It’s All In What You Name The Bill

On Tuesday Time.com posted an article about the Transparent Airlines Act, which had just passed in the House of Representatives. The law allows airline ads to exclude government fees. Therefore the consumer could easily be misled as to how much his flight will cost.

The article reports:

As MONEY’s Brad Tuttle reported in April, $61 dollars of a typical $300 flight comes from federal taxes–20% of the overall ticket price. Under the new law, airlines could ignore that portion of the fare and advertise the same flight at $239. Could anyone actually buy that flight for $239? Of course not.

One argument by those who favor the law is that it will allow consumers to see exactly how much government fees add to the price of airline tickets. That may be true, but when I buy an airline ticket, I want to know exactly how much it will cost me–not a number that may actually be 20 percent less than the actual cost.

 

Why We Need Citizens’ Watchdog Groups

The Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA) describes itself as follows:

…a grassroots, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, advocates minimum government and maximum freedom. We are dedicated to the preservation of free enterprise and the United States Constitution.  Excessive taxation upon citizens is unconstitutional, immoral, and a complete contradiction of success through the free market system.  We are dedicated to serve our community, our state, and our country by oversight, research, public education and advocacy in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.

They are active in Craven County and the surrounding counties in Eastern North Carolina. The Chairman of their Watchdog Committee is Hal James. I had the privilege of talking with him this morning to find out what the Watchdog Committee is watching.

One of the goals of the Watchdog Committee is to stop the continuing expansion of local government into areas that are private responsibilities. Mr. James pointed out that the County Commissioners are currently talking about a federally qualified health center and an in-patient hospice business. Both of these endeavors should be left to private enterprise. The County recently sold its home hospice business, why are the Commissioners talking about opening an in-patient hospice? Why are the Commissioners looking for a Certificate of Need (CON) for the in-patient hospice when there is a relatively new facility in Newport?

The second important goal of the Watchdog Committee is to encourage conservative candidates to run and hold their feet to the fire once they are elected. The CCTA does not endorse specific candidates, but they do provide information on where the candidates stand on various issues. The CCTA has a vetting process where candidates are asked 26 questions relating to Constitutional principles. The candidates’ answers are then posted on the CCTA website.

The third goal of the Watchdog Committee is transparency in government–particularly in the Craven County’s budget process. Mr. James cited an accounting change in the budget presentation that was totally misleading in terms of the amount of money spent. In 2010, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number for Food Stamp Direct Benefits payments was no longer on the audit report. In 2009, that number was $13,817,050, a significant amount of money. The explanation of this missing figure:

The USDA provided guidance to local governments and auditors that the CFDA should not appear in the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal and State Awards (SEFA) beginning with fiscal 2010. Instead the amount is shown in the footnotes, making it appear that the budget was cut–when that was not the case.

I realize that these audits are something that most of us do not have time to investigate or look at, but they have a definite impact on our lives and the lives of our children. We need people like Hal James to take the time to go through our County expenditures and explain to us how things work. Please support the CCTA and organizations like it that are helping to inform the taxpayers and helping us slow down the exponential growth of government and government spending.

Booby Traps In An UNRWA Health Clinic

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. They have hospitals, schools, and clinics in Gaza. Today the Times of Israel is reporting that three IDF soldiers were killed in a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic that housed the opening of a tunnel. The soldiers were taking precautionary measures to limit the damage to the building while blowing up the tunnel when the explosives rigged by the Hamas fighters detonated, collapsing the building and killing the soldiers.

On July 20, I reported the following (rightwinggranny.com):

Here is the UNRWA’s “apology” for allowing rockets to be stored in one of their schools in Gaza and here is a follow-up article stating that they did not turn said weapons over for destruction to UN forces or some other legal body that respects human rights but rather gave them back to Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that has to date committed numerous war crimes and various human rights violations according to the fourth Geneva Conventions.

UNRWA apologized for the incident, but obviously did not change its actions. The article at the Times of Israel reports that many of the buildings that house the tunnels have been booby trapped.

The Times of Israel also reports:

Turgeman ( IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman) said the IDF is “days away” from completing the military goal of destroying all of the tunnels, though the process is complex. Four tunnels have been destroyed in the past 24 hours, he added.

Turgeman revealed that the IDF expanded its operation on Tuesday night, targeting new sites in the north and center of the coastal enclave.

With the amount of concrete Hamas poured into the tunnel project, two hospitals, 20 schools, 20 healthcare centers, and 100 kindergartens could have been built, he said.

It is a shame that the United Nations did not supervise Gaza to make sure that hospitals, schools, and healthcare centers were built instead of the tunnels used to attack Israel. I truly believe that with the building of these tunnels, Gaza has given up its right to be an independent state.

