Saturday, November 24, 2012

Twenty-four states will be controlled by Republicans, including Alaska and Wisconsin, where the party took the State Senate, and North Carolina, where the governorship changed hands. At least 13 states will be Democratic, including Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon, where control of the legislatures shifted, and California, where the already dominant Democrats gained a supermajority in both chambers. …

Our laboratories of democracy are moving toward one-party rule - Ed Morrissey/HotAir

This is going to be an interesting phenomenon to watch during the next four years of a continued Obama economy. As the choices made by individual states become more starkly partisan and the results start rolling in, we’re going to be able to compare apples to apples — and I’d bet good money that red states are going to start seeing significant gains in areas over which they have control.

For instance, California has a massive debt crisis on hand, and is sitting atop oil and gas reserves four times as large as those available in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. Although California could sorely use the revenue and jobs that tapping into those resources more would create, they’re obstinately committed to developing an economy more focused on renewables. North Dakota, meanwhile, is taking full advantage of their energy resources, and their economy is going gangbusters with an unemployment rate hovering around three percent.

Implementing ObamaCare, education policy, regulatory agendas, taxes, energy development — there are plenty of policy decisions on which the parties will be able to make their specific mark, and the contrasts between good policies and bad policies are going to be much more readily apparent.

One-Party Control Opens States to Partisan Rush - NYT

"What’s got her guts in an uproar is apparently rumors that the President wants to cap charitable deductions and lower the mortgage interest deduction… coupled with the sudden and unwelcome realization that Republicans are maybe going to smile nastily and let Obama do just that…"

The Mandate To Raise Taxes on the “Rich” - Susan Estrich
Within days of winning the election, President Obama announced that his victory gave him a mandate to raise taxes on the "rich."

Come again? This was a two-and-a-half-point election. It reflected a painfully divided electorate. The only mandate I saw was to unite a divided country.
Let Obama be Obama - Ed Driscoll/PJM

Silly Susan. She of all people should know that the MSM grants every Democrat president a mandate to do whatever harebrained schemes he’s dreamed upon winning — even when he doesn’t receive an absolute majority of the vote.

Which is but one reason why Moe Lane of Red State writes,◼ ”While I think that it’s adorable that Susan Estrich thinks that Barack Obama cares about why anybody did or did not vote for him, it’s also pretty much irrelevant:”
What’s got her guts in an uproar is apparently rumors that the President wants to cap charitable deductions and lower the mortgage interest deduction… coupled with the sudden and unwelcome realization that Republicans are maybe going to smile nastily and let Obama do just that…

What’s that? Why is that a possibility? Oh, well, the reason why is because a hard cap on charitable deductions will bite deep into the willingness of rich liberals to fund nonprofits, including ones that are frankly front groups for Leftist advocacy organizations; and lowering the mortgage interest deduction will have the same effect on Blue State residents as would, say, a sledgehammer between the eyes would to a cow. Shared sacrifice, baby.
Which brings us to ◼ Victor Davis Hanson’s recent column at NRO, and this modest proposal: “Why doesn’t the Republican-controlled House of Representatives give both voters and President Obama what they wished for?”

A Physician’s New Reality: Patients Ask Me to Break the Law

Ironically, but expectedly, the ones who do this now are likely to have supported Obamacare. - DR. PETER WEISS/PJM

Obama won, Obamacare is the law, and, as my wife says, I will just have to learn to dance to a new song.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Obamacare is awful. Forget all the “free stuff” it provides. Children covered on their parents’ plan until 26 years of age? A scam, making young adults — excuse me, children — pay for complete, comprehensive health insurance when all they need and should pay for is major catastrophe insurance. Then there is the “annual ” or “preventative” exam, which according to Obamacare is “free.”

You gotta love this stuff. I wish I had the chutzpah of the people who wrote Obamacare. What they did not tell you, and I am, is that it covers absolutely nothing more than the bare minimum.

I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam — no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.

If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.

You, the patient, will then have to make a decision.

Do you want your “free” yearly exam, or do you want to pay for a visit which is coded for a particular, new problem? You can have my “free” exam if you only discuss what Obamacare wants me to discuss.... There's more, at the link.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Resignation Could Cost Taxpayers $5.1 Million

Illinois will hold two special elections to replace Jackson, a primary and a general, and the state board projects that replacing Jackson could cost $5.15 million total. - ABC News

Jackson hasn’t officially won re-election yet, as the state won’t certify election results until Dec. 2. Officials are unsure of whether that will affect how Gov. Pat Quinn handles Jackson’s resignation, an official with the state elections board said. Jackson handily defeated Republican lawyer Brian Woodworth with 63 percent of the vote, according to the still-unofficial results.

