Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Comfortable In My Own Skin and Lies and Smears The Chicago/Nevada Way! Now A Texas Land Grab!

And then there is Uncle Daniel holding Dagny and Mommy Tamara holding Stella, taken at Stella's second birthday party!

Hussman and the Fed's two legged stool. (See 1 below.)
By now you know I am a Conservative but I also recoil at the enormous number of extreme bills, laws legislation that are passed in reaction to progressive pressure.

In Georgia our Governor is going to sign a bill basically allowing you to bring a gun into almost every venue in the state.

I began to think about how ,why extreme measures and legislation comes to be and in many cases it is because of comparable extreme  pressure to force rational  and existing laws to be defended.

The irrational press to embrace bad and/or spurious science causes extraordinary  backlashes in the environmental area and so the list goes from guns laws to The Pledge of Allegiance.

I do not support all the inanity that we are subjected to but much of it is forced upon those who are conservative in their view of what is rational, what is sensible and what works.

There is an unswerving and constant  drum beat effort to bring about progressive change which is neither supportable in fact nor in practice.  You cannot spend what you do not have forever and expect others to maintain your currency or its buying power.  You cannot run down your defense posture without ultimately being challenged by rogue leaders and/or nations without scrambling to rebuild.

You cannot trample on course curriculum , offer feel good pap and expect the youth of this nation to be competitive, to stay out of trouble and to have any reason to feel good about their limited future because they cannot read, write, and reason. PC'ism be damned!!!

You cannot destroy the family unit and then spend  billions on the dependent society you have created without tragic societal consequences that shake the very foundation of our Republic.

You cannot attack people who want to worship their own God and not create an enormous push back in defense of their Constitutional and God given rights.

For every action there is a reaction and there always are consequences.

I am not justifying overboard protection of what was, what  serves us well and what works but I am convinced progressiveness has gone to extreme  lengths that have caused backlashes, divisiveness and turned us into a disunited nation. This is not healthy.

And now we have a radical president, who does not support traditional American values of exceptionalism, who does not believe America's presence in the world is beneficial and who cares not a whiff about the sanctity of our fiscal posture. He is simply interested in having his own radical way regardless of Constitutional limitations. He is willing to engage in unconstitutional over reach not only by his own hand but also by willingly setting a tone and making  appointments that encourage even worse abuses.

Benghzi, the IRS Scandal, etc. do matter and do make a difference in how we respond to each other because they force us to align sides that need not be.  They force us to defend our very freedoms and sanctity of our home and person and this need not be.

Obama is the most tragic political figure to occupy the Oval Office and his actions, his lack of leadership threaten our Republic as no other ever has.

Call me radical, call me racist call me whatever.  I remain comfortable in my own skin, my own assessment because I know what we had and what sacrifices were made to achieve and maintain what we had and I am sick of what Obama has caused us to endure and what he continues to do to our society, to our nation, to our place in the world.  What a tragedy has befallen America in less than 5 years.!

Things really have turned bad if The Washington Post calls Obama to account for his failed red paint policies. (See 2 below.)
Sowell continues about the high cost of Liberalism.  (See 3 below.)
In a recent memo I warned about Sen. Hagan and the tactics she was employing in order to snow N Carolina voters.  Here is more evidence. Reid and Obama are going all out in order to hold the Senate and they will stop at nothing in the process.

The Romneying of her opponent has begun!

Lies and smear the Chicago/Nevada way! (See 4 below.)

Click on and then go to bottom of the article and click on the broadcast: http://freebeacon.com/blog/obamacare-supporter-kay-hagan-attacks-opponent-in-ridiculously-dishonest-radio-ad/
The Land Management grab has shifted to Texas for the same reason it is being attempted in Nevada.

Large tracts of land are needed for greening and paying off Obama/Clinton constituent contributors.  More corruption at the highest level.

This has not reported in the Liberal Media but they might be forced to in time.  But 'what difference does it make?'
1)Hussman: The Fed Has Built a 2-Legged Stool
By John Morgan

The Federal Reserve is resting the fate of the U.S. economy on a two-legged stool by focusing only on jobs and inflation, while financial excesses are left unchecked, according to Fed perma-critic and mutual fund manager John Hussman.

In his weekly market commentary, the founder of the eponymous Hussman Funds predicted the Fed has baked unavoidable consequences into the cake of massive monetary stimulus that will prevent its employment and inflation goals from being met.

"Make no mistake. The Federal Reserve's policy of quantitative easing has starved investors of all sources of safe return, provoking them to reach for yield in more speculative assets, including equities, leveraged loans, covenant-lite debt and other securities," he wrote.

"Having stomped on the pedal for years, all of these asset classes are valued at levels that are strenuously elevated from a historical perspective, and as a result, offer strikingly poor prospective returns for long-term investors."

Hussman noted also the 2000-02 stock market decline wiped out every shred of S&P 500 total return, "in excess of Treasury bill returns, all the way back to May 1996," and the 2007-09 decline eliminated "every bit of the market's excess return all the way back to June 1995."

There is no economic law that says the current bull market must likewise end in a dreadful plunge, he acknowledged.

"On the other hand, I have no doubt at all that having driven equity valuations to present levels, investors will be starved of total return — from current prices — for at least a decade (assuming valuations never move below historical norms), and possibly much longer (in the event that valuations do indeed move below historical norms 15 or 20 years from today)."

