The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech or of the press. That, in the view of President Obama, is no limitation on his ability to make such laws, even indirectly, through executive branch rules and regulations.

Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, the IRS discriminated against conservative groups in investigating, delaying and denying the tax-exempt status many had applied for in order to do what similar organizations do on the left side of the political equation. It was enough for Obama’s operatives in the IRS to detect the use of words such as “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in a group’s name for it to be subjected to this discrimination.

When IRS official Lois Lerner was called to testify about this practice before a House committee, she took the Fifth. And during the Super Bowl halftime show, Obama told Bill O’Reilly there wasn’t a trace of corruption in the IRS’s conduct.

Last November, the IRS proposed a change to the tax regulations that would institutionalize this discrimination.

This all, of course, was in pursuit of the liberals’ goal of overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which held that both labor unions and corporations had a free speech right to use their general funds for independent expenditures of a political nature. It said, among other things, that the First Amendment “has its fullest and most urgent applications to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.”

And that, in liberal thinking, opened a floodgate of corporate action where only union action had been permitted before. When the IRS got into the act, it quickly determined the obvious: that Dave Bossie’s outfit, Citizens United, is a nonprofit corporation. The best way to block spending by such nonprofits is to block them from becoming nonprofits, which has the effect of blocking most contributions to them. If you block their funding, they can’t spend anything on independent campaign ads for conservative candidates or against liberal ones. That’s what the IRS did in 2012, is doing today, and will continue to do when the new rules take effect.

The Politics of the Palestinian Right of Return by Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky US-backed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are entering a critical period. With reports suggesting Israeli acceptance of the 1967 lines and land swaps, what about Palestinian concessions? Two issues are paramount: the ‘right of return’ and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently stated, “Let me […]


The revolution in Kiev was televised. Will it now be squandered?

How hard can it be to change $60 into a foreign currency? On a visit to Ukraine last fall I found out.

This was in Yalta, the Black Sea resort where Churchill, Stalin and FDR met in 1945 to sort out the future of Europe. The two ATMs I tried, both with the familiar Cirrus logo, wouldn’t dispense cash. So I walked into a bank and went to the teller, who was reading.

Izvinite, excuse me, I said in my phrase-book Russian, since Yalta is a Russian-speaking town. He kept reading. Vybachte I offered in Ukrainian, no doubt badly pronounced. He ignored me. Excuse me, this time in English. Apparently I didn’t exist. I left.

A few blocks away I spotted an old building with a currency-exchange sign. Inside, about a dozen women sat at their desks behind inch-thick windows. I was the only customer. I went to the first window, took three $20 bills from my wallet, and showed them to the woman behind the glass. Wordlessly, she pointed at the woman at the next desk. That woman pointed at another.


Book Review: ‘A Child of Christian Blood,’ by Edmund Levin
There was no evidence against a Jewish clerk tried for ritually murdering a Christian boy in Kiev in 1911. But that wasn’t the point.

The body was discovered on a March afternoon in 1911 by two boys exploring one of Kiev’s many caves in search of treasure. It was that of a boy just about their age, dressed in only a shirt and underwear, his hands tied behind his back, slumped over next to his school books. Little Andrei Yushchinsky had met a terrible end, stabbed as many as 50 times by an awl.

In a violent city like Kiev, there was no reason to expect that the murder would give birth to one of the most notorious legal cases in the early 20th century, an international cause célèbre that would attract world-wide attention, exposing the cynicism and moral bankruptcy of czarist Russia. Today, in the wake of the Holocaust and other genocidal bloodlettings, the Beilis Case, as the scandal came to be known, is all but forgotten. But Edmund Levin’s “A Child of Christian Blood: Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia” reminds us that, in its day, the murder rivaled France’s Dreyfus Affair as the ugliest expression of modern anti-Semitism. His is the most thorough, reliable and readable book on the subject to date.

Toomey and Williams: The Justice Nominee and The Cop Killer

Debo Adegbile’s disturbing support for Mumia Abu-Jamal should disqualify him.

Mr. Toomey, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Mr. Williams is the district attorney of Philadelphia.

In the coming weeks, the Senate will consider the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil-rights division. There are those who object to the nominee on various grounds, and others who defend him. We raise concerns here about only one issue: Mr. Adegbile’s support for convicted Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Let there be no mistake. Our concern is not based on the fact that Mr. Adegbile acted as an attorney for a criminal defendant. The right to counsel is a fundamental part of America’s criminal justice system, and no lawyer should be faulted for the crimes of his clients.

But it is one thing to provide legal representation and quite another to seize on a case and turn it into a political platform from which to launch an extreme attack on the justice system. When a lawyer chooses that course, it is appropriate to ask whether he should be singled out for a high-level national position in, of all things, law enforcement.


The media have remained quiet about the IRS targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and even quieter about the proposed IRS rule to restrict their political speech. Maybe our colleagues will snap out of their slumber now that the objections are coming from liberals.

The comment period for the new IRS political-speech rule is open until Feb. 27, but already there have been more than 69,000 comments, the majority negative. That’s far more than the normal reaction to a new regulation—only 7,353 comments on the Keystone XL pipeline, according to—and it shows how much anger and concern the rule has generated across the political spectrum.