Quinn, a Democrat, must set a special-election date within five days, under Illinois law. The election must be held in the 115 days after that.

Jackson may have cost taxpayers extra by resigning so suddenly.

To save money, the 2nd District could hold its special election on Illinois’ consolidated election schedule at the same time as lesser races throughout the state.

But that doesn’t seem possible under Illinois’s statutory special-election timeline. Illinois primaries will happen Feb. 26, but the April 9 general-election date falls outside the 115-day special-election range. Counting Thursday as day 1, March 21 is the earliest the 2nd District special election could be held.

Had Jackson waited until Dec. 15 to resign, Quinn could have scheduled the general special election for April 9, along with Illinois’ other general elections.

The cost of the special elections will be borne by the counties in Jackson’s district, as well as by the state.

Holding a statewide special election to replace governor Rod Blagojevich cost the state between $90 million and $100 million, according to estimates, the state elections board said.

Morsi Called 'Pharaoh' And 'The New Mubarak' By Protesters, Newspaper Labels Him 'Dictator'

Since he has legislative powers, he can write any law he wants. Today, amongst other things, he made it part of the constitution that none of his laws can be overturned by courts or anyone else, thereby establishing himself as full, unbridled dictator. Thousands are protesting against him in the streets… - Pat Dollard
Egypt's Morsi grants himself far-reaching powers - HAMZA HENDAWI/AP

...In what was interpreted by rights activists as a de facto declaration of emergency law, one of Morsi's decrees gave him the power to take "due measures and steps" to deal with any "threat" to the revolution, national unity and safety or anything that obstructs the work of state institutions....

For some reason, even after "binders," "birth control," and Big Bird actually did help Obama win a second term, the Republican Party is apparently still under the illusion that, just because the Left and the media launch a Narrative that's objectively false and nonsensical, we don't have to push back against it. But if those exit polls taught us anything, it's that we do.


The GOP must stop letting us down like this. We can't change the media; we can't make the media do their jobs honestly, and we certainly can't assume that the media's ever going to do the right thing.

We can't lose the Susan Rice debate on the facts. The facts are on our side. The same goes for Libya. But unless and until we're fully prepared on the facts and willing to then take the debate directly to the media, we'll keep losing the game, because we drop too many easy pop-ups.

...The Democrats overcame this problem, and they're wrong about absolutely everything.

But as my grandmother used to say, Yougottawanna.


The GOP has plenty of talent. History proves our ideas are right. Polls prove people like our ideas best.

But we're losing rhetorically.

Obama, the media, and Democrats talk circles around us, constantly catch us off guard, and because we never seem half as prepared as they are, we drop one easy one after another -- which costs us the game.

It's time for the GOP to get organized and solve this problem. It's going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of something Democrats are by design infinitely better at than we are (organization), but that's what it's going to take.

Questions about our faith, abortion, poverty, gay rights, etc. should all be drilled and drilled and drilled until we're able to turn them into what they really are: Opportunities to spread the gospel of success, compassion, liberty, and opportunity that is conservatism.

OWN IT: Top 5 States to be Hit Hardest by 2013 Tax Increases -- Supported Obama!

Families in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged New Jersey will face the highest tax increase as a percentage of their income – 6.82% or about $6,933 more in taxes -- if Congress does not reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff tax issues during the lame-duck session, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. - Christopher Goins/CNS

Maryland was ranked second by the Tax Foundation because a four-person family there, with a median income of $106,707, would see its taxes go up 6.74 percent as a percentage of income, or about $7,194.

Connecticut, ranked third, would see taxes for a family of four go up by 6.62 percent, or $6,653.

All five states with the top tax increases are “blue states,” which President Obama won in the 2012 presidential election....

Debt expands to $16,253,547,000,000... - AP ◼ Via Drudge
'Will Be A Battleground'...

“The Thanksgiving table will be a battleground,” says Andrew Marshall, 34, of Quincy, Mass.

Like many extended families across the country, Marshall’s includes Democrats and Republicans, conservatives, liberals and independents. And so, like many families that count both red and blue voters in their ranks, they’re expecting fireworks. Things had already gotten so bad on Facebook, the family had to ban political banter.

