Israel’s March 17th Knesset Election: Political Intrigue, Yellow Journalism and Economic Brinkmanship

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a snap election in December 2014 for next Tuesday, March 17th, it was on the basis that he would be popularly returned to serve an unprecedented third term as the Jewish nation’s political leader.  That prediction is now ancient history, given what has has turned into one of the nastiest of Israel’s Knesset elections.  While he has admirers outside of Israel exemplified by his laser-like focus on the dangers of Iran bent on obtaining a nuclear weapon, that doesn’t appear to be the case inside Israel in the midst of the current electoral campaign. Some in Israel and abroad looking at the alleged dead heat between Likud and the so-called Zionist Union in notoriously-biased polls in Israel say, in retrospect, perhaps Bibi made a mistake. Add to that the biased print and even TV media in Israel that have waged a daily war against him touting the meme of “anyone but Bibi”.  He has been chastised for some maladroit TV political spots. The opposition has emblazoned phony $100 bills with his punim (face in Hebrew) trying to make him out as the poster boy for plutocrats. The left in Israel accuse him of pushing the economic land values in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem into the stratosphere out of range of young families who need affordable housing. All while many secular Jews have found such housing in the forbidden zone, the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria driving the population in those so-called settlements to more than 350,000. Last Saturday evening there was a monster rally in Tel Aviv with overblown estimates of the crowd ranging from “tens of thousands to over 400,000” who thronged Rabin Square.  Israel’s economy overall is booming, jobs are being created, overseas direct investment is pouring into “silicon wadi” from across the globe.

Nonetheless the country’s economic future and wealth creation is being constrained by the dead hand of the dual economic structure in basic sectors controlled by the remnants of the Histadrut Labor Federation. Regulation by mind numbing bureaucracies defies imagination in the mixed economies of the West. It is exemplified, by the virtual stop of development of Israel’s significant off shore gas fields. Their development could pour billions into the economy, alleviate the burden of defense in the country’s budget and greatly enhance productivity and job creation. Billions have been spent by a joint US-Israeli partnership on that development and billions of royalty and tax revenues were about to flow.  That stoppage is attributable to Dr. David Gilo, who heads the independent Israel Antitrust Authority who unilaterally pulled the plug within days of PM Netanyahu’s calling a snap Knesset election in December 2014. Gilo issued a consent decree accusing the U.S.-Israel partners of constituting an anti-competitive cartel.  Recently Gilo suggested that any final resolution of the impasse would have to wait until after next Tuesday’s Knesset elections. Cynics abound accusing Gilo of being a political hack of the left opposition.

The left opposition itself isn’t robust. The Zionist Union was the merger of Netanyahu’s former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s party Hatnuah and the Labor Party. The Labor Party, resuscitated from a near death spiral, is headed by Yitzhak Herzog.  Israel’s antique political system, the proportional representation for Party lists, is plagued by jockeying among the many parties for membership in so-called ruling coalition governments for control of a majority of the 120 Knesset seats. Israelis cast ballots for the party lists. The country’s basic law does not have the equivalent of ridings as in the Westminster or Canadian Parlia mentary systems or Congressional Districts here in the US. A suggested change in the proportion for party representation under Israel’s basic law of 5.00 was compromised at 3.25 percent in a March 2014 Knesset vote. This was a marginal increase from the previous threshold of 2 Percent.  That led the Arab list of parties, harboring seditious MKs, to announce a unified list that enabled them to pick up 11 mandates in the new Knesset. That led the Zionist Union to consider a possible alliance with Arab MKs to join the government and possibly fill Ministerial posts. The polls currently bounce around showing on any given day a swing of three votes giving Likud a lead one day and on another day the Zionist Union. There is a 20 Percent undecided which has to be factored into final outcome. That might break in favor of Netanyahu and Likud. The only poll that counts in Israel is the one on March 17th in the polling booths.

In the midst of this roiling unseemly campaign, classic yellow journalism has reared its ugly head in the form of a disinformation campaign by one of largest dailies, Yediot Ahronoth (YA).  But first let’s set the stage by looking at the media and the major opponents in this titanic struggle.

Most of Israel’s dailies like Ha’aretzMa’ariv and YA align their editorial and news slants with the left opposition in Israel. Channel 2 and 10, the government owned outlets, also engage in broadcasting opinion as news; especially with it comes to the Netanyahu government. The media is unstinting about uncovering whiffs of corruption such as the alleged lavish spending on cleaning at the PM’s official and other residences following a report by the Auditor General.

The lone exception is Israel Hayom (IH), a virtually free newspaper widely distributed  and funded in large measure by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.  IH is the newspaper of record of the center right in Israel, Likud and Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home) headed by  Naftali Bennett, a former IDF Special Forces commando and high tech centi-millionaire. Bennett had a center left counterpart headed by former Israeli TV news reader, Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party levered the grumblings of what passed for the Israeli version of the Occupy Movement.  That movement sought to obtain increases in government social programs and housing allotments.  Some might argue forgiveness for over draft checking account bank balances that many Israel families use to keep body and soul together. Both Bennett and Lapid held ministerial posts in the Netanyahu cabinet until a blow up with Netanyahu resulted in Lapid and Livni, the former Justice Minister, being fired.

The owner of YAArnon Mozes, sought last weekend to destroy Netanyahu’s center right alliance with a report last Friday that the Prime Minister had sanctioned a 2013 peace proposal created by the US to provide concessions including dividing Israel’s eternal capital of Jerusalem.  It is alleged his objective was to divide the center right, defeating another term for Netanyahu and scoring a tie vote resulting in a unity government. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin had suggested that as a possibility. A majority of Israelis (53%) polled about that prospect rejected it.  Mozes’ manipulation of the truth led to rejection by Likud and Netanyahu and ultimately by US Ambassador Dennis Ross and a PA negotiator as a total fabrication.  Ross was cited by IH saying, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “never agreed to Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders, dividing Jerusalem or the right of return.”

That didn’t stop the editors at Bloomberg from published a  column by Dr. Daniel Gordis, an American ordained Conservative rabbi, who made aliyah  to Israel with his family in 1998.  Next to CNN in the US, Bloomberg has a pronounced bias in favor of the Administration in Washington that would dearly welcome a possible defeat for Likud and Netanyahu.  Gordis had been the founding dean of the Zeigler School of Theology at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles.  He is widely published, an author whose books have won Jewish National Book awards. His columns and articles have been featured in publications like the New York Times and Commentary in the US andAzure Quarterly in Israel.  He serves as Senior Vice President and  Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem.  He writes a regular column — “A Dose of Nuance” — for the Jerusalem Post.  When Operation Defensive Edge broke out last summer in the third rocket war by Hamas, Bloomberg approached him to write a “View Column” seeking to explain Israel and its conflicts to an international audience.  Many follow his columns on the quotidian experiences of his family and children in their absorption into Israeli society. As his children entered mandatory IDF service, we got impressions of the families concerns for their safety and evidence of their resourcefulness in coping. His most recent and well regard book is Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul.

That was yesterday.

The most recent Bloomberg View Column by Gordis was entitled “Netanyahu Campaign Hit by Perfect Storm”.  Gordis portrays Netanyahu as caught up in a web of vitriol by the media and opposition taking shots at the Prime Minister, as well as shooting himself in the foot. Gordis begins with former Mossad emuneh (the “boss”) Meir Dagan  speaking at the monster rally  in Tel Aviv raising the ire of the leftist anti-Netanyahu throng saying, “ Israel is in the worst crisis since its creation”.  Dagan, as you may recall indicated that Iran was incapable of producing a nuclear weapon.  As Israel’s intelligence chief, Dagan also missed the eruption of the Arab Spring and rise of Salafist Supremacist groups like ISIS surrounding Israel. The New Statesman cited him in 2012 with this mea culpa statement:

We didn’t anticipate the timing and we didn’t anticipate the magnitude, but we did think there were severe structural problems. It is important to say that, in terms of the intelligence agencies, their principal focus is not the people but what the governments think. If the governments are surprised, we too are going to be surprised.

Gordis then serves up a Likud TV ad with  depiction of a mobile phone executive, a lazy port worker and a Hamas terrorist, calling it “stupid and offensive”. He cites a YA article published Monday with a response  from a Likud candidate, an Airport Authority director, saying that workers told him they wouldn’t vote for Bibi because the ad  showed them consorting with terrorists. Defense Minister Ya’alon provided thin cover alleging  that the PM didn’t know the content, despite  Netanyahu being filmed reading the lines.  The coup de grace is the now defamed YA fraudulent report about Bibi’s alleged acquiescence to dividing Jerusalem. Gordis then goes after Netanyahu:

On Sunday night, apparently seeking to prove that Netanyahu has not softened, the Likud announced that the prime minister no longer supports the two-state solution. Hours later, Netanyahu denied he ever said that. The Likud is desperate, struggling to keep the ship afloat in a storm that keeps growing stronger.

It has been a steep and precipitous fall since those glory moments on the podium before the U.S. Congress. Netanyahu is clearly in trouble. The two major questions that will determine the outcome of next week’s election are what number of Likud voters will actually abandon the right-wing camp, and whether fear of Tzipi Livni as prime minister will prevent many people from voting Labor (now the Zionist Union).

