The Patriot Post
Monday's Daily Digest
Mar. 10, 2014
“What concerns all, should be considered by all; and individuals may injure a whole society, by not declaring their sentiments. It is therefore not only their right, but their duty, to declare them.” –John Dickinson, Letters of Fabius, 1788
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
A Malaysian Air flight disappeared over the South China Sea over the weekend en route from Malaysia to Beijing. Little sign of the aircraft or its 239 passengers has been found. The only clue of something amiss is that two passengers who booked the flight at the same time boarded using stolen passports. But there has been no declaration of a terrorist attack by any group.
Keep It Even if It’s ‘Not Very Good’
For those Americans too dumb to understand all the good Barack Obama has done for them through ObamaCare, he deigned to explain the benefit of his latest delay1. “There are some people who have very bad insurance, but they don’t know it because they don’t understand the fine print. We said, ‘You know what, you’re right. You should be able to keep the health insurance you have even if it’s not very good. Even if you could get insurance on HealthCare.gov, you should be able to keep it.’ And that’s the part of the law we’ve extended.” Gee, thanks for your benevolence. Democrats just happen to benefit since voters won’t have plans cancelled right before the election.
Everything Is Awesome
“I am absolutely confident that you will see millions of people benefitting from this law,” Barack Obama boasted of ObamaCare. “It is working the way it should.” There are so many ways to prove that wrong, from the colossal disaster of Healthcare.gov to the fact that the administration isn’t even tracking how many uninsured people sign up2. But the best rebuttal to that claim is the president’s own unilateral delays of provision after provision of his monstrosity. If it’s “working the way it should,” why are those delays necessary?
ObamaCare and ‘Income Inequality’
Not every Democrat constituency is happy about ObamaCare. Unite Here, a 300,000 member union of low-wage hospitality workers, says, “Without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.” In fact, one of Barack Obama’s central talking points – “income inequality” – will continue to increase due to his health care law. Union head Donald “D.” Taylor didn’t pull any punches, saying, “Unite Here was the first union to endorse then-Senator Obama. We support the addition of health care to millions of Americans. Yet facts are facts, and Obamacare will cost our members the equivalent of a significant pay cut to keep their hard-won benefits.” Not to worry though; as Obama says, “It is working the way it should.”
Obama Can’t Spell ‘Respect’
The president explained what R-E-S-P-E-C-T means, but he forgot how to spell it3. “When Aretha [Franklin] first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T [sic] meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved. They wanted some respect.” Not only can’t he spell the word, but he also doesn’t earn it or give it.
CPAC 2014 Highlights: Making the Case for Liberty
The American Conservative Union hosted the Conservative Action Political Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC, this past weekend. Here are some highlights from the roster of speakers, in no particular order:
Rand Paul: “Imagine with me for a moment, imagine a time when Liberty is again spread from coast to coast. Imagine a time when our great country is again governed by the Constitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of Liberty. You may think I’m talking about electing Republicans. I’m not. I’m talking about electing lovers of Liberty. It isn’t good enough to pick the lesser of two evils. We must elect men and women of principle, and conviction and action, who will lead us back to greatness. There is a great and tumultuous battle underway for the future, not of the Republican Party but the future of the entire country.”
Rick Perry: “It’s time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas. … I am here today to say, we don’t have to accept recent history. We just need to change the presidency. It’s not too late for America to lead in the world, but it starts by leading at home.”
Bobby Jindal: “I spent a lot of 2012 going around the country saying that President Obama was the most liberal and most incompetent president in my lifetime ever since Jimmy Carter. Now having witnessed the events abroad these last several days: To President Carter, I want to issue a sincere apology. It is no longer fair to say he was the worst president of this great country in my lifetime, President Obama has proven me wrong.”
Mike Lee: “We have concrete, specific proposals to help lower-income families overcome welfare, improve education and job training, and rescue at-risk communities with too few jobs, too few fathers, and too little hope. We have solutions to end cronyist privilege and corporate welfare, to close the Beltway Favor Bank, and put America’s political and corporate elites back to work for the rest of us. And we have introduced legislation to rescue America’s working families from the middle class squeeze. To make it more affordable to raise and educate their kids, and afford health insurance and a home of their own. We have an agenda. And contrary to the Establishment’s advice, we’re not hiding it from the media or the American people, or from you. It’s time for the Republican Party to stop talking about Ronald Reagan and start acting like him.”
Ted Cruz: “You want to lose elections, stand for nothing. … Defend the Constitution – all of it. … We need to repeal every single word of ObamaCare.”
John Bolton: “Our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama. This is a president that does not believe in American exceptionalism, a president uninterested in national security and America’s place in the world, who considers our strength part of the problem, that we are the cause of international tension. This is like looking at the world through the wrong end of a telescope. But that is Barack Obama’s world.”
Marco Rubio: “There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism. … America must be involved in leading the world.”
Dr. Ben Carson: “[W]e have got to get back to the same mentality that Americans had in the pre- Revolutionary days. They got together with their friends and their neighbors and their associates and they talked about what kind of America do we want to have, what we want to pass onto our children. And they encouraged each other, and that is how a bunch of ragtag militia men defeated the most powerful army in the world at that time. You need to go out and talk to people.”
Sarah Palin: “I love coming back here because there are always so many young people, or as you’re known by the folks across the river, the ObamaCare suckers. … Turns out you have the change they were waiting for – you have the fives, the tens, the twenties.”
Profiles of Valor: Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter
“William Kyle Carpenter, a Marine Corps veteran who was severely wounded during a November 2010 grenade attack in Afghanistan, will receive the nation’s highest combat valor award later this year,” reports the Marine Corps Times6, though the White House hasn’t officially announced the award. Carpenter is now medically retired as a corporal, having sustained horrific injuries as a result of his heroic actions.
While serving in the Marjah district of Afghanistan in 2010, Carpenter and his good friend, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio, were standing guard on a rooftop when a grenade landed near them. What happened next isn’t entirely clear since there were no witnesses besides the two men, and Carpenter couldn’t remember what happened while Eufrazio sustained brain damage that until nearly two years later rendered him mute. However, the Times reports, “Hospitalman 3rd Class Christopher Frend, who triaged the injuries of Carpenter and Eufrazio, said the injuries Carpenter sustained, and the evidence at the scene indicated that he [Carpenter] had indeed covered the explosive. The blast seat of the grenade – the point of its detonation – was found under Carpenter’s torso.” Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Kroll, Carpenter’s platoon sergeant, said, “our feeling has always been that Kyle shielded Nick from that blast.”
Carpenter lost his right eye and most of his teeth, and the blast shattered his arm and his jaw. His scared face will be a lasting reminder of the price he paid to save a friend. But he says, “I’m still here and kicking and, you know, I have all my limbs so you’ll never hear me complain.” He even ran the Marine Corps Marathon last year and posted a time of 4:28:42. Carpenter’s medal will be the third awarded to a Marine for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Columnist Peggy Noonan: “What a small and politically vicious man New York’s new mayor is. Bill de Blasio doesn’t like charter schools. … Last year 82% of its students passed citywide math exams. Citywide the figure was 30%. … Charter schools may help the poor and those just starting out in America, they may give options to kids who’ve floundered elsewhere, but a lot of them are supported by rich people. There is a ‘strong private-sector element’ in their funding, he said. … They should be thanked for this, every day. Again, they do it because they care about children who would otherwise be locked into a public-school system that doesn’t work. … When a man says he will raise taxes to achieve a program like pre-K education, and is quickly informed that that program can be achieved without raising taxes, and his answer is that he wants to raise taxes anyway, that man is an ideologue. And ideologues will sacrifice anything to their ideology. Even children.”
Columnist George Will: “The idea that politicians should write laws restricting people critical of them is as perverse as the idea that the sprawling, opaque IRS bureaucracy should be assigned to construe and apply such laws. It is bad enough that there is the misbegotten Federal Election Commission to do what the First Amendment forbids – government regulation of the quantity, content and timing of political speech. This column has previously noted that in 1996 a Republican Senate candidate called the FEC to dispute campaign finance charges made by Democrats. The head of the FEC’s enforcement division told the Republican: ‘Promise me you will never run for office again, and we will drop this case.’ So spoke Lois Lerner. There almost certainly are people, above her and beyond the IRS, who initiated or approved the IRS' punitive targeting of conservative groups, and who hope Lerner’s history of aggressive partisanship will cause investigators to conclude that she is as high as responsibility for the targeting rises. Those people should hire criminal defense attorneys.”
The Gipper: “Government has an important role in helping develop a country’s economic foundation. But the critical test is whether government is genuinely working to liberate individuals by creating incentives to work, save, invest, and succeed.”
Columnist John C. Goodman: “There were about 450 students in my high school graduating class. … If we were to have an expensive reunion that couldn’t be paid for with normal fees, I’m sure that those who have more would chip in and underwrite the expense. But that would be voluntary and everyone would expect it to be voluntary. … Our basic notions of what is fair and unfair and which problems need correcting and which ones don’t are actually very similar when we are talking about people we all know. It is only when we are talking about abstractions and amorphous groups of people – people that we don’t know – that political ideologies pull us apart.”
Comedian Conan O'Brien: “The White House announced a change to Obamacare. They keep making adjustments. They say people can now keep their insurance plans for two more years. When asked what would happen after two years, Obama said, ‘After two years, I don’t give a da–.’”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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.
Why Matt Bevin is Challenging Mitch McConnell
3/10/2014 12:01:00 AM - Star Parker
It’s with mixed reviews that the Tea Party is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its emergence onto the nation’s political scene.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, unfavorability rating of the Tea Party stood at 45 percent in October 2013, up from 25 percent in February 2010. Favorability was at 30 percent, modestly down from 33 percent where it stood in February 2010.
Why the unfavorable trend?
There is no instance where any Tea Party principle has been shown to be off base.
If there has been a single defining theme of the Tea Party movement, it has been push back against runaway government. And public sentiment today is very much in line with this.
According to a Gallup poll last week, 66 percent expressed dissatisfaction with the “size and power of federal government.”
A majority of Americans today appreciate that the Tea Party was right in 2010 regarding the impending disaster of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare.
Principles of the movement, the very principles upon which this country was founded, liberty under God, are demonstrably true.
If we look around the world, or in our own history, we find a direct correlation between robust economic growth and limited government. It’s no accident that today’s sluggish economy coincides with historic bloating of the federal government.
It is also true that facts justify hoisting the banner of traditional values. Intact traditional families, and the children that grow up in them, are demonstrably healthier and wealthier.
