The articles posted on this page are written from a conservative, Christian worldview. Patriot Post publications are usually posted M, W, & F. Others are posted as discovered by yours truly. These posting are meant to instill a love for God, family and country as well as to educate, equip, enlighten, and challenge to good deeds for the betterment of mankind, those who visit these pages.
"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president." Author Unknown
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The Patriot Post’s Daily Digest
Jul. 29, 2014
“What country can preserve its liberties, if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” –Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith, 1787
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Obama Strategizes for Immigration Fix
With Congress moving too slow for the legislator and justice in chief, Barack Obama said he would “fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own” using his infamous pen. Now, the Los Angeles Times reports, White House “[o]fficials signaled strongly Friday that Obama’s move would shield from deportation large numbers of immigrants living in the country illegally, as advocacy groups have demanded.” This comes as illegal immigrants demand a seat at the table1 discussing Obama’s next move on immigration. As Obama moves forward, there are rumblings of impeachment2, some implied by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and some by Democrats, who are milking the idea of impeachment for donations.
Obama: ‘You Don’t Get to Pick Which Rules You Play By’
In his weekly address, Barack Obama told us this is the United States, and Americans play by the rules. “The vast majority of American businesses pay their taxes right here in the United States,” Obama said. “But when some companies cherry-pick their taxes, it damages the country’s finances. It adds to the deficit. It makes it harder to invest in the things that will keep America strong, and it sticks you with the tab for what they stash offshore.” So Obama rose to the White House soapbox to spout the party line about corporate unfairness and economic patriotism4. He continued, “Right now, a loophole in our tax laws makes this totally legal – and I think that’s totally wrong. You don’t get to pick which rules you play by, or which tax rate you pay, and neither should these companies.” At least this week, we agree with Obama: Rules are rules, and they can be so hard to follow sometimes. After all, there are rules about announcing prisoner swaps to Congress, immigration rules to enforce, a pesky document written 1787 that is fondly called the Constitution.
VA Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Struck Down
The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman – a 2006 constitutional amendment approved by voters 57% to 43%. The Associated Press reported, “The court itself also highlighted the debate that pits moral values and the idea of equality against states' rights, recognizing that same-sex marriage ‘makes some people deeply uncomfortable,’ but argued in its ruling Monday that those concerns are ‘not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.’” The ruling is part of a snowballing and troubling trend. When Connecticut legalized same-sex marriage in 2008, for example, the issue of marriage was a state’s issue, decided by the state’s Supreme Court. Today, these state-level constitutional issues are being decided by the federal legal system, and are providing precedents on the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Leftists' strategy is to collect these precedents.
U.S. Accuses Russia of Violating Missile Treaty
The United States has reason to believe the Russians violated the 1987 Nuclear Missile Treaty signed by then-President Ronald Reagan and Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The treaty banned nuclear missiles that had ranges between 300 to 3,400 miles, and the Obama administration called the reported new testing “a very serious matter,” according to the Associated Press. The relationship between the two countries continues to deteriorate. First, Russia granted Edward Snowden asylum, then Russia escalated the Ukrainian conflict (MH17, anyone?) and now, sanctions are working so “well” that Russians are snatching up American goods7 like cars and oil field machinery in anticipation of further sanctions. Is it getting cold in here, or is this the beginning of a new cold war?
Catholics Denounce Executive Order for Violating Religious Liberty
Barack Obama recently issued an executive order granting special protection for transgendered federal employees. The order sets up almost inevitable conflicts over religious liberty because Obama didn’t listen to appeals for an exemption for faith-based federal contractors. Catholic bishops denounced the “unprecedented and extreme” order that “implements discrimination.” In fact, they said, it will “exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.” Furthermore, explained Princeton Professor Robert George, who is also vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, “Barack Obama declared war on the Catholic Church and people of other faiths who hold to traditional beliefs about marriage and sexual morality. We must defeat the enemies of conscience – at the ballot box – not only to protect our own freedom … but also to protect the interests of those served so well by faith-based institutions. This is a war and we must win for their sake as well as our own.” Obama and the Left are growing increasingly beholden to the homosexual lobby, despite the fact that homosexuals make up less than 3% of the population9.
Kerry’s Tunnel Network Undermines Israel
Secretary of State John Kerry, presumably pursuing the wishes of his boss, has badly flubbed dealings between Israel and Hamas. The main reason for his failure is an assumption that both sides want peace and that all it requires is some magic words from the Obama administration. They’re dead wrong.
Over the weekend, Kerry pushed for a cease-fire negotiated in Paris with Israel’s enemies, Qatar and Turkey, and it contained practically every Hamas demand. We’re shocked – shocked – that it failed. The White House has pushed for a cease-fire only since Israel began its ground incursion into Gaza to clear out Hamas' tunnel networks (built with forced child labor13) and destroy its missile caches. In other words, once Israel started truly succeeding, the Obama administration sought to stop that progress.
A White House statement describing a call between Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The President … reiterated the United States' serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, as well as the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.” Furthermore, the statement read, “[T]he President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire that ends hostilities now.”
Worse, the administration even turned on Israel at the UN14, pushing a Security Council-enforced cease-fire.
Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Fatah (the other Palestinian faction that controls the West Bank) all want Hamas rule ended in Gaza. And the Obama Justice Department still classifies Hamas as a terrorist group. So why would the Obama State Department expect a good result from working for Hamas against all other interested parties?
Israel would love nothing more than to live in peace, but that’s difficult when its immediate neighbors want its total destruction. That’s why the “peace process” has yielded so little regardless of decades of trying, and that’s why Israel’s objective now is to cripple Hamas. Netanyahu warned Israelis to prepare for a “prolonged” war because Israel has no interest in quitting before its objectives are achieved, especially in the face of betrayal by the U.S.
The bumbling over the cease-fire isn’t the only thing the Obama administration is doing to enrage Israel. Nuclear talks with Iran15 continue to grant both time and concessions to the mullahs – who also happen to want Israel wiped off the map and support Hamas' efforts to do so. Iran is not just a thorn in Israel’s side like Hamas; it’s an existential threat.
Perhaps much of the problem is that Kerry is the wrong man for the job. In 1971, he testified before the Senate against American troops, saying, “They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”
If the man could so outrageously slander his own countrymen, why should the Israelis trust him to have their best interests in mind? Clearly he doesn’t (remember his apartheid state comments16), and therefore they don’t trust him.
The Clear Winner: Right-to-Work Compared to Minimum Wage
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released data this week that is sure to further stir the debate over how to improve wages in America. It turns out that Michigan, which became a right-to-work state in 2012, saw its per-capita personal income rise from $38,291 in 2012 to $39,215 a year later. This was the ninth highest income increase in the country.
