The GOP Needs to construct its own foreign policy narrative

On Tuesday, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb — who many remember as former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, and even more recall as a respected novelist and fierce Marine of the Vietnam era — stood at the podium of the National Press Club and announced that he’s at least considering a run for president in 2016.

 

He was frank that he’s assessing support and will decide in several months if he’s all in. And, as expected, he was asked questions about positions already being staked out by the presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and how he felt given his expertise —and there’s no doubt he’s an expert on matters of national defense — about our current engagement with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The takeaway was that we have a very incoherent foreign policy in these matters and we’d do well to develop and communicate a more concrete set of strategies. “It is not a healthy thing when the world’s dominant military and economic power has a policy based on vagueness,” he said. And that’s a reasonable thought. Somewhere in there was also the mention that we shouldn’t be an occupying force in that region of the world, but that was hardly a surprising position for someone known as one of the harshest critics of the Iraq War under Bush.

He also talked about economic fairness and even touched on corporate cronyism, as is typical of someone at least attempting to hash out a platform. But the talk of war is of interest because, almost immediately following his speech, media pundits that were in attendance began tweeting and writing that Webb had given an impassioned “anti-war” speech, possibly to set him in opposition to “hawkish” Hillary Clinton.

Another Isolated Incident: Cops face no charges for shooting black man looking at pellet guns in Wal-Mart

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In Ohio it is now apparently legal to shoot a black man who is carrying (what appears to be) a gun…if you’re a cop.

A grand jury in Greene County, Ohio decided on Wednesday not to indict either of the two police officers who responded to a 911 call about an armed man in the Beavercreek Wal-Mart store. One of the officers shot the man, 22-year old John Crawford III, who turned out to be talking on a cell phone carrying an unloaded pellet gun that he had taken off the shelf of the store.

Store video of the incident shows Crawford just standing still at the end of an aisle in the pet section, waving the toy gun casually back and forth by his side, then falling to the ground as the armored officers approach with their rifles drawn.

Well…bye: Eric Holder reportedly leaving the Obama administration

There’s some big news, though not entirely unsurprising news developing this morning. The Associated Press is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today and leave Obama administration once his successor has been confirmed by the Senate:

Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.

Holder already is one of the longest serving members of the Obama cabinet and ranks as the fourth longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, for his return in early February 2009 to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.

It had been rumored for some time that Holder, who has earned the ire of congressional Republicans over Operation Fast and Furious and other issues, wanted out of the administration. Holder telegraphed this to The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Tobin back in February, saying that he planned to stick around “well into” 2014. The Justice Department, however, denied that the Attorney General indicated he would resign.

Thought police: Global warming alarmist wants laws on the books to punish skeptics

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr

Don’t you dare deny that climate change exists, says Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Forget about the First Amendment and free speech, the climate alarmist wants to use the power of the federal government to punish climate skeptics who voice their opinions:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of climate change’s loudest activists, said there should be a law that lets authorities punish skeptics and deniers - those who engage in “selling out the public trust,” he said, in an interview with Climate Depot during New York City’s recent People’s Climate March.

“I wish there were a law you could punish them with,” he said, in the videotaped interview. “I don’t think there is a law that you can punish these politicians under … [and skeptical politicians are] selling out the public trust.”

Kennedy also believes that CEOs of big corporations should be sent to the Hague like war criminals. He added that he believes that Charles and David Koch, the libertarian brothers who give to freedom-minded causes, should be tried for “reckless endangerment”.

Here’s the video:

In the 50-Year War on Poverty, Bureaucrats Have Won While Both Taxpayers and Poor People Have Lost

We know the welfare state is good news for people inside government. Lots of bureaucrats are required, after all, to oversee a plethora of redistribution programs.

Walter Williams refers to these paper pushers as poverty pimps, and there’s even a ranking showing which states have the greatest number of these folks who profit by creating dependency.

But does anybody else benefit from welfare programs?

Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation explains in the Washington Times that the War on Poverty certainly hasn’t been a success for taxpayers or poor people. Instead, it’s created a costly web of dependency.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. …Since then, the taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution. Last year, government spent $943 billion providing cash, food, housing and medical care to poor and low-income Americans. …More than 100 million people, or one third of Americans, received some type of welfare aid, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient.

Here are some of the unpleasant details.

A small victory for the Second Amendment in Washington: D.C. Council votes approve concealed carry

District of Columbia

Gun owners who live in the District of Columbia may soon be carry a firearm for self-defense, provided. The he D.C. Council voted on Tuesday to allow concealed carry of firearms in the city, provided the applicant meets some stringent requirements:

Members of the D.C. Council begrudgingly, but unanimously, voted for a bill that would allow individuals to carry the firearms if they meet a number of requirements.

