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

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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.


Aside from the sources that reported these stories, the mainstream media largely ignored them all — of course.
5. France: Muslims sue satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for blasphemy

An organization calling itself the League of Judicial Defence of Muslims (LDJM) has brought suit against Charlie Hebdo in the city of Strasbourg for its edition headlined: “The Koran is s–t – it doesn’t stop bullets.” They picked Strasbourg because, uniquely in the secular republic, it has a blasphemy law – a hangover of its periods of German rule.

This is not the first time Charlie Hebdo has offended Islamic-supremacist sensibilities. The International Business Times (which scrupulously avoids causing offense to the poor dears itself by punctiliously referring to Muhammad as “the Prophet,” although I doubt it would ever refer to “the Lord Jesus Christ”) reported:

In November 2011, the paper’s office in Paris was fire-bombed and its website hacked. The attacks were linked to its decision to rename a special edition “Charia Hebdo” (Sharia Hebdo) with the Prophet Mohammed listed as editor-in-chief. The magazine was attacked by hackers again in September 2012, after it published cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed.

The name of the group bringing the suit, however, is a misnomer. For in fact, no Muslims were actually harmed by Charlie Hebdo, and no Muslims need any defense from it. No Muslims were physically injured by its Qur’an edition or other issues mocking Islam and Muhammad; no Muslims lost their jobs; no Muslims were discriminated against or harassed. Some Muslims may be offended by the magazine’s poking fun at the Qur’an and Muhammad, but that is the price of living in a pluralistic society: everyone has to put up with people who have values and priorities that differ from one’s own.

Ideally, this can be done in peace, and without one group attempting to assert hegemony over the others. But that is exactly what the League of Judicial Defence of Muslims is trying to do: impose Sharia blasphemy laws upon the rest of France.

On the Border of Freedom: Ukraine and Venezuela by Shoshana Bryen The Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, British and Austro-Hungarian Empires are gone — but Putin believes the Russian one can re-emerge. The West cannot allow it. In a thoughtful piece on conservative internationalism last year, Professor Henry R. Nau postulated that “American foreign policy should seek to increase the number of regimes that are democratic, not […]

Who Is to Blame for “Islamophopia” in the UK? by Mudar Zahran

If you look at the London Tube Bombing of 7/7; the Madrid Train Bombing; two attacks on the World Trade Center; the murders of Lee Rigby, Theo Van Gogh, Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Ilan Halimi, and countless other attack and threats, how can we honestly expect people not to be “Islamophobic”? It would appear we have no one to blame but ourselves.

If we Muslims are actually opposed to these Islamist hate preachers, why are we failing to take a unanimous public stance against them, to disown and isolate them from our community?

After the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists in London last May, The Guardian reported a surge in the number of anti-Muslim offenses.

Also, last May, a poll by the British research firm, YouGov, showed that nearly two-thirds of Britons believe there will be a “clash of civilizations” between British Muslims and white Britons, and 34% believe that Muslims pose a serious threat to democracy.

As a Muslim living in the UK, I wonder, who is to blame for the increase in anti-Muslim feelings in the U.K.? Or is the problem “Islamophopia”?

If one dispassionately examines facts, it seems possible that if “Islamophopia” exists in the U.K., then perhaps we Muslims are to blame for it.

For a start, let us look at the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, who was butchered in Woolwich, near his army barracks, on May 22, 2013 by two British Muslim converts.

The murderers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were both 29 and born to Christian families. Both are reported by the Daily Mail to have been inspired by the British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary. Therefore, can we Muslims blame the British public if they fear for their young men and women, and would prefer them not to associate with us and possibly become Islamically radicalized?


On Thursday February 20th Federal Justice William J. Martini of the United States District Court in New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit brought by several Islamic activist organizations, including the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Foundation, against the New York City Police Department. The plaintiffs accused the NYPD of violating their civil rights through a program which including surveillance and intelligence gathering of the Muslim community in New Jersey.

The groups along with several individuals stated that the actions had

“caused a series of spiritual, stigmatic, and pecuniary losses.”

to them both as individuals and collectively. They also stated that because of the actions of the NYPD they could no longer pray in public or speak in public regarding religion or politics. They accused the NYPD of singling them out solely on the basis of their religion. The judge found otherwise.

