Friday, June 21, 2013

For those who may have forgotten what kind of President Bill Clinton was.

Maceman

For those who may have forgotten what kind of a President Bill Clinton was:

1) Clinton’s own words show his often expressed innate hostility to, and utter contempt for, the core principles of the American founding:
``If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government’s ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees.’’ -- President Bill Clinton, August 12, 1993
``The purpose of government is to reign in the rights of the people’’ –- Bill Clinton during an interview on MTV in 1993
``We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans…that we forget about reality.’’ -- President Bill Clinton, quoted in USA Today, March 11, 1993, Page 2A, ``NRA change: `Omnipotent to powerful’’’ by Debbie Howlett
“When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly… that they would work for the common good, as well as for the individual welfare… However, now there’s a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there’s too much freedom. When personal freedom’s being abused, you have to move to limit it.” – Bill Clinton, April 19, 1995
2) Clinton inevitably pursued his own political advantage at the expense of American interests and national security. Here is just one of many possible examples:
It is well documented that Clinton and the Democrats took illegal campaign money from groups and individuals tied directly to the Chinese People’s Republican Army. It is therefore not surprising that In January 1998 Clinton went against the advice of then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Pentagon experts by lifting long-standing restrictions against the export of American satellites to China for launch on Chinese rockets. Not only did he move control over such decisions from the more security-focused State Department to the Commerce Department, but he intervened in a Justice Department investigation of Loral Space & Communications, retroactively enabling Loral to sell critical missile technology to the Chinese. Interestingly enough, Clinton’s decision was made at the request of Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz, whose earlier $1.3 million campaign donation made him the single biggest contributor to the Democratic election effort.
The result, as stated eloquently by syndicated columnist Linda Bowles, was that “the Democrats got money from satellite companies and from Chinese communists; China got supercomputors, advanced production equipment and missile technology; Loral got its satellites launched at bargain basement prices . . . and the transfer of sensitive missile technology gave China [for the first time] the capability of depositing bombs on American cities.” Incidentally, Loral ultimately failed to benefit from this permanent injury to America’s security interests: in July 2003, the company filed for bankruptcy protection, and in order to raise cash was forced to sell its most profitable business – a fleet of communications satellites orbiting over North America.
3) On two occasions, Clinton used military action for the specific purpose of distracting the American public from the fallout of the Lewinsky affair:
• On August 20, three days after Clinton finally admitted publicly to the Lewinsky affair, the news media was poised to focus on that day’s grand jury testimony by Monica Lewinsky. That same morning, Clinton personally went on national television to gravely announce his bombing of a Sudanese “chemical weapons factory,” and a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. It was the first time most Americans ever heard the name of Osama bin Laden. The factory bombing in Sudan killed an innocent night watchman, but accomplished little else. It later was proven that the plant was making badly needed pharmaceuticals for people in that poverty-stricken part of the world, but no chemical weapons.
Several months later, the U.S. Center for Nonproliferation Studies, part of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, stated: "...the evidence indicates that the facility had no role whatsoever in chemical weapons development." Kroll Associates, one of the world's most reputable investigative firms, also confirmed that there was no link in any way between the plant and any terrorist organization. As for the Afghanistan bombing, it failed to do any damage at all to bin Laden or his organization. Clinton’s action was accurately characterized by George W. Bush when he said right after 9-11: "When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt.
Clinton’s pointless and murderous military actions did not make Americans safer that day, although they did destroy an innocent life, and for all the good they did certainly could have been delayed in any case. But they did succeed in diverting media attention from Lewinsky’s grand jury testimony for a 24-hour news cycle, which was the main point. So I guess, they weren’t a total loss.
•On December 16, 1998, on the eve of the scheduled House vote on his impeachment, Bill Clinton launched a surprise bombing attack on Baghdad. As justification for this exploit, he cited the urgent threat that Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction posed to America, and the need for immediate action. Almost immediately, the House Democrats held a caucus and emerged calling for a delay in the impeachment proceedings. House minority leader Dick Gephardt made a statement: "We obviously should pass a resolution by saying that we stand behind the troops. I would hope that we do not take up impeachment until the hostilities have completely ended."
Conveniently, a delay so near the end of the House term would have caused the vote to be taken up in the next session – when the newly elected House membership would be seated with more Democratic representation, thereby improving Clinton’s chances of dodging impeachment.
The Republicans did, in fact, agree to delay the hearings, but only for a day or two. Amazingly, Clinton ended the bombing raid after only 70 hours -- once it became clear that in spite of the brief delay, the vote would still be held in the current session.
Once the bombing stopped, Clinton touted the effectiveness and importance of the mission. As reported by ABC News : “We have inflicted significant damage on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs, on the command structures that direct and protect that capability, and on his military and security infrastructure,” he said. Defense secretary William Cohen echoed the point: “We estimate that Saddam's missile program has been set back by at least a year.”
Whether or not one buys Clinton’s assessment of that mission, it is difficult to believe that its timing was so critical that it required commencement virtually at the moment the House was scheduled to vote on the impeachment. I think the most reasonable conclusion is that Clinton cynically deployed US military assets and placed military personnel in harm’s way for purely political reasons.
4) Clinton’s reckless sexual behavior was a threat to American national security:
Clinton and his supporters have been very effective in persuading large numbers of Americans that the Lewinsky scandal was “only about sex.” But I see a bigger issue here, because Clinton is on record as saying that he would have done anything to keep knowledge of the Lewinsky affair from becoming public.
To me, that statement raises a very serious question: What if, instead of sending her recorded Lewinsky conversations to Ken Starr, Linda Tripp had instead secretly offered them for sale, say, to the Chinese government? Or to the Russians? Or even to agents of Saddam?
What kind of blackmail leverage would those tapes have provided to a foreign government in dealing with America on sensitive trade, security or military issues? One of the few things Clinton ever said that I believe is that he would have done anything to keep the Lewinsky affair secret. Given his demonstrated track record of selling out American interests for personal or political gain (and there are more examples that I could have cited here), how far would he have gone in compromising America’s real interests in order to protect his own neck when threatened with blackmail?
Pretty far, I believe. Equally distressing is the prospect Clinton might, in fact, have succumbed to foreign black mail on other occasions in order to hide different sexual episodes that ultimately did not become public. There is no way to know, of course, but I prefer presidents for whom such a scenario is not a plausible possibility.