Right-to-work laws essentially give workers the opportunity to pursue employment without having to pay dues to unions, who frequently use that money to secure political power at the expense of worker protections. Michigan, a state where unions have held sway for decades, shocked the country when the state’s Republican lawmakers passed a right-to-work law. Union-backed Democrats predicted an employment catastrophe, expecting the state to plunge into some sort of feudal system. That didn’t happen, and although the one-year gain is modest, it certainly offers encouragement for other states looking to find ways to boost incomes.
Richard Vedder, an economics professor at Ohio University, noted in an extensive study17 released this week, “Incomes rise following the passage of RTW [right-to-work] laws, even after adjusting for substantial population growth that those laws also induce.”
It’s certainly a better way to go than increasing the minimum wage. The White House and Democrats in Congress still cling to the backwards idea that raising the minimum wage will actually reduce unemployment. But it’s hard to see how making workers more expensive to hire will be more attractive to companies looking for help. Then again, liberals aren’t known for their skills in economics.
The minimum wage applies to only one in 20 workers, most of whom are under 24 or unskilled. A Heritage Foundation analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from all 50 states between 1990 and 2013 found that teenage unemployment rates are higher and labor participation is lower in states with minimum wages greater than the federal minimum. In 2007 and 2008, the federal minimum wage was raised three times, and, as a result, the national teen unemployment nearly doubled18.
The economy has improved to some degree, but unemployment and underemployment remain stubbornly high for a large portion of the working population. Teenagers, who stand to earn substantially more as adults if they work during their school-age years, have been priced out of the labor market. Raising the minimum wage again will further hurt their situation. Employers are simply not going to hire young workers with no job experience at $10 an hour. One solution19 is to create a teen wage of $5 or $6 an hour. Another option would be to let the market determine what a job is worth rather than leave the decision to social engineers in Washington.
In essence, the difference in these two approaches is this: Right-to-work allows for greater access to jobs, while a government mandated minimum wage prices some prospective workers out of those jobs. Which one makes more sense if creating jobs is the objective?
OPINION IN BRIEF
English Poet John Dryden (1631-1700): “Ill habits gather by unseen degrees – As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.”
Columnist William Murchison: “When John Kerry tries to convince Benjamin Netanyahu of the two-sidedness of the Palestinian question, he speaks an incomprehensible language, based on his own peacenik experiences with the war in Vietnam. Netanyahu hears in the whine of the rockets what Kerry can never hear – the sound of approaching extinction. Where is Kerry getting this stuff? That is surely Netanyahu’s question. … The whole culture of the West is under assault in a way the leaders of the West decline to acknowledge. Leaders? That’s possibly the worst joke of the 21st century. Followers is what the democracies now mostly install in positions of power: goers-with-the-flow, wherever it flows; insatiable absorbers of insults; Kerry-like victims of positive thinking and high-minded intentions. These followers don’t understand people who say to the Jews, as to the Christians of Iraq: Beat it; or prepare to meet your notion of God.”
Economist Thomas Sowell: “There is something grotesque about people living thousands of miles away, in safety and comfort, loftily second-guessing and trying to micro-manage what the Israelis are doing in a matter of life and death. Such self-indulgences are a danger, not simply to Israel, but to the whole Western world, for it betrays a lack of realism that shows in everything from the current disastrous consequences of our policies in Egypt, Libya and Iraq to future catastrophes from a nuclear-armed Iran.”
Comedian Seth Meyers: “A judge wrote an opinion … in favor of Obamacare, saying that getting healthcare from the state or federal government is the same as ordering from Pizza Hut vs. Domino’s. I’m not sure I agree. THEIR websites always worked.”
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.
Cease the Cease-Fires
7/29/2014 12:01:00 AM - Thomas Sowell
Many years ago, on my first trip around the world, I was struck by how the children in the Middle East -- Arab and Israeli alike -- were among the nicest looking little children I had seen anywhere.
It was painful to think that they were going to grow up killing each other. But that is exactly what happened.
It is understandable that today many people in many lands just want the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians to stop. Calls for a cease-fire are ringing out from the United Nations and from Washington, as well as from ordinary people in many places around the world.
According to the New York Times, Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping for a cease-fire to "open the door to Israeli and Palestinian negotiations for a long-term solution." President Obama has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" -- again, with the idea of pursuing some long-lasting agreement.
If this was the first outbreak of violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis, such hopes might make sense. But where have the U.N., Kerry and Obama been during all these decades of endlessly repeated Middle East carnage?
The Middle East must lead the world in cease-fires. If cease-fires were the road to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet.
"Cease-fire" and "negotiations" are magic words to "the international community." But just what do cease-fires actually accomplish?
In the short run, they save some lives. But in the long run they cost far more lives, by lowering the cost of aggression.
At one time, launching a military attack on another nation risked not only retaliation but annihilation. When Carthage attacked Rome, that was the end of Carthage.
But when Hamas or some other terrorist group launches an attack on Israel, they know in advance that whatever Israel does in response will be limited by calls for a cease-fire, backed by political and economic pressures from the United States.
It is not at all clear what Israel's critics can rationally expect the Israelis to do when they are attacked. Suffer in silence? Surrender? Flee the Middle East?
Or -- most unrealistic of al -- fight a "nice" war, with no civilian casualties? General William T. Sherman said it all, 150 years ago: "War is hell."
If you want to minimize civilian casualties, then minimize the dangers of war, by no longer coming to the rescue of those who start wars.
Israel was attacked, not only by vast numbers of rockets but was also invaded -- underground -- by mazes of tunnels.
There is something grotesque about people living thousands of miles away, in safety and comfort, loftily second-guessing and trying to micro-manage what the Israelis are doing in a matter of life and death.
Such self-indulgences are a danger, not simply to Israel, but to the whole Western world, for it betrays a lack of realism that shows in everything from the current disastrous consequences of our policies in Egypt, Libya and Iraq to future catastrophes from a nuclear-armed Iran.
Those who say that we can contain a nuclear Iran, as we contained a nuclear Soviet Union, are acting as if they are discussing abstract people in an abstract world. Whatever the Soviets were, they were not suicidal fanatics, ready to see their own cities destroyed in order to destroy ours.
As for the ever-elusive "solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflicts in the Middle East, there is nothing faintly resembling a solution anywhere on the horizon. Nor is it hard to see why.
Even if the Israelis were all saints -- and sainthood is not common in any branch of the human race -- the cold fact is that they are far more advanced than their neighbors, and groups that cannot tolerate even subordinate Christian minorities can hardly be expected to tolerate an independent, and more advanced, Jewish state that is a daily rebuke to their egos.
Are the Hamptons the Next Sanctuary City?
7/29/2014 12:01:00 AM - Scottie Hughes
Looks like President Obama snuck 760 illegal immigrants into the State of Tennessee. Gov. Bill Haslam and local elected officials are now wondering: ‘what are we supposed to do with them?’
