The Patriot Post® · Daily Digest
“Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their safety seems to be the first. The safety of the people doubtless has relation to a great variety of circumstances and considerations, and consequently affords great latitude to those who wish to define it precisely and comprehensively.” –John Jay, Federalist No. 3, 1787
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
After a violent Islamist took hostages at a Kosher market in France, European police traced the man’s connections across Europe, arresting another man who wanted to buy a car from the jihadi’s wife, and apprehending one more in Germany on suspicion that he had returned from Syria after fighting with ISIL. The investigation came to a head in the Belgian town of Verviers Friday, as Belgian police closed in on a group of jihadis about to launch a terrorist attack in that country. Belgian prosecutor Thierry Werts told reporters after the raid, “This operational cell of about 10 people, some of whom had returned from Syria, was on the point of launching significant terrorist attacks in Belgium. During the search, certain suspects immediately opened fire at special forces of the police with automatic weapons. They opened fire for several minutes. Two suspects were killed and a third was arrested.” CNN now reports there may be 20 such “sleeper cells” across Europe, plotting eminent attacks. Because many of these jihadis are fighters who returned to their home countries after fighting for ISIL in the Middle East. In other words, the fear that ISIL would fragment and take their terror to the West is realized. More…
Pope Francis is no stranger to making waves with what he says, and his pronouncement regarding Islam, the jihadi attack on Charlie Hebdo and free speech is no exception. “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” the pope declared. “There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity.” We take issue with a couple of things here. Let’s start with “cannot” instead of “shouldn’t.” Certainly, people should be respectful in dialogue and debate, but free speech is a universal right worth defending – even vulgar, unintelligent and pointless speech such as that produced by Charlie Hebdo. More to the point, not all religions have dignity. Any religion that kidnaps girls to deploy them as suicide bombers, that beheads innocent victims, that slaughters playwrights and cartoonists for expressing their beliefs, or that flies airliners into skyscrapers has no dignity.
Duke University prides itself in tolerance. This is probably why the university intolerantly canceled a talk on motherhood in 2010 because the university learned the speakers were pro-life. And then there was the time in 2013 when the open-minded academy kicked Chick-fil-A off campus because three people emailed the administration to complain about the restaurant after its CEO declared his support of traditional marriage. On the other hand, the spirit of inclusiveness compelled the university to announce it would broadcast the Muslim 1 p.m. call to prayer every Friday starting Jan. 16. But after the likes of Franklin Graham asked alumni to pull support from the school, the school backed down and announced that Muslim students will only gather in the quad before using the chapel for Friday prayer, sans an amplified call to prayer. Duke Vice President of Government Affairs Michael Schoenfeld told the Associated Press, “Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students. However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.” The problem for Duke is that they believe some faiths deserve more inclusivity and tolerance than others. More…
Foreign policy guru Leslie Gelb is no conservative – he’s the former assistant secretary of state for Jimmy Carter. Early on, Gelb championed Barack Obama’s administration and the change it brought from the George W. Bush years. But now, the hope has faded. Late to the party, Gelb writes, “The failure of Obama or Biden to show up in Paris made clear that most of the president’s team can’t be trusted to conduct U.S. national security policy and must be replaced – at once. Here’s why America’s failure to be represented at the Paris unity march was so profoundly disturbing. It wasn’t just because President Obama’s or Vice President Biden’s absence was a horrendous gaffe. More than this, it demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct U.S. national security policy in the next two years. It’s simply too dangerous to let Mr. Obama continue as is – with his current team and his way of making decisions. America, its allies, and friends could be heading into one of the most dangerous periods since the height of the Cold War. Mr. Obama will have to excuse most of his inner core, especially in the White House.” But even that won’t be enough if Obama remains his old, stubborn self. Gelb adds, “In the end, making the national security system work comes down to one factor, one man – Barack Obama.” Indeed it does, and that’s why we’re in bad shape until at least 2017. Then again, John Kerry took James Taylor to France to sing “You’ve got a friend,” so that should fix it.
Which of these does a better job of dropping a gunman: bullets or beans? Granted, it’s a stupid question, but since when did anti-gun lefties make sense? According to one Alabama school, beans – or any other canned food item – make an excellent self-defense weapon. “As a result of school shootings throughout the United States and discussing with law enforcement on the best procedure to follow to keep our students safe, we are enhancing our procedure for intruders,” explained administrators of W.F. Burns Middle School in a letter to parents. “The procedure will be the same as we have done in the past with the addition of arming our students with a canned food item.” ‘Cause nothing scares a would-be shooter like a flying can of Green Giant green beans. The officials added, “We realize at first this may seem odd” – you don’t say? – “however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard.” Here’s a better idea: Arm teachers who can quickly and effectively alleviate the threat. Liberals like to talk about “common sense” reforms; that is, unless it involves putting guns in the hands of good guys. More…
For more, visit Right Hooks.
