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  • We are proud to announce that the 2014 Ronald Reagan Gala will honor Gary Sinise. For over thirty … [more]

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Legalization by Edict

border security_immigration_illegals_obamaby Yuval Levin

Many people in Washington seem to be talking about the prospect of the president unilaterally legalizing the status of several million people who entered the country illegally as though it were just another political question. But if reports about the nature of the executive action he is contemplating are right, it would be by far the most blatant and explosive provocation in the administration’s assault on the separation of powers, and could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.

I am more open to some form of amnesty than most people around here, I suspect, though the form I could support (as part of a deal that included more serious border control and visa enforcement) would involve legalization short of full citizenship, for reasons well articulated by Peter Skerry here. But the question of how to address the complicated problem of the status of the more than 10 million people who are in our country without legal authorization is a matter for the political system as a whole to address. [Read more...]

Big Government Is Bad for the Little Guy

big governmentby Kevin D. Williamson

I recently had a conversation with an intensely conservative businessman whose first foray into politics was fighting for a tax hike on his business and others like it. The little town where he lived as a young man had no paved roads, waterworks, or sewage facilities, and the men who had the most invested in the town knew that it needed these to grow, which of course it did. That’s part of what Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren are referring to with their “you didn’t build that” rhetoric, though they draw the wrong conclusions. They are also sometimes wrong in the specifics, too: The gentleman I was speaking with organized a few other businessmen to install streetlights at their own expense, with the understanding that the town fathers would pay them back when they could afford it. If you’re looking for an example of how small government is good government, a handshake deal to put in streetlights is a pretty good one. That is government at a scale that people can control, manage — and keep an eye on. [Read more...]

Missteps in Gaza: Obama’s Misguided Cease-fire

 John Kerry United Nations UN Cease Fireby Dr. Laurie Ann Mylroie

President Obama’s handling of the Gaza conflict marks a sharp break with his attitude toward other Middle East conflicts, as well as the policies of previous U.S. presidents. In contrast to Obama’s lethargic and indifferent response toward such calamities as the Syrian regime’s serial massacres of its own population or threats like the Islamic State’s consolidation of control over large swathes of Iraq and Syria, Obama is exercised about the conflict in Gaza, and he has shocked Israelis across the political spectrum with his demand—made Sunday in a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu—for an “immediate, unconditional, humanitarian” cease-fire. However, a cease-fire for whatever purpose has a determining impact on the military situation, and the cease-fire Obama demanded would have stopped the Israelis from achieving a key objective—the destruction of Hamas’ “terror tunnels.” [Read more...]

The Missiles of July

missile-defenseby Peter Huessy

In the last month, Hamas has now launched over 2000 rockets at Israel with Tel Aviv shooting down roughly 90% of those aimed at Israeli population centers. While the US need not fear a terrorist group launching rockets at Boston or Seattle from our northern neighbor Canada, missiles launched from the contiguous maritime regions around the United States or from terrorist sponsoring states such as North Korea or Iran or for that matter Russia or China, need to be intercepted as those threats are very real. [Read more...]

An Iron Dome for America?

What Americans should learn from Israel’s missile-defense system

Missile Defenseby Rebeccah Heinrichs

The Israeli missile-defense system known as Iron Dome once again finds itself in the international spotlight, causing many Americans to wonder if the U.S. has anything comparable. Here are a few important points about Iron Dome and missile defense in general for Americans to consider.

(1) Iron Dome is a missile-defense system that intercepts short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The system is designed to hit only incoming missiles headed toward population centers, which, up to this point in the conflict, have been about 30 percent of the total fired by Hamas. [Read more...]

The Expendables 3 Leak and the Financial Impact of Pre-Release Piracy

fbi piracy intellectual property IPby Michael D. Smith

This past week a DVD-quality copy of the movie The Expendables 3 leaked online three weeks before its planned U.S. theatrical release. According to Variety, the film was downloaded 189,000 times within 24 hours. As researchers, an immediate question comes to mind: how much of a financial impact could movie-makers face from such pre-release piracy?

The effect of piracy on the sales of movies and other copyrighted works has long been scrutinized, with the vast majority of peer-reviewed academic papers concluding that piracy negatively impacts sales. Indeed, in a recent National Bureau of Economic Research book chapter, my co-authors and I reviewed the academic literature, and showed that 16 of the 19 papers published in peer-reviewed academic journals find that piracy harms media sales. [Read more...]

Coalition Letter Supporting Fully Funding Missile Defense

Missile Defense Letterhead

TO:   Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Sen. Thad Cochran, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Rep. Buck McKeon, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Rep. Pete Visclosky, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense

Dear Senators and Representatives:

As you work your way through the defense budget and appropriations process you will be called upon to evaluate the need for the systems crucial to the defense of the American homeland. We, therefore, ask that you fully fund systems that are critical to our nation’s missile defense programs and are proven to work.

Missile threats around the world continue to grow. Russia reportedly just test fired six new air launched cruise missiles. We have also learned that North Korea has developed a nuclear warhead capable of placement on its ballistic missile. Our electrical grid is increasingly imperiled by the threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) caused by a nuclear detonation over the American homeland. And, as ever, Iran continues its march towards a nuclear missile. [Read more...]

