Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Obama Demagogues Immigration

Obama Demagogues Immigration
By Ben Shapiro

Video - Mark Levin - The President is Chuck Hagel:

President Obama is a uniquely gifted demagogue. An orator of unparalleled skill supported by a gushing media, Obama has yet to present a major policy proposal geared toward solving specific problems. But he has won elections. And he has done so by implying -- over and over and over again -- that his opponents are morally deficient.

It is truly astonishing just how thin President Barack Obama's playbook is. Since his re-election, Obama has boiled down that playbook to one play, which he runs with the regularity of a team quarterbacked by Mark Sanchez. It usually involves children. It always involves moral indignation. It invariably involves urgency calls for action. Action now. Action yesterday. Action overdue.

The content of the action doesn't matter. All that matters it that those who oppose action are the bad guys.

We saw Obama use precisely this rollout strategy with regard to gun control. He utilized the Sandy Hook massacre as a peg on which to hang his anti-Second Amendment agenda; he masked that agenda originally by creating a do-nothing commission dedicated to "listening." He then flanked himself with 7-year-old children, stating that their passion for gun control was the impetus for his drive to seize firearms. The implication: if you don't agree with Obama, you don't care about the safety of children.

We used to laugh such politicians out of office. When Jimmy Carter cited his 13-year-old daughter, Amy, as impetus for his passion on nuclear disarmament, Americans tossed him unceremoniously from the White House. When President Obama does the same, we fete him as a great leader.

And so Obama continues to use the tactic. In pushing his illegal immigration agenda -- an agenda that suggests virtually no significant border control and sponsorship of a second wave of immigrants gaining citizenship via family associations -- Obama flew out to the failing Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., to use the school's majority Hispanic population as a backdrop. He didn't care enough about the kids to offer them better educational opportunities. But he then proceeded to explain that those who oppose his agenda are actually closet racists: "I promise you this: The closer we get, the more emotional this debate is going to become. ... When we talk about (the issue) in the abstract, it's easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of 'us' versus 'them.'"

In other words, oppose Obama, you hate brown people.

That's the whole point of these exercises. Obama knows full well that he will not be able to pass either a vast gun control scheme or an immigration program that lacks significant border enforcement. He has no intention of passing such legislation. He merely wants to propose such legislation to demonize his opposition as evil -- racist, uncaring about children and the like.

That's despicable. But for President Obama, such tactics are necessary in pursuit of his grand remaking of the American vision. The Constitutional vision believes in checks and balances; it assumes that men are neither angels nor devils but self-interested parties. But such a vision leads to gridlock, as the Founders well knew. Obama wants action. He is a man of action. And so his vision of man is different. There are good people -- people who agree with him --and there are bad people. With that moral dichotomy in place, the Constitutional system becomes obsolete and America awaits transformation.

To read more about illegal immigration, click here.

To read another article by Ben Shapiro, click here.

Official Lies

Official Lies
By Walter E. Williams

Let's expose presidential prevarication. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama warned that Social Security checks will be delayed if Congress fails to increase the government's borrowing authority by raising the debt ceiling. However, there's an issue with this warning. According to the 2012 Social Security trustees report, assets in Social Security's trust funds totaled $2.7 trillion, and Social Security expenditures totaled $773 billion. Therefore, regardless of what Congress does about the debt limit, Social Security recipients are guaranteed their checks. Just take the money from the $2.7 trillion assets held in trust.

Which is the lie, Social Security checks must be delayed if the debt ceiling is not raised or there's $2.7 trillion in the Social Security trust funds? The fact of the matter is that they are both lies. The Social Security trust funds contain nothing more than IOUs, bonds that have absolutely no market value. In other words, they are worthless bookkeeping entries. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that the taxes paid by today's workers are immediately sent out as payment to today's retirees. Social Security is just another federal program funded out of general revenues.

If the congressional Republicans had one ounce of brains, they could easily thwart the president and his leftist allies' attempt to frighten older Americans about not receiving their Social Security checks and thwart their attempt to frighten other Americans by saying "we are not a deadbeat nation" and suggesting the possibility of default if the debt ceiling is not raised. In 2012, monthly federal tax revenue was about $200 billion. Monthly Social Security expenditures were about $65 billion per month, and the monthly interest payment on our $16 trillion national debt was about $30 billion. The House could simply enact a bill prioritizing how federal tax revenues will be spent. It could mandate that Social Security recipients and interest payments on the national debt be the first priorities and then send the measure to the Senate and the president for concurrence. It might not be a matter of brains as to why the Republican House wouldn't enact such a measure; it likes spending just as the Democrats.

I believe our nation is rapidly approaching our last chance to do something about runaway government before we face the type of economic turmoil seen in Greece and other European nations. Tax revenue has remained constant for the past 50 years, averaging about 18 percent of gross domestic product. During that interval, federal spending has risen from less than 20 percent to more than 25 percent of GDP. What accounts for this growth in federal spending? The liberals like to blame national defense, but in 1962, national defense expenditures were 50 percent of the federal budget; today they are 19 percent. What accounts for most federal spending is the set of programs euphemistically called entitlements. In 1962, entitlement spending was 31 percent of the federal budget; today it is 62 percent. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security alone take up 44 percent of the federal budget, and worse than that, it's those expenditures that are the most rapidly growing spending areas.

Our federal debt and deficits are unsustainable and are driven by programs under which Congress takes the earnings of one American to give to another, or entitlements. How long can Congress take in $200 billion in revenue per month and spend $360 billion per month? That means roughly 40 cents of every federal dollar spent has to be borrowed. The undeniable fact of business is that a greater number of people are living off government welfare programs than are paying taxes. That's what's driving Europe's economic problems, and it's what's driving ours. The true tragedy is that just to acknowledge that fact is political suicide, as presidential contender Mitt Romney found out. We can't blame politicians. It's the American people who will crucify a politician who even talks about cutting their favorite handout.

To read another article by Walter Williams, click here.

Amnesty Gang Throws Law-Abiders Under the Bus

Amnesty Gang Throws Law-Abiders Under the Bus
By Michelle Malkin

President Obama and the bipartisan Gang of Eight in Washington who want to create a "pathway to citizenship" for millions of illegal aliens have sent a message loud and clear to those who follow the rules: You're chumps!

Have you patiently waited for months and years for the State Department and Department of Homeland Security to slog through your application? You're chumps!

Have you paid thousands of dollars in travel, legal and medical fees to abide by the thicket of entry, employment, health and processing regulations? You're chumps!

Have you studied for your naturalization test, taken the oath of allegiance to heart, embraced our time-tested principle of the rule of law, and demonstrated that you will be a financially independent, productive citizen? You're chumps!

Unrepentant amnesty peddlers on both sides of the aisle admit their plan is all about votes and power. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain continues his futile chase for the Hispanic bloc. Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez is openly salivating at the prospect of millions of new illegal aliens -- future Democratic Party dependents of the Nanny State -- who could be eligible for Obamacare and a plethora of other government benefits despite clear prohibitions against them.

These cynical pols insist that the rest of law-abiding Americans and law-abiding permanent residents must support Washington's push to "do something" because "11 million people are living in the shadows."

To which I say: So? There are 23 million Americans out of work. Why aren't they Washington's top priority anymore? Didn't both parties once pledge that j-o-b-s for unemployed and underemployed Americans was Job No. 1? Why is the very first major legislative push of 2013 another mass amnesty/voter drive/entitlement expansion?

If Washington is really concerned about people "living in the shadows," how about prioritizing the jaw-dropping backlog of 500,000-plus fugitive deportee cases. These are more than a half-million illegal aliens who have been apprehended, who had their day in immigration court, who have been ordered to leave the country, and who were then released and absconded into the ether. Poof!

