"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency.   It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.    The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America.   Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.  The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool.   It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president." Author Unknown

 


 

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The Patriot Post

Thursday’s Daily Digest

May 28, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[O]f those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1, 1787

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

EPA Expands Authority Over America’s Waterways1

More than a year after initially proposing it, and despite efforts by congressional Republicans to block such a move, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Crops of Engineers, citing authority under the Clean Water Act, enacted a new rule that gives the federal government additional control over waterways. “The Obama administration issued a rule on Wednesday putting more small bodies of water and wetlands under federal protection to ensure clean drinking supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reports, a power grab that “is estimated to put about 3% more waterways throughout the U.S. under new federal jurisdiction.” Obama officials say they’re simply maximizing existing legal authority. According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “This rule is about clarification, and in fact, we’re adding exclusions for features like artificial lakes and ponds, water-filled depressions from constructions and grass swales.” However, the Journal adds, “The rule seeks to require those kinds of permits for only those waterways that have physical features of flowing water.”

And that’s exactly the concern, explains Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw: “The physical feature of flowing water? Depending on the conditions, the slope of the land and how much it rains on any given day, that could apply to pretty much anything.” Moreover, “People who own property adjacent to or including swampy areas with poor drainage can (and already have) run afoul of the feds if they want to improve the drainage to dry out a section for construction or just a better looking lawn.” As Mark Alexander wrote2 last month, Democrats, led by the powerful EPA, leverage environmental concerns to conceal their real agenda — the constriction of free enterprise. Their objective is to incrementally implement centralized economic control through regulatory requirements justified by ever-expanding “mandates.” In implementing its newest rule — “one of nearly 10 that the EPA is slated to complete in coming months,” the Journal notes — the agency is essentially saying, “Trust us.” That’s a dangerous thing to oblige when Liberty is at stake.

Krauthammer: How Amnesty Smackdown Hurts Republicans3

Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer offered his two cents on Tuesday’s decision4 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to keep a temporary injunction in place blocking executive amnesty. According to Krauthammer, “For the Republicans, it’s a problem.” Here’s why: “It’s like the case going forward on ObamaCare and the thing about the exchanges and the subsidies. The problem is what happens if you win? Because if you win then the issue gets thrown back into the political arena.” He argues, “If somehow this would be completely tossed out, then the question will be, ‘what’s your plan on immigration reform,’ if anything. I think up until now, you can say, ‘well it’s in the hands of the courts.’ But at a certain point it’s not going to be and you’re going to have to answer.” Like or not, he’s right. Immigration is a sour topic, but taking Barack Obama’s diktats to court isn’t enough. Lest they want to commit political suicide, conservatives will eventually have to rally around viable solutions to the illegal immigration problem and present them in an articulate manner.

Santorum Announces Second Attempt at Presidency 5

Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania who appealed to conservative evangelical voters during the 2012 presidential election, announced Wednesday he will once again seek the GOP nomination for the White House. Traditionally known for his value-voter stance on same-sex marriage and abortion, Santorum may try to broaden his appeal this time around. On May 21, Santorum told the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, “We are not going be successful unless we have a message that talks to the people who are struggling to rise.” But while he came second place to Mitt Romney four years ago, he faces longer odds this time around. Statistics blog FiveThirtyEight6 says Santorum is running in a more crowded field this time around. This places him around 10th place in the popularity polls, right around the cutoff of the number of candidates Fox News and CNN7 says they will invite to preliminary presidential debates. In other words, Santorum does not only have to fight about issues, he’s running an underdog fight that may be felled by the arbitrary rules created by a media company.

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Your Viewing Guide to Sunday’s Showdown Over the Patriot Act11

By Allyne Caan

In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, passing the Patriot Act seemed the inarguably patriotic thing to do. Nearly 14 years later, however, the lines of patriotism are less clearly drawn. Up for reauthorization, the act is facing staunch opposition — and creating strange bedfellows — in the wake of increasing concerns over government spying on the American people.

Last week, the House, by a vote of 338-88, passed not a reauthorization of the full Patriot Act but the equally patriotic sounding USA Freedom Act, which would continue the Patriot Act’s surveillance powers but end specific practices including the NSA’s data collection program (recently deemed illegal12 by a federal court), roving wiretaps and so-called lone-wolf surveillance tactics. Among other things, the USA Freedom Act would move the storage of telephone data from the federal government to telecommunications companies.

Between the House and president, however, the Senate stands. With 60 votes needed, the upper chamber came up short of passing the USA Freedom Act, producing just 57 votes before heading home for Memorial Day. At issue are competing views of liberty within the Senate.

Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has long opposed the Patriot Act and would shed not a tear at its demise. He also believes the USA Freedom Act needs amending to ensure stronger protections for Americans against the government.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), on the other hand, believes the Patriot Act’s powers are requisite to security and had pushed for reauthorization of the act at best, a temporary extension at worst. He failed on both counts. Somewhere in the middle are senators who would keep much of the act but allow certain portions of it to expire.

Now, the Senate is set to reconvene this Sunday for a rare, holiday-recess vote in advance of the Patriot Act’s midnight expiration date May 31. Due to the political dance, the Senate is faced with the option of either passing the USA Freedom Act exactly as delivered by the House or allowing all provisions of the Patriot Act to expire, as the House is not slated to reconvene until Monday, several hours after the clock strikes midnight.

The FBI, for its part, has argued13 that the powers granted by the Patriot Act are invaluable for fighting terrorism. FBI Director James Comey pointed particularly to roving wiretaps, pursuing lone-wolf threats and provisions that allow the FBI to get court orders to track hotel and travel records as part of terrorism investigations. Attorney General Loretta Lynch echoed Comey, opposing the expiration of “vital and uncontroversial tools we use to combat terrorism and crime.” Of course, the meaning of “uncontroversial” is quite controversial.

For his part, Barack Obama is backing the House and urging the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act, stating14, “Make sure we don’t have on midnight Sunday night this task still undone, because it’s necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.” Please note: Obama’s sentiments apply only to government surveillance and not to border security.

Meanwhile, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest reassured the American people15 that the White House has no Plan B should Congress fail to extend parts of the Patriot Act. This is particularly comforting given executive action would be far worse, regardless of what the Senate and House agree or disagree upon.

Although the USA Freedom Act failed to meet the 60-vote muster the first time around, its prospects may be slightly better on Sunday. According to Politico16, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who voted “no” initially, has suggested he may back the bill; Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) missed the first vote but is being eyed as a possible “yes”; Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and John Boozman (R-AR) are also considered possible “yes” votes. And even McConnell admitted backing for the USA Freedom Act “makes it pretty challenging to extend the law as it is.”

In a world of increasing terror threats, it’s critical that the federal government fulfill its constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense.” However, it’s up to the American people to ensure this clause does not become the next “general welfare” clause, abused beyond recognition in the name of the public good. While security is critical, liberty is essential. We would do well to remember that fully ceding the latter has never guaranteed the former.

