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After 30 Years Of Lies, NY Times Admits “Assault Weapons Are A Myth”
Posted by Bob Owens on September 13, 2014 at 8:44 am
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In a stunning op-ed released Friday, the NY Times finally admitted that “assault weapons” are a made-up political term fabricated by anti-gun Democrats.

Op-ed writer Lois Beckett also admitted that once the term was manufactured and used to outlaw a class of weapons that dishonest anti-gun Democrats had used to con an entire nation, nothing happened.

It was much the same in the early 1990s when Democrats created and then banned a category of guns they called “assault weapons.” America was then suffering from a spike in gun crime and it seemed like a problem threatening everyone. Gun murders each year had been climbing: 11,000, then 13,000, then 17,000.

Democrats decided to push for a ban of what seemed like the most dangerous guns in America: assault weapons, which were presented by the media as the gun of choice for drug dealers and criminals, and which many in law enforcement wanted to get off the streets.

This politically defined category of guns — a selection of rifles, shotguns and handguns with “military-style” features — only figured in about 2 percent of gun crimes nationwide before the ban.

Handguns were used in more than 80 percent of murders each year, but gun control advocates had failed to interest enough of the public in a handgun ban. Handguns were the weapons most likely to kill you, but they were associated by the public with self-defense. (In 2008, the Supreme Court said there was a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.)

Banning sales of military-style weapons resonated with both legislators and the public: Civilians did not need to own guns designed for use in war zones.

On Sept. 13, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law. It barred the manufacture and sale of new guns with military features and magazines holding more than 10 rounds. But the law allowed those who already owned these guns — an estimated 1.5 million of them — to keep their weapons.

The policy proved costly. Mr. Clinton blamed the ban for Democratic losses in 1994. Crime fell, but when the ban expired, a detailed study found no proof that it had contributed to the decline.

They created and then banned a class of weapons.

“Assault weapons” is a made-up term, used to scare citizens into thinking that military weapons were commonly being sold and used on the streets of the United States. Thanks to a dishonest and incompetent media, millions of Americans thought (and still think) that machine guns could simply be purchased at the local gun store. The reality that the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act outlawed the manufacture of automatic weapons for the civilian market in 1986, was always hushed up.

Yes, it has been 28 years since a single machine gun was manufactured for the American public. There are no assault rifles being sold in the United States. There are only firearms that look like weapons of war, but which lack their ability to fire multiple shots with a single pull of the trigger.

These firearms—AR-15s, AKMs and similar rifles—while incredibly popular with America’s law-abiding gun culture, simply aren’t used in many crimes. This should be surprising, since they are now among the most popular firearms sold in the United States in the past decade. The AR-15, in particular, is the most popular rifle sold in the United States year after year, and there are ten times as many in civilian hands as there are visually similar M4/M16 assault rifles in the entire U.S military.

But career criminals don’t want long guns. They want firearms that are compact and easy to conceal.

The op-ed concludes that violent homicides are primarily a poverty issue disproportionately concentrated among small groups of particularly violent young men, a stunning and rare admission that poverty and the drug trade are the primary problem driving murder, not access to firearms.

Don’t expect this sort of stunning admission of the facts to mark a change in cover from the Times, however. The brief bout of lucidity will quickly fade behind the veil of Alzheimer’s liberalism, and we’ll hear the rest of the deranged gaggle of op-ed writers to quickly fall back into the mantra of “Guns are bad, the NRA is evil, we need more taxes, government, citizen control, etc.”

Still… it’s nice to see that every once in a while a real and honest thought can escape from the morass of Manhattan, however fleeting that honest thought may be.

The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/29070
Daily Digest
Sep. 12, 2014

THE FOUNDATION
“[T]his is not an indefinite government deriving its powers from the general terms prefixed to the specified powers – but, a limited government tied down to the specified powers, which explain and define the general terms.” –James Madison, Speech in Congress, 1792

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Blocking Obama’s ISIL Strategy
In his speech to the nation1 on ISIL Wednesday, Barack Obama declared, “[W]e will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. … [W]e will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.” He claimed to be assembling a “broad coalition” in support of his mission so as to not, as he has previously put it, “go it alone” like George W. Bush in Iraq. Bush went with support from 37 countries; Obama has fewer than 10. And one of them is not Turkey, which announced Thursday2 it would not permit U.S. aircraft to conduct airstrikes from its air bases. That limits our options to carriers in the region or other NATO bases further away. Oh, and Great Britain and Germany3 also won’t be helping with airstrikes. Behold, the results of “leading from behind.”

We’re Not at War, Kerry Says
Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Thursday that we are not at war with ISIL – at least not just yet. “What we are doing,” he said, “is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation.” Just to reiterate the point, he said, “If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counter-terrorism operation.” We’re glad he cleared that up. It reminds us of Kerry’s comments just over one year ago4, when he was pumping up action against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. He promised we would counter Assad “without engaging in troops on the ground, or any other prolonged kind of effort, in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort,” and that any action would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” The administration sure is twisting itself into knots to assure its hard-left base that Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. Kerry’s remarks would be funny if they weren’t so disgraceful.

To Claim Islam Is Like Other Religions ‘Is Just Plain Wrong’
HBO’s Bill Maher is a leftist atheist and no friend of Christianity. But he came to the religion’s defense in addressing Barack Obama’s assertions regarding ISIL and Islam. “Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it,” Maher said, objecting to comparisons. “Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it. So yes, does [ISIL] do Khmer Rouge-like activities where they just kill people indiscriminately who aren’t just like them? Yes. And would most Muslim people in the world do that or condone that? No. But most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think. … So to claim that this religion is like other religions is just naïve and plain wrong.” For once, Maher is right on the money.

