An Unnecessary Tragedy

Today’s New York Post is reporting that two policemen have been killed in the Brooklyn while they sat in their police car. Unfortunately, this is the result of much of the media’s and some of our local and national leaders’ ‘war on the police’ that has been going on for the last few months.

May the policemen rest in peace and their families be comforted.

The article reports the response of some of the New York City Police:

The two officers were pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital, where their colleagues and family members huddled tearfully.

City Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio were less than welcome guests at the poignant gathering.

“We’re all in this together,” the mayor told grieving cops, according to a cop who was there.

“No we’re not,” one officer said tersely in response.

Just last week cops began signing a “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” waiver, distributed by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, that warned the mayor and speaker to stay away from funerals of cops killed in the line of duty.

Lieutenants Benevolent Association President Lou Turco, like many cops, likened the murders to the 1988 assassination of Police Officer Eddie Byrne.

The 22-year-old rookie cop was alone in a squad car in Jamaica, Queens, guarding the home of a witness in a drug case, when he was shot in the head five times. The hit was ordered by jailed drug kingpin “Pappy” Mason, in retaliation for his arrest.

“I don’t even know how to respond to this,” Turco said. “Twenty-eight years on and I don’t know what to say.”

Another cop, who is black, said he fears that “this is just the beginning.

“There are people out there who will want to be copycats. The tension out there is the worst I’ve ever seen it.”

The lack of support shown to the New York City Police recently has not helped the safety of policemen. It is time for those who seek to divide America along racial lines and those who seek to blame the police for those divides to be quiet. Lack of respect for policemen endangers all of us. It will make America less safe and create chaos in our cities.

 

Teaching Islam Under The Guise Of Common Core

Yesterday Todd Starnes at Fox News posted an article about a Common Core vocabulary assignment given in English class in Farmville, North Carolina.

The article details the assignment:

“In the following exercises, you will have the opportunity to expand your vocabulary by reading about Muhammad and the Islamic word,” the worksheet read.

The lesson used words like astute, conducive, erratic, mosque, pastoral, and zenith in sentences about the Islamic faith.

“The zenith of any Muslim’s life is a trip to Mecca,” one sentence read. For “erratic,” the lesson included this statement: “The responses to Muhammad’s teachings were at first erratic. Some people responded favorably, while other resisted his claim that ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammad his Prophet.”

Another section required students to complete a sentence:

“There are such vast numbers of people who are anxious to spread the Muslim faith that it would be impossible to give a(n)___ amount.”

The writer of the article at Fox asked the school district to provide me with a copy of vocabulary worksheets that promoted the Jewish, Hindu and Christian faiths. The school district did not reply.

The article concludes:

The student I spoke with told me they have not had any other assignments dealing with religion – other than the one about Islam.

Why is that not surprising?

Based on its official statement, Pitt County Schools seems confident that the vocabulary lessons are in compliance with three Common Core standards related to literary. If you want to look up those standards, reference CCSSELA-Literary L11-12.4.A, 12.4.D and 12.6.

Since the Common Core folks seem to be infatuated with sentence completion – let me try one out on them.

Use “Islamic” and “proselytizing” in the following sentence: Somebody got their ____ hand caught in the ____ cookie jar.

Where are the protests from the ‘Freedom From Religion’ people?

How Many Times Did Scott Walker Have To Run For Governor During One Term?

The American Thinker posted an article today about the legal attack on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in recent years. The opponents of Governor Walker have used “John Doe” investigations against the governor and midnight SWAT team raids on Walker’s political supporters.

The article reports:

Yesterday, Judge Lee S. Dreyfus of the Waukesha County Court unsealed a trove of documents in  he civil lawsuit being brought by the Wisconsin Club for Growth against the GAB (Government Accountability Board).

The article lists some of the information in the documents:

Staff members engaged in the probe seem to have defied their own board. Documents show the board voted on July 21, 2014 refused to reauthorize the investigation, on a 3-2 vote.

Documents show the GAB staffers were preoccupied with their own legal exposure rather than whether those staffers were engaged in a lawful investigation. As late as May, they urged the board to continue to fund the agency’s probe because “terminating the investigation could undermine the position of the Board’s investigators in the civil case, exposing them, and potentially Board members to civil liability with no legal support.” (snip)

Under state law, the agency’s board must meet “at least once every 90” days to review the progress of the investigation. The board must approve the reauthorization of the investigation or the probe is considered closed.

The GAB is not authorized under law to prosecute criminal investigations, such as John Doe probes.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney earlier this week told Wisconsin Reporter, “John Doe investigations are initiated by district attorneys and controlled by a judge, not the Government Accountability Board.”

Asked whether the board has reauthorized the probe, he declined to comment, citing confidentiality laws.

Technically, the GAB’s involvement in the investigation should have been terminated over a year ago.

According to documents, the GAB voted to authorize the probe on June 20, 2013 but did not vote to reauthorize until Sept. 25, 2013 – 97 days after the GAB’s investigation was officially launched.

GAB Judge Harold Froehlich extensively discussed the lapse at a board meeting in May 2014.