OPINION IN BRIEF

R. Emmett Tyrrell: “[F]rom Atlanta … comes a plan for alternative state funding of the school system that would provide widespread reform. … Glenn Delk wrote about the plan last week in The American Spectator. Here is the plan in a simplified form. The state legislature passes a law allowing families to establish an Education Savings Account for each child, placing up to $8,000 per student into a tax-free account. The money is there to use purely for educational purposes. Any funds left unspent in a year may be rolled over to the next year or for college. Additionally, the state applies for a waiver from the federal government so the state can apply the $1 billion it already gets to Education Savings Accounts of $10,000 each for the state’s poorest children. What is more, the state spends $8,000 per student from the $8 billion it has already set aside for students without regard for family income. Thus, the state could fund one million students without increasing funding. If you assume that the 150,000 students currently attending private schools would qualify, then 850,000 public school students would qualify. Assuming 100,000 of them use federal funds, and 850,000 public school students use state funds, that leaves 650,000 public school students to attend schools run by traditional school districts, with $8 billion in local property tax funding. … I think it is worth a try.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “When individuals and nations have once got in their heads the abstract concept of full-blown liberty, there is nothing like it in its uncontrollable strength.” —German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)

Non Compos Mentis: “I will say that there does seem to be a pattern. Democratic presidents — and there’s two in particular I’m thinking about — over the last 35 years seem to inherit a mess of problems. Have you noticed that? So then they have to dig us out of the ditches they find themselves in and put us back on the right track. And of course, I’m talking about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. … Are we going to hand over our country once again to the people and policies that crashed our economy before and that will shred the progress that we’ve made?” —Hillary Clinton

Annals of the absurd: “Do you think the #TexasFlooding is related to climate control or God’s rebuke?” —Al Sharpton

Village Idiot: “Last weekend, more than 1.2 million Irish voters took a courageous stand for love and family when they overwhelmingly chose marriage equality. … And here in the United States, in just the past three years we’ve gone from six states recognizing marriage equality to 37 states, comprising 224 million Americans.” —Joe Biden (The overwhelming majority of those states were forced by the courts to recognize same-sex marriage.)


Ramos Can Stay, But Matt Lauer Has to Go

Ann Coulter

5/27/2015 6:00:00 PM - Ann Coulter

I finally found a Mexican willing to do a job no American will do! I have an explosive book on the No. 1 issue in the country coming out next week, I've already written 10 New York Times best-sellers -- I'd be on a postage stamp if I were a liberal -- but can't get an interview on ABC, NBC or CBS.

Only Mexican-born Jorge Ramos would interview me on his Fusion network. Yay, Jorge!

After a spellbinding interview, Ramos ended by asking this excellent question -- which I had suggested myself for all authors, most of whom write very boring books, harming the marketability of my own books: "Is there anything in your book that isn't already generally known?"

My soon-to-be-released book, "Adios, America! The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole," is jam-packed with facts you didn't already know. Don't even think of using it as a coaster, like those other books.

These are just a few:

-- Teddy Kennedy's 1965 Immigration Act was expressly designed to change the demographics of our country to be poorer and more inclined to vote Democratic.

-- It worked! Post-1970 immigrants vote 8-2 for the Democrats.

-- Citing this dramatic shift in the Democratic Party's fortunes, Democratic consultant Patrick Reddy called the 1965 Immigration Act "the Kennedy family's greatest gift to the Democratic Party."

-- Immigrants admitted before 1970 made more money, bought more houses and were more educated than Americans. The post-Kennedy immigrants are astronomically less-educated, poorer and more likely to be on welfare than the native population.

-- With no welfare state to support them, about a third of pre-1965 Act immigrants returned to the places they came from. British and Jewish immigrants were the least likely to go home -- less than 10 percent did.

-- Although America is admitting more immigrants, they are coming from fewer countries than they did before 1970. On liberals' own terms, the country is becoming less "diverse," but a lot poorer and a lot more Latin.

-- America has already taken in one-fourth of Mexico's entire population.

-- In 1970, there were almost no Nigerian immigrants in the United States. Our country is now home to more Nigerians than any country in the world except Nigeria.

-- America takes more immigrants from Nigeria than from England.

-- The government refuses to tell us how many prisoners in the United States are immigrants. That information is not available anywhere. But the ancillary facts suggest that the number is astronomical.

-- There are more foreign inmates in New York state prisons from Mexico than from the entire continent of Europe.

-- Hispanics are less likely to be in the military than either whites or blacks, and a majority of Hispanic troops are women. On the other hand, Hispanics are overrepresented in U.S. Prisons.

-- In Denmark, actual Danes come in tenth in criminals' nationality, after Moroccans, Lebanese, Yugoslavians, Somalis, Iranians, Pakistanis, Turks, Iraqis and Vietnamese.

-- At least 15 percent of all births in Peru and Argentina are to girls between the ages of 10 and 15. In the U.S., only 2 percent of births are to girls that young, and those are mostly Hispanics, who are seven times more likely to give birth at that age than white girls are.

-- Sex with girls as young as 12 years old is legal in 31 of the 32 states of Mexico.

-- In all of Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel combined, there have been eight reported births to girls aged 10 or younger. Seven of the eight were impregnated by immigrants.

-- In some areas of America, law enforcement authorities have given up on prosecuting statutory rape cases against Mexican men in their 30s who impregnate 12- and 13-year-old girls, after repeatedly encountering parents who view their little girls' pregnancies as a "blessing."

-- The same North Carolina newspapers that gave flood-the-zone coverage to a rape that never happened at a Duke lacrosse party completely ignore real rapes happening right under their noses, being committed against children by immigrants providing cheap labor to the state's farming and meat-packing industries.

-- Since 2004, Mexicans have beheaded at least a half-dozen people in the United States.

-- Mexican drug cartels -- not ISIS -- pioneered the practice of posting videotaped beheadings online.

-- An alleged "ISIS" beheading video making the rounds in 2014 was actually a Mexican beheading video from 2010.

-- Post-1970 immigrants have re-introduced slavery to America. Indian immigrant Lakireddy Bali Reddy, for example, used the H1-B visa program, allegedly for "high-tech workers," to bring in 12-year-old girls he had bought from their parents for sex.

-- The above story was missed by the San Francisco Chronicle. It was broken by a high school journalism class.

-- The ACLU took Reddy's side.

-- We're still letting in Hmong immigrants as a reward for their help with the ill-fated Vietnam War, which ended 40 years ago.

-- Between 2000 and 2005, nearly 100 Hmong men were charged with rape or forced prostitution of girls in Minneapolis-St Paul, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The vast majority of the victims were 15 years old or younger. A quarter of the victims were not Hmong.

