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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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The Regrettable Decline of Higher Learning

by Victor Davis Hanson     •     RealClearPolitics

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonWhat do campus microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, speech codes and censorship have to do with higher learning?

American universities want it both ways. They expect unquestioned subsidized support from the public, but also to operate in a way impossible for anyone else.

Colleges still wear the ancient clothes of higher learning. Latin mottos, caps and gowns, ivy-covered spires and high talk of liberal education reflect a hallowed intellectual tradition.

In fact, today’s campuses mimic ideological boot camps. Tenured professors seek to indoctrinate young people in certain preconceived progressive political agendas. Environmental studies classes are not very open to debating the “settled science” of man-caused, carbon-induced global warming — or the need for immediate and massive government intervention to address it. Grade-conscious and indebted students make the necessary ideological adjustments. [Read more...]

The Political (I)morality of Our Times

Progressives Progressivism Liberalism LiberalsBy Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi

The supreme irony of the 20th as well as the beginning of the 21st centuries has been that both Democrat, and to a lesser extent, Republican Administrations have assumed the role of divine arbiters of good and evil, thus delivering the entire society to the capricious tyranny of ideologically motivated politicians and bureaucrats.  The result has been catastrophic for the constitutional foundation of the nation as well as the individual sovereignty of the people.  Instead of restricting themselves to serving the public welfare, successive governments, mostly illegally, have taken possession of rights and responsibilities that, in the aggregate, have reduced men and women to mere subjects of political engineering and idiotic tinkering. [Read more...]

Congress must decide Indian casino controversy

By Peter Roff     •     The Hill

When Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 it was with the intention that a framework for the green-lighting of Indian casinos on historically tribal lands could continue.

In a lot of places it has worked well. In others it has failed to live up to expectations. Some people are still getting rich but the overwhelming poverty the casino revenues were supposed to alleviate remains. Nor have they created a limitless stream of wealth. The economic downturn that began with the crash of 2008 affected the gaming industry just as much as the rest of the economy and you don’t have to be Donald Trump to know it’s a bigger “crap shoot” than most people believe.

Since the act went into effect it has generally been left up to the discretion of the U.S. Department of the Interior whether a specific tribe can go into the casino business and how many sites they may operate if they can. During the Bush administration, standards were reasonably rigorous and considerable heft was given to the sentiments of state and local officials. That’s one of the reasons Arizona voters were given the chance to vote on Prop. 202, which is essentially a master plan governing the spread of tribal casinos throughout the state that is scheduled to be in force until 2027. [Read more...]

Coalition Letter Opposing Absurd FDA Regulations

FDA Coalition LetterheadDear Senator / Representative:

Tobacco products are understandably a hot and controversial regulatory issue. But what is surprising is that vapor products, only some of which have a visual appearance similar to cigarettes, but all of which contain no tobacco and provide a much healthier and safer choice for smokers, seem to be attracting an even greater level of interest from federal regulators.

A final rule is under review by the Office of Management and Budget which would deem vapor products, like electronic cigarettes, to be subject to even more heavy duty FDA regulation than the rules to which traditional tobacco cigarettes are subjected. This makes no sense, and it is a huge loss for public health and is counter-productive to over-regulate a new, innovative product that satisfies adult consumers without subjecting them to the health risks of traditional burning tobacco.  [Read more...]

Obamacare off to a rocky start in 2016

by Philip Klein     •     Washington Examiner

obamacare-obama-government-inefficientAs most of the political world has been focusing on the presidential race, Obamacare has gotten off to a rocky start in 2016. This could be a major drag on Democrats come November.

On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that fewer than 13 million individuals signed up for Obamacare plans for 2016. Though the administration is trying to argue that this 12.7 million number beat expectations, nobody is buying it.

HHS officials set an artificially low target of 10 million signups for the year – essentially flat from 2015 – so they would have something to beat.

“While exchange enrollment will meet the Administration’s modest 10 million person goal, it does appear that growth in this market has slowed,” Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president of healthcare advisory firm Avalere said in a statement. [Read more...]

The IRS Is Up to No Good

The IRS is abusing its authority once again by employing the help of a private law firm in its case against Microsoft.

By Peter Roff     •     USNews

If there is one federal agency that has clearly run amok during the Obama administration, it’s the United States Internal Revenue Service. From the harassment of tea party groups applying for nonprofit status to the defiance of congressional subpoenas, it’s an agency badly in need of a thorough housecleaning.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is already under threat of impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives. That might be a good start, but removing him won’t fix the problems any more than the ouster of his predecessor did. The problems run too deep. Congress needs to act, not just by stepping up oversight of the tax collectors but by jerking their chain and narrowing their authority.

From top to bottom the agency is engaged in a wholesale abuse of its authority – and is defying attempts to investigate what it has been doing. Groups on the right are still reportedly having their applications for tax-exempt status slow-walked through the process. Confidential data is still leaking out and the auditing process is out of control. [Read more...]

