On Friday, writing about the four-hour detention by US Customs & Border Protection of a troop of Iowa boy scouts, I put it this way:

American life is bifurcating into the undocumented and the overdocumented. On the southern border, the bazillions of US laws are meaningless – proof of identity, medical tests, none of it matters. And the less it matters on the Rio Grande the more the zealots on the 49th Parallel will take apart your car if they think you’ve got a Kinder egg in there. Anyone who thinks that attitude can be confined to the border and not work its way deep into the rest of American life is deluded.

Thirteen years ago, I opposed the creation of the “Department of Homeland Security” – on the classic Thatcherite ground that if you create a bureaucracy to deal with a problem you’ll never be rid of it. I had expected the usual “mission creep” but that term barely covers what’s happened in the last decade. There is no “homeland security”: At the southern border, the homeland is wide open, and ICE and the Border Patrol, which (like CBP) are both part of DHS, are actively colluding in homeland insecurity.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security “agents” busy themselves raiding the Foxy Lady strip club in Brockton, Massachusetts, because the foxy ladies were giving away knock-off Red Sox or Patriots merchandise with every two lap dances, and dispatching six vehicles to a home in Statesville, North Carolina to seize an imported Land Rover that doesn’t meet EPA emissions standards.

In September 2001, the then Attorney-General, John Ashcroft, rationalized the new Homeland Security apparatus as follows: “There is absolutely no guarantee that these safeguards would have avoided the September 11th occurrence,” he said. “We do know that, without them, the occurrence took place.” And so, without Homeland Security “agents” whiling away their work days checking out exotic dancers or climbing into the full Robocop to terrorize a couple of suburban car collectors, another occurrence could easily occur, couldn’t it?

On the other hand, whatever’s occurring at that wide-open southern border doesn’t pose any risk of additional occurrences occurring, does it? So don’t worry about it.

There is a pattern here. As I wrote here three months ago:

In the Second World War, when the Japanese took Singapore and inflicted what Churchill called the most ignominious defeat in British military history, it was famously said of the colony’s ill-prepared defenses that the guns were pointing the wrong way. In America today, the guns seem to be pointing the wrong way.

Lois Lerner’s Vendetta By Arnold Ahlert

House Republicans have released a Lois Lerner email exchange from November 2012 that “clearly demonstrates why Ms. Lerner not only targeted conservatives, but denied such groups their rights to due process and equal protection under the law,” wrote House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The emails were part of additional evidence the Committee turned over to the Justice Department (DOJ) to support a thorough investigation of the IRS’s criminal behavior. “While the Committee has not seen an evidence of a serious investigation by your Department, it is my sincere hope that in light of this new strong evidence that you immediately begin aggressively investigating this matter or appoint a special counsel. The failure to do so will only further erode public trust in not only the IRS, but the Department as well,” Camp warned.

The emails are indeed damning, and they were sent by Blackberry while Lerner was apparently traveling in Great Britain. Lerner begins an exchange with a personal associate who did not work at the IRS, during which the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit makes no effort to hide her contempt.

Lerner begins this part of the exchange by saying she overheard some women say America was bankrupt and “going down the tubes.” The friend replies, “You should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.” Lerner responds, “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.” The friend replies, “And I’m talking about the hosts of the show. The callers are rabid.” Lerner responds, “So we don’t have to worry about aliens terRorists (sic). It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”

Camp is using this information to make the case that Lerner’s bias is self-apparent, and that the DOJ should get more involved in reviewing her, along with the IRS. He also reiterated his contention that Holder has yet to make a determined effort to do so. “Despite the serious investigation and evidence this Committee has undertaken into the IRS’s targeting of individuals for their beliefs, there is no indication that DOJ is taking this matter seriously,” he said in a statement. “In light of this new information, I hope DOJ will aggressively pursue this case and finally appoint a special counsel, so the full truth can be revealed and justice is served.”

In his letter to Holder, Camp reveals that the Committee also discovered that Lerner used her personal email account for official business “including confidential return information” and noted that the DOJ could use its resources to discover “whether there was unauthorized disclosure of taxpayer information in violation of the law.” Camp further refers to an email dated February 22, 2012, in which Lerner contacted an IT professional about a “Virus on Home PC,’” further indicating she kept work info on her home computer, “some of which may have been lost.” Lerner speculates that her computer may have been hacked “because my password was too simple,” raising additional concerns that taxpayer information may have been leaked.

