“Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.” –Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Wilson Nicholas, 1803
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
During Thursday’s 63rd National Prayer Breakfast, Barack Obama, whose administration has done more than any other to discriminate against Christians, didn’t implore guidance from God so much as put all faiths on equal footing – including the warped ideology that calls far too many Muslims to wantonly slaughter innocents. After condemning ISIL, a “brutal, vicious death cult” that bears no semblance to Muhammad, Obama remarked, “We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.” Rather than stopping there, Obama borrowed from his “spread the wealth” scheme by spreading the blame: “[L]est we get on our high horse and think [ruthless murder] is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Some actions the crusaders took were wrong and unjustifiable, but that was also 800 years ago, while jihadis are beheading journalists and slaughtering schoolchildren today. Oh, and by the way, the theme of the breakfast was “Remembering the Armenian Genocide of 1915,” in which more than one million Christians were slaughtered by Muslims. Obama is conflating every humans’ inherently sinful nature with two entirely contradictory teachings: Christians are commanded to show love and compassion, while Muhammad’s pseudo-religion calls for killing infidels. Did Obama attend the National Prayer Breakfast to affirm his self-proclaimed Christian faith, or to once again sympathize with Muslim believers? Given yesterday’s statements, it would seem the latter. More…
Brian Williams’ apology over fabricating his story about a 2003 Chinook ride in Iraq has shoveled more crow into the mouths of NBC executives than the time The New York Times ate humble pie when it corrected a story because it misidentified a My Little Pony character. Granted, confusing Fluttershy with Twilight Sparkle is nothing like exaggerating a war story to feed ego. But Williams may get away scot-free because NBC wants this whole debacle around its star anchor to blow over. In December, the celebrity anchor signed a five-year contract with NBC to the tune of $10 million a year. Nevertheless, the only person publicly defending Williams is disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather. “I can attest that – like his predecessor Tom Brokaw – he is a superb pro, and a gutsy one,” Rather said. Behind closed doors, though, NBC employees are fuming. The New York Post reports Brokaw “wants Williams’ head on a platter.” Another NBC employee described Williams as a “real pompous piece of s—.” NBC faces a choice: Either fire Williams to preserve the organization’s remaining reputation, or keep the talking hairdo because he’s “a gutsy pro.” More…
Last year, Barack Obama broadened the “Pay As You Earn” student-debt federal giveaway. As usual, it was a wealth-transfer scheme – giving taxpayer money away to the coveted votes of young people. Even Obama’s buddies at Politico are astounded at the cost of his “generosity.” Michael Grunwald reports, “In obscure data tables buried deep in its 2016 budget proposal, the Obama administration revealed this week that its student loan program had a $21.8 billion shortfall last year, apparently the largest ever recorded for any government credit program.” Worse, “because of a quirk in the budget process for credit programs, the [Education] department can add the $21.8 billion to the deficit automatically, without seeking appropriations or even approval from Congress.” Like every other program Obama calls for, he wants to “pay for it” by taking money from upper-bracket taxpayers. “This should be a no-brainer,” he said last summer. “It would be scandalous if we allowed those kinds of tax loopholes for the very, very fortunate to survive while students are having trouble just getting started in their lives.” In other words, it’s his money to dispense with as he pleases. The real scandal is that Obama has dumped an $8 trillion truckload of new debt onto the backs of our children and grandchildren – all while claiming a mantle of fiscal responsibility. Our national debt now stands at an astounding $18.1 trillion. That’s more than $145,000 per American household. And he’s not done yet.