Gordis returning to Israeli President Rivlin’s unity-government suggestion concludes:

For Netanyahu, the specter of a unity government is painfully ironic. It was a unity government in 1967, just before the Six Day War, that [brought] Menachem Begin (Likud’s founder) into the government. If Israelis end up with a unity government in the next few weeks, the looming question will be whether these elections were a slight bump in Likud’s enduring run, or whether they signal the gradual return to power of Labor, which — beginning in January 1949 — ruled this country uninterrupted for 29 years.

The editors at Bloomberg View didn’t check the breaking news on the YA yellow journalism about the defamed 2013 report on Netanyahu’s alleged agreement to return to the 1967 lines, meaning the 1949 Armistice Line. Why bother when Gordis provided ample ammunition to damage his reputation misleading Bloomberg readers with his lack of fact checking and biases. Now, we await the results in next Tuesday’s Israeli elections.  Whatever those results are will set the stage for negotiations by the leading party selected by Israel’s President to form a ruling coalition for the 33rd Government of Israel. But never before in the Jewish nation’s history has there so many foreign interests opposing the current government led by PM Netanyahu. That is the most troubling aspect of these elections.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Gas Pains During Israel’s Election

Polls in Israel are notoriously biased by the polling organizations. Probably worse than in the US. As Mike Bates, my colleague at 1330am WEBY’in Florida, said, during a recent Voice of Israel  National Security segment, “you only get the response your are seeking by asking biased questions”. That may explain a lot about why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got only a modest bounce overall in Israeli polls following his compelling address before a Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3rd.  Some polls had results that favored Netanyahu’s speech and views about the overarching threats to Israel’s security on Israel’s Golan frontier and a looming nuclear one from apocalyptic Shia Mahdist regime in Iran.

What is perplexing is why the opposition in Israel during the last 10 days of the upcoming March 17th Knesset elections is pounding home the line of “anyone but Bibi”. The so-called Zionist Union with former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnua and Labor Party leader, Yitzhak Herzog, aka Tzipi and Bluji, were reaching out to the Unified Arab list to form a working coalition so that they might be selected to form a  government.  Perhaps they were seeking to be included in a rotating government should a draw occur with the Likud party list headed by PM Netanyahu.  The Zionist Union appears to follow the line set by the Obama White House that Netanyahu has torn the fabric of the long enduring relations between the US and Israel. They further contend that he has  thrown  over a possible peace deal with the corrupt Palestinian Authority in an uneasy alliance with terror group Hamas. A peace deal virtually dividing Jerusalem along the 1949 Armistice line.  What legendary Foreign Minister Abba Eban called the “Auschwitz Line”.  There are even leftist extremists among the supporters of the  Zionist Union party list who favor replacing the Jewish nation’s anthem, “Hatikvah – the Hope”, because they consider it ‘racist”.

It would appear that Netanyahu will need all on the luck of the loyal Yiddish sons of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day to win, let along form the next ruling coalition in the new Knesset.

There is a more troubling aspect of the 2015 Knesset election. It is  the debacle over a major impetus to the spectacular growth of Israel, exploitation of its significant offshore gas fields. The prospect has been been hamstrung by the December 2014 ruling of the country’s independent Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) headed by former Tel Aviv University law professor, Dr. David Gilo.  That ruling, as we have written, accused the partnership of Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy, Inc., Israel’s Delek Drilling Partners and Ratio Oil of being a cartel. It  requested  that  the partners sign a consent decree forcing them to  sell the existing Tamar offshore gas field virtually stopping  development of the Leviathan field in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone.  This after $6 billion was spent to develop the off shore gas fields, denying the realization of an estimated $65 billion in future royalty values to Israel.  Gilo revealed that he was an ally  of  the opposition Zionist Union slate when he virtually kicked the can down the road until after the March 17th election. One wonders if he would cancel his consent decree calling the  Noble Energy – Delek partnerships a cartel if a new government was led by the opposition Zionist Union?  He is intent on fixing the price of gas by placing a cap on it.  The Netanyahu  National Economic Council,  Infrastructure and Energy Ministries produced a convoluted proposed solution to the IAA cartel consent decree.  Dr. Gilo and the governmen authors of the failed alternative proposal are reportedto be  off on a junket to The Netherlands to see how they regulate their on-shore and offshore North Sea gas fields.

All of this comes on the cusp of the March 17th election. There has been some good-bad news about the idiocy of the IAA recommendations.  Professor Norman Bailey of Haifa University, a former Reagan National Security official, lambasted the IAA cartel  consent decree stopping  Israel’s gas development in a March 5, 2014 Globes Israel Business article,  “Antitrust commissioner spoiling the picture”:

On the other side of the ledger, however, is the ongoing crisis of offshore gas development, triggered by the December decision by David Gilo, director of the Antitrust Authority, to renege on his agreement of the previous March with the developers, Noble Energy of the US and the Israeli Delek and Ratio groups, demanding that they relinquish control of either the Tamar or the Leviathan gas fields.

As a result of that reversal, development of the Leviathan field has ceased, Jordan and Egypt are looking for alternative sources of gas, such as Cyprus’ Aphrodite field, and Edison of Italy has withdrawn from consideration of a bid on the development of the smaller Karish and Tanin fields. A committee set up by the government proposed a compromise settlement so complex and unworkable that it was immediately rejected by all sides and withdrawn.

Now the Ministry of Energy has reported that in 2014, the first full year of production from the Tanin field, the government earned 744 million shekels in royalties, expected to rise to 820 billion this year “…and climb to 3.2-3/4 billion by 2019, PROVIDED THAT PLANS FOR EXPANDING THE …GAS RESERVOIRS ARE CARRIED OUT WITHOUT ANY DELAY CAUSED BY THE RECENT EVENTS IN THE ENERGY SECTOR.” (emphasis mine) It goes on to say “The contribution of natural gas to the Israeli economy is extremely significant”.

The Globes headline said it all about the current dilemma, “David Gilo’s zigzag on Noble Energy and Delek’s gas holdings is an economic and political wrecking move.”  Those royalties from the Tanin  gas field, Globes reported were up by more than 40% over earlier estimates. Our colleague Shoshana Bryen  of The Jewish Policy in Washington, DC told us that Professor Bailey will have more to say on Israel’s gas pains in the next quarterly journal  of the JPC’s inFocus.  Her comment on the current situation was  that if Israel’s  offshore gas development is not speedily resolved it could delay develpment by more than three decades.

Criticism  of Gilo and the IAA’s consent decree on off shore gas regulation also came from Shraga Brosh, of the National Manufacturers Association, in a  March 1, 2015Globes article:

An examination by the Manufacturers Association Research Department of the macroeconomic effects of a delay in development of the Leviathan reservoir found that already in 2018-2019, the economy will lose NIS 15.5 billion from a delay in development of the reservoir. 57% of the loss will consist of lost state tax revenues and royalties. The remaining 43% will result from extra energy costs  paid by the economy.”

Brosh added, “The government decided to combat bureaucracy and excess regulation only a few months ago, but by 2018, the current regulators will probably no longer be in their positions, while we, the citizenry, will be left to pay the prices of their irresponsibility.”

We had earlier noted that the royalties from revenues produced  by Israel’s off shore gas fields would finance a Sovereign Wealth Fund for invest both domestically and abroad. Moreover, tax revenues produced from the gas fields revenues could materially offset the current defense expenditures that claim over 17% of Israel’s budget.  There may even be funds made available to take care of social programs and housing issues behind opposition complaints.  But Gilo, Tzipi and Bluji appear indifferent to that largess  for Israel  arising from the offshore gas developments.

MIT- educated PM Netanyahu has assiduously navigated the shoals of conflicting Knesset coalition partners to foster a more open economy than the one  the country’s Labor Socialist founders created. We should recall that during the Second Yishuv pre-state period, leading sectors of  Israel’s economy, were created by the Histadrut Labor Federation, including the country’s health program, construction, Israel Electric Corporation, the Dead Sea Works and Israel Chemicals Limited. One example is Koor Industries.  Koor was  a conglomerate of consumer retail, electronics, fertilizer, pesticides  and even bio tech enterprises that  has been partially broken up through privatization.

Israel has talented world ranked economists and well respected entrepreneurs. This is  reflected in billions of investments in high tech sector start ups and direct investments by firms like Intel, Microsoft and recently Chinese firms.  Israel’s current gas pains arise from the IAA director general’s misshapen economic views which may be the last gasp of the Socialist Labor origins of the country’s economy. Instead of Dr. Gilo running junkets to Holland, he might best read  Austrian  émigré Friedrich Von Hayek’s, The Road to Serfdom. As The Economist wrote in 2014 about the debates between Von Hayek of the London School and Lord Keynes at Cambridge University:

[von Hayek] “argued that the extension of central planning is the start of the growth of constraints on individual liberty, which inevitably leads to the emergence of tyrannical regimes, both communist and fascist in nature.”

Let us hope that the Israeli polity will see the wisdom in returning Netanyahu as Prime Minister following the March 17th Knesset elections.  Perhaps, one of his first orders of business following formation of a new government might be to eliminate Israel’s gas pains so that the Jewish nation has a robust economic future to complement its national security and social program needs.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of the Tamar gas field in Mediterranean Sea. Photo: Albatross Aerial Photography.

Congress has no problem holding these men to a term limit, but refuses to limit itself by Nick Tomboulides

I bet you didn’t know that most members of Congress do support term limits. The catch is, these limits apply only to the president’s tenure – not their own careers.