Executive Action on Immigration Possible by Year’s End
The White House promised angry Latino lawmakers Thursday the president would make his move on immigration “reform” before the end of the year. The lawmakers feel Barack Obama betrayed them when he announced delaying his pen from drawing sweeping changes to the immigration system, possibly granting amnesty to five million illegal immigrants. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said, “The president understands the depth of the broken immigration system that we have and he’s bound and determined to make sure that we fix it because it’s impacting our economy, it’s impacting our job growth and it’s a humanitarian issue that’s impacting families across the country. So we’re going to fix it and we’ll do it before the end of the year.” While the delay helps Democrats running for re-election in November, Hot Air’s Allahpundit5 says the president could wait until next year to act on immigration in order to help his successor win the White House in 2016. More…6

Scientists Say Gov’t Intervention Is Healing Ozone Layer
A new United Nations report praises government intervention for helping heal the ozone layer over Antarctica, a finding made famous by scientists Mario Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland in 1974 – incidentally during the height of the “next ice age” scare. The ozone hole was primarily blamed on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), prompting a global ban on the compound in 1987. Now, CBS News reports, “For the first time in 35 years, scientists were able to confirm a statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone, which shields us from solar radiation that causes skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.” In fact, an older UN study predicted that, had no action been taken, we’d be looking at an additional two million skin cancer cases annually within the next decade and a half. So regardless of whether the ozone is experiencing a natural oscillation (which it most assuredly is), alarmists can now make the unproven assertion that their activism helped prevent a calamity. Molina says the recovering ozone layer is “a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together.” And no doubt, scientists will use this new report to stress the need for a pact to limit greenhouse gases like CO2, which they say will otherwise threaten any long-term ozone recovery. More…7

For more, visit Right Hooks8.

RIGHT ANALYSIS
Boos for Cruz Shouldn’t Overshadow Christian Persecution
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was booed off the stage of a Washington, DC, summit exploring the plight of Christians in the Middle East because he supported the nation of Israel. The whole episode illustrates the complexity of the Middle East – especially when it comes to our understanding of the region’s religious and political tensions.

A video of the event9 shows Cruz standing before the crowd, which was murmuring angrily. “I will say this,” Cruz said. “I am saddened to see that some here – not everyone, but some here – are so consumed with hate.”

The audience grew angry and a man near the camera shouted, “You speak for yourself!”

“If you will not stand with Israel,” Cruz said, “then I will not stand with you,” walking off the stage. The camera follows him, catching the words projected onto the wall: “Solidarity Dinner.”

The summit, put on by In Defense of Christians (IDC), brought together Coptic Christians, Evangelicals, Orthodox Christians and Catholics, as well as Democrats and Republicans alike. All were there to raise awareness of the threats to religious freedom in the Middle East, particularly ISIL’s threat of genocide10 against Christians.

IDC president Toufic Baaklini said11 the goal of the summit was to “empower the Middle Eastern Christian Diaspora and energize the American people to stand in solidarity [with] the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. Their survival is vital to stability in the region, and their ability to flourish in their countries of origin has national security implications for the United States.”

Unfortunately, that laudable goal will be eclipsed by click-bait headlines focused only on the brief altercation with Cruz. Meanwhile, the intolerant drum of radical Islam beats stronger and stronger in the dissolving states of the Middle East.

While the gathered Christians may have been of one Lord, one faith, one baptism, they were not all one with the state of Israel. Let’s give Cruz the benefit of the doubt on this one, as this misunderstanding is a common problem between Evangelical Americans and some of the Christian communities still living in the land where Jesus walked. Religion News Service points out12:

“The episode highlighted a central tension between U.S. evangelicals, who strongly support Israel, and Middle Eastern Christians – including thousands of Palestinian Christians – who hold Israel responsible for expropriated Arab lands and the death toll in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

However, despite the well-documented brutality of dictators like Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Assads in Syria Christians in those countries prefer the relative stability of those dictators to the jihadist alternatives. The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan writes13, “An estimated two-thirds of the Christians of Iraq have fled that country since the 2003 U.S. invasion. They are being driven from their villages in northern Iraq. They are terrorized, brutalized, executed. This week an eyewitness in Mosul, which fell to Islamic State in June, told NBC News the jihadists were committing atrocities. In Syria, too, they have executed Christians for refusing to convert.”

IDC set a lofty goal. In its statement after the disruption14, Baaklini admitted that people in the Church and in the field of foreign policy thought the organization would fail. “For more than 48 hours,” he said, “our initial IDC conference was successfully bridging divides of faith, language, geography and politics.”

The views of the speakers ranged across the spectrum. Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) spoke, as well as writer Eric Metaxas, who schooled president Obama15 at the 2012 Presidential Prayer Breakfast. On the other hand, some of the Christian leaders from the Middle East supported groups like Hamas or Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, The Washington Free Beacon reported16.

Within that spectrum of Christians stood Sen. Cruz. In a statement17 explaining why he left the dinner, Cruz outlined his message on Israel:

“When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”

Cruz is right to show solidarity with Israel, a key ally of the United States and the only nation in the Middle East where Christians needn’t fear persecution. But Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist argues Cruz is no hero for what he did18, saying he approached the whole speech politically, meeting with The Washington Free Beacon beforehand and using the situation generally to advance his platform.

“When Cruz was supposed to give the keynote address and discuss the deadly serious topic of persecution of Christians,” Hemingway wrote, “he instead insulted a largely immigrant and foreign crowd as a group that didn’t understand their own political situation and stomped out of the room after calling them a bunch of haters.”

Thus was the IDC summit reduced to another sound byte in the Beltway political machine. But its purpose remains paramount: Christians are being threatened10 in the Middle East – Christians with complex and nuanced geopolitical views based on interests sometimes not aligned with the U.S. If they fall, the region – and the world – will be far worse for it.

The Phony Investigation of Scott Walker
It’s not unusual for the Leftmedia to behave corruptly and circle the wagons for Democrats. Aside from becoming an echo chamber for Democrat talking points, the media have a history of dishonesty – from intentionally blowing up GM trucks to “prove” the dangers of owning them, to utterly ignoring Bill Clinton’s one-man War on Women. There isn’t much we haven’t witnessed. Currently, the mainstream media are aligned to smear Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker with lies and disinformation before the November election.

In 2012, Democrat Wisconsin district attorneys, led by Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm, launched a secret probe known as a John Doe investigation of Gov. Walker, alleging he illegally coordinated a conservative group’s fundraising. These Democrats sought to prove Walker received an illegal in-kind campaign contribution in the form of ads Walker approved. Since Democrats never violate campaign finance laws, they are uniquely qualified to pursue those who do. The district attorneys issued more than 100 subpoenas, demanded private information from individuals and conservative groups, and even conducted secret raids. Furthermore, those targeted or privy to the investigation were required to keep it secret.

