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Nuclear Talks with Iran to Fail

by Lawrence A. Franklin

Obama IranThe Obama Administration’s efforts to negotiate a verifiable agreement with Iran which would limit the Islamic Republic’s capability to develop a nuclear weapon — will fail—because of Iran’s domestic political dynamics.

A decade of efforts by European and American diplomats, combined with effective sanctions as well as Iran’s disingenuous public diplomacy strategy, did succeed in bringing Tehran to the negotiating table. However, despite some support for an agreement within President Rouhani’s circles, regime hardliners have begun to signal that they will not tolerate an agreement with the West. [Read more...]

President Obama wants to limit your retirement savings — but not his own

by Allan Sloan     •     The Washington Post

Obama SmirkYou can’t keep a bad idea down. That’s my reaction to a terrible proposal in President Obama’s budget — limiting how much money can be set aside on your behalf in 401(k)s, pensions and other tax-favored retirement accounts.

The idea, of course, is to limit retirement-related tax breaks for “the rich.” The Treasury wants to limit the value of pensions and retirement accounts to about $3.4 million for a married couple, and something less than that (it doesn’t say how much) for single people. [Read more...]

Blowing Holes in the Nuclear Deterrent

by Peter Huessy

Nuclear DisarmamentThe President’s budget will be submitted to Congress this week and the annual Department of Defense (DOD) budget at $585 billion is sure to get a lot of attention. For example, Tom Collina of the Ploughshares Fund (1) recommended, even before the budget was released, that the USA cut $75 billion over the next ten years from projected DOD nuclear weapons modernization requirements.(2)

Included in the proposed cuts would be four out of the twelve planned submarines we are building to replace our current Ohio class Trident fleet of 14 nuclear armed submarines. These bulwarks of our deterrent were first put into the water some 30 years ago and will soon reach the end of their hull life. [Read more...]

Barack Obama, Corporate Liberal

And secret friend of the one percent.

by Jay Cost     •     The Weekly Standard

Obama-smugIn last week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama came across as the ultimate class warrior. His domestic agenda consists of more spending on roads and infrastructure, new entitlement programs for community college and preschool, and tax preferences targeted to low- and middle-income earners. All of this he would pay for with new inheritance taxes on the wealthy, a hike in the capital gains tax, and a special levy on the biggest financial institutions.

But don’t be fooled. Obama may seem like the newest member of Occupy Wall Street—chanting “We are the 99 percent!”—but his record shows him to be a corporate liberal, and a closer look at last week’s proposals confirms it. [Read more...]

Obama’s Illusory Economic Recovery

Official statistics ignore the real hardships families face.

By Stephen Moore     •     The Washington Times

Jobless RecoveryThe big news from this week’s State of the Union address is that the economic “crisis is over.” Apparently, we’ve been rescued from a second Great Depression and everything this president has done to fix the economy has worked. All that was missing from Mr. Obama’s celebration was the old “Icky Shuffle” end zone dance.

This no doubt came as a bit of a shock to voters since the economy has been sickly for a long, long time. As recently as this fall, half of Americans were saying that the country is still in recession.

Conditions have improved in the last six months for sure, with growth accelerating, inflation low and stable, hiring picking up and gas prices tumbling.

Still, if things are as good as the White House says they are, why do we feel so bad? Why are we collectively so worried about the fragile future of our nation? [Read more...]

Middle-Class Savings Like Blood In the Water

Obama goes where the money is to pay for ‘free’ education programs – your savings account.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

obama_taxesBank robber Willie Sutton is said to have explained his career this way: “That’s where the money is.” Whether Sutton ever really said that, it’s an aphorism that, according to Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, explains President Obama’s plans to go after middle class assets like 529 college savings plans and home appreciation.

Though millions of Americans have been putting money into “tax free” 529 plans to save for their children’s increasingly expensive college educations, President Obama would change the law so that withdrawals from the plans to fund college would be taxed as ordinary income. So while you used to be able to get a nice tax benefit by saving for college, now you’ll be shelling out to Uncle Sam every time you withdraw to pay for Junior’s dorm fees.

This doesn’t hurt the very rich — who just pay for college out of pocket — or the poor, who get financial aid, but it’s pretty rough on the middle– and upper–middle class. In a double-whammy, those withdrawals will show up as income on parents’ income tax forms, which are used to calculate financial aid, making them look richer, and hence reducing grants. [Read more...]

Why Netanyahu Is Right to Go Around Obama To Congress

by Marc A. Thiessen     •     The Washington Post Obama 102

Do they talk this way about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani?

After learning that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted an invitation to address a joint session of Congress about the need for new sanctions to stop Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration went . . . well, nuclear.

One “senior American official” threatened Netanyahu, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that “Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.” Meanwhile a “source close to [Secretary of State John] Kerry” told The Post that the “secretary’s patience is not infinite” and that “playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.” [Read more...]

Iran, Obama, Boehner and Netanyahu

By Caroline Glick     •     RealClearPolitics

Iran-IsraelIran has apparently produced an intercontinental ballistic missile whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.

On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.

On the launch pad was a new 27-meter long missile, never seen before. [Read more...]