But the GAB, according to court documents, had been admitted as a party to the probe and assisting prosecutors 10 months prior to the board’s formal vote to begin its investigation.

The unsealed documents show GAB director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy and Jonathan Becker, administrator of the agency’s ethics division, involved the accountability board in the secret probe without the approval or even knowledge of the judges. Board members were not informed of the involvement until Dec. 18, 2012, some three months after Kennedy and crew jumped on board.

And it seems Kennedy and Becker misled the board about precisely when they had “learned” of the John Doe investigation, according to a Dec. 18, 2012 memorandum.

“Since the time of the October 23, 2012 Board meeting, staff has learned that the Milwaukee District Attorney has opened another John Doe investigation,” the memo states.

It is not a crime to be a conservative governor. Hopefully the people who attempted to make it a crime will find themselves defending their actions rather than attacking people for their political views.

This Is Called Blackmail

Yesterday Fox News posted an article with the title, “IRS chief warns of refund delays over budget cuts.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on here. If people experience delays in getting their tax refunds, they will complain. If they make enough noise, Congress will have to give the IRS more money to get the refunds out promptly. I hope Congress is smarter than that.

The IRS in recent years has abused its power and become a political tool. I think it is time to cut its funding (actually, I think it is time to make it go away and replace the income tax with a consumption tax of some kind).

The article reports:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen gave details Thursday on ways the tax-collection agency might try to cut costs. He said everything from taxpayer services to enforcement efforts could be affected.

But, in a move that could impact millions, he said there could be a lag in refunds being processed.

“Everybody’s return will get processed,” Koskinen told reporters. “But people have gotten very used to being able to file their return and quickly getting a refund. This year we may not have the resources, the people to provide refunds as quickly as we have in the past.”

In recent years, the IRS says it was able to issue most tax refunds within 21 days, if the returns were filed electronically. Koskinen wouldn’t estimate how long they might be delayed in the upcoming filing season, which is just a few weeks away.

Congress cut the IRS budget by $346 million for the budget year that ends in September 2015. The $10.9 billion budget is $1.2 billion less than the agency received in 2010. The agency has come under heavy fire from congressional Republicans for its now-halted practice of applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

I totally support cutting the budget of the IRS. I would also support eliminating the agency.

 

Who Is Working And Who Is Not

The National Review Online posted an article today about job growth since the recession began in December 2007.

The article reports:

From November 2007 through November 2014, the number of employed native-born Americans has decreased more than 1.45 million, while the number of employed immigrants has risen by more than 2 million (as the immigrant population grew rapidly, too), according to data compiled by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Native employment has still not returned to pre-recession levels, while immigrant employment already exceeds pre-recession levels,” the report says. “Furthermore, even with recent job growth, the number of natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) continues to increase.”

This might be something to consider when debating President Obama’s amnesty memo. I suspect there are two main reasons for this statistic–first of all immigrants (legal or illegal) may be willing to work for lower wages, and secondly, many immigrants may have a stronger work ethic than many Americans. Either way, this does not bode well for America’s future.

 

An Obvious Example Of Economic Growth

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about job growth in Texas since the recession began in December 2007.

These two charts tell the story:

So what is the secret? The article reports:

For starters, Texas does not collect an individual income tax or a corporate income tax. It does collect a gross receipts tax. Still, the Tax Foundation’s 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index says Texas has the tenth best business tax climate in the U.S.

Texas has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation to make up for lost income tax revenue. The combined state and average local sales tax rate of 8.15 percent is 11th highest in the nation. However, sales taxes are more efficient than income taxes, since they don’t punish work.

Texas is also a right-to-work state, which studies have shown is better for the economy. Texas is the freest labor market in the country, according to the Mercatus Center. Their labor market freedom rankings include right-to-work status, in addition to minimum wage laws and workers compensation regulations, among other factors.

It seems to me that Congress and the Obama Administration could learn a lot about economics from Texas. Hopefully the new Republican Congress will copy some of the things that have worked in Texas.

The Future Of ObamaCare?

Yesterday Yahoo News reported that Vermont is abandoning its single-payer healthcare plan because it will be too expensive to taxpayers.

The article reports:

Going forward with a project four years in the making would require tax increases too big for the state to absorb, Shumlin said. The measure had been the centerpiece of the Democratic governor’s agenda and was watched and rooted for by single-payer health care supporters around the country.

“I am not going (to) undermine the hope of achieving critically important health care reforms for this state by pushing prematurely for single payer when it is not the right time for Vermont,” Shumlin said to reporters and two boards advising him on health care changes.

Legislation Shumlin signed in 2011 put the state on a path to move beyond the federal Affordable Care Act by 2017 to a health care system more similar to that in neighboring Canada. Shumlin adopted the mantra that access to quality health care should be “a right and not a privilege.”

The legislation called for the administration to produce a plan for financing the Green Mountain Care system by 2013 but it wasn’t completed until the last several days. Shumlin said it showed the plan would require an 11.5 percent payroll tax on businesses and an income tax separate from the one the state already has of up to 9.5 percent.

