When Unions Bark but Don’t Bite Michigan’s unions are discouraged by the success of reform efforts in the Great Lakes region.

On July 7, promises of retribution were kept. As expected, the union establishment struck back against a right-to-work law that had been enacted 18 months earlier in Michigan, the birthplace of the UAW. Taking advantage of their first opportunity, unions submitted substantially more than the 322,609 signatures required to place on the November 2014 ballot a referendum on permanent repeal. Hopes were high in union headquarters, as polls showed a Republican legislative majority and the governor on the ropes: Clearly, a high-profile campaign to make the new law a central issue was having an impact.

Such was the expected story when Governor Rick Snyder signed Michigan’s worker-freedom law in December 2012. After machinations including violent protests outside the capitol and “there will be blood” rhetoric by Democratic state representative Douglas Geiss, most observers expected a major push in 2014 to repeal the law and punish the politicians who enacted it.

The July 7 deadline for petitions to place constitutional amendments on the November ballot has come and gone, as did the May 28 deadline for initiatives to change state laws. On neither date did unions submit the signatures necessary to put right-to-work before Michigan voters.

Furthermore, the (presumably figurative) bloodbath predicted by political allies of the unions for this fall’s elections does not appear to be in the cards. Polls show Governor Snyder with a six-point lead over his Democratic challenger, and Democratic operatives are reportedly pessimistic about their chances to take away Republican majorities of 59–50 in the state house and 26–12 in the state senate.

While Democrats are injecting union issues into the campaign, right-to-work is not central to the effort. Savvy Michigan political consultant Mark Grebner recently told the Washington Examiner, “I’m a Democrat, and I’d say it’s competitive and we’re going to lose.”

This seeming capitulation on right-to-work is certainly a surprise to many. It may be that internal polls show the law isn’t as unpopular as union leaders had hoped, or that financial difficulties are leading some Democrats to face reality. The UAW just increased member dues by 25 percent to shore up its dwindling strike fund, and the Michigan Education Association is more than $122 million in the red, owing to its own internal pension underfunding.

Both unions are most likely mindful that Michigan’s Proposal 2 — which would have prevented right-to-work and given government unions an effective veto over legislation — went down 58–42 in November 2012. It may be that unions in general have learned a lesson from failed efforts elsewhere in the Great Lakes region to roll back recent reforms and un-elect reformers.

The Moral Crisis on Our Southern Border: Special Interests Have Hijacked U.S. Immigration Law. By Victor Davis Hanson Must read!!

No one knows just how many tens of thousands of Central American nationals — most of them desperate, unescorted children and teens — are streaming across America’s southern border. Yet this phenomenon offers us a proverbial teachable moment about the paradoxes and hypocrisies of Latin American immigration to the U.S.

For all the pop romance in Latin America associated with Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, few Latinos prefer to immigrate to such communist utopias or to socialist spin-offs like Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, or Peru.

Instead, hundreds of thousands of poor people continue to risk danger to enter democratic, free-market America, which they have often been taught back home is the source of their misery. They either believe that America’s supposedly inadequate social safety net is far better than the one back home, or that its purportedly cruel free market gives them more opportunities than anywhere in Latin America — or both.

Mexico strictly enforces some of the harshest immigration laws in the world that either summarily deport or jail most who dare to cross Mexican borders illegally, much less attempt to work inside Mexico or become politically active. If America were to emulate Mexico’s immigration policies, millions of Mexican nationals living in the U.S. immediately would be sent home.

How, then, are tens of thousands of Central American children crossing with impunity hundreds of miles of Mexican territory, often sitting atop Mexican trains? Does Mexico believe that the massive influxes will serve to render U.S. immigration law meaningless, and thereby completely shred an already porous border? Is Mexico simply ensuring that the surge of poorer Central Americans doesn’t dare stop in Mexico on its way north?

