

At the current accelerated rate of immigration -- 1.1 million new immigrants every year -- Republicans will be a fringe party in about a decade.

Thanks to endless polling, we have a pretty good idea of what most immigrants believe.

According to a Harris poll, 81 percent of native-born citizens think the schools should teach students to be proud of being American. Only 50 percent of naturalized U.S. citizens do.

While 67 percent of native-born Americans believe our Constitution is a higher legal authority than international law, only 37 percent of naturalized citizens agree.

No wonder they vote 2-1 for the Democrats.

The two largest immigrant groups, Hispanics and Asians, have little in common economically, culturally or historically. But they both overwhelmingly support big government, Obamacare, affirmative action and gun control.

According the 2012 National Asian American Survey, as well as a Kaiser Foundation poll, only 40 percent of the general public holds a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 42 percent unfavorable. Meanwhile, 51 percent of Asians have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 18 percent an unfavorable one. Even Koreans support Obamacare by 57 percent to 17 percent.

Overall, 69 percent of immigrants like Obamacare, according to a 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study.

That same survey showed that only 35 percent of native-born Americans support affirmative action, compared to 58 percent of immigrants, including -- amazingly -- 64 percent of Asians (suggesting they may not be as smart as everyone thinks).

Also surprising, a Pew Research Center poll of all Hispanics, immigrant and citizen alike, found that Hispanics take a dimmer view of capitalism than even people who describe themselves as "liberal Democrats." While 47 percent of self-described "liberal Democrats" hold a negative view of capitalism, 55 percent of Hispanics do.

Pew also found that only 27 percent of Hispanics support gun rights, compared to 57 percent of non-Hispanic whites. According to Latino Decisions, large majorities of Hispanics favor a national database of gun owners, limiting the capacity of magazines and a ban on semiautomatic weapons.

Seventy-five percent of Hispanic immigrants and 55 percent of Asian immigrants support bigger government -- also according to Pew. Even after three generations in America, Hispanics still support bigger government 55 percent to 36 percent, compared to the general public, which opposes bigger government 48 percent to 41 percent.

How are Republicans going to square that circle? It's not their position on amnesty that immigrants don't like; it's Republicans' support for small government, gun rights, patriotism, the Constitution and capitalism.

Reading these statistics, does anyone wonder why Democrats think vastly increasing immigration should be the nation's No. 1 priority?

It would be one thing if the people with these views already lived here. Republicans would have no right to say, "You can't vote." But why on Earth are they bringing in people sworn to their political destruction?

Republicans have no obligation to assist the Democrats as they change the country in a way that favors them electorally, particularly when it does great harm to the people already here.

Yes, it's great for the most powerful Americans to have lots of cheap, unskilled labor. Immigration definitely solves the rich's "servant problem."

(Approximately 5 million times a day, MSNBC expresses bewilderment that any Republicans oppose amnesty when it's supported by the Chamber of Commerce. Wow! So even people who profit by flooding the country with cheap labor are in favor of flooding the country with cheap labor!)

It's terrific for ethnic lobbyists whose political clout will skyrocket the more foreign-born Americans we have.

And it's fantastic for the Democrats, who are well on their way to a permanent majority, so they can completely destroy the last remnants of what was once known as "the land of the free."

The only ones opposed to our current immigration policies are the people.

But are they going to give John Boehner a job when he's no longer House speaker, as some big business lobbyist will?

Will they help Marco Rubio run for president on the claim that, as a Cuban, he can appeal to Hispanics? (Fat chance.)

Will they bundle contributions for Eric Cantor's re-election, as well-heeled donors will?

Will they be enough to re-elect Kevin McCarthy to Congress so he can keep his gold-plated government health insurance?

Will they be the ones writing Darrell Issa's flattering New York Times obituary?

Sorry, Americans. You lose.

1-26-14
 
Fact-Free Liberals: Part II

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Words seem to carry far more weight than facts among those liberals who argue as if rent control laws actually control rents and gun control laws actually control guns.

It does no good to point out to them that the two American cities where rent control laws have existed longest and strongest — New York and San Francisco — are also the two cities with the highest average rents.

Nor does it make a dent on them when you point out evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic, that tightening gun control laws does not reduce gun crimes, including murder. It is not uncommon for gun crimes to rise when gun control laws are tightened. Apparently armed criminals prefer unarmed victims.

Minimum wage laws are another issue where the words seem to carry great weight, leading to the fact-free assumption that such laws will cause wages to rise to the legally specified minimum. Various studies going back for decades indicate that minimum wage laws create unemployment, especially among the younger, less experienced and less skilled workers.

When you are unemployed, your wages are zero, regardless of what the minimum wage law specifies.

Having followed the controversies over minimum wage laws for more than half a century, I am always amazed at how many ways there are to evade the obvious.

A discredited argument that first appeared back in 1946 recently surfaced again in a televised discussion of minimum wages. A recent survey of employers asked if they would fire workers if the minimum wage were raised. Two-thirds of the employers said that they would not. That was good enough for a minimum wage advocate.

Unfortunately, the consequences of minimum wage laws cannot be predicted on the basis of employers' statements of their intentions. Nor can the consequences of a minimum wage law be determined, even after the fact, by polling employers on what they did.

The problem with polls, in dealing with an empirical question like this, is that you can only poll survivors.

Every surviving business in an industry might have as many employees as it had before a minimum wage increase — and yet, if the additional labor costs led to fewer businesses surviving, there could still be a reduction in industry employment, despite what the poll results were from survivors.

There are many other complications that make an empirical study of the effects of minimum wages much more difficult than it might seem.

Since employment varies for many reasons other than a minimum wage law, at any given time the effects of those other factors can outweigh the effects of minimum wage laws. In that case, employment could go up after a particular minimum wage increase — even if it goes up less than it would have without the minimum wage increase.

Minimum wage advocates can seize upon statistics collected in particular odd circumstances to declare that they have now "refuted" the "myth" that minimum wages cause unemployment.

Yet, despite such anomalies, it is surely no coincidence that those few places in the industrial world which have had no minimum wage law, such as Switzerland and Singapore, have consistently had unemployment rates down around 3 percent. "The Economist" magazine once reported: "Switzerland's unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9% in February."

It is surely no coincidence that, during the last administration in which there was no federal minimum wage — the Calvin Coolidge administration — unemployment ranged from a high of 4.2 percent to a low of 1.8 percent over its last four years.

It is surely no coincidence that, when the federal minimum wage law remained unchanged for 12 years while inflation rendered the law meaningless, the black teenage unemployment rate — even during the recession year of 1949 — was literally a fraction of what it has been throughout later years, as the minimum wage rate has been raised repeatedly to keep up with inflation.

When words trump facts, you can believe anything. And the liberal groupthink taught in our schools and colleges is the path of least resistance.


1-25-14

 Fact-Free Liberals. Part I

By Thomas Sowell

JewishWorldReview.com | Someone summarized Barack Obama in three words — "educated," "smart" and "ignorant." Unfortunately, those same three words would describe all too many of the people who come out of our most prestigious colleges and universities today.

President Obama seems completely unaware of how many of the policies he is trying to impose have been tried before, in many times and places around the world, and have failed time and again. Economic equality? That was tried in the 19th century, in communities set up by Robert Owen, the man who coined the term "socialism." Those communities all collapsed.

It was tried even earlier, in 18th century Georgia, when that was a British colony. People in Georgia ended up fleeing to other colonies, as many other people would vote with their feet in the 20th century, by fleeing many other societies around the world that were established in the name of economic equality.

But who reads history these days? Moreover, those parts of history that would undermine the vision of the left — which prevails in our education system from elementary school to postgraduate study — are not likely to get much attention.

The net results are bright people, with impressive degrees, who have been told for years how brilliant they are, but who are often ignorant of facts that might cause them to question what they have been indoctrinated with in schools and colleges.

Recently Kirsten Powers repeated on Fox News Channel the discredited claim that women are paid only about three-quarters of what a man is paid for doing the same work.

But there have been empirical studies, going back for decades, showing that there is no such gap when the women and men are in the same occupation, with the same skills, experience, education, hours of work and continuous years of full-time work.

Income differences between the sexes reflect the fact that women and men differ in all these things — and more. Young male doctors earn much more than young female doctors. But young male doctors work over 500 hours a year more than young female doctors.

Then there is the current hysteria which claims that people in the famous "top one percent" have incomes that are rising sharply and absorbing a wholly disproportionate share of all the income in the country.

But check out a Treasury Department study titled "Income Mobility in the U.S. from 1996 to 2005." It uses income tax data, showing that people who were in the top one percent in 1996 had their incomes fall — repeat, fall — by 26 percent by 2005.

What about the other studies that seem to say the opposite? Those are studies of income brackets, not studies of the flesh-and-blood human beings who are moving from one bracket to another over time. More than half the people who were in the top one percent in 1996 were no longer there in 2005.

This is hardly surprising when you consider that their incomes were going down while there was widespread hysteria over the belief that their incomes were going up.

Empirical studies that follow income brackets over time repeatedly reach opposite conclusions from studies that follow individuals. But people in the media, in politics and even in academia, cite statistics about income brackets as if they are discussing what happens to actual human beings over time.

All too often when liberals cite statistics, they forget the statisticians' warning that correlation is not causation. For example the New York Times crusaded for government-provided prenatal care, citing the fact that black mothers had prenatal care less often than white mothers — and that there were higher rates of infant mortality among blacks.

But was correlation causation? American women of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino ancestry also had less prenatal care than whites — and lower rates of infant mortality than either blacks or whites.

When statistics showed that black applicants for conventional mortgage loans were turned down at twice the rate for white applicants, the media went ballistic crying racial discrimination. But whites were turned down almost twice as often as Asian Americans — and no one thinks that is racial discrimination.

Facts are not liberals' strong suit. Rhetoric is.

1-24-14

 Teenage Werewolves

By Bill O'Reilly


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Back in the 1950s, "Little Joe Cartwright" starred in a movie called "I Was a Teenage Werewolf." That's right, after seeing a full moon, Michael Landon ran around a public high school foaming at the mouth and pretty much out of control. Since there was little difference between his behavior and that of the normal students, he got away with it for two semesters.

As I watched the film, I remember thinking that it was going to be tough for Landon to get into college with that on his resume. But then the 1960s happened, so that was that.

This brings me to the present. My life these days is largely confronting political and social madness on television and then going home to deal with teenage drama from an almost-14-year-old girl. I vaguely remember being 14, because I was ensconced in a Catholic high school that gave out homework assignments like they were M&M's. Believe me, I had plenty of angst. But nobody paid much attention to it.

Like today, many teenagers back then brooded full time. Check out James Dean, an outstandingly cloudy guy. But now teens have two things that embolden their disenchantment: the Internet and permissive parents.

Earlier this week, I was encouraging my urchins to speed it up because the bus was coming.

"I can't go faster 'cause you're staring at me," the teen wailed.

"I'm not staring at you. I just came into the room."

"But I can see you!"

You get the idea. My daughter also did not want to wear anything that covered her legs — even though it was 39 degrees outside. She wanted to wear shorts. At that point, I started wishing she'd turn into a werewolf. At least the fur would keep her warm.

But it is the Internet that is truly changing the teenage dynamic in America.

It used to be that teenagers would hang out together and swap stories of woe. I remember seeing Billy Joel and his crew at stores on Levittown Parkway. They were just slouching around the same as my guys were. Just being with other teenagers was comforting, but we actually had to leave our houses to do that. Now, teens can gang-brood from their rooms on the Net.

Because nearly every awful occurrence is highlighted on various Facebook pages, teenagers now find it easier to justify their own craziness. "How can you criticize me for getting a C when Shelley got all F's and crashed her dad's car?" That kind of thing.

Nothing is private anymore. Teenagers are subjected to (and some participate in) incredibly destructive behavior online.

And parents have few options. Even if you ban home computers, handheld devices are all over the place. You'd have to put a full-time bodyguard on the child in order to provide complete protection.

In the end, all parents can do is try their best to impose a sense of responsibility on their kids. But don't expect any appreciation, and be watchful at all times. Kids today are growing up at warp speed; the machines march them into adulthood way before they're ready.

Even with fangs, Landon had it easier.
 

1-23-14

 Ted Cruz, the GOP's Obama

By Jonah Goldberg


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ted Cruz is no Joe McCarthy, as so many liberals bizarrely claim. But he might be the conservative Barack Obama.

The charge that he's the new McCarthy is something of a compliment from liberals. It means they don't like him, can't really explain why and need to demonize him instead. In other words, he must be doing something right.

For conservatives, the comparison to Obama probably stings more than the McCarthyite smear.

But think about it. Both men have impeccable educational credentials. Obama went to Occidental College, transferred to Columbia University and got his law degree from Harvard. Cruz went to Princeton University, where he was a national champion debater, and got a law degree from Harvard. Cruz's legal career was objectively more impressive than Obama's. He clerked on the appellate court and for Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the Supreme Court. He held numerous prestigious jobs in and out of government. Like Obama, he taught law, but Cruz was also the solicitor general of Texas and argued before the Supreme Court nine times.

National Review editor Rich Lowry identified one plausible source of elite liberal hatred for Cruz: betrayal. "Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2009 H.W. Brands biography of FDR, a traitor to his class." (I hate to correct my boss, but Brands didn't coin that phrase).

What liberals hate in Cruz, they love in Obama: a product of an elite education who confirms all their feelings of superiority. Obama took the desiccated ideas of campus liberalism and made them seem vibrant, stylish and even populist.

There are other similarities. But the most relevant one comes in their similar approach to politics (not political philosophy, where they are light years apart).

Both landed in the U.S. Senate, running with larger ambitions in mind and promising to be unstinting champions of their party's principles. Moreover, both grasp that historically the Senate whittles away presidential timber. Like John F. Kennedy, Obama was there just long enough to run for president. And while Obama was there, his chief goal was burnishing his presidential image, not racking up legislative accomplishments. Cruz has been a senator for eight months, and he already looks like a presidential contender

In 2012, Obama said the "most important lesson" of his first term was that "you can't change Washington from the inside." You need populist pressure from the outside. This was an odd claim on two counts. First, it's not true. His signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, was an entirely inside affair, an ugly partisan one involving mercenary horse-trading and countless backroom deals with industry and unions. Second, Obama, the community organizer, always believed salvation lay in organizing a movement. It was the premise at the heart of his 2008 campaign in which he told adoring throngs, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." It says something about Obama's arrogance that his biggest lesson from his first term was that he was right all along.

Still, this conviction led Obama to turn his presidential campaign into a private political army intended to rally his base for his legislative agenda. That effort has failed utterly. Organizing for Action couldn't even organize a congressional vote on gun control, never mind a win.

Cruz's fight to defund Obamacare rests on a similar outsider approach using the Tea Party and allied groups. As he recently told radio host Hugh Hewitt, "The strategy on this all along has been directed not towards Washington but towards the American people. It has been directed towards building a grassroots tsunami."

If Cruz's effort fails -- and I fear it will -- it will be for the same reasons that Obama's second term has been such a legislative dud. The way you bring change to Washington is through elections. After the elections, change comes from the unsightly process of consensus-building (aka sausage-making). Both Cruz and Obama have shown little interest in that approach.

Of course, there are huge differences between Obama and Cruz -- the most important is that they have completely divergent philosophies. That matters most, but it isn't everything. The inside game matters too. Cruz likes pointing out Obama's failures; he should also learn from them.

1-22-14

The heroism of Wendy Davis

By Ann Coulter

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator running for governor, became a liberal superhero last June when she filibustered a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. (This was the good filibuster, not that awful filibuster three months later by Ted Cruz -- that was just grandstanding.)

Apart from her enthusiasm for abortion (and you have to admit, abortion is really cool), the centerpiece of Davis' campaign is her life story. Also the fact that she's a progressive woman who doesn't look like Betty Friedan.

In a typical formulation, Time magazine said Davis was someone who could give the Democrats "'real people' credibility," based on "her own personal story -- an absent father, a sixth-grade-educated mother, a teen pregnancy, followed by life as a single mom in a mobile home, then community college and, at last, Harvard Law School."

The headlines capture the essence of Wendy-mania:

CNN: Wendy Davis: From Teen Mom to Harvard Law to Famous Filibuster

Bloomberg: Texas Filibuster Star Rose From Teen Mom to Harvard Law

The Independent (UK): Wendy Davis: Single Mother From Trailer Park Who Has Become Heroine of Pro-Choice Movement

Cosmopolitan: Find a Sugar Daddy to Put You Through Law School!

Actually, that last one I made up, but as we now know, it's more accurate than Davis' rags-to-riches life story.

The truth was gently revealed in the Dallas Morning News this week. Far from an attack, this was a puff-piece written by Wayne Slater, rabid partisan Democratic hack and co-author of the book, "Bush's Brain." (He is not an admirer of Bush's brain.) It would be like Sean Hannity breaking a scandal about Ted Cruz.

The first hint that Slater was trying to help Davis get ahead of the story and tilt it her way is his comment that Davis' life story is "more complicated" than her version -- i.e., completely the opposite -- adding, "as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves."

Actually, the truth is much simpler than her story. Also, be sure to look for that "as often happens" excuse the next time a Republican gets caught lying about his resume.

Slater's peculiar obsession with whether Davis was 19 or 21 when she got her first divorce, and exactly how long she lived in a trailer home, is meant to deflect attention from something much more problematic: the huge whoppers Davis told.

Her big lies were about the obstacles she had to overcome and how she overcame them, not about how old she was at the time of her first divorce.

She claims she was raised by a single mother, went to work at age 14 to support her family, became a single mother herself in her teens, and then -- by sheer pluck and determination -- pulled herself out of the trailer park to graduate from Harvard Law School!

The truth is less coal-miner's daughter than gold-digger who found a sugar daddy to raise her kids and pay for her education.

Point No. 1: Davis' family wasn't working-class. Her father owned a sandwich shop and a dinner theater, which puts Davis solidly into middle-class land.

Point No. 2: No one who works at MSNBC would know this, but everyone whose parents run a family business starts work at age 14, if not sooner.

Point No. 3: Her parents were separated, but that is not the commonly accepted meaning of "single mother."

Point No. 4: As for being a single mother at age 19 -- she wasn't a "single mother" in the traditional sense, either. She was married at age 18, had a child at 19 and divorced her first husband, a construction worker, at 21. (He couldn't afford tuition at Harvard.)

So she got married young? That isn't a hard-luck story. Well into the 1950s, nearly half of all first-born children were born to married women under the age of 20.

But Wendy Davis' harrowing nightmare of poverty and sacrifice wasn't over yet.

Just a few years after her first divorce, Wendy was on the make, asking to date Jeff Davis, a rich lawyer 13 years her senior, who frequented her father's dinner club. In short order, they married and had a child together.

The next thing Jeff Davis knew, he was paying off her college tuition, raising their kids by himself and taking out a loan to send her to Harvard Law School.

(Feminists rushed to the stores to buy the shoes Davis wore during her famous filibuster. I'd like the shoes she was wearing when she met her sugar daddy.)

Then Wendy left her kids with the sugar daddy in Texas -- even the daughter from her first marriage -- while she attended Harvard Law.

Slater says Davis' kids lived with Jeff Davis in Texas while she attended law school. Wendy Davis claims her girls lived with her during her first year of law school. Let's say that's true. Why not the other two years? And what was the matter with the University of Texas Law School?

Sorry, MSNBC, I know you want to fixate on how many months Davis spent in the trailer park and her precise age when the first divorce went through. And that would be an incredibly stupid thing for conservatives to obsess on, if they were, in fact, obsessing on it. But I'm still stuck on her leaving her kids behind while she headed off to a law school 1,500 miles away.

The reason Wendy Davis' apocryphal story was impressive is that single mothers have to run a household, take care of kids and provide for a family all by themselves. But Wendy was neither supporting her kids, nor raising them. If someone else is taking care of your kids and paying your tuition, that's not amazing.

Hey -- maybe Jeff Davis should run for governor! He's the one who raised two kids, including a stepdaughter, while holding down a job and paying for his wife's law school. There's a hard-luck story!

Mr. Davis told the Dallas Morning News that Wendy dumped him as soon as he had finished paying off her Harvard Law School loan. "It was ironic," he said. "I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left."

In his defense, a lot of people are confused about the meaning of "ironic." That's not "ironic." Rather, it's what we call: "entirely predictable."

It's ironic -- my car stopped running right after I ran out of gas.

It's ironic -- my house was broken into, and the next thing I knew all my valuables were missing.

It's ironic -- I was punched in the face right before my nose broke.

In his petition for divorce, Mr. Davis accused his wife of adultery. The court made no finding on infidelity, but awarded him full custody of their underage child and ordered Wendy to pay child support.

Wendy boasted to the Dallas Morning News: "I very willingly, as part of my divorce settlement, paid child support." Would a divorced dad get a medal for saying that?

In response to Wayne Slater's faux-"expose," naturally Davis put out a statement denouncing ... her probable Republican opponent, Greg Abbott. Again, Slater wrote the story. But Davis blathered on, blaming Abbott for the Dallas Morning News story and complaining that he hasn't "walked a day in my shoes."

About that she's certainly right. Greg Abbott could never walk a day in her shoes or anyone else's. He's a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair.

I guess Wendy could teach him a lot about suffering.

Davis also said these attacks "won't work, because my story is the story of millions of Texas women ..." Yes, for example, Anna Nicole Smith. Though at least Smith had the decency not to ask for a paid education.
 

1-21-14
   
Is Chris Christie less believable than Tawana Brawley?

By Ann Coulter

 
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I agree with MSNBC. I find it hard to believe that Gov. Chris Christie knew nothing about his staff's plotting a massive traffic jam on the ramp to the George Washington Bridge for political retribution.

On the other hand, I also find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know his own IRS was auditing his political enemies.

And I find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know you wouldn't be able to keep your doctor under Obamacare.

But most of all, I find it hard to believe that MSNBC host Al Sharpton didn't know Tawana Brawley was lying when she claimed to have been gang-raped by rogue cops on the Wappingers Falls, N.Y., police force.

Back in November 1987, 15-year-old Tawana Brawley was found curled up inside a plastic bag in an apartment building parking lot. She had feces and racist graffiti all over her body, her clothing was torn and burned, and she was apparently unconscious.

When she emerged from her (fake) unconsciousness, she claimed she had been held captive in the woods for several days, while being raped and beaten by six white men, including policemen and the local prosecutor.

The story being utterly preposterous, every law enforcement agency in the universe was called in to investigate -- the FBI, local, county and state police. Gov. Mario Cuomo directed the state attorney general, Robert Abrams, to investigate Brawley's claims.

MSNBC's Al Sharpton was one of Brawley's "advisers" throughout this massively expensive investigation, along with lawyers Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason -- both later disbarred.

Eight months and 1.3 million taxpayer dollars later (in today's dollars), the purported attack was exposed as a complete fraud. It turned out that Brawley made up the gang-rape story to avoid explaining to her volatile stepfather why she hadn't come home for four nights straight.

Among other findings, the grand jury's 170-page report noted these facts:

    Witnesses saw Brawley getting into the plastic bag by herself, and then hopping around in it before curling up into a ball on the ground.

    The hospital rape tests were negative and no semen was found anyplace on her body.

    She had no recent bruises or other marks on her body consistent with rape.

    Hospital technicians who evaluated Brawley concluded that she was faking unconsciousness.

    Brawley was well-nourished, had clean breath, no bruises or injuries to her body and was not suffering from exposure, despite temperatures having dropped to freezing several times when she was allegedly being gang-raped in the woods.

    Witnesses had seen Brawley in a vacant apartment where she had once lived during the period of the alleged attack.

    In that apartment, investigators found charred fibers matching the burnt clothes Brawley had been found in, the source of the material that had been stuffed in her nose and ears, and the feces that had been smeared on her. Investigators even identified the dog whose feces it was. Her dirty clothes were still in a washing machine in the building.

At no point did Sharpton question Brawley's story or urge her to recant. To the contrary, as the case fell apart, Sharpton's demagoguery rose to Olympian heights.

He branded Abrams "Hitler," called Gov. Mario Cuomo a racist, and demanded that Cuomo appoint Maddox special prosecutor on the case. (It was a reasonable request: Maddox had accused Abrams of masturbating to photos of Brawley.)

Even in 1997 -- a decade after Brawley's story had been proved a hoax beyond a scintilla of a doubt -- Sharpton arranged for her to give a speech to his United African Movement at a Brooklyn church.

I find it hard to believe that Al Sharpton did not know Brawley was lying about being raped by a Nazi cult on the Wappingers Falls police force.

Brawley's boyfriend later told Newsday that she had admitted to him at the time that she cooked up the story with her mother. Is it believable that she didn't also tell her trusted adviser Al Sharpton?