Governor Shumlin stated that he had asked his health care team for alternative designs, but no one could come up with a plan to offer quality coverage at an affordable cost. There is definitely a lesson to be learned in that statement. Healthcare costs money–someone has to pay for it. Insurance companies have actuary tables that allow them to calculate how to share the load. They do their job very well. We should let them do it.

There are a few changes I would make to private healthcare. First of all, I would make sure it stays private–keep the government out of it. Second of all, tort reform is needed to keep the cost of healthcare low. Third, health insurance needs to be the responsibility of the person–not his or her employer–it needs to be portable if a person changes jobs. Fourth, health insurance has to flow between states–not just be limited to one state–in order to allow insurance companies to spread their risk. And finally, Americans need to understand that companies who provide health insurance are doing us a service. They are in business to make money, which they should, and they are providing a service. We need to allow them to do business in the most efficient way possible. The percentage of profit in the health insurance industry is below the percentage of most other industries in the United States. We need to stop demonizing free enterprise.

Timing Is Everything

Yesterday the big news item was the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. There is, however, a part of the story that is not being widely reported.

Bill Gertz posted an article yesterday at the Washington Times about an agreement signed between Russia and Cuba in May.

The article reports:

Months before President Obama announced on Wednesday that he is seeking to do away with decades of U.S. economic sanctions against the communist regime in Cuba, Russia concluded a security deal with Havana aimed at bolstering intelligence and military ties to the island dictatorship.

The Russia-Cuba agreement was announced May 16 when a memorandum was signed in Moscow establishing a joint working group between Russia’s Security Council and the Cuban Commission for National Security and Defense.

The security agreement comes amid fresh U.S. intelligence agency concerns that Russia is taking steps to follow through on plans to conduct strategic nuclear bomber flights over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, possibly with the help of Cuba and Venezuela.

Sometimes it just feels like Putin is playing chess while Obama is playing checkers.

Russia has been increasing its presence in the southern half of the Western Hemisphere for years. Russia has close ties to Venezuela. At the present time, however, both countries are in dire straits due to falling oil prices and are really not able to help each other very much. But in recent years, Venezuela has been extending the runway at Maiquetia international airport near Caracas. Some American officials believe that the extended runway will be able to accommodate the Russian Bear Hs, possibly equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

The article further reports:

The Russia-Cuba security agreement reached in May was announced by Nikolai Patrushev, former director of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, and currently secretary of the Security Council, the key arm of the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The situation in the world is changing fast and it is dynamic. That’s why we will need the ability to react to it promptly,” Mr. Patrushev told reporters May 16 in Moscow.

The Cuban delegation to Moscow at the time was headed by Col. Alejandro Castro, an Interior Ministry officer and son of current Cuban leader Raul Castro.

In July, Russian news outlets reported that Cuba had agreed to re-open the Soviet-era electronic listening post at Lourdes, Cuba. The facility, which spied on U.S. communications in the southern United States, was closed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Mr. Putin later denied the spy post was being reopened.

Mr. Patrushev is Moscow’s point man for relations with Latin American states. In 2008, he traveled to Venezuela for talks with then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the time Russian and Venezuelan navy ships conducted joint exercises. Russia has supplied military equipment to the Venezuelan military.

This is not the time to do anything to bolster Cuba’s economy or standing in the world. All we are doing is propping up Cuba as its former sources of revenue, Venezuela and Russia, run out of money. This should have been the time for tough negotiations–not caving into anything the Cuban government wanted. President Obama has just made America less safe.

Bias? What Bias?

Brent Bozell posted an article at Townhall.com today contrasting the reporting on Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren during the Senate budget debate. The contrast is amazing.

The article reports:

Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are polar opposites, a Tea Party conservative and an Occupy Wall Street socialist. Then there are the similarities: Both were elected in 2012, both have Harvard on their resume and both are mentioned as presidential material. But the media’s read of the two demonstrates an unquestionable slant.

Both senators have shaken up the Senate over heavy spending and regulation. When Warren does it, she’s promoted as a profile in courage, standing up for fairness. When Cruz does it, he’s a selfish brat causing meltdowns.

The article reminds us to look for this type of reporting as the 2016 Presidential campaign begins.

The article cites an example of bias in The Hill:

William Jacobson at the blog Legal Insurrection found another example in The Hill newspaper, reflecting the Capitol’s own tilt like a funhouse mirror. His examples were less than 24 hours apart. Warren drew the Dec. 12 headline “Warren makes her mark,” and on Dec. 13, the headline was “Cruz center of Senate meltdown.” The articles even had the same author, a hack named Alexander Bolton.

The article concludes:

All this provides a precise GPS location for our liberal media. To them, Ted Cruz is a dangerous extremist, but Warren is their heroine — compassionate, professorial and politically and economically correct. Anyone who expects objectivity from the press is badly out of touch.

Look for this pattern throughout the 2016 campaign.

Our President Does Not Know How To Negotiate

The Daily Caller posted an article today stating that the United States is about to end diplomatic, travel and trade sanctions against Cuba. This is good news for Cuba–the deal will allow unlimited U.S. investment in Cuba, including payments to the ruling government and its supporters. U.S. banks will also be allowed to provide credit-card services and investments in Cuba. Businessmen like the deal.

