Friday, August 1, 2014

Carl Sagan Foresaw Our Present Idiocracy

Carl Sagan Foresaw Our Present Idiocracy:

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority…

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Proof Points:

The left claims to be “pro-science.” They also claim to be “pro-African-American.” How well has that worked out for African-Americans?

“A criminal organization masquerading as a political party”

“A criminal organization masquerading as a political party”: The phrase was coined by Michael Walsh to describe the Democratic party, and Kevin D. Williamson shows again why the definition is so apt in this post on corruption in New York and Illinois. A delicious sample:

In more civilized times, leaders with the records of Andrew Cuomo or Pat Quinn would go into retirement, tending to the vineyards at their villas in decent obscurity, far from the seat of power. That in our own time such miscreants endure and thrive is enough to make one nostalgic for the Roman practice of exile, if not for the Japanese practice of ritual disembowelment.

Krauthammer: Israeli War Producing ‘Resurgence In Anti-Semtism Not Seen Since The 1930s’

Krauthammer: Israeli War Producing ‘Resurgence In Anti-Semtism Not Seen Since The 1930s’: 'It is back. It's all over the world'

Why does this hatred for the Jews persist?

John Derbyshire Is Taking A Month Off From The Cold Civil War

John Derbyshire Is Taking A Month Off From The Cold Civil War:

This week’s column is an apology. I am taking off the entire month of August, like a Frenchman. I plan to write nothing at all for 31 days, at or anywhere else; although Radio Derb, which I actually put together on Thursday evening, gets in under the wire and will appear on Taki’s Magazine tonight as usual. (And I wouldn’t rule out an occasional blog post on

So: My apologies to readers, and to the editors, who’ll be a tad short on copy.

(When I started doing freelance writing in the early 1980s I assumed the field would be ferociously competitive and hard to break into. To my surprise I found that newspaper and magazine editors were hungry for copy. They lay awake at night wondering how to fill their pages. If you could put decent sentences together and had something halfway interesting to say, they’d gladly publish you. Don’t get your enthusiasm up, though: the pay is terrible.)

Some explanation for my absence is in order. No, there’s no kind of personal crisis. My health is fine and my domestic life blessedly cloudless [touches lucky rabbit foot]. If things were otherwise I’d probably write more, being of the school of thought that believes hard work to be the only cure for unhappiness.

I’ll confess, though to being somewhat burned out—on the point of despair, frankly—in the matter of public affairs. This recent surge of illegal aliens across our southern border, with the obvious complicity of our own national government, is especially appalling. But the same thing has been happening more slowly for thirty years, as has amply documented.

Yet nobody important cares, nothing gets done. Overwhelming majorities in both big political parties see mass immigration as an unqualified good. Indeed, mass illegal immigration is supported by enough legislators in both parties to prevent any meaningful action against it.

Those thirty years have seen five presidents and sixteen congresses come and go. Republicans had total control of Congress—both houses—for twelve of those years, six of them under a Republican president; Democrats likewise controlled Congress for twelve years, four of them under a Democratic president. Nothing was done.

If that isn’t a temptation to despair, I don’t know what is. Pegging away at my little polemics here, I have more and more found myself distracted by a small voice speaking from somewhere near my supramarginal gyrus. It is the voice of Basil Fawlty saying: “What is the point?

Now despair, as well as being a sin in (I believe) all major religions, is also an unattractive and unproductive state of mind. Here at we eschew it. Peter Brimelow has pointed out in this context that as late as the early1980s

No-one knew that the West was going to win the Cold War. After the fall of Vietnam in ’75, it was a universal if unspoken assumption among the American Conservative movement, in which I was by then deeply involved, that we were going to lose and that the Red Flag would one day wave over the world.
Yet what John F. Kennedy called the “long twilight struggle” against communism was won at last after 46 years.

We are not much further along than that from the mid-1960s, when Cultural Marxism seized the commanding heights of our civilization and found demographic expression in the 1965 Immigration Act.

Surely it’s not inconceivable that in a decade or two this strange detour into ethnomasochism and revolutionary social engineering will go the way of collective farms and five-year plans?

I guess not. And I do my best to cheer myself up with hortatory verse. The gloom thickens none the less, and at a certain point I have to back away and recharge my batteries.

Hence the one-month vacation.

There are temperamental issues in there, too. I’m inclined to think that the public realm is a zone of unreason, a playground for cranks and monomaniacs—a cast of mind that opens the way to negativity. That’s a consequence of having been born when I was, shortly after V-E Day.

In the 1960s, when my ideas about the world were settling in, matters seemed pretty straightforward. There were some obvious injustices that needed reforming. Once the reforms were done, we should be sailing under clear blue skies, a harmonious society.

The fundamental premise of Cultural Marxism, however, is that some group somewhere is being oppressed by some other group. Remedy the injustice, remove the oppression, and the whole CultMarx system is weakened, with major loss of prestige and jobs. That can’t be allowed to happen.

To prevent it from happening, logic must be perverted and reason thrown out of the window. Public discourse was therefore twisted into bizarre inversions, where every righting of a wrong seemed to have spawned more wrongs, worse wrongs, new victims.

The first time I fully grasped the scale of this Cultural Marxist lunacy was in the 1980s when the AIDS scare came up.

It was plain that AIDS was being spread in the U.S.A. mainly by promiscuous homosexual buggery. I assumed that AIDS would set back the liberalization of attitudes to homosexuality by 100 years; that a general revulsion by the 97 percent would push the three percent firmly back in the closet.

That would not, by the way, have been something I would have welcomed, as an irreligious person of live-and-let-live inclinations with a couple of homosexual acquaintances. It is only what I expected to happen.

“Imagine my surprise” (as the narrators of Victorian novels say) when the opposite thing happened: the homosexuals who were spreading the disease became victims, their transgressive lifestyle became something to be celebrated with pride, and the conquest of this single easily-avoided venereal disease became a matter of the highest national priority and the recipient of billions of taxpayer dollars. An athlete who caught it became a national hero, worshipped at shrines throughout the land by weeping devotees, most of them from the 97 percent.

Twenty years further on, two men—so far it’s just two—who want to bugger each other on a regular basis can pretend to be “married”; and if you think this degrades the ancient institution of marriage, and are incautious enough to say so out loud, you can be fired from your job. Meanwhile the disease toll from buggery slowly rises, and we await the next plague outbreak.

Then I started to notice the race business. I knew about race of course, and understood how fundamental the concept is to modern biology. The very foundational text of that science has the subtitle The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life (and is hardly concerned with human beings at all).

