At Issue this week... January 22, 2014 Answer Man Seamans-Shook (14) Anti-Semitism Krauthammer (29) Benghazi Bay (1) Christie, Chris Chapman (9) Saunders (4) Common Core Malkin (25) Constitutional Authority Jeffrey (2) McCaughey (11) Dear Mark Levy (19) De Blasio, Bill Tyrrell (12) Economy Lambro (10) Limbaugh (15) Education Chavez (26) Sowell (26) Foreign Policy Buchanan (23) Schlafly (14) Gun Control Chapman (24) History Greenberg (28) Homeless Towery (29) Illegal Immigration Coulter (7) Income Inequality Barone (5) Lambro (13) Williams (5) Iran Buchanan (31) Shapiro (23) Iraq & Afghanistan Prager (30) IRS Farah (18) Liberalism Will (20) Media Bias Bozell (6) Olasky (24) Thomas (6) NSA Napolitano (22) Obamacare Morris (15) Republicans Malkin (9) Massie (8) Robert Gates’ Book Barone (17) Murchison (16) Lowry (17) Sanctity of Life Norris (27) Sex Standards Charen (11) Lowry (20) Sharon, Ariel Greenberg (21) Unemployment Charen (12) Elder (3) Limbaugh (4)
Benghazi by Austin Bay
De-classified Benghazi testimony
canning the transcripts of the 9/11/2012 Benghazi terror attack testimony released this week by congressional committee investigators makes this point quite clear: The video definitely didn’t do it. I am referring to the bizarre blame-tale spun by the Obama Administration and repeated in the days following the terror attack. For those with dim memories, here’s the plot sketch: A crude anti-Islam Internet video produced by California crank Nakoula Basseley Nakoula incited peaceful Libyan demonstrators. Provoked by an egregious but First Amendment-protected sacrilege virally defiling the World Wide Web, the inflamed citizens of Benghazi spontaneously grabbed automatic rifles, fragmentation grenades and handy rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and impulsively launched coordinated attacks on a conveniently accessible American diplomatic outpost. FROM THE get-go, many of us didn’t buy this crock. For starters, it leveraged several shop-worn left-wing “blame America” tropes, including that Americans are antiMuslim bigots. The hooey was also at odds with on-the-ground reports, which emerged immediately after the horror. Pro-U.S. Libyans had warned that a well-armed militant Islamist militia intended to launch attacks in Benghazi. Granular reports of an extended firefight between the militiamen and a U.S. security element proved to be very accurate. History has substantiated the heroism of former U.S. Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty as fact. They resisted for over six hours before being killed by enemy mortar fire. Ah, yes, peaceful demonstrators impulsively employing heavy infantry weapons. According to the now-available congressional transcripts, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey (after speaking with AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham) informed President Barack Obama that the consulate had suffered a terror attack. Panetta and Dempsey told the president within an hour after the first assault began. Yet Obama Administration officials continued to peddle the “video did it” canard for almost two weeks after the assault. Why peddle a blatant falsehood? Because “the video did it” narrative advanced a propaganda campaign supporting central Obama reelection political themes. Obama claimed his
presidency would dramatically change Arab Muslim perceptions of America. Though he never equated killing Osama bin Laden with defeating al Qaeda, he implied al Qaeda was fading fast. The Benghazi disaster countered these touts. Obama had to leave the American public with the definite impression that the Benghazi assault was spontaneous. Why, that nasty video incited inexplicable anger!
(c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
THE PRESIDENT calculated carefully. As his spokespeople blamed the video, Obama hedged and fudged by referring to Benghazi as “an act of terror.” His goal was — and still is — rhetorical wiggle room to blunt charges of deceit. However, at least three times during the campaign, Obama refused to call Benghazi an attack by terrorists. The transcripts leave President Obama and his minions with a lot more deceit to blunt. The transcripts also indicate that this administration gave security for U.S. diplomatic facilities lip service, not executive attention. Inter-agency security coordination was, at best, slap-dash. Take this exchange between Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-
Utah) and Joint Staff vice-director of operations, Major-General Darryl Roberson. Mr. Chaffetz: General, following up, I just want to make sure I heard this absolutely right. You said, quote, everything requested from State we provided them. This goes back from 2011 when — after the (Libyan) air campaign. General Roberson: Yes, sir. Mr. Chaffetz: To the best of your knowledge, there was nothing else for the security prior to the attack, prior to the attack that State Department asked for that you denied. General Roberson: That is correct. Chaffetz then added that he asked the question because many apologists for the Benghazi fiasco alleged that the consulate lacked security “because we (Congress) didn’t provide certain funding for the embassy. And I think we find that argument is totally false and without merit. They simply didn’t ask in many ways. And these assets were available and were there previously, but those on the ground were not able to keep those assets.” Chaffetz’ conclusion will be disputed. Alas, long passages of key testimony remain classified, blotted from the transcripts with thick blocks of gray and black ink. HOWEVER, AS time passes, that thin residue of cover-up will also disappear. January 15, 2014
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY: January 15, 2014
Not authorized to kill Benghazi terrorists
hen can President Barack necessary and appropriate force against Obama use military force those nations, organizations, or persons against Libyans without he determines planned, authorized, comprior authorization from Congress and mitted, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harwhen can he not? such organizations or Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of b o r e d persons, in order to the Joint Chiefs of prevent any future Staff, told a closed acts of international session of a House terrorism against the Armed Services United States by subcommittee in (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate such nations, orgaOctober that the military cannot kill the terrorists who nizations or persons.” As Congress expected, Bush used attacked the State Department and CIA compounds in Benghazi, Libya, because this authorization to invade Afghanistan, Congress has not authorized the use of overthrow the Taliban and drive al Qaeda from that country. force against those terrorists. Twelve years later, Obama was still in“Therefore, they will have to be captured,” Dempsey said in a transcript of voking this same authorization to justify using drones to kill terrorists far outside the testimony released this week. Afghanistan. “Nearly 400 drone strikes, in Pakistan, IN 2011, by contrast, Obama did not defer to Congress — which represents Yemen and Somalia, have been launched the American people and is vested with by the CIA and U.S. military forces durthe constitutional power to authorize the ing Obama’s presidency,” the Washinguse of military force — when he ordered ton Post reported last year. “America’s actions are legal,” Obama the U.S. military to intervene in Libya’s civil war. Instead he invoked the authori- said in a speech in May. “We were atty of the United Nations Security Council tacked on 9/11. Within a week, Congress — where Russia and the People’s Repub- overwhelmingly authorized the use of force. Under domestic law, and interlic of China have veto power. “[T]he writ of the international com- national law, the United States is at war munity must be enforced,” Obama said with al Qaeda, the Taliban and their associated forces.” then. “Beyond the Afghan theater, we only Ten years before Obama unilaterally ordered the U.S. military to intervene in target al Qaeda and its associated forcLibya’s civil war, President George W. es,” Obama continued. “And even then, Bush secured congressional authoriza- the use of drones is heavily constrained. tion to use military force against the per- America does not take strikes when we petrators of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist have the ability to capture individual terrorists; our preference is always to detain, attacks on the American homeland. The Authorization for Use of Military interrogate and prosecute. America canForce — enacted Sept. 14, 2001 — said: not take strikes wherever we choose; our “The president is authorized to use all actions are bound by consultations with
partners, and respect for state sovereignty.” Theoretically, then, when Obama targets an enemy with a drone that enemy is among “those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”
At a press conference on Aug. 9, Ed Henry of Fox News asked Obama about his vow to “bring to justice the killers who attacked our people” in Benghazi. “[W]e have informed, I think, the public that there is a sealed indictment,” Obama said. “It’s sealed for a reason. But we are intent on capturing those who carried out this attack. And we are going to stay on it until we get them.” If the al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in Libya had been allied with Gadhafi, would Obama have ordered the military to go after them? If Obama asked Congress for an authorization to do so now, would Congress deny it?
ON SEPT. 11, 2012, in post-Gadhafi Benghazi, terrorists attacked a temporary State Department facility and a CIA compound. They killed four Americans. In May 2012, the chairmen of five house committees published an interim report based on their investigation of the attack. “The attackers were members of DOES OBAMA care that under our extremist groups, including the Libya- Constitution he can only use force withbased Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) and al Qa- out congressional authorization if it is eda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb necessary to repel a sudden attack? (AQIM),” said the report. Would Obama, with a history of unilaterally ordering military force in Libya, and a history of using the 2001 AUMF to go after al Qaeda outside Afghanistan, order drones to take out the Benghazi ter•USPS: 762-710/•ISSN: 0088-7403 Published by Hampton Publishing Co. rorists — or at least the al Qaeda affiliates (Established 1876) among them? Division of Mid-America Publishing Corp. According to Gen. Dempsey, that The Conservative Chronicle is published would not be legal. weekly for $73.00 (U.S.) per year by Hampton Publishing Co., 9 Second Street N.W., Hamp“Well, first of all, the individuals reton, IA 50441, and entered at the Post Office at lated in the Benghazi attack, those that Hampton, Iowa 50441, as periodicals postage we believe were either participants or under the Acts of Congress. leadership of it are not authorized [for] Editorial Offices use of military force,” Dempsey told the Conservative Chronicle, P.O. Box 29, Hampton, IA 50441. Ph. 1-800-888-3039. subcommittee. Editorial Coordinators, Kevin and Ruth Katz “In other words, they don’t fall under Circulation & Subscriber Services the AUMF authorized by the Congress Conservative Chronicle P.O. Box 29, of the United States,” said Dempsey. “So Hampton, IA 50441-0029. Ph. 1-800-888we would not have the capability to sim3039. Circulation Manager, Deb Chaney. ply find them and kill them, either with Subscription Rates One Year.......................................... $73.00 a remotely-piloted aircraft or with an as(Call for outside USA rates for Air Mail) sault on the ground. Therefore, they will Single Copy........................................ $3.00 have to be captured, and we would, when POSTMASTER: Send address changes asked, provide capture options to do that.” to Conservative Chronicle, P.O. Box 29,
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January 22, 2014 UNEMPLOYMENT: January 9, 2014
Why would the out-of-work vote Republican? But while the Card-Krueger study is CNN’s Candy Crowley seems absolutely, positively astonished that Repub- the most widely cited; it is also one of widely restudied. Upon licans could oppose raising the mini- the most examination by peers, mum wage and the study fails to hold extending unemup. In fact, it has ployment benefits. been so broadly To her Repuband credibly atlican guest, Crow(c) 2014, Creators Syndicate tacked, one wonley asked this ders why so many “question:” “If I am an unemployed American ... or if I still cite it. The conservative think tank Heritage am a minimum wage worker and I see Republicans who say, ‘You know what? Foundation wrote “Liberals Laud Alan It’s artificial, it messes with the market- Krueger’s Fatally Flawed Minimum place, it might mean some teens can’t Wage Study.” Heritage said: “Subseget into the job market,’ why would I quent reviews of the study showed fatal flaws that undermined its findings. become a Republican?” Crowley’s “question” implies that In 1996, a review of the study by the raising minimum wages and extending Employment Policies Institute found unemployment benefits for the out-of- that the data sets Krueger and Card used work are clearly positive no-brainers. were so badly flawed that ‘no credible After all, a recent Gallup poll found conclusions can be drawn from the re76 percent of Americans support an in- port.’ Specifically, the study found, ‘the crease, as do 58 percent of Republicans. data set used in the New Jersey study bears no relation to numbers drawn FIRST, THE minimum wage. Econ- from payroll records of the restaurants omist and Princeton professor Alan the New Jersey study claims to cover. ... “When David Neumark and William Krueger served as the chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advis- Wascher re-evaluated the study, they ers. His famous Card-Krueger study is found that data collected using (actual by far the most widely cited study in the payroll) records lead to the opposite last 20 years on the effect of minimum conclusion. ...: ‘Estimates based on the wage increases. Krueger and colleague payroll data ... suggest that the New David Card concluded that — surprise, Jersey minimum wage increase led to a surprise — an increase in minimum 4.6 percent decrease in employment in wage in New Jersey resulted in an in- New Jersey relative to the Pennsylvania crease in employment, not a decline as control group.’ In other words, the New anti-minimum wage foes predicted. Ex- Jersey/Pennsylvania case study supcited minimum wage advocates chan- ports the basic economic notion that inneled Dr. Frankenstein: “It’s alive! It’s creasing the cost of hiring a worker will generally lead to fewer workers hired.” alive!”
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needs to grow its subscriber base, and you are our best sales person because you know us best. Please tell your friends about the Conservative Chronicle when you visit with them in person, on the phone, by email, or on Facebook. Please refer them to our number, email or web site. If you would be interested in a way to make money by selling the Conservative Chronicle, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about a possible commission arrangement. www.conservativechronicle.com 1-800-888-3039 email@example.com ECONOMIST NEUMARK, whom I recently interviewed on my radio show, examined the last 20 years of minimum wage research, over 100 papers. He said that “two-thirds” of the studies “show actual harm.” Second, unemployment benefits. Is it cruel not to extend them? Well, what if research shows that extending benefits simply prolongs the job search? What if studies show most unemployed people wait until their benefits are about to run out before they intensify their job search? Recall professor and Obama economist Alan Krueger. Wrong on the minimum wage, he got it right on unemployment benefits. In 2008, he co-authored a study on unemployment benefits. Does extending them affect the initiative of those who are out of work?
Krueger said yes: “We find that time allocated to job search is inversely related to the maximum weekly benefit amount for (unemployment insurance) eligible workers. ... We also find that job search increases sharply in the weeks prior to benefit exhaustion.” In short, Krueger found that the more generous the benefit, the longer the out-of-work remain out of work. How about Lawrence Summers, former Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and former Obama economics adviser? In 1999 he said: “(One) way government assistance programs contribute to long-term unemployment is by providing an incentive, and the means, not to work. ... Unemployment insurance and other social assistance programs (cause) an unemployed person to remain unemployed longer.” How about Larry Katz, the chief economist at the Labor Department during the Clinton administration? He argued that extending unemployment compensation benefits decreases the incentive to get out and look for a job. Workers, he insisted, are almost three times more successful in finding jobs when benefits are just about to run out. Crowley wonders why an unemployed or minimum-wage worker would vote Republican. Well, jobs, for starters. The worst economic recovery in 80 years has given us millions of discouraged, dropped-out workers. The labor force participation rate — the percent of American civilians 16 years and older, either working or actively looking for work — has fallen from 66 percent in 2008 to 63 percent today, the lowest in more than 35 years. Add in the workers who simply gave up, and the current seven percent unemployment rate rises to nearly 10 percent. THIS EXPLAINS why an unemployed or underemployed worker might, just might, think GOP. Jobs, jobs, jobs.
UNEMPLOYMENT: January 10, 2014
Liberal mythology on unemployment benefits
ow can we ever expect America’s younger generations to preserve America’s greatness when the president of this nation keeps preaching damaging economic myths and misguided moral lessons? It’s one thing for our elected representatives to express compassion for those facing difficult financial circumstances. It’s another for them to elevate the receipt of unemployment benefits and other forms of government dependency programs to a virtue. And it’s yet another for them to justify these wrongheaded policies with false claims that they actually improve conditions when they make them worse.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S policies of expanding the government and his practice of punishing work and rewarding non-work are creating a permanent drag on the economy and jobs and harming people in the long run far more than helping them. But Obama persists in his propaganda. Just this week, he made the bizarre assertion that extending unemployment benefits “actually helps the economy, actually creates new jobs.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made the similarly ludicrous claim in December 2011 that extending unemployment benefits would add “600,000 jobs to our economy.” Oh, ho, ho, it’s magic! Have you ever noticed that pointyheaded liberal academics and unctuous politicians espouse sophisticated-sounding theories to prove what common sense tells us is surely wrong? Economists long ago concocted elaborate theories to enable their socialist inclination toward expansive government, such as that increasing government spending would trigger a multiplier effect on the economy and stimulate economic growth and jobs. Sadly, their currency is chalkboard calculations and predictions, not empirical data. Obama trotted out these theories to promote his colossally wasteful stimulus package, his various infrastructure plans and his green energy boondoggles. Despite undeniable evidence that they have all failed and that his economy continues to tank, he acts as though his failures vindicate him and we are too stupid to know the difference. As much power as Obama has unconstitutionally arrogated to himself, he still isn’t powerful enough to create something out of nothing. When he increases deficit spending, he has to get those phantom greenbacks from somewhere, and usually it’s from the private sector, which he is smothering. For every dollar he injects into the economy, he drains at least a dollar out of it. It
The second is that the assumptions doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if these magical economic elixirs about “fiscal multipliers” used in Zanworked, we would be in the middle of di’s model are based on theory rather the greatest economic boom in our his- than evidence. Reynolds points to contemporary tory. Case closed. search showing that Alan Reynolds of the Cato Insti- r e increases in deficit tute addresses spending can actuthe claim that ally have a negaextending unemtive impact on ployment benefits growth. The so“produces and (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate called multiplier sustains jobs.” for deficit spending What he found is that academics cite one another to ranged from 0.4 to 0.6, “meaning a dolbolster their case but that they are in lar of added federal debt added far less fact citing theories and estimates about than a dollar to (gross domestic prod“fiscal multipliers” rather than examin- uct).” James Sherk of the Heritage Founing their actual effect on the economy. For example, one sociologist who sup- dation agrees that “extending either the ports extending unemployment ben- amount or the duration of (unemployefits cited estimates from Mark Zandi ment insurance) benefits increases the of Moody’s Analytics that “every dol- length of time that workers remain unlar spent on extending unemployment employed.” It encourages unemployed insurance benefits produces $1.61 in workers to stay out of work longer to collect benefits; it encourages employeconomic activity.” ers to wait longer to rehire laid-off REYNOLDS SAYS there are two workers; and it does little to increase problems with the theory. The first, consumption. In short, it creates no which Obama can’t very well deny be- economic stimulus. Simple logic also confirms that cause it comes from economists in his own administration, is that “extended when you pay someone not to work, unemployment benefits raise the dura- you disincentivize him to work. In my own personal experience, I have talked tion and rate of unemployment.”
with one person who told me he wasn’t looking for work because his unemployment benefits made looking for work unattractive. The real problem facing Americans is not insufficient benefits but a persistently weak economy caused by Obama’s oppressive policies. Gallup polling shows that the labor participation rate, which has been abysmal for most of Obama’s tenure in office, is declining to a two-year low. Obama brags about how much he cares, but if that were true, he’d abandon his selfish, stubborn attachment to his failed ideas and quit doing everything in his power to keep people out of work. As Milton Friedman observed, “the repeated failure of well-intentioned programs is not an accident. It is not simply the result of mistakes of execution. The failure is deeply rooted in the use of bad means to achieve good objectives.” IN OBAMA’S case, I wouldn’t even concede that he always has good objectives, as witnessed by his endless class warfare. That aside, if he really cared about the plight of the unemployed, he’d release his stranglehold on the private sector and let it do its “magic.”
CHRIS CHRISTIE: January 14, 2014
Chris Christie: Bridgegate floodgate
f I were governor of New Jersey and really wanted to know whether my staff had any involvement whatsoever in a nasty political prank that closed lanes and gridlocked traffic on the George Washington Bridge in September as payback for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to endorse me, I would not do what Chris Christie did. That is, wait until December and then tell staffers that if they knew anything about the bridge mess, they had one hour to inform not me but my top underling or chief counsel. I WOULD pick the Christie approach if I suspected my staff was behind “Bridgegate” and wanted to cover my political backside so I could prevail in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. Mission accomplished. If Christie wanted plausible deniability, he got it. At last week’s Homeric news conference, Christie actually appeared credible when he cringed at the “abject stupidity” of the lane closures, for which he fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly. Quoth Christie: “The reason that the retribution idea never came into my head is because I never even knew that we were pursuing” the endorsement of Fort
Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, “and no one ever came to me to get me to try to pursue the endorsement in any way, so I never saw it as a serious effort.” If the campaign had been pushing Sokolich to back Christie, he explained, the campaign would have arranged for the governor to court the mayor. Didn’t happen.
Saunders (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
SOKOLICH HAD said as much to CNN last week. “I don’t recall a specific request to endorse,” he told Wolf Blitzer. Since then, however, the Fort Lee Democrat’s memory apparently changed. Sokolich told the New York Times that a campaign staffer did ask him to endorse Christie — although Sokolich won’t name said campaign shill. Critics hit Christie for talking too long — and too much about himself — during the Thursday presser. Wrong. Christie showed that he wasn’t afraid to take questions or answer them. Also, so far, no documents have linked him directly
to the mother of all traffic jams. As for Christie’s liberal mention of self, it was appropriate. Absent Christie, the national media wouldn’t have cared about this stuck-in-traffic story. Did the story help him? No. The media now know a Christie weakness. The Jersey governor may be a solid guy, a Buick of a man, but he failed to check the pettiness of the crew that was running his machine. He’ll have to work on that. On the plus side, the public saw a politician who understands that voters expect services in exchange for paying taxes — and they deserve real service. TO ME, a Californian living under the heel of anti-car Democrats, this story has felt like a happy dream. An indignant Sokolich railed that the Bridgegate jam put his constituents “in harm’s way.” The lane closures blocked the George Washington Bridge for three days — and state lawmakers speedily investigated. If the same jam clogged the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, you would expect a lecture about singleoccupancy vehicles and the need to use public transit. It would not be national news.
