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February 17, 2015
“That experience is the parent of wisdom is an adage, the truth of which is recognized by the wisest as well as the simplest of mankind. What more desirable or more essential than this quality in the governors of nations? Where more desirable or more essential than in the first magistrate of a nation?” –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 72, 1788
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
In response to a suit by 26 states to stop Barack Hussein Obama’s unconstitutional move on immigration, a federal judge issued an injunction, temporarily halting the federal government’s implementation of those immigration fiats. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen blocked Obama’s orders because they would allow immigrants to collect benefits and thus burden the states. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, who led the states in the suit, said of the ruling, “Obama abdicated his responsibility to uphold the United States Constitution when he attempted to circumvent the laws passed by Congress via executive fiat, and Judge Hanen’s decision rightly stops the president’s overreach in its tracks.” Don’t expect the feds to give up easily, as Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest said the Supreme Court already gave the executive branch power to prioritize enforcement, and the Department of Justice will appeal Hanen’s decision. National Review’s Patrick Brennan says this victory may be temporary, as the rest of the court system tends to be neutral or favor Obama on separation of powers issues. But for now, Obama’s decrees are blocked, even if it took half of the state governments and the court system to do it. More…
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Ohio Secretary of State John Husted told Congress last week that Barack Hussein Obama’s amnesty is going to add millions of illegals to the voter rolls. That’s because Obama’s move makes it possible for illegals to obtain Social Security numbers, while several states issue them driver’s licenses. “These are the same documents that federal law requires the states to recognize as valid forms of identification for voter registration,” Husted warned. “There is no way for us to validate [U.S. citizenship], since under the executive actions previously undocumented non-citizens will have access to the same documents as U.S. citizens.” Of course, Obama’s intent was to build an enduring Democrat base of new voters who owe him and his party their allegiance. Investor’s Business Daily wonders, “What kind of country is it that lets those who are not citizens decide who governs those who are? If any foreigner can now vote here, is the United States even a country anymore? If Congress doesn’t stop it soon, de facto enfranchising of illegals will be our road to ruin.” It will certainly tip elections. As Husted testified, in just the last 15 months, some 70 Ohio elections were either tied or decided by a single vote. And the 2000 presidential election was decided by 537 votes in Florida. Now send millions of illegals to the voting booth.
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The Rev. Franklin Graham asked a poignant question following the brutal beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya: What would public reaction be if roles were reversed? “The militant Islamic terrorist group ISIS has released a video called A MESSAGE SIGNED WITH BLOOD TO THE NATION OF THE CROSS showing the beheadings of the 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped in Libya,” Franklin wrote. “Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians? Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world? As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States. … The storm is coming.” Remember, Barack Hussein Obama’s White House statement on the beheadings didn’t even mention the victims were Christians.
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See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. That’s the policy of Barack Hussein Obama’s administration, especially when it comes to denying the reality of Islamic fascism. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf is the latest to explain their alternate reality. “We’re killing a lot of them [ISIL fighters] and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They’re in this fight with us,” she said. “But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war.” On the contrary, wars are won by killing the enemy until they surrender. But Harf wasn’t done with her illusion. She blamed the rise of ISIL on — wait for it — the lack of economic opportunity. “We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, [including the] lack of opportunity for jobs,” she pontificated. “We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.” In a better world, the U.S. would be fighting evil instead of excusing it, and people like Marie Harf would be looking for “job opportunities” in the private sector.
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About four million Americans are going to get hit with IRS fines for not having health insurance this tax season, and congressional Democrats have taken it upon themselves to stop such a travesty. Democrat representatives Sander Levin, Jim McDermott and Lloyd Doggett told the Associated Press they are concerned about the law they passed in 2009 because their constituents may have their tax returns gouged hundreds of dollars by the IRS. Furthermore, nine senators sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services advocating the department to open a special enrollment period. Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the Democrat’s strategy on Feb. 16 when he said, “Here we have congressional Democrats acting like they had nothing to do with this law, that their voters are a bunch of victims of something. … This situation exists because the Democrat Party gave us this bill. The Democrat Party and the Democrat Party alone gave us ObamaCare. There wasn’t a single Republican vote for it.” The Left wants a nanny state utopia but they don’t like the harsh reality that government is an iron rod that will bend subjects to its will. So they will continue to patch ObamaCare every couple years and throw hundreds of millions of dollars at a website on life support in an effort to keep their statist dream alive. More…
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Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is re-introducing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to allow gun owners with concealed carry permits to bring their firearms to any other state with concealed carry laws. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some version of concealed carry in place, but the laws and reciprocity vary significantly from one state to the next — a patchwork that has landed law-abiding citizens in trouble for years.
