Saturday, April 12, 2014

op ed review 4/13


THIS WEEK’S NEWS
The House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. The House committee determined that Lerner’s role in the alleged singling out of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for undue scrutiny was a criminal act.
A government watchdog is also pursuing cases against three other IRS employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats.
Do as I say, not as I do.  President Obama will sign executive actions aimed at narrowing the wage gap between men and women Tuesday.  Whoops, someone pointed out that the White House pays its female staffers less than men.

Embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has resigned. Sebelius has been the face of Healthcare.gov and the botched rollout.
"Behind her failures and shortcomings lies this brutal fact: No one could fix ObamaCare."

The continuing battle between the establishment and antiestablishment forces within the GOP is getting bitter. Scott Reed, a chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, quips that the antiestablishment Club for Growth has morphed into the “Club for Dopes.” Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller charges that the head of the Main Street Republican Partnership, “may have eaten a lot paint chips as a kid.” Maybe that is what happens in any family feud. But it is the first time in recent years that the Republican intraparty battles have turned publicly personal.

A majority of Americans believe that Obamacare will be repealed.

AIDS patients flock to Obamacare.

At the prodding of business organizations, House Republicans quietly secured a recent change in President Barack Obama's health law to expand coverage choices, a striking, one-of-a-kind departure from dozens of high-decibel attempts to repeal or dismember it….”Maybe you say it helps (Obamacare), but it really helps the small businessman," said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., one of several physician-lawmakers among Republicans and an advocate of repeal.
Republicans pushed a bill that would let small businesses continue to offer high-deductible plans to employees, despite ObamaCare. Sounds like a good idea. So why did the leadership try to hide it?

A RAND study finds only 3.9 million people signed up for ObamaCare, not 7.1 million like the White House says
There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges……with few exceptions, tens of millions of people will be locked out of the health insurance market for the rest of this year.

Pope Francis called abortion an ‘abominable crime’ in his strongest remarks to date.

Attorney General Eric Holder says that he has a “vast amount” of discretion in how the Justice Department prosecutes federal law.
How Comcast Bought the Democratic Party:  A huge merger brought about by high-intensity lobbying goes unopposed.”

Democrats are facing a senior problem that could get even worse this year. The party has traditionally had trouble with older voters, losing the group aged 65 and over by 21 points in 2010 — when Republicans picked up 63 seats — and by 12 points in the 2012 presidential race. Seniors are the GOP’s most reliable voting bloc in midterm years, turning out in higher numbers than Democratic base voters.

America´s school children have had enough and they´re not going to take it anymore. Faced with the meager, unappetizing school lunches required under First Lady Michelle Obama´s nutritional program, students have taken to social media to express their outrage and disgust at what they´re forced to eat for lunch.
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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Charles Krauthammer  4/10    Thought police on patrol”

Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Post, demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy. The column ran as usual. But I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition.

The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced.  Sometimes the word comes from on high, as when the president of the United States declares the science of global warming to be “settled.” Anyone who disagrees is then branded “anti-science.” And better still, a “denier” — a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust.

Then last week, another outbreak. The newest closing of the leftist mind is on gay marriage. Just as the science of global warming is settled, so, it seems, are the moral and philosophical merits of gay marriage. To oppose it is nothing but bigotry, akin to racism. Opponents are to be similarly marginalized and shunned, destroyed personally and professionally. Like the CEO of Mozilla who resigned under pressure just 10 days into his job when it was disclosed that six years earlier he had donated to California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

But why stop with Brendan Eich, the victim of this high-tech lynching? Prop 8 passed by half a million votes. Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of “privileging” traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage. Yet under the new dispensation, this is outright bigotry. By that logic, the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.

The whole thing is so stupid as to be unworthy of exegesis. There is no logic. What’s at play is sheer ideological prejudice — and the enforcement of the new totalitarian norm that declares, unilaterally, certain issues to be closed. Closed to debate. Open only to intimidated acquiescence. To this magic circle of forced conformity, the left would like to add certain other policies, resistance to which is deemed a “war on women.” It’s a colorful synonym for sexism. Leveling the charge is a crude way to cut off debate.  Thus, to oppose late-term abortion is to make war on women’s “reproductive health.” Similarly, to question Obamacare’s mandate of free contraception for all.

Some oppose the regulation because of its impingement on the free exercise of religion. Others on the simpler (nontheological) grounds of a skewed hierarchy of values. Under the new law, everything is covered, but a few choice things are given away free. To what does contraception owe its exalted status? Why should it rank above, say, antibiotics for a sick child, for which that same mother must co-pay? Say that, however, and you are accused of denying women “access to contraception.”

Or try objecting to the new so-called Paycheck Fairness Act for women, which is little more than a full-employment act for trial lawyers. Sex discrimination is already illegal. What these new laws do is relieve the plaintiffs of proving intentional discrimination. To bring suit, they need only to show that women make less in that workplace .  Like the White House, where women make 88 cents to the men’s dollar?

That’s called “disparate impact.” Does anyone really think Obama consciously discriminates against female employees, rather than the disparity being a reflection of experience, work history, etc.? But just to raise such questions is to betray heretical tendencies.