January 22, 2014 INCOME INEQUALITY: January 10, 2014
The Dems’ feckless attacks on income inequality
s Barack Obama scrambles to eviscerate key sections of his own signature health care law, he and other Democrats are trying to shift voters’ focus to another issue — income inequality. Unfortunately, the solutions they advocate are pitifully inadequate or painfully perverse.
START WITH the minimum wage, which some Democrats see as an election-winning wedge issue in 2014. True, raising the minimum wage polls well. But does anybody really care much about it? Few minimum wage earners are heads of households; many more are teenagers earning spare cash. Most economists agree that a higher minimum wage costs some low-skilled workers their jobs. And the economic redistribution it produces, from fastfood consumers to fast-food employees, is pretty minimal.
Another Democratic policy is to to a European-style welfare state, with continue extending unemployment the government taxing and spending 10 benefits. The intellectual argument for percent more of gross domestic product than at present. this is stronger. Kenworthy would Ordinarily, extransform unemtended benefits ployment benefits tend to discourage into wage insurthe unemployed ance, would start from looking for (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate early education at work. Their skills age one and would atrophy, and findvastly expand the Earned Income Tax ing a job later gets harder. But in the current new-normal Credit. That’s progressive economic rediseconomy, with record long-term unemployment, there simply haven’t been tribution, but with a catch. For as Kenenough job openings for many of the worthy admits, you can’t get the money unemployed. Many Republicans look for this just by raising taxes on very high earners: “The math simply doesn’t open to a compromise on this issue. In any case the redistributionist ef- work.” fect will be only minor and, if robust SO HE LOOKS to a federal coneconomic growth returns, temporary. One Democrat who argues for great- sumption tax, like Europe’s value-added er change is University of Arizona po- taxes. That would mean shifting from litical scientist Lane Kenworthy. He be- the current progressive income tax tolieves the nation is and should be headed ward a more regressive European-style
INCOME INEQUALITY: January 15, 2014
Income inequality and productivity
emocrats plan to demagogue income inequality and the wealth gap for political gain in this year’s elections. Most of what’s said about income inequality is stupid or, at best, ill-informed. Much to their disgrace, economists focusing on measures of income inequality bring little light to the issue. Let’s look at it. INCOME IS a result of something. As such, results alone cannot establish whether there is fairness or justice. Take a simple example to make the point. Suppose Tom, Dick and Harry play a weekly game of poker. The result is: Tom wins 75 percent of the time. Dick and Harry, respectively, win 15 percent and 10 percent of the time. Knowing only the game’s result permits us to say absolutely nothing as to whether there has been poker fairness or justice. Tom’s disproportionate winnings are consistent with his being either an astute player or a clever cheater. To determine whether there has been poker justice, the game’s process must be examined. Process questions we might ask are: Were Hoyle’s rules obeyed; were the cards unmarked; were the cards dealt from the top of the deck; and did the players play voluntarily? If these questions yield affirmative answers, there was poker fairness and justice, regardless of the game’s result, even with Tom’s winning 75 percent of the time. Similarly, income is a result of something. In a free society, for the most part,
cer. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are multibillionaires. Just as in the case of my serving my fellow man by mowing his lawn, they served their fellow man. The difference is they served many more of their fellow men and did so far more effectively than I and hence have received many more “certificates of performance,” which enables them to make greater claims on what their fellow man produces, such as big houses, cars and jets.
Except in many instances when government rigs the game with crony capitalism, income is mostly a result of one’s productivity and the value that people place on that productivity. Far more important than income inequality is productivity inequality. That suggests that if there’s anything to be done about income inequality, we should focus on how to give people greater capacity to serve their fellow man, namely raise their productivity. To accomplish that goal, let’s look at a few things that we shouldn’t do. Becoming a taxicab owner-operator lies within the grasp of many, but in New York City, one must be able to get a license (medallion), which costs $700,000. There are hundreds of examples of government restrictions that reduce opportunity. What about the grossly fraudulent education received by so many minority youngsters? And then we handicap them further with laws that mandate that businesses pay them wages that exceed their productivity, which denies them on-the-job training.
BRIN AND PAGE and people like them created wealth by producing services that improve the lives of millions upon millions of people all around the globe. Should people who have improved our lives be held up to ridicule and scorn because they have higher income than most of us? Should Congress confiscate part of their wealth in the name of fairness and income redistribution?
THINK BACK to my poker example. If one is concerned about the game’s result, which is more just, taking some of Tom’s winnings and redistributing them to Dick and Harry or teaching Dick and Harry how to play better? If left to politicians, they’d prefer redistribution. That way, they could get their hands on some of Tom’s winnings. That’s far more rewarding to them than raising Dick’s and Harry’s productivity.
income is a result of one’s capacity to serve his fellow man and the value his fellow man places on that service. Say I mow your lawn and you pay me $50. That $50 might be seen as a certificate of performance. Why? It serves as evidence that I served my fellow man and enables me to make a claim on what he produces when I visit the gro-
Williams (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
tax regime, with middle-income workers subsidizing non-workers. Other proposals floated by Democrats, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for substantially increased Social Security benefits, would have similarly perverse effects. Social Security is already on an unsustainable trajectory. Increased benefits would, in time, require higher taxes on the young, who have negative or minimal wealth, to finance payments to the elderly, who tend to have significant net worth. This echoes the Obamacare provision that limits premiums on the old and sick to no more than three times the premiums on the young and healthy. Is it really progressive to have the young subsidize the old? Another left-wing Democrat, incoming New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, wants to raise income tax rates on those earning $500,000 to pay for universal preschool for the city’s children. That would certainly amount to economic redistribution, but to whom? Research over the last 50 years shows that Head Start and other publicly financed pre-school programs have no lasting positive effect on learning. What de Blasio’s proposal would do is to put a lot more unionized teachers on the city payroll. The redistribution here goes from the very rich to the public employee unions and their allies in the Democratic Party. Liberal pundits are hailing de Blasio and his politics as a harbinger of the political future and a return to the liberal tradition of Franklin Roosevelt and his political ally New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. But in 1944, the heyday of FDR and La Guardia, the five boroughs of New York City cast seven percent of the nation’s votes. In 2012 they cast only two percent of the national vote. It’s interesting that New York, which has had more liberal and redistributionist public policies than almost anywhere else in the nation over those 68 years, also has one of the nation’s highest rates of income inequality. High tax rates and high housing costs (exacerbated for many years by rent control) have squeezed middle-class families out of New York. They have migrated in the millions to lower-tax, lower-housing-cost places such as Florida and Texas. THE OBAMA Democrats did reduce economic inequality somewhat by raising the top income tax rate back to 39.6 percent. The proposals they’re talking about now are either small potatoes, or moves to have the working middle-class subsidize non-workers or the young to subsidize the old — redistribution, but not very progressive.
MEDIA BIAS: January 15, 2014
The Christie crumblers — the press
In the first two days of the story afuring the 2012 presidential campaign, somehow each ter the emails on the manufactured trafand every Republican presi- fic jams came to light, ABC, CBS and voted 88 minutes of dential contender had a sink thrown at NBC deless coverage to the him (or her) via what reporters call “in- b r e a t h story. To put their vestigative jourtransparently partinalism.” Every san aggression into time a Republiperspective, that’s can rose in the 88 minutes in two polls, the media (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate days compared to tried to knock him or her down, like a game of Whac- two minutes of coverage in the last six months of the IRS-tea-party-targeting A-Mole. scandal. In less than a week, there was 44 THE VERY last man standing was Mitt Romney, who didn’t receive the times as much coverage of the bridge official “Gotcha!” from the Washington than of the IRS in six months. Had Post until May, with a 5,000-word opus Christie absolutely zero national poon “Teenage Haircutgate.” That’s why tential or ambitions, the traffic jams it’s so strange the national media would would have remained a local story. But decide so early it was time for journalis- he’s a presidential hopeful who would tic carpet bombing of the Great Squishy challenge the presumptive Democratic Northeastern Hope of 2016, New Jersey nominee Hillary Clinton — and so, it was time to take him down. Gov. Chris Christie. It was just weeks ago that NBC’s THE NATIONAL Democrats are Matt Lauer was swooning over Christie and lining him up to denounce House grateful. Hand in glove with the negaRepublicans as cruel and miserly on tive media coverage, Democratic NaSuperstorm Sandy subsidies. After he won, CBS reporter/former Biden aide MEDIA BIAS: January 14, 2014 Chip Reid was announcing that Christie “wanted a big re-election victory, in part, to show that Republicans who favor consensus over ideological purity can win — even in blue states like New Jersey.” CBS claimed wins by Christie multiple choice question: in New Jersey and liberal Terry McAuSelect the scandal(s) that afliffe in Virginia showed America was fects the most people and has engaged in a “move to the middle.” long-term implications for the country Christie can forget all that hugging in a time of war, a country with a strugand mugging with President Barack gling economy that last month produced Obama in 2012, as if that were going to the weakest job growth in decades. (Acinoculate him forever. Democrats have cording to the Bureau of Labor Statisbeen harping for weeks — especially on tics (BLS), nearly 92 million Americans their propaganda channel MSNBC — are no longer in the labor force.) that a “Bridgegate” scandal was going A) The closing of traffic lanes in Ft. to be Christie’s undoing. Lee, N.J., allegedly in retaliation for the On Jan. 8, the scandal exploded. The refusal of a Democratic mayor to en(Bergen, N.J.) Record revealed Chris- dorse New Jersey Republican Governor tie’s deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Chris Christie for a second term. Kelly declaring in an email in SeptemB) The role of the president and Secber, “Time for some traffic problems in retary of State Hillary Clinton when Fort Lee.” The Democratic mayor of the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya, Fort Lee wouldn’t endorse Christie for was attacked on September 11, 2012, re-election, so Christie aides decided to killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and punish the public on the George Wash- three other Americans and the lies and ington Bridge that goes from Fort Lee possible cover-up about al Qaeda’s ininto New York City. There goes the im- volvement. age of Christie “favoring consensus.” C) The IRS’ refusal to grant nonprofit The same national press that con- status to numerous conservative groups ducted a blackout of the trial of Phila- during the 2012 election campaign for, delphia murderer Kermit Gosnell as allegedly, political reasons. lawyers exposed his horrific late-term D) President Obama’s repeated stateabortion mill — that was dismissed as ments assuring Americans that if they a “local story” — decided a few autumn like their insurance plans and doctors days of traffic jams in Bergen County they may keep them under the new to be the hottest outrage for everyone ACA. from Jacksonville, Fla., to Boise, Idaho. In fact, their burst of reporting indicates IF YOU ARE honest you would have that they believed this was the most im- to select B, C and D, but who among the portant story in the world — by far. media are honest enough to do that?
tional Committee communications director Mo Elleithee sent out a fundraising email: “Before the next campaign starts, we need to make sure that Americans across the country know the real Chris Christie, and that Democrats have the resources to keep him out of national office. Chip in $10 to make sure we can stop Chris Christie.” What’s not in any doubt is that the publicity and fundraising aims of the White House and the DNC line up remarkably well with the “news agenda” of our national TV networks and newspapers. Even conservative pundits have insisted that when Chrstie maintained
A political bridge too far
Governor Christie held a 107-minute news conference last Thursday, during which he repeatedly denied knowing anything about the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. He fired Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy chief of staff, and blocked the appointment of another close associate to a state GOP chairmanship.
Thomas (c) 2014, Tribune Media Services
Left-leaning Democrats and the establishment media see an opening to keep Christie from winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and are salivating because they think the Fort Lee controversy might harm his chances against Hillary Clinton. One wishes the media would grill President Obama over far more important matters with the same zeal they have applied to Governor Christie. In light of A, B, C and D above, closing two lanes leading to a bridge is nothing. It does, however, again expose the media’s agenda and their intention to bring down anyone who is a potential threat to a Hillary Clinton presidency. ON MONDAY, CNN reported that Christie is now the subject of a federal
during his endless press conference that this was planned, he had better be telling the truth or his career is finished. AT THE RISK of sounding casual about the truth, it could be argued that lying your face off to the press and the American people has never impeded the careers of Bill or Hillary Clinton, and it certainly didn’t keep Obama from being elected or re-elected. Our “objective” journalists would be worthy of respect if they observed a single standard on truth-telling and political scandal coverage. But once again, with “Bridgegate,” we are reminded this is a pipe dream.
investigation into whether he misused $25 million in Superstorm Sandy relief money to fund a marketing campaign to promote tourism at the Jersey Shore. Convenient timing? If wasted federal money is an indictable offense, most of Congress should be behind bars. Colin Reed, a Christie spokesman stated, “The Stronger Than the Storm campaign was just one part of the first action plan approved by the Obama administration and developed with the goal of effectively communicating that the Jersey Shore was open for business during the first summer after Sandy. Federal agency reviews are routine and standard operating procedure with all federally allocated resources to ensure that funds are distributed fairly. We’re confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history.” End of controversy? Hardly. There may be more important reasons why Christie should not (or should) be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016, but the bridge lane fiasco ought not be a factor. SHOULD GOVERNOR Christie be exposed as a liar about lane closures, would that be more serious than the lies the president has told about far more serious matters? Just asking.
January 22, 2014 ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: January 8, 2014
Could we get some immigrants who can take a poll?
ith Republicans tying require. Polls are irrelevant if you lie to themselves in knots over the people being polled. Most immigration polls are variathe Democrats’ destructive, but superficially appealing, demand that tions on the one taken by the libBrookings Institution unemployment benefits be extended e r a l last March. Although to two and a half it has been endyears, I return to lessly cited for almy suggestion that legedly showing Republicans stop that a majority of playing defense (c) 2014, Ann Coulter Americans supand go on offense. For every issue that MSNBC loves port amnesty, the poll never asked about to prattle on about, gloating that it will amnesty, or any real policy. Rather, the poll gave respondents cost Republicans this or that demographic, there’s an equivalent issue to only two options, neither of which have use against the Democrats. (The differ- been proposed by either political party ence is: Our proposals would actually or are up for a vote anywhere in America. be good for the country.) The options were: IN ADDITION to my repeated sug“The best way to solve the country’s gestion that Republicans introduce bills to institutionalize the dangerous illegal immigration problem is to secure mentally ill and force the Democrats to our borders and arrest and deport all defend the right of psychos to crap in those who are here illegally;” Or: libraries and shoot up schools, Repub“The best way to solve the counlicans should take the public’s side on try’s illegal immigration problem is to immigration. Democrats love to pretend their suck- both secure our borders and provide an ing up to illegals is all upside for them, earned path to citizenship for illegal imbut that’s because they lie even when migrants already in the U.S.” Neither of those choices describes taking polls. Liberals will claim that 99 percent the position of anyone on either side of of Americans favor national health care the immigration debate. Amnesty proafter taking a poll that asks: “Do you ponents have no intention of either sesupport Americans being nice to one curing the border or making illegals do anything to “earn” citizenship. Meananother?” WAIT! THAT’S NOT A POLL while, not a single amnesty opponent ABOUT NATIONAL HEALTH CARE! has proposed any program to “arrest It’s the same thing. The government and deport” illegals. But amnesty proponents turn around providing free health care to everyone is and cite this fraudulent poll as proof that just being nice. They’ll claim “90 percent of Ameri- a majority of Americans support “a path cans favor banning most guns” based on to legalization.” This is how the left uses polls to maa poll that asks, “Are you for common sense gun safety or are you against it?” nipulate public opinion, rather than find Similarly, the immigration polls tri- out what it is. They provide the ingrediumphantly brandished by the media ask ents for today’s political discussion and about positions no one holds, no poli- we’re not allowed to pick any items off tician has proposed and no bills would the menu.
But can’t I be against amnesty without voting for rounding up illegals at gunpoint? No substitutions! Look at the menu. All the “path to legalization” polls play the same trick. Either armed men round up millions of women and children at midnight, put them in leg irons and immediately deport them on stinky buses; or we offer them a “path to legalization” after meeting all sorts of onerous requirements (none of which will ever materialize). THERE WERE loads of promises surrounding Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, too — such as securing the border, punishing employers who hire illegals and forcing illegals to pay back taxes. Sen. Teddy Kennedy vowed: “We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this.” (Those were the good old days when they were willing to call it “amnesty.”) Obviously, that promise ended up in the same place Mary Jo Kopechne did — underwater and unmentioned. After the bill passed, then-Rep. Chuck Schumer (Gov. Chris Christie’s current immigration adviser) immediately introduced a bill excusing illegal aliens from having to pay any back taxes at all. Now, instead of three million illegal aliens living here, we have 11 million, salsa is the best-selling condiment in America, and I have to press “one” for English. We already tried this the nice way. The country gets one mulligan, not two. An honest poll question would ask: Do you think people who have knowingly broken our laws to come here illegally with their families since the last amnesty should be rewarded with citizenship, or should they voluntarily go back the same way they came? An even more honest immigration poll question would ask: At a time of massive unemployment,
do you think people who have knowingly broken our laws and come here illegally with their families since the last amnesty should be rewarded with citizenship, or should they voluntarily go back the same way they came? Even a poll question that simply omits the lies about the theoretical hurdles illegals will have to clear (which will never happen) produces a poll in which a majority of Americans support “deportation.” Last year, the TechCrunch website polled this question: “Do you support or oppose deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.?” Again: NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT DEPORTATION. We didn’t round up 11 million foreigners to get them here, and we’re not going to round them up to send them home. They’ll leave the same way they came. But even answering a stacked poll question asking about something no one has proposed — deportation — a majority of respondents, 53.4 percent, supported deportation, compared to 42 percent opposed. Among Republicans, 74.1 percent favored deportation, with only 22.3 percent opposed. Not only that, but a Fox News poll last year showed that a majority of Americans would like to curtail legal immigration, with 55 percent supporting a decrease in legal immigrants and only 28 percent supporting an increase. My thought is: Republicans should push policies that are popular. BUT INSTEAD of proposing immigration reforms that are runaway hits with a majority of Americans — without anyone even having made the argument! — Republicans have been hoodwinked by Democrats into trying to outbid Democrats for the Hispanic vote. They still won’t win the Hispanic vote, but now the rest of the country will hate Republicans, too.
REPUBLICANS: January 12, 2014
Will conservatives continue as own worst enemy?
am terribly afraid the voters who be better than whatever Democrat wins most vociferously claim they the nomination. We the People cannot continue to want to take our country back are a lousy Republican begoing to be the very ones to sentence us vote for we fear that if we to a further decline and the continued c a u s e don’t a lousy Demotransmogrificacrat will win. We the tion of the RepubPeople must come lican Party into a to the realization cheap version (c) 2014, Mychal Massie that refusing to of the Democrat support establishParty. ment candidates who eventually (and GEORGE KELLY in his book hopefully) lose, is a victory for us. on Personal Construct Theory wrote: Which leads to what should be as obvi“Psychological disorder is any personal ous as the head on our shoulders. The construction which is used repeatedly Republican establishment is not only in spite of consistent invalidation,” i.e., not our friend, but they are intent and repeating the same thing failure after committed to ensuring that not one tea party conservative or any true conserfailure is a psychological disorder. And that is exactly what the so- vative never wins again. Karl Rove, Reince Priebus, Mitch called concerned have yet to, in fact, refuse to, realize. It is as if the idea of McConnell, John McCain, Eric Cannot shooting themselves in the foot is tor, John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Orin an anathema to them. Unless We the Hatch, ad nauseum have mapped out a People realize that the Republican es- plan that does not include what is best tablishment (read hierarchy) are not our for you and I. I’ve blogged http://mychal-massie. friends, we will be hopelessly mired in com/premium/ that Karl Rove has made a state of mediocrity and betrayal. We the People must learn that it is it clear the only Republican candidates imperative we change our voting hab- who will receive campaign financing its, or nothing will change. Let me ex- and support are those the Republican hierarchy has vetted and approved. plain. I have made no secret that it is my Rove hates the tea party as much as, hope New Jersey Governor Chris if not more than, he dislikes Obama. Christie’s problems with corruption Mitch McConnell boasted of tea party pursuant to the vindictive sabotage of losses in Alabama. McConnell called bridge traffic, sinks his political ship. I tea party people bullies and said we hope this scandal sticks to him like a should be punched in the face. (See my sweaty shirt on a hot day. Because it 11/25/13 Behind The Political Curtain will save us having to debate with the Piece: Tell Rove And Mitch McConuninformed who believe Christie would nell To Get Used To Us; http://mychal-
massie.com/premium/category/massiedaily/page/3/) McConnell also issued an edict to boycott any company that raises money or helps tea party candidates in any way. He blacklisted the Jamestown Group — one of the most successful money raising companies the GOP had at its disposal — because they raised money for a tea party candidate. McConnell has declared war on Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. Karl Rove told a billionaire fundraiser gathering that Republican candidate Todd Akin from Missouri should be murdered.
far as secretly supporting a Democrat in New Jersey because they feared the tea party candidate winning. The good news is that the margin of victory for the Establishment backed candidates was razor thin. John McCain is no lover of tea party candidates, and even he admitted the tea party candidates would have won had more of We the People been aware of their races. This is the Party that people are already telling me I have to support to keep a Democrat out of the White House. Those who claim to have concern for the direction our country is THE REPUBLICAN Party is going must take the blinders off. It is spending huge sums of money to de- a damnable heterodoxy that says unless feat tea party candidates even going as we support those like Christie we are casting our vote for the enemy. Christie and those like him are the enemy. The Republican Party is being reshaped in the image of the Democrat Party. We cannot prevent that by supporting establishment candidates. Any political group transpicuously opposed to the concerns of We the People, by definition, are not our friends and do not have our interests in mind. We the People can continue to repeat the same failed voting patterns by supporting those who hate us as much as Democrats do. Or we can tell them they cannot win without us, and the only way they get our support is to stop sabotaging our candidates and stop their support of those who are the equivalent of Democrats with a pachyderm for their logo. I’M SADDENED to say it, but if I were forced to place a bet on the chances of We the People ending the GOP hierarchy’s madness I would be forced to bet that we continue with the same voting practices that have been repeatedly invalidated. I would like to be wrong, but, as I see it, We the People are committed to being our own worst enemies.