On Friday, these children landed in the Volunteer State. The governor, however, is claiming no one in his office was even told they were coming and that he learned only after seeing a notice on the Health and Human Services website. This came even after Gov. Haslam had asked the White House to alert him prior to sending to his state any of the estimated 90,000 illegal children who have recently flooded the country. With more than 120,000 already estimated to be living in Tennessee, taxpayers in Tennessee already pay an estimated $547 million a year to provide public benefits and services to illegal aliens residing in the state.
According to data recently released by the Migration Policy Institute, between 2000 and 2012, the five states with the largest percent growth of the immigrant population were South Carolina (91%), Alabama (87%), Tennessee (83%), Arkansas (75%), and Wyoming (74%). Reports of 1,100 illegals being dropped off in the same manner without any warning in Georgia, as well as 350 in South Carolina, are starting to surface with others soon to follow.
In a way, the American people should be flattered that the president treats everyone equally and doesn’t communicate with anyone what is going on. For a president who is constantly complaining that he is learning about events by watching the news, however, don’t you think he would have enough courtesy to not do the same to other executives in office? Not to mention, it is highly irresponsible to just drop 700 plus children off without giving any warning to prepare, especially considering most schools in Tennessee start classes within the next two weeks.
Communication and preparation are the last two elements this administration has been known for since the very beginning. Unless, you are a high dollar donor who gave to one of the 75 fundraiser’s Obama has attended. Or, perhaps, have a mean golf swing and can join Obama on his next outing (he has already completed 81 rounds of golf since reelection).
This is a great opportunity for those “compassionate” Democrat donors to open up their grand estates and welcome these children in and Al Gore should be one of the first to set the example. Instead of donating millions to campaign coffers, promise the private funding of the education, feeding, healthcare and housing of these children as it would provide democrats a much better PR job than a tingle up any mainstream news anchors leg. In fact, I propose making the Hamptons the next Sanctuary City.
You can read the entirety of Gov. Haslam’s letter below.
Letter to U.S. President Barack Obama from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; July 25, 2014:
The Honorable Barack Obama?The White House?1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW?Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama:
I write to you to express my concern about the number of unaccompanied immigrant children entering this country and the failure of the federal government to notify states in which children are being released.
On July 13, the nation’s governors met with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell during the annual National Governors Association meeting, which I hosted in Nashville this year. We spent a significant amount of time in that meeting discussing the issue of unaccompanied immigrant children. Although this is a complex issue and one that ultimately must be solved at the federal government level, governors are rightly concerned about the impact on states. We emphasized to?Secretary Burwell the need to be informed of any children being relocated to our states.
It is unacceptable that we became aware via a posting on the HHS website that 760 unaccompanied children have been released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to sponsors in Tennessee without my administration’s knowledge. Not only was our state not informed prior to any of the children being brought here, I still have not been contacted and have no information about these individuals or their sponsors other than what was posted on the HHS website and subsequently reported by media.
Although solving the border crisis is a federal responsibility, this influx of immigrant children could have a significant impact on state and local governments. Therefore, we strongly believe that the state needs to be informed prior to any additional unaccompanied immigrant children being released in Tennessee, and we also need immediate answers to the following questions:
1. What was the process for determining that these children should be released to sponsors in Tennessee? 2. How did you locate and evaluate the fitness of their sponsors? 3. What medical screenings were the children given prior to their release in Tennessee? 4. What is the official immigration status of these children and their sponsors? 5. In what localities are these children now residing? 6. What are the legal requirements concerning the provision of services for these children while they are in the state? 7. What additional information is available on these children, such as age and health status? 8. How long will these children be in Tennessee?
Tennessee is a diverse and welcoming state, and we also understand that this is a complicated issue. However, an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children to the state, with little information being made available to the public or to state leaders, creates confusion and could be very problematic. The start of school is approaching for many districts across the state, and the federal government’s actions have caused great uncertainty around this issue.
I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to receiving a response to these urgent questions.
Bill Haslam?? Governor
cc: The Honorable Sylvia Burwell, Secretary, HHS
Halbig Is an Opportunity for Supreme Court To Rededicate Itself to Rule of Law
7/29/2014 12:01:00 AM - David Limbaugh
True, the Halbig case, if it makes its way to the Supreme Court, will present an opportunity for Chief Justice John Roberts to redeem himself from his abominably activist salvation of Obamacare. But more important, it will be an opportunity for the high court to reaffirm this nation's commitment to the rule of law.
In Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that under the Affordable Care Act federal health insurance subsidies are available for policies purchased only on state exchanges and not those purchased on the federal exchange.
If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will also have a rich opportunity to slap down the out-of-control, politicized Internal Revenue Service. Under this administration, the IRS has behaved as though it were a super-legislature with authority not just to promulgate regulations beyond its narrowly prescribed statutory power, but also to change laws wholesale in order to serve the administration's policy ends.
A proper wrist slapping of the IRS might well send a long overdue message to all federal administrative agencies -- take the renegade EPA, for example -- that they don't have carte blanche to do whatever they decide to do.
The ACA provides for the establishment of state exchanges through which consumers can purchase health insurance. The law did not make the establishment of such exchanges mandatory, and only 14 of the 50 states did so.
The law, in a separate section, also provides for the establishment of a federal exchange through which consumers can purchase health insurance in the event their state opts not to establish an exchange.
That's just half the story. President Obama and his Obamacare architects wanted subsidies (in the form of tax credits) to be provided to people who purchase Obamacare policies. The subsidies would shift the cost of the policy from the individual to the government -- thus, the proverbial "free health care."
Here's where it gets tricky. The law says the "subsidy" is available only for policies purchased through the state exchanges and not the federal exchange. Honest readers of the law and of the political considerations behind the relevant provisions must concede that the law was carefully drafted with this distinction in mind. There was a deliberate intent to make the subsidies available only for purchases through the state exchanges.
There are two salient sets of facts that make this clear. The first is the unambiguous statutory language. The law provides for subsidies to those who purchase policies from an "exchange established by the state." There is no mistaking the plain meaning of those words.
Moreover, despite multiple sections and subsections dealing with these subsidies, there is no hint that Congress intended to have them apply to policies purchased from the federal exchange.
Legally, the question should end there because it is a generally recognized rule of statutory interpretation that statutes shall first be interpreted according to the plain meaning of the statutory language. Unfortunately for the administration, if you go further and apply other rules of statutory interpretation, such as that a statute should be read as a harmonious whole, you get the same result.
There is another interpretive rule with which all statutory draftsmen and contract lawyers are intimately familiar. If the statute or a contract specifically includes language in one section but omits it in another, it is presumed to have done so intentionally.
For example, if I draft a contract to provide that the company will reimburse my client for airplane travel expenses and mention no other type of travel, I understand that my client will not be reimbursed for automobile or train travel. When Congress expressly provided for subsidies for state exchange policies and did not include such a provision for federal exchange policies - even though there were separate sections covering the federal exchange -- it is presumed they meant that the government would not subsidize federal exchange policies.
