The articles posted on this page are written from a conservative, Christian worldview. Patriot Post publications are usually posted M, W, & F. Others are posted as discovered by yours truly. These posting are meant to instill a love for God, family and country as well as to educate, equip, enlighten, and challenge to good deeds for the betterment of mankind, those who visit these pages.
"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
Scroll down for articles for past week.
The Patriot Post
Oct. 24, 2014
“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Melish, 1813
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Jihadist Attacks With Hatchet in New York City
In an act of lone-wolf terrorism, Zale Thompson attacked four police offers with a hatchet in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York. His attack Thursday left one officer wounded in the arm, another seriously injured in the head and a passerby wounded in the back as the police fired, killing Thompson. The New York Police Department is hesitant to label the attack an act of Islamic terrorism, but SITE Intel Group1 disagrees. It looked at Thompson’s Facebook page2 and YouTube account and found they “display a hyper-racial focus in both religious and historical contexts, and ultimately hint at his extremist leanings.” This is the third terrorist attack3 in North America inspired by radical Islam this week alone. When a Canadian jihadist used his car to attack two Canadian soldiers Monday, SITE said4 it showed the reach and influence of the propaganda war that ISIL wages on the Internet. The very existence of ISIL’s “Caliphate” emboldens radicalized Muslims. They have their Jihadistan. Their caliph has come. This is why destroying ISIL is a national security priority.
Doctor in New York Tests Positive for Ebola
The CDC has been conducting “enhanced screening” of all travelers returning to the U.S. from West Africa. But there’s a breach in the levy. The New York Times reports6, “A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.” Dr. Craig Spencer passed through enhanced screening at JFK Airport without a hitch – until Thursday, when he reported a fever. That was after he rode the subway, took a taxi and visited a bowling alley. Spencer certainly did laudable work with “Doctors Without Borders” helping Ebola patients in Africa, but perhaps he took the group’s name a little too literally. Don’t worry, though, all is well7.
Suits Against IRS Political Targeting Dismissed
The IRS illegally targeted Tea Party and Patriot groups for audit before the 2012 presidential election, which puts an asterisk after Barack Obama’s victory. But there’s bad news in the Tea Party’s quest for justice. “Federal district court Judge Reggie Walton has dismissed two lawsuits filed against the IRS, Lois Lerner and other agency employees by True the Vote, Linchpins of Liberty and forty other conservative organizations that were targeted by the IRS,” reports The Daily Signal. “In two essentially identical decisions on Oct. 23, Walton granted all of the motions to dismiss that had been filed by the Obama administration and the individual IRS employees. Walton concluded that any claim about the long delays these organizations experienced in receiving their tax exempt status from the IRS was now moot because they had finally received the exemption.” True the Vote applied in 2010 and received approval only last year. So in other words, the IRS is getting away with not even a slap on the wrist for inexcusable political delays. Lois Lerner is surely smiling in retirement.
White House Claims Executive Privilege for Holder’s Wife
Operation Fast and Furious has long been in the Delay and Obstruct phase, but this is getting ridiculous. Judicial Watch’s investigation into the truth behind Attorney General Eric Holder’s involvement in the scandal is being stonewalled. Again. The group reports it finally received a “Vaughn index” detailing relevant communication records after a two-year fight over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. But Holder excluded emails to his wife, claiming she has executive privilege. Judicial Watch reports, “The document details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal. Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The ‘First Lady of the Justice Department’ is a physician and not a government employee.” This only highlights the lengths to which the Obama administration will go to avoid accountability for trafficking guns to Mexican drug cartels in a bid to push gun control.
No Offense, Just Defense Against ISIL
Part of Barack Obama’s “strategy” against ISIL is to train the Iraqi army and so-called moderate Syrian rebels to be boots on the ground in lieu of our own soldiers. But they’re playing defense instead of going on offense. The Washington Post reports10 the latest: “The Syrian opposition force to be recruited by the U.S. military and its coalition partners will be trained to defend territory, rather than to seize it back from the Islamic State, according to senior U.S. and allied officials, some of whom are concerned that the approach is flawed.” So why the tentative plan? “Although moderate Syrian fighters are deemed essential to defeating the Islamic State under the Obama administration’s strategy, officials do not believe the newly assembled units will be capable of capturing key towns from militants without the help of forward-deployed U.S. combat teams, which President Obama has so far ruled out.” Ah, so because he’s ruled out American boots on the ground, he’s not actually expecting to “degrade and destroy” ISIL as he promised. Doesn’t sound much like “Inherent Resolve11” to us.
Mortgage Roulette Is a Losing Gamble
Here’s an idea: Bring back the easy mortgage policies that caused the 2008 financial panic13. That should fix everything.
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt told a group of mortgage bankers this week that he is going to direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97%.” Once again, then, borrowers may be able to obtain mortgages by putting only 3% down. Watt’s play was backed up by the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Watt displays precisely the thinking that got us into this trouble in the first place, and it’s no small irony he made his announcement at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas.
These financial bureaucrats reason they can jumpstart the long-struggling housing industry. Home sales are half what they were prior to the financial meltdown, and the share of Americans who own a home is at 65%, the lowest since 1995 and four points below its peak in 2004. Mortgage lending has also slowed dramatically due to weak demand in a lousy economy and tighter credit conditions made by lenders.
It is logical in a difficult economy for mortgage lenders to demand greater proof of borrowers' ability to pay. It also makes sense that they would fall back on the long-standing standard of a 20% down payment. Well, forget logic. This is Washington we’re talking about here.
Democrats remain committed to the idea of having more minorities own homes, even if they can’t afford them and end up back out on the street. Going as far back as the Carter administration, liberals have accused lenders of racist business practices because they weren’t lending to enough minorities. The Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, as well as Bill Clinton’s push to ease lending standards during his presidency, finally created an atmosphere in which minority borrowers with little or no credit could obtain mortgages.
Democrats patted themselves on the back as the housing market exploded. But by 2006, the warning signs were all too clear: 30% of all mortgages went to people who would not qualify under normal circumstances. Then, when it all went bust, liberals blamed the banks again, this time for taking advantage of hapless borrowers who didn’t know any better. And the phrase “predatory lending” entered popular usage.
Now, Watt and company are looking to take us down that same road all over again.
How will it all play out? Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey once said of the Clinton-era lending changes, “As you can imagine, wonderful things happen when the government strong arms corporations as to how they should spend their money, and, better yet, how they should assess the qualifications of home buyers.” He was right then, and his words ring true now.
It took many years and a whole string of bad decisions to put America in the economic turmoil we’re in today. Watt is a former Democrat congressman who assumed his current post only in January. He’s yet another political appointee with no realistic worldview or clear sense of the impact of his actions. Like so many other members of the Obama administration, his motivations stem not from doing right for the sake of others, but doing right to make himself feel better, or worse still, to simply gain more power for his Democrat friends.
The loosening of mortgage lending restrictions, whether it’s to create more minority homeowners or to boost the housing market, is not a good idea. It may seem profitable to all concerned in the short run, but eventually the bill comes due. Bubbles burst, and booms go bust. This is an immutable law of economics, and liberals, with all their regulatory might, will never change that.
Iran Could Win Major Post-Election Concessions From Obama
While U.S. boots in the air conduct airstrikes in Operation Inherent Resolve11 against the ISIL shadow state, the Obama administration’s resolve against Iran’s nuclear program may be weakening. The self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline for this round of negotiations with Iran and the world powers of China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and the United States approaches. And Barack Obama is reportedly amenable14 to a deal that would allow Iran to more than triple the number of centrifuges it has in operation, as well as allow a suspension of economically crippling sanctions.
Needless to say, Israel objects to the idea. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, “We are standing before the danger of an agreement that will leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, with thousands of centrifuges through which Iran can manufacture the material for a nuclear bomb within a short period of time.”
The leader of the free world was blunt in his assessment. “This is a threat to the entire world,” Netanyahu said, “first and foremost to Israel, and it is much worse than the threat of Islamic State.”
Indeed, a nuclear Iran is in no way desirable, and Congress would likely balk at any attempt to negotiate away sanctions without conclusive proof Iran has terminated its nuclear ambitions once and for all. But a recent hush-hush Treasury Department report indicated Obama can suspend many of the sanctions imposed on Iran, at least temporarily, without going through Congress15.
Word of that report outraged Congress and sent White House mouthpieces to the microphone to deny everything. “The notion that we are trying to avoid congressional consultation and input on this is preposterous,” sputtered White House spokesman Eric Schultz. “We will continue to consult with Congress heavily.”
The Obama administration has since made a show16 of trying to win over Congress and U.S. allies to a potential deal.
But Obama has a track record of working outside normal channels and absent congressional approval on a host of domestic issues like ObamaCare and immigration. It’s not too much of a stretch to think he’ll take advantage of some post-midterm “flexibility” to anger both Congress and our more resolute allies in these negotiations by giving away a bargaining chip or two. Especially given that the agreement won’t be a treaty requiring congressional approval.
We’d have to agree with the assessment17 of Ali Younesi, senior adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: “Obama is the weakest of U.S. presidents.”
Meanwhile, with Israel threatened by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, we have to ask the question of whether a capitulation to Iran will be followed by Israeli military action. Such a strike may trigger a wider war that would make the ISIL offensive look like a Sunday picnic and make a lot of nations strange bedfellows. Given the twin prospects of executive-ordered amnesty and executive-enabled nuclear Iran, the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress should be an interesting one.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Buddha (563-483 BC): “Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.”
Columnist David Limbaugh: “People are scratching their heads and wondering why Obama would be so candid to the point of acknowledging that Democratic candidates have been lying in denying their support for him, especially when it could serve no political purpose. I don’t think it’s complicated at all. Though his frankness may hurt his party, it puts him in a better light, and as passionate as he is about completing his agenda and consummating his fundamental transformation of America, he is always more passionate about serving his own interests. If there is even a hint that his record and policies have tainted Democrats, he cannot let that stand. He cannot sit idly by at the suggestion that his record has been anything but superlative or that rational people, including his fellow Democratic politicians, could oppose it.”
Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “[S]cience is never settled, because science is the craft of unsettling what we know at any given moment. If science could settle, man would never learn to fly or read by electric light. Meanwhile, inconvenient data is left on the cutting-room floor as an ancient story is retold in modern terms. … [O]ne reason climate change hysteria is so hard to combat is that, unlike previous indictments of capitalism, it is immune to falsification – if temperatures rise or if they fall, it’s evidence of impending calamity. For generations we were told that democratic capitalism was bad for the environment compared with the enlightened rule of socialism. But everywhere this proposition was put to the test, it failed. I understand that the difference between narratives and ideas can be a subtle one. But if you keep the distinction in mind, the arguments tearing apart America become more comprehensible. It is a conflict of visions driven by adherents of two versions of the story of America. And whichever side wins, the victors will determine the story taught to the next generation.”
