Maybe Bill de Blasio should have played it a little cooler. New York City’s new mayor roared into office promising a war on charter schools, and his main achievement seems to have been a political backlash. The budget deal that Governor Andrew Cuomo concluded over the weekend with state legislators overrules nearly all of Mr. de Blasio’s assault on charters. It requires New York City’s school district to find space for charter schools or provide a $3,000 per-pupil subsidy for private space. The subsidy would grow over time.

New York Post editorial writer Robert George on why the Governor’s budget adds funding and new protections for the state’s charter schools. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The mayor is also prohibited from charging charters rent and nixing co-locations without the schools’ consent. Charter operator Eva Moskowitz, a particular target of Mr. de Blasio’s union allies, will be able to open three schools as planned this fall. This is especially good news since her Success Academies are holding their annual lottery for admission on Friday and they include some of the top performing schools. Fifth-graders at Harlem Central Middle School, which Mr. de Blasio sought to close, have the highest pass rate of 2,254 schools in New York on state math exams.


Andrew G. Bostom is the author of such seminal works as The Legacy Of Jihad: Islamic Holy War And The Fate Of Non-Muslims and Sharia Versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism. In March 2014 he published his latest book, Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Jihad and Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran.

Bostom worries about what he terms the Trusting Khomeini Syndrome. Just days after the Islamic leader Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran in 1979, Richard Falk, an International Law Professor at Princeton University, reassured the world in a New York Times op-ed entitled “Trusting Khomeini” that “the depiction of him as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false.”

Richard Falk was very wrong back then. Khomeini and his hard-line mullahs succeeded in deceiving quite a few Iranians and even more naïve Western observers about their true intentions. Have Western leaders and policy makers learned anything in the decades that have passed since then? Bostom fears that this is not the case.

Khomeini faced a weak US President back in the late 1970s in Jimmy Carter. His successors face an equally weak US President in Barack Hussein Obama today, plus many appeasing European powers, too. The difference is that this time, the Islamic regime in Iran has a substantial nuclear program as well. Bostom doesn’t criticize merely the Obama Administration, but also the Bush Administration, for failing to deal properly with the Iranian threat. The mullahs of Iran arguably constitute a greater threat than the cruel but largely secular dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq ever did.

Andrew Bostom laments the fact that even allegedly conservative observers in the West hailed Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri as a supposed “moderate” when he died in December 2009. This despite the fact that Montazeri in his writings maintained a perfectly traditional view of offensive Jihad as an open-ended obligation on Muslims to establish global Islamic supremacy. Montazeri further held traditional sharia-based views on the inferiority and subjugation of non-Muslims (dhimmis), as well as on the obligation to kill blasphemers.

House GOP Leadership’s Anti-Tea Party Event Disappears From Sponsor PAC’s Website: David Steinberg

Last week, Erick Erickson reported that John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy — the three most powerful Republican members of the House — would be attending a private weekend retreat at Amelia Island to discuss how to “bolster our incumbents who are under attack from the far right.” The retreat is sponsored by Republican Main Street Partnership, a PAC headed by liberal Republican Steve LaTourette and funded by several Democratic Party-supporting organizations.

Since Erickson’s report, Boehner has announced he will not be attending due to a “scheduling conflict.”

As of today, the event has disappeared from Main Street’s Events page.

Will Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy still attend? Is the event still on?

I have placed calls to both congressional offices. I have also contacted Main Street to ask why the event listing has been removed, and why Main Street’s website contains no other mention of what would be their largest event of the year.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Limits on Individual Free Speech Contributions By J. Christian Adams

The left is already apoplectic about the decision.

Until this morning, the federal government could limit the amount of money you contribute for political speech. Today in McCutcheon vs. FEC, the Supreme Court invalidated overall contribution limits. The federal government limited individual campaign contributions to $48,000 overall and $123,200 to everything (PACs, candidates, national parties) each cycle.

The Supreme Court struck down the limits, holding that the government’s justification for limiting free speech rights – to keep money out of politics and the avoid the appearance of impropriety – failed.

This decision cuts at the heart of the leftist narrative on free speech attacks. The heart of the narrative on the left (and among a smattering of GOP Senators) is that money in politics is bad and that large financial contributions create the appearance of corruption.

The Court rejected these justifications squarely:

Significant First Amendment interests are implicated here. Contributing money to a candidate is an exercise of an individual’s right to participate in the electoral process through both political expression and political association. A restriction on how many candidates and committees an individual may support is hardly a “modest restraint” on those rights. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.

After the page break, we’ll explore the driving force behind the decision.