January 22, 2014 REPUBLICANS: January 10, 2014
Left-wing-funded ‘Main Street’ Republicans
hat do George Soros, labor unions and moneygrubbing former GOP Rep. Steven LaTourette all have in common? They’re control freaks. They’re power hounds. They’re united against tea party conservatives. And they all have operated under the umbrella of D.C. groups masquerading as “Main Street” Republicans. LATOURETTE HEADS up the so-called “Main Street Partnership,” which claims to represent “thoughtful,” “pragmatic,” “common sense” and “centrist” Republican leadership. Reality check: The pro-bailout, prodebt, pro-amnesty, anti-drilling group founded by former liberal New York
GOP Congressman Amory Houghton Partnership is a nonprofit group that includes three liberal Senate Republi- charges members up to $25,000 per cans (John McCain, Mark Kirk and Su- year to rub elbows with Washington’s powerful. The Main san Collins) and 52 center-left House rich and Street Advocacy Republicans. LaFund and the DeTourette himself fending Main is a self-serving Street SuperPAC Beltway barnacle are political satwho held office (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate ellites planning for nearly two deto amass $8 milcades. Now he’s leveraging his new tea party-bashing lion to bolster Republican liberals and platform to benefit a family-operated moderates facing tea party challengers in 2014. McDonald Hopkins Governlobbying business. The New York Times shed light on ment Strategies is LaTourette’s lobbyLaTourette’s tangled web of GOP es- ing firm. tablishment outfits last week. But that THE TIMES notes that “corporastory just scratched the surface. As the paper reported, the Main Street tions and lobbyists” fund the Main
CHRIS CHRISTIE: January 12, 2014
Chris Christie and the perils of power
any Americans might have learned from watching Chris Christie’s marathon news conference on Thursday, but none more than Meryl Streep. If there is anything she doesn’t know about acting, the governor of New Jersey is the person who could teach her. No one has ever done a more convincing portrayal of incredulous innocence than his.
IT MAY BE that he is far more sinned against than sinning, and that his own motives are so pure that he could never imagine bad intentions on the part of his aides. But if he is blameless, then he is also arrogant. This is the same governor who, when state legislators raised questions about the now-infamous lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, snorted that “it just shows you they really have nothing to do.” In December, however, bridge workers testifying under subpoena before a legislative committee said the closures were “unprecedented” and “wrong.” That happened a month ago. The closures happened four months ago. But not until the past few days did Christie show any curiosity about actions that caused nightmarish traffic jams for his constituents over four days. The message Christie sent was that it was beneath him to consider the possibility that members of his administration might misuse their positions. Either he was unjustifiably certain that the charges were baseless then, or he is dissembling now. Neither makes him look good. I don’t mean to sound cynical, even when events invite it. Some people go
Christie doesn’t seem like the kind of boss whose tolerance for mischief you would want to test. They have some reason to think he’s happy to seek revenge on political opponents. Journalists have documented numerous acts of retribution — such as stripping funding for a Rutgers professor who, as a member of a redistricting commission, voted against a plan the governor wanted. Christie does not have a thick skin when it comes to dissent. He often gives the impression that the authority granted him by voters is his to use however vigorously and ag(c) 2014, Creators Syndicate gressively he sees fit. Elected officials ought to treat it as a conditional loan, But just because he may think in to be exercised with great care and huterms of the public good doesn’t mean mility. Christie’s full-throttle approach everyone around him does. Many encourages abuse. It’s our good fortune that modern people seek power, or proximity to power, merely because they like exer- technology makes it easier to docucising control over others or punishing ment such abuse, at least when comtheir enemies. Some of those close to mitted by people too careless to take Christie got obvious pleasure in petty obvious precautions. Had Christie’s deputy chief of staff, revenge. It’s not enough for officeholders to Bridget Anne Kelly, whispered, “Time be upright. They also have to choose for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” associates who can resist temptation. A to Port Authority official David Wildgovernor who is oblivious to potential stein as they sat in a Starbucks, she’d abuses by his staff is like a dog owner still have her job. If he had chortled who lets his Rottweiler loose on a kin- over kids being late to school on a dergarten playground. Maybe nothing stroll with a colleague, his amusement will happen, but it’s irresponsible to would be lost to history. take the chance. A WISE citizenry would take this A WORSE possibility is that Chris- episode as a warning about the dangers tie was not exactly heedless of such of ceding control over our lives to the behavior but encouraged it. Given his government. Anytime someone wants fervent denials, it’s hard to believe to expand some power of government, evidence will emerge that he approved here’s what you should assume: Kelly the lane closing. But it’s also hard to and Wildstein will be the ones exercisbelieve that his aides went rogue, do- ing it. ing things they knew he would abhor. into politics for wholesome reasons, and Christie may be one of them. He’s not accused of using his office to get rich. He made his name as a prosecutor going after public corruption. He certainly didn’t enter politics to poll-test every utterance, for fear of being voted out of office. His blunt and sometimes caustic candor suggests that he has real convictions he wants to advance.
Street Partnership. But far-left donors provided seed money for these affiliated K Street fronts. Who’s behind the Defending Main Street SuperPAC? Big Labor. National Journal’s Scott Bland reported last month that “two labor organizations, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, directed a combined $400,000 to the Republican group in September and October. Main Street says it has raised roughly $2 million total between its super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit group so far — and that means labor has supplied at least 20 percent of those funds.” Along with the anti-tea party U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the “Main Street” fat cats and union leaders have banded together to help President Obama push through illegal alien amnesty. The payoff: cheap labor for big business, cheap votes for the Democratic Party. Main Street Partnership’s chief operating and financial officer is Sarah Chamberlain Resnick. She also serves on the partnership’s board of directors and previously served as an officer of the soft-money-raising Main Street Individual Fund. The MSIF is yet another spinoff group that received $50,000 from progressive billionaire George Soros in 2002 soon after it was created. Soros also dangled a “sevenfigure contribution” in front of the Main Street Partnership, but Resnick said the group declined that one. The MSIF accepted a separate $50,000 Soros donation during the 2004 election cycle. It was mysteriously returned in November 2005 after I called attention to it. These various groups are legally independent entities on paper, but have shared staff and legal resources. When I reported on the “Main Street” farce eight years ago, the partnership’s counsel sent me a threatening letter baselessly claiming I had made “libelous” statements about its network. My sin? Exposing the radical environmental funders of “Main Street” Republicans who had sabotaged House conservative efforts to open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. THE “MAIN STREET” Republicans back then gloated over their successful campaign to force squishy GOP leaders in D.C. to cave in to the left. There’s nothing principled about their agenda. It’s not about “common sense.” It’s about the Benjamins. These statists in populist clothing are running a Washington incumbency protection racket. Same as it ever was.
ECONOMY: January 14, 2014
GOP must keep focus on voters’ top concerns
his is shaping up as the month younger adults are signing up, and that that Barack Obama and the means higher premiums for everyone Democrats began to slip fur- else. The health insurance industry says ther into political decline and irrel- that would make the law unworkable. Another bombshell story in the evance. Obamacare, unpopular as ever, is Wa s h i n g - ton Post warns of many cancellations of insursinking into financial trouble. The Great m o r e ance policies among American Jobs small employers just Machine has before the elections stopped workthat “could be difing. Democrats ficult for Demofear they will lose (c) 2014, United Media Services crats.” seats in the House From now until November, the and control of the Senate. And there’s a forecast of yet another housing bubble GOP’s focus will be on Obamacare, a that could wreak havoc with our econ- jobless economy and a budget that is out of control. That means no legislaomy. tive distractions from the issues that OBAMA’S AGENDA is going no- are among the voters’ top concerns: no where, especially if the Republicans more government shutdowns and keepmake political gains in the midterm ing the debt ceiling on a tight leash. The big battles will begin anew when elections in November, as they are exRepublicans have the votes in the Senpected to do. Speaker John Boehner has tightened ate to make their spending cuts stick. It’s hard to remember any recent his reins on the House to keep the GOP’s focus on the multiple troubles under- president who entered his second term mining Obamacare, which threaten the as politically weak as Obama is right now. His job-approval polls have sunk insurance policies of every American. Gallup pollsters asked Americans to near 40 percent, with 51 percent dislast week what they thought of the pres- approving of his performance, accordident’s health insurance program, and ing to Tuesday’s Gallup survey. Only 23 percent of Americans say 48 percent said it will make health care worse, 35 percent said it will make “no they’re “satisfied with the way things difference,” and only 12 percent said it are going in the U.S. at this time,” Gallup reported last week. And there are a will be “better.” A rash of news stories in the last two lot of reasons to be dissatisfied. The White House was hit by a huge weeks uncovered one nightmare scenario after another in the new health care political body blow last week when the law. The latest development threatening Labor Department said the economy its financial stability is that not enough added only 74,000 jobs last month. That
was the slowest job creation number in three years, suggesting that hiring in the Obama economy remains far too weak to make a serious dent in the unemployment rate. THE JOBLESS rate did fall to 6.7 percent in December, but that’s because thousands of long-term jobless Americans said they were no longer looking for work, and thus are no longer counted among the unemployed. Administration officials said the continuing decline in the adult labor force participation rate to historically low levels was due to baby boomer retirements. But “anemic adult participation cannot be explained by an aging labor force, especially with so many seniors working part-time” to make ends meet, writes University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici. “Were the (labor force) participation rate the same today as when Obama took office, unemployment would be about 10.8 percent,” he said. There were close to four million long-term unemployed Americans last month who have been out of work for
six months or more — a figure that was unchanged from the previous month. They make up one-third of the 11 million unemployed. “The nation is in a jobs crisis,” says Morici. Expect to hear that refrain repeated by the Republicans throughout the rest of this year. Another financial time bomb may be looming on the horizon that could have disastrous consequences for our socalled economic recovery. Economist Peter Wallison, a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, is sounding the alarm on another housing mortgage bubble he sees ahead of us. Wallison is remembered as the sole voice on the panel who filed a blistering dissenting opinion on its report that the financial collapse was largely caused by the big banks and Wall Street. He argued that lawmakers were to a large degree responsible for the crisis by enacting “affordable housing” laws that slashed down-payment rules that led to millions of foreclosures and huge financial losses. In an op-ed column in the New York Times, Wallison — a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute — said that another bubble “is beginning to grow again” and the chief culprit is the government. “The Federal Housing Administration is requiring down payments of just 3.5 percent,” and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) “are requiring a mere five percent,” he said. According to the AEI’s National Mortgage Risk Index data, “about half of those getting mortgages — not to refinance — put five percent or less down.” When critics of this policy suggest that down payments should be the once traditional 10 or 20 percent, “the outcry in Congress and from brokers and homebuilders is deafening,” Wallison wrote. “If we expect to prevent the next crisis, we have to prevent the next bubble,” he says. TO PARAPHRASE a memorable movie line: Fasten your seat belts; we’re in for a bumpy ride.
January 22, 2014 CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY: January 15, 2014
A history lesson for our U.S. president
ongressional speeches are generally hot air: politicians blathering to a largely empty chamber. But on Jan. 9, a discussion in the House of Representatives soared above that mediocrity. For those Americans who worry that Congress no longer cares about preserving the Constitution, the words below will provide reassurance that there are a few people with backbone in Washington, D.C. CONGRESSMAN TOM Rice, RS.C., and several of his 29 co-sponsors defended their resolution calling on the House to sue President Barack Obama in order to compel him to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” as the U.S. Constitution commands.
They cited his changes to Obamacare the U.S. Constitution was written to by fiat, his defiance of U.S. immigra- prevent, because he repeatedly seizes tion law and his waiving the federal more power than the Constitution alpresident to have. work requirement for welfare benefits. lows a Tom Rice: “Our In the past, Founders, Mr. the Supreme Speaker, designed Court has ruled a system of govthat members of ernment based Congress cannot (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate upon a separation sue the president, of powers. The and that power struggles between the branches must legislative branch enacts the laws, and be resolved politically rather than by the executive branch, the president, judges. Therefore, Resolution 442 has enforces those laws. They did that to an uphill battle. But the resolution’s protect our very, very fragile freedom. backers expressed the bedrock prin- We cannot allow those separations ciples of this nation and addressed our to be eroded. One man who can both gravest danger. Their words are worth make the laws and enforce the laws is remembering. Obama is the danger more a monarch than a president.
SEX STANDARDS: January 14, 2014
Our crazed sexuality standards
he New York Times brings us the “next frontier in fertility treatment.” It’s about dissolving the prejudice against transgender people having children. “Andy Inkster, a transgender man, had always wanted biological children. So when he embarked on the transition from female to male at age 18 — changing his name, taking testosterone and eventually undergoing surgery to remove his breasts — he left his female reproductive organs intact. In his mid-20s, he decided it was time. He stopped taking testosterone and started trying to get pregnant.”
BAYSTATE Reproductive Medicine turned Inkster away, explaining that it didn’t have enough experience with transgender people to provide the hormones and donor sperm required. “Mr. Inkster eventually found another clinic that helped him conceive via in vitro fertilization and donor sperm, and in October 2010, he gave birth to a daughter, Elise. A month later, he sued Baystate for sexual discrimination.” The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination agrees with Inkster. I never thought I’d see the words “he gave birth to a daughter” outside of science fiction, and at the risk of seeming insensitive, I think Baystate fertility clinic was right. But it’s not surprising that the civil rights commission of Massachusetts has taken up this cause. It occupies the juncture of two appalling trends. The first is an obsession with sexuality as identity, and the second is a devaluing of the best interests of children in favor of the self-expression of adults. There are limitless identities that
students could be encouraged to cultivate as they mature. A handful that leap immediately to mind: American, humorist, musician, athlete, debater, nature lover. Instead, our universities fall all over themselves to encourage unusual sexual identities, from homosexuality and lesbianism to transgender, bisexual, transsexual and other. It’s all done in the name of “inclusion” and nondiscrimination, but
Charen (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
let’s face it, there’s an element of fashion in it. Nontraditional sexual behavior is “in.” There are academic courses on offer at major universities concerning “queer theory,” pornography and “lesbian gardening.” (Truly.) How can any serious academic treat pornography as a fit subject for college study? It’s more than a devaluation of the life of the mind; it’s an assault on human dignity. WE HAVE elevated sexual appetites, especially unusual sexual tastes, to an exalted status, worthy of study, defining our natures and experiences, and outranking other traits in importance. In many states, there are moves to outlaw psychotherapy that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation. Without excusing or approving abusive efforts to brainwash gay people straight — and there are some hair-raising stories out there of people subjected to “aversion therapy” and so forth — it is interesting that we are being asked to deny people the
opportunity to change in only one direction. No one is suggesting that if a straight person wants to become gay and consults a therapist who wishes to help him make this transition, that he should be prevented from doing so. Yet children as young as four are being permitted to style their hair, wear the clothing and use the bathrooms of the other sex when they express the urge. This kind of change is one that liberal states approve. The state of California requires that students from kindergarten through Grade 12 be permitted to choose which “gender” to be associated with (Connecticut and Massachusetts have similar rules). If a biological girl decides at the age of 12 that she wants to be addressed as a boy, play boys’ sports and use the boys’ bathroom, state law requires that she be able to do so. There are physicians who prescribe hormone-suppressing drugs to prevent preteens from going through puberty to better prepare them for gender-reassignment surgery. This is child abuse. Children pass through phases. Nothing permanent should to be done to any child that is not medically necessary. Suppose a child decided that he wanted to be an amputee or a one-eyed pirate? We’ve lost all common sense in the face of this mania for sexual mutability. AS FOR Mr. Inkster and people similarly situated, the first thing a fertility clinic should say is that a child is not an adult entitlement. The best interests of the child should be paramount. Each child needs and, when possible, should have a mother and a father — and not in the same body.
“Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution requires, in part, that the president take care to faithfully execute the nation’s laws. In 1792, when George Washington was faced with enforcing an unpopular whiskey tax, he wrote in a letter that: ‘It is my duty to see that these laws are executed. To permit them to be trampled upon with impunity would be repugnant to that duty.’ “PRESIDENT OBAMA, on the other hand, has, throughout his administration, picked and chosen which laws or parts thereof he wishes to enforce ... This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democrat issue. It is not a tea party action. This is not for messaging. H.R. 442 merely recognizes that no American, including the president, is above the law.” Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.: “I think about one of my favorite Democratic Senators Robert Byrd from West Virginia — a champion of Article I of the Constitution. He was a Democrat second; he was an American first, defending the Constitution against presidents, Republican and Democrat, who would take the people’s power from Capitol Hill and take it down to the executive branch.” Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.: “So this was a huge issue for the Founding Fathers. Clearly, it would not have been acceptable to stand up at the Constitutional Convention and say, ‘Yes, the president is going to have the authority and duty to enforce the laws, but if there are laws he doesn’t like, he will be able to delay provisions or ignore provisions as he sees fit, as long as it is consistent with his overall purpose or political agenda.’ That would not have been acceptable to anybody at the time. “Can you imagine if when John Adams succeeded George Washington, he just started delaying provisions related to the Bank of the United States or the Jay Treaty? Imagine when Jefferson came in. He ran against the Alien and Sedition Act. Some of those were just allowed to expire, but they went in and repealed a core portion of the Alien and Sedition Act. They didn’t just ignore it. The provisions that expired, expired; and then they repealed the provisions that were still in effect. “That is the way it is supposed to be done. They would never have allowed John Adams or Jefferson to come in and just willy-nilly enforce what they wanted to and not enforce what they didn’t want to.” THESE HISTORY lessons should be familiar to our constitutional-lawyer president.
UNEMPLOYMENT: January 10, 2014
Be for work: Long-term unemployment devastating
ohn F. Kennedy broke some sort of record for stating the obvious when he noted that “life isn’t fair.” More evidence for the unfairness of the nation’s evaluations of presidents emerged in a recent Washington Post poll showing that, five years after he returned to Texas, George W. Bush is still blamed by 50 percent of Americans for the current state of the economy. Only 38 percent hold President Barack Obama responsible. The lesson for future presidents appears to be: You may be one of the greatest humanitarians in the history of the world (as Herbert Hoover arguably was, and as was Bush in some ways), but if you’re in office when a financial crisis hits, the public will blame you forever.
THE PRESS and academia have provided explanations and justifications for the economy’s sluggishness during the past five years — rationalizations that tend to exonerate Obama for the fact that, for example, annual growth remains very low by historical standards, and the labor force participation rate has dropped every year since 2009. It is now at the lowest level since 1978. We’ve been assured that the aging of baby boomers accounts for the high numbers leaving the labor force. But as Michael Strain notes in National Affairs, the labor force participation rate for the ages 25-54 cohort has hardly recovered at all since 2009 — though the recession officially ended in June of that year. The Obama administration frequently cites economists who argue that recoveries from financial crisis-induced recessions are slower than those from other recessions. Economic historians Michael Bordo of Rutgers University and Joseph Haubrich of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland have produced data for recessions going back to 1882 and find that recoveries from past financial crises were more than four times stronger than this recovery has been. Obama has proclaimed, one loses count of how many times, a pivot to jobs. Apparently, that theme is passe. He’s now pivoting to inequality. Any more pivots and he’ll be doing a pirouette. Republicans and conservatives stiffen at any mention of fighting inequality — and for good reason. ATTEMPTS TO reduce inequality wind up hurting the rich a little and everyone else more. If New York Mayor Bill de Blasio raises taxes on those earning $500,000 or more in order to fund universal preschool, as he promises, here’s a prediction: The lot of the poor will not improve one iota. In fact, if de Blasio succeeds in making New York less hospitable to businesses and yes, wealthy individuals (note the exodus of wealth from France), there will be fewer jobs for the poor and middle class. Vene-
zuela’s Hugo Chavez focused on income tion now urges an increase in the miniinequality, too. How’s that working out mum wage and defends the honor of the for the poor? (Hint: Don’t try to get oil, unemployed. (“They are not lazy,” the president said, responding to an accusaflour or electricity in Caracas.) This is not to say that government tion no one made). Long-term unemployment is devaspolicy should not focus on jobs. Under The longer people Obama, the government has focused on t a t i n g . have been without making joblesswork, the less likely ness less painful. it becomes that they It’s been sending he will be hired. checks — through Time out of the Medicaid, unem(c) 2014, Creators Syndicate workforce means ployment insuratrophying skills, ance and disability payments — and congratulating itself on loss of self-esteem, depression and, of course, a declining standard of living. its compassion. Republicans should be focused on Strain, writing in National Affairs, propolicies that will put people back to poses a number of reforms that could work instead. Long-term unemployment assist people in this situation. Providing — defined as being without a job for information about job openings in other six months or more — has doubled un- parts of the country might help, along der Obama’s presidency. In addition to with relocation grants. North Dakota’s writing checks, the Obama administra- energy boom has created a labor short-
age. Washington State needs agricultural workers. Massachusetts is hiring in the hospitality industry. Instead of increasing the minimum wage, reducing the minimum wage for the long-term unemployed might encourage employers to take the risk of hiring them (62.6 percent of minimum wage workers receive a raise within one year, reports the Employment Policies Institute). This could be paired, Strain argues, with an expanded earned-income tax credit aimed at the long-term unemployed. The key goal is to put people back to work — adding skills, building a resume, getting access to professional networks and reintegrating into the work world. DEMOCRATS CONTINUE to focus on cushioning joblessness. Republicans should focus on helping people get back to work.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: January 9, 2014
A bad apple for the big apple
am afraid that fewer than one million out of the 4.3 million registered voters of New York City have settled upon the Big Apple a bad apple for mayor, the Hon. Bill de Blasio. What some three million registered New Yorkers were doing when 752,604 of their fellow citizens elected this Bad Apple to the mayor’s mansion, I do not know. New York City embraces a very sophisticated citizenry, possibly the most sophisticated of any city in America. So perhaps they were all at a museum on Election Day or writing poetry or learning ancient Greek. But while they were indulging themselves, the moron vote brought from obscurity to Gracie Mansion a clod.
