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Thursday, July 31, 2014


If there was any doubt that the UN bureaucrats are siding with Hamas against Israel, you can put that doubt aside.  Today, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced the USA because America helped to fund the development of Israel's anti-missile system, the Iron Dome, which has made the thousands of missiles fired by Hamas ineffective as a terror weapon. 

When I saw those comments, all I could think of what that it gave new meaning to that person's title of "High Commissioner".  High, indeed!  My guess is it's high on some sort of drug that causes delusions. 

Imagine that the UN is upset because America helped fund a system that most likely saved thousands of civilian lives from attack by terrorists.  The UN sure sounds impartial, doesn't it?  I would call the UN cheerleaders for Hamas, but cheerleaders don't take part in the game.  The UN stores missiles in its schools and hospitals and then claims that it is "shocked, shocked" to find that there are weapons in those locations.  Then the UN bureaucrats don't confiscate the weapons or destroy them; no, they return them to Hamas so that they can be fired against the Israeli civilians.

It really is time for all the countries who fund the UN to withhold their contributions which go to Gaza.  There is no reason why the USA should give money to the UN so that the UN can use it to help Hamas.


Big News -- But Will Obama Obey the Court?

The federal District Court in DC has just ruled that the government has to turn over a list of the documents that it is withholding under a claim of Executive Privilege.  All of these documents pertain to Fast and Furious, the Justice Department program under which 2000 assault weapons were supplied to Mexican drug cartels supposedly to follow the trail where the weapons went.  (But hey, there were no tracking devices on the guns.)  The suit was brought by Judicial Watch which had requested the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.  Obama not only refused to give the documents to Judicial Watch, but he also would not turn them over to Congress.  As a result, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress.

Listing the documents withheld is standard practice in all legal disputes regarding claims of privilege.  In other words, it is a no brainer that the court has ruled in favor of Judicial Watch on this matter.  Nevertheless, it will be extremely interesting to see if the Obamacrats actually comply with the court order or if they try to appeal to the DC Circuit, a court that Obama recently packed with extremely liberal Democrat judges, in the hope of getting a reprieve.

It would be nice to see the president and his people actually obey the law for once.  Sadly, however, my bet is placed firmly on their attempting to get some sort of a stay while they appeal this order.  By the way, it is worth noting that under standard practice in the federal courts, the order by the District Court in this action is not appealable.  I doubt that will stop the effort for delay, however.

But It's Just a Detail

Should America's laws treat everyone equally?  Or do you think that there should be a favored group that gets better treatment than the rest of us?  And if there is a favored group, how should membership in that group be determined?

Ten years ago, these questions would be considered to have answers so obvious that even asking the questions would seem idiotic.  Of course, all Americans are to be treated equally by the law.  That concept is enshrined in the Constitution as "equal protection".  Today, however, that concept has been not only questioned; it has been shattered.

It used to be that once Congress passed a law and the president signed it, it applied to everyone as it was written.  If the law said that tax returns for individuals are due on April 15th of the following year, than on April 16th all those who failed to follow the proper procedure to get an extension for filing were in violation of the law and were subject to penalties for that failure.  If someone wanted to change that date, it would require another act of Congress signed by the president.  Similarly, if Congress passed a law banning the sale of clothing made with alligator hides commencing on January 1 of 2015, then on January 2, 2015, anyone selling such clothing in the USA would be subject to sanction for violating the law.  Once again, the only way to change that result would be for there to be a new act of Congress signed by the president.

So here's the next situation:  Congress passes a law and the president signs it.  The law specifically requires American employers (with a few exceptions) to buy health insurance for employees by January 1, 2014.  That act is not modified by anything that Congress does, but the president announces that he is extending that date for a year.  The problem, however, is that the president does not have the authority or the power to extend the law in this way.  Only Congress has that power.

This last example is exactly what president Obama did with the employer mandate under Obamacare.  Obama unilaterally changed the deadline for that mandate even though he lacked the power to do that.  This move by Obama was a direct usurpation of the power of Congress.  The move was also a direct violation of the Constitution.  If Obama could ignore Congress here, why couldn't he ignore Congress everywhere else?  It could be on something with little real impact.  (Obama could change the US flag to the rainbow flag to show solidarity with the Gay Rights Movement.)  Alternatively, it might be something more important.  (Obama could direct confiscation of all IRA's and 401k's without compensation in order to fund the deficit.)  It could even get to ridiculous levels.  (Obama could order the execution of those who oppose his policies.)  The point is here is not that Obama is about to order executions; rather, it is that the president must follow the terms of the law unless that law is modified by Congress.  The president is powerless to change the law himself.