Of course most sexually-reproducing organisms mate with nearby members of their species; and of course, by the well-known laws of inheritance, this makes every species a patchwork of localized inbreeding populations with particular characteristics—races. Given enough time, some patches in the patchwork die out, while the surviving ones become so different from each other they can no longer cross-mate. That’s what the foundational text is about.

No sooner had I thought through these simple scientific facts, and noted the plentiful evidence for them in the world around me, than I learned how unpopular they are. Persons of great social and cultural authority assure the public daily that so far as human beings are concerned there is no such thing as race! Or: It’s merely a social construct! (Like … what? A political party? A bowling league?) Or: It’s just a matter of skin color!

(Speaking of the co-discoverer of DNA in a 2008 book review, the late Christopher Hitchens wrote: “James Watson has several times speculated, against all the evidence, that … people with too much melanin pigmentation are genetically programed to underperform.” As if the world’s greatest living geneticist could understand human biology as well as a Oxford PPE!)

Like the homosexuality thing, the race thing just got crazier with time. As society moved from striking down legal discrimination against blacks to heaping ever more favors and privileges on them, blacks just got angrier about their imagined persecution: and the nonblack majority took their swelling claims of victimhood at face value!

By 2012 it was de rigeur to believe that black Americans tiptoe through life in mortal terror of white malignity. When the Trayvon Martin affair came up, black journalists lined up to tell us sorrowfully how they have to give their kids The Talk: to explain to the little ones that there is a gang of white (or, I guess, “white Hispanic”) Klansmen lurking around every corner waiting to assault the poor Negro with pick handles and nooses.

Don’t look up an’ don’t look down

You don’ dar’st make de white boss frown …
Et cetera. In fact, on Department of Justice Statistics, blacks are far more dangerous to whites than whites are to blacks, so that it would make more sense for white parents to advise their kids to be wary around blacks … as of course most of us do.

When I pointed this out in an internet column, I found myself excluded from polite society.

(In fact, on those same statistics, blacks are far more dangerous to blacks than whites are. Nobody cares about that, though. The core myth that must be upheld is of white malice, the only acceptable explanation for the social and civilizational failure of the black race.)

Thus what, in the innocence of youth, I took to be rational moves to remedy injustices—like the Factory Acts or Catholic Emancipation in a previous era of reform—turned out to have been opening shots in a Cold Civil War: two big groups of white people who can’t stand the sight of each other striving for social mastery.

One of those groups is bringing in foreign auxiliaries to do some of the fighting for them—just as the Romans of the later empire hired in Germans, or the later Arab Caliphates hired in Turks. How’d that work out?

I have to believe that victory in the Cold Civil War—victory over Cultural Marxism—is possible. But the fight has already lasted longer, and seems much harder, than that original “long twilight struggle.”

I am battle-weary. I need a break for a few weeks behind the lines, away from the thud of the shells and the rattle of the guns.

See you in September.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by com is  FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire`s writings at can do so here.

I Know How to “Stem the Tide” of Illegal Aliens

I Know How to “Stem the Tide” of Illegal Aliens:

House GOP leaders spike border bill rather than see it defeated – The Washington Post

he congressional chaos ensured that President Obama’s administration will not have the resources necessary to stem the recent tide of tens of thousands of migrants from Central America, many of them children entering the United States alone, until mid-September at the earliest.
This is a flat lie, of course. All you have to do to stem the tide is enforce the current law, secure the border, and turn them back before they get into our country.

Any money you give Obama now will only be spent on getting more illegal aliens into America, and making sure they stay here.

House GOP leaders spike border bill rather than see it defeated – The Washington Post

“America did not send us here to do nothing,” said Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.), a junior member of the leadership team facing a tough November election.
America didn’t send you there to fling wide the borders and inundate us with a flood of illegals and a new scamnesty program, either, you bag of pander.

Obama and Kerry behind one of most strategic mistakes in military history

Obama and Kerry behind one of most strategic mistakes in military history:

Obama and Kerry behind one of most strategic mistakes in military history, Fox News, August 1, 2014

Mideast Kerry US Isra_Cham640July 22, 2014: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri in Cairo. AP
This administration believes that Al Qaeda is bad but the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as that of Al Qaeda, is a rational organization with “legitimate grievances” that can be negotiated with on the same basis that the U.S.can negotiate with Canada or Germany. That is why this administration has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, starting with the first speech Mr. Obama gave in Cairo in February 2009, where the first two rows of “dignitaries” were 20 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt hand-selected by the Obama administration.

The obsession by the Obama-Kerry administration with imposing a cease-fire on the warring parties in the Hamas-Israel war will go down in history as one of the most strategic mistakes in military history.

Here is a fact the administration deliberately and maliciously ignored: In the history of modern warfare, no terrorist group has ever honored a cease-fire. Hamas has broken every cease-fire it ever said it would honor. Every single one.

Even the Israel-Hamas 2012 cease fire, brokered by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was simply agreed to by Hamas to give it an opportunity to restock its military arsenal, pressure Israel to lift its restrictions on the import of cement and steel into Gaza – material that Clinton said would be used to build hospitals and schools, but in fact was used to build a network of underground tunnels into Israel and build a subterranean network of underground bunkers, weapons storage facilities and launching pads.

Hamas simply used the cease-fire to rebuild its military infrastructure and as predicted by Israeli military intelligence, would simply break the cease-fire when it felt ready to take on the Israelis once again.

And on Friday, Hamas did the exact same thing. It agreed, through its main financial backer Qatar (which is the world’s largest financial sponsor of terrorist groups including Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda and Al Nusra in Syria) and which the U.S. inexplicably anointed as its interlocutor to Hamas, that it would honor a 72-hour cease-fire initiated by the Obama-Kerry administration.

On Thursday night, Kerry proudly announced the cease-fire. But read the main sentence of his press conference.

“Then, as soon as the cease-fire is underway tomorrow morning – I talked to the Egyptian foreign minister tonight – Egypt will issue invitations to the parties to come to Cairo immediately in order to engage in serious and focused negotiations with Egypt to address the underlying causes of this conflict.”

“Underlying causes?” What in God’s name is Kerry talking about? That would be the equivalent of announcing a cease-fire with Al Qaeda after it killed 3000 Americans on 9-11 on the grounds that it needed to “address the underlying causes” of Al Qaeda’s war against the United States and the West.

Here is a little secret for Mr. Kerry: The underlying causes of the current Israeli-Hamas war, initiated by Hamas with its launching of tens of thousands of missiles into Israel and its use of underground tunnels from Gaza to carry out murderous attacks against Israel civilians, is that Hamas, like Al Qaeda, is a nihilistic radical Islamic organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.