-- Proponents of the 1965 immigration bill swore up and down that it would not alter this country's demographic mix. In fact, Kennedy's immigration policy has brought about the greatest demographic shift of any nation in world history.

-- In 1980, Reagan won the biggest electoral landslide in history against an incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. Without the last 40 years of immigration, in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won a bigger landslide than Reagan did. He got more of the "Reagan coalition" than Reagan did.

-- If Romney had won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, he still would have lost. If he'd gotten just 4 percent more of the white vote, he would have won.

Adios, America! In bookstores next Monday, June 1.


Knocking On War's Door

Victor Davis Hanson

5/28/2015 12:01:00 AM - Victor Davis Hanson

For a time, reset, concessions and appeasement work to delay wars. But finally, nations wake up, grasp their blunders, rearm and face down enemies.

That gets dangerous. The shocked aggressors cannot quite believe that their targets are suddenly serious and willing to punch back. Usually, the bullies foolishly press aggression, and war breaks out.

It was insane of Nazi Germany and its Axis partners to even imagine that they could defeat the Allied trio of Imperial Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States.

But why not try?

Hitler figured that for a decade America had been unarmed and isolationist. Britain repeatedly had appeased the Third Reich. The Soviets initially collaborated with Hitler.

Hitler met no opposition after militarizing the Rhineland. He annexed Austria with impunity. He gobbled up Czechoslovakia without opposition.

Why shouldn't Hitler have been stunned in 1939 when exasperated Britain and France finally declared war over his invasion of distant Poland?

Six years of war and some 60 million dead followed, re-establishing what should have been the obvious fact that democracies would not quite commit suicide.

By 1979, the Jimmy Carter administration had drastically cut the defense budget. Carter promised that he would make human rights govern American foreign policy. It sounded great to Americans after Vietnam -- and even greater to America's enemies.

Then Iran imploded. The American embassy in Tehran was stormed. Diplomats were taken hostage. Radical Islamic terrorism spread throughout the Middle East. Communist insurrection followed throughout Central America. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. China went into Vietnam.

Dictators such as the Soviet Union's Leonid Brezhnev and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini assumed that Carter no longer was willing to protect the U.S. postwar order. Or perhaps they figured that the inexperienced American president was too weak to respond even had he wished to do so.

Then, Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in 1980 on the promise of restoring U.S. power. At first, both America's friends and enemies were aghast at Reagan's simplistic worldview that free markets were better than communism, that democracy was superior to dictatorship, and that in the ensuring struggle, the West would win and the rest would lose.

Foreign media damned Reagan as a warmonger for beefing up the U.S. defense budget, reassuring America's allies and going after terrorists with military force.

From 1981 to 1983, Reagan was caricatured even at home as a cowboy -- not the statesman later to be known for restoring U.S. prestige and global stability, and for helping to bring down Soviet imperial communism.

Barack Obama, like Carter, came into office promising a sharp break from past U.S foreign policy. The public was receptive after the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the recent financial meltdown on Wall Street.

Troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan on pre-announced deadlines. The post-surge quiet in Iraq fooled Obama into eagerly yanking out all U.S. peacekeepers.

A new outreach to radical Islam went to ridiculous lengths. The Muslim Brotherhood was invited to Obama's speech in Cairo that claimed the West owed cultural debts to Islam for everything from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.

Terms like radical Islam, jihad and Islamic terror were excised from the official American vocabulary and replaced by a host of silly euphemisms.

In symbolic tours, Obama offered apologies for past American behavior in the Middle East and Asia. He bowed to both theocratic sheiks and the Asian monarchs.

The defense budget was cut. Reset with Vladimir Putin's Russia assumed that the Bush administration, not Putin's prior aggression in Georgia and threats to the Crimea, had caused the estrangement between Moscow and Washington.

Predictable chaos followed as the U.S. became an observer abroad. The Islamic State appeared to fill the vacuum in Iraq. Syria imploded. So did most of North Africa. Iran sent agents, surrogates and special forces into Iraq, Syria and Yemen, even as it pressed on to get a bomb.

China stepped up its violations of the waters and airspace of America's traditional Asian allies. Putin did the same in Eastern and Northern Europe.

By 2015, America's enemies had created chaos and defined it as the new normal.

The next president will face a terrible dilemma. To restore order, he or she will have to convince our allies that we are recommitted to their security.

Any red lines issued will have to be enforced. Aggressors such as Russia, China, Iran and the Islamic State will have to be warned to cease and desist or face pushback from far stronger U.S.-led coalitions. Just as Reagan's return to normal U.S. foreign policy was considered radical after the Carter years, so too the next administration will be smeared as dangerously provocative after Obama's recession from the world stage.

The Obama foreign policy cannot continue much longer without provoking even more chaos or a large war. Yet correcting it will be nearly as dangerous.

Jumping off at the global tiger is dangerous, but climbing back on will seem riskier.


The Value of Awe

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

5/28/2015 12:01:00 AM - Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Selfies, followers, likes and the fascination with celebrity anythings (chefs, decorators, stylists, authors, etc.) are just a few of the ways that today's society focuses attention on individuals. It's not enough to be a great chef -- it's better to be a celebrity chef. It's not enough to participate in an event -- it's better to snap a selfie of yourself at the event and then post it online for all to see.

This increasing focus on individuals can be seen to increase the potential for narcissism, which the online dictionary defines as "the inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity." Narcissists are focused on themselves and often cannot or simply choose not to empathize with others. Secure in their belief in their greatness, they tend to ignore others and others' needs. Theirs is a me, me, me world.

In this me, me, me world, there is little collective action or help for others.

A recent study published in "The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" by Paul K. Piff, Pia Dietze, Matthew Feinberg, Daniel M. Stancato and Dacher Keltner, "Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior," provides an antidote to our society's narcissistic focus.

Why is it important that we look beyond ourselves and help others? "Collaboration, cooperation, and coaction, requires a diminished emphasis on the self and its interests and a shift to attending to the larger entities one is a part of (e.g., small groups, social collectives, and humanity)," the authors report. "Enhanced prosocial tendencies -- inclinations to share, care, and assist -- further enable individuals to function more effectively within social collectives."

In other words, working together is beneficial.

If narcissistic behavior is predicated on an over-enhanced sense of self, then the question becomes, how does this focus shift from a large self to a small self? According to the study, "these effects will be driven by what we refer to as the 'small self' -- a relatively diminished sense of self (i.e., feeling one's being and goals to be less significant) vis-a-vis something deemed vaster than the individual," in other words, awe.

What the authors call awe, I think of as an understanding and recognition that there is something greater than myself, a reminder that, through God, we are all connected to one another; an understanding that the spark of divinity, the spark I see in others, is the same spark that resides in me. This connection of divinity within us all allows us to see both our uniqueness and our unimportance at the same time.

