Apr. 9, 2015
“Strive to be the greatest man in your country, and you may be disappointed. Strive to be the best and you may succeed: he may well win the race that runs by himself.” –Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1747
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Will Boston Bomber Get Death Penalty?1
There never was a question of guilt. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense admitted as much on the first day of trial2. Yesterday, the Boston jury handed down its decision3: The 22-year-old who helped his brother plant pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013 is guilty on all 30 counts. Seventeen of those charges are punishable by the death penalty. Now, the most important part of the trial begins — deciding whether Tsarnaev will get life in a federal prison or be executed. “This [bombing] reminds us, once again, that this is not ordinary crime, it’s not even [an] ordinary enemy; these are people who are irredeemable,” political analyst Charles Krauthammer4 said on Fox News. “Nonetheless, I personally generally oppose the death penalty with some exceptions. I would rather not make him a martyr. Let him serve all his life and contemplate his deeds for decades.” For conservatives, it boils down to one question. Should jurors consider the effect Tsarnaev’s death would have on radical Islamists looking for martyrdom, or should the punishment match the crime?
Footnote: Tsarnaev’s mother said, “America is the real terrorist and everyone knows that,” adding, “My boys are the best of the best.” That explains some things.
SC Police Officer Charged With Murder Thanks to Video5
Thanks to a citizen who filmed an altercation between a South Carolina police officer and a motorist, Rule of Law is being upheld in the death of Walter Scott. On Saturday, Officer Michael Slager of the North Charleston Police Department stopped Scott because of a broken taillight. According to the initial police account, Scott grabbed the officer’s Taser, and in the ensuing struggle Slager feared for his life and shot in self-defense. Officers then administered CPR, according to the police. But a video of the event that emerged earlier this week shows a vastly different story. Unlike the altercation in Ferguson between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown, Scott turned and ran from the officer with what appeared to be the wires of the Taser trailing behind. Slager drew his gun, aimed at the fleeing man, and fired eight times. It appears the officer then planted the Taser next to Scott, and when other officers arrived on the scene, CPR was never given to him. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said at a news conference, “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.” Slager was charged with murder and fired, which might not have happened without the video. Seems like a good case for body cameras. More…6
With Iran Deal Crumbling, Pelosi Defends Negotiations7
Well that was fast. Before Barack Obama could finish his victory lap around the Rose Garden, Iran announced a couple red lines that could derail the whole nuclear deal crazy train. Mohammad Javad Zarif8, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said inspectors would not be allowed to photograph or film the country’s nuclear sites, because it would endanger nuclear scientists. Then the country’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan9, said there were certain nuclear sites inspectors would be forbidden from entering. He said, “No such agreement has been made; principally speaking, visit to military centers is among our redlines and no such visit will be accepted.” Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate alike are skeptical of Team Obama’s negotiating prowess, as they are pushing a bill10 that says Congress must approve the Iran deal. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stands in their way. She insists11 the “legislation undermines these international negotiations and represents an unnecessary hurdle to achieving a strong, final agreement.” Constitutionally, the Senate works with the president to make international treaties. What Congress does with the Iran deal isn’t Pelosi’s business.
U.S. Ships Arms to Yemen, Obama’s Foreign Policy Success Story12
It’s plan B for the Obama administration after the government of Yemen dissolved in the face of warring groups in the nation. A few months ago, al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula was decimated. This week, the Obama administration’s strategy13 is to mitigate threats. Ashton Carter14 told an audience in Tokyo, “AQAP has seized the opportunity of the disorder there and the collapse of the central government. … Obviously it’s always easier to conduct counterterrorism when there’s a stable government in place. That circumstance obviously doesn’t exist in Yemen.” Now, the United States is sidelined, sending precision-guided munitions to the Saudi Arabian-led coalition that is fighting the Houthi rebels. In a twist of fate, Saudi Arabia was targeting U.S. arms in Yemen during its bombing runs because it feared those weapons would fall in the hands of the enemy. Whoever said war was economical? More…15
If Biden Thinks He Makes Too Much, He Should Donate16
It’s funny how the meaning of $200,000 differs from one politician to the next. For the Clintons, $200K is a pittance, a discounted speaking gig for Hillary. But for Joe Biden, that amount is almost too much, probably because he’s echoing his boss’ mantra about “middle-class economics17.” During an appearance at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Biden said, “I make a lot of money now as vice president — I make a lot of money. When the president was thanking everyone for the sacrifices they made when they got us all in the Blair House — after he took office — and the financial sacrifices they made, he looked at me and said, ‘Except for Joe, he’s getting a pay raise.’” Biden needs it. According to the Washington Free Beacon18, Biden doesn’t have a savings account. He never invested in stocks. His mismanagement of finances is a good reason no one should take financial advice from him. But when he leaves office and its $230,700-a-year salary, Biden will receive a pension of about $200,000 a year for life. If he thinks that’s too much, maybe he could do a bit better than the $369 annual average19 he gave to charity over a decade. More…20
For more, visit Right Hooks21.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read Amendment II: In Defense of Liberty22, on how any discussion about the Rights of Man is nothing more than talk unless it includes discourse on the ability to defend those rights.
