"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president." Author Unknown
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The Patriot Post
Friday’s Daily Digest
Jul. 31, 2015
“How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.” —James Monroe, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
TOP RIGHT HOOKS
The status quo remains unchanged. Newly released figures from the Commerce Department show that in the second quarter — encompassing the months of April, May and June — the U.S. economy grew by just 2.3%, while first quarter growth was adjusted to 0.6%. No matter how you spin it, this isn’t progress. In fact, GDP so far in 2015 trails 2014, a year that continued the trend of underperformance. But there was another interesting aspect to the report that is being largely ignored. “The second-quarter report is the first to include new methodology meant to make GDP more accurate,” explains MarketWatch2. “Over the past several years GDP has slightly underestimated growth in the first quarter and sharply overestimated growth in the third quarter, leading to big swings that confused Wall Street and Washington.” After taking into account the new methodology, the results are even less stellar: “Under the new approach, the government has found that the U.S. economy grew somewhat slower from 2012 to 2014: An average of 2% a year instead of 2.3%. That means the slowest recovery since the end of World War II is even weaker than previously believed.” The Obama “Recovery” was never as robust as this administration has consistently claimed, as further underscored by new government figures. Maybe that’s why so many Millennials are living at home3.
Finally, some good news for a change. The College Board, the nonprofit organization that administers AP exams to high school students, has announced yet another revision5 to its history framework. But this time it’s for the better. Previously, the College Board painted American history in far too negative a light6, emphasizing our nation’s sins while ignoring or minimizing its uniqueness and greatness. Some Founders, such as Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson and Constitution writer James Madison, were mentioned; that’s it — mentioned. But they were taught as examples of Western class, gender and racial evil. And while teachers could choose to teach the Constitution as it’s written, they would disadvantage their students by doing so because the real Constitution wasn’t on the test. After numerous scholars objected in an open letter7, however, the College Board worked to make revisions. Neglected Founders are back, and there’s even a new section on the concept of “American exceptionalism.” A College Board official insisted they meant no harm, and that American exceptionalism was previously omitted because they assumed they didn’t need to spell it out. We don’t buy it, and the changes don’t go nearly far enough, but perhaps the episode proves that strong, principled voices on the Right can make a difference.
Massive unfunded debt is not what the progressive politicians who created Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago this week told the country their programs would bring. The “Great Society9” was supposed to banish poverty from the land while providing care for the elderly and disabled. Today, over a third of the U.S. population is on Medicare and Medicaid, and federal spending has a tendency to be sucked into the programs' gaping maws. Today10, more than quarter of every dollar the federal government spends goes to the two programs. They are also the biggest expense for state governments. But for all that spending, the programs' trust fund is on track to run out of money in 15 years. Meanwhile, the Baby Boomer generation is signing up in droves, and $60 billion is lost every year to waste and fraud. This is not what the programs' architects wanted Americans to think would happen. Fifty years ago11, they estimated the programs would cost $12 billion in 1990, but it actually cost the government $90 billion. Another government program, now five years old, also promised to trim health care costs through more government intrusion and regulation. Just wait until ObamaCare turns 10, much less 50.
FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS
By Michael Swartz
When Michigan shocked the nation and passed its right-to-work law three years ago, there was no question that Big Labor wouldn’t take it lying down. The tentacles of Big Labor run deep in the state, not only in the obvious automotive-related businesses but also in the state employees organized under the United Auto Workers (UAW) banner. It was on behalf of those workers, who fall under the auspices of the state’s Civil Service Commission, that the UAW filed suit to maintain its hold on the agency fees it has routinely extracted from these workers.
But the move backfired. The Michigan Supreme Court upheld the 2012 right-to-work law even for public-sector employees. The 4-3 decision fell mainly along party lines — five of the seven members of the court are Republicans, and the two Democrats were among the dissenting trio.
The court found13, “Although the [Civil Service] Commission had authority over civil service employees' rates of compensation, conditions of employment, and grievance procedures under [the state Constitution], the Commission’s power to regulate the conditions of employment through public collective bargaining agreements did not encompass the specific authority to tax or appropriate, which generally rested exclusively with the Legislature unless the Constitution affirmatively provided that power to another constitutional body.”
About 36,000 workers are affected by the decision14, along with millions of dollars that will stay in the workers' wallets rather than fattening the coffers of Big Labor. If the trend from other states adopting similar right-to-work provisions holds true, as many as 20,000 of those workers could walk away from the union.
It could also set a precedent for a class-action suit. Patrick Wright, the vice president of legal affairs for Michigan’s Mackinac Center, stated, “The majority correctly noted that state employees unions have illegally been receiving agency fees from state employees for decades.” He added, “Agency fees for state employees have been illegal since the adoption of the 1963 Constitution.” Yet for nearly 50 years the UAW and other unions were basically unchallenged.
In most states, this likely would have been a slam-dunk for worker freedom, but we’re talking about Michigan here. The close decision against the UAW was a bit surprising, and given the cash involved it’s certain the unions will be loaded for bear once the judges who ruled against them come up again on the ballot. (Nor are they likely to give any quarter to the Republican who ruled in their favor.)
Michigan isn’t the only state facing problems with unions. Underfunded pensions are crushing many states. Some experts estimate the liabilities15 to be somewhere between $1 trillion and $4 trillion.
And despite the legal slap to organized labor in Michigan, their New Jersey counterparts are trying to get their pension shortfalls addressed by Garden State jurists. Facing a budget crunch last year, Gov. Chris Christie backed away from a promise to fully fund the state’s pension fund, and the public sector unions are demanding over $3 billion16 to fix it. This despite the plain language of the state constitution that prohibits taking on debts of more than 1% of the state’s budget.
The ruse is simple, though. As a Public Employees Retirement System spokesperson said, “We want a judgment answered so we are to the front of the line getting our money before anyone else gets it, because it is our money.” And that’s the way it is to Big Labor. Just ask a former GM or Chrysler bondholder or non-union pensioner how their place in the creditor line17 worked out for them.
But we’ll take a win where we can get one, and the story out of Michigan is a good step in the right direction.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Michael Barone: “Republican voters have been seething with discontent toward their party’s officeholders and have not become enchanted with any one of 15 more or less conventional politicians who are running. Democratic voters support their officeholders with lockstep loyalty and seem untroubled by the serious flaws of their party’s clear frontrunner. This asymmetry helps explain some otherwise puzzling things. One is why polls have continued for several years to show the Republican Party being disliked more than the Democratic Party, even as both parties get roughly the same number of votes. The reason is that while virtually no Democrats express negative feelings about their party, many Republicans do. Those negative feelings don’t, however, prevent Republicans from voting, however grudgingly, for their party’s old-timers in general elections. … The asymmetry between the parties' voters reflects their different media environments. Talk radio, conservative websites and Fox News bristle with criticism of Republican officeholders and complaints about their squishiness. That helps sustain a critical frame of mind and a sense, particularly outside metropolitan centers, that ordinary people’s concerns are being ignored by a manipulative establishment. In contrast, Democrats, who fancy themselves as critical thinkers, are comfortable consumers of ‘mainstream’ media in which their ‘smelly little orthodoxies’ (George Orwell’s term) are rarely challenged. So supposedly docile Republicans increasingly behave like an unruly mob while supposedly freethinking Democrats keep acting like a regimented army. Curious.”
Insight: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” —Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Upright: “Ladies, open your eyes and hearts. Watch the [Planned Parenthood] videos for yourselves. Get the facts. Unmask the lies. The cackling profiteers of Planned Parenthood don’t care about your breasts. They’re too busy putting price tags on the baby hearts, livers, lungs and limbs swirling around in bloody pie plates, stacked in their ‘research’ labs, subsidized with your tax dollars and sold to the highest bidders. For ‘preventative care,’ of course.” —Michelle Malkin
The BIG Lie: “[T]here’s reason to think that this is merely the tried and true tactic that we have seen from extremists on the Right: To edit this video and selectively release it so that it grossly distorts the position of the person who is actually speaking on the video. Planned Parenthood has indicated that’s what has occurred here.” —Planned Parenthood Obama spokesman Josh Earnest
Braying Jenny: “I am impatient and I sometimes come across as impatient, which is not always attractive, and [I] get really frustrated with people who don’t understand what I think it’s going to take to make our country great tomorrow just like we were yesterday.” —Hillary Clinton on her greatest weakness, which, evidently, is Americans opposed to her being president
Non Compos Mentis: “I’m confident because of the nature of the [Iran] agreement. This is a diplomatic masterpiece.” —Nancy Pelosi
Late-night humor: “A recent study shows that standing at work for long periods of time is bad for you, after earlier research indicated that sitting for too long at work is bad for you. So really the only thing we know is, work is bad for you.” —Jimmy Fallon
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.
Desperate Dems Recycle Planned Parenthood's Mammogram Lie
7/31/2015 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
The gruesome hits keep coming for the baby butchers of Planned Parenthood. President Obama and his top health officials have one last-ditch response left: Quick, hide behind the imaginary mammogram machine!
As more graphic, money-grubbing undercover videos of Planned Parenthood's for-profit aborted baby parts racket emerge thanks to the investigative work of the Center for Medical Progress, desperate Democrats are in full deflection mode. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell defended federal funding for Planned Parenthood this week by invoking the women's health shield. "What I think is important is that our HHS funding is focused on issues of preventative care for women, things like mammograms," Burwell told the House Education and Workforce Committee.