While a story about white supremacist cops raping and torturing a teenage girl may not have the flashy news value of traffic patterns in northern New Jersey, trust me, the Tawana Brawley case was a big deal at the time. Lots of people were irreparably harmed because of Sharpton's outrageous conduct.

There was the falsely accused prosecutor, Steve Pagones, whose life was ruined by Sharpton's monstrous accusations.

There was Bill Cosby and Mike Tyson, who embarrassed themselves by briefly believing Sharpton. (Imagine how rare and difficult it is for Mike Tyson to experience embarrassment!)

There was the Wappingers Falls police officer, Harry Crist Jr., who committed suicide a few days after Brawley was found in the plastic bag -- and was immediately accused of being one of Brawley's rapists by Al Sharpton. (It was later determined that he had committed suicide after failing the test to become a state trooper for the last time.)

How do you think his parents felt having their dead son accused of gang-rape in the wake of his tragic suicide?

But why limit the list of Sharpton's victims to the facts? Let's take a page from MSNBC, and posit a series of "What if?" speculations.

What if there were women who were raped, families whose homes were burglarized and children who got lost on their way to school and froze to death because the entire law enforcement apparatus of New York State was busy working the non-existent rape case?

Leave aside MSNBC's wishing-and-hoping method of reporting a scandal. (What if we find out Chris Christie has ordered murders?) Does MSNBC really think Al Sharpton is the guy who should be accusing Christie -- as he did this week -- of putting politics above "people"?

I'd recommend the universal condemnation of his fellow man, but couldn't MSNBC at least take the maestro of the Tawana Brawley hoax off the "How Can He Not Have Known?" beat? As a matter of basic decency, Al Sharpton should never be allowed to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, especially about who knew what when.

What about the rest of the MSNBC news team? Could Chris Matthews add to his repertoire of do-you-believe questions (in evolution, in global warming, that Obama was born in Hawaii) one question to Sharpton about whether he really believed Tawana Brawley? Are we supposed to believe that Sharpton's colleagues don't know about his appalling behavior in the Tawana Brawley case?

What kind of culture exists at MSNBC to encourage such willful blindness?


1-20-14

Government should not force people into unions

By George Will

 
JewishWorldReview.com | The Democratic Party is the party of government because it embraces a proposition it has done much to refute — that government is a nimble, skillful social engineer — and because government employees are a significant component of the party’s base and of its financial support through government employees unions. Franklin Roosevelt, architect of the modern party, believed unionization would be inappropriate in the public sector. Today’s party, however, aggressively uses government coercion to create supposed “government employees” from whom unions can extract money, some of it for the party.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether the Illinois government’s policy of herding home-care workers into unions violates the workers’ First Amendment rights. It does.

Because organized labor’s presence in the private sector has shriveled from about 35 percent of the workforce in the 1950s to 6.6 percent today, public-sector employees are labor’s oxygen. In Democratic-controlled Illinois, the relationship between the party and organized labor is, to say no more, mutually congenial. So the government declared that providers of home care — including family members — for the elderly and others are government employees because their compensation comes from Medicaid and because they participate in a state government program and are subject to state regulation.

In 2003, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, of fragrant memory, decreed that thousands of home-care workers were public employees and ordered recognition of whatever union thousands of caregivers would choose, which was the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In 2009, the current Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, designated even more home caregivers as public employees, making them targets for “card-check” unionization drives. In this process for Illinois government employees, when a majority signs the cards, a unionization election has occurred.

The state government gave the SEIU and a rival union the names and addresses of all the freshly minted government employees. Pam Harris, who is suing to get Illinois’s system declared unconstitutional, gets a modest stipend from Medicaid to support her care for her disabled son. She remembers a young SEIU employee coming to her door to say just sign the card “so my boss knows I spoke to you.” A majority of caregivers in one Illinois program chose the SEIU.

Illinois’s scheme is a trifecta of constitutional violations. It violates the right of free association of those who are coerced into a fees-paying relationship with unions — a right that, the Supreme Court has held, “plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate.” Not to associate, for example, with groups whose expressive activities are offensive to those who are coerced into joining the groups. Second, those coerced into unions are compelled to subsidize with their dues union speech with which they may strenuously disagree. Third, after being transformed by government fiat into government employees, they are denied the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances in their own voices, having been forced to allow a union to petition for them.

An amicus brief supporting Harris notes that “the state of Illinois has no cognizable interest in maintaining ‘labor peace’ among household workers or family members merely because they provide services to individuals who participate in a state program or because they are subject to state regulation.” “Labor peace” is the reason unionization is supposedly a legitimate state interest — sufficiently compelling, in certain circumstances, to allow states to compromise First Amendment protections.

“Labor peace” was an important interest when it entered labor law in 1917 in connection with a national railroad strike that might have seriously disrupted interstate commerce in wartime. But how could people providing home care — including parents such as Pam Harris — threaten labor peace? Caregivers do not work together in a factory or office. And they certainly do not threaten the flow of interstate commerce.

They actually are employees not of the government but of the care recipients, who hire the caregivers and determine working hours and conditions. So what is the point of a union in these circumstances? Enriching the union is the point.

Illinois’s system resembles that in some other states. Until Republicans repealed Michigan’s arrangements, the SEIU extracted more than $34 million from tens of thousands of caregivers. Patently, the purpose of such systems is to enable unions to siphon away, in dues, a portion of caregivers’ pay, some of which becomes campaign contributions for the political party that created the system. The court is unlikely to think the First Amendment should be diluted to accommodate this.

 

1-19-14
 
How in good conscience?

By Charles Krauthammer

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | By early 2011, writes former defense secretary Robert Gates, he had concluded that President Obama “doesn’t believe in his own [Afghanistan] strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his.”

Not his? America is at war and he’s America’s commander in chief. For the soldier being shot at in the field, it makes no difference under whose administration the fighting began. In fact, three out of four Americans killed in Afghanistan have died under Barack Obama’s command. That’s ownership enough.

Moreover, Gates’s doubts about Obama had begun long before. A year earlier, trying to understand how two senior officials could be openly working against expressed policy, Gates concluded that “the most likely explanation was that the president himself did not really believe the strategy he had approved would work.” This, just four months after Obama ordered his 30,000 troop “surge” into Afghanistan, warning the nation that “our security is at stake . . . the security of our allies, and the common security of the world.”

The odd thing about Gates’s insider revelation of Obama’s lack of faith in his own policy is that we knew it all along. Obama was emitting discordant notes from the very beginning. In the West Point “surge” speech itself, the very sentence after that announcement consisted of the further announcement that the additional troops would be withdrawn in 18 months.

How can any commander be so precise so far in advance about an enterprise as inherently contingent and unpredictable?

It was a signal to friend and foe that he wasn’t serious. And as if to amplify that signal, Obama added that “the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own,” thus immediately undermining the very importance of the war to which he was committing new troops.

Such stunning ambivalence, I wrote at the time, had produced the most uncertain trumpet ever sounded by a president. One could sense that Obama’s heart was never in it.

And now we know. Indeed, this became hauntingly clear to Obama’s own defense secretary within just a few months — before the majority of the troops had arrived in the field, before the new strategy had even been tested.

How can a commander in good conscience send troops on a mission he doesn’t believe in, a mission from which he knows some will never return? Even worse, Obama ordered a major escalation, expending much blood but not an ounce of his own political capital. Over the next four years, notes Gates with chagrin, Obama ignored the obligation of any commander to explain, support and try to rally the nation to the cause.

And when he finally terminated the surge, he did so in the middle of the 2012 fighting season. Militarily incoherent — but politically convenient. It allowed Obama to campaign for reelection proclaiming that “the tide of war is receding.”

One question remains, however. If he wasn’t committed to the mission, if he didn’t care about winning, why did Obama throw these soldiers into battle in the first place?

Because for years the Democrats had used Afghanistan as a talking point to rail against the Iraq War — while avoiding the politically suicidal appearance of McGovernite pacifism. As consultant Bob Shrum later admitted, “I was part of the 2004 Kerry campaign, which elevated the idea of Afghanistan as ‘the right war’ to conventional Democratic wisdom. This was accurate as criticism of the Bush Administration, but it was also reflexive and perhaps by now even misleading as policy.”

Translation: They were never really serious about Afghanistan. (Nor apparently about Iraq either. Gates recounts with some shock that Hillary Clinton admitted she opposed the Iraq surge for political reasons, and Obama conceded that much of the opposition had indeed been political.) The Democratic mantra — Iraq War, bad; Afghan War, good — was simply a partisan device to ride anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War feeling without appearing squishy.

Look, they could say: We’re just being tough and discriminating.

Iraq is a dumb war, said Obama repeatedly. It’s a war of choice. Afghanistan is a war of necessity, the central front in the war on terror. Having run on that, Obama had a need to at least make a show of trying to win the good war, the smart war.

“If I had ever come to believe the military part of the strategy would not lead to success as I defined it,” writes Gates. “I could not have continued signing the deployment orders.” The commander in chief, Gates’s bookmakes clear, had no such scruples.

1-18-14
 
Common Core doubts: Why opponents have every right to be skeptical

By George Will

 
JewishWorldReview.com | Viewed from Washington, which often is the last to learn about important developments, opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative still seems as small as the biblical cloud that ariseth out of the sea, no larger than a man’s hand. Soon, however, this education policy will fill a significant portion of the political sky.

The Common Core represents the ideas of several national organizations (of governors and school officials) about what and how children should learn. It is the thin end of an enormous wedge. It is designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity.

Understandably, proponents of the Common Core want its nature and purpose to remain as cloudy as possible for as long as possible. Hence they say it is a “state-led,” “voluntary” initiative to merely guide education with “standards” that are neither written nor approved nor mandated by Washington, which would never, ever “prescribe” a national curriculum. Proponents talk warily when describing it because a candid characterization would reveal yet another Obama administration indifference to legality.

The 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the original federal intrusion into this state and local responsibility, said “nothing in this act” shall authorize any federal official to “mandate, direct, or control” schools’ curriculums. The 1970 General Education Provisions Act stipulates that “no provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any” federal agency or official “to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction” or selection of “instructional materials by any” school system. The 1979 law creating the Education Department forbids it from exercising “any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum” or “program of instruction” of any school system. The ESEA as amended says no Education Department funds “may be used . . . to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in” grades K-12.

Nevertheless, what begins with mere national standards must breed ineluctable pressure to standardize educational content. Targets, metrics, guidelines and curriculum models all induce conformity in instructional materials. Washington already is encouraging the alignment of the GED, SAT and ACT tests with the Common Core. By a feedback loop, these tests will beget more curriculum conformity. All of this will take a toll on parental empowerment, and none of this will escape the politicization of learning like that already rampant in higher education.

Leave aside the abundant, fierce, often learned and frequently convincing criticisms of the writing, literature and mathematics standards. Even satisfactory national standards must extinguish federalism’s creativity: At any time, it is more likely there will be half a dozen innovative governors than one creative federal education bureaucracy. And the mistakes made by top-down federal reforms are continental mistakes.

The Obama administration has purchased states’ obedience by partially conditioning waivers from onerous federal regulations (from No Child Left Behind) and receipt of federal largess ($4.35 billion in Race to the Top money from the 2009 stimulus) on the states’ embrace of the Common Core. Although 45 states and the District of Columbia have struck this bargain, most with little debate, some are reconsidering and more will do so as opposition mounts.

Many proponents seem to deem it beneath their dignity to engage opponents’ arguments, preferring to caricature opponents as political primitives and to dismiss them with flippancies such as this from Bill Gates: “It’s ludicrous to think that multiplication in Alabama and multiplication in New York are really different.” What is ludicrous is Common Core proponents disdaining concerns related to this fact: Fifty years of increasing Washington input into K-12 education has coincided with disappointing cognitive outputs from schools. Is it eccentric that it is imprudent to apply to K-12 education the federal touch that has given us HealthCare.gov?

The rise of opposition to the Common Core illustrates three healthy aspects of today’s politics. First, new communication skills and technologies enable energized minorities to force new topics onto the political agenda. Second, this uprising of local communities against state capitals, the nation’s capital and various muscular organizations (e.g., the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce, teachers unions, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) demonstrates that although the public agenda is malleable, a sturdy portion of the public is not.

Third, political dishonesty has swift, radiating and condign consequences. Opposition to the Common Core is surging because Washington, hoping to mollify opponents, is saying, in effect: “If you like your local control of education, you can keep it. Period.” To which a burgeoning movement is responding: “No. Period.”

 

1-17-14
 
Fighting academic bigotry

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.

Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange.

Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?

And of Iran, which hangs political, religious and even sexual dissidents and has no academic freedom at all? Or Egypt, where Christians are being openly persecuted? Or Turkey, Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, massively repressive China and Russia?

Which makes obvious that the ASA boycott has nothing to do with human rights. It’s an exercise in radical chic, giving marginalized academics a frisson of pretend anti-colonialism, seasoned with a dose of edgy anti-Semitism.

And don’t tell me this is merely about Zionism. The ruse is transparent. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. To apply to the state of the Jews a double standard that you apply to none other, to judge one people in a way you judge no other, to single out that one people for condemnation and isolation — is to engage in a gross act of discrimination.

And discrimination against Jews has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.

Former Harvard president Larry Summers called the ASA actions “anti-Semitic in their effect if not necessarily in their intent.” I choose to be less polite. The intent is clear: to incite hatred for the largest — and only sovereign — Jewish community on Earth.

What to do? Facing a similar (British) academic boycott of Israelis seven years ago, Alan Dershowitz and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg wrote an open letter declaring that, for the purposes of any anti-Israel boycott, they are to be considered Israelis.

Meaning: You discriminate against Israelis? Fine. Include us out. We will have nothing to do with you.

Thousands of other academics added their signatures to the Dershowitz/Weinberg letter. It was the perfect in-kind response. Boycott the boycotters, with contempt.

But academia isn’t the only home for such prejudice. Throughout the cultural world, the Israel boycott movement is growing. It’s become fashionable for musicians, actors, writers and performers of all kinds to ostentatiously cleanse themselves of Israel and Israelis.

The example of the tuxedoed set has spread to the more coarse and unkempt anti-Semites, such as the thugs who a few years ago disrupted London performances of the Jerusalem Quartet and the Israeli Philharmonic.

Five years ago in Sweden, Israel’s Davis Cup team had to play its matches in an empty tennis stadium because the authorities could not guarantee the Israelis’ safety from the mob. The most brazen display of rising anti-Semitism today is the spread of the “quenelle,” a reverse Nazi salute, popularized by the openly anti-Semitic French entertainer, Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala.

In this sea of easy and open bigotry, an unusual man has made an unusual statement. Russian by birth, European by residence, Evgeny Kissin is arguably the world’s greatest piano virtuoso. He is also a Jew of conviction. Deeply distressed by Israel’s treatment in the cultural world around him, Kissin went beyond the Dershowitz/Weinberg stance of asking to be considered an Israeli. On Dec. 7, he became one, defiantly.

Upon taking the oath of citizenship in Jerusalem, he declared: “I am a Jew, Israel is a Jewish state. . . . Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish state beyond its borders.”

Full disclosure: I have a personal connection with Kissin. For the past two years I’ve worked to bring him to Washington to perform for Pro Musica Hebraica, a nonprofit organization (founded by my wife and me) dedicated to reviving lost and forgotten Jewish classical music. We succeeded. On Feb. 24, Kissin will perform at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall masterpieces of Eastern European Jewish music, his first U.S. appearance as an Israeli.

The persistence of anti-Semitism, that most ancient of poisons, is one of history’s great mysteries. Even the shame of the Holocaust proved no antidote. It provided but a temporary respite. Anti-Semitism is back. Alas, a new generation must learn to confront it.

How? How to answer the thugs, physical and intellectual, who single out Jews for attack? The best way, the most dignified way, is to do like Dershowitz, Weinberg or Kissin.

Express your solidarity. Sign the open letter or write your own. Don the yellow star and wear it proudly.


1-16-14
 
Stop the bailout, now: How to cut out Obamacare's Plan B

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | First order of business for the returning Congress: The No Bailout for Insurance Companies Act of 2014.

Make it one line long: “Sections 1341 and 1342 of the Affordable Care Act are hereby repealed.”

End of bill. End of bailout. End of story.

Why do we need it? On Dec. 18, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers was asked what was the administration’s Plan B if, because of adverse selection (enrolling too few young and healthies), the insurance companies face financial difficulty.

Jason Furman wouldn’t bite. “There’s a Plan A,” he replied. Enroll the young.

But of course there’s a Plan B. It’s a government bailout.

Administration officials can’t say it for political reasons. And they don’t have to say it because it’s already in the Affordable Care Act, buried deep.

First, Section 1341, the “reinsurance” fund collected from insurers and self-insuring employers at a nifty $63 a head. (Who do you think the cost is passed on to?) This yields about $20 billion over three years to cover losses.

Then there is Section 1342, the “risk corridor” provision that mandates a major taxpayer payout covering up to 80 percent of insurance-company losses.

Never heard of these? That’s the beauty of passing a bill of such monstrous length. You can insert a chicken soup recipe and no one will notice.

Nancy Pelosi was right: We’d have to pass the damn thing to know what’s in it. Well, now we have and now we know.

The whole scheme was risky enough to begin with — getting enough enrollees and making sure 40 percent were young and healthy. Obamacare is already far behind its own enrollment estimates. But things have gotten worse. The administration has been changing the rules repeatedly — with every scrimmage-line audible raising costs and diminishing revenue.

First, it postponed the employer mandate. Then it exempted from the individual mandate people whose policies were canceled (by Obamacare). And for those who did join the exchanges, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is “strongly encouraging” insurers — during the “transition” — to cover doctors and drugs not included in their clients’ plans.

The insurers were stunned. Told to give free coverage. Deprived of their best customers. Forced to offer stripped-down “catastrophic” plans to people age 30 and over (contrary to the law). These dictates, complained an insurance industry spokesman, could “destabilize” the insurance market.

Translation: How are we going to survive this? Shrinking revenues and rising costs could bring on the “death spiral” — an unbalanced patient pool forcing huge premium increases (to restore revenue) that would further unbalance the patient pool as the young and healthy drop out.

End result? Insolvency — before which the insurance companies will pull out of Obamacare.

Solution? A huge government bailout. It’s Obamacare’s escape hatch. And — surprise, surprise — it’s already baked into the law.

Which is why the GOP needs to act. Obamacare is a Rube Goldberg machine with hundreds of moving parts. Without viable insurance companies doing the work, it falls apart. No bailout, no Obamacare.

Such a bill would be overwhelmingly popular because Americans hate fat-cat bailouts of any kind. Why should their tax dollars be spent not only saving giant insurers but also rescuing this unworkable, unbalanced, unstable, unpopular money-pit of a health-care scheme?

The GOP House should pass it and send it to Harry Reid’s Democratic Senate. Democrats know it could be fatal for Obamacare. The only alternative would be single-payer. And try selling that to the country after the spectacularly incompetent launch of — and subsequent widespread disaffection with — mere semi-nationalization.

Do you really think vulnerable Democrats up for reelection will vote for a bailout? And who better to slay Obamacare than a Democratic Senate — liberalism repudiating its most important creation of the last 50 years.

Want to be even bolder? Attach the anti-bailout bill to the debt ceiling. That and nothing else. Dare the president to stand up and say: “I’m willing to let the country default in order to preserve a massive bailout for insurance companies.”

In the past, Republicans made unrealistic and unpopular debt-ceiling demands — and lost badly. They learned their lesson. Last year, Republicans presented one simple unassailable debt-ceiling demand — that the Senate pass its first budget in four years.

Who could argue with that? The Senate capitulated within two days.

Who can argue with no bailout? Let the Senate Democrats decide: Support the bailout and lose the Senate. Or oppose the bailout and bury Obamacare.

1-15-14
 
Politics Versus Education

By Thomas Sowell



JewishWorldReview.com | Anyone who has still not yet understood the utter cynicism of the Obama administration in general, and Attorney General Eric Holder in particular, should look at the Justice Department's latest interventions in education.

If there is one thing that people all across the ideological spectrum should be able to agree on, it is that better education is desperately needed by black youngsters, especially in the ghettoes. For most, it is their one chance for a better life.

Among the few bright spots in a generally dismal picture of the education of black students are those successful charter schools or voucher schools to which many black parents try to get their children admitted. Some of these schools have not only reached but exceeded national norms, even when located in neighborhoods where the regular public schools lag far behind.

Where admission to these schools is by a lottery, the cheers and tears that follow announcements of who has been admitted — and, by implication, who will be forced to continue in the regular public schools — tell the story better than words can.

When the state of Louisiana decided to greatly expand the number of schools available to students by parental choice, rather than by the rigidities of the usual public school system, Attorney General Holder's Justice Department objected on grounds that this was at cross-purposes with the federal government's racial integration goals for the schools.

In short, Louisiana's attempt to improve the education of children is subordinated by Holder to the federal government's attempt to mix and match black and white students.

If we have learned nothing else after decades of socially divisive and educationally futile racial busing, it should be obvious that seating black kids next to white kids is neither necessary nor sufficient to get them a better education.

The truly despicable intervention by Attorney General Holder is his warning to schools against discipline policies that result in a higher proportion of minority students than white students being punished.

This racial body count method of determining whether there is discrimination by the schools might make sense if we were certain that there could be no differences in behavior that would explain the differences in punishment. But does any sane adult really believe that there cannot be any difference between the behavior of black boys and Asian girls, for example?

There is a lot of make-believe when it comes to racial issues, whether out of squeamishness, political correctness or expediency. There is also a lot of deliberate racial polarization, and attempts to promote a sense of grievance and fear among black voters, in order to keep their votes in the Democrats' column.

What makes this playing politics with school discipline so unconscionable is that a lack of discipline is one of the crushing handicaps in many ghetto schools. If 10 percent of the students in a classroom are disruptive, disrespectful and violent, the chances of teaching the other 90 percent effectively are very low.


Yet, in the words of the New York Times, "The Obama administration speaks out against zero tolerance discipline." It quotes Attorney General Holder and says that he was "on the mark" when he said that a "routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal's office, not in a police precinct."

In other words, Eric Holder, sitting in Washington, knows better than the thousands of people who run public schools across the country what kinds of sanctions are necessary to preserve some semblance of order in the classrooms, so that hoodlums do not make the education of their classmates impossible.

Like the New York Times, Attorney General Holder has made this an issue of "The Civil Rights of Children." More important, the implied threat of federal lawsuits based on racial body count among students who have been disciplined means that hoodlums in the classroom seem to have a friend in Washington.

But even the hoodlums can end up worse off, if lax discipline in the school lets them continue on in a way of life that usually ends up inside prison walls. Nevertheless, if all this means black votes for the Democrats, that may well be the bottom line for Holder and the Obama administration.

1-14-14
 
Politics and Minimum Wage

By Walter Williams

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages.

University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers."

A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers.

A 1990 survey reported in the American Economic Review (1992) found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. If you're searching for a consensus in a field of study, most of the time you can examine the field's introductory and intermediate college textbooks.

Economics textbooks that mention the minimum wage say that it increases unemployment for the least skilled worker. The only significant debate about the minimum wage is the magnitude of its effect. Some studies argue that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage will cause a 1 percent increase in unemployment, whereas others predict a higher increase.

How about the politics of the minimum wage?

In the political arena, one dumps on people who can't dump back on him. Minimum wages have their greatest unemployment impact on the least skilled worker.

After all, who's going to pay a worker an hourly wage of $10 if that worker is so unfortunate as to have skills that enable him to produce only $5 worth of value per hour? Who are these workers? For the most part, they are low-skilled teens or young adults, most of whom are poorly educated blacks and Latinos. The unemployment statistics in our urban areas confirm this prediction, with teen unemployment rates as high as 50 percent.

The politics of the minimum wage are simple. No congressman or president owes his office to the poorly educated black and Latino youth vote. Moreover, the victims of the minimum wage do not know why they suffer high unemployment, and neither do most of their "benefactors." Minimum wage beneficiaries are highly organized, and they do have the necessary political clout to get Congress to price their low-skilled competition out of the market so they can demand higher wages.

Concerned about the devastating unemployment effects of the minimum wage, Republican politicians have long resisted increases in the minimum wage, but that makes no political sense. The reason is the beneficiaries of preventing increases in the minimum wage don't vote Republican no matter what; where's the political quid pro quo?

Higher-skilled and union workers are not the only beneficiaries of higher minimum wages. Among other beneficiaries are manufacturers who produce substitutes for workers. A recent example of this is Wawa's experiment with customers using touch screens as substitutes for counter clerks. A customer at the convenience store selects his order from a touch screen. He takes a printed slip to the cashier to pay for it while it's being filled. I imagine that soon the customer's interaction with the cashier will be eliminated with a swipe of a credit card.