The media talks of a moral crisis on the border. It is certainly that, but not entirely in the way we are told. What sort of callous parents simply send their children as pawns northward without escort, in selfish hopes of soon winning for themselves either remittances or eventual passage to the U.S? What sort of government allows its vulnerable youth to pack up and leave, without taking any responsibility for such mass flight?

Here in the U.S., how can our government simply choose not to enforce existing laws? In reaction, could U.S. citizens emulate Washington’s ethics and decide not to pay their taxes, or to disregard traffic laws, or to build homes without permits? Who in the pen-and-phone era of Obama gets to decide which law to follow and which to ignore?

Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand?

A Mother in Israel Describes A Kassam Rocket Strike on Her Home By David Farer Please read

I heard two explosions, one after the other, indicating that two Kassam rockets had struck my town, Sderot, Israel, at about 1:30 last Thursday morning. Having been through the big fire of last week, when a Kassam ignited a paint factory, I looked out my window for any sign of fire. I saw none. I considered going out to look for the damage, but I knew nobody would be in the streets at that hour. Nobody would be able to direct me in the direction of the bombing. I listened for ambulance or fire-engine sirens, but I heard none. I concluded that it had not been a serious attack. Much of the town seemed dark; it sometimes happens that a Kassam blast knocks out Sderot’s electricity. I returned to bed.

In the morning, the “Breaking News” section of the Jerusalem Post informed me that the blasts I had heard had indeed struck houses in Sderot. I deduced that the fire-engines, ambulances, and other vehicles had not turned their sirens on in the middle of the night, because they did not want to awaken the whole town, and because no traffic would clog the streets at that hour anyway. I set forth to investigate.

Few people were in the streets, because folks stay home on “Kassam days.”

I found helpful citizens who directed me in the general direction of where they had heard the explosions. After several chats, I narrowed my search to Neveh Eshkol, a neighborhood many or most of whose buildings were old “shikunim,” or apartment blocks with small apartments, very often owned by Amigur, which means they are government-owned, highly subsidized flats for families who have little money.

I went into a grocery store to ask exactly where the rockets had fallen. The owner joked, “Do you always come to me with this question?” He referred to the fact that I had indeed asked him about earlier missile attacks on his neighborhood. I pictured them to myself; everybody who lives in Sderot reviews the many bombings he has seen as he passes through the streets where he has seen them. A tree stood near a kindergarten until recently; a Kassam had split it in half on the first day of the school year, and the first Kassam murder in Sderot was that of an elderly immigrant from Bukhara who bled to death after shrapnel hit him as he waited for his granddaughter outside another school.

I knew that hopes of the Muslim terrorists who shoot these missiles at us in order to kill random people of Sderot had not been realized. I was therefore not in the state of agitation and terror with which I approach a home that I know has just been hit, but of whose inhabitants’ fates I do not yet know. I saw various government-types walking around outside the building. We looked up to see the unmistakable hole a Kassam makes in a home’s wall.


Yesterday morning, I reached out to the Brat team to see if they would be making any statement on the situation in Israel today. I forwarded along a link — then hosted at the top of the Drudge Report – to yesterday’s statements by Philip Gordon, the White House’s coordinator for the Middle East, in which Gordon criticized the Israeli government for not currently negotiating with Mahmoud Abbas. (PJ Media’s Ron Radosh criticized Gordon here, and The Times of Israel editor David Horovitz did so here.) I had heard from some — very few, but some — conservatives who were concerned about the loss of Eric Cantor regarding the only issue they trusted Cantor on, and I thought asking for a response to the statements by Philip Gordon might yield a good barometer of Brat’s Middle East intentions.

Moments ago, Brat’s team emailed back with his comments:

Statement of Dave Brat regarding the recent speech at the Israel Conference on Peace in Tel Aviv given by Philip Gordon, the White House coordinator for the Middle East:

“I am deeply troubled by the remarks from the Obama Administration, both for the incompetence in Middle East affairs that the remarks demonstrate and for the narcissism inherent in suggesting that the Obama administration knows how to protect Israeli citizens better than Israel does.

