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Quote of the Day 03/27/15

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.” — Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) [Claude Frederic Bastiat] French economist, statesman, and author. He did most of his writing during the years just before — and immediately following — the French Revolution of February 1848

The Israelis Send Obama a Message By Alan Caruba

When the news of Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection victory was announced I factitiously posted on my Facebook page that the Israelis had “sent Obama a two-word message and it wasn’t happy birthday.” It took him two days to call and congratulate Bibi.

I don’t think we have ever had a President so ignorant of the Middle East and that includes the neo-cons that got George W. Bush into a war in Iraq to rid that nation of Saddam Hussein and presumably create a democracy to replace him. Liberals tend to forget that Bush had actually accomplished that until Obama pulled out all of our troops and consigned Iraq to anarchy and ISIS.

A simple understanding of the last century would presumably tell any President that the U.S. had troops all around the world for the purpose of maintaining the peace that various tyrants would challenge. As far as Obama is concerned, the sooner America retreated to his own borders and eliminated its nuclear arsenal, the safer the world would be. Only an idiot would believe that.

To put it succinctly, Obama has been wrong about Iraq, wrong about Syria, wrong about Egypt when he supported the Muslim Brotherhood, and is very wrong about Iran, a fact that has Israel and all the other Middle Eastern nations seriously concerned. If Putin hadn’t concluded that Obama is a fool and a weakling, he might not have invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimea.

This is, after all, a President who sent five high level terrorists back to join their Taliban colleagues in Afghanistan in exchange for a U.S. Army sergeant, Bowe Bergdahl, who defected from his unit to join the Taliban and was held prisoner for five years. If you haven’t heard anything more about him it’s because that’s the standard operational procedure of the Obama White House. First they screw up and then they wait until they hope everyone has forgotten.

If that wasn’t obscene enough, in the latest Worldwide Threat Assessment submitted to Congress by the director of National Intelligence, both Iran and Hezbollah, a terror state and its proxy in Lebanon, were removed from the list of global terror threats.

Throughout his two terms to date Obama has demonstrated unremitting animosity toward Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular. His demand for a two-state “solution” ignores that fact that the Palestinians have refused to initiate a state of their own from the day Israel declared its independence in 1948.

The “land-for-peace” policy provided the Palestinians with the whole of Gaza. Instead of building a thriving homeland, they used it to rocket Israel until it was forced to respond with enough force to reduce the threat. Land-for-peace? How about the land through which the Palestinians were tunneling into Israel for the purpose of attacking Israelis on the Gaza border?

These people have been incorrigible for 67 years since Israel’s founding. These days Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization devoted to the destruction of Israel and funded by Iran. Netanyahu’s decision reflects the minds and hearts of the Israelis who reelected him and the Likud party to power.

So what is Obama’s response? He wants to go to the United Nations to force Israel to cede land to a Palestinian nation that the Palestinians have refused to create. Ironically, if you want to find a nation full of Palestinians, you need only visit Jordan which, along with Egypt, has had a peace treaty with Israel for decades.

If you want to find a nation with a million-plus Muslims, then visit Israel which is their home. Arabs and Jews have lived together there in peace for a long time.

Someone needs to tell Obama about the Hamas assassination plot against Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that was disrupted in early March when his forces raided nine PA-ruled towns in the West Bank to detain 550 Hamas suspects. By initiating mass riots as Hamas had done in Gaza in order to seize power from the PA, the overthrow of Abbas was intended to give them control over the West Bank as well.

Someone might also inform Obama that 2014 was the deadliest year for terror attacks in 45 years. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in late February told Congress that “When the final counting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled.” Worldwide, from January to September, around 13,000 terror attacks were carried out, killing 31,000 people.

While Obama obsesses about Israel, he continues to do little about ISIS, the Islamic State, that has been expanding from Iraq and Syria into the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, and South Asia. The report says “ISIL’s rise represents the greatest shift in the Sunni violent extremist landscape since Al Qaeda affiliates first began forming, and it is the first to assume at least some characteristics of a nation state.”

No one knows better than the Israelis who have fought wars and intifadas that the major menace to the West is to be found in the Middle East. Instead of demanding that Israel commit territorial suicide, Obama should be supporting the greatest ally America has in the Middle East, but that is perhaps too much to ask of this ignorant, arrogant, former community organizer.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

A Simple Question: What Has Hillary Clinton Accomplished? BY THOMAS SOWELL

It is amazing how a simple question can cause a complex lie to collapse like a house of cards. The simple question was asked by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, and it was addressed to two Democrats. He asked what has Hillary Clinton ever accomplished.

The two Democrats immediately sidestepped the question and started reciting their talking points in favor of Hillary. But O’Reilly kept coming back to the fact that nothing they were talking about was an accomplishment.

For someone who has spent her entire adult life in politics, including being a senator and then a secretary of state, Clinton has nothing to show for all those years — no significant legislation of hers that she got passed in the Senate, and only an unbroken series of international setbacks for the U.S. during her time as secretary of state.

Before President Obama entered the White House and appointed Clinton secretary of state, al-Qaida operatives in Iraq had notified their leaders, stationed in Pakistan, that their cause was lost in Iraq and that there was no point sending more men there.