The term “underlying causes” directly implies there are legitimate rational grievances by Hamas. Yes, the same “underlying causes” that motivated Adolph Hitler to carry out a worldwide war of conquest, including the Holocaust of six million Jews. Hamas is the embodiment of pure evil. And its motivation is the same as that of Al Qaeda and ISIS.

On Fox News, the former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, summed up the conflict in words that accurately described the “underlying causes” behind the war between Israel and Hamas:

“…[W]hat we’re seeing happen between Israel and Gaza is not a localized conflict, but is much, is part of a much bigger regional war. And that war has Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood on one side and it has the forces of what I would call reason and moderation on the other side – being Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf. And United States has an interest in ensuring that the forces of reason and moderation prevail.”

Mr. Ereli was right on point. But somehow this administration lost sight of its real strategic interests and instead embraced an agenda that has resulted in extensive damage to our national interests, which in turn has resulted in increasing the strategic threat to American national security.

This administration believes that Al Qaeda is bad but the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as that of Al Qaeda, is a rational organization with “legitimate grievances” that can be negotiated with on the same basis that the U.S.can negotiate with Canada or Germany. That is why this administration has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, starting with the first speech Mr. Obama gave in Cairo in February 2009, where the first two rows of “dignitaries” were 20 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt hand-selected by the Obama administration.

Moreover, the Obama administration, according to an investigation carried out by my organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, lifted all visa restrictions on Muslim Brotherhood officials in their applications to visit the United States. In a report our organization will be releasing next week, more than 25 senior Muslim Brotherhood officials who had publicly called for jihad against the United States or the West, or had openly expressed their support for Hamas and Hezbollah, visited the United States in the past three years and met with senior U.S. officials. One of them, who served as vice president of a Muslim Brotherhood group that had called for the killing of Americans, actually met with President Obama in the White House.

So the “underlying causes” of the current war of annihilation carried out by Hamas against Israel is very simple: It believes that Israel needs to be destroyed paralleling the same agenda of Al Qaeda that believed the United States should be destroyed. We are talking about an organization that won’t be satisfied in the short term until every Jew in Israel is dead and in the long term until Western civilization is destroyed replaced by a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

Hamas on Friday succeeded in kidnapping an Israeli officer, after launching a suicide bombing against Israeli soldiers in a well-planned operation 90 minutes after the cease-fire had gone into effect.Immediately following the suicide bombing that killed several Israeli soldiers (still unreported), a group of up to 10 Hamas terrorists immediately descended upon the scene of the bombing where chaos reigned supreme, and kidnapped the Israeli officer in charge of the company stationed in Gaza.

Then Musa Abu Marzuk, a leader of Hamas in Cairo, who was invited to participate in the talks with the U.S. and UN officials on the cease fire, had the audacity to announce the kidnapping took place BEFORE the cease-fire went into effect. This was a manifestly demonstrable lie, as Israel would never have agreed to a cease-fire if it knew one of its soldiers had been kidnapped.

The Obama-Kerry administration’s obsession with imposing a cease-fire on Israel on the grounds that too many civilians were being killed in collateral damage (caused by the fact that Hamas used the Gaza population as human shields to protect its launching of missiles ensconced in hospitals, mosques, kindergartens and civilian apartment buildings) somehow convinced itself that Hamas was an organization with “legitimate” political grievances. Yes, the same type of radical Islamic group whose agenda parallels exactlythat of the same radical Islamic groups that has killed thousands of Americans and Europeans and whose wars of aggression has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians in Syria and Iraq.

At this point the administration, if it truly wants to limit the damage to our own national security and reverse the strategic threat to the survival of Israel, needs to be honest with itself and acknowledge its historic mistake in its approach to the Muslim Brotherhood and its stepchild, Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood is the godfather of all Sunni terrorist groups, from Al Qaeda to Hamas, a fact these groups openly admit.

This is a classic war of good versus evil. The only difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offspring is the deception perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in portraying itself as opposed to violence and committed to political pluralism. Nothing could be further from the truth. All one needs to do is read the covenant of the Muslim Brotherhood in which it states its commitment to carry out jihad to dominate the world, read the contemporary incendiary statements of Muslim Brotherhood officials issued in Arabic and not in English, and observe the Muslim Brotherhood hatred and persecution of of Christians, secular women, non-believing Muslims, infidels and gays.

This administration’s current policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood extends from the legitimacy it has conferred on the Muslim Brotherhood organization overseas and its chief patron, Qatar, to the embrace of Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States. This administration has gone so far as to ban the mention of the term “radical Islam” and to claim that the word jihad means only peaceful struggle and not violent commitment to impose Islam, which is the genuine historic and religious definition of jihad.

Reversing these policies would not only help protect the long term strategic interests of the United States but would also protect and help in the growth of the community of genuine Muslim moderates who in the end are the only key to reversing the growing threat of radical Islam in the world today.

US Biofuel Boondoggle Is Bureaucracy at Its Worst

US Biofuel Boondoggle Is Bureaucracy at Its Worst:

What a mess this is. Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), American refiners are required to blend ethanol into the fuel they produce, and the amount of ethanol mandated increases annually. But the deadline for refiners to meet the quotas for last year still hasn’t been finalized. In fact, he EPA just kicked the can further down the road this week. Reuters reports:

Thursday’s move was the third extension of the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance deadline, which was originally to have been Feb. 28 and was first pushed to June and then to September.

The EPA said the extension was necessary because refiners need to know their 2014 obligations before they can determine how many biofuel credits they may need to carry over from 2013 in order to comply with this year’s requirements.
Did you catch that? The deadline for 2013 compliance is being pushed back because the targets for this year, which we’re now eight months into, haven’t been set yet. This year’s targets affect last year’s compliance efforts because refiners are allowed to use credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), and without a clear understanding of what this year’s quota will be, refiners don’t want to misallocate the RINs they’ve already purchased.

This is bureaucracy at its worst. Since the conception of the RFS, fuel mileage has increased more than expected, and people are generally driving less. That makes many of the targets initially set out in 2007 and 2009 unobtainable, because of something called the “blend wall”—older car engines can be damaged by gasoline with more than 10 percent ethanol. The RFS lacks mechanisms to adjust quotas to demand fluctuations, which is why so many refiners have been forced into buying up RINs. And the cherry on top of this mess of a sundae: The biofuels being blended into our nation’s gasoline aren’t even green. They’re mostly derived from corn, a process that raises global food prices, starving the world’s poor, without actually cutting down on emissions.

This policy mess may be difficult to understand, but it’s clear that something needs to change.

