Friday, March 20, 2015
Prime Minister Netanyahu won an overwhelming victory Tuesday, a landslide by Israeli standards. His Likud Party won 30 seats in the new Parliament, a gain of 12 seats and a mandate. That was bad news to President Obama, whose foreign policy in the Mideast seems to have three tenets – all certified failures. First, Iran, even a nuclear Iran, is the key to long-term stability in the Mideast. Second, Israel is a disruptive force in the Mideast. When in doubt, Iran trumps Israel in the President’s calculations. Third, Islamic dictatorships are tolerated, but not secular dictatorships. Thus, the Arab Spring was a positive force for change in the Mideast, as far as the President was concerned. Tell that to the Syrians. And the Libyans. And the Tunisians. The President is doing his best to emulate Chamberlain at Munich. He’s bedeviled because Israel refuses to play the role of Czechoslovakia. Max Boot in today’s Los Angeles Times wrote that President Obama said to Jewish leaders in 2009: “Look at the past eight years. During these eight years there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get for that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sideline, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.” The President ignores the rocket attacks, Intifadas, Hamas, and Hezbollah, as well as the Ayatollah threats to wipe Israel off the map. President Obama wants separation from Israel. It doesn’t matter what Prime Minister Netanyahu might have said; the President would have found fault with something. Stories have circulated that the President threatened in 2014 to have American jets shoot down Israeli jets if they attacked the Iranian nuclear facilities. Stories have also circulated that President Obama refused to provide the super bunker busting bombs to Israel, the bombs that reach deeper depths than regular bunker busters. Finally, stories are circulating that in the recent conflict with Hamas the Pentagon delayed in resupplying Israel. He blames the Prime Minister for renouncing a two state solution right before Tuesday’s election. His press spokesman, Josh earnest, labeled it ‘Divisive,” – this from a Presidency who ran on class warfare and whose deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, tagged Governor Romney as a “felon.” Israel has already tried the two state option. It’s called Israel and Gaza. Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza on September 1, 2005. The Palestinian Authority assumed administrative authority over Gaza pending an election. Hamas won a plurality, 42.9% of the vote, in the January 6, 2006 election and 74 out of the 132 Parliamentary seats. Hamas assumed full control in June 2007, kicking Fatah out of Gaza. Just like Hitler, Hamas consolidated power and has not held an election since. Hamas has devoted its control of Gaza to the elimination of the Jewish State. The resources of the people have gone into tunnels, rockets, and other armaments while the Palestinians remain impoverished. Israel has engaged in several wars with Hamas since then, while undergoing constant rocket barrages and other attacks. The Palestinians, with support from the United Nations, accuses Israel of imposing an Apartheid regime over its Arab citizens, who comprise about 20% of Israel’s population. It’s an unique form of Apartheid in which the Arab citizens get to vote. The female Arabs not only are allowed to vote, but also to drive cars, and are otherwise accorded rights non-existent to them in many of the Arab countries. The Israeli haters demand a return to the 1967 borders, and right of return, as well as nationhood for the West Bank. The President is often petulant when encountering opposition. He takes defeat personally and cannot swallow his pride or eat crow. He is not a gifted politician, such as President Clinton, who knows how to tack. President Obama also had to take it personally when the Prime Minister ran campaign ads against him. The Netanyahu campaign had two overlapping themes: the security of Israel and President Obama. Israel’s security depends on Iran not getting the Bomb. President Obama’s legacy rests on Iran getting the Bomb. President Obama knows he’s right, regardless of popular opinion and the electorate. He believes he will prevail and “gut it out,” just as President Lincoln prevailed during the dark months of 1864. He and his allies, and anti-Semites globally, were anticipating Netanyahu’s defeat last Tuesday by Israeli voters. The Prime Minister was slipping in the polls; Netanyahu Fatigue was setting in; the reaction to his Congressional speech was apparently negative; Jewish voters apparently wanted economic improvements, and the Arab vote, 20% of the Israeli vote, was expected to play a critical role in the outcome. The President was positively salivating over the prospects of Isaac Herzog as the new Prime Minister. The Arab turnout, consisting of Bedouins, Christians, Druse, and Muslims rose to 63%, but the overall turnout was 72%. They elected 13 members of the 120 seat Parliament. The petulant President took two days before phoning the Prime Minister, not so much to congratulate him on his victory, but to admonish him. The President directly told the Prime Minister that the United States will recalculate its position towards Israel – the threat being that the United States will no longer veto the multitude of anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations. The latest twist on the President bypassing Congress on a deal with Iran by going to the Security Council and permitting the anti-Israel proclamations to proceed is that Senator Lindsay Graham has threatened to cut off U.S. funding (22%) to the United Nations. We also now learn that Speaker of the House John Boehner will visit Israel in April. The petulant President is not happy. He still has 22 months to inflict great damage on Israel.