Just one teeny, tiny problem with this defense: It's a completely calculated fabrication.
The breast-cancer screening charade casts Planned Parenthood as a life-saving provider of vital health services unavailable anywhere else. You may recall that during the 2012 presidential cycle, Obama himself falsely claimed during a debate that the abortion provider administers mammograms to "millions" of women -- and liberal CNN moderator Candy Crowley let him get away with it.
On cue, Hollywood activists Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington all attacked the GOP ticket for wanting to "end" funding for "cancer screenings" by cutting off government subsidies for Planned Parenthood's bloody billion-dollar abortion business. _The celebrities in the White House and Tinseltown took their script straight from Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, who purported to speak for countless women for whom Planned Parenthood is "the only way" they can gain access to mammograms. __(If the name sounds familiar, Nucatola is the same wine-swishing Josephine Mengele who was exposed on tape by the Center for Medical Progress two weeks ago lolling through a business lunch negotiating payments for aborted baby parts.)
Once again, it was undercover pro-life journalists who unmasked the truth.
An investigation of 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, conducted by pro-life group Live Action, confirmed that the abortion provider does not perform breast-cancer screenings. "We don't provide those services whatsoever," a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona confessed on tape.
Planned Parenthood's Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, Kan., admitted: "We actually don't have a, um, mammogram machine at our clinics."
Even the liberal Washington Post doled out a three (out of four) Pinocchio rating for the White House's mammogram lies. "The problem here is that Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms or even possess the necessary equipment to do so," the paper's resident fact-checker reported. "As such, the organization certainly does not 'provide' mammograms in the strict sense. Instead, its clinics provide referrals and direct low-income women toward resources to help pay for the procedure. These services are by no means unique to Planned Parenthood. In fact, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society provide them, as well."
As I've pointed out previously, Planned Parenthood's purported "referral services" to outside mammogram facilities are negligible -- especially given the widespread availability of these and other free and low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening services across the country supported by both private and public grants.
Reluctant to do its job and just call out the president as an outright liar, The Washington Post fell short of giving Obama the full four-Pinocchio treatment for his Planned Parenthood mammogram propagandizing, but acknowledged that he has repeated the lies "too many times in one form or another for this to be considered just playing with words to generate a misleading impression."
The Obama HHS apparently needs to be reminded of its own review exposing the mammography deception. In June 2012, the agency responded to a request for information about how many Planned Parenthood clinics were certified to operate mammogram facilities. "Our search did not find any documents pertinent to your request," HHS told the Alliance Defense Fund.
Zip. Zilch. None. Nada.
Pro-life investigative journalist Lila Rose of Live Action has it right: "It is an alarming dereliction of duty that the Secretary of Health and Human Services refuses to view investigative reports that clearly demonstrate that Planned Parenthood, who receives close to half a million taxpayer dollars a year from the federal government, is engaged in the selling and trafficking of aborted baby body parts for profit," she said this week. "Ms. Burwell should be investigating Planned Parenthood, not covering for them."
Ladies, open your eyes and hearts. Watch the videos for yourselves. Get the facts. Unmask the lies. The cackling profiteers of Planned Parenthood don't care about your breasts. They're too busy putting price tags on the baby hearts, livers, lungs and limbs swirling around in bloody pie plates, stacked in their "research" labs, subsidized with your tax dollars and sold to the highest bidders. For "preventative care," of course.
Huckabee's 'Oven' Remark Taken Out of Context
7/31/2015 12:01:00 AM - Jonah Goldberg
It's been a hard time for politicians not named "Trump" to get any attention, but Mike Huckabee managed it. He did it by comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
At least that's what I gathered from headlines like this one from Gawker:
"Mike Huckabee Compares Obama to Hitler"
I don't put huge amounts of stock in Gawker headlines (or really any headlines on the Internet), but then I saw that CNN's Wolf Blitzer said Huckabee had "essentially likened [Barack Obama] to Adolf Hitler." National Journal's Ron Fournier went on a tear on Twitter, insisting that Huckabee apologize for comparing Obama to Hitler. And of course, Hillary Clinton and Obama himself denounced Huckabee for making a Hitler comparison. Clinton even said she was "really offended personally," as if her feelings are what really matters.
Here is what Huckabee said in full during an interview with Breitbart News:
"This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It's got to be stopped."
Now, I've never been a big fan of Huckabee's style of politics -- or policy. But a remotely fair reading of the statement strongly suggests that Huckabee was comparing Obama to Neville Chamberlain or some other member of the "Hitler is a man we can do business with" school. That's the point of calling Obama "naive" for trusting the Iranians -- the Hitler in Huckabee's analogy.
We can parse more deeply if we must. Hitler didn't march Jews to the doors of the ovens, but into them. The Iranians are the ones with sinister intentions in Huckabee's description, not Obama, who, again, is described as naive and feckless, not sinister and evil. Huckabee probably shouldn't have used the word "march" because it muddies his point. "Delivered to" or "abandoned at" would have worked better.
I think, as a general rule, one should pretty much always avoid talking about Jews and ovens unless discussing the actual Holocaust. And one could argue that Huckabee, who insists he never compared Obama to Hitler, was cynically hoping to be misconstrued in order to get some media attention -- which he got.
But on the merits, Huckabee isn't saying anything that lots of serious people haven't said, albeit more eloquently. In countless speeches, Bibi Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have stressed that the legacy of the Holocaust is such that Israel cannot take a chance on Iran having a nuclear weapon.
In his address to Congress in March, Netanyahu movingly singled out Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel from the audience. "Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, 'never again,'" Netanyahu said to bipartisan applause. "And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past."
What mistakes? Precisely the mistakes Huckabee says Obama is making. It's the same argument.
And it's not a dumb argument. At least it's not a dumb argument if you listen to the Iranians. As my National Review colleague David French recently catalogued, Iranian civil, military and religious leaders have for years vowed to "wipe Israel off the map," deliver a new Holocaust (while denying the first one happened), etc.
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Iran's pet terrorist group, Hezbollah, has said, "If all the Jews gathered in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide. ... It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth." Until that time, Hezbollah has had to make do with killing Jews where they find them.
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry don't take the Iranians at their word when they say they want to kill Jews, no matter how clearly and consistently they say it. But they trust the Iranians to stick to their word on this nuclear agreement (which would be a bad agreement even if Iran could be trusted).
George W. Bush was routinely compared to Hitler with a fraction of the outcry Huckabee has received. Perhaps that's because Huckabee's real sin has nothing to do with Hitler analogies and everything to do with Iranian reality.
I Am Not a Mother, and You Are Not An American
S. E. Cupp
7/30/2015 3:54:00 PM - S. E. Cupp
Among the many words you might use to describe me -- some of which would likely hurt my parents' feelings and I'm certain aren't fit for print -- there are a few that I imagine would be fairly uncontroversial.
"Mother" being one. "American" being another. You might also call me "healthy." That is, until you saw my morning hip-cracking performance.
But a guide to "bias-free language" posted on the University of New Hampshire's website (until it was taken down recently) deems these words and hundreds of others problematic. That's right -- the preferred term is "parenting," not "mothering" or "fathering." "American" is biased because it, "depending on context, fails to recognize South America." (What?) And "healthy," applied to the able-bodied, implies that people with disabilities are not, and so "non-disabled" is the better term. Also, please replace "homosexual" with "same gender loving," and did you know that "old person" is somehow preferable to "older person" and "elderly"?
That sound you hear is the fast-approaching clickety-clack of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
After blog writers noticed the guide on the UNH website -- and rightly linked to and mocked it (after vomiting, I presume) -- the university quickly took great pains to distance itself from the pages-long document that had resided there unbothered since 2013. The university first put a disclaimer on top of the webpage disassociating itself from the guide and later removed it altogether.
University President Mark Huddleston issued a statement that read in part: "I am troubled by many things in the language guide, especially the suggestion that the use of the term 'American' is misplaced or offensive. The only UNH policy on speech is that it is free and unfettered on our campuses."
But if it wasn't really associated with the university, which now insists it was put together by a nebulous group of "community members," it's unclear what it was doing there in the first place. The intro to the guide made it sound pretty darn associated: "An integral part of UNH's mission is to continue to build an inclusive learning community, and the first step toward our goal is an awareness of any bias in our daily language."
But putting aside questions of ownership and association, that this document was even conceived of and put to paper or HTML is a frightening affirmation that political correctness and word policing, especially on college campuses, has reached cartoonish levels, marked by a comical arbitrariness, imagined offenses, meaningless distinctions and invented boundaries.
I checked in with some of my liberal friends (yes, I have them!) to see if anyone would strain to defend this.
One emailed me: "Oh my god. This guide is the worst. Just looked at it and it makes me want to kill myself." Which is hilarious but probably includes some kind of microaggression.
My good friend Van Jones, incidentally one of the best fathers I know, was a little more, er, careful. "There are times when the term 'parenting' is probably a good, neutral option. But I don't agree that 'fathering' is a gender-neutral activity, biologically or socially. To father a child means something specific and important. Being a good father means acting specifically as a male role model -- so that both sons and daughters know what a good man looks like."
Well said -- and, I would have once thought, fairly obvious and uncontroversial. Now I'm certain something Van just said will get him in trouble with someone.
"The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect." That's a line from "1984," in which George Orwell prophesied a tyrannical government that sedulously eliminates words from the English language as a means to "narrow the range of thought." As Syme, a lexicographer at the Ministry of Truth, says, "In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."