Raising the minimum wage and other employment costs speeds up the automation process. I'm old enough to remember attendants at gasoline stations and theater ushers, who are virtually absent today. It's not because today's Americans like to smell gasoline fumes and stumble down the aisles in the dark to find their seat. The minimum wage law has eliminated such jobs.

Finally, there's a nastier side to support for minimum wage laws, documented in my book "Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?" During South Africa's apartheid era, racist labor unions were the country's major supporters of minimum wage laws for blacks. Their stated intention was to protect white workers from having to compete with lower-wage black workers. Our nation's first minimum wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, had racist motivation. Among the widespread racist sentiment was that of American Federation of Labor President William Green, who complained, "Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates."

1-13-14
 
Liberalism by gesture: Hybrids, minimum wage and more

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | The era of Gesture Liberalism is at hand. It may be more amusing than consequential.

Americans who exercise consumer sovereignty wherever Barack Obama still tolerates it are constantly disappointing him. For generations they persisted in buying what he calls “substandard” policies from what he calls “bad apple” health insurers. They stopped only when he forced them to stop — when he rescued them from their ignorance by banning their benighted preferences.

Have consumers thanked him for trying to wean them from their desire to drive large, useful, comfortable, safe vehicles that he thinks threaten their habitat, Earth? The 2013 numbers tell the tale of their ingratitude. In 2013, for the 32nd consecutive year, the best-selling vehicle was Ford’s F-Series pickups. This supremacy began, fittingly, in the first year of Ronald Reagan’s deregulatory presidency.

Today’s consumers, who cannot get it through their thick heads that they are supposed to want wee vehicles such as Chevrolet’s Volt, bought 763,402 F-Series trucks. That is 740,308 more than the number of Volts General Motors sold.

In 2010, a GM official carefully said “more than 120,000 potential Volt customers have already signaled interest in the car.” Signaled? How? Not by buying. At the 2013 rate of sales, by 2046 GM will have sold as many Volts as Ford sold F-Series trucks this year. Obama, our Nostradamus, prophesied a million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015. If so, they will have to outsell F-Series trucks this year.

The sort-of-electric Volt — it is a hybrid — probably is one of those great ideas Joe Biden celebrated in 2010: “Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.” Government’s incentive for Volt buyers is a tax credit up to $7,500. A 2011 study showed that taxpayer-subsidized Volt or Nissan Leaf buyers had average annual incomes of $150,000, and more than half of them owned at least two other vehicles.

In 2009, the Obama administration disapprovingly said: “GM earns a large share of its profits from high-margin trucks and SUVs, which are vulnerable to a continuing shift in consumer preferences to smaller vehicles.” Continuing? A 2011 Wall Street Journal headline: “Americans Embrace SUVs Again.” A Wall Street Journal subhead last week: “U.S. Sales Cruise Back to 2007 Levels, Driven by Fondness for Pickups, SUVs.”

Building the Volt was bankrupt-and-bailed-out GM’s gesture of obeisance to its Washington masters. And causing the Volt to be built was a gesture by those masters to demonstrate how much they worry about the climate. The climate may not understand the importance of gestures.

Today, Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius may be the second-most serendipitously named court case in U.S. history, second to Loving v. Virginia (wherein Richard Loving, who was white, and his wife Mildred, who was black, in 1967 overturned Virginia’s law against interracial marriages). The Little Sisters are challenging the Obamacare mandate that makes them complicit in providing, through their health insurance, contraception, something that offends their faith.

This mandate illustrates Gesture Liberalism: It is unimportant to the structure of Obamacare. It has nothing to do with real insurance, which protects against unexpected developments — car insurance does not pay for oil changes. The mandate covers a minor expense: Target sells a month of birth control pills for $9 . The mandate is, however, a gesture affirming liberalism’s belief that any institution of civil society can be properly broken to the saddle of the state.

The next item on Gesture Liberalism’s agenda is to raise the minimum wage for the 23rd time. Less than 3 percent of the workforce earns the minimum; more than 60 percent of those who do earn it get a raise within a year; more than half of minimum-wage earners are students or other part-time workers from households with average incomes of $53,000. Never mind. Raising the minimum is a gesture of devotion to “equality.”

As is Obama’s support for universal preschool, the centerpiece of the agenda of New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio. When, in Obama’s first inaugural address, he vowed to “restore science to its rightful place,” he evidently meant to exclude social science: There is much discouraging data about the efficacy of universal preschool.

It will, however, mean billions for hiring more members of teachers unions, whose dues will help elect the likes of Obama and de Blasio. So this component of Gesture Liberalism is more than just a gesture.
 

1-12-14
 
The 'Trickle-Down' Lie

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | New York's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people "on the far right" who "continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics." According to Mayor de Blasio, "They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else."

If there is ever a contest for the biggest lie in politics, this one should be a top contender.

While there have been all too many lies told in politics, most have some little tiny fraction of truth in them, to make them seem plausible. But the "trickle-down" lie is 100 percent lie.

It should win the contest both because of its purity — no contaminating speck of truth — and because of how many people have repeated it over the years, without any evidence being asked for or given.

Years ago, this column challenged anybody to quote any economist outside of an insane asylum who had ever advocated this "trickle-down" theory. Some readers said that somebody said that somebody else had advocated a "trickle-down" policy. But they could never name that somebody else and quote them.

Mayor de Blasio is by no means the first politician to denounce this non-existent theory. Back in 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama attacked what he called "an economic philosophy" which "says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else."

Let's do something completely unexpected: Let's stop and think. Why would anyone advocate that we "give" something to A in hopes that it would trickle down to B? Why in the world would any sane person not give it to B and cut out the middleman? But all this is moot, because there was no trickle-down theory about giving something to anybody in the first place.

The "trickle-down" theory cannot be found in even the most voluminous scholarly studies of economic theories — including J.A. Schumpeter's monumental "History of Economic Analysis," more than a thousand pages long and printed in very small type.

It is not just in politics that the non-existent "trickle-down" theory is found. It has been attacked in the New York Times, in the Washington Post and by professors at prestigious American universities — and even as far away as India. Yet none of those who denounce a "trickle-down" theory can quote anybody who actually advocated it.

The book "Winner-Take-All Politics" refers to "the 'trickle-down' scenario that advocates of helping the have-it-alls with tax cuts and other goodies constantly trot out." But no one who actually trotted out any such scenario was cited, much less quoted.

One of the things that provoke the left into bringing out the "trickle-down" bogeyman is any suggestion that there are limits to how high they can push tax rates on people with high incomes, without causing repercussions that hurt the economy as a whole.

But, contrary to Mayor de Blasio, this is not a view confined to people on the "far right." Such liberal icons as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson likewise argued that tax rates can be so high that they have an adverse effect on the economy.

In his 1919 address to Congress, Woodrow Wilson warned that, at some point, "high rates of income and profits taxes discourage energy, remove the incentive to new enterprise, encourage extravagant expenditures, and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils."

In a 1962 address to Congress, John F. Kennedy said, "it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now."

This was not a new idea. John Maynard Keynes said, back in 1933, that "taxation may be so high as to defeat its object," that in the long run, a reduction of the tax rate "will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the budget." And Keynes was not on "the far right" either.

The time is long overdue for people to ask themselves why it is necessary for those on the left to make up a lie if what they believe in is true.


1-11-14
 
Liberal Economic Mythology on Unemployment Benefits


By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | How can we ever expect America's younger generations to preserve America's greatness when the president of this nation keeps preaching damaging economic myths and misguided moral lessons?

It's one thing for our elected representatives to express compassion for those facing difficult financial circumstances. It's another for them to elevate the receipt of unemployment benefits and other forms of government dependency programs to a virtue. And it's yet another for them to justify these wrongheaded policies with false claims that they actually improve conditions when they make them worse.

President Obama's policies of expanding the government and his practice of punishing work and rewarding non-work are creating a permanent drag on the economy and jobs and harming people in the long run far more than helping them.

But Obama persists in his propaganda. Just this week, he made the bizarre assertion that extending unemployment benefits "actually helps the economy, actually creates new jobs."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made the similarly ludicrous claim in December 2011 that extending unemployment benefits would add "600,000 jobs to our economy." Oh, ho, ho, it's magic!

Have you ever noticed that pointy-headed liberal academics and unctuous politicians espouse sophisticated-sounding theories to prove what common sense tells us is surely wrong?

Economists long ago concocted elaborate theories to enable their socialist inclination toward expansive government, such as that increasing government spending would trigger a multiplier effect on the economy and stimulate economic growth and jobs. Sadly, their currency is chalkboard calculations and predictions, not empirical data.

Obama trotted out these theories to promote his colossally wasteful stimulus package, his various infrastructure plans and his green energy boondoggles. Despite undeniable evidence that they have all failed and that his economy continues to tank, he acts as though his failures vindicate him and we are too stupid to know the difference.

As much power as Obama has unconstitutionally arrogated to himself, he still isn't powerful enough to create something out of nothing. When he increases deficit spending, he has to get those phantom greenbacks from somewhere, and usually it's from the private sector, which he is smothering. For every dollar he injects into the economy, he drains at least a dollar out of it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if these magical economic elixirs worked, we would be in the middle of the greatest economic boom in our history. Case closed.


Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute addresses the claim that extending unemployment benefits "produces and sustains jobs." What he found is that academics cite one another to bolster their case but that they are in fact citing theories and estimates about "fiscal multipliers" rather than examining their actual effect on the economy. For example, one sociologist who supports extending unemployment benefits cited estimates from Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics that "every dollar spent on extending unemployment insurance benefits produces $1.61 in economic activity."

Reynolds says there are two problems with the theory. The first, which Obama can't very well deny because it comes from economists in his own administration, is that "extended unemployment benefits raise the duration and rate of unemployment."

The second is that the assumptions about "fiscal multipliers" used in Zandi's model are based on theory rather than evidence.

Reynolds points to contemporary research showing that increases in deficit spending can actually have a negative impact on growth. The so-called multiplier for deficit spending ranged from 0.4 to 0.6, "meaning a dollar of added federal debt added far less than a dollar to (gross domestic product)."

James Sherk of The Heritage Foundation agrees that "extending either the amount or the duration of (unemployment insurance) benefits increases the length of time that workers remain unemployed." It encourages unemployed workers to stay out of work longer to collect benefits; it encourages employers to wait longer to rehire laid-off workers; and it does little to increase consumption. In short, it creates no economic stimulus.

Simple logic also confirms that when you pay someone not to work, you disincentivize him to work. In my own personal experience, I have talked with one person who told me he wasn't looking for work because his unemployment benefits made looking for work unattractive.

The real problem facing Americans is not insufficient benefits but a persistently weak economy caused by Obama's oppressive policies. Gallup polling shows that the labor participation rate, which has been abysmal for most of Obama's tenure in office, is declining to a two-year low.

Obama brags about how much he cares, but if that were true, he'd abandon his selfish, stubborn attachment to his failed ideas and quit doing everything in his power to keep people out of work.

As Milton Friedman observed, "the repeated failure of well-intentioned programs is not an accident. It is not simply the result of mistakes of execution. The failure is deeply rooted in the use of bad means to achieve good objectives."

In Obama's case, I wouldn't even concede that he always has good objectives, as witnessed by his endless class warfare. That aside, if he really cared about the plight of the unemployed, he'd release his stranglehold on the private sector and let it do its "magic."

1-10-14

The Left's Latest Mantra: Income Inequality

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's no mystery what the left intends to make its next life-or-death issue: income inequality. Liberals are all popping off about it. It's everywhere, from Obama's speeches to liberal think tanks to liberal reporters.

It's almost as if they were conspiring to distract us from Obamacare. Nah!

On "Meet the Press," PBS anchorwoman Judy Woodruff sounded the alarm, not as a dispassionate reporter but as a progressive advocate. While acknowledging Obama's problems with Obamacare, she breathlessly insisted, "At the same time, the argument for doing something about the economy, the argument for addressing inequality, is such a compelling argument."

Behold the liberal mindset. It's apparently only of passing concern to Woodruff that Obamacare caused cancellations of millions of policies of insurance for people. That is so last year.

The important thing is that liberal icon Barack Obama forced quasi-socialized health care through Congress, and any harm it causes people must take a back seat to advancement of the progressive agenda, which is ostensibly designed (in the progressives' minds) to prevent harm to people. Ignore the foolish inconsistency. Nor does it matter that Obama lied about the harm his sacred plan would cause. The progressive agenda is marching forward.

Liberals must now shift our attention to the next issue they can preen about and showcase their moral superiority.

Notice that Woodward didn't say, "We need to get the economy moving again and get people back to work." She conflated "doing something about the economy" with "the argument for addressing inequality."

News flash: You don't do something about the economy by obsessing over income redistribution. The two are connected, but not in the sense that liberals believe they are.

While Obama liberals scoff at conservatives for their alleged "trickledown" approach to economics, they make the preposterous counterargument that you grow the economy "from the middle out," by which they mean you fuel economic growth by redistributing income.

You don't generate economic activity by punishing producers and taking their earnings and giving the money to others. How in the world could that expand the economic pie?

More likely, as history demonstrates, it will shrink the pie by disincentivizing all groups from producing. The wealthy will produce less because when you increase taxes on something (in this case, productivity and success), you get less of it. The recipients will mostly produce less because they are rewarded for not producing.

So "addressing inequality" is connected to "doing something about the economy" but in precisely the opposite way the left implies. Efforts to misuse the tax code to equalize outcomes — as opposed to using it for the purpose of securing funds for constitutionally prescribed federal government functions — will usually harm the economy.

Some liberals probably don't even believe their own propaganda that redistribution stimulates economic growth. In 2008, Obama told ABC's Charlie Gibson he favors increasing capital gains tax rates despite the fact that such increases had resulted in less revenue for the government. "It's a matter of fairness, Charlie."

For Obama, it was more important to punish the "rich" than to help the poor. That's his mindset — and it's warped.

Don't get me wrong. Obama and his fellow leftists are fixated on redistributing wealth, but a major component of that, as witnessed by his attitude on increasing the capital gains rate, is that the wealthy need to be punished — even if it means hurting lower-income groups.

The irony of all this is that these liberal policies often result in exacerbating income inequality. Obama can pretend, once again, that he's an innocent bystander, but income inequality is getting worse under his presidency.

A half-century and trillions of dollars in government transfer payments have not helped the poor. Even The New York Times is grudgingly conceding that after 50 years, "the war on poverty declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson has largely failed."

Whether or not liberals are able to process the reality that their programs have failed, they will not abandon them, because class warfare and government dependency programs are their ticket to power. CNN's Candy Crowley unwittingly admitted as much when she asked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker why any unemployed American or minimum wage worker would become a Republican.

It's not that conservatives don't care about the poor. It's that we do care about the poor — and everyone else. We believe that our free market solutions generate economic growth, stimulate upward mobility and improve the economic lives of far more people, including the poor and middle class, than any other system. History vindicates us.

The left will always win the "look at how much I care about you" contest. But it loses in the "actually caring" department because at some point, people have to be presumed to have intended the damaging results their policies have consistently caused.

Liberals can posture about how much they care and they can try desperately to change the channel from Obamacare, but the devastating harm that program has caused to millions already may finally have punctured their pretense of caring and their shameless practice of attempting to exempt themselves from accountability for their policies.

1-9-14

Answering Liberal Race Exploitation

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A number of news items from the past few days underscore the painful reality that liberals are wholly unrepentant about their exploitation of the race issue and have no intention of changing their ways.

John Nolte, on Breitbart, reported that MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel grotesquely lampooned a photo of Mitt Romney with his extended family because one of Romney's grandchildren, pictured on his knee, is Kieran Romney, an adopted child who is black.

Panelist Pia Glenn, referring to Kieran in the photo, said: "One of these things is not like the others. ... And that little baby, front and center, would be the one." Glenn's crass remarks were met with approving laughter from Harris-Perry. Lest there be any doubt about Harris-Perry's mindset on race, Nolte noted last month that during a racial rant, she asserted that "wealthy white men" created the term "Obamacare," which she regards as a racist act.

This mindset, shared by all too many liberals, is that Republicans and conservatives, solely by virtue of their party identification and ideological leanings, are racists. Black Republicans are even worse in their eyes. They are traitors to their race and, as such, are fairly subject to condemnation and ridicule from white liberals and black liberals alike. Thus, it is fair play for white liberals to mock and belittle black conservatives, just as they did to Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas and others, long before Kieran Romney.

For all the talk about diversity from the left, there is no such thing. Diversity of ideas and thoughts is absolutely forbidden. March in lock step with leftist thinking, or else. It wouldn't matter if we had a black Republican president and most of his Cabinet and other appointees were black or if we also had a majority of black Republicans in Congress. As long as they remained Republican, they wouldn't be regarded by the left as authentic blacks, and the GOP's presumed racism wouldn't be slightly mitigated.

For racially exploitive leftists, politics trumps everything, and thus they exempt themselves from the rules of common civility that normally inhibit decent people from doing such reprehensible things as using an innocent young black child as fodder for a cheap laugh — and as a means for a television personality to further ingratiate herself to the self-congratulatory left. After receiving blowback, Harris-Perry tweeted an apology to the Romney family, but the assumptions and presumptions leading to the incident in the first place doubtlessly remain in this type of leftist mindset, as the next news item illustrates.

On the same network a day or two later, a panel of MSNBC regulars, on a special edition of "PoliticsNation," selected awards for 2013. Network contributor Joy Reid said that the "knockout game" was the "most overrated story of the year," claiming that conservatives "went absolutely ballistic" because they wanted "to stoke issues of race."

The "knockout game," according to Wikipedia, is an assault in which one or more assailants attempt to knock out an unsuspecting victim, often with a single sucker punch, for the amusement of the attackers and their accomplices. The participants often record their assaults, and these videos have gone viral on the Internet. In the great majority of cases, the assailants appear to be teenage blacks and the victims defenseless whites.

Reid apparently concludes that conservatives have singled out these stories not because they are newsworthy, as reprehensible acts of abject evil that have been underreported in the mainstream media, but because they have largely been committed by blacks. It is much ado about nothing. There is nothing to see here. Move on. The only noteworthy thing about it, according to Reid, is the alleged racism of those focusing on it.

Next, The Daily Caller reports on an essay by a liberal professor of constitutional law at the City University of New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in which the professor blames "southern White radicals" for the disastrous rollout of Obamacare aka the "Affordable Care Act," as if either the negative reports about the rollout were overblown or the problems were caused by bigots, as opposed to the incompetent statist bureaucrats actually responsible.

In her essay, "2013: A Year of Racial Challenges," Gloria J. Browne-Marshall alleges that "southern White radicals vowed to stop implementation of the Obama-care law leading one to wonder if Tea Party members would oppose affordable healthcare if it came from a nonBlack President."

Are these leftists really so blinded by their own ideology or so cloistered among people with their own narrow-minded liberal ideas that they believe we conservatives oppose Obama's policies, including Obamacare, because of his race? Why, then, did we just as adamantly oppose Hillary Clinton's scheme for socialized medicine? Why do we always oppose liberal ideas, the overwhelming majority of which have been advanced by white liberals?

In an ideal world, I wouldn't dignify with a response these false charges of racism, but if we conservatives have learned any lesson in the past few decades, it is that unanswered allegations in the spirit of respect and civility just egg shameless liberals on — and all too often, those allegations stick. Like it or not, we have to fight them back at every turn, and that is what I intend to do.


1-8-14
 
GOP Must Strike While Obamacare Iron Is Hot

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When it comes to health care, Republicans need to strike while the iron is hot, and it is white-hot now — and will probably get worse — because of the Obamacare disaster.

The nation's health insurance rolls are hemorrhaging with Obamacare-forced cancellations, and new sign-ups are dreadfully slow — and not just because of the disgraceful website glitches. People don't want what Obama's offering, er, mandating, and they're not buying what he's selling (at gunpoint).

On Sunday morning, the White House quietly issued a statement revealing that only 1.1 million people have signed up for Obamacare on the federal website. An additional 1 million have signed up on states' websites, but even adding these enrollees, the administration is woefully short of its stated goal of 3.3 million enrollments by Dec. 31 and has less than a third of its targeted 7 million number by March 31. But that's just the good news.

We don't even have information — because the government won't provide it — on how many of the allegedly 1.1 million new federal enrollees are actually assured of coverage. All we know is that these people have selected the plans they want on the website; we don't know whether they've paid for them or whether the insurance companies have accepted them for coverage.

The administration's obscure Sunday statement provided no information as to the demographics and income levels of those enrollees. The financial feasibility of Obamacare depends on the participation of the "young invincibles" — young, healthy people whom this despotic government will soak for premiums to subsidize the sick and elderly. The administration is shrewdly guarding this data because it knows it can't afford more bad news, and these skewed sign-up patterns would mean that premiums would likely jump again in 2014.

The administration also conspicuously failed to mention that Obamacare forced cancellation of the plans of about 5 million people, which leaves a net loss of some 3 million insured. Reportedly, close to 2 million others signed up for Medicaid coverage, but that will just further tax that underfunded system and the federal budget and will do nothing to help fund the Obamacare mandated plans.

It bears repeating that these forced cancellations were no accident. Nor were they mere collateral damage the administration couldn't avoid en route to its socialized medicine utopia. They were deviously planned by the administration because they were necessary for Obamacare's numbers to work.

Despite Obama's repeated lies, the cancellations were premeditated in order to compel people to obtain more expensive plans through the federal website — to cover things they aren't even at risk for — and for the federal government to be able to use the premium windfalls to subsidize other people's health insurance costs. Obamacare was never about improving access to health care, reducing health care costs or improving the quality of care. It was an elaborate government-imposed Ponzi scheme for wealth redistribution and to establish another behemoth federal infrastructure for the government to control never-before-imagined aspects of our everyday lives.

As 2014 unfolds, expect further bad news from Obamacare as the other shoe drops on employer-provided plans.

In the midst of this White House news dump, Nero fiddles; Obama is enjoying another extended vacation and playing golf to his heart's delight. Even his once-fawning liberal press acknowledged that he seemed to be without energy and disengaged as he was leaving for vacation.

By all accounts and from all quarters, from former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to former knee-tingler Chris Matthews, Obama had his worst year in 2013 — and that's saying something. His approval ratings continue to hang at all-time lows. Support for Obamacare has reached a record low. A new CNN poll shows that Obama is even losing his own base over Obamacare. Democratic senators are complaining that Obama's personality makes it difficult to work with him. Others, along with Democratic congressmen, want to distance themselves from him as the 2014 elections approach.

When I said Republicans should strike while the iron is hot, I meant they need to hammer Obama daily for the damage he's causing to the American people on Obamacare alone. They need to feed Americans the facts as relentlessly as Obama has campaigned to force-feed us this nightmare.

And they need to immediately pass in the House, with great fanfare, a comprehensive health care reform bill containing the myriad market-based reforms they've proposed over the past few years — from tort reform to ending discriminatory tax treatment for employer-provided plans to expanding health savings accounts to reducing government mandates to ending prohibition on consumers crossing state lines to buy insurance to supporting retail health clinics to providing vouchers for the working poor and chronically uninsured.

Passing such a bill would not keep Obama from lying that Republicans have no alternative plan, but it would give them something tangible with which to counter and showcase his lie.

Republicans have much work to do. We are in a war for the survival of the country as we know it, and in order to save it, we need to fight with the same relentless intensity as Obama and his forces are fighting to destroy it.


1-7-14

Politics, by the numbers: Evaluating 2016 by diving into the data

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | Two years from today, Iowa — dark, brooding, enigmatic Iowa — will be enjoying its quadrennial moment as the epicenter of the universe. And in 10 months, voters will vent their spleens — if they still are as splenetic as they now claim to be — in congressional elections. Some numbers define the political landscape.

In an October poll, 60 percent favored voting out of office every congressional incumbent. The poll was taken just 11 months after voters reelected 90 percent of House and 91 percent of Senate incumbents. Democrats are more likely to lose control of the Senate than gain control of the House. Ninety-three percent of Republican House members represent districts Mitt Romney carried, 96 percent of Democratic members represent districts Barack Obama carried. Since the mid-19th-century emergence of the current two-party competition, no party holding the presidency has ever won control of the House in a midterm election.

Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics note that, since the Civil War, the average turnout in presidential elections has been 63 percent and in midterms 48 percent. The decline comes mostly from the party holding the presidency, and analyst Charlie Cook says three crucial components of Obama’s coalition — unmarried women, minorities (more than 40 percent of Obama’s 2012 vote) and young people — are especially prone to skipping midterms. In the seven midterms since 1984, voters younger than 30 averaged 13 percent of the midterm vote, down from 19 percent during presidential years.

Furthermore, for House elections much of the Democratic vote is inefficiently concentrated in and around large cities. Obama won 80 percent or more in 27 districts; Romney did so in only one. That is why in 2012, Democratic House candidates got about 1.4 million more votes than Republican candidates but did not win control of the House.

