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February 12, 2015
“Every man who loves peace, every man who loves his country, every man who loves liberty ought to have it ever before his eyes that he may cherish in his heart a due attachment to the Union of America and be able to set a due value on the means of preserving it.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 41, 1788
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Disturbing news out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The New York Daily News reports, “Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were all found shot to death in a condo near the campus late Tuesday afternoon. Neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks, a vehement 46-year-old self-professed atheist, surrendered to police and has been charged in the triple homicide.” Naturally, the Left’s early storyline is that, because the victims were Muslims, this was a “hate crime” inspired by “American Sniper,” the NRA and Fox News. We’d argue that any time a human being is murdered it’s a hate crime — murder isn’t committed out of love. Religion absolutely motivates some murderers, but, as Barack Hussein Obama clearly illustrated recently, for leftists, it’s a one-way street. As for Hicks, he is a leftist who intensely hates all religion, and police say he committed murder over a parking dispute. Kind of undermines the Left’s narrative, doesn’t it? More…
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Magic happens when the courts start to interpret the Second Amendment using strict scrutiny, which holds the government to the highest standards in justifying laws. Missouri applied this level when it reformed its gun laws in August. Now, a Texas judge ruled the government’s requirement that a citizen purchasing a handgun must do so from an FFL dealer in their residing state violates the Constitution. This was challenged last June, when DC residents Andrew and Tracey Hanson tried to buy a handgun in Texas. In the decision, Judge Reed O’Connor wrote, “The federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unique compared to other firearms restrictions because it does not target certain people (such as felons or the mentally ill), conduct (such as carrying firearms into government buildings or schools), or distinctions among certain classes of firearms (such as fully automatic weapons or magazine capacity). Instead, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban targets the entire national market of handgun sales and directly burdens law-abiding, responsible citizens who seek to complete otherwise lawful transactions for handguns.” This further cement’s AG Eric Holder’s failure to do anything with gun control. More…
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Meanwhile, check out the Pennsylvania town that put up “Not a Gun Free Zone” signs.
Cue Barack Hussein Obama’s veto pen of doom. In a 270 to 152 vote Wednesday, the House sent a bill authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to Obama’s desk. The president has warned he would veto the bill because he claims his administration hasn’t had enough time to review the environmental ramifications of the project. And while Obama’s arguments that a congressional authorization violates the separation of powers is rich, coming from the phone ‘n’ pen president, the real reason is that Obama wants to follow the bidding of his Environmental Protection Agency. On the House floor, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) told the chamber, “This is the most federally reviewed pipeline in American history. This is an American issue. Majority of the American people support this. … It’s way past time to say yes.” Unfortunately, when Obama vetoes, Congress doesn’t have the votes to override his veto. This may be the first veto of many from the newly minted president of no. More…
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Now that the House has passed a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security but block Barack Hussein Obama’s executive amnesty, Speaker John Boehner had a short but stern message for Democrat obstructionists who are threatening to prevent its passage in the Senate: “The House has done its job. Why don’t you go ask the Senate Democrats when they are going to get off their a– and do something?” In order to pass, the bill needs the support of 60 senators — a feat that is looking unlikely. “Apparently,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), “the strategy now with the Democrat minority is to block everything over there.” And here the Leftmedia has been telling us that Republicans are the “party of no.”
In other news, while Congress dithers, America has imported two immigrants for every job created since 2000.
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As the Gipper once said, “Trust, but verify.” After a night of talks, France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine worked out a cease-fire agreement that is supposed to take effect this Sunday. For months, Russian President Vladimir Putin has waged a proxy invasion in Ukraine because the country used to be the prized territory of the Soviet Empire. And while the violence that has claimed more than 5,300 lives is set to end, the future is still uncertain for Ukraine. Separatists — proxy Russian troops — made territorial gains since the last cease-fire in September quickly disintegrated. Furthermore, Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw writes, “There are a few things which hold me back from too much optimism here and the first one can be summed up in two words: Vladimir Putin. Any deal with Putin relies on the credibility of his word. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 7,259 times, fire me and get a new negotiator.” In short, Putin wants this territory. He’s going to grasp for it, using troops or statecraft. More…
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Read BO’s Blinding Islamophilia, on Obama’s real religious alliances.
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Barack Hussein Obama submitted to Congress his request for an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on Wednesday. It’s so pathetic and restricted, however, it should be called the Authorization to Avoid Using Force at All Costs.