Fred Thompson: “While complaining about not being able to deal with Ebola because of budget cuts, the CDC has spent money on things like a $350,000 study on the importance of imagination while golfing. Which is, apparently, the only effort Obama’s sunk into addressing the problem.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
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.
Where Was President Obama?
10/24/2014 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
President Obama says he's "shaken" by this week's violent attacks on three soldiers in Ottawa by an Islamic jihadist. He immediately phoned Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to offer support and "solidarity." He vowed to "remain vigilant."
Too bad Obama didn't show the same resolve after multiple attacks and plots against our troops by Muslim terrorists on our soil. And I'm not just talking about the "workplace violence" of jihadist Nidal Hasan, whose Koran-inspired Fort Hood rampage took the lives of 13 American servicemen and servicewomen and one unborn baby.
An entire parade of infidel-hating fanatics targeted U.S. soldiers long before Islamic State barbarians issued threats against our military personnel and their families this fall. What happened in Canada -- what ISIS wants worldwide -- has been happening here for years under Barry-come-lately's watch.
Where was President Obama when Muslim convert Muhammad Hussain was arrested in Maryland in 2010 after scheming to blow up an Army recruitment office to avenge his "Muslim brothers and sisters"? Hussain's message: "Whoever joins the military, they will be killed." He planned to "blow one recruiting center up ... then we hit another ... and just keep it movin' ... Insha' Allah. ... Insha' Allah. ... Do it for jihad." Next, Hussain told informants he would take on Andrews Air Force Base, blow it up and then take over the homes of military personnel.
Where was President Obama when Ethiopian-born Muslim Marine reservist Jonathan Melaku -- shouting "Allahu Akbar" -- fired shots at the Marine Corps Museum in D.C., the Pentagon, a vacant Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Va., and a Coast Guard recruiting station in Woodbridge, Va., during a months-long jihad campaign in 2010-2011?
Where was President Obama when Muslim Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo, who went AWOL from Fort Campbell, Ky., was arrested in 2011 with explosives, a gun and jihadi propaganda? Abdo, who shouted, "Nidal Hasan Fort Hood 2009!" after his arrest, planned to attack soldiers at a restaurant near the base.
Where was President Obama when a gang of Islamic thugs in Newburgh, N.Y., was arrested plotting to "bring death to Jews" at nearby synagogues and "commit jihad" by shooting planes at the local Air National Guard base with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles?
Where was President Obama in June 2011 when Seattle jihadists Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis of Seattle, and Walli Mujahidh, also known as Frederick Domingue Jr., were busted after plotting to attack the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle in a shooting and grenade spree. "Imagine how many young Muslims, if we're successful, will try to hit these kinds of centers," Abdul-Latif (an admirer of Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan) exulted. "Imagine how fearful America will be, and they'll know they can't push the Muslims around." His bloodthirsty agenda: "Hopefully there will be more soldiers who come out of the woodwork to serve Allah."
Where was President Obama when Muslim convert Muhammad Yusuf (a.k.a. Jose Pimentel) was caught by New York City police in 2011 building a pipe bomb he planned to use to kill police and U.S. soldiers returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yusuf declared that he would wage holy war in the Big Apple to show that "there (were) mujahideen in the city ready to fight jihad here."
Where was President Obama when Rezwan Matin Ferdaus was arrested in Framingham, Mass., in 2011 while planning an attack on the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with explosives-packed model airplanes, automatic weapons and grenades? Ferdaus declared his intent to "disable their military center," "cut off the military" and then "take care of the politicians."
Where was President Obama after an Islamic terrorist ring in Raleigh, N.C., got busted in 2009 plotting to bomb military installations and die "as martyrs in furtherance of violent jihad"? They received overseas training, conducted surveillance of the Quantico, Va., Marine base and conspired to kidnap, maim and kill American targets abroad, as well.
And where was President Obama in June 2009 when Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad walked into an Arkansas Army recruiting center, murdered 24-year-old Pvt. William Long and gravely wounded 18-year-old Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula?
The Little Rock jihadist had planned on killing many more "infidel forces" in the name of Allah. "The U.S. has to pay for the rape, murder, bloodshed, blasphemy it has done and still doing to the Muslims and Islam," Muhammad warned. "So consider this a small retaliation the best is to come Allah willing. This is not the first attack and won't be the last."
It took three days for the White House to issue a pathetic politically correct statement expressing "sadness" over the attack, which Obama opaquely described as a "senseless act of violence" (instead of the intentional, systematic act of Islamic terrorism that it was). In the same week, the Obama administration issued an immediate condemnation and statement of "outrage" over the shooting death of late-term abortionist George Tiller.
Where was Obama? Sabotaging our borders, restricting our gun rights, working to free Gitmo jihadists, decrying Islamophobia, demonizing conservatives, welcoming jihad sympathizers to the White House and putting politics over national security.
Now "shaken" over the death of a Canadian soldier killed by a jihadist, our president has barely stirred in response to the homegrown Islamic terror campaign against our men and women in uniform under his own aloof nose.
Obama Can't Help Throwing His Party Under His Bus
10/24/2014 12:01:00 AM - David Limbaugh
Politically speaking, President Barack Obama is almost as toxic as the ominous viruses he continues to mismanage. Every Democratic candidate fears the contagion and seeks to quarantine himself from his presence and policies.
It's hardly unfair to say that Obama has earned his current condition, having squandered more unearned goodwill than any president in recent memory.
Despite his fall, during a speech at Northwestern University earlier this month, Obama couldn't resist blurting out: "I'm not on the ballot this fall. Michelle's pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot -- every single one of them."
Actually, he didn't just blurt it out. These were prepared remarks. He fully meant to say that every Democrat running for national office is tied to his record and his agenda going forward. In fact, he specified a number of items that he had in mind, from boasting of his economic record and aggressively defending Obamacare to advocating a minimum wage hike and an extension of unemployment benefits.
After throwing his fellow Democrats under that careening bus with which he's driving the United States into ever greater despair, he turned to his favorite subject: demonizing, slandering and scapegoating Republicans for the distressing state of affairs he has created but whose existence he just finished denying.
Democratic candidates were probably mortified that Obama had given them a shoutout and hoped it had been an accident. At the very least, they prayed that he wouldn't repeat the favor, especially as November drew closer.
But just a few days ago, Obama doubled down on his love while on Al Sharpton's radio show. As if he were talking in the privacy of his living room, Obama said, referring to Democratic candidates: "It is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress. They are on the right side of minimum wage. They are on the right side of fair pay. They are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure. They're on the right side of early childhood education."
He continued: "So this isn't about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me. And I tell them, I said, 'You know what, you do what you need to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.'"
People are scratching their heads and wondering why Obama would be so candid to the point of acknowledging that Democratic candidates have been lying in denying their support for him, especially when it could serve no political purpose. I don't think it's complicated at all.
Though his frankness may hurt his party, it puts him in a better light, and as passionate as he is about completing his agenda and consummating his fundamental transformation of America, he is always more passionate about serving his own interests.
If there is even a hint that his record and policies have tainted Democrats, he cannot let that stand. He cannot sit idly by at the suggestion that his record has been anything but superlative or that rational people, including his fellow Democratic politicians, could oppose it. But Democratic Missouri state Senate candidate Ed Schieffer told a tea party group: "My biggest enemy in my election is not (my opponent) Jeanie Riddle. My biggest enemy is the president of the United States. My great, educated father knew that and said, 'Eddie, you don't have to worry too much about the lady running against you. You need to worry about the liberal, overly liberal, president and Congress we have. That's what you have to worry about.'"
Such statements obviously don't even register with Obama. The very narcissism, absence of self-reflection, and extreme ideological rigidity that have characterized him in office are what keep him from politely distancing himself from his party's candidates until after the election, when an unlikely Democratic victory would clear the way for him to be "more flexible" in terms of expressing his camaraderie with his fellow travelers.
That is, he just can't help himself from loving on Democratic House and Senate candidates even for a short while. No; perhaps it's more accurate to say that he just won't help himself because that would be to deny himself, and that is simply not in his nature. Besides, he doesn't need a Democratic congressional majority all that much anyway, what with his presidential pen and telephone.
In the final analysis, President Obama is so enamored with himself and his agenda that it doesn't occur to him in any realistic sense just how unpopular he and his policies now are. Even if I'm wrong, he's not about to repent, because there's no room inside his psychological hotel to consider that he's ever been wrong.
On the bright side, those of us on the right side of history should be somewhat grateful for Obama's inflexibility at this point because it should help lead to his party's resounding defeat in November. For make no mistake: His policies will be on the ballot -- every single one of them.
Michael Brown and Race Hoaxes
10/24/2014 12:01:00 AM - Mona Charen
Back in August, when news first broke of a shooting in Ferguson, Mo., the media world, perpetually tingling with eagerness for white-on-black violence stories, plunged into delirium. An unarmed, black 18-year-old "gentle giant" had been shot in the back while running away from a white police officer! He was just preparing to enter college in the fall. He had been assassinated while holding his hands in the air in a gesture of helplessness. "Hands up; don't shoot," chanted protesters. The "hands up" gesture immediately achieved iconic status among demonstrators from Boston to New York to San Francisco.
If the early reports of the tragedy had been accurate, I would have been happy to jump on a plane and march with the protesters. I wouldn't have set fire to any convenience stores or beauty parlors -- nor would I, as Missouri's governor and U.S. attorney general did, imply that "justice" would mean the "prosecution" of the officer -- but I would have demanded a full investigation and, if the evidence supported it, an arrest.
But the reports were not accurate, and we had reason to doubt them as soon as the video of the convenience store robbery emerged. The theft and rough shoving of the owner didn't look very gentle. The small cigars Brown stole are often filled with pot.
Now, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Washington Post are reporting, more evidence is emerging that supports the officer's account. The autopsy (first released in September) shows that Brown was not shot in the back. He was hit in the chest, arm and forehead. The entry wounds show that his hands were not raised when he was hit, and blood-spatter evidence suggests he was advancing on Officer Darren Wilson. A wound on Brown's hand contained gunpowder residue, supporting Wilson's claim that Brown went for his gun while Wilson was seated in the car. There is forensic evidence showing that the gun did, as Wilson testified, go off in the car.
Seven or eight African-American eyewitnesses, reports the Post, support Wilson's account of what happened that afternoon but have remained out of the public eye for their own safety.
Brown was found to have enough THC in his body to trigger hallucinations. Marijuana doesn't usually promote aggression, but it can induce paranoia in some people and certainly warp perception. His companion, Dorian Johnson, who provided some of the narrative about Brown's supposed hands-up posture, has a criminal record and has lied to police in the past.
And so Brown joins a long, very sad list of faux "civil rights" victims. Recall the "epidemic" of black church burnings in the South, the nooses found hanging from black professors' offices, the KKK appearance at Oberlin College a couple of years ago, the Tawana Brawley rape case and the Florida black voter disenfranchisement case. Each of these, and too many other cases to list, was greeted with lip-smacking relish from the press. All of them were frauds or hoaxes.