So what did we actually get in return? The article reports:

The deal doesn’t require any political changes by Cuba’s oligarchy, officials said.

…The agreement will be complicated by political fights over the ownership of Cuba’s valuable real estate, especially its beachfront. That property was stolen by the fascist government after it took power in 1959.

Many of the property owners, or their descendants, are living in the United States.

…However, the (Cuban) government has maintained tight control over politics and periodically beats up members of pro-democracy groups.

…Cuba’s fascist government released an pro-American Cuban held in jail for 20 years, and a prisoner, Alan Gross.

Gross was arrested in Cuba where he was working for the federal government’s U.S. Agency for International Development.

…In exchange, the U.S. is released three Cuban spies.

One of the jailed Cubans worked as an “intelligence asset” for the U.S., said the White House official. He provided information that resulted in the convictions of at least three American spies for Cuba, and the arrest of five Cuba operatives in Florida.

The article reports that secret negotiations have been going on since 2013. American used to stand against countries that routinely violated human rights. I guess that doesn’t happen anymore. And I guess the Cuban ex-patriots in Florida will not be reimbursed for the property that was taken from them.

A Wonderful Suggestion For The New Congress

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is the picture of conservatives in the Republican party in recent years. Now, in 2015, we have the chance to do something different. We can take that chance or we can continue our march toward oblivion.

Yesterday, Erick Erickson posted an article at Red State which contained a very good suggestion for the Republicans in the new Congress.

The article stated:

Yes, we need to pick up the flag and force Republicans in February to actually fight as they are now promising when funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires, but there is an even more important intervening event that must draw our undivided attention.

The vote on whether Rep. John Boehner will be Speaker will occur in January, and 30 conservative House members can deny him re-election. It will be an actual public vote—not a behind-the-scenes, paper ballot vote. Although many would have you believe otherwise, Boehner has not yet been elected Speaker for the new term. House Republicans elected him as their nominee for Speaker in November, but the full House of Representatives needs to vote on his nomination in January.

Amen. John Boehner may be a wonderful person to have a beer with, but he has become part of the Washington political class. He needs to be replaced as speaker.

The article reports the incident that convinced me it was time for a change:

One of the main obstacles to unseating Boehner is that House conservatives sort of like him. You hear them say, “He really is a good guy. He just has the worst job in the world.” What they do not realize is that at all times, Boehner and the entire Leadership team are looking to screw and distract conservatives. Leadership has a phrase for this—its called “member management.” It is code to themselves for outright deception towards those they lead. Most of the time they don’t get caught, but occasionally the corruption is exposed. Boehner’s team lied to Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) to get his vote on the all-important procedural “rule” setting up the debate on the cromnibus. He promised to pull the cromnibus if Stutzman voted for the rule. Stutzman gave his vote, and Boehner went back on his word.

We will never have any sort of unity in the Republican party if establishment Republicans are comfortable lying to conservatives. Conservatives have a choice to make–they can either fight to bring the Republican party back to its conservative roots or they can be totally ignored. I prefer the fight.

 

Upholding The U.S. Constitution, One Judge At A Time

There have been two stories in the Washington Times recently regarding President Obama’s amnesty policy. The first appeared on December 7, and dealt with the fact that the case brought by the states regarding President Obama’s deportation amnesty have will be judged by Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a Bush appointee who issued a scorching rebuke to the Department of Homeland Security last year, accusing it of refusing to follow border security laws.

The second story, posted today, states:

A federal judge has found parts of President Obama’s new deportation amnesty to be unconstitutional, issuing a scathing memo Tuesday accusing him of usurping Congress’s power to make laws, and dismantling most of the White House’s legal reasoning for circumventing Congress.

Judge Arthur J. Schwab, sitting in the western district of Pennsylvania, said presidents do have powers to use discretion in deciding how to enforce the law, but said Mr. Obama’s new policy goes well beyond that, setting up a full system for granting legal protections to broad groups of individuals. He said Mr. Obama writing laws — a power that’s reserved for Congress, not the president.

The article explains that the memo does not invalidate the President’s policy, but it is a warning shot to the amnesty cases making their way through the courts. The President does have the power to use an executive order to clarify a law–he does not have the power to use an executive order to make law. That is one of the areas where the executive order on amnesty will be challenged.

If You Get All Your News From The Mainstream Media…

CBN News posted a story today about an article written by Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman. After the war last summer between Hamas and Israel, Mr. Friedman wrote an article entitled, “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth.” The article is his account of how the press covered that war.

CBN News reports:

“I decided at the end of the summer to write an essay looking at what has gone wrong through the lens of my own experiences,” Friedman told CBN News. 
 
For seven years, Friedman reported for the Associated Press, a giant news organization that provides information to many other media outlets worldwide. He says the AP and the mainstream press suffer from two malfunctions. One, Israel gets a disproportionate amount of coverage and two, the press has taken sides.