This principle is the one which underlies the lawsuit just authorized by the House against Obama.  The issue is limitations on presidential power and preservation of the power of the Congress.  Obamacare and the employer mandate are just the backdrop for the lawsuit.  Enforcement of immigration laws, modification of laws regarding use of coal and many other improper actions by Obama could just as easily have been used.  Obamacare and the mandate, however, provide the perfect example since the law specifies January 1, 2014 as the date the employer mandate goes into effect and Obama illegally changed that. 

So how have the Democrats responded to this suit?  In typical fashion, the Democrat talking points (parroted by the Democrat media) is to claim that protecting the Constitution is nothing but a waste of time and money.  They even call it hypocrisy.  Here is what Gail Collins of the NY Times said about it:

Rather than suing the president for everything he’s ever done, the Republicans tried to improve their legal prospects by picking a particular executive order. They settled on the one postponing enforcement of part of Obamacare that requires businesses to provide health coverage for their employees. “Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?” demanded Boehner.
“Not a single one of them voted for the Affordable Care Act,” said Louise Slaughter, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee. “They spent $ 79 million holding votes to kill it. And now they’re going to sue him for not implementing it fast enough.”
Both Slaughter and Collins understand that what they are saying is nonsense, but they clearly care more about their party than they do about the Constitution and the future of American democracy.  Hopefully, the American people understand this.

This Must Be Killing Them

Ever hear of the Moreland Commission or Preet Bharara?  The Moreland Commission was an anti-corruption organization set up with great fanfare by New York governor Andrew Cuomo which Cuomo then shut down last Spring when the Commission apparently started getting close to acting on its investigations.  Preet Bharara is the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the head representative of the Justice Department in Manhattan.  The federal authorities in that office are investigating the circumstances that led to the demise of the Moreland Commission. 

Just to put this in context, remember that Andrew Cuomo is a Democrat with national visibility.  The Moreland Commission was composed of mostly Democrats who were investigating the New York state government which is, not surprisingly, run by Democrats.  Preet Bharara is yet another Democrat who was appointed to the position by president Obama, still another Democrat.  In other words, before someone tells you that this is yet another one of those scandals dreamed up by crazies from the Tea Party, remember that there are no Republicans involved in this mess at all.

In any event, in recent days the New York Times (another pillar of the Democrat establishment) reported that governor Cuomo had used his influence to interfere with the work of the Moreland Commission.  The article implied (although it never directly stated) that Cuomo pulled the plug on the commission to prevent it from taking actions that would have exposed major corruption in the state government Cuomo heads.  It must really have bothered the Times to have to publish such an article, but the paper did so anyway and it deserves kudos for having the courage to do so.

Now, however, there is more news that has come out.  The US Attorney's office under Bharara, is conducting its own investigation into the demise of the Moreland Commission.  In the last few days, Bharara sent an official letter to Cuomo warning him to stop tampering with the witnesses.  Here is the relevant section of that letter as quoted in the New York Times:

“We have reason to believe a number of commissioners recently have been contacted about the commission’s work, and some commissioners have been asked to issue public statements characterizing events and facts regarding the commission’s operation.

To the extent anyone attempts to influence or tamper with a witness’s recollection of events relevant to our investigation, including the recollection of a commissioner or one of the commission’s employees, we request that you advise our office immediately, as we must consider whether such actions constitute obstruction of justice or tampering with witnesses that violate federal law.”
So the Times is now reporting on how the Democrat US Attorney is warning the Democrat governor of New York that he and his people may be committing criminal actions and demanding that they stop immediately.  It must be killing the Times to report this but they are doing so in decent detail.  The full account is worth reading. 
To put this in perspective, I searched the website of MSNBC to see how other Democrat/Progressive media is covering the story.  Not surprisingly, there is no mention of the Moreland Commission and Cuomo at the MSNBC site.
The truly strange thing here is that Cuomo is running for re-election this year.  He is far ahead and will likely win no matter what the Moreland Commission would have found.  It may turn out, however, that interfering with the commission and now with the investigation of the US Attorney as has been alleged will result in Cuomo not even remaining as governor, let alone getting re-elected.