In this familiar morality play, it's always 1963; it's forever Selma. Participants luxuriate in the warm bath of sympathy for victims of the kind of white racism that disappeared decades ago. The awful period in American history when Emmett Till (to whom Brown has been compared, which is outrageous) could be lynched for smiling at a white girl, when the Scottsboro boys were found guilty of rape despite one of the "victims" admitting she had lied, when blacks faced endemic racism everywhere, is long gone.
Now racism is the province of a few kooks, while the overwhelming majority of Americans of all colors agree on the sacredness of equality and vote twice for a black president to underscore it. Americans have many more pressing problems than racism -- including family decay, terror threats, educational mediocrity, stagnant growth, intergenerational poverty and shrill polarization.
So it's heartbreaking to watch the kabuki theater play out yet again and to know that thousands, maybe millions, of American blacks are being deceived into believing that an 18-year-old who showed really bad judgment in attacking a police officer is a civil rights hero, and that young black males minding their own business on city streets are in danger of being shot by police for fun. It's demoralizing for blacks and a calumny on whites.
Restoration of Senate’s dignity rides on Mitch McConnell
Barack Obama lost Kentucky in 2012 by 23 points, yet the state remains closely divided about reelecting the man whose parliamentary skills uniquely qualify him to restrain Obama’s executive overreach. So Kentucky’s Senate contest is a constitutional moment that will determine whether the separation of powers will be reasserted by a Congress revitalized by restoration of the Senate’s dignity.
Even counting Justice Louis Brandeis as a Kentuckian — at 18, he defected to Harvard and New England — Mitch McConnell, 72, is second only to Henry Clay as the state’s most consequential public servant. McConnell’s skills have been honed through five terms. He is, however — let us say the worst — not cuddly. National Review has said he has “an owlish, tight-lipped public demeanor reminiscent of George Will.” Harsh. But true.
On only one significant matter — McConnell opposes increasing the minimum wage, a symbolic issue of negligible economic importance — is he at odds with a large majority of Kentuckians. Thus he surely would be leading by more than a few points if he were less austere and more telegenic.
Democrats selected McConnell’s opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s 35-year-old secretary of state, largely to further their “Republicans loathe women” fable. McConnell, however, is running even with Grimes among women, partly because of the persuasiveness of his wife, Elaine Chao, the longest-serving labor secretary since World War II (2001 to 2009).
In 1952, a Republican member of the Phoenix City Council, Barry Goldwater, defeated Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland. For the next 52 years, until Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) lost in 2004, no party’s Senate leader was defeated. But political polarization has increased leaders’ conspicuousness and vulnerabilities. McConnell, who in 2002 won with 65 percent, won in 2008 with just 53 percent.
Grimes’s cringe-inducing campaign has depended on a migraine-inducing argument: She broadly disagrees with her party’s leader, but it is important that she help perpetuate Harry Reid’s iron-fisted shutdown of the Senate for Obama’s convenience. Her campaign has raised more money than McConnell’s in three consecutive quarters, but money is not magic, which would be needed to make her candidacy coherent.
Although Senate races in many states remain close — McConnell remembers Republicans losing control of the Senate in 1986 by about 25,000 votes in five states — he anticipates a Republican majority in 2015. Then, he says, “a lot of institutional repair” will begin.
Since Republicans won control of the House in 2010, the Democratic-controlled Senate’s function has been obstruction. Reid has prevented bills passed by the Republican House from coming to a vote and has prevented Republicans — and Democrats, too — from proposing amendments to Senate bills that would be awkward for Democrats to oppose or for Obama to veto. Obama has cast only two vetoes, both for technical reasons on minor matters. Since July 2013, McConnell says, there have been only 22 Senate roll-call votes on amendments — and says Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has never in his six Senate years had a roll-call vote on an amendment of his.
Such paralysis of the Senate leaves Obama uninhibited in his use of executive orders and bureaucratic mission-creep to advance goals that should require legislation. In January, in the most statesmanlike Senate speech in years, McConnell explained how, under Republican leadership, the Senate would be restored as the creator of consensus:
“An executive order can’t [create consensus]. The fiat of a nine-person court can’t do it. A raucous and precarious partisan majority in the House can’t do it. The only institution that can make stable and enduring laws is the one we have in which all 50 states are represented equally, and where every single senator has a say in the laws that we pass.”
Beneath McConnell’s chilly exterior burns indignation about the degradation of the institution to which he has devoted much of his life. The repair of it, in the form of robust committee and amendment processes — and an extended workweek — will benefit Democratic members, too.
Kentucky’s Senate election is 2014’s most important, for a reason rich in irony: Although Grimes considers McConnell the architect of gridlock, electing her to inevitably docile membership in Reid’s lockstep ranks would perpetuate this. But a reelected McConnell, with a Republican majority, would, he says, emulate his model of majority leadership — the 16 years under a Democrat, Montana’s Mike Mansfield. He, like McConnell, had a low emotional metabolism but a subtle sense of the Senate’s singular role in the nation’s constitutional equilibrium.
The Patriot Post
Thursday’s Daily Digest
Oct. 23, 2014
“When we say, that all men are equal; we mean not to apply this equality to their virtues, their talents, their dispositions, or their acquirements.” –James Wilson, Man as a Member of Society, 1791
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Network News Remains Silent on Senate Elections
The big three television news networks are cheating their audiences out of serious political coverage this election cycle. While 23 million people primarily get their news from these three organizations, the broadcast giants make little mention of the predicted GOP takeover of Congress. According to the Media Research Center, “Our analysts found that, when Democrats were feeling good about their election prospects eight years ago, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and ABC’s World News aired a combined 159 campaign stories (91 full reports and another 68 stories that mentioned the campaign). But during the same time period this year, those same newscasts have offered a paltry 25 stories (16 full reports and 9 mentions), a six-to-one disparity.” This is why the Internet is good for an informed citizenry1. Network news is clearly a relic of the previous Leftmedia monopoly, and can’t be bothered with bad news about fellow liberals.
Autopsy Says Brown Was Shot at Close Range
To the dismay of race baiters everywhere, Michael Brown, the black thug shot by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson, doesn’t appear innocent. In fact, Wilson’s story keeps checking out. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, “The official autopsy on Michael Brown shows that he was shot in the hand at close range.” That supports Wilson’s account that Brown fought with him over the officer’s gun. The Post-Dispatch adds, “Dr. Michael Graham, who is not part of the official investigation, reviewed the autopsy report for the newspaper. He said Tuesday that it ‘does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.’” Other wounds indicate Brown was facing Wilson when he was shot. Not only that, the paper reports, “The accompanying toxicology report shows he had been using marijuana.” Furthermore, his levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, may have been high enough to cause hallucinations3. Pro tip: It pays to wait for the facts before rioting in the streets.
The Left Suddenly Sees Same-Sex Marriage as a Constitutional Issue
Barack Obama evolved in his view of same-sex marriage. At first, he was mum on the issue. But then, to drum up the Left’s LGBT base in time for his re-election (and forced by Joe Biden’s premature comments on the subject), he declared he was in favor of the redefinition of marriage. Now he’s sailing with the winds of change and saying same-sex marriage is a constitutional issue that requires a Supreme Court ruling. Ryan T. Anderson at The Daily Signal writes5, “This is a case study in how liberals ‘evolve’ on policy. First they embrace a policy change. If they can’t convince a majority of Americans to vote for their preferred policy, they discover that the Constitution requires their preferred policy. So, according to the Obama of today, the Obama of early 2012 held an unconstitutional view of marriage. Or, perhaps, it wasn’t unconstitutional back then but it is now.” Whatever happened to the liberal mind between 2012 and 2014, you can be sure it wasn’t a greater concern for the Constitution. They still use it as a political tool only when convenient.
Lewinsky: ‘I Was Patient Zero,’ and My Affair Birthed Social Media
Forbes' 30 Under 30 Summit featured a blast from the past: Monica Lewinsky. The infamous former White House intern proudly claimed the victim mantle, telling the audience, “I was Patient Zero – the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.” And it wasn’t even high-speed Internet, she complained: “It was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up.” In fact, her tryst practically invented social media. “There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then,” she noted. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. … [Y]ou could argue [that] was the first moment of truly ‘social’ media.” What’s amusing is that, not only does she conspicuously avoid blaming Bill Clinton for being a sexual predator, but she seems shocked by the idea that an intern’s affair with the sitting president in the Oval Office got all that much attention.
Weather Channel Co-Founder Slams Climate Forum
Ecofascists Michael Mann and Brenda Ekwurzel will be drumming up more “climate change” rhetoric at a forum Thursday hosted by The Hammer Museum6 at UCLA, and organizers are making it clear the event is about promoting an agenda, not representing a balanced view. “Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is a danger to the planet, little progress has been made to reduce CO2 emissions,” reads the opening sentence of the program advertisement. Meteorologist and Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman penned an open letter taking issue with the biased forum, writing: “[Y]ou have scheduled as your only speakers two people who continue to present the failed science as though it is the final and complete story on global warming/climate change. This is [a] major mistake. I urge you to re-examine your plan. It is important to have those who attend know that there is no climate crisis.” He continues, “I am not a wacko flat-Earther. Nor am I a ‘paid shill’ (as has been claimed) of the Koch Brothers. I am a serious professional.” These words will no doubt go in one ear and out the other, presenting another telling example of who constitutes the true climate “deniers.”
Terrorist Attack in Canada Is a Sign of Emerging Threat
Michael Zehef-Bibeau, a recent Muslim convert, attacked the Canadian Parliament Wednesday in a possible attempt to get to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was in a meeting of legislators in the building at the time. Clearly, jihad isn’t far from home, and that’s a threat greater than Ebola.
Zehef-Bibeau was killed by the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms in a dramatic shootout caught on video11, but it’s possible he wasn’t working alone. Authorities are pursuing possibly two other suspects. Before attacking Parliament, Zehef-Bibeau killed a Canadian soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, at the National War Memorial.
Wednesday’s incident wasn’t the only one in Canada this week. On Monday, a jihadi named Martin Rouleau drove his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, in a mall parking lot near Montreal. Rouleau was killed after a car chase and shootout.
The prime minister was scheduled yesterday to honor Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived a Taliban assassination attempt. Was the timing of Wednesday’s attack more than coincidence? Or perhaps both attacks were in response to Canadian participation in military operations against ISIL.
Regardless, these fanatics don’t need to be specifically directed by al-Qaida or ISIL. This new face of lone-wolf jihad is an immediate threat to the West precisely because its homegrown nature.