The second salient fact is that if we examine congressional intent beyond the words of the statute we will find that the too-clever-by-half Obama administration had a specific reason not to subsidize policies purchased through the federal exchange. They wanted to use financial coercion to incentivize states to set up exchanges.
Again, unhappily for the administration, it used this exact kind of coercion with Medicaid under the statute, providing that states that don't adopt the law's standards for Medicaid eligibility will be denied federal Medicaid funding. Even worse, we have "smoking gun" evidence from one of the administration's Obamacare gurus, Jonathan Gruber, who stated that if a state doesn't set up an exchange, its citizens won't get their tax credits.
But when 36 states thumbed their noses at Obamacare by not establishing exchanges, the autocratic IRS, on its own initiative, issued a regulation in August 2011 making the subsidies apply to policies purchased on federal exchanges.
The Supreme Court must reaffirm its commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law by affirming Halbig, making a firm statement that the law is not merely a tool for ideologically obsessed statists to twist at their capricious discretion to achieve their political ends.
Israel Supporters: Beware of Hillary
7/29/2014 12:01:00 AM - Mona Charen
In the last several weeks, I've heard people confidently declare that the 70 percent of Jewish Americans who voted for Obama are finally sorry. I'm skeptical, but even if they are, they're probably telling themselves that Hillary Clinton would be a better friend to the Jewish state than the current president.
They have short memories. Remember the way first lady Hillary Clinton sat mute while Suha Arafat accused Israelis of poisoning children? She then embraced Arafat and kissed her on both cheeks.
Clinton learned to mouth the right words when seeking a Senate sinecure from the (heavily Jewish) state of New York, and later the presidency. But her recent book and interviews suggest that her sympathies are by no means clear, and her judgment is worse.
She refers in her book to the relative birth rates in Israel and the Palestinian territories and concludes that "we [are] approaching the day when Palestinians would make up a majority of the combined population of Israel and the Palestinian territories, and most of those Palestinians would be relegated to second class citizenship and unable to vote." This is an old canard, echoed by John Kerry. The demographics are almost certainly wrong (Israel's population growth has been steady, while the Palestinians' has been falling), but the politics are pernicious. Israel's Arab citizens have full rights. They vote, own property, comment in the newspapers, and serve in the Knesset and on the Supreme Court. Some even fight in the IDF. One of the heroes of the current conflict is Colonel Ghassan Alian, a Druze.
Palestinians, who are not citizens of Israel, vote for their own leadership ... at least once. If they don't vote more frequently, it's because they have a corrupt political culture. If they'd abandon their ambition to wipe Israel off the map, they'd have an independent state -- though whether it would be democratic is another matter. Israel is currently the only country in which Arabs regularly cast free votes.
What of Clinton's judgment? Charlie Rose interviewed her a week or so ago and demanded to know whether the administration "had done enough to prevent an invasion of Gaza." Clinton never challenged the premise. A friend of Israel (or any fair-minded person) might have said, "The better question is: Have we done enough to defend the Middle East's lone island of democracy and pluralism from the ceaseless terror attacks and rocketing by anti-Semitic, Islamist fanatics?"
Clinton went on to offer her preferred diplomatic course -- and guess what? -- it's indistinguishable from John Kerry's. Whom should the U.S. encourage to serve as interlocutors? Why, Qatar and Turkey, said Clinton. That would be the same Qatar that is the chief financial backer of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. And that would be the same Turkey that is a cheerleader and supporter of Hamas, whose prime minister recently declared that Israel had "surpassed Hitler in barbarism"?
Not only is Clinton's advice inconsistent with friendship toward Israel, it's also inexplicable as a matter of American interests. As the alliances are shifting in the region, there is a rare agreement among Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian Authority that Israel ought to be permitted to disarm and neutralize the threat from Hamas. Yet there was John Kerry, all smiles in Paris with the Turkish foreign minister. He later submitted a ceasefire proposal to both sides that even the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz said "could have written by [Hamas leader] Khaled Meshal." It would have recognized Hamas as the legitimate leadership in Gaza, promised billions more in funding and required no dismantling of rockets or the terror tunnels Hamas has spent the previous international "humanitarian aid" donations building.
The Israeli cabinet, which had accepted five ceasefires, including one proposed by Egypt, rejected this one. So the U.S. position is more damaging to Israel that that proposed by Egypt.
What was Clinton's rationale for suggesting that we rely on Qatar and Turkey? "Hamas may feel like they're totally cornered," she explained. "They've got Egypt on one side and Israel (and I don't blame them at all) ... on the other." Kerry seems to agree. His diplomacy (including perhaps the temporary closing of Ben Gurion Airport) seems to have been aimed at making Hamas feel empowered.
They make no distinction between the arsonist and the firefighter, and when it comes to voting, we should make no distinction between the Obamas and the Clintons.
The Genocide Libel
7/29/2014 12:01:00 AM - Dennis Prager
In order to justify killing Jews, Jew-haters throughout history made up libels about the Jews that were so awful that they justified, at least for the Jew-hater, the mass murder of Jews. The charge that the Jews of every age -- not just some Jews at one time -- killed God Himself was used by medieval Christians to justify mass murdering of Jews.
Then came another grotesque libel -- what is known as the blood libel. Also prevalent in the Middle Ages, this charged Jews with kidnapping Christian children, sacrificing them and using their blood to bake matzo (the unleavened Passover bread).
Later libels against the Jews included the forgery known as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which purported to prove that Jews plotted to rule the world.
At this very moment, we are living through as enormous a libel -- directed not against all Jews, but against the Jewish state: Israel is committing genocide of Palestinians and is, therefore, morally identical to the Nazi regime.
This libel is spread by left-wing radicals and by Muslims, especially in the Middle East. Some examples:
On a popular radio show in Italy, that country's most famous philosopher, Gianni Vattimo, was asked whether he would like to see more Israelis killed. Vattimo responded: "Of course." He then added that Israel is "a bit worse than the Nazis ... I'd like to shoot those bastard Zionists ... and [Europeans should raise money] to buy Hamas some more rockets."
The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, told CNN International, "What Israel does to Palestine and to Gaza right now has surpassed what Hitler did to them. ... We do not accept this genocide by Israel."
The foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif announced: "These [Israeli] actions cannot be considered anything other than genocide and crimes against humanity."
Ilan Pappe, an Israeli leftist who is director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, wrote an article titled "Israel's incremental genocide in the Gaza ghetto" on the Electronic Intifada website.
On July 9, when a total of 63 Gaza Palestinians had been killed, Al-Arabiya reported that "Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas told a crisis meeting in Ramallah ... that Israel is committing 'genocide' in Gaza during its military offensive which has so far killed at least 50 Palestinians. 'It's genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people.'"
In a column published by Al-Jazeera, Abukar Arman, former Somali ambassador to the United States, wrote that "Israel has defeated North Korea for the rogue state par excellence award."
Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, and Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, labeled Israel's invasion of Gaza "genocide" and Maduro added that it was "extermination."
For the record: Israel attacked Gaza solely in response to hundreds of rockets sent by Hamas to kill as many Israelis as possible. When Israel gave Gaza over to the Palestinians, it did not embargo essentials such as cement. But none of the millions of tons of cement allowed, or later smuggled, into Gaza were used to building schools or hospitals. They were used to build tunnels to smuggle terrorists into Israel and to hide rockets. The charter of Hamas calls for the annihilation of Israel. Israel is the only country in the world targeted for annihilation.
Though Israel is charged with engaged in genocide against Palestinians, in the last 20 years, the number of Palestinians has doubled; and since Israel's founding in 1948, the Palestinian population has grown five-fold. It must surely rank as the least effective genocide in world history. While not all Muslims or all leftists seek, or support those who seek, Israel's destruction, virtually all those who do are either Muslim or on the left.
One left-wing exception is Bill Maher, who told the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles (full disclosure: I am a columnist for that newspaper): "What I find so ironic is that after World War II, everybody said, 'I don't understand the Jews. How could they have just gone to their slaughter like that?' OK, and then when they fight back: 'I don't understand the Jews. Why can't they just go to their slaughter?' It's like, 'You know what? We did that once. It's not gonna happen again. You're just gonna have to get used to the fact that Jews now defend themselves."
Stunning Setback to Obamacare
7/29/2014 12:01:00 AM - Phyllis Schlafly
Obamacare has proven again to be the biggest legislative failure in history, with last week's ruling that its subsidies are illegal. These subsidies induced some 5 million Americans to sign up for Obamacare but are prohibited by law as held by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell.
This humiliation to the Obama administration was a devastating setback to legislation already disfavored by a 59-40 percent margin among the public, according to the latest CNN poll. Twice as many Americans say they are being hurt rather than helped by Obamacare.
Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare is neither affordable nor protective of patients. It promised subsidies for millions of Americans to buy new health insurance and to pay costly premiums that have driven insurance company stock values to record highs.
People in households making between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line (between $11,670 and $46,680 per year for one-person households) have been getting subsidies to buy insurance on health insurance exchanges. A staggering 90 percent of those who signed up for this Obamacare insurance did so in reliance on these subsidies, which the court just ruled are illegal.
These health insurance exchanges are much more than marketplaces, like Travelocity or Expedia, to make it easier to shop for and buy health insurance. They are also the vehicle for dispensing subsidies and imposing penalties, while also building big brother-like databases about Americans.
The liberal central planners inside the D.C. Beltway thought the 50 States would comply with President Barack Obama's demand that they set up these health insurance exchanges at costs estimated to be as much as $100 million per exchange. As an incentive for states to set up these exchanges, the law provided substantial subsides to people who sign up for a state-established exchange.
The central government planners thought the subsidies would coerce states to establish their own health insurance exchanges, similar to how the federal government coerces states to obey D.C. commands in other fields such as education. But states balked after they saw how much control they would be giving to the federal government by establishing a state exchange and how expensive they would end up being.
Nearly two years ago, noted patient advocate and registered nurse Twila Brase explained why "a state-established exchange is a federal takeover center." State exchanges would be required to obey federal regulations, report annually to the federal secretary of Health and Human Services, and comply with a list of federally mandated Essential Health Benefits as dictated by the HHS secretary.
Her conclusion: "Just say no," because "refusing to build the state exchanges is key to stopping Obamacare." More than two-thirds of the states -- 36 of them -- have done just that.
States do not work for Obama, which he has been slow to figure out. Democrats were crushed in the landslide midterm elections after the passage of Obamacare in 2010, and a repeat performance looms large with the next midterm elections barely three months away.
Back in 2010, Obama was riding high and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded passage of Obamacare by declaring, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it!" But now Democrats are angry at what the D.C. Circuit told them is really in the bill.
Perhaps Obama and his lieutenants should have read the bill before railroading it through Congress. The text of Obamacare expressly states that the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on an exchange are available only for an "Exchange established by the State," and the Obama administration broke the law by subsidizing the purchase of health insurance over federal rather than state exchanges.
The D.C. Circuit admirably upheld the law as it was passed and properly rejected attempts by the Obama administration to rewrite it now. The Court admitted that "our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly," but confined its ruling to interpreting the law rather than rewriting it as Obama seeks now.
Adding to the chaos, on the very same day as this defeat of Obamacare in the D.C. Circuit, another federal appellate court upheld it. That is like one umpire calling a pitch as a "ball" after another umpire had declared it a "strike."
Chief Justice John Roberts testified during his confirmation hearings that a judge should limit himself to the role of an umpire, calling the balls and strikes without changing the rules of the game. It is refreshing that a panel of judges on the D.C. Circuit did exactly that in applying the law as it was written, not rewriting it as Obama now wishes he had written it.
The Patriot Post
Monday’s Daily Digest
Jul. 28, 2014
“[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” –Zacharia Johnson, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Judge Rules DC Gun Carry Ban Unconstitutional
After a five-year court battle, a federal judge ruled that the District of Columbia’s ban on the carry of firearms was unconstitutional. This is another big win for the Second Amendment six years after DC’s total handgun ban1 was likewise overturned. Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote in his decision, “There is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.” Of course, leftists are reacting predictably: It’s a security threat to the Washington machine, guns are scary, blah, blah, blah. Politicians forget there is a city beyond Capitol Hill plagued by violence where only the cops and criminals carry. But we’re glad to see that Police Chief Cathy Lanier instructed officers not to arrest anyone carrying a firearm legally.
Stopping a Shooter in a Gun-Free Zone – With a Gun
Here’s an ethical conundrum: A bad guy brings a gun into a gun-free zone, starts shooting, but another person who carried a gun into the gun-free zone – an otherwise law-abiding gun owner – stops him. What to do? A psychiatric patient at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Pennsylvania opened fire in a doctor’s office, killing a nurse. The patient could have continued to kill but Dr. Lee Silverman, a psychiatrist, ducked behind his desk, drew his pistol and returned fire, critically wounding Potts. Chief of the Yeadon Police Department Donald Molineux said Silverman “without a doubt saved lives.” But that act could cost Silverman his license to practice. Signs at the hospital’s doors forbid weapons in the building. The hospital’s code of conduct3 forbids employees “from bringing firearms or explosives of any kind into the workplace,” and Silverman’s failure to obey the code threatens his credentials as a doctor. Citizens who choose to carry a firearm shoulder more responsibility than non-carrying citizens. And while the incident illustrates how gun-free zones are moronic, there may be consequences – even after saving lives.