Today the 30 Republican governors — four short of the all-time GOP high of 34 in the 1920s — represent 315 electoral votes. Republicans have a 52 percent majority of state legislative seats. After the 2012 elections, Republicans controlled the governorships and legislatures in 25 states with 53 percent of the nation’s population; Democrats had unified control of 13 states with 30 percent of the population.

Since the emergence of the Republican Party, only two Democratic presidents, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, have been followed by Democrats, and both FDR and JFK died in office, so their successors ran as incumbents. But Republicans have not decisively won a presidential election since 1988. Since then, no Republican nominee has won more than 50.8 percent of the vote. In the six elections from 1992 to 2012, Republicans averaged 211 electoral votes, Democrats 327. Republicans lost the popular vote in five of these elections, and in the sixth, 2004, George W. Bush’s margin was the smallest ever for a reelection.

In 2012, Obama became the first president since Ronald Reagan to win two popular-vote majorities, but Obama got 3.6 million fewer votes than in 2008, a 5 percent decline. (The prior reelected president, Bush, got 11.6 million more votes in 2004 than in 2000.) Except for a small gain among those age 30 to 39, Obama lost ground among every age cohort. And in 2012, Republicans improved the share of votes they got in 2008 from men (in 2012 Obama became the first person to win a presidential election while losing the male vote by seven points), whites, young voters and Jews. And independents: John McCain lost them 44 to 52 but Romney won them 50 to 45. And by September 2013, independents were leaning Republican by 18 points, above even the 14-point advantage Republicans had in 2010.

In three of the most intensely contested states in 2012, Florida, Virginia and Ohio, Obama’s victory margins averaged 2.6 points. But even if he had lost all three he would have still won with 272 electoral votes. Analyst Jeffrey Bell calculates this:

“Of the 12 ‘battleground’ states, Obama won 11 — eight of them by a margin of more than 5 percentage points. Remarkably, this meant that if there had been a uniform 5 point swing toward the Republicans in the national popular vote margin — that is, had Romney won the popular vote by 1.1 percentage points instead of losing it by 3.9 — Obama would still have prevailed in the Electoral College, winning 23 states and 272 electoral votes.”

These numbers suggest that the great political prizes can be won by either party. There will be more numbers to contemplate by the time the 1 percent of Americans who live in Iowa are heard from.
 

1-6-14

Political ignorance: The cost of voters' inattention to politics

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | It was naughty of Winston Churchill to say, if he really did, that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Nevertheless, many voters’ paucity of information about politics and government, although arguably rational, raises awkward questions about concepts central to democratic theory, including consent, representation, public opinion, electoral mandates and officials’ accountability.

Ilya Somin of George Mason University law school is the author of “Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter”.

(Buy it at a 10% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 45% discount by clicking here).

In it he argues that an individual’s ignorance of public affairs is rational because the likelihood of his or her vote being decisive in an election is vanishingly small. The small incentives to become informed include reducing one’s susceptibility to deceptions, misinformation and propaganda. And if remaining ignorant is rational individual behavior, it has likely destructive collective outcomes.

Somin says that during the Cold War in 1964, two years after the Cuban missile crisis, only 38 percent of Americans knew the Soviet Union was not a member of NATO. In 2003, about 70 percent was unaware of enactment of the prescription drug entitlement, then the largest welfare-state expansion since Medicare (1965). In a 2006 Zogby poll, only 42 percent could name the three branches of the federal government.

Voters cannot hold officials responsible if they do not know what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing what. Given that 20 percent thinks the sun revolves around the Earth, it is unsurprising that a majority is unable to locate major states such as New York on a map. Usually only 30 percent of Americans can name their two senators. The average American expends more time becoming informed about choosing a car than choosing a candidate. But, then, the consequences of the former choice are immediate and discernible.

Many people, says Somin, acquire political knowledge for the reason people acquire sports knowledge — because it interests them, not because it will alter the outcome of any contest. And with “confirmation bias,” many people use political information to reinforce their preexisting views. Committed partisans are generally the most knowledgeable voters, independents the least. And the more political knowledge people have, the more apt they are to discuss politics with people who agree with, and reinforce, them.

The problem of ignorance is unlikely to be ameliorated by increasing voter knowledge because demand for information, not the supply of it, is the major constraint on political knowledge. Despite dramatic expansions of education and information sources, abundant evidence shows the scope of political ignorance is remarkably persistent over time. New information technologies have served primarily to increase the knowledge of the already well-informed, which increases the ability of some to engage in “rent-seeking” from the regulatory state, manipulating its power in order to transfer wealth to themselves. And if political knowledge is measured relative to government’s expanding scope, ignorance is increasing rapidly: There is so much more to be uninformed about.

A better ameliorative measure would be to reduce the risks of ignorance by reducing government’s consequences — its complexity, centralization and intrusiveness. In the 19th century, voters’ information burdens were much lighter because important federal issues — the expansion of slavery, the disposition of public lands, tariffs, banking, infrastructure spending — were much fewer.

Political ignorance helps explain Americans’ perpetual disappointment with politicians generally, and presidents especially, to whom voters unrealistically attribute abilities to control events. The elections of 1932 and 1980 dramatically illustrated how voters primarily control politicians — by “retrospective voting,” refusing to reelect them.

Some people vote because it gives them pleasure — the satisfaction of expressive behavior — and because they feel duty-bound to cast a ballot that, by itself, makes virtually no difference, but affirms a process that does. And although many people deplore the fact that U.S. parties have become more ideologically homogenous, they now confer more informative “brands” on their candidates.

Political ignorance, Somin argues, strengthens the case for judicial review by weakening the supposed “countermajoritarian difficulty” with it. If much of the electorate is unaware of the substance or even existence of policies adopted by the sprawling regulatory state, the policies’ democratic pedigrees are weak. Hence Somin’s suggestion that the extension of government’s reach “undercuts democracy more than it furthers it.”

An engaged judiciary that enforced the Framers’ idea of government’s “few and defined” enumerated powers (Madison, Federalist 45), leaving decisions to markets and civil society, would, Somin thinks, make the “will of the people” more meaningful by reducing voters’ knowledge burdens. Somin’s evidence and arguments usefully dilute the unwholesome democratic sentimentality and romanticism that encourage government’s pretensions, ambitions and failures.


1-5-14
 
The Anus Monologues

By Ann Coulter

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Unable to comment on the "Duck Dynasty" controversy last week due to my hectic Kwanzaa schedule, I am able to sweep in at the end and comment on the commentary.

Anyone who utters the mind-numbingly obvious point that A&E's suspension of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson doesn't involve the First Amendment because a TV network is not the government, should be prohibited from ever talking in public again. You can bore your few remaining friends with laborious statements of the obvious, but stop wasting everyone else's time.

We know A&E is not the government. It may shock your tiny little pea brains, but free speech existed even before we had a Constitution. Free speech is generally considered a desirable goal even apart from its inclusion in the nation's founding document.

Suppose TV networks were capitulating to angry Muslims by suspending people for saying they opposed Sharia law? Would that prompt any of you pusillanimous hacks to finally take a position on the state of free speech in America?

Or would you demand that we stop the presses so you could roll out your little cliche about a television network not being the government? That fact has very little relevance to someone whose life has just been ruined. Hey! Don't worry about it -- at least it wasn't the government!

Instead of the government censoring speech, what we have is shock troops of liberal agitators demanding people's heads for the slightest divergence from Officially Approved Liberal Opinion.

Evidently, the word of G0D is on the banned list. As Robertson himself has said, all he did "was quote from the Scriptures, but they just didn't know it."

His offending remarks delivered to GQ magazine were:

"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. Sin becomes fine ... Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of G0D. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

There's absolutely no question but that Robertson accurately summarized biblical strictures. But liberals can't grasp that G0D is not our imaginary friend, who says whatever we want Him to say, when we want Him to say it. (I promise you, except for venereal disease and eternal damnation, life would be a lot more fun if we were making it up as we went along.)

So they blamed Robertson for Holy Scripture. True, G0D created the universe and every living thing, but liberals think they can improve on His work.

Since Robertson's interview appeared, I haven't heard as much sophistical nonsense about the Christian bible not condemning fornication since I was a teenager in the backseat of a car.

The book of Romans, called "the Cathedral of the Christian faith," provides the clearest explanation of the doctrines of sin. Here are a few catchy verses:

"The wrath of G0D is being revealed from heaven ... so that people are without excuse.

"Because of this, G0D gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error ...

"Although they know G0D's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

Also, keep these citations in your back pocket for the next time some sweaty teenage boy tries to convince you Jesus didn't condemn fornication: 1 Corinthians 7:2; Galatians 5:19-20; Jude 1:7; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:13, 18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; and Matthew 5:32.

The lake of fire and burning sulfur (Revelation 21:8) may not sound like a day at the beach, but judging by their hysterical attack on Robertson, our new earthly G0Ds are a lot less forgiving than the real G0D.

GLAAD instantly condemned Robertson's totally accurate rendition of Holy Scripture as "vile." With refreshing originality, CNN's Piers Morgan called Robertson a "vile bigot."

And it's not just "vile" to cite Holy Scripture. Evidently, it's also vile not to appreciate the joys of anal sex.

What seemed to set liberals off as much as Robertson's Biblical summaries was his statement that he doesn't find anal sex appealing. He said:

"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

So now, not only do we all have to support gay marriage, gay wedding cakes and gay soldiers -- but we also have to agree that anal sex sounds peachy! It's like being denounced for saying you prefer vanilla ice cream to chocolate.

To paraphrase an old Jewish line: This is not good for the gays.

Gays have gone from being the bullied to the bullies -- a modern American phenomenon detailed in my book "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America."

Yes, we know you used to be unfairly victimized. But being beaten up for being gay is simply not the same as having to endure hearing someone opine that anal sex isn't his cup of tea.

A&E didn't dare cross the gays, never anticipating that the Robertson family wouldn't back down -- and the rest of the country wouldn't, either. Even non-Christians can have only contempt for the network's utter cravenness in suspending Robertson for stating basic Christian doctrine.

The first time someone stands up to a bully and the sky doesn't fall, the tyranny is over. The gay mafia was out of control, drunk with power. This time, they got their wings clipped.

Christians, 1; Angry gays: minus 1,000. Cliche-spouting hack TV pundits: I recommend capital punishment.

1-4-14
 
Hit Piece Journalism

By Thomas Sowell


JewishWorldReview.com | Front-page editorials, disguised as news stories, have become such familiar features of the New York Times that it should have been no surprise to discover in the December 28th issue a front-page story about a professor of finance at the University of Houston who has been a paid consultant to financial enterprises.

Since professors of all sorts have been paid consultants to organizations of all sorts, it is questionable why this was a story at all, much less one that covered an entire inside page, in addition to a central front-page opening, under the headline "Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward."

Do academics who attack Wall Street, as consultants to government agencies or other organizations, not get paid?

Like the corrupt French official in the movie classic "Casablanca," the New York Times is "shocked, shocked" to discover that consultants get paid defending the kinds of people that the New York Times attacks.

Where has the New York Times been all these years, as government agencies of all sorts spend the taxpayers' money not only to hire consultants but also to hand out research grants to professors, institutions and programs that promote the kinds of policies that serve the institutional interests of these agencies?

Back when I was an economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, many years ago, officials there spoke in reverential tones about Professor Richard A. Lester, an economist at Princeton University who sometimes came down to Washington to advise the Department.

Although many other economists argued that minimum wage laws increased unemployment, especially among young unskilled workers, Professor Lester had questioned whether minimum wages had the bad effects that other economists said they had.

His view was very congenial to the institutional interests of the Department of Labor, a substantial part of whose appropriations and employment was based on its administration of the minimum wage law.

In fairness to Professor Lester, there is no reason whatever to think that his views were based on the money he got from the government. His views were undoubtedly what they were, well before they came to the attention of the Labor Department, which then decided that he was someone whose services they wanted.

The real corruption comes from arming government agencies with the taxpayers' money to hire consultants and give research grants to academics and others whose views serve the interests of those particular government agencies, as distinguished from serving the interests of the public from whom these taxes are extracted.

Does anyone seriously believe that those government agencies that stand to see their powers and money increased if the "global warming" agenda prevails will be handing out research grants impartially to both those climate scientists who agree with that agenda and those who disagree?

As someone who used to do some consulting, I once encountered the attitude exhibited in the New York Times "news" story. In a case in which I was testifying against a government policy, the opposing attorney demanded to know how much I was being paid.

When I told her, her immediate and sarcastic response was: "Is that what the traffic will bear?"

"I certainly hope not," I said. "The whole point of charging what I do is to ration my time." I had undoubtedly been selected as a consultant because my previous writings showed which side of the issue I was on already.

The central target of the New York Times hit piece was Professor Craig Pirrong, whom it says "had financial ties to both sides" of a dispute over financial speculation. Despite this, the repeated insinuation was that he has a conflict of interest.

If both sides are willing to pay him for consulting, where is the conflict? No matter what side he takes on a particular issue, somebody is going to pay him — as people who work in any capacity usually expect to get paid, even people who write hit pieces for the New York Times.

What is really corrupting is camouflaging an editorial as a "news" story — and acting as if people who represent one side of a controversial issue are somehow less worthy than people who represent the opposite side that happens to be favored by the New York Times.

1-3-14
 
Parting Company

By Walter Williams


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Here's a question that I've asked in the past that needs to be revisited. Unless one wishes to obfuscate, it has a simple yes or no answer. If one group of people prefers strong government control and management of people's lives while another group prefers liberty and desires to be left alone, should they be required to enter into conflict with one another and risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences on the other group? Yes or no. My answer is no; they should be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways.

The problem our nation faces is very much like a marriage in which one partner has an established pattern of ignoring and breaking the marital vows. Moreover, the offending partner has no intention to mend his ways. Of course, the marriage can remain intact while one party tries to impose his will on the other and engages in the deviousness of one-upsmanship and retaliation. Rather than domination or submission by one party, or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.

I believe our nation is at a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage where vows are broken, our rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. These constitutional violations have increased independent of whether there's been a Democrat-controlled Washington or a Republican-controlled Washington.

There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways. You say, "Williams, what do you mean by constitutional abrogation?" Let's look at the magnitude of the violations.

Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution lists the activities for which Congress is authorized to tax and spend. Nowhere on that list is there authority for Congress to tax and spend for: Medicare, Social Security, public education, farm subsidies, bank and business bailouts, food stamps and thousands of other activities that account for roughly two-thirds of the federal budget. Neither is there authority for congressional mandates to citizens about what type of health insurance they must purchase, how states and people may use their land, the speed at which they can drive, whether a library has wheelchair ramps, and the gallons of water used per toilet flush. The list of congressional violations of both the letter and spirit of the Constitution is virtually without end. Our derelict Supreme Court has given Congress sanction to do just about anything for which they can muster a majority vote.

James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, explained in Federalist Paper No. 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State." Our founder's constitutional vision of limited federal government has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Americans have several options. We can like sheep submit to those who have contempt for liberty and our Constitution. We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed and death in an attempt to force America's tyrants to respect our liberties and Constitution. A superior alternative is to find a way to peaceably separate into states whose citizens respect liberty and the Constitution. My personal preference is a restoration of the constitutional values of limited government that made us a great nation.

1-2-14
 
Almost Orwellian

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Almost Orwellian" — that's the description a federal judge gave earlier this week to the massive spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on virtually all 380 million cellphones in the United States.

In the first meaningful and jurisdictionally grounded judicial review of the NSA cellphone spying program, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, a George W. Bush appointee sitting in Washington, D.C., ruled that the scheme of asking a secret judge on a secret court for a general warrant to spy on all American cellphone users without providing evidence of probable cause of criminal behavior against any of them is unconstitutional because it directly violates the Fourth Amendment.

Readers of this page are familiar with the purpose of that Amendment and the requirements it imposes on the government. The Framers intended it to prevent the new government in America from doing to Americans what the British government had done to the colonists under the king.

The British government had used general warrants — which are not based on individualized probable cause and do not name the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized — to authorize British soldiers to search the colonists wherever they pleased for whatever they wished to seize. The reason for the Fourth Amendment requirement of individualized probable cause and specificity in the warrant is to prevent the very type of general warrant that the NSA has claimed is lawful. The reason for preventing general warrants is that they have become an instrument of tyranny.

It is against this well-known historical context that Leon engaged in his analysis of the feds who spy on us. This is truly the first jurisdictionally based judicial ruling on the cellphone aspect of the domestic spying that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed last spring. Though the NSA and the Obama and Bush administrations have claimed that judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) not only found the NSA cellphone spying to be constitutional, but also authorized it, those judges were performing a statutory clerical function, not a constitutional jurisdictionally based judicial function.

The Constitution requires a case or controversy — basically lawyers arguing against each other on behalf of clients whose interests are adverse — in order to invoke the jurisdiction of federal courts. The FISC judges, who sit and sign in secret, do not do so under the Constitution, because they have no case or controversy before them. They have only the NSA before them. Leon was the first federal judge to rule on the constitutionality of NSA spying under the Constitution — in the context of a litigant challenging the government and the government defending itself. And he found that spying to be in violation of the Constitution.

In his ruling, he dispatched with clarity the government's argument that two Supreme Court cases from the late 1970s and early 1980s, in which the court permitted evidence obtained from telephone billing data without a search warrant to be introduced in criminal cases, support the constitutionality of the NSA's phone metadata collection. That was before the era of cellphones, and that was before the Supreme Court ruled that a search warrant is required to hunt electronically for marijuana plants in a home and to install and follow a GPS in a car. By ruling that two now-outdated Supreme Court cases are no longer controlling, he almost guaranteed that the high court will take this case.

The NSA was emasculated before Leon. Gone were the lies of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who stated under oath that the government does not spy on Americans. Gone was the bravado of NSA boss Gen. Keith Alexander, who claimed initially under oath that his spies stopped 52 terrorist plots and then mysteriously corrected himself and said they really stopped just three, but declined to identify the three. Gone was the if-we-don't-do-this-we-all-will-die argument. Gone was the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide-you-have-nothing-to-fear nonsense that congressional NSA apologists have advanced.

In place of the political claptrap is the court's finding that not only is the NSA spying unconstitutional, but it doesn't work. After hearing the NSA state its case, Leon wrote, "I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism." And he added an admonition that it doesn't help the NSA's case to be less than candid with the judge.

This was not a difficult case for the court. The government's behavior was utterly indefensible. It was profoundly dismissive of the Constitution that federal employees have sworn to uphold. Leon wrote: "I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware 'the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,' would be aghast."

Even though Madison would be aghast, surely the Obama administration will appeal this, and just as surely, appellate judges or Supreme Court justices will have the final say. But for now, we have the great satisfaction of knowing that an independent judiciary has saved our liberties from the tyranny of the majority. And this is a cause for great joy.


1-1-14

Happy New Year from
Freedom For Us Now



12-31-13
 
The fusion in our future

By George Will


In a scientific complex on 88 bucolic acres near here, some astonishingly talented people are advancing a decades-long project to create a sun on Earth. When — not if; when — decades hence they and collaborators around the world succeed, their achievement will be more transformative of human life than any prior scientific achievement.

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s (PPPL) focus — magnetic fusion research — began at the university in 1951. It was grounded in the earlier work of a European scientist then living in Princeton. Einstein’s theory that mass could be converted into energy had been demonstrated six years earlier near Alamogordo, N.M., by fission — the splitting of atoms, which released the energy that held the atoms together. By the 1950s, however, attention was turning to an unimaginably more promising method of releasing energy from transforming matter — the way the sun does, by fusion.

Every second the sun produces a million times more energy than the world consumes in a year. But to “take a sun and put it in a box” — the description of one scientist here — requires developing the new field of plasma physics and solving the most difficult engineering problems in the history of science. The objective is to create conditions for the controlled release of huge amounts of energy from the fusion of two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe; Earth’s water contains a virtually inexhaustible supply (10 million million tons) of deuterium, and tritium is “bred” in the fusion plant itself.

The sun is a huge sphere of plasma, which is a hot, electrically charged gas. The production and confinement of plasma in laboratories is now routine. The task now is to solve the problem of “net energy” — producing more electrical power than is required for the production of it.

Magnets produce a field sufficient to prevent particles heated beyond the sun’s temperature — more than 100 million degrees Celsius — from hitting the walls of the containment vessel. Understanding plasma’s behavior requires the assistance of Titan, one of the world’s fastest computers, which is located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and can perform more than 17 quadrillion — a million billion — calculations a second.

As in today’s coal-fired power plants, the ultimate object is heat — to turn water into steam that drives generators. Fusion, however, produces no greenhouse gases, no long-lived nuclear waste and no risk of the sort of runaway reaction that occurred at Fukushima. Fusion research here and elsewhere is supported by nations with half the world’s population — China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the European Union. The current domestic spending pace would cost $2.5 billion over 10 years — about one-thirtieth of what may be squandered in California on a 19th-century technology (a train). By one estimate, to bring about a working fusion reactor in 20 years would cost $30 billion — approximately the cost of one week of U.S. energy consumption.

Given the societal will, commercially feasible production of fusion energy is possible in the lifetime of most people now living. The cost of operating the PPPL complex, which a century from now might be designated a historic site, is 0.01 percent of U.S. energy spending. PPPL’s budget is a minuscule fraction of U.S. energy infrastructure investment (power plants, pipelines). Yet the laboratory, which once had a staff of 1,400, today has only 450.

The Apollo space program was much less technologically demanding and much more accessible to public understanding. It occurred in the context of U.S.-Soviet competition; it was directly relevant to national security (ballistic missiles; the coin of international prestige); it had a time frame for success — President Kennedy’s pledge to go to the moon in the 1960s — that could hold the public’s attention and incremental progress (orbital flights) the public could comprehend.

Because the fusion energy program lacks such immediacy, transparency and glamour, it poses a much more difficult test for the political process. Because of its large scale and long time horizon, the fusion project is a perfect example of a public good the private sector cannot pursue and the public sector should not slight. Most government revenues now feed the public’s unslakable appetite for transfer payments. The challenge for today’s political class is to moderate its subservience to this appetite sufficiently to enable the basic science that will earn tomorrow’s gratitude.


12-30-13

 Executive discretion: Will Congress challenge Obama?

By George Will

JewishWorldReview.com | “To contend that the obligation imposed on the president to see the laws faithfully executed implies a power to forbid their execution is a novel construction of the Constitution, and is entirely inadmissible.”

— U.S. Supreme Court, 1838

Congressional Republicans’ long-simmering dismay about Barack Obama’s offenses against the separation of powers became acute when events compelled him to agree with them that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could not be implemented as written. But even before he decreed alterations of key ACA provisions — delaying enforcement of certain requirements for health insurance and enforcement of employers’ coverage obligations — he had effectively altered congressionally mandated policy by altering work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform; and compliance requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law; and some enforcement concerning marijuana possession; and the prosecution of drug crimes entailing mandatory minimum sentences; and the enforcement of immigration laws pertaining to some young people.

Republicans tend to regard Obama’s aggressive assertion of enforcement discretion as idiosyncratic — an anti-constitutional impatience arising from his vanity. This interpretation is encouraged by his many assertions that he “can’t wait” for our system of separated powers to ratify his policy preferences. Still, to understand not only the extravagance of Obama’s exercises of executive discretion but also how such discretion necessarily grows as government does, read Zachary S. Price’s “Enforcement Discretion and Executive Duty” forthcoming in the Vanderbilt Law Review. Price, a visiting professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, demonstrates that the Constitution’s “text, history, and normative underpinnings” do not justify the permissive reading Obama gives to its take care clause, which says the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

It is, says Price, part of America’s “deeply rooted constitutional tradition” that “presidents, unlike English kings, lack authority to suspend statutes” or make them inapplicable to certain individuals or groups. Indeed, the take care clause may have been intended to codify the Framers’ repudiation of royal suspending prerogatives. Hence the absence of an anti-suspension provision in the Bill of Rights.

Congress’s excessive expansion of the number of federal crimes, however, has required the husbanding of scarce prosecutorial and judicial resources, which has made enforcement discretion central to the operation of today’s federal criminal justice system. But Obama’s uses of executive discretion pertain to the growth of the administrative state.

The danger, Price says, is that the inevitable non-enforcement of many federal criminal laws will establish “a new constitutional norm of unbounded executive discretion” beyond the criminal justice system. Price says the enforcement discretion exercised in the context of the resource-constrained criminal justice system provides “no support for presidential authority to decline enforcement with respect to any other given civil regulatory regime, such as the Affordable Care Act.”

The difference is between priority-setting and policy-setting, the latter being a congressional prerogative because of Congress’s primacy in lawmaking. Absent “a clear statutory basis, an executive waiver of statutory requirements” is “presumptively impermissible.”

