The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/28037
Aug. 7, 2014
“Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.” –Elbridge Gerry, Debate, United States House of Representatives, 1789
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
When Asked About Executive Power, Obama Mentions ‘Constitution’
Barack Obama was asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl, “Has Congress’ inability to do anything significant given you a green light to push the limits of executive power?” Obama even managed to mention the word “Constitution” in his response. Obama replied, “I never have a green light. I’m bound by the Constitution. I’m bound by the separation of powers.” But then he skittered off into imperial-president land as he continued. “What I’m consistently going to do is, whenever I have the legal authorities to make progress on behalf of the middle class and folks working to get to the middle class. … I’m going to seize those opportunities and that’s what I think the American people expect me to do.” Ha! Obama said “legal authorities!” He should reread Article 2 Section 3 of the Constitution and remember that it grants him legal authority to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” and reconsider his actions on, say, immigration. More…1
Russia May Be Preparing to Invade Ukraine
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine reached a new level of concern after NATO warned that Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border may be preparing for a military offensive. NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said, “We’re not going to guess what’s on Russia’s mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground – and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.” She adds Russia may be preparing to exploit “a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine.” Recent events explain Russia’s behavior. According to Reuters, “With fighting escalating and rebels losing ground in the weeks since a Malaysian airliner was shot down2 over separatist-held territory, Russia has announced military exercises this week in the border region.” Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t sit idly by while Ukraine makes gains. The question is: What kind of sternly worded warning will the Obama administration send this time? More…3
Kerry: More Farmland Exacerbates Global Warming
State Secretary John Kerry, addressing the U.S.-Africa Summit, claimed that global warming will be worsened by developing more farms and praised Africa for limiting the amount of land allocated for agriculture. “Certain agricultural processes can actually release carbon pollution and help contribute to the problem [of global warming] in the first place,” he explained. “It’s a twisted circle. Always complicated. But we also know there are ways to change that. For example, rather than convert natural areas to new farmland – a process that typically releases significant amounts of carbon pollution – we can instead concentrate our efforts on making existing farmlands more productive. Now this is an area where African leaders have actually been … significantly ahead of the game for some time.” Yes, and that’s evidently worked quite well for poor, hungry Africans and their economies.
Still Awaiting Comments From Obama on Maj. Gen. Greene
On Tuesday, the news broke4 that Maj. Gen. Harold Greene died in a “green on blue” attack in Afghanistan. That day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated, “The thoughts and prayers of those of us here at the White House are with the family of the general, are with the soldiers and the family of those who were injured in this attack.” But that was it from the White House. An officer falls in a foreign field, the highest-ranking officer since 9/11, and Barack Obama himself has remained mum. Like his administration’s cover-up of the Benghazi attack in 2012, this green on blue attack doesn’t fit Obama’s foreign policy narrative. More…5
25 Million Uninsured Americans May Escape ObamaCare Penalty
The plethora of unilateral changes to ObamaCare may let millions of uninsured Americans facing fines off the hook. Fox News reports, “A new congressional report has estimated that more than 25 million Americans without health insurance will not be made to pay a penalty in 2016 due to an exploding number of ObamaCare exemptions.” The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation anticipate four million Americans will be subject to penalty fees, which is down by nearly two million from the last study. According to Fox, “The Obama administration has … added exemptions for hardships like domestic violence, property damage suffered in a fire or flood, or having a health plan canceled when ObamaCare came into effect this past October 1.” Additionally, “Residents of 21 states who have opted not to expand their Medicaid program under the health law may also be exempt from the penalty.” Wasn’t the point of the penalty to ensure health care for everyone and to keep people from exploiting the system? This administration sure has an interesting definition of “success” when 25 million are getting away with opting out of ObamaCare. More…6
For more, visit Right Hooks7.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read The REAL Pandemic Threat: BioBombers8, on why Ebola is not our worst fear.
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Debunking the ‘97% Consensus’ & Why Global Cooling May Loom
It’s summertime – that time of year when man-made global warming alarmism hits full throttle; when simmering heat coincides with the loudest clamoring of impending doom and the need to “take action.”