UN Proves Uselessness With Anti-Israel Vote
Just in case there were any remaining doubts about the utter moral bankruptcy of the United Nations, its “Human Rights” Council voted 29-1 to investigate Israel for “war crimes.” As we’ve recounted numerous times, Hamas is using civilians as human shields so when they are killed in the fighting they are of propaganda value. But “defenders of human rights” such as China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and … drumroll … Russia can’t tolerate Israel defending itself against the barbarian aggressors of Hamas. Britain, France, Germany and 14 other nations abstained. It’s worth noting the U.S. delegation was the only “no” vote, so maybe Barack Obama’s “unshakeable” support for Israel is actually worth something. Not much, but something.
You Say ‘Taxes,’ He Says ‘How High?’
CNBC’s Steve Liesman asked Barack Obama, “You’ve said a bunch of times that [we should be] getting the wealthy to pay a little bit more, and you’ve succeeded in raising that top tax rate to 39%, or rolling back the tax cuts. Is there a limit there? Is there a limit to how much you believe the government should take from an individual in terms of a top tax rate?” Obama cavalierly responded, “You know, I don’t have a particular number in mind, but if you look at our history we are still well below what, you know, the marginal tax rates were under Dwight Eisenhower or, you know, all the way up even through Ronald Reagan. Tax rates are still lower on average for most folks. And what that means is that we probably can make some more headway in closing loopholes that folks take advantage of. As opposed to necessarily raising marginal rates.” So much is wrong here: Reagan lowered taxes from a 70% top rate to 28%. And Obama seems to think there’s lots of wiggle room to hike taxes without crushing the economy. But a 1970s-style tax policy is wrong for America.
The Phony Threat of Impeachment
The Obama administration is supposedly worried about impeachment. The Hill reports, “Senior White House advisers are taking very seriously the possibility that Republicans in Congress will try to impeach President Obama, especially if he takes executive action to slow deportations.” White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer pointed to Sarah Palin’s call for impeaching Obama as reason to take it seriously. But despite polls showing some support for impeaching Obama, Palin may be the only Republican talking about it seriously. And she’s in no position to do anything about it. In reality, the White House is trying to rally its base for the November election with fear mongering about something that won’t happen.
The Manipulative Core of ObamaCare
While Jonathan Gruber isn’t exactly a household name, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economics professor was one of the many architects of ObamaCare, and he’s making waves again. He’s had a few things to say about the subsidies given on state versus federal exchanges over the years, and it’s rather enlightening to see what Democrats' true vision was when crafting the abomination of a law: Lie, coerce and manipulate.
When it comes to insurance subsides for shoppers, Democrats are now in the position of arguing the law doesn’t mean what it says – that it isn’t, after all, the “law of the land.” Recall last week’s appeals courts rulings8 on the subject. The DC Circuit Court ruled that subsidies given via the federal exchange were illegal because the law permits them only through the state exchanges. Since 34 states elected not to set up exchanges, that substantially undermines the outworking of the law.
The Fourth Circuit Court, on the other hand, said the intent of the law’s authors must have been to grant subsidies to everyone. Therefore, those subsidies stand, regardless of what the law actually says.
Cue Gruber, who argued the law means what it says. In 2012, he said9, “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits – but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens, ‘You’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.’” Translation: Subsidies are available only on state exchanges, not the federal one. And he said it before the Halbig suit (the one heard by the DC Circuit) was even filed.
Gruber now describes his 2012 comments as “a speak-o – you know, like a typo.” He explained, “Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.” We’ll agree Congress made a mistake drafting the law – it never should have been drafted. But Gruber is at best misrepresenting now what he said then. There are other instances when Gruber distinguished between state and federal exchanges. Did he commit the same “speak-o” more than once?
The answer is resoundingly no. In fact, in prepared remarks on at least two other occasions, he pointed to states not setting up exchanges as one of the primary threats to the law, saying that decision would cost citizens of those states “hundreds and millions and billions of dollars.”
Now Gruber is doubling down, adding, “It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it’s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states.” He didn’t think so when he was explaining how important the distinction was back in 2012. His tune only changed when his side lost a court case.
Let’s assume for a moment that it was a typo in the law. Wouldn’t that prove the danger of passing multiple-thousand page bills without reading them10?
But what Gruber now calls a “typo” was actually a Democrat strategy. As The Wall Street Journal explains in an editorial11, “Liberals feared some states wouldn’t set up exchanges, so they deliberately wrote incentives into the law so the states would do so. This was the conventional liberal wisdom until this year when it suddenly became legally and politically inconvenient for the Administration to admit it.”
Aside from what we see as ObamaCare’s primary fault – that it is patently unconstitutional – this episode highlights another serious flaw: Every one of ObamaCare’s goals is achieved through coercion and manipulation. That the law was falsely sold as one “providing health insurance for millions” is one BIG Lie12.
What Will It Take to ‘Stiffen Spines’ Against Russia?
In the dismal two weeks since the destruction of 298 lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH1713, it’s become more and more apparent Vladimir Putin and Russia may get away almost scot-free for supplying the Ukrainian rebels with the surface-to-air missile that downed the doomed flight. That’s the conclusion of a lengthy cover story14 in this week’s Time magazine.
In reference to Barack Obama’s call on Putin to cooperate with the MH17 investigation, Time reporter Simon Shuster noted, “That was the crisis in a nutshell: the least Putin could do was the most Obama could ask for.”
So far the administration’s reaction of choice has been sanctions on Russia, or at least enhancement of those already put in place when the whole Ukrainian crisis began. While the sanctions are supposedly horrifying the Russian business elite15, Europeans aren’t keen on them. In both cases, it’s because Putin controls a vital function: Russian business elite are forced to keep their objections close to the vest for fear of retribution from the state, while European nations depend on Russia as both an export market and provider of natural gas. Germany and Italy lead the exporters, while Austria and the Baltic states rely on Russia’s energy resources. “As soon as the EU gets the slightest chance to turn away from Washington on the issue of Ukraine, they will take it,” predicted Sergei Markov, a political consultant.
Thus it’s truly an open question on whether the Malaysian jet tragedy will really “stiffen the spine of our European partners going forward,” as Barack Obama said. Despite Hillary Clinton insisting “the reset worked16,” the actions of the United States under Obama make it little wonder that Europe is moving, as Obama put it, “[n]ot as fast as we’d like” on sanctions.
Analyst Charles Krauthammer notes, “I think there’s a general perception that the world is going to hell and the president’s out there playing golf.” The Europeans aren’t going to follow him as long as he’s content to play 18 holes.
One place Obama won’t be playing a round of golf is Chechnya. Russia just banned the U.S. president, among others, from traveling to the area because, the Russian foreign ministry says, “[T]he Obama administration has some responsibility both for the internal conflict in Ukraine and its severe consequences.” Furthermore, Moscow is taking aim at a universal symbol of American capitalist might: McDonald’s17.