The Logic of International Intellectual Property Protection

by Randolph J. May and Seth L. Cooper     •     Free State Foundation

Intellectual Property - BrainSecuring protection of American intellectual property (IP) rights internationally is an economic imperative. It is also a constitutional duty. In today’s information economy, copyrights and patent rights provide critical financial investment incentives for research and development of new products and services. And IP constitutes a potent source of economic value and prosperity. According to an official U.S. Department of Commerce report, IP-intensive industries in America generated an estimated $5 trillion in revenues in 2010 alone, providing over 27 million jobs. Since then, those figures almost certainly have grown. Another report estimated that the copyright industries alone contributed $1.1 trillion in value added to the U.S. economy and employed nearly 5.5 million workers in the U.S. in 2014.

As IP becomes increasingly vital to our nation’s wealth and prosperity, the need to ensure its protection on a global basis increases correspondingly. The American economy suffers staggering losses each year to international IP theft. According to the IP Theft Commission (2013), these losses likely exceed $300 billion annually. IP theft is an injustice to the IP owners, diminishes economic prosperity, and undermines job opportunities. Indeed, this is a reason why it is so important to conclude international trade agreements, such as the recently-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, that contain meaningful intellectual property protections. [Read more...]

FBI Has Enough Evidence to Prosecute Hillary Clinton for Public Corruption

by John Sexton     •     Breitbart

Hillary Rodham ClintonAn investigation into possible mishandling of classified information on Hillary Clinton’s private email server has expanded to consider whether Clinton’s work as Secretary overlapped with her work for the Clinton Foundation run by her family.

Fox News‘ Catherine Herridge published the report, citing unnamed FBI sources, Monday morning. The report indicates the initial security referral looking into whether or not classified information was mishandled has expanded to look at possible public corruption involving the Clinton Foundation.

The report paints a picture of an internal struggle within the FBI over whether or not to prosecute Clinton. Herridge quotes an unnamed FBI source saying, “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.” [Read more...]

Denying the Obvious About Islamist Terror

After another ISIS-inspired shooting, Philadelphia’s mayor joins the chorus: It’s not about religion, no sir.

 by Dorothy Rabinowitz     •     Wall Street Journal

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at a news conference after the Jan. 8 shooting of a city police officer. Photo: Matt Rourke/Associated Press

It required only half a minute for the mayor of Philadelphia, Democrat Jim Kenney, to achieve national fame. On Friday, an already sensation-crowded day, it fell to the mayor to take part in the official pronouncements on the attempted murder of city police officer Jesse Hartnett, shot and severely wounded as he sat in his patrol car when a would-be assassin emptied his gun at him—13 shots in all.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr., appointed just three days earlier, delivered the details with noteworthy eloquence: The wounded officer, bleeding heavily from three wounds, one arm useless, had gotten himself out of the car, chased the attacker and shot him.

The drama of this recital needed no amplification, but there it was anyway: Clear security video images showed the assailant in his flowing white dishdasha—a robe favored by Muslim men—running toward the patrol car, shooting, sticking his hand in the window, and racing speedily away. Pictures too of the police officer lurching out of the car to give chase. [Read more...]

Kenyan President Successfully Argues for Mass ICC Withdrawal at African Union Summit

12661747_1217594401602444_570830678480970655_nBelow are several excerpts from Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech as well as some video of the intense, perhaps pivotal moment in Africa’s complicated relationship with the International Criminal Court…

We refuse to be carried along in a vehicle that has strayed off-course to the detriment of our sovereignty, security and dignity of Africans.

In the face of a mutating global terrorist threat that is costing us lives and great economic loss, in the midst of playing our part in mediating multiple peace processes in our region, we have had to contend with an ICC pursuing weak and politicized cases…

This is not what Kenya signed up for when we joined the ICC. I highly doubt that those of you that are its members expected this to be the way the court would conduct itself…

[Read more...]

The Global Slowdown Hits the U.S.

America dodged the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, but much has changed. Today’s world economic slide is starting to hurt us.

by Ruchir Sharma     •     Wall Street Journal

globe-handsPlunging stock prices and slowing economic growth in China have raised anew the question of how much events abroad really matter to the U.S. Many of the answers are quite placid, drawing on the precedents of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, when there was similar concern about impacts at home, which never came. The U.S. grew at a 4.5% annual pace during those two years. For much of 2015, when U.S. growth remained steady despite volatile and weak growth in the rest of the world, the optimists said it was like 1997-98 all over again.

That may be, but the world has changed a lot in two decades. After 1998, the U.S. share of global GDP topped out at 32% but has since fallen to 24%, based on my analysis of raw data from the International Monetary Fund, while the emerging-world share bottomed out at 20% but has since doubled to nearly 40%. In that time, China has supplanted the U.S. as the largest contributor to global growth. [Read more...]

A recession worse than 2008 is coming

by Michael Pento     •     CNBC

2852.EconomicRecessionThe S&P 500 has begun 2016 with its worst performance ever. This has prompted Wall Street apologists to come out in full force and try to explain why the chaos in global currencies and equities will not be a repeat of 2008. Nor do they want investors to believe this environment is commensurate with the dot-com bubble bursting. They claim the current turmoil in China is not even comparable to the 1997 Asian debt crisis.