Obama and the U.N.’s Alternate Universe

Obama and the U.N.’s Alternate Universe:

Image credit: 
Spencer Platt, Getty Images News
Featured Commentary
via Front Page Magazine Online
Barack Obama has managed to push American foreign policy into an alternate universe in which everything the human race has learned over the past 2500 years about human nature, aggression, and its deterrence has been stood on its head.

Be Alarmed . . . Be Very Alarmed

Be Alarmed . . . Be Very Alarmed:

Image credit: 
Marko Marcello, Shutterstock
Other Media
mentioning William J. Perry
via The Weekly Standard
An unquestionably eminent, manifestly distinguished, and conspicuously bipartisan -congressionally appointed panel has produced a report on the state of our nation’s defenses.

Allen West to Obama: Grow Up and Stop Acting Like a Victim [WATCH]

Allen West to Obama: Grow Up and Stop Acting Like a Victim [WATCH]: Liberals, and Barack Obama in particular, love to pretend that they’re the victims when people stand up to their flagrant disregard for rights protected under the Constitution. Instead of sitting down and having a thoughtful, logical discussion, Obama goes in front of large crowds and whines about being “attacked” by Republicans who are trying to

Truce? Hamas Must Be Defeated

Truce? Hamas Must Be Defeated:

Late on Thursday, the announcement of a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas burnished hopes for the beginning of the end of this latest round of fighting in the region. Though many in Israel believed that it was not time to let up the pressure on Hamas, the Netanyahu government decided to accede to the proposal put forward by the United States and the United Nations. But that decision has been rendered moot by the decision of Hamas to use the cover of the cease-fire to launch a suicide attack on Israeli forces that led to the possible kidnapping of a soldier.

No one who knows a thing about Hamas could have been surprised by this action. The entire purpose of this Islamist terror group is violence aimed at killing Jews and to further their ultimate goal of destroying Israel. But this incident, which blew up the truce and led to an intensification of the fighting, should make it clear that the understandable desire to halt the bloodshed cannot be discussed separately from the equally urgent need to eliminate Hamas and demilitarize Gaza.

Israel’s initial position toward Hamas once this conflict began was to say that it would give Gaza “quiet for quiet.” But it quickly learned that Hamas was not interested in quiet as it continued to bombard Israel with thousands of rockets even though almost all of them were being neutralized by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Even more, the discovery of the massive system of tunnels aimed at infiltrating the border and producing murders and kidnappings of Israelis made it clear that the rockets were merely one element of a strategic threat to the country that could no longer be ignored or tolerated.

Hamas’s refusal to stop shooting and the tunnels persuaded a reluctant Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel had no choice but to invade Gaza. But despite the drumbeat of criticism aimed at Israel because of the casualties created by Hamas’s decision to hide behind Palestinian civilians, there has been no indication that Netanyahu is prepared to push forward and eliminate Hamas once and for all. Indeed, even today after the news about the truce violation and abduction, his government may still have no appetite for a costly continuation of the offensive aimed at decapitating or eliminating Hamas’s hold on Gaza altogether.

But the collapse of this cease-fire in this particular manner should put an end to a diplomatic process championed by Secretary of State John Kerry that seemed to aim at allowing Hamas to remain place and to even contemplate further political concessions to the Islamists in subsequent negotiations. Going forward, the kidnapping makes more such attempts at cease-fires unviable.

If they really are holding a live Israeli hostage, Hamas may well be inclined to seek another cease-fire while they can declare victory. But the U.S. should not be complicit in that scheme. The White House should stick to its initial response to the kidnapping that rightly declared that the captured Israeli be returned immediately. If that doesn’t happen, this should be the signal for Israel to intensify its offensive, not to slacken off.

That will probably result in more condemnations of Israel by an international community that pays lip service to the concept of self-defense but thinks that virtually any such efforts by Israel are always wrong. In particular, the United Nations and UNRWA, its agency that is solely devoted to serving the Palestinian refuges—and which has played a major role in perpetuating that longstanding problem—will continue to blame Israel and even, as an UNRWA official did yesterday speaking to the UN Security Council, call for an end to the isolation of the Hamas-run strip.

The point here is that the futility of these cease-fires and Hamas’s determination to perpetuate the conflict and to use it solidify their hold on popularity among Palestinians makes the diplomatic discussion irrelevant. The suffering in Gaza and Hamas’s ability to hold the entire Jewish state hostage with its rockets and tunnels will not come to an end until Hamas is stripped of its power and weapons. Nor will any talk of a two-state solution and an end to the conflict is possible until that happens.

Those who claim there is only a political solution to the problem fail to understand that in the absence of a military solution it won’t be possible. Until something happens that will eliminate the Palestinian force that is determined to keep the conflict red-hot and is prepared to sacrifice their own people in order to advance that objective, there is no point to those who criticize Israel for not creating a Palestinian state. Though it has been blockaded by Israel, Egypt, and the international community since the 2007 coup that brought Hamas to power there, Gaza has functioned as an independent state for all intents and purposes since then. Its government’s sole objective has been to fight Israel, pouring its scarce resources into rockets, tunnels, and other military expenses while—despite Hamas’s reputation as a “social welfare organization”—doing virtually nothing to better the lives of its people. So long as it is allowed to stay in power that won’t change and, no matter how many cease-fires or negotiations John Kerry sponsors, peace will never happen.

Pressing on in Gaza will be costly and will be brutally criticized by the international press, the U.N., celebrities on Twitter, and every other conceivable venue. No one should think that Hamas’s duplicity and belligerence—amply demonstrated by today’s brutal cease-fire violation—will create much backing for an Israeli effort to finish the job in Gaza. But finish it they must or be faced with the necessity of starting over at some point in the near future. Despite publicized fears of something worse following this genocidal group, that is a myth. Anyone who really cares about the people of Gaza or peace should realize that and sit back and let Israel end the Hamas nightmare once and for all.

GAO Says ObamaCare Website a Failure - for 840M

GAO Says ObamaCare Website a Failure:



GAO report cites Obama Administration “management failure” for rollout woes

Incompetence? From the Obama Administration? Surely you’re as shocked as I am!

But really, it’s true. The GAO says so.

A nonpartisan congressional investigation has concluded that management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer woes that paralyzed President Barack Obama’s health care program website last fall, officials told The Associated Press.
The findings are in a report to be released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, which has spent months investigating the health law’s chaotic rollout. GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress.
The official report doesn’t come out until tomorrow, but Washington insiders are already leaking it to the media. And it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of Dear Leader’s minions at HHS.