For the last six months, the Nobel Peace Prize winner has unilaterally justified limited airstrikes against ISIL (Jihadistan) as an extension of George W. Bush’s 2001 AUMF against al-Qaida and his 2002 AUMF against Iraq. But Obama’s new AUMF will repeal the 2002 one. His proposal bars any “enduring offensive combat operations” (using the word “enduring” is clearly a slap at Bush) and it expires after three years. We thought he was bad with senseless timetables before — now he’s setting them before he even gets started.
Obama has done nothing but burn bridges with Republicans, so it isn’t surprising to see resistance from the GOP-controlled Congress, especially that Obama’s AUMF doesn’t go nearly far enough. Naturally, it goes too far for Democrats, who aren’t willing to blindly follow their leader after he led them to a virtual bloodbath in the midterm elections. Besides, they’ve spent too much political energy since 2003 opposing “Bush’s wars” to eagerly defend this one.
“I have directed a comprehensive and sustained strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress, saying his AUMF was needed to “show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by ISIL.” His attempts to show “resolve” — going so far as to name the airstrikes “Operation Inherent Resolve” — are classic propaganda. His only resolve is to avoid putting too many boots on the ground (never mind the boots in the air), and to hinder his successor with a three-year time limit.
It’s clear to friend and foe alike that Obama’s National Security Strategy is one of weakness. To illustrate that, consider some of the results of Obama’s resolve:
Libya is in a state of total anarchy after Obama helped remove Moammar Gadhafi from power with no succession plan. We need only mention Benghazi to illustrate the consequences of that decision.
Egypt succumbed for a time to the Muslim Brotherhood after Obama cast aside our imperfect ally Hosni Mubarak. This week, Egypt made a nuclear reactor deal with Russia, building a cozy relationship that won’t benefit the U.S.
Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad remains in power after Obama declined to enforce his brash red line regarding chemical weapons. Obama asked for an AUMF to attack Assad in 2013, but it wasn’t long before he ultimately abandoned the idea. Now, 20,000 jihadis are pouring into Syria to join ISIL and Obama is sharing airstrike intelligence with Assad through third parties.
Remember when Obama pointed to Yemen as a success story in his foreign policy? Yeah, about that… Just last week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels completed their takeover of Yemen’s pro-American government, and the U.S., Britain and France are closing embassies. ISIL has gained a foothold there, as well.
Three Americans captured by ISIL — James Foley, Steven Sutloff and Kayla Mueller — were killed despite Obama’s rescue attempt. That’s at least partially because he delayed acting on intelligence regarding their whereabouts for at least a month and maybe as long as four months.
U.S. relations with Israel have never been worse. Obama sent campaign henchmen to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu in his upcoming election, and Obama plans to snub the Israeli leader in his upcoming visit to DC.
Oh, and there’s the minor detail that Obama’s decision to wash his hands of Iraq and pull all U.S. troops out created the vacuum currently occupied by ISIL. Previously known as the “JV team,” Obama now says ISIL “poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, in the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners.”
So how resolved is Obama this time?
His spokesman, Josh Earnest agreed with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who called the AUMF language “intentionally fuzzy.” But Earnest explained that’s “because we believe it’s important that there aren’t overly burdensome constraints that are placed on the commander in chief, who needs the flexibility to be able to respond to contingencies that emerge in a chaotic military conflict like this.”
Obama himself described it as not too hot and not too cold, but just right. “This resolution strikes the necessary balance by giving us the flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances,” he said.
That’s Obama-speak for he wins both ways. If the AUMF is granted, then he’ll use it to justify anything and everything. If not, then he’ll blame Republicans frequently and loudly that his hands are tied.
To obfuscate his weakness, he started talking tough: “Our coalition is on the offensive, ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose. … With our allies and partners we are going to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.”
Except he doesn’t have the resolve to do whatever it takes. The U.S. “should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East,” he declared. “The resolution we’ve submitted … does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria. It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq.” As we’ve noted before, Obama’s foreign policy goal is to not be George W. Bush. But for those of us with family members who are active duty military, his ineptitude is a deeply personal offense.
This authorization is nothing but political cover. Obama already has the authority to fight ISIL — a grave and not random threat — but this latest move proves he simply doesn’t want to. If Congress does anything, it should be to pass an unlimited authorization that gives Obama no excuse or cover.
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While it’s debatable whether anything politically good can come out of Chicago, something good came out of the Illinois state capital of Springfield this week. In a blow to the state’s bloated government unions, newly elected Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed an executive order Monday allowing state workers to opt out of paying union dues.