Saturday, March 14, 2015
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat boys deserve everything they get, but …. Their charter bus ride was both racist and stupid, but …. The use of the “N” word in the chant’s context was clearly racist, but no matter how offensive, the word is not illegal. The nine second video exemplifies the legal phrase Res Ipsa Loquiter, “The thing speaks for itself.” The riders were clapping and pumping their fists: “There will never be an N… in SAE. You can hang ‘em from a tree, But he can never sign with SAE.” Even racist, sexist, and homophobic speech is protected by the First Amendment, no matter how vile, disgusting, or despicable. The fraternity’s conduct was stupid for three reasons. First it occurred on the weekend of the nationally celebrated 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches. The timing was horrific. Second, everyone, but especially teenagers, should know that in any gathering today of two or more, someone could be taping the occasion on a cell phone. Students are shocked not only by the racist conduct, but also by how blatant, or stupid, it was, especially the taping. The brothers were on a bus with their dates to a formal party celebrating SAE’s Founder Day. A video of the tape was emailed to The Daily Oklahoman, the campus newspaper. Apparently one of the brothers, or was it a date, was not fraternal and leaked or posted the offensive chant. The rest is history. The national promptly yanked the chapter’s charter and is expelling all the members. The University of Oklahoma’s revered President David Boren was outraged. He ordered the frat house closed and the residents out within two days. Two of the leading chanters, Parker Rice and Levi Pettit, were expelled. He wants to expel the other frat boys on the bus, but would that also include their dates. The Tri Delt Sorority denies its sisters were involved. His letter to the students said: “This is to notify you that, as president of the University of Oklahoma acting in my official capacity, I have determined that you should be expelled from this University effective immediately. You will be expelled because of your leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant which has created a hostile educational environment for others.” No matter how justified President David Bowen was in expelling the students and tossing SAE, the University of Oklahoma is a public university and thus bound by the Constitution. The First Amendment protects Freedom of Speech while the Fifth Amendment provides substantive and procedural due process. University speech codes have been struck down under the First Amendment. Similarly, the “hostile learning environment” clause will have a chilling effect on speech. A public university cannot arbitrarily expel students without providing due process. Similarly the power of the University President to evict a fraternity from the House, which is presumably private property, is highly questionable. The Oklahoma is the third campus incident, which has aroused popular outrage. The first was the 2006 Duke Lacrosse case, where a stripper accused three white Duke lacrosse players of brutally raping and sodomizing her at a team party. A rush to judgment ensued. The coach was forced to resign. The team’s season was cancelled. Three players were arrested. 88 Duke professors, the “Group of 88,” signed a letter critical of the team. The inflammatory accusations turned out to be a fabrication by a troubled woman. Duke University wrote large checks to the three students and the coach. The second incidence was last November when an article, “A Rape on Campus,” in Rolling Stone magazine claimed a freshman coed was raped in September 2012 at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia, and that the University’s Administration was hostile to the victims of sexual assaults. A campus and national uproar ensued. UVA President Teresa Sullivan suspended all fraternities until January 9, 2015. The story was a fabrication. And now we have the third rush to judgment for fraternity and athletic misconduct. The difference is that a video factually supports the University’s reaction this time. And yet, we have a presumption of innocence and that there are two sides to every story in the law. That does not occur in these rushes to judgment. The chapter’s alumni retained Stephen Jones, the prominent Oklahoma attorney who represented Timothy McVeigh and several public officials accused of misconduct. He’s not currently representing the two expelled students, but otherwise succinctly summed up the legal case: “Obviously, there are issues about First Amendment Rights, due process and real estate issues ….” This is not a case either party will wish go to trial. SAE does not need any additional adverse publicity. It has too many documented incidents at other chapters. Discovery would be brutal. However, the University cannot risk losing the case. If a lawsuit is brought, ironically, under the Federal Civil Rights Act, then the University will be subject to enormous legal fees.