Dr. Anna Geifman on “Life in Israel Under Siege” — on The Glazov Gang

This week’s Glazov Gang was joined by Dr. Anna Geifman,a scholar who has taught in the History Dept. at Boston University for over 20 years and is now senior researcher at the Dept. of Political Studies at the University of Bar Ilan in Israel. Her latest book is Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia.

Dr. Geifman joined the show to discuss Life in Israel Under Siege, sharing life in Jerusalem during a state of war — and what it means to confront a death cult. She also discusses Why Death Cultures Target Children, Why The World Must Accept the Reality of Good and Evil, Similarities Between Bolshevik Terror and Hamas, and much, much more:

“Dodd-Frank – Bounty for Lawyers, A Bane for the Economy” : Sydney Williams

It was four years ago this month, that the President signed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, better known as Dodd-Frank. Wall Street doesn’t appear particularly reformed and consumers remain at risk, now more from predatory politicians than overly aggressive bankers. Worse, the bill never addressed the role played by politicians, or the part played by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in forcing a lowering of mortgage underwriting standards, in order to meet government housing policies. It ignores the maxim that the threat of financial loss, including bankruptcy, remains the best retardant against reckless behavior.

More accurately, the bill is known as the “Lawyers’ and Consultants’ [read, lobbyists] Full Employment Act of 2010.” At 2,300 pages, with another estimated 14,000 pages of regulation, the bill created a maze for banks’ compliance departments and a boon for the lawyers necessary to guide the banks through its over-reaching tentacles. NPR reporter Gary Rivlin wrote that the financial industry has spent more than $1 billion on hundreds of lobbyists trying to chip away at the bill’s regulations. Patrick McHenry of CNN estimates that Dodd-Frank has imposed $21.8 billion in compliance costs and its regulations require 60 million hours of paper work. A single example of the latter was pointed out by Peter Wallinson a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal: J.P. Morgan Chase plans to hire 3,000 more compliance officers this year, to supplement the 7,000 added last year. At the same time, they announced the firing of 5,000 people – a swap of the non-productive for the productive.

The purpose of the legislation was to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency, two traits disagreeable to lawyers who prefer chaos to simplicity and obfuscation to clarity. It was supposed to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts for banks “too big to fail, and it was designed to protect consumers from abusive financial practices and products.

Has it accomplished these goals? Financially, the U.S. is more stable, at least for the moment. But that may simply be a natural and rational reaction of businesses and people who have had a near-death experience. The near-collapse of the financial system in 2008 was enough, as we used to say in New Hampshire, to scare the “bejesus” out of one. It would have been odd if borrowers and lenders had not become more cautious. I suspect they still are. Keep in mind, a near-collapse of an entire financial system is extremely rare. Regardless, consumer debt remains a problem. A recent study by the Urban Institute suggests that one in three adults with a credit history – 77 million people – are so far behind in their debt payments that their accounts are now “in collections.” As the French would say, plus ça change, plus la meme chose.

Down to the Wire By Matthew Vadum

Republican lawmakers in the nation’s capital are racing against the legislative clock to approve measures aimed at cleaning up the border mess that President Obama created and preventing him from issuing unilateral decrees making it much, much worse.

The Obama administration is threatening to plunge the nation into a dire constitutional crisis after Labor Day by using executive orders to grant a huge amnesty to millions of illegal aliens now in the United States. Of course, in the American system of government, Congress, not the president, is supposed to make laws. Congress has repeatedly refused to grant the amnesties that Obama seeks, but the president refuses to take no for an answer, pressing on regardless of the casualties he inflicts on the country.

There is no indication Obama is backing off.

After meeting with Obama at the White House, leftist congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) again predicted the president would go forward with a massive immigration amnesty.

“I believe the president of the United States is going to act broadly and generously,” Gutiérrez said Tuesday on MSNBC when describing the White House visit that took place Friday. “That’s my belief. He didn’t say that to me but that’s what I believe he’s going to do.”

A giddy Gutiérrez said last week that the Obama administration could unilaterally provide legal status to as many as 5 million illegals.

But an amnesty fiat by the president would violate the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine and is clearly “an impeachable offense,” according to commentator Charles Krauthammer.

Although Krauthammer doesn’t support efforts to impeach Obama which he refers to as “political suicide,” he said that unilaterally granting work permits and legal status to millions of illegal aliens would be “clearly lawless and it would be biggest domestic overreach of a president in memory.”


If you like cease-fires, then this is a great time to be alive. Those Israelis who weren’t shot in the head by Hamas terrorists (whom Andrew Sullivan insists weren’t real Hamas terrorist, trading in his obsession with Sarah Palin’s rogue pregnancy for a new conspiracy theory) or killed by a Hamas rocket, encounter almost as many cease-fires in a given day as terrorist attacks.