Among its conclusions:

· Contractors were not given a coherent plan, and instead they were kept jumping around from issue to issue.
· The cost of the project grew by tens of millions of dollars as the contractors tried to accommodate administration requests.
· CMS, the lead agency, failed to follow up on whether contractors were doing the work assigned to them, and to review that work for quality.
· CMS sent conflicting signals, at one point notifying one contractor it was so dissatisfied that it would start withholding payments, and then quickly rescinded that decision.
· The type of federal contract that the administration selected for was open-ended, which may have encouraged costly changes.
What else would you expect from a bunch of socialists who never built so much as a dog house on their own?

Even now, almost a year later, the thing is still held together with duct tape and bailing wire. The back-end remains largely dysfunctional. HHS can’t verify 1/3 of the applicants’ citizenship or income eligibility. And half of the new enrollees are in Medicaid, which has created a whole ‘nother kind of time bomb.

As my friend Bob used to say about bad news, “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

In the 1950′s our government built the Interstate Highway System.

In the 1960′s our government put a man on the moon.

Today, not only can’t they build a website, or a highway, they can’t go back to the moon, or even get their own people up into space without help from the Russians.

But we’ve now got more Americans on food stamps than ever before.

Apparently this is “progress.” If you’re a liberal.


Making Culture an Element of Immigration Policy

Making Culture an Element of Immigration Policy: For years, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands has been the leading European politician to argue for religious criteria for admitting immigrants. I joined in ten months ago with a more cautious article that suggested cultural zones to which refugees are

Charters Outperform Public Schools in Cost Effectiveness and Return on Investment

Charters Outperform Public Schools in Cost Effectiveness and Return on Investment:

Researchers at the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform have produced a report on the productivity of public charter schools: Do people get more "bang for their buck" from charters than from traditional public schools, the study asks? The six researchers who conducted the study said yes: the average charter school outperforms the traditional public school both in terms of cost effectiveness and return on investment.

To calculate cost effectiveness, the researchers compared students' National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores per every $1,000 per pupil investment in 21 states and Washington, D.C. They found:

  • Charter schools had a 40 percent productivity advantage in math, providing students with 17 additional NAEP points for every $1,000 invested in math.
  • In reading, charters gave students an extra 16 NAEP points per $1,000 invested -- a 41 percent productivity advantage over traditional public schools.
  • The cost effectiveness of charters varied from state to state. In Hawaii, charters had just a 7 percent advantage over public schools in math, while Washington, D.C. charters had a 109 percent advantage.
Return on investment was calculated by determining the amount of learning that took place during charter school or public school years. With that, the researchers could estimate expected lifetime earnings and compare it to the cost of the education. According to the study:

  • Charter schools provided a larger ROI over public schools in all states.
  • The ROI of a charter school exceeds that of a public school by 3 percent with just one year of charter schooling.
  • 6.5 years of charter schooling produces a ROI that is 19 percent higher than public schools.
The authors suggest that charters are more disciplined in their use of education funds, and thus more productive, because they receive less of them than public schools do.

Source: Patrick J. Wolf et al., "The Productivity of Public Charter Schools," School Choice Demonstration Project, Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, July 2014.

For more on Education Issues:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Obama’s Environmental Corruption Agency

Obama’s Environmental Corruption Agency:

The lofty motto of the Environmental Protection Agency is “protecting people and the environment.” In practice, however, EPA bureaucrats faithfully protect their own people and preserve the government’s cesspool of manipulation, cover-ups and cronyism.

Just last week, Mark Levin and his vigilant Landmark Legal Foundation went to court to ask federal district judge Royce Lamberth to sanction the EPA “for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages that may have helped document suspected agency efforts to influence the 2012 presidential election.” [PDF]The motion is part of a larger Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to force EPA to release emails and related records from former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and others “who may have delayed the release dates for hot-button environmental regulations until after the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential election.”

Thanks to Levin and Landmark, Jackson and other EPA officials admitted in depositions that they used personal, nongovernmental email accounts to hide communications about official EPA business sent and received on their government-issued BlackBerries and smart phones. The agency has continued to drag its feet for two years in response to Landmark’s FOIA requests.

Levin minced no words: “The EPA is a toxic waste dump for lawlessness and disdain for the Constitution.” Not to mention disdain for the public’s right to know. As Levin added: “When any federal agency receives a FOIA request, the statute says it must preserve every significant repository of records, both paper and electronic, that may contain materials that could be responsive to that request.”

The agency is legally obliged to notify all involved in the suit to preserve everything in their possession that could be discoverable in the litigation. But the feds have bent over backward to delay and deny. “(T)he people at the EPA, from the administrator on down, think they’re above the law, that no one has the right to question what or how they do their jobs,” Levin blasted. “Well, they’re wrong. The laws apply to everyone, even federal bureaucrats.”

That’s a bedrock principle the EPA has defied over and over again. As I first reported 13 corruption-stained years ago in 2001, former EPA head Carol Browner oversaw the destruction of her computer files on her last day in office under the Clinton administration—in clear violation of a judge’s order requiring the agency to preserve its records. Browner ordered a computer technician: “I would like my files deleted. I want you to delete my files.” In 2003, the agency was held in contempt and fined more than $300,000 in connection with another email destruction incident under Browner’s watch.

It was Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation—upheld by Judge Lamberth—that held the corruptocrats accountable then, as they are now.

As President Obama’s energy czar, Browner went on to bully auto execs “to put nothing in writing, ever” regarding secret negotiations she orchestrated on a deal to increase federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. She was also singled out by Obama’s own independent oil-spill commission for repeatedly misrepresenting scientists’ findings and doctoring data to justify the administration’s draconian drilling moratorium.

Browner previously had been caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to more than 100 left-wing environmental organizations. She abused her office to orchestrate a political campaign by liberal groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform.

The names may change, but the politicized rot stays the same. The GOP staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee issued a detailed report this week on the secretive “Billionaire’s Club” behind EPA. The analysis exposed how a massive network of left-wing foundations, activists and wealthy donors exploits IRS-approved “charitable” status and tax-deductible donations to lobby illegally on behalf of the EPA and operate a “green revolving door” between government and far-left groups.

Among the key players: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, which coordinates green grants and refuses to divulge its membership list to Congress, and Democracy Alliance, the dark-money outfit led by Philip Gara LaMarche that does not disclose its members or donor-recipients.

“These entities propagate the false notion that they are independent citizen-funded groups working altruistically,” according to the report. “In reality, they work in tandem with wealthy donors to maximize the value of the donors’ tax-deductible donations and leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes, with a focus on the EPA.”[Full report: PDF]

Saving the planet? Ha. The leftist-controlled Environmental Corruption Agency is only in business to serve its pals and subvert its political enemies, while endangering resource security and sabotaging the deliberative process. Real environmental protection starts with draining this fetid swamp.