Suddenly this seems less like fiction and more like reality.
Will Jewish Democrats Sink Iran Deal?
7/31/2015 12:01:00 AM - Mona Charen
"Seven Jewish Lawmakers Could Tilt the Scales on Iran Deal," headlines The Times of Israel. The members -- Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Steven Israel, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Nita Lowey, Sen. Ben Cardin and Rep. Ted Deutch -- are all Democrats. They must choose between loyalty to their party's president and concern about what the deal portends for Israeli and American security.
There are long and short answers to the question: "Why are Jews liberal?" The long answer traces back to the Enlightenment in Europe, when parties of the right were monarchist and anti-Semitic, while parties of the left favored pluralism and religious freedom. I don't buy the long argument. Tsar Alexander III, who instigated pogroms against the Jews, is long dead. So is Napoleon, who liberated them. In the meantime, Jews have suffered under communists, who proved just as cruel as the monarchists.
Jewish liberals often explain that their views spring from Jewish tradition, which admonishes the Jewish people to engage in "tikkun olam" or "healing the world." I'm skeptical. Tikkun olam is traditionally understood as adhering faithfully to the commandments (keeping kosher, visiting the sick and observing the Sabbath, for example), the better to prepare the world for the messianic age. Many of those who brandish the Hebrew phrase today have commandeered it to bolster support for same-sex marriage, government-run health care and the rest of the progressive agenda -- an interpretation that would, to quote the immortal words of Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof," "cross a rabbi's eyes."
No, the short explanation of Jewish liberalism is straightforward. Jewish Americans tend to be disproportionately urban, secular and educated. Each of those categories is highly correlated with liberalism and membership in the Democratic Party -- God (you should forgive the expression) help us. Speaking of Him, Jewish Americans are less likely than any other religious group in America to say they believe in God. A 2013 Pew poll found that 62 percent of Jews reported that their identity was rooted mainly in culture and ancestry rather than religion. Only 34 percent of Jews said they were certain God exists, compared with 69 percent of the general public (though an additional 38 percent say they believe, but without certainty, placing believers in the majority).
While 62 percent of American Christians and 81 percent of Muslims report attending services at least monthly, only 23 percent of Jews do. Fifty-eight percent of Jewish adults are college graduates, compared with 29 percent of the general population. About 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas. This is true of only 4 percent of American Jews.
Even without knowing anything else about Jews, the above statistics would predict what we see: that about 70 percent of American Jews lean Democrat, while 22 percent are Republicans.
Still, for those Democrats pondering what the Iran vote will mean for their own political futures, other statistics should pull them up short. Though comparatively irreligious, 70 percent of American Jews remain strongly or somewhat strongly attached to the State of Israel. Though some liberal Jews may, at times, have been persuaded by Obama administration claims that troubles in relations with Israel are traceable to Bibi Netanyahu's prickly personality, that line is less likely to be effective now that all major parties in Israel have united in opposition to the Iran deal/capitulation.
But here's the kicker that Schumer, Cardin and others will want to bear in mind: The American Jewish world is changing very fast. The older, more secular doggedly liberal Jews are dying off, falling away from organized Jewish life and intermarrying (which means their children are no longer Jewish in most cases). Orthodox Jews, by contrast, are thriving, and they have large families -- having 10 or more children is not uncommon. In New York City, the Orthodox accounted for 33 percent of Jews in 2002, but 40 percent only 10 years later. In 2012, 74 percent of Jewish children in New York were growing up in Orthodox homes. The religious/cultural conservatism of these observant Jews affects their political affiliation. Fifty-seven percent of Orthodox Jews are Republicans, and huge majorities are very concerned about Israel.
They might forgive a vote for Obamacare. But a vote to provide billions of dollars to the paymasters of Hezbollah and Hamas; a vote to permit the Iranian regime to acquire missiles, stealth aircraft and more with which to kill Americans and Israelis; a vote that, in essence, accepts the eventual nuclearization of Iran without any corresponding concessions from the mullahs? Do Democrats want to chance it?
Jon Stewart, Reagan-Mocking Obama Hack
7/31/2015 12:01:00 AM - Brent Bozell
In November of 2002, Washington Post reporter-editor Bob Woodward unveiled excerpts of his latest book, "Bush at War," and created a big stir by revealing that Fox News boss Roger Ailes had sent a "back-channel message" to the Bush White House shortly after 9/11. He had insisted the president talk tough against the terrorists.
The liberal media seized on this report as proof that the Fox News Channel was a tool of George W. Bush (or maybe it was that Bush was a tool of Fox). But all Ailes had done was encourage the president to rally the country after the worst domestic terrorist attack in our history.
Was this press-driven controversy fueled by anti-conservative biases? Consider this: At the same time Ailes was supporting Bush, CBS anchor Dan Rather was breaking down on the Letterman show and declaring "George Bush is the President. He makes the decisions, and, you know, it's just one American, wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me where."
In the Obama administration, journalists have sauntered in and out of White House meetings with (not notes sent to) President Obama, with no brow-furrowing and harrumphs from their peers. Still, it came as a surprise when Politico reported that liberal comedian and "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart made two secret visits to the White House, during a shutdown fight in October 2011 and again in January 2014. Controversial? Not on your life. Politico gushed it "speaks volumes about Stewart and his reach" that he would be summoned by the president.
"Top Obama aides David Axelrod and Austan Goolsbee knew Stewart's voice mattered and made sure to field calls and emails from the host and 'Daily Show' staff," it continued.
"Axelrod, a frequent Stewart guest, kept in touch with the host by phone and email."
Goolsbee sent messages to his former Yale classmate Steve Bodow, who joined "The Daily Show" in 2002 and is now an executive producer. "That work-the-umps strategy also involved the president, who used his two Oval Office meetings with Stewart as a chance to sell the administration's ideas."
Politico wanted to explain how much Jon Stewart mattered, but ended up painting a picture of Stewart as just another biased and pompous anchorman -- a political "umpire" -- that needs to be flattered and spun.
In his last interview with Obama on July 21, Stewart obsequiously spoke of the callous media: "Are we focused on the wrong things? Are we demanding too much of you? Are we demanding too much of government? Are we too inflammatory?"
Naturally, on his way out the door at Comedy Central, Stewart tried to turn the whole story into a nasty joke. After playing a series of Fox News clips reporting on the secret meetings, he announced one Obama meeting included Elvis and a space alien and the meeting opened with "the traditional Saul Alinsky prayer" before they "took turns [sexually penetrating] a replica of the Reagan eye socket." But wait, it gets worse. "The real Reagan eye socket is kept in the Smithsonian, and is only f---ed on Christmas."
This kind of "comedy" mocking Christian Fox-watching Reagan admirers is his daily dish. This is why liberal journalists adore him. In the Bush years, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw slammed Rush Limbaugh & Co. for leading a "telephonic jihad" and then claimed with a straight face in Time magazine that Stewart exposes political "juvenilia," that "Jon Stewart was our Athenian, a voice for democratic ideals and the noble place of citizenship."
Wrong. He's the juvenile guy in Obama's pocket who makes ignoble jokes about sex with Reagan's corpse.
The Patriot Post
Thursday’s Daily Digest
Jul. 30, 2015
“To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.” —Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791
TOP RIGHT HOOKS
Barack Obama has said again and again that his immigration policies only deport the illegal immigrants who are the worst of the worst. But in prioritizing certain deportations, a Mexican who had no driver’s license, green card or birth certificate allegedly murdered a 60-year-old woman, attempted to rape a 14-year-old girl, and wounded another person. Juan Emmanuel Razo was only taken into custody2 July 27 after a shootout with Ohio law enforcement. But here’s the kicker: Immigration officials questioned Razo July 7 and decided to let him go; he had committed no crime at that point. This incident did not occur because of some local policy creating a sanctuary city3 — the policy that led to the murder of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. But Razo’s case is still anecdotal evidence that a tough immigration enforcement strategy might have stopped this violence. (No one said Donald Trump didn’t have a point4.) Now that Razo’s charged with a string of violent crimes, justice demands a reckoning — and sloughing him off to where he came from is not an option. The municipal judge, Judge Michael Cicconetti, said at the arraignment, “I can’t set a bond high enough. How in the hell do I even know it’s him?” Indeed, how could ICE verify that Razo — if that’s his real name — didn’t commit a violent crime before?
The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has a fourth video out this morning, and their press release6 gives this description: “New undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Vice President and Medical Director, Dr. Savita Ginde, negotiating a fetal body parts deal, agreeing multiple times to illicit pricing per body part harvested, and suggesting ways to avoid legal consequences.” Ginde, who was also a featured part of the third video7, says, “We’d have to do a little bit of training with the providers or something to make sure that they don’t crush” a baby’s organs during second trimester abortions. She reveals that “sometimes … someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure.” Which means potentially born-alive infants. Ginde also suggests, “Putting [this harvesting] under ‘research’ gives us a little bit of an overhang over the whole thing.” In other words, they can avoid legal trouble. She goes on to describe talking to attorney Kevin Paul, who she says has “got it figured … because we talked to him in the beginning, you know, we were like, ‘We don’t want to get called on,’ you know, ‘selling fetal parts across states.’” Finally, the CMP press release says, “As the buyers and Planned Parenthood workers identify body parts from last fetus in the path lab, a Planned Parenthood medical assistant announces: ‘Another boy!’” Yes, another murdered and dismembered boy.