But prosecutors lost the first round in court as Judge Gregory Peterson quashed their subpoenas, saying they “fail probable cause.”

After the John Doe debacle, the DAs appealed to U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa. The judge slammed the prosecutors for seeking “refuge in the Court of Public Opinion, having lost in this Court of law.”

The defendants then asked for the release of reams of the secret documents while leaving out those involving two unnamed, unindicted persons for the sake of their privacy. Randa agreed. The DAs then complained that all records should be made public rather than a select few. Randa shot back saying that the prosecutors’ complaint “smacks of irony.” Their position is “at odds with their duty as prosecutors, which is to see that in any John Doe proceeding the rights of the innocent accused are protected in pursuit of a criminal investigation.”

While that state appeal was pending, Eric O’Keefe of the Wisconsin Club for Growth filed a federal civil rights suit, alleging the DAs’ secret investigation and tactics are an unconstitutional abuse of his civil rights. The civil rights case is currently before three judges from the Seventh Circuit Court, and the media are dutifully touting a big win for the Wisconsin prosecutors.

The story broke last June, and since then the Leftmedia has portrayed Walker as another corrupt conservative politician, hypocritically violating campaign finance laws. Despite the fact that the case was thrown out of a state court and then a federal court for lack of evidence, Democrats continue pursuing Walker as though he were the reincarnation of another Wisconsinite, Sen. Joe McCarthy.

The real in-kind campaign contribution went from prosecutors to Walker’s Democrat challenger Mary Burke. Democrats have handicapped fundraising at many of the most effective conservative independent groups while forcing them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers to defend their rights in court. Burke has made the probe a centerpiece of her campaign, which has helped her get close in the polls.

But prosecutors aren’t done yet. They’re asking the Seventh Circuit Court to let them reopen the investigation, despite its nearly two years of failing to nail Walker on any charge. Furthermore, they claim immunity from being sued and that the interests of the public outweigh the interests of the investigated group. Clearly, all they really want is to drag out the constant allegations until the November elections, hoping to rid themselves of Walker. Let’s hope the voters of Wisconsin aren’t fooled by Democrats’ shameful behavior.

For more, visit Right Analysis8.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
David Harsanyi: Actually, Senators, You’re the Ones Who Threaten the Country19
Jonah Goldberg: Is the Islamic State Really un-Islamic?20
Mona Charen: Presidential Malpractice21
Michelle Malkin: Post-9/11: Protect the Freedom to Warn22
Stephen Moore: In Japan’s Economic Folly, a Lesson for U.S.23
For more, visit Right Opinion24.

OPINION IN BRIEF
Canadian-American chemist and author O. A. Battista (1917-1995): “One of the hardest things to teach a child is that the truth is more important than the consequences.”

Columnist David Harsanyi: “It is true that 16 states and the District of Columbia, along with more than 500 cities and towns, have passed resolutions calling on Congress to reinstitute restriction on free speech. Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support the abolishment of super PACs. So it’s important to remember that one of the many reasons the Founding Fathers offered us the Constitution was to offer a bulwark against ‘democracy.’ Senators may have an unhealthy obsession with the democratic process, and Supreme Court justices are on the bench for life for that very reason. On Monday, Democrats offered an amendment to repeal the First Amendment in an attempt to protect their own political power. Whiny senators – most of them patrons to corporate power and special interests – engaged in one of the most cynical abuses of their power in recent memory. Those who treat Americans as if they were hapless proles unable to withstand the power of a television commercial are the ones who fear speech. That’s not what the American republic is all about.”

Columnist Jonah Goldberg: “Is the Islamic State ‘not Islamic’? Moreover, is it really ‘clear’ that it’s not Islamic? … [T]he fact that the majority of its victims are Muslim is irrelevant. Lenin and Stalin killed thousands of communists and socialists; that doesn’t mean Lenin and Stalin weren’t communists and socialists. If such terrorists who kill Muslims aren’t Muslims, why do we give them Korans when we imprison them? … [I]t also seems flatly wrong for an American president to be declaring what is or is not Islamic – or Christian or Jewish. Given the First Amendment alone, there’s something un-American in any government official simply declaring what is or is not a religion. … Instead of Americans trying to persuade Muslims of the world that terrorism is un-Islamic, why shouldn’t Muslims be working harder to convince us?”

Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Obama vowed to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. He had a change of heart. Last month he dismissed the rebels as doctors, dentists and pharmacists, but he’s come to realize it’s cheaper to give them the half billion now than pay their bills through ObamaCare.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Links

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/29028

http://www.albawaba.com/news/turkey-u.s.-iraq-603319

http://patriotpost.us/posts/29034

http://patriotpost.us/posts/19926

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/09/11/oh-my-some-senate-democrats-now-want-obamas-executive-amnesty-suspended-indefinitely/

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/white-house-immigration-latino-lawmakers-110871.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ozone-layer-begins-to-recover-u-n-panel-says/

http://patriotpost.us/

http://patriotpost.us/articles/27642

http://www.indefenseofchristians.org/idc/release-washington-summit-call-attention-plight-christians-middle-east/

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/09/11/ted-cruz-booed-stage-touts-israel-christian-solidarity/

http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-genocide-of-mideastern-christians-1410474449

http://www.indefenseofchristians.org/idc/statement-idc-president-following-disruption-idc-gala-dinner/

http://freebeacon.com/issues/ted-cruz-stands-up-to-hatred-and-bigotry-at-conference-of-middle-eastern-christians/

http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1723

http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/11/ted-cruz-is-no-hero-for-insulting-a-room-of-persecuted-christians/

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/29041

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/29042

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/29010

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/29044

http://patriotpost.us/opinion/29049

http://patriotpost.us/opinion

New Book Says C.I.A. Official in Benghazi Held Up Rescue

The American Mission in Benghazi, Libya, during the 2012 attack. Five C.I.A. contractors who were nearby say they were told not to intervene.
ESAM OMRAN AL-FETORI / REUTERS
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
SEPTEMBER 4, 2014
CAIRO — Five commandos guarding the C.I.A. base in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 say that the C.I.A. station chief stopped them from interceding in time to save the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and an American technician during the attack on the diplomatic mission there.

In a new book scheduled for release next week and obtained by The New York Times, the commandos say they protested repeatedly as the station chief ordered them to wait in their vehicles, fully armed, for 20 minutes while the attack on the diplomatic mission was unfolding less than a mile away.