“The mainstream press corps here [in Israel] has largely adopted an advocacy role. They’ve decided to play a political role in the conflict,” he explained. “They’ve decided to lobby for the side that they think is right and political decisions are disguised as journalistic decisions.”
 
Friedman says Hamas took advantage of the bias.    

Friedman described the strategy of Hamas as provoking Israel by attacking civilians with rockets and then using civilians to shield weapons and soldiers. Then Hamas would show the news media the civilian casualties without mentioning that they were being used as human shields. Unfortunately, the news media either did not see through the strategy or were taking sides.

The CBN News story concludes:

Friedman maintains the world is getting a skewed version of what’s actually happening here in Israel.

“The story is — if you read between the lines and through the lines of the stories themselves — is that Israel is faced with a clear moral choice and is making the wrong choice.  Israel could have peace but it chooses war. That story is false. But everything is done to maintain it. Even in the face of contradictory evidence.”

Meanwhile, Hamas is attempting to use the United Nations to establish a terrorist state right next to Israel. This is not a good time to be on the wrong side of history, particularly where Israel is concerned.

Why It Is Important To Know Your Rights

On Friday, the New York Post reported the story of Nancy Genovese, 58, who was arrested in Suffolk County New York in July 2009 and charged with criminal trespass. Ms. Genovese was taking pictures of a decorative helicopter in front of the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach for a “Support Our Troops” website.

When her car was searched, Southhampton police found a legally owned rifle she was taking home from a nearby shooting range.

The article reports what happened next:

She contends a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene later and said to her, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” When Genovese said she’s gone to Tea Party rallies, he allegedly said, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and then added that she’d be arrested for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.”

“Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because [authorities] did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights,” her lawyer Frederick Brewington said.​​

Genovese said in a statement said she was “relieved” by the jury’s verdict. She added, “if this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated.”

Ms. Genovese has been awarded ​$1.12 million​ by a federal jury over her false prosecution by Suffolk County authorities. It obviously pays to know your constitutional rights!

The Changing Energy Picture

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that Israel has announced the discovery of a major offshore gas field.

The article reports:

The new field, some 90 miles off Israel’s coast in the eastern Mediterranean, holds at least 3.2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas, according to a 3D seismic survey. Two larger fields, discovered in 2009 and 2010, have combined reserves of at least 33 trillion cubic feet. These fields are expected to serve the bulk of Israel’s gas needs for the coming century. Experts say that further exploration will likely uncover other sizeable fields in Israel’s deep offshore waters.

The gas discoveries will have a major impact on Israel’s economy and perhaps even on its relations with Arab neighbors. Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt are all in urgent need of energy supplies and Israel would be the natural supplier. Israel’s proximity would make the gas significantly cheaper than gas they could acquire from any other source.

This announcement comes at a time when oil prices are falling rapidly and OPEC is attempting to drive American oil out of the market by not curtailing production. This find guarantees Israel’s future energy and will be a definite boost to the Israeli economy.

The article concludes:

The sprouting of gas rigs in the waters off Israel’s coast also creates a major security problem. The sites constitute a potential target for missiles fired both by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Terrorist attacks in explosives-laden speedboats are another concern. The Israeli navy has been patrolling the gas fields. It recently asked Germany to sell it three missile boats to beef up security around the rigs. The boats’ missiles would be capable of intercepting incoming missiles.

However, both Hamas and Hezbollah have reasons to refrain from attacking Israel’s seemingly vulnerable offshore assets. For one, any such attack would undoubtedly induce a massive Israeli response. Beyond that element of deterrence, both Hamas and Lebanon have reason to believe that gas, perhaps even oil, lies off their shores as well and they would not want Israeli retaliation when they begin to mine their waters.

Israel is scheduled to begin exploratory drilling in 2015. Hopefully, they will be able to proceed without major security issues.

Do We Really Want To Create A Terrorist State?

Yahoo News reported yesterday that the United States is not committed to a veto of the United Nations resolution to set a time frame for its withdrawal from territory Palestinians seek for a state. I don’t think there is anyone who believes that the Palestinian state would be a state that acknowledged the right of Israel to exist or that a Palestinian state would be committed to peace in the Middle East, so why would anyone encourage the existence of such a state?

The article reports:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday to discuss various proposals for a Palestinian state that are circulating at the United Nations.

Later on Monday, Kerry will travel to Paris for talks with European counterparts and then on to London to meet Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and a delegation from the Arab League, who will urge the United States not to use its U.N. Security Council veto to block the proposals.

The hastily-arranged meetings suggested urgency in America’s drive to manage efforts among Security Council members to draft a new proposal before Israeli elections in March. Kerry said on Friday he wanted to defuse tensions during the talks.

Jordan has circulated a draft Palestinian resolution to the 15-member U.N. Security Council calling for Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory to end by November 2016, and the Palestinians said on Monday they could submit it in the coming days.

France, Britain and Germany are discussing another proposal, but a senior U.S. official said there was no consensus among them and the United States had not been asked to take a position.