The IRS doesn’t have the manpower to hunt down and fine the millions of people who don’t have health insurance, so, in Barack Obama’s proposed budget to Congress, his favorite Tea Party-targeting bureaucracy gets a budget increase of nearly $2 billion – for a grand total of $13.9 billion in the next fiscal year. “The billions of dollars will help the agency bolster its staff by adding more than 9,280 full-time employees,” The Daily Signal reports. “The proposed jump in employment at the IRS is an 11 percent increase from 2015. To enforce the 46 new tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act specifically, the IRS asked for $67 million. That will cover 483 new employees related to Obamacare’s implementation.” IRS Tax Commissioner John Koskinen warned that the agency would be inundated with processing returns this year, and “customers” may not be happy. We’re sure the glut of money will fix all that. Next tax season, expect an even bigger, meaner and more invasive IRS – unless our new Republican majorities can somehow summon the Audacity of Nope. More…
The leftist-spun vaccine debacle brought presumed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton out of the shadows. Taking a stab at “anti-science” conservatives, she tweeted, “The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let’s protect all our kids.” Like any good two-faced leftist, Hillary was singing a different tune in 2008 when she promised to “make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.” That might explain Team Clinton’s choice for family practitioner, who agreed with the old Hillary but not the new. The Daily Caller reveals, “A doctor who was profiled by The New York Times for his close personal and professional relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton has expressed skepticism about vaccines and touted research that found a link between childhood vaccinations and autism.” Dr. Mark Hyman, together with co-author Robert Kennedy Jr., expounded on this suspicion in “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak.” According to the Caller, “In the book and in a recent TV appearance on ‘Dr. Oz,’ Hyman and Kennedy expressed concern that the mercury in thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines, is associated with autism, developmental delays and certain illnesses.” As we previously noted, parents should research the issue and be as knowledgeable as possible. That includes finding a trustworthy doctor. The Clintons don’t seem to have done so. But remember: This is a Republican problem. More…
For more, visit Right Hooks.
The U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs in January, but the headline unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point to 5.7%. The broader measure, known as the U-6 rate, also climbed from 11.2% to 11.3%. That’s mixed good news, since slight growth in record-low labor participation likely caused the rate spike. Even when we create jobs in the Obama economy, we seem to lose ground.
One of the problems is that each month’s jobs report pushes the same fraudulent narrative embraced by Barack Obama’s administration since before his re-election. To hear Obama tell it, the country’s current unemployment rate is pretty much back to where it was before the Great Recession. Therefore, the economy is on the mend, and we have the Great One’s policies to thank for it.
None of this is true.
The so-called official unemployment rate that is recorded and made public by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is known as the U-3 rate, but it doesn’t provide the full jobs picture for the country. The U-3 number records only those people who are currently out of work, not receiving any employment income and actively seeking new employment.
Yet there is an alarmingly vast swath of people who aren’t counted in these “official” unemployment numbers. Skilled laborers who have been out of work for a sustained period of time who earn at least $20 in a week are not considered unemployed under U-3. Nor are people working part-time but seeking full-time work to support their families.
Jim Clifford, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, wrote this week, “The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.”
In fact, the unemployment rate “goes down” when more people leave the workforce than continue looking for work. So the worse reality gets, the better the headlines can be.
If we want a true sense of the unemployment picture, we should focus on the U-6 rate. This unemployment figure is publicly available, though it never receives the fanfare or public scrutiny that the U-3 number does. Indeed, one has to dig for the U-6 number; the Obama administration would never deliberately bring it up in a press release or a news conference. The U-6 rate is a look at real unemployment – not just those who are out of work, but also those who’ve been out of work so long that they’re no longer counted in the U-3 report.
That’s why we note the U-6 rate every month.
The underemployment picture is even worse. This group, including those mentioned above who are working but not at the level they should be based on skill or economic need, is 15.9%. If you adhere to Gallup’s definition of a good job as 30-plus hours per week with a regular paycheck, then only 44% of the eligible adult population is working full-time. (Stay-at-home moms and certain others aren’t counted in the working population, but 44% is still a shockingly low rate in a supposedly healthy economy.)
Politicians in Washington can’t seem to understand why unemployment is down and people just aren’t “feeling it.” Well, they’re not feeling it because most of them aren’t seeing it. Regardless of the rosy picture that the White House paints with its misleading data, Clifton notes, “Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment.”
If we continue to gloss over this very real jobs problem, we can’t create the conditions that are necessary for a real economic recovery.
Dictators and leftists often embrace the old saw that if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes reality. Such is the case with our “official” unemployment rate. The White House embraces it for the sake of political expediency. The Leftmedia embrace it because they love to report good news when there’s a Democrat in the White House. Wall Street embraces it because they want investors to keep buying stocks. And so, the rest of the country is led to believe that all is well and getting better.
The time has come to face the facts as they exist, not as the Leftmedia want us to see them.
While the House voted to repeal ObamaCare several dozen times over the last four years, the present-day political reality dictates a repeal and replace strategy. It’s disappointing to the constitutional purists among us who can’t seem to find much of a federal role for health care within that hallowed founding document, but at least we know some Republicans in Congress are trying to move in a better direction.
The newest Republican alternative is called the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act – or Patient CARE Act for short. Patient CARE’s key attribute is the elimination of the coverage mandate, but it sweetens the pot for remaining in the system by providing targeted tax credits for lower- and middle-class families to assist with the purchase of plans, while allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines – a longtime goal of conservative health coverage reformers. The Patient CARE Act also places a much-needed cap on monetary damages for medical malpractice.