“The White House just rebuked Israel for supposedly ‘not taking advantage’ of the opportunity to negotiate with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas just weeks after Abbas welcomed Hamas — the terrorist organization now attempting to murder Jewish civilians with missile strikes on their cities — back into his ‘unity government.’

“The White House has criticized Israel’s government for not offering concessions to the very terrorists who have driven Israeli citizens into bomb shelters and who choose to operate from residential areas, using innocent bystanders as human shields.

“Most Americans recognize Israel’s right to defend itself from the terrorist regime sworn to its destruction. Unlike the administration, we reject the idea that terrorist missiles are somehow the fault of Israel’s government and that all would be well if only Israel sacrificed even more of its security.”


We’ve all built our Arabic vocabularies a touch since 9-11, but the definition of words can often be problematic. The meaning of concepts like, say, jihad, are notoriously difficult to pin down, even when they shouldn’t be; I think deliberately. One of those elusive terms is hudna, meaning a temporary truce or “quiet.” A permanent truce, i.e., genuine peace, does not seem part of the vocabulary of jihadists whose sworn goal is to make the world Islamic, sooner or later, like it or not. They just take a time out when it looks as if they could be in trouble, like a hockey player with a twisted ankle. As an example, Hamas is known for its hudnas, cooling down (or pretending to) and then heating up again as soon as possible to do what the beginning of its charter always promised it would do — destroy Israel.

For years the bien pensant of the West (Europe, the U.S.) have urged, actually put strong pressure on, Israel to play the hudna game with Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the rest of the sociopathic Islamofascist crew. The Israelis, from a humanistic tradition and anxious to be thought well of, have acquiesced, even when they have the extreme whip hand. The results have been as one would predict: another war, another hudna and on and on. This has been going on since the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, even before that really. In other words, for a long while.

Maybe it’s time for a different approach. How about just…winning?

As I write this, the Jerusalem Post live blog [1] for 6:26 a.m. Israel time is announcing: “A Code Red rocket alert siren was heard a few minutes ago in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.” Hamas is evidently still at it.

Yesterday, the terror organization bragged that they had lobbed missiles (missing, thankfully) at the Israeli atomic reactor at Dimona. That’s about as insane as it gets, considering that a hit (were it possible) might generate nuclear fallout all over the Middle East, killing and injuring more Islamic people than Jews, simply because there are so many more of the former, not to mention contaminating the region.

Hamas doesn’t care. And yet I suspect they have been surprised by what has happened to them in the last few days — and so does noted Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who Wednesday published “Stunned by Israel’s fierce response, Hamas sends distress signals.” [2]

Let’s hope Toameh is right and that the terror organization has been so wounded that it is quietly looking for a way to save face and get out — for now. But let’s further hope that Benjamin Netanyahu will resist that call for a hudna and finish the job.


Many states are having gubernatorial elections in 2014…..New York is one….The present governor Andrew Cuomo occasionally pretends to be a tax reformer but will not approve of fracking which could save the state’s blighted economy. Robert Astorino is his opponenet and deserves to win. Cuomo is also running on the Working Families Party as are many candidates for Congress in the state. Their motto: http://workingfamilies.org/states/new-york/ “Working Families is New York’s progressive political party. The Working Families Party is focused on tackling the political, economic, and educational inequality that deprive working and middle class families of opportunity. Our vision is to build a New York that is fair for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.” Cuomo should be fired by New York’s voters…..rsk

At a recent town hall meeting in Edmond, Oklahoma, local citizens gathered to discuss the possible connection between fracking and increased seismic activity in their area. According to one published report, members of the audience left “disappointed” that no consensus had been reached linking fracking and seismic activity. According to the same report, many in the audience appeared to be “hostile to the oil and gas industry.” Even in this most oil-friendly of states, it seems, there is a rush to judgment linking fracking to every conceivable sort of damage.

