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The Trumped-Up Charges Spectator

Rosemary Lehmberg On the Warpath: First Rick Perry, Now Wallace Hall

By 9.10.14

The Travis County District Attorney’s office is doubling down on the widely mocked legal theories used to indict Governor Rick Perry.

Rosemary Lehmberg’s office is now trying to get a grand jury to indict another prominent Texas conservative on the exact same charge—abuse of official capacity. The cases have nothing in common, other than a shameless and blackhearted prosecutor who has discovered a vague paragraph in state law that lets her bring charges against any Republican she wants for just about any reason.

There is a slight check on that power—a grand jury—but the juries in heavily Democratic Travis County have shown little inclination to check her abuses. Instead, they end up offering her insulation from the lawsuits and disbarment she deserves for her malicious prosecutions.

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Political Hay

Oral Contraceptive Republicans

By 9.10.14

The Left’s relentless “war on women” campaign is producing some odd results, one of which is the emergence of Republicans who champion over-the-counter contraceptives. As Time puts it, “Republicans Can’t Stop Talking About Over-the-Counter Birth Control.”

“Four GOP Senate candidates have advocated for over-the-counter birth control, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Ed Gillespie in Virginia, and Mike McFadden in Minnesota,” Time reports. “‘I actually agree with the American Medical Association that we should make contraception more widely available. I think over-the-counter oral contraception should be available without prescription,” Tillis said last week in his first debate against Sen. Kay Hagan.”

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The Public Policy

Cheap Politicians Turn Out to Be Very Expensive Politicians

By 9.10.14

The recent bribery convictions of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife are only the latest in a seemingly never-ending series of convictions of government officials.

A little item on the Internet featured government officials in prison, either currently or in recent times. Among them were a mayor of New Orleans, a mayor of Detroit, and a mayor of Washington; a governor of Connecticut, a governor of Louisiana, two governors of Illinois, and four members of Congress.

However much these and other government officials may have richly deserved being behind bars, the country does not deserve to have its confidence in government repeatedly undermined. A country with 100 percent cynicism about its government cannot be governed. And nobody wants anarchy.

In short, the damage done by government officials who betray the public’s trust goes far beyond the money stolen or misused, or whatever particular abuse of power landed them behind bars.

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The Current Crisis

Paul Ryan’s Mysterious Way

By 9.10.14

There is a mystery about Congressman Paul Ryan’s new and very good book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Dream. Perhaps there are several mysteries.

Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, begins by writing at length about the place he has lived all his life, Janesville, a town of 60,000 in southern Wisconsin. It is rural, but it also has industry. Moreover it has Ryans. Sixty-seven of his cousins live nearby. The Ryans have lived there for generations along with other Catholics, Protestants, and presumably citizens utterly oblivious to religion’s call. But the point is that most of the citizens of Janesville are decent, law-abiding, can-do citizens. Ryan describes it as an ideal community to grow up in and to discover the American Idea. It is his idea of how we live as Americans. It is also the Founding Fathers’ idea, and the basic idea of modern conservatism of which Ryan is a leading member.

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In Memoriam

Death of a Hell-Destined Homophobe

By 9.10.14

S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A founder, died Monday at age 93. With hard work, discipline, and dedication, he turned a single Atlanta diner into a popular restaurant chain and household name. He rose from poverty to riches.

Cathy opened his first restaurant in 1946, just after returning from serving his country in World War II. Today, Chick-fil-A has nearly 2,000 outlets in 39 states.

All along, the man was faithful to his business, his family, and his God. You would think that his life’s story would elicit nothing but praise. But if you think that, then you don’t live in modern America — that is, today’s fundamentally transformed America.

Cathy, you see, was a devout Christian, a Baptist, as is his son, Dan, who inherited the chain. They’re so faithful to their Biblical precepts that their many restaurants are closed on Sundays. That’s what they believe their Bible commends. The Cathy family has faith-based principles, and sticks to them.

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A Further Perspective

Four Facts About a Strategy to Defeat ISIS

By and 9.10.14

Americans are outraged over the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. We all want President Obama to defeat these savages. For any plan to be credible, it must acknowledge four important facts.

