There is a battle waging in Washington, the outcome of which may be far more consequential than the media and most Americans realize. On one side are those that see government as a guarantor of our God-given rights to life, liberty and property. The other side sees government as the provider of comforts and happiness of its citizens.

The first favor a government limited in its authority by the checks and balances that were integral to the founding of the federal government, and by the federalist nature of its structure which assigns power to state and local authorities. The second believe that government is Darwinian; that it must adapt to cultural and societal changes, in a compassionate way. The latter has a political philosophy that reaches back at least as far as the late 19th Century when the Progressive movement began – a movement popularized by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and was manifested in the adoption in 1913 of the 16th and 17th Amendments. The first gave Congress the power to levy and collect taxes on income and the other called for the direct election of U.S. Senators. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society strengthened the bonds of centralized government. Mr. Obama is intent on furthering that legacy. But compassion increases dependency and it costs money. Half of all Americans today are dependent in some form on government assistance. Taxes and debt have risen. The paying for promised entitlements will fall on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren.

Progressives have been successful, in large part, because their job is more pleasant. It is easier to play Santa Claus than to teach dialectics. A government that takes from the few and gives to the many will generally win the support of the majority. A new study recently released by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) looked at tax returns for 2010. The study found that the top 40% of households in 2010 paid 106.2% of federal income taxes. The bottom 40% paid -9.1%. The latter number is negative because on average those households received $18,950 in myriad government transfer payments.

Bruce Thornton, a research fellow at the Hoover Institute, recently published a book, Democracy’s Dangers & Discontents, in which he warns against “moral busybodies.” He writes: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” It is the gradual but insidious assumption of responsibility for the well-being of its citizens that increases dependency of the people, while strengthening the hand of government.

Israel Missile Defenses Saved Thousands of Lives, Including Israelis and Palestinians Alike by Peter Huessy

Cranky opponents of the Iron Dome Israeli missile defense claim the system doesn’t work. Some in the arms control community have latched on to such criticism to smear missile defense work in general especially that in the United States.

What happened then to the nearly 3000 Hamas rocket warheads that if not intercepted largely landed somewhere in Israel? The same critics say not only did Iron Dome not work, but the Hamas rocket warheads didn’t work either!

Except when Hamas rockets fired at Israel mistakenly landed in Gaza itself, the Hamas leaders tried to blame the destruction-shown in vivid pictures-on Israel counter strikes.

A great friend of the United States is retired Israeli Ministry of Defense top missile defense guru, Uzi Rubin. In the following piece he demolishes the critics of Iron Dome as effectively as Iron Dome itself demolishes Hamas rockets.

This missile defense system brought from research phase to deployed in the field in less than 4 years, allowed Israeli’s government to seek the best way to both minimize the damage to Israel, plan and carry out an effective strategy to eliminate as much as possible future Hamas missile strikes, and to the extent possible, limit the strikes on Gaza and save Palestinian lives.

Without an effective missile defense, Israeli might very well have to re-occupy Gaza and effectively eliminate Hamas’s military capability all together. This would be a very tough job and lead to thousands of additional casualties.

Iran has now bragged about providing both the financing and weaponry for the Hamas rocket attacks, as well as the help in building the terror tunnels now largely destroyed by the IDF. That is what the axis of evil looks like.

Here is Uzi Rubin’s August 5, 2014 piece in Reuters.

Amnesty as Impeachment Bait :The President’s Breathtakingly Cynical Plan On Amnesty By Charles Krauthammer

President Obama is impatient. Congress won’t act on immigration, he says, and therefore he will. The White House is coy as to exactly what the president will do. But the leaks point to an executive order essentially legalizing an enormous new class of illegal immigrants, perhaps up to 5 million people.

One doesn’t usually respond to rumors. But this is an idea so bad and so persistently peddled by the White House that it has already been preemptively criticized by such unusual suspects as (liberal) constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, concerned about yet another usurpation of legislative power by the “uber presidency,” and the Washington Post editorial page, which warned that such a move would “tear up the Constitution.”

If this is just a trial balloon, the time to shoot it down is now. The administration claims such an executive order would simply be a corrective to GOP inaction on the current immigration crisis — 57,000 unaccompanied minors, plus tens of thousands of families, crashing through and overwhelming the southern border.

This rationale is a fraud.

First, the charge that Republicans have done nothing is plainly false. Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation that deals reasonably with this immigrant wave. It changes a 2008 sex-trafficking law never intended for (and inadvertently inviting) mass migration — a change the president himself endorsed before caving to his left and flip-flopping. It also provides funds for emergency processing and assistance to the kids who are here.

Second, it’s a total non sequitur. Suspending deportation for millions of long-resident illegal immigrants has nothing to do with the current wave of newly arrived minors. If anything, it would aggravate the problem by sending the message that if you manage to get here illegally, eventually you’ll be legalized.

The Callow President “Stop Just Hatin’ All the Time,” Obama Says, Sounding More Like a Shallow Teenager Than a President. By Rich Lowry

‘Stop just hatin’ all the time.” If you haven’t been following the news, you might not know whether this bon mot was uttered by a character on the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars or by the president of the United States.