As noted by Mark Alexander in his column, Islamic Jihad – Target USA12, “Despite assurances to the contrary from our nation’s commander in chief, it turns out that global Jihad is thriving. According to those who do not bend the truth to comport with political agendas, Jihad now constitutes a greater threat to our nation’s security than at any time in history. Obama’s retreat from Iraq13 left a vacuum for the resurgence of a far more dangerous incarnation of Muslim terrorism under the ISIL label14, which has displaced al-Qa'ida15 as the dominant asymmetric Islamic terrorist threat to the West.”
Alexander continues, “Islamic terrorist groups are surging worldwide, including Khorasan (a.k.a. al-Qa'ida), Jabhat al-Nusra (a.k.a. al-Qa'ida), Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, Jamaat-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Muslim Brotherhood and now, front and center, ISIL, a.k.a. the Islamic State – all of which together constitute Jihadistan16, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists aligned under the Qur'anic umbrella.”
Notably, Alexander concluded, “Of course, the most likely form of attack against the U.S. homeland will be similar to those witnessed almost daily in Israel – homicidal bombings or mass shootings. This type of attack is low tech, but effective in terms of achieving terrorist goals to extort policy change by instilling fear in the public.”
If ObamaCare Is So Great, Why Aren’t Democrats Campaigning on It?
ObamaCare isn’t exactly Democrats' favorite campaign theme this year, but then again, they’re having trouble coming up with even one reason to vote Democrat in the midterm election. Hence the tired tropes of how Republicans are racist, sexist, anti-gay discriminators who also hate puppies and rainbows. But just remember: Democrats are staying away from ObamaCare for good reason.
The New York Times editorial board complains17, “[T]he Affordable Care Act, one of the most far-reaching and beneficial laws to have been passed by Congress in years, gets little respect even among the Democratic candidates who voted for it. Though none support the Republican position of repeal, most talk about the need to ‘fix’ the health law, as if it were a wreck alongside the road rather than a vehicle providing millions of people with health coverage.”
We’ll give the Times “far-reaching,” though that’s an awfully mild way of putting it for a law that took over one-sixth of the U.S. economy. But “beneficial”? For consumers whose plans are now drastically more expensive – if they can keep them at all – the law is anything but beneficial. Taxpayers who will foot the bill for this monstrosity aren’t getting much bang for the buck, either.
In his remarks to a joint session of Congress18 on Sept. 9, 2009, Barack Obama pledged, “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future.” Conservatives were never fooled by this outlandish promise, and subsequent events have borne out our predictions.
Early projections by the Congressional Budget Office in 2010 forecast that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit by $124 billion between 2010 and 2019. But that was only thanks to what Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) called19 “gimmicks and smoke-and-mirrors” accounting.
After the first years of ObamaCare’s outworking, however, the Senate Budget Committee released its own report20 using the CBO’s methods, and the committee found that ObamaCare will increase the deficit by $131 billion between 2015 and 2024. It’s likely more than that, but again, this is based on the CBO’s methods.
As for premiums, we’ve often noted the drumbeat of price increases, but here’s a new one. Last year’s open enrollment began in October. This year, it’s no accident the enrollment period, along with announced premium rates, was delayed until after the election. And for good reason. Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily expects21 Bronze Plan premiums (the most affordable on the market, and therefore especially appealing to low-income people) will increase by an average of 14%. In some cities, like Seattle, it could rise 64%.
Okay, well, scratch the savings on federal spending and insurance premium rates. At least, as the Times' editorial also boasts, ObamaCare is “providing millions of people with health coverage.” How’s that working?
As for those who are enrolling, Edmund Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski write at The Daily Signal24, “[T]he Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage. In other words, it is likely that most of the people who got coverage through the exchanges were already insured.”
Haislmaier and Gonshorowski found ObamaCare enrollment was 6,254,564 individuals, but those with “private employer-sponsored group plans declined by 3,788,978 individuals.” Furthermore, “In the states implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 5,716,977 individuals. In the states not implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 355,674 individuals.” In short, the gain in insured individuals occurred primarily because of the expansion in Medicaid, as well as moving previously insured people from private plans onto ObamaCare. They couldn’t keep the plan they liked.
That trend is only going to get worse as the employer mandate kicks in next year (it too was delayed until after the election). Businesses employing at least 100 people must provide health insurance or pay a fine – about $2,000 per employee. Employers are cutting hours for employees, or offering bare-bones, “skinny” plans to avoid both the fine and insurance.
But many employers are looking to take advantage of ObamaCare’s provision for low-income workers. An employer is no longer charged a penalty if an employee qualifies for and enrolls in Medicaid. Nor is the employee fined (or was it taxed?) for not having insurance. It’s a win-win. Well, except for taxpayers.
Swelling the ranks of Medicaid users wasn’t exactly the grand Democrat promise. Skyrocketing insurance premiums and one of the largest effective tax increases in history weren’t either. Democrats have mastered the art of the BIG Lie25, and the nation is paying the price.
Bureaucrat Accountability 101: Retire Early
Lest you think the Veterans Affairs scandal26 resolved itself and corruption fled of its own accord, it didn’t. What did flee, however, are VA employees involved in the scandal. The evaded the pink slip by retiring. How convenient.
The latest case in point is Susan Taylor, a former deputy chief procurement officer and one of four VA officials “proposed for removal” due to unprofessional conduct. But removed she wasn’t. You see, when Congress passed that VA reform bill27 over the summer, theoretically making it easier to fire or demote senior executives for “poor performance and misconduct,” VA bureaucrats were none too pleased with the idea of accountability for employees. So the agency created another process to give advance notice to employees who may be fired. Those so notified have five days to retire or otherwise leave of their own accord instead of being fired.
Naturally, faced with getting canned or retiring with full benefits, it’s a no-brainer. So, when advised she had been “proposed for removal,” Taylor instead wrote a letter28, stating, “[A]fter 29 years of federal service, I have decided to resign and retire, effective Oct. 14th.” How proactive of her.
But she’s not the only one evading accountability, and this isn’t a problem limited to the VA. Remember Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal? She opted for a cushy retirement29, too.
This problem is widespread. The government is so incapable of firing people that it’s just putting them on paid leave, in some cases for several years. According to a 62-page report30 published this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), taxpayers forked out more than $700 million to fund paid leave for some 57,000 federal employees – just for fiscal years 2011-2013. Of these, 53,000 were on paid leave for one to three months, 4,018 for three months to one year and 263 for one to three years. Who needs unemployment benefits when you can find a job with the government and get paid to do nothing?
Here’s the clincher: Some of these employees were on paid leave because they were being investigated for alleged misconduct or criminal acts. Nothing like getting paid to stay home … while under investigation … for three years. Nice “work” if you can get it. What’s worse (if that’s possible) is that in some cases agencies couldn’t even give a reason the employees received the amount of paid leave they did.
It’s ridiculous, really. Because the government has a seeming inability to fire anyone, we the taxpayers keep paying their salaries. As James Sherk, Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics, recently testified before Congress31, “Managers who wish to fire problematic employees, whether because of misconduct or poor performance, must go through draining and time-consuming procedures that take about a year and a half. Consequently the federal government very rarely fires its employees, even when their performance or conduct justifies it. In fiscal year (FY) 2013 the federal government terminated the employment of just 0.26 percent of its tenured workforce for performance or misconduct – a rate one-fifth that of monthly private-sector layoffs.”
So because of the government’s unparalleled ineptitude and inbred aversion to accountability, incompetent and perhaps even criminal employees avoid firing, collect a paycheck while doing nothing, or write nice retirement letters.
But please don’t claim a smidgeon of corruption. No, not one smidgeon.
OPINION IN BRIEF
British novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963): “Hitherto the plans of the educationalists have achieved very little of what they attempted, and indeed we may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still possesses.”
Columnist Cal Thomas: “Obama has named a political operative, Ron Klain, as his Ebola czar. Defenders of the appointment say Klain is an experienced political operative who can ‘coordinate’ the U.S. response to the virus. Why do we need a coordinator? What is the secretary of Health and Human Services for? How about the surgeon general’s office? Granted, we have only an acting surgeon general because Republicans opposed President Obama’s choice due to his advocacy of gun control and other policies they oppose, but an acting surgeon general can still act like one. … A virus doesn’t discriminate. It can kill Democrats and Republicans and so should have no place in the political debate. Except President Obama seems determined to turn even Ebola into a political fight by selecting a rabid partisan and former aide to Vice President Joe Biden and Al Gore. … Klain’s only medical experience seems to be self-administering aspirin for a headache.”
Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “In October of 1962, America worried whether an untried young president, John F. Kennedy, could keep us safe from nuclear-tipped missiles from nearby communist Cuba. Today’s October worries are more insidious: the Ebola virus, the macabre Islamic State, a tottering stock market, a bellicose Russia, and a crisis of confidence in our government. … The Obama administration sees government agencies as political tools to further its agenda, as we have seen with NASA’s new Muslim outreach, the IRS hounding of conservative nonprofit groups and the patent office’s antagonization of the Redskins. The October missiles of 1962 were never launched, but the crisis still forced JFK to adopt a new realism about the Soviet Union. In contrast, for Obama to meet these current October threats head-on, he first would have to admit they were largely self-created.”
Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “If the problems African Americans have could be solved by voting for Democrats, shouldn’t they have been solved decades ago? You have 90%+ African Americans voting for Democrats. Who are you fooling thinking you’ll get change by increasing that number?”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
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.
The Power of Positive Beliefs
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
10/23/2014 12:01:00 AM - Jackie Gingrich Cushman
My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in the mid-1970s, when I was in grammar school. Her goal, at that time, was to stay alive to see my older sister Kathy and me graduate from high school. She neither dwelled on the disease, nor on why she was stricken with it, but instead focused on getting rid of the cancer and living for her two daughters.
She watched both us of graduate from high school, from college and, in my case, from graduate school.
In 2005, she was once again diagnosed with cancer. After enduring surgery and chemotherapy, her body was exhausted and my sister and I moved her to a nursing home.
We drove away, crying, thinking that she would not make it out. But Mom never gave up hope, defied the odds, and -- through hard work and prayer -- moved into assisted living, then back into her own home, where she lived on her own for years.
Last year, after suffering and surviving a stroke, my mother passed away. What I remember most is her positive spirit and determination that she was going to get better.
Bruce Gear's article, "What if Age is Nothing but a Mind-Set?" coming out this Sunday in the New York Times Magazine, reminds me of my mother's journey and of how her thoughts determined her future.
Gear's article focuses on the work of psychologist Ellen Langer, and the effect of mindset on the body. It's more than just positive thoughts. It's positive beliefs. My mother didn't just think positive thoughts; she believed that her positive thoughts would come true. And they often did.
Gear writes that this focus on positive thinking, in Langer's view, is connected to mindfulness. Not the mindfulness of breathing and Eastern philosophy, but the mindfulness associated with noticing one's surroundings.
