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Does Obama Believe What He Says Anymore?

State_of_Union

by Ron Fournier     *     NationalJournal

President Obama ended his State of the Union address where he started his political ascent—offering to be a leader who produces can-do bipartisanship in a divided, dysfunctional capital.

“Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns,” he told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. “Imagine if we did something different.”

Yes, imagine if rather than empty promises, the president could report two-party progress on big issues like immigration, climate change, social mobility, and the debt and deficit. [Read more...]

Loretta Lynch Nomination Deserves Scrutiny

Lynch Coalition LogoDear Mr. Chairman:

We write to you today to express our concerns that Loretta Lynch, the President’s nominee for attorney general of the United States, and prosecutors in her employ in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, may have violated the rights of crime victims while making plea deals with defendants in so-called “white collar” cases. We believe that this is emblematic of a larger problem – to wit, the failure of the executive branch to enforce laws as written, and indeed the deliberate circumvention of the laws as written.

The issue is of respect for the law. For example, under federal sentencing law, specifically the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, restitution is “mandatory” as to defendants who are sentenced for certain designated crimes. The statute, 18 U.S.C. 3663A(a)(1) begins, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law….” a defendant who is convicted of certain crimes must have a sentence of restitution imposed. In Dolan v. United States, 560 U.S. 605, the Supreme Court held in 2010 that sentencing errors or omissions that result in a failure to award restitution may later be corrected, so holding because Congress made its intent clear when it used that language, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law.”  But it appears to be the pattern and practice in the Eastern District to allow cooperators to keep the money they’ve pled guilty to stealing, in exchange for “good” cooperation. [Read more...]

Obama Blows Smoke

by Fred Barnes     •     The Weekly Standard

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonWe know that supply-side economics emphasizes serious cuts in tax rates and Keynesianism relies on massive amounts of government spending. But how in the world does “middle class economics” work? After President Obama cited it repeatedly in State of the Union speech, I waited and waited for him to explain how it works. He never did.

Instead, he confused a cause with a result. Middle class economics, he said, “is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not an economic policy. [Read more...]

To Call This Threat by Its Name

By Marine Le Pen     •     The New York Times

Syria Muslim Brotherhood Al-Qaeda“To misname things is to add to the world’s unhappiness.” Whether or not Albert Camus really did utter these words, they are an astonishingly apt description of the situation in which the French government now finds itself. Indeed, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius no longer even dares pronounce the real name of things.

Mr. Fabius will not describe as “Islamists” the terrorists who on Wednesday, Jan. 7, walked into the offices of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo, right in the heart of Paris. Nor will he use “Islamic State” to describe the radical Sunni group that now controls territory in Syria and Iraq. No reference can be made to “Islamic fundamentalism,” for fear that Islam and Islamism might get conflated. The terms “Daesh” and “Daesh cutthroats” are to be favored instead, even though in Arabic “Daesh” means the very thing to be hidden: “Islamic State.” [Read more...]

Planning the Next Obamacare Offensive

Republicans recently mapped out possible moves in light of a Supreme Court case on deck this summer.

By John Fund     •     National Review Online

obamacare-2It’s a bit surprising that Jay Leno showed up last week as the entertainment at the first joint Senate–House Republican congressional retreat in decades. While Leno, the 64-year-old former host of NBC’s Tonight Show, was scrupulously non-partisan in his jibes and jabs, he added a touch of Hollywood flash to the serious discussions on budgets and bills. His favorite jokes involved Obamacare: “I’m telling you this Obamacare is getting serious and painful. I went in for a prostate exam the other day, and it was conducted by a government drone.”

If any topic dominated the three-day congressional retreat (held in America’s “Chocolate City” of Hershey, Pa.), it was indeed Obamacare — specifically, how both houses of Congress should handle a consistently unpopular program that President Obama nonetheless intends to preserve as a crowning legacy of his administration. [Read more...]

Nuclear Coercion

by Peter Huessy

Nuclear DisarmamentCutting $70 billion over the next ten years from America’s nuclear deterrent is the goal of a number of proponents of global zero. The cut would be equal to roughly 25% of all planned nuclear deterrent expenditures. The idea is to delay building a new dual capable strategic bomber while also cutting the number of nuclear submarines to replace the current Ohio class boomers. In both cases, the arms control enthusiasts pushing such policies are missing the boat–their budget numbers do not add up and their strategic thinking is off base. [Read more...]

Obama: Charlie Who?

by Charles Krauthammer     •     The Washington Post

Obama 102On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as the New York Times put it, “reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities.”

Again? Already? Had not 4 million marchers and 44 foreign leaders just turned out on the streets of France to declare “No” to intimidation, and pledging solidarity, indeed identification (“Je suis Charlie”) with a satirical weekly specializing in the most outrageous and often tasteless portrayals of Muhammad? [Read more...]

Shunning ObamaCare

Of my company’s 5,453 eligible employees, only 420 actually enrolled. The other 5,033 opted to pay a penalty.

by Andy Puzder     •     The Wall Street Journal

ObamaCare Side EffectsAmong the Affordable Care Act’s many economic and political disruptions, the law has unintentionally encouraged employers to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs. ObamaCare mandates that employers offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, or pay a penalty up to $3,000 an employee. But employers have no such obligation for employees who work less than 30 hours a week, making part-time employment less costly.

It’s a simple fact: Make something more expensive and people will use less of it; make something less expensive and they will use more of it. So naturally employee hours have been reduced, particularly in the retail segment, which has lowered wages and reduced consumer spending. [Read more...]