“If you guys do not get here, we are going to die!” a diplomatic security agent then shouted to them over the radio, the commandos say in the book, and they left the base in defiance of the chief’s continuing order to “stand down.”

The book, titled “13 Hours,” is the first public account of the night’s events by any of the American security personnel involved in the attack. The accusation that the station chief, referred to in the book only as “Bob,” held back the rescue opens a new front in a fierce political battle over who is at fault for the American deaths.

Republicans have blamed President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary of state, for the security failure.

American officials have previously acknowledged that the Central Intelligence Agency security team paused to try to enlist support from Libyan militia allies. But the book is the first detailed account of the extent of the delay, its consequences for the rescue attempt, and who made the decisions.

The commandos’ account — which fits with the publicly known facts and chronology — suggests that the station chief issued the “stand down” orders on his own authority. He hoped to enlist local Libyan militiamen, and the commandos speculate that he hoped the Libyans could carry out the rescue alone to avoid exposing the C.I.A. base.

No meaningful Libyan help ever materialized.

In an emailed statement on Thursday, a senior intelligence official said “a prudent, fast attempt was made to rally local support for the rescue effort and secure heavier weapons.” The official said “there was no second-guessing those decisions being made on the ground” and “there were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”

The commandos were former members of American Special Forces teams hired by the intelligence agency as private contractors. Two of the team, both former Navy Seals, died fighting the attackers at the C.I.A. base later that night. Five others are credited as co-authors of “13 Hours,” which was written with their cooperation by Mitchell Zuckoff, a professor of journalism at Boston University. Mark Geist, Kris Paronto and John Tiegen are credited by name, and two of the authors use pseudonyms.

They say that they learned that the mission’s building had been set on fire during the short drive there, from another plea for help over the radio. The ambassador and the technician, Sean Smith, suffocated in the smoke.

No American fired a weapon of any kind in defense of the mission until the C.I.A. commandos reached the compound, more than 40 minutes after the attack began, the commandos say. The Libyan guards hired to protect the mission quickly retreated. The handful of diplomatic security agents, caught by surprise and outnumbered, withdrew to separate buildings without firing a shot.

One of the commandos fired grenades to help disperse the attackers and clear an entrance to the mission. They later exchanged fire when the attackers returned for a second assault. And the commandos say that after pulling back to the C.I.A. base they fought off-and-on gun battles with fighters lurking in the shadows outside for much of the night.

Although the commandos write of several Libyans who risked their lives to help the Americans, the difficulty of discerning friend from foe is a recurring theme. They write that a supportive militia leader who appeared to be helping them approach the mission also said he was talking on the phone with the attackers, trying to negotiate.

“What’s the difference between how Libyans look when they’re coming to help you versus when they’re coming to kill you?” the commandos joked with the diplomatic security agents. “Not much.”

The contractors say they raced so quickly to arm themselves when they heard the alarm that one failed to put on underwear. Another went into the battle in cargo shorts.

Then, fully armed, they found themselves waiting inside their armored vehicles, making small talk.

“Hey, we gotta go now! We’re losing the initiative!” Mr. Tiegen says he complained to the station chief, who he says replied, “No, stand down, you need to wait.”

“We are going to have the local militia handle it,” the chief added later, according to the commandos.

Republicans for What?
The GOP won’t get the victory it seeks without a positive agenda.

Updated Sept. 4, 2014 5:09 p.m. ET
The post-Labor Day election campaign is underway, and the early conventional wisdom is that Republican hopes of a 2010-style wave are fading. GOP gains in the House could only be a few seats and the six pickups to take the Senate are still uncertain. This is coming from the usual liberal suspects, but it is also whispered by GOP strategists. Maybe Republicans should try to improve their odds by telling voters what they would do if they win.

By any typical political measure, this ought to be a great Republican year. President Obama is widely unpopular, the Senate playing field is largely in conservative states, the tide of war is rising around the world, and gains in stocks and other asset prices haven’t translated into higher wages for most Americans. Many Republicans look at this and think they can win merely by running to be a check on Mr. Obama.
Corbis
The trouble is that the House GOP already provides that check, and voters are even more unhappy with Congress than they are with Mr. Obama. The kamikaze government shutdown, among other fits of temper, has so tarnished the GOP reputation that even many voters who dislike Mr. Obama might stay home in November.

It’s true that individual candidates are running on their own issues. Repeal ObamaCare is popular in GOP precincts, even if can’t happen with Mr. Obama in office. And everyone favors the Keystone XL pipeline.

But the lack of any common GOP agenda is leading to the perception of a policy vacuum that plays into Mr. Obama’s critique that Republicans are opposed to everything. The President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage may be irrelevant to most Americans, but at least it’s something. And something usually beats nothing.

The current GOP campaign also plays into the Democratic strategy to make every Senate race an ugly brawl between two equally tarnished candidates. Harry Reid’s SuperPac is spending millions of dollars to define GOP challengers as creatures from the black lagoon. Since they’re mostly defending incumbents who are better known, Democrats figure they have the better chance to win a character fight. This is one reason races in Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana and Alaska continue to be close.

Especially as Election Day nears and disengaged voters pay attention, Republicans need to show voters what they’re for. This doesn’t have to be another Contract with America, a la Newt Gingrich in 1994. Given intra-GOP differences, the better model might be the Pelosi Democrats in 2006. Despite being dominated by war horses from the Great Society, those Democrats focused on six smallish ideas that united their ranks and didn’t scare moderates unhappy with George W. Bush.

The political point is to focus on a few proposals that address voter concerns and that Republicans could pass and put on Mr. Obama’s desk if they win both houses of Congress. This would give the GOP something positive to talk about, beginning the long process of repairing their public image.

It would also educate their own voters about what is achievable if they do take Congress. The worst outcome would be for Republicans to take the Senate by one or two seats and then fail to deliver anything because their yahoos demand the impossible. That would set up Hillary Clinton to run against the failures of a GOP Congress in 2016, and perhaps deny them a governing majority if a Republican does win back the White House.

We don’t know what the GOP House and Senate campaign committees might agree on, but here are a couple of ideas that would combine GOP principles with populist notes that fit the public mood:

• Pick up former Senator Phil Gramm’s proposal to offer the freedom option in health insurance, letting individuals opt out of ObamaCare’s regulations to buy the policies they want. This would address the concerns of voters who lost the insurance they liked or are paying more. The White House and left would howl, but many Democrats would find it hard to oppose.

