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President Obama’s Department of Injustice

By Alec Karakatsanis     •     New York Times

Last month, President Obama used his clemency power to reduce the sentences of 46 federal prisoners locked up on drug-related charges. But for the last six years, his administration has worked repeatedly behind the scenes to ensure that tens of thousands of poor people — disproportionately minorities — languish in federal prison on sentences declared by the courts, and even the president himself, to be illegal and unjustifiable.

The case of Ezell Gilbert is emblematic of this injustice. In March 1997, he was sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. Because of mandatory sentencing laws, Mr. Gilbert was automatically sentenced to a quarter-century in prison, though even the judge who sentenced him admitted that this was too harsh.

At his sentencing, Mr. Gilbert noted a legal error that improperly increased his sentence by approximately a decade based on a misclassification of one of his prior offenses. In 1999, without a lawyer, he filed a petition seeking his release. A court ruled against him. [Read more...]

The Anti-Peace Administration

by Caroline Glick     •     RealClearPolitics

The US has striven to achieve peaceable relations between the states of the Middle East for nearly 70 years. Yet today, US government is disparaging the burgeoning strategic ties between the Sunni Arab states and Israel.

In a briefing to a delegation of visiting Israeli diplomatic correspondents in Washington last week, a senior Obama administration official sneered that the only noticeable shift in Israel-Arab relations in recent years is that the current Egyptian government has been coordinating security issues “more closely” with Jerusalem than the previous one did.

“But we have yet to see that change materialize in the Gulf.”

If this is how the US views the state of Israel’s relations with the Arabs, then Israel should consider canceling its intelligence cooperation with the US. Because apparently, the Americans haven’t a clue what is happening in the Middle East.

First of all, to characterize the transformation of Israeli-Egyptian relations as a mere question of “more closely” coordinating on security issues is to vastly trivialize what has happened over the past two years. [Read more...]

White House, Allies Accuse Jewish Lawmakers of Dual Loyalty to Israel

Administration engages in anti-Semitic rhetoric to smear nuke deal opponents

by Adam Kredo     •     Washington Free Beacon

whitehouse PresidentObama administration allies lobbying in favor of a recently signed nuclear deal with Iran are smearing Jewish lawmakers and opponents of the accord with allegations of dual loyalty to Israel, rhetoric many view as anti-Semitic, according to allegations leveled by these individuals and groups.

Organizations close to the White House, including the pro-Tehran lobbying shop National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the liberal fringe group J Street, and the anti-war organization MoveOn, have come out to question the motivation of Jewish individuals who oppose the nuclear deal, which will provide Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief and lift longstanding restrictions on its ballistic missile program.

These allegations of dual loyalty to Israel, which many have identified as anti-Semitic, began almost immediately with the White House, which accused its critics of worrying more about Israel’s interests than the United States’. [Read more...]

Obama, Clinton Foundation Donors Sold ‘Green’ Fuel to Military for $149 per Gallon

San Francisco’s Solazyme also received millions in stimulus funds from DOE

by Ali Meyer     •     Washington Free Beacon

Strains of algae are shown in the strain room of Solazyme in South San Francisco, Calif. / AP

The CEO and Board of Directors of Solazyme, a company the military paid $149 per gallon for “alternative” fuel, have donated more than $300,000 to Democratic candidates and committees, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

Recipients of significant donations included the Obama Victory Fund and the Democratic National Committee. Additionally, Solazyme donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report found that the Department of Defense (DOD) paid Solazyme $149 per gallon for fuel made of algal oil, costing taxpayers a total of $223,500 in 2009. The group also received a $21 million stimulus grant from Department of Energy in 2009.

“Based in South San Francisco, Solazyme’s mission is to improve our lives and our planet by producing sustainable, high-performance oils and ingredients derived from microalgae,” the company states. Solazyme claims that their process serves as a better alternative to limited resources such as petroleum, vegetable oils, and animal fats. [Read more...]

Obama Admin Moves to Block Restitution for U.S. Terror Victims

Obama admin sides with Palestinians in landmark terror case

by Adam Kredo     •     Washington Free Beacon

Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken / AP

The Obama administration has intervened in a landmark legal case brought by the American victims of Palestinian terrorists, urging the court to limit restitution for the victims out of fear that a sizable payout could collapse the Palestinian government, according to a copy of the court filing.

Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken argued in a filing to a New York City court that a hefty payout to the victims of Palestinian terror crimes could burden the Palestinian Authority (PA) and interfere in Obama administration efforts to foster peace in the region.