According to Hussman, it is too late in the current bull market for the Fed to unwind the policies that led to "malinvestment" and extreme valuations, but there may still be a way to manage the downside for the broader economy.

"Oversight – particularly in leveraged equity, leveraged loans, and covenant-lite lending — should be far higher on the [public] agenda than promoting further overvaluation and speculation, in the hope that some small benefit will trickle down to the masses," he said.

Michael Feroli, JPMorgan Chase's chief economist, believes the Fed is faced with an "impossible trinity," Bloomberg Businessweek reported. 

In an essay, Feroli predicted that three things cannot possibly co-exist in the Fed — transparency, collegiality and clarity. While the Fed is striving to achieve all three, he says that will soon be demonstrated impractical because the Fed members do not agree on how to control inflation and asset bubbles.

In a guest column for Forbes titled "The Bizarro World of the Federal Reserve," contributor Mark Hendrickson questioned why the Fed has been so intent on achieving a higher level of inflation to spark the economy.

"I guess it's because I've always thought that the purpose of a central bank is to defend the soundness of its country's currencies, not to depreciate it. How quaint and naive of me," Hendrickson wrote.
2)  President Obama, disregarding his own red line, dithers on Ukraine

By Editorial Board

AFTER AN agreement to “de-escalate tensions and restore security” in Ukraine was announced Thursday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry was very explicit about U.S. expectations. “We fully expect the Russians . . . to demonstrate their seriousness by insisting that the pro-Russian separatists who they’ve been supporting lay down their arms [and] leave the buildings” in eastern Ukraine, he said. “I made clear to Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov today that if we are not able to see progress . . . this weekend, then we will have no choice but to impose further costs on Russia.”

The weekend has come and gone, and far from standing down in eastern Ukraine, Russia has continued to escalate. Its operatives and those they control have not withdrawn from the government buildings they occupy. In Slovyansk, the crossroads where Russian military operatives appear to be headquartered, a shooting incident early Sunday morning has been seized on by Moscow’s crude propaganda apparatus, which is claiming — based on what looks like fabricated evidence — that a Kiev-based right-wing group was involved.

On Monday, Mr. Lavrov was back to threatening an invasion by the tens of thousands of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, claiming that, in the words of his ministry, “Russia is increasingly called upon to save southeastern Ukraine from chaos.”

Again Vladi­mir Putin is flagrantly disregarding the warnings and “red lines” of the Obama administration. He has reason to do so: President Obama also doesn’t observe them. Despite Mr. Kerry’s clear words, sanctions that have been prepared against cronies of Mr. Putin and companies involved in his Ukraine ad­ven­ture remain on ice at the White House, where they have languished for more than a week. When asked Monday how much longer they would be held back, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “I don’t have an end date for you.”

Vice President Biden arrived in Kiev on Monday and is expected to announce more U.S. aid. But steps such as providing nonlethal equipment to the dysfunctional Ukrainian army will not stop a Russian invasion or induce Mr. Putin to comply with last week’s Geneva agreement. Perhaps nothing will; but the only strategy with a chance of working is to follow through on the administration’s own rhetoric. When the Russian-backed operatives first began taking over buildings in Donetsk and other cities two weeks ago, Mr. Kerry told a congressional hearing that broad sanctions against the Russian banking, energy and mining sectors were “on the table.”

Those steps would give pause to the Russian elite, if not Mr. Putin. Fear of them probably induced Mr. Lavrov to sign on to the de-escalation plan, as a way of preventing the West from acting. Yet now White House aides are waving off the “sectoral” sanctions Mr. Kerry spoke of and are delaying even more modest steps against individuals. They claim that the United States shouldn’t act independently of the European Union — which gives Greece and Cyprus a veto over how the Obama administration reacts to the crossing of its own publicly declared red lines.

For weeks Mr. Obama has held back on forceful measures against Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine on the theory that a measured approach matched with diplomacy would yield results. The policy has failed. Now Mr. Obama must act — or doom Ukraine to dismemberment.

Read more about this issue: The Post’s View: The U.S., the E.U. and Russia strike a balance on Ukraine The Post’s View: It’s probably too late to prevent war in Ukraine The Post’s View: Russia will respond only to increased sanctions over Ukraine The Post’s View: The U.S. should not shut out Ukraine David Ignatius: The cost of Putin’s adventurism in Ukraine George F. Will: Russia’s brutality with Ukraine is nothing new Madeleine Albright and Jim O’Brien: The West’s obligation to Ukraine David Ignatius: Has the Ukraine crisis been defused?