• Promise to repeal “too big to fail.” Even Mr. Obama’s regulators recently admitted this policy remains in place when they rejected the “living wills” that banks must propose under Dodd-Frank. This is a populist way to reopen the issue of financial regulation.

• Go beyond Keystone XL by promising to quickly and greatly increase domestic energy production and exports. This would appeal to union voters as a jobs measure, to consumers in potentially lower energy costs, and to Americans concerned about growing turmoil in Europe and the Middle East. U.S. natural gas exports could make our allies less dependent on Gazprom.

This is far from a complete list, but the point is to run a campaign that is about more than attacking Mr. Obama. Most Americans already regret re-electing him. But they are more likely to give Republicans the big majorities they seek if they also sense their lives might be better with a GOP Congress.

Bullied for Criticizing Hamas by Own Mosque: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
Think religious intimidation doesn’t happen in America? Think again. Old-guard ideologues make it crystal clear to their Muslim critics: Take us on and we will make an example of you as a traitor to the Muslim community

BY DR. M. ZUHDI JASSER
August 26th, 2014
What happens in Syria, Egypt, Iraq or Gaza has an impact every day right here in the Valley [Scottsdale, Arizona].

Even in America, leading Muslim organizations and clerics bully with threats of ostracism those Muslims who dare to dissent. Old-guard ideologues, too, used to monopoly control, make it crystal clear to their Muslim critics: Take us on and we will make an example of you as a traitor to the Muslim community (the ummah).

On July 28, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr (Holiday of the Feast) marking the end of our holy month of Ramadan, a spiritual month of daily fasting from all food and drink. In Ramadan, we focus on scripture, self-reflection and atonement. My family and I attended the holiday Eid prayer service at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley of which we are longtime members.

Little did we know Imam Yaser Ali, a Valley attorney, would use this otherwise joyous family holiday occasion to target me in the presence of my wife and children.

With more than 500 local Muslims in attendance, he riled up the crowd, demanding a community “effort” against those Muslims “who go on Fox News and speak ill against our Muslim brothers and sisters … who make the mosques look bad.” These individuals, he said, “hate Islam” and “vilify Muslims.”

While Mr. Ali never had the courage to say my name, no doubt remained in the mosque, or later on social media, that he was referring to me. He finished his tirade with “they are not from amongst us … they don’t represent us; we, the Muslim community represent one another, and we care for our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”

Apparently, the Scottsdale mosque’s leadership decided, or at the minimum voiced no disagreement, that for Muslims this Ramadan it is not Hamas, al-Qaida, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood, or the evil regimes from Assad’s Syria to Iran or Saudi Arabia or even radicalized American jihadists in Syria that deserve targeting from the pulpit, but only a local, reform-minded activist — Zuhdi Jasser.

This imam meticulously described what he knows too well would garner me a death sentence as a munafiq (hypocrite), or murtad (apostate), for the crime of riddah (apostasy, treason) according to the interpretation of Shariah law accepted by Saudi Arabia and most Muslim-majority countries.

What was the crime prompting my metaphorical flogging in the presence of my wife, children and friends’ families on this holiday?

A few days earlier I had criticized the radicals of Hamas on national television for their supremacist Islamist doctrine hatched from the Muslim Brotherhood that daily and viciously oppresses the people of Gaza. I urged Hamas to stop the war mongering, refusal of cease fires, and launching of thousands of rockets that victimize Palestinian women, children and families, and I criticized CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations).

To Imam Yaser Ali that was worthy of takfir, a declaration of public apostasy. The mosque board and audience responded to his call to action against me, a Muslim he described as of “those who hate Islam,” with a resounding “inshallah” (God willing).

In the days to follow, local social media filled with subtle and not-so-subtle threats against me and my family from some rather prominent Valley Muslims.

While the venue was new, the mantra was a cheap rehash of the old, scorched-earth smear tactics peddled by the CAIR. Right after declaring me the enemy of all Muslims, Mr. Ali spoke of the so-called religious obligation to donate generously to CAIR. This was all reminiscent of the May 9, 2014, sermon, visiting CAIR-LA director Hussam Ayloush, who regularly takes to Twitter with other CAIR directors tocall me an “Uncle Tom” and a “monkey,” gave across town at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe to slam me as an “Islamophobe.”

While CAIR claims to simply be a Muslim civil-rights organization, in response to a U.S. Senate inquiry, the FBI is on record since 2009 that, “until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”

In the meantime, the growth of our reform groups like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and our coalition of anti-Islamist Muslim groups makes Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups like CAIR livid. Their monopoly on American Muslim voices is in jeopardy so their bullies advance absurd claims like Muslim criticism of Hamas is equivalent to criticism of Islam or all Muslims. The vitriol against our work is only increasing because of our success at exposing their un-American and oppressive ideas, as well as our refusal to be deterred.

Their silence on the terror tactics of Hamas speaks volumes to terror apologia. Why is it that so many abuses of Muslims by Muslims go undiscussed – yet when the Jewish state acts, it becomes an Eid sermon?

All politics are local. Islamism (political Islam) is a mind-numbing, theo-political groupthink that fears and smothers critical thinking. Not only over there but here. Muslims squander this rare opportunity to reject both the evils of Arab fascism and Islamism for a new third path, the path of liberty.

It is heartbreaking to reflect that my family and I have been members of the Scottsdale mosque since long before its construction. Their board asked me to gather interfaith support and speak for our congregation at a rather hostile Development Review Board meeting in November 2001.

I recall having to publicly admonish a Scottsdale City Council member on religious liberty who suggested we “delay the project for a more appropriate time”. On Sept. 11, 2002, I authored a paid advertisement in The Arizona Republic on behalf of ICNEV condemning al-Qaida and distancing our faithful from their barbarism. I also taught Islamic history for the mosque youth “Sunday school” until 2008.

What a difference a decade makes.

Intimidation and intolerance, from the bully pulpit by imams like Yaser Ali, are symptoms of a much deeper and broader conflict between political Islam (Islamism) and modernity — and more specifically, liberal democracy. Reform will not come easily. It must come from within, driven by both love for our faith and frank public critique of our leaders.