“It was getting brutal,” says Marshall.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Local: Friday election update unlikely

...the office discovered eight trays of ballots in the elections vault that still need to be opened and sorted, and it was “questionable” that the count would be complete by Friday. - The Times-Standard

The elections office final report, released in the early morning hours after Election Day, showed a tie in the race for the Ferndale mayor seat and a tight race for a Eureka City Council seat, with 2nd Ward incumbent Linda Atkins edging ahead of challenger Joe Bonino by 208 votes.

Ferndale mayoral candidates Stuart Titus and Ken Weller were locked in a dead heat with 287 votes each, according to the elections office final report.

It has been 1,299 Days since the US Senate last passed a budget. No budget for more than 3 1/2 years.

Looking At The Conservative Future

THE NEXT CONSERVATIVES? - Stephen Hayward/Powerline

Lots of chatter on the blogosphere about ◼ David Brooks’s NY Times column yesterday on “The Conservative Future,” in which he singles out for special recognition several younger writers and thinkers on the right such as Ramesh Ponnuru, Reihan Salam, Jim Manzi, Megan McArdle, and Yuval Levin, among others. Brooks also gives a partial typology of the various camps on the Right, starting with the “Paleoconservatives” who could be said to champion the Burkean tradition, along with “soft libertarians,” and “lower middle reformists,” a heretofore un-self-identified category.

I agree with Brooks with his enthusiasm for just about everyone on his list, many of whom I know fairly well....


SPIN: Obama SBA Head Hasn't Heard Of ObamaCare Impacting One Small Business

List of Layoffs

To see even more companies that announced layoffs since the election, ◼ visit the Daily Job Cuts page. - hrwf

Death spiral: Hours cut, workers pushed to part-time due to Obamacare; ‘They keep cutting my hours’ - Twitchy

Five More Obamacare Taxes Starting January 1, 2013 - hrwf

CEASE FIRE IN GAZA (Updated: Hamas Fires Twelve Missiles Into Israel an Hour After Ceasefire)

Israel has agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza. - The Other McCain
Netanyahu press conference: - Guardian

He says “we started this operation because of rocket fire.” The strikes destroyed thousands of Hamas installations, he said, with international support.

He says Iran was responsible for arming Hamas and that Obama had agreed that more must be done to stop the arms movement.

Netanyahu singled out Obama for his support. “Special thanks to president Obama for his unwavering support for Israel, and for supporting Iron Dome.”

Netanyahu also thanks Egypt.

He said the Israeli assault was necessary:
“That is what a responsible government does, and that is what we did in this case too.
“I know there are those who expected a more intense military response, and that may be needed, but at this time the best thing for Israel” is to take this opportunity to achieve a long-term ceasefire.
Netanyahu salutes the citizens of Israel. “I am proud to be your prime minister.”
Mohamed Kamel Amr, Egyptian foreign minister
Egypt has made great efforts ... since the start of the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip. These efforts and contacts have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm.
Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state
The US welcomes the agreement today for a ceasefire in Gaza – for it to hold the rocket attacks must end and a broader calm must return. The people of this region deserve the chance to live free of fear and violence.
Israel and Hamas agree to Obama-sponsored truce - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion

Israel may have obtained a short term peace, at relatively small loss of Israeli life. But Hamas will claim the victory. Hamas will restock and expand its arsenal, as Hezbollah did in Lebanon. There may not be any rocket fire in the short run, but when the Iranian orders come, Hamas will be a a position to overwhelm even the Iron Dome defenses.

Hamas lost some key members, and plenty of buildings. It will not make a difference, they will celerate their victory. They fired long range missiles into the heart of Israel and live to fight another day.

And in exchange for stopping firing rockets, Hamas gets more open borders.

Dozen Wounded in Blast...
'God Willing, We Will Soon See Black Body Bags'...

COME HOME, HILLARY - Paul Mirengoff/Powerline

The bombing of the bus in Tel Aviv confirms the folly of attempting to negotiate a cease fire with Hamas at this time....

But Israel is constrained by the presence of Hillary Clinton, and that, of course, was President Obama’s purpose in planting her in Israel. Obama went ballistic on Prime Minister Netanyahu when, while Joe Biden was in Israel, the government said it would built some housing units in Jerusalem. Imagine the reaction if Israel launches an invasion while Hillary is present.

