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Oregon to test pay-per-mile idea as replacement for gas tax

By Gosia Wozniaka     •     My Way News

Gas Can Man at the PumpOregon is about to embark on a first-in-the-nation program that aims to charge car owners not for the fuel they use, but for the miles they drive.

The program is meant to help the state raise more revenue to pay for road and bridge projects at a time when money generated from gasoline taxes are declining across the country, in part, because of greater fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars. [Read more...]

EPA power grab looks like Obamacare redux

by Peter Roff     •     Washington Examiner

epa-logoEveryone remembers former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ill-advised comment that the Affordable Care Act would have to pass so that the American people could find out what was in it. Unfortunately, what should have been a cautionary tale has instead been an object lesson in rulemaking for President Obama’s bureaucracy.

Take, for example, the pending Clean Power Plan, an initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency. If fully implemented, it could lead to the mass shuttering of existing power generation facilities, rolling brownouts, blackouts and a significant increase in electrical rates. [Read more...]

Al-Shabab Aims to Turn Jihad in Somalia into Nationalist War Against Kenya

by Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin

Al-Shabab, the Somalia-based terrorist group, appears to have adopted a new strategy to turn its Islamist war into a nationalist conflict targeting Kenya. Following al-Shabab’s military setbacks at the hands of African Union Mission Somalia (AMSOM) troops deployed to Somalia, the group’s operations may have shifted from tactical battles to spectacular acts of terror against Kenyan civilians.

Al-Shabab has been responsible for several recent operations inside Kenya that have commanded the attention of the world’s media. These terrorist spectaculars have included among others, the Westgate Mall slaughter of September, 2013; the killing of bus passengers in the Mandera District of the Northern Province in November, 2014; the assassination of quarry workers near Koromey township on 2 December 2014; and the mass murder of students in the area’s Garissa District in early April of this year. [Read more...]

Why Stephanopoulos tarnished his credibility by hiding his Clinton Foundation donations

by Howard Kurtz     •     Fox News

For 18 years, George Stephanopoulos has tried to leave behind his political past as a Clinton Democrat and establish himself as an unbiased journalist at ABC News.

Now he’s cast a dark shadow over that very question.

By donating $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and failing to disclose it, Stephanopoulos has committed an awful blunder. He has handled the story badly. And ABC is giving him a pass. [Read more...]

For Folks Who Just Love Suppressing Free Speech

By Charles Lipson     •     RealClearPolitics

Free speechThe Canadian government of Stephen Harper has a fascinating idea. Use hate-crime laws against groups that advocate boycotting Israel.

It’s a terrible idea. I love it.

It’s terrible because we should protect varied political views, not suppress them. That includes unpopular views and sacrilegious drawings. The only exceptions should be speech that threatens physical harm and does so directly and plausibly. [Read more...]

Pay No Attention to the Aspiring Transnational Behemoth Behind the Curtain

Behind_curtain

By Shawn Macomber Lawfare Tyranny

Perhaps you’ve been concerned about the International Criminal Court because of the shamelessly selective enforcement of its purported mission. Or the rent-seeking tendencies hardwired into its DNA. Or its unjust inefficiencies. Or the vast, profound, and seemingly endemic waste of financial resources that could be put to better use by a host of NGOs elsewhere.

Well, University of Arizona professor and Divided Sovereignty: International Institutions and the Limits of State Sovereignty author Carmen Pavel is here to sweep those piddling trepidations away with a single Oxford University blog post in which she accuses Court opponents of attempting to “evoke dark forebodings of a global leviathan.”

Which is apparently ridiculous…

[I]nstitutions such as the ICC and others whose task would be to protect the most basic level of physical security, such as a stronger policing and enforcement agency, are unlikely to turn into a global government, with the power to create zoning laws, welfare reform, or the right to holidays with pay.

Got that? Until the ICC is actively fiddling with your beloved local zoning ordinances, pay no attention to the aspiring transnational behemoth behind the curtain.

And why?

[Read more...]

The Left’s Silencing of College Campuses

By Kirsten Powers     •     The Daily Beast

FreeSpeech_first amendmentThe root of nearly every free-speech infringement on campuses across the country is that someone—almost always a liberal—has been offended or has sniffed out a potential offense in the making. Then, the silencing campaign begins. The offender must be punished, not just for justice’s sake, but also to send the message to anyone else on campus that should he or she stray off the leftist script, they too might find themselves investigated, harassed, ostracized, or even expelled. If the illiberal left can preemptively silence opposing speakers or opposing groups— such as getting a speech or event canceled, or denying campus recognition for a group—even better.

In a 2014 interview with New York magazine, comedian Chris Rock told journalist Frank Rich that he had stopped playing college campuses because of how easily the audiences were offended. [Read more...]

U.S. Emergency-Room Visits Keep Climbing

By Stephanie Armour     •     Wall Street Journal

Emergency-room visits continued to climb in the second year of the Affordable Care Act, contradicting the law’s supporters who had predicted a decline in traffic as more people gained access to doctors and other health-care providers.

A survey of 2,098 emergency-room doctors conducted in March showed about three-quarters said visits had risen since January 2014. That was a significant uptick from a year earlier, when less than half of doctors surveyed reported an increase. The survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians is scheduled to be published Monday. [Read more...]

