News You Can Use for Wednesday, March 26

This is how many of us feel when we hear President Obama talk.
This is how many of us feel when we hear President Obama talk.

Stories of the Day

‘Epic BS mode.’ “ABC’s Jonathan Karl touched a nerve when he asked President Obama whether Mitt Romney might have been on to something with his observation that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe. The question came in Obama’s press conference at the Hague yesterday. Obama went into epic BS mode.” Deep thoughts by Barack Obama

“Five minutes later, his answer boils down to (a) the nations you think are a threat to the U.S. really aren’t, e.g., Russia is a “regional power” that seized Crimea out of weakness, not strength, and (b) besides, the ones that are kinda sorta a threat have been contained anyway by the genius of Hopenchange soft power (“Syria’s never been more isolated”). Show of hands: Who thinks a country with thousands of nuclear-tipped ICBMs aimed at your hometown is a “regional power”? Exactly how broad is Russia’s “region” if NATO exists to this day to make sure the Kremlin doesn’t send tanks west towards the Atlantic? I’m usually all for tough talk but there’s no benefit I can see to scoffing at Putin’s military muscle at a moment when he has thousands of troops perched across the border from Ukraine and is trying to decide whether to seize the country. If America’s not prepared to push him back militarily — and this poll says Americans definitely aren’t — then why taunt him?” Question for Obama: What do you think of Romney’s “Russia is our top geopolitical foe” comment now?

Emphasis mine. “Russia has increased its influence in Syria, Egypt, and Iran. Indeed, Russia’s position in the Middle East hasn’t been this strong since Anwar Sadat expelled the Soviet Union from Egypt in the 1970s. Yet the president continues to make his preposterous claims. In public. Repeatedly. I’m starting to be convinced this isn’t simply a talking point by a president on the defensive. I think he actually believes what he’s saying. Which means he is losing touch with reality. Which may be the most worrisome thing of all.” Obama Loses Complete Touch with Reality

Why does the Left hate freedom of religion? “Trying to distinguish between for-profit and nonprofit corporate forms for this regulatory purpose is constitutionally unprecedented. Corporations are often treated as “persons” for legal purposes, such as protecting free speech, and prosecutors can indict entire corporations for breaking laws. As Chief Justice John Roberts observed, minority-owned businesses can bring racial discrimination lawsuits. So why can’t Christian- or Muslim-owned businesses exercise religion? Solicitor General Donald Verrilli had no good answer. [Snip] The real purpose of the mandate was to minister to the secular left and the so-called coalition of the ascendant, which is why the White House has fought this case up to the High Court rather than simply creating a waiver for religious minorities. The tenor of oral argument suggested the Justices will rebuke this threat to a religiously diverse society, and they certainly should.” ObamaCare v. Religious Liberty: A majority of Justices seem skeptical of the contraception mandate.

“As Malor also writes, the notion that there is a compelling government interest in forcing Hobby Lobby to bend to the will of the administration is undermined by the fact that: “Sebelius has already exempted 190 million people from the contraception mandate, either because they work for non-profit corporations or because their plans were “grandfathered” when ObamaCare became effective.” Under these circumstances with widespread exemptions the arguments in favor of the government aren’t merely exposed as constitutionally weak but a demonstration of the administration’s hostility to religious believers who disagree with the mandate. A nation that values religious freedom less than it does Barack Obama’s political calculations is one that is abandoning the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion.” The Shrinking Mandate and Freedom


Fundamental transformation. “’The evidence reveals that the Administration has carried out a dramatic nullification of federal law,” Sessions said in a statement to Breitbart News. “Under the guise of setting ‘priorities’, the Administration has determined that almost anyone in the world who can enter the United States is free to illegally live, work and claim benefits here as long as they are not caught committing a felony or other serious crime.’” Sessions Report Demolishes Obama ‘Deporter In Chief’ Myth

“A DHS directive from December 21, 2012, decreed that ICE agents could act against illegal immigrants only in limited circumstances — mainly if an illegal immigrant was previously charged with a serious crime or was physically caught crossing the border. The effect, according to Sessions’s office, has been that many habitual immigration violators and the vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States face no threat of deportation. “The Administration’s priorities,” Session’s writes, ‘have therefore provided an executive amnesty not only to the great majority of the 12 million living her illegally today . . . but to those who will violate immigration law tomorrow. It is an open invitation for a future immigrant to overstay a visa, or enter the U.S. illegally, knowing that they will be immune from enforcement as long as they avoid being convicted of a felony or other serious crime once here.’” Obama Exempts Illegals from Immigration Laws: DHS deports barely any illegals without separate criminal convictions.