But it cannot be done without the support of our non-Muslim allies, for universal human rights, freedom of conscience and, indeed, American security hang in the balance.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the president of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. He is the author of Battle for the Soul of Islam. Dr. Jasser served 11 years as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy and was Staff Internist for the Office of the Attending Physician to the U.S. Congress. Jasser was the narrator of Clarion Project’s film “The Third Jihad” about the threat of Islamic extremism in the U.S.

How ISIS Became The Richest Terrorist Group In The World
“They are looking towards a long-term economic model.”
posted on Aug. 28, 2014, at 10:47 a.m.
Sheera Frenkel

IRBIL, Iraq — Muhammed Jamal can understand why many want to join ISIS.
“You get paid the most, you have the most weapons, you are with the most powerful group,” said Jamal, who as a Sunni Iraqi would have little trouble joining up with the group. ISIS has openly welcomed Sunni Muslims into its self-declared “Islamic State,” stretching 12,000 square miles through Syria and Iraq. “I’m not a fighter, but if I was that is who I’d join.”
Jamal fled Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city, when ISIS militants captured it in early June. “I left Mosul when ISIS came because I thought it would be bombings and war there and I wanted to protect my family,” said Jamal, 31, who is now sheltering with several other Sunni families near the Kurdish city of Irbil. “But now I do think about going back. I don’t agree with their position on religion, but if they have money and can give us jobs … that would be more than anyone else has given us in years.”
At nearly $400 a month, ISIS pays its fighters nearly double what other groups in the region pay — from the moderate Free Syrian Army, to militant group Hezbollah, to even the Iraqi army — according to intelligence groups.
ISIS has grown from being a small offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq into the wealthiest terror group in the world, with revenue streams that have grown and matured as the organization has expanded its reach. Once reliant on handouts from wealthy donors in the Gulf, it is now believed to be wholly self-sufficient, garnering millions by trading in crude oil, selling artifacts on the black market, and running racketeering and kidnapping schemes. It is believed to have built itself a total wealth of over $2 billion — far beyond what any terror group before it has managed to muster. Western intelligence agencies, once focused on donors and looted cash from Iraq banks, now believe that ISIS has created a model that will ensure that the group can remain self-sustaining billionaires. Its wealth, say experts, is almost entirely produced locally, and therefore not as vulnerable to outside influence or sanctions.
“They did not get like this by accident,” said Luay al-Khateeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center in Qatar and director of the Iraq Energy Institute. ISIS looked at other groups — al-Qaeda strategy of levying local taxes, Boko Haram in Nigeria’s use of local resources, and FARC in Colombia’s kidnapping of wealthy locals and foreigners — and then tried to perfect it.
“This is a process that began decades ago and has been honed to turn ISIS into a profitable enterprise,” al-Khateeb said.
Oil refineries begin to dot the horizon just a few miles outside Irbil’s city limits. Lines of trucks pummel the roads to these sites, where crude oil is transformed into refined product.
“There’s more money there than in a bank, but nobody guarding it,” said Abd Karouk, a captain in the Kurdish peshmerga, the fighting forces that have slowly begun to push back against ISIS’s northern advance. “Why steal money when you can make it just as easily?”
With its control of seven oil fields and two refineries in northern Iraq, and six out of 10 oil fields in eastern Syria, ISIS is currently making millions daily from oil revenues. Al-Khateeb estimates that the fields ISIS captured in Iraq have a capacity of producing 80,000 barrels of oil per day, but that ISIS is currently extracting half that amount. Still, with the price of crude oil on the black market currently at $25–$60 a barrel, ISIS is likely making $2 million daily from its Iraqi oil fields alone, he said.
“From Syria they could be making double or even triple that,” said al-Khateeb, though he added that exact figures were unknown since much of the oil in Syria was being sold back to the regime of Bashar al-Assad through middlemen, and the Syrian regime did not release details of its trade in oil. “It’s a war of survival for the Syrian regime and they have no choice but to buy the oil — even though they know the money is going into ISIS hands.”
The regional dependence on oil as a trade currency has led many governments to do business with ISIS, despite knowing that they were feeding the insurgency that could one day overwhelm them. Until recently Kurdish buyers in Turkey and Iraq were buying large quantities of oil from ISIS, thus channeling funds into the very group that is now seeking to destroy them. Kurdish municipal workers who deal with the local refineries say that ISIS was offering crude oil at nearly half the price of other oil on the market, so nobody really bothered to distinguish it from the tens of thousands of other barrels of oil that made their way into this region of northern Iraq.
Crude oil, said the Kurdish officials, can often come from dozens of different areas to get processed at one refinery. The dealing in oil is done by a mixed bag of local businessmen and foreign workers, many of whom are looking to simply get as many barrels of oil refined and shipped out per day as possible — with little to no oversight given to the origins of the barrels.
“It wasn’t until ISIS was on our doorstep that we started to make efforts to stop this. We realized we were giving them the money that they would use to attack us,” said Karouk.
Karouk and other local officials who spoke to BuzzFeed said they believed that by this week, very little ISIS oil was making its way to Kurdish refineries, although it was hard to strictly monitor what was being sold on the black market.
“There will always be a middleman looking to make a profit who will try to sneak some through. But we don’t believe it is here in huge quantities anymore,” Karouk said. Middlemen, he explained, were often opportunistic businessmen who bought the crude from ISIS and then mixed it with other products or presented it as having been purchased elsewhere.
Jordan and Turkey have likewise made efforts to stop the free flow of black market oil into their territories, though experts say they’ve had much less success than the Kurdish authorities.
“This is coming in on trucks, through several middlemen,” said al-Khateeb. “It is being sold on the black market and few companies are bothering to verify where the crude oil is coming from.”
Al-Khateeb said the next step was for ISIS to seize control of refineries to take control of the process of turning the crude oil into a refined product to cut out the middlemen. Keeping up production levels, however, would require either local hands with experience, or imported staff with expertise.
“They are looking towards a long-term economic model,” he said.
Archeologists trying to explain the extent to which ISIS has looted archaeological sites often rely on Google Earth to make their point. Zooming over areas of northern Syria and western Iraq currently held by ISIS, one British archaeologist told BuzzFeed, “What’s happened here is historical devastation.”
“We are talking about areas that were part of the cradle of civilization being pillaged, artifacts going back thousands of years that should be studied in museums are instead disappearing to the black market,” said the British archaeologist, who works as part of a team that tries to verify whether antiquities reaching London are legally sourced. He asked not to be named as he did not want to expose his wealthy clients who guard their privacy. “We are also seeing unheard of numbers of stolen goods making their way into auction houses which are considered reputable.”
According to documents recently published by The Guardian, ISIS has managed to net up to $36 million from smuggling plundered artifacts in one region of Syria alone. Experts estimate the total amount of smuggled goods could be worth 10 times that, while UNESCO recently estimated that the global trade in conflict antiquities could be worth more than $2.2 billion.
ISIS makes money not only from smuggling antiquities like vases, mosaics, and other artifacts looted from the areas they control, but also by levying a tax on traffickers who want to move illegally obtained artifacts through the areas they control.