Friday, March 13, 2015
The Backlash Against the Backlash for University of California Irvine Students Banning the American Flag
The University of California Irvine Anteaters have gone viral for a vote to ban the American flag. An American Flag was hung in the student government lobby after a party. It was taken down, rehung, taken down, rehung. The student council voted 6-4 to ban the American Flag, indeed all flags, from the council’s lobby. The American Flag ban quickly spread throughout America. The response was one of hostility to the 6 students and inferentially UCI. Khaalidah Sidney was the co-author of the ban. She wrote an op-ed in the student newspaper, the New University, explaining “the vote was in favor of an ideologically free, inclusive and safe place.” She further explained that some classmates, “dreamers,’” saw the Flag “triggering to students who are undocumented and to whom the flag represents a constant struggle to gain American citizenship, being a triggering symbol of U.S. imperialism and neo-colonialism and also as increasingly disrespectful to the increasing international student population.” Makes you wonder if Ward Churchill and Steve Salaita are teaching at UCI. UCI is an outstanding university, only 50 years old. It has unfortunately acquired a reputation in recent years of tolerating anti-Semitism on the campus. Anti-Americanism combined with anti-Semitism is not the image the University wishes to publicly project. UCI’s Chancellor Howard Gilman declared the students’ action was “outrageous and indefensible that they would question the appropriateness of displaying the American Flag on this great campus.” Even UCI students were aghast at the flag ban. The national backlash against the 6 aye voters can be described as vehement, caustic and unpleasantly sharp, to paraphrase the famous First Amendment case of New York Times v. Sullivan. The Flag is the symbol of America. The genius of America is that we are not united by religion or ethnicity, but by a common core of beliefs. The American Flag is the visible symbol that unifies us. The flag raising at Iwo Jima is one of the iconic images of World war II. Our National Anthem is based on The Flag surviving the British bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. We are Americans, citizens of the United States of America, named after an Italian explorer Amerigo (Americus) Vespucci. The Executive Cabinet subsequently voted 4-1 to overturn the flag veto. The full student council was scheduled to vote last Tuesday on the flag issue, but the University cancelled the meeting because of credible threats. Three of the students who voted to ban the flag reassessed their vote. They stated they would not vote to overturn the Executive Cabinet vote: “We meant no ill will towards our nation nor its Flag, and our school does not deserve the image placed on it in the public sphere.” Then came the backlash to the backlash. 1200, including 60 professors, signed a petition of solidarity with the Irvine 6. The petition stated: “We admire the courage of the resolution’s supporters amid this environment of political immaturity and threat, and support them unequivocally.” It continued though: “ The University ought to respect their political position and meet its obligation to promote and protect their safety. The resolution recognized that nationalism, including U.S. nationalism, often leads to racism and xenophobia.” It also linked UCI to Fox News, which it claimed to be “a notoriously inaccurate media source associated with racism, xenophobia and U.S. nationalism.” Such is the reasoning of much of the modern American professoriate.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Now it’s Emailgate; the Clintons never left. Hillary’s run, or feint, for the Presidency takes us back to the 8 raucous, scandal-ridden years of the Clinton Administration - an Administration of never ending scandals. Draft Dodging Mena Whitewater Vince Foster Rose Law Firm Billing Records (filegate) Jim & Susan MacDougal Cattle futures I don’t know Bimbo eruptions Gennifer Flowers Linda Tripp Kathleen Wiley Juanita Broaddrick Elizabeth Ward Gracen Paula Jones I surrendered my Arkansas legal license Johnny Chung John Huang Charlie Trie James Riady I don’t remember White House Travel Office Troopergate I didn’t inhale What is “is”? I can’t remember Pardongate President Clinton on January 20, 2001, his last day in office, issued 140 Presidential pardons, including one to the billionaire fugitive Marc Rich at the behest of Rich’s ex wife, the long legged blond Denise Rich, who subsequently renounced her American citizenship in November 2011 The irrepressible Clintons continued to make news in the past 14 years Russian Reset The 3:00am phone call from Benghazi Bill Clinton’s globe trekking, especially to the Caribbean, with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire pedophile The Clinton Administration received a pass from the media on most of its scandals, blaming them on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The latest media attacks are coming from the New York Times and Washington Post, pillars of the media establishment. The Washington Post disclosed that foreign governments and corporations contributed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation after Secretary of State Clinton’s State department secured deals for them. The New York Times ran two page one articles on her private email machinations. The odds of her being elected President in 2016 are slim to none.