The victims are entitled to as much as $655 million from the PA following the conclusion of a decade-long lawsuit that exposed the Palestinian government’s role in supporting and paying for terror attacks in Israel. [Read more...]

Obama’s Policy of Leading from Behind Leaves Africa Behind

by George Landrith     •     Townhall

Obama SmirkHaving just returned from his Africa visit last month, many of the President’s supporters in the US have described the visit as an unqualified success. But the truth is like his lack of engagement in the Middle East, the former Eastern Bloc and ASIA, the consequences of the President’s inattention to Africa is there for all to see. And South Sudan is a shining example. In 2011, the people of South Sudan agreed to become independent of Sudan, a reprehensibly brutal failed state. South Sudan had the support of the international community and along with its oil resources she had high hopes that her people could be lifted out of poverty.

But in two short years a civil war began once President Salva Kiir sacked his Vice President, Riek Machar, whose political ambitions and pocket-lining had become too great to bear.

As with virtually all-things Sudanese, the conflict cleaves along tribal lines rich in distrust – Kiir is Dinka; Machar is Nuer – and the brutality is hard to fathom. Now some 2 million South Sudanese are displaced, food and aid are in short supply, and the future of a nation stands in doubt. [Read more...]

The Obama economy has SERIOUS problems

by Heather Long     •     CNN

High on the Republican presidential candidates’ list of talking points is the Obama economy. Specifically, bashing it.

They have some grist to work with.

Even though the economy is way ahead of where it was four years ago, Americans aren’t happy. Half of the country flat out disapproves of how the president is handling the economy, according to recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.

Even more alarming is the return of pessimism. Take a look at Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index. It’s measured weekly, and the first August reading is negative — the lowest since last October. The jitters are back. [Read more...]

ICANN submits plan for US to cede control of ICANN

Proposal recommends role played by government be replaced by ICANN itself, an oversight committee and a review process involving many interested parties

The Guardian

icannAn international group of internet experts has released a proposal for how the US can cede oversight of the non-profit that manages the internet’s names and addresses.

The 199-page document follows the US commerce department’s controversial announcement last year that it would transfer its stewardship of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to a global network of interested parties.

The details of how ICANN would run on its own have been eagerly awaited around the world and especially in the US, where some Republican lawmakers have raised concerns that the transition may allow other countries to take control of the internet.

Since 1998, ICANN has held the contract to manage the master database for top-level domain names such as .com and .net and their corresponding numeric addresses. The functions are collectively known as Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA). [Read more...]

Obama’s New Energy Plan Could Cost $2.5 Trillion in Lost Economic Growth

by Nicolas Loris     •     Daily Signal

The Obama administration unveiled its climate change regulations for new and existing power plants, calling the plan “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.”

It may be the most “important” from a top-down, regulatory mandate for high energy prices, but it won’t accomplish much, if anything, in terms of combating climate change.

Even though electricity generation accounts for the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, the estimated reduction is minuscule compared to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Climatologists estimate that the administration’s climate regulations will avert less than two hundredths of a degree Celsius by 2100. [Read more...]

Obama’s Climate Hubris

The Clean Power Plan’s dirty politics.

by Betsy McCaughey     •     The American Spectator

barack obama divisiveThis week President Obama is hailing his Clean Power Plan as “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” Obama is posing as the environment’s savior, just as he did in 2008, when he promised his presidency would mark “the moment when … the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Seven years later, that messianic legacy is in doubt. Obama’s Clean Power Plan has never had legislative support, even when his own party controlled both houses of Congress. Now he’s trying to impose it without Congress, an audacious ploy his old Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe condemns as “burning the Constitution.”

As his presidency wanes, Obama is desperately burnishing his eco-credentials with environmental zealots like Pope Francis and the leftists at the U.N. and in the European Union. But here at home, his plan would be a disaster economically, which explains its failure in Congress. Hillary Clinton is pledging to support the plan, while Republicans vying for their party’s presidential nomination are vowing to oppose it. The Clean Power Plan will be a fiercely debated issue in coal-consuming swing states like Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania — where the race for the White House is usually decided. [Read more...]

The New Slow-Growth Normal and Where It Leads

On the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, an unhinged regulatory state is our doomsday machine.

by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.     •     Wall Street Journal

AT&T is a taxpaying corporate citizen in good standing and agreed to a perfectly legal takeover with fellow taxpaying corporate citizen DirecTV. We know it was legal because the Justice Department approved the deal, saying it raised no concerns under the antitrust laws.