So what’s the problem?
One is that upsetting the status quo means shaking up and displacing an entrenched, comfortable political establishment. For Tea Partiers, this means not just the opposition party, but also the establishment in its own party – the Republican Party.
Take, for instance, the current primary challenge in Kentucky by Tea Partier Matt Bevin against Republican Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell.
Bevin is a Tea Party candidate archetype. A young and very successful businessman, new to the political scene, a Christian man with a large family, who wants to push back against bloated government and moral relativism and restore American vitality.
But the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley writes that Tea Party challengers, like Bevin, are having a “tough time” because the incumbents they are challenging are already conservatives. “Mitch McConnell’s problem,” writes Riley, “ is not that he’s insufficiently right-wing – it’s that he’s in the minority.”
But Riley somehow misses the obvious. McConnell has not always been in the minority.
McConnell has been in the Senate for 30 years, and in 14 of them his party was in control. During the 8 years of the presidency of George W. Bush, Republicans controlled the Senate for 6 and McConnell held a Party leadership position. In 4 of those 8 years, Republicans held the White House and controlled both the Senate and the House.
Yet, during those Bush years, according to the Mercatus Center, spending increased “more than (under) any of the six presidents preceding him.” The number of federal subsidy programs increased by 30 percent.
The major problems we face today - our broken entitlement programs, immigration, health care, education, a horrendous tax code - were known. Yet, all were ignored while government grew.
So when the Wall Street Journal calls performance like this conservative, no wonder the Tea Party has challenges.
In a new Pew Research Center survey only 28 percent of Republicans say their party is doing a good or excellent job of “standing up for its traditional positions” compared to 49 percent of Democrats who say their party is doing an excellent or good job standing up for its positions.
We need citizen activists like Matt Bevin with the courage to fight to take back Washington from the entrenched political establishment. It’s our only hope that the work will get done that is essential for saving the nation.
Time for a Statue of Responsibility
3/10/2014 12:01:00 AM - Terry Paulson
Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and author of Man's Search for Meaning, once observed: “Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” Liberty and responsibility are both critical in preserving our republic, but the chances of America, much less California, allowing such a tribute to personal responsibility to be erected seems little to none.
Nowhere is the absurdity of our entitlement age more evident than the recent case before a New Jersey judge where a spoiled 18-year-old teenager, unwilling to accept house rules, left home and sued her parents for $650/wk support, private high school tuition, and college tuition funding. After leaving in response to parental rules and demands, her parents took away the car they paid for, stopped paying her high school tuition, but continued to pay for her healthcare.
There's been an open invitation for her to accept the house rules and return home, but her parents confessed, "What do you do when a child says ‘I don’t want your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?’” Thankfully, the New Jersey judge Peter Bogaard ruled in favor of the parents, encouraged reconciliation, and delayed the issue of college tuition for a month. Commenting on the implications, he warned: "Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house? ... A kid could move out and then sue for an XBox, an iPhone or a 60-inch television.”
Parenting is a hard enough job without having to give standing to disappointed teenagers being able to file suit against their parents when they don't get their way. Society depends on parents transforming demanding, self-absorbed children into responsible adults able to provide for their own welfare and needs. Through the loving use of limits, discipline, timely wisdom, and support, good parents care enough to prepare children for a world that does not cater to their every need and want. Responsible parents teach children that rewards are earned not entitlements. If you want something, you work for it, you save, and then you purchase what you've saved for.
Limits and discipline are seldom appreciated at the time. Parents never hear, "I know I was upset at you yesterday, but I thought about it all night. You said "no' to prepare me for life. I'm lucky to have you!" If a teen said that, you'd know something was wrong with the youth!
Teens being upset and disappointed with parents is part of growing up. It helps prepare them for the good and bad bosses and customers they'll deal with. They learn to deal with business rules, government rules, and the expectations of those they love. House rules also motivate teens to leave the nest and go forward with their lives. Spoiled kids never seem to leave home and often take advantage of their parents' hospitality without contributing to household expenses.
This teen's lawsuit speaks to an entitlement age run amuck. It's a natural extension of the artificial and irresponsible "rights" and entitlements that the Left is crafting out of thin air. Our Constitution does not promise citizens good healthcare, adequate food, a college education, affordable housing or any of the things citizens feel they deserve. These "rights" are passed by politicians playing Santa Claus with other people's money.
Our growing entitlement system is expensive, wasteful, confusing, and counterproductive. Once dependent on government goodies, working to get off support results in lowering one's standard of living. We're punishing the earners and trapping those in need in a lifestyle with little or no hope achieving the American Dream our forefathers wanted for every responsible citizen. Let's get back to good parenting and good government that appreciates the importance of saying no and encouraging personal responsibility.
No Political Fix to America’s Death Spiral
3/9/2014 12:25:00 PM - Matt Barber
The question is not, “Is America falling?” but, rather, “Why is America falling?”
I’m currently writing from CPAC 2014, the nation’s largest gathering of conservative political junkies. The event is being held at the beautiful Gaylord National hotel, adjacent to the scenic shoreline of the historic Potomac River. We’re just a few short miles from Washington, D.C., which, at least for now, remains the modern-day equivalent of the Roman Empire.
I say “at least for now” because America finds itself skipping along the primrose path to Rome’s ill-fated finale. I needn’t trouble you with evidence to that effect as this tragic reality is hopelessly inescapable. It’s a self-evident truth. Unless our next generation of leaders – Gen-Y Millennials – can successfully turn things around, we’re up the Potomac without a paddle.
The day’s speeches have ended and conference-going night revelers are about. The indoor balcony to my 12th-floor room faces, as the hotel website accurately boasts, a “spectacular 18-story glass atrium.” My balcony door is open wide, and the bustling din from several parties across the cavernous vestibule soaks the room.
A chorus has begun. What is this? Have party-goers launched an impromptu rendering of “America the Beautiful”?
No, this is a chant, joined by scores – a hundred or more perhaps – of young conservative bacchanalians on multiple suite balconies and from the open air bar below. What is that they’re chanting? Is that, “Amer-i-ca! Amer-i-ca!”?
At first, it’s hard to tell. It’s a booming echo that reverberates throughout the entire hotel.
And then it becomes clear.
Alas, our next generation of conservative leaders are not chanting, “Amer-i-ca! Amer-i-ca!” They are, instead, chanting, “F**k O-bama! F**k O-bama!”
And I hang my head.
So, now, children at the hotel, parents, staff, tourists – both foreign and domestic – and every other conceivable variety of guest who happens to be staying at the Gaylord National hotel during CPAC 2014 has a skewed, and likely irreversible, first impression of America’s conservative movement.
Or is it skewed?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certain that the vast majority of CPAC attendees, both young and old, are as appalled and embarrassed by these drunken yuck monkeys as am I.
But I think the very fact that these blazer-clad, Cro-Magnon morons could even imagine, for a moment, that it’s somehow cool to publicly chant “F**k Obama!” – or “F**k” anything for that matter – speaks to a much larger problem, not just within the conservative movement, but, more importantly, within our entire culture.
I’m never going to win a popularity contest. It’s not my goal to be liked. I’ll probably never be a “Fox News contributor” or even broadly recognized as a dutifully compliant cog within the greater, GOP-heavy “conservative” political wheel.
That’s because I say things like this: There is no political fix to America’s death spiral.
We are drowning in a turgid river of postmodern relativism. This is a spiritual problem, not a political problem. This is a worldview matter, not a partisan matter.
Hitherto it has been “progressives” alone dumping buckets of moral relativist poison into the Potomac. But, in the last decade or so, self-styled “conservatives” have likewise begun drinking the subjectivist Kool-Aid.
Libertine libertarianism has infected the conservative movement like a cancer. Situational ethics, driven by emotional, anecdotal sob stories, are used to justify every moral wrong as an absolute right. “Get off the social issues!” they demand. “Gay marriage? No problem.”
These gun-toting, free-market “conservatives” (of which I’m both) grace us with beauties like this: “I’m a ‘pro-choice,’ ‘pro-gay’ conservative,” or, “Yeah, I’m shacking up with my girlfriend, big deal.”
Relativism blurs the fixed lines of demarcation between right and wrong, which leads to the abolition of absolute truth, which leads to pockets of moral anarchy, which leads to Barack Obama and Eric Holder deciding which laws to ignore and which laws to enforce, which leads to lawlessness, which leads to chaos.
Welcome to chaos.
Yes. The “social issues” matter.
The battle is not Republican vs. Democrat. Neither is it conservative vs. liberal. The battle precedes time itself. The battle is right vs. wrong. The battle is moral vs. immoral. The battle is truth vs. the lie.
The battle is between good and evil.
We’ve been playing political Ping-Pong for decades. We’ve been, as they say, rearranging the chairs on the Titanic while Democrats take the helm for a spell, and Republicans take the helm for a spell.
The reality is that both political parties have driven us into the iceberg, and then pranced off together, hand-in-hand, to play best-of-three racquetball at the congressional bathhouse.
While here at CPAC I met an interesting fellow by the name of Frank Mitchell. Frank founded the Memphis-based, classically conservative group: “A Shining City on a Hill.” During our discussion, Frank said this: “There is no liberty without justice. Liberty without justice is only license.”
America cannot survive under a worldview that embraces unrestricted moral license. Such license destroys the individual. And such license destroys the nation.
“Liberty without justice is only license.”
There is only one Arbiter of true justice. And justice is defined by Him, not by us. He sets the parameters. As both individuals, and as a nation, we are ill-advised to breach those parameters and well-served to maintain them.
America does not need a political fix. America needs a spiritual fix
Issa on Cummings ‘Hissy Fit’: He Got His Job Because He Said ‘He’d Keep Me From Accomplishing Anything’
Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, spoke with Megyn Kelly of The Kelly File on FOX News last night. The topic was Democrat Elijah Cumming’s angry outburst at the recent hearing in which Lois Lerner again refused to testify in the Obama IRS scandal. Issa tells Kelly that he’d already adjourned the meeting, and that Cummings “hissy fit” was pre-planned. Issa insists that he was following the rules and that the meeting had already adjourned.
Issa responded to charges of racism by Jesse Jackson and others as “sad,” and said that the reason Cummings received his committee appointment was because he promised to stifle Issa’s investigations into Obama’s numerous scandals.
“Mr. Cummings and I both had opening statements nine months ago.” Issa said. “He asked me before the hearing if he’d be able to make an opening statement, and I said “no, this is a continuation of a hearing specifically recessed.” I then adjourned the hearing. After I adjourned, Mr. Cummings, in what appeared to be a pre-staged event, then went into this, “I have a right to talk,” and screaming and so on.
