The Patriot Post® · Daily Digest
“If men … give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave.” –Samuel Adams, Rights of the Colonists, 1772
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
It’s the end of an error, er, era. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term in 2016. The New York Times epitaph says his retirement “bring[s] an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.” Of course, the point there is that Reid’s pushing Obama’s agenda is what put him in the minority, and after all his black eyes (real and metaphorical) he probably just doesn’t care to continue there. Naturally, he denies it, saying, “The decision that I’ve made has absolutely nothing to do with my injury, it has nothing to do with my being minority leader, and it certainly has nothing to do with my ability to be re-elected, because the path to re-election is much easier than it probably has been any time that I’ve run for re-election.” But it’s hardly unusual for a powerful member of Congress to call it quits upon returning to the minority. And Republicans nearly unseated him in 2010 with a B-list candidate, meaning his re-election in 2016 is far from a sure bet. “I want to be able to go out at the top of my game,” he said. Indeed, he’d rather not run than lose his last election. He gave that away when he said, “I think it is unfair for me to be soaking up all the money to be re-elected.” If his path is “much easier” and he’s “at the top of [his] game,” why would it take so much money to win?
After a grueling 18-hour session, the Senate adopted a budget proposal around 3 a.m. Friday through a 52-46 vote that split along party lines. The budget is different than the House’s spending plan, as it doesn’t defund ObamaCare and reform Medicare. Yet, this measure shows the Republicans in Congress actually beginning to lead. Think about it this way: If the federal government was an average American household, it hasn’t worked with a budget since 2009 and instead used credit cards and managed money on a month-to-month basis (relatively speaking). In the coming weeks, Congress will use the two spending plans to create a resolution both chambers can approve. Yesterday, Barack Obama gave an audience in Alabama his hard-hitting analysis on the GOP’s budget: “It represents the opposite of middle-class economics.” We hope so. He went on to attack Congress’ budget, saying that a little deficit is okay. He’s one to talk. Earlier this week, Obama’s proposed budget failed in the Senate on a 98-1 vote, which tells us what even Democrats think of his fiscal “leadership.” More…
While Army National Guard Spc. Hasan Edmonds flew to Egypt to defect to ISIL, his cousin, Jonas Edmonds, who was also in the National Guard, was going to use his uniform and training to attack a U.S. military base in northern Illinois. That was the duo’s plan at least, before the FBI arrested Hasan at Chicago Midway International Airport and Jonas at his home. In a statement, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin said, “According to the charges filed today, the defendants allegedly conspired to provide material support to ISIL and planned to travel overseas to support the terrorist organization. In addition, they plotted to attack members of our military within the United States. Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack.” While the two may have worn the same uniform that today’s Patriots also wear, the two terrorists were part of the worldwide jihadi terror network. In the words of Mark Alexander, “These attacks and those to come were and will be directly tied to worldwide Jihad by way of the Qur'an, the foundational fabric linking all Islamist violence.” More…
Goodbye refund. Half of the Americans who received a subsidy for health insurance will never see their refund materialize, as they owe the government because it gave out too much in ObamaCare subsidies. In other words, Americans are paying for the government’s mistake. “Nearly all families that received tax credits will either owe money or receive extra money because their tax filings had changed after they calculated their ObamaCare subsidies, according to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation,” The Hill reports. “Only 4 percent of households received the correct subsidy, according to the report, which uses data from the national Survey of Income and Program Participation.” While it’s not a good way to manage personal finances, many Americans count on a sizable IRS refund to make big purchases like furniture or a new vehicle, or to pay down some debt. Instead, Americans who couldn’t afford health insurance will be farther in a financial hole. More…
While Defense Secretary Ashton Carter wants to explore the idea of allowing transgendered people to openly serve in the U.S. military, Defense officials under him are not so sure. But the situation is so politically charged they asked that their names not be published along with their comments. “The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly,” the Associated Press reports. “Much of the opposition centers on questions of where transgender troops would be housed, what berthing they would have on ships, which bathrooms they would use and whether their presence would affect the ability of small units to work well together.” Because the policies of the U.S. military can be changed depending on who is commander in chief, progressives can view it as a petri dish for their favorite social experiments. What Carter and Barack Obama seem to have forgotten is that the U.S. military was founded, like, to actually fight our enemies and defend our homeland. Instead, they’ve created a culture that quashes dissent and cares more about “diversity,” “inclusion” and “tolerance” than winning wars. More…
For more, visit Right Hooks.
