The Patriot Post® · Daily Digest
“To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of the declamations and by the bitterness of their invectives.” –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1, 1787
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Three jihadis stormed a French satirical newspaper with AK-47s and a rocket launcher, killing 12 and injuring five. The paper, Charlie Hebdo, was known for leveling crass satire against politicians, Jews and Muslims. In 2011, the paper was firebombed after the Religion of Peace™ didn’t appreciate a caricature about its founder Muhammad. The paper picked itself back up and published a few more cartoons skewering Muhammad and ISIL. Instead of firing off a nasty letter to the editor, the three jihadis – who are still at large – snuffed the paper’s employees. In a clip aired on French television, the attackers are recorded shouting, “We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad.” When it comes to the freedom of speech, North Korea compelling Sony to censor a movie is nothing compared to the intolerance of Islam. More…
Just remember: In 2012, Barack Obama said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
While Barack Obama pontificates that Washington will have “a productive 2015,” his actions show that the Swamp will be productive only if it follows his agenda. This new congressional session is less than two days old, and already the White House says Obama will veto a measure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. So much for a productive 2015. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “Congressional Republicans are well aware of the position of this administration which is we believe clearly that this administrative process is the one that should determine the viability of [the pipeline]. … Maybe it raises questions about the willingness of Republicans to actually cooperate with this administration when you consider that the very first bill that’s introduced in the United States Senate is one that Republicans know the president opposes.” Obama’s threat is unsurprising for political analyst Charles Krauthammer, because the president can act free from the constraints of Congress, budget or even reputation. “He doesn’t need anybody,” Krauthammer said. “This is Obama the way he really is.” More…
New York’s SAFE Act, a reactionary gun control bill passed in the emotional aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, takes steps to limit access to guns for those with mental health problems. Everyone can agree on such common sense reforms, right? Not so fast. The Daily Caller reports, “A veteran of the U.S. Navy and decorated retired police detective is suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials for infringing on his constitutional rights after his pistol permit and four handguns were confiscated after he voluntarily sought hospital treatment for insomnia. Donald Montgomery filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Rochester on Dec. 17.” If New York’s law prevents even men like Montgomery from owning a firearm, then its reach went much further than Democrats promised. We’re shocked – shocked – by such deception. And the effect will be fewer people seeking treatment for such things as insomnia, fearing they’ll be stripped of their rights. More…
The Obama administration clearly plans to make race chum out of GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. In a story that was evidently too good to check, Scalise was misleadingly accused of speaking to a group affiliated with former KKK leader David Duke in 2002. Never mind that he merely spoke at an earlier time in the same venue and couldn’t control who attended his speech. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest issued a not-so-veiled shot at the GOP, saying that, while Republicans could decide whether or not to keep Scalise in the House leadership team, “[T]here’s no arguing that who the Republicans decide to elevate into a leadership position says a lot about what the conference’s priorities and values are.” It also says a lot that Obama sat in the pews listening to and being mentored by a repulsive racist by the name of Jeremiah Wright. But Earnest evidently didn’t see the connection.
Dario Raschio is a 100-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who was honored over the weekend in Portland, Oregon, with some long overdue medals for his service to our nation. He fought in five campaigns in the Pacific. During one mission on Easter 1944, he was shot down by the Japanese and left stranded in shark-infested waters. Of the ceremony, orchestrated by Sen. Ron Wyden, Raschio said, “I feel I’m no hero. I don’t accept it as being a hero. I accept it as being a part of my job.” But the ceremony was not to continue as planned. Race-baiting agitators stormed the premises, shouting “hands up, don’t shoot!” in protest of police. Saying “give me a chance,” Raschio did receive his medals – the U.S. Naval Aviator Badge, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the “Ruptured Duck” award and the U.S. Navy Honorable discharge pin. But after 45 minutes of disruption, organizers gave up and canceled the ceremony. Is this what the First Amendment means to these hooligans? Disrupting and dishonoring a man who gave so much to defend those very rights? How sad. More…
For more, visit Right Hooks.
The GOP should not prioritize increasing the gas tax in this session of Congress. But some Republicans view the recent precipitous decline in gas prices as an opportune time to increase the gas tax. After all, the 2016 presidential election will be here in the blink of an eye and the GOP needs examples of leadership to sway the traditionally liberal voters who only show up every four years.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the incoming chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, says the GOP is considering a proposal to increase the number of cents the federal government siphons from every gallon of gas sold in the U.S. to better fund the Highway Trust Fund.