WAR IN KOSOVO

During Bill Clinton’s 1999 NATO-led war in Kosovo – which according to some estimates cost as much as $75 billion – we bombed Belgrade for 78 days, killed almost 3,000 civilians, and shredded the civilian infrastructure (including every bridge across the Danube.)
We devastated the environment, bombed the Chinese embassy, came very close to engaging in armed combat against Russian forces, and in general, pursued a horrific and inhumane strategy to rain misery on the civilian population of Belgrade in order to pressure Milosevic into surrendering.
Why did we do all that? The US did not even have an arguable interest in the Balkans, and no one ever tried to claim that Serbia represented any kind of threat to our nation or our interests.
But for months the Clinton administration had told us that Milosevic was waging a vicious genocide against Albanian Muslims, and needed to be stopped. The New York Times called it a “humanitarian war.” In March 1999 – the same month that the bombing started – Clinton’s State Department publicly suggested that as many as 500,000 Albanian Kosovars had been murdered by Milosevic’s regime. In May of that year, as the bombing campaign was drawing to a close, Secretary of Defense William Cohen lowered that estimate 100,000.
Five years after the bombing, after all the forensic investigations had been completed, the prosecutors at Milosevic’s “War Crimes” trial in the Hague were barely been able to document a questionable figure of perhaps 5,000 “bodies and body parts.” During the war, the American people were told that Kosovo was full of mass graves filled with the bodies of murdered Albanian Muslims. But none were ever found.

BILL CLINTON ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
During the election cycle of 1992, George H.W. Bush lost his job after Bill Clinton hammered him relentlessly for having caused the “worst economy of the last 50 years.”
In fact, as CNN’s Brooke Jackson has reported: “Three days before Christmas 1992, the National Bureau of Economic Research finally issued its official proclamation that the recession had ended 21 months earlier. What became the longest boom in U.S. history actually began nearly two years before Clinton took office.” See (See http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/10/31/jackson.recession.primer.otsc/).
By the same token, Clinton is generally perceived as having a stellar economic record during his own presidency, in spite of the fact that the economy was already starting to decline during the last year of his term after the stock market crashed in March 2000.
According to a report by MSNBC: “The longest economic expansion in U.S. history faltered so much in the summer of 2000 that business output actually contracted for one quarter, the government said Wednesday in releasing a comprehensive revision of the gross domestic product. Based on new data, the Commerce Department said that the GDP — the country’s total output of goods and services — shrank by 0.5 percent at an annual rate in the July-September quarter of 2000.” See: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3676690/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/t/gdp-figures-revised-downward/.

“Insider Threat Program”: How the White House is keeping federal workers quiet (YIKES!)

Hot Air ^ | June 21,2013

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.
Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.
“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy.
(Excerpt) Read more at hotair.com ...

"The Border Security Ruse" [The Corker-Hoeven amendment is a sham]

Center for Immigration Studies ^ | June 20, 2013 | Mark Krikorian

For a brief moment, I thought the Wall Street Journal had published an editorial on immigration I agreed with. It's titled "The Border Security Ruse" and I thought it would be about the efforts to add increasingly stringent border enforcement provisions as a way of buying Republican votes for the amnesty, pointing out that they were only included for political purposes and would never actually be implemented. Alas, the Journal was complaining that the promotion of enforcement-first amendments was the eponymous ruse, a "trick" by the inhumane and anti-growth folks on the "restrictionist right" to prevent amnesty for no good reason.
But more attention on the border-security ruse — in my first meaning — is warranted. The latest attempt at providing political cover for pusillanimous Republican senators to vote for amnesty comes from Corker and Hoeven. Their proposal would leave the basic, flawed architecture of the bill in place, amnestying the illegal population up front and promising more enforcement in the future. The marquee element of this latest ruse is to roughly double the Border Patrol by adding 20,000 agents and finish the 700 miles of fencing already required under current law. It also includes a 90 percent apprehension rate for border infiltrators, but that provisions is a "goal" rather than a requirement and would thus not have to be met before the amnesty beneficiaries could upgrade to green cards (and eventual citizenship).
This is utterly phony. Even Senator Corker alluded to its phoniness when said this morning on MSNBC that "for people who are concerned about security, once they see what is in this bill, it's almost overkill." There is no way to successfully recruit and train 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents in a short period of time — at least not without cutting a lot of corners. The Border Patrol certainly needs to grow — it's considerably smaller than the NYPD. But doing it properly takes some time; it took about a decade to add the last 10,000 agents, so how long would it take to add 20,000 more? They just pulled this number out of their, uh, hats as a way to dazzle the yokels "who are concerned about security."
The Corker-Hoeven amendment is a sham, pure simple. Anyone who votes for it is announcing that he thinks the American people are gullible fools. I just hope they're not right in that assessment.

Astonishing Vietnam War photos reveal the moment U.S. troops unleashed hell

Daily Mail ^ | 21 JUN 2013 | Daily Mail

A Vietnam War veteran has released incredible night-time photographs he took of American troops opening fire on a Viet Cong sniper who had been firing on a U.S. Army camp. For more than four decades, photographer James Speed Hensinger kept these incredible photographs to himself, not releasing them to the public until now. Hensinger was just a 22-year-old paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in April 1970 when a Viet Cong sniper began spraying automatic rifle fire on Hensinger's base in Phu Tai, near the coastal city of Da Nang.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...

Was WWI the progressives first attempt at "fundamental transformation" of America?