Under Article V of the Constitution, Congress has the power to introduce and vote on any constitutional amendment, which is then brought before the states for ratification. It’s the same method Congress used to add eight-year presidential term limits to the Constitution in 1947-1951.

That also means Congress is empowered – at any time – to pass an amendment bill to REPEAL presidential term limits. It never happens. Though Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) routinely introduces such a bill, it gets about as much momentum (read: none) as silly proposals to change the flag or create a national jaywalking database.

The dismal support for a repeal of presidential limits can only be read one way: as Congress endorsing the idea of term limits and honoring the public’s high approval for it. But this places America’s ruling class in a tough predicament. How can legislators claim with a straight face that the president should be term-limited but they should get to stay in office forever?

Think about it. All of the flimsy arguments legislators make against term limits on themselves also apply to the president. While Rep. Serrano may be more in disagreement with U.S. Term Limits than any other legislator, we have great respect for his logical consistency. The same can’t be said for his colleagues, who hypocritically oppose term limits on their own jobs while simultaneously upholding them on the president.

Perhaps they all want to be president someday, which would necessitate the job opening up on a regular basis. Well, that’s how teachers, firefighters, small business owners and ordinary Americans feel about Congress. They too would like to serve someday, but they sense that a cabal of unaccountable insiders has taken over, callously refusing to let go out of fear it cannot find a better job.

Contact your member of Congress and tell them you’re sick and tired of the double standard. Tell them “Since you support term limits on the President, you should be consistent by working to enact them on your own office.”

ABOUT US TERM LIMITS:

“Term Limits is known as the largest grassroots movement in American history, and US Term Limits (USTL) was, and still is, the leader of that movement”

Term limits have been placed on 15 state legislatures, eight of the ten largest cities in America adopted term limits for their city councils and/or mayor, and 37 states place term limits on their constitutional officers.

USTL stands up against government malpractice. We are the voice of the American citizen. We want a government of the people, by the people, and for the people- not a ruling class who care more about deals to benefit themselves, than their constituents.

We have worked tirelessly with citizens all across the nation, helping them better understand why term limits are a necessary government reform, and how to implement that vision from your town council, to Congress.

Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush and the Albatross of Common Core

In her column, “Your Common Core Marketing Overlords,” Michelle Malkin revealed that Jeb Bush’s non-profit, Foundation for Excellence in Education, was among those saturating the airwaves with pro-Common Core commercials last spring.  The foundation, she charged, was “tied at the hip” to the federally funded testing consortium (one of two) called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

It’s hard to believe that education may be a determining factor in a presidential election, as it seems to be in 2016, and that it’s due to Common Core.  Back in 2012, polling revealed that nearly 80 percent of Americans knew “nothing” or “not much” about Common Core.  That was three years after the Common Core national standards were quietly agreed to by governors in the Race to the Top competition for a share of $4.35 billion in stimulus funds.

Since that time a grassroots movement of parents, teachers, and citizens has put Common Core on the national political map.  Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt called Common Core the “defining issue” of the presidential race.  He cited Berkeley professor of public policy David Kirp’s New York Times column, “Rage Against the Common Core.”

Top establishment contender, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, however, faces his “biggest challenge” from Common Core.  That is Karl Rove’s estimation.

Jeb Bush: Education Governor?

Rove’s assessment is ironic given that at the end of his term in 2007 Bush was heralded as the education governor and praised for raising educational outcomes.

Jamie Gass, Director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute, says, “I don’t think they anticipated it going this way.”

How did this happen?

Florida State University Political Science Professor Robert Crew claims that Jeb Bush’s A Plus Plan, of grading public schools on a scale of A through F, is seen as a forerunner to Common Core.  It was not popular in Florida, although it did not receive the “vociferous disagreement” he says that Bush has gotten from the tea party for Common Core.

Bush’s claims for education achievement, however, have been revealed as exaggerated.  A 2011 New York Times article noted that under his tenure scores in math and reading improved in the early grades, but dropped off after fourth grade, falling below the national average by twelfth grade.  Off the record, conservative policy analysts say that Bush’s figures were massaged to make them appear better than they were.

Just the Base?

The Hill, in an article titled, “Will Common Core Sink Bush?” concluded, “As a general election issue, education reform barely registers on the list of voter concerns nationally.” Voters “energized by Common Core” wouldn’t be considering Bush as a candidate to begin with.  In other words, it’s a problem with the base, such as those who attended the recent Iowa Freedom Summit.  All six of the potential candidates attending stated their opposition to Common Core.  Bush did not attend.

But Bloomberg News reported on February 1 that its own poll conducted with the Des Moines Register found that nearly two-thirds of likely participants in Iowa’s caucuses consider Bush’s positions on immigration and Common Core to be deal-killers.

Bush’s Common Core problem may extend beyond the base.  A recent PDK/Gallup poll showed that 76 percent of all Republicans object to Common Core.  A firm majority of Americans – 60 percent – oppose Common Core.  Even the Democratic Party of Washington State passed a resolution opposing the Common Core standards on January 24.  This action follows similar Republican resolutions in 2012 at the state party level and in the Republican National Committee.

Who still likes Common Core?

With parents and teachers of both political parties abandoning Common Core, who is left that likes it? Apparently, the profiteers: companies and their non-profit arms. For example, in technology, it’s Microsoft/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; in curriculum development, it’s Pearson Publishing/Pearson Charitable Foundation.  The Chamber of Commerce at the national level, today known more for its support of crony capitalism than small, independent businesses, supports it.  And, of course, there are the politicians who get their campaign contributions.

This is Jeb Bush’s problem. 

In her column, “Your Common Core Marketing Overlords,” Michelle Malkin revealed that Jeb Bush’s non-profit Foundation for Excellence in Education was among those saturating the airwaves with pro-Common Core commercials last spring.  The foundation, she charged, was “tied at the hip” to the federally funded testing consortium (one of two) called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).  One of the top corporate sponsors of FEE, the giant publisher Pearson, profited by $23 million to design PARCC test items and $1 billion for overpriced, insecure iPads for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  In December, Pearson, Inc. agreed to pay $7.7 million to the New York State attorney general for illegally using its non-profit arm to create products to be sold to its for-profit arm.

The Washington Post reported that FEE has been pushing states to embrace digital learning in public schools, with many of those digital products made by donors to Bush’s foundation, “including Microsoft, Intel, News Corp., Pearson PLC, and K12 Inc.”  A New Yorker article too catalogued in detail the billions entangled in “education reform.”

Bush’s position on Common Core has drawn criticism even from those who praise his tenure as governor, as Rep. Debbie Mayfield, Vero Beach, Florida, does.  She claims Common Core is an attempt to impose a national (and unconstitutional) education plan.  “Parents are being pushed out,” as local school boards are stripped of power, she says.

How to Convince Voters

Mike McShane, a research fellow in education policy at the American Enterprise Institute told The Hill that Bush could make it clear that, although he supports the Common Core standards, he would ensure that the federal government would not be pushing it on the states.

But activists have spent years trying to extricate their states from Common Core.  Attempts in Georgia, as I observed, failed because of money interests that have become entrenched in the state with the help of the federal government.

Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow at American Principles in Action, blames “the powerful education establishment (not to be confused with teachers).”  Jeb Bush who has come to be the “very face of Common Core” will not reassure voters with promises not to push the standards through the federal government.

Voters will remember his dismissive attitude towards those who disagree with him, says Robbins: “He’ll have a tough time winning over parents whom he has accused of wanting ‘mediocrity’ for their children.”

Bush is passionately defending his education record, though. The Hill reported that Bush went off script during a speech before the Detroit Economic Club on February 4, and “thundered about how his education initiatives turned the Florida education system around.”  A Bush spokesperson told the paper that the speech was not a defense of Common Core “in particular, but that he still supports the higher standards associated with the practice.”

On February 10, protestors were ready for Bush’s address at an education summit hosted by the Foundation for Florida’s Future, an education nonprofit he founded.  That day, he went even further, omitting the words, “Common Core,” according to Politico and other sources. Although the Politico article mentions only the Democratic Progressive Caucus, it was confirmed to me that there were also conservatives protesting.

It seems that Bush has a bipartisan problem on his hands with Common Core.

EDITORS NOTE: The column originally appeared on the Selous Foundation For Public Policy Research website. The featured image is of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush accompanying President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan at Miami Central Senior High School in March 2011. Photo: AP-Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Why Jews Vote Leftist?

Ben Shapiro takes a clear-eyed look at why American Jews vote for the anti-Israel Left.

The Black Reagan

On February 15, 2013, I published a column titled “The Black Reagan,” in which I compared Dr. Benjamin Carson, former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, in Baltimore, to Ronald Reagan, the most beloved president of the 20th century.  Now, as we approach the 2016 presidential campaign, we find Dr. Carson launching his political career in much the same way that Reagan did on October 27, 1964.  It was on that day that Reagan made a speech on behalf of Senator Barry Goldwater that few conservatives, or liberals, will ever forget.

Dr. Carson’s February 7, 2013, speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, will also be remembered as a historical turning point.  To put it bluntly, with Barack Obama seated within spitting distance, Dr. Carson proceeded to take Obama and all of his liberal friends out behind the woodshed for a long-overdue public ass-kicking.