It’s no wonder that Planned Parenthood is working to silence coverage in the Leftmedia8, which is all too happy to oblige. People know this is so offensive they’d rather get worked up about a poached lion in Africa than dismembered children for sale.
University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond Tensing, 25, faces 15 years to life in prison for the murder of Samuel Dubose on July 19. His body camera caught the entire traffic stop on film10. When Tensing ordered Dubose out of the car, Dubose instead started the car and began pulling away. Tensing yelled “Stop!” and drew his gun, firing a single round into the back of Dubose’s head. Tensing later claimed he was being dragged by the car and he feared for his life. But Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said, “He wasn’t dealing with someone who was wanted for murder. He was dealing with someone who didn’t have a front license plate. This was, in the vernacular, a pretty chicken-crap stop. … I’m treating him like a murderer.”
There are undoubtedly cops who make terrible errors in judgment and abuse their power. Tensing appears to fall in this category, and we’re glad he was wearing a body camera to prove it. That practice should become more common. The one caution we’d add is that even this video doesn’t tell the whole story. Dubose had a lengthy record, though nothing violent, and he was not acting aggressively in this case. More important, every time a white officer kills a black man, leftists attempt to paint the entire law enforcement community with the same racist brush11. Finally, on any given day in the U.S., there are 40 murders committed, frequently black on black. Who can name one?
FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS
By Allyne Caan
Intraparty disagreements are hardly unusual in Congress, but when bickering moves from behind closed doors to the House floor, news is made. And Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) captured headlines this week by filing a motion to “vacate” the speaker’s chair — occupied, of course, by John Boehner.
In the motion14, Meadows says Boehner has attempted to “consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 members of Congress and the people they represent.” In an interview with radio host Mark Levin, Meadows added that he hopes his “colleagues will see that there’s something inherently wrong with the leadership that we have and it’s time for a change.”
It’s no secret Boehner doesn’t claim the title of conservative darling. This past January, House Republicans staged15 the largest defection from a sitting speaker in at least a century, with 25 members, including Meadows, voting for someone other than Boehner. And last month, 34 Republicans bucked Boehner by opposing the rule to bring Barack Obama’s trade bill to the floor. In retaliation16, three of those members were kicked off the House whip team, and Meadows was given the option of resigning his subcommittee chairmanship or being demoted.
While dozens were willing to break from Boehner in these votes, far fewer are willing to seek his ouster. Indeed, Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ted Yoho (R-FL) are two of just a handful publicly to come out in support of Meadows, with Jones claiming17 that “too many times, [Boehner] has used that position to intimidate and coerce.”
Be that as it may, it’s for good reason that the ouster effort has received so little support, as it’s quite likely this conservative trio is hurting the cause more than helping it by working to remove Boehner right now. It’s one thing to seek meaningful and substantive change armed with a plan of action and a roadmap for moving forward; it’s another to come out with guns-a-blazin'18 and no strategy for moving forward following a loss, let alone a win (which, incidentally, isn’t going to happen here).
Now, lest you stop reading, fearing a forthcoming endorsement of Boehner’s leadership or a call for conservatives not to rock the political boat, don’t worry, neither is going to happen. But rocking the boat so you get thrown off while the establishment remains standing does not make a strategic — or effective — approach. If anything, it stages a dog-and-pony show for the media with ticket proceeds benefitting the Left.
Meanwhile, although conservatives' hopes that House business would shift their way following the 2010 and 2014 election waves haven’t fully materialized, the fact that more and more Republicans are willing to stand their ground against the establishment is a good sign and a clear indicator that the conservative voice in Congress is growing stronger. And Meadows' effort is one of those signs.
By all means, House conservatives should continue to buck leadership when leadership compromises conservative values, marginalizes the concerns of their grassroots base or succumbs to the Left’s propaganda machine. The leadership is certainly guilty of those things. And by all means, House conservatives should continue to seek a conservative speaker when the opportunity next arises.
Strategy, however, means knowing which shots to take and which to hold — not because they’re not clear shots but because, in the long run, they don’t contribute to taking new ground. Conservatives are justifiably angry at the unwillingness of the leadership to stand strong on principle, but the rush to die on every hill is self-defeating.
At the end of the day, Speaker Boehner will emerge from Meadows' effort unscathed19, while the Leftmedia will have been handed a story packaged complete with a bow. In the fight for true change, conservatives can do better.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Victor Davis Hanson: “For better or worse, illegal immigration is tied to race and ethnicity. No doubt, ignorant racism drives some to oppose illegal immigration. But by the same token, the advocates of open borders, many of them with strong ties to Mexico, would not be so energized about the issue if hundreds of thousands of Europeans or Africans were entering the U.S. illegally each year. There is too often a surreal disconnect about the perception of the U.S. in the immigration debate. Millions, we sometimes forget, are fleeing from the authoritarianism, racism, corruption and class oppression of Mexico. They have voted with their feet to reject that model and to choose a completely different — and often antithetical — economic, social, cultural and political paradigm in the United States. Somehow that bothersome fact is lost in the habitual criticism of a hospitable and magnanimous America. Then there is the matter of law. America went to war over the Confederate states' nullification of federal laws. A century and a half later, do we really want hundreds of sanctuary cities, each declaring irrelevant certain federal laws that they find bothersome? For every left-wing city that declares immigration statutes inoperative, a right-wing counterpart might do the same with the Endangered Species Act, gun registration laws, affirmative action or gay marriage. The result would be chaos and anarchy, not compassion.”
Insight: “Here, I think, lies our real dilemma. Probably we cannot, certainly we shall not, retrace our steps. We are tamed animals (some with kind, some with cruel, masters) and should probably starve if we got out of our cage. That is one horn of the dilemma. But in an increasingly planned society, how much of what I value can survive? That is the other horn.” —C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Upright: “If you criticize a huge government program that hands out checks with virtually no strings attached, opponents say you must hate the poor. On the contrary: If you care about your fellow man, you know that turning him into a passive welfare recipient robs him of his dignity and often dooms his children to a soul-deadening cycle of poverty. Making sure that welfare is a true hand-up and not a hand-out is, in fact, the true compassionate stance. The problem is that many conservatives fail to frame the issues this way.” —Ed Feulner
Dezinformatsia: “In fact, [the Republican] party now might even reject Nixon and Reagan.” —Larry King
Village idiots: “I have seen pictures from [the Planned Parenthood videos] and obviously find them disturbing. Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions. … [T]his raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country. And if there’s going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one [organization].” —Hillary Clinton
Non compose mentis: “I think they have a policy of opposition to us and of great enmity, but I have no specific knowledge of a plan by Iran to actually destroy us.” —John Kerry
And last… “John Kerry said Iran won’t use any of their $150 billion in newly-unfrozen assets to fund terrorists, because ‘they’re not allowed to do that.’ Great. It’s foreign policy by ‘gun-free zone’ sign.” —Fred Thompson
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.
Voters to G.O.P.: We're Just Not That Into Immigrants
7/29/2015 6:23:00 PM - Ann Coulter
For years, Republican candidates have been assured by their political consultants that amnesty is a runaway hit with the public. Then they always come in for a zinger of a surprise when the American people are finally able to express themselves on the subject. (Sometimes it seems as if political consultants are in the game only to make money.)
Washington has tried to sneak through three amnesties in the last decade -- in 2006, 2007 and 2013. Each time, amnesty had the full support of the media, the White House, leaders of both political parties, big campaign donors and lobbyists.
And every time, as soon as the public got wind of what was happening, the politicians scattered like roaches and the loudest amnesty proponent in the room would suddenly be demanding "border security first!"
Couldn't Republicans spare themselves the embarrassment of having to say they "learned their lesson" by learning the same lesson of the last 17 guys to push amnesty?
The McCain-Kennedy amnesty passed the Senate in 2006, instantly inspiring an outpouring of voter anger so virulent that it shut down the congressional switchboards. Despite enormous opposition from voters, lame-duck President Bush cockily told reporters, "I'll see you at the bill signing" -- the first step to ushering in a Democratic Congress in the upcoming midterm elections.
By contrast, House Majority Leader John Boehner told a group of Republicans that he had "promised the president today that I wouldn't say anything bad about this piece of s--- bill."
Weeks later, the chief sponsor of the POS bill, Sen. John McCain, voted for a fence with no hint of amnesty.
A year later, when he was running for president, immigration was the issue dominating the primaries. McCain told voters, "My friends, I learned a lesson." What he had allegedly learned was: "We must secure the border first. We need to do these other things, but the American people want something done about the border."
McCain even cut macho campaign commercials of him walking by the southern border, saying, "Build the dang fence!"
Too little, too late. McCain lost the dang election.
Bush's loss was equally monumental: He lost Congress by pushing amnesty.
Contrary to liberals' claim that they had finally won the hearts and minds of the people in opposing the Iraq War, leading to the Democrats' 2006 sweep of Congress, a Washington Post/ABC News poll taken about a month into Bush's incessant yammering about amnesty showed that more Americans approved of Bush's handling of the Iraq War than approved of his handling of immigration.
In nearly every poll on Bush's handling of immigration that year, about 60 percent of the public disapproved and only 25 percent approved.
After Bush's party was wiped out in the midterm elections, the Democratic-controlled Congress seemed certain to pass amnesty. Bush still wanted it. So did the Democrats. So did the media. So did the donors.
But there was one teensy problem: The public still hated the idea.