“I broke no rules, I did exactly what is according to the books. I had a script in front of me that had been approved by the parliamentarian, and I followed it.
“You know, it’s sad, my last chairman, Chairman Ed Towns and I were dear friends, we worked well together. Elijah Cummings got this job quite frankly by saying he’d be different than Towns, that he’d hold me to a stop, he’d keep me from accomplishing anything.
“The IRS targeted conservative groups and held back their ability for years to get their approvals, and that is what the investigation is about”.
When asked by FOX’s Megyn Kelly why Issa didn’t just let Cummings go off, even after he’d adjourned the meeting, Issa responded that he’d probably have handled the situation differently if given another opportunity, but insists that he was just following the rules.
“Megyn,” Issa stated. “Anybody would do something over again if they had the chance. But the fact is that I had adjourned the meeting before he asked. He didn’t raise a point of order or parliamentary inquiries, the normal ways, especially for people as experienced as he is.
He asked, “Can I ask a question,” and I said that we’d already adjourned but go ahead and ask a question. He then went into that diatribe.”
Kelly then asked Issa if he’d apologize to Congressman Cummings. Issa addressed charges that his disagreement with Cummings was being used by Jesse Jackson as opportunity to use the race card. The Issa stated:
“You know, I broke no rules and he broke the decorum of the House, but I might mention that several years ago, Henry Waxman pounded a gavel and said he would have me removed because I was pointing out that he was breaking the rules. We didn’t launch any kind of House attempt, and I certainly didn’t say that he was somehow anti-Arab American.
“The fact is that I did things according to the rules. I followed a script, and then Mr. Cummings decided to have quite a hissy fit.”
The Patriot Post
Friday’s Daily Digest
Mar. 7, 2014
“Let us disappoint the Men who are raising themselves on the ruin of this Country. Let us convince every invader of our freedom, that we will be as free as the constitution our fathers recognized, will justify.” –Samuel Adams, A State of the Rights of the Colonists, 1772
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
February Jobs Thaw
The February jobs report contained a bit of good news this month, though it is just a bit. Some 175,000 jobs were created last month, numbers for December and January were revised up by 25,000, and more people entered the workforce. All good things, though of course the last item meant that headline unemployment ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 6.7%, the first increase in 14 months. And the Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore explains1 why optimism should be tempered: The added jobs are “still below the 200,000 to 250,000 a month we need to bring down the real unemployment rate and to keep pace with young people entering the workforce.” Furthermore, “there are more than 2 million FEWER Americans in the labor force today than one year ago.” Bottom line: The Obama “recovery” plods on.
Who’s Counting the Uninsured?
When Democrats were making the case for ObamaCare, they insisted that the primary problem they were trying to solve was covering the “47 million uninsured.” But when asked for metrics on how ObamaCare is solving that problem, we get this from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: “That’s not a data point we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.” In other words, they’re not even bothering to check up on how the law is meeting its purpose. That can mean only one thing: Come election time, it’s easier for Democrats to defend their intentions than their results. Because according to one survey2, only one in 10 uninsured people have enrolled so far. But just remember, Obama says, if you don’t sign up, “you’re punishing yourself or your family3.”
‘God’s Work’: The Sequel
Just last week, Barack Obama told ObamaCare volunteers that they’re doing “God’s work4.” Now his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, has picked up on the talking point. Gushing over the work of ObamaCare application counselors, Michelle said, “You’re changing lives. You realize that. … Keep it up.” Then she reiterated her husband’s phrase: “You are doing God’s work.” As we said last week, the hypocrisy is too much. This is the same couple, after all, that works to promote abortion in the name of health care and forces a Catholic nuns' charity to offer an insurance plan that covers the life-taking procedure. That’s not God’s work; it’s someone else’s.
While Rome Burns
Now that Barack Obama has put Vladimir Putin in his place, he resumes his perpetual campaign stumping around the nation. Notably, among other campaign junkets this week, Friday he will be mixing it up with the wealthiest of liberal one-percenters5 at Key Largo’s exclusive Ocean Reef Club, where he is scheduled to play golf all day Saturday and Sunday. The excursion will cost taxpayers far more than the few million Obama will raise for Democrats' 2014 re-election bids.
Violence Against Christians
Religious violence in Nigeria has accelerated of late, the AP reports: “Bishop Oliver Dashe Dome says than 500 of his parishioners have been killed since insurgency in the region began in 2009. At least 180 people have been killed in less than two weeks, including 60 children.” In addition to the killing, they’ve destroyed 20 churches. The perpetrators are, of course, Muslims, and the guilty Boko Haram insurgents are pushing Sharia law. Meanwhile, leftists in our own country are worked up in a lather over Arizona’s bill to secure religious liberty. “Misplaced priorities” doesn’t quite do justice describing the disconnect.
The Failed ‘War on Poverty’ at 50
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a 204-page report this week that thoroughly examines the federal government’s long-standing welfare programs. “Fifty years ago,” he says, “President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Since then, Washington has created dozens of programs and spent trillions of dollars. But few people have stopped to ask, ‘Are they working?’” His report, “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later7,” seeks to answer that question. It stops short of making any new policy proposals, but instead is meant, as Ryan said, to “help start the conversation” on the effectiveness of the government’s welfare efforts. As one might expect, the findings don’t offer much in the way of good news.
There are some 92 programs that make up the “safety net,” totaling $799 billion in spending in 2012. There is “little to no coordination” among programs, but there is plenty of costly duplication. The report goes on to note that Medicaid enrollees are actually in poorer health and use more services than people who have private health insurance plans, or even no insurance at all. Additionally, the food stamp program hasn’t moved the needle in a positive direction for poor families, and Head Start is a failure at preparing low-income kids for school. What we’re left with, then, is a half-century of accumulated debt and untold millions of ruined lives. But at least we know the government “cares.”
Naturally, Ryan’s report came under swift attack from the Left, which always stands ready to defend its entitlement cash cows from that two-headed monster otherwise known as reason and accountability. One media outlet, the Fiscal Times, was so eager to discredit the report that it accused Ryan of mischaracterizing the work of one economist – an economist who told the reporter covering the story that he was fairly represented in the report. Dr. Jeffrey Brown wrote the reporter to clarify the record, but we’re certain his comments won’t be as widely reported as the Fiscal Times' flat-out falsehood.
Many leftist economists have happily worked the fields for Big Government for years, using their exalted status in academia to squelch any attempt at a debate they would surely lose on the merits. They want to confiscate the money of one group to comfort another group because they see that as a solution to society’s ills. Ryan, speaking at CPAC yesterday, challenged this notion: “That’s what the Left just doesn’t understand. People don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity – of self-determination. … The party that speaks to that desire, that tries to make it concrete and real, that’s the party that will win in November.” Here’s hoping his GOP cohorts hear that message.
The Wrong Way to Address Sexual Assault in the Military
As if the proposed Pentagon budget cuts8 announced last week weren’t enough, the Left continues to chip away at the foundations of one of our nation’s last bastions of exceptionalism. After latching on to a widely publicized – but highly suspect – study last spring, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has been working to remove military commanders from the decision-making process in cases involving allegations of sexual assault.
Citing deeply flawed statistics9 and employing the standard Democrat tactic of using victims as props10, Gillibrand’s proposed legislation questions all commanders' integrity and their ability to maintain good order and discipline within their formations. While her overt purpose may be to “level the playing field” and seek justice for victims, the net result and likely real purpose is to continue to tear down the institution whose meritocracy and character are an anathema to modern liberalism.
She argues, “[T]he reason why I want to take the decision-making out of the chain of command is because we need to hold these commanders responsible.” Military leaders, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, strongly oppose her legislation and point out the gaping hole in her “logic.” Hagel warns, “[I]f you disconnect the commanders … then you [are] taking away a certain responsibility of that commander on not only knowing what’s going on in his or her command, but actually having some responsibility. I don’t want to do that. I want more responsibility put on our commanders, not less.”
Gillibrand’s bill failed Thursday – the Senate instead prepared to vote Monday on Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s alternative that would keep the command chain intact – but her politicization of military justice is already being used against one of those she presumably seeks to protect. In a high-profile case at Fort Bragg11, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Sinclair, a former Deputy Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, faces a number of charges related to an affair with a female subordinate. A significant part of his defense will be that Army senior leaders overreacted and over-charged out of fear they would be accused by Gillibrand’s cronies of being weak on sexual assault.
Given the attention Gillibrand’s crusade has received and the way she has brought commanders' integrity and impartiality into question, it’s not hard to envision Sinclair’s defense attorney arguing – convincingly – that military leaders are spineless sycophants incapable of impartially executing their duties. The fact that the lead prosecutor resigned shortly before the trial began, citing “politics and outside pressures,” will reinforce that perception. In short, when you attempt to manipulate the justice system to achieve a desired outcome, it’s highly likely that the law of unintended consequences will ultimately punish those you sought to protect while offering a survival line for the truly guilty.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Political analyst Michael Barone: “Solipsism. It’s a fancy word that means that the self is the only existing reality and that the external world, including other people, are representations of one’s own self and can have no independent existence. A person who follows this philosophy may believe that others see the world as he does and will behave as he would. It’s a quality often found in narcissists, people who greatly admire themselves – such as a presidential candidate confident that he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, knows more about policy than his policy directors and is a better political director than his political director. If that sounds familiar, it’s a paraphrase of what President Obama told top political aide Patrick Gaspard in 2008, according to the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. More recently, Obama’s narcissism has been painfully apparent as the United States suffers one reversal after another in world affairs. But it has been apparent ever since he started running for president in 2007.”
Columnist Mona Charen: “When seven Democratic senators voted with all of the Republicans to reject Debo Adegbile’s nomination to serve as head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Harry Reid cried racism. It’s as if Reid was on autopilot, and the aide who usually touches his elbow to correct him wasn’t available. If the aide had been there, he would have whispered, ‘Um, Senator, you’re accusing your own side of racism.’ … ‘Racist’ has become the synonym for ‘conservative’ among liberals. … Republicans are wrong to ignore the smears. For every one person who is repelled by the false and libelous accusation, there are probably two others who think that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. A failure to demonstrate outrage at the accusation might be taken as evidence of guilt. … It’s obviously impossible for Democrats to acknowledge honest differences. That’s why they wind up even calling their fellow Democrats racists when things go against them.”