Why There Is So Little Reporting On The Actions Of Hamas

A website called Legal Insurrection posted an article yesterday about the lack of reporting in the mainstream media about the activities of Hamas.

You may recall a April 11, 2003, New York Times article by Easton Jordan entitled “The News We Kept To Ourselves.” The article states:

Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

For example, in the mid-1990′s one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government’s ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency’s Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.

That is the way thugs in the Middle East handle reporters. Things have not changed–that is the modus operandi used by Hamas.

The article at Legal Insurrection reports:

The Times of Israel confirmed several incidents in which journalists were questioned and threatened. These included cases involving photographers who had taken pictures of Hamas operatives in compromising circumstances — gunmen preparing to shoot rockets from within civilian structures, and/or fighting in civilian clothing — and who were then approached by Hamas men, bullied and had their equipment taken away.

The article at Legal Insurrection included tweets from reporters and stories of intimidation of reporters. The reason we are not hearing both sides of the story of the Gaza-Israeli war is that one side is a bunch of thugs who are endangering their own civilian population and doing everything they can to hide the truth.

An Infrequently Reported Example Of Bullying

This was written by a friend on Facebook:

Against Bullying? Start with Walmart

By: Christine Morabito – July, 2014

After years of harassment by special interest groups, Walmart is fighting back. As with most bullies, the claims they make have less to do with reality than with bolstering the tormentor’s self-esteem.

This was evident in Timothy Egan’s New York Times op-ed, June 19, 2014, entitled “The Corporate Daddy,” where Egan accused the company of paying “humiliating wages.” He claimed, “Working at Walmart may not make you poor, but it certainly keeps you poor.”

Responding to the NYT hit piece, Walmart’s David Tovar, Director of Corporate Communications, reposted Egan’s article, complete with snarky, red-inked edits in the margins. He began, “Thanks for sharing your first draft.” Tovar proceeded to dispute claim after baseless claim. It reminded me of the triumphant scene in “Napoleon Dynamite,” where the relentlessly mistreated protagonist earns a standing ovation for his dance moves.

With 2.2 million employees worldwide, Walmart is also the largest U.S. employer. The average full-time associate earns around $12 an hour, well above minimum wage. In 2013, the corporation was praised by First Lady Michelle Obama for announcing plans to hire 100,000 veterans. Last year they donated more than $1 billion to charity globally. They also offer education assistance and help associates who have been affected by catastrophic life events such as fire, divorce, death, etc. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the retailer sent truckloads of goods to help victims. Yet, their reputation is under constant attack.

The Washington Examiner reported that Walmart’s health insurance is not only more affordable than Obamacare, but it also offers better coverage, minus the income, age or gender restrictions. The retailer revolutionized the pharmacy industry by offering inexpensive prescription drugs with little to no co-pays for their employees. Still, nothing satisfies the bullies, intent on pushing Walmart down and taking their lunch money.

Walmart is known for their entry level positions. But starting wages are rarely static. According to their website, “About 75% of our store management teams started as hourly associates, and they earn between $50,000 and $170,000 a year … Last year, Walmart promoted about 170,000 people to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay.” This is a key point lost on the Walmart bashers — as people gain knowledge and experience they climb the economic ladder.

It is clear the Walmart smear campaign is a pastime mostly enjoyed by far left activists, unions, angered by the superstore’s refusal to unionize, and the politicians beholden to such groups. To protest the opening of Walmart stores in cities, like Brooklyn, New York and Boston, is to deprive consumers of a wide variety of quality goods at low prices. A 2011 NYT poll showed 62 percent of New Yorkers wanted a store in their neighborhood. In her blog, “Ghetto Economics & the Politics of Poverty,” Stephanie Davis writes: “In essence, Boston’s political class has turned its city limits into a type of food dessert or island in which the cost of goods is higher because of limited supply or lack of competition.”

Today’s trend is to be obsessed with the gap between the highest paid worker and the lowest. Of course there’s an income gap! But, we must also take into account the gap in initiative, experience and in some cases, education (all of which can be rectified). These things being equal, we could legitimately criticize the income disparity. If career politicians and intellectual elites had even a smidgen of experience in the private sector, they might understand how this works. Until then, they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near economic policy.

Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days when we valued hard work and success in this country. Young people today are encouraged to vilify those who have more. It seems to me a childish and selfish way to view the world.

In my youth, I had many low paying jobs. When I got tired of being broke, I applied for student loans, studied hard and became a nurse. If I wanted more money, I could go back to school and become a nurse manager or even a surgeon. Here’s the thing: I don’t want to. I’d rather not put forth the effort or incur the associated expense. Do I resent doctors because they make more than me? Not at all. Do I march in the streets and demand the same salary as a physician? That would be absurd.