“The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders,” explained Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home.”
The most prominent recent example of this is the case of Shaneen Allen, a single mother from Pennsylvania threatened with 10 years in jail for inadvertently bringing a concealed gun into New Jersey. Fortunately, sanity prevailed in that instance. But this type of case will only become more common in the coming years now that every state has a concealed carry law and the legal purchase of firearms is on the rise.
Cornyn said his legislation seeks to eliminate these “gotcha moments,” but, naturally, the gun control crowd is warning of the apocalypse.
Michael Bloomberg’s gun-grabbing group, Everytown for Gun Safety, released a report on concealed carry reciprocity, claiming, “Some states do thorough criminal background checks on applicants, while other states have such ineffective permitting systems that they inadvertently issue permits to felons.” Everytown and other anti-Second Amendment groups argue this bill will negate strict gun control laws in favor of states with weaker laws in place.
It’s almost comical to see the Left fly the flag of federalism. Leftist dogma dictates all power belongs to the central government — health care, school lunches, same-sex marriage, etc. But this time they have found a convenient use for states’ rights by arguing that it’s wrong for Washington to establish a uniform system for recognizing the gun laws of other states.
Leftist hypocrisy aside, Cornyn believes such a scenario is not possible under his proposed legislation. The bill upholds laws currently in place in individual states by providing that weapons conceal-carried by one state’s residents must be carried in the same manner as residents in the host state. The legislation also does not allow concealed carry in states that do not allow the practice for their own residents. This last point seems irrelevant considering all states currently have concealed-carry, but it does signal the bill is not designed to roll back or in any way change existing state laws.
The federal government will not be empowered to force a national minimum concealed-carry standard under this bill. It will merely protect state residents from being unduly harassed by other states with stricter concealed carry laws.
The bill likely passes constitutional muster on grounds that no state can violate the rights guaranteed by the Bill of the Rights or the 14th Amendment. But there is a difference of opinion about which constitutional clause is the best vehicle. Some say the Commerce Clause offers the best argument because it is in the federal government’s interest to see that citizens can freely engage in interstate travel and commerce. If citizens fear undue punishment or harassment in certain states because of unreciprocated concealed-carry laws, then travel and commerce between states will be deterred.
The Commerce Clause is too often used to justify ever more regulatory power in the hands of the federal government, and thus many conservatives argue the Full Faith and Credit clause is more appropriate here.
According to the Constitution: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”
Consider a driver’s license. Any state’s driver’s license allows its holder to drive in any other state, subject to the laws of the state in which he or she is driving. Concealed carry reciprocity already works in a similar manner and Cornyn’s bill wouldn’t change that.
The anti-Second Amendment crowd doesn’t want to see Cornyn’s concealed carry reciprocity bill pass because it will further confirm what they already fear — they are losing the gun control fight. A large majority of Americans embrace the right to possess firearms. And it is a right, not a privilege.
The leftist argument that Cornyn’s bill will ultimately lead to a loosening of concealed carry restrictions in certain states is not entirely off base. It may very well do that, since the loosening of gun laws in this country has been trending for at least 20 years with positive results. That trend will likely continue, no matter the fate of Cornyn’s bill.
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It’s a bad day when the Harvard Kennedy School for Business and Government labels your policy a failure and blames it for actually exacerbating a situation. A new study shows the 2010 financial reform law known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act simply made “too big to fail” even bigger and increased the likelihood of greater risk and bailouts.
The paradoxes of bad policy are legend. We’re still living through the “Affordable Care Act” that was supposed to drive health costs down but is instead costing more for everyone. Even the dietary practices meant to eliminate fat consumption are the very reason we’re getting larger.
Likewise, the sweeping law that was supposed to “reform” America’s financial institutions after the 2008 financial panic is proving its critics accurate.
First, named after two of its now-retired proponents, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the law was clearly established on statist principles — the government knows best.
Second, with a grandiose purpose that’s so broad it lacks only the cure to Ebola, the expanse ensured collapse under its own weight. The law’s preamble laid out its lofty goals: “To promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end ‘too big to fail’, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.”
Third, this legislative web came in response to the “Great Recession.” But bad government policies induced the risky behavior in the first place, and beefing up those policies was clearly the wrong solution.