PGA Weblog ^ 

In the first hour of his show on monday, Glenn discussed the revolutionary nature of large wars and how they change everything. He specifically mentioned WW1 during the show, which is something I've long thought of myself but I also thought perhaps I was being too aggressive in my beliefs. Coinciding with this blog post, I also posted an article from The Nation which was published in 1917, in which the progressives' eagerness cannot be contained:
Our cause, then, can give us a calm conscience. But that is not enough. The question is whether we can remain true to the American tradition in time of war. War necessitates organization, system, routine, and discipline. The choice is between efficiency and defeat. Pork will have to go. Government by "deserving Democrats" will have to go. The executive side of the Administration will have to be strengthened by the appointment of trained specialists. Socialism will take tremendous strides forward. A new sense of the obligations of citizenship will transform the spirit of the nation. But it is also inevitable that the drill sergeant will receive authority. We shall have to give up much of our economic freedom. We shall be delivered into the hands of officers and executives who put victory first and justice second. We shall have to lay by our good-natured individualism and march in step at their command. The only way to fight Prussianism is with Prussian tools. The danger is lest we forget the lesson of Prussia: that the bad brother of discipline is tyranny - which our fathers fought to put down and our immigrants came to our shores to escape. It would be an evil day for America if we threw overboard liberty to make room for efficiency.
Blandly titled " The American Tradition and the War", it's disgustingly obvious that the target was the fundamental transformation of 'The American Tradition'. It's not like this is the only example, John Dewey published an article titled "The Social Possibilities of War". Now think about that for a second - in war, the progressives see "social possibilities". In the past I've flippantly made comparisons to Rahm Emanuel, but when you read articles like this it becomes pretty clear that the progressives knew full well what they were doing, and why.
After all, the progressives pushed through four constitutional amendments in two presidential terms.(Four of them!) What is that, if not revolutionary?
After World War 1, Wilson's war-time centrally planned state was largely dismantled, but consider the "American culture". Between the movies and media, the changes in how women behaved(via feminism), the beginnings of the non-profit/leftist-"civil-rights" axis, continued Union agitation, and a whole host of other things outside of government(Largely, the "American culture" that we recognize and live with today), the progressives did indeed achieve one of the most fundamental transformations they could achieve: (as Aldous Huxley points outcorrection)
In the past we can say that all revolutions have essentially aimed at changing the environment in order to change the individual. I mean there’s been the political revolution, the economic revolution, in the time of the reformation, the religious revolution. All these aimed, not directly at the human being, but at his surroundings. So that by modifying the surroundings you did achieve, did one remove the effect of the human being.
Again, the cultural differences compounded with the governmental differences of not just four constitutional amendments and their effects, but then you have the changes in judicial behavior, and the regulatory state that harasses the people, by that time, was well under way.