Growing up, I loved to sit outside on our porch during summer thunderstorms. Rather than being frightened, I looked on the lightning and thunder as God's voice saying, "I am vast; I am powerful, yet I am still here for you." It was a reminder to me that I was both small and a part of something vast, yet still important to God.

So what does an awe-filled experiment do to a person's behavior?

The research included an experiment to see if people act differently after an encounter with something bigger than themselves, literally. The students physically went into "a grove of Tasmanian eucalyptus trees with heights exceeding 200 feet; it is the tallest stand of hardwood trees in North America." Surrounded by towering trees, people do indeed act differently, the authors concluded.

"Awe arises in evanescent experiences. Looking up at the starry expanse of the night sky. Gazing out across the blue vastness of the ocean. Feeling amazed at the birth and development of a child. Protesting at a political rally or watching a favorite sports team live. Many of the experiences people cherish most are triggers of the emotion we focused on here -- awe. Our investigation indicates that awe, although often fleeting and hard to describe, serves a vital social function. By diminishing the emphasis on the individual self, awe may encourage people to forego strict self-interest to improve the welfare of others."

Maybe the takeaway here is to include moments of awe every day, not only for ourselves but also for those with whom we work, play and live. Not only will it remind us that we are just a small part of a larger, connected experience, but it will remind them, as well, and create a connection between our small selves and something larger.


The Costs of a $15 Minimum Wage

Steve Chapman

5/28/2015 12:01:00 AM - Steve Chapman

In the 1970s, when oil prices jumped, most liberals embraced a simple solution: price controls. It should be illegal, they thought, to sell oil or gasoline for more than a certain amount. Americans should be able to drive without being fleeced by oil companies and foreign governments.

The impulse was understandable. Gasoline is an essential commodity for most people. When the cost rises, it imposes a heavy burden on consumers, most of whom have few transportation options.

In 1971, in an attempt to tame inflation, Republican President Richard Nixon imposed controls on almost all prices. By 1974, he had lifted most of them. But those on gas remained. Under Democratic President Jimmy Carter, they led to widespread shortages and long lines at service stations -- and didn't keep prices from rising. But the controls lasted until his successor, Ronald Reagan, lifted them in 1981.

Liberals learned an unforgettable lesson: Price controls on gasoline don't work. In recent decades, when gas prices have soared, Democrats have shown no desire to repeat the lesson.

But they embrace a similar approach for another problem: low pay for many workers. Chicago decided last year to boost the minimum wage to $13 an hour by the middle of 2019. Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles have gone even higher, raising the floor to $15 an hour in the next few years, and other cities may follow suit. It's a price control on labor.

Their intentions are good. Full-time employment at the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour provides an income of just $14,500 a year. For an adult supporting one child, that's well below the poverty line of $15,930.

The problem is that a higher legal minimum wage is at odds with the prevailing supply of and demand for labor. If you set the minimum too high, you will get a shortage of jobs. Forbidding employers from paying $9 or $12 an hour means that many of their workers won't get $13 or $15 an hour. They will get zero per hour, because those jobs will disappear.

Some businesses will reduce staffing or hours. Some will scrub expansions they had planned. Some will install machines to handle tasks previously assigned to humans. Some will shut down.

Not all employers will take steps that will curb employment, but many will. Raising the minimum wage collides with one of the basic laws of economics: the higher the cost of something the lower the demand. In the employment realm, the effects may not be immediate, but they are inexorable.

An editorial in The New York Times wished away unwanted responses. It promised that the change will yield "savings from lower labor turnover and higher labor productivity." Higher pay can "be offset by modestly higher prices" and by "paying executives and shareholders less."

But if giving raises paid for itself, companies wouldn't need to be forced to do it. Raising prices means fewer customers will buy what these companies are selling, which reduces the number of employees they need. Executives and shareholders who get paid less can turn to companies that can pay more because they don't rely on low-wage labor.

Some of these consequences have already occurred in Seattle. One pizzeria owner, employing 12 people, told NPR her choice was to go back to working 60 to 80 hours a week or close. She's closing.

"Even Seattle's best-known chef, Tom Douglas, says he may have to close some of his 15 restaurants," it reported. If a famous restaurateur can't make it work, how will obscure ones fare?

Restaurants have other options besides shutting down. They can automate orders with modern technology. They can require diners to pick up their food at a counter instead of having it brought to them. They can use disposable plates and utensils. And if you worry about robots taking your job...

All of these changes reduce the need for employees. Maybe the higher pay to the workers who have jobs will make up, by some calculus, for the unemployment visited on the others. Maybe not. Either way, there's no escaping the tradeoff.

Back in the 1970s, people imagined that stations would supply plenty of gas even if we restrict what they could charge. Today, they imagine businesses will supply plenty of jobs even if we dictate what they must pay. But the laws of economics are not so easy to repeal.


Commander in Chief's Job is National Defense, Not Climate Change

Star Parker

5/27/2015 5:05:00 PM - Star Parker

A front-page headline in the Wall Street Journal screams out: "Islamic State's Gains Reveal New Prowess on the Battlefield."

The article discusses how the Islamic State recently captured Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in Iraq. The Islamic State victory, according to the report, involved the execution of a complex battle plan "that outwitted a greater force of Iraqi troops as well as the much lauded U.S.-trained special-operations force known as the Golden Division."

Flipping to the editorial page, an opinion piece discusses the increasing dominance of Russia, Iran and China in their parts of the world "as the U.S. retreats."

But what is keeping America's commander in chief up at night?

President Obama spent most of his recent address to the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy talking about climate change.

According to our president, climate change "constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security."

The president continued to say that the science regarding climate change is "indisputable."

In 2013, the president tweeted, "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, manmade and dangerous."

But this is false.

Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph and a senior fellow at Canada's Fraser Institute, and others have pointed out the dubious methodology used to arrive at the claim that 97 percent of scientists agree on climate change science. It's not even close to being accurate.

More representative is a 2012 survey done of the American Meteorological Society. McKitrick reported that less than 30 percent of AMS members participated, and of them, 52 percent said that "they think global warming over the 20th century has happened and is mostly manmade." In the same survey, 53 percent agreed that "there is conflict among AMS members on the question."

So why is our president misrepresenting the facts? And why is the president not focusing exclusively on the job the Constitution assigns to him: assuming the responsibilities of prudently deploying American military power to keep America safe, secure and strong around the world? And why is the president usurping the job of private citizens: assessing scientific data regarding market risks and deciding how private capital should be invested?

We have plenty of experience with what happens when politicians decide it's their business to invest our money.

Several years ago, the Obama administration, under the rationale of developing alternative energy sources, provided a $536 million loan, guaranteed by U.S.taxpayers, to a solar energy technology company called Solyndra.

The president himself went to the plant in California and praised the "incredible cutting-edge solar panels." In his remarks, he went on about the impossibility of fossil fuels continuing to provide our energy needs.