The High Cost of Liberalism: Part II

By Thomas Sowell

Liberals can be disarming. In fact, they are for disarming anybody who can be disarmed, whether domestically or internationally.
Unfortunately, the people who are the easiest to disarm are the ones who are the most peaceful -- and disarming them makes them vulnerable to those who are the least peaceful.
We are currently getting a painful demonstration of that in Ukraine. When Ukraine became an independent nation, it gave up all the nuclear missiles that were on its territory from the days when it had been part of the Soviet Union.
At that time, Ukraine had the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. Do you think Putin would have attacked Ukraine if it still had those nuclear weapons? Or do you think it is just a coincidence that nations with nuclear weapons don't get invaded?
Among those who urged Ukraine to reduce even its conventional, non-nuclear weapons as well, was a new United States Senator named Barack Obama. He was all for disarmament then, and apparently even now as President of the United States. He has refused Ukraine's request for weapons with which to defend itself.
As with so many things that liberals do, the disarmament crusade is judged by its good intentions, not by its actual consequences.
Indeed, many liberals seem unaware that the consequences could be anything other than what they hope for. That is why disarmament advocates are called "the peace movement."
Whether disarmament has in fact led to peace, more often than military deterrence has, is something that could be argued on the basis of the facts of history -- but it seldom is.
Liberals almost never talk about disarmament in terms of evidence of its consequences, whether they are discussing gun control at home or international disarmament agreements.
International disarmament agreements flourished between the two World Wars. Just a few years after the end of the First World War there were the Washington Naval Agreements of 1921-1922 that led to the United States actually sinking some of its own warships. Then there was the celebrated Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, in which nations renounced war, with France's Foreign Minister Aristide Briand declaring, "Away with rifles, machine guns, and cannon!" The "international community" loved it.
In Britain, the Labour Party repeatedly voted against military armaments during most of the decade of the 1930s. A popular argument of the time was that Britain should disarm "as an example to others."
Unfortunately, Hitler did not follow that example. He was busy building the most powerful military machine on the continent of Europe.
Nor did Germany or Japan allow the Washington Naval Agreements to cramp their style. The fact that Britain and America limited the size of their battleships simply meant that Germany and Japan had larger battleships when World War II began.
What is happening in Ukraine today is just a continuation of the old story about nations that disarm increasing the chances of being attacked by nations that do not disarm.
Any number of empirical studies about domestic gun control laws tell much the same story. Gun control advocates seldom, if ever, present hard evidence that gun crimes in general, or murder rates in particular, go down after gun control laws are passed or tightened.
That is the crucial question about gun control laws. But liberals settle that question by assumption. Then they can turn their attention to denouncing the National Rifle Association.
But neither the National Rifle Association nor the Second Amendment is the crucial issue. If the hard facts show that gun control laws actually reduce the murder rate, we can repeal the Second Amendment, as other Amendments have been repealed.
If in fact tighter gun control laws reduced the murder rate, that would be the liberals' ace of trumps. Why then do the liberals not play their ace of trumps, by showing us such hard facts? Because they don't have any such hard facts. So they give us lofty rhetoric and outraged indignation instead.
By Andrew Stiles

Senator Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) has released a new radio ad (see below) accusing her potential GOP challenger, Thom Tillis, of hypocrisy. The ad is ridiculously dishonest.
Tillis has attacked Hagan for her support of Obamacare, but the ad suggests these attacks are hypocritical because Tillis once described Obamacare as “a great idea.”
“Politicians, these days you’ve gotta watch ‘em close—real close,” says the narrator in Hagan’s ad, before playing a clip of Tillis saying “it’s a great idea” in reference to Obamacare.
“That’s right. Thom Tillis called Obamacare ‘a great idea,’” the narrator continues. “So Thom Tillis thinks he can attack Kay Hagan over something he calls ‘a great idea’? Watch close, seems Thom Tillis wants it both ways.”
The Tillis quote was taken from his February 6 appearance on the Bill LuMaye radio show. You can check out the full audio here. The quote in question takes place around the 9-minute mark.
Here’s what Tillis said, in the context of broader GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare: “The majority of the stuff that is in Obamacare is bad, because it’s not fiscally sustainable. It’s a great idea that can’t be paid for.”
He went on to describe Obamacare as a “policy that’s creating as many problems as it fixes in terms of healthcare,” and “creating the most devastating problem of a deficit that we can’t afford.”
Hagan, who voted for Obamacare and repeated the president’s false promisethat no one would lose existing coverage, has aggressively dodged the issue of late. On at least one occasion, she literally fled from reporters attempting to ask her about individuals who have lost their existing coverage. One wonders if, at this point, even Hagan still describe Obamacare as “a great idea.” But she’d rather not talk about it.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Taking a "Selfie" and Feeling At Home With Our President and The Pot Head Generation!

A dear friend, fellow memo reader and former patient of Carlton Savory brought me a T Shirt which reads:
"25 years ago we had Ronald Reagan, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope.

Now we have Obama, no cash and no hope."

When I get a chance I will put it on and take a 'selfie' so I can be part of our current generation of pot heads and can feel at one with our narcissistic president.
Clarice Feldman  goes a bit overboard in her connections but she basically is right in her analogies and warnings.  (See 1 below.)
More electoral theft proposed by Democrats.

If one steps back and looks at larger trends it is evident this country, as well as  most countries, are moving in the direction of bigger government and crippling dependency. As citizens become comfortable with this fact their freedoms shrink and the stage will eventually be set for dictatorships rather than democratic rule.

Religious freedom is anathma to big government so this trend also  threatens any nation with a vestige of a free religious base or tolerance for various religious sects. - most specifically the United States.

Carry this trend to its full extension and Western Religions will be replaced by some radical form of Middle Eastern form of heretical religion based on demographics alone.

This thesis may sound bizarre but, I believe, the writing is on the wall and this is what Obama, and those of his mind set, have in store for the world. (See 2 below.)
Andy Richard Falk was my fraternity brother and he was weird and obviously became more so. What happened to make him such a bitter Jewish anti-Semite I do not know.

My friend Avi Jorisch reports on his whereabouts. (See 3 below.)
Everything comes at some cost.  (See 4 below.)
The Fed may regret what they wish for. (See 5 below.)
Is Sam Huntington more clear eyed and therefore, capable of seeing further.