(1) Without oil, ISIS has no economy:

In 2012, crude oil was 84 percent of Iraq’s exports. Only 33 percent of Iraq’s GDP is generated from the private sector and many of those workers get much of their business from government contracts. 

Currently, ISIS controls seven oil fields in Northern Iraq that produce 30,000 barrels per day (bpd). This is small compared to overall Iraq production in August, which was reported to be 3.1 million bpd, of which 2.44 million bpd was exported. 

Most of country’s oil is in the south. The only place in northern Iraq with appreciable oil reserves is near Kirkuk, producing one million bpd. Any strategy against ISIS must involve keeping these terrorists away from Kirkuk and also destroying the few fields now under ISIS control. ISIS also controls refineries in Syria that produce 50,000 barrels per day. These should be targeted for destruction also. 

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Special Report and Interview

Reliving Benghazi’s 13 Hours

By 9.9.14

On September 11 and 12, 2012, in an attack by Islamist militants on the U.S. Diplomatic Compound (unofficially sometimes called a consulate) in Benghazi, Libya, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed — the first death of an American ambassador by a violent act since 1979. Chris Stevens had earned the admiration and respect of many local Benghazans by making improved relations between Libyans and Americans his calling — one that he was willing to take great risks to accomplish. Also killed that fateful night was the affable State Department computer specialist Sean Smith, known ironically to his friends in the online gaming world as “Vile Rat.”

Far more people would have died had it not been for the efforts of the Annex Security Team, a group of private security contractors, each of whom had served in the United States Marines, Army, or Navy, working for an organization called the Global Response Staff (“GRS”), who risked their lives and defied orders by leaving the nearby CIA Annex in order to save the State Department staff at the Diplomatic Compound.

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Serve and Volley

Croatia’s Star Stops Japan’s Rising Son Cold in Three-Set Rout

By 9.9.14

Fittingly, a Grand Slam season that began with the victory of a long-suffering underdog ended with the triumph of still another. But whereas perennial Swiss No. 2 Stan Wawrinka faced one of tennis’s dominant Big Four at Melbourne, the big-serving Marin Cilic of Croatia was up against one of his own second-tier rivals, Kei Nishikori, who beat one of the Bigs in his U.S. Open semi while Cilic took out another.

Thus the final in the every-seat-taken (17,000 of them) Arthur Ashe Stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York that a few days ago everyone expected to be a rematch of the Roger Federer-Novak Djokovic thriller at Wimbledon a couple months ago instead was a battle between upstart, relatively unknown players, neither one of whom ever had been in a Grand Slam final.

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Main Street U.S.A.

Obama Goes to War

By 9.9.14

Wasn’t that a good one about the president promising an executive order on immigration — only he discovered the time wasn’t quite right, what with an election coming on, so he pivoted to the Islamic State, which he is promising to degrade and destroy in two or three years, only…?

The “onlys” tend to get you when they accumulate too fast: attempted cover for broken promises and stalled undertakings. This might be another way of saying, does Barack Obama, hours after kicking the immigration can down the road, really expect the world to take with profound seriousness his renewal of the terror war he denounced when others were waging it?

Obama’s shifts of viewpoint and rhetoric have become as commonplace as fall-weather chitchat. Say, Ned, reckon it’s about to cool down some? Reckon there’ll be boots on the ground by Thanksgiving?

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The Obama Watch

Obama Does Have a Strategy: Bury the Bad News

By 9.9.14

Those people who say that President Obama has no clear vision and no clear strategy for dealing with the ISIS terrorists in the Middle East may be mistaken. It seems to me that he has a very clear and very consistent strategy. And a vision behind that strategy.

First the strategy — which is to get each crisis off the front pages and off television news programs as quickly as he can, in whatever way he can, at the lowest political cost. Calling ISIS a junior varsity months ago accomplished that goal.

Saying before the 2012 elections that “bin Laden is dead” and that terrorism was defeated accomplished the goal of getting reelected.

Ineffective sanctions against Iran and Russia likewise serve a clear purpose. They serve to give the illusion that Obama is doing something that will stop Iran from getting nuclear bombs and stop Russia from invading Ukraine.

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