Instead of browbeating Walmart and coveting thy neighbor’s paycheck, maybe we should be inspiring people to educate and market themselves so they have skills employers need. I learned early in life that no one is going to pay me to sit around looking pretty.

The Game Changer In The Israeli-Gaza War

This is a picture from Monday’s New York Times:

IsraeliMapTunnels1 The Israeli military said it had uncovered about two dozen tunnels with more than 60 access points, many of them in this Gaza City neighborhood where there has been some of the most intense fighting. 2 In early July, the Israeli Air Force struck a tunnel that led to this kibbutz, near where Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was captured in 2006. 3 Hamas gunmen emerged from a tunnel about a mile from this kibbutz last Thursday. Israeli officials cited this as the final straw before the ground invasion. 4 Eight Palestinian militants emerged from a tunnel near here on Saturday, armed with automatic weapons and wearing Israeli military uniforms. 5 A deadly battle ensued between Israeli troops and Hamas militants on Monday after the militants emerged from a tunnel about 500 yards from this community’s homes. 6 Some of the militants tried to make their way here. 7 Residents of this kibbutz were warned to stay inside.

There is no way Israel can stop fighting until all of the tunnel network is destroyed. Any call for a cease fire without the destruction of the tunnels will result in a continued attack on Israeli civilians. The world generally ignored the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians as they continued over the years. We cannot ignore the attacks that would come from the tunnels if the tunnels were left intact.

This video from Palestinian television might explain why peace in the region is so difficult:

The video can be found at YouTube.

Just as America and its allies had to defeat Germany completely to stop Hitler, the Israelis will have to defeat Hamas and other terrorists whose goal is to eliminate Israel completely. Until that happens, Israel will have to defend herself against those who attack settlements and kill civilians.

Looking Behind The Economic Numbers

Breitbart.com posted an article today the current state of the American economy. The article points out that the current stated unemployment rate of 6.1 percent does not tell the whole story.

The article reports:

Only about half of the drop in the adult participation rate may be attributed to the Baby Boom generation reaching retirement age. Lacking adequate resources to retire, a larger percentage of adults over 65 are working than before the recession.

Many Americans who would like full time jobs are stuck in part-time positions, because businesses can hire desirable part-time workers to supplement a core of permanent, full-time employees, but at lower wages. And Obamacare’s employer health insurance mandates will not apply to workers on the job less than 30 hours a week.

The article also mentions the fact that many of our young people are being encouraged by colleges to obtain degrees in subjects that are of limited value in the workplace. These students graduate with massive debt and no marketable skills.

The article concludes:

New business regulations, more burdensome than are necessary to accomplish legitimate consumer protection and environmental objectives, exacerbate these problems.

All of this suppresses wages except for the most skilled and talented workers.

No surprise, average family income, adjusted for inflation has fallen from about $55,600 in 2007 to $51,000 even as the gap between families at the bottom and top widens.

It’s time for a new economic policy for America.

Different Laws For Different Groups

PJ Media posted an article today about the latest attack on religious free speech.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)recently released a press release that included the following:

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

The article at PJ Media points out:

Democrats routinely campaign from the very pulpit of majority black churches. It happens every single election cycle. Pastors in those churches regularly push parishioners to support the Democratic Party, to support specific government social policy, and even specific candidates for office.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has not sued to get the IRS to investigate any of that. Its targets are churches that align with the more conservative Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement. That tells us what the foundation and the IRS will really be investigating.

The IRS will be monitoring churches to listen for pastors supporting the right to life, the sanctity and traditional definition of marriage, traditional values in general, perhaps even patriotism. Those are the churches, based on the angle that the foundation lawsuit takes, that will potentially find themselves under IRS investigation.

It appears that there will be one set of rules for conservative churches and one set of rules for liberal churches. What happened to equal justice under the law? Why do only liberal churches have First Amendment rights?

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/20968-ffrf-irs-settle-suit-over-church-politicking#sthash.rEhbLVZy.dpuf

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/20968-ffrf-irs-settle-suit-over-church-politicking#sthash.rEhbLVZy.dpuf

We Are Funding A Terrorist State

The battle in the Gaza Strip is not just about Israel. Hamas is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization dedicated to forming a worldwide caliphate. The organization was founded in Egypt, where at various times the Egyptian government, understanding the threat from the Brotherhood, has made it illegal. Iran also desires the formation of a worldwide caliphate, which they believe will usher in the coming of the Mahdi, their messiah. The Iranian mullahs believe that they can hasten the coming of the Mahdi by creating chaos and war in the region. There is no regard for individual lives–all actions are aimed at forming the caliphate. That is the reason Iran sent young boys into minefields to clear the mines for the tanks during the Iran-Iraq war.