It has, however, become “a nearly irresistible temptation” for presidents to infer permission from the courts’ abandonment of judicial review that limits Congress’s power to delegate essentially legislative powers to the executive branch. So, Price asks: “If President Obama may postpone enforcement of the ACA’s insurance requirements and employer mandate, could a subsequent president ignore the Affordable Care Act altogether?”

In 1998, the Supreme Court held that “there is no provision in the Constitution that authorizes the president to enact, to amend, or to repeal statutes.” But by claiming a power to revise laws through suspension of portions of them, Obama is exercising what Price calls a “second veto.” Actually, he is wielding what the Constitution forbids and no statute can grant — a line-item veto, which violates the presentment clause. The Constitution says “every bill” passed by Congress shall be “presented” to the president, who shall sign “it” or return “it” with his objections. The antecedent of the pronoun is the bill — all of it, not bits of it.

The sprawl of the modern administrative state requires vast delegations of powers, often indistinguishable from legislative powers, to an executive branch whose scale defies even adequate congressional oversight. Fortunately, in the Newtonian physics of our constitutional system, wherein rivalries among the three branches are supposed to trend toward equilibrium, actions often produce equal and opposite reactions. Obama’s aggressive assertions of executive discretion are provoking countervailing attention to constitutional proprieties. His departures from the norms proper to the take care clause may yet cause Congress to take better care of its prerogatives.

 

12-29-13

Encouraging Lessons from the 'Duck Dynasty' Imbroglio

By David Limbaugh

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A&E's suspension of Phil Robertson for expressing his politically incorrect, Bible-based opinion on homosexual behavior has turned out to be a blessing in disguise and serves as an object lesson for Christian and other social conservatives, as well as other lovers of liberty.

The politically correct left has built a culture and network of intimidation against all who refuse to accept their views and especially those who are vocal in standing their ground.

Among the encouraging lessons from this brouhaha are that people are waking up to the tyranny of uncompromising leftist groups and realizing that they don't have to cower before them and cave to their bullying demands. We're seeing that courageous individuals, secure in their beliefs, can make a difference and by speaking out motivate like-minded people to stand up and fight back.

Conservatives are recognizing that they don't have to sit back and continue to be victims of the left's domestic economic sanctions, that sometimes it's necessary to fight fire with fire by reciprocating with economic sanctions or support of their own.

The Cracker Barrel restaurant chain learned this lesson the hard way. It announced it would stop selling certain "Duck Dynasty" merchandise because of Robertson's statements. The backlash from its customers via social media was immediate and so overwhelming that it issued an apology and reversed its decision, which teaches us another lesson. While the conventional wisdom is that the left owns social media, the reality is that people, including millions of conservatives and Christians, own social media and can use it to combat the left's tyranny and otherwise engage in the culture war.

A similar phenomenon occurred in reverse when customers of Chick-fil-A flocked to its restaurants throughout America to support the chain when CEO Dan Cathy came under attack for saying he supports traditional marriage. The mayors of Chicago and Boston lambasted the company, and D.C.'s mayor said it was peddling "hate chicken."

People who want to mind their own business are finally grasping that certain militant leftists, especially gay activists, won't let them. They don't want to live and let live; they don't just want equal rights and respect. They want to stamp out opposing viewpoints and suppress the liberties of those who disagree.

Robertson and Cathy are not the first to be demonized. Some who worked on the Prop 8 ballot initiative in California were told they would be vilified as anti-gay and would never work again. That's right: If you express your support for traditional marriage, the militant gay movement slanders you as "anti-gay." They can't win in the marketplace of ideas, so they have to take out their opponents — assaulting their character and reputation and destroying their credibility and courage to fight back.

These bullies are threatening lawsuits against churches that refuse to perform same-sex weddings. They are forcing the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle into our public schools via Common Core. They have sued a baker for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. They sued to compel a Christian photographer to take pictures at a same-sex ceremony.

People are also witnessing the militant gay lobby engage in calculated deception in its quest to impose its views and suppress the opposition. This deception is primarily found in the deliberate distortion of terms, such as "anti-gay," "hate," "discrimination," "bigot," "homophobe," "bullying" and "intolerance."

To oppose same-sex marriage or even to subscribe to the Biblical declaration that homosexual behavior is sinful is in no way anti-gay or hateful. Most people who oppose same-sex marriage have good will toward homosexuals but don't want society to be forced to alter the thousands-year-old understanding of marriage. They want to preserve their constitutional freedoms of expression and religion to believe and state their opinions even if they offend certain people.

On the other hand, an abundance of hatred flows from many militant activists toward those who disagree with them, and especially those who actively oppose them.

Phil Robertson voiced his opinion about homosexual behavior. In doing so, he and others like him neither discriminate nor advocate discrimination against homosexuals in any way.

Those who oppose these practices are not bigots; they do not seek to mistreat homosexuals. Even those who believe the behavior is sinful are not being hypocritical if they admit their own sinful behavior, as well. They aren't advocating that society impose punitive sanctions against homosexuals. Nor are they homophobes, meaning they fear homosexuals. That's outright absurd — period. But this has not prevented the term from insinuating itself into the common cultural vernacular.

Bullying and intolerance? Here again the accusers are projecting. They have demonstrated they will not countenance opposing viewpoints and will seek to bully, intimidate and suppress the liberty of those who wish to express them.

All in all, freedom lovers should be invigorated with these developments. They are waking a sleeping giant: those Americans who did in fact want to live and let live but who are now realizing that sitting out the culture wars they didn't start is not an option.

12-28-13

Story of the year

By Charles Krauthammer

  
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The lie of the year, according to Politifact, is “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” But the story of the year is a nation waking up to just how radical Obamacare is — which is why it required such outright deception to get it passed in the first place.

Obamacare was sold as simply a refinement of the current system, retaining competition among independent insurers but making things more efficient, fair and generous. Free contraceptives for Sandra Fluke. Free mammograms and checkups for you and me. Free (or subsidized) insurance for some 30 million uninsured. And, mirabile dictu, not costing the government a dime.

In fact, Obamacare is a full-scale federal takeover. The keep-your-plan-if-you-like-your-plan ruse was a way of saying to the millions of Americans who had insurance and liked what they had: Don’t worry. You’ll be left unmolested. For you, everything goes on as before.

That was a fraud from the very beginning. The law was designed to throw people off their private plans and into government-run exchanges where they would be made to overpay — forced to purchase government-mandated services they don’t need — as a way to subsidize others. (That’s how you get to the ostensible free lunch.)

It wasn’t until the first cancellation notices went out in late 2013 that the deception began to be understood. And felt. Six million Americans with private insurance have just lost it. And that’s just the beginning. By the Department of Health and Human Services’ own estimates, about 75 million Americans would have plans that their employers would have the right to cancel. And millions of middle-class workers who will migrate to the exchanges and don’t qualify for government subsidies will see their premiums, deductibles and co-pays go up.

It gets worse. The dislocation extends to losing one’s doctor and drug coverage, as insurance companies narrow availability to compensate for the huge costs imposed on them by the extended coverage and “free” services the new law mandates.

But it’s not just individuals seeing their medical care turned upside down. The insurance providers, the backbone of the system, are being utterly transformed. They are rapidly becoming mere extensions of the federal government.

Look what happened just last week. Health and Human Services unilaterally and without warning changed coverage deadlines and guidelines. It asked insurers to start covering people on Jan. 1 even if they signed up as late as the day before and even if they hadn’t paid their premiums. And is “strongly encouraging” them to pay during the transition for doctor visits and medicines not covered in their current plans (if covered in the patient’s previous — canceled — plan).

On what authority does a Cabinet secretary tell private companies to pay for services not in their plans and cover people not on their rolls? Where in Obamacare’s 2,500 pages are such high-handed dictates authorized? Does anyone even ask? The bill itself is simply taken as a kind of blanket warrant for HHS to run, regulate and control the whole insurance system.

Remember the uproar over forcing religious institutions to provide contraception coverage? The president’s “fix” was a new regulation ordering insurers to provide these services for free. Apart from the fact that this transparent ruse does nothing to resolve the underlying issue of conscience — God sees — by what right does the government order private companies to provide free services for anyone?

Three years ago I predicted that Obamacare would turn insurers into the lapdog equivalent of utility companies. I undershot. They are being treated as wholly owned subsidiaries. Take the phrase “strongly encouraging.” Sweet persuasion? In reality, these are offers insurers can’t refuse. Disappoint your federal master and he has the power to kick you off the federal exchanges, where the health insurance business of the future is supposed to be conducted.

Moreover, if adverse selection drives insurers into a financial death spiral — too few healthy young people to offset more costly, sicker, older folks — their only recourse will be a government bailout. Do they really want to get on the wrong side of the White House, their only lifeline when facing insolvency?

I don’t care a whit for the insurance companies. They deserve what they get. They collaborated with the White House in concocting this scheme and are now being swallowed by it. But I do care about the citizenry and its access to a functioning, flourishing, choice-driven medical system.

Obamacare posed as a free-market alternative to a British-style single-payer system. Then, during congressional debate, the White House ostentatiously rejected the so-called “public option.” But that’s irrelevant. The whole damn thing is the public option. The federal government now runs the insurance market, dictating deadlines, procedures, rates, risk assessments and coverage requirements. It’s gotten so cocky it’s now telling insurers to cover the claims that, by law, they are not required to.

Welcome 2014, our first taste of nationalized health care.
 

12-27-13

Kwanzaa: The holiday brought to you by the FBI

By Ann Coulter

   
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I had hoped to write about "Duck Dynasty" this week, but that will have to wait. I have too much Kwanzaa shopping left to do. (Is it just me, or is Kwanzaa getting way too commercialized?)

Contrary to pundits sniping about Ted Cruz's campaign to repeal Obamacare, even the most boneheaded liberal ideas never "collapse on their own," which is why we still have public schools and President Obama. If nothing is done, Kwanza will join these horrors in the firmament of American life.

It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga -- aka Dr. Maulana Karenga -- founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers. He was also a dupe of the FBI.

In what was ultimately a foolish gambit, during the madness of the '60s, the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the group, the better.

By that criterion, Karenga's United Slaves was perfect. In the annals of the American '60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police.

Despite modern perceptions that blend all the black activists of the '60s, the Black Panthers did not hate whites. They did not seek armed revolution (although some of their most high-profile leaders were drug dealers and murderers). Those were the precepts of Karenga's United Slaves.

United Slaves were proto-fascists, walking around in dashikis, gunning down Black Panthers and adopting invented "African" names. (That was a huge help to the black community: Three of the four suspects recently arrested for the fatal carjacking at the Short Hills, N.J., mall were named Basim, Hanif and Karif.)

It's as if David Duke invented a holiday called "Anglika," which he based on the philosophy of Mein Kampf -- and clueless public school teachers began celebrating the made-up, racist holiday.

Whether Karenga was a willing dupe, or just a dupe, remains unclear. Curiously, in a 1995 interview with Ethnic NewsWatch, Karenga matter-of-factly explained that the forces out to get O.J. Simpson for the "framed" murder of two whites included: "the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, Interpol, the Chicago Police Department" and so on. Karenga should know about FBI infiltration. (He further noted that the evidence against O.J. "was not strong enough to prohibit or eliminate unreasonable doubt" -- an interesting standard of proof.)

In the category of the-gentleman-doth-protest-too-much, back in the '70s, Karenga was quick to criticize rumors that black radicals were government-supported. When Nigerian newspapers claimed that some American black radicals were CIA operatives, Karenga publicly denounced the idea, saying, "Africans must stop generalizing about the loyalties and motives of Afro-Americans, including the widespread suspicion of black Americans being CIA agents."

Now we know that the FBI fueled the bloody rivalry between the Panthers and United Slaves.

In one barbarous outburst, Karenga's United Slaves shot to death two Black Panthers on the UCLA campus: Al "Bunchy" Carter and John Huggins. Karenga himself served time, a useful stepping-stone for his current position as a black studies professor at California State University at Long Beach.

Karenga's invented holiday is a nutty blend of schmaltzy '60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another innovation of the Worst Generation.

In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA's revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani -- the exact same seven "principles" of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa praises collectivism in every possible area of life -- economics, work, personality, even litter removal. ("Kuumba: Everyone should strive to improve the community and make it more beautiful.") It takes a village to raise a police snitch.

When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from "classical Marxism," he essentially said that, under Kawaida, we also hate whites. (Kawaida, Kwanzaa and Kuumba are also the only three Kardashian sisters not to have their own shows on the E! network.)

While taking the "best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism" -- excluding, one hopes, forced abortions, imprisonment of homosexuals and forced labor -- Karenga said Kawaida practitioners believe one's racial identity "determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding." There's an inclusive philosophy for you.

Kwanzaa was the result of a '60s psychosis grafted onto the black community. Liberals have become so mesmerized by multicultural nonsense that they have forgotten the real history of Kwanzaa and Karenga's United Slaves -- the violence, the Marxism, the insanity.

Most absurdly, for leftists anyway, they have forgotten the FBI's tacit encouragement of this murderous black nationalist cult founded by the father of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa emerged not from Africa, but from the FBI's COINTELPRO. It is a holiday celebrated exclusively by idiot white liberals. Black people celebrate Christmas. (Merry Christmas, fellow Christians!)

Sing to "Jingle Bells":

Kwanzaa bells, dashikis sell
Whitey has to pay;
Burning, shooting, oh what fun
On this made-up holiday!

 

12-26-13
 
Words with fiends

By Ann Coulter

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Whenever liberals are in a tight spot, they adopt the scorched-earth policy of argumentation. With no answer, they start demanding that you define words: What do you mean "liberal"? What do you mean "democracy"? What do you mean "patriotism"?

They retreat from argument, burning the English language as they go.

Accustomed to playing the role of Soviet commissar censoring the news when it comes to black violence, the Non-Fox Media are in a panic now that the alternative media can post videos of young black males punching out random strangers.

As a result, liberals are denying the "Knockout Game" exists by refusing to understand the meaning of basic words, such as "game" and "trend."

Knockout Game-debunkers place great significance, for example, on the fact that the assailants have not signed affidavits calling it a "game."

Thus, The New York Times noted that in one recent case of a random stranger being knocked out by young black males, "the attacker insisted the assault was not part of any organized 'game.'"

A 78-year-old woman is punched by a young black male for no reason, and the Times' central point is: "Perp says it's not a 'game.'"

Similarly, in Philadelphia magazine, Stephen Silver said of two recent knockout attacks in Philadelphia that he wasn't counting either one as "confirmed cases of the Knockout Game" on the grounds that the puncher said he "was not participating in the Game."

Until the assailants admit they're playing a game, liberals say the Knockout Game is a "hoax."

Obviously, it doesn't matter what the participants call it. I don't know anyone who calls himself a "pundit," but that doesn't mean people don't go on TV and give their opinions. Every liberal denies he's a liberal, but that doesn't mean "liberals" don't exist. (Would that it were so!)


While we're on the subject, I can't think of a single instance in which someone has admitted to committing a "hate crime," but liberals are always calling things "hate crimes."

The Huffington Post concluded that the Knockout Game was "fabricated" based on one of the most famous victims, James Addlespurger, denying that it was a game. Instead, he calls his knockout an "assault," saying "game" is just a "label."

Hey, you know what else is just a label? The word "assault." "James Addlespurger" is a label. Another expression for "label" is "word" -- meaning, "something liberals try to blow up whenever they're about to be trapped into admitting the truth."

As Sgt. Tom Connellan of Syracuse, N.Y., patiently explained to the Times, it's called a "game" because there is no other motive for these attacks. They're not done for vengeance, robbery, gang initiations or payback. Strangers are being punched out strictly for amusement. Also, there are rules. You get only one punch to knock someone out.

(Incidentally, the reason the Times was quoting a policeman from Syracuse -- in an article questioning the reality of the "Knockout Game" -- is that two recent knockout attacks in that city were fatal.)

We don't need anyone to admit that it's a "game" for it to be so. Doing something for no reason other than having fun is a "game."

What do you mean "fun"? One man's fun is another man's torture!

This is how parents waste half a million dollars on their kids' educations. Instead of learning how to make a point, their kids are learning how to end communication by denying the meaning of words.

Liberals also seem unfamiliar with the word "trend," mocking the idea that the Knockout Game constitutes one.

I guess it depends on what the meaning of "trend" is. ("Trend," "game" and "is" -- three words liberals can't understand when they're lying.)

For this, we again turn to the Old Gray Lady, Trend Spotter. Over the years, the Times has identified "trends" in "eating oysters," "honesty" in home furnishings and pocket-watch tattoos.

In none of these cases was the identification of a trend subjected to the exacting analysis the Times employed to deny that the Knockout Game was a "trend." (Say, was the wanton violence by Democratic Party offshoot the Ku Klux Klan a "trend" or more of a "fad"?)

The Times even helped push the bogus idea in the 1990s that black church burnings were a "trend" -- which turned out to be a complete lie. This led to one of Bill Clinton's more colorful lies, about his "vivid and painful" memories of black church burnings in Arkansas in his youth.

(After a massive investigation involving the state historian, the Arkansas NAACP, the Regular Arkansas Baptist Convention and the Arkansas Black History Advisory Committee, it turned out no black churches had been burned in Arkansas.)

But the Times questions the idea that the knockout assaults are a "trend" -- in an article citing three recent knockout attacks in New York City, as well as "sporadic reports" of knockout attacks in one single neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Nonetheless, the Times triumphantly noted that there have been no knockout attacks in Jersey City -- and only one in Hoboken!

Back in 2012, three prominent people talked about Hula-Hooping, and the Times branded it a "trend." It did so without first checking to see if anyone was Hula-Hooping in Jersey City or Hoboken.

Here are a few words I'm sure liberals do understand: Your days of controlling the news are over.


12-25-13

Merry Christmas!

12-24-13
 
The Pope and Capitalism

By Walter Williams


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that "economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world" and concluding that "this opinion ... has never been confirmed by the facts." He went on to label unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny." Let's look at the pope's tragic vision.

First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.

Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A couple of examples would be J.D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. Both Ford's and Rockefeller's personal benefits pale in comparison with that received by the common man by having cheaper kerosene and cheaper transportation. There are literally thousands of examples of how mankind's life has been made better by those in the pursuit of profits. Here's my question to you: Are people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person — and became wealthy in the process — deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them by intellectuals, politicians and now the pope?

Let's examine the role of profits but first put it in perspective in terms of magnitude. Between 1960 and 2012, after-tax corporate profit averaged a bit over 6 percent of the gross domestic product, while wages averaged 47 percent of the GDP. Far more important than simple statistics about the magnitude of profits is its role in guiding resources to their highest-valued uses and satisfying people. Try polling people with a few questions. Ask them what services they are more satisfied with and what they are less satisfied with. On the "more satisfied" list would be profit-making enterprises, such as supermarkets, theaters, clothing stores and computer stores. They'd find less satisfaction with services provided by nonprofit government organizations, such as public schools, post offices and departments of motor vehicles.

Profits force entrepreneurs to find ways to please people in the most efficient ways or go out of business. Of course, they can mess up and stay in business if they can get government to bail them out or give them protection against competition. Nonprofits have an easier time of it. Public schools, for example, continue to operate whether they do a good job or not and whether they please parents or not. That's because politicians provide their compensation through coercive property taxes. I'm sure that we'd be less satisfied with supermarkets if they, too, had the power to take our money through taxes, as opposed to being forced to find ways to get us to voluntarily give them our earnings.

Arthur C. Brooks, president at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "Who Really Cares," shows that Americans are the most generous people on the face of the earth. In fact, if you look for generosity around the world, you find virtually all of it in countries that are closer to the free market end of the economic spectrum than they are to the socialist or communist end. Seeing as Pope Francis sees charity as a key part of godliness, he ought to stop demonizing capitalism.

12-23-13
 
GLAAD: Lethal Enforcers of the Left's Tolerance Mob

By Michelle Malkin


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson is not alone. He's the latest in a long, long lineup of politically incorrect targets of the left's sensitivity mob. Founded in 1985, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) gangstas won't stop until both the cultural and legal enforcement of their agenda are the norm.

The A&E network (Atheists & Elitists) suspended the reality TV patriarch and self-made businessman on Wednesday for the Biblical views he expressed in an interview with GQ. Robertson was asked by the liberal magazine what he viewed as sinful. Drawing on the condemnation of sexual immorality in Corinthians 6:9, he cited "adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won't inherit the kingdom of God."

Robertson's punishable transgressions? Responding honestly to a question posed to him (this was not an unsolicited "anti-gay rant"; it was a response) and abiding by his Christian faith. GLAAD's P.C. Praetorian Guard sprung into repressive action. The same group that initially gave f-word-spouting, homophobic liberal Alec Baldwin a pass accused Robertson of uttering "some of the vilest and most extreme statements" against "LGBT people" ever. (They should listen to the Koran-inspired executioners' rants of gay-hanging and gay-stoning Iranian mullahs sometime.) GLAAD also railed against Robertson's "vile" preference for female anatomy over male as if it were an international human rights violation.

A&E folded faster than a stadium seat, immediately disavowing Robertson and suspending him from his family's show indefinitely. Meanwhile, network execs continued to cash in on the lucrative "Duck Dynasty" empire with a marathon of program reruns on the very day they threw Robertson under the bus. The network is free to do that, of course. And I am free to tell you all about the radical thugs that A&E indulged.

GLAAD has worked tirelessly to marginalize and suppress the free speech of Christian leaders, Christian businesses and conservative talk-radio hosts dating back to their infamous Dr. Laura boycott 13 years ago. The group's mission is not about equality or defending against "defamation." It's about silencing critics, making open debate radioactive, demonizing people of faith and making even the slightest perceived slight a hate crime.

Last year, GLAAD speech-squelchers issued a blacklist of 34 Christian commentators they wanted networks to ban from their air for "extreme" views (read: opposing gay marriage). Earlier this year, GLAAD attacked the National Geographic Channel for partnering with the traditional values-promoting Boy Scouts on a reality TV program. GLAAD is free to start its own Gay Scouts, but instead chose to harangue NatGeo for refusing to run a "disclaimer" at the beginning of each show condemning the Boy Scouts' leadership policies.

It's not enough to live and let live. You must repent and genuflect before the self-serving gods of selective progressivism. That's why GLAAD forgave Hollywood director Brett Ratner for using the word "fag." He was allowed back into the protected Hollywood club after submitting to GLAAD reeducation camp and appearing in GLAAD public service announcements. Bill Clinton, who authored both the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies so reviled by the homosexual lobby, ended up receiving a GLAAD "Advocate for Change" award earlier this year — for changing his mind when politically expedient.

For the civility police, the operational motto is always: "Do as we say, not as we do, in the name of social justice. Amen."

In the 1960s, radical philosopher Herbert Marcuse popularized the "repressive tolerance" theory of modern progressives. "Liberating tolerance would mean intolerance against movements from the right and toleration of movements from the left," Marcuse pontificated. "Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed."

The tolerance mob's insatiable quest for power and control has led to such unhinged witch-hunting that many of its own erstwhile allies are balking. Novelist Bret Easton Ellis called GLAAD the "gatekeepers of politically correct gayness." He was attacked as a "self-loathing gay man," but unlike A&E, he didn't give in. "An organization holding an awards ceremony that they think represents all gays and also feels they can choose which gays can and cannot be a member of the party is, on the face of it, ridiculous."

The liberal The Atlantic magazine recounted how GLAAD invited Fox News anchors Kimberly Guilfoyle and Jamie Colby to a New York event and then issued a press release condemning them and their employer after the network failed to cough up big donations for gala tables. Wrote the Atlantic's James Kirchick: "Aside from raising money to perpetuate its own existence and throwing swanky parties (the event feting Bill Clinton was one of three different media-award ceremonies, with others in New York and San Francisco), GLAAD has no purpose. That is, unless one views it not as a gay-rights organization but rather a partisan liberal one."

Nail, meet head. GLAAD's counterculture warriors know full well: It's a small leap from forcing Phil Robertson, the Boy Scouts and Rush Limbaugh out of the public square to forcing wedding photographers and cake bakers to serve gay customers against their will and mandating that Catholic medical providers and Hobby Lobby violate their religious conscience and cover abortion pills in order to stay in business.

These GLAAD tidings have everything to do with repression and nothing to do with rights.

 

12-22-13
 
The Crony Obama Donors in Charge of DHS

By Michelle Malkin


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dirty Harry Reid sabotaged the filibuster, and now the Democrats are running wild in Washington. Mark my words: We all will pay a price. Thanks to Reid's crony-coddling rule change, unqualified stooges will manage the Obama Department of Homeland Security. It's a bundler's world, and we're just living in it. God help us.