Hosni Mubarak was in charge in Egypt. He posed no threat to American or Western interests in the Middle East or to Christians within Egypt or to Israel. But the Obama administration threw its weight behind the Muslim Brotherhood, which took over and began terrorizing Christians in Egypt and promoting hostility to Israel.

In Libya next door, the Qaddafi regime had already given up its weapons of mass destruction, after it saw what happened to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But Obama’s foreign policy, carried out by Secretary of State Clinton, got Qaddafi removed, after which Libya became a terrorist haven where an American ambassador was killed, for the first time in decades.

The rationale for toppling Mideast leaders who posed no threat to U.S. interests was that they were undemocratic and their people restless. But there are no democracies in the Mideast, except for Israel. Moreover, the people were restless in Iran and Syria, and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy did nothing to support those who were trying to overthrow these regimes.

It would be only fair to balance this picture with foreign policy triumphs of the Obama-Clinton team. But there are none. Not in the Mideast, not in Europe, where the Russians have invaded Crimea, and not in Asia, where both China and North Korea are building up threatening military forces while the administration has been cutting back on American military forces.

Clinton became an iconic figure by feeding the media and the left the kind of rhetoric they love. Obama did the same and became president. Neither had any concrete accomplishments besides rhetoric beforehand, and both have had the opposite of accomplishments after taking office.

They have something else in common. They attract votes from those who vote for demographic symbolism — “the first black president” to be followed by “the first woman president” — and neither to be criticized, lest you be denounced for racism or sexism.

It is staggering that there are sane adults who can vote for someone to be president of the United States as if they are in school, just voting for “most popular boy” or “most popular girl” — or, worse yet, voting for someone who will give them free stuff.

Whoever holds that office makes decisions involving the life and death of Americans and — especially if Iran gets a nuclear arsenal — the life and death of this nation. It took just two nuclear bombs — neither of them as powerful as those today’s — to get a tough nation such as Japan to surrender.

Anyone familiar with World War II Pacific battles knows it was not unusual for 90% of the Japanese troops defending Iwo Jima or other islands to fight to the death, even after it was clear that U.S. troops had them beaten.

When people such as those surrender after two nuclear bombs, don’t imagine that today’s soft Americans — led by the likes of Obama or Clinton — will fight on after New York and Chicago have been reduced to ashes.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State and other terrorists are giving us a free demonstration of what surrender would mean. But perhaps we can kick the can down the road and leave that as a legacy to our children and grandchildren, along with the national debt.

Source: Investor’s Business Daily

Wall St. attacked, Main St. wounded by Iain Murray

The 2008 financial crisis was a drastic shock to the American economy. But the regulatory response in the years that followed was just as powerful a shock to the financial system.

Enshrined in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, known as Dodd-Frank after its main sponsors — then-Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and then-Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. — the reforms were intended to protect Main Street and the public from risks imposed on them by Wall Street and financial predation. Instead, it has subjected them to risks from Washington and predatory regulators while doing little to punish the main culprits in the financial crisis.

Dodd-Frank turned out not really to be one law. Instead, it is one law for the rich and another for the poor.

It grew out of a 2009 Obama administration task force proposal, “A New Foundation: Rebuilding Financial Supervision and Regulation,” and incorporated two distinct plans. One aimed at preventing bank failures from endangering the economy (the original focus of the White House task force). The other was setting up a new federal regulator, an idea first proposed in 2007 by then-Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren.

This led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Dodd and Frank worked closely with the administration to craft the legislation and in December 2009, Frank introduced it. It contained most of the original White House proposal.

The bill was an odd marriage from the start. Warren argued for her agency as a means to protect consumer product safety. In an article in the progressive journal Democracy, “Unsafe at Any Rate,” (a nod to Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed), she wrote: “It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house. But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street — and the mortgage won’t even carry a disclosure of that fact to the homeowner.”

Warren’s comparison is superficially compelling, but it is inapt, as George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki points out.

Loans are not toasters. The default and foreclosure crisis was caused by misaligned incentives, anti-deficiency laws and erratic monetary policy. These causes are all safety and soundness issues and not consumer protection issues.

Essentially, safety and soundness relates to banks engaging in risky or responsible lending, while consumer protection deals with fraud, deception and unfair practices in the marketplace.

The Dodd-Frank Act was sold to the American people as promoting soundness and responsibility by reining in Wall Street and the big banks. Nancy Pelosi, who was then speaker of the House, said: “No longer again will recklessness on Wall Street cause joblessness on Main Street. No longer will the risky behavior of the few threaten the financial stability of our families, our businesses and our economy as a whole.”

Other items from the Left’s wish list were added to the bill. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., tacked on an amendment imposing a cap on “interchange fees” charged by banks and debit card networks to merchants whose customers use the cards. The House-Senate conference added the “Volcker Rule,” named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, to stop banks trading financial instruments with their own money, despite the proposal not even being voted on during the bill’s passage. The final law even included a provision requiring companies to disclose their use of “conflict minerals” that might have originated from the war zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was supposed to stanch financial flows to warlords.

The bill passed at every stage largely along party line votes at a time when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.

Read more at Washington Examiner