I do not claim to be anywhere near his league but to anyone who can forecast the trends were obvious.  (See 6 and 6a below.)
I am going to my 64th reunion of my Military Prep School Friday in Atlanta and then we leave for Italy  shortly thereafter.  Upon our return the next day we leave for our grandson's graduation from Georgetown and then shortly thereafter we leave again for a family bat mitzvah in St Louis. Once again my memo readers will be treated to a  long period of silence.
1) Death, Taxes, and Anti-Semitism

Ben Franklin opined that there was nothing certain but death and taxes. I’d add a third to the list of certainties, anti-Semitism, and this week reminds us of that.
As Americans struggled with preposterously complex federal income tax regulations and ever-higher tax burdens, the Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney tweeted “That’s the price we pay for 7 of the 10 richest counties being within commuting distance of DC.” Right he is. As the rest of the country struggles to keep on producing -- cattle, grain, merchandise, services -- hamstrung by ever more regulations and executive and judicial branch overreaching, DC lives high on the hog off that labor. Drive up and see expensive restaurants full of patrons every night and elegant spas and hotels fully booked. The price of real estate in the nation’s capital keeps soaring, as it does in the near suburbs. At the moment 86 million full- time private sector employees sustain 148 million benefit takers. Greetings, suckers!
In the Middle East and Africa death stalks, nourished by religious hatred -- against Jews, Christians, and Moslems of different sects than those doing the butchering. In Africa 200 young Christian children going to school exams were butchered by Islamic fanatics whose motto is “Western education is forbidden”.
Do you see celebrities and “human rights activists” or groups like the National Council of Churches speaking out against these atrocities? If they have I’ve missed it. Just as movie stars, “human rights activists” and left-wing Congressmen don’t tie themselves to Israeli nursery schools as rockets hail, they don’t do one thing to stop these unremitting slaughters in Africa and Syria. Instead they bitch and moan about walls built in Israel to keep these monsters from killing more innocents.

In Syria, where Christians and Moslems of other sects are being slaughtered daily by jihadis whose weapons were provided by the Turks, the Saudis, and probably the U.S. through its Benghazi arms bazaar, the only effective intervention I see is by Israeli medicos who are secretly treating the badly-wounded victims.
Death and mayhem comes to the U.S., too, from Moslem fanatics and left-wing anti-Semites.
In the very week of the anniversary of the Boston marathon massacre and the Warsaw ghetto uprising, one apparent Moslem convert, Mohammed Pedro Whitaker was arrested in Kansas City and charged with 18 felony counts related to 9 incidents including shooting into a motor vehicle and hitting a victim.

In nearby Overland Park another fanatic, this one heavily influenced by the anti-Semitic ravings of Max Blumenthal, son of Clinton buddy Sid Blumenthal shot three Christians in the mistaken belief they were Jewish. Instead of mentioning the shooter’s repeated endorsement of Max Blumenthal’s odious ranting, the New York Times  allowed a grad student space on its op-ed page to smear war veterans. The Boston Herald’s Howie Carr noted with disgust the “sob story treatment” of the surviving Boston bomber by the New York Times and others. Missing from the president’s speech on the anniversary of that tragedy are the terms “terrorism” and “bombing” .Nor did he ever mention that the horror was inspired by Moslem extremism. It seems to be the hate that (the West) dare not speak its name.
Adding insult to injury, the president sent his vice-president (aka Obama term insurance) Joe Biden to the memorial and he, in turn, tells the survivors “it was worth it”,
Why all this dancing around the truth? Almost as soon as the ashes of 9/11 stopped falling, the media and the nomenklatura, revealing their prejudices against the people who keep them employed, seem to have adopted a view of Americans so blinkered that they began acting as if telling the truth will unleash hordes of armed to the teeth bloodthirsty mobs (especially crazed war veterans) treating Moslems as so many of their coreligionists treat others. In fact, despite countless provocations, including outrageous demands for special treatment and bloody slaughter, real crimes against Moslems motivated by hate remain minimal. Undoubtedly because -- with exceptions like pogramist Al Sharpton (now Obama’s BFF) and Obama’s Reverend Wright -- Judeo-Christian ethics largely compel restraint, tolerance, and fair treatment. As a matter of fact, by a wide margin the FBI reports the largest number of hate crimes in America are committed against Jews.
Much has been written to explain the enduring nature of anti-Semitism, but I think there is a particularly original and convincing addition to the usual historic analyses by Thomas Dias at honestreporting this week. Discussing the virulent and irrational hatred of Israel in Europe, he observes:
Jealousy and envy might also contribute to Europe’s unreasonable opprobrium of Israel. I am not even referring to jealousy of Israeli achievements on every relevant scientific level, but to the measure of civility the Jewish people in general apparently poses. During the first half of the twentieth century, countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany descended into internal tyranny, only to drag the entire continent down into the abyss with them in the ensuing years. Then there’s the Jews. A persecuted minority who just endured the slaughter of six million of their people, is given a state for the first time since the biblical era, which from day one was outnumbered and outgunned, faced with Arab wars of extermination. What then happened, or better, didn’t happen next, is something that is rarely seen for its merits and mostly taken for granted: Israel, a state of a traumatized people under absolute existential threat, remained a democracy. It did not regress into a military dictatorship, something that would have been all too imaginable considering the condition the country was in. This showcase of civility is something that rightly so embarrasses European history, and shows that somehow, the Jewish people, under the most heinous circumstances, showed a ‘high culture’ that Europeans can only dream of.
Another modern day factor is that the EU was created for a single purpose: to abolish the European concept of nation states. It foresaw a utopian, somewhat mono-cultural and border-less continent. With this in mind, it is understandable that EU-minded Europeans shiver when they gaze upon Israel; with her nationalism, distinctiveness, deeply rooted cultural and religious practices and the most potent national military force in the region, the Jewish state is the epitome of a nation state. Not only that, but this nation state flourishes despite everything and is therefore a prime argument against the anti-nation state doctrines of European federalists.
But, it is also important to view European culture as a whole. Europeans have become a people that can no longer tell friend from foe, effective culture from ineffective culture, construction from destruction and progress from regression. Europeans are a people that took the exact wrong lessons from World War Two; they view nationalism as the sinful cause of that conflict, while it was collectivism in all its forms that dragged us into darkness. Europeans are a people who developed a fashionable disdain for the men and women who saved them from Italian Fascism, German National-Socialism, the Japanese Empire and the Soviet Union, and still stand as their only guardians – the Americans – and have come to despise the economic construct that blessed them with the largest increase of wealth for all in human history: the free market.
The philosophical foundations of the relativism and yearning for ‘high culture’ that transgresses materialism and pursuit of profit that today prevails in Europe, have always had a problem with the bourgeoisie. The enlightened merchant middle class, that saw hard work and responsibility as their core values, were despised by the philosophers that laid the groundwork for the European culture of today.
What people, in European culture, are most associated with money, trade and the pursuit of profit? It’s not the Sri Lankans, I’ll tell you that much. Of course, that honor goes to the Jews.[quote]
Do you suppose that Democrats -- the chief American statists, class warriors, multiculturalists, and internationalists -- are any different than their European counterparts? I don’t. Keep electing them and we will become more like Europe in its repulsive and pervasive anti-Semitism as we have in every other regrettable way.
2) Kristol, Dershowitz Slam Effort to Rig Electoral College
By Todd Beamon