A cease-fire comes along every few minutes and it can last anywhere from a minute to an hour to a few hours until Hamas once again begins firing rockets or swarming through tunnels to attack Israelis.

“War, what is it good for?” The Temptations sang. The obvious answer is that wars done right keep you from having to keep fighting.

But cease-fires with Hamas aren’t good for that or anything else.

Hamas violates its own cease-fires. It declares cease-fires and then denies that it declared them. It seems to have almost as many positions on cease-fires as John Kerry does on Iraq.

Israel’s unilateral cease-fires with Hamas are as worthless as its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza which allowed Hamas to take over the area. The cease-fires don’t stop the fighting. They don’t bring an end to the violence.

That’s what war is for.

But John Kerry is almost as obsessed with cease-fires as he is with finding a toupee that stays put during intense windsurfing sessions. The complete uselessness of the cease-fires hasn’t stopped the completely useless top diplomat from constantly proposing new ones.

Kerry defended his insistence on enrolling Israel in the Ceasefire-of-the-Minute club by claiming that enough worthless cease-fires could eventually be cashed in for one really big cease-fire.

Obama’s economic policy piled up huge amounts of debt on the theory that enough debt would eventually translate into wealth. The theory of a million worthless cease-fires adding up to peace is that same economic theory applied to the equally fraudulent realm of international diplomacy.

“The momentum generated by these short-term cease-fires is the best way to achieve a sustainable cease-fire,” Kerry said.

DEROY MURDOCK: At This Point, Obama and Kerry Probably Would Have Demanded a Post-D-Day Ceasefire

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry’s obsession with ceasefires in Gaza has grown as tiresome as it is destructive. They yell “ceasefire” at Israel more often than a pair of cheerleaders chanting “Sis, boom, bah!” Their fetish is trite, unbecoming, and a needless obstacle to what they instead should promote: Israel’s immediate extermination of Hamas — a bloodthirsty, homicidal, militant-Islamic, Jew-killing machine.

“Hamas has broken five cease-fires that we accepted and we actually implemented,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Chris Wallace on the July 27 edition of Fox News Sunday. “They rejected all of them, violated all of them, including two humanitarian cease-fires in the last 24 hours.”

Netanyahu referred to last Saturday’s twelve-hour humanitarian ceasefire, to allow the Gazans time to rescue the wounded and recover the deceased. As the peaceful interval expired at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unilaterally extended it for another four hours. But, “moments after the cease-fire officially ended, another three mortars were fired from Gaza and hit Israel in the Eshkol regional council,” CNN reported. “At about 4 p.m. ET, IDF said four rockets had been fired in the last hour.”

Thus, Hamas unilaterally launched more explosive rockets at Israel, igniting the violence anew. Obama and Kerry’s barking at Israel notwithstanding, Hamas simply will not take “ceasefire” for an answer.

Nonetheless, Kerry’s carbon footprint approaches Sasquatch proportions as he jets around with a peace plan that resembles a Hamas shopping list.

“To the ‘horror’ of the Israeli ministers, the Kerry proposal accepted Hamas’s demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza — where Israel and Egypt fear the import of weaponry; the construction of a seaport; and the creation of a post-conflict funding channel for Hamas from Qatar and other countries,” the Times of Israel reported on Saturday. “The proposal, meanwhile, did not even provide for Israel to continue demolishing the Hamas network of ‘terror tunnels’ dug under the Israeli border.”


The Obama administration’s recent failures in the foreign-policy arena have only highlighted how far American leadership has fallen in this new century. From the Middle East to Eurasia, it often seems that President Obama is reacting to events instead of trying to shape them. Americans have begun to see his collective failures as an indictment of his presidency, and they long for clarity and purpose from their president.

The clear foreign policy that is grounded in American ideas of promoting liberty abroad and preserving our security at home is what is needed now. That is how we became a superpower. Reversing these ideas allows our adversaries to become stronger and impairs our ability to respond to present-day threats.

While Obama’s foreign-policy adventures have waxed and waned in the eyes of the American public, his indecisiveness in places such as Iraq and Syria has presented an image of weakness on the global stage.

We have failed to adequately deal with Russian aggression in Georgia and Ukraine. Recognizing that the United States would soon be changing administrations, Russia invaded Georgia in 2008. As a nation, we stood by and watched during that transition, as parts of Georgia fell under Russian rule. Vladimir Putin sensed our weakness and saw opportunity. Six years later, he annexed Crimea, and now pro-Russian forces are trying to take over more land in Ukraine.