One of the more popular talking points now used by Democrats, including the president himself, asserts that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skeptics have no credibility because the overwhelming “scientific consensus” believe global warming poses an unequivocal threat. Multiple studies have come to this conclusion, which the Left now view as sanctimonious.
In May, Heartland Institute’s Joe Bast and climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer co-authored an article in The Wall Street Journal, “The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%’10,” exposing these studies as a sham. They found that “[t]he so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.” The researchers presented ambiguous questions to form a bias and even excluded prominent scientists at odds with their agenda. Bast and Spencer point out that one study didn’t even “include solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists or astronomers, who are the scientists most likely to be aware of natural causes of climate change.”
But perhaps the most telling example of deception is found in a study led by alarmist John Cook. His scholarly review11 used test groups with opinions on both sides of the issue, or none at all, who were instructed to analyze more than 10,000 peer-reviewed articles. According to the study, “Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”
Michael Stroup of the National Center for Policy Analysis explains12 why this study is nothing more than a bunch of hot air:
“Focus on that conditional phrase, ‘among the papers expressing a position on AGW.’ [Emphasis added] On page 3 of this study, a simple time series chart shows that OVER HALF of these articles did NOT express an opinion on AGW at all. Further, the percentage of these no-opinion climate articles GREW to well over 60% over the period of study. Meanwhile, the percentage of articles that expressly support the AGW theory FELL from around 50% to well below 40%. This is a far cry from 97%. If less than 40% of all published climate studies explicitly support AGW, does this actually constitute a ‘consensus view’ by the climate science community?”
Unfortunately, such shameful practice is all too common and sets a dangerous precedent in a field where open-mindedness is essential and constant inquisitions imperative.
This would all be amusing if not for the severe ramifications being imposed by policymakers. A severe energy crisis13 may occur as soon as this winter thanks to the regulatory state stifling the energy sector, and cash-strapped Americans may be forced to chose between putting a meal on the table or heating their homes.
To add insult to injury, if current solar projections14 are any indication, the globe may be entering a new period of global cooling. SI meteorologist Paul Dorian writes:
“It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive. … In fact, this solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles. … There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the ‘Maunder Minimum’ … and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the ‘Dalton Minimum’ … and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830. Both of these historical periods coincided with below-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many as the ‘Little Ice Age.’”
“If this trend continues for the next couple of cycles,” Dorian surmises, “then there would likely be more talk of another ‘grand minimum’ for the sun.”
It goes without saying that a cooler climate has far more debilitating effects on agriculture than a warmer one. Only time will tell, but at this rate, climate alarmists may soon be spewing “global warming” hubris through the chattering of teeth.
Time Will Dictate Impact of U.S.-Africa Summit
With the largest U.S.-Africa summit now in the history books, the question turns from the summit’s purpose to its outcomes, and how the latter may or may not achieve the former.
Nearly 50 leaders from the continent of Africa – or, as Vice President Biden would say, “the nation of Africa”15 – along with business and civil society leaders gathered in Washington, DC, this week at the invitation of Barack Obama for the stated purpose of “investing in the next generation.” Specifically, the White House said16 the summit would “build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.”
Before the summit even began, the Obama administration set out to lower expectations in light of previous China-Africa summits. Not to worry, though: Given the president’s smashing foreign policy successes to date, our expectations weren’t too high to begin with. And we were not disappointed.
While highlighting the plight of hunger in Africa, for example, Secretary of State John Kerry balanced his concern with the call not to create more farms in Africa17, because doing so would add more “carbon pollution.” While claiming a commitment to democratic development and the African people, the administration failed to involve human rights organizations in important roundtable discussions. And while announcing an investment in “clean energy,” the administration perhaps missed the message that experts agree coal and natural gas18 are key to meeting the pressing power needs faced by more than half of Africa’s population.
Truth be told, the summit was less about building on progress and more about playing catch-up with China in a trade race in which the U.S. has lagged far behind. While China-Africa trade amounts to $200 billion, annual trade relations between the U.S. and Africa stand at around $85 billion – and only about one percent of U.S. exports go to Africa.