He’s not alone. Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) have advocated for years to raise the tax to get more money flowing into the fund that reimburses states for highway projects and mass transit ventures. The last time the tax was raised was 1993, but since then inflation and costs creep upward while people consume less gas. Congress has bolstered the fund with five injections of billions of dollars from the general fund since 2008 alone.
And now, with the average gallon of American gas costing $2.19, Republicans in Congress think America’s motorists won’t feel a gas tax hike. As Corker said, “Hopefully this is something again over the next several months, especially with energy prices being where they are, that can gain some momentum and show that Congress can go from A to B and can solve a problem with a user fee, which by the way is the most conservative way in the world to generate revenues.”
Corker is right in saying a consumption tax is the most conservative tax policy. But a decent tax policy doesn’t make up for a badly executed government program. Congress has plenty of room to reduce costs and make the Highway Trust Fund more efficient before it hits drivers again at the pump.
As it stands now, the Highway Trust Fund is a bloated spawn of the big-government idealism of the 1950s. The federal government needed a way to fund the stretches of Dwight Eisenhower’s interstates and the fund was born. In the ‘80s, the fund started to provide money for mass transportation projects – something that can easily become pet projects for Washington fat cats.
At the fund’s heart lays a flaw: It warps federalism. The states start the projects, but then the federal government decides motorists in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states should help pay for a $3.9 billion bridge that will span the Hudson River to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge.
As Reason’s Peter Sunderman writes, “Is Congress really the best organ for making decisions about road projects all around the nation? Some of those decisions, at minimum, are probably better left to the states.”
Instead of raising the gas tax, Congress has options for how it will keep the money rolling toward transportation projects, according to Douglas Holtz-Eakin at Real Clear Policy. Of course, it can continue to do what it always has done: pass another temporary spending measure in a similar way it has been funding the whole government budget for years now. Or it can reform the Highway Trust Fund by finding a new revenue stream, or work with private companies to fix America’s infrastructure. Furthermore, Congress could repeal the Depression-era Davis-Bacon Act, which mandates “prevailing wages” (read: union wages) for public works projects, to allow contractors to better compete.
States already are taking more responsibility for maintaining interstates and bridges that run through their lands. Michael Barone notes, “More than 30 states have passed transportation fiscal measures in the last three years.”
Meanwhile in Washington, the White House has rejected the idea of a gas tax and instead pushed for its tired, old mantra to assuage the nation’s ills: taxes on the wealthy. Responding to a question about the proposed gas tax hike, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “We have put forward our own specific plan for closing loopholes that only benefit wealthy and well-connected corporations, and using the revenue from closing those loopholes to [invest] in badly needed infrastructure upgrades.”
Furthermore, The New York Times reports other members of Congress find the idea of a gas tax bump unpopular. With a new majority in place, Republicans should not make increasing a tax for a bloated government dole a cornerstone of their next two years in Congress. There are more important fights.
Former Arkansas governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee has decided to once again test the turbulent waters of presidential candidacy. Entering what might grow to be the largest field of candidates the GOP has seen, Huckabee will need to significantly broaden his appeal to avoid his 2008 defeat.
In that race, the ordained Southern Baptist minister’s appeal to evangelical voters won him a few primaries, but in the end he failed to win the support of the socially moderate or fiscally conservative wings. Since then, America’s values climate has only devolved, and many more voters will find Huckabee’s Christian values unpalatable.
A couple brushes Huckabee had with the Club for Growth in past years could cause him problems. When Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI) ran for the Senate in 2011, the Club for Growth attacked Thompson’s record and supported his opponent. Huckabee replied that the Club had no understanding of what it takes to govern, and that Thompson had lowered taxes, cut capital gains and inheritance taxes, while increasing employment.
The following year, while Huckabee considered a run for the nomination, the Club for Growth sent a press release referencing a white paper tied to Huckabee’s last presidential run in 2008. It offered highlights from the report, including charges that Huckabee “raised sales taxes repeatedly,” “increased state spending” and “raised the minimum wage.” Indeed, while Huckabee brags of cutting taxes while governor, he also raised them for a net increase of about $500 million.
