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From Thank-Mas to Thanksgiving

By 11.25.14

Thanks-mas — as our new winter holiday deserves to become known, with pumpkins and red-and-green lights merging in anticipatory celebration — only partly occludes the opportunities for national and personal gratitude widespread in Novembers past.

Such opportunities as can be found might, if grasped, afford a few moments of useful reflection on America’s present challenges. Those challenges have many forms and shapes, but a certain political character seems to shove most others aside. This makes a certain kind of sense. The big news stories are about politics: The president proclaims how it’s going to be on immigration policy; the secretary of Defense jumps from a White House window, propelled by supposedly friendly hands; a new Congress prepares for confrontation; the Supreme Court prepares to tell us what we think about everything or what we’d think if we all wore black robes.

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The Obama Watch

The New Con: Law Professors for Executive Amnesty

By 11.25.14

Call it a White House con game. The Obama administration is rolling out a list of law professors in support of the president’s executive order giving amnesty to five million illegal immigrants. The Hill reports:

The White House worked to bolster the legal case for President Obama’s immigration action Thursday night, releasing a letter from a group of prominent legal scholars arguing that the president’s moves were within his legal authorities.

The group included three law professors from the University of Chicago — where the president taught constitutional law before his election — as well as Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and renowned Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe.

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The Obama Watch

Found: 30,000 Emails That the IRS Overlooked

By 11.25.14

Never take a liar at his (or her) word. It’s been five months since the IRS said they couldn’t recover Lois Lerner’s emails from her hard drive, and that other backup systems probably wouldn’t turn up anything either. Just weeks ago, Judicial Watch discovered that the IRS hadn’t actually tried to recover those backups.

Now, the Treasury Department’s inspector general of tax administration has finally done what the IRS refused to—actually look at the disaster recovery backup tapes. And surprise, surprise! They recovered data that could include thirty thousand emails to and from Lois Lerner between 2009 and 2011.

We knew they weren’t gone forever.

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Another Perspective

Stop Giving Money to the Third World

By 11.25.14

Consider the following two statements: First, in Britain this winter, one old-age pensioner will die of cold about every five minutes—roughly 30,000 total for the season—because pensions are not large enough to allow both heating and eating. Second, this year, the British government will give $450 million in foreign aid to Argentina.

Yes, Argentina, which launched an unprovoked war against Britain over the Falkland Islands in which hundreds of Her Majesty’s soldiers and sailors died or were mutilated, which still refers to Britain as an enemy, and whose official rhetoric and policies suggest it may have another go as soon as it judges the time to be ripe. Britain still has only minimal forces (four aircraft) defending the Falklands. What sort of moral or political sense does this make?

Britain’s official foreign aid budget, which the strange quasi-Tory Prime Minister David Cameron claims is his proudest achievement, comes to about $22 billion. This would pay the heating bills of a lot of pensioners.

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A Further Perspective

Beware of Our Betters

By 11.25.14

Jonathan Gruber’s several videotaped remarks about the gross deceptions that got Obamacare passed in Congress should tell us a lot about the Obama administration. And the way that the mainstream media hesitated for days to even mention what Professor Gruber said, while they obsessed over unsubstantiated charges against Bill Cosby, should tell us a lot about the media.

Whatever did or did not happen between Bill Cosby and various women is not likely to affect the lives of 300 million Americans. But Obamacare does.

For both the politicians and the media, this was not just an isolated incident. Gruber’s videotaped discussions of the complicated deceptions built into Obamacare with his help, designed to take advantage of what he called the “stupidity” of the public, are all too typical of the role played by the political left.

Neither the politicians nor the intelligentsia — including the media — want that role exposed for what it is.

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Politics

Five Ways Congress Should Respond To Obama’s Executive Amnesty

By 11.25.14

In the aftermath of Thursday’s debacle of a speech, in which our president crossed a Rubicon of his own making and transformed himself into a tin-pot ruler of Third World quality, the incoming GOP Senate majority and the soon-to-expand Republican House majority are faced with a stiff challenge as the current Congress ends and the new one is sworn in next year.

What Obama has done—asserting the right to legalize millions of trespassers and squatters against the expressed wishes of Congress and in contravention of settled federal law by use of what he and his minions term “prosecutorial discretion”—cannot stand. GOP leadership on Capitol Hill needs to overreact to it in order to set an example. Sure, amnesty is atrocious policy, for all kinds of reasons. The real issue at stake, however, is the poisoning of our constitutional system of checks and balances by a president who believes, after saying two dozen times the opposite, that he can invent for himself the power to overturn federal law by fiat.

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Loose Canons

Relaxed in Tehran

By 11.24.14

As sure as President Obama will pardon a ceremonial turkey this week, we know others will not be so lucky in the White House kitchen. The biggest diplomatic turkey—Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran—will be similarly pardoned and excused quickly while the foreboding we should all feel about it will be ignored in the launch of the holiday season.

As this is written, no announcement of the inevitable postponement of the Iran nuclear negotiations has come. But today the draft pseudo-deal with the Iranian government expires. All of the entrails we can read bode ill not just for the continued stalemate, but also for our reaching a deal that will not ensure the Iranians’ ability to produce nuclear weapons in secret, beyond our intelligence community’s capability to detect Iran’s decision to accomplish its ambition.

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Political Hay

Is President Obama a GOP Mole?

By 11.24.14

When President Obama took office in 2009, his party was in better shape than it had been since the era following Watergate. The Democrats controlled both houses of Congress by very comfortable margins. They had just regained the White House in a historic election. They believed they would control Washington for decades, if not generations, to come. Yet fewer than six years later, their congressional majorities have been annihilated and their prospects for retaining the presidency in 2016 are far less promising than they were just a month ago. Virtually all this devastation has been caused by Obama himself.

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Another Perspective

The Forgotten Side of Illegal Immigration

By 11.24.14

In his speech last Thursday, President Obama had two objectives. First, a dual one: create future votes for the Democrats and gain gratitude from illegal Hispanics for his generosity. The other objective was to set a trap for Congressional Republican by making them so outraged that they would gum up the federal budget with riders that would cause him to veto it, thus creating a government shutdown for which the Republicans would get the blame, thus deflating their momentum from the recent election.

While many elected Republicans denounced Obama’s action as outrageous and an affront to the Constitution, it is also not action that is publicly popular. (A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that 48 percent oppose it and only 38 precedent support it.)

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A Further Perspective

What Is a Conservative?

By 11.24.14

In 1976 George H. Nash published his definitive history, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. In it he recounted the somewhat fractious workings of a philosophic and political coalition made up of libertarians and fellow-traveling economists, traditionalists, and pro-military anti-Communists. Neoconservatives soon aligned themselves to this aggregation, focusing on the excesses of the welfare state and the Communist threat worldwide.

These seemingly incompatible elements united around Ronald Reagan to capture the presidency in 1980. This, in turn, led to supply-side tax cuts, prosperity and massive rearmament that forced the Soviet Empire into bankruptcy.

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