Michelle Malkin [email her] is the author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s review. Click here for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin is also author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild and Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies

Obama’s claims of economic progress are mostly bunk

Obama’s claims of economic progress are mostly bunk:

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama has been saying that Americans are doing a lot better than they were before he was sworn into office in 2009.

It’s a claim he’s been repeating everywhere he goes, at party fundraising events and in nearly every interview he’s had in recent months.

“There’s almost no economic measure by which we are not better off now than we were when I took office,” he told Democrats earlier this month at a campaign fundraiser in Dallas. “We are indisputably better than when I was elected,” he says.

It’s a fundamentally specious, slippery and exaggerated claim that contains more holes than a pound of Swiss cheese — a defensive political ploy that asks Americans to ignore the painfully sluggish, job-challenged economy that he’s put us through for the past six years.

He took office in the midst of a severe recession when just about all of the relevant economic data was bad, from soaring unemployment to a shrinking economy.

But the average length of time it has taken our country to emerge from postwar recessions has been about two years. We are in the sixth year of the so-called Obama recovery in which the economy’s performance is still being widely called “mediocre,” “disappointing,” “sub-par,” “uneven” and “weak” in countless newspaper reports across the country.

“I don’t think the facts on the ground merit anybody spiking a football and celebrating,” economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin says about Obama’s boastful claims.

Indeed, this year began with the nation’s economic growth rate actually shrinking in the first three months by 2.9 percent, a shocking plunge that the administration blamed entirely on the winter weather.

It was the economy’s worst first-quarter performance since 2009, the U.S. Commerce Department said, though the second quarter was better, economists said this week.

But the fact of the matter is that U.S. economic growth under Obama has been at a meager 2 percent annual rate for some time now, which no economist worth his or her salt would say is worth cheering about.

Democrats say slower economic growth is the “new normal” in the Age of Obama, but wiser economists dismiss that as pure bunk.

“Since 2000, GDP growth has averaged 1.7 per year, whereas during the Reagan-Clinton years, it was 3.4 percent,” says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

Obama points to the Labor Department’s unemployment rate of 6.1 percent as proof that more Americans are better off under his presidency. But there are a number of reasons to doubt the government’s figures.

The decline in the official unemployment rate is in large measure due to millions of discouraged, long-term jobless Americans who have quit looking for work and thus are no longer counted among the unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report was expected to show the economy created 235,000 jobs in July, with the jobless rate holding at 6.1 percent. “But that hardly tells” the full story, Morici says.

Many Americans who want and need full-time jobs “are stuck in part-time positions … at lower wages,” which a lot of businesses find preferable. After all, “Obamacare’s employer health insurance mandates will not apply to workers on the job less than 30 hours a week.”

When you add discouraged adults, who say they’d look for work if the economy improved, to part-time people who want full-time jobs, “the real unemployment rate becomes about 15 percent,” Morici says.

Another huge hole in Obama’s self-serving claims has to do with the extraordinary lengths to which the White House and the news media go in exaggerating the significance of the nation’s monthly job numbers.

“The economy has created only about 6 million new jobs during the Bush-Obama years, whereas the comparable figure during the Reagan-Clinton period was about 40 million,” Morici reports.

The Gallup Poll surveys Americans across the country weekly to measure the nation’s real employment data. Its latest numbers put the national unemployment rate at 6.4 percent and the underemployment rate at 15 percent.

As for Obama’s preposterous claim that Americans are “better off now than we were when I took office,” Gallup’s polling data suggests otherwise.

When Gallup asked Americans this week how they’ve been doing economically, 40 percent of them said they were “struggling,” 4 percent said they were “suffering” and 8 percent said they were under “stress.”

If the White House needs further hard evidence of how the American people view the Obama economy right now, they should take a look at the survey data Gallup released Tuesday showing that economic confidence was “down sharply.”

Its U.S. Economic Confidence Index plunged six points last week, “the largest one-week drop since last October, and the lowest weekly index score since December.”

The index measures what Americans think of the U.S. economy now and whether they think it is getting better or worse.

Only 19 percent said the Obama economy is “excellent” or “good”, while 35 percent said it is “poor.” But when they are asked what they think about the economy’s future, 60 percent said it was getting worse. Just 35 percent said it’s getting better.

If Obama truly believes Americans have never had it so good since he took office, he’s been talking to the wrong people. He’s presided over an underperforming, slow-job- growth, declining-income economy, according to just about every available economic measure.

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Dysfunctional Authority

Dysfunctional Authority: American society is currently in a dysfunctional state, and like all things dysfunctional, it will implode if not addressed very soon. We live in a world that contains a vast amount of knowledge, but little understanding. The United States has not experienced extreme tyranny, but it is headed in that direction. The shift of authority from private sector to public sector has created a serious imbalance. As a country, there is great arrogance. We take for granted that we will always be the land of the free. Like all civilizations prior, we’re moving from liberty to totalitarianism and it’s happening...

Egyptian Army DEFENDS Israel Against Terrorists

BREAKING: Egyptian Army DEFENDS Israel Against Terrorists: The mainstream media likes to portray the nation of Israel, which is sees as a leftover from the largely discredited colonial period of western history, as isolated, threatened, and ultimately unable to exist on its own, like the many other nations established by the colonial powers. Although it sometimes seems as if Israel is fighting

The problem instead is Hillary Clinton herself.

The problem instead is Hillary Clinton herself.: She is not a very good speaker, and is prone to shrill outbursts and occasional chortling.

She has a bad habit of committing serial gaffes (e.g., speaking too candidly), and what she says on Monday is often contradicted by her rantings on Tuesday. She seems cheap and obsessed with raking in free stuff. When Bill steps in to correct her mistakes, either sloppily or out of some strange psychological spite, he usually makes things even worse. We saw that often in 2008 and are seeing it again now. But aside from the cosmetics of her political style, the Clintons are faced with two fundamental obstacles in 2016.
Works and Days サ All Clintoned Out

"Operation Choke Point" Targets Legal Businesses, Harms American Consumers

"Operation Choke Point" Targets Legal Businesses, Harms American Consumers:

"Operation Choke Point" Targets Legal Businesses, Harms American Consumers
New CEI Report Offers Policy Recommendations to Rein in Overzealous Regulators

WASHINGTON, July 31 – A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report digs into a campaign by federal regulatory agencies to shut down businesses that are politically disfavored but perfectly legal, under the pretext of preventing fraud.