Another example of this disregard for human life is found in the digging of the tunnels between Gaza and Israel. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday citing a Journal of Palestine Studies (edited by President Obama’s pro-Palestinian friend Rashid Khalidi) article reporting that in 2012 Hamas was using children to dig the tunnels into Israel. Children were used because they are small and agile.

The article reports:

The author of the paper, Nicolas Pelham accompanied a police patrol in Gaza during December 2011. He reported that “nothing was done to impede the use of children in the tunnels, where, much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies.”

He also found that “at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, according to Hamas officials.” And, as noted, this was as of the end of 2011. How many more Palestinian children have died digging tunnels for Hamas since then?

So what was the purpose of the tunnels?

According to a YNet News article posted on Sunday:

Hamas had been preparing a murderous massive assault on Israeli civilian targets during the upcoming Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah – this according to anonymous sources in the Israeli security services cited by the Israeli daily Maariv.

The Hamas attackers were to be wearing IDF uniforms.

In its conclusion, the YNET News article reminds us:

Writing for Gatestone, Lawrence Franklin says that the construction of network of tunnels used hundreds of tons of concrete that might otherwise have been used by the Palestinians for building homes, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and libraries.

Hamas was legally elected by the people of Gaza. Gaza has become a terrorist state that chooses to be a terrorist state. I see no choice but to disarm that state and bring it to a point where it cannot build tunnels or fire rockets at Israel. Enough is enough. If the people of Gaza are willing to live in peace, we should do everything we can to help them achieve that goal, if they are not, we need to make sure they cannot rebuild tunnels or build rockets.

The Politics Of ObamaCare Premiums

The Daily Caller posted an article today about the collusion between the Obama Administration and health insurance companies to insure that healthcare premiums for consumers would not increase drastically just before the midterm elections of 2014.

The article explains:

New documents reveals that top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett personally conducted damage control with nervous health insurance companies after those companies saw no other way to hold premiums down under Obamacare without a taxpayer-funded bailout.

Their pleas worked.

A month later, the Obama administration issued rules to allow for a taxpayer-funded insurer bailout.

At a time when the federal budget is spiraling out of control, the Obama Administration is spending taxpayers’ money to avoid a political problem before the election.

The risk corridor program is set up so that consumers will not see the full impact of ObamaCare on their insurance premiums until 2017–after the midterm elections.

ObamaCare needs to be exposed totally for the disaster it is and ended as quickly as possible.

Hamas Is Not A Humanitarian Organization

In order to gain support of the population, Hamas does engage in charitable endeavors. The organization works in the way that the Mafia works in America–they do favors and collect on them. They also set up charities to raise money and to provide cover for their terrorist activities. Hamas also has a provision in its charter that calls for the total destruction of Israel. So why do I mention this?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a recent statement by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

Hamas “is a humanitarian organization,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday in a discussion of how the U.S. should handle the Islamist extremist group’s conflict with Israel.

How does she know? The Qataris “have told me over and over again.”

Here’s a lesson for Pelosi, D-Calif., on why the word of the Qataris should not inform her thoughts on U.S. policy:

The article reminds us that Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and has been on the U.S. State Department‘s list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997. The article also points out that Qatar is a major sponsor of Hamas–financially and ideologically.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Representative Pelosi should be better informed.

Israel Did Not Hit The Hospital And The Playground

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the hospital in Gaza that was supposedly attacked.

The article quotes The Algemenier:

The Israeli army said it was not operating in the vicinity of Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, where an explosion reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians.

“A short while ago Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists,” the army said in a statement sent to reporters.

The failed attempt to fire the projectile apparently hit a car near the center, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News, causing the casualties.

The station said that a “Hamas Fajr-5 rocket aimed at central Israel, which was fired from a playground outside the Shifa hospital and exploded on the site causing casualties, had at least a 100 kg (220 lbs) warhead,” according to The Times of Israel.

The article at Power Line includes a photo with the comment:

The Algemeiner performs the service of running the suggestive photograph below with the caption: “Nick Casey, The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East Correspondent, posted a photo to Twitter of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed on camera at Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, which Hamas uses as a base. The photo has since been removed. Photo: Nick Casey / Twitter.”

The fact that Hamas uses a hospital as a base of operations and fires rockets from a playground tells us all we need to know about how Hamas feels about protecting civilians.