You know how people always say "you can't beat something with nothing." When it comes to amnesty, "nothing" outpolls "something" every time.
In early June of 2007, a Rasmussen poll found that support for "no bill" beat support for the Senate immigration bill by 5-to-3. By the end of the week, "no bill" was winning 2-to-1, with 53 percent against amnesty and only 26 percent for it.
Public opposition was so vociferous, the Senate didn't even vote on the 2007 amnesty.
Then, a few years later, erstwhile tea party darling Sen. Marco Rubio burst on the scene deciding he was going to be the one to enact amnesty! Teaming up with everybody's favorite senator, Chuck Schumer, Rubio spent a full year zealously pushing amnesty, which entailed his telling huge, whopping lies about it.
He blanketed the airwaves, convinced Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin to support the bill, toured all the Sunday morning talk shows. It worked! The Senate passed Rubio's amnesty bill. It was Rubio's only accomplishment in Washington.
But then, unfortunately for him, the public found out about it and, once again, an amnesty bill died. (When will these so-called "voters" stop with their infernal meddling?)
The next thing we knew, Rubio was swearing to attendees at the March 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference that what "I've learned is you can't even have a conversation" about "immigration reform" until "future illegal immigration will be controlled," calling it "the single biggest lesson of the last two years."
A few months later, he told The Wall Street Journal that he wouldn't vote for his own bill if it came up again.
One-time GOP star, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, was suckered into supporting the Schumer-Rubio amnesty by a mere 20-minute conversation with Schumer. Not content to support the intensely hated amnesty bill, Christie also signed a bill granting illegal aliens in-state tuition.
But just before announcing his run for the presidency this year, Christie claimed that he, too, had "learned" more about the issue. He now claims he considers a path to citizenship "extreme" and accused Hillary Clinton of "pandering" by supporting a path to citizenship.
I'd say Christie had to eat his own words on immigration, but that would be a cheap shot.
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee denounced a bill to require verification of citizenship before registering to vote or applying for public benefits, saying it "inflames those who are racist and bigots." (Voters LOVE being called bigots!)
He made the weird claim that companies like Toyota or Nestle might refuse to invest in Arkansas if the bill became law, by sending the message that, "If you don't look like us, talk like us and speak like us, we don't want you." It might also send the message that we don't want foreigners voting in our elections or collecting public services meant for Americans.
But whenever he runs for president, Huckabee becomes a born-again Minuteman! His current presidential website denounces "the Washington establishment" for trying to "reward illegal immigrants with amnesty and citizenship," adding, "Without a secure border, nothing matters."
Instead of having to keep apologizing for their positions on immigration, maybe Republicans should stop listening to political consultants who are paid by business lobbyists to dump millions of poverty-stricken, low-wage workers on the country.
Out of nowhere, non-politician Donald Trump has shot to the top of the polls by denouncing America's widely unpopular immigration policies. All those high-priced campaign consultants are standing around scratching their heads.
Americans can see they're being forced to subsidize people who are being brought in only to outvote them, provide cheap labor and change our culture. All the donor money in the world isn't going to help you, Republicans, if the voters hate you.
America Needs a Sensible Approach to Illegal Immigration
Victor Davis Hanson
7/30/2015 12:01:00 AM - Victor Davis Hanson
Can we be honest about illegal immigration?
It is a common challenge to almost every advanced Western country that is adjacent to poorer nations.
American employers and ethnic activists have long colluded to weaken border enforcement and render immigration law meaningless. The former wanted greater profits from cheaper labor, the latter wished more political clout for themselves.
Mexico conspired, too. It received billions of easy dollars in remittances from its expatriates in America. Mexico had few qualms about letting millions of its own citizens illegally cross its northern border into the United States -- even though the Mexican government would never tolerate millions of Central Americans illegally crossing the border to become permanent residents of Mexico.
For better or worse, illegal immigration is tied to race and ethnicity. No doubt, ignorant racism drives some to oppose illegal immigration. But by the same token, the advocates of open borders, many of them with strong ties to Mexico, would not be so energized about the issue if hundreds of thousands of Europeans or Africans were entering the U.S. illegally each year.
There is too often a surreal disconnect about the perception of the U.S. in the immigration debate.
Millions, we sometimes forget, are fleeing from the authoritarianism, racism, corruption and class oppression of Mexico. They have voted with their feet to reject that model and to choose a completely different -- and often antithetical -- economic, social, cultural and political paradigm in the United States. Somehow that bothersome fact is lost in the habitual criticism of a hospitable and magnanimous America.
Then there is the matter of law. America went to war over the Confederate states' nullification of federal laws. A century and a half later, do we really want hundreds of sanctuary cities, each declaring irrelevant certain federal laws that they find bothersome?
For every left-wing city that declares immigration statutes inoperative, a right-wing counterpart might do the same with the Endangered Species Act, gun registration laws, affirmative action or gay marriage. The result would be chaos and anarchy, not compassion.
Controversy has arisen over the number of undocumented immigrants who have committed felonies or serious misdemeanors, such as the Mexican national -- a repeat felon and deportee -- recently charged with the fatal shooting of a young woman in San Francisco. But the furor begs the question: Why would any guest violate the rules of his host? And why is the data on such violations so hard to come by and so prone to controversy?
Either the number of undocumented immigrants who commit crimes is so vast that no one knows the extent of the problem, or there are political hurdles in determining that number -- or drawing politically incorrect conclusions from it.
We should not minimize criminality. Creating a false identity, using a fraudulent Social Security number and knowingly filing inaccurate federal forms are serious felonies for most Americans. They are neither minor infractions nor simply the innocuous wages of living in the shadows, but undermine the sinews of a society.
Numbers also count. When millions come to a country illegally, integration breaks down and tribalism takes over. Do we really want permanent Balkanized ethnic lobbies, frozen in amber -- another century of a monolithic Asian, white or Latino vote? Are Americans to fragment even more, as they collectively sigh, "If they vote predictably along ethnic lines, I guess I should, too"?
President Obama talks grandly of "immigration reform." But he apparently does not mean what most Americans would assume from that faddish catchphrase.
Reform should first include strict enforcement of the border. A new, ethnically blind immigration system would select from among applicants based on skill sets and education, and consider candidates from all over the world -- not on the basis of ethnic identity or proximity to the border.
Immediate and lasting deportation would ensue for those who committed crimes or cynically chose to receive public assistance rather than work while here illegally.
Many Americans are in favor of offering a path to legal residence to those undocumented immigrants who have long lived and worked in the U.S. and have crime-free records -- after they pay a fine for breaking federal law and then wait patiently in line while the legal process plays out -- as long as the border is sealed to prevent future illegal immigration.
If some newly legal residents wished to become full-fledged citizens, then they could pass citizenship and English tests and assimilate into the American body politic.
Somehow I doubt that this fair, reasonable process is what the president really wants.
Happy Birthday to Robert
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
7/30/2015 12:01:00 AM - Jackie Gingrich Cushman
This week, our youngest child, Robert, is turning 14. His sister, Maggie, is two years older. Gone are the days when my husband and I were parents of toddlers, preschoolers or elementary school children. Instead, we are about to enter our last year as parents of middle-school students and are just three years away from Maggie's departure for college.
As seasoned parents, we now realize that having a child was just the beginning; raising a child properly requires a daily effort. In the early years, it's physically demanding -- bathing, clothing, feeding, picking up, etc. In the middle-school years, it's more intellectually demanding. What is the best way to connect, to motivate, to reach a child? Every child is different and what works for one may not work for another.
Our responsibilities as parents have grown from making sure they were fed, clothed and safe to ensuring that they learn the lessons needed to be successful and happy.
There are the personality lessons: be nice to others, be honest, share, be polite and be cheerful. There are personal activity lessons: be on time, finish your work and pay attention. All of these lessons are important, take practice and develop over time.
There are lessons in patience: accept that it can take time to learn, which can be a hard process. Also accept that it can take time to achieve rewards for your work. Instead of complaining, it is often best just to accept that hard work is required, then sit down and focus. Soon, you will be surprised at how much you have learned and how much you have done.
And lessons in responsibility. Inherent in the concept of personal responsibility is the idea that each individual is responsible for himself or herself. You are responsible for your health, your finances and your life. You are responsible for understanding and obeying the rules and the law. When events do not work out as you may have expected or hoped, look first to yourself as responsible.
And lessons in acting charitably: Help others less fortunate than yourself. While you should be responsible for your activities, bear in mind that some people may find themselves in unfortunate situations due to circumstances beyond their control. Reach out to them and assist them, whether through monetary donations or personal assistance. At some point in our lives, we will all need assistance from others.
As our children transition toward high school and college, and as the demands of parenting change from the time-consuming and physical to the intellectual and emotional, we are seeing the emergence of a new layer of lessons -- lessons on how to structure our lives.
These are lessons that I am still learning, lessons that we all need to consider as we travel through life.
The lessons concern how one should organize one's life in order to thrive rather than simply survive. The lessons are about more than pulling together the basics of food, safety and clothing; they are about more than getting an education that provides a pathway to success (but does not guarantee it).
No, the lessons are about how one creates a unique framework, structure and routine to build a life that reflects the values that person holds dear -- by spending time with those they love, and creating energy and value for the world at large.
This is a larger lesson, and one whose questions and answers will change based on where one may be in the journey of life. What fits and makes sense for the mother of a newborn baby may have little relevance to the mother of two college students who are no longer living at home.