"Her emphasis is on noticing moment-to-moment changes around you, from the differences in the face of your spouse across the breakfast table to the variability of your asthma symptoms," writes Gear. "When we are 'actively making new distinctions, rather than relying on habitual' categorizations, we're alive; and when we're alive, we can improve. Indeed, 'well-being and enhanced performance' were Langer's goals from the beginning of her career."
He cites a study on the effect of a person's mind-set regarding current physical activity on weight loss.
"Langer and one of her students, Alia Crum, conducted a study, published in the journal Psychological Science, involving 84 hotel chambermaids. The maids had mostly reported that they didn't get much exercise in a typical week," writes Gear. "The researchers primed the experimental group to think differently about their work by informing them that cleaning rooms was fairly serious exercise -- as much if not more than the surgeon general recommends. Once their expectations were shifted, those maids lost weight, relative to a control group (and also improved on other measures like body mass index and hip-to-waist ratio). All other factors were held constant. The only difference was the change in mind-set."
A change in mind-set leading to a change in body mass and hip to waist ratio. This would be life-altering indeed.
Langer is currently focusing on a study to see if mindset can make a difference to patients with stage four breast cancer. Those undergoing the test will focus on getting better -- not the toll of their disease. "So there will be no talk of cancer 'victims,' nor anyone 'fighting' a 'chronic' disease."
This was the way that my mother approached cancer when she was diagnosed. She kept her focus on the long-term prize -- being with her daughters and grandchildren. With her eye on the prize of being with family rather than the challenging journey itself, she was rewarded with many shared birthdays, Christmases and Thanksgivings.
When we inevitably meet challenges in our own lives, it is important that we approach them with the right mindset and with a clear, positive long-term goal at the top of our mind. Changing not just our thoughts, but also our beliefs, and therefore our very selves.
Our New Missiles of October
Victor Davis Hanson
10/23/2014 12:01:00 AM - Victor Davis Hanson
In October of 1962, America worried whether an untried young president, John F. Kennedy, could keep us safe from nuclear-tipped missiles from nearby communist Cuba.
Today's October worries are more insidious: the Ebola virus, the macabre Islamic State, a tottering stock market, a bellicose Russia, and a crisis of confidence in our government.
Much of what the Obama administration and the Centers for Disease Control initially swore about the Ebola virus proved false. The virus really did infect Americans at home, despite assurances that there was "no significant risk." There always was a danger of infected West Africans entering the U.S. The CDC protocols did not protect nurses from infection by Ebola patients.
Banning all travel from West African countries where the virus is epidemic may not stop Ebola from spreading throughout the U.S. But the administration still cannot offer convincing reasons why we should not try just that. Instead, a purely medical decision seems hopelessly embedded in the administration's usual politically correct spin.
The U.S. is even more inept in dealing with the Islamic State. That terrorist virus, too, could have been contained, had we just kept some peacekeepers in the mostly quiet Iraq of 2011. But once again politics, not strategic logic, explains why the administration pulled all troops out of Iraq -- a recklessness that turned up as 2012 campaign talking point.
The stock market is wobbly, and for good reason. A record number of Americans have dropped out of the workforce. The quiver of traditional priming -- zero interest rates, massive deficit spending, huge government stimulus -- is now empty. Yet the economy still remains weak.
Six years of piling up more debt, raising taxes, issuing more regulations, perpetuating deficits, slashing defense, expanding social programs and creating vast new bureaucracies have only stifled economic growth. Barack Obama has no interest in trying something other than boilerplate Keynesian borrowing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is portrayed around the world as a merciless tiger, while Obama is caricatured as a frail kitten. Much of once pro-Western Eastern Europe is now lining up with Putin. They cut deals with Russia rather than be left high and dry by a sermonizing but otherwise appeasing West.
Once-unimpeachable federal agencies now appear as 19th-century tribal fiefdoms.
No one much trusts the IRS anymore. Partisan politics seem to determine whether Americans are audited.
The Department of Veteran Affairs covered up callous -- and occasional lethal -- treatment of scores of hospitalized veterans.
The National Security Agency lied about monitoring the communications of average Americans.
Almost nothing in Obama's lectures about the new unaffordable Affordable Health Care Act proved accurate.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cannot come clean about the nation's utter lack of border enforcement with Mexico.
The once-hallowed Secret Service seems incompetent and scandal-ridden.
Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department has picked and chosen which laws to enforce largely out of partisan considerations.
NASA is hardly recognizable. Its director said that the agency's first concern was not our continued reliance on Vladimir Putin's space rockets, but Muslim outreach.
Even the Patent and Trade Office hounded the Washington Redskins about their supposedly politically incorrect logo by canceling the team's trademark registration.
Whether the Obama administration shuts down U.S. travel to and from a foreign airport is not predicated on national security threats but political correctness. Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv not that long ago was put off limits to U.S. airlines despite offering far less hazard to Americans than the connecting flights to the airport in Monrovia, Liberia.
The new Ebola czar, Ron Klain -- the former Fannie Mae lobbyist who was also knee-deep in the Solyndra controversy -- has no health care experience, much less any experience with epidemics. Klain was picked only because he is a veteran partisan brawler who understands that the Obama administration sees Ebola as more a political liability than a health challenge.
The administration is waging a halfhearted effort to destroy the Islamic State because Obama has in the past damned just such preemptive bombing in the Middle East. Now, an embarrassed Obama relies on the Bush administration's 2002 military authorizations to use the sort of force in the Middle East that he used to decry.
Russia is ascendant largely because of the State Department's loud boast of resetting the Bush administration punishments of Putin's past aggressions.
The Obama administration sees government agencies as political tools to further its agenda, as we have seen with NASA's new Muslim outreach, the IRS hounding of conservative nonprofit groups and the patent office's antagonization of the Redskins. The October missiles of 1962 were never launched, but the crisis still forced JFK to adopt a new realism about the Soviet Union.
In contrast, for Obama to meet these current October threats head-on, he first would have to admit they were largely self-created.
The Most Boring California Election Ever
Debra J. Saunders
10/23/2014 12:01:00 AM - Debra J. Saunders
Most years, California offers up supersize election stories -- an embarrassment of riches for the opinion columnist. This year, other states are getting all the drama while California looks as staid as a bored accountant.
In 2010, the big story was Meg Whitman's millions vs. Jerry Brown's cheapskate comeback campaign. Whitman spent $140 million of her own money on her campaign for governor, only to watch attorney Gloria Allred chastise her on TV for firing a nanny because she had come to the country illegally. The previous two elections -- one a recall -- starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, the cigar-chomping movie star who boasted about kicking nurses' butts and dismissed state legislators as "girlie men."
This year, it's Brown vs. Neel Kashkari, a buttoned-down former U.S. Treasury official who's not even a billionaire. Because Kashkari doesn't have Whitman's money -- he started the election worth $5 million, and he's poured $3 mil into the campaign -- Brown is free to ignore him. And the press corps is free to ignore the race.
If Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly had won in the June primary, California's gubernatorial contest would be more interesting. He's a former Minuteman who was put on probation for trying to get through airport security with a gun. Donnelly also accused Kashkari, a Hindu and son of Indian immigrants, of supporting Shariah when Kashkari worked for the Treasury Department. This year's Republican voter had little appetite for a candidate who can spit out quotes that bring on weeks of damage control and paint the GOP as ethnically insensitive.
Turnout in June was an abysmal 25 percent -- a big drop from 2010's 33 percent. In the 2010 election, 60 percent of California voters participated. This November, turnout is expected to slump to 50 to 52 percent, according to Neal Kelley, who is the Orange County registrar of voters, although the state organization for election officials he heads hopes it will be larger. Kelley did confirm that so far, absentee ballot submissions are 5 to 6 percent lower than four years ago.
Given the lack of conflict, I think it will be amazing if half of registered voters turn out. If Donnelly had won, then Democrats would have used his border background to whip up a lather of Latino voter indignation; demonization boosts turnout. In the absence of a mud fight, only 1 in 4 voters could identify Kashkari for a September Los Angeles Times poll.
San Jose State University political science professor Larry Gerston notes that turnout is likely to be low because there's no presidential contest; California's a very blue state, which makes outcomes predictable; and there are few initiatives on the ballot. Gerston also sees a trend of public disengagement. "We all know our rights," Gerston told me, but not necessarily our obligation to vote.
Without big money (which is supposed to be a voter turnoff) -- and without mountains of mudslinging (the other alleged voter turnoff) -- and with two good candidates, voter turnout likely will achieve a record low. As California becomes increasingly liberal and liberal pols make it increasingly easy to vote, see more Californians who can't be bothered to do so. One-party rule begets two kinds of elections: ugly and inevitable or boring and inevitable.
Florida Race for Governor Is Symbol of Everything Wrong with Politics
10/23/2014 12:01:00 AM - Matt Towery
Contests for governor of Florida have recently gone from being competitive tussles between in-state partisans to no-holds-barred death matches with big national bucks flowing and network reporters presiding over televised debates. This year's battle between incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Republican turned Democrat challenger Charlie Crist has become the over-the-top crowned jewel of everything bad about modern day "national" politics.
The real genesis of this "nationalization" of Florida politics can be found in the 2000 presidential electoral deadlock that held the nation spellbound for months. Many Americans who are otherwise apolitical still refer to "hanging chads" as if they were old grizzled political pundits.
Nothing was ever quite the same after that epic battle for Florida's electoral votes. National media reported on Jeb Bush's reelection race for governor in 2002 against a hapless and weak Democratic nominee as if it were the Kennedy-Nixon contest of 1960. Floridians became used to big national political media figures participating in their statewide debates.
The large but oft ignored state that produced the likes of "Walkin' Lawton" Chiles and slogans like "Hey Buddy (MacKay), you're liberal" graduated from just normal intrastate politics to the bigtime of national nastiness.
And nothing can compare to this high dollar, high octane and super vicious race between Scott and Crist.
What troubles many who have followed Florida politics for years is the unspoken belief that neither of these two candidates seems to have anywhere close to meaningful and altruistic reasons for seeking another term as governor.
For better or worse there is little doubt to most that if the dictionary had a definition of "Professional Politician," former Gov. Crist's picture would be right by its side.
Some believe Crist sees himself as the character "Mr. Cellophane" in the hit Broadway musical turned movie "Chicago." He seemingly thinks that he can glide in and out of rooms, meetings, debates or even various political parties without anyone taking notice of him. Sort of a Caspar the Ghost with a tan.
Scott -- with his long neck, gleaming head and wide and sometimes bulging eyes -- seems a character straight out of central casting as well. Sort of a mix between a leaner version of the animated commercial character "Mr. Clean" and the late-comedian Rodney Dangerfield who always claimed to get "no respect."
Both are harmless characters in a very hurtful and vicious contest.
Some believe Crist wants the job because he knows no other profession than politics and, as most insiders also know, he loves to be loved.
Scott appears to some as having made so much money so early in life that he chose a new "hobby," that of being governor of Florida.