Dr. Carson, is a black man who typifies exactly what any young man or woman… regardless of race, creed, or color… can achieve in the United States with a little bit of non-Benjamin Spock parenting, some good study habits, a solid work ethic, and some intelligent life choices.  In fact, Dr. Carson is the exact polar opposite of the long-oppressed plantation slaves that liberals and Democrats want black men to be because the very existence of the Democratic Party depends on the continued belief among black Americans that they are the victims of white racism.

Dr. Carson is the product of a single parent home in Detroit.  His mother, who dropped out of school in third grade and who married at age 13, worked two or three jobs in order to make ends meet.  Yet, as her two sons were growing up, she was wise enough to limit the amount of time they spent watching TV each day.  Instead, she required them to read two library books each week.  And although she, herself, was unable to read, she required her sons to write book reports on each of the books they’d read.

After earning an undergraduate degree in psychology from Yale University, Carson attended the University of Michigan School of Medicine.  Following med school he served his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, where he eventually became Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery.  Finally, having proven himself to be the ideal role model for black children… far beyond what liberals and Democrats would ever expect or want a black man to achieve… he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on June 19, 2008.

In his 1964 speech, Reagan reminded us that the Democrats were attempting to convince the people that the primary issues of that election were the “maintenance of peace and prosperity,” and that “we’ve never had it so good.”  In response, Reagan said, “But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn’t something on which we can base our hopes for the future.  No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income.”  He continued, “Today, 37 cents of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector’s share, and yet our government continues to spend $17 million a day more than we take in.  We haven’t balanced our budget in 28 out of the last 34 years.  We have raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times greater than the combined debt of all other nations in the world.”  Multiply those 1964 statistics by a factor of ten and Dr. Carson could have used the same statistics in his 2013 prayer breakfast speech.

In his 1964 speech, Reagan ridiculed Senator Joseph Clark, (D-PA), who once described liberalism  as “meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government.”  Reagan said, “This was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize…  A government can’t control the economy without controlling people.  And they knew (that),  when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose.”

Dr. Carson opened his remarks by quoting Proverbs 11:9, which King Solomon must have written with Barack Obama in mind.  The proverb tells us, “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.”  Obama should have taken that as a hint that he was about to receive a major league tongue-lashing.

In a direct challenge to Obama’s idea of “fairness,” Dr. Carson said, “When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see?  I see the fairest individual in the universe… God.  He’s given us a system.  It’s called (the) tithe.  Now, we don’t necessarily have to do it, 10 percent, but it’s the principle.  He didn’t say, if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithes.  He didn’t say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes.  So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality.  You make $10 billion, you put in $1 billion.  You make $10, you put in $1… but now some people say, that’s not ‘fair’ because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made $10.  Where does it say you have to hurt the guy?  He’s just put a billion in the pot.  We don’t need to hurt him.”

But the most interesting parallel to be drawn between the Reagan speech in 1964 and the Carson speech in 2013 is the way in which both speakers made the point that it is not liberals and Democrats… those who exist by taking money from those who have it and giving it to those who don’t… who are the most loving, caring, and compassionate.

In commenting on the cruel way in which Democrats attempted to demonize Goldwater in 1964, Reagan told his audience some things about Goldwater that few people were aware of.  He told of how, before he entered politics, Goldwater instituted a profit-sharing plan in his business long before trade unions ever thought of it; how he provided health insurance for all of his employees; how he set aside 50% of his business profits, before taxes, in order to establish a retirement plan for his employees.  And he told of how Goldwater sent a regular monthly check, for life, to a former employee who was ill and could not work, and how he provided daycare for the children of mothers who worked in his stores.

Reagan told the story of a returning serviceman, during the Korean War, who found himself stranded at the Los Angeles International Airport in the week before Christmas, trying to get home to Arizona.  Many other returning GIs were having the same problem; there simply were no seats available on any of the commercial airlines.  But then a voice came over the public address system saying, “Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such.”  When they arrived at that location they found Sen. Goldwater waiting there in his plane.  Then, in the days before Christmas, Goldwater spent every day, all day long, flying planeloads of Arizona servicemen from Los Angeles to their hometown airports in Arizona.

In his Prayer Breakfast speech, Dr. Carson described how, some16 years earlier, he and his wife heard of an international study which showed that, in terms of their ability to solve math and science problems, American eighth graders ranked 21st out of the 22 countries surveyed.  It was then that he and his wife created the Carson Scholars Fund.

Instead of receiving only sports trophies for victories on the playing fields, the Carsons saw to it that schools and students were also recognized for scholastic achievement.  The Scholars Fund awarded scholarships to students from all backgrounds for superior academic performance…  Those who demonstrated academic excellence received cash awards.  As Dr. Carson explained, “The money would go into a Trust.  They would get interest on it.  When they would go to college they would get the money…”

According to Dr. Carson, “Many teachers have told us that when we put a Carson Scholar in their classroom, the GPA of the whole classroom goes up over the next year.  It’s been very gratifying.  We started 16 years ago with 25 scholarships in Maryland, now we’ve given out more than 5,000 and we are in all 50 states, but we’ve also put in Reading Rooms.  These are fascinating places that no little kid could possibly pass up.  And they get points for the amount of time they spend reading, and the number of books they read…  In the beginning they do it for the prizes, but it doesn’t take long before their academic performance begins to improve.”  It’s the sort of thing that conservatives regularly do.  Liberals, on the other hand, are noted only for their generosity with other peoples’ money.

In his prayer breakfast remarks, Dr. Carson told the story of a very successful young businessman who loved to buy his mother exotic gifts for Mother’s Day.  When he ran out of new ideas he came across some very expensive birds.  The birds could dance, they could sing, and they could talk, but they cost $5,000 apiece.  He was so excited, he bought two of them.  And when he sent them to his mother he couldn’t wait to call her up on Mother’s Day.  He said, “Mother, mother, what did you think of those birds?”  To which she replied, “They was good.”

The young man was horrified.  He said, “No, no, no, Mother!  Surely you didn’t eat those birds.  Those birds cost $5,000 apiece!  They could dance, they could sing, they could talk!”  To which the mother replied, “Well, they should have said something.”

Ronald Reagan said something very important in his 1964 speech and it was the launching pad that ultimately sent him to the White House.  Dr. Ben Carson also said some very important things in his speech on February 7, 2013, and it will be interesting to see how far and to what heights it takes him.  Like Ronald Reagan, Dr. Carson knows what he believes and does not have to pause to think about which political constituency he might offend before he speaks.  His honesty and sincerity, like Ronald Reagan’s, is such that it appeals to nearly all Americans.

Conservatives have been hungering for a true conservative leader since the day that Ronald Reagan left the White House in January 1989.  It is easy to see how Dr. Ben Carson, the “black Reagan,” could fill those very large shoes.

RELATED VIDEO: Dr. Carson’s comments at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast:

AUTHORS COMMENTS: In a spirit of full disclosure, I feel compelled to mention that, in the days following the writing of this column, I was contacted by the group that is actively promoting Dr. Ben Carson’s presidential campaign. As a result of that conversation I have agreed to join the organization’s editorial task force and to become a member of their think tank.

In recent months I have had the opportunity to offer what I think was some good advice to the Oklahoma coordinator for the Carson organization. When asked what they could be doing to help build a large grassroots organization, I replied, “Nothing. At this stage of the game the only thing Dr. Carson can do to promote his political ambitions is for him to continue doing exactly what he’s doing… which is to appear before as many large and influential audiences as possible. He has done that quite successfully and we find that, at events such as the Southern Republican Leadership Conference and the Iowa Freedom Summit, Dr. Carson has regularly come in second in the straw polls.

I would also predict that Dr. Carson will do quite well in the first Republican primary debate, but it will be the second and thirds debates that will be critically important. When he matches or exceeds expectations in the second and third debates he will quickly emerge as one of the front runners. However, being realistic, I think that Dr. Carson may very well end up in the second spot on the ticket, running with Gov. Scott Walker or another conservative with greater name recognition. I’m convinced that, if Dr. Carson can draw even 17% of the black vote… which is eminently doable… it will be nearly impossible for the Democrat candidate to win.

What should Christians ask of the GOP nominee?

If Republicans win all three branches of government in 2016, what legislation will get passed?

Economic growth, ending middle-class stagflation, reversing the debt divide in college students, repealing Obamacare. Into the policy mix, social conservatives have an important question to ask themselves: What is it we want for our country from a potentially historic GOP victory in 2016?

gop crossRussell Moore laid down an important marker in a recent Wall Street Journal article, which I would translate as God Talk Is Not Enough:

In recent years candidates have assumed that they can win over evangelicals by learning Christian slogans, by masking political rallies as prayer meetings, and by basically producing a long-form new birth certificate to prove they’ve been born again. This sort of identity politics is a luxury of a past era when evangelicals were part of a silent majority in the U.S., with our First Amendment freedoms assumed and guaranteed. That is not the present situation.

Indeed it is not. Let me speak for traditionalists of all religions for a moment.

A few months before the Supreme Court is likely to rule on gay marriage, the incidents causing concern about what gay marriage will mean for dissenters (especially traditional Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims) multiply:

Gordon College students are banned from tutoring public-school students, because of the college’s embrace of standard orthodox Christian rules (no sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman); the request of its college president for a religious exemption from President Obama has now triggered a possible threat to its accreditation.

Meanwhile, Marquette University (a Jesuit institution) is attempting to strip Professor Scott McAdams of his tenure and his job because he blogged critically about the way a college instructor (and grad student) treated an anti-gay-marriage student.