Bergdahl to Be Charged With Desertion

In 2009 Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left his unit without permission and was captured by the Taliban. Bergdahl was held for five years until President Obama traded five high ranking Taliban commanders. Once Bergdahl was back on American soil, the Army conducted an investigation.

That was in October 2014. Three months later, the White House is stonewalling the Army’s charges on Bergdahl of desertion. Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, has been a liaison between the Pentagon and the White House and has led the effort to keep this news from getting out.

Senior ranking military officials said two weeks ago that they would release the ruling soon. Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer referred to the White House’s efforts as a “titanic struggle behind the scenes.”

“As a corporate entity, the Army has decided that they want to pursue Bergdahl for this violation,” Shaffer said.

The delay in releasing the charges against Bergdahl could stem from when the five Taliban members released were never briefed by Army officials. The White House just wants to make the situation to go away.

Obama and the Refusal to Call a Cat a Cat

For the French, it is almost surreal to see how the White House avoids using the phrase ‘radical Islam.’

By Laure Mandeville     •     The Wall Street Journal Obama Smirk

In French, we have an expression: “Call a cat a cat.” Appeler un chat un chat. That is exactly what French Prime Minister Manuel Valls did after the horrific terrorist attacks that hit my country on Jan. 7, when he identified “radical Islam” as our enemy. In France, most rallied to this clear acknowledgment of the threat we are dealing with, because it is simply impossible to deny.

That is why it has sounded almost surreal when the Obama administration and many observers in the U.S., despite their heartening support for the French, go to great lengths to insist that the terrorist attack had nothing to do with Islam. [Read more...]

Does Obama Believe What He Says Anymore?

State_of_Union by Ron Fournier     •     NationalJournal President Obama ended his State of the Union address where he started his political ascent—offering to be a leader who produces can-do bipartisanship in a divided, dysfunctional capital. “Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns,” he told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. “Imagine if we did something different.” Yes, imagine if rather than empty promises, the president could report two-party progress on big issues like immigration, climate change, social mobility, and the debt and deficit.

State_of_Union by Ron Fournier     *     NationalJournal President Obama ended his State of the Union address where he started his political ascent—offering to be a leader who produces can-do bipartisanship in a divided, dysfunctional capital. “Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns,” he told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. “Imagine if we did something different.” Yes, imagine if rather than empty promises, the president could report two-party progress on big issues like immigration, climate change, social mobility, and the debt and deficit.

[Read more...]

Obama Blows Smoke

by Fred Barnes     •     The Weekly Standard

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonWe know that supply-side economics emphasizes serious cuts in tax rates and Keynesianism relies on massive amounts of government spending. But how in the world does “middle class economics” work? After President Obama cited it repeatedly in State of the Union speech, I waited and waited for him to explain how it works. He never did.

Instead, he confused a cause with a result. Middle class economics, he said, “is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not an economic policy.by Fred Barnes     •     The Weekly Standard

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonWe know that supply-side economics emphasizes serious cuts in tax rates and Keynesianism relies on massive amounts of government spending. But how in the world does “middle class economics” work? After President Obama cited it repeatedly in State of the Union speech, I waited and waited for him to explain how it works. He never did.

Instead, he confused a cause with a result. Middle class economics, he said, “is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not an economic policy. [Read more...]

Obama: Charlie Who?

by Charles Krauthammer     •     The Washington Post

Obama 102On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as the New York Times put it, “reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities.”

Again? Already? Had not 4 million marchers and 44 foreign leaders just turned out on the streets of France to declare “No” to intimidation, and pledging solidarity, indeed identification (“Je suis Charlie”) with a satirical weekly specializing in the most outrageous and often tasteless portrayals of Muhammad? [Read more...]

4 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Obama Snubbed Paris

by Mollie Hemingway     •     The Federalist

Smug-ObamaOn Sunday, millions of people rallied in France in a show of unity for Western political freedoms and against Islamist extremism. World leaders from dozens of other countries came to Paris, the site of the largest rally, in a show of solidarity and strength in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter and the murderous siege of a Kosher supermarket. The United States didn’t send a high-ranking delegation and the absence was noted by American media and concerned critics of the Obama administration.

Some simply wanted the United States to formally acknowledge the shock and horror France dealt with last week, as well as our shared efforts in the fight for liberty. Others hoped a strong U.S. presence would indicate our strong adherence to democratic values and, as Peggy Noonan put it, “to demonstrate the shared understanding that the massacre may amount to a tipping point, whereby those who protect and put forward Western political values will insist upon them in their sphere and ask their Muslim fellow citizens to walk side by side with them in shared public commitment.” [Read more...]

Unlocking the Potential

The Keystone XL pipeline is our best bet for a secure energy future.

By Peter Roff     •     U.S. News

keystone-xl-pipelineA decision handed down Friday by the Nebraska Supreme Court allows the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward.

It’s long overdue. The pipeline is a needed addition to the U.S. energy infrastructure that will do much to help America reduce its dependence on energy sources produced in politically volatile regions of the world. In the interim, its construction will lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs in vital industries, the kind some politicians like to call “good jobs and good wages.” [Read more...]