“Operation Choke Point targets perfectly legal industries by designating them high-risk, which in turn has a chilling effect on the willingness of banks to do business with them,” said Iain Murray, author of “Operation Choke Point: What It Is and Why It Matters. "The administration is not investigating fraudulent activity; it is investigating and targeting certain industries and asking banks to do its work for it. Choke Point is the world’s largest fishing expedition and the administration is using it to create fear and uncertainty."

Murray was one of the first people to detail Operation Choke Point in a January National Review article. The report includes a comprehensive timeline of the development of Choke Point dating back to 2011, as well as policy recommendations for Congress to rein in overzealous regulators.

“Policy makers should weigh Operation Choke Point’s few successes in stopping fraudsters against its significant adverse effects for American consumers,” said Murray. “The primary victims are often low-income customers of legal businesses who will lose the ability to access services they want, like, and rely upon. The Dodd-Frank Act has already made banking unaffordable for some, and now Choke Point is taking away millions of unbanked Americans’ only other means to finance their American Dream.”

Murray offers Congress policy recommendations to rein in Operation Choke Point. Among them are:

  • Congress should refuse to allow any funds to be used for Operation Choke Point unless the Attorney General requests funds through the appropriations process for the purpose of enhanced fraud deterrence.
  • Congress should remove the burden of criminal investigative duties from banks and amend Dodd-Frank and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 to make clear that “deputizing" third parties in that way is not an appropriate regulatory action.
Operation Choke Point is a joint effort by several agencies, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), ostensibly aimed at curtailing fraud in a certain “high-risk” industries, which regulators identify through high rates of returns, cancellations, or complaints. Payday lending is a particular target, but other industries include: the gun industry, ammunition sales, cable box de-scramblers, coin dealers, credit repair services, home-based charities, lottery sales, and many others.

In a six-month status report, issued on September 9, 2013, the government acknowledged Choke Point might be deterring banks from dealing with legitimate lenders.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Publication Type: 

More evidence that ‘competition’ breeds ‘competence’

More evidence that ‘competition’ breeds ‘competence’:

The AP is reported a few weeks ago that “Seattle taxi drivers hit charm class to improve customer service in response to competition” based on this report from Komo News:

Call it a charm school for cabbies. The region’s long-established taxi companies are sending some of their drivers to a hospitality class to improve their customer service skills.

About 130 drivers, most from Yellow Cab, sat in a classroom to listen to instructors from the Hospitality Management program at South Seattle College. The idea was hatched in response to increasing competition from app-based ride services companies like Uber and Lyft that are taking business away from the traditional companies.
HT: Bill Greenway

It’s Not ‘Inhumane’ to ‘Want to Secure the Border’

Genevieve Wood: It’s Not ‘Inhumane’ to ‘Want to Secure the Border’:

“One of the reasons we have these political shenanigans that we do is that people are almost told that you’re somehow anti-immigrant, that you’re inhumane if you want to secure the border. And that’s just not true.”

Watch Genevieve Wood’s full interview:

The post Genevieve Wood: It’s Not ‘Inhumane’ to ‘Want to Secure the Border’ appeared first on Daily Signal.

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Europe Has an Anti-Semite Problem

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Europe Has an Anti-Semite Problem:

The current war in Gaza has been an opportunity for anti-Semites throughout Europe to mass in the streets—and often do much worse. In the Wall Street Journal, TAI board member Bernard-Henri Lévy denounces the selectivity of European protesters who rage over civilian deaths in Gaza while ignoring atrocities committed by Assad and Hamas. He asks:

About the crowds on Friday in Paris chanting “Palestine will overcome” and “Israel, assassin”: Where were they a few days earlier when news broke that over the previous weekend Syria’s civil war had produced 720 more dead, adding to the 150,000 others who have not had the honor of demonstrations in France? [...]

Will these people, “outraged” for a day, claim that they did not know, that they saw no images of the others who died, and that today only images have the power to stir them to action? That is not going to work. Because they had seen what was happening in Syria. As reporters later discovered, those same grisly images, or older versions of them, were appropriated, doctored and retweeted by organizers of the anti-Israel demonstrations under the dishonest hashtag GazaUnderAttack.
As Lévy observes, those who really want to save the lives of Palestinian children should demand Hamas stop storing missiles in UN schools, or running their operations from hospitals. And be sure to note this and be horrified:

[The anti-Israel protesters] are also unperturbed upon learning, from the very mouth of the Hamas leadership (Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 41, No. 4), that in 2012 alone the construction of the infamous Gaza tunnels cost the lives of 160 Palestinian children who were turned into little slaves and buried in the rubble.
We urge you to read the whole thing. If only Europe’s anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic, protesters would do the same.

“Border Security” Is NOT “Border Security” Without A Long, Strong, High, Double-Sided Fence

“Border Security” Is NOT “Border Security” Without A Long, Strong, High, Double-Sided Fence:

Interrupting vacation one more time to bring this message to House GOP leadership. On Wednesday I was encouraged by Speaker Boehner’s message to Harry Reid about a House bill on the border.  I tweeted as much.

Today I read Bill Kristol’s assessment and realize that the House GOP leadership has no idea what they are doing on the topic of border security, which absolutely requires a long, strong, high, double-sided fence with a road running between the two fences.  This “fence project” is a necessary though not sufficient condition to border security, emphasis on “necessary.”  Other things, like visa reform, are also key, but the double-sided fence is what voters want to see built.
Consultants and pollsters have told the House GOP leadership that they must be for “border security,” but that they cannot be for the only thing on which genuine border security depends –a fence.  This creates the dilemma of having to pretend to be for border security when in fact you are doing nothing to advance it because without the fence project, nothing will work.

Because the elected lack the courage to make the common-sense argument that a law forbidding unpermitted entry is in fact a “legal fence” that assumes physical fences where necessary, the electeds lose the argument with their base and with the undecided public that knows the score. Bill Kristol is right.  Kill the fake border security bill and go home until the House leadership gets serious about passing a real border security bill.  The president is already losing the election single-handedly by allowing the world to slide towards chaos.  It would make sense for the House GOP to pass a bill based on good policy –a fence– but it makes no sense to throw the president a rope via a self-inflicted political wound over a pretend border security bill that everyone knows is a fake bill.

BECAUSE THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES? Why doesn’t the media grill Democratic pols o…

BECAUSE THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES? Why doesn’t the media grill Democratic pols o…:

BECAUSE THEY’RE DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES? Why doesn’t the media grill Democratic pols on the ideas pushed by their fringe?

The media is entirely biased in favor of the Left.