Irish statesman and author Edmund Burke (1729-1797): “The great inlet by which a colour for oppression has entered into the world is by one man’s pretending to determine concerning the happiness of another.”
Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia conquered it 20 years before the U.S. acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot. … Obama declares an end to austerity – for every government department except the military. Can Putin be faulted for believing that if he bites off Crimea and threatens Kiev, Obama’s response will be minimal and his ability to lead the Europeans even less so?”
Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Russian President Vladimir Putin has been nominated by a Russian world peace group as a candidate for this fall’s Nobel Peace Prize awarded in Oslo. It could happen. Vladimir Putin’s chances of winning are good because his strategy is to have all the other nominees killed.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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.
Eat Your Own Words,
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
3/7/2014 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
At the end of 2013, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had some nasty words for yours truly. Irked that I used my Twitter feed to criticize her Obamacare propaganda efforts, Wasserman Schultz snarked back at me:
"Thanks for spreading the word! You'll be eating them next year. #GetCovered."
Classy as always. And completely wrong-headed as usual. Less than three months into 2014, how's dutiful Debbie and her Dear Leader's pet government takeover program doing? The most recent retreat measures -- call it the Obamacare Endangered 2014 Midterm Democrats' Rescue Plan -- include:
--Allowing insurers for two extra years to continue selling plans that otherwise would have been banned by Obamacare. Last fall, Americans across the country and from all parts of the political spectrum raised an uproar in the wake of millions of Obamacare-induced cancellation notices on their individual market health plans. President Obama trotted out a "keep your plan" Band-Aid effective through this year. Now, the "transitional period" will extend through October 2016 and cover policyholders until the following September, after Obama is safely out of office.
--Extending the open enrollment period for 2015 from November 2014 to February 2015, a month longer than originally scheduled. (It will no doubt be extended again as the midterm elections get closer.)
--Relaxing eligibility requirements for insurers to qualify for financial help under a three-year program intended to cushion insurers' costs of complying with Obamacare mandates.
--Exempting labor unions, universities and other self-insured employers from paying a fee that creates the above-noted fund.
In addition, the White House last month allowed medium-sized employers an extra year to comply with the Obamacare mandate to offer insurance to all full-time workers and reduced the percentage of workers that large companies are required to cover. These latest regulatory walk-backs by administrative fiat all come on the heels of dozens of administrative delays and rollbacks.
While Democrats complain about Republican Obamacare repeal efforts, we may be nearing a special inflection point at which the White House will have reneged on more Obamacare regulations than it's actually enforcing!
Remember: In November 2010, the White House began issuing thousands of waivers to unions, cronies, businesses and organizations that offered affordable health insurance or prescription drug coverage with limited benefits outlawed by Obamacare. The federalized health care architects had sought to eliminate those low-cost plans under the guise of controlling insurer spending on executive salaries and marketing. Despite the waivers, the mandate has led to untold disruptions in the marketplace and has prompted businesses to cancel the beneficial plans altogether and/or slash wages and work hours.
In April 2011, Obama signed a bipartisan-backed law repealing his own onerous $22 billion Obamacare 1099 tax-compliance mandate that would have destroyed small businesses inundated with pointless paperwork.
Last March, with the support of several key Democrats, the Senate voted to repeal the Obamacare medical device tax. But the vote has not been enforced. Device makers have cut back on research and development. And according to the medical device manufacturers industry group AdvaMed, the punitive tax has forced companies to lay off or avoid hiring at least 33,000 workers over the past year.
In December and January, when Wasserman Schultz was busy acting like a 2-year-old in response to Obamacare critics, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was busy:
--Delaying premium payment deadlines.
--Delaying high-risk insurance pool cancellations.
--Delaying equal coverage mandates that force companies to drop health benefits rewards for top executives.
--Delaying onerous "meaningful use" mandates on health providers grappling with Obamacare's disastrous top-down electronic medical records rules.
While Wasserman Schultz defiantly claims all Democrats will proudly run on health care in 2014 and 2016, endangered Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina was caught on camera just last week literally running away from a journalist who dared to ask her about the 24 times she falsely promised that if you liked your plan, you could keep it under Obama.
It's not just Hagan; every vulnerable Senate Democrat who rammed Obamacare down America's throat is now running for the hills. When the White House now talks about the "Get Covered" campaign, it's not about ordinary Americans getting health care. It's about covering the backsides of the Obama water-carriers who may very well lose their jobs. They're not just eating their words. They're choking on Obamacare's massive, inevitable, job-killing, life-threatening failures.
I'd like to tell bratty Wasserman Schultz that Obamacare critics will have the last laugh. But we're too busy weeping at the senseless government-induced wreckage around us.
Obama's Mistaken Belief That Others See the World as He Sees It
3/7/2014 12:01:00 AM - Michael Barone
Solipsism. It's a fancy word that means that the self is the only existing reality and that the external world, including other people, are representations of one's own self and can have no independent existence. A person who follows this philosophy may believe that others see the world as he does and will behave as he would.
It's a quality often found in narcissists, people who greatly admire themselves -- such as a presidential candidate confident that he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, knows more about policy than his policy directors and is a better political director than his political director.
If that sounds familiar, it's a paraphrase of what President Obama told top political aide Patrick Gaspard in 2008, according to the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza.
More recently, Obama's narcissism has been painfully apparent as the United States suffers one reversal after another in world affairs. But it has been apparent ever since he started running for president in 2007.
Candidate Obama campaigned not just as a critic of the policies of the opposing party's president, as many candidates do, but he portrayed himself repeatedly as someone who, because he "looks different" from other presidents, would make America beloved and cherished in the world.
Plenty of solipsism here. Obama's status as the possible -- and then actual -- first black president was surely an electoral asset. Most Americans believed and believe that, given the nation's history, the election of a black president would be a good thing, at least in the abstract.
But that history has less resonance beyond America's borders. Obama must have been surprised to find, on his trip to his father's native Africa, that he was less popular there than George W. Bush, thanks to Bush's program to combat AIDS.
Obama was also mistaken in thinking that his election and the departure of the cowboy bully Bush would make the United States popular again among the world's leaders and peoples -- though it had that effect in the faculty lounges and university neighborhoods Obama had chosen to inhabit.
In the wider world, the United States, as the largest and mightiest power, is bound to be resented and blamed for every unwelcome development. American presidents for more than a century have been characterized as crude and bumptious by foreign elites.
Moreover, as Robert Gates argued persuasively in his 1996 and 2014 memoirs, there is more continuity in American foreign policy than domestic campaign rhetoric suggests. From Guantanamo to Afghanistan, Obama found himself obliged more to carry on than to repudiate Bush's policies.
Where he has clearly changed course, he has done so solipsistically. A reset with Russia was possible, he reasoned, because Vladimir Putin, insulted by Bush's mulishness, was ready to cooperate with a president in mutually advantageous win-win agreements.
So in the past week, Obama has insisted that Putin's invasion of Ukraine's Crimea was not in his own interest. No doubt most in the faculty lounge would see it that way. But Putin clearly doesn't. As the military say, the enemy has a vote.
And in his astonishing interview last week with Bloomberg's Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama declared that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was ready to accept peace with Israel. Again, that's what Obama and the faculty lounge would do. But Abbas has turned down one generous peace deal and has never said he would recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Obama's assumption that other leaders share his views has its limits. It does not always apply to those who have been allies and friends of the United States.
In the Goldberg interview, he lashed Israel, and by implication Benjamin Netanyahu, for "aggressive settlement construction" in the West Bank. The implication is that only Israel is blocking a peace agreement. But it was Abbas who has rejected John Kerry's framework.
Obama's solipsistic narcissism extends even to the mullahs of Iran. This goes back again to the 2008 campaign: The problem was Bush's refusal to negotiate. Speak emolliently, send greetings on Muslim holidays and ignore the Green Movement protesters, and Iranian leaders would see that it is in their interest to halt their nuclear weapons program.
Most Americans, conservative as well as liberal, would be delighted if Putin, the Palestinians and Ayatollah Khamenei believed and behaved as we would. They would be pleased to see an enlightened American leader bridge rhetorical differences and reach accommodations that left all sides content and at peace.
That, unhappily, is not the world we live in. Being on the lookout for common ground is sensible. Assuming common ground when none exists is foolish. And often has bad consequences.
Cry Havoc (Racism) and Let Slip the Dogs of War
3/7/2014 12:01:00 AM - Mona Charen
When seven Democratic senators voted with all of the Republicans to reject Debo Adegbile's nomination to serve as head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, Harry Reid cried racism. It's as if Reid was on autopilot, and the aide who usually touches his elbow to correct him wasn't available. If the aide had been there, he would have whispered, "Um, Senator, you're accusing your own side of racism."
Adegbile had been rejected, the majority leader explained, because "he stood for civil rights," and "Republicans have done everything they can, for a number of years now, to stop people from voting ... "
So welcome to the club, Sens. Chris Coons, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Robert Casey, John Walsh, Joe Donnelly and Mark Pryor. By disagreeing with Reid, you're all honorary racists, which is the same thing as being a Republican, according to the Democratic defamation machine.
It's almost funny, this reflexive character assassination by the left. Republicans have grown so accustomed to it that they tend to shrug it off.
When autoworkers at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant voted against joining the United Auto Workers, an analyst on MSNBC explained to viewers that it was racist. "The opposition, I gather, portrayed this as a kind of Northern invasion, a refighting of the Civil War. Apparently there are not a lot of black employees in this particular plant, and so that kind of -- waving the Confederate flag -- was an effective strategy," said Timothy Noah.
Isn't it odd, then, that in the days preceding the vote, this "refighting of the Civil War" didn't make it into news coverage, including on MSNBC? A round-table discussion on that network before the vote featuring Eugene Robinson, Howard Dean, Chuck Todd, Harold Ford and Joe Scarborough, among others, didn't mention race at all. Only afterwards was the hoary old racist libel trotted out.
"Racist" has become the synonym for "conservative" among liberals. The tea party, a spontaneous eruption of disgust with Washington's big-spending, bailout-doling ways, was dubbed "racist" by Democrats from the outset. When the movement failed to provide the necessary evidence of its racist motivations, lies were concocted. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus paraded through an anti-Obamacare demonstration on the way to vote for the measure so that they could later claim that they had been called the N-word. Alas for the slander, lots of participants recorded the entire melodrama, and no racial slur was to be found on the tapes.
In 2008, liberal journalists who chatted together on a site called "JournoList" plotted strategies to deflect criticism of Obama's relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Pick one of Obama's conservative critics, Spencer Ackerman wrote, "Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists."