HE WORKED for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in 1988! He honeymooned in Cuba in 1991! He claims he never saw any Sandinista brutality in Nicaragua, and that “it’s well-known that there’s been some good things that happened in” Cuba. He might be referring to the Cuban gulag. From now on I am traveling to New York incognito. I suggest you do, too. This bad apple is the epitome of a demagogue, but he is also only semiliterate. In his inaugural address he said things like “Big dreams are not a luxury of the privileged few.” Actually a luxury is “an inessential, desirable item that is expensive or difficult to obtain.” So says the New Oxford American Dictionary, and all other American dictionaries pretty much agree. A dream is not a luxury. He ranted on, the city “is not the exclusive domain of the One Percent.”
This is the cant of the radicals who in recent years were taking over parks and other public places, fouling them with their bodily discharges and committing petty crimes — some not so petty, for instance, rape and mayhem. If de Blasio were more careful with his rhetoric, he would refrain from using the language of barbarians.
Tyrrell (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
Yet he cannot resist such demagogic urge, because he thinks he has been raised to the mayorship of a third world metropolis. Actually, New York City includes, along with its one percent, a prosperous middle class and an industrious working class — along with its impoverished minority. The impoverished are the unfortunates of the city, but things are being done to help them, and the most promising things being done are in education where the lucky ones go to charter schools. Many of the very poor rely on these charter schools. Now with the complicity of the teachers unions, de Blasio wants to make the challenges of the charter schools even greater. He will, if he has his way, have all students enrolled in the city’s failing schools. DE BLASIO SHARES with another so-called “progressive” the ill-informed view that income inequality is a grave problem in America. His fellow pro-
gressive, President Barack Obama, said on Dec. 4 that “a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility” is “the defining challenge of our time.” But inequality is “growing” only if you listen to the tendentious left. Truth be known, according to a scholarly study conducted by Lee Ohanian and Kip Hagopian for Policy Review, “inequality actually declined 1.8 percent between 1993 and 2009. ...” Even the president admitted in his December speech that the rate of poverty has declined by 40 percent since 1967 from 26 percent to 16 percent, but ignored this passage’s import in his speech. Other studies, for instance, one released by the Congressional Budget Office in October 2011, have come to similar conclusions. The reason these demagogues overstate income inequality is that they rely on studies that ignore taxes, for instance, the progressive income tax, and transfer payments to the poor, for instance, nutrition assistance, housing assistance, Medicaid and Medicare. Also they ignore the Earned Income Tax Credit and in the months ahead the transfer payments from Obamacare that the better off and the young will pay out. When you add these up, the poor have been doing rather well. YET THE POOR are not doing as well as they could be doing from a faster growing economy and better jobs. The problem in New York is the same as the problem in America as a whole. The economy is growing too slowly, and nothing the Hon. de Blasio or the president prescribes will fix it.
January 22, 2014 INCOME INEQUALITY: January 9, 2014
Plan to help the poor has little chance to succeed
n the sixth year of his presidency, force as millions of discouraged Ameriwith his job-approval polls in a cans stopped looking for work. Long-term jobless Americans, who nose dive, Barack Obama has suddenly decided to do something about have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, now make up nearly growing poverty. 40 percent of all unHe chose to employed workers. do it on the 50th So on Thursday, anniversary of Obama unveiled President Lyndon a new program Johnson’s “war (c) 2014, United Media Services aimed at “income on poverty” address that led to a massive expansion of inequality” — the White House’s latest the welfare state. Actually, LBJ’s Great attempt to do something to help poor Society spending binge turned out to be and middle-income people. Only this time, instead of borrowing a failure on many fronts, but more on from FDR, Obama borrowed from the that later. late, great congressman Jack Kemp, the WHEN OBAMA took office in high-energy champion of tax cuts, en2009 in the midst of a deep recession, it trepreneurial capitalism and other prowas obvious that poverty was a serious growth ideas to promote economic reviproblem. Unemployment was speeding talization and jobs. One of Kemp’s ideas was “Entertoward 10 percent, poverty rates were climbing, homelessness was soaring, prise Zones” to provide tax incentives and an increasing number of families to businesses, financiers, manufacturers and others to invest in poverty-stricken didn’t have enough to eat. He looked for answers to all of this places like the South Bronx. He sought in the past — way in the past, as in the to turn public housing residents into Great Depression. Like FDR, he hoped owners, giving them a stake in their by spending hundreds of billions of dol- property and improving their communilars on “shovel-ready” infrastructure ties. Obama took this idea and renamed it jobs, he could jump-start the economy. But, while FDR’s programs gave “Promise Zones.” He first proposed it in people hope, they did not end the De- his 2013 State of the Union address, but pression, which lasted a full decade it went nowhere. Unlike Kemp, however, who wanted until we entered World War II and the to expand his low tax zones all across economy was put on a war footing. Obama’s policies didn’t work, either, the country, the president is starting and the economy drifted through the small. He wants them in five areas that next five years, posting still stubbornly have been hard-hit by his recession: San high poverty rates and a shrinking labor Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles,
Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Eventually, he hopes to expand the program into 20 regions. But what Obama is proposing won’t work because it is unfocused, redundant and vague — spread out over more than half a dozen departments and dozens of bureaucratic programs within them. They are the ones dealing with poverty now, but with little success. It’s another way to increase their budgets, but does not directly address what the poor need most: wider job opportunities and income. OTHER IDEAS are warmed-over proposals Congress has ignored, or ones that have had little impact on the poor or the economy. That’s because they are built on tax credits that come with strings attached for hiring new workers and are usually temporary. Employers hire people when their business is growing, not when they’re still struggling to survive. They first need to boost their bottom line, and that means cutting their tax rates up front. Kemp’s Enterprise Zones were built
on tax cuts and other incentives to draw investment, businesses and jobs into blighted areas. But, sadly, his idea went nowhere in the Democratic Congress of 1980, where House Speaker Tip O’Neill buried his bill. About this time, ironically, China’s Communist leaders were just beginning to liberalize their economy and had begun to designate major slum-infested cities for special incentives that they called “Enterprise Zones.” When the White House announced Obama would unveil his plan on the anniversary of LBJ’s address, the network news media loved the idea. CBS News did a rosy report on the $30 billion Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, but it left out all of the act’s many failures and scandals. I dug into its programs in the 1970s as an investigative reporter for United Press International. What I discovered, with the help of sources within the program, was shocking. Much of “the government’s antipoverty spending went to an industry of consultants, researchers, special-interest groups, lobbyists and contractors who have been greedily feeding off the program at the expense of the poor,” I wrote at the time. No one was more critical of the program than liberal Sen. Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, who was one of its original and most enthusiastic supporters. Ribicoff, the former secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Kennedy administration, held hearings on the program, and said this about LBJ’s program in a 1972 book: “Our antipoverty efforts failed. The philosophy of the 1960s — to provide a vast array of services to the poor — must be judged by results. There are 26 million poor Americans — not because they lack social services, advice and counseling, but because they lack money, the great equalizer.” It was the “middlemen — not the poor,” Ribicoff said, who were prospering under the anti-poverty program. NEARLY 50 million Americans now live below the nation’s official poverty income line. Obama’s latest plan won’t even nick this number until our job-challenged economy is putting a lot more people back to work than it is now.
FOREIGN POLICY: January 14, 2014
Obama betrays U.S. military superiority
Obama’s intervention in Egypt was he takeover of Fallujah by al an unmitigated disaster that replaced Qaeda wipes out our costly 2004 victory when we cap- a pro-American dictator with the Mustured Fallujah at the cost of 100 Ma- lim Brotherhood, a vicious opponent of values of freedom rines and soldiers killed in action and Western and representative hundreds more government. His wounded. Fallustrange support for jah isn’t just an the Muslim BrothObama mistake; erhood indicates it’s the exemplar (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate a willingness to of Obama’s disastrous foreign and military policies de- align us with the Brotherhood’s revolusigned to reduce the power and prestige tionary agenda. Afghanistan is releasing 72 prisoners of America on the world stage. the U.S. says are a security threat to the OBAMA’S MILITARY policies are United States. Syria is in chaos, South not merely based on his incompetence. Sudan has fallen into civil war, and al His military policies are part of his per- Qaeda now controls more territory in sonal ideology to redistribute power in the Arab world than at any time in histhe world, which is the other side of the tory, an area that stretches more than coin of his Saul-Alinsky ideology to 400 miles across the heart of the Middle reduce our standard of living by drasti- East. Most of what Obama says is carefulcally limiting our energy use to the level ly scripted by his handlers and placed of poorer nations. When Obama told Joe the plumb- on the teleprompter for him to read. er that Obama wanted to “spread the When Obama is caught without a telewealth around,” that was only part of prompter, we get some insight on how his plan. He also wants to spread power radical he really is. That is what happened at the summit around to achieve his we-are-all-equal in South Korea in 2012 when Obama worldview. Just as Obama thinks it is unfair that was heard on an open mic saying to the the United States enjoys a higher stan- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: dard of living than the rest of the world “On all these issues, but particularly (even though we earned it), he thinks it missile defense, this, this can be solved is unfair that America has more mili- but it’s important for him to give me tary power than other countries. When space. ... This is my last election. Afhe talks about his goal of “fundamen- ter my election I have more flexibility.” tally transforming” the United States, Medvedev replied, “I will transmit this he means he wants to reduce both our information to Vladimir.” That colloquy tells us all we need to economic and our military superiority. Obama has failed miserably to nego- know about Obama’s plan to destroy tiate Iran out of its steady progression America’s military superiority. Obama toward becoming a nuclear nation. It’s felt that, after his re-election, he would been a year and a half since the Beng- no longer be accountable to the Amerihazi murders of our Ambassador and can public on “particularly missile dethree other Americans, but nobody has fense,” which Obama has always oppaid a price and they remain unavenged. posed.
The United States has always had anti-missile superiority, a priceless protection against the murderous aims of Iran, Communist China and North Korea. Russia has been trying to get us to abandon it ever since the days of Ronald Reagan, and his steadfast refusal to give it up at the Reykjavik summit with Gorbachev was a major factor in Reagan’s winning the Cold War. ROBERT GATES’ new book describes an ambivalent commander-inchief who did not believe in his own military buildup in Afghanistan, and mainly just wanted to get out of Iraq. Gates says the only military matter “about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” the law disliked by the gays that Obama got Congress to repeal. Our friends are wondering why our President has deliberately reduced American power and influence to levels of the 1930s and turned his back on U.S. supporters and allies. He has openly made nice with adversaries such
as the Muslim Brotherhood and Tehran’s ayatollahs, and allowed Chinese penetration to rise to higher and higher levels. This is not just a series of mistakes or bad luck. Obama’s plan is to reduce American influence and prestige because he thinks we are too dominant in the world, and military power should be redistributed just as he wants to spread the wealth around inside our country. Our allies are dismayed by Obama’s foolish abandonment of our pre-eminent military strength because they depend on us for their own security. AMERICANS WILL have to depend on the election of U.S. Senators in November who commit to uphold the 2012 Republican Party Platform: “We are the party of peace through strength. ... American military superiority has been the cornerstone of a strategy that seeks to deter aggression or defeat those who threaten our national security interests.”
ANSWER MAN: January 11, 2014
The An s wer Man
THE ADDITION OF GOD IN U.S. CURRENCY AND PLEDGES 1. In what year did the phrase “In God We Trust” first appear on any currency in the United States? 2. What U.S. coin was the first to display the motto mentioned in the first question? 3. In what year did Congress officially adopt the phrase, “In God We Trust,” as the national motto? 4. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag first appeared in the Sept. 9, 1892, edition of the Youth’s Companion mag-
SeamansShook (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
azine. In 1923, an additional phrase was added to the original pledge. What words were added? 5. In 1954, the Pledge of Allegiance was officially amended to incorporate another phrase. Name the two additional words.
January 22, 2014 ECONOMY: January 14, 2014
Obamanomics is killing jobs: GOP fiddles
f it weren’t for a shamelessly dishonest, hyper-protective liberal media, the American people would know, unanimously and without doubt, that Obamanomics is killing American jobs. There is no silver lining in the December jobs numbers. Experts and analysts were expecting this latest jobs report, released Friday, to show 200,000 new payroll jobs in December, but there were only 74,000, which is 37 percent of the goal. Not 90 percent, not 80, not 70, not even 50 percent. Just 37 percent.
IF THESE abominable numbers had occurred under George W. Bush’s watch, the GOP would have had heck to pay for decades. But liberal presidents always get a pass in the form of wildly far-fetched excuses and rationalizations for their failed policies. Attentive minds, however, will not be fooled. As the liberal media live by the dishonest rationalization, so they
Those who insist on calling what must die by it, as well. With the help of sympathetic economists, they have been we’re seeing now a recovery should be whitewashing Obama’s perennially ane- aware that we’re aware that 74,000 jobs not even enough to keep mic economy as being in “recovery” for are up with America’s popula52 months now. tion growth. They “Recovery” should also know is supposedly an that we know that economic term of more than four art indicating that (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate years into this economic condi“recovery,” some tions are improving at an acceptable pace, but if pro- four million Americans have been unemfessional economists insist that their ployed for more than 26 weeks, which is discipline requires them to describe almost twice the number we saw at the what we’ve seen the past 52 months worst point of the most recent recession. as a “recovery,” then the term is meanNOW LET ME tell you about the ingless. But it gives cover to Obama’s media enablers — and, of course, to other “shoe” of this story, which we are Obama. After all, if we have been in a not waiting to be dropped — because it recovery for almost all of Obama’s ten- has already dropped with a resounding ure, doesn’t that mean that he long ago thud. Though the unemployment rate lost the right to credibly claim that this has fallen from 9.5 percent to 6.7 per“mess” is Bush’s fault? Here again, his cent in this glorious 52-month period, media megaphones have done his dirty 100 percent of this decline — not 90 percent, not 80, not 70, not 50, not 37 work.
The political fallout from the five million cancellations of individual policies over the past three months will be dwarfed by the storm that will arise as tens of millions find themselves denied the option of continuing the coverage they had and enjoyed. The mendacity of Obama’s claim that you can keep your health care plan if you like it will be exposed ever more plainly to an ever larger group of Americans. The fallout from Obamacare will continue and will escalate — and not just from those who are cancelled. Much of the anger will be vented by those who opted into the program and signed up for coverage. Specifically, we will hear from: — Insured people who face high deductibles before they see a dime of benefits. Eighty percent of the enrollees are signing up for bronze or silver plans. Do they realize that they will have to pay almost $5,000 in deductibles (bronze) or $3800 on silver plans before they get any payouts? Probably not. But they are about to find out. — Those with insurance under Obamacare are also about to find out the fraudulence of the president’s promise that they can keep their doctor or hospital. With many doctors refusing to participate in Obamacare, the president cannot keep this promise.
percent but every single molecule of it — was the result not of a growing job market but of 7.4 million potential workers leaving the workforce. That’s right; under Obama’s “hope and change,” 7.4 million people have simply lost hope and quit looking for work. Last month alone, 347,000 workers dropped out of the labor force. We have the lowest labor participation rate in 36 years. Now take off that shoe and examine the dirty sock. If we adjust Obama’s numbers to the labor force participation rate when the evil Bush left office, the unemployment rate has actually increased, from 9.7 percent to 10.9 percent, during Obama’s blockbuster recovery. Next, we anticipate two more shoes falling in the relatively near future that could have a substantially negative impact on the jobs market. Actually, it would be more accurate to describe them as heavy boots. First, we have the ravages of Obamacare and what it is doing to destroy jobs by increasing the costs and risks of employing people and injecting untold uncertainty into the entire economy. Second, we will experience the continued assault on jobs by the compassionate left’s (and feckless right’s) extension of unemployment benefits. Let’s face it. Even though the liberal media have eventually been forced to reveal the dark side of Obama’s jobs numbers, they are not going to be quick to tell you about the uncompassionate side of the ruling class’s endless extension of unemployment benefits. And the Obama administration, which is interested far more in redistributing America’s income than in improving the jobs picture, will never mention it. So couldn’t we beleaguered, constantly maligned-as-extremist conservatives expect that the political party that supposedly represents our principles, the GOP, could bring to the public’s attention that what may masquerade as compassion in the short term is anything but compassion in the long term? That extending unemployment benefits would ultimately destroy American jobs? There’s little serious debate about this. Why can’t Republican Party leaders get on the horn and tell the American people that what we need is not extending unemployment benefits ad infinitum but an end to Obama’s growth-suppressing policies of increased spending, taxes, regulations and Obamacare? Is it really that hard for Republicans to articulate the message of economic growth instead of offering liberal-compassion lite?
WHEN ALL this hits the fan, the political consequence for Obama and his Democratic allies will be horrific in 2014.
OR DOES the party establishment even believe in this message — in its platform — anymore? Inquiring minds are entitled to know.
OBAMACARE: January 15, 2014
Obama bails out insurers
ne of the least publicized aspects of Obamacare is its bailout of insurance companies. Far from warring against them as Hillary did in 1993, the Obama program is their new best friend. Robert Laszewski, a health care consultant, points out that Obamacare is really a giant reinsurance program, capping the liability of health insurance companies. Under its provisions, the first $45,000 of payments to an insured patient come from the company’s coffers. The taxpayer, through the federal government, obligingly picks up 80 percent of the remainder.
AND, EACH year, insurance companies are to estimate their payouts during the coming twelve months. If they miss or the costs are greater than they supposed, the feds will pick up 80 percent of the overage. It is a kind of cost plus deal for insurance companies. All told, insurance companies are to get $1 trillion in subsidies over the next ten years, a staggering amount of tax money. They will make out far better than General Motors, defense contractors or any TARP recipient banks. As the enrollment in Obamacare continues, and it becomes apparent that participation by young people will fall far short of the 38 percent projection the law’s framers anticipated, this bailout becomes a matter of life and death for participating insurance companies. Current stats indicate that about a quarter of the pool of Obamacare customers are un-
der the age of 30. One-third of customers are in the dreaded 55-65 age group, the least healthy and most costly of the demographics covered by the program. As Obamacare enrollment continues, it becomes increasingly apparent that the program has nothing to do with covering the uninsured. Eighty percent of those covered
Morris (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
were previously insured. They moved to Obamacare only after their current policies were shot out from under them by HHS-forced cancellations. Indeed, surveys indicate that only about a quarter of the uninsured have any intention of ever entering the program. Rather, the entire plan is a gambit to switch people from private sector insurance to government-dependent coverage. The goal is socialization, not expanded coverage. AS GROUP policies, particularly for small employers, begin to face cancellation — either because the policies are deemed inadequate or because rate hikes make them unacceptable — the ranks of insurance refugees will mount. Millions more, rendered insurance-less through Obamacare regulations, will flee to the makeshift health care refugee center Obamacare has become. And they won’t be happy about it.