As Barack Obama races headlong toward whatever nuclear deal he can get with Iran, Congress has repeatedly reminded the former college lecturer and “constitutional scholar” that the Constitution does not grant him divine powers – that he is not an emperor, but merely the head of the executive branch of government. That same Constitution charges the Senate to approve or reject foreign treaties through its advice and consent role. And the Congress as a whole is the sole authority for passing legislation, including the legislation that put U.S. sanctions in place against Iran in recent years. Obama’s disdain for our system of checks and balances is well documented, and his “trust me” approach to the Iran negotiations is simply more proof of it.
Finally, it appears that both congressional chambers and both parties have had enough. Three recent events demonstrate the legislative branch’s distrust of the executive when it comes to a deal with Iran.
First, it was 47 Republican senators and their open letter to Iran, making clear that any non-binding deal could be negated at a moment’s notice by a future president. Because of the letter’s 100% Republican backing, it was easy for Obama and his fellow travelers to dismiss its authors as partisans and even “traitors.” As we said at the time, the letter would have been better addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than to Iran, but it was a significant and perfectly legal warning shot all the same.
Then, earlier this week, 367 members of the House, from both sides of the aisle, signed a letter to Barack Obama reminding His Eminence that Congress enacted sanctions on Iran and any relief of those sanctions as part of a deal would require new legislation – not just a wave of his hand. With a veto-proof majority of House members signing this letter, it will be impossible to spin as partisan politics, although we fully expect Obama and his sycophants to try.
Finally, on Thursday, the Senate unanimously endorsed an amendment to its budget that would make it easier to restore sanctions if Iran is caught cheating again. We repeat, a unanimous, 100-0, un-spinnable, no wiggle-room vote of the entire Senate.
California’s Barbara Boxer, not generally known as a foreign policy hawk, endorsed the amendment, saying, “I hope we can all vote for this because it doesn’t do anything to cause disarray in the negotiations. What it says is if there is a deal and there’s a break-out by Iran, we’d have a very quick way to restore sanctions.” The vote was held by roll call at the insistence of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and thus puts all 100 senators on record in favor of the amendment.
It’s unfortunate that the White House and Congress are having this food fight during such a critical moment in U.S. foreign policy, but Obama has only himself to blame. His treatment of Congress, his record of lies and his “we have to get a deal before we share the details” approach have finally exceeded the limits of congressional goodwill. It remains to be seen if Obama will press ahead anyway, but Congress has now drawn its own line in the sand. Let’s hope they stick to it.
Remember when Yemen was a model of success for Barack Obama’s foreign policy? That’s what he called it last September before the Yemeni government fell to Iranian backed rebels. Among other things, U.S. intelligence in the region is seriously compromised after having had to pull its personnel from the country. Undeterred by this dramatic change in events, however, Obama still insists Yemen is a great example of a “successful counterterrorism strategy.”
After learning earlier this month about Saudi Arabia’s efforts to counter Iran’s nuclear ambitions through a deal with South Korea, we now know the Saudis are countering Tehran on another front: They’re leading a counterattack against Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen.
On Wednesday, the kingdom made it official, leading a coalition of at least 10 allied nations with airstrikes against its southern neighbor, reserving ground troops as needed. The U.S. is playing a small role, with a Joint Planning Cell to provide military and intelligence support.
As is often the case in these conflicts, the players are divided along sectarian lines. The Saudis and their Sunni allies are pitted against the Iranian Shiites in the latest chapter of an age-old conflict. Yet these religious alliances do not necessarily extend to the Islamic State, which is also engaged in a struggle with Iran over various cities in Iraq, most particularly Tikrit. The U.S. is part of a coalition to push the Islamic State out of Iraq – whose ascendance was enabled by Obama’s disastrous decision to withdraw American forces in 2011.
Among the factions trying to push ISIL from Iraq, though, are Iranian-backed militia groups. So, as National Review’s Jim Geraghty put it, “[W]e’re offering logistical help to our allies to help them fight Iranian proxies… while we’re helping Iranian forces in Iraq against ISIS… while we’re attempting to reach agreement with the Iranians on their nuclear ambitions.”
If you’re confused, join the club: As FP Group CEO David Rothkopf quipped on Twitter, “I’m pretty sure appointing a Magic 8 Ball as National Security Advisor would produce better results than we’re currently getting.”
You have to hand it to the Saudis, though: When they saw their national interest was threatened, they put together a working coalition to deal with the problem. Unfortunately, the original U.S.-led effort to deal with Islamist terror – what we in our humble shop call the Long War – has dissipated due to Obama’s lack of resolve and compulsory aim for political expediency. For their part, the Saudis will likely fight until they get what they want, so the real question is just how much wider this Arabian Peninsula skirmish will grow, and what other strange bedfellows get together.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in Michigan v. EPA, a case that has the potential to either check the Environmental Protection Agency’s runaway abuse of power or give it unchecked authority to bankrupt any industry it sees fit.