On Monday night, Senate Democrats voted 57-37 to end debate on the nomination of Jeh Johnson to head DHS. That's three votes short of the traditional 60-vote filibuster threshold that Reid nuked last month. Johnson went on to win his appointment by a 78-16 margin. The White House performed its Snoopy happy dance soon after, with President Obama declaring Johnson "a strong leader with a deep understanding of the threats we face and a proven ability to work across agencies and complex organizations to keep America secure."

DHS employs 240,000 people and boasts a $40 billion budget. Johnson, unlike his most recent predecessors, has never actually held an executive position governing a state or managing a complex organization. Let me summarize his relevant experience in border security, port security, airport security or immigration enforcement: Zero. Zip. Nada.

News coverage instead stresses that Johnson is the "first African-American" to hold the No. 1 position at DHS. Because, you know, diversity will keep us safe. Here's more you should know about Johnson: He's a lifelong beneficiary of the government/law firm revolving door, dating back to the Clinton years. In a recent interview with a legal website, Johnson cheerfully bragged that his initial "foray into national security was a fluke, really. The Clinton White House recruited me to be general counsel of the Air Force. I had no idea what the job was about, had never been in the military and had never set foot in the Pentagon."

Yep, a "fluke." That's a public confidence booster, huh?

Johnson counts among the "big breaks" in his life a fateful meeting with Obama in 2006. He went on to shovel gobs of money into Obama's campaigns and Democratic coffers. In 2008, this top campaign finance bundler served on the Team Obama transition team. Next, Johnson found himself — like the feather floating in "Forrest Gump" — appointed to the position of general counsel at the Defense Department. He was "involved" in ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and reportedly "oversaw" the use of unmanned drone strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

White House aides claim that Johnson is a "respected national security leader." But respected by whom (other than Democratic fundraisers) the administration will not say.

Perhaps we might comfort ourselves if the No. 2 in charge at DHS had strong qualifications and a record on national security to compensate for Johnson's deficiencies. Sorry. As I reported last week, Dirty Harry Reid exploited the nuked filibuster threshold to ram through Alejandro Mayorkas' nomination as deputy DHS secretary. Mayorkas remains under investigation for a partisan cash-for-foreign-investor-visas scandal by the DHS inspector general's office, which itself remains under investigation for fraud and ethics violations that endanger national security. His appointment is expected to sail through the full Senate on Wednesday.

At DHS, adjudicators remain under pressure to rubber-stamp visa applications. Open-borders ideologues continue to push for administrative amnesty programs behind closed doors and in circumvention of congressional oversight. Three years after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, his colleagues are under siege inside and outside their agency. And whistleblowers are an endangered species.

The elevation of Obama's stooge donors to the two highest civilian homeland security posts in the country comes as both vote-seeking Democrats and big-business Republicans prepare for another illegal alien amnesty push next year.

As Dan Stein of the immigration enforcement group FAIR noted this week: "There is no mistaking the signals the president has sent to the American people. ... President Obama has called on the House to pass 'comprehensive' immigration reform, yet nominated an individual to head DHS who has zero immigration experience. Thus, it is clear the president wants the amnesty portion of such a bill, but has little or no intention of prioritizing any enforcement measures that might be contained in it."

The inmates are running the asylum. Homeland security threats and ciphers are running the homeland security department. God help us all.


12-21-13
 
The Left's Militant, Proactive Intolerance

By David Limbaugh

  
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I must admit I've never watched "Duck Dynasty," but this brouhaha over A&E's suspension of the show's star, Phil Robertson, for his remarks on homosexual behavior in an interview with GQ has little to do with "gay" issues and everything to do with thought and speech control — and the left's intolerance.

Robertson first expressed, in admittedly vulgar terms, his incredulity that some men find other men more attractive than women. Fine. Call him insensitive, but it's hardly a debatable point that heterosexuals don't quite grasp the allure of homosexuality.

But that doesn't seem to be his offending statement. When he identified homosexual behavior as a sin, he might as well have robbed a bank on live television. But when he cited the New Testament book of 1st Corinthians as including homosexuality in a list of sins, he had past the point of no return. He's outta there.

Of course, this isn't a violation of Robertson's First Amendment rights, because the censorial actions emanated not from the government, but from a private company, which is not constitutionally barred from doing what it did.

Constitutional issues aside, we are witnessing a profound display of leftist intolerance, and they need to be called on it. Some in the gay activist community demanded Robertson's head because of his "hate."

GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said, "What's clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers and networks alike." Robertson's removal "has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."

Discrimination? Who discriminated against whom? Did Robertson call for any action against homosexuals? Did he engage in any discriminatory action against gays? Or did he just voice an opinion that GLAAD finds contemptible?

Robertson, on the other hand, was the subject of discriminatory action. He was suspended for voicing his Christian beliefs.

The American left — actually, it's a global phenomenon — is increasingly intolerant of opposing viewpoints, while holding itself out as the exemplar of tolerance. I've mentioned before the defiance of one university administrator, who defended her suspension of a professor for making available to her students a magazine article that reportedly was critical of homosexual behavior. "We will not tolerate the intolerable," she said.

Similarly, I just read a tweet from CNN's Piers Morgan, which said, "Just as the 2nd Amendment shouldn't protect assault rifle devotees, so the 1st Amendment shouldn't protect vile bigots."

That's leftist tolerance in a nutshell. They demand tolerance, but they exhibit intolerance. Far from tolerating certain Christian views, the Obama left obliterates the conscience rights of Christian health care providers. Moreover, the tolerance they demand doesn't mean allowing everyone his point of view. It means you must accept as equally valid every idea they command you to accept — and reject your own ideas and values if they don't meet their approval.

So many of us rail against the left's encroachments on our economic liberties but ignore their equal assaults on our religious and cultural liberties. Some economic conservatives insist that social conservatives keep our powder dry on social issues: Live and let live. Don't worry about the culture wars. We are headed toward national bankruptcy.

That's true, but they were telling us to shut up before Obama took us over the fiscal cliff. Besides, Republicans will never muster a winning coalition by relegating pro-life Christian conservatives to the back of the GOP bus.

As many are now belatedly realizing, the option of sitting out the culture wars is increasingly closed to us if we value our liberties, as we conservatives claim we do. Despite all of its sermonizing, the militant left will not live and let live. They demand uniformity of thought, and those who dissent from their PC standards are to be shunned and silenced.

The left is outraged that someone like Robertson would be so judgmental as to call homosexual behavior sinful. Yet they are, in effect, condemning as sinful those who express this opinion.

They are the ones being judgmental and are projecting that characteristic onto those who disagree with them. The irony is that Christians who agree with Robertson aren't acting as judges. Rather, they happen to believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that it defines certain behaviors as sinful. They even admit to engaging in some of these behaviors themselves, recognizing that they are not exempt from the Biblical pronouncement that we are all sinners.

No, Christians don't believe they are the arbiters of sinful behavior, but that God is. But we're approaching that time — we already may have arrived — when the belief in certain scriptures will be deemed intolerably sinful and the believer outcast as a hater.

Gay activists have redefined hate to mean disapproval of certain lifestyles or practices, but in reality, if there's any hatred going on, it's from the activists toward the Christians who don't agree with them.

Christians and other social conservatives must fight for their beliefs and rights in this culture and quit foolishly believing their liberties will survive if they sit passively on the sidelines.


12-20-13

Raise the minimum wage? Nifty, but . . .

By George Will


JewishWorldReview.com | “It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another — it’s one damn thing over and over.”

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

Liberals’ love of recycling extends to their ideas, one of which illustrates the miniaturization of Barack Obama’s presidency. He fervently favors a minor measure that would have mostly small, mostly injurious effects on a small number of people. Nevertheless, raising the minimum hourly wage for the 23rd time since 1938, from today’s $7.25 to $10.10, is a nifty idea, if:

If government is good at setting prices. Government — subsidizer of Solyndra, operator of the ethanol program, creator of HealthCare.gov — uses minimum-wage laws to set the price for the labor of workers who are apt to add only small value to the economy.

If you think government should prevent two consenting parties — an employer and a worker — from agreeing to an hourly wage that government disapproves.

If you think today’s 7 percent unemployment rate is too low. (It would be 10.9 percent if the workforce participation rate were as high as it was when Obama was first inaugurated; since then, millions of discouraged workers have stopped searching for jobs.) Because less than 3 percent of the workforce earns the minimum wage, increasing that wage will not greatly increase unemployment. Still, raising the price of low-productivity workers will somewhat reduce demand for them.

If you reject that last sentence. If you do, name other goods or services for which you think demand is inelastic when their prices increase.

If you think teenage (16-19) unemployment (20.8 percent), and especially African American teenage unemployment (35.8 percent), is too low. Approximately 24 percent of minimum-wage workers are teenagers.

If you think government policy should encourage automation of the ordering and preparation of food to replace workers in the restaurant industry, which employs 43.8 percent of minimum-wage workers.

If you think it is irrelevant that most minimum-wage earners are not poor. Most minimum-wage workers are not heads of households. More than half are students or other young people, usually part-time workers in families whose average income is $53,000 a year, which is $2,000 more than the average household income.

If you do not care that there are more poor people whose poverty derives from being unemployed than from low wages. True, some of the working poor earn so little they are eligible for welfare. But an increase in the minimum wage will cause some of these people to become unemployed and rely on welfare.

If you do not mind a minimum-wage increase having a regressive cost-benefit distribution. It would jeopardize marginal workers to benefit organized labor, which supports a higher minimum in the hope that this will raise the general wage floor, thereby strengthening unions’ negotiating positions.

If you think it is irrelevant that nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers get a raise in their first year.

If you think a higher minimum wage, rather than a strengthened Earned Income Tax Credit, is the most efficient way to give money to the working poor.

If you think tweaking the minimum wage is a serious promotion of equality by an administration during which 95 percent of real income growth has accrued to the top 1 percent.

If you think forcing employers to spend X dollars more than necessary to employ labor for entry-level jobs will stimulate the economy. If you believe this, you must think the workers receiving the extra dollars will put the money to more stimulative uses than their employers would have. If so, why not a minimum wage of $50.50 rather than the $10.10? Because this might discourage hiring? What makes you sure you know the threshold where job destruction begins?

If you think the high school dropout rate is too low. In 1994, Congress decreed that by 2000 the graduation rate would be “at least” 90 percent. In 2010 it was 78.2 percent. Increasing the minimum wage would increase the incentive to leave school early. One scholarly study concluded that, in states where students may leave school before 18, increases in the minimum wage caused teenage school enrollment to decline.

If the milk of human kindness flows by the quart in your veins, so you should also want to raise the minimum street charity: Take moral grandstanding oblivious of consequences to a new level by requiring anyone who gives money to panhandlers to give a minimum of $10. Beggars may not benefit, but you will admire yourself.
 

12-19-13
 
Obama's Obamacare Deception: You May Not Know the Half of It

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Just when you think things can't get much worse with Obamacare, another shoe drops. Correction: This thing has enough dropping shoes to fully fit a centipede.

That Obama deliberately lied (please excuse the redundancy, but it is apparently necessary to clarify one's meaning in this postmodern age) in telling people they could keep their plans and doctors is now beyond dispute. He and his handlers have tried to obfuscate the issue with further deception but have fallen way short of passing the laugh test.

Some liberals have taunted me on Twitter that all politicians lie. Well, that certainly ends the inquiry, does it not? Forever after, we'll yield to this cynical pronouncement and decline to hold any politicians accountable. Perhaps we should dispense with all moral codes altogether, because we're all sinners.

Of course, anyone who makes these kinds of arguments advertises himself as too intellectually dishonest to be taken seriously. Do you think any of these people would so casually excuse a person lying to them in their personal or business lives about an important matter?

So from the perspective of those of us in the real world, Obama has himself in quite a pickle.

The entire country — at least that portion that is not brain dead or brainwashed — knows Obama lied to all Americans to deceive them into supporting his plan for the government to absorb one-sixth of the economy.

In his non-apology ("it's on me, but I'll be darned if I'm going to give an inch in my fervent obsession to impose socialized medicine on you"), Obama dug himself a deeper hole. He told us that only some 5 percent of the American people would lose their plans. Most people, he assured us, get health insurance through their employer and won't be affected.

He wants us to forget that he demanded we change the entire health care system for a smaller percentage of Americans than that — those 8 million to 10 million who not only can't afford health insurance but also don't qualify for any government assistance — as I've noted before. Five percent is an insignificant number when Obama has directly caused their harm, but 3 percent is astronomical when it serves his purpose of advancing statism.

Too bad for Obama that his problems don't end with this inconsistency, which exposes his hypocrisy and opportunism. He was lying about the 5 percent figure, as well.

We've already seen a number of news stories reporting that the administration knew that Obamacare would force far more than 5 percent of Americans out of their plans.

But my friend Andy McCarthy has just put the final nails in this coffin, in his latest piece for National Review.

Andy refers to Obama's latest excuse as the "5 percent" con job. In the first place, the individual health care market is not 5 percent but 8 percent. This additional 3 percent is probably some 10 million more Americans. No big deal, right?

But that's not the half of it — literally. Andy notes that the administration's internal estimates have shown, for at least three years, as reported in the Federal Register, that most of the 156 million Americans covered by employer plans will also lose their coverage under Obamacare. He adds that the administration also let the cat out of the bag in a letter to state insurance commissioners, wherein it admitted that small businesses — not just "individuals" — would be among those whose plans would be canceled.

Just in case the administration tries to worm out of these latest damning revelations, Andy presents another one that should put such disingenuous denials finally to rest. In a brief submitted to the federal district court in Washington by Obama's Department of Health and Human Services in a case over the conscience clause (another matter poisoned by Obama's abject deception), the administration conceded that "even under the grandfathering provision," it is estimated that "a majority of group health plans will have lost their grandfather status by the end of 2013." Point. Game. Set. Match.

In the meantime, on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., outright admitted that Obama's "keep your plan" promises were false. She said: "We all knew. The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy."

So, you see, the entire national Democratic Party apparatus has conspired to deceive Americans about a vital matter — their own health care — in order to advance its agenda.

You still think this is just about health care? Well, another Democratic leader, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, admitted that with Obamacare, what Democrats are "trying to do is change a values system in our country."

That pretty much sums up modern liberalism as embodied in the Democratic Party. Come hell or high water, Democrats will coerce us, via the power of the federal government, into thinking and believing as they do and living under their utopian Leviathan state.

Obamacare must be repealed — yesterday.

 

12-18-13
 
Don't Be Fooled: Obamacare Is Not Getting Better; It's Not Fixable

By David Limbaugh


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you have just returned from a space mission on a spaceship without Internet access and some Kool-Aid-drinking liberal has assured you the disastrous Obamacare problems are behind us, let me do my part to help deprogram you.

The website problems were too numerous to count, and they are just the tip of the Obamacare iceberg. The substantive problems with Obamacare are enormous. Oh, and the website problems continue, as well.

Obama is not about to abandon this law, because he cares more about fundamentally transforming the nation than he even does about his approval ratings, which have reached an all-time low. Besides, if he's lost the public's trust, it's not his fault but ours, because, to paraphrase Valerie Jarrett, we are just not quite capable of fathoming his surpassing greatness, and we'll eventually recover our senses.

As a returning cloistered astronaut who has just emerged from his propaganda session with the Obamabot, you should hear some highlights about Obamacare from just the past few days' news.

The Obamacare website has reportedly violated the Federal Information Security Management Act by failing to perform a series of security control assessment tests.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that just 365,000 people have signed up for private health insurance under the new law, which is abysmally far from its already meager goal of signing 1.2 million by the end of November. Most of these came from the 14 state exchanges, and only 137,000 came from the federal website, HealthCare.gov. As some 5 million have already lost coverage because of Obamacare, it's hard to imagine how the law won't result in millions more people losing their coverage than new people acquiring it, even counting the 800,000 new Medicaid enrollees. All the while, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius falsely assures Congress that everything's fine, saying, "We are seeing very, very positive trends" now that HealthCare.gov is supposedly working better.

Some who have signed up for coverage on the website are receiving email notices informing them they shouldn't assume they are covered unless they "have seen the Confirmation Letter from the Disbursing Office!"

Indeed, according to insurance industry consultants, those who have signed up for coverage may find that their coverage has lapsed because to secure coverage, a customer's premiums first must be paid. Reportedly, only 5 percent of Obamacare enrollees have paid at this point.

The Washington Post reports that patients with high medical bills are having difficulties determining which plans on the exchange fit their particular needs. In the website chaos, this information is far from readily obtainable.

Reuters cites a Cornell University study showing that just half of the country's psychiatrists are likely to accept Obamacare.

Only 7,000 people in Illinois have signed up for Obamacare. In Missouri, the scorched-earth law may cause major cuts in hours for substitute teachers and a potential fine of $150,000 for public schools.

A little-known regulation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may cause as many as 3.5 million poor and elderly people to lose home health care coverage beginning Jan. 1.

It's now common knowledge that Obamacare exchanges are excluding many physicians, hospitals and drugs, and a panel of doctors will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that they are being dropped from patient provider networks because of Obamacare.

Sebelius refuses to provide straight answers to questions about whether and how often she met with President Obama about Obamacare and the website prior to the rollout.

Adding insult to injury, HHS is obstructing a congressional investigation by instructing contractors working on the website not to release documents to the investigators.

While we are treating Obama's fraudulent promises on Obamacare as past-tense deceit, we may be overlooking his ongoing duplicity. As The Wall Street Journal's editors also observe, "the reason for all this obstruction and statistical juking is so the White House can get the press corps and Democrats to believe that the worst is over and that ObamaCare is now rolling toward success. ... But it's impossible for an outsider to know what the truth really is because HHS and the White House continue to manipulate and bury the real statistics."

There's one other thing I want you space travelers to understand before we end this session. Our indignation over Obama's lies about our ability to keep our plans and doctors is wholly justified, but let's not overlook another consequence of this betrayal beyond the government's outrageous severance of our freedoms and personal relationships with our health care providers. Obamacare's exclusion of doctors and hospitals from the exchanges necessarily means a reduction in the quality of health care overall, thus negating one of the main ostensible purposes of this abominable law in the first place.

12-17-13
 
Obama the oblivious: He has shown little aptitude as president

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In explaining the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, President Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

An interesting discovery to make after having consigned the vast universe of American medicine, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to the tender mercies of the agency bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service.

Most people become aware of the hopeless inefficiency of sclerotic government by, oh, age 17 at the department of motor vehicles. Obama’s late discovery is especially remarkable considering that he built his entire political philosophy on the rock of Big Government, on the fervent belief in the state as the very engine of collective action and the ultimate source of national greatness. (Indeed, of individual success as well, as in “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”)

This blinding revelation of the ponderous incompetence of bureaucratic government came just a few weeks after Obama confessed that “what we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Another light bulb goes off, this one three years after passing a law designed to force millions of Americans to shop for new health plans via the maze of untried, untested, insecure, unreliable online “exchanges.”

This discovery joins a long list that includes Obama’s rueful admission that there really are no shovel-ready jobs. That one came after having passed his monstrous $830 billion stimulus on the argument that the weakened economy would be “jump-started” by a massive infusion of shovel-ready jobs. Now known to be fictional.

Barack Obama is not just late to discover the most elementary workings of government. With alarming regularity, he professes obliviousness to the workings of his own government. He claims, for example, to have known nothing about the IRS targeting scandal, the AP phone records scandal, the NSA tapping of Angela Merkel. And had not a clue that the centerpiece of his signature legislative achievement — the online Obamacare exchange, three years in the making — would fail catastrophically upon launch. Or that Obamacare would cause millions of Americans to lose their private health plans.

Hence the odd spectacle of a president expressing surprise and disappointment in the federal government — as if he’s not the one running it. Hence the repeated no-one-is-more-upset-than-me posture upon deploring the nonfunctioning Web site, the IRS outrage, the AP intrusions and any number of scandals from which Obama tries to create safe distance by posing as an observer. He gives the impression of a man on a West Wing tour trying out the desk in the Oval Office, only to be told that he is president of the United States.

The paradox of this presidency is that this most passive bystander president is at the same time the most ideologically ambitious in decades. The sweep and scope of his health-care legislation alone are unprecedented. He’s spent billions of tax money attempting to create, by fiat and ex nihilo, a new green economy. His (failed) cap-and-trade bill would have given him regulatory control of the energy economy. He wants universal preschool and has just announced his unwavering commitment to slaying the dragon of economic inequality, which, like the poor, has always been with us.

Obama’s discovery that government bureaucracies don’t do things very well creates a breathtaking disconnect between his transformative ambitions and his detachment from the job itself. How does his Olympian vision coexist with the lassitude of his actual governance, a passivity that verges on absenteeism?

What bridges that gap is rhetoric. Barack Obama is a master rhetorician. It’s allowed him to move crowds, rise inexorably and twice win the most glittering prize of all. Rhetoric has changed his reality. For Obama, it can change the country’s. Hope and change, after all, is a rhetorical device. Of the kind Obama has always imagined can move mountains.

That’s why his reaction to the Obamacare Web site’s crash-on-takeoff is so telling. His remedy? A cross-country campaign-style speaking tour. As if rhetoric could repeal that reality.

Managing, governing, negotiating, cajoling, crafting legislation, forging compromise. For these — this stuff of governance — Obama has shown little aptitude and even less interest. Perhaps, as Valerie Jarrett has suggested, he is simply too easily bored to invest his greatness in such mundanity.

“I don’t write code,” said Obama in reaction to the Web site crash. Nor is he expected to.
 

12-16-13
 
Culture of Corruption: The Dems' Dangerous DHS Pick


By Michelle Malkin


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The "S" in President Obama's DHS doesn't stand for "security." It stands for "sleaze." In the wake of Dirty Harry Reid's sabotage of the filibuster, Democrats have rammed through the Senate nomination of a shady Chicago crony associated with dangerous Clinton corruption and at least two visas-for-sale schemes.

The White House wants Alejandro Mayorkas to helm the No. 2 position at the Department of Homeland Security. It speaks volumes about this ethics-challenged administration that the most qualified person it could find for this important post is a government DHS hack currently under investigation by other DHS hacks. More on that in a moment.

On Tuesday, Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced Mayorkas' nomination to the Senate floor by a 9-0 vote. All Republicans voted "present" in protest. Thanks to Reid's nuclear option on the filibuster, Obama's party water-carriers in the Senate only need a simple majority. The appointment (scheduled for a Wednesday vote) is all but assured.

What qualifies Mayorkas to serve as DHS deputy secretary? Well, there's his prodigious fundraising in 2008 as an Obama bundler, of course. There's his dutiful pro-open borders record in his current job as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And once again, the operational motto of the Beltway prevails: Screw up, foul up, move up.

During the Clinton years, then U.S. Attorney Mayorkas phoned the White House on behalf of convicted drug dealer Carlos Vignali. Mayorkas joined other high-profile California liberals in the dialing-for-pardons campaign. Vignali's father (also suspected of drug trafficking) had dumped $200,000 in the coffers of Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh, to secure his son's commutation. Mayorkas pleaded ignorance and admitted failure to do his "due diligence." Like fellow Clinton corruptocrat and current Attorney General Eric Holder, Mayorkas' pardongate "mistake" cost him nothing. He was instead rewarded with plum government positions and access.

Allegations of fraud, reckless rubber-stamping and lax enforcement — from veteran internal whistleblowers — have plagued Mayorkas' tenure at USCIS. Rather than keeping his nose clean, Mayorkas apparently got himself involved in even more rotten business. The DHS inspector general has been probing a slimy visas-for-sale scheme tied to the Obama bundler for the past 15 months. (One reason for the delay: the IG's office itself is under investigation for unethical behavior and favoritism.)

Mayorkas and other higher-ups are being investigated for their alleged roles in intervening on behalf of GreenTech, a crony company with ties to Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton's other brother, Anthony. The scheme reportedly gave "special treatment" (in the words of one USCIS official) to the company, which wanted EB-5 visas for deep-pocketed Chinese investors. In addition, The Washington Times reported this week that both Harry Reid and GOP Nev. Sen. Dean Heller lobbied the Obama administration to reverse itself on EB-5 decisions for foreign investors in a Las Vegas casino hotel.

None of this EB-5 corruption should surprise longtime readers of my column. As I first reported more than a decade ago, the EB-5 immigrant investor program was created under an obscure section of the 1990 Immigration Act. The law allows 10,000 wealthy foreigners a year to purchase green cards by investing between $500,000 and $1 million in new commercial enterprises or troubled businesses. After two years, foreign investors, their spouses and their children all receive permanent resident status — which allows them to contribute to U.S. political campaigns and provides a speedy gateway to citizenship. The benefits of the EB-5 economic development plan have gone to former federal immigration officials who formed lucrative limited partnerships to cash in on their access and to shady foreign fraudsters. The supposed economic benefits of the program are unverifiable and inflated hype.