Conservatives and leading liberals slammed the campaign to effectively end the Electoral College's role in presidential elections, saying that the National Popular Vote Compact Law circumvents the Constitution, saying it resembled President Barack Obama's abuse of the law through his extensive use of executive orders.

"It is pretty startling," Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV this week. "If they want to make the case for the popular election of presidents and a Constitutional amendment, they should make the case.

"But the left these days doesn't make the case, and they don't go the normal route of changing the law if they don't like the law," Kristol added. "They think of gimmicks and evasions and ways to get around the normal popular debate.

"This is all happening kind of quietly. I'm really struck by the way they’re doing it."

Under the National Popular Vote Compact, each state would award its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. The effort has been quietly winding its way through state governments, needing 270 votes to take effect.

Once states with electoral votes totaling the magic 270 – the number a presidential candidate needs to becomes president – pass the law, it immediately takes effect. The new law would mandate that each of the states in the compact must cede their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, even if a particular state were to give a majority to the loser of the popular vote.

Put another way, if Florida has been a member of such a compact in the 2000 presidential year, it would have had to cede its electoral votes to Al Gore, making him president, since he won the popular vote nation-wide, though he lost in the state of Florida.

The compact has been attacked by Republican strategist Dick Morris, who charged in an exclusive Newsmax column that the effort is ripe for voter fraud and would guarantee that Democrats win the White House every four years.

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged the Empire State's 29 electoral votes to the effort, which now has 165 votes. New York is the 10th state to come aboard. The District of Columbia, with three electoral votes, has also signed the agreement.

The other states are Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, California, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Morris said all of the jurisdictions supporting the compact backed President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

It also has been approved by at least one legislative body in these states: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon.

The states total 78 electoral votes, and eight of them voted for Obama, Morris said.

Other conservatives echoed Morris, saying that "the stealth way" — going through the states — was doing an end-run around the Constitution.

"It's a serious discussion. It's a debate worth having," former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra told Malzberg. "If we're going to change it, let's do it the appropriate way: get the super-majority votes in Congress, have the states ratify it, have a national debate.
"This is again by the left an effort to circumvent the current electoral process, and through a stealth campaign, ensure their electoral dominance moving into the future."

Kevin Jackson, the radio talk-show host and author who was a panelist with Hoekstra, said the Electoral College effort comes as "we're dangerously close to the left having control of the Supreme Court" with the possible retirement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 81, and three others in their 70s.

They are Antonin Scalia, 78, and Anthony Kennedy, 77, who were appointed by President Ronald Reagan; and Stephen Breyer, 75, who — along with Ginsberg — were appointed by President Bill Clinton.

"It's definitely trying to get around the system," Jackson said of the vote compact.

Even such liberals as Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf blasted the campaign.

"It's nuts," Sheinkopf told Malzberg. "Here's a case of where they're trying to go around the Constitution, around the law, to do something that's patently illegal and wrong. It's the same way the Obama administration issues executive orders.
 "Our Constitution, that's worked very well for 200 years, is now being tampered with. A bad move.

"This system was put in place to ensure that crazy people couldn't get control of the government," Sheinkopf added. "And that's why it works.

"Don’t change something that shouldn’t be changed for the purpose of making some people happy."