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Whit Ayres wrote Thursday in the Wall Street Journal that the GOP has a major problem with demographics. The percent of Caucasian voters is dropping while those of various minorities are rising. President Obama in 2012 won 93% of African American votes, and 70% of Hispanics and Asian Americans. The anti-Hispanic rhetoric of some Republicans is doing nothing to increase Hispanic support of the GOP. In short, Republicans are at an increasing disadvantage in Presidential elections. Let me suggest that another problem lies with the Millennials. Every generation is different. As a child of the 60’s I cannot be expected to fully understand either the Great Generation or the Millennials. Nor can I expect the Millennials to fully understand the Children of the 60’s. The Children of the 60’s were known for Civil Rights, Anti-War, and demonstrations, followed by establishing the Environmental Movement. The Millennials are avid environmentalists, opposed to fracking, fossil fuel, coal and oil exports. They believe in human caused climate change and that cutting off carbon monoxide emissions will reverse the rise in global warming. Millennial women believe that they have the right to choose with their bodies. Thus the Democratic charge “Republicans are engaged in a War on Women” is effective. The Children of the 60’s distrusted government. Popular phrases were: “Power to the People,” “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” “Who will police the police who police the police?” Our generation read George Orwell. They read tweets. The Children of the 60's used the media. The Millennials use the social media. Today’s Millennials believe in the government as a positive force that will solve all problems. They have an unbridled faith in the power of an activist government. They are no longer taught the values upon which the United States of America was founded. They do not understand the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in drafting the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Obama’s Reelection Campaign of “Julia,” whose life revolved around the favors received from the government and the Obama Administration, was marketed to the Millennials. Nothing was said about her husband or family. The Millennials have not yet suffered the tyranny of petty bureaucrats, unlike the Sacketts in Idaho. The Millennials are unfamiliar with the Constitutional protections of property rights Every young generation tends to be liberal. Then comes the children, mortgages, and taxes. They will vote for the Democrats until then.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
King v. Burwell: The Supreme Court Heard Oral Arguments Today in the ObamaCare Federal ;Exchanges Case: Will Chief Justice Roberts Cave Again? Or Will it Be Justice Kennedy This Time? The issue is the statute’s language versus legislative intent. Or it may be standing. The legal analysis should be simple. A majority of the Court in recent decades has consistently held the first place to look in interpreting a statute is the plain language of the statute. If the language is clear on its face, then the Court will not look further at “legislative intent.” The critical four words exchanged “established by the state“ seem clear and unambiguous on their face. A “state” is not part of the “federal” government” in the United States. If the Court proceeds further, then the legislative intent, as often occurs is murky or mixed. The overall intent of the statute was to provide health insurance to all Americans. Thus, it should not matter whether subsidies are available through federal or state exchanges. If that was Congress’ intent, the statute failed. The numbers with insurance grew a few million, but many who joined the exchanges did so because their existing policies were cancelled for not complying with some the ObamaCare’s mandates. So much for “If you like your current provided, you may keep the provider.” Congress’ intent is unclear except for a general intent to pass a health insurance bill. Members of Congress were provided 72 hours to read the 2,000 page bill. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously said: “First, we need to pass the Bill to find out what’s in it.” Yet, the omission of state federal exchanges was not a legislative mistake in drafting the statute. The expenditures under the exchanges are based on the Spending Clause of the Constitution. Congress can offer funds to the states pursuant to the Spending Clause with conditions attached. Congress cannot force the states to accept the monies, but it can bribe them to do so. The historical reality is that the fiscally starved states almost always accept Congressional funds with the conditions attached. Thus the Democrats intentionally drafted ObamaCare with the expectation that the states would, as usual, accept the funds. Only 13 states and the District of Columbia established state exchanges. They found the exchanges unpalpable, even with substantial federal funding. Many also refused to extend Medicare to their citizens under the Act. The loquacious Jonathan Gruber, who may or may not have been a primary drafter of the bill, so much as said so. He is caught on tape saying the state funding was intentionally premised on their setting up exchanges. Another reality is that the Court must be well aware by now that the President acts oblivious to the Constitution and the separation of powers. He does what he wants irrespective of statutes and procedures. He rewrites provisions he doesn’t like and fails to enforce others. The usual Obama Plan is in effect to obtain the Supreme Court’s imprimatur. A parade of horrors is cascading through the media of the consequences if the Court strikes down the federal exchange subsidies: the millions effectively thrown off of health insurance because they would be unable to afford the premiums or copays. That’s already the case with many existing policy holders! We are told that the often-demonized insurance companies would be devastated in their actuary analysis without the larger pool. Here’s a shorthand summary of today’s oral arguments. The four liberals on the Court were highly deferential to the government. Justices Alito and Scalia were the opposite. Justice Thomas, as usual, was quiet, but will clearly vote with Justices Alito and Scalia. Justice Kennedy, who was believed to be highly hostile to ObamaCare three years ago on the Constitutional issue, asked tough questions of both sides, thereby not tipping his hand. Chief Justice Roberts, perhaps realizing he blew it three years ago, was mostly silent this time. If his goal three years ago was to maintain the integrity of the Supreme Court, he failed. His decision appeared to the American public as a political decision and not a legal one. Plain language versus intent – which will it be? Justice Alito offered a way out if the Court holds the federal exchange subsidies illegal: stay the holding through December, thereby allowing the states and Congress to work out a solution. Of course, if either Chief Justice Roberts, or Justice Kennedy, want a third way out, then they could hold the four plaintiffs lack standing, thereby tossing the case That was how the majority decided California’s Prop 8 Gay Marriage Case. Yet, to deny standing in King v. Burwell will only delay the decision. It will return to the Court. , Do?