Kelvin Cochran, whose rags-to-riches rise from Shreveport poverty to police chief of Atlanta is as inspiring as any, was fired for self-publishing for his Bible-study class a book that contains two paragraphs exhorting his fellow Christians to live by Biblical sexual values.

In Lafayette, Calif., parents of 14-year-old public-school students are suing because their children were asked in English class whether their parents would embrace them if they were gay — and then these Christian students were publicly shamed and humiliated when they supported their parents’ values.

A Ford Motor Company worker (contractor) was invited to comment on pro-gay-rights material circulated by the company — and then fired for leaving an anti-sodomy comment on the blog.

Note the similar strategies here: invite or force public comment and then discipline those who say the “wrong” thing.

Angela McCaskill was disciplined by her federally chartered university for simply signing her name to a petition putting same-sex marriage to a vote in Maryland.

A judge in Washington State was found guilty of an ethics violation for saying privately in chambers (in response to a staffer’s question) that he would not perform same-sex marriages.

The great god of gay equality demands a sacrifice of $150,000 from Oregon bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein for the sin of refusing to bake a gay-wedding cake.

More than 70,000 people signed their names to a petition saying Mozilla founder Brendan Eich must either publicly recant his opposition to gay marriage (evidenced solely by a relatively small donation to the Prop 8 campaign) or be fired.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it points to where I think the greatest threats lie: closing down educational and work opportunities to traditionalists who dare to speak.

If the GOP would like to leave a legacy that makes a difference, I would argue for generous anti-discrimination protections for those who favor or oppose gay marriage (unless they work for an organization whose substantial purpose is to favor or oppose gay marriage).

A new poll shows 57 percent of Americans believe small-business owners should not be forced to provide wedding-related services. It also shows 44 percent of Americans favor gay marriage, 39 percent oppose it, and a whopping 15 percent are unwilling to offer an opinion in the current environment. Threatening people with losing their jobs is a very effective way to silence and intimidate.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a high-profile press conference offering to provide substantial new protections for gay people provided that robust religious-liberty protections are part of the deal. Live and let live is the offer on the table. So far the official voices of gay rights don’t like it: James Esseks, who directs the LGBT project of the American Civil Liberties Union, told ABC news that the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom “does not give any of us the right to harm others, and that’s what it sounds like the proposal from the Mormon church would do.”

One important marker will come out of Utah, where we will find out if it is possible to craft live-and-let-live legislation or whether gay-rights supporters value legislation primarily as a club to suppress dissent.

The report on the poll includes this comment from a respondent: “Why make an issue out of one florist when there are probably thousands of florists?” asked David Kenney, who’s 59. “The gay community wants people to understand their position, but at the same time, they don’t want to understand other people’s religious convictions. It’s a two-way street.”

Not yet. If social conservatives want to be taken seriously as a political force, we need to do what a handful of Common Core moms have just done: push our concerns into the presidential race.

And for me, if I were to prioritize, the right not to lose my job or my tax exemption because I publicly oppose (or support) gay marriage should be at the top.

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Why Not One Governor is Qualified to be President

Our Constitution has become a suicide pact.

That’s the view of Thomas Jefferson, expressed in an 1819 letter to jurist Spencer Roane, when he said “If this opinion be sound, then indeed is our constitution a complete felo de se”(suicide pact). The opinion Jefferson referred to is the legitimacy of judicial review, the idea, as he put it, that “gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres.” He warned that accepting such a doctrine makes “the Judiciary a despotic branch” that acts as “an oligarchy.”

That “opinion” has been accepted. The despotism has befallen us. The oligarchy reigns.

In recent times federal judges have ruled that Arizona must provide driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, states such as Utah and Alabama must allow faux marriage, and a Wisconsin voter-identification law is unconstitutional. And these are just a few examples of judicial usurpations that continue unabated and go unanswered. But the answer, which needs to be given first and foremost by governors, is simple:

“No.

No — I will not abide by the court’s unjust ruling. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and, insofar as the central government or judiciary violates it, it renders itself illegitimate. As the governor of my state and head of its executive branch, I am charged with the enforcement of its laws. And we will recognize no more unconstitutional juridical or federal dictates.”

(Note: while my main focus here is our much abused judicial review, I’m advocating the same course with respect to all unconstitutional dictates.)

If this seems radical, note that even Abraham Lincoln agreed, saying in his first inaugural address, “[I]f the policy of the government, upon the vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court…the people will have ceased to be their own masters, having to that extent resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

The process I’m advocating here is known as nullification. And should anyone still think it radical or unprecedented, know that we’d only be taking a leaf out of the Left’s book. Explanation?

What do you think “sanctuary cities” are?

They’re places where liberals have decided they’re simply going to resist federal immigration law.

What do you think is happening when states (e.g., Colorado) and leftist municipalities ignore federal drug laws? Nullification is happening.

Yet no matter how egregious, un-American, unconstitutional and despotic the federal or judicial usurpations, the conservative response is typified by what Utah governor Gary Herbert said — feeling oh-so principled, I’m sure — after the federal faux-marriage ruling: “[U]ltimately we are a nation of laws and we here in Utah will uphold the law.” Yes, we’re supposed to be a nation subject to the rule of law.

Not the rule of lawyers.

And our governors are allowing subjection to the latter, feeling noble playing by rules the Left laughs at.

It’s not surprising that revolutionary spirit has been cornered by liberals. The only consistent definition of “liberal” is “desire to change the status quo” — it is revolutionary by definition. In contrast, the only consistent definition of “conservative” involves something antithetical to revolution: the desire to maintain the status quo. Of course, it completely eludes conservatives that today’s status quo was created by yesterday’s liberals. And one modern status quo is to lose culture-war and political battles to the Left. And, boy, do conservatives ever maintain that one. They’re like a guy who goes into a fight, gets poked in the eyes and kicked in the kneecaps, loses, and then the next time still thinks he’s got to follow Queensbury rules.

We hear a lot of talk about “states’ rights.” Ex-Texas governor Rick Perry was a good example of a big talker. But where’s the beef? Merely flapping lips doesn’t sink big-government ships. There have been nullification efforts by state legislatures, mainly regarding federal gun-control law, and many sheriffs across the country have vowed not to enforce such law. And Alabama’s Judge Roy Moore is currently defying a federal faux-marriage ruling. This is laudable, but why are the chief executives MIA? If only we had a governor with the guts of a good sheriff.

We’re meant to be a nation of states, not a nation state. But rights mean nothing if you’re not eternally vigilant in their defense, if you don’t actively stand against those who would trample them. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder threatened Kansas with legal action over a new anti-federal-gun-control state law. If the courts ruled against the state, what would Governor Sam Brownback do? Make some “principled” comments about the rule of law (lessness) and then assume the prone position?

This is why I say not one governor is truly qualified to be president: If a chief executive will not oppose federal tyranny while the head of a state government, why should we think he’d oppose federal tyranny once head of the federal government?

History teaches that entities don’t willingly relinquish power; it didn’t happen in 1776 and it won’t happen now. People are generally quite zealous about increasing their power, though. This returns us to the courts’ usurpations. Do you know where the power of “judicial review” came from? It was declared in the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision — by the Supreme Court.

That’s right: the Supreme Court gave the Supreme Court the Supreme Court’s despotic power.

Of course, unilateral declarations of power are not at all unusual historically. It’s what happened whenever an agent of tyranny — whether it was a conquering king, communist force or crime syndicate — took over. But these despotisms were enforced, as Mao put it, “through the barrel of a gun.” It wasn’t usually the case that the subjects rolled over like trained dogs lapping up lawyer-craft. Oh, it’s not that I don’t see the crafty lawyers’ position. I might like to crown myself Emperor of America, but, should I insist I possess this unilaterally-declared status with enough conviction, I may get a stay in a mental institution. The courts get to dictate to everyone else and spread insanity all the way around.

Perhaps it needn’t be stated, but the power of judicial review isn’t in the Constitution. So is it any wonder that a federal court, concerned about Barack Obama’s comments relating to the judiciary, asked his administration in 2012 to submit a formal letter indicating whether or not it recognized the power? Judicial review, being an invention, is dependent upon the acquiescence of the other two branches of government.

Oh, and what is Obama’s actual position? He believes in the court’s power — when it serves his agenda. Otherwise, he’s willing to ignore court rulings himself, as he did when suing Texas over voter ID in 2013. (In fact, never mind the courts. Obama ignores duly enacted federal law he doesn’t like.)

The lesson?

We can even learn from Obama.

The idea of judicial review is thoroughly un-American. As Jefferson also pointed out, judges are not morally superior to anyone else, having “with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.” Despite this, he wrote in his letter to Roane, while we’re meant to have “three departments, co-ordinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another,” judicial review has given “to one of them alone, the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others”; moreover, he continued, this power was given to the very branch that “is unelected by, and independent of the nation.”  Jefferson then warned that this has made the Constitution “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.” And our country is being twisted along with it as patriots twist in the wind.

Jefferson’s position is just common sense. We cannot be a government of, by and for the people if 9 unelected Americans in black robes can act as an oligarchy and impose their biased vision of the law on 317 million Americans. That is not what the Founding Fathers intended.