Whistleblowers have been punished and ostracized. Independent media have been intimidated and, in the case of the Franklin Center, sued for raising questions about the Democrats and immigrant investor fraud. The most transparent and ethical administration ever is stonewalling to protect Mayorkas. And citizenship is available to the highest crony foreign bidders.

Perhaps when White House journalists finish protesting Obama control freaks limiting their access to photos, they'll take an interest in top homeland security officials recklessly selling access to our shores. There's much, much more to the stench and the story.

12-15-13
 
Our Fragile Planet

By Walter Williams


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Let's examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question. "The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile." "The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis." Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: "Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day." "Remember the importance of taking care of our planet. It's the only home we have!" Such statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmental extremists and non-extremists alike. Worse yet is the fact that this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to our youth from kindergarten through college. Let's examine just how fragile the earth is.

The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, in present-day Indonesia, had the force of 200 megatons of TNT. That's the equivalent of 13,300 15-kiloton atomic bombs, the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Preceding that eruption was the 1815 Tambora eruption, also in present-day Indonesia, which holds the record as the largest known volcanic eruption. It spewed so much debris into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, that 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer" or "Summer That Never Was." It led to crop failures and livestock death in much of the Northern Hemisphere and caused the worst famine of the 19th century. The A.D. 535 Krakatoa eruption had such force that it blotted out much of the light and heat of the sun for 18 months and is said to have led to the Dark Ages. Geophysicists estimate that just three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than all of mankind's activities in our entire history.

How has our fragile earth handled floods? China is probably the world capital of gigantic floods. The 1887 Yellow River flood cost between 900,000 and 2 million lives. China's 1931 flood was worse, yielding an estimated death toll between 1 million and 4 million. But China doesn't have a monopoly on floods. Between 1219 and 1530, the Netherlands experienced floods costing about 250,000 lives.

What about the impact of earthquakes on our fragile earth? There's Chile's 1960 Valdivia earthquake, coming in at 9.5 on the Richter scale, a force equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The deadly 1556 earthquake in China's Shaanxi province devastated an area of 520 miles. There's the more recent December 2004 magnitude-9.1 earthquake in the Indian Ocean that caused the deadly Boxing Day tsunami, and a deadly March 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck eastern Japan.

Our fragile earth faces outer space terror. Two billion years ago, an asteroid hit earth, creating the Vredefort crater in South Africa. It has a radius of 118 miles, making it the world's largest impact crater. In Ontario, there's the Sudbury Basin, resulting from a meteor strike 1.8 billion years ago, which has an 81-mile diameter, making it the second-largest impact structure on earth. Virginia's Chesapeake Bay crater is a bit smaller, about 53 miles wide. Then there's the famous but puny Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is not even a mile wide.

I've pointed out only a tiny portion of the cataclysmic events that have struck the earth — ignoring whole categories, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, fires, blizzards, landslides and avalanches. Despite these cataclysmic events, the earth survived. My question is: Which of these powers of nature can be matched by mankind? For example, can mankind duplicate the polluting effects of the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption or the asteroid impact that wiped out dinosaurs? It is the height of arrogance to think that mankind can make significant parametric changes in the earth or can match nature's destructive forces.

Occasionally, environmentalists spill the beans and reveal their true agenda. Barry Commoner said, "Capitalism is the earth's number one enemy." Amherst College professor Leo Marx said, "On ecological grounds, the case for world government is beyond argument." With the decline of the USSR, communism has lost considerable respectability and is now repackaged as environmentalism and progressivism.

12-14-13

 Obama's tardy epiphany about government's flaws

By George Will



JewishWorldReview.com | The education of Barack Obama is a protracted process as he repeatedly alights upon the obvious with a sense of original discovery. In a recent MSNBC interview, he restocked his pantry of excuses for his disappointing results, announcing that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly”:

“We’ve got, for example, 16 different agencies that have some responsibility to help businesses, large and small, in all kinds of ways, whether it’s helping to finance them, helping them to export. . . . So, we’ve proposed, let’s consolidate a bunch of that stuff. The challenge we’ve got is that that requires a law to pass. And, frankly, there are a lot of members of Congress who are chairmen of a particular committee. And they don’t want necessarily consolidations where they would lose jurisdiction over certain aspects of certain policies.”

The dawn is coming up like thunder as Obama notices the sociology of government. He shows no sign, however, of drawing appropriate lessons from it.

Big government is indeed big, and like another big creature, the sauropod dinosaur, government has a primitive nervous system: The fact of an injury to the tail could take nearly a minute to be communicated to the sauropod brain.

Obama, of whose vast erudition we have been assured, seems unfamiliar with Mancur Olson ’s seminal “The Rise and Decline of Nations” which explains how free societies become sclerotic. Their governments become encrusted with interest groups that preserve, like a fly in amber, an increasingly stultifying status quo. This impedes dynamism by protecting arrangements that have worked well for those powerful enough to put the arrangements in place. This blocks upward mobility for those less wired to power.

Obama, startled that components of government behave as interest groups, seems utterly unfamiliar with public choice theory. It demystifies and de-romanticizes politics by applying economic analysis — how incentives influence behavior — to government. It shows how elected officials and bureaucrats pursue personal aggrandizement as much as people do in the private sector. In the public sector’s profit motive, profit is measured by power rather than money.

Obama’s tardy epiphanies do not temper his enthusiasm for giving sauropod government ever-deeper penetration into society. He thinks this serves equality. Actually, big government inevitably drives an upward distribution of wealth to those whose wealth, confidence and sophistication enable them to manipulate government.

The day before Obama shared with MSNBC his conclusion that big government defends its irrationalities but is insufficiently big, his speech du jour deplored today’s increasing inequality and distrust of government. He seems oblivious to the mutual causations at work.

Of course Americans distrust one another more as more and more factions fight one another for preferential treatment by government. Of course government becomes drained of dignity, and becomes corrosive of social cohesion, as it becomes a bigger dispenser of inequality through benefits to those sufficiently clever and connected to work its levers.

Obama correctly says that not only do we “tend to trust our institutions less,” we also “tend to trust each other less.” Of course there are parallel increases in distrust: Government’s dignity diminishes as government grows to serve factions of those sophisticated at manipulating its allocation of preferences. Social solidarity is a casualty of government grown big because it recognizes no limits to its dispensing of favors.

Obama’s speech denounced “trickle-down ideology” and deplored growth that “has flowed to a fortunate few.” But the monetary policy he favors — very low interest rates, driving money into equities in search of higher yields — is a powerful engine of inequality. Since the Dow closed at 7,949 on Inauguration Day 2009, it has doubled , benefiting the 10 percent who hold 80 percent of directly owned stocks. The hope is that some of this wealth will trickle down.

Suppose there were not 16 government agencies “to help businesses, large and small, in all kinds of ways.” Suppose there were none. Such barnacles on big government institutionalize the scramble for government favors; these agencies are a standing incitement to bend public power for private advantage. Hence they increase distrust of government, diminish social solidarity and aggravate the most indefensible inequality — that driven by government dispensations.

Obama’s solution to the problem of the 16 is to “consolidate” them, replacing 16 small subtractions from good governance with one big one. Progressives consider this progress.

 

12-13-13
 
It's Time to Take America Back

By David Limbaugh

 
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama has shown he is absolutely unconcerned that the American public is firmly opposed to his calamitous Law of the Land that is destroying our health care system and harming millions of innocent people, many of whom foolishly trusted him.

In the face of his cratering approval ratings, he grows ever more defiant, as if he's almost ready to publicly unmask himself as the person who is as contemptuous of America as discerning observers have long known him to be.

From the moment he uttered his disingenuous apology about the website rollout disaster, he has been speechifying nonstop about the glories of his law, which he says "is working" and whose website problems he claims are under control.

He doesn't want to hear a peep out of you selfish malcontents who are losing your plans and doctors despite his promises that you could keep them. He doesn't want to hear from you self-absorbed "young invincibles" who have been reluctant to take the plunge into supporting your sick elders against your will. When he said your coverage would be cheaper, he wasn't talking about you, you narcissistic jerks, who ought to be ashamed of your privileged health status. He was talking about other unspecified people to whom he will redistribute your resources in the spirit of leftist compassion.

For those of you who are experiencing firsthand the nightmares of this law and its ability to burrow right inside your pocketbook, you are to disregard your intellect and your senses and recognize that the welfare of those individual anecdotal props he has on the stage with him is more important than yours — and you are going to like it. This is Barack's America, after all.

More importantly, he doesn't want to hear lip from Republican congressmen, whom he assigned to the back seat of the car during his first term. You're really going to make him mad if you keep talking about repealing his legislative "baby." Didn't you hear him? "We're not going back" — no matter how many people he hurts and how unpopular his law is. Did I mention that this is his Amerika?


He and his minions have been lying about the alleged fixes to the website and claiming that it's well on its way to working smoothly, which is demonstrably false, in every respect, and this is all going to come out sooner or later. He hopes later, obviously, because the longer this law remains in effect before it is repealed the more its tentacles will have stretched into every sector of our health care system, leaving untold damage in their wake.

But just in case some of you are not complying with his directives, he had to launch another campaign of distraction — a continuation of his crusade against the American capitalist system, which, come to think of it, is on a par with the free market-wrecking, budget-busting Obamacare.

He resumed his war on capitalism in a speech on the economy earlier this week, in which he outdid even himself in expressing his disdain for free enterprise. He railed against America's "inequalities" of income, which he implied are a result of selfish entrepreneurism and greed. He didn't mention, of course, that during his term in office, this gap has grown much worse, despite his socialistic and redistributive policies. But as usual, he acts as though he's been an outsider with no influence in Washington — and he presumes the same people who haplessly re-elected him will still believe him.

Obama implies that America was founded on the principle of equal economic outcomes and not equal opportunity. He wants to raise the minimum wage to move toward more equality, apparently not content that he's increased food stamp distribution and other welfare transfer payments to an all-time high.

He made clear in his speech that to him, the national debt pales in comparison with disparities in income among Americans. I wish you all would have believed us when we warned you he doesn't care about the debt.

What Obama doesn't tell us is that his war on capitalism and his obsessive quest for economic redistribution cannot help but further stagnate the economy and result in far fewer people, including those he pretends to champion, prospering.

His policy agenda is destroying economic growth and jobs, is ballooning the national debt and is shattering the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans every day. It is abundantly obvious that he doesn't care a whit about this. What he aims to do is to complete his fundamental transformation of America, which, if you haven't realized yet, means ruining what has made it unique, impoverishing it and bankrupting it. Based on all the damage he has done and his singular refusal to own up to it or change course to correct it, it's no longer reasonable to deny that this infliction of damage is intentional — or at least that he's perfectly comfortable with it as long as it is in service to his cause of fundamental transformation.

More and more Americans are catching on to his schemes, so take note, Republicans, and cut him no quarter from this point on. It's time to take America back.

12-12-13
 
A Conspiracy So Vast

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Readers of this column are well aware of the revelations during the past six months of spying by the National Security Agency (NSA). Edward Snowden, a former employee of an NSA vendor, risked his life and liberty to inform us of a governmental conspiracy to violate our right to privacy, a right guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

The conspiracy he revealed is vast. It involves former President George W. Bush, President Obama and their aides, a dozen or so members of Congress, federal judges, executives and technicians at American computer servers and telecoms, and the thousands of NSA employees and vendors who have manipulated their fellow conspirators. The conspirators all agreed that it would be a crime for any of them to reveal the conspiracy. Snowden violated that agreement in order to uphold his higher oath to defend the Constitution.

The object of the conspiracy is to emasculate all Americans and many foreigners of their right to privacy in order to predict our behavior and make it easier to find among us those who are planning harm.

A conspiracy is an agreement among two or more persons to commit a crime. The crimes consist of capturing the emails, texts and phone calls of every American, tracing the movements of millions of Americans and foreigners via the GPS system in their cellphones, and seizing the bank records and utility bills of most Americans in direct contravention of the Constitution, and pretending to do so lawfully. The pretense is that somehow Congress lessened the standard for spying that is set forth in the Constitution. It is, of course, inconceivable that Congress can change the Constitution (only the states can), but the conspirators would have us believe that it has done so.

The Constitution, which was written in the aftermath of the unhappy colonial experience with British soldiers who executed general warrants upon the colonists, forbids that practice today. That practice consists of judges authorizing government agents to search for whatever they want, wherever they wish to look. By requiring a warrant from a judge based on probable cause of criminal behavior on the part of the very person the government is investigating, however, and by requiring judges to describe particularly in the warrants they issue the places to be searched or the persons or things to be seized, the Constitution specifically outlaws general warrants.

This is more than just a constitutional violation; it is a violation of the natural right to be left alone. When that right is violated, when all of our private movements are monitored by the government, the menu of our free choices is reduced, as we surely alter our private behavior to compensate for being watched. And just as surely, the government expands its surveillance, knowing that it is not being watched.

As a result of these revelations, no one has been fired, except Snowden, and the conspiracy has grown. Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now spying on us. It seems that the FBI, no doubt jealous of the unpunished lawlessness of the NSA, has acquired software that permits it to utilize the tiny cameras in many home computers to observe whoever or whatever may be in front of the computer screen. The FBI doesn't only look at whoever is using the computer screen; it also captures the words and images on the screen. It seems to have an affinity for monitoring online gaming, even the lawful variety.

In 1949, when George Orwell predicted in his terrifying novel "1984" the future use of television sets to watch us in our homes, many thought he was a delusional paranoid. It turns out that he was just off by a generation. His predictions have come to pass.

Like many growing conspiracies, this one has spawned others. The Washington Post also reported this week that local cops, too, are jealous of the NSA and its ability to break the law with impunity. In an effort to catch bad guys, local police in half a dozen American cities have begun to ask local telecom providers for a "tower dump." A tower dump consists of digital recordings of all cellphone usage from a given cell tower.

When some telecoms balked at these requests, the cops went to judges, some of whom unlawfully authorized these dumps and some of whom declined. Frustrated that the NSA seems to get whatever it wants, some local police have used their own technology to spy. They've purchased a $400,000 device that mimics cellphone towers, drawing cellphone signals to it and enabling the cops to capture telephone calls without the cooperation of telecoms or permission from federal judges. That's called hacking; it is a federal crime and in most areas a state crime, as well.

The assaults on personal freedom never seem to end. The very concept of violating the rights of many in order to catch a few — a practice perfected by tyrannical regimes — has been prohibited for 222 years by the same Constitution that the perpetrators of these practices and the conspirators in these schemes have sworn to uphold.

Sometimes, dissents in Supreme Court decisions articulate American values better than majority opinions do. Here is one from Justice Louis Brandeis that did: "The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man's spiritual nature, of his feelings, and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."

If we permit the government to destroy that right, we will live under tyrannies similar to the ones we thought we defeated.


12-11-13
 
The Pope and Basic Economics

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What is the worst problem in the world today? Might it be war, starvation, genocide, sectarian violence, murder, slaughter of babies in the womb? Any of these would be a rational answer. But when Pope Francis was asked this question recently, he replied, "Youth unemployment."

To be sure, youth unemployment is a serious problem. In some parts of the United States, the richest country in the world, it has reached 25 percent. These are people who are no longer in school full time and are not yet 30 years of age. It is a problem for them and their families, for their communities, and for the welfare states that are supporting them. But is it the worst problem in the world? Is it a problem for the Roman Catholic Church? And is it something the Pope is competent to comment upon or to resolve?

The Pope's youth unemployment comments recently were removed from the Vatican's website. No sooner had that been done than the Holy Father issued his first encyclical: a formal papal teaching, as opposed to his now famous impromptu back-of-the-plane yet on-the-record comments.

His encyclical is about economics, and it reveals a disturbing ignorance. I say this with deference and respect. I also say this as a traditionalist Roman Catholic who laments the post-Vatican II watering down of sacred traditions, lessening of moral teaching and trivialization of liturgical practices. But I also say this as a firm believer that Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ on Earth and, as such, personifies the teaching authority of the Church. He is morally and juridically capable of speaking ex cathedra — that is, infallibly — but only after surveying and distilling traditional Church teachings and only on matters affecting faith and morals.

Thank God, so to speak, that his teaching authority is limited to faith and morals, because in matters of economics, he is wide of the mark.

His encyclical, entitled "Joy of the Gospel," attacks free market capitalism because it takes too long for the poor to get rich. "They are still waiting," the Pope wrote. Well, without capitalism, which rewards hard work and sacrifice, they will wait forever. No economic system in history has alleviated more poverty, generated more opportunity and had more formerly poor people become rich than capitalism. And the essence of capitalism goes to the core of Catholic teaching: the personal freedom of every person. Capitalism is freedom to risk, freedom to work, freedom to save, freedom to retain the fruits of one's labors, freedom to own property and freedom to give to charity.

The problem with modern capitalism — a problem that escaped the scrutiny of His Holiness — is not too much freedom, but too little. The regulation of free markets by governments, the control of the private means of production by government bureaucrats, and the unholy alliances between governments, banks and industry have raised production costs, stifled competition, established barriers to entry into markets, raised taxes, devalued savings and priced many poor out of the labor force. The Pope would do well to pray for those who have used government to steal freedom so as to satisfy their lust for power, and for those who have bowed to government so as to become rich from governmental benefits and not by the fruits of their own labors.

Traditional Catholic social teaching imposes on all of us a moral obligation to become our brothers' keepers. But this is a personal moral obligation, enforced by conscience and Church teaching and the fires of Hell — not by the coercive powers of the government. Charity comes from the heart. It consists of freely giving away one's wealth. It is impossible to be charitable with someone else's money. That's theft, not charity.

If you give until it hurts, freely and out of love, and seek nothing temporal in return, you have built up treasure in Heaven. But if the government takes from you and redistributes your wealth to those whom the government has decided to benefit — rich and poor alike — what merit is there in that for you? If you give a poor person a fish to eat, in a day, he'll be hungry. If you show him how to catch fish and teach him how to acquire the tools needed to do so, he can become self-sufficient and perhaps one day rich enough to help others. If the government takes money from you to buy the person a fish, half of the money will be wasted.

The Pope seems to prefer common ownership of the means of production, which is Marxist, or private ownership and government control, which is fascist, or government ownership and government control, which is socialist. All of those failed systems lead to ashes, not wealth. Pope Francis must know this. He must also know that when Europe was in turmoil in 1931, his predecessor Pius XI wrote in one of his encyclicals: "(N)o one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist."

The Church does not teach just for today, but for the life of man on Earth. That's why the essence of the Papacy is not contemporary problem solving, but preservation of truth and continuity of tradition. For this reason, Popes do not lightly contradict their predecessors. If it was sacred then, it is sacred now.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, recently discovered serious structural problems with St. Patrick's Cathedral that will cost $200 million to repair. He will soon have that bill paid. Where did that money come from? It came from the disposable income of rich Catholic capitalists. Who will benefit from this? The blue-collar workers whom the restoration project is employing now have jobs, and everyone — rich and poor — who attends Mass at the refurbished St. Patrick's will do so in comfort and beauty.

What shall we do about the Pope and economics? We should pray for his faith and understanding and for a return to orthodoxy. That means Holy Mother Church under the Vicar of Christ — saving souls, not pocketbooks.

12-10-13
 
Blacks and Obama

By Walter Williams

   
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In a March 2008 column, I criticized pundits' concerns about whether America was ready for Barack Obama, suggesting that the more important issue was whether black people could afford Obama. I proposed that we look at it in the context of a historical tidbit.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was nearly .300 in his first year. He led the National League in stolen bases and won the first Rookie of the Year award. There's no sense of justice that requires a player be as good as Robinson in order to have a chance in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter is that as the first black player, he had to be.

In 1947, black people could not afford an incompetent black baseball player. Today we can. The simple reason is that as a result of the excellence of Robinson — and many others who followed him, such as Satchel Paige, Don Newcombe, Larry Doby and Roy Campanella — today no one in his right mind, watching the incompetence of a particular black player, could say, "Those blacks can't play baseball."

In that March 2008 column, I argued that for the nation — but more importantly, for black people — the first black president should be the caliber of a Jackie Robinson, and Barack Obama is not. Obama has charisma and charm, but in terms of character, values, experience and understanding, he is no Jackie Robinson. In addition to those deficiencies, Obama became the first person in U.S. history to be elected to the highest office in the land while having a long history of associations with people who hate our nation, such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for 20 years, who preached that blacks should sing not "God bless America" but "God damn America." Then there's Obama's association with William Ayers, formerly a member of the Weather Underground, an anti-U.S. group that bombed the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and other government buildings. Ayers, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack, told a New York Times reporter, "I don't regret setting bombs. ... I feel we didn't do enough."

   
Obama's electoral success is truly a remarkable commentary on the goodness of the American people. A 2008 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reported "that 17 percent were enthusiastic about Obama being the first African American President, 70 percent were comfortable or indifferent, and 13 percent had reservations or were uncomfortable." I'm 77 years old. For almost all of my life, a black's becoming the president of the United States was at best a pipe dream. Obama's electoral success further confirms what I've often held: The civil rights struggle in America is over, and it's won. At one time, black Americans did not have the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by white Americans; now we do. The fact that the civil rights struggle is over and won does not mean that there are not major problems confronting many members of the black community, but they are not civil rights problems and have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination.

There is every indication to suggest that Obama's presidency will be seen as a failure similar to that of Jimmy Carter's. That's bad news for the nation but especially bad news for black Americans. No white presidential candidate had to live down the disgraced presidency of Carter, but I'm all too fearful that a future black presidential candidate will find himself carrying the heavy baggage of a failed black president. That's not a problem for white liberals who voted for Obama — they received their one-time guilt-relieving dose from voting for a black man to be president — but it is a problem for future generations of black Americans. But there's one excuse black people can make; we can claim that Obama is not an authentic black person but, as The New York Times might call him, a white black person.

12-9-13
 
Woe to U.S. allies: Obama, crises, many bewildered friends

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Three crises, one president, many bewildered friends.

The first crisis, barely noticed here, is Ukraine’s sudden turn away from Europe and back to the Russian embrace.

After years of negotiations for a major trading agreement with the European Union, Ukraine succumbed to characteristically blunt and brutal economic threats from Russia and abruptly walked away. Ukraine is instead considering joining the Moscow-centered Customs Union with Russia’s fellow dictatorships Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This is no trivial matter. Ukraine is not just the largest European country, it’s the linchpin for Vladimir Putin’s dream of a renewed imperial Russia, hegemonic in its neighborhood and rolling back the quarter-century advancement of the “Europe whole and free” bequeathed by America’s victory in the Cold War.

The U.S. response? Almost imperceptible. As with Iran’s ruthlessly crushed Green Revolution of 2009, the hundreds of thousands of protesters who’ve turned out to reverse this betrayal of Ukrainian independence have found no voice in Washington. Can’t this administration even rhetorically support those seeking a democratic future, as we did during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004?

A Post online headline explains: “With Russia in mind, U.S. takes cautious approach on Ukraine unrest.” We must not offend Putin. We must not jeopardize Obama’s precious “reset,” a farce that has yielded nothing but the well-earned distrust of allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic whom we wantonly undercut in a vain effort to appease Russia on missile defense.

Why not outbid Putin? We’re talking about a $10 billion to $15 billion package from Western economies with more than $30 trillion in GDP to alter the strategic balance between a free Europe and an aggressively authoritarian Russia — and prevent a barely solvent Russian kleptocracy living off oil, gas and vodka, from blackmailing its way to regional hegemony.

The second crisis is the Middle East — the collapse of confidence of U.S. allies as America romances Iran.

The Gulf Arabs are stunned at their double abandonment. In the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the U.S. has overthrown seven years of Security Council resolutions prohibiting uranium enrichment and effectively recognized Iran as a threshold nuclear state. This follows our near-abandonment of the Syrian revolution and de facto recognition of both the Assad regime and Iran’s “Shiite Crescent” of client states stretching to the Mediterranean.

Equally dumbfounded are the Israelis, now trapped by an agreement designed less to stop the Iranian nuclear program than to prevent the Israeli Air Force from stopping the Iranian nuclear program.

Neither Arab nor Israeli can quite fathom Obama’s naivete in imagining some strategic condominium with a regime that defines its very purpose as overthrowing American power and expelling it from the region.

Better diplomacy than war, say Obama’s apologists, an adolescent response implying that all diplomacy is the same, as if a diplomacy of capitulation is no different from a diplomacy of pressure.

What to do? Apply pressure. Congress should immediately pass punishing new sanctions to be implemented exactly six months hence — when the current interim accord is supposed to end — if the Iranians have not lived up to the agreement and refuse to negotiate a final deal that fully liquidates their nuclear weapons program.