In 2012, Obama was caught on a hot microphone promising the Russians he’d have more flexibility after being re-elected. And in a debate that year, he mocked Mitt Romney, who believed Russia was a significant geopolitical threat, saying, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Well, we had a pretty good solution to the Russian problem in that decade, but Obama’s lack of leadership 30 years hence will assure us our next president will have to reset Russian relations once again on better terms for America and its European allies. As Time put it: “Cold War II is underway – and the West is losing.”
OPINION IN BRIEF
The Gipper: “Cures were developed for which there were no known diseases.”
Economist Stephen Moore: “Energy is the master resource. Without it, we return to a Stone Age existence. Life in its absence is nasty, brutish and short. Is that where the radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today, would take us? If we continue to follow their advice, electric power and fuel will become more expensive (as President Obama has admitted). [A recent] Investor’s Business Daily editorial noted, ‘as the Sierra Club, billionaire Tom Steyer and the Obama administration rage war against coal and other fossil fuel,’ we could end up seeing ‘rolling brownouts and even blackouts in the years ahead.’ In other words, the apocalypse confronting America may not be the havoc of ‘climate change,’ but a slow-motion return to a medieval lifestyle. … In fact, the editorial notes, we get about 90 percent of our power from sources that the Left is trying to shut down. … I wonder how many young people will be so excited about ‘green energy’ when … outages are commonplace and they come to the realization that life without those ‘dirty’ sources of power won’t be so wonderful.”
Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “One thing is certain: Israel will not go quietly. But if the unthinkable should come to pass, one other thing is equally certain: the appetite for Jewish blood will not be satiated, nor will that appetite be confined to the deserts of the Middle East. For those who refuse to comprehend the breadth of the threat, it is worth remembering that Islamists refer to Israel as the Little Satan. America is the Great Satan. ‘An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last,’ Winston Churchill once remarked during another existential crisis. One is left to wonder what Churchill might have thought of morally bankrupt equivocators who would stand in solidarity with the crocodiles.”
Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “Israel would like Hamas to not launch rockets at them and Hamas would like Israel to not have Jews. Hopefully they can work out a compromise.”
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.
Give Low Income Americans Exit Option From Social Security
7/28/2014 12:01:00 AM - Star Parker
America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
But as we become bogged down in our many problems, I see, unfortunately, a mentality in which we are becoming increasingly a nation of the unfree – the victim – and the timid, in how we’re approaching these challenges.
Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman wrote a column this week drawing attention to the latest dire projections from the Congressional Budget Office.
CBO projects the nation sinking deeper and deeper into an ocean of red ink.
Under a business-as-usual scenario, the Senator notes, we’ll pile on another $10 trillion of debt over the next decade and another $100 trillion in the following two decades.
On the spending side, “after averaging 20 percent of the economy over the past 50 years, spending is projected to jump to 23 percent, 29 percent, and then 34 percent of the economy over the next three decades…”
At the center of the problem, the Senator continues, driving this out-of-control spending and borrowing fiscal Titanic are entitlements – “Social Security, health entitlements, and the resulting interest costs on the swelling national debt.”
This is a time for action. But we are not getting action, and the proposals we are hearing typify more the land of the unfree and the home of the timid.
When Social Security was enacted in the 1930’s it seemed like a good idea. Everyone working would pay a small tax and those revenues could be used to pay a retirement stipend to retirees.
But then there were 45 Americans working for every retiree. Because of longer life spans and shrinking families, this ratio is down to three to one today.
This makes it impossible for this system to work. CBO projects that in 20 years there will be no funds to pay one third of the benefits of retirees.
Among Senator Portman’s proposals are to raise the retirement age and to means test – meaning to reduce benefits of higher income earners.
But why, in the land of the free, should government tell us when we can retire? And if the wealthier pay taxes but don’t collect benefits, Social Security becomes just another big national welfare program.
I have been a long time supporter of changing the whole system, turning Social Security into a retirement savings program. Instead of paying a tax and getting a government benefit in the future, just let everyone invest those funds in their own personal retirement account.
My organization, CURE, is now floating an idea that would help transition into this type of reform. We’re calling it the 30/30 plan.
Give every working American 30 years old or younger, earning $30,000/year or less, the option to stop paying payroll taxes and use all those funds to invest in a personal retirement account.
Not only would this begin to unwind a hopelessly broken Social Security system, but also it would start building an ownership society in the parts of our country where the welfare state has done and is doing the most damage – among low income Americans.
The stock market is surging today, but little benefit accrues to low-income earners. According to a Pew Research survey, 80 percent of households earning $75,000/year or more own stocks, but in households earning $30,000 or less, only 15 percent do.
Average savings in retirement accounts in white households is $115,990. In black households, it is $17,620.
The 30/30 plan starts to solve our Social Security crisis and also starts building ownership and wealth in low-income households.
This is a time to return to the first principles of our free society, to re-embrace those principles, and move forward with courage and faith.
The 30/30 plan is an approach worthy of the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Great Moments in Government, from Banning Bake Sales to Limiting Mistresses
Daniel J. Mitchell
7/28/2014 12:01:00 AM
Michelle Obama wants the federal government to tell us what kind of food to eat.
I actually wouldn’t object if she merely used a bully pulpit to encourage healthier eating. But the busy-body crowd in Washington has a hard time distinguishing between giving advice and engaging in coercion.
So we now have legislation that gives Washington the power to interfere with food in local schools.
But not everybody is rolling over, particularly when federal rules are coercing states into banning bake sales. The National Journal reports on growing resistance to this absurd example of nanny statism from Washington. Here are some excerpts.
…states are…fighting nutrition standards that would considerably alter one of the most sacred rituals of the American public school system: bake sales. Twelve states have established their own policies to circumvent regulations in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that apply to “competitive snacks,” or any foods and beverages sold to students on school grounds that are not part of the Agriculture Department’s school meal programs, according to the National Association of State Boards of Education. Competitive snacks appear in vending machines, school stores, and food and beverages, including items sold at bake sales. …The pushback is not about students’ taste buds, but their wallets. Food fundraisers are a crucial source of revenue for schools, state education officials say. “Tough economic times have translated into fewer resources and these fundraisers allow our schools to raise a considerable amount of money for very worthwhile education programs,” the Georgia Department of Education wrote in a recent press release. …The statement called the federal guidelines on fundraisers “an absolute overreach of the federal government.”
Kudos to the Georgia officials who complained about government overreach.
But don’t forget that local governments certainly are capable of overreach as well, as this cartoon illustrates.
If you think banning bake sales is an example of government run amok, then you’ll be equally perturbed by what’s happening in California.
According to the Associated Press, some residents are being put in a no-win situation of being fined by either state or local government based on whether or not they water their lawns.
I’m not joking. Check out these blurbs from the story.