And yet to proceed with a consensual, private-market transaction AT&T still had to concede to a long list of demands, without a meaningful recourse—fighting in court would have taken too long and destroyed the value of the deal—presented by another government agency, the Federal Communications Commission.

Who cares about the swelling power of bureaucratic discretion in Washington over big business, since it doesn’t threaten your personal freedom and prosperity. Or does it? That question lurked in the background of a Hoover Institution discussion on June 25, hosted by economist and podcaster extraordinaire Russ Roberts. The occasion was the 800th anniversary of Britain’s Magna Carta, a landmark in the struggle for a rule of law. [Read more...]

Obama doubles down on climate rule

by Timothy Cama     •      The Hill

Climate Change FairtalesThe Obama administration on Sunday unveiled a tougher climate change rule for power plants, demanding that generators cut their carbon dioxide output 32 percent in the first-ever limits on the pollutant.

The historic regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency is the main pillar of President Obama’s climate agenda. It is the biggest piece of his drive to create a legacy and go down in history as the first United States president to take comprehensive action against climate change by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Obama will hold an event Monday afternoon at the White House to announce the regulation, the White House said.

The EPA is asking states to formulate plans to reach specific carbon reduction goals assigned to them by 2030, from a 2005 starting point, adding up to a 32 percent reduction nationwide. If the states do not submit plans — as multiple conservative states have threatened — the EPA will write and impose its own strategies upon them. [Read more...]

More than two-thirds of Obamacare enrollees unsatisfied with coverage

By Tom Howell Jr.     •     The Washington Times

obamacare-obama-government-inefficientObamacare has offered insurance to millions of people, but they’re unhappy with the coverage they’re getting and are particularly upset about the costs, according to a survey released Monday that suggests the health care law continues to struggle to win over Americans.

Just 30 percent of customers on Obamacare’s exchanges were satisfied with their coverage, the health care research arm of the Deloitte consulting firm said.

Only a quarter of Obamacare customers in the survey were confident that they could get care when they needed it, and just 16 percent felt “financially prepared” to handle future health care costs, Deloitte said.

“Those are not high numbers,” said Paul Lambdin, a director for Deloitte’s work on insurance exchanges and retail practices.

Analysts said it is hard to tell at this point whether dissatisfaction is the inevitable byproduct of a new customer base or whether the law itself has structural problems. [Read more...]

US Wage Growth Plummets to Slowest Pace On Record

by Morgan Chalfant     •     Washington Free Beacon

economic growthU.S. employment costs posted the smallest increase on record in the second quarter of 2015.

The Labor Department released the figures Friday, Reuters reported. The Employment Cost Index, the general measure of labor costs that is used as an accurate indication of labor market slack, ticked up only 0.2 percent in the second quarter.

Down from a 0.7 percent gain in the first quarter, this represents the smallest gain since the government started measuring the employment cost index in 1982.

Some economists had anticipated that the figure would see a 0.6 percent increase in the second quarter.

“This data has periodically proved to be very lumpy and the sharp deceleration is inconsistent with other measures of wage inflation that are trending higher, not falling off a cliff,” said Eric Green, chief economist at TD Securities in New York City. [Read more...]

Oil Export Momentum

Support is growing to repeal a Nixon-era ban that Iran and Russia love.

Wall Street Journal

oil-well-drillingThe Washington news isn’t all bad these days: Republicans and some Democrats are working hard to gather enough votes to repeal the 40-year ban on exporting crude oil. With gasoline prices hitting new lows, now is the right political moment to do something right for the economy and national security.

The ban is a relic from the Nixon era when oil prices spiked and OPEC began. America’s unconventional oil boom has changed everything. U.S. crude production bottomed in 2008 at about seven million barrels per day and is now more than 11 million. The Energy Information Administration estimates that U.S. output could hit 18 million barrels a day by 2040. Crude inventories are at an 80-year high, and imports declined nearly 30% between 2005 and 2013.

The export ban is, paradoxically, one of the biggest threats to this U.S. production boom. The decline in oil prices over the past year has forced U.S. producers to slash investment and cancel projects. The U.S. rig count has dropped 50% since last autumn, and the industry has cut more than 125,000 jobs. Lifting the ban would offer new markets for U.S. oil and mean fewer layoffs. [Read more...]