The push for a Palestinian state is a total rewrite of history. There never has been a Palestinian state. As I have reported before, Walid Shoebat is quoted as saying, “One day during the 1960s I went to bed a Jordanian Muslim, and when I woke up the next morning, I was informed that I was now a Palestinian Muslim, and that I was no longer a Jordanian Muslim.” There was never a cry for a Palestinian state when Jordan controlled the land that is now in question.

This is the map of the land originally given to Israel in the December 1920 Franco-British Boundary Convention:

Later, the boundaries were modified as shown below:

Trans-Jordan was established to be the Palestinian state. However, when the Palestinians attempted to overthrow the government of Jordan, they were thrown out. Under the present government of Gaza, there is no way a Palestinian state can be established without creating a war (possibly nuclear) in the Middle East. The United Nations resolution is not a move toward peace, it is a move toward war.

Improving Your Image On A False Premise

On Friday, Investors.com posted an article about Elizabeth Warren‘s objections to the budget bill because of bank risk.

The article reports:

Warren last week took to her socialist soapbox to try to torpedo the “cromnibus” spending bill. She warned legislators they would be blamed for another financial crisis if they dared to vote for any appropriations legislation that includes anti-Dodd-Frank provisions.

Pontificating from the Senate floor Thursday, Warren railed against Republicans and fellow Democrats alike for adding a provision to the bill to restore to banks the right to use derivatives to hedge risks for customers.

She claimed repeal of the regulation “would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.”

Added Warren: “These are the same banks that nearly broke the economy in 2008 and destroyed millions of jobs. The same banks that got bailed out by taxpayers and are now raking in record profits.

“A vote for this bill is a vote for taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street,” she continued.

But where was she three days earlier, when Fannie and Freddie unveiled new low-income mortgages with just 3% down payments? The move encourages the kind of risky lending that actually caused the crisis, yet she didn’t say a peep.

The taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street go back to the Community Reinvestment Act, passed by Jimmy Carter and revised in 1994 to repeal some restrictions on interstate banking.

The article explains what actually happened:

The “main culprit” in the housing crisis was Fannie and Freddie and their mission regulator, HUD, which was cheered on by affordable-housing zealots in the House like Warren’s pal Barney Frank.

HUD pressured Fannie and Freddie to make high-risk loans to “underserved” borrowers, and to do that they had to lower their underwriting standards to the point where they were buying as many subprime loans as prime. While HUD was enforcing its affordable-housing quotas, down payments plunged along with credit scores.

When the housing price bubble burst, those loans were the first to default. When the music stopped, a whopping 77% of all the bad loans ended up on the books of Fannie and Freddie and other federal agencies — not Wall Street banks.

The evidence of government guilt in the crisis is overwhelming. Yet Warren keeps up the false narrative.

Unfortunately, that false narrative has been used for so long that uninformed voters believe it. Part of what is needed to change the politics of Washington is an educated voter. Until voters learn to look past what the mainstream media is telling them, the government will continue to make reckless decisions that result in taxpayer money being used to correct government mistakes.

Common Sense Won In Arkansas

CBN News is reporting today that an ordinance that would have allowed transgender males to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, showers, and locker rooms in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was overruled by voters this week.

Michelle Duggar of the televisions show “19 Kids and Counting” campaigned against the ordinance.

The article reports:

Duggar argued that the ordinance affected “the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children” because it would “allow men – yes, I said men – to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas, and other areas that are designated for females only.”

“I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls,” she said.

When it comes down to it, I suspect there are very few Americans comfortable with the idea of their teenage daughters using the same  restrooms at the same time as men claiming that they are female.

Two Parties Working Together Against The American Working Man

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the delay of the Senate vote on the budget until Monday. As usual, the delay is caused by the obstructionism of Harry Reid. Unfortunately, some of the establishment Republicans are also in agreement with Senator Reid.

The article reports:

Democratic and GOP leaders in the Senate are delaying a vote on the huge 2015 government budget until Monday because they’re trying to block a floor vote on President Barack Obama’s unpopular amnesty of 12 million illegals.

The leaders may be able to avoid a direct vote on the unpopular amnesty, but they likely will be forced to vote on whether there should be a vote on blocking funds for the amnesty, and a vote on whether the amnesty is constitutional.

There are many establishment Republicans who support amnesty because it will bring low-wage workers into America and increase corporate profits. There does not seem to be a lot of concern for the Americans who will lose their jobs because of this. The Democrats support amnesty because they are looking for future Democrat voters–those receiving amnesty will eventually be granted the right to vote.

The article explains:

Three diverse GOP Senators are pushing for amnesty votes — Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

They’re backed up by some sympathetic GOP Senators, and by voters who paralyzed the Capitol Hill switchboard on Thursday. That’s when the House’s GOP leader. Rep. John Boehner joined with Obama to strong-arm House approval for the $1.1 trillion bill, which doesn’t include any language barring spending on Obama’s amnesty.

…GOP leader Mitch McConnell isn’t supporting Lee, Sessions or Cruz because he’s backing Obama’s de-facto amnesty of 12 million migrants.