The answers and structures will change based on each individual's talents, experiences, passions and interests.
Life's big challenge is in moving beyond basic fundamentals. That's done by cobbling together the little building blocks of life -- interests, habits, intellect, experience and happenstance to create something bigger, brighter and unique.
So, Robert, as you move from middle school and high school to college, know that your parents look forward to watching you and Maggie grow and build your own fascinating lives. We will by ready, as always, to support, encourage and love you both as you traverse the hills and valleys that will inevitably occur as you build -- and rebuild -- your lives.
How Cruz, Fiorina, and even Trump are Saving the Republican Brand
7/30/2015 12:01:00 AM - Carl Jackson
Donald Trump won't be getting my vote in the GOP presidential primary. However, contrary to popular belief, I'm grateful he's put the GOP on life support, and he isn't alone. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio are doing what's been unseen since Ronald Reagan--speaking above the political and media elite and connecting directly to the people. I suspect Trump will fade. And when he does, those who can effectively communicate a vision for America with passion and optimism along with a plan to restore her to prominence will be poised to siphon off his supporters.
So how is Trump benefitting the GOP exactly? He's given us an audience we wouldn't have otherwise. Many liberals are listening to conservative ideas that have been largely ignored or filtered by the media until now. For instance, I have a Latino friend whose mom is a New York liberal. She despises the GOP, however, she adores Trump. She believes he's speaking "truth." As a result, she's began paying attention to Cruz and Rubio as well.
Americans instinctively want to be the best and we're tired of power hungry politicians. Whether Trump is speaking out against China's unfair trade practices and Common Core, or speaking up for a border fence and our Vets, he's convinced the public that he's their "champion" that will fight for them -- he just happens to be a Republican. They believe if he can "Make America Great Again" they'll be the benefactors of a national resurgence. Cruz and Fiorina particularly, have wisely capitalized on the Trump phenomena to showcase their own skills.
Just last week Carly Fiorina took on Jake Tapper of CNN regarding the Planned Parenthood video scandal. Likewise, Ted Cruz displayed why he's a formidable candidate by creating a spontaneous debate with Code Pink leader Medea Benjamin. In both cases, Cruz and Fiorina framed the debate on their terms. In 2012 Mitt Romney allowed President Obama and his cohorts in the media to define him. We know how that turned out! Conservatism without the ability to communicate it effectively is a lost cause. A good debater understands that your opponents questions or remarks should serve as a springboard for your own message. Politicians don't win on defense.
Take Carly Fiorina's appearance on CNN for example. After being asked by a biased Jake Tapper whether or not she agreed with Hillary Clinton that Governor Scott Walker's bill banning abortions in Wisconsin after 20 weeks with no exceptions for rape and incest was extreme, she refused to take the bait. Instead she did several things:
1) She refused to acknowledge Scott Walker's position.
2) She filibustered Tapper from interrupting when he realized his "gotcha" question wouldn't be answered to his liking.
3) She didn't accept Tapper's premise that preventing a late term abortion was "extreme."
4) She defined "extreme" by exposing Hillary Clinton's belief that a life doesn't begin until it leaves the hospital.
5) She called out Tapper and the left-wing media for not reporting Hillary's extreme position on abortion, thereby putting him on defense.
6) She used an emotional appeal to moms who call their babies a "baby" during the same stage of pregnancy an abortionist calls it a specimen, tissue, or fetus.
In short, Carly Fiorina framed the argument on her terms. She didn't allow the left to define her.
That same week Ted Cruz was overwhelmed by yelling and screaming Code Pink protestors as he spoke at a Concerned Women of America (CWA) rally. Rather than speak over them, he invited the leader Medea Benjamin to debate him on the merits of the Iran nuke deal. She was shocked, but graciously accepted his invitation to engage in civil discourse.
As she began spewing her naive rhetoric Cruz remained quiet until she finished. When he was interrupted by the protestors he reminded them that "civil discourse" requires both sides listening. When Medea called opponents of the Iran deal "religious zealots" Ted Cruz scolded her for using divisive intolerant language and admonished her to follow proper decorum by not calling names. To my shock she agreed. He then eviscerated her premise that Obama's deal with Iran would bring about peace in the Middle East. Cruz reminded Medea that Jimmy Carter's inability to negotiate terms of release for our American hostages in Iran was due to his weakness. Furthermore, he explained how it was Ronald Reagan's "peace through strength" policy that inspired Iran to release the hostages on day one of his administration. Cruz neither conceded the moral high ground or accepted her premise. He used her own arguments against her. Additionally, notice he didn't censor the left despite them attempting to censor him.
For those of you who are concerned that Trump is sucking the air out of the room, you're right! Fortunately, for us it's a lot of hot air from the left and Cruz and Fiorina are smart enough to realize it.
Putin Threatens America with Nuclear Annihilation
The nation is fiercely debating the Iran nuclear deal and the significance of the Ayatollah’s “death to America” tweets when the real problem is Iran’s sponsor, Russia, and its lunatic ruler, Vladimir Putin. By controlling the media, killing off the opposition, and smearing Ukrainian freedom fighters as Nazis, the former KGB colonel has his country worked into a collective frenzy over a concocted Western threat. Some experts believe Russia is preparing for nuclear war on a global scale. If Putin carries out his threats, America is no more.
In this case, the U.S. is facing not only a nuclear weapons program, which is the case with Iran, but what our top generals are calling an “existential threat” to our survival as a nation.
As the National Institute for Public Policy documents in the report, “Foreign Nuclear Developments: A Gathering Storm,” Russia has a new military doctrine that anticipates using nuclear weapons, and the regime has embarked on “a massive strategic modernization program to deploy new nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”
Not only that, but Russia has a ballistic missile defense to use against us.
Geopolitical analyst Jeff Nyquist tells Accuracy in Media, “The Russians became angry and threatening when NATO tried to build a very modest missile defense system to stop an Iranian missile. Yet Russia has over 10,000 dual purpose SAM/ABMs for defense against our missiles and will be deploying a new ABM prototype next year.”
He adds, “Russia has potential war winning advantages over the U.S. and NATO—not necessarily in the number of nuclear weapons but in the number of its ABM batteries, and the upgrading of these batteries with a new generation of interceptor rockets while the American side makes no effort in this direction. The U.S. ABMs in Alaska and California would be lucky to stop 12 Russian warheads.”
Despite the preoccupation with Iran’s nuclear program, Iran currently has nothing of that nature which can threaten the homeland of the United States. Yet, Russia can obliterate the United States, a fact that has been highlighted recently by no less than three top American generals. The term, “existential threat,” has been used repeatedly to describe the Russian challenge. That term means the Russians can destroy the United States as a nation.
Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, nominated to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia.”
His statement, made during his Senate confirmation hearing on July 9, got a significant amount of media attention. Similar warnings came from Army General Mark A. Milley, commander of U.S. Forces Command, who has been nominated to become the next Army chief of staff, and Air Force General Paul Selva, nominated to become Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Dunford and the other generals acknowledge the real or potential nuclear threats from Iran, North Korea, and China. But it’s Russia that is deemed an “existential threat.” It is the most significant.
Some conservatives have been complaining that patriotic military officers are being purged from the Armed Forces. Well, it appears that the purge missed Generals Dunford, Milley, and Selva. These generals are taking a risk by going against the conventional wisdom of the Obama administration. Indeed, the White House and the State Department have gone out of their way to say that the Obama administration does not agree with the assessment that Russia is an existential threat to the United States.
For the generals to go public in this manner—and to contradict the official stance of the Obama administration—suggests that the threat from Russia is very real indeed, and may be more serious than they are willing to publicly acknowledge.
When you consider how the Iran nuclear deal came about, you begin to realize how serious it is. Obama actually thanked Putin for bringing it about.
The CNN story, “Obama, Putin congratulate each other for Iran deal,” demonstrates the nature of the problem. Although the story is designed to highlight the alleged positive roles Obama and Putin played in the deal, CNN reported that in a readout of the conversation between the two leaders, “the White House said Obama thanked Putin for Russia’s role in the Iran nuclear negotiations.”
Thanked Putin? This demonstrates something worse than the deal itself and the real nature of the Iranian threat. Putin should thank Obama because the U.S. is helping Iran, Russia’s client state, get tens of billions of dollars in international financial aid. Down the line, Russia gets U.S. approval to supply more weapons to the anti-American regime.
Iran is certainly a potential nuclear threat to Israel, the so-called “little Satan.” But the U.S. is the “Great Satan,” and our biggest nuclear threat at the current time is Russia, as our top military officers have said. Yet, Obama is treating Putin as an ally.
Israel and its defenders have to come to grips with the fact that Iran is a threat to the Jewish state, the region, and the world because of its Russian sponsorship. Iran can’t be viewed in isolation, apart from Russia. Indeed, Iran is considered to be part of a “strategic alliance” with Russia.
As we have noted on several occasions, the Iranian Ayatollah, Ali Khamenei, is KGB-trained, having been “educated” at the KGB’s Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. This means he is under Russian influence, if not an agent.
Obama has a blind spot regarding threats from the Islamic world, and that includes Iran. But his unwillingness to face up to the Russian threat, which is more serious than any on the face of the earth today, puts the very existence of the United States in jeopardy.