The commercial trade deals announced at the summit, while substantial, will barely begin to close the gap. On Tuesday, U.S. and African leaders unveiled $14 billion in agreements targeting areas including energy, aviation, banking and construction. Additionally, the U.S. government pledged $7 billion to promote trade and investment in Africa and another $12 billion to fund Obama’s Power Africa initiative (which includes clean energy funding).
Despite the fanfare, not all attendees were blissfully optimistic. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, for example, said19 economic development apart from social and political justice will not solve problems, and South African President Jacob Zuma said the economic initiatives don’t go far enough. Meanwhile, others expressed concern that focusing on Africa’s problems would discourage economic investment.
One likely and positive follow-up to the summit will be the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which was first enacted in 2000 and is set to expire next year. Although U.S.-Africa trade has a long way to go, much of what has been accomplished has been the result of AGOA. Yet, even without the summit, AGOA would have been renewed, returning us to the question of whether outcomes will meet ambitions.
In a press conference last night, Obama announced20 that leaders had agreed to a “new peacekeeping rapid response project” as well as to exploring partnerships to fight financial corruption. All worthy aims, but worthy aims alone are meaningless.
As the Heritage Foundation notes21, during Obama’s first campaign for president, one of his senior advisors outlined Obama’s three-part agenda for Africa: accelerate its integration into the global economy, enhance regional peace and security, strengthen democracy and accountability, and reduce poverty. Since the campaign, however, Obama has done little in pursuit of these aims, choosing instead to continue existing policies.
The U.S.-Africa summit offered an exceptional opportunity for the president to give feet to political rhetoric, and only time will tell if the event the president called “extraordinary” will prove to be so. Words are easy; actions demand more. And although the administration claimed success (as is to be expected), as House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) rightly noted20, true judgment can be made only “when the words on paper and the hours of talking are implemented and acted upon.”
For more, visit Right Analysis7.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
Stephen Moore: Don’t Cry for Argentina – Cry for Us22
George Will: The Reason for Watergate?23
Jonah Goldberg: WWI Demons Live24
Arnold Ahlert: America: Unprepared for War25
R. Emmett Tyrrell: Philanthropy Over Politics26
For more, visit Right Opinion27.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Mark Twain (1835-1910): “We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don’t know anything and can’t read.”
Economist Stephen Moore: “[The] headline in the Los Angeles Times – ‘Argentina Defaults on International Debt’ – spooked me, as it did investors. The stock market tanked on the news. All Americans should feel the same apprehension. … Is the day coming when America looks like Argentina? … Probably not any time in the short term. Hopefully never. But the parallels here are not encouraging. Argentina has printed money. Our Fed has created at least $3 trillion through QE1, QE2, and QE3. Their economy has been growing tepidly and shrank in the first quarter of 2014; we’re stuck in a 2 percent growth paradigm. Yet no one in Washington is doing anything about it. … Our interest rates today, thankfully, are low. But if rates rise by two percentage points more than projected … the debt rises by another $3 trillion or so over ten years. Interest payments on the debt could become the single largest expenditure in the federal budget. … Argentines only have themselves to blame. So will we, if we don’t act soon to balance the budget and grow the economy.”
Columnist George Will: “June 17, 1971, was four days after The New York Times began publishing the leaked ‘Pentagon Papers,’ the classified Defense Department history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. [Richard] Nixon worried that further leaks … would reveal his role in sabotaging negotiations that might have shortened the war. This fear caused Nixon to create the Special Investigations Unit – aka ‘the plumbers’ – and to direct an aide to devise other proposals… This aide suggested using the IRS against political adversaries, but added: ‘The truth is we don’t have any reliable political friends at IRS. … We won’t be … in a position of effective leverage until such time as we have complete and total control of the top three slots at IRS.’ Forty years later, the IRS has punished conservative groups, and evidence that might prove its criminality has been destroyed. Happy anniversary.”
Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “People on Israel’s side expect adult behavior from both. People on the Palestinian side seem to expect adult behavior from only one. Is the pro-Palestinian side racist against the Palestinians and don’t think they can be held to the same standard as Israelis?”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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