Friday, February 12, 2016


Steve Hayes takes an in-depth look at the real Marco Rubio. Far from being the "robot" his detractors claim, the Florida senator is one of the most thoughtful and unscripted of politicians.

David French seconds Hayes' view.

Victor Davis Hanson on the left's ideology test for identity group labeling --

Much of the liberal press has ridiculed Rubio and Cruz, either because their appearances and Cuban ancestry do not quite make them authentic “Latinos” or “Hispanics,” or because their conservative politics disqualify them as deserving minorities and instead make them seem ungrateful to their liberal benefactors. In this unhinged way of thinking, a quite dark Clarence Thomas, who grew up destitute in the old Jim Crow South, is not as authentic an African-American as Barack Obama, who is of half-Kenyan ancestry and was raised by his upper-middle-class white grandparents and schooled at Honolulu’s most exclusive prep school. Make Obama right-wing and Thomas left-wing, and journalists would question Obama about everything from his prep school to his name change at age ten.

...Someone raised in poverty who rejects the liberal creed is stamped inauthentic while someone far better off but solidly leftwing is approved of as legitimate. The noted philosopher, scholar, and economist Thomas Sowell was raised in utter poverty in Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s. Somehow he is not deemed a proper representative of the pre–Civil Rights black experience, while the college-dropout and racial provocateur Ta-Nehisi Coates is, despite growing up in relative middle-class security during the age of affirmative action. Coates writes autobiographies damning white America for problems in the black community; Sowell offers data to urge self-help and inner reflection. One is useful for claims on government assistance, the other antithetical to that effort. Thus Sowell is considered not really black. “Ta-Nehisi” sends a tingle up the leg of a white liberal in a way that “Tom” does not.

By the way, one of the more opaque and misleading euphemisms deployed by the left is "affirmative action". Much like the word "choice", "AA" a meaningless term on its face. However, it serves its purpose perfectly, allowing its users to avoid the term correctly describing the actual practice - "racism". (Just as "choice" is a stand-in for "abortion").

Michael Tanner --

When Bernie and his followers talk about socialism, they don’t really want to turn the U.S. into Venezuela or Cuba. They want to have socialism while keeping all the benefits of capitalism — having their cake and eating it too. That’s why Bernie frequently cites Sweden and Denmark as examples of socialism. This ignores the fact that both countries have long since understood that you can’t really tax and spend your way to prosperity. Call them SINOs — Socialists in Name Only. 

In fact, when it comes to international trade and business regulations, both Sweden and Denmark are less socialist than the United States, according to the most recent Economic Freedom of the World rankings. In the 1990s, Sweden introduced school choice into elementary education, and it has even partially privatized its social-security system. Denmark recently cut the duration of unemployment benefits, and both countries have significantly reduced their corporate-income-tax rates; the Danish government has slashed the rate from 32 percent in 2000 to 23.5 percent last year. That can’t be what Bernie Sanders wants, can it?

Jazz Shaw on the results of Maine's efforts at reforming its food stamp program --

In response to the growth in food stamp dependence, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, recently established work requirements on recipients who are without dependents and able-bodied. In Maine, all able-bodied adults without dependents in the food stamp program are now required to take a job, participate in training, or perform community service.

Job openings for lower-skill workers are abundant in Maine, and for those ABAWD recipients who cannot find immediate employment, Maine offers both training and community service slots. But despite vigorous outreach efforts by the government to encourage participation, most childless adult recipients in Maine refused to participate in training or even to perform community service for six hours per week. When ABAWD recipients refused to participate, their food stamp benefits ceased.

You’ll note that the requirements here aren’t exactly onerous. If you do have some sort of employment you’re supposed to report it. If not, the job training programs are free. And if you don’t wish to do either, you can put in six hours of community service per week. That doesn’t exactly take up all your free time, and yet the number of people who rejected all of those options was overwhelming.
So how did that shake out?

In the first three months after Maine’s work policy went into effect, its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents plummeted by 80 percent, falling from 13,332 recipients in Dec. 2014 to 2,678 in March 2015.

That’s an 80% drop in 90 days. How astounding is that? And it represents a serious savings for the taxpayers in terms of keeping the state’s budget afloat, though the majority of the cash comes from the federal government. But what of all the people who were no longer receiving the benefit? Are they starving? As it turns out, the study shows that a substantial number of recipients were working “off the books.” (And likely not paying taxes on their income either.) That allowed them to qualify for any number of social welfare programs while still having a cash income. Those folks dropped off the rolls quickly rather than have to own up to their income.
Compare that for a moment to New York City, where Mayor de Blasio has essentially thrown welfare reform into reverse.

The number of New Yorkers on welfare is reportedly on the rise, with about 13,000 more people being added to the rolls during the mayor’s first year in office.

The New York Post is reporting that the cash assistance program swelled by 4 percent in 2014.

According to an advanced look at the “Poverty and Progress in New York” report, the jump comes the same year the city added around 90,000 jobs.

Are we to believe that Maine is somehow unique, with an extraordinary number of residents signing up on the dole when they don’t actually qualify or are otherwise able to work but choose not to? Or perhaps New York City is just a mecca for paragons of honesty who would never short sheet the system. Both are unlikely. Welfare reform (or workfare, as we once called it) is being crushed by progressive elements at all levels of government and the results speak for themselves. What’s happening in Maine should be the benchmark for how to move forward rather than a target of criticism by Democrats.