EPA colludes with Billionaires; “chain of environmental command”

EPA colludes with Billionaires; “chain of environmental command”: U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental Works,  Minority Report issued 30 July 2014, link here: REPORT: The Chain of Environmental Command EPW Republicans release in-depth environmental collusion report, “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA” July 30, 2014 U.S Environment and Public Works […]

Andrew Napolitano: Obama's Executive Overreach 'Incompetent Madness'

Andrew Napolitano: Obama's Executive Overreach 'Incompetent Madness': President Barack Obama has vastly abused his executive discretion and so severely violated his oath of office that he should either be considered chief lawbreaker, or his tenure characterized as one of "incompetent madness," said Andrew Napolitano.

On every policy level, Obama has made things worse

On every policy level, Obama has made things worse:

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s approval polls slipped precariously closer to the high 30 percent range this week, as more Americans expressed deep dissatisfaction with his failed presidency.

As Obama frantically runs around the country trying to find a motivating message that resonates with the base of his party, it’s obvious that he’s in over his head, without a serious, substantive agenda, or any workable idea of how to get America moving again.

He’s still peddling the same shady shell game to raise the minimum wage, an idea the Congressional Budget Office says would kill up to 1 million jobs.

The Gallup Poll on Sunday reported that barely 40 percent now approve of the job he’s doing, as more Americans — 41 percent in its recent survey — point to a sluggish economy, stagnant incomes and the dearth of well-paying, full-time jobs as their biggest concerns.

There are other signs of the economy’s weakness that are getting a lot more attention lately in the national news media than they have in the past.

Last week, for example, The New York Times’ economic analyst Neil Irwin focused on the lack of capital investment in the still-uncertain, risk-averse Obama economy.

Yes, “businesses are making record profits, cash hoards are strong and borrowing is exceptionally cheap,” Irwin writes. “But companies aren’t plowing much money into big-ticket investments for the future.”

Indeed, “what businesses spend on equipment, software, buildings and intellectual property … still hasn’t bounced back to its pre-crisis share of the economy, let alone made up for lost ground from the record lows of 2009,” Irwin says.

You may ask, “What has this got to do with me, or my search for a good job?”

Higher capital investment translates into more jobs and in the process more productivity and a stronger economy.

But it isn’t just businesses who are leery of reinvesting more of their income. Consumers have been just as risk-averse, too, according to recent reports.

Americans are stashing away more money in their bank accounts and other holdings than at any time in the past two decades, according to a report by Moebs Services, an economic research firm.

That’s a sign that wary consumers, worried about the economy or losing their jobs, or the lack of any raises in the future, are cutting back on spending, the report says.

In yet another sign the Obama economy is hurting low- to middle-income Americans — people he says he wants to help most — look no further than what’s happening to Wal-Mart, the king of America’s retail industry.

Over the past five quarters, foot traffic and sales growth have fallen in its U.S. stores, whose once-loyal customer base is heavily made up of low-income consumers. Last week, the company’s board replaced its CEO.

Wal-Mart is “very exposed to the low-end consumer, and that consumer has really suffered a lot,” says Faye Landes, a managing director at Cowen and Company, a major investment banking firm.

Earth to Obama: When it gets tougher to make ends meet at Wal-Mart, something is seriously wrong with this country. The people your policies are hurting the most are low- to middle-income Americans.

Last week, the administration received more bad news on the economic front: New home sales fell 8.1 percent in June, and May’s sale rates were also revised significantly lower, the Commerce Department said.

Realtors are reporting slower home sales, a further sign of a weak economy where the housing industry continues to struggle in many areas of the country.

Meanwhile, in debt-ridden Washington, the government is still spending as if there is no tomorrow. The Congressional Budget Office projected last week in its long-term budget outlook that the government expects to rack up deficits of at least $7.6 trillion over the next nine years. Gulp.

When was the last time you heard Obama call for reining in spending? His entire presidency has been made up of a wish list of higher spending for an unending line of special pleaders.

Instead of cutting, consolidating and shrinking the size and cost of the government, making it more efficient, the president has been rapidly expanding it with one program, bureaucracy and federal regulation after another, from Obamacare to the ill-named Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Under the former, health insurance premium costs have risen dramatically ever since Obama signed it into law. As for the latter, six years of monster federal budget deficits and increasingly costly government regulations have given consumers higher prices for just about everything we buy — from food to gasoline.

A U.S. Labor Department report last week said a surge in gasoline prices drove inflation higher in June, with gas costs accounting for two-thirds of the increase.

When Obama was sworn into office on Inauguration Day 2009, regular gasoline was selling for $1.90 a gallon — and soon after, more than doubled.

The price hikes were in large part the result of Obama’s oil drilling moratoriums and blocking the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, which would have sharply boosted America’s oil supply, reducing gas costs in the process.

Struggling Americans, with families to feed and home mortgages to pay, were forced to foot the bill.

In little more than three months, the voters will have a chance to send a message to Washington about what they have endured over the past six and a half years under this president and his accomplices in Congress.

On just about every domestic and economic policy level, Obama has made things worse. The average length of every recession we’ve had over the last several decades has been about two years. Under Obama, many states, including some of the largest, are still in recovery.

On Nov. 4, we will get a chance to tell him directly what we think of his presidency and his policies.

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Kevin Williamson: The Jews Mean to Live

Kevin Williamson: The Jews Mean to Live: Well said, Mr. Williamson. 

"The Jews mean to live, Hamas means to exterminate them, and there will be war until Hamas and its allies either weary of it or win it and the last Israeli Jew is dead or exiled."

"It is Hamas, not the Israelis, that stashes rockets and soldiers in schools and hospitals, but it is the Israelis the world expects to take account of that situation. Every creature on this Earth, from ant to gazelle, is entitled to — expected to — defend its life to the last: The Israeli Jews, practically alone among the world’s living things, are expected to make allowances for the well-being of those who are trying to exterminate them. No one lectures the antelope on restraint when the jackals come, but the Jews in the Jewish state are in the world’s judgment not entitled to what is granted every fish and insect as a matter of course."

Obama’s Command Economy—Incompetent at Every Level | The Fiscal Times

Obama’s Command Economy—Incompetent at Every Level | The Fiscal Times: "Prepare yourselves for a shock –- federal government bureaucracies produce incompetence. These days, the evidence of this is almost impossible to ignore, whether it’s the Department of Veterans Affairs and its wait-list fraud, or the IRS and its epidemic of hard drive failures that was curiously confined to those targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. One would be hard put to find evidence of government-produced excellence at any level, and most of us would be satisfied to discover a modicum of competence.


'via Blog this'

Another fake VA fix–‘reform’ bill changes little

Another fake VA fix–‘reform’ bill changes little: Members of Congress are rushing to pass a bill “fixing” the deadly Veterans Administration backlog before they go on vacation. Don’t fall for it: This bill won’t save sick vets...

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