“A three-page analysis from Jeff Sessions’s office. The good news is, at least ICE is prioritizing correctly. Illegals who’ve committed serious criminal offenses are the first out the door, followed by people caught at the border trying to sneak in and those caught inside the U.S. after having been deported before. The other 99.92 percent who are already here are, however, apparently here to stay, unless/until a Republican president sends down the order to restart deportations among that group. And given the GOP leadership’s icy panic about further alienating Latino voters, the odds of that are near zero. Remember this the next time amnesty shills like Luis Gutierrez screech that Obama is the ‘deporter-in-chief.’” Analysis of ICE data: Amnesty is already in effect for nearly all illegals who are already here

Big Government

Further restricting our private property rights. “The Environmental Protection Agency has for awhile now been working on regulations to further — ahem — “clarify” the reach of their jurisdiction over the United States’ various bodies of water. A leaked draft report of the EPA’s proposal for granting more authority unto themselves had farmers, ranchers, and the energy and commerce industries up in arms over the possibilities for infringing on private property rights to micromanage even small and temporary bodies of water, and the draft’s official release this afternoon isn’t doing anything to dispel any of those business groups’ fears.” EPA: Expanding our authority under the Clean Water Act is going to make everybody’s lives easier, we swear

Common Core

White washing the truth. “Yesterday, the Collaborative for Student Success — a mishmash of substantial educational philanthropies — released a poll that purported to show that Americans love the Common Core even if they don’t know it. The new poll showed that two-thirds of respondents like the Common Core and that one-third “strongly” support it. This is pretty remarkable given that, just last summer, over 60 percent of respondents told Gallup they had never heard of the Common Core. What explains the remarkable shift? It turns out that the positive response was elicited after pollsters read just “a single sentence describing” the Common Core. That “single sentence” explained: “To ensure that all students are prepared for success after graduation, the Common Core Standards establish a set of clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level across subjects.” (The astonishing thing is that 24 percent of respondents disapproved even after this explanation.) Fifty-seven percent of Republicans reportedly support the Common Core, thus described, and 60 percent of respondents would be more likely to vote for a pro–Common Core candidate.” Common Core Cant:Advocates cite dubious polling to support their claim that the issue is settled.

“There is no evidence that the curriculum works, and it will destroy innovation amongst the states. Ravitch writes, “We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time…Would the Federal Drug Administration approve the use of a drug with no trials, no concern for possible harm or unintended consequences?” Jane Robbins, a senior fellow for the American Principles Project, writes, “Common Core has never been piloted. How can anyone say it is good for kids when it’s not in place anywhere?” In fact, the results are coming in and they are the opposite. A principal in the Midwest told Ravitch that ‘his school piloted the Common Core assessments and the failure rate rocketed upwards, especially among the students with the highest needs.’” Common Core Curriculum: A Look Behind the Curtain of Hidden Language Hat tip: Gayla Coletto, Palo Verde RW member

Good for them! “INDIANAPOLIS –  Indiana has become the first of 45 states to opt out of the national education standard known as Common Core, and critics of the controversial K-12 program say the move could “open the floodgates” for others to follow. Growing criticism over costs imposed by the program, as well as fears that by setting a national education standard, the program has already begun dictating curriculum, has made Common Core an increasingly polarizing issue. Although the program has both Republican and Democrat supporters, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence predicted his state will be the first of many to rethink participation.” Open the floodgates? Indiana becomes first state to scrap Common Core