What has the Obama administration done in response to this aggression by Russia? Not really much, other than impose toothless sanctions on Russian businessmen close to Putin (but not the Russian president himself), which have done little to make Russia change course. Is this what Ronald Reagan would have done? Or would he have helped pro-democracy Ukrainians and pressed Europe to look for alternatives to Russian natural gas to preclude being held hostage by Russian energy? Additionally, we need to reinforce our commitments to NATO and get the former components of the Soviet Union involved. Otherwise, Putin will do this again. We need to embolden Europe to confront him.

Russia is not the only country that has taken advantage of our preoccupation with the Middle East. Recently, China has been expanding its maritime boundary in the South China Sea. It also seeks to test our resolve on long-held security commitments we have with our partners in Asia. We must do more to let our Asian allies know that we will stand with them and confront China’s territorial ambitions. China continues to threaten our country with cyber-attacks and is a repressive global power. We need to do more to support those people in China who long for democratic reform.


There is not much that is simple about the Arab–Israeli conflict, but there is one thing that is certain: The question of how many Palestinian women and children are going to die in Gaza is not going to be decided by the Israelis — it is going to be decided by Hamas.

The Jews mean to live, Hamas means to exterminate them, and there will be war until Hamas and its allies either weary of it or win it and the last Israeli Jew is dead or exiled. It is Hamas, not the Israelis, that stashes rockets and soldiers in schools and hospitals, but it is the Israelis the world expects to take account of that situation. Every creature on this Earth, from ant to gazelle, is entitled to — expected to — defend its life to the last: The Israeli Jews, practically alone among the world’s living things, are expected to make allowances for the well-being of those who are trying to exterminate them. No one lectures the antelope on restraint when the jackals come, but the Jews in the Jewish state are in the world’s judgment not entitled to what is granted every fish and insect as a matter of course.

That is one bit of strangeness, but there are a great many strange little assumptions that worm their way into our language, and our thought, when it comes to the Arab–Israeli conflict. Once a week or so, somebody will publicize a chart purporting to show the shrinkage of “Arab land” in what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories — as though Arabs did not hail from Arabia, as though they popped up out of the ground around Jerusalem like crocus blossoms. As though those Arab lands hadn’t been Turkish lands, Roman lands, Macedonian lands, Jewish lands.

As though this situation just dropped out of the sky.

Israel, as a Jewish state, is a relatively new country, having been established in 1948. But the idea of Palestine as a particular polity, much less an Arab polity, is a relatively new one, too, only 28 years older. Until the day before yesterday, the word “Palestinian” referred to Jews living in their ancestral homeland. During Roman rule, Palestine was considered a part of Syria: The prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, was subordinate to the legate of Syria, Palestine being a not especially notable outpost. (It is perhaps for this reason that no physical evidence of Pilate’s existence was unearthed until 1961.) That situation obtained for centuries; as late as the 19th century, the idea of an Arab Palestine distinct from Syria was a novel one, and one expressed in Ottoman administrative practice rather than in anything resembling a state as the term is understood. The notion of a Palestinian Arab nation dates to only a few decades before the establishment of the modern state of Israel.

The Case for Suing the President: Rewriting ObamaCare Laws on the Fly is a Violation of the Constitutionally Mandated Separation of Powers. By David B. Rivkin Jr. And Elizabeth Price Foley

‘So sue me” is President Obama’s message to Congress. And on Wednesday the House of Representatives took up his taunt, authorizing a lawsuit to challenge the president’s failure to faithfully execute provisions of the Affordable Care Act as passed by Congress. The House lawsuit is no “stunt,” as Mr. Obama has characterized it. The lawsuit is necessary to protect the Constitution’s separation of powers, a core means of protecting individual liberty. Without a judicial check on unbounded executive power to suspend the law, this president and all who follow him will have a powerful new weapon to destroy political accountability and democracy itself.

Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress. Article II imposes a duty on the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” When a law is unambiguous, the president cannot rewrite it to suit his own preferences. “The power of executing the laws,” as the Supreme Court emphasized in June in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, “does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice.” If a law has defects, fixing them is Congress’s business.

These barriers between the branches are not formalities—they were designed to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in one branch. As the Supreme Court explained in New York v. United States (1992), the “Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.”

The barriers also reflect the Framers’ belief that some powers are better suited for a particular branch of government because of its institutional characteristics.