4 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Obama Snubbed Paris

by Mollie Hemingway     •     The Federalist

Smug-ObamaOn Sunday, millions of people rallied in France in a show of unity for Western political freedoms and against Islamist extremism. World leaders from dozens of other countries came to Paris, the site of the largest rally, in a show of solidarity and strength in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter and the murderous siege of a Kosher supermarket. The United States didn’t send a high-ranking delegation and the absence was noted by American media and concerned critics of the Obama administration.

Some simply wanted the United States to formally acknowledge the shock and horror France dealt with last week, as well as our shared efforts in the fight for liberty. Others hoped a strong U.S. presence would indicate our strong adherence to democratic values and, as Peggy Noonan put it, “to demonstrate the shared understanding that the massacre may amount to a tipping point, whereby those who protect and put forward Western political values will insist upon them in their sphere and ask their Muslim fellow citizens to walk side by side with them in shared public commitment.” [Read more...]

Climate Alarmists Warm It Up

They overcook the evidence of 2014 to support their shaky predictions of global warming.

by Rupert Darwall     •     National Review Online

Climate Change Fairtales

The year 2014 had scarcely expired before being declared the warmest year on record. First off was the Japan Meteorological Agency. The year 2014 surpassed 1998 to set a new record by all of five one hundredths of one degree Centigrade, according to the agency’s preliminary numbers. Then Britain’s Met Office announced that 2014 was the warmest year in the 355 years of the Central England Temperature series.

Each year, global-warming adherents anticipate an El Niño (a strong warming phase in the Pacific) as the physical manifestation of global warming’s Second Coming to herald the end of the barren years of flat-lining global temperatures. The Center for American Progress’s Joe Romm called the 2014 record doubly impressive. As Romm noted, “We’re still waiting for the start of El Niño” but got a temperature record nonetheless. [Read more...]

Liar’s Remorse and Obamacare

Democrats have second thoughts about Obamacare

by William Voegeli     •      The Weekly Standard

Obamacare fraud

In the Time magazine issue published after the 2008 election—whose cover depicted Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt—Peter Beinart anticipated a new “era of liberal hegemony” that would last until “Sasha and Malia have kids.”

President Obama is not yet a grandfather, but his era of liberal hegemony only appears to have lasted months, not decades. Photoshopping gave Obama the pince-nez and cigarette holder that were FDR’s trademarks but could not conjure the startling congressional majorities of the 1930s. The Depression and New Deal left Republicans discredited, irrelevant, and shattered. GOP House and Senate majorities of 62 percent and 58 percent, respectively, after the 1928 election shrank to caucuses of 20 percent and 17 percent after 1936. Under Obama the trajectory has been the opposite: Republicans have gone from 41 percent of the House seats after the 2008 election to 57 percent after 2014 and from 40 senators to 54. [Read more...]

Unlocking the Potential

The Keystone XL pipeline is our best bet for a secure energy future.

By Peter Roff     •     U.S. News

keystone-xl-pipelineA decision handed down Friday by the Nebraska Supreme Court allows the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward.

It’s long overdue. The pipeline is a needed addition to the U.S. energy infrastructure that will do much to help America reduce its dependence on energy sources produced in politically volatile regions of the world. In the interim, its construction will lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs in vital industries, the kind some politicians like to call “good jobs and good wages.” [Read more...]

A Man Without Peer

Martin Anderson, a key adviser to Ronald Reagan, leaves behind a lasting legacy.

By Peter Roff     •     U.S. News

reaganfarewellAs an economist and political scientist, Martin Anderson was a man without peer. A senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution since 1971, he did much to advance the cause of freedom as expressed in his love of big ideas.

Many credit the case he made against mandatory conscription inside the White House as a special assistant to former President Richard Nixon as an invaluable, perhaps even decisive contribution to the campaign to end the draft, which Nixon did in 1973 as the war in Vietnam was winding down.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Anderson was a key adviser to Ronald Reagan, helping him formulate a successful economic policy that permitted the liberation of American capital through tax cuts that, when combined with declining interest rates and a stable monetary policy, triggered an economic boom that led the world out of a long recession and laid the groundwork for the West’s ultimate victory in the Cold War. [Read more...]

Executive Dysfunction

President Obama has done next to nothing to build confidence in government.

by James Bennet     •     The Atlantic

Obama defeatedIt’s happened by this point in every modern two-term presidency: If we weren’t sick of the guy to start with, we certainly are by now. What once seemed like roguish charm, or bracing surety, or nuanced intelligence, has curdled into self-indulgence, or arrogance, or passivity. Voters punish the president in the midterms; congressmen investigate him; political journalists, eager to cultivate sources in the coming campaigns, save all their nice adjectives for the presidents-in-waiting, and their aides. [Read more...]

Harvard Faculty Crimson Over Obamacare-Influenced Health Plan Changes

Harvard profs helped design Obamacare—and now that the reform is hitting university health plans, their colleagues are furious.

John Allen Gay     •     The National Interest

Obamacare NeedleWilliam F. Buckley famously proclaimed that he’d “rather be governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.” Buckley’s point was that the common man can be wiser, for he can’t stray far from common sense without suffering, while the intellectual is in danger of burying his common sense under abstract theories and well-footnoted daydreams.

But sometimes even the thickest clouds of pure reason can’t mask reality forever. Sometimes the elite cannot insulate themselves from the common man’s reality. They get a rude awakening, and suddenly the common man and his common sense sound a lot more sensible. The two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard, to adapt Buckley’s phrase, suddenly start to talk a lot like the first two thousand names in the Boston phone book. [Read more...]