One year later, Solyndra declared bankruptcy, leaving U.S. taxpayers on the hook.

Meanwhile, since 2009, when the U.S. government provided the loan guarantee to Solyndra, U.S. petroleum production has increased by almost 170 percent as a result of new drilling technologies our president never dreamed of. The U.S. is now the largest petroleum producer in the world.

The bottom line: Science in the hands of private individuals who put their own capital at risk and whose survival depends on making good judgments and risk assessments produces the new and unforeseen and drives our economy upward.

Science in the hands of politicians who invest other people's money is a formula for failure and waste.

Why in the world would anyone think it is a good idea for a politician to determine what is good science and impose hundreds of billions of dollars in new burdens on American consumers based on speculation about what is going on with the climate?

Let private citizens make the call on this. And let the president do his job and build our military and properly use it to protect us around the world.


When Chaplains Can’t Discuss the Bible

Jerry Newcombe

5/27/2015 3:15:00 PM - Jerry Newcombe

I believe that America is kept safe by the military, which has had a spiritual shield held over it from before we were even a country---by the chaplains. But today chaplains are under enormous pressure to fully embrace political correctness.

Meet Lt. Commander Wes Modder, a chaplain in the U.S. Navy. About fifteen years ago, the Navy thought so highly of him that they used him in a video to recruit potential chaplains. He has ministered to sailors, Marines, and Navy Seals. Today, Chaplain Modder is fighting for his military career because he refused to bow the knee to political correctness.

Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, Vice President of Family Research Council, told me in a 2013 interview: “I talked to [chaplains] privately about the pressure that they are under. Many of them are under pressure to perform same sex marriages and most of the ones that I have talked to…when the time comes that they are told to do it…they’re going to refuse.”

Kelly Shackelford, the founder and director of Liberty Institute, fights for religious liberty in the courts and in the court of public opinion. His group fights against the anti-Christian legal organizations that try to strip away any Christian influence (including that of chaplains) from the public arena. He says such secularist groups are working “to really change our country to something it never was and I hope never will be.”

He adds, “They think that society would be better if religion was sort of relegated to people’s homes or their churches or synagogue but not brought out in public. Well, that has never been the approach in this country; that wasn’t the approach of the founders, that’s not what our Constitution says and hopefully we can continue to win these cases so that it doesn’t become what this country is about and how it’s based.”

The founders of America were very clear that God was important to the American cause. Our national charter, the Declaration of Independence, said our rights come from the Creator. They appealed their cause “to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions.” It also said the founders had a “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”

When George Washington, then Commander-in-Chief of the continental forces, first read the Declaration to his troops on July 9, 1776, he decreed that chaplains should be hired systematically throughout the military.

In his order, he declared, “The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger.” But today, we seem to be turning our back on God.

Lately, there is pressure against military chaplains to make their prayers more “inclusive.” Translation: Don’t pray in Jesus’ name.

Kelly Shackelford told me, “These attacks that we’re seeing are not usually against the Muslim faith, they’re not usually against the Buddhist faith. They’re not against the Jewish faith. They’re attacks against Christianity in particular.”

There is also pressure lately to accept modern views of sexuality, as opposed to traditional views taught in the Bible. The widespread acceptance of those novel views has wreaked havoc on society---ultimately causing the breakdown of the family, the rise of crime, runaway venereal diseases, fatherless homes, rampant divorce, untold misery, etc.

In the military, as in society, conflicts over standards of sexual morality are bound to lead to conflict.

As an example, Chaplain Wes Modder, has been relieved of his duties. Why? Because during private counseling sessions with some young sailors, he privately expressed his disagreement with pre-marital sex and homosexual practice, in accordance with the Bible and his sending denomination, the Assemblies of God.

The sailors complained to Chaplain Modder’s higher ups, who summarily relieved him of his duties threatening to kick him out of the Navy and cut off his pension---after 19 years of stellar military service.

Mike Berry, Liberty Institute’s Director of Military Affairs, said, “Knowing what I know about Chaplain Modder, reading his service record, seeing the awards he’s received, the decorations he’s received, the accolades, the fitness reports, and evaluations, the letters of recommendation---and to see these allegations and accusations that…the Navy is trying to use against him, I can’t comprehend how this is happening to this American hero.”

Wes Modder was shocked when he first got the news several months ago: “I feel betrayed. I feel dishonored for my 15 years, almost 20 total of my service to my country.”

Says Shackelford, whose legal group is defending Modder in this case: “The chaplains are under a lot of pressure to bow their knee to the government instead of to the proper One that they should be bowing their knee.”

 


The Patriot Post

Wednesday’s Daily Digest

May 27, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[H]onesty will be found on every experiment, to be the best and only true policy; let us then as a nation be just.” —George Washington, Circular letter to the States, 1783

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Obama Amnesty Suffers Another Stinging Rebuke1

The Obama administration’s legal woes continued on Tuesday after government lawyers failed to convince a federal appeals court to overturn a temporary injunction against executive amnesty issued by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen. In February, Hanen blocked2 the first phase of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program and reaffirmed his decision3 in April partly because government lawyers misled the court, granting work permits to 100,000 illegals before the executive action was temporarily blocked. Two of the three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — Jerry Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod — “found that the states had sufficient legal grounds to bring the lawsuit and that the administration had not shown that it would be harmed if the injunction remained in place and the programs were further delayed,” The New York Times reports. Tuesday’s ruling isn’t a final verdict — the case could eventually make it to the Supreme Court — but the administration is now 0-for-2, and it’s looking likelier it will strike out. Obama spokesman Brandi Hoffine responded to the decision by insisting they know the Constitution better than anyone, saying Judges Smith and Elrod “chose to misinterpret the facts and the law in denying the government’s request for a stay.” If that’s the case, how do Democrats expand this nugget from The Washington Post? “Obama’s second-term agenda, it seems, is in the hands of the courts. Same-sex marriage. Obamacare. Climate change. And now immigration. And in many cases, there is significant doubt about whether his signature initiatives will stand legal scrutiny.” Tell us again who “chose to misinterpret the facts and the law”?

IRS Data Breach Leaves Tax Info of 100K in Hackers' Hands 4

Using the service to request former tax returns and filings from the IRS, a group of hackers stole confidential information on over 100,000 taxpayers. Using the information, the hackers can file false tax returns, stealing directly from the American taxpayer. “Eighty percent of the identity theft we’re dealing with and refund fraud is related to organized crime here and around the world,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “These are extremely sophisticated criminals with access to a tremendous amount of data.” It’s easy to see that the agency is running damage control. It’s not saying if the hackers were foreign or domestic, and Koskinen said people filing fraudulent tax returns only netted $50 million this year. However, the IRS gave identity thieves $5.8 billion in 2013. As Hot Air’s Mary Katharine Ham5 notes, only 6% of Americans believe the U.S. government does a good job protecting their information. With this news, we guess the IRS will get a budget boost in the next few months — whether it needs it or not.

