Monday Digest

Oct. 7, 2013


“Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected.” –James Madison


Update From Obama’s ‘Make 'em Suffer’ File

The federal government has now been shut down for seven days, and the two parties appear no closer to a deal to fund it. The Republican-controlled House has passed smaller measures funding various parts of government to pressure Democrats to keep saying “no.” These included restoring funding for veterans benefits, caring for children with cancer, food assistance and national parks. The House even passed a bill by a vote of 407-0 granting retroactive pay to government workers on furlough. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says he won’t bring up a bill to fund the entire government until Barack Obama and the Democrats agree to negotiate deficit spending. The Obama administration and Senate Democrats refuse to budge, believing that the shutdown is only going to hurt Republicans politically. The one thing both sides agree on is that it’s the other side’s fault.

Obama did say over the weekend that he’s willing to negotiate changes to ObamaCare … but only after Republicans end the shutdown with a “clean” continuing resolution and then agree to hike the debt ceiling. That’s convincing – give him everything he wants and then he’ll talk. Of course, negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, craps on the board and then struts around like it won the game.

Meanwhile, the president continued his gambit to make the shutdown as annoying and inconvenient as possible, erecting Barackades at every national park and closing down every government website – all of which takes more effort and expense than simply letting things be. Here’s but a short list of closings due to this ridiculous political stunt: The Iwo Jim Memorial is closed, veterans were removed from the Vietnam War Memorial, highway pull-offs with a view of Mount Rushmore are blocked, some of the Florida ocean is off-limits, the Grand Canyon is closed despite Arizona’s offer to keep it open with state funds and 60 families with vacation homes at Lake Mead were ordered to leave.

One angry Park Ranger confirmed that it’s all politics: “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” It’s also standard operating procedure for Barack Obama.

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American Oil and Gas Production: A World Leader

Ten years ago no one would have predicted the news that, based on Russian production forecasts for 2013, the United States would be the world’s largest combined producer of oil and natural gas. Back then “peak oil” was the topic of discussion, and hydraulic fracturing was a barely-used technology. As it turns out, the market and technology have led to a renaissance in America’s oil and gas industry, and this despite a president whose policies have been overtly hostile to the industry.

Note this statistic is based on combined oil and natural gas production, but while Saudi Arabia is still the king of the oil producers, America is in third place behind Russia and catching up fast. And because of this newfound bounty, the United States is no longer importing as much oil – imports are down 15% over the last five years. This keeps prices down and allows other nations to more easily secure supplies.

Yet those naysayers who believed they could corner a “peak oil” market are skeptical that America can keep up the pace. The head of Russia’s Gazprom called our shale output “a bubble that will soon burst,” a sentiment echoed by OPEC chief Abdallah Salem el-Badri, who made the assessment that our shale boom would run out by decade’s end. But given America’s newfound abundance, one would expect them to cast our success in a negative light.

Indeed, it appears that the largest potential problem would be one self-inflicted: overly broad restrictions on fracking or other means of extraction, or an American-led economic contraction due to profligate spending policies. If we can avoid those pitfalls, the potential is there for America to control its own energy destiny and limit imports to those from our own continent, leaving Russia and Saudi Arabia to fend for themselves in other world markets.

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Department of Military Correctness: What’s in It for Me?

Recent news on the military same-sex marriage front doesn’t bode well for either the military or society at large. As predicted, many gender-disoriented service members have sought to take advantage of the Department of Defense policy granting them special (i.e., not available to anyone other than the gender-disoriented) leave to travel to a state where same-sex marriages are recognized. The details for implementing the policy have followed a typically bureaucratic path fraught with confusion, which in turn has lead to complaints of unfairness.

While it is disturbing that these service members and their supporters are unable to recognize the disconnect between their false discrimination claims and the preferential treatment offered by the policy, elements of the debate mirror issues that highlight disconcerting trends affecting even “normal” society. The concepts of commitment and service don’t appear anywhere in the discussion. Increasingly, service members don’t marry one another (whether same- or opposite-sex) because they love one another or join the military because they love their country; they perform these formerly selfless acts primarily because of the financial benefits that they will be entitled to when they do. This what’s-in-it-for-me mindset has contributed to skyrocketing personnel-related costs that are consuming larger and larger chunks of a shrinking DoD budget, which in turn is dangerously constraining strategic planning.

While our military men and women certainly deserve adequate compensation, the emphasis on entitlements and compensation risks making the terms “volunteer” and “service” seem as quaint as the idea that marriage is defined as the permanent union of one man and one woman.