The Experiment Failed, There Is No Reason It Should Continue

Today’s New York Post posted an article about the calls for a cease-fire in the Israeli-Gaza conflict. Michael Goodwin, who wrote the article, points out that even with a cease-fire, there is no way to return to the status quo. The discovery of the complex network of tunnels from Gaza for the purpose of attacking innocent Israelis and destroying Israel cannot be ignored.

The article reports:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already declared that the threat caused by the tunnels means Israel cannot accept a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank.

“If we were to pull out of Judea and Samaria, like they tell us to,” he said in speech four days after the war began, “there’d be a possibility of thousands of tunnels” being dug to attack Israel.

Noting that the West Bank is 20 times the size of Gaza, he said his country would never “create ­another 20 Gazas.”

Veteran Israeli journalist David Horovitz, writing in the Times of Israel, said the speech “spells the end” to any notion the prime minister would ever agree to the kind of free Palestinian state that President Obama and most of Europe, along with the Palestinians, demand.

Gaza has forfeited its right to become an independent state. It has taken the money given to its leaders for infrastructure and used it for weapons.

The article concludes:

It is not lost on Israelis that the tunnels were reinforced with steel and concrete. The supposed shortage of building materials in Gaza, routinely denounced as cruel by ­Israel’s critics, did not stop Hamas from diverting tens of thousands of tons into preparation for war.

That material could have been used to build houses, hospitals or schools. The tunnels even could have served as bomb shelters to protect Gaza’s civilians from Israeli bombs.

Instead, a determination to kill Jews took precedence over every ­aspect of life in Gaza. That included Hamas leaders urging and sometimes forcing civilians to stay in the line of fire, turning them into human shields to protect rockets and ­ammunition dumps. Nothing better illustrates the Hamas culture of ­hatred and death.

And now that nihilism, endorsed by Gazans who elected Hamas as their government, has destroyed any chance of a sovereign Palestinian state in the near future.

Naturally, much of the world will use a new Israeli hard line to accuse it of genocide and apartheid, blah blah blah. But the facts are clear: Once again, the Palestinians have only themselves to blame.

When a man who was in jail for armed robbery gets out of jail, you do not hand him a gun (or the money to buy one). Gaza was given a chance to become a sovereign state. The first thing they did was destroy the greenhouses that would have allowed them to prosper. Until they can behave, they should not be allowed to have a country.

Increasing The Stakes In The Propaganda War Because You Are Losing The Real War

Today’s Jerusalem Post is reporting that a flotilla is preparing to set sail from Turkey to Gaza to bring humanitarian aid. According to the report, the flotilla will be protected by the Turkish military.

The article reports:

Harold Rhode, a senior fellow at the New-York-based Gatestone Institute and a former adviser at the in the office of the American defense secretary on Islamic affairs, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday that the real issue in the ongoing conflict is that Turkey and Qatar are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in their goals.

“[Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood long before he was prime minister,” Rhode said.

It should now be clear to all that Erdogan “is now out of the bag,” Rhode said, adding that US President Barack Obama does not speak to the Turkish leader anymore despite previously describing him as one of his closest friends among the world’s leaders.

“Erdogan is doing whatever he can to help Hamas,” he said, asserting that it will only hurt the Palestinian people in the end.

Israel has sent humanitarian aid to Gaza. They have treated residents of Gaza in Israeli hospitals with the same care given to Israelis. As word gets out that Hamas is using human shields and storing weapons in schools, Hamas begins to lose the propaganda war. The flotilla is an attempt to turn public opinion against Israel. Meanwhile, America is promising aid to Gaza. Where has the aid to Gaza gone in the past? It certainly has not been spent on the people or the infrastructure. The money we give to Gaza goes to weapons and to line the pockets of the leaders of Hamas and Fatah. It is time that we attached enough strings to any money given to Gaza so that we know it is spent on the people there to raise their standard of living. If we can’t do that, we should cut off the money.

Reading Between The Lines

One of the recent ideas to come out of the White House is that Republicans want to impeach President Obama. Admittedly, Sarah Palin has made that statement, but the silence from other Republicans is deafening. There’s a reason for that.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article with a picture that tells us everything we want to know about impeaching President Obama.

This is the picture:

ImpeachmentEmail06

Impeachment talk makes great fundraising. It also distracts people from the domestic and foreign failures of President Obama. The biggest mistake the Republicans could make right now would be to attempt to impeach President Obama. Impeachment is probably the only way the Democrat party can be competitive in the mid-term elections.

The Internal Revenue Service And ObamaCare

Yesterday Kim Strassel posted an article at the Wall Street Journal entitled “The ObamaCare-IRS Nexus.” It is subscriber content, but if you google the title, you can read the entire article.