Now’s a Good Time to Develop a Strategy Against ISIL7

With the fall of Ramadi, it may be a good time for the Obama administration to pause, take a step back and reconsider what it has tried and what that has done against ISIL. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter blamed the fall of the strategic city on the Iraqi army. “The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Carter said on CNN. “They were not outnumbered. In fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight and withdrew from the site. … We can give them training, we can give them equipment. We obviously can’t give them the will to fight.” Meanwhile, it appears the U.S. has the equipment, but it too doesn’t have the will to fight. The New York Times8 reports that U.S. planes only fly 15 strikes a day against ISIL, compared to the 800 flown every day during the 2003 Iraq War. Furthermore, only during one out of four flights does the pilot fire munitions. Part of this is due to concern that any civilian deaths would translate into propaganda for ISIL. Part of the hesitation is because the pilots cannot rely on soldiers on the ground pointing out targets and delineating allies. There’s plenty for Carter and the rest of the Obama administration to consider. How about sending arms and training to the Kurds? Or sending more U.S. troops to spot U.S. airstrikes?

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

GOP, Prepare for SCOTUS’s ObamaCare Ruling10

By Jim Harrington

If the Supreme Court rules against the “Affordable” Care Act in King v. Burwell sometime in late June, it could leave the act in deep water, or it could leave Republicans with the dilemma of fixing a problem they didn’t create. So says conventional wisdom.

SCOTUSblog.com writer Amy Howe discusses the case11: “There are three key parts to the ACA. The first is the ‘non-discrimination’ rule… The second is the individual mandate, which the Court upheld three years ago… Third, because everyone has to buy insurance, there are tax subsidies to make sure that lower- and middle-income Americans can afford to comply with the individual mandate by buying insurance.”

David King is the primary plaintiff in King v. Burwell. He and three other Virginians, for their own reasons, decided they did not want to buy insurance. Virginia, incidentally, joined the federal marketplace, and King has insurance that would cost him $648 per month, but with his subsidy, costs $275. His suit was tossed out of a lower court, but with the help of the American Enterprise Institute he got a writ of certiorari, and he and his fellow plaintiffs' case was picked up by the Supreme Court.

The fight is about four words — “established by the State12” — just a few found in the 2,700-page13 act.

Now pundits and party operatives are scrambling to figure out what will be the outcome if the plaintiffs win or lose. Popular opinion sides with Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, a health care reporter for the Associated Press, who thinks14 it’s “Republicans — not White House officials — who have been talking about damage control. A likely reason: Twenty-six of the 34 states … most affected by the ruling have Republican governors, and 22 of the 24 GOP Senate seats up in 2016 are in those states.”

He cites Sandy Praeger — a Republican — saying the fallout of SCOTUS striking down the law will be “ugly.” Praeger said, “People who are reasonably healthy would just drop coverage. Only the unhealthy would keep buying health care. It would really exacerbate the problem of the cost of health insurance.”

Alonso-Zaldivar also cites a crucial issue: This decision is “bad timing.” Governments' fiscal years are ending, and state legislatures are readying their summer recesses. Arranging a quick fix would be very difficult, and Obama will veto any Republican bill.

But New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin sees it differently. If the plaintiffs win, 13 million people in 34 states will be profoundly affected. “[I]t’s likely that most of them will no longer be able to afford their insurance,” he says. Toobin then paraphrases Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn axiom. (Many of us know it as: You break it, you bought it.)

Toobin writes15, “Obama will have broken health care, so he owns it. To the vast mass of Americans who follow politics casually or not at all, Obamacare and the American system of health care have become virtually synonymous … The scope of the Affordable Care Act is so vast, and its effects so pervasive … if millions lose insurance, they will hold it against Obamacare, and against Obama.”

But one problem Toobin ignores is the Democrats' twin propaganda mills — the schools and the media. Republicans will have to toughen up for this popularity contest.

How did four words undo the greatest legislation in America? According to The New York Times16, there were two different Senate committees working on writing the law. Now for some excuses:

“I don’t ever recall any distinction between federal and state exchanges in terms of the availability of subsidies.” —former Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe

“As far as I know, it escaped everyone’s attention, or it would have been deleted.” —former Democrat Sen. Jeff Bingaman

“I remember meeting after meeting in which we went through the language of the legislation line by line. I do not recall any discussion of a distinction between federal and state exchanges for the purpose of subsidies.” —Robert D. Greenawalt, former senior tax advisor to Sen. Harry Reid

Obviously, we have trouble with members reading “line by line.” We know there wasn’t a handful in Congress that even read the bill before it passed. Oh, that’s right! Republicans didn’t get a chance to. This is a classic study of Big Government’s incompetence and corruption.

However SCOTUS decides, Obama will still be in the driver’s seat. With his veto pen in hand, he can keep Republicans at bay.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Stephen Moore: “Earlier this month the Illinois Supreme Court overturned a state law that would help fix the state’s notorious pension crisis. … Illinois has one of the deepest public employee pension holes in the nation. The long-term deficit is estimated at above $110 billion and the red ink rises every year. Even in California — where several cities have declared bankruptcy — the pension sink hole isn’t as deep on a per capita basis. … Thanks to this ruling, there is no way out of the pension calamity absent a repeal of the pension clause in the Illinois Constitution. The state can’t borrow — it already has the worst credit rating in the nation. It has to borrow less — not more. … If courts won’t allow states to trim pension costs, eventually states like Illinois will rush to Washington for federal bailout money. With more than $1 trillion in unfunded public pensions nationwide, Illinois is looking like the canary in the coal mine. What a tragedy if courts in other states prevent legislatures from defusing these fiscal time bombs.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.” —Senator Carl Schurz (1829-1906)

Braying Jackass: “I don’t think that Congress ought to have any right to circumvent the president. … I will say to my friends, be very, very careful about how you treat this president, because turnabout is fair play. And I think that this president has not been treated with dignity and respect that he should be treated with.” —Rep. James Clyburn

Village Idiots: There is no role whatsoever for American soldiers on the ground to go back [to Iraq], other than in the capacity as trainers and advisers.“ —Hillary Clinton

Non Compos Mentis: ”[Benjamin Franklin] liked to have a really good time, folks. And he didn’t spare the booze, and while he was in Paris he led a life that clearly meant that had he lived today and been nominated, he would never have been confirmed for office.“ —John Kerry

Dezinformatsia: ”[D]o we have too many scientific deniers in our country or do we give too much prominence to those who want to look the other way on science?“ —PBS’s Charlie Rose

And last… "On the White House’s list of 34 effects of global warming: allergies, asthma, downpours, poverty, and terrorism. They left off #35: million-dollar climate study grants.” —Fred Thompson

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.