Republicans are wrong to ignore the smears. For every one person who is repelled by the false and libelous accusation, there are probably two others who think that where there's smoke, there's fire. A failure to demonstrate outrage at the accusation might be taken as evidence of guilt.
The senators who voted against Adegbile, Democrat and Republican, were not voting against him because of his race. They disagreed with him. It's obviously impossible for Democrats to acknowledge honest differences. That's why they wind up even calling their fellow Democrats racists when things go against them. They don't know how to frame arguments free of personal smears. They don't know how to evaluate policy choices without reference to evil motives by their opponents.
Every senator wrongly tarred by Reid should demand an apology. Republican leaders should demand that Democrats distance themselves from Reid's slander, or explain why they refuse.
There is still some real racism in America. It is found among all racial groups, but is no less ugly for that. The false accusation of racism is just as despicable. Republicans have let Democrats get away with slander for too long.
Women Leading the Fight Against Islamist Extremism
3/7/2014 12:01:00 AM - Linda Chavez
International Women's Day, celebrated this week for the 106th year, marks continued progress for women across the world, but that progress has been reversed in countries where Islamic fundamentalism has taken hold. And nowhere is women's freedom more under official assault than in Iran.
Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, women in Iran had significant personal freedom and protection under the law. One of the first changes the Ayatollah Khomeini made after taking power was to revoke the 1967 Family Protection Law, which governed marriage, divorce and family custody.
Today, women have less than second-class status in Iran. Their husbands may divorce them at will and take as many as four concurrent wives, and divorced women have no custody rights to their own children once the child reaches age 2. Women are denied the right to study what they choose and are forbidden from entering certain professions and from studying abroad unless accompanied by their husbands. Their testimony in court is devalued: Two women must testify to carry the same weight as one man.
The court system is an arm of fundamentalist Islam. Female victims of crime receive less justice than male victims. Punishment for harming or even killing a woman is less harsh than if the victim is a man. What we in the West might consider moral transgressions, such as adultery, incur the severest criminal penalties, including the stoning to death of female adulterers. Even minor transgressions, such as failing to wear the hijab, can result in beatings and imprisonment.
Last week in Paris, however, I joined a group of prominent women gathered to draw attention to the plight of women in Iran and under other Islamic extremist governments. The conference theme, "Women Leading the Fight Against Islamic Fundamentalism," drew speakers including former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, former president of the German Bundestag Rita Sussmuth, South African activist Nontombi Naomi Tutu, and Mariane Pearl, journalist and widow of reporter Daniel Pearl, whose videotaped execution by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed became a symbol of the barbarity of al-Qaida.
Maryam Rajavi, the conference organizer and president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, described the outrageous misogyny that the mullahs inflict on Iran: an acid attack against a woman and her daughter in the streets of Tehran, forced marriages for girls under 15, and new laws (unopposed by the so-called moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani) that allow men to marry their adopted daughters at age 13.
But Rajavi's message was not one of despair. "Iranian women and all women in the region must move from being hopeless to being hopeful. They have to move from simply being angry to becoming inspired to change and to bring about change."
It was the same message Tutu invoked. Recalling her famous father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, she described a visit he made to Alaska during the apartheid era where he met a woman who told him that she woke every morning at 3 o'clock to pray for the liberation of South Africa. "And he said, 'What chance does the apartheid regime have when we were being prayed for at 3 o'clock in the morning in Alaska?' ... What chance does the regime stand when there are young women inside Iran leading protests on college campuses. What chance does the regime stand when the opposition is lead by a woman named Mrs. Rajavi. No chance! No chance!"
Pearl spoke of resistance in personal terms. "The women that we talked about today are those ordinary women with a mighty heart -- and they can defeat terrorism," she said. "They also know that we have no choice but to win that fight."
Women make up more than half of the population of Iran. The mullahs may try to silence them, deprive them of their rights, even take away their children. But women will be the face of change in Iran. And it is time feminists in the West stood by their side in the fight against Islamic extremism.
Linda Chavez is the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal." To find out more about Linda Chavez, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
The Wages of Weakness
By Charles Krauthammer
Posted March 7, 2014
Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia annexed it 20 years before Jefferson acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot.
Now Russia looms over the rest of eastern and southern Ukraine. Putin can take that anytime he wants — if he wants. He has already destabilized the nationalist government in Kiev. Ukraine is now truncated and on the life support of U.S. and European money (much of which — cash for gas — will end up in Putin’s treasury anyway).
Obama says Putin is on the wrong side of history, and Secretary of State John Kerry says Putin’s is “really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century.”
This must mean that seeking national power, territory, dominion — the driving impulse of nations since Thucydides — is obsolete. As if a calendar change caused a revolution in human nature that transformed the international arena from a Hobbesian struggle for power into a gentleman’s club where violations of territorial integrity just don’t happen.
“That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior,” says Kerry. Makes invasion sound like a breach of etiquette — like using the wrong fork at a Beacon Hill dinner party.
How to figure out Obama’s foreign policy? In his first U.N. speech, he says: “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.” On what planet? Followed by the assertion that “alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War” — like NATO? — “make no sense in an interconnected world.”
Putin’s more cynical advisers might have thought such adolescent universalism to be a ruse. But Obama coupled these amazing words with even more amazing actions.
(1) Upon coming into office, he initiated the famous “reset” to undo the “drift” in relations that had occurred during the George W. Bush years. But that drift was largely due to the freezing of relations Bush imposed after Russia’s invasion of Georgia. Obama undid that pushback and wiped the slate clean — demanding nothing in return.
(2) Canceled missile-defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic. Without even consulting them. A huge concession to Putin’s threats — while again asking nothing in return. And sending a message that, while Eastern Europe may think it achieved post-Cold War independence, in reality it remains in play, subject to Russian influence and interests.
(3) In 2012, Obama assured Dmitry Medvedev that he would be even more flexible with Putin on missile defense as soon as he got past the election.
(4) The Syria debacle. Obama painted himself into a corner on chemical weapons — threatening to bomb and then backing down — and allowed Putin to rescue him with a promise to get rid of Syria’s stockpiles. Obama hailed this as a great win-win, when both knew — or did Obama really not know? — that he had just conferred priceless legitimacy on Bashar al-Assad and made Russia the major regional arbiter for the first time in 40 years.
(5) Obama keeps cutting defense spending. His latest budget will reduce it to 3 percent of GDP by 2016 and cut the army to pre-Pearl Harbor size — just as Russia is rebuilding, as Iran is going nuclear and as China announces yet another 12-plus percent increase in military spending.
Puzzling. There is no U.S. financial emergency, no budgetary collapse. Obama declares an end to austerity — for every government department except the military.
Can Putin be faulted for believing that if he bites off Crimea and threatens Kiev, Obama’s response will be minimal and his ability to lead the Europeans even less so?
Would Putin have lunged for Ukraine if he didn’t have such a clueless adversary? No one can say for sure. But it certainly made Putin’s decision easier.
Russia will get kicked out of the G-8 — if Obama can get Angela Merkel to go along. Big deal. Putin does care about financial sanctions, but the Europeans are already divided and squabbling among themselves.
Next weekend’s Crimean referendum will ask if it should be returned to Mother Russia. Can Putin refuse? He can already see the history textbooks: Catherine the Great took Crimea, Vlad (the Great?) won it back. Not bad for a 19th-century man.
Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.
The Patriot Post
Mar. 6, 2014
“We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience.” –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the state of Virginia, 1782
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Facebook and Gun Pages
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is an anti-gun group that ran obnoxious ads with children holding AR-15s last year, all to sustain an emotional response after Sandy Hook. The group recently made a target of Facebook, demanding that the social networking site ban gun-themed fan pages. Facebook listened – sort of. Facebook said it will tighten restrictions1 on said pages, blocking them for users under 18 and requiring that pages used to promote private gun sales post a warning about the law and also limit access for children. MDA is claiming victory, but the modification is a far cry from their initial demands. Perhaps MDA should focus on things more meaningful than whether a kid sees a picture of a gun.
Putin’s Peace Prize?
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. True story2. Of course, being nominated and winning one are two different things, but it’s humorous nonetheless. Unfortunately for Putin, the Russian invasion of Ukraine3 might come up in discussions about his nomination, and the committee may frown upon that act of non-peace. Then again, Yasser Arafat won a Nobel Prize so maybe anything goes. And on the bright side, it allows Barack Obama winning the Prize to make slightly more sense.
Hillary and Hitler
Hillary Clinton had this analysis of Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine3: “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ‘30s. All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying 'they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people’ and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.” Actually, she’s got a point. But it wasn’t long before hedged, saying she was just trying to bring “a little historical perspective” to the debate, adding, “I don’t know that it does any good to just up the rhetoric unless we can make sure that Europe is responding.” And if anything serves to “up the rhetoric,” it’s Hitler comparisons.
Pryor on Military ‘Entitlement’
If Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) wasn’t toast in this November’s election already, he may have just sealed his fate. Pryor described his opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton, as having a “sense of entitlement” because he served in the military and is now running for Senate. “I think that’s part of that sense of entitlement that he gives off is that, almost like, ‘I served my country, let me into the Senate.’ But that’s not how it works in Arkansas.” Ironically, how’s “it works in Arkansas” for Pryor is that he’s trading on his father’s name and political legacy. David Pryor was governor and then senator, and Mark Pryor now holds his seat. So who has a “sense of entitlement”?
No More Insurance Companies
Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects behind ObamaCare, has a prediction4: “[I]nsurance companies as we know them are about to die.” That could be good, though, Emanuel argues, since “Americans hate health insurance companies.” In a general sense he’s probably right, but then why did ObamaCare merely force everyone to buy from those hated companies? The short answer, as we’ve argued since 2009, is that the Democrats' plan all along has been to work toward single-payer health care, which means destroying the current system, even better if “by popular demand.” But when Emanuel writes, “So be prepared to kiss your insurance company good-bye forever,” it’s not exactly “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” is it?
A Cup of Texas Tea
Texas was the first state to have a primary for the 2014 election cycle, and the Tea Party scored a number of successes down the ballot. That didn’t stop Beltway pundits at ABC News or Politico from describing the Tea Party as faltering7 or having its best days behind it8, mainly because Sen. John Cornyn won his primary. They failed to take into account the number of victories down the ballot, or the minor detail that Cornyn was virtually unchallenged.