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, pols pretended to get serious about fixing the broken deportation system and enacted absconder apprehension initiatives to track down these national security risks. But over the past dozen years, only 100,000 out of 600,000-plus fugitive illegal aliens targeted by the program have been found. Why isn't the search and removal of these repeat offenders more important than giving "11 million people living in the shadows" a "pathway to citizenship"?

Question: If border security and immigration enforcement are truly a priority to our elected officials, why must these two basic government responsibilities be tethered to benefits for line-jumping illegal aliens? See whether any politician can answer without sputtering about "11 million people living in the shadows" or invoking the over-worn race card.

(By the way, we all know that moldy "11 million" statistic can't be right. Open borders groups have cited it for nearly 15 years as amnesty measure after amnesty measure attracted new generations of illegal aliens to the country.)

You know who else deserves more attention and compassion than "11 million people living in the shadows"? The 4.6 million individuals around the world who legally applied for sponsored green cards and followed the established legal immigration process. They've been shunted aside while the Obama administration ushers illegal alien "DREAM" waiver winners to the front of the line.

As Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies points out: "It is clear that there is no way the roughly one million or more potential Dreamers can be accommodated by (the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service) without noticeably slowing down the processing of legal immigrants (emphasis added). The agency already processes six million applications a year without the amnesty add-ons.

There have been nearly a dozen major amnesty laws, affecting at least five million illegal aliens, passed since the Reagan 1986 amnesty. These beneficiaries and their families have crowded out legal immigrants and increased their application waiting times in untold ways. GOP Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas asked the Obama administration last summer to disclose data on how much the DREAM waiver amnesty alone has affected adjudication/processing times for everyone else. The White House has failed to answer the request.

Want a reality check? Not one of the past federal amnesties was associated with a decline in illegal immigration. Instead, the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. has tripled since 1986. The total effect of the amnesties was even larger because relatives later joined amnesty recipients, and this number was multiplied by an unknown number of children born to amnesty recipients who then acquired automatic U.S. citizenship.

Hopelessly naive (or stubbornly self-deluded) freshman GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida insists that any new recipients of the Gang of Eight's Grand Pander scheme will have to "go to the back of the line and wait behind everybody who applied before them, the right way." Rubio emphasizes to conservative talk show hosts that there will be background checks and rigorous vetting.

But as I've reported for the past two decades, the background check process has been corrupted under both Democratic and Republican administrations. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration turned immigration policy into a massive Democratic voter recruitment machine through the Citizenship USA program. Naturalization officers simply abandoned background checks wholesale. In 2003, an INS center in Laguna Niguel solved the massive backlog problem by putting tens of thousands of applications through a shredder. And in 2006, I exposed how some high-immigrant regions rewarded adjudication officers with bonuses for rubber-stamping as many applications as possible without regard to security.

You want "comprehensive immigration reform"? Start with reliable adjudications, fully cleared backlogs, consistent interior enforcement, working background checks for the existing caseload, and efficient and effective deportation policies that punish law-breakers and do right by law-abiders.

And please don't pretend that piling millions of new illegal aliens onto an already overwhelmed system is going to fix a darned thing. Chumps.

To read more about illegal immigrant's amnesty, click here.

To read another article by Michelle Malkin, click here.

Hillary and Your Family

Hillary and Your Family
By Ken Blackwell

Hillary Clinton finally faced down her critics on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. She fired back at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) when he tried to get her to acknowledge that the entire story of an anti-Islamic video inflaming mobs who then murdered Amb. Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans in Libya had been, to put it charitably, wholly unsubstantiated. All along, Hillary had acted as if this was someone else’s issue. She was, after all, the Secretary of State who gets “1.43 million cables come into my office” a week. They’re all addressed to me, she petulantly shot back.

Now, just for a moment, let’s consider that statement. Can she really mean she has put in place no system for determining what she must see? She describes a process she allowed to stay in place for four long years that apparently is like drinking from a fire hose. No,

that would be 1.43 fire hoses. The military has a standard protocol for distinguishing routine cables from those that deserve higher priority and those that are urgent. An imminent threat to American lives would seem to justify an urgent category, wouldn’t you think?

That she was allowed to dance through this hearing with the press corps audibly swooning in the aisles is a national disgrace. “The Clintons have no shame,” their man

George Stephanopoulos told us, “and that’s a great advantage in politics.”

And the Hillary press corps that exclaimed: “Memorable!” “A vivid impression!’” “A riveting performance”? They can gush. They can’t blush.

Maybe she’ll reprise it as a one-woman show on Broadway. Already, they are talking her up for 2016. Why not? With her incredible lightness of being, what could stop her?

Recall that famous political ad she ran in 2008. It’s the spot they called “3 AM.” It shows a red telephone ringing urgently. The announcer talks about the call that might come into the White House at that hour. You and your family need to have a tested leader there when a crisis erupts somewhere in the world.

Like a crisis in Libya? With all due respect, Madame Secretary, those in mortal danger who called you at 3 AM, who sent more than one of those “1.43 million cables” you complained of, got no answer. They got a busy signal.

But this total avoidance of responsibility, is one of the longest running acts in Washington. As First Lady, Hillary presided over the collapse of health care negotiations. She has seemingly swum away from that shipwreck without ever admitting that she was at the helm when the liner struck the rocks.

Worried about losing the liberal lock on Congress in 1994, she told Newsweek (Oct. 31, 1994) that abortion was “wrong.” She has spent the rest of her career pushing this “wrong” thing throughout the world.

Let’s not forget about her outrageous show of temper in Ottawa. Her open and tactless attack on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government was unprecedented in all of Canadian-American relations. Even the liberal Toronto Globe and Mail was surprised by her “hot under the collar” choler.

Was she planning to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 by starting another?

Hillary denounced Harper for what? For trying to help save the lives of African mothers—without offering them abortions. Call the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

FOX News’s senior analyst Brit Hume reviewed her tenure at Foggy Bottom. There’s no treaty, no doctrine, no breakthrough, no resolution of any intractable international problem. There’s no one thing for which she can credibly claim responsibility—except the skillful avoidance of responsibility.

Don’t worry, though. If your family members come under attack, if God forbid, you lose a loved one overseas, you can be sure Hillary will be there to pat the casket, to caress the flag, and to go on TV to offer an emotion-filled testimony about them. Here’s a phone card. Save it for that 3 AM call.

To read more about Hillary and the Benghazi Hearings, click here.

To read another article by Ken Blackwell, click here.

Soldier Girl Blues

Soldier Girl Blues
By Jonah Goldberg

What if, during the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney had accused President Obama of wanting to let servicewomen serve in combat? After all, Obama had hinted as much in 2008. What would Obama's response have been?

My hunch is that he would have accused Romney of practicing the "politics of division" or some such and denied it.

In any case, wouldn't an open debate have been better than putting women into combat by fiat? You'd think the folks who are always clamoring for a "national conversation" on this, that and the other thing would prefer to make a sweeping change after, you know, a national conversation.

Instead, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the change on his way out the door. And Panetta has been lionized even though it wasn't really his decision to make. If the president didn't want this to happen, it wouldn't happen. Perhaps Obama let Panetta run with the idea, just in case it turned out to be a political fiasco.

The good news for Obama is that it hasn't been. Absent any informed debate, polls support the idea. Indeed, the Republican Party has been shockingly restrained in even questioning what is a vastly bigger deal than the lifting of the half-ban on gays in the military -- "don't ask, don't tell." The mainstream media have celebrated the milestone and largely yawned at the skeptics.

Most lacking from the coverage is any attempt to explain how this will make combat units better at combat. Instead, we're told that gender integration is necessary because without combat experience, it's hard for women to get promoted.

Lifting that glass ceiling is an understandable, even lofty desire. But what does it have to do with making the military better at fighting?