Florida's position of governor, while powerful, doesn't wield anywhere near the omnipotent attributes of the same position in some other states. For example, Florida governors have to deal with a voting cabinet which could become a real problem if its makeup were to be split between Republicans and Democrats.
Plenty of voters are wondering why these two would spend megabucks and do everything but mud wrestle just to enjoy four more years in Tallahassee. Their vicious ads and personal attacks during debates have made both men appear desperate for power and oblivious to the public's disdain for their tactics or for politicians in general.
While both men are nice people when away from the political limelight, both are just too overwhelmed -- indeed, consumed -- by politics for their own good. Indeed, they reek of it.
Crist takes many of his cues from a collection of trial lawyers who have the political acumen of rank amateurs. Scott follows the lead of the usual GOP suspects. The type that might advise the boneheaded choice of protesting some silly electrical fan behind an opponent's debate podium by keeping their candidate off the stage while others waited.
The real winner in this national debacle may be Libertarian Adrian Wyllie. While he won't be close, don't be shocked if he doesn't exceed expectations. After all, Scott and Crist have lowered those expectations substantially.
Online Abortion Class Undermines Intellectual Diversity at University of California
10/23/2014 12:01:00 AM - Gabriella Hoffman
The University of California (UC) system is one of the most reputed institutions of higher learning here in the United States. Boasting 10 campuses stretching from Davis in Northern California to San Diego in Southern California, the UC system is historically regarded for molding future leaders and pioneers. Unfortunately, intellectual diversity and tolerance of differing opinions are concepts largely absent in the UC system today.
UC-San Francisco (UCSF)—UC’s medical school—is one of the first universities offering a free online course on abortion. The free six-week course is titled “Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications.” It is taught by Dr. Jody Steinauer, a noted pro-abortion OB/GYN and former president of Medical Students for Choice. The course started on October 13 and will conclude on November 24. It is open to the public for enrollment.
UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health also adds the course will fill a void in academia by teaching “ethical” ways to perform abortions. Their website notes, “The class will address abortion in the U.S. and around the world, framing the issue in a public health context. The aim of the course is to fill in the gaps left by the exclusion of abortion from mainstream curricula.”
There are six lectures comprising the online course: “Abortion in the U.S. And Around the World,” “Abortion, Professionalism, and Patient-Centered Counseling,” “Abortion in the First Trimester,” “ Abortion after the First Trimester: Obstacles to Accessing Safe Abortion in the U.S. And Worldwide,” “Overcoming Obstacles to Abortion Access," and “Early Pregnancy Loss and Course Conclusions.”
As one peruses the course syllabus, there is no mention of abortion alternatives like adoption or pregnancy crisis centers.
UCSF claims it is “committed to nurturing diversity among its faculty, staff, students and trainees and strives to create an environment that is collegial, respectful and rewarding.” Where’s UCSF’s commitment to presenting the pro-life view in this course? Sadly it’s nowhere to be found.
The UC system’s bias in favor of abortion and left-leaning views should not come as a surprise. This is the same university system that welcomes pro-abortion students at UC-Santa Barbara who call pro-lifers “domestic terrorists” for displaying images of aborted babies. Moreover, most UC campuses—including 91 of America’s top 200 universities—have school-sponsored abortion healthcare plans.
As a 2012 graduate of University of California, San Diego, I cannot help but shudder at the thought of taxpayer dollars being funneled to an online course that aims to brainwash future UC graduates. Fellow UC students will solely hear the pro-abortion side and be unaware of abortion’s implications for both unborn babies and pregnant women.
What happened to upholding the university motto Fiat lux? How come alternative views are continually left in the dark? A light needs to be shined on this blatant abuse of taxpayer funds and disregard for intellectual diversity.
If students wish to shine a light on liberal bias or present alternative views on campus, I encourage them to contact Leadership Institute’s Campus Leadership Program and report bias to Campus Reform.
The Patriot Post
Daily Digest for Wednesday
"Let us by wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties." --James Monroe, First Inaugural Address, 1817
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Obama Ties His Boat Anchor to Democrats
CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett highlights a serious problem for Democrats: “President Obama is not on the ballot this December, but to the dismay of some Democrats he’s talking like he is.” Of incumbent Democrats in tight races, Obama said, "These are all folks who vote with me -- they have supported my agenda in Congress." That was days after he declared, "Make no mistake: '[My] policies are on the ballot." Then again, CBS's Scott Pelley noted that Obama has been conspicuously "absent from the campaign trail" because Democrats "want him for the fundraisers but not on the stump." Obama is toxic for Democrats right now, but, as The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes observed, "He's such a narcissist that even when it would be advantageous for him to not have it be all about him, he has to make it all about him because that's the way that he is." Indeed, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told Democrats that if they don't like Obama's comments there's more where that came from: “The success of many of these Democratic candidates will depend on their own success in motivating voters that strongly supported the president in 2012." Here's a boat anchor necklace -- hope you like it.
The Kinda, Sorta Ebola Travel Ban
Barack Obama explained recently that while he didn't have a "philosophical objection, necessarily, to a travel ban" to slow the spread of Ebola, he thought such a measure would be counterproductive. In other words, it wasn't yet politically expedient -- especially given his immigration policies. Well, now it is -- sort of. National Journal reports, "Travelers flying between West African nations affected by Ebola and the United States will now be subject to additional screenings and 'protective measures' to help prevent the disease from spreading into the U.S., the Homeland Security Department announced Tuesday. All passengers flying from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea into the U.S. will be required to enter the country through five major airports: Dulles International Airport in Virginia; John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Newark Liberty International Airport; Chicago O'Hare International Airport; and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport." It's really not so much a travel ban as enhanced screening, which in previous iterations has been known to the Left as racial profiling.
Ebola's Caused by What?
Did you know human activity is linked to the worst Ebola outbreak in history? At least, that's one theory the federal government is promoting. "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted on its website an article that claims Ebola is a 'direct consequence' of manmade climate change," CNSNews.com reports. Specifically, the article pegs "deforestation and human disturbance" as Ebola's main drivers: "Outbreaks are linked to long dry seasons ... during which there is scarcity of food in the forest and all the animals, including fruit bats, feed on the same remaining fruit trees, usually fig trees. Human development, including logging and mining, road construction and agriculture, is increasingly cutting back on forest habitat and bringing animals and humans in closer contact, which can facilitate disease transfer." Why stop there? Might as well add malaria and HIV/AIDS to the growing list of global warming causes. In truth, Africa would benefit by embracing capitalism and modern day technologies that help control and prevent pandemics.
$25 Billion in Tax Dollars Funded Waste
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) wants you to know how the government spent -- no, wasted -- $25 billion. The senator, who will leave office after this term because of a self-imposed term limit, released his final Wastebook detailing the top 100 ways the government burned through taxpayer money. "With no one watching over the vast bureaucracy," Coburn said, "the problem is not just what Washington isn't doing, but what it is doing. Only someone with too much of someone else's money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects." The most egregious source of waste? The government placed badly behaving bureaucrats on administrative leave, essentially a paid vacation, which accumulated a bill of $19 million. Moreover, while most of us were earning our dollars, the feds were watching grass grow ($10,000), destroying $16 billion worth of unused ammo for $1 billion (we would have done it for free) and giving rabbits Swedish massages ($387,000).
ObamaCare? What's That?
The Kaiser Family Foundation polled uninsured Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 and found that the majority of them are (still) taking little notice of ObamaCare. Eighty-nine percent said they did "not know that open enrollment begins in November"; 66% "know 'only a little' or 'nothing at all' about the health insurance marketplace"; and 53% "do not know that the health reform law provides financial help to low- and moderate-income Americans." Nancy Pelosi said that Congress needed to pass the law so that low-info voters could find out what's in it. Well, they did, and now that the vast majority of Americans discovered the "Affordable" Care Act really wasn't "free" -- the only thing they cared about -- and is, in fact, unaffordable, they really aren't putting much effort into getting enrolled nor staying informed.
A Polarized Press for a Free People
Americans today get their news from a diverse and polarized media -- and that's good. News organizations often, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, "serve as chimnies to carry off noxious vapors and smoke." But Jefferson also asserted, "Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." Today's diversity can be a great tool for spreading Liberty.
Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post editor who directed young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to ferret out the crooked deeds of Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal, has died. He was 93.
He was a man who helped The Washington Post topple a president, as well as to pick up 17 Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure, according to his obituary. But Bradlee's Washington Post is gone and, with it, the old ways of doing news.
Along came the Internet, and now newspapers are used consistently only for parakeet cages and misbehaving dogs. The legacy media, with its cameras and web presses, pandered to power far too many times. It became the bullhorn of the Left and its monopoly on the ear of the American people shattered. Today, the media is filled with organizations to the Left and Right. They range from one-man blogs to media giants like CNN. It's one of the best times to be a consumer of political news and yet it's one of the darkest times in this country for press freedom.
Journalism matters for a free society. If it weren't for coffee-guzzling scribblers, how else would we know about the Bowe Bergdhal trade, Congress' stubborn inability to pass a budget and the latest celebrity gossip? Though if we depended solely on the Leftmedia, Operation Fast and Furious may never have come to light.
Sure, tons of journalism is click-bait. And some days, it feels that only people with half a brain go into journalism. But as James Madison once wrote, "To the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression."
In short, a free people, in order to remain free, need a free press.
Which brings us to a new Pew Research Center study on the media habits of an American public sharply divided by politics.
Typically, "Consistent Conservatives" distrust 24 of the 36 news organizations Pew asked its respondents to rate. And conservatives flock to one media outlet -- Fox News. Nearly 47% said Fox was the place they go for political and government news. The study went on to say the average respondent consumed 5.1 sources for news in the last week.
Madison would be one of the first to agree that the press -- unfortunately -- is run by fallible people. The newsroom is sometimes filled with the same bureaucracy and politics as it's trying to cover in government. That's why the strength of the press is in its diversity.
Pew also found that a liberal is often more trusting of media, giving the benefit of the doubt to 28 of the 36 organizations Pew asked about -- but they distrust Glenn Beck, the Drudge Report and, if Pew had asked, probably The Patriot Post.
On a side note: Liberals are more likely to de-friend or block someone on Facebook for expressing a view contrary to their own. So much for tolerance.
But while the news consumer has a plethora of information at his or her fingertips, the Obama administration is challenging the freedom to gather the news. The bureau chief for the Associated Press in Washington, Sally Buzbee, enumerated eight ways Obama's "most transparent administration in history" is anything but. While Obama gave lip service to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, at least George W. Bush released information on the hunger strikes and assaults on prison guards. That information is classified secret, according to the Obama administration. And Obama's merry war against ISIL sees little coverage, as journalists can't cover the airstrikes from the air bases launching them. More disturbingly, the Obama administration has sought to erode the Freedom of Information Act, the law that allows private citizens access to government documents. Judicial Watch used this act to peer into the inner workings of the IRS after the Tea Party scandal.