Nonetheless, most conservatives are waiting for the next election or the next court ruling or the next president to right the ship, but they and their republic will die waiting when remedial action can be taken now. Nullification — when properly exercised, it’s a fancy way of saying “standing up for the law of the land.” Were I a governor, I’d tell the feds to pound sand and that if they didn’t like it, to send in the troops. I might ultimately end up in federal prison, but I’d light a fire and spark a movement — and become a hero and martyr to millions.

It’s waiting there for you, governors, glory and God’s work. We just need a leader, someone with greater passions for principle than “for party, for power.” It’s waiting.

Rise, American hero, rise.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

President Christie?

I was born, raised and have lived in New Jersey most of my life. That does not, however, make me an expert on Chris Christie, our Governor and currently one of the contenders for the Republican nomination to run for President in 2016.

His major claim to fame is that he has been twice elected in a very Democratic state and has had to deal with a very Democratic legislature. What is rarely mentioned is that the way he has done this is to issue several hundred vetoes to a point where, if the Democrats want anything passed, they have to make sure he likes it. This is also not to say that they haven’t worked with him to rein in the public service unions and address pension reform. To his credit he has vetoed countless liberal measures from gay marriage to a ban on hog gestation crates.

That said, New Jersey still has lots of taxes, lots of regulations, and lots of people who retire and move to Florida. It also, so I am told, has an “attitude.” Texans may say “Don’t mess with Texas”, but in New Jersey we don’t even have to issue such a warning. It is, after all, the home of the fictional Tony Soprano of HBO fame. In truth, it is a place filled with friendly, happy people, so long as you mind your manners.

In a curious fashion, Chris Christie embodies that attitude. He is a skilled orator when he wants to be. As a former U.S. Attorney he “made his bones” by putting a lot of Mafia guys in jail and doing the same for some high ranked Garden State politicians. That was so refreshing the voters decided to elect him Governor. In 2013 he was re-elected with 60% of the vote.

In the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, Christie’s embrace of President Obama when he came to New Jersey for a photo op caused a lot of Republicans to criticize him, but Christie was being a political pragmatist, knowing that the state was going to need a lot of federal funding to help rebuild from the devastation that had incurred. Even so, he has not been forgiven for it.

The Democrats have been desperate to find something that would reduce his popularity and “Bridgegate” became the vehicle when one of his staff stupidly messed with the traffic to the George Washington Bridge, presumably for political reasons. He called a press conference and for more than an hour answered every question he was asked, denying any personal knowledge and participation. The staffer was fired.

Despite that, the non-event was engineered to fester through lengthy legislative investigations that proved he was telling the truth. In addition, Christie has faced a largely hostile state press, led by the largest daily, the Star-Ledger that pathetically derides him in some fashion in every issue, usually on page one.

Beyond New Jersey I suspect that few voters really have any idea who he is despite his efforts to fashion the national recognition he will need to have a shot at the GOP nomination. Unlike Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker whose reputation is based on his solid conservative values in a largely liberal state, Christie is mostly known for his public personality; entertaining, but combative.

For hardcore conservatives, Christie is not conservative enough even though he is pro-life, against assisted suicide, and opposed to equal-pay laws, et cetera. He did secure a property-tax cap, but was unable to get the Democratic legislature to cut income tax rates. He has been criticized on Second Amendment issues favoring a ban on concealed carry and limits on ammunition magazines from 15 to ten bullets. Significantly, he vetoed a state exchange to implement ObamaCare.

Christie is now a national political celebrity and proceeding with a campaign to be the Party’s nominee. We shall see his name among the polls as his rankings rise or fall. That doesn’t mean voters have any real idea who he is or what he stands for.

That was the theme of Wall Street Journal columnist, Kimberly A. Strassel’s “What’s the Big Idea, Christie?” on February 5. She opined that “His best shot is therefore to look forward and wow conservatives with a full-throated economic and tax-reform agenda—especially since nobody has much of an idea what a Christie agenda would encompass.”

“Conservatives are vaguely aware that he has done useful things in the Garden State. Some like his style. But they also know he’s from, well, New Jersey, and that’s made them open to rumors they’ve heard about his positions on climate change, gun control, and social issues. Some wonder if he’s a big-business, Northeast Republican.”

Politically I think the nation has been moving more into the conservative political zone and we can thank President Obama for that, but Strassel is right when she says Christie has to select a few major issues and hammer them to gain the kind of support he will need to secure the nomination.

As Strassel notes “The measure of a Christie run won’t be whether he can outtalk or outglitter his putative Republican primary competitors. It will come entirely down to whether he can outmatch them on substance.”

I like him, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Governor Christie saying he would respect voters if they approved gay marriage. Source: AP Photo.

VIDEO: Senator Rand Paul, ‘Republicans need to be boldly for what we are for!’

Senator Rand Paul (R-TN) delivered a speech in Sarasota, FL on Valentines Day 2015. He asked the gathered members of the Republican Party of Sarasota County (RPOS), “is anyone here a Democrat light?” Watch the response. Senator Paul calls those in Washington, D.C. the “non-productive sector.” He attacks Islam for its blasphemy laws. “Can we project power from bankruptcy court?” asked Senator Paul.

Senator Paul said, “Republicans need to be boldly for what we are for and boldly go where we have not gone before.”

Senator Paul was introduced by Joe Gruters, Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and Chairman of RPOS. Senator Paul was presented with the RPOS 2014 Republican of the year award.

RELATED ARTICLE: Do We Need the State to License Professionals?

The Worst U.S. President Ever!

I won’t be around to see it, but I have little doubt that future historians and others will conclude that President Barack Hussein Obama was the worst President ever to serve in that office.

The reason is simple enough. His decisions on domestic and foreign affairs have already demonstrated his astonishing incompetence. His major contribution may in fact be to ensure that the voters elect conservatives in the next two or more elections to come. If he is remembered for anything it well may be the emergence of the Tea Party movement whose influence has been seen over the course of two midterm elections.

One cannot help but think of such things as President’s Day, February 16, reminds us of Washington and Lincoln, both of whom were born during this month. For most it is just a day on which there are a variety of sales pegged to it. For all of us, however, it acknowledges the two Presidents without whom there would not be a United States of America.

Presidents Washington, Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt are routinely ranked at the top of the lists of those judged to have been of greatest service to the nation and, not incidentally, all three presided over wars that led to and maintained America’s sovereignty.

When I have read about Washington’s life, I am always impressed by the man and, not surprisingly, so were his contemporaries, the men he commanded over the long course of the Revolutionary War. The Americans of his time had the highest regard for him. It was Washington who set the pattern of only serving two terms. When the American artist, Benjamin West, told England’s King George III of Washington’s decision, the king said, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”

In his 1796 farewell address, Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.”

Imagine a modern politician talking of religion and morality as the basis of political prosperity—least of all Obama who has disparaged Christianity and protects Islam.

America was particularly blessed and fortunate in its earliest years to have a succession of men who demonstrated extraordinary intelligence, courage, and moral integrity. Following Washington there was John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams. Few nations have been so blessed as ours.

One can only examine Lincoln’s life with a sense of wonder as he rose from humble beginnings to the role of keeping the Union intact in the face of the secession of southern states and the horrendous war that followed. Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 and on April 14 Lincoln was assassinated by an actor, John Wilkes Booth. His death was the occasion of the first American national funeral as cities and towns did their best to out-do one another to honor him. It took his death for people to realize the magnitude of what he had achieved.

The advice Lincoln offered in his time is just as important, if not more so, in ours:

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt and, earlier, Theodore Roosevelt, are also highly ranked among the Presidents. Both men shared a zest for the job, enjoying it. Teddy regretted announcing that he would not run for a third term (which he did with the Bull Moose Party) and FDR ran and won four times! He did so during the Great Depression and World War II.

Two other families played a role in the presidency, the Adams and, in the modern era, George H.W. Bush was the 41st President and George W. Bush was the 43rd. It is popular to disparage both men, but history may come to another judgment.

President Obama has brought nothing to the presidency except his Marxist theology. He was the least prepared in terms of experience in the workplace and his elections have been more about the manipulation of public opinion and his two terms have been an endless succession of lies.

His signature legislation, ObamaCare, has undermined the nation’s healthcare system. His solution to the Great Recession added more debt in his six years in office than the combined debt of every previous President up to Clinton and did not stimulate the economy as promised.

His ignorance of history and of current events is vast. Google “What does Obama know?” and you will find many articles that document this.

He has been protected by a liberal mainstream media, but the voters have seen through that and have turned political power in Congress over to the Republican Party.

One thing is for sure. On future President’s Days, Obama will barely be noticed when Americans look back on those who did much to address the great issues and challenges of their times.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Israel’s Republican Governor?

This morning I opened up a Ynet.com  Op ed, “Israel’s Republican Governor”,   by Tel Aviv University Professor Aviad Kleinberg, a member of the History Faculty and according to the information on him, a medievalist by specialization with interests in  religion and philosophy. Kleinberg conclusion was:

Despite his declarations, Netanyahu is thinking less about Iran and more about politics – both Israeli and American. While the Republicans are deriving pleasure from the slap in Obama’s face, the price will be paid by us.

Kleinberg starts off  trying to hoist PM Netanyahu with these comments:

“While there are those who are focusing on protocol or politics, a bad deal with Iran is being formed,” Benjamin Netanyahu has declared. The remedy for this bad agreement, it turns out, is a speech which the prime minister will deliver in Washington, D.C.