The whole spectacle is farcical. A pretend friend of Israel sends his envoy to constrain Israel’s ability to defend itself, on the pretense of negotiating a pretend long-term cease fire through the good offices of an Egyptian government that doesn’t even pretend to be other than Israel’s enemy.

Meanwhile, Hamas, which isn’t pretending, continues to kill Israelis.

Hamas Fires Twelve Missiles Into Israel an Hour After Ceasefire - Gateway Pundit


Republicans must choose a few key demographics and go on the offense. One of those fronts must be Silicon Valley. - Ali Akbar

Drudge headlines

Record Number of Americans Will Use Food Stamps For Holiday...

We are witnessing the media’s test run to elect a Democrat in 2016

The “crazy-ing” of Marco Rubio blossoms - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion

The motus operandi will be to “crazy” him, the long-standing tactic used against Republicans and particularly people like Rubio who sprang from the Tea Party movement (something he doesn’t wear on his sleeve very much) or who occupy that most reviled place in the mainstream media, religious Christians.

...Daniel Engber at Slate notes that Rubio’s answer was almost precisely the answer Obama gave when running for President in 2008:
Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?

A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.
It will not matter. There are two standards, one for “thoughtful” Democrats and one for “crazy” Republicans.

Pennsylvania College Cuts Teachers Hours To Avoid Obamacare Costs

According to, the move will save the school $6 million when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in January 2014. - Noel Sheppard/Newsbusters

As IHE observed, this is a double whammy for the adjunct faculty because it eliminates any hope of them getting health insurance from the school while also reducing their income.

College spokesman David Hoovler told IHE by email, “Our preference certainly would be to extend health coverage to all of these individuals. However, we are simply unable to afford the significant cost at this time.”

Matt Williams, vice president of the New Faculty Majority, a national coalition for adjunct faculty, told IHE that CCAC's move is the first he’s heard of, but he doesn't rule out other institutions doing the same.

As such, despite repeatedly claiming on the campaign trail that America needs more teachers, President Obama's signature piece of legislation appears likely to reduce that number when it comes to higher education.

The Obamacare implementation layoff announcements du jour - Doug Powers/Michelle Malkin

The ramping up (or down, depending on how you look at it) for full implementation of Obamacare continues:
In the largest staff reduction in its nearly 100-year history, Orlando Health is cutting up to 400 jobs starting immediately, hospital system officials announced Monday.
The move is part of a broader effort to position the hospital system for the health-care overhaul, CEO Sherrie Sitarik said.
The elimination of jobs will occur in two phases and represents a 2 percent to 3 percent reduction in the system’s 16,000-person work force, said Orlando Health spokeswoman Kena Lewis. The cuts affect all departments and all eight of the system’s hospitals, including Orlando Regional Medical Center and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, two of the system’s better-known facilities.
Such cost-cutting measures are happening across the country. On Wednesday, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina announced that it would cut 950 jobs by June.
Last month, Louisiana State University announced it would cut 1,495 positions as well as programs across its seven hospitals to trim more than $150 million from its budget.
...Harsh economic realities are on the way, and these kinds of stories are just the ◼ tip of the iceberg.

No, the '60s gang won because their utterly empty language triumphed. Endless talk about quite obviously empty propositions passes for debate. It is all cliche. Read the transcript of the president's presser last week. An avalanche of cliche. He doesn't know how else to talk. The press doesn't know how else to ask questions.

David Mamet’s The Anarchist: The New Left’s Terrible Triumph - Hugh Hewitt/Townhall

The lasting damage of the New Left isn't the fiscal bankruptcy of the country, but it's intellectual bottoming out. Because they were so vacuous, everything became vacuous. This is what I loved about The Anarchist. It batters the conceits of the Left so thoroughly at no one from that land of absurd arguments can leave without knowing Mamet's got their number. Frauds, all of them. Just frauds. Marcuse. Bloch. Rubin. The whole over-the-hill gang of sloganeering hucksters. For this work I am thankful.

But Lord it is depressing.

When even Jerry Brown can’t handle the folks who put him into power and pay his bills – the unions rammed through the vast tax increase of Proposition 30 while funding the shutdown of the anti-union measure Proposition 32 – you know they’re out of control. And they’re completely out of control.



"While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change," West said. - Breitbart

Many have speculated West could find a new career in the place where he has been frequently seen, on cable television, but he has not said what his next step will be. "Only God knows what is in store for each of us," he said in his statement, adding that "I will continue to fight for our republic."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Of course, there would be no Gaza War ever if Hamas, Islamic Jihad, et. al. did not lob missiles at Israeli civilians day in and day out to provoke one. Israel would have no interest in fighting otherwise.