If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email, update your subscription here23.
Smelting Down the Water Supply24
Call it potty policy. This week, California took aim at the porcelain throne, mandating that all toilets — along with urinals and faucets — sold in the state after Jan. 1, 2016, conserve water. It’s part of a frantic effort to do anything to manage the state’s severe drought without actually doing what’s needed to manage the state’s severe drought.
While it’s true that California is in the fourth year of below-average precipitation, and that January and March of this year have been particularly dry, neither of these things is fully to blame for the intensity of the drought’s impact. Instead, the culprit is bad government policy and a three-inch fish.
Despite population growth, California has not completed a major water infrastructure project in nearly 50 years. Indeed, Democrats, including Governor Jerry Brown, have opposed state and federal water projects since the 1970s. And while California voters have authorized $22 billion in water bonds since 2000, most of the money has gone to environmental projects and not to safeguarding and improving water supply.
Then there’s the Delta smelt. The little swimmers, whose most appreciated contribution to society arguably comes in conjunction with the word “fried,” have become so revered by ecofascists that they’re willing to imperil the entire state to save them. Delta smelt are native to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in northern California, and a federal rule from the 1970s limits diversion of water from this northern delta to the San Joaquin Valley and southern California — all for the sake of the smelt.
The ridiculousness becomes apparent when you consider that in the past two years more than 2.6 million acre-feet of water were let out into the San Francisco Bay because there was not enough capacity north of the delta to store the water, and the “save the smelt” policies wouldn’t allow the water to be sent to reservoirs south of the delta. So instead, the water was wasted.
Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal notes25, “During normal [rainfall] years, the state should replenish reservoirs. However, environmental regulations require that about 4.4 million acre-feet of water — enough to sustain 4.4 million families and irrigate one million acres of farmland — be diverted to ecological purposes.”
And the problem is nothing new. A year ago, California, populated by thriving smelt, was in a similar situation26. At that time, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the smelt27 and against diverting much-needed water south. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California took the issue to the Supreme Court, which earlier this year turned down the appeal28, effectively raising a glass to smelt and a finger to California farmers and residents.
The water shortage has become so severe that the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which houses about one-third of California’s water reserve, is at a paltry 5% of its normal average. Given smelt priority and the mismanagement of billions intended for water improvement projects, Governor Brown has now instituted the first mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history, requiring cities and towns to cut usage by 25%, with possible fines of up to $10,000 per day for those localities that fail to meet the mandate.
While conserving water will help, it will hardly solve a problem decades in the making. For this, a good lesson is needed in prioritizing humans over fish. Now, please pass the tartar sauce.
Judge Rebukes Obama’s Immigration Deception29
The executive amnesty ordered by Barack Obama last November has been eclipsed in the headlines by his disastrous dealings with Iran. But the story isn’t over.
The amnesty would grant three-year stays of deportation, Social Security numbers and work permits to some illegal aliens, but in February U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen declared that Obama exceeded his authority and blocked the amnesty30.
After further deliberation, Hanen this week declared31 his injunction will remain in place in part because Obama’s lawyers misled the court. The administration revealed two weeks after Hanen’s first ruling that it had already granted more than 100,000 work permits to illegals before the court issued its injunction, and the judge wasn’t too happy. “Whether by ignorance, omission, purposeful misdirection, or because they were misled by their clients,” Hanen wrote, “the attorneys for the Government misrepresented the facts.”
“Even worse,” he added [emphasis in the original], the government’s lawyers “urged this Court to rule before disclosing that the Government had already issued 108,081 three-year renewals under the 2014 DACA amendments despite their statements to the contrary.”
“Thus,” he concluded, “even under the most charitable interpretation of these circumstances, and based solely upon what counsel for the Government told the Court, the Government knew its representations had created ‘confusion,’ but kept quiet about it for two weeks while simultaneously pressing this Court to rule on the merits of its motion.”
