Bibi the Bad Cop Can Israel Prevent a Deal With Iran? : Elliot Abrams ELLIOTT ABRAMS is Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser. Most of the world is applauding the thaw between the United States and Iran. Then there are the Arabs and Israelis. Their reaction is dread, and with good reason: neither trusts […]

ANDREW McCARTHY:The Origins of the Origination Clause- The House’s Power of the Purse Includes Spending Bills.

In a Bench Memos post, my friend Matt Franck objects to the contention in my column for last weekend that the Constitution’s Origination Clause (Art. I, Sec. 7) gives the House of Representatives primacy over spending as well as taxing. Matt claims that my interpretation is bereft of historical support, a defect I’m said to camouflage by an extravagant reading of an “at best . . . ambiguous” passage in Madison’s Federalist No. 58.

It is Matt’s history, though, that is incomplete. As Mark Steyn observes, there is a rich Anglo-American tradition of vesting authority over not merely taxing but also spending in the legislative body closest to the people. This tradition, stretching back nearly to the Magna Carta, inspired the Origination Clause. It also informed Madison, whose ruminations, besides being far from ambiguous on the House’s power of the purse, are entitled to great weight — not only because he was among the Constitution’s chief architects but also because his explication of the Framers’ design helped induce skeptics of centralized government and its tyrannical proclivities to adopt the Constitution.

Plainly, Matt is correct that the Origination Clause refers to “bills for raising revenue.” From the time it was debated at the Philadelphia convention, however, the concept at issue clearly referred to more than tax bills. It was about reposing in the people, through their most immediately accountable representatives, the power of the purse. Indeed, the term persistently used throughout the Framers’ debates was “money bills” — the phrase used by Elbridge Gerry, perhaps the principal advocate of the Origination Clause, when (as the debate records recount) he “moved to restrain the Senatorial branch from originating money bills. The other branch [i.e., the House] was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings.”

Matt portrays my position as eccentric. Nevertheless, the belief that the Origination Clause conveys the House’s holding of the purse strings — i.e., that it refers to the output as well as the intake of government revenue — is hardly unique to me. The Heritage Foundation’s Guide to the Constitution, for example, notes that the clause was meant to be “consistent with the English requirement that money bills must commence in the House of Commons.” Traditionally, that requirement aggregated taxing with spending — the “power over the purse” — which the Framers sought to repose “with the legislative body closer to the people.”


Don’t Let the Unions Call the Tune
IATSE/Local One’s action has temporarily shuttered New York’s famed concert hall

Within hours of when its season-opening concert by The Philadelphia Orchestra was set to begin, Carnegie Hall was forced to cancel that performance Wednesday after its stagehands, represented by IATSE/Local One, went on strike. The unprecedented walkout follows a week of terrible news for classical music in the U.S., in which the music director of the Minnesota Orchestra resigned over its musicians’ contract disputes, and New York City Opera announced it was filing for bankruptcy, ending its 70-year run as “the People’s Opera.” The Philadelphia Orchestra, locked out of Carnegie and still recovering from its own bankruptcy, announced that it would instead present a free concert at its home in downtown Philadelphia.

The dispute at Carnegie Hall follows a year of negotiations that have centered on the expansion of Local One’s control from the Carnegie stage into the hall’s new education wing, set to open in fall 2014. “Carnegie Hall Corporation has spent or will spend $230 million on its ongoing studio tower renovation, but they have chosen not to appropriately employ our members as we are similarly employed throughout the rest of Carnegie Hall,” writes James J. Claffey Jr., president of Local One, in a statement to the press issued on the union’s website. “Carnegie Hall Corporation continued for 13 months to fail to acknowledge the traditional and historic work that we perform and after no significant progress, we found it absolutely necessary to take action to protect the members that we represent.”

In response, Carnegie says that the union’s demands would compromise the hall’s mission by diverting significant funds away from education into stagehand fees. “In opting to strike, the stagehands have rejected a proposed new agreement that includes annual wage and benefit increases and continued jurisdiction throughout Carnegie Hall’s concert venues.” Calling the demand “unprecedented,” Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, adds that “the stagehands have one of the most lucrative contracts in the industry,” and the planned activities for the education spaces “have nothing to do with the performance-related work they do in the concert halls.”

Mr. Gillinson’s reply only scratches the surface of frustration shared by arts organizations around the country in the grips of union control. For over a century, Local One has been collective-bargaining the life out of New York’s performing arts. Just how much does this union of carpenters, electricians and prop masters bleed from city arts organizations? Carnegie Hall’s tax returns for its 2010 season, its most recent publicly available records, suggest an answer. Non-profits are required to itemize the top compensation for its officers, directors, trustees, independent contractors and employees. At Carnegie, five of the top 10 earners are stagehands.

DANCING WITH DEFAULT For people who claim that defaulting on U.S. debt is unthinkable, President Obama and Harry Reid are sure behaving as if they can’t wait for that day to arrive. Why else are they refusing to take up the multiple Republican offers to guarantee that the U.S. will never default? Treasury Secretary Jack Lew now […]


The Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”) is now the law of the land and we are told that as such it must be obeyed. What about all the other laws of the land?