At issue is Illinois’ lack of a “right to work” law, meaning workers can be required to pay either union dues or fees as a condition of employment. As a result, most government employees in Illinois have to dish out part of their paycheck to a union as a condition of getting that paycheck. And even those who refuse to join a union are required to pay “fair share” dues. After all, they “benefit” from union contracts.
Citing First Amendment protections of freedom of speech and association, however, Rauner took issue with this practice, saying compulsory payments to unions require some workers to “subsidize and enable union activities that they do not support,” and he ordered the state “to immediately cease enforcement of the Fair Share Contract Provisions.”
Naturally, unions aren’t taking this well. According to the state’s largest public union, “The governor’s proposal to bar public employees from participating in our democracy would further tilt a playing field weighted heavily in favor of big business and the wealthy.” Of course, participatory democracy has nothing to do with this. Instead, unions are downright petrified they’re going to lose their money.
Public unions play leading roles in the Prairie State’s corruption drama. While collecting forced dues from government workers, unions use the dough to lobby the government for more pay and benefits in a relationship Investor’s Business Daily aptly terms “incestuous.” In fact, The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk notes, “State employees in Illinois make 26 percent more than comparable private sector workers. They enjoy particularly generous retirement benefits.”
Meanwhile, the state’s pension system is the most underfunded in the country, and taxpayers are squeezed, dishing out the second-highest property taxes in the nation in a failed attempt to fund it all.
But it gets even better. To grease the skids, public unions donate heavily to lawmakers’ re-election campaigns, meaning legislators have little impetus to fight union demands. The Illinois Policy Institute reports that between 2002 and 2014, a whopping 86% of state legislators received campaign contributions from government unions, including more than $1 million that went to the state speaker of the house — who also happens to be chairman of the Democrat Party of Illinois.
Of course, this dance doesn’t benefit Illinois residents, who bear the financial brunt of paying for the ongoing rendezvous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state’s economic situation is downright abysmal. While nationwide employment growth from 2003 to 2014 was 7.3%, in Illinois, it was 0.2%. And the state ranks consistently low in business climate, too.
Still, unions aren’t going to take this blow lying down. But proving he’s no dummy, Rauner coupled his executive order with a preemptive lawsuit asking a federal district court to uphold the order. There is precedent, too. In the 2014 Supreme Court case of Harris vs. Quinn, the Court raised the question of whether forced payment of union dues is constitutional.
At the very least, however, Illinois’ public unions are now on the defensive and scrambling to keep the money and power that are their raison d’être. If Rauner’s actions are any indication, though, unions are fighting a losing battle.
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TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Japanese poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694): “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.”
Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “What are the consequences of lying about or exaggerating one’s past or stealing the written work of others? It depends. Punishment is calibrated by the stature of the perpetrator. If the offender is powerful, then misremembering, misstating and misconstruing are considered minor and aberrant transgressions. If not, the sins are called lying and plagiarizing, and deemed a window into a bad soul. Thus a career can be derailed. … Contemporary postmodern thought sees the ‘truth’ as a construct. The social aim of these fantasy narratives is what counts. If they serve progressive race, class and gender issues, then why follow the quaint rules of evidence that were established by an ossified and reactionary establishment? … The Greek word for truth was ‘aletheia’ — literally ‘not forgetting.’ Yet that ancient idea of eternal differences between truth and myth is now lost in the modern age. Our lies become accepted as true, but only depending on how powerful and influential we are – or how supposedly noble the cause for which we lie.”
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FRC president Tony Perkins: “Although it was no secret to anyone who followed Obama’s early career, the candidate-and-later-President was fully on board with same-sex ‘marriage’ from Day 1. Before he was an Illinois senator, the up-and-coming Democrat was clear on a questionnaire about where he stood — only to change his position when it wasn’t politically advantageous. Now, Axelrod is forcing the President out of the closet on his motivations, saying that he deliberately compromised just to advance his career. ‘If Obama’s views were ‘evolving’ publicly,’ they were fully evolved behind closed doors,’ David wrote. … From Benghazi, taxpayer-funded abortion, and ObamaCare to Fast and Furious, religious liberty, and executive authority, it’s become more difficult to find instances when the President has told the truth. The facts are such a foreign concept in this White House that even left-leaning PolitiFact has logged more than four pages of lies from this President. And we wonder why the American people are so cynical about politics! In this case, the President’s ‘evolution’ was a not-so-intelligent design.”
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Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “They say if you can reach the end of a rainbow, you’ll find a pot of settled science. I remember when science was something other than just a fetish of dumb people.”
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