Benghazi, Gaza, and the Killers of CNN - Roger L. Simon/PJM

...the media are complicit with Hamas in that killing and maiming because it is done for them. It happens so the media can report it. They might be shocked to hear it, but if they stopped to think for a second, the media would realize that the war, on Hamas’ part anyway, would not exist if no one publicized it. Without publicity, Hamas couldn’t be less interested. And the Israelis, unprovoked, would never send a single missile into Gaza. Everyone knows that.

So Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the others fight for the benefit of the media. That’s it. That’s their sole motive — to show Israel as brutal with the help of the press. They live for the Israelis to make a mistake — and if the Israelis don’t, they invent one.

By participating in this charade, the media are effectively racist, treating the Palestinians like “ignorant wogs” from the days of British imperialism, incapable of taking care of themselves or of making a decent society for themselves. The media portray the Palestinians as victims, therefore encouraging Palestinian victimhood.

They are also “objectively pro-fascist” in Orwell’s term, because Hamas is an Islamofascist organization and they are doing Hamas’ will.

CNN et. al. rarely report the obvious — that if Hamas devoted a tenth of the time and money to hospitals, schools, and other civic institutions that they do to amassing an arsenal of 12,000 missiles and whatever else, the Gaza Strip would flourish like a paradise.

For now we can thank Obama and Benghazi for keeping this murderous roundelay a bit in check. Evidently the ceasefire dickering has already begun. Apparently the Israelis have the temerity to be asking for a long one. I don’t know if that matters. Hamas and similar organizations live on hate — and hate lasts thousands of years. It has to be stopped at the core.

I have a different suggestion for the Israelis to start with one simple and basic demand — for Hamas to change its charter that calls for the extermination of Israel. Without that, what will have changed?


A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. - CNET via Drudge

Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

It's an abrupt departure from Leahy's earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. The Vermont Democrat boasted last year that his bill "provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by... requiring that the government obtain a search warrant."
Revised bill highlights
✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans' electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.

✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans' correspondence stored on systems not offered "to the public," including university networks.

✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant -- or subsequent court review -- if they claim "emergency" situations exist.

✭ Says providers "shall notify" law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they've been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.

✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to "10 business days." This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.
This is a bitter setback for Internet companies and a liberal-conservative-libertarian coalition, which had hoped to convince Congress to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to protect documents stored in the cloud. Leahy glued those changes onto an unrelated privacy-related bill supported by Netflix.
At the moment, Internet users enjoy more privacy rights if they store data on their hard drives or under their mattresses, a legal hiccup that the companies fear could slow the shift to cloud-based services unless the law is changed to be more privacy-protective.

Monday, November 19, 2012

House reps to Obama: About that UN arms trade treaty? Just say no.

Hours after U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, the United States backed a U.N. committee’s call on Wednesday to renew debate over a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global conventional arms trade. - HotAir

A bipartisan group of almost eighty House representatives are not pleased with the idea of the United Nations gaining authority to stick its nose into the gun trade in rule-of-law-abidin’ bastions of tail-kicking freedom like the United States, and have introduced a resolution that calls on President Obama to decline on signing the Arms trade Treaty (ATT)

House resolution calls on Obama to reject UN arms trade treaty - The Hill

Benjamin Netanyahu: Leader of the Free World

Israel defends herself. Israel defends the free world. - Matt Barber/Townhall

More commonly known as “following,” President Obama’s follow-the-leader strategy in the Middle East represents, in my view, either inherent weakness on his part, sympathy toward the Islamic cause or both.

I suspect both.

Indeed, during his first term, Mr. Obama betrayed both weakness personified and sympathy toward the goals of Islamic fundamentalism with his ongoing embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This extremist group, with Obama’s help, now controls much of the Arab world. It has sworn, in its own words, to “destroy” our “Western civilization from within … so that it is eliminated and God’s religion (Islam) is made victorious over all other religions.”

Not surprisingly, today the Brotherhood rushes to the aid of both the terrorist group Hamas and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority. This, as terrorists ramp-up decades-long rocket attacks and suicide bombings against innocent Israeli women and children.

Nonetheless – and clearly stemming from a cynical political calculus – Mr. Obama persists in paying shallow lip service to support for Israel. All the while he continues to play footsie with the Muslim Brotherhood....