January 22, 2014
Retired Secretary Robert Gates speaks out
etired Defense Secretary alty. “You should not write a book,” Robert Gates breezed back says ex-Obama press secretary Robert onto the national scene last Gibbs, “that your boss has to answer he’s in office.” In the week by speaking his mind. Oh, and to while website Politico did he speak it — John Harris sees loudly enough, Duty as “a move to robustly enough advance (Gates’) to remind all profile at the exwithin earshot (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate pense of the loywhat it means to alty and the kind hear an honest of sanctity” — Harris’ possibly self-reman seek to serve the truth. I said “seek” to serve. Did he actu- vealing word choice — “of the policy ally serve, and how would we know process which he owed.” Let us clear our throats. Let us, if for sure? With any of Gates’ memorable judgments, ladled out in a memoir we feel the need, shuffle our feet in called Duty, we are entitled constitu- embarrassment for our brother, thus tionally to differ. Is President Obama, impugned. But, durn, honey, didn’t it as Gates avers, skeptical of his own feel good, as well as revitalizing, to Afghanistan policy? Are the majority hear a public man speak the unsparing of representatives in Congress “unciv- truth as he sees it? And wouldn’t it be il, incompetent at fulfilling their basic nice to see it happen more often? Commitment to truth is never quite constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanage- the coin of the political realm, but rial, parochial, hypocritical, egotisti- particular eras are more distinguished cal, thin-skinned and prone to put self than others for fakery and overween(and re-election) before country?” Has ing interest in elections and polls — Vice President Joe Biden “been wrong especially as the prospects for power on nearly every major foreign policy increase. One is supposed to say, in the and national security issue over the interest of fair play, they all do it — all past four decades?” Do foreign poli- parties and interests deceive. Which cy calculations spring as often as not they do. Some particular complaints these days from domestic political rea- about the incumbent Democrats arise, nevertheless, in this context. sonings? “If you like your policy, you can THE TAKE on Gates, from the keep it” springs to mind. President White House’s 4-3 defense, official Obama’s purpose was to banish fears and unofficial, is reproach for disloy- about the results of Obamacare. Could
he really have asked his experts whether such a promise was likely to prove true or false? Not so’s we hear. The eagerness of the president’s media claque to help him change the subject, as with the Syrian “red line,” similarly grates.
the complaint against politics as presently practiced. Take Harry Reid, the Democrats’ Senate leader, an ex-boxer whose sense of strategy constantly tells him, “Wipe the floor with the soand-sos.” And if they object, change the rules — as the Senate did, at Reid’s GATES’ REPROACHES toward bidding, to eliminate discussion of the Congress — micromanagerial, hypo- credentials of many presidential apcritical and the rest — go the heart of pointees. No wonder next-to-nothing passes in that death trap. Joe Biden’s world-class lack of judgment; the controlling nature and “operational meddling” of the Obama national security team; the administration’s concern for politics at the expense of good strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq — all these, as Gates understands them, impeached the competence of Obama’s White House. Also, they contributed to outcomes unworthy of the troops whose sacrifices wrung the heart of their boss at the Pentagon. The former defense secretary will need an armored car if he comes within hailing distance of Pennsylvania Avenue. This is what happens in politics to those who question words and deeds that seem not to match up with reality and sound judgment. THE POLITICS of fantasy yield small space for examining how political boasting and chest thumping play out in the real world. How rewarding, as always, to see fantasy, as fingered by a distinguished public servant, taken to the cleaners: the problem being that we don’t see it happen half as often as we need to. January 14, 2014
This Week’s Conservative Focus
Robert Gates’ Book
Portraying Obama as a different kind of president
ike just about everybody else in Washington and many across the country, I’ve been reading the excerpts from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War. It presents a significantly more negative picture of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton than Gates’ statements in office led anyone to expect. And it presents an interesting contrast with Gates’ previous memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, published in 1996. TO BE SURE, Gates in Duty says many positive things about his most recent former colleagues. He calls Obama’s decision to target Osama bin Laden the “most courageous” presidential decision he has seen.
He praises Clinton’s judgment, her that their opposition to the Iraq surge sense of humor and her penchant for was politically motivated — in the presGates, who was in the hard work. Though he doesn’t make the ence of chain of command on point explicitly in the surge and helped the excerpt, the make it work. secretary of state As for Vice and secretary of President Joe defense weren’t (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate Biden, Gates constant and miswrites that he “has trustful antagobeen wrong on nearly every major fornists. But he also presents some damning eign policy issue” over four decades. testimony. Listening to Obama soon af- And he expresses even more angry conter he had ordered a surge of troops into tempt for congressional leaders. Afghanistan, “I thought: The president GATES WROTE Duty after leaving doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand (Hamid) Karzai, doesn’t believe in his government with no intention or expecown strategy and doesn’t consider the tation of ever returning. But he wrote war to be his. For him, it’s all about get- From the Shadows, published in 1996, in similar circumstances. ting out.” He had risen quickly from a junior If this is not cynical enough, he is shocked that Clinton and Obama admit Russia analyst at the CIA to positions
Barack Obama’s insincere war
obert Gates has roiled the Beltway with perhaps the least surprising bombshell ever to appear in a tell-all Washington memoir. Did anyone believe that President Barack Obama was passionately committed to the Afghanistan War that he escalated at the same time he announced a withdrawal date? IF WHAT GATES tells us isn’t particularly new, it still packs a punch coming from such a highly placed, credible source. For Obama, Afghanistan is the insincere war. More than 1,500 troops have died there during his time in office — almost three times as many as under George W. Bush — yet by early 2011, the president had lost whatever faith he had in the war, according to Gates. In the telling of his former secretary of defense, Obama violated what should be the psychological Powell Doctrine: If you don’t believe in it, don’t fight it. John Kerry famously asked during the Vietnam War: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? Now the secretary of state should pose a version of his long-ago rhetorical question to his boss. Obama evidently has been asking men to die for what he considers a mistake for years now. As reported in the press, Gates describes a dawning realization at a March 2011 meeting in the situation room. “As I sat there,” he writes, “I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [Afghan
leader Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” This is the war that the president and other Democrats had long hailed as “the good war.” Candidate Obama made the first item in his proposed “comprehensive strategy” in the war on terror, “getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Lowry (c) 2014, King Features Syndicate
The president may have meant every word he said at the time, but his position also happens to have been politically convenient. It allowed him to promise a quick exit from one (very unpopular) war while still sounding tough on the other. He wasn’t a stereotypical dove, but a nuanced, cleareyed hawk. ONCE IN OFFICE, the rhetoric came due. By all accounts, the president felt trapped by his own advocacy. He and his team resented the military for asking for more troops than he really wanted to send. He escalated by about 50,000 all told, anyway, although with an uncertain trumpet and a highly ambivalent spirit. Gates writes of how Obama’s political advisers steadily worked on him, driving distrust of the military and skepticism of the war. They were
pushing on an open door. According to Gates, the president was “deeply suspicious” of senior military officers and “considered time spent with generals and admirals an obligation.” Gates still says the president got the big decisions right, so what difference does his sincerity or lack of it make? There are costs to halfheartedness. After announcing the surge, Obama began to effectively vote “present” on his own war. He has refused to make a concerted public case for it. And if a president doesn’t believe in a war, he is obviously less likely to see it through. The cost of liquidating our position in Iraq — after failed, halfhearted negotiations for a new status of forces agreement — has been a resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq. If we pull out from Afghanistan right away, the Taliban will surely enjoy a similar windfall. Obama has a remarkable ability to create critical distance between himself and almost anything. Here is a conflict that began with an invasion that he supported, that he consistently called for escalating and that he ordered tens of thousands of additional troops to go fight, yet he resisted taking ownership of it. “I NEVER doubted Obama’s support for the troops,” Gates writes, “only his support for their mission.” Stranger words may never have been written about an American president. January 9, 2014
at the National Security Council in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and first Bush administrations. He was nominated to be CIA director in 1986, but withdrew in the face of congressional opposition; he was nominated again for the post and confirmed in 1991. In From the Shadows he does not always fawn on the leaders he served. “No stranger man in American history” is his verdict on Richard Nixon. Ronald Reagan “began to fade a bit beginning in late 1985-early 1986.” He has especially warm praise for George H.W. Bush and his foreign policy team, and notes that Bush had almost a familial relationship with National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft (as George W. Bush would later have with Condoleezza Rice). He sees Secretary of State James Baker as “a master craftsman of the persuasive and backroom arts at the peak of his powers,” but notes that he “demanded more loyalty of the president than he gave in return.” Even more notable than the individual portraits in From the Shadows is Gates’ argument that there was far more continuity in American foreign policy during the presidencies in which he served than was suggested by partisan rhetoric. In this view, Nixon’s detente with Russia was sealed by Ford’s Helsinki Accords, whose human rights provisions were built on by Carter, who began the defense buildup accelerated by Reagan, whose negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev provided the basis for Bush’s management of the collapse of the Soviet empire. Presidents were constantly buffeted from the Right and Left by members of Congress, but, Gates argues, if the process was unpleasant, the results were usually benign. In the excerpts from Duty, Gates seems to take a similar view of George W. Bush, a “mature leader” who on the Iraq surge “risked reputation, public esteem, credibility, political ruin and the judgment of history on a single decision he believed was the right thing for the country.” But the excerpts suggest that Gates sees Obama out of line with the continuity he admires in his predecessors. \CLINTON AND Obama’s cynical opposition to the Iraq surge and Obama’s half-hearted commitment to his Afghanistan strategy are in jarring contrast with his description in Shadows of Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush I. “For each,” he writes, “the country came first,” and “each, in his own way, was a modest man.” Let’s see if in the full text of Duty he says the same of Obama. January 14, 2014
IRS: January 15, 2014
IRS political targeting on steroids
hen President Barack gized May 10, 2013, for what it called Obama and his entire ad- “inappropriate” targeting of groups durministration were given a ing the 2012 election that had consertitles, such as “Tea free pass for using the IRS as a political v a t i v e Party” or “Patriot,” in attack dog against their names to see if their adversaries, they were violating it was a given that their tax-exempt the practice would status. In other not end but take on (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate words, the IRS more serious threats admitted targeting to dissent. That’s exactly what is happening be- groups based on their political persuacause of the abject failure of House Re- sion — something unprecedented in the 100-year history of the agency. publicans to hold Obama accountable. Five days after the apology, Miller reTO DATE, no one has gone to jail or signed as acting IRS commissioner, and even been prosecuted for using the IRS Lois Lerner, head of the exempt-organito go after tea party groups, conserva- zations division, who was at the center tives and anyone deemed by Obama- of the controversy, announced her retireites to be a threat. These days, that list ment Sept. 24. It’s unknown whether Lerner landed is growing exponentially as his policy a new gig. But why would she need to? failures become more evident. In fact, Steven Miller, the former act- She’s apparently still on paid leave from ing commissioner of the IRS who re- her job and will reportedly be allowed signed from his post last year after the to retire with full benefits even though agency admitted it had improperly scru- a review board recommended her firing. tinized the federal tax-exempt status of As a 30-plus-year veteran of the federal certain conservative groups, has landed government, her pension package will what appears to be a plum job with the represent a sweet deal. Remember, this is the woman who Houston-based alliantgroup as the specialty tax service provider’s national di- took the Fifth when called before Congress to testify on her role in this monurector of tax. In his new role, Miller will lead the mental scandal. But what’s happening now that the company’s national office in Washington, where he will, according to a press smoke has cleared for the Obama adminrelease, “cultivate alliantgroup’s Tax istration? The IRS is on the verge of getting Controversy Services practice.” I’m not kidding. Here’s a guy who, if anything, is the regulatory power to continue harassan expert on “tax controversy services.” ing tax-exempt groups that oppose the Miller joins another former IRS com- Obama agenda. It’s being called by formissioner at alliantgroup, Mark Everson, mer Rep. Ernest Istook a “license to kill” who is the company’s vice chairman. such organizations. “James Bond’s license to kill isn’t Everson led the IRS from 2003 to 2007. Miller was the guy who was at the nearly as broad,” Istook writes. “The helm of the IRS when the agency apolo- power to tax is the power to destroy. Its
new powers will let the IRS destroy certain groups, especially those connected to the Tea Party, by imposing a tax on their work and messages during campaign seasons. Even the value of volunteer work could be taxed.”
the organization’s goals. Details of such communications must be reported to the IRS when it occurs within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of primaries. The restrictions also apply to procedures having to do with selecting party officers, such as a precinct, district or state party chairman, plus nominations or confirmations of an appointed official, such as a judge, agency head or cabinet officer. “These communications must all be reported to the IRS so they can be compiled, catalogued and taxed,” says Istook. “Donations made during those periods would be treated 100 percent as campaign contributions, and taxed.” This includes candidate forums and debates, voter guides, voting-record listings of incumbents, and public statements by officers and leaders of 501(c)(4)s that reference incumbents and candidates. Do you get the picture? The IRS becomes the political speech police — officially. Keep in mind, the IRS has a virtual army of bureaucrats eager to suppress political dissent — with 90,000 workers, 4,300 investigators, 13,000 revenue agents, 2,600 special agents, 9,500 tax examiners and 1,500 attorneys on staff. The only thing standing in the way of these regulations becoming the de facto law of the land is an act of Congress. The IRS budget will likely pass the House and Senate in the next week or two — and this will be the last chance to stop Obama this year. How do you stop this? Go to the federal website www.regulations.gov. Access the docket “IRS Reg134417-13? and click on the “Comment Now!” button.
THERE’S REASON to believe Obama is directly responsible for this sleight-of-hand. He personally met with IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, an Obama political appointee and long-time supporter, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House April 23, 2012, two days before the IRS issued its key internal directives to target tea party and other conservative groups. Unless House Republicans man up to block these new IRS regulations, it will spell the death penalty for a 100,000 grassroots nonprofits, known as 501(c) (4) groups, by placing a gag order on them. Of course, the new regulations specifically exempt Obama’s beloved labor unions, trade associations, political parties and other nonprofit groups from the free political speech restrictions. This is specifically a war on tea party-style groups, many of which have already been killed or rendered moribund by the Obama administration’s offensive that began after the 2010 midterm election they swung. Obama wants to make sure this doesn’t happen again in 2014. What about the 501(c)(4) groups that support Obama? Come on! The Obama administration is notorious for selective enforcement, meaning it could — and will — choose to give a pass to friendly groups while it puts conservatives out of business. Obama is attempting to legalize punishment of free political expression. Under the new proposed regulations, a I CAN’T guarantee Congress will lisspeech or written information that mentions or has any connection to a candi- ten, but you will have made your stand date or public official is deemed restrict- for the First Amendment and against tyred speech, even when it otherwise meets anny.
January 22, 2014 DEAR MARK: January 11, 2014
Income inequality and unemployment benefits DEAR MARK: In the last month, I’ve been hearing the term “income inequality” bandied about by Democrat politicians and talking heads. I’m positive that this isn’t a coincidence, but a concerted effort by Democrats to change the subject from Obamacare and to paint the picture that Republicans hate the poor. Hasn’t there always been income inequality? — Earned It Myself Dear Earned: Of course there’s always been income inequality. Ever since one caveman figured out how to kill more wooly mammoths than the other cavemen and he moved into a better cave, people have complained. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned this as a Democrat political strategy for the 2014 elections. The promotion of income inequality combined with a push for a higher minimum wage, and unemployment benefits will be the three primary colors Democrats will try to paint Republicans with this year. The idea of “income inequality” is an overly simplistic argument, yet very effective with the bumper sticker crowd. It’s easy to site the income difference between the CEO of GM and the assembly line worker, or the bank president and the teller or the NFL quarterback and the trainer. Liberals love to take those income differences, in which there is obviously a huge disparity, and scream about the unfairness in America.
Income inequality is not indicative of a poor economy or a good economy because it is always present in both situations. But it is an ingenious political argument because even if we guarantee every individual $50,000 a year minimum, there remains a significant difference between the top and the bottom. Therefore, liberal politicians can continue their ridiculous income inequality debate into perpetuity.
(c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
DEAR MARK: Our super liberal president has come out with another ridiculous statement straight from the liberal theory on economics. President Obama is trying to tell us that extending unemployment benefits past 99 weeks will actually create jobs. Where in the heck did he come up with that economic malarkey? — Don’t Tell Me It’s Raining Dear Raining: Please don’t laugh, but President Obama might have gotten this “theory” from the esteemed economist Nancy Pelosi. Back in 2010, Ms. Pelosi attempted to explain why extending unemployment benefits was so important when she said, “It injects demand into the economy, it creates jobs faster than
almost any other initiative you can name.” Well, if that’s the case, why doesn’t congress borrow $1 trillion and distribute it as Obama and Pelosi see fit and watch the economy take off like a rocket. Oh, wait, the president tried that when he and the Democrats controlled Washington. Not only did his “stimulus package” fail miserably, but our children and grandchildren are now stuck with the bill. The Democrats don’t really care about a solution to the long-term unemployment problem, but they do care about the 2014 midterm elections. They will gladly use this issue to portray Republicans as evil and uncaring in order to score some votes. Personally, I’ve been unemployed before, so I can sympathize with their plight, but come on, people, 99 weeks is a long time to take money from the government. With that in mind, I am proposing that if after 52 weeks an individual still hasn’t found a job, they will be forced to earn their checks by working for the government three days a week. (Food banks, homeless shelters, schools, highway department, etc.) They will be required to attend job training one day a week and will spend the remaining day searching and interviewing for jobs. The cost of this program would need to be offset by cuts to other areas in the budget. Mr. President, are you listening? Because you did say you were open to ideas from either party.
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LIBERALISM: January 9, 2014
Liberalism is a gesture: Saddle of the state The era of Gesture Liberalism is at hand. It may be more amusing than consequential. Americans who exercise consumer sovereignty wherever Barack Obama still tolerates it are constantly disappointing him. For generations they persisted in buying what he calls “substandard” policies from what he calls “bad apple” health insurers. They stopped only when he forced them to stop — when he rescued them from their ignorance by banning their benighted preferences.
HAVE CONSUMERS thanked him for trying to wean them away from their desire to drive large, useful, comfortable, safe vehicles that he thinks threaten their habitat, Earth? The 2013 numbers tell the tale of their ingratitude. In 2013, for the 32nd consecutive year, the best-selling vehicle was Ford’s F-Series pickups. This supremacy began, fittingly, in the first year of Ronald Reagan’s deregulatory presidency. Today’s consumers, who cannot get it through their thick heads that they are supposed to want wee vehicles such as Chevrolet’s Volt, bought 763,402 F-Series trucks. That is 740,308 more than the number of Volts General Motors sold. In 2010, a GM official carefully said “more than 120,000 potential Volt customers have already signaled interest in the car.” Signaled? How? Not by buying. At the 2013 rate of sales, by 2046 GM will have sold as many Volts as Ford sold F-Series trucks this year. Obama, our Nostradamus, prophesied a million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015. If so, they will have to outsell FSeries trucks this year. The sort-of-electric Volt — it is a hybrid — probably is one of those great ideas Joe Biden celebrated in 2010: “Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.” Government’s incentive for Volt buyers is a tax credit up to $7,500. A 2011 study showed that taxpayersubsidized Volt or Nissan LEAF buyers had average annual incomes of $150,000, and more than half of them owned at least two other vehicles. In 2009, the Obama administration disapprovingly said: “GM earns a large share of its profits from high-margin trucks and SUVs, which are vulnerable to a continuing shift in consumer preferences to smaller vehicles.” Continuing? A 2011 Wall Street Journal headline: “Americans Embrace SUVs Again.” A Wall Street Journal subhead last week: “U.S. Sales Cruise Back to 2007 Levels, Driven by Fondness for Pickups, SUVs.”
Building the Volt was bankrupt-and- complicit in providing, through their bailed-out GM’s gesture of obeisance health insurance, contraception, someto its Washington masters. And caus- thing that offends their faith. This mandate illustrates ing the Volt to be built was a gesture Gesture Liberalby those masters ism: It is unimportto demonstrate ant to the structure how much they of Obamacare. It worry about the has nothing to do climate. The cli(c) 2014, Washington Post Writers Group with real insurmate may not unance, which proderstand the imtects against unexpected developments portance of gestures. — car insurance does not pay for oil TODAY, LITTLE SISTERS of changes. The mandate covers a minor the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebe- expense: Target sells a month of birth lius may be the second-most seren- control pills for $9.00. The mandate is, dipitously named court case in U.S. however, a gesture affirming liberalhistory, second to Loving v. Virginia ism’s belief that any institution of civil (wherein Richard Loving, who was society can be properly broken to the white, and his wife Mildred, who was saddle of the state. The next item on Gesture Liberalblack, in 1967 overturned Virginia’s law against interracial marriages). ism’s agenda is to raise the minimum The Little Sisters are challenging the wage for the 23rd time. Less than Obamacare mandate that makes them three percent of the workforce earns
the minimum; more than 60 percent of those who do earn it get a raise within a year; more than half of minimum-wage earners are students or other part-time workers from households with average incomes of $53,000. Never mind. Raising the minimum is a gesture of devotion to “equality.” As is Obama’s support for universal preschool, the centerpiece of the agenda of New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio. When, in Obama’s first Inaugural address, he vowed to “restore science to its rightful place,” he evidently meant to exclude social science: There is much discouraging data about the efficacy of universal preschool. IT WILL, HOWEVER, mean billions for hiring more members of teachers unions, whose dues will help elect the likes of Obama and de Blasio. So this component of Gesture Liberalism is more than just a gesture.
SEX STANDARDS: January 13, 2014
MTV and teen pregnancy
hat music videos were to the MTV of yore, programs about single teenage mothers are to the MTV of today — a staple. The network’s franchise of reality shows about teenagers coping with out-of-wedlock-births, beginning with 16 and Pregnant and including the spinoffs Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2, has been a runaway success.
izing the lives of young women who have made desperately poor choices. But along come a couple of economists with a new paper on the social effects of the MTV shows to tell us that that gets it all wrong: The programs actually led, by their calculations, to a nearly six percent reduction in the teen birthrate between June 2009 and the end of 2010.