At issue is the agency’s duty to adhere to the Clean Air Act’s “appropriate and necessary” standard when issuing and enforcing regulations. The EPA published mercury and air toxin standards in 2012 that, by the agency’s own estimates, would cost the economy close to $10 billion annually. The public health benefits supposedly to be gained from the rules would amount to $6 million annually at the most, meaning that every $20,000 of regulatory fees that the energy industry pays would lead to only $1 in public benefit. What a deal.
The EPA argues economic cost is not a factor when considering whether regulations are appropriate and necessary, claiming environmental benefits alone are what concern the agency.
When the case was before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent took the EPA to task: “Your only statutory direction is to decide whether it is ‘appropriate’ to go forward with the regulation. Before making that decision, what information would you want to know? You would certainly want to understand the benefits from the regulations. And you would surely ask how much the regulations would cost. You would no doubt take both of those considerations – benefits and costs – into account in making your decision. That’s just common sense and sound government practice.”
The EPA, though, is not concerned with common sense or legality. Its goal with the mercury regulations, among the costliest in history, is to drive coal-fired power plants out of business. And it’s all part of Barack Obama’s strategy to make sure electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
During oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the Obama administration’s most loyal water carriers, tried to justify the EPA’s position. He suggested that the agency would consider the appropriateness of costs at some later point when enforcing the mercury rule since, under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the power to apply rules in an “appropriate and necessary” manner.
It’s hoped that the legal minds of at least five Supreme Court justices will be sharp enough to recognize the contradiction of such an argument. If the EPA wasn’t concerned about whether its measures were appropriate at the regulatory rulemaking phase, then where’s the incentive to revisit the appropriate cost later on? Furthermore, if the EPA has the ability to decide whether the regulatory cost was appropriate at a later date, then it’s engaging in an action that it has stated in this case it need not do.
In Michigan v. EPA, the agency argues Rule of Law is irrelevant. If the Supreme Court rightly disagrees, then it will rule against this rogue EPA.
For more, visit Right Analysis.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Mona Charen: ‘Death to America’: More Than a Chant
- Michael Reagan: Republicans Versus Republicans
- Tony Perkins: Bowe and Arrows: Obama Swap Takes Another Hit
- Michael Barone: Can Family Breakdown in Low-Education America Be Reversed?
- Jonah Goldberg: Can Jewish Americans Support Both Democrats and Israel?
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Political activist Angelina Grimke (1805-1879): “The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism.”
Columnist Mona Charen: “Throughout the protracted negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran, the Obama administration has assured Congress that ‘no deal’ was ‘better than a bad deal.’ They’ve offered pledges that Iran’s centrifuges would be limited to 500, that the PMDs (possible military dimensions) of its nuclear research would be fully disclosed, that the facility at Fordo (built into a mountain) would be shut down, and that snap inspections would be part of any agreement. … The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. negotiators are scaling back their demands for disclosure of PMDs (something the International Atomic Energy Agency had also demanded). … The French government has protested that the U.S. is retreating (think that one over for a minute). France’s foreign minister is reported to have said that ‘the United States was really ready to sign just about anything with the Iranians.’ … Each and every news leak out of Lausanne depicts the U.S. walking back its demands. Just watch the faces of the Iranian negotiators. Their smiles tell the tale. … It is impossible to recall a more dangerous or foolish set of assumptions by an American president in modern American history. Death to America might become more than a chant.”
Columnist Michael Reagan: “When my father ran in the 1980 primaries he was lucky. He was a lone conservative in a sea of moderate and liberal Republicans. The moderates split the moderate vote and he won the nomination. Today the situation is reversed. Conservatives are splitting the conservative vote in the primaries and moderates like McCain and Romney are winning the GOP nomination. Conservatives better watch out. If what happened in ‘08 and '12 happens in '16, we are going to blow our chance to regain the White House once again. … When I tweeted that Cruz said something I agreed with in his speech, I got a flurry of tweets from Rand Paul people. 'Why do you hate Rand Paul?’ When I tweeted something nice about Rand Paul, I got a flurry of tweets from Cruz’s people. ‘Why do you hate Ted Cruz?’ This is one of the worst problems with conservatives. Liberals are led by ideology and they’ll always support their nominee in the general election because of that. … [N]o matter who Republicans nominate, to win back the White House they’ll all have to follow my father’s 11th Commandment and fully support their party’s presidential nominee – no matter who it is.”
Climate blogger Steve Goddard: “What ‘Earth Hour’ tells us is that people can’t go very long without fossil fuels.”
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
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