President Obama, like all other Presidents took the oath of office (video) as written in the Constitution:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Oath of Office does not require the President to obey the Constitution. The President is free to do whatever he wants. As the “Most Transparent Administration in History”, we should look at what is being done.

The Supreme Law of the land is the Constitution. What isn’t being obeyed? (Note: all spelling is as written in the original document.)

Article. I.

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

The Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is a tax. It is not uniform throughout the states.

Article. IV.

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

This is obviously not the case with Obamacare where some states, like Nebraska, received special privileges,

Amendment I

Freedoms, Petitions, Assembly

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Executive Branch has infringed on the rights of Conservatives to have mot-for-profit organizations regardless of the Constitution or Laws.

ANAT BERKO: JIHAD TOURISM For 20 years I studied and interviewed Islamist mujahedeen (jihad fighters) imprisoned in Israeli jails, examining their inner worlds and discovering the obsessive thoughts leading them to carry out terrorist attacks. They were addicted to fantasizing about an alternative reality, describing their compulsions in metaphors similar to those used by obsessive gamblers and drug […]

British Education: Creeping Sharia by Soeren Kern Many Muslim groups…have been marketing themselves as “inter-faith” schools in an effort to qualify for [free school] government funding. More then 80 free schools — at least a dozen of which are catering specifically to Muslim students — are currently operating in Britain and another 200 are in the planning stage. A taxpayer-funded Muslim […]


Rapidly becoming the most over-used trope in movies is the image of a male hunter shooting a graceful deer. In “The Queen,” “The Hunt,” and now “Prisoners” – the shot is both shorthand for man’s intrinsic violence and an ominous portent of retributive trouble ahead. In “Prisoners,” there is the heavy-handed addition of a Christian hunter reciting a prayer – we should know from the start that no good will come his way. Hugh Jackman stars as Keller, a religious man who is a millenialist, storing canned food in the basement for the ever-possible apocalypse. He is the ur-father who must protect his family from harm and at the same time, a tightly wound former alcoholic waiting to explode. The trigger for this is the abduction of his young daughter and her close friend on Thanksgiving Day – some sophomoric irony for the especially dense viewer.

Jake Gyllenhall plays the detective on the case – the only cop in movie history to never have a partner or call for backup. We know he’s sensitive because he has an eye twitch that headlines his vulnerability. His main activity is following Hugh Jackman who manages to elude him, eventually to his heavily-foreshadowed detriment. Paul Dano plays the prime suspect, a tall moon-faced, retarded man whose taciturn nature may be hiding his guilt or his anguished background. Orphaned at a young age, he has been raised by a caring aunt who lost her own son to cancer and is the model of patience and Christian virtue.

Torture ensues with a full panoply of grisly makeup that would made Bud Westmore shiver in his grave. The movie is very long so more suspects turn up, including an alcoholic priest who has a skeleton in his closet – actually, it’s in his basement – more anti-Christian fodder that would never pass muster if it were anti-Muslim in pc Hollywood. Snakes and bloody props soon follow along with the requisite number of red herrings. Without spoiling the whodunit reveal, I can say that the motive for the crime was a war against the Christian god; hmmmm, the pile-on of these sentiments couldn’t be any thicker than if the movie had been made by the Taliban.


This year Israel received a wonderful New Year’s (Rosh Hashanah) gift from a team of archeologists led by Eilat Mazar.

She announced that, at the foot of the Temple Mount, the team had found a large gold medallion, “remarkably well kept and glittering,” with reliefs of a seven-branched menorah, a shofar, and a Torah—timeless fundaments of Judaism well familiar in Israel and much of the Jewish world today.

The medallion was in a fabric bag; along with it was another fabric bag containing 36 gold coins and other artifacts.

Mazar assessed that the medallion and coins were abandoned in 614 CE, the year of the Persian conquest of Jerusalem. She added:

The position of the items…indicates that one bundle was carefully hidden underground, while the second bundle was apparently abandoned in haste and scattered across the floor. …

[T]he most likely explanation is that the findings were earmarked as a contribution toward the building of a new synagogue at a location that is near the Temple Mount. …

What is certain is that their mission, whatever it was, was unsuccessful, and its owners couldn’t return to collect it.

Mazar believes the medallion was an ornament for a Torah scroll, which would make it “the earliest such archeological find in history.” As for the coins, an Israeli expert said they “can be dated to the reigns of different Byzantine emperors, ranging from the middle of the 4th century CE to the early 7th century CE.”

DAVID GOLDMAN: LETTING OBAMA FORCE A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IS THE BEST REPUBLICAN CHOICE It’s worth considering the risks and rewards in the budget standoff, which is first and foremost a battle for control of the Republican Party and the shape of the 2014 and 2016 primaries. The Republican Party of John McCain and Mitt Romney lost two presidential elections, the second to a weak candidate in a […]