Of course, it was the leader of the free world at a Kansas City, Mo., rally last week, imploring congressional Republicans to start cooperating with him. The line struck a characteristically — and tellingly — juvenile and plaintive note.

How many books and articles have been written by conservatives seeking to divine the philosophical beliefs and psychological motivations lurking beneath the president’s smooth exterior?

It’s certainly true that the president is much further left than he’d ever admit, but the deepest truth about Obama is that there is no depth. He’s smart without being wise. He’s glib without being eloquent. He’s a celebrity without being interesting. He’s callow.

It’s a trope on the right to say that Obama has quit, that he’s not interested in the job anymore. It isn’t true. If you are smug and unwilling to bend from your (erroneous) presumptions of how the world works, this is what presidential leadership looks like.

Obama is incapable of the unexpected gesture or surprising departure. He evidently has no conception of the national interest larger than his ideology or immediate political interests. In terms of his sensibility, he’s about what you’d get if you took the average writer for The New Yorker and made him president of the United States.

The notion that Obama might be a grand historical figure was always an illusion, although at the beginning his rousing words lent it some superficial support. Once the magic wore off, it became clear he’s not really an orator. His greatest rhetorical skill turns out to be mockery.

The man who once promised to transcend political divisions is an expert at the stinging partisan jab. What Winston Churchill was to thundering statements of resolve, he is to snotty put-downs.

A Marshall Plan for Energy- We Have the Resources. We Just Need to Summon the Political Will. By Mark P. Mills

Now is the time to think about the next Euro-Russian conflict. Europe is steaming toward a new Cold War with Russia and dragging America along in its geopolitical bow wake. The U.S. is also embroiled in Russia’s proxy activities in the Middle East, where we have seen an Arab Spring dwindle into darkness as conflicts expand.

When American leaders talk about the “world community” responding to crises, they mean the United States plus Europe. The E.U. and U.S. together account for half of the global economy, but Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and natural gas is the bear in the room.

It’s time for a true Marshall Plan for energy. There have been a variety of aspirational energy ideas co-opting the iconic words “Marshall Plan,” but none rooted in the goal-oriented realpolitik that America used to make such a difference for Europe a half-century ago.

When George C. Marshall announced his European Recovery Program in Harvard Yard in the summer of 1947, he said: “It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.” The world desperately needs realism again — this time energy realism — for both economic health and political stability.

Every realistic scenario sees the world consuming more, not less, oil and gas in the future. As for alternative energy, even if the hyperbolic goal of supplying all new global demand were met, the world would still consume 40 billion barrels of oil and natural gas annually. In a business-as-usual future, Russia and the Middle East would continue as the dominant suppliers of oil and gas to global markets. But America now has a chance to break that oligopoly.

There has been a lot of talk about using American energy resources as a diplomatic tool — the proverbial “carrot” rather than a “stick” (sanctions). Rhetoric aside, seven key energy numbers underscore just how close we are to a geopolitical game-changer for Europe — and for the U.S. — and what that might mean for the American economy.

Stand By for Slaughter . . . Obama Remains Indifferent to Mass Murder. By Jonah Goldberg

In the summer of 2007, then-senator Barack Obama was asked if he was worried that his proposed withdrawal from Iraq would result in ethnic cleansing or even genocide.

He scoffed at the premise.

“By that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done,” he told the Associated Press. “We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea.”

Obama glossed over a crucial distinction. The slaughter in Congo wasn’t caused by our actions. The assumption behind the AP’s question — backed by countless experts — was that a withdrawal from Iraq at the time would almost certainly lead to slaughter. Obama’s remarkable answer was that even if you accepted the premise that leaving would ignite mass slaughter, it would still be right to bug out of Iraq.

Of course, as is his wont, Obama covered all of the rhetorical bases. He acknowledged that leaving prematurely would be bad.

“Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” he insisted. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.”

Then came the patented Obama take-back. “It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.

As grotesque as Obama’s moral argument was, it was unknowable at the time whether his analysis was correct. It’s now pretty clear he was wrong on all counts.

When Obama pulled American troops out of Iraq, they were not serving as a magnet for terrorists; they were acting as a deterrent not only to terrorists but to “irresponsible” Iraqi factions.


‘We could do so much more if Congress would come on and help out a little bit,” President Obama said in Kansas City on July 30. “Stop bein’ mad all the time. Stop just hatin’ all the time.”

Democratic national chairwoman Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D., Fla.) similarly moaned on MSNBC, “The Republicans refuse to do anything.”

This notion of a “do-nothing Congress” is yet another Democrat fabrication. In fact, America has a Republican Do-Lots House and a Democratic Do-Little Senate.

Since January 2013, according to its Republican Conference, the Do-Lots House has adopted 347 bills that await votes in the Do-Little Senate. These include serious initiatives to reinvigorate the economy, reduce taxes, speed energy production, slice red tape, expand school choice, extend the flexibility of workers’ hours, enhance federal accountability, and more.

Source: House Republican Conference Flickr File — August 5, 2014.