The Obama years have resulted in a substantial reduction in the nation's labor force participation rate. It is roughly 63% - a level not seen since the late 1970s. 95 million Americans, an appalling number, are currently out of the workforce. At the same time, 47 million Americans receive food stamps, up from 33 million at the start of Obama's first term, a 40+% increase. Tanner's report shows that applying even minimal restrictions on food stamp eligibility will reduce both of these appalling numbers. And since the Obama administration is committed to maintaining, if not increasing government dependence, it is up to the states to take the lead in putting people back to work.

Dennis Prager, pointing out the deceits, distortions and outright lies uttered by Obama in his recent speech at a Baltimore mosque. A few of these are listed below.   --

President Obama: “So let’s start with this fact: For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace. And the very word itself, ‘Islam,’ comes from ‘salam’ — peace.”

Why did Mr. Obama say this? Even Muslim websites acknowledge that “Islam” means “submission” [to Allah], that it comes from the Arabic root “aslama” meaning submission, and that “Islam” is the command form of that verb.

That’s why “Muslim” means “One who submits,” not “One who is peaceful.”

Obama: “We have to be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric and violence against everyone. And that includes against Muslims here in the United States of America.”

Two facts are relevant here. One is that religious hate crimes are exceedingly rare in America. The other is that in 2014, the last year for which we have data, Jews were targets of hate crimes four times more frequently than Muslims.

Obama: “I often hear it said that we need moral clarity in this fight. And the suggestion is somehow that if I would simply say, these are all Islamic terrorists, then we would actually have solved the problem by now, apparently.”
Almost every time the president has given a talk, he has made extensive use of the straw man — a false target that he then attacks and destroys. This is one such example. No one has ever said that if the president were merely to identify Islamic terrorists by name instead of nameless “violent extremists,” “we would actually have solved the problem by now.”

What drives most Americans crazy is that the president of the United States refuses to name the enemy. And this rewriting of reality filters down to many American institutions. Increasingly, for example, when (and if) 9/11 is taught in American schools, those who attacked America that day are never identified as Muslims.

On those two political malignancies, Trump and Sanders --

Mona Charen --

Senator Bernie Sanders believes that eight years of the most leftist president in American history have left the plutocrats in total control. Channeling the late Hugo Chavez, he promises to lift the minimum wage to $15 per hour, provide free college educations for all, and deliver universal health care (with only a small tax on the middle class). How will he pay for it? “With a tax on Wall Street speculation.”

Charles Krauthammer --

Take Sanders’s New Hampshire victory speech. It promised the moon: college education, free; universal health care, free; world peace, also free because we won’t be “the policeman of the world” (mythical Sunni armies will presumably be doing that for us). Plus a guaranteed $15 minimum wage. All to be achieved by taxing the rich. Who can be against a “speculation” tax (whatever that means)?

So with Trump. Leave it to him. Jobs will flow back in a rush from China, from Japan, from Mexico, from everywhere. Universal health care, with Obamacare replaced by “something terrific.” Veterans finally taken care of. Drugs stopped cold at the border. Indeed, an end to drug addiction itself. Victory upon victory of every kind.

How? That question never comes up anymore. No one expects an answer. His will be done, on earth if not yet in heaven. Yes, people love Trump’s contempt for the “establishment” — which as far as I can tell means anything not Trump — but what is truly thrilling is the promise of a near-biblical restoration. As painless as Sanders’s.

The young Democrats swooning for Sanders appear unfamiliar with socialism’s century-long career, a dismal tale of ruination from Russia to Cuba to Venezuela. Indeed, are they even aware that China’s greatest reduction in poverty in human history correlates precisely with the degree to which it has given up socialism?

Heather Macdonald continues her crusade to correct the myths perpetrated by the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

Fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the (Washington) Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.

The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.

Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.

Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that blacks make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there.

...The Black Lives Matter movement claims that white officers are especially prone to shooting innocent blacks due to racial bias, but this too is a myth. A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on “threat misperception”—that is, the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed.

A 2015 study by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway, formerly acting director of the National Institute of Justice, found that, at a crime scene where gunfire is involved, black officers in the New York City Police Department were 3.3 times more likely to discharge their weapons than other officers at the scene.

A group of National Security experts reveal the existential dangers posed by nuclear armed North Korea and Iran. And yes, they claim, Iran already has nukes.

Iran is following North Korea’s example — as a strategic partner allied by treaty and pledged to share scientific and military technology. Iran sacrificed its overt civilian nuclear program to deceive the Obama administration, to lift international sanctions, to prevent Western military action, while a clandestine military nuclear program no doubt continues underground. That is why Iran, under the nuclear deal, will not allow inspection of its military facilities and prohibits interviewing scientists — it is concealing the dimensions and status of Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.

We assess, from U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency reports and other sources, that Iran probably already has nuclear weapons. Over 13 years ago, prior to 2003, Iran was manufacturing nuclear-weapon components, like bridge-wire detonators and neutron initiators, performing non-fissile explosive experiments of an implosion nuclear device, and working on the design of a nuclear warhead for the Shahab-III missile.

Thirteen years ago Iran was already a threshold nuclear-missile state. It is implausible that Iran suspended its program for over a decade for a nuclear deal with President Obama.

Iran probably has nuclear warheads for the Shahab-III medium-range missile, which they tested for making EMP attacks. Two recent tests violate UN agreements, demonstrating that Iran is brazenly developing its nuclear-capable missiles. Iran already has the largest medium-range ballistic-missile force in the Middle East.

Iran could be building a nuclear-capable missile force, partly hidden in tunnels, as suggested by its dramatic revelation of a vast underground missile-basing system last year. Iran is building toward a large, deployable, survivable, war-fighting missile force — to which nuclear weapons can be swiftly added as they are manufactured.

And at a time of its choosing, Iran could launch a surprise EMP attack against the United States by satellite, as they have apparently practiced with help from North Korea.

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