My point isn't that women should be kept out of all combat roles. Indeed, as many supporters of the move are quick to point out, women are already getting shot at. "In our male-centric viewpoint, we want to keep women from harm's way," Ric Epps a former Air Force intelligence officer who teaches political science, told the Los Angeles Times. "But ... modern warfare has changed. There are no true front lines; the danger is everywhere, and women have already been there in Iraq and Afghanistan."

True enough. But does anyone believe such changes are permanent? Will we never again have front lines? Or are the generals simply fighting the last war and projecting that experience out into the future?

Heck, if we'll never have wars between standing armies again, we can really afford to cut the defense budget. Something tells me that's not the conclusion the Pentagon wants us to draw.

It is a common habit of many liberals and self-avowed centrists to preen about how they don't deny science and evolution the way conservatives do. Well, on this issue, it is the opponents of women in combat invoking the scientific data that confirm a fairly obvious evolutionary fact: Men and women are different. For instance, at their physical peak, "the average woman has the aerobic capacity of a 50-year-old male," notes defense intellectual and veteran Mackubin Thomas Owens in a powerfully empirical article in the Weekly Standard.

Another evolutionary fact is that men act different when around women. This creates challenges for unit cohesion and fighting effectiveness.

The three most common responses to such concerns are that countries such as Israel and Canada let women in combat; advances for women can't be held hostage to sexist attitudes; there won't be any lowering of standards, so only physically qualified women will be in combat.

As to the first point, Israeli gender integration is often wildly exaggerated. And the Canadians have neither the capacity nor the need for a large standing army.

The latter arguments don't strike me as particularly reality-based either. Sexist attitudes alone aren't a justification for anything. But we're not talking about misogyny here. Proof of that is the fact that the military already practices gender-norming (giving women extra points for being women) in many instances. Will there really be less now?

Obama's decision hasn't stifled the debate, it's merely postponed it until the day Americans see large numbers of women coming home in body bags, alongside the men.

To read another article by Jonah Goldberg, click here.

To read more about women in combat, click here.

No 'Playing Gotcha' With Obama

No 'Playing Gotcha' With Obama
By Brent Bozell

Did you see that hard-hitting report on "60 Minutes" Sunday, the one that charged that one of our nation's most famous leaders and role models is a shameless liar, a ruthless intimidator and even "incinerator" of enemies, a man who operates like the Mafia?

No, that wasn't the interview with Barack Obama alongside Hillary Clinton. It was an interview later in the same show about the drug-enhanced bicyclist Lance Armstrong. That's CBS News for you -- a guy who pedals a bike through France is hammered as if he is the most powerful man in the world, while the most powerful man is treated like a lovable celebrity -- because that is precisely how they feel.

The agenda of "60 Minutes" should remind viewers that CBS CEO Les Moonves attended a glitzy Obama/DNC fundraiser in Beverly Hills last June, where he admitted the obvious: "Ultimately, journalism has changed ... partisanship is very much a part of journalism now."

Steve Kroft, who's been minding the Batcave as Obama's journalistic butler on "60 Minutes" for six years now, was also perfectly obvious about his servility, both during the recorded Obama-and-Hillary interview and in a later chat with CNN. He began his interview on CBS by telling the audience that this segment was Obama's idea. One wonders if Obama has something like a bell or a dog whistle for Kroft. Since when do politicians set segments for "hard-hitting" "60-Minutes"?

Kroft told CNN's Piers Morgan that Obama likes the show because it's a long-form interview, and it's highly rated. But he also admitted, "I think he knows that we're not going Morgan avoided the obvious follow-up question, to play gotcha with him, that we're not going to go out of our way to make him look bad or stupid."

"60 Minutes" used to be synonymous with "gotcha," and it certainly was when it broke the Abu Ghraib story to hurt Bush in 2004, and when Dan Rather flaunted fake Texas Air National Guard documents to hurt Bush months later. In the 2008 election cycle, "60 Minutes" asked John McCain why he would "let the Wall Street executives sail away on their yachts and leave this (bailout) on the American taxpayer?" They hammered Romney about avoiding military service -- and his five sons avoiding military service. Kroft has never asked Obama about his failure to serve in the military, and he certainly never asked about whether he had premarital sex with his wife, which Mike Wallace threw at Romney.

But this was the Barack and Hillary Show, and it focused on that wondrous relationship. "How would you characterize your relationship right now?" He asked Hillary: "What did he promise you? And has he kept the promises?" He asked the president: "Has she had much influence in this administration?" He asked them both: "What do you think the biggest success has been, foreign policy success, of the first term?"

When Kroft turned to "specifics" on Benghazi, he wanted to know about her testimony before the House and Senate. "You had a very long day. Also, how is your health?" After setting that sympathetic tone, he asked one specific question. "Do you feel guilty in any way, at a personal level? Do you blame yourself that you didn't know or that you should have known?"

Which official who lost a public servant in a terrorist attack would not express regret, that they wish they could have done something more to prevent it? It was a softball that opened the door for Hillary to profess it was "a great personal loss," but not really her fault.

During the hearings, Team Obama was sharply criticized for blatantly lying and blaming the Benghazi attacks on a video, spurring Hillary to yell at Sen. Ron Johnson, "What difference does it make?" It begged for the famed Mike Wallace incredulity thrust: "What difference did it make?!"

Nothing. Apparently Hillary's flagrant non-answer was somehow a great answer. She's a Clinton. Lying always gets them out of a jam because the compliant liberal media will never call them out. To borrow a phrase from Bill, "maintaining their political viability within the system" is always their first priority. The same can be said for their media enablers.

At the end of the Lance Armstrong-bashing segment, his accuser, Trevor Tygart of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, suggested this was Armstrong's plan: "Cheat your way to the top, and if you get too big and too popular and too powerful, if you do it that well, you'll never be held accountable."

Obama's reliance on the performance-enhancing media is like doping in politics. Kroft and Co. helped Obama cheat his way to the top, and at the pinnacle of power, he is never held accountable. The interview should have concluded, "I am Barack Obama, and I approve this message."

To read another article by Brent Bozell, click here.

When the 49ers Played at Kezar

When the 49ers Played at Kezar
By Terry Jeffrey

When I was a boy in the 1960s, my father had nine season tickets to the San Francisco 49ers, and on Sundays in the fall would often bring as many as seven of his 11 children to see the team play at Kezar Stadium.

Kezar was at the southeast corner of Golden Gate Park, adjacent to the Haight-Ashbury District. In 1967, there was probably no greater side-by-side contrast of the diverging trends in American culture than between the people inside that stadium, watching a game played on grass, and the people outside the stadium, smoking grass.

At the age of 9, I followed pro football -- that is, the fate of the 49ers -- with passionate intensity. I did not care about the extraordinarily odd and presumably transient people on the other side of the stadium wall. I assumed the only way they could have a long-term impact on my world was if, say, one of them, driving stoned, ran me over in his Volkswagen bus.

My father and I in those days followed a rigorous yet gleeful schedule on fall Sundays. We woke early, attended 6:30 a.m. Mass, and got home in time to watch Lindsey Nelson's taped highlights of that week's Notre Dame game. Later, we all climbed into two cars -- my father's T-Bird and my mother's station wagon -- and caravanned to St. Mary's Hospital, where my father was the chief pathologist, and where we could park on game days.

Kezar was only five blocks from St. Mary's. But, in 1967, those were among the most bizarre blocks in America. This was where Haight Street terminated at the eastern edge of the park.

As we walked those blocks, carrying our picnic lunch to the stadium, we caught occasional and unfortunate views into nearby meadows, where the then-current denizens of the Haight, fully outfitted or less-than-fully-outfitted in their most colorful attire, took their daytime recreation.

My mother would avert and roll her eyes, hoping her children did the same. My father would puff on his Dunhill Maduro, breath out tobacco smoke, and occasionally emit sardonic observations about the more exotic aromas and human beings drifting out of the parklands.