Even Telling Lies Requires at Least a Bit of Intelligence

I laughed out loud when I saw the story at Yahoo News (of all places) under this headline:

Congresswoman who co-sponsored Bush impeachment bill said Democrats never tried to impeach Bush

The Congresswoman in question is Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee who has never been known for her intellect.  Even so, it boggles the mind to think that this fool would get up on the floor of the House and state that it is "a historical fact that President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists.  We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.”

I know that the Democrats are desperate to change the focus of the nation from all the disasters that are coming due to president Obama's failures to do his job and that the latest ploy is to falsely accuse Republicans of plotting Obama's impeachment.  It is a stupid lie, but the Democrats clearly seem to think that their base will accept it nevertheless.  Still, it is one thing to tell lies in support of a political position; the Dems do that all the time (If you like you plan, you can keep it................)  It is something else entirely to tell a lie that can easily be disproven, like saying that the Dems made no efforts to impeach Bush when they clearly did just the opposite.  Even so, it is unimaginably idiotic for one of those who co-sponsored the effort to impeach Bush to now claim in the House that no such effort was ever made.  As a result, Representative Lee look stupid, even for her, and that is truly saying something.

Oh, and you need to know that Ms. Lee's office defended her statement by claiming that she misspoke.

In that spirit, let me add that if anything I said above offended any of my readers, then I must have misspoken.  Yeah, that's the ticket.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The UN as a Combatant

Today in Gaza Israeli forces found a small UN operated clinic that had an entrance to one of the Hamas terror tunnels in a room in the building.  Because of the small size of the clinic, it is literally impossible that the UN personnel in the building were unaware of the tunnel.  In fact, the construction of the tunnel must have disrupted clinic operations for many months.  Simply put, the UN provided cover for Hamas to build a tunnel from Gaza into Israel for the purpose of launching terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.  By the way, the tunnel at the clinic was rigged to explode in the event that Israeli troops found and entered it.  The Israelis used robots to enter the tunnel once it was located and guess what, it exploded.  There were some minor Israeli injuries, but the clinic was destroyed.  I assume tomorrow we will hear from the media about how Israel blew up a UN clinic even though what happened was that Hamas rigged the clinic to explode.

Earlier in the fighting in Gaza, there have been at least three separate occasions when Hamas missiles were discovered stored in UN run schools and other weapons were discovered in a hospital run by the UN.  When the missiles were discovered and their presence in the UN facility publicized, the UN employees in the schools reacted the same way each time:  the UN took the missiles and gave them back to Hamas so that they could be used against Israel.

Meanwhile, many of the casualty figures coming from Gaza are attributed to UN observers.  Normally, one would assume that these observers were impartial, but especially in view of the other UN assistance to Hamas, such an assumption would be faulty.  One thing that we know is that the UN describes anyone who is not wearing a military uniform as a civilian.  The problem, of course, is that many Hamas fighters do not wear uniforms.  That means that if the UN calls half of the dead in Gaza civilians, the actual number of civilians is more likely closer to 20%, a remarkably low figure.

It is obscene that an organization like the UN which is supposed to work for peace has instead become an active participant in aid of Hamas in the fighting.


Good News on the Economy

The first report on the second quarter GDP came out today.  According to the flash report, growth in the GDP was at the rate of 4%.  This is a very good result.  The analysis of the numbers reveals that things are not as good as the 4% rate sounds, however.

First of all, the good number this quarter is partly the result of the terrible number last quarter.  The rate is figured by comparing the second quarter just to the results of the first quarter.  Things were so terrible during the first quarter that when the economy returned to a more normal growth pattern in the second quarter, the growth rate looks bigger.  The best way to understand this is to consider that the growth rate for the first half of 2014 which includes both the terrible first quarter and the much improved second quarter was only 0.8%.  That means that for the first six months of the year, the US economy could not even grow at a rate of 1% per year.  On top of this, there was a big growth in inventory during the second quarter.  More than a third of the difference between the first and second quarter came as a result of higher inventories, something that will work to keep growth lower in the future.  Indeed, when the effect of inventory changes are removed from the numbers, we find that there was nearly no growth during the first half of 2014.

The truth about these numbers is that they provide little guidance as to the future course of the American economy.  Even with a 4% top line figure, the results do not indicate that the economy is revving up into high gear.  Nevertheless, these results at least let us know that America has not fallen back into a recession, and that is a good thing.