IT HAS GIVEN us such teen moms as Jenelle Evans, who alleged that her drug-abusing boyfriend beat her up, causing her to have a miscarriage. And Amber Portwood, who got out of jail on parole last year after serving time for drug charges — the latest in a string of troubles encompassing a suicide attempt and battery charges for allegedly beating up her boyfriend. And, of course, Farrah Abraham. If you don’t know who Abraham is, you obviously haven’t been keeping up with Us Weekly. She didn’t tell her ex-boyfriend that he was the father before he was killed in a car accident. Her mother was charged with assault for hitting her. But never mind. Rocketed to D-list celebrity by her appearances on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, she got two breast augmentations, performed in a sex video and has now graduated to appearing on the VH1 show Couples Therapy. In other words, she is living the American Dream of pointless notoriety. For understandable reasons, the MTV franchise has been lambasted by cultural conservatives for glamor-
Lowry (c) 2014, King Features Syndicate
Their analysis of all the episodes of 16 and Pregnant finds 47 pregnancies, and only four marriages prior to birth. Almost all the fathers stay involved throughout the pregnancy, but by the end of the episodes, half the relationships are very strained or over. About a quarter of the births are by C-section, and the young mothers experience “extensive sleep deprivation.” This is not Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or The Bachelorette. “OVERALL,” WRITE the authors of the study, Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland and Phillip Levine of Wellesley College, “the realities of the lives of teen mothers are presented in ways that may have been unknown or difficult to imagine for other teens viewing the show.” According to their findings, getting a dose of the reality of teen child rearing — which means limited educational pros-
pects and a high likelihood of poverty — changes the behavior of teens exposed to the shows. There are two things to say about this result. One is that it vindicates the common-sensical belief that pop culture has an impact on how we live. The entertainment industry celebrates itself as important and brave, but when anyone suggests that its stupid and degrading output might influence how anyone thinks or behaves, it retreats to the “it’s just a TV show or movie” defense. The other is that the trend toward ever-increasing out-of-wedlock child rearing needn’t be accepted as inevitable. If MTV has inadvertently stumbled on a highly credible way to make the case to teens that the life of a single teen parent is to be avoided, then surely there are other effective ways to spread the word about the struggles inherent to out-of- wedlock child rearing more generally. (Teens under 18 account for less than eight percent of all out-ofwedlock births.) AS FOR MTV, it may create a mixed message. Another new study found that teenage viewers of the shows had unrealistically rosy views of single motherhood — perhaps because after the travails depicted on 16 and Pregnant, a few high-profile teen moms like Farrah Abraham graduate to the tawdry satisfactions of minor celebrityhood. It’s safe to assume that nothing good comes from MTV, except by accident.
January 22, 2014 ARIEL SHARON: January 13, 2014
Last of the old lions: Scenes from life ... and death
he life of Ariel Sharon, better known in Israel as Arik, has ended at long, long last after eight comatose years lost to everyone but himself. It was a life almost co-extensive with that of the State of Israel, or at least its army. And some would argue he was just as vital a factor in Israel’s survival.
HOW SUM UP such a life? The handiest way might be to describe Sharon as Israel’s own Patton, always veering between being insubordinate and indispensable. He would be sidelined again and again for some reckless act, but then, when all was falling apart, be called back to save the day. The way Ike, who tried to keep his best or at least most aggressive general on a tight leash, would call on George S. Patton to turn his Third Army around on a dime — on a sliver of a dime, really — and rush to the rescue when the Battle of the Bulge erupted. The enemy had broken through in a surprise offensive and panzers were everywhere. Patton arrived like the U.S. Cavalry, literally. And snatched victory from the jaws of panic. What others call desperation, a Patton — or Sharon — seized as opportunity. It won’t surprise to learn that Ariel Sharon came by his stubborn streak honestly. His father and mother, Sam and Dvora Sheinerman, had fled Georgia — the one in Russia — as the Bolsheviks advanced and the fleeing was good. (Not that there is ever a bad time to flee Russia.) They would join the still nascent Zionist experiment in what was than Palestine under the British mandate. Soon enough, at 14,
their boy would be going on night pa- came another, essential requirement of trols with Gadna, a paramilitary youth any force Arik Sharon would lead. Only a year later, the Jordanians movement whose existence, or at least nocturnal activities, were strictly ille- were sending teams of terrorists across the cease-fire lines to attack one Jewgal under the Mandate. There was scarcely a battle in Is- ish settlement after another. David ben rael’s war of independence that young Gurion, that old lion, would call on one to head Unit Arik missed. He would live to recall this new 101, a nice name that whole war as for an outfit speone extended batcifically charged tle. Somewhere in with staging reits midst, young prisal raids. Not for Sheinerman was (c) 2014, Tribune Media Services the first time, Arik renamed Sharon Sharon would by David ben Gurion himself, who may have been the wind up being hauled before a military first Israeli leader to note his battle- court for his actions, and was about to field prowess for future reference. It be drummed out of the still new Israeli would have been hard to miss. Shot army when ... He was needed again. This time he up again and again, the young man always came back to fight another day. would command a brigade of paraOr rather night, his preferred time for troops in the Suez War of 1956, which turned out to be a guerrilla raid on a combat. The most enduring lesson young larger scale. Once again, he ignored Sharon brought out of that uneven orders, and cleared out the strategic conflict — seven Arab armies or more Mitla Pass in the Sinai instead of goagainst one fledgling Jewish one — ing around it. Israeli casualties were was the one he learned at a bend in heavy. After that incident, his military the road called Latrun, scene of a des- career was stalled for years — till war perate and losing battle to open the clouds gathered again. The very survival of the Jewish state twisting old two-lane to besieged Jerusalem. He saw desperate, untrained was threatened in 1967 when the charEuropean refugees, the leavings of ismatic Gamal Abdul Nasser promised Hitler’s concentration and extermi- to drive the Jews into the sea and monation camps, rushed off the boats, bilized armies to do it — not just in the handed rusty old Enfields, if that, and Sinai but Syria, with Jordan joining sent to their sure deaths in a hopeless the pack at the last minute for the kill. attempt to open the road to Jerusalem. RATHER THAN wait to be deFor they were up against John Glubb Pasha’s well-trained, British- officered stroyed, the Israelis struck back in a Arab Legion in Jordan, which was Six Day War that changed the map of then Trans-Jordan. And from then on, the Middle East. Before it was over, relentless training and preparation be- Gen. Sharon had conducted a breakthrough at Abu-Ageila in Sinai — a strategic innovation in combined arms (infantry, armor, artillery) so lightning effective the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, long accustomed to studying Civil War battles like Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, added Abu-Ageila to its curriculum. But the cocksure general who masterminded that battle proved as unpopular as ever with his more conventional peers, and was denied any further promotion till his retirement. A retirement that ended suddenly on Yom Kippur of 1973, when the Israelis were caught flat-footed by a two-front surprise attack out of Egypt and Syria. And sent reeling back all along the line — from Sinai to the Golan Heights on the Syrian border. More experienced generals, like the legendary Moshe Dayan, were counseling retreat, retreat, retreat! “How are we going to get out of this?” the commander of Israel’s hastily mobilized reserves asked Arik down on his farm. “Don’t you know?” Sharon replied. “We’ll cross the Suez Canal and end the war over there.” It took
a couple of anxious weeks, but that was just what happened in the end as Arik Sharon led his tanks across the canal between two Egyptian armies, cutting off one and surrounding the other. The enemy could never tell where this night phantom would strike next, though one morning his armor was reported within 100 kilometers of Cairo. It was clearly time to make peace, which the Egyptians hurriedly did. It was Sharon’s last war and the beginning of a political career marked by equally daring and mercurial turns, first planting Jewish settlements everywhere and then uprooting them in the vain hope of making peace. It was in his last war — in those opening, disastrous days of the Yom Kippur War — that Israel’s worst moment became Arik Sharon’s finest, and without his issuing a single order. When the Egyptians crossed the Canal in overwhelming force, surrounding the scattered troops the Israelis had left there, other generals were eager to relieve the remnants. It wouldn’t work, Sharon told them. It was too soon for a counter-offensive. The object shouldn’t be to rescue a few doomed soldiers but to win the da--ed war. As usual, his advice was ignored. At first. After the full-scale assault failed with predictably disastrous results, and a staff meeting was called to evaluate what was left of the Israeli army, Sharon didn’t say a word, let alone “I told you so.” He didn’t have to. From then on, his strategy was adopted. Think of Grant and Sherman meeting after that first, disastrous day for the Union at Shiloh. “We’ve had the devil’s own day,” Sherman sighed, And all Grant said was, “We’ll hit ‘em a lick tomorrow.” And they did. So did Arik Sharon as his supposedly surrounded and defeated divisions materialized in the heart of the enemy, wreaking havoc. Not just the battle but the war was over. IN THE END, the old lion who never lost a war was done in by modern medical science, which reduced him to a years-long coma after he suffered a stroke. Medicine had long since discarded older and wiser counsel: Thou shalt not kill/ but needst not strive/ officiously to keep alive. What battles the old general fought and refought in his twilight state, what political deals he made or broke, what old scores he settled or forgave ... all that only he could know in his drugged sleep of years. Till the Angel of Death finally arrived to awaken him. Now the rest of us can only speculate about where he is headed now to astound us all once again.
NSA: January 9, 2014
Spying on Congress: NSA out of control
Thus far, Paul is the only member appy New Year. Just when you thought the NSA spy- of Congress possessed of the personal ing scandal couldn’t get any courage to call out Clapper by arguing that working for the government is no worse, it has. to lying under oath. Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, defense The gravity of Paul’s I-Vt., wrote to charges was enGen. Keith Alexhanced by revelaander, director of tions subsequent the National Seto the Clapper curity Administra(c) 2014, Creators Syndicate testimony to the tion (NSA), and asked plainly whether the NSA has been effect that Clapper was told in advance or is now spying on members of Con- of his testimony what questions would gress or other public officials. The sena- be put to him and then declined an offer tor’s letter was no doubt prompted by afterward to correct any misstatements. the revelations of Edward Snowden to In a new low for members of Congress, the effect that the federal government’s the NSA’s own advocate in the House, lust for personal private data about all Long Island’s Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Americans and many foreigners knows attacked Paul for attacking Clapper for no bounds, and its respect for the con- lying under oath. The King argument stitutionally protected and statutorily is: Anything goes when it comes to naenforced right to privacy is nonexistent. tional security — even lying under oath, even violating everyone’s constitutional THE SENATOR’S benign and neu- rights, even destroying the freedom you tral letter came on the heels of a sugges- have sworn to protect. All of this is background to the timtion by his colleague Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the effect that Alexander’s ing of Sanders’ letter. That Clapper perboss, Gen. James Clapper, director of jured himself before, and Alexander national intelligence, perjured himself misled, Congress is nothing new. And before a Senate subcommittee when the punishments for lying to Congress he testified that the NSA is not gather- and for misleading Congress are identiing massive amounts of data from tens cal: five years per lie or per misleading or hundreds of millions of Americans. statement. Hence, the silence from the Alexander himself is also on the hook NSA to Sanders. Well, it wasn’t exactly silence, but for having testified in a highly misleading manner to a House committee when rather a refusal to answer a simple queshe was asked whether the NSA has the tion. The NSA did reply to Sanders by ability to read emails and listen to phone stating — in an absurd oxymoron — calls and he stated: “No, we don’t have that members of Congress receive the same constitutional protections as other that authority.”
Americans: that is to say, none from the There was a time when the NSA’s NSA. failure to answer such a straightforward question as Sanders has asked would THE NSA’S refusal to answer Sand- have led to hearings and bipartisan iners’ question directly is a tacit admis- vestigations. However, Democrats are sion, because we are all well aware that largely silent, choosing party and perthe NSA collects identifying data on and sonality over principle, and Republicans the content of virtually every email, text know all of this started under President message and phone call sent or received George W. Bush and are afraid to open in the U.S. In fact, just last week, the se- a can of worms — except for King, who cret FISA court renewed the order autho- apparently likes to be spied upon. rizing massive records collection for the Under laws that have been held to be 36th time. If members of Congress are both unconstitutional and constitutional treated no differently than the American by two different courts, the NSA can obpublic, then the NSA is keeping tabs on tain surveillance orders with no articuevery email, text and phone call mem- lated suspicion about those to be spied bers of Congress send and receive, too. upon, even though the Fourth AmendThat raises a host of constitution- ment requires probable cause, a high al questions. Under the Constitution, level of individualized suspicion. Congress and the executive branch are Basically, the NSA can tell a FISA equals. The president — for whom the judge that two thugs in area code 212 NSA works — can no more legally are chatting with five jerks in area code spy on members of Congress without 312, and they are all texting six malcona search warrant about the members to tents in area code 310. It knows who be spied upon than Congress can legally they are and where they are, but instead spy on the president. Surely the presi- of going to New York and Chicago and dent, a former lecturer in constitutional Los Angeles and following them and inlaw at the University of Chicago Law vestigating them, instead of asking for a School, knows this. search warrant to spy on just them, the NSA wants a warrant to spy on everyone in those area codes. It is a lot easier for our spies to throw a few switches at a telecom office than to burn shoe leather. If authorities in New Jersey had asked this of me when I was on the bench there, I’d have thrown them out of my courtroom because the Constitution expressly forbids this. Just as disturbing as the revelation that the NSA is spying on members of Congress is the fear of what the NSA does with the information it collects. In September, the Guardian newspaper reported that the NSA shares raw, unfiltered information it has gathered with some foreign nations, including England and Israel. It also reported that the NSA shares this raw data with its boss: President Obama. Hence, Sanders’ letter. THE LAWLESSNESS continues. The president’s NSA spies remain out of control. They are spying on Congress and the courts; the military and the press; the CIA and other spies; friends, foes and the Pope. If we fail to stop this soon, the next generation of Americans will not even know what privacy is.
January 22, 2014 FOREIGN POLICY: January 10, 2014
The enemy of our enemy ... is my ally?
n the wars she has fought, America has often allied with regimes that represented the antithesis of the cause for which we were fighting. In our Revolutionary War for freedom and independence from the tyrant King of England, our indispensable ally was the King of France.
IN WORLD WAR I, Woodrow Wilson said we were fighting to “make the world safe for democracy.” Yet our foremost allies were five avaricious empires: the British, French, Italian, Japanese and Russian. In World War II, the ally who did most of the fighting against Hitler was Josef Stalin. Enough said. In America’s wars, cold and hot, the enemy of our enemy has often been our ally, if not our friend. And that is the question of the hour in the Middle East. The region seems to be descending step by step into a war of all against all.
Who are Assad’s allies against the al And at its heart is the civil-sectarian war to overthrow the Syrian Alawite re- Nusra Front and ISIS? Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Iran and gime of Bashar Assad. Now that war has spilled over into Hezbollah whose forces helped turn t h e tide back last year Lebanon and Iraq. against the rebels. And in Syria In Iraq and Syrand Iraq our prinia, al Qeida jihadcipal enemies are ists and Sunni the jihadists of terrorists, our enthe al-Nusra Front (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate emies, are also the and ISIS, the Isenemies of Iran, Hezbollah and Assad. lamic State of Syria and the Levant. Implacably anti-American, these Indeed, Iran has offered to join us in Islamist fighters control enclaves in sending military assistance to Baghdad northern Syria and appear to have cap- in its fight against the al Qaeda-backed tured Fallujah and perhaps Ramadi, rebellion in Anbar. crucial cities of Iraq’s Anbar province YET, THERE are other vantage for which hundreds of Americans died. And who are the foremost fighting points from which this widening war is being seen, and one is Riyadh. foes of the Nusra Front and ISIS? While Saudi Arabia has come to In Syria it is Bashar al Assad, whom Obama said two years ago must leave, recognize the menace of ISIS and sent and a Syrian army, which Obama was aid to rival rebel factions in Syria, the about to attack in August, until the larger and longer-term threat Riyadh American people rose up to tell him to sees is Tehran. And understandably so. Saudi Arabia is the Sunni and Arab stay out.
IRAN: January 15, 2014
Negotiating with space Nazis
n Tuesday, the Iranian government announced that it had reached a secret agreement with the West on its nuclear development. The details of the agreement were not released, but suffice it to say that the Iranians could not contain their glee. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani celebrated the deal with an English-language tweet claiming that the “world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will;” Iranian Army Commander Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi said the diplomatic breakthrough resulted from American military “weakness;” and the Iranian foreign minister laid a wreath at the tomb of the Beirut Marine barracks bomber. MEANWHILE, President Barack Obama urged the United States Congress to “give peace a chance.” After weeks of sending out his pacifist minions, including faux pro-Israel group J Street, to tell Americans that support for sanctions meant support for war, Obama himself echoed that message. “My preference is for peace and diplomacy,” the apparent flower-child-in-chief stated. “And this is one of the reasons why I’ve sent the message to Congress that now is not the time for us to impose new sanctions. Now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work.” He said that a rational, reasonable Iran would be “willing to walk through the door of opportunity that’s presented to them.”
Only Iran is not rational or reasonable. It is delusionally anti-Western and anti-Semitic, which means that America is now in negotiations not just with a terror-supporting state but radicals with more than a hint of insanity.
Shapiro (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
To prove this point, on Sunday, the Iranian semiofficial news agency FARS, which bills itself as independent but is effectively regime-run, ran a news article explaining that since the end of World War II, America had been run by a shadow government of Nazi space aliens. Seriously. BASING ITS report on documents supposedly culled from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, FARS reported that there was no “incontrovertible proof” that the American foreign policy agenda was driven by an “alien/extraterrestrial intelligence agenda.” Not “alien” as in foreigner. “Alien” as in little green men from Mars. FARS quotes Snowden as stating that there “were actually two governments in the U.S., one that was elected, and the other, secret regime, governing in the dark.” This shadow regime
had been run by space aliens — also known as “Tall Whites” — who were operating their regime from Nevada after emigrating from Nazi Germany after World War II. These space aliens, FARS stated, built the Nazi war machine’s submarines. This would be hilarious were it not part of a piece. Large swaths of the Islamic world also buy the myth that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in both their Passover matza and Purim hamentashen. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion remains a best-seller throughout the Islamic world. Iranian television routinely broadcasts Holocaust denial, while Iranian press outlets proclaim that the Zionist regime is producing another Hitler. Assume for a moment that the Iranian regime actually believes the propaganda it spouts. Why, then, would it negotiate in good faith with space alien Nazis who drink Muslim blood? MANY PACIFISTS in the West, including Obama, apparently assume that no one rational would continue to develop nuclear weapons in the face of world opposition, especially when offered a way out. What Obama fails to recognize is that Iran is far from rational — and, more importantly, Obama’s own assumptions about Iranian intentions put America and the West in a position of weakness. This weakness will be on display for all the world to see when Iran goes nuclear.
power in the Persian Gulf. But Shia and Persian Iran is almost twice as populous and at the heart of a Shia Crescent of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah. Moreover, Riyadh in 2013 saw her superpower patron, America, back away from an attack on Syria, negotiate in secret with Iran, and begin talks with the Ayatollah’s regime on limitations to its nuclear program — in return for a lifting of U.S. sanctions. To the Saudis, what appears to be an emerging detente between Tehran and Washington looms as a strategic disaster. From Israel’s vantage point, the overthrow of Assad would mean the isolation of Hezbollah, which would no longer receive weapons from a Syrian regime that Hezbollah had fought to keep out of power. But what about America’s point of view? “Sooner or later,” the Washington Post writes, “the United States will have to face the threat to its vital interests emerging across the Levant.” But, with due respect, there are no U.S. “vital interests” in the Levant. For the first 150 years of our existence as a nation, the Levant was ruled by Ottoman Turks, and then by the British and the French under the SykesPicot Agreement of 1916. What difference did it make to us who ruled Damascus or Beirut? The vital interest America has in that region is to keep the oil flowing out of the Gulf, upon which the global economy depends. While a victory for the rebels might fit well with the agendas of Riyadh and Tel Aviv, it might also mean a massacre of Alawites and a mass exodus of Christians. At best, it would bring about a regime along the lines of the Muslim Brotherhood government that lately ruled in Cairo. At worst, it could bring to power a regime dominated by Sunni jihadists. The greatest threat to U.S. interests there is not autocrats, Sunni or Shia, interested in getting rich, but radicals with the mindset of suicide bombers taking over a state and spreading revolution down the Gulf. War is the clear and present danger, and peace the necessary condition of securing those interests. The defeat of ISIS in Anbar and Syria and peace in the region should be our primary goal. And if Iran is willing to assist Damascus and Baghdad in defeating al Qaeda, Iran should be treated as a temporary ally in a common cause. AFTER ALL, FDR and Truman got on famously with “good old Joe” Stalin.
