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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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Debunking the Anti-Fracking Fearmongers

by Alex B. Berezow     •     RealClearScience

frackingWorld events have made it quite clear to most Americans that we should develop more of our own energy sources. Reducing our reliance on foreign oil by exploiting the natural gas under our feet is not only smart foreign policy but also smart environmental policy: Natural gas burns cleaner than coal or oil, and it has already lowered our CO2 emissions. Natural gas is a win for America and the planet.

But not according to anti-technology environmentalists, who have made all sorts of wild, unsubstantiated claims about the supposed harms of fracking. Three claims in particular are worth examining: (1) Fracking causes a dangerous leakage of methane into drinking water; (2) Fracking causes earthquakes; and (3) Fracking chemicals contaminate drinking water. [Read more...]

Some First Principles of American Military Strategy

by Aaron Bazin and Dan Sukman     •     Medium.com

Military Spending GIIf the ability communicate complex ideas in an easily understood way is a valuable skill to the strategic thinker, then first principles offer one possible point of departure from which to begin any discussion on strategy. A few months ago, we posed a question on various strategy-related email chains and Facebook pages asking interested parties what the first principles of military strategy were. We got numerous responses; some humorous, some vitriolic, but all very interesting.

Development of a first principle is akin to boiling down information to uncover the elemental truth that lies within. We culled through the responses and necked down the subject to consider only ‘American’ military strategy to add further clarity and context. Then we tried to synthesize, combine, and distill each one down to the core of its essence. Our final list includes eight, but there are undoubtedly many, many more. We offer the outline of the first principles below for your consideration: [Read more...]

Free Speech Needs No Amending

Senate Democrats would restrict fundamental First Amendment rights in an election-year stunt

FreeSpeech_first amendmentAs election season enters full swing, Senate Democrats are taking the opportunity to garner votes by attempting to rewrite the Bill of Rights, something that hasn’t been done since those rights were enshrined. They want to ask the nation to change the First Amendment so that it protects political speech only up to a point.

The timing is right. Nationally eight Senate races have already received more than $10 million each in outside spending, according to the Federal Election Commission. In Michigan, huge amounts of outside money have flooded into the race between Rep. Gary Peters and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. [Read more...]

Covering for the IRS

New details on the Administration’s spin and stall strategy.

Wall Street Journal

IRS scandal_lost emails_lois lernerThe IRS targeting of conservative groups has now become a story about the cover-up. More than a year after the scandal became public, the most transparent Administration in history has done everything in its power to spin the story, stymie Congressional investigators and run out the clock.

Take the latest moment of hilarity, er, clarity from the Justice Department, in which a communications aide to Attorney General Eric Holder mistakenly called Republicans on the HouseOversight and Government Reform Committee when he meant to call Democrats. The aide, Brian Fallon, told staffers he was calling to see if they could leak information to friendly reporters and give the Justice Department a chance to comment before the majority got their hands on it. [Read more...]

How to Transition from Obamacare to Real Health Care Reform

 by James C. Capretta and Yuval Levin     •     Weekly Standard

Obamacare-DelayObamacare—or at least the version of it that the president and his advisers currently think they can get away with putting into place—has been upending arrangements and reshuffling the deck in the health system since the beginning of the year. That’s when the new insurance rules, subsidies, and optional state Medicaid expansions went into effect. The law’s defenders say the changes that have been set in motion are irreversible, in large part because several million people are now covered by insurance plans sold through the exchanges, and a few million more are enrolled in Medicaid as a result of Obamacare. President Obama has stated repeatedly that these developments should effectively shut the door on further debate over the matter. [Read more...]

Vanishing Evidence for Climate Change

By Tom Harris and Bob Carter     •     The New York Post

global warning-catastrophic predictions-apocalypticIn the runup to the Sept. 23 UN Climate Summit in New York, Leonardo DiCaprio is releasing a series of films about the “climate crisis.”

The first is “Carbon,” which tells us the world is threatened by a “carbon monster.” Coal, oil, natural gas and other carbon-based forms of energy are causing dangerous climate change and must be turned off as soon as possible, DiCaprio says.

But he has identified the wrong monster. It is the climate scare itself that is the real threat to civilization.

DiCaprio is an actor, not a scientist; it’s no real surprise that his film is sensationalistic and error-riddled. Other climate-change fantasists, who do have a scientific background, have far less excuse. [Read more...]

Harry Reid’s Peculiar Priorities

by Mark Pfeifle     •     RealClearPolitics

harry-reidThe United States Senate should have a busy schedule when it comes back into session this week. Atrocities in the Middle East and the Ukraine, a stagnant economy, a 2015 budget bill and potential government shutdown—there’s no shortage of pressing topics for the world’s greatest deliberative body to debate and discuss.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a different to-do list. His first order of business is a constitutional amendment that would all but repeal the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.

The Senate will vote this week on Senator Tom Udall’s (D-NM) constitutional amendment that would give Congress unlimited power to regulate—and control—how individual Americans spend money while speaking out about politicians and government. [Read more...]

The Myth of ObamaCare’s Affordability

The law’s perverse incentives will have the nation working fewer hours, and working those hours less productively.

By Casey B. Mulligan     •     Wall Street Journal

obamacare costsWhether the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name depends on how, or whether, you consider its consequences for the wider economy.

Millions of people pay a significant portion of their income for health insurance so they and their families can get good health care when they need it. The magnitude of their sacrifices demonstrates the importance that people ascribe to health care.

The Affordable Care Act attempts to help low- and middle-income families avoid some of the tough sacrifices that would be necessary to purchase health insurance without assistance. But no program can change the fundamental reality that society itself has to make sacrifices in order to deliver health care to more people. [Read more...]