Unlike 2010 and 2012, when Rick Perry and Ted Cruz won primaries with huge Tea Party support, there were races where several candidates tried to adopt the Tea Party mantle and split the vote. One example is the race for lieutenant governor, where incumbent David Dewhurst was forced into a runoff and received just 28% – the other 72% divided among a number of hopefuls, with Dan Patrick becoming the Tea Party favorite and leading the way. The same was true of the state’s attorney general race, where the “establishment” pick won just 33%, but no one else reached 50% in a crowded field.
A second hopeful sign was the massive amount of votes Republicans received in Texas’s open primary. As columnist Michael Barone points out9, 71% of votes cast were on the Republican side. Or put another way, he says, “Yesterday’s results suggest that the ‘paint Texas blue’ project has not made much headway.” Since neither Republicans nor Democrats had a seriously contested race for governor, the action seemed to be determining just how conservative of a Republican would be nominated.
As always, the Beltway narrative is that the Tea Party is too “extreme” to win elections. In some cases, there’s no question the Tea Party nominated flawed candidates and failed to win previous elections that were winnable. Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Sharon Angle in Nevada and Todd Akin in Missouri come to mind. And in Texas, Rep. Steve Stockman ran a strange and sometimes non-existent campaign to unseat John Cornyn. But then again, not a single significant Tea Party group supported him.
The imperfect election record doesn’t negate Tea Party truth, which is that the government is too big and growing too fast, and that far too often Republicans are part of the problem. If the Tea Party can nominate solid candidates who articulate the basic message that those problems can be addressed by Liberty and constitutionally limited government, and if it can focus on good candidates competing in winnable races, the movement will be successful for years to come.
Democrats Scuttle Radical Obama Nomination
So much for killing the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) attempt to blow up the chamber’s tradition and stack the deck for Barack Obama’s leftist nominees was all for naught yesterday when Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice went down in flames. Eight Democrats joined 44 Republicans in voting against cloture to bring Adegbile’s vote to the floor. Reid voted no as a procedural move to reserve the right to revisit the matter at a later date, and John Cornyn (R-TX) didn’t vote, making the final tally 47-52. Joe Biden hung around to break any potential tie, but it wasn’t that close.
Obama declared that “the Senate’s failure” to confirm Adegbile “is a travesty. Based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant. Mr. Adegbile’s qualifications are impeccable.”
Let’s look at those qualifications. Adegbile was involved in the NAACP’s legal defense of infamous cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal, a member of the Black Panther Party, had already been rightfully convicted and sentenced to death (later commuted to life in prison) for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner when Adegbile became involved. Adegbile, like so many leftists nationwide and abroad, made Abu-Jamal a cause célèbre based on the absurd claim that he was the victim of a racist justice system. In the end, though, he was nothing more than a cold-blooded killer.
Adegbile’s political involvement in the Abu-Jamal case was no secret to Obama when he was nominated for the Justice post, but it was also seemingly of no consequence. In fact, Adegbile would have been a perfect fit for the administration’s scheme to politicize the Justice Department, while remaking voting laws through selective enforcement to tip the scales in Democrats' favor for years to come. Obama, no doubt assured by Reid, also thought he had this one in the bag. But most of the Democrats who voted against cloture are facing tough re-election prospects this year and didn’t want to be seen supporting such a nominee. It’s called self-preservation. Perhaps we’re jaded, but it’s hard to believe that they really thought the president went too far.
Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) immediately took to blaming Republicans, even though it was actually their fellow Democrats who sunk the nomination. Durbin even went so far as to claim that Adegbile’s involvement in the Abu-Jamal case “demonstrates his appreciation for the Rule of Law.” This signifies one of the biggest problems Democrats have – they constantly confuse politics with law, trying to trade one for the other whenever it’s convenient for their agenda.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “Obama mocked Mitt Romney for his claim that the Russians are our ‘No. 1 geopolitical foe,’ and scoffed: ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.’ That scorn looks embarrassing enough given recent events. But the truth is Obama’s hostility to Romney’s policies had little to do with them being outdated. Obama didn’t like America’s Cold War policies during the Cold War. In 1983, then-Columbia University student Obama penned a lengthy article for the school magazine placing the blame for U.S.-Soviet tensions largely on America’s ‘war mentality’ and the ‘twisted logic’ of the Cold War. President Reagan’s defense buildup, according to Obama, contributed to the ‘silent spread of militarism’ and reflected our ‘distorted national priorities’ rather than what should be our goal: a ‘nuclear free world.’ Of course, it’s unfair to put too much weight on anyone’s youthful writings. Except there’s precious little evidence his views have changed over the years.”
Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “Science is rarely ‘settled.’ Instead, orthodoxy is constantly challenged. A theory survives not by politics, but only if it can offer the best logical explanations for a set of circumstances backed by hard statistical data. Global warming that begat ‘climate change’ is no exception. All the good politics in the world of blaming most bad weather on too much carbon dioxide cannot make it true if unquestioned climate data cannot support the notion of recent temperature increases being directly attributable to rising man-caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. In recent years, ‘settled science’ with regard to the causes of peptic ulcers, the health benefits of Vitamin D, the need for annual mammograms and the prognostic value of the prostate-specific antigen test have all been turned upside down by dissident scientists offering new theories to interpret fresh data.”
American writer Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973): “None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.”
Columnist Ann Coulter: “[A]nother Russian leader is playing cat-and-mouse with an American president – and guess who’s the mouse? Putin has taunted Obama in Iran, in Syria and with Edward Snowden. By now, Obama has become such an object for Putin’s amusement that the fastest way to get the Russians out of Crimea would be for Obama to call on Putin to invade Ukraine.”
Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “You really have to lower yourself to a special stupidity at this point to contend that Obama is anything other than a big dud. … I will proudly tell my grandchildren I was against the first black president being a useless nitwit.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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.
Science and Reason vs. Political Correctness
Victor Davis Hanson
3/6/2014 12:01:00 AM - Victor Davis Hanson
President Obama entered office promising to restore the sanctity of science. Instead, a fresh war against science, statistics and reason is being waged on behalf of politically correct politics.
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the president attempted to convert national outrage into new gun-control legislation. Specifically, he focused on curtailing semi-automatic "assault" rifles. But there is no statistical evidence that such guns -- semi-automatic rifles that have mostly cosmetic changes to appear similar to banned military-style fully automatic assault weapons -- lead to increased gun-related crimes.
The promiscuous availability of illegal handguns does. They're used in the vast majority of all gun-related violent crime -- and in such cases they are often obtained illegally. Yet the day-to-day enforcement of existing handgun statutes is far more difficult than the widely publicized passing of new laws.
Late-term abortions used to be justified in part by an argument dating back to the 1970s that fetuses were not yet "human." But emerging science has allowed premature babies 5 months old or younger to survive outside the womb. Brain waves of fetuses can be monitored at just six weeks after conception. Such facts may be unwelcome to many, given the political controversy over abortion. Yet the idea that even small fetuses are not viable humans until birth is simply unscientific.
The president still talks of "settled science" in the global warming debate. He recently flew to California to attribute the near-record drought there to human-induced global warming.
There is no scientific basis for the president's assertion about the drought. Periodic droughts are characteristic of California's climate, both in the distant past and over a century and a half of modern record-keeping. If the president were empirical rather than deductive and political, he would instead have cited the logical reasons why this drought is far more serious than those of the late 1970s.
California has not built additional major mountain storage reservoirs to capture Sierra Nevada runoff in decades. The population of the state's water consumers has almost doubled since the last severe drought. Several million acre-feet of stored fresh water have been in recent years diverted to the sea -- on the dubious science that the endangered delta smelt suffers mostly from irrigation-related water diversions rather than pollutants, and that year-round river flows for salmon, from the mountains to the sea, existed before the reserve water storage available from the construction of mountain reservoirs.
The administration has delayed construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, citing concern about climate change. Yet a recent State Department environmental report found that the proposed pipeline would not increase carbon dioxide emissions enough to affect atmospheric temperatures. There is no scientific basis from which to cancel the Keystone, but a variety of logical reasons to build it -- such as moving toward North American energy independence and protecting ourselves against energy blackmailers and cartels abroad.
Science is rarely "settled." Instead, orthodoxy is constantly challenged. A theory survives not by politics, but only if it can offer the best logical explanations for a set of circumstances backed by hard statistical data.
Global warming that begat "climate change" is no exception. All the good politics in the world of blaming most bad weather on too much carbon dioxide cannot make it true if unquestioned climate data cannot support the notion of recent temperature increases being directly attributable to rising man-caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
In recent years, "settled science" with regard to the causes of peptic ulcers, the health benefits of Vitamin D, the need for annual mammograms and the prognostic value of the prostate-specific antigen test have all been turned upside down by dissident scientists offering new theories to interpret fresh data.
Yet for the new anti-empirical left, science becomes an ally only when refuting absurd religious theories that the earth is 5,000 years old. Otherwise, it can prove irrelevant when it does not necessarily support pet causes.
Putin's Mind, Not his Shoes
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
3/6/2014 12:01:00 AM - Jackie Gingrich Cushman
As Americans, we have the unfortunate habit of thinking about others by seeing their actions and reactions from our point of view. We put ourselves in their figurative shoes, i.e., we know about their situation, constraints, advantages and options, but we don't know what is going on in their minds. This may be due to our relative lack of diversity, the geographic size of our nation or our relatively insular upbringing.
This inability to put ourselves in others' minds, to understand their different beliefs, philosophies and reasons for action, led to our inability to predict and prepare for the attack on Pearl Harbor by Kamikaze pilots, the attacks of 9-11, the horrors carried out by Hitler and, as my 14-year-old daughter, Maggie, noted, allowed us to fete Castro after he initially took over Cuba.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into Crimea, in Southern Ukraine. This week, Putin denied that troops were in Crimea, while Secretary of State John Kerry expressed disbelief. "He really denied there were troops in Crimea?"
To understand Putin's actions, it's important to understand the man. It's not enough to put ourselves in his shoes; we need to put ourselves in his mind. The question is not what we would do in his situation, but what he will do, based on his history, personality and experiences.
Putin spent 16 years as a KGB agent. This means his natural bias is likely not to be open and understanding, but to be planning three, four or five moves ahead of his opponent and using propaganda to provide cover and reason. Putin's denial of the troops' presence should not be surprising.
Putin has been in the top tier of Russian politics for decades, serving as either prime minister or president of Russia since 1999. During the past few years, Putin has engaged in a non-stop campaign to shape his image, one that has included riding shirtless on a horse, diving for antiquities (which were later revealed to have been planted), and writing an Op-Ed that was published last fall in the New York Times warning the United States to "return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement." Putin's last press relation win, the staging of the Sochi Olympics as grand host, with Russia leading the medal count, must have filled him with pride in his nation.