But when we got to Kezar on those Sundays in 1967, the people gathering there were no different than they had been in 1963, or '64, or '65, or '66. They were football fans -- Americans who had worked hard all week, paid their own money for tickets, gone to church that morning and were ready to see the 49ers beat somebody.

In those days, that was an iffy proposition.

The Niners went 7-7 in 1967. One of their last home games that season was against the Chicago Bears, who beat them 28-14. The record books show that Gale Sayers scored three touchdowns that day, including one on a 97-yard kickoff return and another on a 58-yard punt return.

Afterward, my father tried to console me by telling me I had seen one of the game's greatest players play one of his greatest games -- that what I had won that day was a lifelong memory of having witnessed firsthand an indisputable display of excellence.

Back then, that argument made no sense to me. I just thought I had seen my team beaten by the enemy.

The last time the 49ers played in Kezar (before they moved to Candlestick) was on Jan. 3, 1971, when they faced the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game. By that time, the hippies had long since departed the Haight, and except on game days, the neighborhood had reverted to a relatively quiet place featuring beautiful, old, somewhat run-down Victorian houses.

About that time or not long afterward, McDonald's opened a restaurant at the corner where Haight hit the park. After that, the strongest aroma drifting in the air near Kezar was the smell that rises when frozen burgers are strewn across a griddle.

The 49ers lost that 1971 championship game, and I lost the last chance I had during childhood for my hometown team to win it all.

In the intervening decades, American football fans, the people who populated Kezar in 1967, sometimes seemed to be winning their cultural scrimmage with those who cavorted in the Haight.

That never seemed more the case than in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan took the White House, and the 49ers took their ultimate revenge on the Dallas Cowboys.

Those who pilgrimaged to the Haight in 1967 had turned away from hard work, individual responsibility, the traditional family and the religious heritage of the West. They had dropped out of the value system that kept America free. Many no doubt eventually turned back to those values, driven by hard experience. Yet some did not -- and many of those became leaders in our public schools and colleges, our entertainment and media elites, and our political class.

In 1989, the old Kezar was dismantled and replaced with a smaller stadium. In 2014, the 49ers will move out of San Francisco completely and resettle in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, an ideological heir to the Haight-Ashbury sits in the White House. But like the Niner fans of the 1960s, I will always believe that no matter how bad things get, so long as we keep the faith, the trophy will someday be ours.

To read another article by Terry Jeffrey, click here.

After Performing at Obama's Inaguration Chicago Honor Student Shot in the Back, Killed

After Performing at Obama's Inaguration Chicago Honor Student Shot in the Back, Killed
By Katie Pavlich

More sad news out of Chicago today as violent gangs continue to take over the unarmed city. The young girl and honor student who performed at President Obama's second Inaguration just last week has been gunned down and killed. More from the New York Daily News:

A 15-year-old Chicago honor student who participated in inaugural events celebrating President Obama's re-election was fatally shot Tuesday just blocks from her school.

Hadiya Pendleton was among approximately a dozen teens taking cover from the rain in a local park at 2:30 p.m. when a gunman jumped a fence and opened fire, according to reports. Pendleton and other King College Prep students had been dismissed from school early due to exams.

The gunshots sent the entire group running out of the park in a panic, authorities say. Pendleton and a 16-year-old boy were both hit and collapsed about one block away.

Pendleton was shot once in the back and later died at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. The wounded boy was in serious condition Tuesday night, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Windy City has already seen 44 murders in January 2013 alone as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushes for more failed gun control policies.

To read more about gun control, click here.

To read more abou Illinois madness, click here.

Grassley: Deer don’t shoot back, criminals do

Grassley: Deer don’t shoot back, criminals do
By: Audrey Hudson
1/30/2013 12:11 PM

Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday claimed it would be Constitutional to outlaw numerous guns, ammunition and magazines if their restrictive new measures moving through Congress are passed into law.

“The Second Amendment is secure and will remain secure and protected,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during a standing room only hearing.

Leahy and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein are pushing new measures to restrict such purchases and extend the prevue of government officials to conduct background checks.

President Barack Obama has already put into motion 23 executive actions to limit gun ownership without consent from Congress. Feinstein’s bill goes even further, seeking to ban more than 100 random guns collected by gun owners.

“No one can or will take those rights or our guns away,” Leahy said. “Second Amendment rights are the foundation on which our discussion rests. They are not at risk. But lives are at risk when responsible people fail to stand up for laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who will use them to commit mass murder.”

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s ranking Republican, defended gun owners and took aim at arguments by some on the left that certain magazines should be outlawed because only hunters should have guns and don’t need multiple rounds of ammunition.

RELATED: Gingrich: Gun control debate is about more than just “assault weapons”

“We hear that no one needs to carry larger magazines than those that hunters use to shoot dear,” Grassley said. “But an attacking criminal, unlike a deer, shoots back.”

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona and a victim of a shooting in Tucson in 2011, opened the hearing calling for gun control to protect children.

“Violence is a big problem, too many children are dying,” Giffords said. “We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold and courageous, Americans are counting on you.”

The morality rate for children of homicides with a gun was 2.7 percent, according to national child morality data from 2007, the last year the data was available. Comparatively, the rate of death from natural causes was 44 percent, and the rate of death from vehicle accidents was 8 percent. For unintentional injuries, the rate of death from firearms was 0.2 percent, from drowning was 1.3 percent, fire was 0.7 percent, poisoning was 1.2 percent and suffocation was 1.5 percent.

The rush to limit gun owner rights follows on the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six teachers were killed in December. Despite the rush to legislate against future tragedies, the police investigation of the incident is not expected to be completed until June.

Wayne LaPierre, vice president of the National Rifle Association, told the panel that efforts should be focused on making schools more secure.

“It’s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children,” LaPierre said. “About a third of our schools have armed security already, because it works.”

To read another article about gun control, click here.

To read an article by Audrey Hudson, click here.

Classic Hagel

Classic Hagel
January 30, 2013, 5:16 AM
Caroline Glick

I think it is pretty amazing that AIPAC is keeping mum on the fact that Obama has nominated a Jew hater and Israel basher to serve as the next Defense Secretary. As I've said before, Hagel's appointment is a far greater threat to the US military than it is to Israel. But still, it is pretty obscene that Obama is getting away with appointing this character to serve as the Pentagon chief.

Today, the estimable Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon reported another classic Hagelian anti-Israel slur and libel. Back in 2003 he gave an interview to his hometown paper saying that Israel "keep[s] the Palestinians caged up like animals."

And of course, this is only one of countless examples of Hagel's animus towards the Jewish state and its Jewish supporters in the US. But AIPAC is silent.

As I wrote before, I understand that AIPAC doesn't want to fight a fight it can't win. But what fights will it be able to win with a president so hostile to Israel that he appointed the most outspoken anti-Israel senator since Chuck Percy to serve as Defense Secretary? What do they think they will be able to get? A cut-off in aid to the PLO? A cut-off in F-16 and M1A1 Abrams tanks transfers to Egypt? Further ineffective sanctions against Iran? More military assistance to the IDF?

Israel is better off expanding its own defense industries than depending on Hagel for spare parts.

As to the US military, as David Horowitz wrote back in 1992, the movement to assign women to frontline combat unit is not about advancing women. It is about destroying the US military. The fact that Obama didn't even need for Hagel to enter office before taking his first swipe at the military shows just how grandiose his plans for gutting US military capabilities in his second term are.

To be clear, as a woman who served as an officer in the IDF for 5 and a half years, and worked as an embedded reporter with an all male US infantry unit in Iraq, I have to say that I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with women serving in combat. But the purpose of last week's decision wasn't about permitting women to fight on the battlefield. They already do. It was about social engineering and weakening the esprit d'corps of the US military. As Saul Alinsky taught his followers the goal is never what you say it is. The goal is always the revolution.