America’s New Class System

“Clerisy” class does the bidding of tech oligarchs to detriment of the middle class.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Obama-Class-WarfareWe’ve heard a lot of election-year class warfare talk, from makers vs. takers to the 1% vs. the 99%. But Joel Kotkin’s important new book, The New Class Conflict, suggests that America’s real class problems are deeper, and more damaging, than election rhetoric.

Traditionally, America has been thought of as a place of great mobility — one where anyone can conceivably grow up to be president, regardless of background. This has never been entirely true, of course. Most of our presidents have come from reasonably well-off backgrounds, and even Barack Obama, a barrier-breaker in some ways, came from an affluent background and enjoyed an expensive private-school upbringing. But the problem Kotkin describes goes beyond shots at the White House. [Read more...]

A World of Trouble for Obama

Public support for the president’s foreign policy is waning—and he’s losing Democratic lawmakers

by William A. Galston     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama-upsetIn March my Brookings colleague Robert Kagan memorably observed that President Obama was giving the American people the foreign policy they wanted—and they didn’t much like it. Overseas events have only deepened public concern. A Pew Research Center survey released Aug. 28 found that only 35% of people approve of the president’s handling of the crises in Iraq and Ukraine. Only 15% think we play a more important and powerful role in the world than we did a decade ago, compared with 48% who think our role is less important. And 65% believe that we live in a world more dangerous than it was a few years ago.

The Pew study also finds compelling evidence that Americans are beginning to change their minds about what they want. The share of those who think the U.S. does too much in the world has fallen to only 39% today, from 51% in November, while the share who thinks it does too little has nearly doubled, to 31% from 17%. In the early months of the Obama presidency, only 38% thought the president was “not tough enough” on national security; today, 54% believe that—a figure that includes more than one third of all Democrats. [Read more...]

ObamaCare Will Still Come Back to Haunt Liberals

by Jonathan S. Tobin     •     Commentary Magazine

obamacare costsAfter a summer of discontent and failure for the Obama administration that is leading into a fall campaign that may cost the Democrats control of the Senate, liberal pundits still have one thing to celebrate. In contrast to predictions from many conservatives last winter, it appears that ObamaCare isn’t an issue that is dominating the midterm elections. But while Democrats are trying to tell themselves that this means the debate about it is over, as even the New York Times conceded in an article today, the controversy over its impact will return with a vengeance next year.

As the Times reports, the administration is bracing for the fact that the next open enrollment period may be even more traumatic than the first one. Huge price increases in premiums are expected. As Kevin Counihan, the man recently named to head the federal exchanges, told the newspaper, “Part of me thinks that this year is going to make last year look like the good old days.” [Read more...]

The Collapse of Obama’s Foreign Policy

by Rich Lowry     •     Politico Magazine

Obama Hand on Head 2President Barack Obama’s stated goal in the fight against the Islamic State, aka ISIL, is to reduce it to a “manageable problem.”

What this means, he hasn’t spelled out in great specificity. Presumably fewer beheadings. A slower pace of Western recruiting. Fewer genocidal threats against embattled minorities. A downgrading of the caliphate to a mini-state, or merely a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq.

The evil of ISIL has stirred nearly everyone around President Obama to ringing statements of resolve. Vice President Joe Biden says, “We will follow them to the gates of hell.” Secretary of State John Kerry tweets, “ISIL must be destroyed/will be crushed.” [Read more...]

Russia’s Leader Is Neither A Realist Nor A Nationalist

To understand Vladimir Putin’s wars, the key is to understand the final two decades of the Soviet Union, not the first two decades of the new Russia.

by Tom Nichols     •     The Federalist

Vladimir-Putin-006Americans have been grasping to find explanations for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s serial aggressions in Europe. We keep searching for bumper stickers we can understand, so we gravitate to simple explanations like “geopolitics” or “nationalism,” not least because such notions promise solutions. (If it’s about geopolitics, cutting a deal with Putin will stop this; if it’s about nationalism, it’ll burn itself out when Putin has recaptured enough ethnic Russians around his borders.)

And, of course, there’s always “realism.” In this month’s Foreign Affairs, John Mearsheimer argues the Russo-Ukraine war is basically the West’s fault. (We expanded NATO, we supported the Maidan protesters, we were generally just mean to Russia, etc.) [Read more...]

Harry Reid’s anti-Koch crusade eats up precious Senate time

by Byron York     •     Washington Examiner

Harry ReidIf you’re sick of cynicism in politics, you might want to avert your eyes from the Senate for the next few weeks.

There’s a lot lawmakers need to do when the Senate returns from its August recess Sept. 9. To take just one example, the government is set to run out of money by the end of the month, and senators must pass a measure to keep funding going and avoid a shutdown.

But the Senate will have almost no time to do anything. “Following the August recess, we’re going to be here for two weeks and two days,” Majority Leader Harry Reid told colleagues before the break, according to an account in The Hill. “That’s not a lot of time for the workload we have to do.” [Read more...]

The President Who Is Uninterested in Other People

by Michael Barone     •     RealClearPolitics

Obama SmirkSome time ago I contrasted the reaction a conservative would get if he were in the same room with the two most consequential politicians of the 1990s, Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

If you were in a room with Bill Clinton, he would discover the one issue out of 100 on which you agreed; he would probe you with questions, comments, suggestions; and he would tell you that you enabled him to understand it far better than he ever had before.

If you were in a room with Rudy Giuliani, he would discover the one issue out of 100 on which you disagreed; he would ask pointed questions and pepper you with objections; he would tell you that you are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, and that you needed to admit you were utterly mistaken. [Read more...]