It’s telling that the leftist rag Mother Jones defended him in 2007: “Spending did go up under the Huckabee regime. … But Huckabee balanced the Arkansas state budget every year he was governor (balancing the budget is a requirement under Arkansas state law) and in the end, Huckabee had a positive effect on the state ledger: He faced a $200 million deficit in 2002, but ended his term with a $844.5 million surplus.” Their conclusion: “Democrats support the sort of fiscal responsibility that Huckabee was able to demonstrate.” That should raise a few red flags.
Yet Leon Wolf of Red State offers a few words of tempered wisdom on this dispute: “[I]t is entirely fair to engage Mike Huckabee stridently on the substance. … What bothers me is that, résumé-wise, Huckabee is pretty much the same guy as Jeb Bush. People who disagree with Jeb generally start their disagreement with Jeb’s policies. … People who disagree with Huckabee generally start by attacking him personally.”
“Believe it or not,” Wolf adds, “the people who … go to their Southern Baptist churches … are smart enough to figure out why Huckabee gets this disparate treatment and what it means about how the folks in Washington, DC who are at least nominally on their side view them. … [M]aybe it would be worth toning back the contempt a little.”
Last year, Huckabee urged conservatives to “stop the fight” over the Common Core standards promulgated by the Obama “Education” Department. He urged fellow Republicans to consider the positive effects the nationalized standards might have on students in poor-performing schools. This position pits Huckabee squarely against virtually every other conservative. Common Core has been judged to be junk and deserves to be scrapped. Unless he has a sudden epiphany, his hopes for nomination will go the way of Common Core.
As for cap and trade, Huckabee claims that he’s never believed in global warming or supported cap and trade, but in 2007 he said he supported a mandatory cap on global-warming pollution and that the U.S. has a moral obligation to address climate change. “It goes to the moral issue,” he said then. “We have a responsibility to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, to conserve energy, to find alternative forms of energy that are renewable and sustainable and environmentally friendly.”
Seven years is enough time for someone to re-evaluate an old position. Huckabee needs to make his clear now because the last thing we need is another envirofascist president.
Though the primaries are still a year away, as more Republicans throw in their hats, the contest will become more contentious. Candidates and the entire party must keep their eyes on the prize, and remember that the bigger fight is with Democrats.
For more, visit Right Analysis.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Walter E. Williams: Liberals’ Use of Black People, Part II
- Stephen Moore: Young Workers Hurt Most by Minimum Wage Hikes
- Terence Jeffrey: Will There Be a 2016 Lame-Duck Disability Bailout?
- Joe Bastardi: AGW Forecast: More of the Same
- Michelle Malkin: The Black Brunch Brats
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
American writer James Neil Hollingworth (1933–1996): “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
Columnist Walter E. Williams: “Emmett Till, a Chicago teenager visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, during the summer of 1955, was accused of flirting with a white woman. Klansmen took him to a barn. They beat him and gouged out one of his eyes. Then they shot him in the head and tossed his body in the Tallahatchie River. The New York Times published the street name on which Officer Wilson lived. Had the frenzied mob caught up with him, regardless of evidence, he might have suffered the same fate as Till. Multiethnic societies are inherently unstable, and how we handle matters of race is contributing to that instability. Decent Americans should see the dangers posed by America’s race hustlers, who are stacking up piles of combustible racial kindling, ready for a racial arsonist to set it ablaze.”
Economist Stephen Moore: “On New Year’s Day, the minimum wage increased in 20 states and the District of Columbia. This follows a year in which protesters hit the streets in major cities, camping in front of fast food stores and demanding a hike in the minimum wage. Last summer, Seattle raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018. In December, San Francisco followed suit, approving a $15 minimum wage by 2018. Likewise, Chicago just mandated a $13 hourly wage by 2019. Meanwhile, President Obama storms around the country moaning that Scrooge-like congressional Republicans are refusing to give the American worker a raise. … During the last federally mandated series of minimum wage hikes from $5.15 to $7.25, teenage labor force participation plummeted from near 41 percent to a low of less than 33 percent as unemployment jumped from near 15 percent to a high of more than 27.4 percent. Yes, the primary cause was the Great Recession. But raising the minimum wage when the economy was contracting was a recipe for disaster for young workers whose wage fell to $0.00. Sorry, there is no free lunch by hiking the minimum wage.”
Comedian Jimmy Fallon: “Joe Biden went to Brazil in an effort to try and repair America’s relationship with their government. Biden said, ‘It’s great to be here in the Amazon. I’ve always wanted to see where all the books come from.’”
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