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Government too big to get basics right

by Carly Fiorina     •     USAToday

big governmentWe knew hack of security clearance records was coming, but we did too little to stop it.

Last week, we learned that that 1 in 15 Americans was personally affected by the federal Office of Personnel Management’s egregious failure to protect our most personal information. It is now clear that their security breach compromised the personal information of every U.S. citizen who has undergone a government background check in the last 15 years. That is nearly 22 million people — more than the population of the state of New York and nearly 7% of the entire U.S. population.

Social Security numbers, health information, fingerprint records and information about family or foreign contacts were compromised. This breach violated not only our right to privacy – but also the very safety and security of our nation. [Read more...]

1938 and 2015: Only the Names are Different

By Dennis Prager     •     RealClearPolitics

We say that evil is dark. But this metaphor is imprecise. Evil is actually intensely bright, so painfully bright that people look away from it. Many even deny its existence.

Why? Because once people acknowledge evil’s existence, they know they have to confront it. And most people prefer not to confront evil.

That is what led to World War II. Many in the West denied the darkness of Nazism. They looked the other way when that evil could have been stopped and then appeased it as it became stronger.

We are reliving 1938. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to Munich to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. He left believing Hitler’s promises of peace in exchange for Germany being allowed to annex large parts of Czechoslovakia. Upon returning to England, Chamberlain announced, “Peace for our time.” [Read more...]

Iran: ‘We Will Trample Upon America’

Friday prayers take anti-American turn

by Adam Kredo     •     Free Beacon

A senior Iranian cleric delivered Friday prayers in Tehran while standing behind a podium that declared, “We Will Trample Upon America,” according to photos released by Iran’s state-controlled media.

Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, who was handpicked by the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader to deliver the prayers, delivered a message of hostility toward the United States in the first official remarks since a final nuclear deal was signed between Iran and world powers in Vienna last week.

A Persian-language message on the podium declared, “We will trample upon America” while the English phrase “We Defeat the United States” can be seen underneath. [Read more...]

Obama’s False Iran Choice

There was a better alternative to his deal. He never pursued it.

Wall Street Journal

obama_31The debate is raging over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, and Mr. Obama held a rare press conference Wednesday to say that “99% of the world community” agrees with him. Then why bother with a press conference? Mr. Obama made other claims we’ll address in coming days, but for today it’s worth rebutting his assertion that “none” of his critics “have presented to me or the American people a better alternative.”

Specifically, Mr. Obama resorted to his familiar default of the false political choice. “There really are only two alternatives here. Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it’s resolved through force, through war. Those are—those are the options,” Mr. Obama said. He added that no better deal was or is possible than the one he has negotiated.

Mr. Obama knows there has always been an alternative to his diplomacy of concessions because many critics have suggested it. It’s called coercive diplomacy, and it might have worked to get a better deal if Mr. Obama had tried it. [Read more...]

Why It’s Okay to Talk about Chamberlain Right Now

by Thane Rosenbaum     •     The Tower

There’s been a lot of talk lately proclaiming Barack Obama the second coming of Neville Chamberlain. The analogy may be facile, but it is not far-fetched. The accord just reached in Vienna, at best, only temporarily cools off Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Iran deal will be remembered either as a masterful display of diplomacy or as a hopelessly naïve delusion.

Wishful thinking is not a sound basis for foreign policy. When it comes to Iran, the stakes are too high to gamble on good faith. Israel and Saudi Arabia have good reasons to worry. And when before have these two nations had anything in common?

Congress now readies itself for 60 days of peeking underneath the Persian carpet of this Iranian deal, while the President threatens to test his veto powers over congressional action. [Read more...]

President Obama’s Hissy Fit

A reporter’s question about the Iranian deal hits a raw nerve

By The Washington Times

Obama Glare AngryThere is not a lot to love in President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, despite the attempted assurances in his what’s-not-to-like press conference on Wednesday. In addition to the near-unanimous doubts about his “air-tight verification” promises, which he insists make a nuclear arms race in the Middle East less likely, a short list of what’s wrong with the deal must include the names of four Americans: Jason Rezaian, Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Robert Levinson. They’re American hostages in Iran, and they just lost their best chance for freedom. Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry apparently “forgot” to press for their release.