Whether due to naiveté, foolishness or pure dishonesty, President Obama’s bungling of the Middle East crisis – let alone his unprecedented attacks on our constitutional freedoms stateside – has disqualified him to lead the free world.

And so, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped forward to answer the call. He has become de facto leader of the free world – chief defender of Western civilization.

As America’s light fades under the Obama regime, Israel has become – for now at least – “the shining city on the hill.”

Twinkies likely to survive, become a foreign import...

The Twinkie: Will it return as a Mexican expat? - Patrik Jonsson/Christian Science Monitor

Who knew there were so many Twinkie diehards?

The announcement that Hostess Brands would shutter and liquidate its 33 bakeries – including its Twinkie-making plant in Illinois – sparked a fevered Boomer nostalgia ironically belied by the fact that it’s been years since most people have bit into that impossibly long-lasting and sticky-sweet miracle of artificial confectionery. (Today, about 12 percent of US households buy Twinkies, down from 15 percent in 2004.)

But news that Twinkie bars are now selling at gold bar prices on eBay hints at opportunity: In fact, global firms are already lining up to bid on the iconic brand names – Ding Dongs, Ho Ho’s, Wonder Bread, Drake’s – in order to prepare many, if not all, for reissue.

The brands “most likely will be purchased by a competitor that will bolt the additional sales to a more efficient delivery system,” David Pauker, a food industry restructuring specialist, tells Reuters. “The company itself won't survive.”

...For now, the future of 18,500 Hostess jobs are up in the air, and many may never return. As for the Twinkie? It looks like it actually is indestructible.

Hostess Bankruptcy: What Role Did Policy Play? - Chris Edwards/Townhall

The demise of Hostess and Twinkies is not a national emergency, but it is certainly sad when a major business goes under and thousands of people lose their jobs.

If federal and state policymakers want to play a useful role here, they should study why Hostess couldn’t make a go of it. Were there tax or regulatory factors that stood in the way of the company earning a decent rate of return?

Unions were an important factor that pushed up the firm’s costs and reduced its operational efficiency. The policy reform here is obvious for people who appreciate market economics: repeal America’s coercive union laws. If policymakers don’t kill so-called collective bargaining, these rules will keep on killing companies....

Over the last four days, militants in Gaza have fired more than 840 rockets at Israel.

The Escalating Conflict Between Hamas and Israel - James Phillips/heritage Foundation

Hamas rockets have reached the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the first time, thanks to the smuggling of Iranian rockets into Gaza. The increasing range and sophistication of Palestinian rockets has expanded the reach of terrorists, who now can threaten up to half of Israel’s population.

Israel has intercepted 302 of those rockets with its Iron Dome missile defense system, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Iron Dome, on which the U.S. has collaborated, has proven its worth and underscored the importance of missile defense in future U.S. military budgets.

Meanwhile, Iran is seeking—successfully—to keep the pot boiling at Israel’s expense to distract international attention from its nuclear program. A leaked International Atomic Energy Agency report indicates that Iran could soon double the number of centrifuges at its Fordo facility from 700 to 1,400.

President Obama spoke out on the fighting yesterday, saying Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas’s missile attacks from Gaza. But he urged Israel not to launch a ground assault in Gaza, saying it would put Israeli soldiers, as well as Palestinian citizens, at greater risk and hamper an already vexing peace process.

“If we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future,” Obama said.

This public statement will only strengthen Hamas’s determination to continue its rocket terrorism and reap the propaganda benefits from Israeli retaliatory air strikes, because the President’s statement lowers the perceived risks of an Israeli ground intervention. Moreover, it is continued Palestinian terrorism that is the chief barrier to peace, not Israel’s legitimate efforts to protect its own citizens from indiscriminate Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Egypt, Turkey, and the Arab League have heavily criticized Israel and called for a halt of air strikes. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and hopes to pull in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime to tilt the balance against Israel. Egypt’s government will seek to have its cake and eat it, too, in the sense that it will use the crisis to denounce Israel, support Hamas, and play to anti-Israeli sentiments at home while trying to mediate a ceasefire behind the scenes that enhances its influence and justifies continued U.S. and Western aid.

If they genuinely wanted to stop the bloodshed, then these leaders should pressure Hamas to stop the bombardment, which triggered the crisis.

Obama, too, should aim primarily at restraining Hamas, not Israel.... More, at the link.


Enjoy the Holiday.