Media Gives President a Pass Again

The media has by and large given President Obama’s failed Afghanistan policy a pass—just as it has his larger foreign policy missteps.

by Walter Russell Mead     •     The American Interest

Media Bias - ObamaOnce again, be very glad we don’t have a Republican president right now. If we did, we would be treated to a merciless media pounding, night-and-day, on the series of strategic failures, mistakes and false starts that have characterized America’s war strategy in Afghanistan since 2009. We’d be getting constant reminders of how the President, who repeatedly said that this was a just war that America had to win, and who told us that we should vote for him because he wouldn’t let anything distract him from the vital task of winning said war, hasn’t managed to win it, or even end it, after six long years. [Read more...]

No Escape: How The International Criminal Court Will Impact the 2016 U.S. Presidential Race

unnamed-2By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny

Over at The Washington Times today Center for Freedom and Prosperity President Andrew F. Quinlan presents the International Criminal Court as Exhibit A in his case for why, despite the fact that Americans “spare little mind for the goings-on of international organizations,” the activities of these aspiring transnational behemoths nonetheless will “not only have significant impact around the world, but could also play a role in the upcoming electoral contest.”

After noting a few of the same foundational flaws in the ICC’s mission that we have covered in detail in this space, Quinlan writes:

The United States chooses not to participate in the ICC, but that doesn’t mean its actions have no bearing on U.S. interests. Given the history of the Court’s involvement in ongoing conflicts and the negative results it can produce, the next president will have to keep a close eye on the current investigation and any potential proceedings that emerge from it.

He goes on to righteously excoriate the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), before tying the whole room together with this final warning:

The President of the United States is often called the leader of the free world. Increasingly, however, U.S. Presidents are watching from the outside as major world events are decided by unelected global bureaucrats. Whether they want to address the undertakings of these international organizations or not, the candidates vying to be the next president may similarly find that the decision is out of their hands.

Read the whole damning piece here.

‘Irreversible’ Arctic Ice Loss Seems To Be Reversing Itself

by Michael Batasch     •     Daily Caller

ice ship climate change global warmingFor years, scientists have been warning the Arctic was in a “death spiral” and could soon be ice-free during the summertime and shrink to unprecedented levels due to man-made global warming. Such ice loss could be “irreversible,” some scientists claimed.

But new research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography says that predictions of an ice-free Arctic are based on “oversimplified” theories. Scripps researchers, who were co-funded by the Navy, found that the Arctic sea ice may be “substantially more stable than has been suggested in previous idealized modeling studies.” [Read more...]

Eric Holder’s Legacy

by Gregg Jarrett     •     Fox News

HolderEric Holder is now the former attorney general of the United States. Which invites the question: what will his legacy be as America’s top law enforcement officer?

I suspect history will find our eighty-second attorney general more reviled than revered.

When he looked in the mirror, Holder seemed to see the visage of Bobby Kennedy –a champion of civil rights. His detractors, and there were many, saw someone who more closely resembled John Mitchell, Nixon’s political hatchet man who, as attorney general, did his boss’s bidding, covered it up and went to prison. [Read more...]

VA Reform Stalled by Lack of Accountability

by Pete Hegseth     •     RealClearPolitics

POW_veterans affairs_VA scandal_We now know without a doubt what it means when a scandal-ridden government agency pledges accountability for corrupt and underperforming employees: It’s an empty promise.

That’s the conclusion we can draw from the minuscule number of employees fired from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) a year after a nationwide patient scheduling scandal was exposed.

The question now is, what will it take to get the VA and the Obama administration to take their responsibilities to veterans seriously? [Read more...]

The ICC Runs Into the World’s Largest Powder House Waving A Torch

ICC 1By Shawn Macomber • Lawfare Tyranny

Over at the Daily Beast Andrew Novak lays out a persuasive list of reasons why Palestine is “unlikely to see results from an [International Criminal Court] prosecution for many years, if ever.”

“Palestine’s referral to the ICC is fraught with risks,” Novak writes. “The ICC may prosecute all parties to a conflict, and that includes Palestinian crimes as well as Israeli ones. The allegations that Hamas fighters used human shields and fired unstable rockets at civilian areas, if proven, almost certainly constitute war crimes. By contrast, allegations against Israel are much more complex, and largely matters of proportion: for instance, whether the Israeli military provided sufficient warning before attacking residential buildings or caused excessive collateral damage pursuing low-level Hamas fighters. The legality of Israeli settlements is the most complex question of all — and not one that the ICC Prosecutor or judges are well-placed to answer as experts in criminal law. This would be a mess.”

A mess? Business as usual for the ICC then!

Obviously Fatah leadership must have gamed out something approximating these scenarios.

So why proceed?

[Read more...]

Don’t Import Canada’s Ideas on Health Care

by Sally Pipes     •     RealClearPolitics

obamacare-obama-government-inefficientMove aside, maple syrup. Canada has a hot new export — single-payer health care.

The New York State Assembly may soon consider legislation that would switch the Empire State to a Canadian-style single-payer system. Maine has expressed interest in doing the same.

So has Congress. Earlier this year, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced a bill to create government-run insurance programs in every Obamacare exchange.

Our northern neighbor’s admirers should consult its history. Nearly fifty years ago, Canada charged a youthful chief executive with a massive overhaul of its healthcare system — just as the United States has today. Canada now has a half-century of proof that government-dominated healthcare systems force patients to wait interminably long times for subpar treatment. [Read more...]