The Art of Limited Government

National Affairs ^ | Spring 2013 | Arthur C. Brooks

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson laid out his views on the proper role of the state. He envisioned "a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
Unfortunately, Jefferson's view of a minimally intrusive federal government was not long for this world. Over the course of 200 years, citizens demanded more action and intervention from their lawmakers, and politicians happily obliged. The result is today's radically more expansive understanding of the legitimate purview of the state.
President Obama's first inaugural offers a useful contrast with Jefferson's. In it, he described a functional government as one that "helps families find jobs at a decent wage, [health] care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified." In slightly more than two centuries, we have moved from a president who believes that the purpose of government is to leave citizens free to live their lives as they see fit to a president who thinks the state is responsible for finding its citizens jobs, getting them doctors, and ensuring they save for retirement.
To be sure, many conservatives would like to lay all the blame for government's expansion at Obama's feet. The truth, however, is that this bloating has taken place over several decades. In 1913, upon passage of the 16th Amendment (which created the federal income tax), total government spending at all levels was about 8% of gross domestic product. By 1940, it was approximately 15%. In 2010, it had risen to 36%. According to Congressional Budget Office projections, by 2038, the size of government will assume European proportions, with spending reaching 50% of GDP.
Nor is this expansion the work only of Democrats. Republicans have been equally culpable, and to return America to limited government, Republicans will have to move beyond simply complaining, reflexively and vaguely, that government is "too big." They must instead develop a concrete, practical approach to answering the question, "What do you propose to cut?" — a realistic set of guidelines that elucidate what government should and should not do.
What guidelines could preserve Jefferson's ethos while also recognizing that the world has changed in dramatic ways? A good place for conservatives to start might be Friedrich Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty, in which he sanctioned two spheres of domestic activity as legitimately belonging to government: offering a minimal social safety net and providing limited correction for failures of the market. Neither of these two roles, Hayek believed, was inherently incompatible with economic freedom or the rule of law.
Today, the scope and reach of our government go well beyond these minimal thresholds. The task facing advocates of limited government, then, is to use these two aims as standards for evaluating, and then constraining, all government activity. Conservatives can identify what existing regulations and spending should be cleared away, and what proposed reforms and new regulations should be allowed, by evaluating whether they are strictly necessary to preserving a true safety net and correcting for real market failures. Given that the overwhelming majority of today's interventions do not meet these standards, it offers a useful limiting principle for gradually returning America to the path of constrained, constitutional government.
THE SAFETY NET
In December 1946, the misanthropic comedian W. C. Fields lay on his deathbed, surrounded by his physician and loved ones. Outside his hospital room, they heard the shouts of a poor newsboy hawking papers in the snow. Moved with uncharacteristic compassion, Fields called over his physician and mustered just enough energy to whisper, "Poor little urchins out there — undernourished, no doubt improperly clad — something's got to be done about them, something's got to be done...." He was silent for a few moments and then called over his physician once more. "On second thought," he whispered, "Screw 'em."
To listen to liberal politicians today, one might think Fields's outburst summed up the conservative worldview. In 2011, President Obama said of his political opponents, "Their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules." It is common to hear that conservatives care more about fiscal discipline and economic growth than they do about the plight of the poor.
To be sure, there is no credible (indeed, possible) plan for righting America's fiscal ship without substantially reforming the myriad entitlement and benefit programs initially designed to serve the poor and the elderly as part of a broad government safety net. The problem is that these programs have expanded well beyond their purported aims, providing much more than mere backstops against poverty in old age. Today, more than 60% of annual federal spending goes toward entitlement programs. Social Security's trust funds will be insolvent by 2033, Medicare's by 2024. Without reform of these programs, spending on entitlements will drive the annual federal budget deficit to 10% of GDP in less than 50 years.
The means-tested federal programs launched as part of the War on Poverty, too, have ballooned over the years. Family support, food assistance, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the indigent and disabled totaled $432 billion in 2010 (a bit less than 3% of GDP, and 8.5% of the 2010 federal budget). In 2010, benefits from means-tested programs were collected by 34% of American households. For comparison, roughly 15% of the population lives below the poverty line.
To be serious about fixing our debt and deficit problem means we must be serious about fixing spending on these programs, particularly entitlements. A serious conservative project, however, cannot simply treat the safety net in modern America as just another government boondoggle. Indeed, few if any conservatives today believe the weak, sick, elderly, or poor should be left without any support from the government. Most believe that it is appropriate for the government to provide some safety net for its citizens. Hayek writes, "The necessity of some such arrangement [for poor relief] in an industrial society is unquestioned — be it only in the interest of those who require protection against acts of desperation on the part of the needy." Most conservatives are very comfortable with the state providing some minimal standard of living in terms of food, shelter, and medical care.
The basic problem is that America's minimum "safety net" has become appallingly broad. It increasingly has little to do with helping the poor, and much to do with currying favor with voters and smoothing the risks out of ordinary life. For example, we often hear that Social Security is part of a basic safety net. But as currently configured, the program is in large part a benefit to middle-class people, the majority of whom have taken more out of the system than they ever put into it. Similarly, Medicare Part D — which subsidizes prescription drugs for seniors — is not really part of the safety net for the poor, nor was it designed to be. Rather, it is a $62 billion benefit consumed by a group that is made up primarily of middle-class Americans.
Clearly, there is room — a lot of room — to cut these programs, trimming them back into the shape of a true social safety net. The challenge for conservatives is to identify what precisely the contours of that safety net should be. When it comes to proposed new spending, or reforms to existing spending, where should we draw the line?
Determining what is and is not within the scope of a safety net, properly understood, begins with the question: "What is an unacceptable standard of living in America?" As Hayek notes, the answer to this question is in large part a function of "the general growth of wealth" — the fact that what defines acceptable standards of living changes over time. It is probably fair to say that conservatives and liberals alike believe it is unacceptable for someone in America in 2013 to go without access to essential medical care, sufficient food, and basic shelter. Providing these minimal goods is therefore an appropriate function of government. But it is certainly not the role of the safety net to substantially increase material equality for its own sake. Nor should it completely denude life of non-catastrophic risks, or distribute tax dollars to cronies and favored political constituencies.
Still, conservatives need to do more than simply explain why today's approach to government is inefficient and inequitable. They cannot merely complain about bloat to be reduced and cut; rather, they must make an affirmative case for a conservative vision of the safety net. It is up to them to limit the definitions of "essential," "sufficient," and "basic" so that they do not stretch beyond all recognition. This requires identifying and supporting those benefits and programs that do pass the "essential," "sufficient," and "basic" test, while also being clear-eyed about those benefits that fail to meet this standard.
Some illustrations may help to clarify. If we accept that Medicaid in fact improves health outcomes among the poor and that its costs can be controlled over the long term, the program represents an appropriate function of the safety net. Subsidizing prescription drugs for seniors of all income levels, however, does not. This is simply a political favor to a key voting bloc. Food-aid programs for the indigent are part of the safety net, but agricultural subsidies to prop up farmers' incomes are not. Publicly funded housing for the poor — whether through vouchers or in-kind provision — may be part of the safety net. Rent control and the National Flood Insurance Program, though, are not. A guaranteed minimum Social Security benefit that lifts seniors to the poverty line is part of the safety net, but paying anyone who is not poor any more than he paid into the system (plus a reasonable rate of return) is not.
These approved aid programs are still very costly, but at least they can be defended as an essential part of the safety net, allowing clear lines to be drawn separating them from unnecessary government bloat. To be sure, government can and should eliminate waste from these programs; moreover, the 1996 welfare-reform law showed that government support programs should never be designed to be permanent, as such policies can produce intergenerational cycles of dependency. Despite this room for improvement, however, few conservatives really want to kill these programs and stop providing their services completely.
The conservative critique of the modern American safety net isn't an objection to its existence; rather, it is that it has transformed into something it was never intended to be that is fundamentally at odds with America's limited-government principles. How to reform the safety net and the details of its implementation are important questions for the conservative project.
MARKET FAILURE
The second area of legitimate government activity is correcting "market failure" — specific cases in which free markets, left to their own devices, do not produce efficient outcomes. Since Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, nearly all economists have agreed that such circumstances can justify some degree of state intervention — not to weaken free enterprise, but to strengthen it.
There are four major sources of market failure. First, monopolies — and a related phenomenon, price-fixing through the collusion of competitors — produce a host of well-known harms, ranging from lower quality and higher prices to less innovation and more rent-seeking. But there are times when permitting a monopoly may make sense — for instance, when it protects intellectual property. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to grant patents and copyrights to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"; that is, to establish temporary monopolies over intellectual property as an incentive to innovate. Although the specifics of intellectual-property protection are fiercely debated, the idea that some form of intellectual-property protection is an appropriate function of the government enjoys wide currency among economists.
Unfortunately, governments have at best a mediocre track record of sorting "good" monopolies from "bad" ones and making policy and litigating accordingly. Because monopoly and perfect competition exist as two ends of a spectrum — both of which are seldom, if ever, realized in the marketplace — policymaking in this field tends to require nuanced weighing of interests and prudent judgment calls on a case-by-case basis, tasks at which government is not particularly adept. Moreover, the government may itself set up monopolies to serve its own aims — such as state lotteries that provide revenue or public schools that serve entrenched interests. In short, when it comes to addressing this particular form of market failure, the government has not shown itself a competent or reliable defender of the public interest.