The article details the role of the IRS in the implementation of ObamaCare and the questionable steps the agency has taken in that implementation.

The article reports:

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Halbig that the administration had illegally provided ObamaCare subsidies in 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government. Yet it wasn’t the “administration” as a whole that issued the lawless subsidy gift. It was the administration acting through its new, favorite enforcer: the IRS.

And it was entirely political. Democrats needed those subsidies. The party had assumed that dangling subsidies before the states would induce them to set up exchanges. When dozens instead refused, the White House was faced with the prospect that citizens in 36 states—two-thirds of the country—would be exposed to the full cost of ObamaCare’s overpriced insurance. The backlash would have been horrific, potentially forcing Democrats to reopen the law, or even costing President Obama re-election.

The White House viewed it as imperative, therefore, that IRS bureaucrats ignore the law’s text and come up with a politically helpful rule. The evidence shows that career officials at the IRS did indeed do as Treasury Department and Health and Human Services Department officials told them. This, despite the fact that the IRS is supposed to be insulated from political meddling.

It gets worse. The article tells us that in late summer of 2010, after ObamaCare was signed into law, the IRS assembled a working group—made up of career IRS and Treasury employees—to develop regulations around ObamaCare subsidies. The early group followed the text of the law and declared that subsidies were for exchanges established by the States.

The article explains what happened next:

Yet in March 2011, Emily McMahon, the acting assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department (a political hire), saw a news article that noted a growing legal focus on the meaning of that text. She forwarded it to the working group, which in turn decided to elevate the issue—according to Congress’s report—to “senior IRS and Treasury officials.” The office of the IRS chief counsel—one of two positions appointed by the president—drafted a memo telling the group that it should read the text to mean that everyone, in every exchange, got subsidies. At some point between March 10 and March 15, 2011, the reference to “Exchanges established by the State” disappeared from the draft rule.

…To summarize: The IRS (famed for nitpicking and prosecuting the tax law), chose to authorize hundreds of billions of illegal subsidies without having performed a smidgen of legal due diligence, and did so at the direction of political taskmasters. The agency’s actions provided aid and comfort to elected Democrats, even as it disenfranchised millions of Americans who voted in their states to reject state-run exchanges. And Treasury knows how ugly this looks, which is why it initially stonewalled Congress in its investigation—at first refusing to give documents to investigators, and redacting large portions of the information.

Congratulations. We have become a banana republic. The law is what the political party in power says it is. The IRS is an organization to be used to silence and suppress political opposition. The use of the IRS for political purposes was the second article in the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon.

Black Is White And White Is Black

On Sunday, I posted an article about UNRWA. giving back weapons to Hamas after the weapons were found in an UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) in Gaza (rightwinggranny.com). Well, it is getting worse.

Today’s Jerusalem Post is reporting that the UN Human Rights Council decided yesterday to open an international inquiry into Israeli violations that may have been committed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. This is the same UN Human Rights Council that sat silent as rockets from Gaza rained down on the civilian population of Israel.This is the same UN Human Rights that sat silent as Hamas protected their rocket launchers by placing them in hospitals, mosques, and in civilian populations.

In case you missed it, this is the graph of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza since 2001:

graph

Where is the investigation of the rockets fired on Israeli civilians from Gaza? It is time for America to stop funding the United Nations. If we want an international organization dedicated to human rights and world peace, we need to start our own with the democracies and free nations of the world.

 

 

Freedom For Meriam Ibrahim

CBN News is reporting today that Meriam Ibrahim has left Sudan and is currently in Italy. Mrs. Ibrahim was in prison in Sudan because she had married a Christian and was a Christian. Her father, who was not involved in her childhood, claimed that she was a Muslim and had converted to Christianity. In Sudan, that is a crime punishable by death. She was pregnant when she went to prison and was forced to give birth while in chains. She was freed because of international pressure on Sudan. Her husband is an American citizen.

The article reports:

Her release comes just one day after a congressional hearing about her plight, where religious rights advocates warned that her case is just one of many.

“She is the tip of the iceberg,” Zuhdi Jasser, vice-chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.

“For every one case of Meriam Ibrahim, there are hundreds, if not thousands of those Sudanese and others who are victims of a draconian implementation of Sharia law that creates an existence for the Sudanese under the leadership of President Bashir that is really an abomination of religious freedom,” he charged.

Perkins (Family Research Council President Tony Perkins), who also testified before the House panel, agreed, suggesting the Obama administration has dropped the ball on addressing religious persecution.

“The United States needs to show more concern about religious hostility and persecution abroad, in particular the case with Meriam Ibrahim, where I think the response of the United States has been woefully inadequate,” Perkins told lawmakers.