People who knew Mitt Romney, or worked with him in business or government, in many cases considered him one of the most decent people [1] they ever knew. But starting in the early spring of 2012, months before Romney had officially secured his Party’s nomination for President, many millions of dollars of attack ads were running in key states such as Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Colorado suggesting that Romney was a despicable, greedy Wall Street banker. He was accused of buying up companies, firing the workers, then closing or selling the companies off, getting very rich in the process. He was also accused [2] of causing people to die of cancer after workers lost their health insurance and were presumably denied treatment.

One might think that Romney’s Bain Capital had discovered a formula where he could get rich more quickly through the failure of the businesses in which he invested, than from their successes. People who have spent their lives outside the private sector and have nested within the Democratic Party, seem to assume that private equity companies mostly invest in businesses that are already winners and if they invest in struggling companies, they should be able to turn them into winners 100% of the time. If some investments go bad, then it must be because the private equity companies make more money by destroying healthy companies than rebuilding them. To be fair, Newt Gingrich, had launched a similar demagogic campaign against Romney when his fortunes began to sink after the early primaries in 2012, though he did not go so far as to accuse Romney of causing cancer patients to die without insurance, and his attack ads did not run in many states.

Even before the first Republican Party primary in Iowa, in the fall of 2011, left wing groups had created a campaign known as “Occupy Wall Street” designed to highlight the 1% (especially the Wall Street variety) versus the 99%. One does not need to be a cynic to believe that the Obama campaign team fully expected Romney would be their opponent in the fall of 2012. The Occupy Wall Street campaign was an easy AstroTurf exercise [3] to change the subject — from the glaring failures of their first term to the inequality in America, symbolized by a rich white guy like Mitt Romney.


During Ehud Olmert’s period in the prime minister’s office, I coined the term, “olmertia.”

So bad was the crippling effect Ehud Olmert’s policies had inflicted upon Israel that “olmertia”, a word which both rhymed with and had a similar meaning to the word, inertia, described the situation in Israel; what the Penguin English dictionary referred to a state of being inert and sluggishness; a lack of skill; an indisposition to motion, exertion or change. But the meaning of olmertia for the Jewish state went much further and was far more debilitating than mere inertia.

These symptoms would be bad enough if applied to Israel when confronted by the external aggression launched upon it by Hezbollah from its base in Lebanon and Hamas from its base in Gaza. But most Israelis are capable and anxious to act swiftly and decisively against any enemy.

It was something else. A dreadful force was crippling the very survival of Israel and destroying its famed ability to meet challenges and overcome them. What was this force? It was embodied in the person of the then Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the name to describe its baleful influence on the Jewish State’s existence was the one I coined: olmertia. Perhaps it is still a word destined to enter the dictionaries of the world’s languages.

Prime Minister Olmert came to power when Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke and sank into a coma from which he never emerged. Sharon had caused a seismic rift in Israeli society by his notion that to withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza Strip, expelling its Jewish communities, he would thus offer the Arab Palestinians a golden opportunity to prove to the world that they could create a civilized and viable society.

As the world now knows, a monstrous Hamastan emerged with no interest in nation building. On the contrary, the Hamastanis, (aka Arabs who call themselves Palestinians) have spent their every waking hour launching missiles at Israeli towns and villages with the intent to kill and maim as many Jewish civilians as they can. The idea, euphemistically called “disengagement,” became an enormous disaster for Israel. It was an idea that Ehud Olmert joyously embraced.

Into Sharon’s shoes stepped none other than the husband of an allegedly leading “Peace Now” advocate and the father of an extremely left-wing daughter who, it was reported, allegedly made life difficult for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in their attempts to prevent Palestinian terrorism. Such was the family surrounding Israel’s then Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

New English Review: Geert Wilders Once Again Endures a Firestorm of Criticism by Jerry Gordon
Municipal elections were held in The Netherlands on March 19th and in France on March 23rd. While a minority of registered voters cast ballots in each country, the results appeared to indicate that the Euro skeptic parties may be on the rise. Bloomberg Business Week commented in a mid-February 2014 article on the results of the Swiss anti-immigration referendum that these parties might be in contention to take upwards of 150 of the 751 seats in the May 22nd to 25th European Parliamentary Elections. The Swiss People’s Party referendum on immigration control passed by 19,000 votes. The Economist called Marine Le Pen’s first round municipal election results on Sunday, March 23rd, a veritable “triumph.” Perhaps indicating that her National Front party would do well in the second round on March 30th in France. It trumpeted the devastation of France’s media and President Hollande:
FOR Libération, it was a “slap in the face”. For Le Monde, another daily newspaper, it was an “earthquake”. The first round of voting in French municipal elections on March 23rd was a clear snub to François Hollande, the French president, whose Socialist Party did worse than polls had predicted in several towns. If there was a symbolic victor ahead of the second round of voting on March 30th, it was Marine Le Pen, the leader of the populist National Front.
The leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, Nigel Farage, given current trending opinion polls, may be poised to surpass the Labor party. It alleged in a UK Telegraph report that Lady Thatcher’s unofficial biographer considers Farage’s immigration and EU stands “closely aligned” with her views. A decade ago this writer was on a weekly international Radio America panel with Farage where as the lone UKIP Member of the European Parliament he boosted these views. These opinion polls prior to the May European Parliamentary elections reflect the ascendency of the anti-immigration Euro skeptic parties in many EU countries.
In a November 2013 Iconoclast post we wrote glowingly about the prospects of the Euro skeptic alliance led by Le Pen and in The Netherlands by Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV).