The third crisis is unfolding over the East China Sea, where, in open challenge to Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” China has brazenly declared a huge expansion of its airspace into waters claimed by Japan and South Korea.

Obama’s first response — sending B-52s through that airspace without acknowledging the Chinese — was quick and firm. Japan and South Korea followed suit. But when Japan then told its civilian carriers not to comply with Chinese demands for identification, the State Department (and FAA) told U.S. air carriers to submit.

Which, of course, left the Japanese hanging. It got worse. During Vice President Biden’s visit to China, the administration buckled. Rather than insisting on a withdrawal of China’s outrageous claim, we began urging mere nonenforcement.

Again leaving our friends stunned. They need an ally, not an intermediary. Here is the U.S. again going over the heads of allies to accommodate a common adversary. We should be declaring the Chinese claim null and void, ordering our commercial airlines to join Japan in acting accordingly, and supplying them with joint military escorts if necessary.

This would not be an exercise in belligerence but a demonstration that if other countries unilaterally overturn the status quo, they will meet a firm, united, multilateral response from the West.

Led by us. From in front.

No one’s asking for a JFK-like commitment to “bear any burden” to “assure the . . . success of liberty.” Or a Reaganesque tearing down of walls. Or even a Clintonian assertion of America as the indispensable nation. America’s allies are seeking simply a reconsideration of the policy of retreat that marks this administration’s response to red-line challenges all over the world — and leaves them naked.


12-8-13
 
The growing breakdown of political norms

By Charles Krauthammer

  
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional.

Such as the one just spectacularly blown up in the Senate. To get three judges onto a coveted circuit court, frustrated Democrats abolished the filibuster for executive appointments and (non-Supreme Court) judicial nominations.

The problem is not the change itself. It’s fine that a president staffing his administration should need 51 votes rather than 60. Doing so for judicial appointments, which are for life, is a bit dicier. Nonetheless, for about 200 years the filibuster was nearly unknown in blocking judicial nominees. So we are really just returning to an earlier norm.

The violence to political norms here consisted in how that change was executed. By brute force — a near party-line vote of 52 to 48 . This was a disgraceful violation of more than two centuries of precedent. If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning.

What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure. They can be changed, of course. But only by significant supermajorities. That’s why constitutional changes require two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of the states. If we could make constitutional changes by majority vote, there would be no Constitution.

As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.

Barack Obama may be remembered for something similar. His violation of the proper limits of executive power has become breathtaking. It’s not just making recess appointments when the Senate is in session. It’s not just unilaterally imposing a law Congress had refused to pass — the Dream Act — by brazenly suspending large sections of the immigration laws.

We’ve now reached a point where a flailing president, desperate to deflect the opprobrium heaped upon him for the false promise that you could keep your health plan if you wanted to, calls a hasty news conference urging both insurers and the states to reinstate millions of such plans.

Except that he is asking them to break the law. His own law. Under Obamacare, no insurer may issue a policy after 2013 that does not meet the law’s minimum coverage requirements. These plans were canceled because they do not.

The law remains unchanged. The regulations governing that law remain unchanged. Nothing is changed except for a president proposing to unilaterally change his own law from the White House press room.

That’s banana republic stuff, except that there the dictator proclaims from the presidential balcony.

Remember how for months Democrats denounced Republicans for daring to vote to defund or postpone Obamacare? Saboteurs! Terrorists! How dare you alter “the law of the land.”

This was nonsense from the beginning. Every law is subject to revision and abolition if the people think it turned out to be a bad idea. Even constitutional amendments can be repealed — and have been (see Prohibition).

After indignant denunciation of Republicans for trying to amend “the law of the land” constitutionally (i.e. in Congress assembled), Democrats turn utterly silent when the president lawlessly tries to do so by executive fiat.

Nor is this the first time. The president wakes up one day and decides to unilaterally suspend the employer mandate, a naked invasion of Congress’s exclusive legislative prerogative, enshrined in Article I. Not a word from the Democrats. Nor now regarding the blatant usurpation of trying to restore canceled policies that violate explicit Obamacare coverage requirements.

And worse. When Congress tried to make Obama’s “fix” legal — i.e., through legislation — he opposed it. He even said he would veto it. Imagine: vetoing the very bill that would legally enact his own illegal fix.

At rallies, Obama routinely says he has important things to do and he’s not going to wait for Congress. Well, amending a statute after it’s been duly enacted is something a president may not do without Congress. It’s a gross violation of his Article II duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

A Senate with no rules. A president without boundaries. One day, when a few bottled-up judicial nominees and a malfunctioning health-care Web site are barely a memory, we will still be dealing with the toxic residue of this outbreak of authoritative lawlessness.

12-7-13

Remember the attack on Pearl Harbor
Dec. 7, 1941


http://pearlharbor.org/

12-6-13
 
A 'sucker's deal': The U.S. offer to Iran is absurdly asymmetric

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A president desperate to change the subject and a secretary of state desperate to make a name for himself are reportedly on the verge of an “interim” nuclear agreement with Iran. France called it a “sucker’s deal.” France was being charitable.

The only reason Iran has come to the table after a decade of contemptuous stonewalling is that economic sanctions have cut so deeply — its currency has collapsed, inflation is rampant — that the regime fears a threat to its very survival.

Nothing else could move it to negotiate. Regime survival is the only thing the mullahs value above nuclear weapons. And yet precisely at the point of maximum leverage, President Obama is offering relief in a deal that is absurdly asymmetric: The West would weaken sanctions in exchange for cosmetic changes that do absolutely nothing to weaken Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Don’t worry, we are assured. This is only an interim six-month agreement to “build confidence” until we reach a final one. But this makes no sense. If at this point of maximum economic pressure we can’t get Iran to accept a final deal that shuts down its nuclear program, how in God’s name do we expect to get such a deal when we have radically reduced that pressure?

A bizarre negotiating tactic. And the content of the deal is even worse. It’s a rescue package for the mullahs.

It widens permissible trade in oil, gold and auto parts. It releases frozen Iranian assets, increasing Iran’s foreign-exchange reserves by 25 percent while doubling its fully accessible foreign-exchange reserves. Such a massive infusion of cash would be a godsend for its staggering economy, lowering inflation, reducing shortages and halting the country’s growing demoralization. The prospective deal is already changing economic expectations. Foreign oil and other interests are reportedly preparing to reopen negotiations for a resumption of trade in anticipation of the full lifting of sanctions.

And for what? You’d offer such relief in return for Iran giving up its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Isn’t that what the entire exercise is about?

And yet this deal does nothing of the sort. Nothing. It leaves Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact. Iran keeps every one of its 19,000 centrifuges — yes, 19,000 — including 3,000 second-generation machines that produce enriched uranium at five times the rate of the older ones.

Not a single centrifuge is dismantled. Not a single facility that manufactures centrifuges is touched. In Syria, the first thing the weapons inspectors did was to destroy the machines that make the chemical weapons. Then they went after the stockpiles. It has to be that way. Otherwise, the whole operation is an exercise in futility. Take away just the chemical agents, and the weapons-making facilities can replace them at will.

Yet that’s exactly what we’re doing with Iran. It would deactivate its 20 percent enriched uranium, which besides being chemically reversible, is quickly replaceable because Iran retains its 3.5 percent enriched uranium, which can be enriched to 20 percent in less than a month.

Result: Sanctions relief that leaves Iran’s nuclear infrastructure untouched, including — and this is where the French gagged — the plutonium facility at Arak, a defiant alternate path to a nuclear weapon.

The point is blindingly simple. Unless you dismantle the centrifuges and prevent the manufacture of new ones, Iran will be perpetually just a few months away from going nuclear. This agreement, which is now reportedly being drafted to allow Iran to interpret it as granting the “right” to enrich uranium, constitutes the West legitimizing Iran’s status as a threshold nuclear state.

Don’t worry, we are assured. The sanctions relief is reversible. Nonsense. It was extraordinarily difficult to cobble together the current sanctions. It took endless years of overcoming Russian, Chinese and Indian recalcitrance, together with foot-dragging from Europeans making a pretty penny from Iran.

Once the relaxation begins, how do you reverse it? How do you reapply sanctions? There is absolutely no appetite for this among our allies. And adding back old sanctions will be denounced as a provocation that would drive Iran to a nuclear breakout — exactly as Obama is today denouncing congressional moves to increase sanctions as a deal-breaking provocation that might lead Iran to break off talks.

The mullahs are eager for this interim agreement with its immediate yield of political and economic relief. Once they get it, we will have removed their one incentive to conclude the only agreement that is worth anything to us — a verifiable giving up of their nuclear program.

Brilliant.

12-5-13


Liberals talk race and crime - and hilarity ensues!    

By: Ann Coulter    

On a break from pretending to believe they live in a country bristling with violent white racists, the Non-Fox Media have been trying to debunk stories about the “Knockout Game,” in which young black males approach random strangers and try to knock them out with one punch.

The left’s leading line of defense against the Knockout Game is to argue that young black males have always been violent, so, hey, this is nothing new.

You’re welcome, black America!

In Slate, Emma Roller wearily recounted other episodes of black-on-white violence in order to announce: “The ‘Knockout Game’ is a myth.”

Reminiscing about the flash mobs that shook many parts of the country a few years ago, Roller wrote: “I remember the summer of 2011, a story about a crowd of (black) teenagers at the Wisconsin State Fair randomly attacking fairgoers went viral as a sign of a burgeoning race war.”

So you see, stupid right-wingers, young black males have always been violent, so what’s the big deal about the Knockout Game? Your honor, my client’s not a killer; he’s a serial killer.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes reached for a different example of monstrous black-on-white violence in order to dispute that the Knockout Game is anything new.

Looking like a translator for the deaf with all the air quotes he had to make for “supposed” “trend” and “Knockout Game,” Hayes compared it to what he called the fake trend of “wilding” after a mob of black youths violently attacked and raped a white woman jogging in New York’s Central Park in 1989. According to Hayes, “there never was such a thing” as wilding.

Whether the boys who were convicted of the crime did it or, as liberals now claim, a man already sentenced to life in prison did it, the Central Park jogger was brutally raped and nearly murdered by either one or several young black men. (They all did it — see Chapter 13 of my book “Demonic.”)
The following year, 1990, blacks committed 57 percent of all the violent crime against whites, while whites committed only 2 percent of the violent crime against blacks, according to the Department of Justice’s annual Victimization Report.Thanks for the memories, Chris!Oh, and contrary to Hayes’ proclamation, black men raping white women is something of a “trend” — at least according to FBI crime statistics. At least since 1997 (I got bored and stopped looking any farther back) blacks have raped several thousand white women every year, while white-on-black rapes have numbered between “0.0″ and “Sample based on 10 or fewer.” (See Chapter 11 of “Mugged.”)

In a particularly incomprehensible defense of black America in Mediaite, Tommy Christopher denounced the “sketchy” news reports of “the so-called ‘Knockout Game’” by citing the video of a group of black teenagers walking past teacher Jim Addlespurger, when one of the black teens steps from the group and knocks the teacher out cold, and then they all laugh about the assault as they continue walking.

But Christopher helpfully notes that a cop said this “was just a random act of violence.” So don’t worry about the Knockout Game, white people — this is mostly just ordinary, everyday black-on-white violence.

Flash mobs, wilding, day-to-day black violence — talk about damning with faint praise!

Liberals have to work so hard to avoid noticing the astronomical crime rate among young black males that their brains freeze.

Roller attributed public interest in a story about mobs of young black males attacking families at a state fair to white people’s need to validate their “fear” that black people are dangerous. (Milwaukeeans hardly even notice when mobs of whites surround their families at a state fair, punch them, kick them and smash their cars, while shouting racial slurs.)

But Roller implied that blacks engaging in violence is wildly unusual: “When a few YouTube videos are able to convince terrified white folks that young black people are dangerous, they may as well assume that all cats can play the keyboard.”

Is a disproportionate amount of keyboard playing in the country being done by cats?

According to the FBI, between 1976 and 2005, blacks, who are about 12 percent of the population, committed 53 percent of all felony murders and 56 percent of non-felony murders. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that young black men are 14 times more likely to commit murder than young white men.

White liberals know this. Blacks certainly know it. Despite the hoo-ha over George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin, most black people’s experience is not that white vigilantes are shooting them. For every one of those, there are 1,000 black teens killing other black people.

But if liberals took the first step toward sanity and admitted that young black men commit an awful lot of violent crime, they might have to ask why that is.

That’s a dangerous question for people who refuse to acknowledge the devastation of fatherless boys caused by liberal welfare policies. (See Chapter 6 of “Never Trust a Liberal Over 3″ to see how the British welfare system has created the same social disaster among hordes of white people.)

Unable to consider the obvious explanation — single-motherhood — liberals are left with nothing but genetic determinism.

So liberals defend young black males from the charge of playing a Knockout Game by telling us young black men are always violent.

Don’t worry, black America. White liberals have your back.


12-4-13

 Why libs are panicked

By Charles Krauthammer


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | “Even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”

— Bill Clinton, Nov. 12

So the former president asserts that the current president continues to dishonor his “you like your plan, you can keep your plan” pledge. And calls for the Affordable Care Act to be changed, despite furious White House resistance to the very idea.

Coming from the dean of the Democratic Party, this one line marked the breaching of the dam. It legitimized the brewing rebellion of panicked Democrats against Obamacare. Within hours, that rebellion went loudly public. By Thursday, President Obama had been forced into a rear-guard holding action, asking insurers to grant a one-year extension of current plans.

The damage to the Obama presidency, however, is already done. His approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, his lowest ever. And, for the first time, a majority considers him untrustworthy. That bond is not easily repaired.

At stake, however, is more than the fate of one presidency or of the current Democratic majority in the Senate. At stake is the new, more ambitious, social-democratic brand of American liberalism introduced by Obama, of which Obamacare is both symbol and concrete embodiment.

Precisely when the GOP was returning to a more constitutionalist conservatism committed to reforming, restructuring and reining in the welfare state (see, for example, the Paul Ryan Medicare reform passed by House Republicans with near-unanimity), Obama offered a transformational liberalism designed to expand the role of government, enlarge the welfare state and create yet more new entitlements (see, for example, his call for universal preschool in his most recent State of the Union address).

The centerpiece of this vision is, of course, Obamacare, the most sweeping social reform in the past half-century, affecting one-sixth of the economy and directly touching the most vital area of life of every citizen.

As the only socially transformational legislation in modern American history to be enacted on a straight party-line vote, Obamacare is wholly owned by the Democrats. Its unraveling would catastrophically undermine their underlying ideology of ever-expansive central government providing cradle-to-grave care for an ever-grateful citizenry.

For four years, this debate has been theoretical. Now it’s real. And for Democrats, it’s a disaster.

It begins with the bungled rollout. If Washington can’t even do the Web site — the literal portal to this brave new world — how does it propose to regulate the vast ecosystem of American medicine?

Beyond the competence issue is the arrogance. Five million freely chosen, freely purchased, freely renewed health-care plans are summarily canceled. Why? Because they don’t meet some arbitrary standard set by the experts in Washington.

For all his news conference gyrations about not deliberately deceiving people with his “if you like it” promise, the law Obama so triumphantly gave us allows you to keep your plan only if he likes it. This is life imitating comedy — that old line about a liberal being someone who doesn’t care what you do as long as it’s mandatory.

Lastly, deception. The essence of the entitlement state is government giving away free stuff. Hence Obamacare would provide insurance for 30 million uninsured, while giving everybody tons of free medical services — without adding “one dime to our deficits,” promised Obama.

This being inherently impossible, there had to be a catch. Now we know it: hidden subsidies. Toss millions of the insured off their plans and onto the Obamacare “exchanges,” where they would be forced into more expensive insurance packed with coverage they don’t want and don’t need — so that the overcharge can be used to subsidize others.

The reaction to the incompetence, arrogance and deception has ranged from ridicule to anger. But more is in jeopardy than just panicked congressional Democrats. This is the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency, the embodiment of his new entitlement-state liberalism. If Obamacare goes down, there will be little left of its underlying ideology.

Perhaps it won’t go down. Perhaps the Web portal hums beautifully on Nov. 30. Perhaps they’ll find a way to restore the canceled policies without wrecking the financial underpinning of the exchanges.

Perhaps. The more likely scenario, however, is that Obamacare does fail. It either fails politically, renounced by a wide consensus that includes a growing number of Democrats, or it succumbs to the financial complications (the insurance “death spiral”) of the very amendments desperately tacked on to save it.

If it does fail, the effect will be historic. Obamacare will take down with it more than Mary Landrieu and Co. It will discredit Obama’s new liberalism for years to come.

12-3-13
 
A Challenge to Our Beliefs

By Thomas Sowell

JewishWorldReview.com | Depressing news about black students scoring far below white students on various mental tests has become so familiar that people in different parts of the ideological spectrum have long ago developed their different explanations for why this is so. But both may have to do some rethinking, in light of radically different news from England.

The November 9th-15th issue of the distinguished British magazine "The Economist" reports that, among children who are eligible for free meals in England's schools, black children of immigrants from Africa meet the standards of school tests nearly 60 percent of the time — as do immigrant children from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Black children of immigrants from the Caribbean meet the standards less than 50 percent of the time.

At the bottom, among those children who are all from families with low enough incomes to receive free meals at school, are white English children, who meet the standards 30 percent of the time.

"The Economist" points out that, in one borough of London, white students scored lower than black students in any London borough.

These data might seem to be some kind of fluke, but they confirm the observations in a book titled "Life at the Bottom" by British physician Theodore Dalrymple. He said that, among the patients he treated in a hospital near a low-income housing project, he could not recall any white 16-year-old who could multiply nine by seven. Some could not even do three times seven.

What jolts us is not only that this phenomenon is so different from what we are used to seeing in the United States, but also that it fits neither the genetic nor the environmental explanation of black-white educational differences here.

These white students in England come from the same race that produced Shakespeare and the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton, among other world class intellects over the centuries. But today many young whites in England are barely literate, and have trouble with simple arithmetic. Nor are these white students the victims of racial discrimination, much less the descendants of slaves.

With the two main explanations for low performances on school tests obviously not applicable in England, there must be some other explanation. And once there is some other explanation in this case, we have to wonder if that other explanation — whatever it is — might also apply in the United States, to one degree or another.

In other words, maybe our own explanations need reexamination.

What do low-income whites in England and ghetto blacks in the United States have in common? It cannot be simply low incomes, because children from other groups in the same low-income brackets outperform whites in England and outperform blacks in America.

What low-income whites in England and ghetto blacks in the United States have in common is a generations-long indoctrination in victimhood. The political left in both countries has, for more than half a century, maintained a steady and loud drumbeat of claims that the deck is stacked against those at the bottom.

The American left uses race and the British left uses class, but the British left has been at it longer. In both countries, immigrants who have not been in the country as long have not been so distracted by such ideology into a blind resentment and lashing out at other people.

In both countries, immigrants enter a supposedly closed society that refuses to let anyone rise — and they nevertheless rise, while the native-born at the bottom remain at the bottom.

Those who promote an ideology of victimhood may imagine that they are helping those at the bottom, when in fact they are harming them, more so than the society that the left is denouncing.

We in America have gotten used to vast gaps between blacks and whites on test scores. But this was not always the case, in places where there was anything like comparable education.

Back in the 1940s, before the vast expansion of the welfare state and the ideology of victimhood used to justify it, there was no such gap on test scores between black schools in Harlem and white, working class schools on New York's lower east side.

You can find the data on pages 40-41 of an article of mine in the Fall 1981 issue of "Teachers College Record," a journal published by Columbia University — that is, if you think facts matter more than rhetoric or social visions.
 

12-2-13
 
Masking Totalitarianism

By Walter Williams

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the oldest notions in the history of mankind is that some people are to give orders and others are to obey. The powerful elite believe that they have wisdom superior to the masses and that they've been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Their agenda calls for an attack on the free market and what it implies — voluntary exchange. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they should do. Therefore, free markets are replaced with economic planning and regulation that is nothing less than the forcible superseding of other people's plans by the powerful elite.

Because Americans still retain a large measure of liberty, tyrants must mask their agenda. At the university level, some professors give tyranny an intellectual quality by preaching that negative freedom is not enough. There must be positive liberty or freedoms. This idea is widespread in academia, but its most recent incarnation was a discussion by Wake Forest University professor David Coates in a Huffington Post article, titled "Negative Freedom or Positive Freedom: Time to Choose?". Let's examine negative versus positive freedom.

Negative freedom or rights refers to the absence of constraint or coercion when people engage in peaceable, voluntary exchange. Some of these negative freedoms are enumerated in our Constitution's Bill of Rights. More generally, at least in its standard historical usage, a right is something that exists simultaneously among people. As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Likewise, my right to travel imposes no obligation upon another.

Positive rights is a view that people should have certain material things — such as medical care, decent housing and food — whether they can pay for them or not. Seeing as there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy, those "rights" do impose obligations upon others. If one person has a right to something he did not earn, of necessity it requires that another person not have a right to something he did earn.

If we were to apply this bogus concept of positive rights to free speech and the right to travel freely, my free speech rights would impose financial obligations on others to supply me with an auditorium, microphone and audience. My right to travel would burden others with the obligation to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations for me. Most Americans, I would imagine, would tell me, "Williams, yes, you have the right to free speech and travel rights, but I'm not obligated to pay for them!"

What the positive rights tyrants want but won't articulate is the power to forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another. After all, if one person does not have the money to purchase food, housing or medicine and if Congress provides the money, where does it get the money? It takes it from some other American, forcibly using that person to serve the purposes of another. Such a practice differs only in degree, but not kind, from slavery.

Under natural law, we all have certain unalienable rights. The rights we possess we have authority to delegate. For example, we all have a right to defend ourselves against predators. Because we possess that right, we can delegate it to government, in effect saying, "We have the right to defend ourselves, but for a more orderly society, we delegate to you the authority to defend us." By contrast, I don't possess the right to take your earnings to give to another. Seeing as I have no such right, I cannot delegate it.

The idea that one person should be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another has served as the foundation of mankind's ugliest and most brutal regimes. Do we want that for America?

12-1-13
 
Do Americans Prefer Deception?

By Walter Williams

  
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's more to the deceit and dishonesty about Social Security and Medicare discussed in my recent columns. Congress tells us that one-half (6.2 percent) of the Social Security tax is paid by employees and that the other half is paid by employers, for a total of 12.4 percent. Similarly, we are told that a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent is levied on employees and that another 1.45 percent is levied on employers. The truth of the matter is that the burden of both taxes is borne by employees. In other words, we pay both the employee and the so-called employer share. You say, "Williams, that's nonsense! Just look at what it says on my pay stub." OK, let's look at it.

Pretend you are my employer and agree to pay me $50,000 a year, out of which you're going to send $3,100 to Washington as my share of Social Security tax (6.2 percent of $50,000), as well as $725 for my share of Medicare (1.45 percent of $50,000), a total of $3,825 for the year. To this you must add your half of Social Security and Medicare taxes, which is also $3,825 for the year. Your cost to hire me is $53,825.

If it costs you $53,825 a year to hire me, how much value must I produce for it to be profitable for you to keep me? Is it our agreed salary of $50,000 or $53,825? If you said $53,825, you'd be absolutely right. Then who pays all of the Social Security and Medicare taxes? If you said that I do, you're right again. The Social Security and Medicare fiction was created because Americans would not be so passive if they knew that the tax they are paying is double what is on their pay stubs — not to mention federal income taxes.

The economics specialty that reveals this is known as the incidence of taxation. The burden of a tax is not necessarily borne by the party upon whom it is levied. The Joint Committee on Taxation held that "both the employee's and employer's share of the payroll tax is borne by the employee." The Congressional Budget Office "assumes — as do most economists — that employers' share of payroll taxes is passed on to employees in the form of lower wages than would otherwise be paid." Health insurance is not an employer gift, either.

Another part of Social Security and Medicare deception is that the taxes are officially called FICA, which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. First, it's not an insurance program. More importantly, the word "contribution" implies something voluntary. Its synonyms are alms, benefaction, beneficence, charity, donation and philanthropy. Which one of those synonyms comes close to describing how Congress gets Social Security and Medicare money from us?

There's more deceit and dishonesty. In 1950, I was 14 years old and applied for a work permit for an after-school job. One of the requirements was to obtain a Social Security card. In bold letters on my Social Security card, which I still possess, are the words "For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification." That's because earlier Americans feared that their Social Security number would become an identity number. According to the Social Security Administration website, "this legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning in 1972." That statement assumes we're idiots. We're asked to believe that the sole purpose of the removal was for design purposes. Apparently, the fact that our Social Security number had become a major identification tool, to be used in every aspect of our lives, had nothing to do with the SSA's getting rid of the legend saying "For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification."

I wonder whether political satirist H.L. Mencken was right when he said, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."


 



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