The second major source of market failure is the economic problem of externalities. In a nutshell, externalities affect our well-being outside the realm of prices and free markets. A classic example is the manufacturer that causes extensive pollution in the course of making its products: The costs of the pollution are borne not by the market participants (the producer and the consumer), but rather by the public breathing contaminated air and drinking unclean water.
Because externalities exist outside of markets, markets are often unable to neutralize them, which is why addressing them might legitimately fall under the purview of government. It is worth noting, however, that markets are not always incapable of correcting for externalities. Ronald Coase won a Nobel Prize in economics by showing that private bargaining can work at least as well as government action to solve externality problems, if property rights are clearly defined and bargaining can occur efficiently. Rather than banning pollution or setting arbitrary limits on it, then, a more efficient solution might be to assign legal property rights to, for instance, a river, and let private parties negotiate the acceptable amount of pollution. This idea is known as the "Coase Theorem," and there are myriad examples of this approach being used to effectively solve externality problems in lieu of government action.
As with monopolies, however, complications arise from the fact that externalities can sometimes be positive. Beekeepers, for instance, create a positive externality for farmers whose crops are pollinated by the insects. This duality makes policymaking in this arena another difficult matter of prudential judgment — of properly identifying externalities, calculating their magnitude, identifying the affected parties, and determining the net social cost of fixing the problems. Externalities are, in other words, another market failure easily identifiable and solvable on a blackboard, but devilishly tricky to ameliorate in the real world through government diktat.
The third major form of market failure is public goods. These are goods and services that possess, at least to a large degree, two key traits: They are non-rival and non-excludable. In other words, the enjoyment of a public good by one person does not preclude the enjoyment of that good by another person, and it is not possible or cost-effective to exclude some people (typically, those who have not paid for the privilege) from using the good. National defense, police, roads, and bridges are classic examples of public goods. In contrast, a "private good" — like a doughnut or a pencil — is both rivalrous and excludable.
Public goods can make markets fail because they tend to be underprovided by the free market. Many of these goods are thus supplied by government, funded through taxes. There are, however, two major downsides to government provision of public goods. First, the term has been abused beyond recognition in public debate. Political liberals like to claim, for instance, that education is a public good. This is obviously untrue: Consuming education is both excludable (many private schools and public charter or magnet schools don't let just any student walk in and matriculate) and rival (if not, class sizes would not matter). Education creates positive externalities, but that does not make it a public good.
Second, it is far from clear that government can identify the socially optimal levels of public-good provision and of taxation to pay for it. After all, whether we purchase the right amount of national defense, roads, or fire service is a topic of continuous and heated debate, as are the taxes required to fund these items. And some things that may technically qualify as public goods — such as arts programming and basic scientific research — can be and frequently are provided by the private sector, either on a for-profit or charitable basis. Conservatives rightly question whether government provision of these public goods is closer to optimal than what an unsubsidized market would provide.
The fourth major source of market failure is information asymmetry — when one participant in a market transaction has more information than the other participant. Many market transactions occur in the presence of information asymmetries — the market for used cars remains brisk, even though sellers typically know far more about the vehicles for sale than the buyers do — but in the worst cases, asymmetries can cause markets to melt down entirely. One timely policy example is the case of health-insurance markets, particularly under the guaranteed-issue requirements of Obamacare, in which insurers must cover all applicants regardless of health status. If individuals can obtain and drop coverage without worrying about being denied insurance if they become sick, people who know they are likely to be healthy will forgo insurance (and premium costs). When they believe they are likely to need more medical care, they'll sign up for coverage. On the insurer's end, the result is that the pool of people covered at any given time is likely to be composed disproportionately of those needing extensive medical care. This drives up premiums for everyone, causing enrollees at the margins — people who may not need all that much care or very expensive care — to drop their coverage. This drives premiums up even further, producing the so-called insurance market "death spiral."
The government can help in this kind of situation by requiring thorough disclosures in certain types of transactions and by prohibiting insider trading and many other market predations. In many (if not most) cases, however, the private sector can sort out information asymmetries more efficiently than the government can — through warranties, third-party ratings, and contractual arrangements. And, as the case of Obamacare shows, government intervention can in some cases exacerbate the effects of asymmetries. Thus, while information asymmetries can be legitimate cause for government involvement in the economy, regulation tends to be an overly blunt instrument.
What do all these sources of market failure tell us about how to shrink government? They offer the foundation for identifying and articulating a clear set of criteria by which to determine when, and how, government can permissibly intervene in markets. This in turn can help conservatives support government intervention when it is required without opening the door to an endless expansion of regulatory red tape and unrestrained spending on public works.
RULES FOR INTERVENTION
In developing these guidelines, it is necessary to begin by placing the burden of proof on those advocating government intervention. They must demonstrate first that one of the aforementioned market failures exists — which is precisely the stage at which many government policies fail. For example, President Obama claims that federal intervention in mortgage markets is justified by the fact that the housing crisis was caused by an information asymmetry — by "mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn't afford." But anyone buying a home must certainly know that prices can rise and fall; simple arithmetic determines whether a monthly mortgage payment can be made on a prospective buyer's current wage. Mortgage contracts are indeed complicated — in no small part because of government regulation — but the housing crisis stemmed from a lack of common sense and personal responsibility, not trickery on the part of lenders or a failure of markets.
President Obama has also championed the "public good" of high-speed rail, which will supposedly revolutionize the transit system and have long-term, widespread benefits. In truth, however, high-speed rail fails the test for being classified as a public good: It is both rivalrous and excludable. Moreover, it is not clear that the socially optimal level of high-speed rail provision outside certain highly urbanized East Coast areas is greater than zero. Among the planned federal expenditures are a $715 million subsidy toward a project to build fewer than a hundred miles of track between the small towns of Borden and Corcoran in California's Central Valley and funding for a "high-speed" train from Iowa City that will take longer to get to Chicago than the bus does today.
But even if some perceived problem does meet the technical definition of market failure, that alone is insufficient to compel public action. The market must also be failing in practice. There are many cases that illustrate the difference — cases in which markets work efficiently because technical sources of market failure are overcome by citizens' initiative and resolve. When people spend a Saturday morning cleaning up a neighborhood park or a philanthropist funds basic cancer research, they are overcoming market failures.
In fact, people avoid many market failures just by being decent and courteous. Most businesspeople want to prosper honestly, not by cheating consumers or using predatory business tactics (even if they could get away with those practices). Decent people refrain all the time from creating burdensome externalities for others. And most Americans do their part to both provide public goods and promote a compassionate social safety net without government — by giving to charity.
Still, some market failures will inevitably resist private solutions. In these cases, should the government always act? The conservative answer is: "Only if a policy intervention can actually solve the problem in a cost-effective manner." And this bar is much higher than many people realize. Many market failures are irremediable by government at a reasonable price. A person may be bothered by the negative externality of the traffic noise he hears in his office while at work, but there is no way for the government to fix the problem without costs that would vastly outweigh any benefits.
The same is true of the tangled web of new economic regulations created over the past few years. The 848-page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 was enacted ostensibly to sort out information asymmetries between informed financiers and ignorant consumers. But it fails the test for government intervention: According to the evidence so far, the law won't prevent another crisis, and the regulations will require more resources than they save. To the contrary, the law has institutionalized the principle of "too big to fail," raised the cost of borrowing for the public and private sectors, and secured the position of a small number of dominant firms in the marketplace, all while placing great and unreviewable power in the hands of the Treasury secretary.
Taken together, these criteria establish a high threshold for government involvement in the private economy, even where market failure might be seen to exist. The figure below represents the process by which advocates of limited government should analyze any proposed or existing regulation to determine whether it is a justifiable, and truly necessary, correction of market failure.
Brooks Spring 2013 Chart Small
 The figure demonstrates that while a great deal of state intervention in markets may sound sensible, most of it in fact amounts to unnecessary expansions of government's power and scope. To make matters worse, a great deal of government activity isn't even aimed at the two justifiable goals of providing a safety net and correcting for market failure. Much public policy is simply ad-libbed — overreacting to some unfortunate event (like a natural disaster or mass shooting) — or driven by a vague philosophy no more precise than "the government should do nice things for people." Much of today's public-spending binge serves purposes not remotely related to the basic functions of government — purposes like rewarding political cronies (such as public-sector unions), social engineering (such as the housing policies that led to the 2008 financial crisis), and good old-fashioned pork (like nearly the entire 2009 stimulus package).
In the end, a great deal of public policy that purports to enhance people's lives actually drives the nation toward a system of bloated government that most people, according to opinion polls, say they do not want. The challenge facing the conservative project is to turn the criteria and rules developed above into a practical alternative to the limitless government expansion that many Americans find so deeply alarming.
THE ALTERNATIVE