The Culture

“Ho-hum, a mob of 200 teenagers rampages through the downtown of an American city, assaulting and hospitalizing people and robbing stores. The mayor calls for calm. And nobody outside that local media market, where it cannot be ignored, hears a thing about it. Now why would that be? Could it possibly be because surveillance video from a convenience store that was robbed shows all the miscreants were black?” Nothing to see here, move along


“While liberals tout the ARRA’s supposed success five years after it was signed into law, the votes have been cast and the results are in: Reagan by a landslide!” Reaganomics Vs. Obamanomics: Two Wholly Different Outcomes


Waking up. “PRINCETON, NJ — U.S seniors — those aged 65 and older — have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010.” U.S. Seniors Have Realigned With the Republican Party

Unpopular. “Senate majority leader Harry Reid, desperately trying to create a conservative bogeyman for the 2014 election cycle, often takes to the Senate floor to lambast the billionaire Koch Brothers for their political contributions to conservative groups. But a George Washington University Battleground poll released Tuesday indicates that more people have an unfavorable impression of the Nevada lawmaker than the Kochs.” Poll: ‘Un-American’ Koch Brothers More Popular than Harry Reid

“In November, decent GOP candidates, policies aimed at working- and middle-class voters, and a focus on the degree to which Senate Democrats have backed the president in his unsuccessful policy hijinks should be enough for many Republicans to claim victory. That might be why Nate Silver is delivering them some bad news. Frankly, you don’t have to be good at math to see his point.” Harry Reid more disliked than Koch brothers

They’ll run on a platform of fixing it. “A tasty morsel from Paul Bedard — although the only reason this is filed under “news” rather than “duh” is because lefty pundits continue to float CW-defying “Democrats should run on ObamaCare” pieces sporadically whenever a new round of bad polls come out and they get the jitters. (These same people will be writing “scrap ObamaCare and embrace single-payer” pieces starting the day after election day.) Whenever they do, I imagine a bunch of Republican campaign honchos circa 2006 trying to talk themselves into running on the Iraq war. It’s the only thing they haven’t tried! The war will become popular again, it just … hasn’t been sold correctly yet. It’s so crazy it just. might. work. Not going to work, says Celinda Lake. ‘In terms of Obamacare, don’t defend it, say it was flawed from the beginning, and we’re going to fix it,” said Lake at a poll briefing hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.’” Democratic pollster warns Senate Dems on ObamaCare: Don’t defend it

The real racists. “As one of the relatively few people (percentage wise) to have spent more than a decade on both sides of our political divide, and also to have participated personally in the civil rights movement in the South in the sixties, I am going to say something that will be extremely controversial to liberals, indeed make them hate me.  Given all those years I spent on the two sides, I have observed liberals to be vastly more racist than conservatives and libertarians. It isn’t even close.” The Democratic Party’s War on Black People and How to Counter It

Seeking a return to sanity. “Ever since returning to his home state of Illinois, Minnow has enjoyed the status of a grand old man of the Democrats, at least among his home base faction, a truth-teller of sorts, based on the Kennedy-era esteem he still holds.  He is a partner in the prestigious Chicago law firm Sidley Austin, which is where Barack Obama worked as a summer associate and met Michelle Robinson, and a specialist in telecommunications law. That is why his op-ed in the Chicago Tribune announcing his support for Bruce Rauner, GOP nominee for Illinois governor, must come as an unpleasant shock.” Famous Illinois Democrat bolts from the party’s nominee for governor

The Left

“The point is not merely that prominent liberals violate the tenets of their secular faith. It’s that very rarely do many other liberals express much public criticism or even disagreement. It’s just not something they deem worth getting upset about. When the average liberal gets up in the morning, he doesn’t want to hear about how his allies and comrades aren’t living up to their professed standards. He wants to hear about how bad the opposition is. [Snip] Being a conservative means you’re going to spend some time disagreeing with your allies. Progressives and liberals spend much less energy, time, and elevated blood pressure fighting each other — at least beyond the comments section of liberal blogs. They’re much quicker to refocus on the big picture and unite in the battle against the Right. Even as titanic a battle as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s 2008 primary fight was resolved within a few months, with Hillary serving in Obama’s Cabinet.” Unruly Progressives: Why it’s so hard to make progressives live up to their own rules.