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DoJ Alleges Segregation in Louisiana Schools

In August, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department initiated a lawsuit against Louisiana, taking issue with the state’s school voucher program. Proponents of the system insist that vouchers have helped desegregate schools while bolstering the broader goal of expanding school choice. The DoJ argues the opposite: They claim Louisiana has “impeded the desegregation process,” referring specifically to 34 of the state’s school systems. However, a new study from the University of Arkansas’ School Choice Demonstration Project isn’t likely to help Holder’s case.

While the study is not an apples-to-apples comparison, “[T]heir finding actually does a much better job than the DOJ did at assessing whether the program is a good thing for desegregation efforts overall,” explains National Review’s Patrick Brennan. “It tries to measure the net impact of the program on integration and segregation, while the DOJ merely identified 34 schools where they say the problem got worse and sued on those grounds, without measuring whether vouchers improved the situation in other places with desegregation orders.”

In short, researchers “find that the vast majority (83 percent) of students transferred reduced the level of segregation at the schools they leave, and the impact on the schools they arrive at is, overall, negligible.” Indeed, this study is similar to other findings that reveal overall positive attributes from districts that take advantage of school vouchers. Children, not agendas, come first when parents’ school choice options expand. But don’t expect this evidence to give Eric Holder second thoughts.

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Essential Liberty

Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “President Obama indignantly insists that GOP attempts to abolish or amend Obamacare are unseemly because it is ‘settled’ law, having passed both houses of Congress, obtained his signature and passed muster with the Supreme Court. Yes, settledness makes for a strong argument – except from a president whose administration has unilaterally changed Obamacare five times after its passage, including, most brazenly, a year-long suspension of the employer mandate. Article 1 of the Constitution grants the legislative power entirely to Congress. Under what constitutional principle has Obama unilaterally amended the law? Yet when the House of Representatives undertakes a constitutionally correct, i.e., legislative, procedure for suspending the other mandate – the individual mandate – this is portrayed as some extra-constitutional sabotage of the rule of law. Why is tying that amendment to a generalized spending bill an outrage, while unilateral amendment by the executive (with a Valerie Jarrett blog item for spin) is perfectly fine?”

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Re: The Left

Columnist Mona Charen: “Harry Reid was … caught in the kind of gaffe that would be a career-ender for a Republican. CNN’s Dana Bash framed the NIH funding question this way: ‘If you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?’ Reid replied, ‘Why would we want to do that?’ It would be unfair to conclude from that slip of the tongue that Harry Reid is indifferent to the welfare of children with cancer. Fair-minded people can agree on that. Can we also agree that if a Republican had said it, it would be featured in a constant loop on TV and elsewhere? Is there any doubt that if the roles were reversed, Democrats would be marching children with cancer before cameras to plead with Republicans to restore funding, and the press would be reporting that Republicans want children to die? … This is the battle Obama wanted because his cannons are arrayed on the high ground, controlled by his press.”

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The Gipper

“I’ve come to believe there is little, if any, honesty in the media, and ethic is a word they are totally unfamiliar with.”

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For more, visit The Right Opinion.



Political analyst Michael Barone: “The problem was caused by James Madison. And by the 39 other men who signed the Constitution in 1787. The problem, of course, is the government shutdown. It was caused because the Framers of the Constitution wisely provided for separation of powers among the three branches of government. The president would faithfully execute the laws and be commander in chief of the military, but both houses of Congress would have to approve of every penny the government could spend.”

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Barack Obama: “I’m not going to allow anybody to drag the good name of the USA through the mud just to re-fight a settled election or extract ideological demands. Nobody gets to hurt our economy and millions of hardworking families…”

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Alpha Jackass

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “It’s time for Republicans to defy their Tea Party overlords.”

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Braying Jenny

Nancy Pelosi: “[DemoCare’s] a dream come true for many people in our country; that they can fully realize the promise of our founders of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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‘Non Compos Mentis’

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Today, our government is shut down for one reason – because Republicans think this is their last chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That is nothing short of offensive.”

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MSNBC’s Ed Schultz on ObamaCare: “Now, the fact is, there isn’t a business on the face of the earth that doesn’t start without a glitch. … I don’t consider a 1-800 number you’re not being able to get through a glitch. I would call that success. … Eventually I know, I’d have confidence that I would get on. Is that a glitch? No! That’s the free market working is what that is!”

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The BIG Lie

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz: “The [Solyndra] loan guarantee program has had some controversy. Let me say flatly: It’s been a terrific success.”

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Short Cuts

Washington Times’ editor emeritus Wesley Pruden: “If what happens in Las Vegas is supposed to stay in Las Vegas, how did Harry [Reid] get out?”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

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