If the government does adhere to these rules and criteria — limiting public provision to a minimal safety net, holding back in most cases of market failure — many problems, including several currently addressed by government, will go unresolved by the public sector. Principled politicians will have to tell citizens that, while things aren't perfect, government can't step in — because government can't solve the problem, at least not in a way that uses tax dollars effectively. This may make for difficult politics, but it is essential to imposing some reasonable constraint on the growth of the state.
It does not mean that solutions to public problems will become impossible. A dangerous progressive fallacy holds that if the government doesn't care for a group in need or solve a market failure, those people will remain neglected and the failure unresolved. The reality, however, is that many of these problems don't require government at all. Rather, they need voluntary action and a healthy culture in which citizens do things for one another without being forced or bribed by the state. What these problems call for, in other words, are solutions derived from America's "social capital": the trust and social cohesion that promote voluntary activity to meet challenges in civil society.
Most people know from experience that trust and cohesion in healthy neighborhoods and communities make life easier, more pleasant, less bureaucratic, and more efficient. Economists have shown that more abundant social capital makes people more prosperous, too. An enormous body of research shows that it is easier to conduct business in high-trust societies and that these societies require fewer resources for policing and dispute adjudication (as there is less cheating, corruption, and crime).
In societies with high levels of social capital, the poor and elderly must not necessarily become wards of the state. They benefit from high-quality civic and charitable institutions, in which people help one another for mutual benefit. The problem of externalities, too, is addressed by high social capital: In such communities, where neighbors are respectful of neighbors, people are more likely to refrain from making excess noise or letting their property deteriorate. Many minor business deals between friends require nothing but a handshake, and people don't take advantage of one another — avoiding the problem of information asymmetry. If a person sees something suspicious at a neighbor's house, he goes to check on it, reducing the need to employ a large police force (a public good). Every day, social capital solves small and large market failures that government can't and shouldn't address.
It is easy to see how important social capital is to people's lives — and how essential to limited government. Until recently, however, there were few good measures of it. In response to this shortage, researchers at several universities and foundations sought in 2000 to measure social capital with a large, nationwide survey. They asked tens of thousands of Americans about their levels of trust, charity, and community involvement. Dozens of communities were represented, from rural areas to big cities.
The results were fairly predictable. The survey found that in small communities where people know their neighbors, social capital is high. In big, anonymous cities, social capital is low. On an index of social trust, urban centers like Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles fall near the bottom; the top two communities, meanwhile, are rural areas and small towns in North and South Dakota.
The links between social capital and America's prosperity have in fact been evident to social scientists for many years. As early as the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville was impressed by the astonishingly high levels of social capital found in the United States. As he explained inDemocracy in America,
Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations....The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society. Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association.
This phenomenon was, in Tocqueville's mind, the secret to American success. In the eyes of a 21st-century social scientist, Tocqueville was simply observing the fact that social capital solved market failures that government couldn't address, given America's sparse population and ungovernable frontier. It would have been impossible to tax the population sufficiently to fund government hospitals and schools in, say, rural Missouri in the 1830s. The nation was successful because social entrepreneurs, to use today's label for them, took these tasks upon themselves. In the process, they built strong communities of trust, reliant on themselves and not on the government. This is the legacy of freedom and limited government that Americans still say they love.
These observations about the importance of social capital — and America's distinctive reliance on it — remained essential to American success well after Tocqueville's time. In one study in the 1950s, the American political scientist Edward Banfield spent nine months in a small, poor town in southern Italy. His vivid observations were documented in his book The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, in which he set out evidence that the town was impoverished because the people did not recognize or reward meritorious behavior, had little sense of fair play, and possessed no sense of charity toward one another. Banfield noted, for instance, that the local orphanage in the town was run by nuns in a crumbling medieval monastery. No one in the town gave a lira to support the orphanage, and not even "half-employed stone masons" volunteered to help in its upkeep — even though all the orphans came from the town itself.
Banfield made his point by comparing the Italian town with a comparably sized little town in Utah. On one random day, the local newspaper in the Utah town contained mentions of dozens of voluntary charitable projects and activities. The local church had just raised $1,393.11 in pennies for a children's hospital 350 miles away; a Red Cross membership drive was underway; a circus was being held to raise money for a new dormitory at the local junior college; and there were Parent Teacher Association meetings all over town.
But while social capital is crucial to the health of the nation — and the indispensable alternative to boundless government — some experts believe it is generally in decline. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam's 2000 bestseller Bowling Alone argued that people's trust in one another and their tendency to participate voluntarily in their communities has plummeted in recent decades. Not all social scientists agree, but clearly Putnam's claims resonate with millions of Americans who have seen evidence around them of eroding social networks and of falling trust in their communities.
Putnam laid the blame for declining social capital on phenomena such as television and urbanization. But there is more to the problem: The rise of statism is also a key reason for the slide away from the self-governing ideals that Tocqueville found so striking. The voluntary sector diminishes as the public sector grows and takes over more functions in people's lives. More of life is viewed as the responsibility of government, and therefore not of individuals. As Herbert Hoover — himself no opponent of central planning or proponent of laissez-faireeconomics — said in 1931, "[J]ust as the largest measure of responsibility in the government of the nation rests upon local self-government, so does the largest measure of social responsibility in our own country rest upon the individual. If the individual surrenders his own initiative and responsibilities, he is surrendering his own freedom and his own liberty."
This is not merely conjecture, but demonstrable fact. In dozens of studies, economists have shown that government funding "crowds out" voluntary contributions of both money and time to charities. The academic literature shows that a marginal dollar in government spending on efforts that non-profits also address crowds out as much as fifty cents of charitable giving. The effect is most pronounced in assistance for the poor and vulnerable. This is not the result of changing generational attitudes, either: One study finds a causal relationship between the growth of government during the New Deal era and a 30% decline in church-based charity over the same period.
The crowding-out effect stands to reason: If the government is supporting some cause, individual citizens will conclude they do not need to do the same. Individuals are also less likely to be asked to help in the first place: Research by economists James Andreoni and Abigail Payne has found that non-profits receiving government grants quickly reduce the amount of time and effort they spend on fundraising.
This pattern is noxious to a flourishing nation. Government insinuates itself into more and more corners of people's lives, alienating them from one another and their communities. It obviates what Edmund Burke called the "little platoons" of ordinary life, which create meaning in a way the government never can or will. It is thus doubly important for conservatives to find an approach to properly binding government: It is the only way to preserve a strong civil society, which in turn is the only bulwark against the limitless expansion of the state.
THE ART OF LIMITING GOVERNMENT
Today's conservatives clearly need to develop an alternative to the status quo. They must craft an approach to governing in which the state's economic interventions are limited to ensuring minimum basic standards of living for the poor and to addressing genuine market failures (and then only cost-effectively, and only when private individuals and communities can't or won't do it for themselves). This approach to governing aligns with the vision of our founders — but, unfortunately, bears no resemblance to the massive favor factory that passes for government in America today.
How should conservatives go about returning government to that founding vision? A useful way of thinking about the problem comes from an unexpected source: the differences between Western and Eastern art. In the West, artists generally see a blank canvas as empty, ready to be filled through the artist's inspiration. A painting does not exist until the artist places color and shapes on the canvas. In the East, by contrast, artists don't think of creating something ex nihilo. They often start with the belief that the finished work already exists, and simply needs the excess parts stripped away. The easiest way to understand this approach is not by thinking of an artist's canvas, but rather of a block of stone to be sculpted. Before the artist begins, the finished sculpture exists within the block. The artist's job is to chisel away the parts that are not part of the sculpture.
The Eastern approach to art provides a useful framing technique for thinking about American government. America is a work of art — an expression of the audacious, creative, and revolutionary vision of our founders. And the process by which America has lost sight of this vision resembles the Western artistic philosophy: With every generation, we have sloshed more and more paint onto the canvas, adding laws, regulations, taxes, and social-engineering schemes. The result today is garish and ugly; it bears little resemblance to the founders' masterpiece.
The challenge of the conservative project today is to approach the state as an Eastern artist would — to take things away to reveal the American experiment within. The project is not a destructive one, simply tearing down the state willy-nilly; rather, it is a creative one, one that will require carefully chiseling away the statist dross that obscures the system of liberty, individual opportunity, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance that the founders designed.
Learning exactly what to take away must become conservatism's great project. This means accepting and even championing state involvement where appropriate, but recognizing that public policy is usually a blunt instrument with costs that frequently exceed the benefits. It also means articulating a positive vision for America rooted in the moral propositions that make the nation exceptional. The art of limited government is to define what must be removed from the modern welfare state based on tangible rules and principles — grounded in America's distinctive ideals, and ably articulated by the founders — about the relationship between the citizen and the state.
Arthur C. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute. This essay is adapted from his latest book, The Road to Freedom(Basic Books)