The amnesty reduces one major obstacle to the GOP’s very unpopular goal of adding huge numbers of foreign workers to the nation’s slack labor market. Since at least 2006, Democrats have said they will oppose business’ demand for extra foreign workers unless the foreign workers are allowed to vote in future elections.

But Obama is trying to provide work-permits for 5 million migrants by granting en-masse individual exemptions from immigration law. He’s also telling an additional 7 million illegals, plus people who overstay their work-visas, that he won’t repatriate them unless they commit major crimes or pose a national security threat.

Unsurprisingly, the amnesty is unpopular among Americans, including the voters needed by the GOP to win the 2016 presidential election.

I don’t support a third political party–what I do support is a conservative takeover of the Republican party.

Behind The Drop In Oil Prices

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about the recent drop in oil prices. As of 4 pm today, oil was listed at about $58 a barrel. So what does this mean?

The article reports:

I decided to reach out to the CEO of a very successful private oil exploration company for his inside opinion, and this is what he tells Power Line:

Our Rate of Return (ROR) drops to 10% on our wells at $55 oil.  However, this assumption assumes no drop in costs to drill wells and no contraction in the large differential ($10 to $12 per barrel) between Bakken and WTI oil.  In reality our ROR would actually be above 10% at $55 WTI oil price as our costs to drill would also come down.  There are plenty of drilling locations that would have above 10% ROR at $40 oil.  Even more drilling locations would require $70, $80, or $90 oil prices for that ROR.  Of course, drilling will slow down long before you get down to a 10% ROR.  Most will want at least a 20% ROR.  Of course the quality of the operator matters in addition to the drilling location. . .

Bottom line is that the Saudis want to chill investment in new oil supply to help protect OPEC’s future.  In round numbers we have had about 5 MBOPD increase in world oil demand over the last 5 or 6 years.  Over the same time period US oil production has grown from nearly 4 MBOPD (from 5 to 9 MBOPD) — 80% of the increase in WORLD demand!  This is NOT good for OPEC.  I suspect that we will have ugly oil prices ($60 – $75) for around a year as that is long enough to stop many current oil supply investments and, more importantly, serve to chill the appetite for future large investments in oil supply growth (deep water, arctic, marginal shale, marginal tar sands, etc) which is the Saudi goal in my opinion.  I do not believe that the current price ($65) is a sustainable price going forward.  It would not encourage enough new supply to balance world demand which itself would be goosed upwards with the lower prices.  I suspect that after this ugly price period ends, we likely see oil bouncing around the $75 to $95 range or something like that.

Of course all of this depends on the state of world economy which has many significant challenges such as at the required unwind, or more likely significant revamping, of the unsustainable entitlement states over the next two decades.  I personally believe that the Euro currency was a very idea from the start and is damaging for Europe and unsustainable as an institution.  The unwind of the Euro within the next 5 or 10 years could also cause significant economic headwinds for the world economy.

 This game has been played before–when America is reaching energy independence, lower the price to avoid further exploration. We are fools if we fall for this. As soon as OPEC thinks America is not interested in developing its own resources, the price will go back up to where it has been in recent years. Regardless of the price, energy independence is always a good idea for security reasons. Energy independence also frees America up to support democracies in the Middle East rather than dictatorships.

Why Republicans Need Different Leadership In Congress

National Review Online posted a story today at The Corner accusing House leadership lying to Republicans to get votes.

The article reports:

Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.) accused House Republican leadership of reneging on a deal made with him to get his support on a crucial procedural vote that almost killed the $1.1 trillion cromnibus funding bill.

“I was very surprised and even more disappointed to see the cromnibus back on the floor,” Stutzman said in a Thursday evening statement. “The American people deserve better.”

Stutzman was one of the last Republicans to cast his ballot in favor of a rule allowing the House to vote on the cromnibus. National Review Online reported that Stutzman backed the rule at the last minute after leadership told him that they would pull the bill, once the rule was passed, and replace it with a short-term continuing resolution favored by rank-and-file conservatives. With the last-minute help of Stutzman and outgoing representative Kerry Bentivolio (R., Mich.), leadership won the vote 214–212.

“I supported the rule because I was informed by leadership that the cromnibus was dead and a short term CR would take its place,” Stutzman said. 

Admittedly, it would have been a huge black eye for the Republican leadership if the rule had not passed, but lying to fellow Congressmen is just wrong–regardless of which side of the aisle you are on. The House of Representatives passed a bad bill–it does not represent what the American people voted for. However, the people the American people voted for are not yet sworn in to Congress. Hopefully when they arrive, they will make a difference.

When Surrender Is Easier Than Victory

National Review Online posted an article today about the Omnibus Spending Bill currently before the Senate. I understand that the new Senate will not take office until January, but why in the world are the Republicans surrendering in advance?

The article reports:

The proposal: Pass an omnibus spending resolution that funds most of the federal government into October of next year, while passing a separate resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security just through the end of February. The coalition of Republicans and Democrats supporting the “cromnibus” bill, cobbled together by Republican leadership with hundreds of riders to please both parties, might have been impressive if it weren’t for the fact that it now may be collapsing. (There may be a few days’ funding extension to make time for voting on the overall proposal.)