The Democrats’ economic platform continues to take shape as this week they take up the cause of paid family and medical leave. It’s all fine sentiment, though someone has to ask: Who pays for it? That’s why it’s savvy politics.
Barack Obama signed a memorandum Thursday guaranteeing six weeks of paid sick leave for federal workers to take care of a new child or an ill family member, even if workers have not accrued that much time off. He went on to claim that workers in the private sector should be afforded the same opportunity.
White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett also pushed for an expansion of paid leave for workers. “The fact is this is not a partisan issue,” she said. “Adopting polices that are good for working families is both good for business and good for workers.”
In a couple of well-crafted sentences, Jarrett took a policy that used to be decided by private sector employers, elevated to it a federal government issue, and arbitrarily decided this is good for business. It’s not, but more on that later. This is a classic leftist maneuver to reframe the economic discussion in a manner that is beneficial to Democrats. By labeling paid sick leave as a “right” rather than a benefit, they can more easily label anyone who opposes their proposal as an ogre who doesn’t care about families.
As always, Democrats are looking to position themselves as champions of the middle class, particularly ahead of the 2016 election. They have the class warfare playbook firmly in hand, and they’re going to run it step by step. Obama’s offer of “free” community college and congressional Democrats’ latest income redistribution proposal were just the opening screen pass.
The paid leave proposal has been circulating for months, with Labor Secretary Tom Perez rarely missing an opportunity to mention it. The AFL-CIO is also a big proponent. Both repeatedly use a statistic pulled from an International Labor Organization survey that the U.S. is the only developed country in the world that does not mandate paid maternity leave. Jarrett also noted that 43 million private sector workers in the U.S. do not have any form of paid sick leave.
To read these factoids alone, one would be lead to believe that the U.S. is peppered from coast to coast with sweatshops reminiscent of a Charles Dickens novel. But Perez and Jarrett make no mention of just how many of those workers are part-timers or day laborers who rarely receive such benefits. They also seem to forget that virtually every large employer has these policies in place, and many small businesses prefer to handle long-term absences on a case-by-case basis. Of course, the Obama administration would prefer that freedom came to an end. After all, the federal government knows best.
The push for mandatory paid sick and maternity leave has begun in Congress, too. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act to create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. The administration also proposes $2 billion in the new budget to help states develop similar programs. Currently only California, New Jersey and Rhode Island offer statewide paid sick leave.
Republicans will be cast as the villains in this battle because they will be the only people to raise the question of how we’re going to pay for it. Like free college, free health care and free wage bonuses, someone somewhere is ultimately going to shoulder the burden for the cost. Ironically, it will likely be the very same middle-class taxpayers the paid leave plan is supposed to benefit.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses panned the proposal. “Our members are opposed to it because of real costs,” said spokesman Jack Mozloom. “And in a philosophical sense, they’re opposed to it because they don’t want the government telling them what to do.” He also noted what should be obvious: When a worker is out due to illness, “The work still has to get done.” In other words, there is a real productivity cost that must be considered.
Democrats have pushed a number of statistics and polls claiming the public is behind them on this issue. With the wind at their backs, they believe they have a political winner. A lot of people supported the latest minimum wage hike too, according to their figures, and look what happened. The federal proposal fizzled and Democrats were crushed at the polls.
The minimum wage is a great example of skewed Democrat economic thinking. James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute cited a VoxEU study of the impact of the minimum wage in recent years that Democrats would prefer you didn’t see. According to the study, while the minimum wage increased 30% in the late 2000s, it reduced adult employment by 0.7%, amounting to 1.4 million workers, nearly half of whom are age 15-24. The minimum wage raises also reduced average monthly incomes for low-skilled workers by $100 over the first year and $50 over subsequent years. As Republicans stated repeatedly, the effect of a top-down mandate on wages was exactly the opposite as intended.
If you need further proof of the damage Democrat policies have done to American business, you can look at a recent Gallup study pointing out that “business deaths now outnumber business births” for the first time in 35 years. “Until 2008, startups outpaced business failures by about 100,000 per year,” writes Gallup CEO Jim Clifton. “But in the past six years, that number suddenly turned upside down.”
So, while Democrats proudly proclaim a whole list of new “rights” for workers that becomes ever more expensive, the number of businesses that can actually employ those workers continues to shrink. This cannot be a coincidence.
Operation Inherent Resolve launched last fall with the objective of controlling ISIL in both Syria and Iraq through the limited use of force – airstrikes on their strongholds while using coalition forces where possible. There would, however, be no American “boots on the ground,” because Barack Obama stubbornly and politically refused to repeat what he sees as George W. Bush’s greatest error.