MEDIA BIAS: January 10, 2014
The year in propaganda: 2013 review
Given how evil conservatives are, alone could have brought about a trade how could journalists not do part-time deal. The president’s reply rewarded public relations for the Obama adminis- him: “I think that’s a great example.” tration? (And some hoped for full-time Next stop: White House speechgigs like the one press secretary Jay Car- writer?) Chris Matthews ney nabbed from is almost always his Time perch.) over-the-top, of Chris Matthews, course, but in though, was pant2013 he outdid ing a little too (c) 2014, God’s World Publications himself. On July hard on Feb. 25 when he interviewed two pro–Hillary 31 he called Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Clinton journalists and said, “If you’re and Mike Lee “political terrorists” watching, Madam Secretary, all three whose “only goal is to blow things up.” On Sept. 23 he attacked Cruz’s “sinof us have brilliant ideas.” (The more sophisticated approach ister self-awareness” and two weeks was that of New York Times correspon- later said “know-nothings in the Condent Mark Landler at an Oct. 8 Obama gress [are] characters in some ghastly, press conference. Instead of asking a real-life remake of Planet of the Apes, question, Landler went on for more than where the bad guys fear nothing more AND EVEN when they could not 100 words that ended with a kiss-up than science and other evidence of huhelp but see and report the Obamacare comment about how President Obama man progress.” On Oct. 18 he spoke website mess, some remained propagandists. Ed Schultz on MSNBC’s The Ed GUN CONTROL: January 9, 2014 Show on Sept. 30 inhaled about healthcare.gov: “how easy it is to navigate all the information, all the basic questions, and all the direction you need to take to get involved, to get health care.” It’s not as if reporters didn’t want to ince the death of communism suade Mayor Richard M. Daley to abanbe alarmist. On March 1 Josh Elliott in most of the places where it don the fight? Ha. He pushed through opened ABC’s Good Morning America once prevailed, North Korea a new ordinance intended to demonize by announcing it was “deadline day. and Cuba function mainly as educa- and discourage gun ownership as much Hours, now, until massive government tional exhibits for an irrelevant and un- as he could get away with — which, as cuts go into effect that could impact ev- successful ideology. When it comes to became apparent, was not very much. ery American: jobs vaporizing, flights the Second Amendment right to keep The measure required gun owners to delayed, even criminals walking free.” and bear arms, the city of Chicago fills get at least five hours of training, includWhen nothing much happened, Savan- a similar role. ing one hour at a shooting range. In a nah Guthrie four days later on NBC’s novel twist, though, it outlawed “shootToday explained that the sequester is THE CITY is famous for some of ing galleries, firearm ranges or “not a poison that kills you overnight. the strictest gun laws in the country. In Apparently it’s a slow, rolling poison.” 1982, it approved a near-total ban on Liberal journalists regularly pro- handguns. In 1992, it outlawed “assault posed capital punishment for poisoners. weapons.” Mayors and aldermen never Roger Simon, Politico’s chief political tired of railing against firearms. (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate columnist, Oct. 14: “If Ted Cruz and In 2008, when the Supreme Court John Boehner were both on a sinking struck down a handgun ban in Washingship, who would be saved? Answer: ton, D.C., it was clear that Chicago was any other place where firearms are disAmerica.” A joke, of course. CNN’s on what liberals often refer to, in other charged.” The city claimed proper trainPiers Morgan, Sept. 12: Two conserva- contexts, as the wrong side of history. ing is vital while hindering residents tive talk radio hosts, Ben Ferguson and But the people in City Hall were either from getting it. Dana Loesch, should “stand at the end not smart enough or not honest enough This section prompted another lawof a range and I’ll get 100 blind people to make peace with change. They pre- suit, which argued that the right to own to fire away at targets around you.” A ferred to emulate the cavalry troops a gun for protection was of limited value joke, of course. in “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” if owners had no chance to achieve and who rallied to the call, “Charge for the maintain proficiency in using one — EVEN WHEN such hate speech guns!” despite the certainty of defeat. and that they shouldn’t have to leave the didn’t propose killing conservatives, In the 2008 verdict, the justices said city to comply with the city’s very own liberal scribes suggested that their op- the Second Amendment upholds an in- rules. A federal appeals court agreed. ponents were subhuman. New York dividual right to possess firearms for Judge Ilana Rovner said, “The ordiTimes columnist Paul Krugman, July self-defense. But the city fought a legal nance admittedly was designed to make 15: Republicans have “a state of mind challenge to its handgun ban — only to gun ownership as difficult as possible.” that takes positive glee in inflicting fur- lose, predictably, in the Supreme Court. But she noted pointedly that the Suther suffering on the already miserable Besides being a legal and policy set- preme Court has upheld “the Second ... an almost pathological mean-spirit- back, it was a loss for taxpayers, who Amendment right to possess a gun in edness.” Charles Pierce, esquire.com, had to pay not only the cost of defend- the home for self-defense and the City Oct. 1: “We have elected an ungov- ing the ordinance but the cost of chal- must come to terms with that reality.” ernable collection of snake-handlers, lenging it. Chicago was obliged to pay Bible-bangers, ignorami. ... The true $1.4 million to the National Rifle AssoTHE SAME ordinance dictated that power resides in a cabal of vandals, a ciation, which won the lawsuit. every gun be registered (even though Ilnihilistic brigade.” Did this expensive indignity per- linois already required every gun owner ORLD’s review of 2013 is not complete without a look at the year as depicted by the mainstream press. With the help of the Media Research Center let’s start in January, where Newsweek had on its Obama inauguration cover this headline: “The Second Coming.” In subsequent months worshipful journalists averted their eyes from administration scandals. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell stated in May, “IRS agents did nothing wrong.” Even in November Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post claimed, “This has been a really relatively scandal-free administration, first term and second term.” If that statement is relatively true, it’s only because most reporters haven’t looked.
of “right-wing camp followers plying their trade like the women who got their name in the earlier time from General [Joe] Hooker.” THE SINGLE worst comment of 2013 came from MSNBC host Martin Bashir on Nov. 15, when Sarah Palin said our spiraling national debt enslaves us, and Bashir said she deserved — how do I put this delicately? — to have someone defecate in her mouth. Three days later Bashir, who professes faith in Christ, acknowledged, “My words were wholly unacceptable.” On Dec. 4 he did the right thing and resigned. So should others — but they won’t. Reprinted with permission of WORLD Magazine. To read more news and views from a Christian perspective, call 800-951-6397 or visit WNG.org.
Chicago fights gun rights, and loses
to register with the state). The courts never got to consider the constitutionality of that requirement, because the General Assembly passed a law overruling it. A federal appeals court, however, did order the state to grant permits to carry concealed handguns, as every other state does. In short order, Chicago went from completely banning handguns to having to let licensed owners pack them in public. Defeats don’t get much more total than that. But like the Washington Generals, who get beat by the Harlem Globetrotters every night, the city stubbornly insists on entering contests it is bound to lose. The latest was Monday, when a federal district judge invalidated the city’s ban on the sale or transfer of firearms. The ordinance makes it illegal to operate a federally licensed gun shop or even for a father to give a gun to his son. As usual with Chicago gun laws, it went too far. “The ban on gun sales and transfers,” wrote Judge Edmond Chang, “prevents Chicagoans from fulfilling, within the limits of Chicago, the most fundamental prerequisite of legal gun ownership — that of simple acquisition.” This should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the Supreme Court’s reasoning on the Second Amendment. But Chicago politicians have let their hostility toward guns and gun owners blind him to the obvious. THE OLD proverb says there’s no education in the second kick of a mule. But for some people, once is not enough.
January 22, 2014 COMMON CORE: January 8, 2014
Common Core and the EduTech abyss
he Common Core gold rush is tional publishing and testing conglomeron. Apple, Pearson, Google, ate at the center of the federally driven, Microsoft and Amplify are all taxpayer-funded “standards” scheme. cashing in on the federal standards/test- P e a r s o n ’ s digital learning products by an estimated 25 ing/textbook racket. But the EduTech are used million-plus people boondoggle is in North America. no boon for stuCommon Core has dents. It’s more been a convenient squandered tax new catalyst for dollars down the (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate getting the next public school generation of consumers hooked. drain. Students breached the LAUSD’s Even more worrisome: The stampede is widening a dangerous path toward in- iPad firewalls and made a mockery of their hapless adult guardians. Despite vasive data mining. hefty investments in training and deACCORDING TO the Silicon Val- velopment, many teachers couldn’t ley Business Journal, the ed tech sec- figure out how to sync up the tablets in tor “is expected to more than double the classroom. Taxpayers now realize in size to $13.4 billion by 2017.” That they were sold a grossly inflated bill of explosive growth is fueled by Common goods, but the district wants to buy even Core’s top-down digital learning and more iPads for computerized test-taking. School officials recklessly plan to testing mandates. So: Cui bono? In North Carolina, the Guilford use school construction debt-financing County public school district withdrew to pay for the new purchases. Los Angeles taxpayer Planaria Price 15,000 Amplify tablets last fall. Preloaded with Common Core apps and summed up swelling outrage perfectly part of a federal $30 million Race to the in a letter to the Los Angeles Times Top grant program, the devices peddled this week: “Cash-strapped LAUSD by News Corp. and Wireless Generation — which in 2012 cut libraries, nurses, were rendered useless because of defec- thousands of teachers, administrators tive cases, broken screens and malfunc- and support staff ... is spending more than $1 billion on one of the nation’s tioning power supplies. Last year, the Los Angeles Unified most expensive technology programs. School District dumped $1 billion of ... I would say that ‘something is rotscarce resources into a disastrous iPad ten in the state of Denmark,’ but few program. Educrats paid $678 per glori- would understand because the teaching fied Apple e-textbook, pre-loaded with of Shakespeare has also been cut.” By its own account, Apple dominates Common Core-branded apps created by Pearson. As I’ve reported previously, 94 percent of the education tablet marPearson is the multibillion-dollar educa- ket in the U.S. Microsoft is pushing its
own Common Core-aligned Surface RT tablet and app suite, along with “Bing for Schools.” Rival Google wants in on the game on the taxpayers’ dime, too. The company’s “Chromebooks,” which use a cloud-based operating system mimicking the Google Chrome browser, are gaining market share rapidly. While they are cheaper than iPads, they depend on reliable WiFi. Google offers a suite of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) for “free.” But is this really about improving students’ academic bottom line — or Google’s bottom line? IN ONE SCHOOL district, the Google devices are used as glorified whiteboards. A recent news article touting Chromebook adoption in Nebraska’s Council Bluffs school district described how kindergarteners drew “dots on the rubber-cased tablets clutched in their hands. Then they wrote what they’d done as a math equation: 3 + 3 = 6.” No one explained why pencil and paper were insufficient to do the elementary math, other than a teacher gushing that she likes to “mix it up” and provide a “variety of experiences.” The district
is one of 50 across the country piloting Google Play for Education. Google is building brand loyalty through a questionable certification program that essentially turns teachers into tax-subsidized lobbyists for the company. The GAFE enrollees are “trained” on Google products. They take classes, attend conferences and hold workshops (some, but not all, funded by Google). After passing GAFE tests, they earn certification. Next, the newly minted GAFE educators open up consultancy businesses and bill their school districts (i.e., the public) to hawk Google’s suite of products to other colleagues. And they tell two friends, who tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on. Google can collect student/family data to target ads through related services outside the GAFE suite, such as YouTube for Schools, Blogger and Google Plus. These are not covered under the already watered-down federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Under the Obama administration, Grand Canyon-sized loopholes in FERPA have already opened data mining to third-party private entities. One parent shared her kids’ experience with the Chromebooks online: “The biggest problems to date are that kids figured out quickly how to bypass security so they could look at non-approved web material and that kids have problems drawing figures when taking classes such as Chemistry or Physics. ... Many preferred traditional textbooks; others resented the teachers being able to spy on them with the software embedded in the Chromebook.” Another savvy mom noted: “If you think Google won’t be handing over any and all data it gets from your kids using their Chromebooks, you’re nuts.” LET’S BE CLEAR: I am not opposed to introducing kids to 21st-century tools. My 13-year-old daughter taught herself Java, HTML and Photoshop. My 10-year-old son mixes music on Logic Pro. I support competent, focused and practical instruction exposing school kids to coding, 3D design and robotics. What I’m against are bungled billiondollar public investments in overpriced, ineffective technology. Fed Ed’s shiny education toy syndrome incentivizes wasteful spending binges no school district can afford.
EDUCATION: January 10, 2014
New guidelines undermine school discipline
Students who refuse to follow the dents of a particular race as compared with students of other races” is prob- rules and behave disrespectfully to lematic. The school district must prove teachers and administrators would could get away with that the policy is “necessary to meet learn they no consequences, an important educational goal” and it with setting them up that there are not for future failure “comparably efin the work world. fective alternative Students who bepolicies or prachaved would find tices that would (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate themselves in unmeet the school’s ruly classrooms, and teachers would stated educational goals.” In the D.C. area study, for example, find their authority and ability to teach minority students were far more likely undermined. Meanwhile, the real culprit for rato be suspended for “insubordination” than whites. The easiest way to fix the cial differences in disciplinary probstatistical disparity would be for school lems among students would go unexdistricts to eliminate insubordination amined. More than 70 percent of black as an infraction punishable by suspen- babies are born to single moms, as are sion. But whom would such a change about 60 percent of Native Americans and 50 percent of Hispanics, but less BLACK AND Hispanic students, benefit? on average, experience higher rates of school suspensions and other serious EDUCATION: January 14, 2014 disciplinary actions — there is little doubt or debate on that score. A Washington Post study last year found that in the D.C. region, black students were far more likely to be suspended from school than whites or Asians. In Montnyone who has still not yet ordinated by Holder to the federal govgomery County, a suburban Maryland understood the utter cyni- ernment’s attempt to mix and match district just outside of Washington, six cism of the Obama adminis- black and white students. percent of black students were either tration in general, and Attorney General If we have learned nothing else after suspended or expelled from school the Eric Holder in particular, should look at decades of socially divisive and educaprevious year, while only 1.2 percent the Justice Department’s latest interven- tionally futile racial busing, it should be of white students suffered the same tions in education. obvious that seating black kids next to punishment. The most recent national If there is one thing that people all white kids is neither necessary nor sufschool suspension statistics available across the ideological spectrum should ficient to get them a better education. show that some 15 percent of blacks, be able to agree on, it is that better eduseven percent of Hispanics, five per- cation is desperately needed by black cent of whites and three percent of youngsters, especially in the ghettoes. Asians are suspended at some point in For most, it is their one chance for a their school life. better life. But the real question is: Why? If (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate black and Hispanic students engage AMONG THE few bright spots in in behavior that is punishable by sus- a generally dismal picture of the educaThe truly despicable intervention by pension at higher rates than whites or tion of black students are those success- Attorney General Holder is his warning Asians, then we shouldn’t be surprised ful charter schools or voucher schools to schools against discipline policies that their punishment rates are higher, to which many black parents try to get that result in a higher proportion of mias well. On the other hand, if behaviors their children admitted. Some of these nority students than white students bedon’t differ or if black students who schools have not only reached but ex- ing punished. commit the same infractions as whites ceeded national norms, even when loreceive harsher treatment, discrimina- cated in neighborhoods where the reguTHIS RACIAL body count method tion is likely the cause. of determining whether there is discrimlar public schools lag far behind. Unfortunately, the DOJ and DOE Where admission to these schools ination by the schools might make sense guidelines go far beyond discourag- is by a lottery, the cheers and tears that if we were certain that there could be no ing actual racial discrimination. In es- follow announcements of who has been differences in behavior that would exsence, what the Obama administration admitted — and, by implication, who plain the differences in punishment. But wants school districts to do is guaran- will be forced to continue in the regu- does any sane adult really believe that tee that minority students don’t experi- lar public schools — tell the story better there cannot be any difference between ence higher rates of suspension or other than words can. the behavior of black boys and Asian serious punishments for disciplinary When the state of Louisiana decided girls, for example? infractions. It is certainly laudable to to greatly expand the number of schools There is a lot of make-believe when try to bring down suspension rates for available to students by parental choice, it comes to racial issues, whether out of black and Hispanic students — but rather than by the rigidities of the usual squeamishness, political correctness or there are right and wrong ways to go public school system, Attorney General expediency. There is also a lot of delibabout it, and the Obama administration Holder’s Justice Department objected erate racial polarization, and attempts to has chosen the worst way. on grounds that this was at cross-pur- promote a sense of grievance and fear poses with the federal government’s among black voters, in order to keep THE GUIDELINES tell school racial integration goals for the schools. their votes in the Democrats’ column. districts that any discipline policy that What makes this playing politics In short, Louisiana’s attempt to imresults in an “adverse impact on stu- prove the education of children is sub- with school discipline so unconsciona-
ith much ballyhoo, the Obama administration announced this week that it will keep a close eye on school districts that discipline minority students at higher rates than whites. Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan held a joint press conference to release a “Dear Colleague” letter to school districts issuing guidance on school discipline that will likely encourage districts to make race a significant factor in deciding how to administer punishment. Of course, Holder and Duncan claim their intention is to ensure nondiscrimination in school disciplinary procedures — but the guidelines they’ve offered will result in exactly the opposite.
than 30 percent of whites and 20 percent of Asians. Children who grow up in fatherless homes are exponentially more likely to face school suspension or engage in early criminal behavior. ACCORDING TO the Fatherhood Coalition, fatherless teens are three times more likely to be suspended from school and fatherless teen boys are 10 times more likely to become chronic juvenile offenders than those raised in homes with two parents. Forcing school districts to weaken disciplinary policies or set racial quotas in implementing them serves no one. And those who would suffer the most would likely be underachieving minority students stuck in undisciplined classrooms.
Politics versus education
ble is that a lack of discipline is one of the crushing handicaps in many ghetto schools. If 10 percent of the students in a classroom are disruptive, disrespectful and violent, the chances of teaching the other 90 percent effectively are very low. Yet, in the words of the New York Times, “The Obama administration speaks out against zero tolerance discipline.” It quotes Attorney General Holder and says that he was “on the mark” when he said that a “routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct.” In other words, Eric Holder, sitting in Washington, knows better than the thousands of people who run public schools across the country what kinds of sanctions are necessary to preserve some semblance of order in the classrooms, so that hoodlums do not make the education of their classmates impossible. Like the New York Times, Attorney General Holder has made this an issue of “The Civil Rights of Children.” More important, the implied threat of federal lawsuits based on racial body count among students who have been disciplined means that hoodlums in the classroom seem to have a friend in Washington. BUT EVEN the hoodlums can end up worse off, if lax discipline in the school lets them continue on in a way of life that usually ends up inside prison walls. Nevertheless, if all this means black votes for the Democrats, that may well be the bottom line for Holder and the Obama administration.
January 22, 2014 SANCTITY OF LIFE: January 14, 2014
President Obama bullying nuns (Part 2)
ast week, I pointed out how before the provision in Obamacare was PolitiFact crowned the pro- to be forced upon them, Sotomayor moter in chief’s sound bite blocked the requirement upon the nuns to look into the matfor Obamacare the “Lie of the Year” for in order ter further. 2013: “If you like In response to your health care the nuns’ appeal, plan, you can keep the U.S. Departit.” ment of Justice I also made a (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate immediately arprediction that gued in legal paamong his top 10 falsehood contenders for 2014 will be pers filed a couple of weeks ago that the a reversal of what he emphatically stat- nuns don’t have a leg to stand on. The ed back on Sept. 9, 2009: “Under our Obama administration tried to explain (health care reform) plan, no federal that the nuns don’t have to offer contradollars will be used to fund abortions.” ception — including abortion-inducing drugs — as long as they sign a governI SHOWED how President Barack ment form that delegates the action to a Obama already has repeatedly broken third party. But for the nuns’ religious that promise over the past few years. But conviction, whether they offer the cona coup de grâce came when Obamacare traception or sign a waiver for another to mandated nonprofit companies and re- do so is simply sin. Yet without signing ligion-affiliated institutions across the that “self-certification” form, the nuns country to provide contraception and would incur steep government fines. It is still unknown when Sotomayor drugs that possibly induce abortions in will rule on these ludicrous government their employee health care plans. As Fox News explained, “the policy actions and violations of the nuns’ peris among the law’s most contentious sonal religious liberty and constitutional provisions because it exempts churches rights. But what is most illuminating about that oppose contraception but requires religious-affiliated organizations, such the rise of the nuns’ perilous and opas colleges or hospitals, to provide the pressive situation is the utter silence of Obama, who often has stood up for coverage for their workers.” That is why, in 2012, a group of nuns progressive minorities who were being — the Little Sisters of the Poor — ap- crushed by bullying. As NBC News repealed to Supreme Court Justice Sonia ported about the nuns’ crisis, “the White Sotomayor for help on behalf of their House’s reaction was muted.” The reason is Obama knows that his care facility for the elderly, because Obamacare was forcing them into an administration and health care law are ethical dilemma in which they must vio- intentionally shoving back against the nuns’ convictions and, indeed, the very late their faith or pay fines. So on New Year’s Eve, just a day power of the Roman Catholic Church —
a huge advocate for the rights of the unborn. Obama is waging war against the Catholic Church and other faith-based organizations to see just how much he can choke the wind out of their beliefs about contraception and abortion and enforce government control over their conscience. THEIR FAITH crisis is a nonprofit ecclesiastical replay of what happened in 2012 with some for-profit companies — Hobby Lobby, Mardel Christian & Education Stores and a Pennsylvania woodworking company, all of which refused to comply with Obamacare’s mandate to provide birth control based upon the owners’ religious beliefs to do so. The very constitutional religious rights of every American are being represented and trampled in the nuns’ case and Obama’s power play. As go the nuns, so we go. Seeing as our president won’t value and honor life in the womb, please write or call your local, state and federal representatives and let them know where you stand. And then ensure your local community of faith is honoring Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on Jan. 19. The
day commemorates the Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion in our country. Since then, more than 55 million abortions have taken place in the U.S. Here are a few ways you can prepare for Sanctity of Human Life weekend: — Ask your pastor, priest or rabbi how your place of worship is observing Sanctity of Human Life Sunday by fighting for the lives and rights of the unborn. — Please read the article titled “50 Ways To Help Unborn Babies and Their Mothers,” by my friend and prolific author Randy Alcorn. It’s one of a host of great resources at his website, http:// www.epm.org. Also, get several copies of Randy’s book “Why Pro-Life?” and hand them out to others. — Visit the website started by my dear friends Norm and Anne Miller, http://www.iamsecond.com. In particular, please listen to the powerful testimony of Lisa Luby Ryan. It is well worth your time. — Watch the story of Abby Johnson, the former director of the Bryan, Texas, Planned Parenthood clinic who blew the whistle on her former employer by telling the shocking truth about everything she saw inside the abortion industry — and resigned from her job to join the pro-life movement. Johnson helped to expose the multibillion-dollar marketing of abortion in the fifth episode of the Emmy-winning series Facing Life Head-On, available to watch online. Also check out Johnson’s new book, Unplanned, which details her exposure of Planned Parenthood. — I am also honored to fight for human life in the chapter “Reclaim the Value of Human Life,” in my New York Times best-seller Black Belt Patriotism, which is available at http://www.chucknorris.com. A free chapter can be obtained at http://www.chucknorrisnewbook.com. — Most of all, remember these words by British orator Edmund Burke, which are probably more true in our day than they were when he stated them: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Next week, I will unveil what Obama’s abortion agenda is for the remainder of his presidency.