“I don’t believe in guns. I don’t believe in carrying guns,” said council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat and a former four-term mayor. “I think the public ought to understand that all of us here are doing something we really don’t want to do.”
[…]
Under the new legislation, the city’s police chief would determine who has a valid reason for carrying a concealed weapon. The open brandishing of firearms will continue to be illegal.

Other requirements to qualify for a concealed carry permit include registration of the gun with the police department, 16 hours of safety training and two hours of range training, as well as a determination that the person has not suffered from a mental illness or condition that puts them at risk of being a danger to others.

Ben Carson says the “chances are reasonably good” that he’ll run for the president

There’s been a lot of focus on potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders in the last several months as commentators and pundits watch closely the moves they’re making ahead of the mid-term election.

Thus far, the talk is focused on a handful of names, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL). But Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University and darling of the conservative movement, is seriously considering a bid of his own:

“Unless the American people indicate in November that they like Big Government intervention in every part of their lives, I think the likelihood is strong,” Carson said Monday night on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” according to a show transcript, when asked about the chances of a presidential run.

Carson, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W. Bush, said that he will be waiting for “a few more months” before making any definite decisions, and predicted that he will make a formal announcement in May of next year.

“I think the chances are reasonably good of that happening,” Carson said. “I want to make sure that it’s clearly something my fellow Americans want me to do. And I’m also waiting to see what the results are in November, because if the people indicate that they truly do want a nation that is for, of and by the people, then I, along with I hope many other people, would be willing to give it everything we possibly have.”

The OECD’s Scheme to Raise Tax Burdens on Workers, Consumers, and Investors

People pay every single penny of tax that politicians impose on corporations.

The investors that own companies obviously pay (more than one time!) when governments tax profits.

The workers employed by companies obviously pay, both directly and indirectly, because of corporate income tax.

And consumers also bear a burden thanks to business taxes that lead to higher prices and reduced output.

Keep these points in mind as we discuss BEPS (“base erosion and profit shifting”), which is a plan to increase business tax burdens being advanced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a left-leaning international bureaucracy based in Paris.

Working on behalf of the high-tax nations that fund its activities, the OECD wants to rig the rules of international taxation so that companies can’t engage in legal tax planning.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page is not impressed by this campaign for higher taxes on employers.

Obama is now at war in Syria: Illegal bombing campaign begins

The Obama administration is finally doing what it wanted to do last year: bomb Syria. The airstrike campaign against the Islamic State in Syria began on Monday evening with the support of some Middle Eastern allies:

U.S. Central Command said the strikes were conducted with a mix of fighters, bombers, drones and Tomahawk missiles.
[…]
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia joined in or supported the strikes, according to Central Command.

The strikes targeted ISIS training areas, command and control centers, storage facilities and a finance center, Central Command said.

It also announced that the strikes hit not only ISIS but a separate terror group, Khorasan.

Central Command said the group is “a network of seasoned al-Qa’ida veterans - sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group - who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations.”

There are a few things to weigh when thinking at the bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria. First, as Jim Antle points out, there is “no legal basis” for this war. President Barack Obama has a responsibility to go to Congress to seek authorization. He failed to do, and, in fact, has openly flaunted his decision to, once again, bypass the Constitution.

Obamacare’s employer mandate is hurting workers and businesses, and Harry Reid is stalling on a legislative fix

A little than a month after the Internal Revenue Service released guidance on Obamacare’s employer mandate, after prolonged delays unilaterally enacted by the administration, a coalition of business groups have launched a new campaign against the provision. The Hill explained the details in its “Overnight Regulation” newsletter at the end of last week:

A coalition of industry groups on Friday will announce a fresh attack on the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time employment. The campaign takes aim at the 30-hour threshold set out in ObamaCare’s employer mandate.

The provision has roiled businesses and congressional Republicans who say the standard defies the conventional view that 40 hours on the job constitutes full-time work. Further, they charge, the looming rules have led employers to switch full-time workers to part-time schedules in order to avoid the cost of providing health insurance.

The employer mandate, which generally requires businesses to offer health coverage, has been the subject of multiple delays. It will take effect in January for larger firms and a year later for more medium-sized companies – unless its opponents have their way.

The employer mandate is a provision of Obamacare that originally required businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, defined as someone who works at least 30 hours a week, to offer health insurance benefits or face a punitive per worker tax.

 


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