Holy Warriors of the Left and Right

 

Jonah Goldberg

5/27/2015 12:01:00 AM - Jonah Goldberg

Mike Huckabee doesn't have a lot of prominent defenders, and I am not volunteering for the job.
Huckabee has always struck me as a right-wing populist-progressive. A deeply religious -- and by all accounts decent -- man, Huckabee nonetheless has a view of the state that would have jibed almost perfectly with such forgotten titans of the Progressive Era as Richard Ely, Josephus Daniels and even William Jennings Bryan.
Ely, a mentor to Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt and the founder of the "Wisconsin school" of progressivism, believed that "God works through the state in carrying out His purposes more universally than through any other institution." It "is religious in its essence," and "a mighty force in furthering God's kingdom and establishing righteous relations."
Daniels, Woodrow Wilson's secretary of the Navy, was a devout evangelical who banned alcohol (and condoms) from the service. At Daniels' insistence, officers were forced to replace wine with coffee in the officers' mess. They took to calling their replacement beverage "a cup of Josephus," which was quickly shortened and immortalized to "a cup of Joe." Daniels ordered that prostitutes be kept five miles from every port, and with the aid of a young assistant secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, oversaw a heavy-handed crackdown on homosexuality at the Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island. Their tactics were so unseemly, Congress rebuked them both in 1919.
Bryan, the dashboard saint of populists for the last century, largely for his assaults on monied elites and his opposition to World War I, had no problem imposing his values on others -- at home and abroad. After Prohibition was passed, he proclaimed, "Our nation will be saloonless for evermore and will lead the world in the great crusade which will drive intoxicating liquor from the globe."
Huckabee isn't as severe as the progressives of yore, but the same impulses are there. When he was governor of Arkansas -- and on a weight-loss kick -- he wanted Arkansas schools to track the body mass index of students. In 2007, he favored a national ban on smoking and argued that we have a Biblical duty to fight global warming. In 1992, he told the Associated Press, "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."
It's worth noting that the progressives of yesteryear Huckabee resembles were not "right-wing" back then. The original progressives, so beloved by contemporary liberals unburdened with historical knowledge of their forebears, were overwhelmingly religious (and quite often very, very racist). The main reason Huckabee is placed on the right side of the political spectrum today is that liberals have largely jettisoned the Christian rationalizations for government activism.
But their pious faith in government activism itself remains intact. For liberals today, it is right and good to use the state to impose your values on others, but don't you dare suggest that Jesus told you to ban smoking or cut down on sugary soft drinks. The new preachers in the pulpit are public health activists and social justice warriors imbued with religious fervor sans religion.
In the 1990s, Hillary Clinton famously pushed for a "politics of meaning" that she hoped would "remold society by redefining what it means to be a human being in the 20th century, moving into a new millennium." Barack Obama has defined sin as "being out of alignment with my values."
Against this backdrop, Huckabee is an anachronism -- again, not for his statist meliorism, but for his openly religious motivations. And while I have as little use for a nanny state anointed by Jesus as I do for a nanny state anointed by bureaucrats, Huckabee has more of my sympathy. He can at least point to something outside and better than himself -- i.e., God -- as his lodestar. He can also invoke traditions grounded in how people want to live. The meddling busybodies of the left only have their own innate sense of superiority to guide them.
Huckabee recently earned a lot of criticism for denouncing the "false god of judicial supremacy" in the context of the Supreme Court's ever-growing role as the all-wise shepherd of our society. His grasp of the legal niceties no doubt leaves something to be desired. But he has a point.
I certainly don't want robed priests dictating how America should define life, death and everything in between (including marriage), but I'm at a loss as to why having robed lawyers (i.e., judges) make such decisions is such an obvious improvement.


Bernie Sanders' Foul Socialist Odor

 

Michelle Malkin

5/27/2015 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin

Socialist genius Bernie Sanders has figured out what's really ailing America.

Our store shelves have too many different brands of deodorant and sneakers. Just look at all those horrible, fully stocked aisles at Target and Walgreens and Wal-Mart and Payless and DSW and Dick's Sporting Goods. It's a national nightmare! If only consumers had fewer choices in the free market, fewer entrepreneurs offering a wide variety of products and fewer workers manufacturing goods people wanted, Sanders believes, we could end childhood hunger.

Nobody parodies the far left better than far-leftists themselves.

In an interview with financial journalist John Harwood on Tuesday, Sanders detailed his grievances with an overabundance of antiperspirants and footwear. "You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country. I don't think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on."

Try to suppress a snicker: Sanders, Decider of Your Sanitary and Footwear Needs, is casting himself as the Everyman in touch with "ordinary Americans" to contrast his campaign with Hillary "my Beltway lobbyist and foreign agent operator Sid Blumenthal is just a friend I talk to for advice" Clinton.

Blech. By the looks of the 2016 Democratic presidential field, liberals really do practice the anti-choice principles they preach.

At Caracas-on-the-Green Mountains, every business owner's success robs starving babies of vital nutrition. Because some tummies may be grumbling somewhere across the fruited plains, all must suffer. In Sanders' world, it's the "greedy"-- America's real makers, builders and wealth creators -- who must be punished and shamed, specifically with a personal income tax rate hiked to a whopping 90 percent for top earners.

Of course, the wealth redistributors in Washington never bear any of the blame for misspending the billions they confiscate. Nearly 100 million Americans participated in dozens of federal food assistance programs in 2014. The General Accounting Office reported last year that $74.6 billion went to food stamps, $11.3 billion went to the national school lunch program, and $7.1 billion went to the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, along with $1.9 billion for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico and $10.7 million for a federal milk program.

But no, it's not the fault of command-and-control bureaucrats and their overseers on Capitol Hill that the War on Poverty and the War on Hunger have failed.

In Sanders' bubble, childhood hunger is the fault of selfish consumers, self-serving entrepreneurs and rapacious retailers who engage in voluntary transactions in a free-market economy. Just as Sanders believes there are "too many" products on the shelves, President Obama recently opined that families of America's top earners in the financial industry "pretty much have more than you'll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use."

We need not speculate about whether the wealth-shamers' recipe of less capitalist consumption, fewer private businesses, stifling of entrepreneurship and more government control over goods and services would result in happier citizens and fuller stomachs. In Venezuela, the shelves are unburdened by "too many" deodorants and shoes and too much soap, milk or coffee. Food distribution is under military control. The currency of the socialist paradise just collapsed on the black market by 30 percent.

Here in America, dozens of private household goods companies make billions of dollars selling scented, unscented, quilted, two-ply, white and colored toilet paper that people want and need. In Sanders' utopia in South America, the government imposed price controls in the name of redistributing basic goods to the poor and seized a toilet paper factory to cure the inevitable shortages. The lines are long. The shelves are empty. The daily battle for subsistence is brutal.

Take it from those who suffer most under the unbridled fulfillment of "you didn't build that" and "you don't need that" radicalism: It stinks.