During the 113th Congress, the Do-Lots House passed 511 bills; the Do-Little Senate, 232. The House has taken 480 roll-call (non-voice) votes; the Senate, 256. Obama has signed 108 House-originated bills but only 37 Senate-born laws. The House has authorized seven appropriations bills and 215 spending amendments; the Senate, zero of each.

Obama ungratefully forgets the Do Lots House’s favors from early this year. Republican leaders annoyed grassroots conservatives by adopting the sequester-ending Murray–Ryan budget, eliminating the debt ceiling, and passing a $956 billion farm bill. The over-generous Do-Lots House handed Obama these elegantly wrapped gifts in return for . . . nothing. Orphaned in the process was Arkansas representative Tim Griffin and Florida senator Marco Rubio’s game-changing Republican amendment. It would have derailed the imminent, multibillion-dollar Obamacare bailout of health insurers’ program-induced financial losses.

Bryan Preston: The State Department’s Marie Harf: The Iraqis Need to ‘Pull Themselves Together’

Another classic from the “promise of hashtag” crowd.

During today’s State Department press briefing, deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf addressed the unfolding crisis in Iraq.

That crisis has many sources, but its chief source is ISIL. ISIL has taken hold of a large swath of northern Iraq and is killing anyone and everyone who gets in their way, or who refuses to bow to their take on Islam. Currently ISIL has about 40,000 men, women and children holed up on top of a mountain, starving them to death.

A reporter asked if there is a “confrontation to stop” ISIL’s spread.

Harf: “It’s not just a humanitarian crisis. I mean, that’s certainly a key piece of particularly what we’ve seen over the last 48 hours, certainly. But there’s a huge security challenge – if you talk about the Mosul dam, if you talk about other places. ISIL is a threat not just because they kill innocent civilians because of their religion, but because they’re a huge security threat to the stability of certain parts of Iraq. And that’s why throughout this conflict you have seen us continue to ramp up our support and continue to look very urgently at other things we could do to help fight this threat, because at the end of the day we can help the Iraqis, but the Iraqis also have to stand up, they have to pull themselves together, with our help, because this is a threat that certainly they but no one else in the region wants to see grow any more.”

Pull themselves together…


Here are some names to think about: Libya. Iran. Gaza. Syria. Ukraine. Russia.

What do you think about when you ponder those places?

I think about what a disaster Barack Obama’s foreign policy has been. Obama came to office promising to hit the “reset button” with respect to Russia and now he is Putin’s fool. Libya, poor Libya: Obama went in and removed the world’s only transvestite dictator [1], and now what? Gadaffi was a comic if malevolent madman, but he was, at the end, a U.S. ally. Barack Obama has trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies. So he engineered Gaddafi’s ouster. What then? The outrage of Benghazi and, now, chaos in Libya [2]. Good going, Barack.

Everyone is waiting for Iran to acquire the nuclear weapons Obama campaigned to prevent. While waiting for that feature presentation, we have another preview in a country I didn’t mention: Iraq. Whatever you think about our invasion in Iraq under George Bush, at least he left the country with a recognizable form of government under the watchful eye of the U.S. military.

Obama withdrew our forces and, as could have been predicted, the country promptly fell prey to those Muslim fanatics that Obama went to Cairo [3] to court shortly after he was elected.

When Obama left Iraq, he assured the world that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq [4].” Yes, he really said that.

How are things looking in Iraq now? Yesterday, the New York Times reported [5] that Muslim fanatics (my word: the Times preferred “rebels”) captured the country’s largest dam. ISIS, Iraq’s lovable Islamic thugs, have captured the country’s largest Christian town [6]and are busy exterminating Christians. “Even Ghengis Khan didn’t do this [7],” said one observer.

To Be Liked or to Be Feared: That Is the Question By Michael Widlanski

“If you want to understand the world,” my great professor of Arabic at Columbia told me, “you need only remember this:

“The British want to be respected;
The French want to be admired;
The Russians want to be feared;
And the Americans want to be liked.”

It was one of many things — Arab literature and Arabic composition and style (al-inshaa wa-al–usloob) — given me by Professor Pierre Cachia, a wise and worldly man who tells jokes in English, French and Arabic, all perfectly grammatical.

If I told my professor’s joke to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, there is a chance he might smile or give me a quick and rueful “da, konyeshno” — “yes, of course.”

If I got to tell President Barack Obama my joke at a Democratic fundraiser or on the golf course, he might respond with a smidgen of recognition, because the joke nicely sums up Putin’s world view and Obama’s “flexible” approach to world affairs.

To be fair to Putin, Russia’s desire to be feared did not start with Putin, and it is not just a Russian desire. Other states like being feared, too, and America’s yen for affection did not commence with President Obama, though he embraces it more than any other American leader in history, especially when facing the Middle East.

Once in office, Obama rushed to greet the Islamic countries, reminding everyone he was Barack HUSSEIN Obama, the man whose middle name re-emerged after the election, the man who loved the sound of the Islamic call to prayer and who was proud to tell everyone that he was born to a Muslim father.

In a spate of trips, interviews and policy initiatives, Obama flirted with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, embraced Turkey’s Islamist autocrat, courted Syria’s dictator, and “engaged” Iran’s maniacal ayatollahs. But somehow, it did not work.