Under Sharia Law Mrs. Ibrahim was eligible for the death penalty. There is no religious freedom under Sharia Law.

The Logic Of These Statements Escapes Me

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article citing some comments by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Included in the article:

…she (Secretary Albright) conceded that it is hard to dispute that forces loyal to Hamas in the Gaza Strip are using human shields in order to protect their military assets. She implied that this tactic has resulted in an inordinate number of Palestinian causalities over the course of the ongoing conflict with Israel.

…After conceding that Hamas is intentionally making civilian casualties more likely, she said that it was nevertheless the case that those causalities are sapping Israel of its “moral authority.”

Isn;t using human shields a war crime under international law? What about the fact that thousands of rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians? This has been going on ever since Israel turned Gaza over to Hamas. The real bottom-line question in this war is simple, “Does Israel have the right to defend itself?”

World opinion will probably force Israel to stop fighting before it cleans up the rocket launchers and tunnels in Gaza. Unfortunately that will result in continuing rocket attacks and the need for Israel to invade Gaza again in the near future. The only way to stop the rocket attacks on Israel and the civilian casualties in Gaza is to allow Israel to destroy Hamas in Gaza. Unfortunately the world has lost its moral clarity and does not have the integrity to allow Israel to do that.

An Invitation To Fraud

Yesterday the New York Post posted an article about fraud in ObamaCare. Because of the way ObamaCare is designed, there are ways that people can sign up using fictitious identities and not be immediately discovered.

The article reports:

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says its undercover investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation.

The agency’s findings are contained in testimony to be delivered at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Wednesday. An advance copy was provided to The Associated Press.

Seto Bagdoyan, head of GAO audits and investigations, will also testify that there’s still a huge backlog of applications with data discrepancies, even though the administration has resolved some 600,000 cases.

The article lists some of the findings of the GAO:

  • Contractors processing applications for the government told the GAO that their role was not to ferret out potential fraud.
  • Five of six bogus phone applications went through successfully. The one exception involved an applicant who refused to provide a Social Security number.
  • Six online applications were snagged by an identity checking system. But investigators just dialed a call center and all six were approved. That seemed to be an open pathway to coverage.
  • The GAO also tried to check the reliability of counselors providing in-person assistance. In five out of six cases, investigators were unable to get help. In the final case, the counselor correctly told the undercover investigator that their stated income would not entitle them to subsidized coverage.

This is what happens when you have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.

 

A Brief Primer On Israel And Gaza

Israel turned Gaza over to the Palestinians (there has never actually been a Palestinian state) in 2005. Just to refresh your memory, there was no cry for a Palestinian state until after the 1967 war. As Walid Shoebat stated, “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.” That is a part of the history of the Middle East that is often ignored.

So what is this current war about? This is a chart from the IDF blog:

graph

This is a picture of a playground in Sderot, Israel:

This cute little piece of playground equipment is actually a bomb shelter. Children is Sderot have 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter when the sirens go off. The reason we have not seen massive civilian casualties in Israel caused by the Hamas rocket attacks is that Israel uses the Iron Dome to keep the rockets from hitting the ground and the Israeli population has been spending a lot of time in bomb shelters. (There is also the ‘God thing.’ Israel has a Biblical relationship to God that includes ownership of the land they now possess. The Bible clearly says that the person who blesses Israel will be blessed and the person who curses Israel will be cursed. History bears that out.)

Please remember when you hear the hysterical cries of Palestinian casualties that those casualties are planned by the Palestinian government. When Israel tells people to leave an area they are about to attack, the Palestinian government orders the civilians to stay there–the Palestinian government understands the optics of Palestinian civilian casualties in the propaganda war. Israel is not targeting civilians–the government of Gaza has targeted Israeli civilians for years. Don’t believe the current propaganda.

A Federal Appeals Court Rules On Subsidies

NBC News is reporting today that a Federal Appeals Court in Washington, D. C., has ruled that  that the Patient Protection and  Affordable Care Act, (ObamaCare), as written, only allows insurance subsidies in states that have set up their own exchanges. This ruling invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that allowed subsidies in all 50 states. Thirty-six states did not set up the exchanges required by ObamaCare, so the federal government set up exchanges in those states. The court ruled that the federal government may not pay subsidies for insurance plans in those states.

The article reports:

Today’s decision reaffirms that the administration cannot rewrite the health law that was passed and it stops the Internal Revenue Service from doing the same,” said Andrew Kloster of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “The statute is clear in the Affordable Care Act that the subsidies are to be directed only to states that elected to set up insurance exchanges.”