Khalil, a 31-year-old former storekeeper, sits in the courtyard of a funeral home in the Kurdish city of Dohuk that is now being used as a processing center for tens of thousands of Iraqis who have fled the advance of ISIS. His family’s name — which he does not want publicly shared in order to protect them — is one of several dozen listed by local workers here as having missing members in the hands of ISIS.
“Every day we are registering more people who have been kidnapped by ISIS,” said Jalal Lazgeen, a local volunteer with the Dohuk municipality. “We do not yet know what it will take to get them back.”
There are no reliable estimates for how many people ISIS has kidnapped or held hostage as part of local racketeering schemes in the last two years. They often target wealthy businessman or politicians in the areas they conquer, although human rights groups say they have recently turned toward targeting women and children from ethnic minorities in northern Iraq as well. While Kurdish experts say the group could have made upwards of $10 million on kidnapping schemes this summer alone, others say the figure is likely much higher.
“Most of these ransoms are quietly paid off, and the figures are kept secret to protect others who are still being held,” said one western security adviser, who works on the cases of foreign journalists and aid workers currently being held by ISIS. “Of course a foreign national can command a much higher ransom than a local businessman.”
Earlier this week, ISIS revealed that it was holding a 26-year-old American aid worker and demanded a $6.6 million ransom for her release. Negotiators who had worked on the case of U.S. journalist James Foley, who was killed last week, said that ISIS had previously demanded $132.5 million for his release.
“These are the highest-profile cases, in which they demand the most, but there are plenty of local schemes being run daily in which they are earning millions,” said the security adviser. In one case published earlier this year by Human Rights Watch, 24 Yazidi border guards were kidnapped together on June 13. Twenty days later, a ransom payment of $1.2 million was transferred to ISIS in exchange for the men.
Khalil said he did not know what ISIS would ask for his missing sisters and cousins. Whatever it was, he said, they would do whatever it took until they could pay.
“What choice do we have? We will pay, and we will find the money however we can,” he said.

“This is the thing about what ISIS is doing — they are tried and tested methods that have been developed over decades by terror groups all over the world,” said al-Khateeb, who has focused on the oil profits being made by the group, but has also watched the development of their kidnapping schemes and black market sales of antiquities. “They’ve basically taken what other terror groups did and honed and sharpened those skills.”
Earlier this year, ISIS released a glossy report called “Terror Incorporated,” outlining for the first time its objectives, accomplishments, and future goals in its own words. The report reads like a company evaluation for investors, boasting of its successes.

“What we see here is not some rag-tag group getting lucky,” said one American defense official currently based in Amman who spoke to BuzzFeed by telephone on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media. He called the report “terrifying.”
“What we see here is a well-structured group on the rise,” the official said, who, like many U.S. officials in the region, has been criticized for failing to foresee the meteoric rise of ISIS. “Even for those keeping a close eye on the rise of ISIS, the last few months have been shocking us in just how well-organized and self-sufficient they have become.”
What ISIS will do next is anyone’s guess, he said, adding that not everyone agreed with the recent assessments by the Pentagon ISIS would turn its attention to attacking the U.S. and Europe, possibly using the passports of hundreds of foreign fighters who have joined its ranks.
“What we know about them is that they won’t do anything that isn’t a logical step forward for them to grow and expand their influence,” said the defense official. “How they use their influence and wealth is still left to be seen.”

Game-Changer: Lois Lerner’s IRS Emails Exist; But Will Obama Admin Look for Them?

August 26, 2014 By Greg Campbell

ZObamaLerner  Not a “smidgen” of corruption, eh?

The Obama Administration is purposefully burying their heads in the sand with regards to Lois Lerner’s emails. According to Justice Department attorneys, the “missing” emails from the computer of Lois Lerner actually exist and are backed up and retrievable, but Justice Department officials are unwilling to retrieve them because doing so is an arduous task.

Lerner is the disgraced IRS bureaucrat that, for years, was at the forefront of the IRS harassment of Tea Party and conservative groups. Emails from her time as the head of the tax exempt division of the IRS went missing after she reportedly suffered a computer crash. Her hard drive was, reportedly, salvageable, but was “misplaced” and likely destroyed. Thus, the public has been told that we may never know the content of the emails to and from the woman responsible for carrying out a campaign of harassment against political opponents of the Obama Regime.
However, in a shocking admission to the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, Justice Department attorneys have admitted that the IRS backs-up every email in case of a catastrophe, but that they are unwilling to retrieve the information because it would take a lot of effort to track down the emails.
“A Department of Justice attorney told a Judicial Watch attorney on Friday that it turns out the federal government backs up all computer records in case something terrible happens in Washington and there’s a catastrophe, so the government can continue operating,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told recently revealed.

“But it would be too hard to go get Lois Lerner’s e-mails from that backup system,” Fitton continued, explaining what the DOJ official told Judicial Watch. “So, everything we’ve been hearing about scratched hard drives, about missing e-mails of Lois Lerner, other IRS officials, other officials in the Obama administration, it’s all been a pack of malarkey. They could get these records, but they don’t want to.”
Fitton also claimed that Judicial Watch will be pursuing legal remedies to get the emails. Fitton stated,
“This is a jaw-dropping revelation. The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails. There are no ‘missing’ Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.”
Forty years prior, President Nixon’s administration was undone when it was revealed that there was a “back-up” of conversations taking place in the White House. Similarly, if Judicial Watch is successful, we may soon have the smoking gun that shows the orchestrated and politically-motivated effort by the IRS to quell political dissent.