Delegitimizing and weakening Israel is only one part of the "revolution." Israel will survive Obama and Hagel and Kerry and Brennan.

But that doesn't mean we and our supporters in the US should keep silent about their hostility just because we know we can't block their appointments. By pointing out their radicalism, we are at a minimum sending out the necessary warning about what their future plans will likely involve. And that is important, because the more they are criticized the weaker they will feel.

To read another article by Caroline Glick, click here.

To read more about women in combat, click here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What is With Illinois?

What is With Illinois?
By Tony Katz

Living in California, it is difficult to find fault with other states. California has 12% of the US population, but over 30% of the nation's welfare recipients. California recently voted to increase the tax burden - actually, some non-tax paying Californians decided to raise taxes on other tax paying Californians - on both individuals and corporations. California is the land of job killing Cap And Trade. It is the land of corruption, so ingrained it's generational, political and moral graf.

Illinois is closing in fast.

Standard & Poors recently lowered Illinois' credit rating from A to A-, which puts it in a tie with California as the lowest-rated state. Illinois' pension obligations are massive, and only 39% funded. The state has $97 billion in unfunded mandates, with $17 million added every day.

According to Bloomberg News, Illinois owes an additional $9 billion to creditors. A planned sale of $500 million in general obligation securities (bonds) may not help their credit woes. Moody's is considering a credit downgrade as well.

Add to this Illinois raising their personal income tax rate to 5%, which was voted on in 2011. The tax hike is scheduled to sunset in 2015, returning to 3%. Anyone taking odds on whether those tax increases are extended? Anyone? Bueller?

Despite their economic problems, Illinois officials still find ways to fleece the citizens all they can. Lottery official Mike Jones took an all expenses paid trip to London to partake in a conference to talk about ways to market the lottery more effectively. Jones, according to sources, has taken a few other trips as well:

According to Jones’ travel vouchers obtained by Illinois Review, in a little over a year, Mr. Jones has traveled to Washington, DC (twice), San Francisco, London, Rome, Ireland, Atlanta, Montreal, Las Vegas (twice) and Barcelona. Nice work if you can get it....We have no doubt Mr. Jones conducted some business while away on the taxpayers’ dime, but the troubling words “personal time” keep popping up on his travel vouchers while he was in places such as London and Rome.

Aside from their economic woes come their cultural failings. Until a Court forced its hand, Illinois was the only state in the Union that did not allow for the concealed carry of firearms with a CCW permit. It took a recent decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to change that stance. Ruling that Illinois can not deny residents an opportunity for a CCW license, the Court questioned the state's rationale:

Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden.

A law for obtaining a CCW has to be in place by June of 2013 (180 days after the December, 2012 decision.) No doubt, the state's elected officials will do everything in their power to make the process of obtaining a CCW - allowing residents to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights - as complex and convoluted as possible.

Take a look at Illinois' elected officials, who blatantly exploit their positions. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former henchman to President Obama, recently sent a letter to major bank officials asking them to stop providing lines of credit to gun manufacturers. Illinois has a series of gun manufacturers in the state, including Armalite.

According to web sources, Armalite employees 50-200 people, and has sales of over $13 million per year. How long will they stay, given elected officials want to employ economic tyranny against them? The same kind of economic tyranny that Bank of America attempted on American Spirit Arms when they stopped providing their merchant services, or in April 2012, when they ended their business relationship with McMillian Firearms Manufacturing.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that gun control is not a "constitutional issue." Speaking at California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's press conference on annihilating the 2nd Amendment ( wasn't about annihilating the 2nd Amendment? Really?) he stated:

This just isn’t a matter of an issue of the Constitution, it’s an issue of conscience, an issue of conscience

It was former Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL 17) who, when asked in 2010 about Obamacare and its potential constitutionality, said, "I don't worry about the Constitution on this." Responding that the Supreme Court can rule on its consitutionality is one thing. Not worrying about the Constitution is something horrifically different, considering that every elected official takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

And consider President Obama himself, a product of the Chicago way. The US Court of Appeals ruled his ploy to expand recess powers was unconstitutional. On the debt limit, he (with support from perennial lapdog Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)) sought ways to raise the limit without Congress. He has discussed about how he would like to "go it alone" on immigration reform, lamenting that it's not the way our "messy" democracy work. Translation: The Constitution is getting in the way.

The Land of Lincoln is dominated by elected officials of personal ambition, duplicitous morals and constitution-shredding agendas. Everyday, another story emerges that shamefully pushes Illinois further down the food chain, joining California on the sea floor.

To read another article about Illinois, click here.

To read another article by Tony Katz, click here.

4 of Illinois' last 7 governors went to prison
APNews | 1 hour ago

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan will be leaving prison and heading to a halfway house after serving more than five years for corruption. His departure from prison follows a rich, if ignominious, history in Illinois of ex-governors arriving in and departing from prison.

Of Illinois' last seven governors, four have ended up going to prison. They are:

—Rod Blagojevich — Governor from 2002 through 2009, when he became the first Illinois governor in history to be impeached. Convicted of numerous corruption charges in 2011, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

— George Ryan — Governor from 1999 through 2003. After leaving office, was convicted of racketeering for actions as governor and secretary of state. In November 2007, began serving a 6 1/2 year sentence in federal prison.

— Dan Walker — Governor from 1973-1977. Pleaded guilty to bank fraud and other charges in 1987 related to his business activities after leaving office. Spent about a year and a half in federal prison.

— Otto Kerner — Governor from 1961-1968. Resigned to become judge, then was convicted of bribery related to his tenure as governor. Sentenced to three years in prison.

Panetta's Cowardly Decision

Panetta's Cowardly Decision
By Phyllis Schlafly

In a newsworthy act of political cowardice, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ran through the Pentagon's exit door as he announced he is striking down the 1994 Combat Exclusion Law. His timing means his successor, presumably Chuck Hagel, will inherit the task of defending the order to assign women to front-line military combat.

Of course, Panetta doesn't want to be grilled about his order. It's lacking in common sense and it is toadying to the feminist officers who yearn to be 3- and 4-star generals based on the feminist dogma of gender interchangeability and on their desire to force men into situations to be commanded by feminists.

Panetta's order may be illegal or even unconstitutional because the authority to make such a radical change was specifically granted to Congress, according to former Defense Department Inspector General Joseph E. Schmitz. A constitutional expert, Schmitz held the position of the Defense Department's top investigator from 2002 to 2005 after 27 years of service in the U.S. Navy, including 5 years of active duty.

Schmitz said the order will surely lead to a "degradation of good order and discipline." Here are some of the questions Panetta can now avoid being asked.

Will the new policy of women in combat assignments be based on gender norming? That means giving women and men the same tests but scoring them differently; i.e., grading women "A" for the same performance that would give a man a "C," but clearing both as passing the test on the pretense that equal effort equals equal results.

Please explain how your new women-in-combat policy will be impacted by your policy of "diversity metrics," which is a fancy name for quotas. In order to create the illusion that your new feminist policy is a success, will men be required to pretend that women are qualified and entitled to career promotions?

Do you really believe that the assignment of women to combat infantry will improve combat readiness? What is your plan for non-deployability rates of women due to pregnancy and complications of sexual misconduct ranging from assault to fraternization?

In order to make the weight-lifting requirement for combat assignments gender neutral, how many pounds will be taken off the test? The gender differences in weight-lifting ability and upper-body strength are well documented.

Will men be expected to conceal female physical deficiencies in order to make the new policy "work"? Will men's careers be harmed if they report the truth about women's inability to do the "heavy lifting"?

Military women are already complaining about increased sexual assaults, and of course those problems will skyrocket. Only men will be deemed at fault because it is feminist ideology that men are innately batterers and women are victims.