Major Garrett of CBS News questioned the president’s judgment, asking: “As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran — three held on trumped-up charges and according to your administration, one [whose] whereabouts [are] unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?” [Read more...]

Sen. Ron Wyden On Iran Deal: Obama “Flouting” Congress By Going To U.N. First

The Democratic senator from Oregon also laid out his concerns with the deal, including the lack of anytime, anywhere inspections.

by Andrew Kaczynski     •     Buzzfeed

Obama IranSen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said Saturday that he has concerns about the nuclear deal with Iran, adding that that he believes the Obama administration is “flouting” Congress by going to United Nations to get approval first.

“Now there was a new wrinkle in this on Friday, which concerned me, which was the administration was talking about going to the U.N. to get approval,” Wyden told a town hall audience this weekend. “I think the U.N. does some very good things, I think they do some other things not so good. But the point is going to the U.N. before the Congress weighs in is really in my view flouting the Review Act, you know the whole point…”

“I hope I’ve told you what my concerns are a, b, how I’m going to proceed with it, and three, I didn’t much care for this notion that suddenly this is going to go to the U.N. and somehow there would be a U.N. stamp of approval before the Congress has a chance to review it.” [Read more...]

Our hero: Hillary Clinton, the last truth bender

by John Kass     •     Chicago Tribune

Hillary Clinton Speaks At Event At Center For American ProgressWhat is the best lie that Hillary Clinton has ever told?

Can you pick just one?

She’s the inevitable Democratic presidential candidate even though 60 percent of Americans consider her a liar. So her pants suits are always on fire, and only a Hillary Meat Puppet would say otherwise.

Yet rather than criticize her — like those other men who just don’t get it — I’d like to celebrate her amazing truth-bending superpowers.

We’ve had males in high office who were great liars, like her husband. So why can’t we have an awesome female liar, say a shrewd Mistress of Big Fat Whoppers? [Read more...]

Judge slams State Department over Hillary Clinton-related records

By Josh Gerstein     •     Politico

Hillary Rodham ClintonA federal judge is lashing out at the State Department for delaying for years in providing responses to Associated Press Freedom of Information Act requests seeking records about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s schedules and her top staffers.

At a contentious hearing last week, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon demanded explanations for why some of the AP’s requests received no reply for four years or more before the wire service filed suit in March.

Leon said he was determined to establish “what has been going on in the State Department for four years dragging their feet, not addressing these issues for four years.”

“I want to find out what’s been going on over there. I should say, what’s not been going on over there,” the judge added. “The State Department, for reasons known only to itself … has been, to say the least, recalcitrant in responding.” [Read more...]

Obama’s Age of Nuclear Chaos

By Caroline Glick     •      RealClearPolitics

On Tuesday, we moved into a new nuclear age.

In the old nuclear age, the US-led West had a system for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It had three components: sanctions, deterrence and military force. In recent years we have witnessed the successful deployment of all three.

In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, the UN Security Council imposed a harsh sanctions regime on Iraq. One of its purposes was to prevent Iraq from developing nuclear weapons. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, we learned that the sanctions had been successful. Saddam largely abandoned his nuclear program due to sanctions pressure.

The US-led invasion of Iraq terrified several rogue regimes in the region. In the two to three years immediately following the invasion, America’s deterrent strength soared to unprecedented heights. [Read more...]

Clinton Email Answers Don’t Answer Key Question

By Byron York     •     Washington Examiner

Hillary clinton 5It was lost amid news of President Obama’s Iran deal, but this week Hillary Clinton released a 3,500-word explanation of her secret email system. While it is by far the most extensive statement the Clinton campaign has made on the issue, the explanation does not touch what has become a key question, if not the key question, of the email affair: Did Clinton withhold information from Congress?