The good news is that the “war on women” charge is mostly cynicism, fodder for campaign-year demagoguery. But the trend is growing. Oppose the current consensus and you’re a denier, a bigot, a homophobe, a sexist, an enemy of the people. Long a staple of academia, the totalitarian impulse is spreading. What to do? Defend the dissenters, even if — perhaps, especially if — you disagree with their policy. It is — it was? — the American way.


Bern Shapiro:  The rise of American totalitarianism:   “When fascism comes, it will come not with jackboots but with promises of a better world. The jackboots come later, when we've all been shamed into silence — when we've been taught that to allow that with which we disagree is to agree with it, and when we've accepted that the best method of preventing such disagreement is government power.  We're on the verge. All it will take is the silence of good people — people on all sides of the political aisle — who fall prey to the ultimate temptation in a republic: the temptation to force their values on others utilizing the machinery of government. We're already more than halfway there.”
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FROM OTHER COLUMNS
“Nothing comes close to environmentalism in generating left-wing enthusiasm. It is the religion of our time. For the left, the earth has supplanted patriotism. …This was most graphically displayed by the infamous Time magazine cover of April 21, 2008 that altered the most iconic photograph in American history – Joe Rosenthal's picture of the marines planting the flag on Iwo Jima. Instead of the American flag, the Time cover depicted the marines planting a tree. The caption on the cover read: “How to Win the War on Global Warming.” In other words, just as German and Japanese fascism was the enemy in World War II, global warming is the enemy today. And instead of allegiance to the nation's flag, now our allegiance must be to nature. …”

"[W]ith the economy only crawling toward recovery, the solution is not character assassination or more government collectivism. Mr. Charles Koch has it exactly right: We need more liberty and freedom to restore American values and economic prosperity. Politicians and regulators can't do it. Only hard-working and innovative people can. So let's let them do it."
                  -Larry Kudlow

"A new report shows that America's current economic growth is only half of what President Obama promised that his policies would deliver. But I guess he breaks even, since gas is still twice what it was when he took office."
                 -Fred Thompson
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GLOBALONEY
British schoolchildren are being brainwashed by a deep green environmental curriculum which fills their heads with "confusion, ignorance and fear", says a new study by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The report finds that "eco-activism" has been given free rein within schools for at least three decades. Children are being encouraged to become "little political activists" with a duty to "save the planet" not least by putting pressure on their parents.

A British politician worries that flatulence caused by the country’s high consumption of baked beans is adding to global warming and destroying the planet.
Senate Republicans warn that President Obama’s new focus on agricultural methane emissions could mean a tax on livestock emissions — including cow flatulence.
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LEFTIST WATCH
Why did Democrats applaud the loathsome community organizer Melowese Richardson, a freshly released, unrepentant voter fraud felon, at a recent "voting rights" rally in Ohio? Because, like Richardson, they believe they are entitled to vote more than once against a system they see as unjust. Some serial voters do what they do in order to exact revenge against a society they feel did them or their ancestors wrong. Richardson is far from alone. Double-voting is distressingly common. Many leftists have contempt for the electoral process because they don’t believe in the electoral system as it is constituted in capitalist America.

This is bizarre:  “Obama's press secretary decorates home with Soviet propaganda posters”
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ISLAM
FBI officials say they´ve arrested a Moroccan national in Connecticut in an alleged plot to fly bombs on drone-like devices into a school and a federal building. Authorities say they arrested 27-year-old El Mehdi Semlali Fahti on Monday and found wires and tools in his Bridgeport apartment.

Brandeis University decided not to grant an honorary degree to an advocate for Muslim women who has made comments critical of Islam,. The university said in a statement that Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali would no longer receive the honorary degree, which it had planned to award her at the May 18 commencement. Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam.
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ARTICLES
Libertarians and liberal Republicans have been proposing a truce on social issues in order to be able to concentrate on fiscal issues, but there is no such thing as a truce on any issue with the left. Brendan Eich offered the left a truce on gay marriage. He talked about tolerance and diversity and he got his head handed to him. His forced departure from the Mozilla Foundation, which is behind the Firefox browser, should be a wake up call to anyone on the right who still thinks that social issues can be taken off the table and that we can

Meet the 2016 Republican Nominee

“If you thought signing up for Obamacare was hard, try canceling”

A major concern of progressives is their supposed interest in the fate of the poor. They purport to be the champions of the poor. But the truth is that they need the poor more than the poor need them, in a symbiotic relationship. As much as 75% of the money allocated to the poor is consumed by the vast bureaucracies that administer this aid. These agencies are actually job programs for college graduates who would often find it difficult to find employment in the private sector.

What’s really going on in Nevada between the Bureau of Land Management and the Bundys.
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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES & INFO
Talking about Obamacare’s effects is one thing; seeing hard data is another. Heritage’s newly updated Obamacare in Pictures has 15 charts that show the law’s effects on Americans—from canceled insurance policies to new taxes, Medicare cuts, reduced choice for plans, and more. Here’s a quick look at just three of these charts and how Obamacare is hitting three groups.

How to spot a psychopath.  “A score of 30 or more qualifies for a diagnosis of psychopathy.”
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WISE WORDS
"We in government should learn to look at our country with the eyes of entrepreneurs, seeing possibilities where others see only problems."
                   -Ronald Reagan

"[T]he success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in a last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers."
                  -James Madison, Federalist No. 44
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