Monday, March 2, 2015
President Obama’s Problem is not Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Speaker of the House John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress Tuesday. The President’s response has been one of hostility, mixed with ostracism. The President and his aides have publicly castigated the Israeli leader and the Speaker. He refuses to meet with the Prime Minister during his visit to Washington. Clearly a climate exists between the two leaders. We are led to believe that it’s personal between the two leaders. The President acts like the prime minister is a satrap who has stepped out of line. That’s not the President’s first problem. The current confab is not personal. It is based on a fundamental disagreement over the proper place of the Israeli nation. President Obama is anti-Israel, but because of domestic politics, he cannot take the public position. He shares the anti-Israel animus of many of the world’s elitist classes. Israel is to blame for the conflict because: A) It’s soldiers kill innocent Palestinians; B) It will not return to its 1967 borders; C) It will not trade land for peace; D) It does not accept the right of return. If only Israel would disappear, then peace would break out throughout the Mideast! Anti-Semitism did not die out with the collapse of Nazi Germany. It lay quiescent until recently, Now it’s spreading through the academic community worldwide and bubbling up elsewhere. The second problem is the President’s race to a deal with Iran, which he views as his legacy. The partially leaked details of the proposed agreement reveal a turkey. Even some of his advisors have to recognize that. His strategy to keep Iran from dropping the Bomb on Israel is to let Iran build the Bomb, albeit it at a slower pace. Neither the Russian nor the American leaders wanted to start a nuclear war. They wanted to survive. The Ayatollahs believe that if they and their families die in a nuclear exchange with Israel that they will go straight to Allah with everlasting bliss. The Ayatollahs have vowed to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth. Israel have to take these statements seriously. The Jewish people have experienced anti-Semitism for two millennia and suffered through the Holocaust. They will not go quietly in the future. The President’s third problem is himself. He is a petulant, narcissist. He has trouble with opposition. He said it best: “That’s the best thing about being President. I can do anything I want.” He believes it so strongly that he expects everyone to follow him. The President quite often acts like a bully. In his State of the Union Address on January 27, 2010 he excoriated the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision a week earlier. The Justices had to sit there with no chance to respond. Congressman Paul Ryan, Chair of the House Budget Committee, was invited the next year to a Presidential Address on the budget at George Washington University on April 13, 2011. The assumption was that it would be a conciliatory dress seeking common ground on the budget. Instead he ripped into the Republican plan with Congressman Ryan sitting in the front row. The President expects to be followed, especially by the Congressional Democrats. Some will, but most, especially the Jewish members of Congress, are placed in a difficult political position. They will attend Prime minister Netanyahu’s speech tomorrow. The President’s normal approach of demonizing an opponent will not work with the Prime Minister. The more his Administration attacks the Prime minister, the more support the Israeli leaders receives at home from Jewish voters. He went ballistic when Speaker Boehner invited the Jewish leader to address a joint session of Congress for the third time. His programmable National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, said “I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.” Speaker Boehner responded: “What is destructive, in my view, is making a bad deal that paves the way for a nuclear Iran.” Prime Minister Netanyahu has clearly stated: “It is my sacred duty as the Prime Minister to make Israel’s case.” This century’s Winston Churchill added: “U.S. leaders worry about the security of their country..… Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.”