Remember that Obama mocked Mitt Romney’s statement during the 2012 campaign that Russia was our geopolitical adversary. Obama hasn’t learned anything, despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He keeps refusing to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons to defend themselves. Praising the Russians for their role in the Iran deal signals something worse than just incompetence. It appears that Russia is exercising some sort of control over the Obama administration.
We got a taste of that control when it was reported that, on Independence Day, the Kremlin announced that Putin had sent Happy July 4th greetings to Obama. We only later learned that Putin, on the same day, had also sent nuclear-capable Russian bombers off the coast of California that had to be intercepted by American aircraft.
This duplicity is another sign of the lunatic mindset of the former KGB spy running the show in Moscow. This nuclear blackmail is much more serious than a tweet from the Iranian Ayatollah showing Obama with a gun to his head. Putin has a nuclear gun pointed at America and we have practically no defense against it.
Illegal Alien Crime Wave in Texas: 611,234 Crimes, 2,993 Murders
The report describes an alien crime wave of staggering proportions exacerbated by federal officials unwilling to enforce immigration laws.
The Texas DPS report says well over 100,000 individual criminal aliens have been booked into Texas jails:
From October 2008 to April 2014, Texas identified a total 177,588 unique criminal alien defendants booked into Texas county jails. These individuals have been identified through the Secure Communities initiative, in which Texas has participated since October 2008.
There are almost certainly more criminal aliens who haven’t been identified as aliens. The 177,588 criminal aliens identified by Texas through the Secure Communities initiative only can tag criminal aliens who had already been fingerprinted. Arrests of illegal aliens who have not been fingerprinted prior to arrest are not included in these arrests numbers derived from the Secure Communities initiative.
That means that the already stratospheric aggregate crime totals would be even higher if crimes by many illegal aliens who are not in the fingerprint database were included.
The Secure Communities initiative is an information-sharing program between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Presumably, both departments would have data on the number of fingerprint searches conducted that revealed a criminal act involved an alien.
Texas has been ground zero in illegal alien crossings into the United States. The Texas DPS report shows that in the Rio Grande Valley, 154,453 illegal aliens were apprehended in 2013.
Other Texas sectors saw approximately 86,000 illegal aliens apprehended. All other sectors combined on the southern border only saw approximately 170,000 illegal alien apprehensions in the same time period. The Obama administration releases a sizable portion of the illegal aliens captured.
The criminal aliens identified by the Texas Department of Public Safety have been responsible for the most heinous types of crimes — and in astonishing numbers. From the Texas DPS report:
A review of these 177,588 defendants shows that they are responsible for at least 611,234 individual criminal charges over their criminal careers, including 2,993 homicides and 7,695 sexual assaults.
One such murder was committed by Juan Francisco De Luna Vasquez. Vasquez confessed to killing his wife with a hammer in Laredo.
The increasing flood across the border combined with the existence of sanctuary cities bolstered by Obama administration policies allowing the release of the most violent criminal aliens has fueled these crimes.
The House Judiciary Committee has passed the Davis-Oliver Act, introduced (S.1640) in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and in the House (H.R.1148) by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), which would address many of these issues.
Yesterday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) grilled Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña about the 104,000 criminals that ICE released in 2013, and the 68,000 criminals against whom ICE refused to start deportation proceedings. Saldaña calls it “good news” that only 30,558 criminal aliens were released by ICE in 2014
The Patriot Post
Wednesday’s Daily Digest
Jul. 29, 2015
“Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence.” —Alexander Hamilton, Pacificus, No. 6, 1793
TOP RIGHT HOOKS
Barack Obama is proud of his numerous “accomplishments,” but on the issue of gun control, his success rate is admittedly off target. “[T]he one area that I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied … is the fact that the United States is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient, common-sense gun safety laws,” he lamented last week — a reality made more bitter by the fact Democrats strategically, and unsuccessfully, blame every nefarious shooter’s behavior on the weapons used to inflict harm. Their continuous gratuitous assault on the Second Amendment has America’s gun owners equally if not more frustrated. A new report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has found, “[U]nder President Obama, gun production has spiked 140 percent to 10.8 million firearms in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available,” The Hill reported. If the Left’s goal is to reverse gun figures in America, it’s utterly failing. Erich Pratt, a spokesperson with Gun Owners of America, quips, “The ATF report confirms what we already know, that Barack Obama deserves the ‘Gun Salesman of the Decade’ award. People have been rushing to buy firearms because they’re afraid that Obama will take away their Second Amendment rights.” And for good reason. The administration is attempting to prohibit Social Security recipients2 from owning firearms if they are judged mentally incompetent. “[T]his amount[s] to the largest gun grab in American history,” according to the National Rifle Association. In his final 18 months, Obama will do all he can to ensure his legacy won’t go down as a gun salesman but as a gun confiscator. And that’s all the more reason to remain vigilant.
The Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to realize that it might be asking a bit too much from the American economy. Sources at the EPA have told The Washington Post4 that it is extending the deadline for when coal plants must reduce their greenhouse gas output. The EPA has yet to release the final version of the regulation, but it said coal plants have until 2022 instead of 2020 to conform to the gospel of green and avoid too much stress on the electrical grid. By ceding ground, the EPA admits the Clean Power Plan demanded too much. On a related note, the new ozone standards that the EPA is working on would set the standards so low on the naturally occurring gas that Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon5 would be in violation, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Things have gone too far when an agency supposedly established to protect the environment finds nature in violation of its decrees.
In the age of sequestered military spending — reduced forces, grounded Thunderbirds, Blue Angels stripped of their wings and even blockaded memorials — Barack Obama thinks nothing of pulling nearly $6 million from the Air Force budget to fund the 29-hour Air Force One flight to and from Kenya and Ethiopia. Presidential trips abroad are classified information, and no one quite knows how much Obama spent on this trip to visit his extended family and attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. When he visited Africa in 20137, the trip cost an estimated $100 million. Typically, presidents spend more time abroad in their second term. Currently, Obama is not the executive with the most frequent flyer miles — that platinum membership belongs to Bill Clinton — but Obama is close. Michael Tasselmyer, policy analyst at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, wrote8, “The last official accounting of any Presidential travel was conducted over a decade ago in GAO’s 1999 report on President Clinton’s trips to Africa, Chile, and China. … There are understandable security considerations to keep in mind, but until more information is made available, there can be no public debate on the costs and benefits of international travel.” It’s not so much the travel money, it’s the priorities.
FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS
By Nate Jackson
Everybody loves the Olympics, right? The grit, the feats, the glory, the decathlon champ who later decides he’s a woman10. All kidding aside, every two years (summer and winter, respectively), the world gathers its best athletes to compete for sport and national pride. But is it worth the price of admission?
Boston and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) came to an agreement of sorts: No, it isn’t worth the enormous cost for Boston to host the 2024 Olympic Games.
It’s revealing that both parties agreed because neither wanted to be liable for the inevitable cost overruns. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee that would put Boston’s taxpayers on the hook for the extra costs (i.e., absolving the IOC), so the committee cut Boston out of the running. Walsh said, “This is me letting the taxpayers of Boston know … that I will not sign a document that puts one dollar of taxpayers' money on the line for one penny of overruns for the Olympics.”
Walsh is right in a sense; the spectacle of the Olympics is an expensive façade, and there are always cost overruns. Cities and countries spend billions of dollars updating or building infrastructure, with the accompanying traffic delays and detours for citizens, all for two weeks of glory on the world stage. That isn’t to say those two weeks aren’t really fun and glorious…
As a side note, this phenomenon is certainly not limited to the Olympics. American taxpayers fork over billions of dollars in what are essentially subsidies to our own major national sports. For example, the National Football League, a “nonprofit” until it dropped the charade in April, has secured billions for stadiums around the country, which are then replaced a couple of decades later when they’re deemed “outdated.”
The last time the summer Olympics were held in the U.S. was 1996 in Atlanta. But what of the Olympic venues in Atlanta today? Turner Field, formerly known as Olympic Stadium, is home to Major League Baseball’s Braves, but it will be demolished when the team moves in 2017 to another venue built with $450 million in taxpayer money in suburban Cobb County. And Turner Field is the only Olympic venue in Georgia’s biggest city still in operation. So much for the “investment” in 1996.
What about more recent years? Mark Alexander described his first-hand experience at the 2008 Beijing Olympics11, which cost China $40 billion:
“China put on its best face, rather like a movie set. Beijing’s new airport is among the world’s finest. Every main Olympic thoroughfare was newly paved, signed, landscaped and lighted. Even the primary rural routes outside the city had makeovers, with fresh paint and greenery covering 100 feet on either side of those roads. Beyond that makeup, however, was the dirt and dilapidation that makes up most of China’s rural areas.
"The new Olympic structures were certainly impressive, though few of the 250,000 people who were ejected from Soviet-era block housing that formerly blighted the Olympic green were adequately compensated. Indeed, many of them did not receive alternate housing.”
Just four years later, Beijing’s shining venues looked no different than much of the rest of the country — worn and abandoned monuments to failed central planning12. And the subjects of the “People’s Republic” are certainly no better off, which is why Chinese activists are pushing the IOC to reject Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics bid.
Finally, remember when the IOC rejected Chicago’s (and, by extension, Barack Obama’s) bid for the 2016 games? The Windy City blew $100 million on that rejection.
All that said, there is a spirit about the Olympics that’s tough to quantify with a price tag. National Review’s Jay Nordlinger, for one, is sorry to see Boston give up. “Generations ago,” he writes13, “when we were a much poorer country than now, we did things like host the Olympics, because we felt we should. We wanted to. Such deeds comported with our sense of ourselves — with the way we thought of our place in the world, and what we had to offer mankind.”