This is actually the problem with the law–it has been rewritten as we go along. Mandates have been postponed, the stay-in-your-home provision for the elderly has been dropped altogether, and exemptions have been handed out left and right. It will be interesting to see if another Executive Order promptly makes its appearance.

One of the effects of ObamaCare (intended or otherwise) is the redistribution of wealth–it takes affordable healthcare away from those who already had insurance–some rates have gone up as much as $7,000 or $8,000 per year for people not eligible for subsidies, and provides subsidies for people with lower incomes (without demanding income verification). In one state, people whose incomes were well above the poverty level were eligible for subsidies, but one wonders if those subsidies will decrease after ObamaCare is fully operational.

It will be interesting to see if this decision stands–it will wind up in the Supreme Court.

 

A Dangerous Executive Order

The Daily Signal posted an article today about President Obama’s latest Executive Order. The President claims that the order will bar federal contractors from practicing “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. That sounds good, but there are some problems with it.

The article reports:

Today’s executive order does not contain any religious liberty protections—though it does retain an older federal regulation that permits religious organizations that favor employment of co-religionists to continue such practices. But there is no protection for organizations that hire based on mission—not on affiliation—to continue to do so. This in effect excludes taxpayers who hold conscientious beliefs about sexuality that run counter to Obama’s from being eligible for federal contracts funded with their own tax dollars.

The article also explains the solution for this Executive Order:

In response to this executive order, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act—sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, in the House (H.R. 3133) with more than 100 co-sponsors of both parties and sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R – Utah, in the Senate (S. 1808) with 17 co-sponsors—would prevent the federal government from taking such adverse actions. Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement.

We have always had transgendered people with us. They should be treated with respect. However, people with religious convictions should also be treated with respect. The right of conscience has always been a part of American law–from abortion law to gender issues. The Executive Order President Obama signed today is an affront to the freedom of all Americans–it does not respect their First Amendment right to practice and live according to their religious beliefs. Someone needs to read the U.S. Constitution to all of the people in Washington .

Senatorial Wisdom From Massachusetts

A Senator from Massachusetts made an insightful statements about the future of our nation. That Senator was Daniel Webster.

Senator Daniel Webster stated:

“There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government.”

Holly Robichaud posted an article in today’s Boston Herald illustrating the wisdom of that statement. She lists the ways you could destroy America from within:

The first step would be to jeopardize the country’s financial stability. Increasing the national debt by $7 trillion is a good starting point, and letting the debt keep growing until it overtakes the country’s gross national product is the death knell.

Another way to unbalance our finances is to encourage everyone to become dependent on government handouts instead of being self-
sufficient. When takers outnumber taxpayers, the system will collapse.

The second step would be to destroy U.S. credibility abroad. Spying on our friends doesn’t help our relationships.

…Another step would be to toss out our governing principles. Ignoring our Constitution along with the two other equal branches of government destabilizes the fabric of our society. Changing laws by executive fiat rather than the legislative process undermines our democracy. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution so no one person could dictate. The document empowers the branches of government so there are checks and balances. Without them, we become a dictatorship.

Lastly, you would neglect one of the basic principles: protect the people. Thomas Jefferson said, “A nation without borders is no nation.” Allowing people from other countries to hop, skip and jump over the border is a nonviolent invasion.

The obvious conclusion is that our destruction is happening as America watches television and tunes out politics. Unless the American voter wakes up and begins to pay attention and get involved, we will see Senator Webster’s prediction come true.

The Religion Of Peace In Mosul

In case you had any illusions about being a Christian and co-existing with Muslims, the recent events in Mosul, Iraq, should end them rather quickly. Yesterday CNN posted an article about the the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria‘s (ISIS) takeover of Mosul.

The article reports:

On Friday, the al Qaeda splinter group issued an ultimatum to Iraqi Christians living in Mosul — by Saturday at noon (5 a.m. ET), they must convert to Islam, pay a fine or face “death by the sword.”

A total of 52 Christian families left the city of Mosul early Saturday morning, with an armed group prohibiting some of them from taking anything but the clothes on their backs.

“They told us, ‘You to leave all of your money, gold, jewelry and go out with only the clothes on you,’” Wadie Salim told CNN.

Sharia Law requires that Christians either convert to Islam or pay a tax called a jizya. Paying the tax is done in such a way that the Christian shows submission to Islam. It involves a blow to the neck of the head of the family, recognizing that the tax is paid for the privilege of keeping his head.

The killing of Christians by Muslim is advocated in the Koran. The Koran states:

It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to triumph over every religion. (Q48:28)

What ISIS is doing is according to Sharia Law. It is Islam according to the Koran. Islam and Democracy are not compatible, and Islam and Christianity cannot co-exist.