MY SAY: General Douglas MacArthur’s Farewell Speech Given to the Corps of Cadets at West Point May 12, 1962

General Westmoreland, General Groves, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps. As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, “Where are you bound for, General?” and when I replied, “West Point,” he remarked, “Beautiful place, have you ever been there before?”

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well. It fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily for a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code – the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast.

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.

And twenty years after, on the other side of the globe, against the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of the relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation of those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropic disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.

Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory – always victory, always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of Duty, Honor, Country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.

You now face a new world, a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres and missiles marked the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind – the chapter of the space age. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a greater, a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier. We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; of purifying sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundred of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purpose, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishments; but you are the ones who are trained to fight.

Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.

Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation’s war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government. Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be.

These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished – tone and tints. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen then, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.

In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.

I bid you farewell.

TROY SENIK:Government of Elites, By Elites, for Elites.

From the end of World War II until the 1990s, California possessed a magnetism unique among the 50 states. It was — according to a mythology that was probably overwrought even in those halcyon days — an American Eden, a place where ambition and unfettered imagination combined to make even the most exotic dreams seem feasible.

One of the reasons that image was so enduring was that the state consistently delivered on the outsized expectations. It came to be the center of American entertainment, with “Hollywood” becoming a metonym for the entire industry. It fostered the digital revolution that would eventually flower in Silicon Valley. It constructed one of the nation’s most extensive freeway systems, built a sophisticated infrastructure for delivering water, and developed one of the most impressive networks of universities in the country.

That California was synonymous with opportunity. It was a beacon to the middle class, a place where it was believed that you could author the future on your own terms.

The California that once beckoned residents from every corner of the nation has been demagnetized over the past quarter century. As an important 2012 Manhattan Institute study by Tom Gray and Robert Scardamalia noted, California led the nation in domestic out-migration in the 20-year period from 1990 to 2010, seeing an exodus of nearly 3.4 million residents that eliminated approximately 80 percent of the gains the state had made in domestic migration in the three decades prior. When those numbers are considered as a percentage of overall population, the Golden State stands alongside the nation’s biggest exporters of citizens: public-sector basket cases like New York, Michigan, Illinois, and New Jersey. In 2010, for the first time in the state’s history, California failed to gain any new seats in congressional redistricting.

How to Improve Our Colleges and Universities By Peter Berkowitz

Liberal education is in decline. And professors and administrators at our best liberal arts colleges are hastening its demise.

Much has been written about liberal education’s skyrocketing costs, its failure to provide students with the knowledge and intellectual skills they need to succeed in a competitive globalized economy, and its burdening of students with massive debt. But these big problems are only part of the story.

As important as is its contribution to individual economic well-being and to national prosperity, liberal education’s traditional and proper aim is even more comprehensive and vital to the public interest: to prepare students to seize the wide range of opportunities and meet the full spectrum of responsibilities characteristic of free men and women.

When it lives up to its own standards, liberal education equips citizens with the mental habits needed to engage effectively in political debate and cast votes in an informed manner. Moreover, by acquainting students with the rich variety of opinions within Western civilization about moral, political, and religious life and introducing them to competing opinions in other civilizations, liberal education promotes the virtues of toleration and moderation.

Liberal education is not neutral. When true to itself, it encourages gratitude toward free societies for offering the opportunity to study fundamental ideas and seminal events, and for maintaining—by means of customs, laws, and political institutions—a framework that allows individuals and their communities a wide sphere in which to organize their lives as they think best.

Can Democrats Neutralize Obamacare? By Rich Baehr

URL to article:

Earlier this week, a Politico story [1] revealed that Democrats were circulating a memo explaining how vulnerable candidates for 2014 can neutralize Obamacare as an issue in the midterms. The memorandum was circulated to Democratic House candidates. Democrats in the House have already had to deal with Obamacare in two election cycles after most of them voted for the bill (which narrowly passed, 219-212) in 2010.

In the 2010 midterms, House Democrats suffered a crushing blow. Republicans gained solid control of the House, picking up 63 seats. The unpopularity of Obamacare, which helped trigger the rise of the Tea Party in 2010, was a critical factor in the rout of House Democrats. Voters threw out Democrats who supported the bill, as well as those who were allowed to vote “no” by Nancy Pelosi once a majority was secured. Republicans also picked up seven Senate seats in 2010.

Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014 are facing voters for the first time since their votes for the Obamacare legislation in 2009 and 2010. Several who were swept to victory in 2008 with the decisive win by Barack Obama would face challenging races this year even without the Obamacare overhang: seven states where Democrats have to defend a Senate seat in 2014 — Alaska, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Montana — were carried by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

Generally, midterm elections provide a slightly better mix [2] of Republican-leaning voters than is seen in presidential election years (a higher percentage of white and older voters). Various polls show Republican candidates even or ahead in six of the seven states, trailing only in Alaska by a narrow margin. West Virginia and South Dakota are open seats. Montana is held by an appointed senator.