Remember, the most basic goal of Dodd-Frank was to prevent the increasingly prevalent consolidation of banks and lending institutions. However, the Harvard study aggregates hard data demonstrating the destructive effects of these new regulations on small community banks, which were eaten alive by compliance costs that followed a new mountain of regulations. “[Larger] banks are better suited to handle heightened regulatory burdens than are smaller banks,” the study notes, “causing the average costs of community banks to be higher.”
That resulted in many more community banks being swallowed by large ones.
Forbes writer Carrie Sheffield explains, “[T]he number of community banks fell by 40 percent since 1994, and their share of U.S. banking assets fell by more than half — from 41 percent to 18 percent. In contrast, the biggest banks saw their share of assets rise from 18 percent to 46 percent. And while the number of community banks already declined before the crisis, since the second quarter of 2010 — Dodd-Frank’s passage — community banks have lost market share at a rate double what they did between Q2 2006 and Q2 2010: 12 percent vs. 6 percent.”
Study authors Marshall Lux and Robert Greene combed through Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) data to observe, “Community banks service a disproportionately large amount of key segments of the U.S. commercial bank lending market — specifically, agricultural, residential mortgage, and small business loans.”
Despite a 50% decline in total banking assets over the last two decades, community lenders provide 77% of agricultural loans and over 50% of small business loans. These smaller institutions serve as the lifeline of the working-man’s industry.
These smaller banks are critical to farmers, for example, thanks to their ability to personalize loans to fit longer agricultural cycles and weather uncertainties. Larger banks more often reject lending applications or offer stiffer terms.
On the real estate front, the default rate in 2013 for borrowers securing loans for a family residence through a community bank was 3.47%, while larger banks owned a default rate of 10.42%. Those local relationships pay off in the area of accountability.
With the burden of regulation came the hefty price tag. Who’s paying it?
The middle-class consumer is, through reduced bank services and increased fees.
The data is extensive and conclusive: Dodd-Frank is a bad law and should be repealed. The GOP-led legislative branch is moving to “chip away” at the choking regulations. But will the changes benefit the too-big-to-fail banks or work to assist the too-little-to-lobby?
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TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
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OPINION IN BRIEF
British philosopher W. K. Clifford (1845-1879): “It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”
Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “In Obama’s twisted mind, Netanyahu remains ‘problematic’ because he’s about to inject a dose of reality into the president’s fairy tale pursuit of a no-nukes agreement with Iran, despite ten years of failure in that regard. It is a failure also steeped in denial in that it completely ignores the nihilistic imperative that animates the Iranian mullahs. It is their heartfelt belief that they must facilitate the re-emergence of the Twelfth or Hidden Imam, an Islamic second coming that requires a period of worldwide chaos to engender that re-emergence. Obama and his equally myopic ‘allies’ that comprise the P5+1 negotiating team, namely the U.S., Russia, China, the UK, and France, plus Germany, have dismissed that religious imperative as nonsense. … It’s astounding how many Americans have ‘moved past’ 9/11, as if we’re not facing a threat every bit as lethal today, if not more so. Do feckless Western leaders need something akin to that level of carnage to move the military needle? Or will it take a nuke exploding over Western city? Think about that scenario the next time some leftist blowhard talks about how much money we’ve ‘wasted’ fighting Islamic terror. Really? What would it cost to completely re-build Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles — in different locations no less, because of radioactivity? The time for pretense is over. We either wipe out as many Islamists as we can, while we can, or we will pay a price beyond imagining.”
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Columnist Thomas Sowell: “A dean of admissions at Harvard, years ago, said, ‘the question we ask is: how well has this person used the opportunities available to him or her?’ In other words, the issue is seen as which of the competing applicants are more deserving. Since some people have had far better educational opportunities than others, that is supposed to be taken into account in deciding whom to admit. … When Jonas Salk applied to selective Townsend Harris High School in New York, and later to the then-selective City College of New York (CCNY), there might well have been some other student, not quite as academically qualified, who could have been admitted instead, on the basis of having overcome greater handicaps than Jonas Salk had. But the relevant question is: Would that other student have been equally likely to create a vaccine that would banish the scourge of polio? This is not a question of elitism versus egalitarianism. The vanquishing of polio was a boon to millions of people, rich and poor alike, to people of every race, color and creed, in countries around the world. Thank heaven Salk was not kept out of selective educational institutions for the sake of ‘social justice’ to one other individual who could have been admitted in his place.”
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