Laura Whitney and her husband, Michael Korte, don’t know whether they’re being good citizens during a drought or scofflaws. On the same day the state approved mandatory outdoor watering restrictions with the threat of $500 fines, the Southern California couple received a letter from their city threatening a $500 penalty for not watering their brown lawn. …They’re among residents caught in the middle of conflicting government messages as the need for conservation clashes with the need to preserve attractive neighborhoods. “My friends in Los Angeles got these letters warning they could be fined if they water, and I got a letter warning that I could be fined for not watering,” Whitney said. “I felt like I was in an alternate universe.”
It’s not an alternative universe. As Andy Johnson, Anthony Smelley, Charlie Engle, Tammy Cooper, Nancy Black, Russ Caswell, Jacques Wajsfelner, Jeff Councelller, Martha Boneta, Salvatore Culosi, and James Lieto can atttest, governments routinely abuse innocent people.
But at least we can take comfort in the fact that governments outside of America engage in equally silly actions.
Though I confess I’m not sure how to categorize the news that’s being reported by the BBC. As you can see from these excerpts, there’s apparently now a rule in China limiting public officials to no more than three mistresses.
We’ve heard a lot about China’s far-reaching anti-corruption campaign at the behest of President Xi Jinping. …But according to a report in the English-language newspaper China Daily, “adultery” is now banned for party members. …But just when you thought the party was taking a puritanical stand, the newspaper said that when authorities had previously accused officials of “moral corruption” they defined this as having more than “three mistresses”.
The Princess of the Levant didn’t allow me to engage in any field research on this issue during my recent trip to Shanghai, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of the story.
Though I wonder whether Chinese officials got any advice from America’s 42nd president before imposing these rules?
Public Utility Attempting to Buy Arizona Elections
7/28/2014 12:01:00 AM - Rachel Alexander
What’s happening in Arizona right now is sufficient to make every conservative shudder. And I’m not talking about the border crisis. I am talking about the state’s largest regulated utility, Arizona Public Service (APS). APS is literally attempting to purchase its regulators in the state’s August 26th Republican primary (early ballots go out this week). If successful, the implications are national, especially for fledgling solar power, and crony capitalism will have a new model that will boomerang on the Republican Party.
First, a little background. APS has concluded that too much energy choice via rooftop solar is bad for it. The more people turn their lights off, making an energy choice of rooftop solar, the less money the publicly-traded electric monopoly makes. In sunny Arizona, people are understandably going solar as costs have come down – even though subsidies have gone away – by the tens of thousands. As their energy costs have skyrocketed in some areas, churches, schools, seniors, rich, poor, you name them - everyone is considering a switch to the less-costly solar.
Last year, APS attempted to get the all-Republican Arizona Corporation Commission, its regulators, to pass a massive new tax that would make going with rooftop solar too expensive. By a 3-to-2 vote, the commissioners rejected the APS plan to “tax the sun,” but still passed a much smaller tax.
Well, APS didn’t like that very much. Who were these Republicans after all, to discover that energy choice should be much like school and health care choice?
Fast forward to this election year. Two seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission are open. APS has found at least a couple of dark money front groups – fooling the Arizona Free Enterprise Club as one, an organization that was started by legitimate conservatives – through which to route ratepayer money to, in order to install its two favored Republican candidates: the inexperienced and Second Amendment enemy Doug Little and the lobbyist largesse-loving State Representative Tom Forese. Another group, mysteriously named “Arizona 2014,” tellingly will not disclose its donors. "Save Our Future Now" has issued hit pieces against Parker - a whopping $82,000 to oppose him in what is usually considered a fairly low-level race in Arizona. Even more telling, APS has not denied donating to the groups this year, even though it denied donating to groups like that in previous elections.
The government-regulated monopoly APS is spending mightily to own and control its regulators. This is not the way American democracy is supposed to work, especially when Arizona Republicans have two other good conservative Republican choices in this race.
One is conservative African-American Vernon Parker. Parker served in both Bush administrations, and as mayor of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and was the area’s 2012 GOP nominee for Congress. His story is an amazing American one. Born into a neighborhood of drugs and crime, he escaped it to become one of the Republican Party’s most inspirational leaders. He is running on a diverse team with former Arizona State Representative Lucy Mason. She once chaired the House Energy Committee, and hails from Republican stronghold Yavapai County in conservative northern rural Arizona. Both oppose the new taxes on rooftop solar that APS wants. Aren’t Republicans supposed to stand against new taxes? Parker and Mason do. Little and Forese do not.
The APS-funded campaign against Parker and Mason tries to tie them to President Obama. Laughable doesn’t even begin to describe such a connection. I know Parker personally and he is very conservative and has no love for Obama - uhhh, he was a Bush appointee.
There are terrible problems with APS currently. Due to the virtual monopolies it owns, some residents with nothing more than dirt yards report water bills as high as their electric bills.
What we do know is this: In Arizona, two conservative Republicans are offering voters not only terrific Republican bona fides, but a commitment to taking on the high-cost energy monopoly.
If APS prevails, using ratepayer money to defeat potential regulators it doesn’t like, it will set freedom and our party back to the 1900s, while advancing crony capitalism to a whole new level. APS realizes that a black conservative Republican like Vernon Parker is a real threat to entrenched liberalism, socialism and corporate subsidies, and so it will stop at nothing to defeat him. APS isn't a "friend" of Republican principles, and the sooner we reject its government subsidized-monopolies, the better to defeat this subtle but ingenuous attack on conservative principles. This type of enemy of liberty will stop at nothing in order to defeat and destroy an intelligent, principled, black conservative.
August Recess Fast Approaching, Congress Down to the Wire on Immigration
7/27/2014 4:45:00 PM - Kara Jones
Incoming House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) dodged questions Sunday when asked if House Republicans would delay Congress’ five-week vacation in order to address the continual crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Indecision over how to approach the steady influx of migrant children has lawmakers playing the finger-pointing game in Washington. The House, Senate, and White House will need to act quickly and work together if they hope reach a deal by the end of the week.
Scalise stressed the urgency of the situation while speaking with FNC’s Chris Wallace this morning. He declared that Congress is ready to tackle the issue but President Obama is more interested in securing funds for the Democratic party than securing the border:
Well, it’s ironic. We’re here in Congress right now and the president doesn’t want to work with us while we’re in town, he wants to wait until people are gone. The president has a lot of time on his schedule to secure fundraisers, but he has no time to secure the border. He has not taken his job seriously in this regard. The House is willing to lead. The House has laid out what we’ll do to solve this problem. The president just wants to sit back and play politics. He’s flying around the country doing fundraisers, he doesn’t have time to sit down and work with Congress.
He could solve this problem today. He has been AWOL, he doesn’t want to solve this problem, but we do.
We’re going to stay, we’re going to work, and we’re going to get our job done. I’d like to see the Senate take something up and do their job. I’d like to see the president do his job. But we’re not going to wait for that.
Here’s a little secret about members of Congress: they are people just like us and they like to go on vacation just like us. There is no easy solution to the complex problem at the border. We will see what happens in September.