The statement is in question-and-answer form. In it, Clinton asserts that she carefully followed every law and regulation that applied to her emails as secretary of state. She did absolutely nothing wrong, she says.

One of the questions asked is: “Did Clinton delete any emails while facing a subpoena?” Clinton’s answer is no, she did not. According to the Clinton campaign: “The emails that Clinton chose not to keep were personal emails — they were not federal records or even work-related — and therefore were not subject to any preservation obligation under the Federal Records Act or any request. Nor would they have been subject to the subpoena — which did not exist at the time — that was issued by the Benghazi Select Committee some three months later.” [Read more...]

Here We Go Again: UNESCO Doubles Down On Impotency and Posturing

31-10-2011unesco

By Shawn Macomber •  Lawfare Tyranny

Surprise, surprise.

Once again we are breathlessly being told that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will refer yet another batch of apocalypse-minded Islamist enemies of culture to the International Criminal Court — this time over the destruction of 15th century Muslim shrines in Timbuktu by al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents.

“Two months ago I met the prosecutor and I believe they are progressing rapidly, and I hope they will be ready to present the case before the ICC,” UNESCO General Director Irina Bokova said according to this AFP report.

Sounds great, but — as we asked back in March when Bokova was congratulating herself for referring ISIS to the ICC over the annhillation of artifacts in Mosul and promising her bold buck-passing would “mobilize a big part of the international community” — to what end? And mobilize how?

[Read more...]

ObamaCare’s Prices Will Keep Surging

After this year’s spike, the average family plan will go up another 11.2% in 2016.

By Stephen T. Parente     •     The Wall Street Journal

Americans who purchase health insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges should buckle up. Within the month, state regulators will begin approving premium hikes for plans sold in every state. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has already released the premium increases that health insurers have requested for their 2016 plans. By law, insurers must receive regulatory approval for any increase more than 10%—and more than 10% is what many of them want.

The numbers are staggering. According to the rate requests posted on Healthcare.gov, nearly every state has multiple plans that are facing a more than 10% premium increase. Many plans—including some offered by state-market leaders—could see hikes of more than 30%, 40% or even 50%. Though most of these requests have not been approved, nor have all of the rate hikes that are less than 10% been unveiled, it is undeniable that millions of Americans are facing double-digit premium increases for health insurance next year. [Read more...]

How the Feds Asked Me to Rat Out Commenters

Reason.com, the website I edit, was recently commanded by the feds to provide information on a few commenters and not discuss it. Here’s why we’re speaking out.

by Nick Gillespie     •     The Daily Beast

Is there anything more likely to make you shit your pants out of a mix of fear and anger than getting a federal subpoena out of the blue?

Well, yes, there is: getting a gag order that prohibits you from speaking publicly about that subpoena and even the gag order itself. Talk about feeling isolated and cast adrift in the home of the free. You can’t even respond honestly when someone asks, “Are you under a court order not to speak?”

Far more important: talk about realizing that open expression and press freedom are far more tenuous than even the most cynical of us can imagine! Even when you have done nothing wrong and aren’t the target of an investigation, you can be commanded, at serious financial cost and disruption of your business, to dance to a tune called by the long arm of the law. [Read more...]

Obama’s news conference was a case for American weakness

By Dana Milbank     •     Washington Post

 

President Obama took questions on the deal with Iran in the East Room of the White House on July 15.

President Obama was well into his feisty and freewheeling news conference on the Iran nuclear deal when Major Garrett of CBS News got under the presidential skin.

“As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran, three held on trumped-up charges,” Garrett said. “Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”

The normally cool president reacted slowly, as though trying to control his anger.

“The notion that I am content — as I celebrate — with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails?” Obama asked, icily. “That’s nonsense, and you should know better.” After that extraordinary scolding, the president went on to explain that he didn’t link the American captives to nuclear talks because doing so may have made Iran think “we can get additional concessions out of the Americans,” and would have made it “much more difficult for us to walk away” from a deal. [Read more...]