Indeed, the unscrupulous individuals that dominate financial institutions and governments seldom predict a down-tick on Wall Street, so don’t expect them to warn of the impending global recession and market mayhem.

But a recession has occurred in the U.S. about every five years, on average, since the end of WWII; and it has been seven years since the last one — we are overdue.
Most importantly, the average market drop during the peak to trough of the last 6 recessions has been 37 percent. That would take the S&P 500 down to 1,300; if this next recession were to be just of the average variety. [Read more...]

Top 10 Lies in Obama’s State of the Union

by Joel B. Pollak     •     Breitbart

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonPresident Barack Obama promised his final State of the Union address would be short. Dana Bash of CNN called it “low-energy.” One thing it was not was accurate–or honest. Here are Obama’s top ten lies, in chronological order.

1. “[W]e’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.” This is pure fiction. Obama has doubled the national debt, and it’s not because he cut the deficit. Rather, he spent staggering amounts of money in his first months in office–which he assigns, dishonestly, to the previous fiscal year, under George W. Bush. He “cut” (i.e. spent more gradually) from that spending, but only under protest, after Republicans took the House in 2010.

(Update: It is true that Obama’s 2015 budget deficit was about 25% of his 2010 deficit. But he referred to “deficits,” plural. Until last year, all of Obama’s deficits were worse than all of Bush’s deficits except for the last two.)

2. “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” With that line, Obama took a shot at his would-be Democratic successors, as well as his Republican critics. But the truth is that despite the slow recovery–the slowest since World War II–labor force participation is the lowest it has been in decades. Wages are stagnant, household incomes still have not recovered from the recession, and young people see a bleak future. [Read more...]

Yellen’s Job Puzzle: Why Are 20-Somethings Retiring?

Americans are increasingly foregoing paychecks due to disability, school or retirement

by Kasia Klimasinska

How come more people are retiring in their early 20s? Why are middle-age men becoming stay-at-home dads? What’s keeping women out of the workforce other than illness, kids or school?

Those are some of the questions raised in a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report that shows changes over the past decade in why people stay out of the labor force. Finding answers is key for the Federal Reserve as it maps the contours of a job market that’s becoming harder to predict with the aging of the baby boomers and shifting household priorities.

Here’s what the bureau found, broadly: Thirty-five percent of the U.S. population wasn’t in the labor force in 2014, up from 31.3 percent a decade earlier. (You’re considered out of the workforce if you don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one. That’s distinct from the official unemployment rate, which tracks those out of work who are actively job hunting.)

Drilling down into the numbers reveals more about the shifts in the reasons some people forego a paycheck. In all age groups, for instance, more people cited retirement as the reason for being out of the labor force, and it wasn’t just older people. [Read more...]

The Dangers of Victor’s Justice in Côte d’Ivoire

image012“The specter of a government pursuing investigations and prosecutions of the former regime while blatantly ignoring—or worse, covering up—its own crimes and misdeeds will very likely deepen mistrust across the social spectrum and lay the foundation for future conflict.” 

By Jeffrey Smith Freedom House

Côte d’Ivoire was once a promising model of economic prosperity and stability for West Africa, but in the last decade alone it has fallen prey to two civil wars, untold human misery, and large-scale impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations. The complex problems currently besetting the country are linked to the failure of its leaders to both commit to and successfully foster genuine democratic principles and practices.

The latest manifestation of poor political leadership occurred during the latter part of 2010, when incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo refused to relinquish power following his electoral defeat at the hands of a longtime adversary, Alassane Ouattara. By early December 2010, both men had been sworn in as president in separate, conflicting ceremonies. The stalemate sparked Côte d’Ivoire’s second civil war since 2002, resulting in over 3,000 deaths and the displacement of over a million people before Ouattara finally assumed power in April 2011.

The relative peace that now prevails is tenuous at best, threatened by persistent and deeply rooted political, tribal, and ethnic divisions. The recent discovery of mass graves, mainly located in the western part of the country, has done little to allay fears of renewed violence. The situation is exacerbated by the proliferation of small arms and the desperation caused by widespread poverty.

The UN-backed Muntarbhorn Commission determined that serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law were committed by both sides during the postelection crisis. A number of important steps have since been taken to foster national reconciliation and ensure that key perpetrators are held accountable. A Truth, Reconciliation, and Dialogue Commission (TRDC) has been established, as has a separate Commission of Inquiry. A newly appointed public prosecutor assumed office in April 2011, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been cleared to investigate and prosecute those alleged to have violated international law. Gbagbo, for his part, already sits in The Hague, where he will stand trial before the ICC on four counts of crimes against humanity.

The Obama administration has pledged support to the Ouattara government, hoping to reestablish a normal trade and assistance relationship and provide a sense of stability to a country still reeling from a humanitarian disaster. However, this relationship is premised on Ouattara’s demonstrated commitment to advance national reconciliation, implement measures that decrease ethnic violence, and ensure that human rights violations are impartially investigated.

Unfortunately, the requisite progress on these fronts remains to be seen.

[Read more...]