Such stonewalling only benefits the crooked in power. As Obama himself once said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
In 1996, The Patriot Post -- then called The Federalist -- started to cut through the political doublespeak and provide news analysis on the Internet through the lens of Essential Liberty. We were one of the first organizations to use this new medium, and now, a publication would be foolish not to spread its work online.
Perhaps the Watergate scandal would have played out differently in the Internet age. Maybe it wouldn't have taken two journalists from the premier publication of the day, but rather a blogger armed with only a laptop could light brushfires of freedom with his or her words. One thing is certain -- the Leftmedia has lost its monopoly, and that's something to celebrate.
Federal Fiscal Policy Is Ruining State Budgets, Too
The Cato Institute’s 12th biennial fiscal report card on the governors is a thorough evaluation of major budget issues facing the states. One of its best features is grading governors A-F based mostly on their taxing and spending in the last two years.
Four governors, all Republicans, earned "A’s": North Carolina’s Pat McCrory, Kansas' Sam Brownback, Maine’s Paul LePage and Indiana’s Mike Pence. Meanwhile, eight Democrat governors received an “F,” including our favorite, California's Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown.
Recent economic growth has taken pressure off state budgets for now, but the future poses extremely challenging problems states ignore to everyone's peril. These include unfunded liabilities due to underfunded public employees pensions, the "Affordable" Care Act -- an airborne, economic Ebola -- and, worst of all, Medicaid.
Reforms to the pension systems must begin immediately. Fortunately, some states have begun doing so, but “some” isn't enough. The underfunding of most states’ systems remains an urgent problem -- Illinois’ shortfall is a whopping 60%. We've already seen cities going bankrupt over public pensions. A few states may be next.
More Baby Boomers file for Medicare everyday, and they make up the largest demographic group in the nation. Trillions of dollars will be spent as they age, and with people living longer, the outlook is worrisome to say the least. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the last politician who made a serious attempt to slightly reform Medicare in 1995. Democrat demagogues and their Leftmedia lapdogs, as well as the AARP, crucified him, and the Left succeeded in heading off reform.
Democrats assured the nation in 1965 that 30 years after its inception Medicare Part A would cost only $10 billion. In 1995, it cost $165 billion. It must be reformed, or it will simply collapse. And we're reasonably sure the Left will blame Republicans for that, too.
Far worse than Medicare, though, is Medicaid, another gift to us from Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." Medicaid pays for health care and long-term care for 66 million people, and it's the largest component of state budgets, accounting for 24% of total spending.
After years of rapid expansion, Medicaid was expanded even further by ObamaCare. Individual states can choose whether or not to implement the expanded coverage, but Congress bribed most by paying 100% of the costs of expansion through 2016 -- aid that declines annually afterwards. That rewards politicians now for decisions that won't be ruinous for years after they can be held accountable.
ObamaCare will put a huge burden on the states. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates Medicaid expansion under the ACA will cost the federal government $792 billion and states $46 billion over the next 10 years. Congress is almost certain to slash the federal share because of federal deficits. As the population ages, states’ Medicaid spending will rise inexorably. The entitlement's large and powerful constituency will demand its benefits. Ultimately, the choice will become funding Medicaid as it's currently designed, or making changes so that other bills demanding attention, such as the pensions, can be paid, even if only partially.
As we approach the election that might return the Senate to Republicans, we can only pray they demonstrate the courage needed to stop this runaway freight train. Unfortunately, the last Republican majority Congress was an example of political cowardice and hypocrisy. But, as the poet says, “Hope springs eternal within the human breast.” Conservatives must work to make that hope a reality.
OPINION IN BRIEF
American educator Francis W. Parker (1838-1902): "The end and aim of all education is the development of character."
Columnist Scott Powell: "Washington’s current trajectory of regulatory and monetary policies has crimped economic growth and widened the gap between rich and poor. While hidden, the costs of federal government regulations are now estimated at about $1.9 trillion annually -- more than 11% of GDP and more than 50% of federal government spending. Which is to say that the real cost of the U.S. federal government is half again as much of the $3.6 trillion it actually spends, or almost a third of the nation’s $17 trillion GDP. ... The enormous hidden costs of regulation have been studied by John W. Dawson and John J. Seater in the Journal of Economic Growth. Their examination of the escalation of regulations, as documented in Federal Register since 1949, suggests that economic growth in the U.S. may have been reduced by as much as 2% annually. Without that drag, the U.S. could be producing over $50 trillion in goods and services instead of its current $17 trillion, and average household monthly income could be four to six times its current $4,400."
Comment | Share
Economist Walter E. Williams: "There are economists ... who suggest that the law of demand applies to everything except labor prices (wages) of low-skilled workers. ... During the 1940s and ‘50s, there were very few self-serve gasoline stations. There were also theater ushers to show patrons to their seats. In 1900, 41 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in agriculture. Now most gas stations are self-serve. Theater ushers disappeared. And only 2 percent of today’s labor force works in agricultural jobs. There are many other examples of buyers of labor services seeking and ultimately finding substitutes when labor prices rise. It’s economic malpractice for economists to suggest that they don’t."
Comedian Conan O'Brien: "Over the weekend President Obama told Americans not to panic about Ebola. Then when asked about the Democrats' chances in the upcoming midterm elections, Obama said, 'Man, that Ebola sure is scary.'"
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
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.
Race Card: Democrats Go Ugly to Boost Black Turnout
10/22/2014 1:17:00 PM - Guy Benson
Democrats are losing -- and they know it -- so things are getting awfully ugly out there. A New York Times story over the weekend previewed the onslaught of overt political race-baiting that has begun to sweep across the country. Entitled, "Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate," the piece describes the party's desperate measures:
The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls. “African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.” Mr. Belcher’s assessment points to an urgent imperative for Democrats: To keep Republicans from taking control of the Senate, as many are predicting, they need black voters in at least four key states. Yet the one politician guaranteed to generate enthusiasm among African Americans is the same man many Democratic candidates want to avoid: Mr. Obama.
Bring Obama to town on your behalf, and you might attract more black voters to the polls; but you'll also associate yourself with a deeply unpopular president, and alienate voters who aren't aligned with Obama's most unflinchingly loyal voting bloc. Quite a dilemma. Solution? Resort to grotesque racial attacks to scare black voters. In Texas, Wendy Davis is pretending that Greg Abbott might oppose interracial marriage, which would be disgusting enough even he weren't...in an interracial marriage himself. In North Carolina, a pro-Hagan group plastered churchgoers' cars with fliers warning that a Republican Senate would mean the impeachment of Barack Obama, using imagery of a lynching as a backdrop. Beneath contempt. And now the Democratic Party of Georgia (not an outside group, mind you, the official party) is seeking to spur turnout among African-Americans with fliers invoking the racially-charged shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. In addition to the fear-mongering content, it makes naked appeals to 'race loyalty' in the voting booth:
Vote your skin color (*cough* Democrat *cough*) unless, of course, you want more unarmed black teenagers shot to death and "left in a pool of blood in the street." Georgia Democrats' chairman has defended the flier, arguing that it's really all about job training and education, or something:
"It’s about opportunity. Are you going to be in situations more like that? I mean, that’s when you don’t have people having the opportunity for jobs or to participate in their community and the opportunity to grow. When you have communities like that that are stagnant — that’s what we’re getting to in Georgia — and when you offer people the HOPE grant to get retrained, or the fundamentals in education so we can get our dropout rate down. That very much of what that climate is, is what we’re trying to change here.”
Oh, it's "about opportunity," alright. Just not the kind he's talking about. Extra points for name-checking something called a HOPE grant in the context of justifying undisguised race-baiting. Incidentally, Democrats' Ferguson linkage comes as Michael Brown's official autopsy appears to corroborate the officer's account of the shooting -- even as it may not necessarily be exculpatory beyond the initial struggle and shots. The newly-released evidence also calls into doubt the oft-repeated incantation that Brown was shot in the back, with his hands in the air. But these details are 100 percent irrelevant as far as Democrats' political purposes are concerned. Meanwhile, Freudian projection is on full display, as noted by Allahpundit. Obama's running around accusing the GOP of 'peddling fear' while he and his party are sowing fright on every available front -- from Ferguson, to lynchings, to interracial marriage, to birth control, to secretive billionaires, to domestic abuse, to the end of civilization. I'll leave you with a letter to the editor penned by an African-American gentleman in North Carolina who is fed up with Democrats' tactics:
I am a 59-year-old African American man, born and raised in Jacksonville, and now living with my family in New Bern. I am insulted by the arrogance of the Democratic candidates during this election because they talk to us through their advertisements as if we are stupid...I was shocked to hear the radio commercial that featured a couple of ladies suggesting the Republicans were trying to take away the rights of African Americans to vote. The voter ID initiative,(if that’s what they’re referring to) is to preserve the integrity of the vote, and a photo ID can be acquired for free through the North Carolina DMV...These things do not invoke trust within me or many of my friends for the current Obama administration. The Democrats are spending an awful lot of money on negative ads designed to discredit Republicans. Why would anyone choose that kind of strategy over one that highlights their own accomplishments? Thank you for allowing me to voice this opinion.
Well said. Democrats ferociously oppose voter ID laws -- which are overwhelmingly popular with the public -- because, frankly, the party machine doesn't have a problem with voter fraud, which they insist isa "myth" (something I've addressed here and here). One man's fraud is another's "putting votes to good use:"
The Hunter Biden Chronicles
10/22/2014 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
Everything you need to know about Beltway nepotism, corporate cronyism and corruption can be found in the biography of Robert Hunter Biden. Where are the Occupy Wall Street rabble-rousers and enemies of elitist privilege when you need them? Straining their neck muscles to look the other way.
The youngest son of Vice President Joe Biden made news last week after The Wall Street Journal revealed he had been booted from the Navy Reserve for cocaine use. His drug abuse was certainly no surprise to the Navy, which issued him a waiver for a previous drug offense before commissioning him as a public affairs officer at the age of 43. The Navy also bent over backward a second time with an age waiver so he could secure the cushy part-time job.
Papa Biden loves to tout his middle-class, "Average Joe" credentials. But rest assured, if his son had been "Hunter Smith" or "Hunter Jones" or "Hunter Brown," the Navy's extraordinary dispensations would be all but unattainable. Oh, and if he had been "Hunter Palin," The New York Times would be on its 50th front-page investigative report by now.
Despite the disgraceful ejection from our military, Hunter's Connecticut law license won't be subject to automatic review. Because, well, Biden .
Biden's bennies are not just one-offs. Skating by, flouting rules and extracting favors are the story of Hunter's life.