Inherent Resolve seems to be having some degree of success in Iraq, where ISIL has been fought to a virtual stalemate after a period last year where it appeared ISIL would be able to march into Baghdad with little resistance. Instead, Kurdish forces have maintained control in the northeastern section of the country while Iraqi troops control much of the rest. The only part of Iraq that seems to be safely in ISIL’s hands is the western frontier bordering Syria.
Since the focus of Inherent Resolve is mostly on Iraq, though, the situation in Syria is deteriorating. While we’ve kept the wolves at bay in the strategic town of Kobani, ISIL has gained ground in Syria to such a degree that around one-third of the nation is considered ISIL territory.
With more and more of the Syrian population under ISIL control, the prospect of recruitment for a push into the major Syrian population centers increases. Tipping the balance toward ISIL also spells trouble for Russian-supported strongman Bashar al-Assad, and could perhaps set off a wider proxy war.
The ISIL expansion is blamed on a lack of “strategic coordination between coalition strikes and moderate forces inside Syria,” said Coalition for a Democratic Syria adviser Mouaz Moustafa, “meaning that the Free Syrian Army and aligned groups cannot use the strikes to retake territory.” Having a safe haven in neighboring Syria also gives ISIL an advantage in Iraq, much as the Taliban was able to use Pakistan as a haven during the American incursion in Afghanistan.
Speaking of Afghanistan, as U.S. forces depart that nation, the influence of ISIL is beginning to show there as well. A renegade general once held at Guantanamo and released in 2007 has surfaced as a leader supporting the nascent ISIL effort in that nation. Mullah Abdul Rauf is reportedly recruiting from the ranks of the Taliban, with skirmishes breaking out between the two sides in Helmand province, which is controlled by the Taliban in their fight against the current Afghan government.
One has to question whether the tactics of Inherent Resolve are succeeding in the face of ISIL’s increasing influence, particularly as their terror spreads to Europe. While al-Qaida in Yemen claimed credit for the Charlie Hebdo attack, a smaller attack in a Paris kosher market and another incident in Belgium were credited to ISIL sympathizers. It’s a shame that our nation’s resolve went wobbly when the current occupant of the Oval Office came to town, but that’s what leading from behind will do.
For more, visit Right Analysis.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- David Limbaugh: Obama to Further Tighten the Noose on ‘Big Awl’
- Michael Reagan: Monsieur Obama MIA
- Jonah Goldberg: Administration Goes to Rhetorical Extremes on Terror Attacks
- Charles Krauthammer: Obama: Charlie Who?
- David Harsanyi: What the Pope Got Wrong About Free Expression
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
British novelist C. S. Lewis (1898-1963): “A little lie is like a little pregnancy: it doesn’t take long before everyone knows.”
Columnist David Limbaugh: “According to Gallup CEO Jim Clifton, for the first time in 35 years, the United States is no longer first but 12th (12th!) among developed nations in business startup activity. More businesses are closing than opening. Four hundred thousand businesses are being born each year in America, but some 470,000 are closing. That’s because America, under this president, is a business-hostile zone. What is President Obama planning on doing about this disturbing problem? Two things. First, he will deny the problem even exists as he continues to fraudulently proclaim that America’s businesses are smoking-hot. Second, he will exacerbate the problem with yet new business-killing, energy-killing lawless executive regulations honoring earth goddess Gaia with an involuntary sacrificial offering from the American energy industry. His regulations will dramatically cut methane emissions over the next decade. Based on his record in office and his continuing with these new regulations, it’s hard to tell whether he’s more motivated by his allegiance to environmental cultism or a visceral aversion to business. Or perhaps those interests are so interlocked that we needn’t quibble over which is dominant on Obama’s priority list. … Isn’t it wonderful to have a pro-business president who is staying so focused on the rising global threat of radical jihad?”
Columnist Michael Reagan: “The leader of what we used to call the Free World has been embarrassing the USA on the world stage for years by not going where he should go – or saying and doing things he shouldn’t when he does go somewhere. Let’s see. If memory serves, he didn’t go to Berlin in 2009 for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall or to Poland for celebrations of the collapse of Moscow’s evil empire. And though he didn’t skip the 70th anniversary of D-Day last year in Normandy, he spent most of his time during the solemn ceremony chomping on bubble gum like a 12 year old. The French people were irate at the disrespect. It’s not that Monsieur Obama dislikes France. He also stopped in France in 2009 on what became known as his first ‘Apology Tour,’ where he apologized for America’s past ‘bad’ behavior, including being arrogant toward Europe, using the atomic bomb in World War II and trying to unseat communist dictators in Latin American. Meanwhile, the president has found plenty of time to visit other parts of Western Europe when it suited his political or publicity purposes. Remember when he went all the way to Copenhagen just to lobby for Chicago to be chosen to host the 2016 Olympics?”
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel: “Obama is focused now on cyber security. He’s pushing for new laws to protect companies from hackers. And who better to do that than the people who brought us the ObamaCare website? Not only couldn’t hackers get in, no one could penetrate it.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
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