Why does this matter? David Brooks reminded us this week in his New York Times column, "Putin Can't Stop," that a man's beliefs and actions are based on his beliefs and philosophical foundations.
"To enter into the world of Putin's favorite philosophers is to enter a world full of melodrama, mysticism and grandiose eschatological visions," Brooks wrote.
He then quoted from the 20th-century Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin: "'We trust and are confident that the hour will come when Russia will rise from disintegration and humiliation and begin an epoch of new development and greatness,' Ilyin wrote.
"Three great ideas run through this work," said Brooks. "The first is Russian exceptionalism: the idea that Russia has its own unique spiritual status and purpose. The second is devotion to the Orthodox faith. The third is belief in autocracy. Mashed together, these philosophers point to a Russia that is a quasi-theocratic nationalist autocracy destined to play a culminating role on the world stage."
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted by reporter Karen Robes Meeks of the Long Beach Press Telegram on Tuesday providing background and context.
"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," Clinton said. "All the Germans that were ... the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they're not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that's what's gotten everybody so nervous."
According to Robes, Clinton noted that Putin is a man "who believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness. When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia."
As we think through Putin's actions and reactions regarding Ukraine, we must remember that it is not enough to put ourselves in Putin's shoes. We also need to put ourselves in his mind. His mind is different than ours. It's his mind that drove him to pose shirtless on his horse -- and we'll have to stretch our imaginations and understanding to put ourselves there as well.
John Bolton: Our Biggest National Security Crisis is Barack Obama
3/6/2014 10:55:00 AM - Katie Pavlich
Speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday morning, Ambassador John Bolton slammed President Obama's foreign policy approach and what he called the Obama doctrine.
"Our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama," Bolton said.
Bolton touched on the ongoing crisis with Russia but classified the 9/11 terror attack in Benghazi as Barack Obama's biggest foreign policy failure.
"Libya is the paradigm of the Obama doctrine's failure," Bolton said. "Since Benghazi, Obama has done nothing to avenge Chris Stevens death."
Bolton added that Stevens was a personal respresentative of President Obama in Libya, yet nothing has been done to bring his killers to justice.
"Under Barack Obama, you can get away with murdering his personal representative and get away scot-free," Bolton said.
The Future of the Tea Party
3/6/2014 12:01:00 AM - Matt Towery
As one of the first to chronicle and applaud its rise, I am not ready to pronounce the death of the tea party movement. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that what was a concerted and focused force in politics is becoming more that of a less focused and more diffused effort.
Some who have created their political fortunes under the tea party mantel, particularly its "leaders" in various parts of the nation, refuse to accept that what remains a great overall philosophy is no longer a "party" with which vast numbers want to identify. That has been established in numerous surveys of likely Republican voters around the nation. But the shift in support of the tea party itself does not mean the effort is dead.
First, even those who still feel called to don their Paul Revere outfits must recognize that movements such as what we saw leading up to the 2010 elections always lose some of their luster as they become more effective in impacting their targets. In other words, many a so-called establishment Republican takes a more conservative stand on many issues today as a result of the ferocity and power of the tea party movement in recent years.
Moreover, the economy is at least allegedly stronger than it was in the first years of the tea party's existence when it brought throngs of citizens to peacefully demonstrate in Washington D.C. and at other venues across the nation. Generally, as economic times get even marginally better, voters tend to moderate their views a bit.
This does not mean the demise of the tea party, but rather its solidification as a factor in Republican primaries and in General Elections. Note that it is as "a factor" but likely no longer the all-powerful deciding factor.
For example, few in Washington have attracted the ire of tea party types more than Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. Cornyn recently demolished his tea party-backed opponent Rep. Steve Stockman in the GOP primary vote on Cornyn's Senate seat. Sen. Cornyn has often been seen as soft on issues of importance to those who adhere to the Tea Party philosophy. He was recently rated the 17th most conservative member of the Senate, but for some in Texas, 17th begged the question, "why not the most conservative?"
Political pundits will either blow Cornyn's victory out of proportion and declare all things tea party dead, or, more likely, continue to lump conservatives and Republicans into a derisive "Tea Bagger" term that is both crude as to political language and incorrect as a description of that demographic's identity.
For example, Democrats in Georgia, one of a very few open Senate seats where they hope for a possible upset, are convinced that Republicans will nominate a weak candidate as a result of the strength of a tea party-dominated Republican primary process. But every indication suggests that the leading candidates for that nomination are more mainstream and while likely very conservative, not a firebrand whacko who could open the door to the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. On her own, Michelle Nunn seems a somewhat uninspiring candidate and will struggle to escape from a political philosophy a bit left of that of the Georgia electorate.
On the 2016 presidential scene, past tea partyers might be pulled in different directions. Ted Cruz would, at the moment, seem to be the most likely candidate to enjoy tea party support. But former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee might offer up a strong conservative alternative to Cruz's more "in your face" style. And Rand Paul would easily inherit not only the support of his father's past boosters, but a large swath of conservative voters looking for something new and refreshing from the GOP.
And, ironically, Jeb Bush, often viewed as the "ultimate insider" within the GOP establishment, continues to enjoy a strong conservative record as a former governor of Florida and would further split up the tea party crowd.
Cornyn's victory, while not a deciding moment for the tea party effort, is an early indication that "one snap of a finger" by past tea party leaders no longer guarantees a victory or defeat for a candidate. The movement is being forced to mature, enjoy its lasting impact, and adapt to its new role as a force, but not the deciding force, among Republicans.
The Patriot Post
Wednesday’s Daily Digest
Mar. 5, 2014
“But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” –George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
Pentagon Prepares for Climate
The Pentagon may be trading defense for welfare by cutting troop size and other expenses, but it’s keeping its eye on the ball regarding climate change. The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review says, “[W]e will complete a comprehensive assessment of all installations to assess the potential impacts of climate change on our missions and operational resiliency, and develop and implement plans to adapt as required.” Climate change, warned the report, will “aggravate stressors” such as “poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.” Well, John Kerry did call global warming a WMD. Maybe that means Vladimir Putin is just hot.
Drag in the Military
U.S. soldiers at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa put on a fabulous show over the weekend, complete with makeup, dresses and wigs. Stars and Stripes reports, “Since the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, U.S. military bases have hosted gay marriage ceremonies and potluck gatherings. But on Saturday, servicemembers here may have been the first to take to the stage and perform as drag queens on a military installation in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops.” The sold-out show was a fundraiser for “OutServe,” which advocates for military homosexuals, and Stars and Stripes billed it as “a sign of the times within the military.” That sign is a bad one, and it will undoubtedly make our military less feared in the world.
Tyrant Mocks Opponents of Tyranny
We already know Barack Obama has contempt for Rule of Law and separation of powers. He decided to combine that with his contempt for his political opponents by slamming them for opposing his abuse of power. “They say, how dare you fix the things we were complaining about [in ObamaCare]? … They’ll complain about something, and then we take steps to fix it – ‘you’re a tyrant,’ ‘you’re overreaching.’” That’s absurd, he says, because “where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.” The ends justify the means – and as long as the ends are “doing right” by America or his own party’s electoral gain, all things are possible.
Flee Your Ground
“Police say a woman reported to be in labor and her boyfriend were robbed in Annapolis as they headed to a hospital,” the Associated Press reports. Actually, the boyfriend wasn’t really robbed because he “fled,” leaving his pregnant girlfriend to fend for herself against three assailants. The crime happened in Maryland, so of course the only people armed were the perps. But what ever happened to chivalry? Maybe we should give the boyfriend the benefit of the doubt since he was just practicing leftist self-defense – run away!
Zero-tolerance policies have a shameful history in our nation’s schools. Not to be left behind, officials at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, have suspended a 10-year-old boy for three days for the heinous crime of “aiming” at anther student with his gun-shaped hand. The fifth-grader says he was “just playing around,” which happens “a lot at my school.” Exactly – it’s called being a 10-year-old boy. A district spokesman offered no apologies, however, saying the district sent multiple letters to parents warning that using pretend guns is a punishable offense. What’s offensive is that these people call what they do to our children “education.”
Update: Homeschool Family Can Stay
The Romeike family, which we reported yesterday was to be deported, will be permitted to stay after all. Their lawyer announced Tuesday that the asylum-seeking homeschooling German family has been granted “indefinite deferred status,” which means they “can stay in the United States permanently (unless they are convicted of a crime, etc.).” That’s good news.
Obama’s Budget Proves Some Things Never Change
The White House unveiled Barack Obama’s latest budget proposal Tuesday, promising that billions in new spending and another $1 trillion in class-warfare-based tax hikes will somehow result in reining in the government’s deficits and reducing the national debt as a share of the economy. The president proposes to spend $3.9 trillion, $350 billion higher than this year and $1 trillion more than 2008, while carrying a deficit of $564 billion. He’s trying to have it both ways, making at different times the Keynesian argument that government spending is the root of economic growth while also flashing his deficit reduction merit badge. The deficit reduction, however, happened against his will, and shaving his record $1.7 trillion deficit to $600 billion is hardly worth celebrating.
“Our budget is about choices, it’s about our values,” Obama declared. “As a country we’ve got to make a decision if we’re going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans or if we’re going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity for every American.” Tax breaks for the wealthy? He just raised tax rates on the top two brackets in January 2013. Evidently, he didn’t update his stump speech accordingly. Yet he now proposes raising taxes further – by resurrecting the so-called “Buffett rule” (now known as the “Fair Share Tax”) and capping charitable deductions, for example – so that he can spend even more money.
Just last month, the Congressional Budget Office projected that deficits will rise to $1 trillion once again and the debt will reach 79% of GDP by 2024, while Obama says his budget will cause it to fall to 69% – still a staggering $25 trillion by 2024 – a very dubious claim. Meanwhile, the administration predicts economic growth of just 2.6% per year for the next decade, but his prediction is probably too optimistic if his proposed taxing and spending increases continue to sap the economy.
To arrive at reduced deficits, the administration is also counting on a couple of unlikely things. First, Obama says higher taxes will actually yield higher revenue – record-setting revenue of 19.9% of GDP, in fact, or $3.15 trillion more than CBO projects. That’s an absurd calculation given that, well, it would tie a record, and, again, because tax hikes tend to depress growth, yielding lower revenue over time. Second, he plans on ObamaCare producing $402 billion in savings over 10 years. A certain hot place freezing over is more likely.