The military is already plagued with reports of large sex scandals in our current coed army. At the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, 32 instructors allegedly took advantage of their power over 59 recruits, and at least two instructors allegedly had sexual encounters with 10 different recruits.

Do you recognize that the demand for the change in combat exclusion comes only from female officers who want higher rank and pay but not from enlisted women who will bear the burden of the really tough and dangerous work? Where are your surveys of enlisted women's opinions?

Will assignment to combat jobs be voluntary for women but involuntary for men? Will the military ask women "do you want to go to combat?" but just assign men wherever bloody, fatal fighting is needed?

Will promotions for field commanders depend on their attainment of "diversity metrics" that can be achieved only by creating a "critical mass" of women in infantry battalions? Explain the test of Marines in last year's tryouts for the Infantry Officer Course where only two women volunteered, one washed out the first day and the other after one week?

How do you answer the fact that women do not have an equal opportunity to survive in combat situations, and did you consider the fact that women in the military get injured at least twice the rate of men? Please explain why the National Football League does not seek diversity or gender equality with female players.

Canada dealt with the problem of creating new standards for the gender integration of combat forces by renaming the process. Canada didn't create "lower" or even "equal" standards, they just adopted "appropriate" standards. Will the U.S. play word games like that?

Retired Army Major General Robert H. Scales explained in the Washington Post that we know from experience with war that the intimate, deliberate, brutal killing of our country's enemies is best done by small units or teams of men. Four solid buddy pairings of men led by a sergeant compose a nine-man battle-ready combat squad.

These squads are bound together by the "band of brothers" effect. It is a phrase borrowed from Shakespeare's Henry V. Centuries of battlefield experience that have taught us that this brotherhood is what causes a young man to risk and even sacrifice his life willingly so his buddies can survive, and that cohesion is a male-only relationship that would be irreparably compromised by including women in the squad.

Combat doesn't mean merely firing a gun; of course women can do that. Combat doesn't mean merely getting wounded and dying; of course women can do that. Combat means aggressively seeking out and killing the enemy.

A lot of people have a very sanitized view of what battlefield fighting is all about. They seem to think it means a quick gunfight and then returning to the base with separate shower and toilet facilities and a ready mess hall.

Let's hear from men who have actually fought in close-combat situations. Ryan Smith, a Marine infantry squad leader in our 2003 invasion of Iraq, described the reality of spending 48 hours in scorching Middle Eastern heat with 25 Marines stuffed in the back of a vehicle designed for 15 dressed in full gear, sitting on each other, without exiting the vehicles for any toilet needs.

I'll spare you his description of the unsanitary conditions. They went a month without a shower and finally all stood naked to be sprayed off with pressure washers. What kind of men would put women through this?

Panetta won't have to deal with any of these questions. He left them for his successor and more particularly for the field commanders whose careers will depend on compliance.

To read another article about women in combat, click here.

To read another article by Phyllis Schlafly, click here.

Obama's Immigration Plan: Expedite 11 Million Illegal Immigrants to Citizenship

Obama's Immigration Plan: Expedite 11 Million Illegal Immigrants to Citizenship
By Katie Pavlich

President Obama has wrapped up his $1.6 million campaign event immigration reform speech in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"Now is the time for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said.

Piggybacking off of a bipartisan immigration reform plan presented by eight Senators yesterday, Obama called on Congress to quickly come up with legislation.

"We can't allow immigration reform to get bogged down in endless debate," Obama said. "For the first time in years, Republicans and Democrats seem ready to attack this problem together."

Although Obama focused on further enforcement as a top priority for reform, he stressed the need to expedite 11 million illegal immigrants away from the shadows and into American society as citizens, a position bound to put the country into another post-1986 amnesty situation.

Obama wants to study the fine print of legislation once it is written, but administration officials were quick to say the president objects to linking an earned pathway to citizenship to enforcement or border security triggers, a contingency concept included in the bipartisan “principles” outlined Monday by pro-reform senators who have been dubbed the “immigration eight.” Immigration enforcement goals have already been met by the administration, the officials said, and any new triggers or thresholds set by law would create unnecessary obstacles to those seeking legal status.

Obama warned if Congress fails to enact its own immigration reform, he'll send up his own bill "and insist they vote on it right away," while cautioning against the emotion of ongoing debate and an "us vs. them" mentality.

"The closer we get, the more emotional this debate is going to become," Obama said. "Immigration has always been an issue that inflames passions."

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has said he will oppose legislation that puts the Green Card process before border enforcement and security.

To read another article on this subject, click here.

Rubio addresses Senate on immigration reform

Rubio addresses Senate on immigration reform
By: John Hayward
1/29/2013 03:20 PM

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) talked about immigration reform in a Senate floor speech today:

View video here:

This speech was meant to put the “Gang of Eight” proposal Rubio co-designed into context. He takes pains to note that these proposals are a “framework,” an “architecture of the work we hope to undertake,” not a finished bill. ”It’s the beginning of a process that we hope will lead to a real solution,” he said.

“Our broken legal immigration system is a significant contributor to illegal immigration,” Rubio declared. ”It is so expensive, it is so complicated sometimes to legally immigrate to the United States, or to renew a visa, that it is encouraging people to do it the wrong way.” He called for bringing 21st-century technology to bear on administering and enforcing our immigration laws, while strongly defending the moral and practical right of the United States to set and enforce such laws.

Rubio tried to balance sympathy for both the human plight of illegal immigrants, and a clear recognition of their status as lawbreakers. ”There is no such thing as a ‘legal right’ to immigrate illegally to the United States,” he said. ”On the other hand, these are 11 million human beings… 11 million people who, irrespective of how they did it, came here – the vast majority of them – in pursuit of what every one of us would recognize as the American Dream.”

While conceding that the current illegal population is likely destined to remain on American soil one way or the other, Rubio emphasized that he will not accept any immigration bill that doesn’t include stronger border security measures, employment verification, and visa tracking, to prevent the problem from occurring again. He also discussed border security as a national security issue: “What keeps me up at night is the thought of a terrorist coming across the border.”

He disputed characterizations of his reform proposals as “blanket amnesty,” emphasizing that applicants would be required to pass a thorough background check, as well as paying back taxes and fines, to obtain a “non-immigrant visa.” Holders of these work permits would not qualify for federal benefits; they would be allowed only to remain in the United States and work, for a “significant period of time,” while an application for a green card is processed. This could take a while, since these provisional citizens would have to “wait in line” behind legal immigrants. ”All we’re going to do is give them a chance to do what they should have done in the first place,” Rubio promised.

He described the current situation of lax enforcement and unknown illegal populations as “de facto amnesty,” and admitted cleaning it up would not be easy. He issued a warning to President Obama, scheduled to speak on immigration later the same day: “If this endeavor becomes a bidding war, to see who can come up with the easiest, cheapest, and quickest pathway to a green card possible, this thing is not gonna go well, folks.”

To read another article by John Hayward, click here.

Tale of Two Cities

Tale of Two Cities
By Mona Charen

It isn't often that you get reading suggestions from a United States senator, but that's what happened this past weekend for those who attended the National Review Institute's summit meeting in Washington, D.C.

The three-day conclave, part election post-mortem and part revival meeting (that is, reviving conservatism and America), featured a bracing dose of conservative intellectuals along with activists, campaign professionals and office holders. Newly minted Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spoke in his characteristic fashion -- fluidly without notes or podium.

Cruz, while praising Mitt Romney in general and acknowledging that anyone can have a slip of the tongue, zeroed in on the 47 percent gaffe. It is precisely to those who are striving for something better, Cruz argued, those who are poor or unemployed, to whom Republicans should aim their message of opportunity and growth. They are the ones who stand to benefit most from policies that promote growth.