Dershowitz said the compact "certainly violates the spirit of the Constitution. Plainly, the founders of the Constitution did not intend for there to be a conspiracy among certain states to essentially abolish the Electoral College."

He, too, called for a Constitutional amendment. The Electoral College was established by the Founding Fathers during the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

"The amendment probably would not succeed, but to use this method of circumvention, it seems to me would encourage other states to use other methods of circumventing the Constitution when it came to racial equality or other things," Dershowitz told Malzberg.

"I think it is quite short-sighted," he added. "I do not support it."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3) Richard Falk and Reexamining the Palestinian Penocide
by Avi Jorisch

Richard Falk, the current Rapporteur for Palestine of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), is set to step down in the coming days. Falk's primary legacy will be his consistent hounding of Israel, which he has accused, among other things, of engaging in genocide and apartheid against the Palestinians. Unfortunately, Falk never placed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in its proper context, nor did he properly compare Israel's actions to those of the more serious violators of human rights, including Syria, North Korea and Sudan. He has thus made a mockery of the UN and done a disservice to the Palestinian people.

Falk has consistently miscategorized and distorted Israel's behavior. For example, this past December, he accused Israel of targeting Palestinians with "genocidal intent." And for his final report in his present capacity, he accused Israel of "inhuman acts," calling on the UN to wage a legitimacy war against the Jewish State. He has also demanded that the World Court examine whether Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing.

As Rapporteur on this critical international issue, Falk had an ethical and professional obligation to compare this conflict to those taking place in other parts of the world. He rarely if ever compared Israel to the world's far more serious violators of human rights, including Syria, North Korea and Sudan. By not doing so, he prevented light from being shed on wars, genocide and civil fratricides that have killed millions of people over the last half century.

The accusation that Israel is engaging in genocide is patently false. Genocide, plainly stated, is the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group." To judge whether Israel is guilty of such behavior, it should be compared with other countries facing comparable threats. No other nation facing similar internal and external pressure has gone to the same lengths as Israel in protecting enemy civilians, take risks for peace and upholding the rule of law. Since its founding, Israel has consistently extended its hand in peace, and it has engaged in a direct peace process with the Palestinians since 1993. There are Arab members of Israel's parliament, and while the country's judicial system is far from perfect, Israel's Arab citizens have a legal status equal to that of Jewish Israelis.

Falk would also have audiences believe that Palestinians have suffered more than any other population. But actually, the scale of their losses is dwarfed by those of other groups in many other 20th-century events. Gennar Heinsohn, a German sociologist and economist, compiled a study ranking conflicts by the number of deaths. Between 1950 and roughly the present, over 85 million people have lost their lives in conflicts around the globe. The largest offenders include China (4 million), the Soviet Union (10 million), Ethiopia (4 million), Zaire (3.8 million), Korean war (2.8 million), and Sudan (1.9 million).

Many will be surprised to learn that according to Heinsohn's study, the Arab-Israeli conflict actually ranks 49th, with 51,000 total lives lost for both Arabs and Israelis. In other words, just .06% of the total number of deaths in conflicts since 1950 has resulted from this conflict.

How many people realize that the vast majority of deaths due to wars in the Muslim world since 1950 were actually caused by fellow Muslims? The number of Muslim deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict is hardly exceptional. Approximately 11 million Muslims have lost their lives in wars since 1950 — including in Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Yemen. Where is Falk's outrage about the number of deaths — and refugee tragedies — in Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan?

Even if one examines the current refugee situation in the Muslim world, there are serious crimes against humanity taking place today that have nothing to do with Israel.

Since 2003, 2.5 million Sudanese have become refugees as a result of the Janjaweed militia and Sudanese army, and 1.9 million people have died in Sudan since 1950. Since 2011, over 2 million refugees have fled Syria, and over 70,000 have been killed there in the last three years (almost twice the number of Arabs killed in the Arab-Israeli conflict). In Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion in 1979 until the Taliban's ouster in 2002, 6 million refugees fled to Pakistan and Iran — and 1.8 million people have died there since 1950.

Ending Palestinian suffering should continue to be a priority for the international community. Both Israelis and Palestinians must confront the past with honesty and take the necessary but painful steps to achieve a just resolution to the conflict.

Labeling Israel a genocidal state, which is patently false, is not helpful in the pursuit of peace. The failure to place the Palestinian plight in the context of real genocides around the globe has given Palestinians a false sense of uniqueness and actually serves as a hurdle in pursuing a just and lasting settlement to this conflict.
Those who truly care about human rights should be outraged at Falk's sentiments and delighted at the thought of his departure. His inability to place into context the plight of the Palestinians has had the unfortunate effect of empowering some of the worst violators of human rights and has not brought the parties themselves closer to a negotiated settlement. Sadly, the cause of peace and justice is never served through lies and deceit.
4) The High Cost of Liberalism
By Thomas Sowell 

Liberals advocate many wonderful things. In fact, I suspect that most conservatives would prefer to live in the kind of world envisioned by liberals, rather than in the kind of world envisioned by conservatives.