I am so obsessed with Congress and 2014 I almost forgot that New York State has a gubernatorial election in November. Governor Andrew Cuomo(D ) is running for reelection and his major challenger is Rob Astorino (R)a splendid man who has been a successful Westchester County Executive. He deserves higher office and will obtain it…but not in this election….the numbers just don’t add up.

The mystery is why Andrew Cuomo is running on some very conservative issues- a better budget and significant cuts in taxes. Does he get what’s blowing in the wind- a general conservative trend nationally? Is he just rehearsing for a Presidential bid?

New York State has had mediocre governors…Andrew’s father among them. Mario Cuomo was, like Adlai Stevenson,- lofty rhetoric masquerading mediocrity even at being mediocre. And George Pataki?

In any event Andrew Cuomo is aggressive, ambitious and sharp.

Why not put his feet to the fire and ask about fracking which will restore New York’s economy significantly? New York State is magnificent- endowed with mountains, rivers and parks- great state colleges and universities- excellent hospitals and medical schools…..and badly in need of help.

Will Andrew Cuomo step up to the task? Ask him.

Protecting Hillary Trumps Benghazi Investigation by BETHANY STOTTS

No matter how many times it is called “phony” or the administration blames Fox News for keeping the scandal alive, the issue of Benghazi and the September 11, 2012 attacks remains alive and well. And this fact is damaging to presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. A recent Pew Research Center/USA Today poll ranked the death of those four Americans that night in Benghazi as the “worst thing about the career of [Hillary] Clinton,” followed by her husband’s affair, according to Bloomberg this March.

The Democratic establishment has started to complain that this is Republican politicking because of Clinton’s unannounced, but presumed, candidacy. But the issue cuts both ways: the Democratic establishment has a glaring conflict of interest when it comes to finding out the truth about the Benghazi attacks because they don’t want some of their own tarnished in the process.

“The total cost of compliance with Benghazi-related congressional requests sent to the department and other agencies is estimated to be in the millions of dollars,” stated the Pentagon in a March 11 letter, according to the Associated Press.

“Congressional Republicans have been relentless in investigating the attack, arguing that the Obama administration misled the American people about a terror attack during the heat of the presidential campaign,” reports the Associated Press. “The GOP is determined to press ahead, especially since the assault on the mission occurred during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.” This manufactured public relations framework is aided by the fact that the House GOP established a website dedicated to the investigation into the Benghazi attacks, and has released a number of reports that are authored by the House majority without input from their increasingly alienated minority Congressional partners.


Last Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden quoted Theodore Roosevelt out of context while delivering the keynote address at a meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Biden was pushing the Obama Administration’s desire to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants by citing the alleged views of a great and iconic American President who was also a Republican. Immigration “reform” is currently blocked in the GOP House. Biden’s quote of TR (unacknowledged from 1908) went as follows, “Americanism is not a question of birthplace or creed or a line of descent. It’s the question of principles, idealism, and character.” Teddy Roosevelt did believe this, but he also championed an immigration policy much more in line with the current conservative position than with the Obama White House. Biden asserted that based on TR’s “standard, 11 million undocumented persons are already Americans, in my view.” This was such a gross distortion of the record that it went well beyond the Vice President’s well-known gift for gaffes. It was a blatant attempt to mislead the public by claiming a false endorsement.

For Teddy Roosevelt, not all immigrants were the same; they did not all have the attributes cited in the quote misused by Biden. As he said in his annual message to Congress as President in 1905, “We cannot have too much immigration of the right sort and we should have none whatsoever of the wrong sort….The prime need is to keep out all immigrants who will not make good citizens. The laws now existing for the exclusion of undesirable immigrants should be strengthened, Adequate means should be adopted, enforced by sufficient penalties, to compel steamship companies engaged in the passenger business to observe in good faith the law which forbids them to encourage or solicit immigration to the United States.”

His views did not change over the course of his career. As early as 1888, he said in a speech in New York City, “I wish Congress would revise our laws about immigration. Paupers and assisted immigrants of all kinds should be kept out; so should every variety of Anarchists….We must soon try to prevent too many laborers coming here and underselling our own workmen in the labor market; a good round head tax on each immigrant, together with a rigid examination into his character would work well.”