Netanyahu is suggesting the following equation: It’s true that this speech faces a strong opposition in the United States. It’s true that it is infuriating the administration and will create high tensions between Israel and US President Barack Obama. It’s true that there is a good chance that the administration will punish Netanyahu (i.e., the State of Israel) because delivering the speech is perceived as breaking the acceptable rules of the game between countries (a head of state does not make an official visit when the head of the state he is visiting makes it explicitly clear that he is not interested in the visit). It’s also true that to an innocent bystander, it seems like cynical attempt to grab the spotlight in order to advance the guest’s interests in the election campaign. But all that pales into insignificance in the face of the fundamental achievement – stopping the bad agreement with Iran.

You can read the rest here...

Times of Israel 2015 Election PollProfessor Kleinberg’s trust in President Obama’s effort via the P5+1 negotiations to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear breakout and producing weapons is not reflected in the latest Times of Israel  (TOI) poll of Israeli views on the upcoming Knesset election issues and party list candidates released yesterday.  The TOI headline was, 3 in 4 Israelis don’t trust Obama to keep Iran from nukes.

The TOI poll findings were:

Asked whether they trust the U.S. president to ensure Iran not get the bomb, an overwhelming 72% do not, compared to 64% in our January 2014 survey.

Israeli voters give Obama a 33% favorable and 59% unfavorable rating, The Times of Israel’s survey also shows. Still, the president’s favorable and unfavorable ratings (33%/59%) aren’t much worse than those of several of Israel’s politicians such as Moshe Kahlon (45%/32%), Netanyahu (41%/54%), Isaac Herzog (38%/43%), or Naftali Bennett (38%/52%). Obama is on par with Yair Lapid’s current rating of 34% favorable and 59% unfavorable, and has a better perception than Tzipi Livni (29%/64%) and Avigdor Liberman (31%/61%).

Read more

Here is what I posted as a comment on the Ynet.com in response to Professor Kleinberg’s Ynet.com opinion:

Professor Aviad Kleinberg of Tel Aviv U’s history department betrays his expertise as a medievalist when it comes to opining on American politics. He of all people should recognize this less than Machiavellian ploy by the Obama West Wing seeking to dis Bibi for accepting Speaker Boehner’s invitation to speak before a Joint Session of Congress about Iran’s nuclear hegemony agenda and Radical Islamists on your borders.

One only need look at polls in the U.S. on the matter of the PM speaking before a Joint Session of Congress to realize that he has the backing of 50 % of Americans respondents.. Methinks the Professor protests too much in light of the agitprop by the Presidents’ media minders in the West Wing seeking to provide support for the so-called Zionist Union in the March 17 snap Knesset elections. Which has been revealed in both the liberal NY Times and Washington Post.

If Bibi ran as a Republican Governor here in the Sunshine State he’d win hands down. Can’t say that for ‘Democrats’ Tzipi and Bluji who can hardly match the PM’s Churchillian cadence nor his gravitas on mutual national security interests of concern to Israel and the West.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Obama’s Mainstreaming Jew Hatred in America – Caroline B. Glick

Obama Is Pursuing Regime Change in Israel- Foreign Policy Magazine

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. House Speaker Boehner and Israeli PM Netanyahu taken on May 24, 2011 before his speech to a Joint Session of Congress. Source: NER.

Obama’s Fingers in the Cookie Jar?

In an October 21, 2008 column, titled “Obama is Bought, but Who Owns Him?” I quoted the Obama campaign’s last pre-election financial report which showed that their contributor base had grown from 1.5 million to 2.5 million, and that the total amount raised was approximately $600 million… 25% of it ($150 million) from those contributing from $2,000-2,300.  If that was to be believed, that segment of his contributor base had grown from 37,000 to 71,400 in just over three months, leaving the remaining $450 million to be contributed by some 2.43 million people, each giving $5, $10, $20… or, as Obama assured us, “whatever they could afford.”

Of course, no one but a product of our public education system would be unable to calculate that $450 million cannot be contributed by 2.43 million people in $5, $10, or $20 amounts.  To create a pool of that magnitude, each of those 2.43 million people would have to contribute, on average, just over $185.  That simply does not happen.  It has never happened before, and anyone who believed that actually happened will believe almost anything.  So how were they doing it?

In a July 25, 2008 column we pointed out that UBS Americas, headed by Robert Wolf… along with George Soros, one of Obama’s top two money men… had been accused of highly unethical and illegal banking practices in six months of hearings by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, headed by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI).  According to an article in The Nation magazine, UBS Americas, a subsidiary of UBS, of Zurich, Switzerland, “had advised wealthy Americans, including many of our worst villains, how to shelter funds from the IRS, as well as from prosecutors, creditors, disgruntled business associates, family members, etc.”

In a Statement of Facts in the criminal trial of former UBS executive Bradley Birkenfeld, it was alleged that UBS took extraordinary steps to help American clients manage their Swiss accounts without alerting federal authorities.   For example, UBS advised clients to avoid detection by using Swiss credit cards to withdraw funds, to destroy all existing off-shore banking records, and to misrepresent the receipt of funds from their Swiss accounts as loans from the Swiss bank.  According to The Nation, UBS established an elaborate training program which taught bank employees how to avoid surveillance by U.S. law enforcement, how to falsify visas, how to encrypt communications, and how to secretly move money into and out of the country…

It was the perfect instrument for funneling large sums of illegal campaign contributions into the coffers of an unscrupulous American politician.  Putting two and two together, I concluded that any number of foreign contributors, wishing to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections, could transfer unlimited sums of money through this device, using the Swiss bank accounts of unsuspecting American depositors as vehicles.  The owners of the Swiss accounts would receive periodic statements indicating: a) debits of varying amounts, up to $2,300 each, and b) offsetting credits provided by the cartel, or by a wealthy “international financier.”

For most of the super wealthy, especially those attempting to hide income and assets from U.S. authorities, an unexplained debit of $2,300, followed by a credit of the same amount, would not even raise an eyebrow.  So who would ever know the source of such contributions?  No one.

On the receiving end of the transactions, a U.S. recipient, such as the Obama campaign, could receive thousands of individual contributions via Swiss credit card transfers, with unsuspecting fictitious contributors… their names, addresses, and occupations “borrowed” from Obama’s extensive list of $10 and $20 contributors… being entered by teams of staffers working in a “boiler room” setting, preparing falsified reports for the Federal Election Commission.

A subsequent report by Newsmax, having studied thousands of pages of Obama’s FEC filings, found some66,383 highly suspicious contributions, not rounded to even dollar amounts, from 37,265 donors.  For example, an insurance agent from Burr Ridge, Illinois, reportedly gave a total of $8,724.26, more than $4,400 over his legal limit.  He gave in odd amounts such as $188.67, $1,542.06, $876.09, $388.67, $282.20, $195.66, $118.15, and one of $2,300.

A self-employed caregiver in Los Angeles made 36 separate contributions totaling $7,051.12… more than $2,450 over her legal limit.  Thirteen of those contributions were later refunded.  However, in an odd coincidence, those 13 refunds, in amounts such as $233.88 and $201.44, came to an even $2,300, the maximum allowable in any one election.  Another contributor, a retired schoolteacher from Rockledge, Florida, is reported to have given $13,800… $9,200 over his limit.  However, when interviewed by Newsmax, that contributor could not remember giving that much money to Obama.

Lest anyone suggest that those 37,265 donors either emptied their piggy banks or emptied their pockets and purses periodically and just sent it all to Obama, pennies and all, allow me to suggest something a bit more sinister.  Those 66,383 contributions were the proceeds of foreign currency conversions, smuggled into the country in foreign credit card receipts, and deposited in Obama’s campaign coffers using the forged names of some of Obama’s $10 or $20 contributors.

But now it is alleged that Loretta Lynch, Obama’s choice to succeed Eric Holder, is up to her eyeballs in yet another Obama administration criminal enterprise in which the banking system was misused in much the same way as in the 2008 foreign currency smuggling operation.  According to a February 7, 2015 report in WorldNetDaily (WND), the Obama Department of Justice appears to be stonewalling the release of documents that could implicate Ms. Lynch in a massive cover-up of Obama administration involvement in the international money-laundering of Mexican drug cartel money.

WND reports that Lynch, while serving as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, “oversaw the investigation of drug-related international money-laundering allegations against London-based HSBC Holdings, LLC.”  WND had previously published a series of articles documenting charges that HSBC laundered billions of dollars that were traced back to Mexican drug cartels.  That investigation resulted in a $1.256 billion fine paid to the U.S. government, ending the investigation and avoiding the filing of criminal charges.

According to the WND report, the federal government’s unwillingness to prosecute HSBC was exposed by whistle blower John Cruz, a former HSBC vice president in New York, who called the bank a “criminal enterprise,” saying that the fine imposed by the Department of Justice was “a joke.”  After being forced out of HSBC, Cruz filed a $10 million lawsuit against HSBC, charging “retaliation and wrongful termination.”  At that point, whistle blowers in India and London joined Cruz in charging that the HSBC settlement amounted to a “massive cover-up.”

WND charged that, in retaliation for their reporting of Cruz’s evidence, “HSBC lodged a complaint that blocked Internet access to one of the WND stories, and WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi was fired by Gilford Securities, the New York City investment firm he had worked with for two years as a senior managing director.  However, the plot thickened when WND uncovered evidence suggesting that the Obama Justice Department failed to proceed with the investigation of money-laundering charges in deference to bank clients of the Washington-based law firm where Eric Holder served as a partner prior to becoming attorney general.