So far, the Coolest Summer on Record in the US

The frequency of 90 degree days in the US has been plummeting for 80 years, and 2014 has had the lowest frequency of 90 degree days through July 23 on record. The only other year which came close was 1992, and that was due to dust in the atmosphere from Mt Pinatubo.

Coolest Summer Climate Change Global Warming

Health-Care Strategy for 2014: Freedom

Obamacare-exemptionsObamaCare repeal is out until 2017, but here’s an agenda to unite the GOP and offer Americans relief.

by Phil Gramm

Contradictory rulings this week by the D.C. and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals mean that ObamaCare will probably return to the Supreme Court. The crucial issue is whether the government can subsidize premiums for health insurance bought on federal exchanges, though the Affordable Care Act’s plain language authorizes subsidies only for policies purchased on “an Exchange established by the State.”

If the Supreme Court decides that ObamaCare must be implemented as written, Democrats will have to bring the legislation back to Congress. This gives Republicans an opportunity to develop a new strategy to rid the country of ObamaCare.

President Obama and virtually every congressional Democrat believed that once the Affordable Care Act passed it would become popular, thanks to the law’s massive subsidies. Many Republicans believed this as well. It hasn’t worked out that way. Four years later 59% of Americans still oppose ObamaCare, according to the most recent CNN poll. It has become clearer over time that the president’s health law has made many problems in health care worse. Judged by the deeply flawed roll out and the necessity for endless illegal waivers, merely implementing the law as written seems to be far beyond the capacity of the U.S. government. [Read more...]

IRS experts: Lois Lerner hard drive was just ‘scratched’ — not damaged beyond recovery

Lois Lerner IRSby Byron York

Top IRS officials told congressional investigators that Lois Lerner’s hard drive — the one containing emails that could shed light on the IRS targeting scandal — was irreparably damaged before it was destroyed completely in 2011. But now, investigators have had a chance to talk to the technical experts inside the IRS who actually examined Lerner’s computer, and the experts say the hard drive in question was actually just “scratched,” and that most of the data on it was recoverable.

The IRS computer experts also told the committee that they had recommended seeking outside help in recovering the data from Lerner’s computer — something IRS management declined to do. [Read more...]

Questions for Obamacare Now

by Megan McArdle

obamacare logoYesterday, I outlined what we knew about Halbig v. Burwell, the case in which a federal appellate court ruled that subsidies for purchasing insurance under Obamacare can only be made available on marketplaces established by states. Now I propose to outline what we don’t know: namely, what will happen after the case winds its way through the court system.

If the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rules for the government, the answer is, “not much; things go on as they are.” But what if the justices take the case and rule for the plaintiff? [Read more...]

Federal Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies in 36 States

obamacare tire mudby Susan Jones

A federal court on Tuesday struck down health insurance subsidies for people in the 36 states that did not set up their own Obamacare exchanges.

The ruling “is a repudiation of Obamacare and all the lawlessness that has come with it,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted shortly after a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. issued its ruling in Halbig v. Burwell.

While the ruling is a “significant victory for the American people & rule of law…we must not rest,” Cruz added. [Read more...]

No, Halbig Did Not Gut Obamacare Because Of A “Drafting Error”

Reading is fundamental, unless you’re a liberal blogger.

obamacare-2by Sean Davis

Words mean things.

That was the message delivered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in yesterday’s Halbig opinion. At issue was whether Obamacare required federal health insurance subsidies to be limited only to plans purchased via a state-based health exchange. To date, only 14 states (plus Washington, DC) have established state exchanges; the federal government established and is operating the exchange used by residents of the other 36 states. In May of 2012, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a rule stating that the subsidies would be available even if they would be applied to a plan purchased via the federal health exchange. [Read more...]

Obama aides were warned of brewing border crisis

border crisis_immigrationby David Nakamura, Jerry Markon and Manuel Roig-Franzia

Nearly a year before President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis on the border, a team of experts arrived at the Fort Brown patrol station in Brownsville, Tex., and discovered a makeshift transportation depot for a deluge of foreign children.

Thirty Border Patrol agents were assigned in August 2013 to drive the children to off-site showers, wash their clothes and make them sandwiches. As soon as those children were placed in temporary shelters, more arrived. An average of 66 were apprehended each day on the border and more than 24,000 cycled through Texas patrol stations in 2013. In a 41-page report to the Department of Homeland Security, the team from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) raised alarms about the federal government’s capacity to manage a situation that was expected to grow worse. [Read more...]

Sen Cruz: Obama’s Amnesty Promise is at Root of Border Crisis

border security_immigration_illegals_obamaTexas Senator Ted Cruz appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss his proposal to solve the border crisis. The interview took place shortly after we learned the U.S. Border Patrol was under heavy fire from 50.-caliber weapons fired by Mexican cartels.

“What I want to do is solve the crisis,” Cruz told Wallace. “I agree with the president in one respect. We are seeing a humanitarian crisis. We’re seeing tens of thousands of young children coming in illegally, being brutalized, being mistreated by global transnational drug cartels.” [Read more...]