Although fracking has been around for fifty years, only recently have technological advances made its widespread use economically feasible. Now fracking is reviving the entire American economy by providing efficient fuel for new industries and slashing energy costs for consumers. By 2015, the U.S. will begin exporting natural gas, most of it produced by fracking.

No wonder the left is furious. Anything that promises to restore American greatness drives leftists crazy. Their dream of global socialism, with America brought down to the bottom of the heap, is at risk, and they have responded by targeting America’s oil and gas industry.

Having tried unsuccessfully to link fracking to groundwater contamination, opponents have turned their attention to the potential link between fracking and earthquake activity. The problem is, even scientists who normally align with the left now admit that hydraulic fracturing itself does not and cannot cause earthquakes. The only unresolved question is whether wastewater injection, a byproduct of current fracking procedures, may contribute to increased seismic activity.

Clearly, the left is engaged in an all-out effort to smear the oil and gas industry by spreading misinformation and fostering confusion – such as ignoring the difference between fracking itself and wastewater injection. The intent of this effort is to cripple the U.S. economy by depriving it of an efficient and reliable source of energy. The ultimate goal, as always, is to strip America of its sovereignty and subject it to the will of a communist world order. The energy industry stands in the way of this agenda, as does every other industry operating within the free market.


Mrs. Clinton agrees income inequality is a problem and then explains why it’s not.

Media reaction to this week’s Hillary Clinton interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel has focused on her humorous claims of poverty at the time she and husband Bill left the White House. But perhaps most interesting are Mrs. Clinton’s thoughts on Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”
The nearly 700-page screed against income inequality has become the Bible of the political left, even though hardly anyone reads it. (University of Wisconsin math professor Jordan Ellenberg recently used e-book usage data to proclaim Piketty’s tome “the summer’s most unread book.”)

It’s good people aren’t wasting their time, for as Martin Feldstein noted in these pages, Mr. Piketty’s thesis rests on “a flawed interpretation of U.S. income-tax data, and a misunderstanding of the current nature of household wealth.”

But despite the book’s failure to advance public understanding of economics or to command reader attention, it remains a political powerhouse. And that’s why Mrs. Clinton’s comments on Mr. Piketty’s ideas are significant.

In the Spiegel interview, Mrs. Clinton at first agrees that income inequality is “threatening democracy.” But when pressed on the subject of her own gargantuan compensation, she goes in another direction:

“SPIEGEL: The average annual income of an American household is $43,810… You earn up to $200,000 an hour for a speech. Can you understand if people are bothered by that?

“Clinton: Well, certainly, I can understand that, but that’s never been the crux of the concern in our country, because we’ve always had people who did better than other people. That’s just accepted. The problem is that people on the bottom and people in the middle class no longer feel like they have the opportunity to do better. The question is, how do we get back to having an economy that works for everybody and that once again gives people the optimism that they too will be successful.”


The war that is wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, the carnage that Bashar al-Assad is perpetrating against his own people, the proclamation of an Islamist caliphate by an ultra-fanatic terrorist organisation with expansionist designs, Iran’s badly-hidden designs to develop the nuclear weapon, and the frustration of the Arab-Muslim populations with their rulers, have profoundly altered the geopolitical power game in the Middle East.

In the new setup, scapegoating Israel for the region’s woes is no longer the handy, catch-all device that, for several decades, it used to be.

For starters, a number of enemies of Israel – whether governments or terrorist organisations – are deeply engaged in a bloody Shiite vs Sunni inter-sectarian fighting in which Israel-bashing is of little or no use.

Furthermore, the military advances of the terrorist organisation Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), and its control of large swathes of Iraq and Northern Syria, concentrates the attention of global and regional players. A wide range of governments in the Middle East – some more than others – fret about the intention of Isis to redraw in its favor the geopolitical landscape of the region.

Isis may not be able to maintain its territorial gains for long. Its military victories may collapse as swiftly as they were achieved. But the menace that it represents for the stability of the Middle East will not disappear any time soon.