Hunter's first job, acquired after Joe Biden won his 1996 Senate re-election bid in Delaware, was with MBNA. That's the credit card conglomerate and top campaign finance donor that forked over nearly $63,000 in bundled primary and general contributions from its employees to then Sen. Biden. As I've reported previously, Daddy Biden secured his custom-built, multimillion-dollar house in Delaware's ritziest Chateau Country neighborhood with the help of a leading MBNA corporate executive. Average Joe went on to carry legislative water for MBNA in the Senate for years.
Hunter zoomed up to senior vice president by early 1998 and then scored a plum position in the Clinton administration's Commerce Department, specializing in "electronic commerce" before returning to MBNA three years later as a high-priced "consultant." While he collected those "consulting" (translation: nepotistic access-trading) fees, Hunter became a "founding partner" in the lobbying firm of Oldaker, Biden and Belair in 2002.
William Oldaker was Papa Biden's former fundraiser, campaign treasurer and general counsel -- a Beltway barnacle whose Democratic machine days dated back to Teddy Kennedy's 1980 presidential bid. Under Oldaker's tutelage, Hunter lobbied for drug companies, universities and other deep-pocketed clients to the tune of nearly $4 million billed to the company by 2007.
Coincidentally, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama personally requested and secured cozy taxpayer-subsidized earmarks for several of Hunter's clients.
Hunter got himself appointed to multiple corporate board positions, including a directorship with Eudora Global. It's an investment firm founded by one Jeffrey Cooper, head of one of the biggest asbestos-litigation firms in the country. SimmonsCooper, based in Madison County, Ill., donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Biden the Elder's various political campaigns over the past decade -- all while the firm poured $6.5 million into lobbying against a key tort-reform bill, which former Sen. Biden worked hard to defeat. Cooper also contributed to the Delaware attorney-general campaign of Hunter's older brother, Beau, and paid Beau for legal work on lucrative asbestos-litigation cases.
Hunter also was previously a top official at Paradigm Global Advisors, a hedge fund holding company founded with Vice President Biden's brother, James, and marketed by convicted finance fraudster Allen Stanford. As Paradigm chairman, Hunter oversaw half a billion dollars of client money invested in hedge funds while remaining a lobbyist at Oldaker, Biden and Belair. Cooper chipped in $2 million for the ill-fated venture, which went bust amid nasty fraud lawsuits.
Continually failing upward, Hunter snagged a seat on the board of directors of taxpayer-subsidized, stimulus-inflated Amtrak, where he pretended not to be a lobbyist, but rather an "effective advocate" for the government railroad system serving the 1 percenters' D.C.-NYC corridor.
So, where does a coke-abusing influence peddler go after raking in gobs of Daddy-enabled dough and abusing the U.S. Navy's ill-considered generosity? Back to Cronyland! Hunter joined Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings -- owned by a powerful Russian government sympathizer who fled to Russia in February -- this spring. The hypocritical lobbyist-bashers at the White House deny he will be lobbying and deny any conflict of interest.
Meanwhile, Just Like You Joe was whipping up class envy in South Carolina last week. "Corporate profits have soared," he railed, thanks to "these guys running hedge funds in New York," who are to blame for "income inequality." You know, like his son and brother and their Beltway back-scratching patrons.
The Bidens: They're not like us.
Walter E. Williams
10/22/2014 12:01:00 AM - Walter E. Williams
So as to give some perspective, I'm going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists.
Suppose the prices of ladies jewelry rose by 100 percent. What would you predict would happen to sales? What about a 25 or 50 percent price increase? I'm going to guess that the average person would predict that sales would fall.
Would you make the same prediction about auto sales if cars' prices rose by 100 percent or 25 or 50 percent? Suppose that you're the CEO of General Motors and your sales manager tells you the company could increase auto sales by advertising a 100 percent or 50 percent price increase. I'm guessing that you'd fire the sales manager for both lunacy and incompetency.
Let's try one more. What would you predict would happen to housing sales if prices rose by 50 percent? I'm guessing you'd predict a decline in sales. You say, "OK, Williams, you're really trying our patience with these obvious questions. What's your point?"
It turns out that there's a law in economics known as the first fundamental law of demand, to which there are no known real-world exceptions. The law states that the higher the price of something the less people will take of it and vice versa. Another way of stating this very simple law is: There exists a price whereby people can be induced to take more of something, and there exists a price whereby people will take less of something.
Some people suggest that if the price of something is raised, buyers will take more or the same amount. That's silly because there'd be no limit to the price that sellers would charge. For example, if a grocer knew he would sell more -- or the same amount of -- milk at $8 a gallon than at $4 a gallon, why in the world would he sell it at $4? Then the question becomes: Why would he sell it at $8 if people would buy the same amount at a higher price?
There are economists, most notably Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who suggest that the law of demand applies to everything except labor prices (wages) of low-skilled workers. Krugman says that paying fast-food workers $15 an hour wouldn't cause big companies such as McDonald's to cut jobs. In other words, Krugman argues that raising the minimum wage doesn't change employer behavior.
Before we address Krugman's fallacious argument, think about this: One of Galileo's laws says the influence of gravity on a falling body in a vacuum is to cause it to accelerate at a rate of 32 feet per second per second. That applies to a falling rock, steel ball or feather. What would you think of the reasoning capacity of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who'd argue that because human beings are not rocks, steel balls or feathers, Galileo's law of falling bodies doesn't apply to them?
Krugman says that most minimum-wage workers are employed in what he calls non-tradable industries -- industries that can't move to China. He says that there are few mechanization opportunities where minimum-wage workers are employed -- for example, fast-food restaurants, hotels, etc. That being the case, he contends, seeing as there aren't good substitutes for minimum-wage workers, they won't suffer unemployment from increases in the minimum wage. In other words, the law of demand doesn't apply to them.
Let's look at some of the history of some of Krugman's non-tradable industries. During the 1940s and '50s, there were very few self-serve gasoline stations. There were also theater ushers to show patrons to their seats. In 1900, 41 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in agriculture. Now most gas stations are self-serve. Theater ushers disappeared. And only 2 percent of today's labor force works in agricultural jobs. There are many other examples of buyers of labor services seeking and ultimately finding substitutes when labor prices rise. It's economic malpractice for economists to suggest that they don't.
H.W. Bush to Michelle Nunn: Stop Using My Photo in Your Ad
Sarah Jean Seman
10/21/2014 8:00:00 PM - Sarah Jean Seman
George H.W. Bush is anything but elated over his recent appearance in an ad produced by Democrat and Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn. Nunn’s goal was to seem more bipartisan by showcasing her time as CEO of Bush’s nonprofit Points of Light foundation, instead her disregard for the president’s wishes has more aptly showcased her disrespect.
"Throughout my career I've been able to work with Republican and Democrats," Nunn claimed after a slow zoom of a picture of her with Bush senior appeared across the screen.
Nunn’s background in the nonprofit sector led her to work for the Bush’s Points of Light foundation in 2007. When she announced her intentions to run for the U.S. Senate, the foundation granted her a leave of absence.
According to Bush’s spokesperson Jim McGrath, the former president explicitly stated he did not want to be involved in Nunn’s Democratic campaign:
Michelle and her team have been clearly, repeatedly and consistently told that President Bush did not want them to use his photo as part of this campaign. Apparently, the Nunn team feels they can repeatedly disregard the former president's wishes, which is very disappointing because it's so disrespectful.
Bush has, on the other hand, come out in support of Nunn’s challenger, Republican David Perdue, who is leading by only a slim margin in recent polls.
Barbara and I enjoyed meeting David Perdue, a good man with an impressive background. I am proud to endorse him in the US Senate race in GA.
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) September 15, 2014
The Good News About Offshore Oil Rigs
10/22/2014 12:01:00 AM - Jonah Goldberg
Never let it be said that Mother Nature doesn't appreciate irony. A new study led by researchers at Occidental College and the University of California at Santa Barbara has found that the oil platforms dotting the California coast are fantastic for sea life.
In a 15-year study, researchers found that the ecosystems that build up around artificial rigs host 1,000 percent more fish and other sea life than natural habitats such as reefs and estuaries. The California rigs outstripped even famously rich ecosystems such as the coral reefs of French Polynesia.
Now, as a big fan of artificial reefs, I think this is exciting news. There are many who oppose the idea of improving on God's -- or, if you prefer, Gaia's -- design. This strikes me as crazy, given the fact that virtually all of the food we eat and the clothes we wear are the products of human innovation. When humans ran out of gazelles or bison to hunt, they had the great idea of catching a few and raising a renewable supply. When picking wild seeds and berries no longer fed the tribe, it dawned on humans to plant their own.
Fish pose a special problem, however, because many species are difficult to farm. And even when fish are adaptable to aquaculture, there are special risks and costs involved. As a result, the oceans are still being overfished, thanks in no small part to the tragedy of the commons. (Since no one owns the ocean, fishing fleets often grab as much as they can.)
According to Jeremy Claisse, the lead author of the study, the reason rigs are particularly beneficial stems from the fact they're so tall. A skyscraper from seafloor to surface apparently lends itself to a very rich ecosystem. The fact that it's an oil rig is, of course, irrelevant.
Claisse says in interviews that he hopes policymakers will take his findings into account when approving renewable energy sources such as ocean-based wind farms. "These results show the potential importance of man-made structures in enhancing natural habitats," he told New Scientist, "and demonstrate that leaving them in place after use, if done right, can have benefits for the marine environment."
He's right. I would love to see stand-alone underwater skyscrapers anywhere they might work, but especially along the African coastline, where fishing is essential and overfishing a major problem.
But let's get back to the ironic part. In 1992, world leaders convened in Rio de Janeiro to discuss three issues: climate change, desertification and biodiversity. Since then, the world has dedicated untold billions of dollars to fighting climate change. Even the rosiest accounts of what has been accomplished so far concede that little progress has been made in terms of forestalling the alleged climate apocalypse a century or so from now.
However, the effort has other achievements under its belt. The global war on carbon has allowed politicians, activists and voters to congratulate themselves about their concern for the environment, while at the same time distracting them from the other goal of that Earth Summit: saving endangered species.
If only lobbyists and subsidy-grubbing corporations could make as much money fighting the eradication of the African elephant, the Asian tiger or countless other creatures.
Since the first Earth Day in 1970, the global wildlife population has been cut in half, according to the World Wildlife Fund. While there are many heroic organizations dedicated to saving endangered species, who can dispute that fossil fuel phobia dominates the conversation and sucks up most of the passion?
The environmental jihad against oil predates hysteria about global warming by decades. Oil was an enemy back when people were still fretting over the looming ice age. Indeed, many say it began with the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969.
I don't know if the oil rigs off the Santa Barbara coast today have saved any endangered species, but I do know that the wind and solar farms of the California desert are killing and threatening birds -- including endangered ones -- at an alarming rate (and not just birds). Not even the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act can stand in the way of the obsession with climate change.
What good will a cooler planet do us if we're the only ones around to enjoy it?