Not too many years ago, many optimistically argued that the world was becoming, or would shortly become, a safer place. They said the United States had “reset” its relationship with Russia. It was argued that sanctions and diplomacy would stop Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons and Islamic State forces had yet to sweep the Middle East and destabilize Syria and Iraq. New leadership, they said, would make us more popular around the globe and thus less at risk. In that unrealistically optimistic climate, our national resolve to develop, build and maintain a robust missile defense seemed to wane. Recent events demonstrate the fallacy of that unrealistic and naively optimistic view. [Read more...]
In just a few short weeks control of the United States Senate floor will pass from the Democrats to the Republicans. This single fact means the political pressure that typically accompanies a post-election “Lame Duck” congressional session will be atypically acute.
There’s a lot to do and precious little time in which to do it, meaning members of both parties in both chambers will need to prioritize. The time for partisan gamesmanship is over; practical policymaking concerns need to take the wheel.
In particular Congress needs to handle in a deliberative fashion those pending pieces of legislation that directly affect the nation’s national defense, its economic health, and the ability to create jobs and raise living standards that are set to expire at year’s end.
There are many pieces of legislation that fit the bill in one category or more – and very few that apply to all. One is the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, a law that passed with strong bipartisan support in the period after 9/11 and which is set to expire at year’s end.
If TRIA is allows to lapse, it would make it nearly impossible for commercial brokers to continue to offer terrorism insurance, something that has become essential in the post-bin Laden economy. [Read more...]
Why nuclear deterrent modernization is critical to our longterm security.
The newest from the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus (“Old Nukes and Old Thinking”, The Washington Post, November 17, 2014), on why nuclear deterrent modernization is not needed is that the nukes we have are old and so is our nuclear strategy.
He claims both modernization and our strategy can be safely jettisoned.
His primary reasoning is that we nuclear strategists continue to labor under what he considers the absurd assumption that we adopted during the Cold War that the Soviets might initiate an attack with their nuclear weapons, a “first strike” and thus we– the United States– had to build “more” [obviously unneeded!] weapons to survive such a strike, which in turn necessitated the scared Soviets to build more warheads in response. Thus the “arms race”.
He concludes his essay by asserting that while President Putin’s recent behavior is warlike, it should not worry us because it does not “rise to the nuclear level”.
My goodness, this guy must have missed most of the last 69 years of the nuclear age. [Read more...]
by Peter Roff • The Hill
In just a few weeks control of the United States Senate floor passes from the Democrats to the Republicans. Because of this, the political pressure that typically accompanies a post-election “Lame Duck” congressional session will be atypically acute.
There’s a lot to do and precious little time in which to do it. Members of both parties in both chambers need to prioritize. The time for partisan gamesmanship is over; practical policymaking concerns need to take center stage.
Congress needs to handle in a deliberative fashion those pieces of legislation pending that directly affect the nation’s national defense, its economic health, and the ability to create jobs and raise living standards that are set to expire at year’s end.
There are many pieces of legislation that fit the bill in one category or more – and very few that apply to all. One is the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, a law that passed with strong bipartisan support in the period after 9/11 and which is set to expire on December 31. [Read more...]
As Jonathan Gruber knows, the health-care law is a tax machine. The ‘Cadillac’ levy will hit the middle class and hit it hard.
by Tevi Troy • Wall Street Journal
Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, is making himself a household name, and not in a good way. A series of videos have emerged in recent days showing Mr. Gruber—an architect of the Affordable Care Act—telling college audiences that major parts of the law were designed purposely to mask its true cost to individual Americans.
As Mr. Gruber put it, speaking last year at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”
One example cited by Mr. Gruber is the so-called Cadillac tax, as the ObamaCare excise tax on high-value employer health plans is known. The tax, which he helped devise and will take effect in 2018, imposes a 40% levy on individual health plans worth more than $10,200, and on family plans worth more than $27,500. As Mr. Gruber’s remarks were unearthed last week, economist Mark Wilson and I released a study of the excise tax that shows he is right about its deceptive design. The tax is likely to hit many people who don’t have high-end coverage. [Read more...]
Frontiers of Freedom is a strong supporter of property rights (including intellectual property rights). Property rights encourage individuals and businesses to innovate and invest in new ideas and technologies. We all win when property rights are respected. So where can you find your favorite movies and shows online and be sure that they are not illegal pirated copies?