He should know. He used to be on their side. “Finally, said Horowitz, the American left “lie. And it’s not like politicians spinning…you cannot be a leftist without lying about the most basic strategic facts about who you are.” Horowitz summed up pessimistically: “We are within reach of a totalitarian state in this country…These are very very dark days for this country.” But, Horowitz held out hope: ‘there’s been an earthquake on the conservative side since I switched sides…the tea party is the earthquake. The best thing that Republicans can do is stop the fratricide.’” Horowitz at Heritage Foundation: ‘The Communist Party Is The Democratic Party’

Progressives not all that progressive after all. “In the space of just a few weeks, both Nate Silver and Ezra Klein have launched brand new websites, which, although imperceptibly different in their core objectives, both promised to overlook the “fundamentally useless” “pundits” that sully the nation’s media and to replace them with the calm explication and modest objectivity that one can only get from the sort of detached, numbers-driven pragmatists who made their names working at the Daily Kos and The American Prospect. [Snip] Alas, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. In the last couple of weeks, both Silver and Klein have been on the business end of aggressive warning shots — shots that were fired neither by critical conservatives nor by the jealous dinosaurs of the legacy media, but by the disgruntled members of a progressive community worried that, freed from the constraints of the establishment and safe to experiment a little, their heroes may just elect to write as they please.” Progressives Turn on Their Prodigies: Ezra Klein and Nate Silver learn they won’t be allowed to think for themselves.

The Media

The fourth estate losing trust minute by minute. “No one argued that the Bush administration went easy on journalists. We heard plenty of complaints about crackdowns on leakers during those eight years, some of which were more than justified in both crackdowns and complaints about them. However, until Obama took office, the federal government wasn’t swearing out surveillance warrants on reporters by accusing them of conspiring to commit espionage. The hostility to press freedom comes from the same impulse that limits other freedoms — to control the people through misinformation and a lack of accountability, so as to expand power even further. It’s not just in the area of press freedom that this administration has become the greatest threat in a generation.” NYT reporter calls Obama WH the “greatest enemy of press freedom”


Our AZ governor already went wobbly, along with some Republicans in the AZ state legislature. “Supporters of expanding the program, along with much of the media, portray opposition to the idea as essentially political. It’s about governors and state legislators who simply oppose Obamacare and refuse to do anything that would help implement it, they contend. No doubt there’s a certain amount of truth to this claim. But expanding Medicaid also raises serious policy concerns: It would increase government dependency, cost state taxpayers millions if not billions of dollars in new taxes, squeeze other state services, and do little to improve health care for the poor. A close examination of the claims made by proponents of Medicaid expansion shows that they carry very little weight.” The Medicaid Mess: Now isn’t the time for Republican governors to go wobbly on these fraudulent arguments.


The Left’s hypocrisy is showing again. “Right. So, if you have Democratic Party connections and you squawk in a major metropolitan newspaper, so that the Democratic Party is embarrassed, functionaries will cut through the red tape and get you a health insurance policy. Not only that, a policy that is subsidized by your neighbors! Yeeaah! Nothing like stealing from your fellow citizens to make you feel good about being a Democrat. If you are not a politically connected Democrat, of course, you are stuck with what the Affordable Care Act actually says, in which case…sorry, you poor loser! No one ever cared about you in the first place.” One Liberal Woman’s Experience With Obamacare

They must think we’re really stupid. “We all knew this one was coming, right? Administration officials can stand around and talk about how the March 31st deadline is the real deal until they’re blue in the face, but you know they’ve been watching the pace at which signups have been trickling in like hawks — and while they’ve been conspicuously backing away from their erstwhile goal of 7 million enrollments in the opening phase, this would seem to suggest that the pace still isn’t running as quickly as they’d like it to be.” On cue: Obama administration extends healthcare deadline for people who started enrolling before March 31st everyone

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