However, unlike the Nixon era that was equipped with a diligent media, hungry for the truth, Americans today are saddled with a complacent, leftist mainstream media unwilling to pursue truths that lead to unfavorable narratives for Obama and his lackeys.

Still, the alternative media is alive and well and willing to shine a light on the regular diet of lies spewing from the Obama Administration and what this revelation details to even a cursory observer of politics is that the Obama Administration is pathologically incapable of telling the truth- something one would not expect from an administration that has repeatedly promised to serve as the model for transparent government.

» Blacks Must Confront Reality » Commentary — GOPUSA

walter_williamsThough racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn’t, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let’s pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.

In 1950, female-headed households were 18 percent of the black population. Today it’s close to 70 percent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children lived with the biological mother and father. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. Herbert Gutman, author of “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925,” reports, “Five in six children under the age of six lived with both parents.” Also, both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia found that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families (composed of two parents and children). What is significant, given today’s arguments that slavery and discrimination decimated the black family structure, is the fact that years ago, there were only slight differences in family structure among racial groups.

Coupled with the dramatic breakdown in the black family structure has been an astonishing growth in the rate of illegitimacy. The black illegitimacy rate in 1940 was about 14 percent; black illegitimacy today is over 70 percent, and in some cities, it is over 80 percent.

The point of bringing up these historical facts is to ask this question, with a bit of sarcasm: Is the reason the black family was far healthier in the late 1800s and 1900s that back then there was far less racial discrimination and there were greater opportunities? Or did what experts call the “legacy of slavery” wait several generations to victimize today’s blacks?

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 28.1 percent. A statistic that one never hears about is that the poverty rate among intact married black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8.4 percent. Weak family structures not only spell poverty and dependency but also contribute to the social pathology seen in many black communities — for example, violence and predatory sex. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also major victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault, rape and robbery.

To put this violence in perspective, black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (about 8,200) come to about 18,500, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. Young black males had a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

The black academic achievement gap is a disaster. Often, black 12th-graders can read, write and deal with scientific and math problems at only the level of white sixth-graders. This doesn’t bode well for success in college or passing civil service exams.

If it is assumed that problems that have a devastating impact on black well-being are a result of racial discrimination and a “legacy of slavery” when they are not, resources spent pursuing a civil rights strategy will yield disappointing results.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

BEST OF THE WEB TODAY
Formidable Faux?
The pretend climate treaty.
By JAMES TARANTO CONNECT
August 27, 2014
“Pro-Russian rebel forces entered a key town in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday after three days of heavy shelling, the town’s mayor said, capturing new territory far from most of their battles with government troops,” the Associated Press reports from said town:

Novoazovsk lies in a strategically significant location–on the Azov Sea and on the road linking Russia to the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula. It was the first time in the four-month-long conflict that fighting has reached as far south as the seacoast and suggests that the rebels, who Ukraine says are being supported by Russia, are emboldened and reinforced.
The new southeastern front has raised fears the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea. If so, that could also give the rebels or Russia control over the entire Azov Sea and any oil or mineral riches it contains.
In related news, the New York Times reports that “the Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.”

How? Even the Times knows that “under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.” It would be more accurate to say “the country” rather than “a president,” but hey, close enough for government work.

Anyway, Senate ratification is no more in the cards now than it was in 1997, when the world’s greatest deliberative body voted 95-0 in favor of a nonbinding resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate” that the now-expired Kyoto Protocol was unacceptable. The Clinton administration signed that treaty the following year anyway but never submitted it to the Senate. Incidentally, the 1997 measure was called the Byrd-Hagel Resolution; its top Republican sponsor is now Obama’s defense secretary.

Today, as the Times reports, “lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming.”

We’re skeptical of the Times’s claim that “lawmakers in both parties” said that “Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science.” That sounds to us like editorializing on the Democratic side of the argument–although come to think of it, one also doubts there has been a unanimous change in the Democratic position since 1997. But anyway, neither party has had a two-thirds Senate majority since 1967, and neither is likely to achieve one anytime soon. Thus no treaty can be ratified without bipartisan support.

In order to “sidestep” the constitutional requirement that laws be made by lawmakers, the Times continues, “President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a ‘politically binding’ deal that would ‘name and shame’ countries into cutting their emissions.”

The story notes that Obama has already “bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions.” That reg has to go through the standard approval process, which won’t be complete until next year, and it is also being challenged in court. Even if it holds up, a future president could modify it. But if Obama gets his pretend treaty, a successor who undid his policies would risk subjecting America not only to naming but to shaming as well.

Would it work? Let’s consider two examples. First Australia, whose government, then controlled by the Labor Party, in 2012 imposed a “carbon tax.” As The Wall Street Journal reported last month, this year Tony Abbott, the aspiring prime minister from the opposition Liberal Party, “made a pre-election ‘pledge in blood’ to voters and business to prioritize growth above climate shift. The Liberals (who would be considered the conservatives in American parlance) were elected, and Abbott kept his promise.

“Today the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone, a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment is finally gone,” a jubilant Mr. Abbott told voters in a news conference after the Senate’s decision.

His opponents tried the name-and-shame technique: “Labor and Green opponents of the government said the repeal would make the country an international ‘pariah’ on efforts to combat climate change.” Not very fearsome a threat, is it?

Enlarge Image

Putin’s carbon footprint in Novoazovsk, Ukraine. Associated Press
The second example is Ukraine. In 1994, the U.S., U.K. and Russia signed a document known as the Budapest Memorandum, offering assurances in exchange for which Kiev gave up the nuclear weapons it had inherited owing to the Soviet Union’s dissolution. The memorandum purports to bind the three signatories “to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”

But it isn’t a treaty, and thus has no legal force. Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s president at the time it was signed, acted in accord with the agreement, but Vladimir Putin obviously does not feel bound by it.

And how have the other signatories responded? There have been some economic sanctions, but mostly it’s been naming and shaming. “It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century,” Secretary of State John Kerry in March. “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.”

Almost six months later, Putin is unbowed. But maybe Kerry is just the wrong man for the job. In the era of naming and shaming, we need a top diplomat whose insults carry a punch. But who? Don Rickles is probably too old.

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