So incensed was Hanen at this deception that he considered dismissing the case with prejudice, but opted instead for the greater good of settling the constitutional matters at hand through further court hearings. “Under different circumstances,” he wrote, “this Court might very well [consider striking the Government’s pleadings]. The Court, however, finds that the issues at stake here have national significance and deserve to be fully considered on the merits by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and, in all probability, the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Next week, the Fifth Circuit Court will hear oral arguments in the case. Clearly, Obama has flouted Rule of Law with his smoke and mirrors immigration strategy32, and then misled Congress, the courts and the people to keep it in place. So it certainly bears watching whether the Fifth Circuit takes into account the administration’s deliberate deception.
In related immigration news, Obama’s policies have real world consequences. Word of Obama’s executive amnesty (notwithstanding the nuances of court battles) has surely made the rounds south of the border. “The second wave of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children has begun, with more than 3,000 of them surging across the Mexican border into the U.S. last month — the highest rate since the peak of last summer’s crisis and a warning that another rough season could be ahead,” The Washington Times reports33. “Authorities report having captured 15,647 children traveling without parents who tried to jump the border in the first six months of the fiscal year.”
While those numbers are down a bit from last year’s record surge, 2015 is still on pace to be the second-biggest year on record.
Immigration officials say both violence in Central America and warmer weather are to blame for the influx, and there’s no doubt that’s at least partly true. But again, when the president of the United States issues an executive amnesty, it’s a virtual welcome mat for any who might come illegally — especially children, given Obama’s favorable treatment of them. Specifically, the administration ordered non-Mexican children to be released pending deportation proceedings. Those children rarely show up for hearings and end up staying in the U.S.
Obama himself once said, “I am not a dictator. I’m the president. … If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress then I would do so. … I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.” We have no further witnesses, your honor.
For more, visit Right Analysis21.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
George Will: When Everything Is a Crime34
Ann Coulter: Can the Left Come Up With One True Story?35
Jonah Goldberg: Iran Nuke Deal Is No Deal At All36
Larry Elder: Someday the World Will Cry, ‘Why?!’37
Victor Davis Hanson: Is the Modern American University a Failed State?38
For more, visit Right Opinion39.
OPINION IN BRIEF
French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755): “In republican governments, men are all equal; equal they are also in despotic governments: in the former, because they are everything; in the latter, because they are nothing.”
Columnist George Will: “What began as a trickle has become a stream that could become a cleansing torrent. Criticisms of the overcriminalization of American life might catalyze an appreciation of the toll the administrative state is taking on the criminal justice system, and liberty generally. … There are an estimated 4,500 federal criminal statutes — and innumerable regulations backed by criminal penalties that include incarceration. Even if none of these were arcane, which many are, their sheer number would mean that Americans would not have clear notice of what behavior is proscribed or prescribed. The presumption of knowledge of the law is refuted by the mere fact that estimates of the number of federal statutes vary by hundreds. If you are sent to prison for excavating arrowheads on federal land without a permit, your cellmate might have accidentally driven his snowmobile onto land protected by the Wilderness Act. … Given the principle — which itself should be reconsidered — of prosecutorial immunity, we have a criminal justice system with too many opportunities for generating defendants, too few inhibitions on prosecutors, and ongoing corrosion of the rule and morality of law. Congress, the ultimate cause of all this, has work to undo.”
Columnist Ann Coulter: “Without even knowing that the rape accuser, ‘Jackie,’ had refused to let Rolling Stone check the most basic elements of her narrative, every human being who read Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s piece knew it was nonsense by around the second paragraph. … Her managing editor, Will Dana, admitted that he should have ‘pull(ed) the strings a little harder … question(ed) things a little more deeply.’ Yes, maybe the editors were just not pushing hard enough. It’s as if a doctor attacked his patient with an ax, and the Columbia Medical Review responded with a forensic report concluding that the procedure failed to follow clinical protocols on hand hygiene, scrubs and restricted areas, while the doctor gallantly admitted that mistakes were made. How about not allowing reporters to go off on politically driven crusades against liberal hate-objects, like fraternities, the military and athletes? How about not basing entire stories on the uncorroborated dream sequences of fantasists?”
Comedian Conan O’Brien: “The top 15 contenders for the Republican presidential nomination own at least 40 guns among them. In other words, if we elect a Republican president, nobody is hopping over the White House fence.”
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
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.