Liberals Respect Me

 

Walter E. Williams

5/27/2015 12:01:00 AM - Walter E. Williams

During the early years of the Reagan administration, a Washington news conference was held for me for my first book, "The State Against Blacks." Before making summary statements about the book, I offered the reporters assembled that they could treat me like a white person. They could ask me hard, pressing questions. They could demand proof of the arguments that I was making.

People such as former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and former Chairman Julian Bond and the Rev. Al Sharpton can make ludicrous statements. An intimidated news media just swallow the nonsense. They are probably afraid to challenge, lest they suffer guilt feelings of racism or be seen as racists for demanding that a black person back up his comments with facts.

You say, "Give us some examples of ludicrous statements." Sharpton, commenting on black history, said, "White folks was in caves while we was building empires." Mfume said of George W. Bush, "We have a president that's prepared to take us back to the days of Jim Crow segregation and dominance." Bond said, "The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side." When those statements were made -- and after other utterances of nonsense -- I did not hear of any reporters demanding evidence. Racial etiquette or politeness requires that no pressing questions be asked of liberal blacks.

A number of people have made angry responses to statements made in my column a fortnight ago, titled "Some Odds and Ends." I pointed out that liberal Democrats claim that conservative Republicans have launched a war on women as a part of their overall mean-spirited agenda. Assault, rape and murder are the worst things that can be done to a woman. I said: "I would be willing to bet a lot of money that most of the assaults, rapes and murders of women are done by people who identify as liberals or Democrats, particularly in the cases of murderers. Most crime, except perhaps white-collar crime, is committed by people who vote Democratic." People have demanded to know what my evidence is. There are bits and pieces of evidence that show that most murderers are people who politically identify as liberals or Democrats. Whether these people also vote their preferences is not so evident.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice report "Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008," blacks accounted for 52.5 percent of homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008 . It appears to be a fact that most murders are committed by blacks. The next fact appears obvious: Most blacks identify politically as liberals or Democrats. In fact, the 2008 and 2012 elections showed that at least 95 percent of blacks were Democrats. If one adds whites and Hispanics who also identify politically as liberals or Democrats, I think there is no question that liberals and Democratic Party sympathizers commit most of the murders in the U.S. None of this is to say that whites are crime-free. Whites are a greater percentage of our population and commit most of every type of crime except homicide and burglary.

I'm pleased that readers have demanded proof from me about my comments. Similar proof is not demanded from liberals who accuse Republicans of warring against women. I would ask several questions. Do Republicans include in this attack their mothers, wives and female children? What are the weapons Republicans use? Are failing to believe in late-term abortion and wanting to require parental knowledge and permission prior to a minor's receiving birth control medication or an abortion tantamount to warring against women? Finally, are Republican women involved in the war against women?

Far more important for me in all of this is that liberals unintentionally treat me like a white person. Unlike their response to other blacks, they demand that I back up my statements. For that, I thank them.


US-Iranian Cooperation on Islamic State Problem Makes Sense

 

Rachel Marsden

5/26/2015 2:40:00 PM - Rachel Marsden

PARIS -- The fight against the Islamic State is making for some odd bedfellows -- namely, the U.S. and Iran. Perhaps that isn't a bad thing, as average Americans could be the ultimate beneficiaries.
U.S. military action against the Islamic State has already cost $2.44 billion, according to the Pentagon. For that price, the terrorist group has actually GAINED ground. As much as it might make other regional players nervous, America's best bet to wipe out the Islamic State is the Iranian army.
The U.S. and Iran appear to have come to an understanding on military cooperation, with America focusing on airstrikes while Iran leverages its field intelligence to strike at the Islamic State on the ground. Iran is currently helping old foe Iraq and its beleaguered military reclaim a major oil refinery from the Islamic State, and the Iranians also helped win back Saddam Hussein's birth city of Tikrit.
When asked about the nature of Iranian-U.S. cooperation, anonymous U.S. officials were mum, citing operational security. Iran is playing it equally coy. I asked my own anonymous Iranian official sources this week, "You guys aren't cooperating with the U.S. against the Islamic State, are you?" The response: "Oh, really? We aren't?" Get these guys a room already. While avoiding being caught holding hands in public, they sure seem to be spending a lot of time in the backseat at the drive-in.
It wouldn't be surprising if the Iranian military soon decided to sweep through Syria and Iraq to wipe the Islamic State off the face of the Earth. Syria is a critical Iranian ally, and you've got to figure that Iran views Iraq as a highly attractive power vacuum.
Who else in that region is going to get rid of the Islamic State? Not the U.S. alone, apparently. And not Saudi Arabia, which provided the seed funding for the Islamic State back when it was part of the Syrian rebel movement. Besides, the Saudis really aren't ready for prime time. They haven't done much militarily since the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, and they've recently demonstrated their lack of might by getting their rarely used warplanes bogged down in squabbling with Houthi insurgents (Iranian allies) right on the Saudis' own border. As for Israel, it already raises ire in the Middle East by virtue of its mere existence and likely isn't keen on creating more trouble for itself.
Iran has the military power and the intelligence capabilities to wipe out the Islamic State. And Iran has been quietly playing footsie under the table with the U.S. for longer than many Americans are probably aware -- much to the frustration of the French, who consider it to be two-faced behavior by their ally. The Lausanne accord -- trading oversight of Iran's nuclear energy program for the lifting of American, European and international sanctions against Iran -- is expected to be finalized by early July. But this sort of cooperation between Iran and the U.S. wasn't an overnight development.
In 2010, the New York Times pointed out that the U.S. government had granted special licenses to bypass Iranian sanctions under the guise of humanitarianism to scores of American companies, including General Electric, Citigroup, Bank of America, Pfizer, Siemens, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills and even the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Feeling left out? There's been an invitation-only Death/Welcome to America party going on in Tehran for a while.
And yet the U.S. has imposed fines on foreign companies for violating sanctions against Iran -- like France's largest bank, BNP Paribas, which was recently ordered to pay a $8.9 billion penalty. Such companies must feel like they've been stopped at the velvet rope outside a nightclub -- or worse, bounced out of the club entirely.
If Iranian sanctions are dropped, other American companies will have a shot at the Iranian market, rather than just the select few chosen by the U.S. government.
Will all of this mean that Iran won't have a nuclear weapon someday? Maybe not. Thus far, Iran has largely ignored attempts to thwart its nuclear program anyway. At least if it's heading toward joining the nuclear club, economic cooperation will likely mean that we'll learn about it faster.
The West simply can't afford to sacrifice real economic benefit to fight pre-emptive ideological wars in the Middle East or elsewhere. The U.S. is best served by having a constructive economic presence in the Middle East, creating new jobs and opportunities for Americans and fostering joint interests instead of parking troops there indefinitely and throwing more money down the well.