Finally, he proposes nothing regarding reforming Social Security or Medicare, which are the primary drivers of long-term debt, and such “mandatory” spending already consumes more than two-thirds of federal spending. Even The Washington Post understands this, editorializing, “In a federal budget of nearly $4 trillion, the president and Congress will argue over about $1 trillion, divided roughly evenly between defense needs and every other federal function. Under these circumstances, even the most modest policy prescription becomes a recipe for political trench warfare.”
Indeed, the president’s budget is nothing more than a leftist wish list. It would never pass the House and the Senate has already decided not to bother with a budget again this year. But at least Obama has reaffirmed that reality hasn’t changed his priorities.
SCOTUS Could Consider First Amendment
Last August, a New Mexico photographer lost her case before the state Supreme Court, which ruled that, despite her Christian faith, Elaine Huguenin did not have the right, First Amendment or otherwise, to decline to take pictures at a same-sex commitment ceremony. Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth sued Huguenin and her husband Jonathan, with whom she operates the studio, despite there being other Albuquerque photographers who were happy to take their business. The case is a poster example of the intolerance foisted on us by the homosexual agenda, as the recent kerfuffle in Arizona also illustrated.
Now the Supreme Court will decide in the coming days whether to hear Huguenin’s appeal. While she will “gladly serve gays and lesbians,” she doesn’t want to photograph a same-sex “marriage” or commitment ceremony. She contends that her photography constitutes speech and she should not be forced to “create expression conveying messages that conflict with [my] religious beliefs.”
Ilya Shapiro of the libertarian Cato Institute, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, and University of Minnesota law professor Dale Carpenter jointly wrote an amicus brief supporting the Huguenins, arguing, “Photographers, writers, singers, actors, painters and others who create First Amendment-protected speech must have the right to decide which commissions to take and which to reject.”
The state Supreme Court didn’t see it that way, however. Justice Richard C. Bosson wrote in concurrence that the case “provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice.” Furthermore, “at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less.” That “compromise” is increasingly being demanded of only one side in this debate. Now it’s up to the U.S. Supreme Court to either let this egregious violation of conscience and speech stand or to set the record straight.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Columnist Ben Shapiro: “In the ivory tower inhabited by the great intellects of the Obama administration … no problem is too big to be thought or talked or surrendered away. If Russia won’t change its perspective, we will simply cut our military more to convince them we mean well; if the Palestinians or Iranians don’t change their perspectives, we will force Israel to negotiate with them in order to prove our goodwill. Meanwhile, our enemies laugh. And they should. The global battlefield is no place for the Kennedy School political science grad students who inhabit our White House and believe that a well-aimed, snooty barb is a substitute for a muscular foreign policy presence.”
Economist Walter E. Williams: “According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Contrast this with the fact that black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and wars since 1980 (about 8,200) total about 18,500. Young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities. Black political power and massive city budgets have done absolutely nothing to ameliorate this problem of black insecurity. … The black family managed to survive several centuries of slavery and generations of the harshest racism and Jim Crow, to ultimately become destroyed by the welfare state.”
Columnist John Stossel: “‘I will … create new jobs …’ Politicians always say that, but this president says it especially often. Do voters not know that government has no money of its own, so when politicians ‘create’ jobs, they take money from the private sector, the only group that creates real jobs? I emphasize ‘real’ because, of course, politicians can create jobs by funding companies like Solyndra, hiring more staff or paying people to dig holes and fill them up. But those jobs don’t last or create real wealth. Politicians can’t create real employment by taxing people and giving the money to others.”
English philosopher and political theorist Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): “Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money."
Comedian Argus Hamilton: "Secretary of State John Kerry went on Meet the Press Sunday and chastised the Russians for breaking three different international treaties by seizing the Crimea from Ukraine. White House response was swift and angry. President Obama just threatened to unfriend Putin on Facebook.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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 Inevitability of Obamacare for Illegal Aliens
3/5/2014 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
You knew it was coming. I knew it was coming. When government expands entitlements, illegal aliens always end up with a piece of the pie. Obamacare promoters relented to GOP pressure to include an illegal alien ban on eligibility and vowed endlessly that no benefits would go to the "undocumented." But denial isn't just a river in Egypt. It's the Obama way.
In Oregon this week, officials confessed that nearly 4,000 illegal immigrants had been "accidentally" steered from the state's low-income Medicaid program and instead were enrolled in Obamacare in violation of the law. Oopsie. The Oregonian newspaper's Nick Budnick reported that the health bureaucrats "discovered the problem several weeks ago and are correcting it." Get in line. The beleaguered Cover Oregon health insurance exchange has been riddled with ongoing problems, errors and glitches since last October that have yet to be fixed.
Take note: This wasn't a one-time computer meltdown. Because Oregon's health insurance exchange website has been offline and its software architects under investigation for possible fraud, the Oregon Obamacare drones have been processing each and every application manually. That means nearly 4,000 illegal alien applications with "inaccurate" data somehow passed through government hands and somehow ended up getting routed through as new enrollees with Obamacare-approved full-service health care.
How many Obamacare services did these nearly 4,000 illegal aliens avail themselves of, and at what cost?
Does anyone believe the same incompetent boobs who enrolled them will be able to track down the nearly 4,000 illegal alien beneficiaries, "correct" the "errors" and ensure that it doesn't happen again?
What a slap in the face to the millions of law-abiding Americans who have lost their health care coverage and work hours thanks to Democratic-sponsored federal health care regulatory burdens and mandate costs.
One Oregon Obamacare manager defended the unlawful illegal alien enrollment by explaining: "We were just getting people into the services." And there's the rub. The imperative of these government social engineers is to herd as many "clients" into taxpayer-subsidized programs as possible. Just last week, Obama's Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson publicized an open letter to families with illegal alien relatives promising that no one would be deported for seeking Obamacare services.
"No one in America who is eligible should be afraid to apply for health coverage because they have a family with mixed status," Johnson assured. And in another sign of how the White House is still planning for mass illegal alien amnesty, Johnson also made clear: "Enrolling in health coverage ... will not prevent your loved ones who are undocumented from getting a green card in the future or who do not yet have a green card at risk."
As always, California Democrats are at the forefront of busting open Obamacare for the illegal alien population. Earlier this month, Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced a bill to extend health benefits and a special online marketplace to one million illegals under an Obamacare-style program subsidized by state taxpayer dollars.
In case you forgot, President Obama had already paved the path for illegal alien Obamacare when he signed the massive expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) in 2009. As I've reported previously, the law loosened eligibility requirements for legal immigrants and their children by watering down document and evidentiary standards -- making it easy for individuals to use fake Social Security cards to apply for benefits with little to no chance of getting caught. In addition, Obama's S-CHIP expansion revoked Medicaid application time limits that were part of the 1996 welfare reform law.
Open-borders activists saw those provisions as first steps toward universal health coverage for illegals. They see America as the medical welcome mat to the world. Over the past year, they've ratcheted up public protests demanding free organ transplants for illegal alien patients. In Chicago last fall, they marched on a hospital with caskets and posters demanding scarce organs. One illegal alien blasted authorities for putting "paper over our lives." In California, illegal alien transplant patients count on federal incompetence and lax enforcement to abet them, because if they notify the state that DHS "is aware of their presence and does not plan to deport them," they are eligible for full-blown Medi-Cal coverage, according to the state.
Now, Obamacare peddlers from Oregon to New York and all points in between are rushing to sign up new "customers" in advance of the March 31 open enrollment deadline. How many more thousands of illegal aliens will be roped into the system? Remember: In the lexicon of the left, "accidental" is just another word for inevitable entitlement creep.
Black People Duped
Walter E. Williams
3/5/2014 12:01:00 AM - Walter E. Williams
People in the media and academia are mostly leftists hellbent on growing government and controlling our lives. Black people, their politicians and civil rights organizations have become unwitting accomplices. The leftist pretense of concern for the well-being of black people confers upon them an aura of moral superiority and, as such, gives more credibility to their calls for increasing government control over our lives.
Ordinary black people have been sold on the importance of electing blacks to high public office. After centuries of black people having been barred from high elected office, no decent American can have anything against their wider participation in our political system. For several decades, blacks have held significant political power, in the form of being mayors and dominant forces on city councils in major cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, Memphis, Tenn., Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, Oakland, Calif., Newark, N.J., and Cincinnati. In these cities, blacks have held administrative offices such as school superintendent, school principal and chief of police. Plus, there's the precedent-setting fact of there being 44 black members of Congress and a black president.
What has this political power meant for the significant socio-economic problems faced by a large segment of the black community? Clearly, it has done little or nothing for academic achievement; the number of black students scoring proficient is far below the national average. It is a disgrace -- and ought to be a source of shame -- to know that the average white seventh- or eighth-grader can run circles around the average black 12th-grader in most academic subjects. The political and education establishment tells us that the solution lies in higher budgets, but the fact of business is that some of the worst public school districts have the highest spending per student. Washington, D.C., for example, spends more than $29,000 per student and scores at nearly the bottom in academic achievement.
Each year, roughly 7,000 -- and as high as 9,000 -- blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Contrast this with the fact that black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and wars since 1980 (about 8,200) total about 18,500. Young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities. Black political power and massive city budgets have done absolutely nothing to ameliorate this problem of black insecurity.
Most of the problems faced by the black community have their roots in a black culture that differs significantly from the black culture of yesteryear. Today only 35 percent of black children are raised in two-parent households, but as far back as 1880, in Philadelphia, 75 percent of black children were raised in two-parent households -- and it was as high as 85 percent in other places. Even during slavery, in which marriage was forbidden, most black children were raised with two biological parents. The black family managed to survive several centuries of slavery and generations of the harshest racism and Jim Crow, to ultimately become destroyed by the welfare state. The black family has fallen victim to the vision fostered by some intellectuals that, in the words of a sociology professor in the 1960s, "it has yet to be shown that the absence of a father was directly responsible for any of the supposed deficiencies of broken homes." The real issue to these intellectuals "is not the lack of male presence but the lack of male income." That suggests that fathers can be replaced by a welfare check. The weakened black family gives rise to problems such has high crime, predation and other forms of anti-social behavior.
The cultural problems that affect many black people are challenging and not pleasant to talk about, but incorrectly attributing those problems to racism and racial discrimination, a need for more political power, and a need for greater public spending condemns millions of blacks to the degradation and despair of the welfare state.