Threatened by that Damocles sword, some of the region’s regimes, among the moderate ones, may be tempted to seek or accept the cooperation of Israel in their fight against that common enemy. As regards Iran’s nuclear-weaponizing intentions, rumour has it that talks are underway between Saudi Arabia and Israel on how to deal with that danger.

This helps understand the statement made by Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, indicating that “Today, there is a basis for the creation of a new diplomatic-political structure in the Middle East”.

The Palestinian leadership can hardly be delighted with these developments. Add to this the fact that demonising Israel – as governments of the region lavishly used to do in order to divert international and domestic attention away from their own failures – has ceased to arouse the support it mobilised in the past.

And the proof of the pudding is in the eating: the “flotillas to Gaza”, which anti-Israel militants organised three summers in a row, have faded away. What is intriguing, and raises questions about the inner motives of the sponsors of those convoys, is the fact that no flotilla has been dispatched to the rescue of Syria’s civil population.

Catherine Ngai:U.S. Shale Boom on Track to Surpass Russia and China

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Four years into the shale revolution, the U.S. is on track to pass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of crude oil, most analysts agree. When that happens and by how much, though, has produced disparate estimates that depend on uncertain factors ranging from progress in drilling technology to the availability of financing and the price of oil itself.

Forecasts for U.S. shale oil production vary from an increase of 7.5 million barrels per day by 2020 – almost doubling current domestic output of 8.5 bpd — to a gain of 1.5 million bpd, or less than half of what Iraq now produces.

The disparities are a function of the novelty of the shale boom, which has consistently confounded forecasts. In 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that production from eight selected shale oil fields would range from 700,000 bpd of so-called tight oil to 2.8 million bpd by 2035. A year later, those predictions had been surpassed.

“The key issue is not whether production grows, it’s by how much,” said Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York. “We’re only at the beginning of the first inning and this is a nine-inning game.”

The stakes couldn’t be bigger, ranging from the multibillion-dollar investments needed to explore and drill to oil supply issues that go to the heart of U.S. foreign policy. Relations with countries ranging from Iraq and Iran to Russia, Ukraine, Libya and Venezuela are colored to one degree or another by the question of energy.

The U.S., a nation transformed by the 1973 Arab oil embargo, could become energy independent by 2035, according to bullish forecasts from BP Plc and the International Energy Agency. Coupled with growing output from oil-rich neighbors, the continent has a growing shield from supply shocks.

“Looking at North America, including Canada and Mexico, we’re much more politically stable,” said Lisa Viscidi, program director of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

Still, many drillers have found that healthy forecasts of oil in the ground don’t guarantee it can be economically extracted.


Fatah has several hundred militiamen in the Gaza Strip, some of whom are members of the Palestinian Authority security forces, who continue to receive their salaries from Western governments.

At least two Fatah armed groups announced that they had started firing rockets at the “settlements” of Ashkelon and Sderot, cities inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel, with another Fatah group claiming responsibility for firing 35 rockets into Israel since Sunday.

So far as Abbas is concerned, “it all started when Israel fired back” in response to hundred of rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during the last few days. He seems concerned that if the world hears about the role of Fatah in the rocket attacks, the news will affect Western financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, which dominated by Fatah.

Palestinian Authority President and Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called for an “immediate cessation” of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

But Abbas stopped short of calling for an end to rocket attacks on Israel, an omission of what triggered the current round of fighting.

Instead of calling on his partners in the “national consensus” government — Hamas — to stop their rocket attacks on Israel, Abbas appealed to the international community to “intervene” to stop the Israeli “escalation.”

So as far as Abbas is concerned, “it all started when Israel fired back” in response to hundreds of rockets that were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during the past few days.

Why did Abbas refrain from condemning or calling for an end to the rocket attacks?

First, Abbas does not want to anger Hamas by issuing a condemnation of its rocket attacks. Such a condemnation would certainly lead to the collapse of the “reconciliation accord” that his Fatah faction signed with the Islamist movement last April.