Trying to steal Sandy clean-up work, union thugs use media and Democrats to threaten families!

Coach is Right ^ | 6/21/13 | Derrick Hollenbeck

This story is a chilling reminder of the evil alliance of Democrats and unions.
When super storm Sandy slammed into the northeast last October it left destruction and dangerous debris in startling amounts. Homes were folded up and rolled down streets. Civil buildings and churches were flattened and dangerous toxic materials covered the landscape. The enormity of the clean-up was such that local governments had to work fast and work cheap to clean up their streets. Since “fast and cheap” are not words associated with unions the emergency demanded non-union labor as the only available and affordable course of action.

To honest Americans this is simple common sense, but unions want...

(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...

It takes an army: Tens of thousands of workers roll out Obamacare

Economic Times/ Reuters ^ | 21 June 2013

Call them Obamacare's army. From the chief actuary at the California health insurance exchange that President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law established to the legions of call center staffers who will help people trying to buy insurance through such state exchanges, the number of people working to implement "Obamacare" has reached the tens of thousands, a Reuters analysis has found.


But the precise size of this workforce is shrouded in secrecy. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not reply to a question asking how many people it has hired or assigned to implement healthcare reform, and companies with government contracts worth tens of millions of dollars are similarly tight-lipped.

(Excerpt) Read more at economictimes.indiatimes.com ...

‘Offensive to Muslims’: Dem congressman calls on FBI to take down photos of terrorists!