Congress shouldn’t let the government shut down, but Republicans should neither acquiesce to President Obama’s unprecedented executive power grab nor give up control over the budget for well into the 114th Congress.

Let’s get back to a budget! The Senate has not passed a budget since 2009. Why? Because the continuing resolutions passed allow the government to continue spending at the current level. This is insanity and allows no one to be held accountable. It is time for this practice to end. That is one of many reasons Republicans were elected–to stop runaway government and runaway debt.

The article concludes:

Republican members ought to vote against the cromnibus, and many of them surely will. If Democrats defect over their displeasure with some other elements of the bill, the measure could fail. The alternative then may be a short-term funding bill into the next year, which would be better than the current plan.

In any case, it’s important that the nascent GOP majority’s first act not be surrender.

Republicans won for a reason. If they cannot listen to the people, they also need to be sent home in the next election.

A Grown-Up Perspective

The media has been focused on the Senate Intelligence Report released by the Democrats on the committee yesterday. I am sure that almost everyone is tired of hearing the Monday-morning quarterbacking of the decisions made and the actions taken.

There is, however, one statement that stands out in the noise. The quote is in a Washington Times article posted yesterday.

The article reports:

The real point of the report, however, was not to blame Mr. Bush, but rather to say he was clueless about the program. A New York Times story alleged that Mr. Bush was purposely kept in the dark and that he was “once again been misinformed” about the effectiveness of the program (sticking with the meme that the Yale and Harvard graduate is a Texas hayseed).

Yet even that was wrong. He wrote in his book “Decision Points”: “I knew that an interrogation program this sensitive and controversial would one day become public. When it did, we would open ourselves up to criticism that America had compromised our moral values. I would have preferred that we get the information another way. But the choice between security and values was real. Had I not authorized waterboarding on senior al Qaeda leaders, I would have had to accept a greater risk that the country would be attacked. In the wake of 9/11, that was a risk I was unwilling to take.”

And he closed with this: “My most solemn responsibility as president was to protect the country. I approved the use of the interrogation techniques. The new techniques proved highly effective.”

The article concludes:

Perhaps there’s a lesson in that passage for the current president as Islamic terrorists continue to behead Americans. He planned to “talk” with America’s enemies, but sometimes, a president needs to do more to protect Americans.

I think we need more grown-ups in the room.

While We Were Distracted By The Torture Report and the Gruber Hearings

On Sunday, the Department of Defense issued an announcement that they were releasing six Guantanamo inmates to Uruguay. The terrorists were Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Hussain Shaabaan, Omar Mahmoud Faraj, Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy, Mohammed Tahanmatan, and Jihad Diyab.

Yesterday, The Long War Journal posted some information on who these prisoners were.

The article reports:

The four Syrians transferred — Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Husein Shaaban, Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj, and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab — were all allegedly members of the so-called “Syrian Group.” The JTF-GTMO files describe the “Syrian Group” as “comprised of dismantled terrorist cells that escaped Syrian authorities and fled to Afghanistan (AF) in 2000.”

Part of the reporting in the JTF-GTMO files on the so-called “Syrian Group” came from the Syrian government, which was opposed to this particular group of jihadists but also eventually allied with al Qaeda in the fight against American forces in Iraq. Ultimately, in a form of blowback, that one-time alliance would fracture.

Syrian intelligence authorities under the Assad regime reported that Abu Musab al Suri, a senior al Qaeda ideologue, was the head of the “Syrian Group,” whose members traveled to Afghanistan for training in al Suri’s and al Qaeda’s camps. One camp established by al Suri, known as the al Ghuraba camp, provided training in electronics, including the building of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

See the article at the Long War Journal for further information.

As for the other two detainees, the article reports:

Mohammed Abdullah Tahamuttan (ISN 684), who is originally from the West Bank, is the only one of the six transferred detainees who was deemed a “medium” risk by JTF-GTMO. Tahamuttan was captured during the same raids that netted Abu Zubaydah in late March 2002. The safe houses where Tahamuttan, Zubaydah and others were captured were operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Pakistan. JTF-GTMO concluded that Tahamuttan was a member of Zubaydah’s “Martyrs Brigade,” which was created for the “purpose of returning to Afghanistan to conduct improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks against US and Coalition forces.”

…Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy (ISN 502), a citizen of Tunisia, is the sixth and final detainee transferred to Uruguay. “Detainee is assessed to be a member of al Qaeda and a finance operative for the Tunisian Combatant Group (TCG),” the JTF-GTMO threat assessment reads. The TCG is a forerunner of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, the group responsible for the Sept. 14, 2012 assault on the US Embassy in Tunis. And the intelligence collected on Ourgy showed that he worked with some of the senior TCG officials who would go on to form Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, including the group’s founder, Abu Iyad al Tunisi, and Sami Ben Khemais Essid, a longtime al Qaeda operative.

The article has full biographies–this is just a snapshot. Traditionally prisoners of war are not released until the war is over. I am concerned about what sort of mischief these men will create in Uruguay and how long it will take them to rejoin the battle in the Middle East.