Who can forget the overwhelming national pride after the 1980 USA hockey team defeated the mighty and heavily favored Soviets in the “Miracle on Ice” at Lake Placid? Is there a price tag applicable to such a moment?
Perhaps it’s the utter waste of the last decade in Washington that has left so many Americans feeling like saving rather than spending. Perhaps no one thinks all that much of Barack Obama’s America any more — that was his goal, after all — and they conclude the Olympics just aren’t worth hosting. We’d only note this irony: The Olympics are becoming unaffordable because other nations are driving up the cost with Obama-style “stimulus” bids. America can do better. But it won’t happen in Boston 2024.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Jonah Goldberg: “Basically, working teaches young people how to work. There’s no substitute for it. That’s one reason I find the race to raise the minimum wage across the country so problematic. I understand the good intentions underlying it. But the idea that the minimum wage — at least for young workers — should be a ‘living wage’ is absurd, even immoral. Employers are taking a risk when they hire people with no work experience. Why further discourage that? Subsidize something and you get more of it. Tax it and you get less. There are plenty of ways to subsidize low-skill hiring — an expanded earned-income tax credit, for instance. Instead, a higher minimum wage taxes the employers who hire low-skill workers. That’s nuts. … America is raising a whole generation of ‘leaders’ who see the people they are supposed to represent as abstractions rather than as individuals they have served, worked with or worked for. Just as we want civilian leaders who know what it’s like to wear the uniform, we want policymakers who know what it’s like to work — and hire — in the trenches.”
Insight: “[Tyrannical] power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.” —French historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
Demo-gogues: “Coming from a rural state, I think I can communicate with folks coming from urban states, where guns mean different things than they do in Vermont, where [they are] used for hunting. … I believe that we need to make sure that certain types of guns used to kill people exclusively — not for hunting — they should not be sold in the United States of America.” —Bernie Sanders
Village Idiots: “[Keystone XL] is President Obama’s decision, and I am not going to second-guess him because I was in a position to set this in motion and I do not think that would be the right thing to do.” —Hillary Clinton, who refuses to reveal her position on Keystone
Not a vote of confidence: “[N]othing in [the Iranian nuclear] agreement is based on trust. Nothing is based on an expectation of some change of behavior.” —John Kerry
Cashing in on evil: “Right now, Republicans in Washington are pushing legislation allowing employers to fire single women for getting pregnant — AND they’re leading an ‘investigation’ to undercut Planned Parenthood. This makes my head explode. I’m confident that if we had more women leading in Washington, we would not still be dealing with the right wing’s efforts to trample women’s health care.” —Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in a fundraising email
And last… “59% of poll respondents said wedding-related businesses with religious objections should be allowed to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples. The other 41% think it’s super smart to eat food made by someone you just finished bullying.” —Fred Thompson
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.
Obama Cronyism + Your Personal Data = Trouble
7/29/2015 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
It's the most far-reaching scandal in Washington that no one wants to talk about: Tens of millions of federal employees had their personal information hacked as a result of Obama administration incompetence and political favoritism.
Ethnic community organizer-turned-Office of Personnel Management head Katherine Archuleta recklessly eschewed basic cybersecurity in favor of politically correct "diversity" initiatives during her disastrous crony tenure. This Beltway business-as-usual created an irresistible opportunity for hackers to reach out and grab massive amounts of sensitive data -- compromising everyone from rank-and-file government employees to CIA spies.
Could it get worse? You betcha.
Amid increasing concerns about these massive government computer breaches, the Defense Department is expected to announce the winner of a lucrative high-stakes contract to overhaul the military's electronic health records system this week.
The leading finalist among three top contenders is Epic Systems, a Wisconsin-based health care software company founded and led by top Obama billionaire donor Judy Faulkner. Thanks in significant part to President Obama's $19 billion stimulus subsidy program for health data vendors, Epic is now the dominant EMR player in the U.S. health IT market.
According to Becker's Hospital Review, CVS Caremark's retail clinic chain, MinuteClinic, is now adopting Epic's system, and "when the transition is complete, about 51 percent of Americans will have an Epic record." Other major clients include Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, Calif., Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, and Duke University Health System in Raleigh, N.C.
As I've reported previously, Epic employees donated nearly $1 million to political parties and candidates between 1995 and 2012 -- 82 percent of it to Democrats. The company's top 10 PAC recipients are all Democratic or left-wing outfits, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (nearly $230,000) to the DNC Services Corporation (nearly $175,000) and the America's Families First Action Fund Democratic super-PAC ($150,000). Faulkner received a plum appointment to a federal health IT policy panel in 2011. Brandon Glenn of Medical Economics noted that "it's not a coincidence" that Epic's sales "have been skyrocketing in recent years, up to $1.2 billion in 2011, double what they were four years prior."
Stunningly, Epic "has the edge" on the gargantuan Pentagon medical records contract, The Washington Post reported on Monday. This favored status comes despite myriad complaints about the interoperability, usability and security of Epic's closed-end proprietary software. Just last week, the UCLA Health system run by Epic suffered a cyber attack affecting up to 4.5 million personal and medical records, including Social Security numbers, Medicare and health plan identifiers, birthdays, and physical addresses. The university's CareConnect system spans four hospitals and 150 offices across Southern California.
The university's top doctors and medical staff market their informatics expertise and consulting services to other Epic customers "to ensure the successful implementation and optimization of your Epic EHR." Will they be sharing their experience having to mop up the post-cyber attack mess involving their Epic infrastructure?
UCLA Health acknowledged that the hack forced it to "employ more cybersecurity experts on its internal security team, and to hire an outside cybersecurity firm to guard its network," according to CNN.
Now another Obama crony is poised to cash in on her cozy ties and take over the mega-overhaul of millions of Pentagon and Veterans Affairs medical records to the tune of at least $11 billion.
Can you say "Epic fail"?
Healing the Urban Educational Gap
Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
7/29/2015 12:01:00 AM - Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Shante had a lot of things going for her as she finished middle school. She was bright, attractive and talented. Her parents, Glenn and Sheri, had worked hard to ensure she could have a better life than they had had growing up. But both were uneasy with the public high school that Shante was zoned for in Prince George’s County. Although it’s the highest income majority-black county in the United States, it had a high school dropout rate more than 10 points higher than neighboring Montgomery County.
Glenn and Sheri both understood that high school would make or break Shante’s future. These strategic years are when good kids could go bad. They had seen it happen too often to children of friends and relatives: a studious, ambitious kid fell in with the wrong crowd and caved into peer pressure with bad decisions. Shante had a bright future, but like other kids in her neighborhood, her margin for error was slim.
A turning point came when her family attended the Riverdale Baptist High School graduation ceremony for the college-bound daughter of some family friends. As they listened to the commencement speeches, they learned that 100 percent of the senior class had graduated on time, 98 percent were headed to four-year colleges and the other 2 percent to military service. They looked at the students receiving their diplomas: neatly dressed, respectful, and enthusiastic about their futures.
That night, Glenn and Sheri agreed that even if they had to eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch every day for the next four years, they were going to send Shante to Riverdale Baptist. And while they did end up getting a break from PBJ now and then, it was a sacrifice. They put off buying new furniture, and drove used cars that sometimes didn’t have heat, all while reminding Shante to make the most of her education.
Cell phone video gave their family and the nation a real window into the chaos that reigns in many of our failing public schools. In May, a video surfaced of a substitute teacher in Prince George’s County beating unruly students with his belt. The same month, an unnamed female teacher was fired from her Detroit high school for trying to break up a violent brawl that threatened to turn deadly. In another widely circulated video, a student in a Chicago high school shouted at her teacher above the deafening commotion: “I want an education! You get paid, don’t you?”
As I have written before, my father made a very similar decision to Glen and Sheri when he decided to send me to the most rigorous private school in our area instead of the public school I was zoned for. In that spirit, my wife and I sacrificed considerably to send our daughters to private high school as well. For us, the quality of the education our children received was always more important than the kind of car we drove or the square footage of our house. But many other parents don’t have that option.
The important things kids learn in school go far beyond academic markers. They refine their vocabulary, learn to relate to authority figures and subconsciously absorb a multitude of behavioral norms. These skills are not only vital to succeeding in college, but also to obtaining and holding down a job.
In fact, a study published in the journal Education reveals that ninth grade may be the most important year in determining a student’s future. As psychoanalyst Dr. Linda Stern told The Atlantic:
“Students entering high school—just at the time brains are in flux—still have the propensity to be impulsive and are prone to making mistakes. They are therefore experimental and trying to separate and might try substances that interfere with the normal developmental process. Put all that together with raging hormones the normal academic pressures, and meeting a whole new group to be judged by.”
Shante not only graduated sixth in her class at Riverdale Baptist, but was offered full-tuition scholarships to seven different universities. After earning her degree in psychology, she was accepted to a fellowship at George Washington University where she obtained a master’s in special education. After marrying and having children, she obtained her second master’s degree in applied psychology.
How can we ensure that all parents can make the choice that Glenn and Sheri did for Shante? This summer, Nevada became the first state to offer universal school choice: it allows every single public school student in the state an education savings account so that parents can customize their children’s education as they see fit. I hope other states will follow Nevada’s example and put all parents—regardless of income—in control of their children’s future.