The Daily Caller ^ | 21 Jun 2013

Always-unfiltered Rep. Jim McDermott penned a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday claiming a Joint Terrorism Task Force ‘Faces of Global Terrorism’ ad is racist.
McDermott, a Democrat from Washington state, voiced his “deep concern” about the ad, which shows mug shots of international terrorists, and asked the FBI chief to “reconsider publicizing” it.
According to McDermott, the “ad featuring sixteen photos of wanted terrorists is not only offensive to Muslims and ethnic minorities, but it encourages racial and religious profiling.”
McDermott continued, “Representing terrorists, however, from only one ethnic or religious group, promotes stereotypes and ignores other forms of extremism. The FBI’s ‘Most Wanted Terrorists List‘ includes individuals of other races and associated with other religions and causes, but their faces are missing from this campaign.”
McDermott’s point is that two of the people on the FBI’s thirty-two person ‘Most Wanted Terrorists List’ do not have connections to Islam.
McDermott concluded that the “bus ad will likely only serve to exacerbate the disturbing trend of hate crimes against Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Muslim-Americans.”
McDermott, who has represented the Seattle area for 24 years, has a long history of unguarded commentary. In the past he has argued that victims of targeting by the Internal Revenue Service brought the trouble on themselves, that the government should issue “gas stamps” to lower-income Americans, and that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus could be used to deliver groceries to outer space.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailycaller.com ...

Doolittle Raiders

 It's the cup of brandy that no one wants to drink.

On Tuesday, in Fort Walton Beach , Florida , the surviving
Doolittle Raiders gathered publicly for the last time.

They once were among the most universally admired and revered
men in the United States . There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942,
when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring
military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of
their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of
grateful Americans.

Now only four survive.

After Japan 's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United
States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the
war effort around.

Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to
Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was
devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from
the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried --
sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.

The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James
Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew
that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have
to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.

But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of
the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from
much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They
were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make
it to safety.

And those men went anyway.

They bombed Tokyo , and then flew as far as they could. Four
planes crash-landed ; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the
Raiders died. Eight more were captured ; three were executed. Another
died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to
Russia .

The Doolittle Raid sent a message from the United States to its
enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter
what it takes, we will win.

Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as
national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a
motion picture based on the raid ; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,"
starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional
box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In
the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was
presenting the story "with supreme pride."

Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion
each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different
city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson , Arizona , as a gesture
of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set
of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a
Raider.

Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is
transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his
goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his
old friends bear solemn witness.

Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very
Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jim my
Doolittle was born.

There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving
Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast
their comrades who preceded them in death.

As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders ; then, in
February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.

What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a
mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with
malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to
fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22
months in a German prisoner of war camp.

The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a
passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on
the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that emblematizes the
depth of his sense of duty and devotion:
"When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home,
he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing
home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes.
At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to
her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death
in 2005."

So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick
Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward
Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided
that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.

The events in Fort Walton Beach this week will mark the end. It
has come full circle ; Florida 's nearby Eglin Field was where the
Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town is planning
to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their
valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.

Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save
the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their
sacrifice? They don't talk about that, at least not around other
people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and
if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer
them a word of thanks. I can tell you from firsthand observation that
they appreciate hearing that they are remembered.

The men have decided that after this final public reunion they
will wait until a later date -- sometime this year -- to get together
once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will
open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now ;
they are not going to wait until there are only two of them.

They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets.
And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.

A Challenge to Young Obama Supporters

National Review ^ | June 21, 2013 | National Review

Millennials who enthusiastically voted him in should support his legacy and sign up for Obamacare.

By Jonah Goldberg

Okay, young’ns, here’s your chance.

In two consecutive elections, you’ve carried Barack Obama to victory. When he said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” he basically meant you. You voted for Obama by a margin of 66 percent to 32 percent in 2008, and, despite a horrendous economy for people your age, by nearly that much again in 2012.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...

Rules are rules!

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Transparency

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Tear down this fence!

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Father knows breast!

bill_clinton_father_knows_breast.jpg

Remember

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We don't need no stinkin' borders!

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I'm the star!

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Needs

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Poop Commission

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Obama Compares Religious Schools To Segregation

Westernjournalism ^ 

(CNSNews.com) – Likening religious schools to segregation–a racist system that forced blacks to attend different schools and use different facilities than whites in the American South–President Barack Obama told a town hall meeting for youth in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Monday that there should not be Catholic and Protestant schools because such schools cause division.
“A hundred and fifty years ago, we were torn open by a terrible conflict. Our Civil War was far shorter than The Troubles, but it killed hundreds of thousands of our people. And, of course, the legacy of slavery endured for generations.
“Even a century after we achieved our own peace, we were not fully united,” he said. “When I was a boy, many cities still had separate drinking fountains and lunch counters and washrooms for blacks and whites”
(Excerpt) Read more at westernjournalism.com ...

Pesky constitution

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Don't mind me!

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WTF, over?

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You must give up privacy?

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Liberty vs. Safety

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The culprit

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What difference does it make?

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Sorry

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Can BUTTER coffee give you more energy?...

DailyMail ^ | 20 June 2013 | Margot Peppers

Full title: Can BUTTER coffee give you more energy? The unlikely morning brew that claims to 'shrink waistlines' and 'promote brain function'

A new craze is seeing coffee-drinkers blending their morning brew with up to 80 grams (two-thirds of a stick) of butter, in a bid to boost energy levels and promote weight loss.
David Asprey, the creator of Bulletproof Coffee, claims that this concoction is full of healthy fats that will keep your energy levels up 'for six hours if you need it', as well as 'improving cognitive function' and 'shrinking your waistline'.

But some health experts, like Today diet and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom, say the blend - which contains between 100 and 200 calories a cup - can actually promote weight gain, and that any extra energy experienced by drinkers is merely a placebo effect.

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...

Amendment Would Give Amnesty/Legal Status to Any Would-Be Immigrant Displaced by 'Climate Change'

Breitbart's The Conversation ^ | June 20, 2013 | Ace of Spades

Enough. Enough.

Senator Brian Schatz’s (D-HI) filed an amendment for the immigration bill Wednesday that would allow stateless people in the U.S. to seek conditional lawful status if their nations have been made uninhabitable by climate change.

Drought in Mexico? Gee, we never have droughts in Mexico. But now that we have had one, say hello to your 25 million new, specially-amnestied US citizens.
This is a political game, and a political game moreover from which half of America is being excluded from playing.
What's going on is that Liberals are offering absurd amendments to be "traded away" in exchange for Conservatives dropping their non-absurd demands, such as for increased border security.
So the liberals will ultimately "trade" their idiotic amendments for our sensible ones on border security, and then our elected conmen will tell us we "got a good deal," so we should take the Gang of 8 proposal as is. See? It was a straight-up, even-steven trade. Now we must pass this bill, Because, Compromise!
Enough. Enough....
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...