The NYPD surveillance and intelligence gathering program was one of the department’s counter terrorism programs. It began in early 2002, after the attacks of 9-11 by Islamic terrorists, and with the appointment of David Cohen, former Deputy Director of the CIA, as the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence for NYPD.

‘Maximalist’ by Stephen Sestanovich : A Review by Sohrab Amari

Reagan’s warm personal friendship with Gorbachev was legendary. But the Gipper conceded little of substance in their talks.

Readers of a certain age will recall the golden era of American foreign policy after World War II, when U.S. statesmen sought the counsel of our allies and listened respectfully to our enemies; when Washington’s conduct on the world stage was anchored in a bipartisan consensus back home; and when American strategy was stable across years and decades.

Humbug! says former U.S. diplomat Stephen Sestanovich in “Maximalist.” Surveying the foreign policies of 12 presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, this astute, engaging history clears away the misty air that obscures our view of postwar American strategy. There never was a golden age of collaboration and consensus, Mr. Sestanovich argues, and “the history of American foreign policy is the history of what presidents and their advisers do once they conclude that others, at home and abroad, are not likely to be of much help.”

The U.S. attitude toward allied leaders, Mr. Sestanovich shows, has always been marked by a measure of condescension and mistrust. Consider the Marshall Plan. Today Harry Truman’s massive infusion of aid designed to restore Europe’s war-shattered economies is revered on both sides of the Atlantic, and rightly so. Yet the plan’s latter-day admirers generally neglect its main ingredient (aside from dollars): American unilateralism.

LUCETTE LAGNADO:Anti-Israel Jews and the Vassar Blues

Ms. Lagnado, a Journal reporter, is the author of two memoirs of her Egyptian-Jewish family, “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit” (Harper Perennial, 2008) and “The Arrogant Years” (Ecco, 2012).

Recently I was contacted by a fellow Vassar alumna through Facebook.She wanted to know if I was aware that our genteel alma mater had become a hotbed of anti-Israel, pro-boycott sentiment.

Suddenly, my stomach was in knots—a feeling that Vassar has managed to evoke in me ever since I went there in the 1970s. An Orthodox Jewish girl from Brooklyn on a full scholarship, I fixated on this Seven Sister school as my entryway to the American dream, the epitome of style and grace that also prided itself on teaching “critical thinking.”

In this case the cause of my angst was a young woman named Naomi Dann, the president of the Vassar Jewish Union. She had penned a piece for the campus paper strongly supporting the recent move by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli academic exchanges—a decision denounced by college presidents across the country, including Vassar’s.

Her piece strung together all the familiar buzzwords and clichés used by Israel’s critics: “atrocities,” “oppressive,” “abuses,” “colonial,” and, of course, “apartheid.” Signed jointly with the co-president of Students for Justice in Palestine, Ms. Dann even slammed Vassar’s president and dean of the faculty for daring to oppose the boycott against the Jewish state.


A top-notch higher education system that promotes critical thinking is a must for an advanced economy and society. It is a prerequisite for advanced scientific research and technological expertise, both of which are crucial for economic growth. But what is a good university? What kind of education should it offer and at what cost?

“Will Dropouts Save America?,” asked Michael Ellsberg in a 2011 piece published by The New York Times, a paper that reveres universities and is considered the flagship publication of the American liberal Left.

Ellsberg said most of the high-tech entrepreneurs and the drivers of the Internet economy — from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg — were college dropouts, having realized that they were wasting their time in class.

“American academia is good at producing writers, literary critics and historians. It is also good at producing professionals with degrees,” Ellsberg wrote. “But we don’t have a shortage of lawyers and professors. America has a shortage of job creators. And the people who create jobs aren’t traditional professionals, but startup entrepreneurs. … No business in America — and therefore no job creation — happens without someone buying something. But most students learn nothing about sales in college; they are more likely to take a course on why sales (and capitalism) are evil.”

Things are much worse in Israel. Universities help shape a radical view where entrepreneurship is frowned upon. The ethos they espouse is diametrically opposed to the Zionist vision that touted hard work as the linchpin of a merit-based society. Liberal arts programs focus on “redistributing wealth” rather than on pursuing a successful career, as if wealth just descends from the heavens and simply needs to be distributed “fairly” (whatever that means).