Unfortunately, the only kind of world that any of us can live in is the world that actually exists. Trying to live in the kind of world that liberals envision has costs that will not go away just because these costs are often ignored by liberals.
One of those costs appeared in an announcement of a house for sale in Palo Alto, the community adjacent to Stanford University, an institution that is as politically correct as they come.
The house is for sale at $1,498,000. It is a 1,010 square foot bungalow with two bedrooms, one bath and a garage. Although the announcement does not mention it, this bungalow is located near a commuter railroad line, with trains passing regularly throughout the day.
Lest you think this house must be some kind of designer's dream, loaded with high-tech stuff, it was built in 1942 and, even if it was larger, no one would mistake it for the Taj Mahal or San Simeon.
This house is not an aberration, and its price is not out of line with other housing prices in Palo Alto. One couple who had lived in their 1,200 square foot home in Palo Alto for 20 years decided to sell it, and posted an asking price just under $1.3 million.
Competition for that house forced the selling price up to $1.7 million.
Another Palo Alto house, this one with 1,292 square feet of space, is on the market for $2,285,000. It was built in 1895.
Even a vacant lot in Palo Alto costs more than a spacious middle-class home costs in most of the rest of the country.
How does this tie in with liberalism?
In this part of California, liberalism reigns supreme and "open space" is virtually a religion. What that lovely phrase means is that there are vast amounts of empty land where the law forbids anybody from building anything.
Anyone who has taken Economics 1 knows that preventing the supply from rising to meet the demand means that prices are going to rise. Housing is no exception.
Yet when my wife wrote in a local Palo Alto newspaper, many years ago, that preventing the building of housing would cause existing housing to become far too expensive for most people to afford it, she was deluged with more outraged letters than I get from readers of a nationally syndicated column.
What she said was treated as blasphemy against the religion of "open space" -- and open space is just one of the wonderful things about the world envisioned by liberals that is ruinously expensive in the mundane world where the rest of us live.
Much as many liberals like to put guilt trips on other people, they seldom seek out, much less acknowledge and take responsibility for, the bad consequences of their own actions.
There are people who claim that astronomical housing prices in places like Palo Alto and San Francisco are due to a scarcity of land. But there is enough vacant land ("open space") on the other side of the 280 Freeway that goes past Palo Alto to build another Palo Alto or two -- except for laws and policies that make that impossible.
As in San Francisco and other parts of the country where housing prices skyrocketed after building homes was prohibited or severely restricted, this began in Palo Alto in the 1970s.
Housing prices in Palo Alto nearly quadrupled during that decade. This was not due to expensive new houses being built, because not a single new house was built in Palo Alto in the 1970s. The same old houses simply shot up in price.
It was very much the same story in San Francisco, which was a bastion of liberalism then as now. There too, incredibly high prices are charged for small houses, often jammed close together. A local newspaper described a graduate student looking for a place to rent who was "visiting one exorbitantly priced hovel after another."
That is part of the unacknowledged cost of "open space," and just part of the high cost of liberalism.
5) Financial Times: The Surprise of US Wage Inflation May Raise Its Head
By John Morgan

Wage inflation could soon surge in the United States because short-term unemployment is almost back at normal levels, and that could present the Federal Reserve with a fresh dilemma, according to the Financial Times.

That’s because if wage hikes do gain momentum, it could undercut the Fed’s key hope of keeping interest rates low at least until 2015.

“If such wage pressures start to show up this year, they could force the Fed to consider earlier interest rates rises even while the unemployment rate remains relatively high,” the Times concluded.

While Fed Chair Janet Yellen clings to the notion that long-term unemployment will work to keep a lid on wage inflation, the Times noted that some important economists, including Alan Krueger, former chairman of President Barack Obama’s council of economic advisers, disagree.

Conventional theory holds that the lowest jobless rate an economy can sustain before wage inflation takes hold is 5 percent to 5.6 percent. While the current full rate of 6.7 percent is comfortably ahead of that range, the Times suggested that cushion is due mostly to the long-term unemployed who exert no pressure on wages.

The short-term unemployment rate of 4.3 percent is approximately back to its long-run average, the newspaper noted.

Krueger said in a paper the long-term unemployed can be discounted from wage pressure analysis because they have often given up looking seriously for work, and employers discriminate against them.

“We tentatively conclude that the long-term unemployed exert relatively little pressure on the economy,” he wrote.

In other research, economists Robert Gordon of Northwestern University and Mark Watson of Princeton agreed that not all unemployment is equal. They found inflation forecasts become more accurate when they exclude the long-term unemployed from the results, the Times said.

The Washington Post reported that the long-term unemployed face additional obstacles. Those obstacles may also be factors that could keep them from impacting wage inflation.

The Post said new research shows the long-term jobless often have trouble keeping jobs even after they finally find work again. 

Some of them may have had their job skills deteriorate in the interim, and others may have been forced by circumstances or desperation to take jobs that were unsuitable for them, the Post reported.

6)What Samuel Huntington Knew

The dictators are back. The political scientist saw it coming.