I was sitting near Mario Loyola of the Texas Public Policy Foundation as the senator spoke, so I caught Loyola's surprised expression when the senator quoted him. We should reflect, the senator suggested, on an article Loyola wrote for National Review in 2011. It's a tale of two cities -- Houston and Detroit -- symbols of two radically different governing philosophies.

Both cities were once dominated by one industry -- autos in Detroit, oil in Houston. Both grew robustly during the Second World War, but the cities responded very differently to setbacks in the years that followed. Detroit and Michigan attempted to favor and coddle their big industry and the big unions associated with it. Houston went for competition.

Both cities (and most of the country) had histories of racial strife. Detroit unfortunately elected a leader in 1973, Mayor Coleman Young, who stoked racial animosity rather than attempting to unify the city. This accelerated the white flight (and capital flight) that had begun after the 1967 riots.

When the auto industry faced global competition starting in the 1970s, Michigan and big auto sought protection from Japanese imports. President Reagan extracted "voluntary" quotas from Japanese carmakers. The big three were thus shielded from the consequences of their own bad labor and management decisions. This permitted them to stagnate. They failed to adjust to market pressures and have continued to collect government bailouts to the present.

Michigan and Detroit used "targeted" tax credits and other incentives to lure jobs to their region -- more than $3.3 billion over 15 years. The government has often intervened to help favored industries -- condemning, for example, 1,300 houses, 140 businesses, 6 churches and a hospital to make way for a General Motors plant in the early 1980s. City and state taxes are high, and strikes have damaged the school system.

Between 1900 and 1930, Detroit was the fastest growing city in the world. Today, many of its buildings are abandoned. The illegitimacy rate is 80 percent. Half the city's population is functionally illiterate. During the recent recession, the unemployment rate reached 30 percent. Detroit is one of the most dangerous cities in America.

Houston roared to life as the oil capital of America. But because oil was extracted by hundreds of independent operators, the industry never consolidated as the auto industry had. Producers competed with one another, and with the world, rather than colluding to get protection and special breaks from the state.

Houston fell on hard times in the mid-1980s when oil prices suddenly declined. Rather than intervene to protect the ailing industry, government did nothing. Layoffs were massive and painful. Unemployment shot up to 9.3 percent. But within a couple of years, employment snapped back. Whereas before the shock, oil had represented 80 percent of Houston's economy, it dropped to 50 percent after. Left to its own devices, the economy diversified, expanding to include computer makers, airlines, retailers, utilities, food and grocery companies and medical centers. They were lured not by special tax incentives or breaks from the government but by a low tax environment, cost-conscious environmental regulation, right to work laws, and tort reform.

During the first Obama term, fully half of all the jobs created in America were created in Texas.

Senator Cruz mused that if government had been as intrusive in the early 20th century as it is now, the automobile itself would have been delayed. "We would have been subsidizing all the buggy makers." When Democrats say they have the answers, he advises to remember Detroit.

To read another article by Mona Charen, click here.

Do Gun Bans Curb Violent Crime? Part 2

Do Gun Bans Curb Violent Crime? (Part 2 of 3 on Reducing Violent Crime in the US)
By Chuck Norris

Who isn't sickened by the moral decay and heinous acts of violence across our country? My heart and prayers continue to go out to victims everywhere.

But do gun bans -- such as the one proposed this past week by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., which would outlaw 120 specific firearms -- curb violent crime?

Not according to a recent Fox News investigation titled "Assault-weapons ban no guarantee mass shootings would decrease, data shows." The report concluded, "Data published earlier this year showed that while the (Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which was signed by President Bill Clinton) was in place, from 1994 to 2004, the number of mass shootings actually rose slightly during that period." elaborated: "Crime statistics compiled by a Northeastern University professor, the Census Bureau, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel show that in the 10 years before the Clinton gun ban, there were 173 mass shootings with 766 victims. But during the 10 years of the ban ... there were 182 mass shootings with 820 victims."

If one wants to see the ineffectiveness of countrywide gun bans and increased firearm regulations, one doesn't have to look any further than Mexico.

Sylvia Longmire, a former Air Force officer and special agent and a former border security analyst for the state of California, recently wrote a report titled "Mexico Proves Strict Gun Laws Won't Prevent Massacres."

Longmire explained: "Contrary to popular belief, Mexico's constitution has its own version of our Second Amendment. However, few private citizens own firearms. Federal laws have severely restricted the ability to own and carry weapons to soldiers, police, trained bodyguards, and a few others who can make it through the miles-long (gantlet) of the application process. If a Mexican citizen can survive the background checks, the mountains of paperwork, the half-dozen required personal recommendations, and the expense, they are limited to buying guns with low stopping power.

"There is also only one gun shop in Mexico where they can legally purchase firearms, and it's in Mexico City -- not exactly a close drive for many Mexicans."

The gravest outcome, Longmire added: "More than 53,000 people have been murdered in Mexico in the last six years."

And we don't think the same thing could happen, given enough time, to our Second Amendment rights, which are being slowly strangled by the overreaching, bureaucratic tentacles of Washington?

As with most of society's ills, the key to curbing violent crime is not more government expansion and spending. Neither is the answer dissolving our Second Amendment rights; countries with super-strict gun ownership laws have equally violent crimes and proved that taking guns from good guys doesn't prohibit bad guys from obtaining them.

Despite all the preceding evidence, President Barack Obama announced Jan. 16 that a new and tougher assault weapons ban and a 10-round limit on magazines would be a part of his comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence (aka limit our Second Amendment rights). Immediately after the president spoke, he signed 23 actions, increasing government firearm regulations via presidential executive order.

Though many U.S. representatives and at least three states so far (Oregon, Texas and Mississippi) have vowed not to enforce new gun laws and to stop Obama's assault against our Second Amendment rights, citizens should be very leery of an administration that already has skirted around Congress and overreached the American people more than any in U.S. history.

And if we think we will get a little constitutional assistance from the U.S. Supreme Court, let's neither forget how the court ruled on Obamacare nor forget what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- appointed by Clinton -- stated last January during an interview on the Arabic broadcast network Al-Hayat: "I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa," which, incidentally, has a bill of rights that is 10 times the length of ours but does not have one word protecting an individual's right to bear arms.

I want violent crimes curbed as much as anyone, but not at the expense of our Second Amendment rights -- which are there to protect us. And it's double-trouble lunacy when gun bans have proved to be ineffective in reducing crime in many other countries.

When our Founding Fathers secured our right to bear arms, they didn't do it so that we might go duck hunting. They did it so that we could defend ourselves. And that right was enacted into constitutional law and was never to be encroached by anyone at any time, especially those in Washington.

Could 27 words be any clearer?! "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

What don't they get about the words "shall not be infringed"?

Thomas Jefferson explained, "A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse or rest on inference."

That is why Jefferson could encourage his nephew Peter Carr, "Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."

But then again, maybe infringing on and restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners, too, is exactly the ulterior motive behind the White House's present gun and ammunition ban.

And why would the White House do that?

George Mason -- delegate from Virginia to the Constitutional Convention and co-father of the Bill of Rights, along with James Madison -- gave the answer way back in 1788, in his speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, where he explained: "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

To read another article by Chuck Norris, click here.

To read another article about gun control, click here.

The Obama Inaugural Address

The Obama Inaugural Address
By Dennis Prager

To understand leftism, the most dynamic religion of the last hundred years, you have to understand how the left thinks. The 2013 inaugural address of President Barack Obama provides one such opportunity.

--"What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'"

What American does not resonate to a president reaffirming this magnificent statement from our Declaration of Independence?

But here's the intellectual sleight of hand: "What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American" is indeed the belief that rights come from God.

But this seminal idea is not mentioned again in the entire inaugural address. This was most unfortunate. An inaugural address that would concentrate on the decreasing significance of God in American life -- one of the left's proudest accomplishments -- would address what may well be the single most important development in the last half-century of American life.