In a nod to those who supported some of ObamaCare’s provisions, the GOP alternative maintains the ability for “children” to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, and it accommodates those with pre-existing conditions, although this would be handled in a different manner.
Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sponsored the bill, with an identical House version sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). Burr and Hatch, along with former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, outlined a similar package last year but never introduced it as legislation.
It may become more appealing to both sides of the aisle if the Obama administration loses its Supreme Court case dealing with the legality of subsidies given to insurance purchasers in states using the federal exchange – not that Obama’s goons are too worried about defending the voluminous law. When it was written, federal bean counters simply assumed every state would have an exchange, so they wrote the language authorizing federal subsidies accordingly. But when 36 states opted not to create their own exchange, a legitimate legal issue arose – one that could tear apart ObamaCare as we know it.
There are, of course, many reasons to scrap ObamaCare and start anew. Among them are the inconvenient truths that insurance costs have risen, patient choices for doctors have decreased and competition between insurers on the exchanges is non-existent in many locations. Coupled with the fact ObamaCare’s budget is balanced on the backs of Medicare providers – which seems to be a feature and not a bug with the overall plan – the impetus to do something increases even further.
It’s almost certain that Obama’s signature legislation will last at least as long as his presidency does. But if a Republican is triumphant in 2016 and retains GOP majorities in the House and Senate, the life expectancy of ObamaCare will decrease. The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor beneficial for the standard of care. And it was sold to the American people on a pack of lies. So while the Patient CARE Act isn’t a perfect remedy, it would at least soothe the worst symptoms of Obama’s legacy.
For more, visit Right Analysis.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Jonah Goldberg: Obama’s Comparison of Christianity, Radical Islam Defies Logic
- Linda Chavez: Barbarians at the Gate
- David Harsanyi: When Liberals Ignore Science
- Michael Reagan: The Consequences of Your Vaccination Decision
- Mona Charen: Borrowed Valor
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Columnist Joseph Sobran (1946-2010): “People who create things nowadays can expect to be prosecuted by highly moralistic people who are incapable of creating anything. There is no way to measure the chilling effect on innovation that results from the threats of taxation, regulation and prosecution against anything that succeeds. We’ll never know how many ideas our government has aborted in the name protecting us.”
Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “When Obama alludes to the evils of medieval Christianity, he fails to acknowledge the key word: ‘medieval.’ What made medieval Christianity backward wasn’t Christianity but medievalism. It is perverse that Obama feels compelled to lecture the West about not getting too judgmental on our ‘high horse’ about radical Islam’s medieval barbarism in 2015 because of Christianity’s medieval barbarism in 1215. It’s also insipidly hypocritical. President Obama can’t bring himself to call the Islamic State ‘Islamic,’ but he’s happy to offer a sermon about Christianity’s alleged crimes at the beginning of the last millennium. We are all descended from cavemen who broke the skulls of their enemies with rocks for fun or profit. But that hardly mitigates the crimes of a man who does the same thing today. I see no problem judging the behavior of the Islamic State and its apologists from the vantage point of the West’s high horse, because we’ve earned the right to sit in that saddle.”
Columnist Linda Chavez: “[ISIL] wanted not only to kill their captive in the most horrific way imaginable, but also to burn the images of his immolation into the minds of those who oppose them. Terror is their most effective weapon. The only way they can achieve victory is by frightening people into submission. Scare off those who would join an alliance to fight the Islamic State, and ISIS wins. But barbarity also has a way of inspiring courage. King Abdullah II of Jordan, no stranger to combat as a former attack helicopter pilot and commander of Jordan’s special forces, has vowed a ‘relentless’ fight against ISIS. … If fighting this evil is not worth sacrifice, nothing is. Obama can say, as he did in response to the killing of the Jordanian pilot, that ‘we’ll redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of our global coalition to make sure (ISIS is) degraded and ultimately defeated.’ But unless he commits to lead the fight, the video of First Lt. al-Kasaesbeh will not be the last grisly death we’re asked to witness. We choose courage or submission. There is no middle ground.”
Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “This has to be tough to watch for Brian Williams’s family and his longtime girlfriend who we never met because she goes to a different school. … Perhaps there’s confusion over the acronym RPG. Maybe Williams’s helicopter had to land because of an out of control game of Dungeons & Dragons.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.