HISTORY: January 9, 2014
A purge for the books: Tampering with history
im Jong Un, aka Outstanding Leader, is still seeking to consolidate his hold on power in the horror state formally entitled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — a quadruple irony, for it is really none of the above. Its current tyrant is busy conducting a classic purge of his rivals, or just those he suspects might be someday.
IN HIS LATEST and most sensational move, the latest Kim in that dynastic line of Communist dictators had his own uncle denounced, stripped of all his titles, arrested and paraded out of a party conference in Pyongyang — all duly recorded by North Korean state television to be broadcast the next day. Whereupon he was dispatched without further ceremony. There is a protocol in these matters. It was not enough that this once powerful official be executed. Any trace of him in official records had to be extirpated. Officially he is now lumped in with “antiparty elements,” his name unmentionable, his image airbrushed out of party annals, TV documentaries, wherever else it might appear in North Korea’s authorized history — and there is no other kind in that prison camp of a country. Comrade Jang Song Thaek, once No. 2 in the regime’s power structure, isn’t even a face in the crowd any more. To use the newspeak of George Orwell’s 1984, he has become an unperson. Not only has he ceased to exist. Officially he never existed. Not just the man but any memory of him must be effaced. No wonder the re-
gime’s elite is all a-tremble, not knowing communism, an economist and a sociolowho will be next, let alone why. That’s gist.” By the second edition, there was no the very purpose of a purge: to terrorize. entry for Bukharin, Nikolai. There was any such person, A classic purge in a totalitarian soci- no longer never had been. ety doesn’t portend Why these fear and trembling painstaking meajust at home. It can sures to erase any be a sign the Fuehevidence of Comrer, Generalissimo (c) 2014, Tribune Media Services rade Bukharin and or Outstanding Leader is harrowing his ranks in prepara- his like? Because the very existence of tion for war abroad. Just as Hitler’s night such people, let alone what they said or of the long knives and Stalin’s Yezhovsh- did or thought, might give others ideas. china presaged the next world war. What And in a totalitarian state, only the omnibetter way for Outstanding Leader to scient Party is allowed to have ideas. And ready his country for another strike at the official history must contain nothing to other Korea, whose freedom and pros- the contrary. In the not so fictional 1984, perity are a constant reproach to his own poor Winston Smith spends his days redeluded rule? And this time his nuclear- writing history at the Ministry of Truth to make it confirm to the party line. Why? tipped missiles might actually work. It’s all so familiar. Anyone with even Because history matters. Greatly. As it’s a cursory knowledge of the totalitarian explained to him, “He who controls the state and state of mind will recognize past controls the future. He who controls what’s happening in North Korea today: the present controls the past.” a classic political purge. This is one for WHAT HAPPENS when history isn’t the books, specifically the various editions of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, controlled? People may realize the Party which were carefully edited to conform isn’t what it says it is, and Big Brother to the party line, whatever it might be at — or in North Korea’s case, Outstanding the time. Old Bolsheviks, no matter how Leader — may not be all-knowing and prominent they might once have been, all-powerful after all. All it may take to sow such subversive had to be cropped out of history. Trotsky, Rykov, Zinoviev, Piatakov, Kaminev, thoughts is one little detail somebody forget to omit from the official record, Bukharin ... all had to be purged. The treatment of Nikolai Bukharin in one photograph somebody neglected to successive editions of the Great Soviet throw down the memory hole. Which Encyclopedia is instructive. In the first is how Winston Smith got into trouble. edition, published in 1927, he was de- He happened to come across a picture scribed as “an outstanding theoretician of of three purged party leaders attending a
parry function when they were supposed to have been elsewhere plotting treason. Before he could consign it to oblivion, well-trained party man that he was, the photograph had stuck in his memory. And a seed of doubt was planted. Uh oh. It was a fatal error that would come back to haunt him. If you think these games with the past are safely confined to totalitarian societies, think again, It can happen here. Back in 1998, Arkansas’ own Dale Bumpers delivered a valedictory address as he prepared to end a 24-year career in the U.S. Senate. It was an eloquent speech, as all of Mr. Bumpers’ are. But this one may be remembered not for what that distinguished and now elder statesman said, but for what he didn’t. It was something he said Harry Truman had once told him: “The only time this country ever gets into trouble is when there is some so-and-so in the White House lying to the American people. So, remember, always tell the truth.” In his televised address, the senator called his conversation with that plain-spoken president one of the Defining Moments of his life. It just didn’t define him when it proved inopportune. For it was edited out of the official record. The quotation from the irrepressible Mr. Truman remains a jewel — a diamond in the rough, just as Harry Truman was in his finest moments. But when I went to look it up in the official version of Dale Bumpers’ speech in the Congressional Record, there it wasn’t. For that was just before Dale Bumpers was to return from retirement to defend a presidential client and fellow Arkansan named Bill Clinton against a charge of perjury in a celebrated impeachment trial. To have left that quote in the record would have been bad timing, to say the least. So it disappeared. And, hesto presto, history was erased. It would take another decade before Mr. Bumpers would halfway confess that omitting the quotation from the official record hadn’t been the work of some anonymous aide, but that he himself had excised it. Conscience may sleep, and for the longest time, but it can stir back to life, too. Even after years. THE MORAL of this story: To bluepencil history is to confuse what isn’t important with what is. It’s not the party line or the political fate of this or that public figure that matters so much, but the truth. Especially the historical truth. For without it, we are cast into the darkness without a glimmer of light, the kind of light only Clio, muse of history, can provide. We tamper with History at our peril, and our country’s. Which is why purging the historical record should not be dismissed as just a harmless little rhetorical device. It is a grave offense. And a continuing danger to a free country. No matter who does it.
January 22, 2014 ANTI-SEMITISM: January 10, 2014
How to fight academic bigotry and anti-Semitism
or decades, the American Studies Association has labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It’s now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians. Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary, and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange. MADE MORE so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?
And of Iran, which hangs political, no other, to single out that one people religious and even sexual dissidents for condemnation and isolation — is to and has no academic freedom at all? Or engage in a gross act of discrimination. And discrimination against Egypt, where Christians are being openJews has a name. It’s ly persecuted? called anti-Semitism. Or Turkey, Saudi Former Harvard Arabia or, for that President Larry matter, massively Summers called repressive China (c) 2014, Washington Post Writers Group the ASA actions and Russia? “anti-Semitic in Which makes obvious that the ASA boycott has noth- their effect if not necessarily in their ing to do with human rights. It’s an intent.” I choose to be less polite. The exercise in radical chic, giving margin- intent is clear: to incite hatred for the alized academics a frisson of pretend largest — and only sovereign — Jewish anti-colonialism, seasoned with a dose community on earth. What to do? Facing a similar (Britof edgy anti-Semitism. And don’t tell me this is merely about ish) academic boycott of Israelis seven Zionism. The ruse is transparent. Israel years ago, Alan Dershowitz and Nobel is the world’s only Jewish state. To ap- Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinply to the state of the Jews a double berg wrote an open letter declaring that, standard that you apply to none other, for the purposes of any anti-Israel boyto judge one people in a way you judge cott, they are to be considered Israelis.
HOMELESS: January 9, 2014
Shivering homeless in our country
ithin a matter of days, it has become cliche to make note of President Obama’s new commitment to ending “income inequality” in America after returning from a vacation in Hawaii that costs taxpayers millions of dollars. And as my longtime friend Newt Gingrich has most articulately argued this week, the “war on poverty” has been an abject failure from the day Lyndon Johnson first uttered the declaration.
I RECOMMEND reading Gingrich’s comments to receive an education on its long and costly failed effort. In an effort to propose constructive policy, may I suggest that, rather than play at the margins of a failed concept of throwing dollars designed more to create a culture of dependence and social division for so many, the Obama Administration take a more targeted approach. Our government should take care of our most destitute and needy of citizens who live on our streets at home, even if it requires limiting resources to others in far-flung locations abroad. The recent “Polar Vortex” has brought into full light in so many cities and towns, a world of old blankets and a collection of tattered belongings that can be found under bridges, in gleaming office towers and in just plain shanties ... all the “home” to the nation’s disgracefully large contingent of homeless Americans. The president is promising to target certain needy cities with new attempts at low housing and improved education, which taken at face value, seems laud-
able. But as Newt makes clear, these vague programs and broad promises have gotten us nowhere, as poverty levels have only increased over the years. To reverse the systemic issues the president wants to address would take new approaches which, based upon past history, seem unlikely to materialize.
Towery (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate
But if President Obama wants to take a truly targeted approach to poverty, he could begin with the souls who fight to find warmth at night and wander the streets during daytime. Yes, I know that many homeless are there because of poor choices, addiction and other attributes which society frowns upon. But the fact is, they are still there. IT SEEMS inconceivable that a nation capable of freeing countries from oppression, rushing aid to thousands in foreign lands after natural disasters and propping up international organizations of questionable efficiency cannot find a way to care for its own who have reached the lowest of low points. As a lover of animals, I cringe when ads for neglected or abused animals appear on television. And, like so many, I try to give a bit of help to our helpless four-legged friends when I can. But what about the man or woman who wanders about in a similarly helpless manner? We know that many good
people and organizations do so very much to provide shelter and food to our homeless. But why should they be left trying to make do with insufficient resources, oftentimes paid for by private sources, with little or no coordination, while we have the great might of the United States caring for others in lands far away? Many who are on the street are in dire need of medical care, both physically and in many cases, mentally. Some shy from help for fear that a past record of crime or a perceived one, will force them into prisons. Many have no proper identification to even qualify for programs or assistance. But if we are to consider a “pathway” to citizenship for those who are illegally in our country but living a good life, have we no concept of how to create a “pathway to safety” for our own who truly live a life of “inequality?” The president’s focus on income inequality seems to many observers merely a more open effort to create a schism among segments of our society and to expand a political ideology that pledges not a chicken in every pot, but a cell phone in every hand.
Meaning: You discriminate against Israelis? Fine. Include us out. We will have nothing to do with you. Thousands of other academics added their signatures to the Dershowitz/ Weinberg letter. It was the perfect inkind response. Boycott the boycotters, with contempt. BUT ACADEMIA isn’t the only home for such prejudice. Throughout the cultural world, the Israel boycott movement is growing. It’s become fashionable for musicians, actors, writers and performers of all kinds to ostentatiously cleanse themselves of Israel and Israelis. The example of the tuxedoed set has spread to the more coarse and unkempt anti-Semites, such as the thugs who a few years ago disrupted London performances of the Jerusalem Quartet and the Israeli Philharmonic. In this sea of easy and open bigotry, an unusual man has made an unusual statement. Russian by birth, European by residence, Evgeny Kissin is arguably the world’s greatest piano virtuoso. He is also a Jew of conviction. Deeply distressed by Israel’s treatment in the cultural world around him, Kissin went beyond the Dershowitz/Weinberg stance of asking to be considered an Israeli. On Dec. 7, he became one, defiantly. Upon taking the oath of Israeli citizenship in Jerusalem, he declared: “I am a Jew, Israel is a Jewish state. ... Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish state beyond its borders.” Full disclosure: I have a personal connection with Kissin. For the last two years I’ve worked to bring him to Washington to perform for Pro Musica Hebraica, a nonprofit organization (founded by my wife and me) dedicated to reviving lost and forgotten Jewish classical music. We succeeded. On Feb. 24, Kissin will be performing at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall masterpieces of Eastern European Jewish music, his first U.S. appearance as an Israeli. The persistence of anti-Semitism, that most ancient of poisons, is one of history’s great mysteries. Even the shame of the Holocaust proved no antidote. It provided but a temporary respite. AntiSemitism is back. Alas, a new generation must learn to confront it. How? How to answer the thugs, physical and intellectual, who single out Jews for attack? The best way, the most dignified way, is to do like Dershowitz, Weinberg or Kissin.
WHAT I would ask is how we as a nation expect to expand a welfare state without first looking into the eyes of our most needy. Conservatives would be wise to demand a war on homelessness and demand that if tax dollars are EXPRESS YOUR solidarity. Sign to be spent, they start where the need is so obvious and the results could be so the open letter or write your own. Don the yellow star and wear it proudly. marked.
IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN: January 14, 2014
The immorality of leaving Iraq and Afghanistan
At great expenditure in money, n every level and from every perspective — from pure na- lives and limbs, the United States had tional interest to the purely defeated al Qaeda in Iraq. American had turned such termoral — the decision by the Obama ad- t r o o p s rorist dominated ministration and cities as Fallujah the Democratic and Ramadi into Party to withdraw relatively peaceful American troops cities governed by from Iraq and Af(c) 2014, Creators Syndicate pro-government, ghanistan is indeanti-al Qaeda Sunfensible. nis. And al Qaeda had been handed its Let’s begin with Iraq. greatest defeat. In 2008, the American people elected HERE IS how the front-page article in yesterday’s edition of USA Today be- as president a man dedicated to bringing the troops home. gan: Discussing Iraq last week, White “When the last U.S. combat troops departed Iraq in December 2011, they House spokesman Jay Carney said, “The left behind a defeated al Qaeda and an president made a commitment to end the Iraq where traditional rivals Sunni and war in Iraq. He fulfilled that commitShiite Muslims were sharing power in ment.” The language Carney used is instructive. The president made a committhe world’s only Arab democracy. “Two years later, al Qaeda has seized ment “to end the war.” That is how Democrats see abandonmajor cities where hundreds of U.S. troops died while fighting alongside ing countries to mass death: the “war their Iraqi brethren. The population ends.” That is the amoral and provincial peronce freed by the U.S.-Iraqi alliance has now watched those same jihadist insur- spective of the Democrats. All the death, gents return to command the streets and torture and fighting that takes place because Americans have withdrawn don’t impose their will.” As a result of the United States with- really matter. For the Democrats and others on the left — the self-proclaimed drawing its troops at the end of 2011: In 2013, 7,818 Iraqi civilians were compassionate folks — the amount of killed, higher than the 2008 toll of 6,787 suffering caused by America withdraw(United Nations figures). In 2010, there ing its troops is just not important. This began with the withdrawal from were approximately 10 car bombs per month; in 2013, there was an average Vietnam. By 1972, when the Democratic Party nominated George McGovern, of 71.
it had, for the first time, ceased being a liberal party. It had been taken over by the left, and remains so until this day. Forced by the Democrat-controlled Congress, the United States abandoned Vietnam in 1975. On April 30 of that year, the last American helicopter left Saigon, leaving our Vietnamese allies to be “re-educated,” tortured and murdered — and all the Vietnamese to be enslaved by a Stalinist Communist regime.
whom about 165,000 died, between 100,000 and 200,000 were executed, 50,000 died performing hard labor in “New Economic Zones,” and another 200,000 to 400,000 Vietnamese died fleeing Vietnam (the “Boat People”). The same month the last American left Vietnam, the Communist Khmer Rouge (“Red Cambodians”) under Pol Pot took over Cambodia and proceeded to murder about two million, or about one out of every three or four Cambodians. AFTER AMERICA left Vietnam, Eight months after the Americans left about two million South Vietnamese Vietnam, Communists took over Laos were sent to re-education camps, of who then proceeded — with the help of the Vietnamese Communists — to engage in genocide against the Hmong population. Meanwhile about three million additional people fled Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. But for the left, the “war ended.” Having lived through all that, I recall only silence from previously vociferous anti-war protestors about the mass murders that followed the American withdrawal from Vietnam. The campuses were quiet, the intellectuals were quiet, the Democratic Party was quiet. We are reliving that now as the left and its political party abandon Iraq and soon Afghanistan. The amount of death and human suffering that will follow in each country mean nothing to the left and the Democratic Party (and, to be fair, to the Libertarian Party as well) — so long as there is no American involvement. And the most amazing aspect of all this is that the left and the Democrats are certain that they are the moral and compassionate ones. BUT THERE is one difference this time: In all the previous abandonments of allies, only the benighted allies suffered the consequences. This time, with a victorious al Qaeda in Iraq and Taliban in Afghanistan, we will, too.
January 22, 2014 IRAN: January 14, 2014
Senate bill S.1881: A blank check for war on Iran
Is this the man we want deciding s we approach the centennial of World War I, we will read whether America fights her fifth war in a much of the blunders that generation in the Mideast? Do we really produced that tragedy of Western civi- want to outsource the decision on war in the Persian Gulf, the gas lization. station of the world, Among them to a Likud regime will be the “blank whose leaders roucheck” Kaiser tinely compare Wilhelm II gave Iran to Nazi Gerto Vienna after the (c) 2014, Creators Syndicate many? assassination by The bill repeata Serb terrorist of the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdi- edly asserts that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program.” nand. Yet in both 2007 and 2011, U.S. inIF YOU DECIDE to punish the telligence declared “with high confiSerbs, said the Kaiser, we are with you. dence” that Iran does not have a nuclear After dithering for weeks, Austria weapons program. Where is the Senate’s evidence for shelled Belgrade. Within a week, Germany and Austria were at war with Rus- its claim? Why has Director of National Intelligence James Clapper not been sia, France and Great Britain. Today the Senate is about to vote Is- called to testify as to whether Tehran rael a virtual blank check — for war on has made the decision to go for a bomb? Why are the American people being Iran. Reads Senate bill S.1881: If Israel is “compelled to take military kept in the dark? Are we being as misled, deceived and action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” the lied to about Iran’s “weapons of mass United States “should stand with Israel destruction,” as we were about Iraq’s? The bill says that in a final deal Iran and provide ... diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government must give up all enrichment of uranium. of Israel in the defense of its territory, However, we have already been put on notice by President Hassan Rouhani that people and existence.” Inserted in that call for U.S. military this is an ultimatum Iran cannot accept. Even the reformers of Iran’s Green action to support an Israeli strike on Iran, S.1881 says that, in doing so, we Revolution of 2009 back their country’s should follow our laws and constitu- right to a peaceful nuclear program including enrichment. tional procedures. Senate bill S.1881 imposes new Nevertheless, this bill virtually hands over the decision on war to Bibi Netan- sanctions if Iran fails to live up to the yahu who is on record saying: “This is interim agreement or fails to come to a final agreement in six months. 1938. Iran is Germany.”
Yet the Senate knows that Iran has warned that if new sanctions are voted during negotiations, they will walk away from the table. Why is the Senate risking, or even inviting, a blowup in these talks? WHEN THE interim agreement was reached, it was denounced by neocons as “worse than Munich.” Now the War Party piously contends this Senate bill is simply an “insurance policy” to ensure that the terms of the deal are met and a final deal reached. It is nothing of the sort. This bill is a project of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, designed to sabotage and scuttle the Geneva talks by telling Tehran: Either capitulate and dismantle all your enrichment
facilities, or face more severe sanctions which will put us on the road to war. What terrifies AIPAC and Bibi is not an American war on Iran, but an American rapprochement with Iran. Who are the leaders of the push for S.1881? Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, the biggest recipients of AIPAC campaign cash. Last weekend, the Obama National Security Council finally belled the cat with a blunt statement by spokesperson Bernadette Meehan: “If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action [against Iran], they should be up front with the American public and say so.” Exactly. For whether or not all these senators understand what they are doing, this is where their bill points — to a scuttling of the Geneva talks and a return to the sanctions road, at the end of which lies a U.S. war with Iran. A majority of Democratic senators have thus far bravely bucked AIPAC and declined to co-sponsor S.1881. However, all but two Republican senators have signed on. If, after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the GOP has once again caught the war fever, the party should be quarantined from the White House for another four years. Press Secretary Jay Carney says that if S.1881 passes, Obama will veto it. The president should tell Congress that not only will he veto it, but that if Israel decides on its own to attack Iran, Israel will be on its own in the subsequent war. Obama should order U.S. intelligence to tell us the truth. IS IRAN truly hell-bent on acquiring a nuclear bomb? Does Iran have a nuclear bomb program? If so, when did Tehran make that decision? Or are we being lied into war again?
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•NEWSPAPER• •DATED MATERIAL•
Postmaster: Timely Material Please deliver on or before 1/22/14 Periodicals Postage Paid Mailed 1/16/14
Read William Murchison, Michael Barone & Rich Lowry on Pages 16-17
Robert Gates’ Book
This week our CONSERVATIVE FOCUS is on:
Read Austin Bay’s Column on Page 1
Benghazi Testimony Released
Video Didn’t Do It
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 • Volume 29, Number 4 • Hampton, Iowa