The Motion Picture Association of America has launched a new search engine called “Where To Watch” (WhereToWatch.com). This new tool gives consumers a free, simple, and comprehensive way to search every known legitimate platform for movies and TV shows. No more searching 35 different places to find what you’re looking for. It is all at one simple-to-use website. And its free. We encourage everyone to use this tool. Not only will you protect yourself from unsavory and illegal websites that plant viruses on your computer and invade your privacy, but you’ll be supporting and encouraging your favorite artists, actors and film studios to continue making the entertainment that you love. [Read more...]
When your agenda requires outright lies and purposeful deception, it is time to reevaluate your agenda.
by Kyle Smith • New York Post
Damn Americans. They just don’t see the wisdom of surrendering to experts the power they need to remake the country into a progressive paradise.
Sighing with regret, liberals like Jonathan Gruber admit that they’re forced to hoodwink the citizens. For their own good.
Gruber, the MIT economist who (in the words of The New York Times) “put together the basic principles of” ObamaCare and helped Congress “draft the specifics of the legislation” is one of a long line of liberals driven by the belief that the stupidity of the American people is so insurmountable that persuasion is futile.
Liberalism: the place where compassion blurs into condescension.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass,” Gruber said, in a newly unearthed 2013 video that went viral last week. [Read more...]
The Affordable Care Act has been a disaster for Americans and for the party that imposed it on America.
by Burke Beu • Wall Street Journal
I grew up in a Democratic family. I have been a registered Democrat since age 18, a Democratic candidate for statewide office in Colorado and a party precinct captain in that caucus state. I’ve volunteered for numerous Democratic candidates and contributed to party causes and campaigns. The 2014 election results were extremely disappointing for me, but hardly a surprise.
I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, then lost my job in the Great Recession. I was lucky; my brother lost his job and his house. I survived on part-time jobs while paying out-of-pocket for my health insurance.
I voted for President Obama again in 2012, then received a cancellation notice for my health insurance. This was due to ObamaCare, the so-called Affordable Care Act. However, I couldn’t afford anything else. [Read more...]
by Charles Krauthammer • Washington Post
It’s not exactly the Ems Dispatch (the diplomatic cable Bismarck doctored to provoke the 1870 Franco-Prussian War). But what the just-resurfaced Gruber Confession lacks in world-historical consequence, it makes up for in world-class cynicism. This October 2013 video shows MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, a principal architect of Obamacare, admitting that, in order to get it passed, the law was made deliberately obscure and deceptive. It constitutes the ultimate vindication of the charge that Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.” This was no open-mic gaffe. It was a clear, indeed enthusiastic, admission to an academic conference of the mendacity underlying Obamacare.
First, Gruber said, the bill’s authors manipulated the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which issues gold-standard cost estimates of any legislative proposal: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes.” Why? Because “if CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” And yet, the president himself openly insisted that the individual mandate — what you must pay the government if you fail to buy health insurance — was not a tax. [Read more...]
by Peter Huessy (An address to the Precision Strike Association and the National Defense Industrial Association, at the Johns Hopkins University, October 21, 2014)
A year ago, in trying to make the case for a much diminished role in foreign affairs for the United States, a well known conservative institute in Washington argued our current policies were still linked to our perception of the then Soviet Cold War threat, not the new realities of today.
They even argued: “Soviet war plans for Europe that are now public were primarily defensive; they assumed Soviet forces would be responding to a NATO attack.”
Their claim was two-fold: Not only were they claiming our policy today was based on a threat that no longer existed, but the threat we thought existed during the Cold War was in their view equally bogus. [Read more...]
ISIS-led anti-government Sunni Islam coalition troops have virtually surrounded Baghdad. Iraq’s largest province, al-Anbar, is almost totally occupied by anti-regime forces. Only a portion of Fallujah remains outside of occupation by the ISIS-led resistance. Following enemy takeover of Hit, regular Iraqi units fell back into a defensive posture at al-Asad, the largest military facility in Anbar. Several key population centers to the north and northeast have also fallen. Enemy gains last month north of Baghdad prompted U.S. aircraft bombing sorties previously unnecessary to the north. Since June, the central government also has lost ground east of the capital, with Diyala Province barely remaining under Shia control. After the collapse of government forces in Hillah, south of the capital and the enemy’s mid-June seizures of Iskandariyah and Mahmoudiyah, barely six miles south of the Baghdad, routes to Iraq’s Shia heartland now also have been jeopardized. [Read more...]
by Peter Huessy • Gatestone
What the Ploughshares Fund is actually doing with its proposed budget cuts, it appears, is trying to camouflage the objectives of permanently disarming America of key parts of its nuclear capability.