--"We learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together."

If there is one word that most excites progressives, it is "new." ("Old" turns the left off: Judeo-Christian religions and the Constitution are two such examples.) The fact is that Americans did not make "themselves anew" after the Civil War. What they did was finally affirm what was old -- the Founders' belief that "all men are created equal."

So why did the president say this? Because what he and the left want to do is to make America anew -- by making it a left-wing country.

--"Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers."

The president used the word "together" four times in his speech. In no instance, did it make sense. What he meant each time is government. In the mind of the left, together and government are one.

Moreover, the point is meaningless. We determined that "a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce"? Isn't that utterly self-evident? Isn't it as meaningless as saying that "together, we determined that jets are faster than propeller planes?

--"Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play."

Again, "together" -- meaning the government.

And, again, this is an intellectual sleight of hand in order to make his case for more government. The free market "only thrives" when individuals have the freedom to take risks. Too large a government and too many rules choke the free market. Look at Europe and every other society with too many rules governing the marketplace.

--"Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action."

This is pure leftism: Individual freedom will be preserved by an ever-expanding state.

The whole American experiment in individual freedom has been predicated on as small a government as possible.

--"No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need ... or build the roads and networks and research labs ...

Who, pray tell, has ever said that a single person can train all teachers, build the roads, etc.? The point he is making, once again, is that only the government can do all these things.

--"The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

This is either a non-sequitur or a falsehood. Huge government programs do not increase risk taking, and, yes, they often do make "a nation of takers." Again, look at Europe. If such programs encouraged entrepreneurial risk-taking, European countries would have the most such risk-takers in the Western world. Instead, Europe has indeed become a continent of takers.

--"We will respond to the threat of climate change ... Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."

"The overwhelming judgment of science." Just as the left has changed global warming to "climate change," the president has now changed scientists to "science." To differ with the environmentalist left on the sources of whatever global warming there is, or whether to impede the economic growth of the Western democracies in the name of reducing carbon emissions is now to deny "science" itself, not merely to differ with some scientists.

Moreover, all three claims of the president are false.

As the Danish environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg, who believes that there is global warming and that that it is caused primarily by carbon emissions, wrote about the president's claims:

On fires: "Analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15 percent" (italics in original).

On drought: "The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that 'there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.'"

On storms: "Hurricane activity is at a low not encountered since the 1970s. The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest absence of severe landfall hurricanes in over a century."

--"That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God."

Finally God is mentioned -- on behalf of solar panels and windmills! The god of the left is the god of environmentalism.

--"We the people still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."

The president's favorite American -- the Straw Man. Who exactly believes in "perpetual war?" Perhaps the president confuses perpetual strength with perpetual war.

Had he not been a leftist, he could have said: "We the people still believe that enduring security and lasting peace require perpetual American strength."

--"But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war."

Whatever peace we have won has been won as a result of war and/or being militarily prepared for war. But acknowledging that would mean abandoning leftist doctrine.

--"We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully -- not because we are na?ve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear."

"Not because we are na?ve?" The entire sentence is an ode to the left's naivet? regarding evil.

--"Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm."

The president didn't say what would create more security in children than anything else -- a father in their lives. Why didn't he? Because the left doesn't talk about the need for fathers. Such talk is deemed sexist, anti-women, anti-single mothers and anti-same-sex marriage.

But the left does talk utopian. In what universe are children "always safe from harm?" The answer is in the utopian imagination of the left, which then passes law after law and uproots centuries of values in order to create their utopia.

--"Being true to our founding documents ... does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way."

That's more left-wing ideology: Liberty means what you want it mean. As does marriage, art, family, truth and good and evil.

--"We cannot ... substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate."

No conservative could agree more with that. They are, after all, two of the most prominent features of left-wing political life.

--"Let us ... carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom."

The president began his address citing Creator-given rights, but never mentioned either the Creator or Creator-given rights in what followed. So, too, he ended his address with a call to freedom that had nothing to do with anything he said preceding it. The address was about climate change, same-sex marriage, equal pay for women, and mostly, expanding the power of the state - not freedom.

The speech was not inspiring. But it did have one important value: It illuminated how the left thinks.

To read another article by Dennis Prager, click here.

The Stuff of Third World Tyrants

The Stuff of Third World Tyrants
By David Limbaugh

President Barack Obama is not just a radical leftist; he is obviously so ensconced in his ideology that he believes -- or wants you to believe -- that anyone who opposes him must have sinister motives.

One of his recurring themes is that some Republicans would work with him but can't do so for fear of reprisal from Grover Norquist on taxes, the National Rifle Association on guns, the conservative House caucus, radio talk show hosts and your garden-variety racists, who allegedly oppose Obama just for sport.

In mid-January, Obama accused the "gun lobby" of "ginning up" fears that the federal government would use the Newtown, Conn., shooting tragedy to seize America's guns, saying, "It's certainly good for business." Is that how presidents should talk?

Obama suggested that GOP congressional opposition was based not on principle but on the fear that unless it resisted Obama's gun-grabbing schemes, it would lose its precious NRA funding. As if the American public agrees with Obama on this issue any more than it did on Obamacare. As if Obama truly cares whether the American public agrees with him on this issue (other than as a means to an end) any more than he cared about the public's view on Obamacare.

Indeed, this is either record-breaking myopia or sophisticated Orwellian deception. Few things are more palpable on the political scene today than the groundswell of grass-roots support for the right to own firearms under the Second Amendment. It is intrinsic to the American character.

Obama didn't just mischaracterize the public mood on the issue of gun control; he threw in an additional allegation of political corruption against Republicans, saying, "The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they're really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies."

Do you see the pattern here? As the leading disciple of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, Obama must delegitimize his political opposition. He can't just debate issues on the merits. He must "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." We've seen Obama do it on virtually every policy he has promoted -- from demonizing health care professionals and insurance companies in pursuit of Obamacare to taunting "fat cat banks" in his quest for financial "reform" to his defamation of "big oil" to his personal attacks on the "rich" to his savaging of Rep. Paul Ryan and other House Republicans as callous toward seniors and the middle class for daring to reform entitlements.

Obama will not stand for House Republicans to be seen as good-faith opponents to his socialist agenda. He has to slander them with charges of nefarious motives. Republicans oppose his gun grab because they jealously guard their corruptly acquired congressional seats (through gerrymandering), which depend upon blood money from the NRA, which is motivated by its own lust for profits. There simply can't be any legitimate public opposition to his position, because, by gosh, he's the president and his views -- and mandate -- are superior.

Obama isn't content just to vilify his congressional opposition. With a newfound cockiness from his re-election that even exceeds his previous levels, he has now called out Fox News and private citizen Rush Limbaugh. Alinsky's cremated ashes must be glowing with delight.

Obama said, "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it." He added, "The more left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word" and that Democratic leaders are "willing to buck the more absolutist-wing elements in our party to try to get stuff done."

That statement alone should tell you how warped Obama's perspective is. The congressional Democratic leadership is already so leftist and uncompromising that it doesn't have to worry about pleasing more leftist elements. And the left-leaning media not only don't recognize what true compromise is but also don't hold Obama to account for his own habitual refusal to compromise.

That Obama is the most ideologically extreme president in history and routinely demonizes his political opponents is bad enough. But he has crossed the line in targeting the sole TV news outlet that refuses to allow his propaganda to go unchallenged and even more so in attacking commentator Rush Limbaugh for the sin of articulating the opinions of millions upon millions of American patriots who are horrified at Obama's statist agenda.

This is the stuff of Third World tyrants, my friends. This is the MO of dictators, who want to control the media and silence any unfavorable coverage or commentary. Even liberals should be outraged at this abominable behavior. And they should have the integrity to say so.

To read another article by David Limbaugh, click here.