In a telephone interview on February 6th, Cruz told WND that the Obama administration “is continuing to cover up its role in the HSBC money laundering scandal.”  He went on to say that “the IRS has blocked every legal effort he has made to be credited as a whistleblower in the HSBC billion-dollar settlement.”  He said, “It is impossible that the Obama administration did not know HSBC was laundering drug money for the Mexican cartels, because the documentation I had showed the laundered money passed through the federal wire-transfer services.”

Cruz charged that the 1,000 pages of customer account information he provided show that HSBC’s money-laundering activities relied heavily on identity theft and purloined Social Security numbers that were “then used to create bogus retail and commercial bank accounts.”  Through those bogus accounts, HSBC employees systematically deposited and withdrew hundreds of millions of dollars on a daily basis, apparently without the knowledge of the identity-theft victims.  He explained that when a bogus bank loan was established under a stolen identity… causing much consternation among individuals who found they were the recipients of loans they knew nothing about… five percent of the loan proceeds went to the accounting firm that prepared the phony tax returns and the other 95 percent went to the HSBC managers.

Cruz explained that one manager was involved in the transaction, another manager was involved in notarizing the transaction, and senior management was involved when they approved the loans, even loans that had been rejected by underwriters.  In order to avoid prosecution for violation of the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the Trading with the Enemy Act, HSBC agreed to pay the $1.256 billion fine in a deferred prosecution agreement with Obama’s Justice Department.

With Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch having major roles in the cover-up, Ms. Lynch will have a great deal of explaining to do as her confirmation hearings continue.

In the meantime, it would be most interesting to study FEC contribution reports to learn how much HSBC money found its way into the hands of Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and numerous Democratic candidates.

Greece Jumps from Scylla to Charybdis

A new Socialist party has seized Greek power by Iain Murray:

Every Greek child reads Homer in school. So Greek children are familiar with the legend of Scylla and Charybdis, from Homer’s Odyssey. The sailor Odysseus, returning home after the Trojan War, is faced with a desperate choice in the straits separating Italy and Sicily. To one side is the monster Scylla, who will tear his ship and eat his crew. On the other is the whirlpool Charybdis, which will suck his entire ship down to the depths. He chooses to sail past Scylla, and loses only a few of his crew. Greece, in its recent parliamentary election, faced a similar choice. But unlike Odysseus, Greek voters chose Charybdis.

The whirlpool was represented by Syriza, a radical leftist party that sprang out of nowhere to fill the void created by the collapse of PASOK, the long-established Greek Socialist party. It was the last PASOK government, headed by George Papandreou (from a family that produced three Socialist prime ministers), that steered Greece into these straits in the first place.

Papandreou was presented with the boon of cheap money following Greece’s entry into the eurozone in January of 2001. At the time, the European Central Bank (ECB) pursued policies aimed at shoring up Germany’s then-flagging economy by borrowing heavily to finance public spending. The result was the debt crisis that began in 2010.

Greek voters came to regard PASOK as the party of nepotism and corruption, and shifted their support to the Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza for its Greek acronym. Syriza positioned itself as anti-corruption, anti-bank, and (at least implicitly) anti-euro, and for increased levels of public spending and welfare.

Syriza narrowly lost to the center-right New Democracy party in the 2012 election, but was able to capitalize on increasing public discontent with that party’s policies afterward. A majority of Greeks perceived New Democracy to be governing at the behest of the “troika” — the European Commission, the ECB, and the International Monetary Fund — that set conditions for the Greek bailout.

The troika’s conditions were characterized as an austerity program intended to lower the country’s debt burden. It consisted of a combination of increased taxes and lower public spending by means of privatization, staff layoffs, and welfare cuts. But it did not include major structural reforms, so the Greek economy has yet to recover, with unemployment at 25 percent overall and 60 percent among young people.

Syriza’s platform rejected austerity. Instead, it offered a return to prosperity by lowering taxes on the working class and increasing spending to stimulate demand, while providing “free” electricity. How would it pay for this? By more heavily taxing “the rich” — of course! — and by diverting money from bond repayments to public spending following a negotiated debt restructuring. It also expects the ECB to steer its new quantitative easing program toward buying Greek debt.

This set of policies, described euphemistically as “mild Keynesianism” by its prime author, is precisely what got Greece into trouble under PASOK — spending financed by the rest of Europe. But this time the rest of Europe is unlikely to stand for paying Greece’s bills. German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has already signaled that he expects Greece’s new government to abide by its international agreements.

All this sets Greece on a straight course for another whirlpool: default and a possible “Grexit” from the euro. The new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has said he wants to avoid both eventualities, but it is hard to see how he can achieve this without forcing the troika and Germany into a humiliating U-turn.

There is a strong argument that Grexit would actually be good for Greece, which should probably never have entered the eurozone in the first place, but the Greek people remain strongly in favor of the European project. They would likely blame Grexit on Germany, leading to even greater political tensions. The fact that Syriza’s coalition partner, the right-wing populist Independent Greek party, is militantly pro-Russian would just exacerbate this further.

Not all the blame for this terrible situation should fall on Greek voters. While the austerity program of New Democracy and the troika looks impressively Thatcherite at first sight, it includes very high taxes and misses out on one vital element: institutional and regulatory reform. Greece’s financial and labor markets are still hopelessly bureaucratic. New Democracy’s attempts at reform were half-hearted at best.

As long as Greece remains beset by a bureaucracy that promotes corruption as the best way around it, its economy will remain in the doldrums, regardless of how austere or profligate any one government may be.

Greece does not have to choose between Scylla and Charybdis. As the accompanying cartoon from 1790s England suggests, it is possible to steer between the rocks of anti-establishment populism (in Greece’s case, Syriza) and the whirlpool of an arbitrary executive (the troika). It can do so if its sets a straight course for the safe harbor of liberty.

ABOUT IAIN MURRAY

Iain Murray is vice president at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The Great 2016 TEA Party Dilemma

I had the honor of hanging out with a great group of patriots, the Fort Lauderdale TEA Party. I was the keynote speaker at their 309th consecutive meeting. My message articulates why Conservatism is best for all Americans and why Liberalism is destructive. My presentation also includes me singing which enhances my message because music strikes a universal emotional chord.

The audience at the meeting included the president of a high school Republican club. I asked why he chose Conservatism. He chucked and attributed it to his high IQ. There is hope for the future folks.

The extremely faithful and fired-up patriot leaders of the group are Danita and Jack; new friends of my wife Mary and me.

Jack informed me that a poll revealed that Jeb Bush topped his group’s list of least favored presidential candidates for 2016. A gentleman bent my ear for quite a while, ranting about how he will stay home on election day if Jeb Bush is our candidate. He vowed never again to hold his nose and vote for a RINO, citing having voted for McCain and Romney.

Remember, Obama was reelected in 2012 because four million Republicans chose not to vote. Some thought whats the point – Romney vs Obama, six of one, half a dozen of the other. Some Christians said they could not vote for a Mormon. I thought, “Great, so you sat at home and allowed a true devil to win!” Having said that, I do respect and appreciate that Conservatives are thinkers and are driven by character and principles.

I held my nose and voted for Romney because I knew the alternative was much, much worse; giving the most America hating arrogant out-of-control president in U.S. History four more years to urinate on our Constitution; purposely lower our status on the world stage and correct what he erroneously perceives as America’s injustices.

Our president is obviously an anti-America-as-founded far left radical operative; an enemy from within. During the Cold War some feared the Communists would overtake us without firing a shot. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Barack Hussein Obama.

My faith in God keeps me upbeat and confident that we will overcome the evil seeking to destroy our great nation. God’s Word instructs us not to grow weary in well-doing.

As for Jeb Bush becoming our nominee, I am thumbs down on him because of his support for Common Core (big government overreaching control of education) and amnesty for illegals.

However, if it comes down to Jeb Bush or another flaming RINO as our candidate, the Tea Party will be faced with a difficult dilemma.

Think of the consequences of Hillary becoming the first woman to sit in the big chair in the Oval Office. The Dems and MSM will make every issue about her gender. To silence all opposition to President Clinton continuing Obama’s fundamental transformation of America (socialist/progressive agenda), the Democrats and MSM will update their propaganda, branding all opposition “sexist” rather than “racist.”

We’ve seen this movie before. The MSM will beat the public over the head 24/7 with their lie until the public is repeating it; opposing Hillary is sexist, white cops murder blacks, white privilege is a problem, Republicans are at war with women and so on.

Hillary Clinton occupying the White House will in essence mean at least four more years of a Democrat regime believing themselves invincible, free to continue using the Constitution as toilet paper.

We can not allow the deep-pocketed GOP establishment or mainstream media to select our presidential candidate.

So, how do we avoid the great 2016 Tea Party dilemma, having to vote for a RINO? We must rally around a conservative candidate who probably will not walk on water (be perfect on every issue). I can support a non perfect conservative candidate as long as they are fearless and laser focused on stopping Obama’s insane evil agenda.

I am starting to hear patriots say they are “all in” for their favorite 2016 presidential candidate; Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson and so on. Fine, I am cool with that. I am not ready to go “all in” for anyone at this stage.

All I ask is that we unite and rally around the last conservative standing. Folks, I pray that our nation can recover and turn back the mess of 8 years under Obama, America’s first king. The last thing America needs is Hillary, America’s first queen.