Describing the U.S. nuclear force structure as a “Cold War relic” says nothing about whether the force is still needed. Oddly, the nuclear cuts being proposed do not require any reciprocal Russian reductions.
Cutting $20 billion a year from the current U.S. nuclear deterrent would require killing all modernization, plus all the work of extending the life of nuclear warheads. In 20 years, the U.S. would be left with no effective nuclear deterrent, while China, Russia and North Korea are modernizing their nuclear deterrents across the board.
“You have to invent a ‘Dragon’ to slay.” — U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, explaining how to kill defense programs.
In Washington, a delay often has the same impact as killing a program.
It has been 33 years since the U.S. last embarked on a nuclear modernization program. [Read more...]
by Stephen F Hayes • The Weekly Standard
At the end of his opening statement at the traditional postelection presidential press conference, Barack Obama offered this assurance: “I continue to believe we are simply more than just a collection of red and blue states,” he said. “We are the United States.”
Those words were a deliberate echo of the memorable keynote address he delivered a decade ago at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. They were powerful then because his passionate delivery suggested he deeply believed them, and because many Americans wanted to believe them, too. [Read more...]
BILL O’REILLY: Obamacare. Now you heard the MIT guy [Jonathan] Gruber saying, you know what? We conned everybody. They weren’t paying attention. They don’t really care. And it’s not what it was sold as. And you say?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This is exactly what conservatives have been saying for four years, what we’re hearing now is the true voice of liberal arrogance. They believe this. They believe that the voters are stupid, as he said. And they believe that they know the right way, they have to lead the masses to the promised land and they can only do it by deception. And that’s what he said openly. We wanted to get the bill. We didn’t care about how we did it so we lied about everything. We lied about if you can keep the plan knowing that you can’t keep your plan. We lied about the fact that this would be a transfer of wealth, a massive transfer of wealth because, as Gruber said, had they known that, it would never have passed. They lied about every aspect of this. And I think that is what has been charged all along and it is a scandal of the media that this has to be discovered in the sixth year of the presidency rather than talked about at the time when it was obvious they were lying about all this. The idea of it being a transfer of wealth was known from the beginning, but they got away with it.
O’REILLY: But really they didn’t get away with it because the new Congress is going to gut the bill, and if there’s a new president who is a Republican — and I even think if Hillary Clinton is elected president, they’ll have to redo Obamacare because they’re going to tie it around her neck, particularly in a debate situation, around Mrs. Clinton’s neck. Are you supporting this? Would you change it? Tell us how. So I don’t thing Obamacare is going to last a long time in this country, Charles.
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I don’t either. I do think probably the fatal blow will come from the Supreme Court. That’s the key thing. In June we will get a ruling on whether the government is allowed to offer subsidies from the federal Obamacare exchange. Without that, it collapses.
By John Avlon • CNN
Editor’s note: John Avlon is a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He is co-editor of the book “Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns.” He is a regular contributor to “Erin Burnett OutFront” and is a member of the OutFront Political Strike Team. For more political analysis, tune in to “Erin Burnett OutFront” at 7 ET weeknights.
Everybody knows the Republican Party is basically an all-white bastion, right? After all, even Colin Powell condemned the “dark vein of intolerance” that has flowed through his party since the post-civil rights era political realignment.
Now with President Barack Obama leading the Democrats into a second term — buoyed by overwhelming victory margins among African-Americans and Hispanics — it’s clear the GOP has some serious catching up to do. [Read more...]
A recent study conducted by NetNames found that in one month alone more than 430 million unique Internet users sought or downloaded copyright infringing music, movies, book, and other materials. This industrial scale theft chills creativity, innovation and investment by depriving creators of a market based return on their investments.. So how do these cyber-thieves steal music, movies, books, and other materials? One tool that is growing in popularity is the shadowy cyberlocker which is designed to sell, not store stolen content.
With so much attention to the “cloud” in today’s online world, it is important that we distinguish between the legitimate cloud storage services like DropBox, Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud, to name only a few. These services allow consumers to store, share, backup, and access data. The so-called cyberlocker business model is very different. Cyberlockers incent users to upload stolen files that are copyrighted and which they have no right to distribute, and then profit by selling subscriptions and advertising. The fact that they pay nothing for the product they sell allows them to enjoy profit margins approaching 90%.
The cyberlocker model is predicated on theft and distribution of stolen property. [Read more...]