By Bret Stehens

'What would happen," Samuel Huntington once wondered, "if the American model no longer embodied strength and success, no longer seemed to be the winning model?"
The question, when the great Harvard political scientist asked it in 1991, seemed far-fetched. The Cold War was won, the Soviet Union was about to vanish. History was at an end. All over the world, people seemed to want the same things in the same way: democracy, capitalism, free trade, free speech, freedom of conscience, freedom for women.
"The day of the dictator is over," George H.W. Bush had said in his 1989 inaugural address. "We know what works: Freedom works. We know what's right: Freedom is right."
Not quite. A quarter-century later, the dictators are back in places where we thought they had been banished. And they're back by popular demand. Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will not have to stuff any ballots to get himself elected president next month; he's going to win in a walk. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán presides over the most illiberal government in modern Europe, but he had no trouble winning a third term in elections two weeks ago.
In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent recent months brutalizing protesters in Istanbul, shutting down judicial inquiries into corruption allegations against his government, and seeking to block TwitterTWTR +1.60% YouTube and Facebook,FB +2.53% the ultimate emblems of digital freedom. But his AKP party still won resounding victories in key municipal elections last month.
And then there is Russia. In a Journal op-ed Monday, foreign-policy analyst Ilan Berman pointed out that Russia had $51 billion in capital flight in the first quarter of 2014, largely thanks to Vladimir Putin's Crimean caper. That's a lot of money for a country with a GDP roughly equal to that of Italy. The World Bank predicts the Russian economy could shrink by 2% this year. Relations with the West haven't been worse since the days of Yuri Andropov.
But never mind about that. Mr. Putin has a public approval rating of 80%, according to the independent Levada Center. That's up from 65% in early February.
Maybe it's something in the water. Or the culture. Or the religion. Or the educational system. Or the level of economic development. Or the underhanded ways in which authoritarian leaders manipulate media and suppress dissent. The West rarely runs out of explanations for why institutions of freedom—presumably fit for all people for all time—seem to fit only some people, sometimes.
But maybe there's something else at work. Maybe the West mistook the collapse of communism—just one variant of dictatorship—as a vindication of liberal democracy. Maybe the West forgot that it needed to justify its legitimacy not only in the language of higher democratic morality. It needed to show that the morality yields benefits: higher growth, lower unemployment, better living.
Has the West been performing well lately? If the average Turk looks to Greece as the nearest example of a Western democracy, does he see much to admire? Did Egyptians have a happy experience of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood? Should a government in Budapest take economic advice from the finance ministry of France? Did ethnic Russians prosper under a succession of Kiev kleptocrats?
"Sustained inability to provide welfare, prosperity, equity, justice, domestic order, or external security could over time undermine the legitimacy of even democratic governments," Huntington warned. "As the memories of authoritarian failures fade, irritation with democratic failures is likely to increase."
The passage quoted here comes from "The Third Wave," the book Huntington wrote just before his famous essay on the clash of civilizations. The "wave" was a reference to the 30 or so authoritarian states that, between 1974 and 1990, adopted democratic institutions. The two previous waves referred to the rise of mass-suffrage democracy in the 1830s and the post-Wilsonian wave of the 1920s. In each previous case, revolution succumbed to reaction; Weimar gave way to Hitler.
Huntington knew that the third wave, too, would crest, crash and recede. It's happening now. The real question is how hard it will crash, on whom, for how long.
A West that prefers debt-subsidized welfarism over economic growth will not offer much in the way of an attractive model for countries in a hurry to modernize. A West that consistently sacrifices efficiency on the altars of regulation, litigation and political consensus will lose the dynamism that makes the risks inherent in free societies seem worthwhile. A West that shrinks from maintaining global order because doing so is difficult or discomfiting will invite challenges from nimble adversaries willing to take geopolitical gambles.
At some point the momentum will shift back. That, too, is inevitable. The dictators will err; their corruption will become excessive; their cynicism will become transparent to their own rank-and-file. A new democratic wave will begin to build.
Whether that takes five years or 50 depends on what the West does now. Five years is a blip. Fifty is the tragedy of a lifetime.

6a) Obama's China Challenge

U.S. allies look for support against Beijing's new aggression.

President Barack Obama lands in Japan Wednesday to kick off a week-long Asian Reassurance Tour, and not a moment too soon. Amid the summitry in Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Manila, Asian leaders will be watching the showdown over an obscure speck of land in the South China Sea.
Second Thomas Shoal sits some 125 miles off the western coast of the Philippines, one of more than 750 rocks, reefs and islets known as the Spratly Islands. Today it is the site of China's boldest attempt to forcibly exert sovereignty over the resource-rich, 1.35-million-square-mile South China Sea, through which one-third of all global maritime traffic passes.
Early last month Chinese ships blocked the Philippine military from resupplying its marines on the shoal, which is 700 miles from China's coast and has had a Philippine military presence since 1999. This marked an escalation in China's "cabbage strategy" of seizing Philippine territory by gradually surrounding it with layers of Chinese boats, from fishing vessels to coast guard patrols and warships.
In this photo taken March 29, 2014, an aerial view shows a Philippines Navy vessel that has been grounded since 1999 to assert the nation's sovereignty over the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea reef also claimed by China. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Beijing's move essentially dares Manila to risk a shooting war whenever it resupplies or rotates its marines, as it last did on March 29. That time a Philippine supply ship successfully reached the shoal, having maneuvered past Chinese coast guard vessels at a distance of a few hundred dangerous meters. Manila's next supply run could come any day.
This is the latest in a string of Chinese provocations against the Philippines. In 2012, several hundred miles to the north, Beijing seized Scarborough Shoal after Philippine patrols had the temerity to try to arrest illegal Chinese fishermen. The U.S. brokered a June 2012 agreement for China and the Philippines to withdraw from Scarborough, but only Manila complied. Chinese ships have since used water cannons to keep Filipinos from fishing in the area.
In early 2013 the Philippines challenged China's territorial claims through arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which both countries have signed. Furious at this appeal to a rules-based international order, Beijing responded by squeezing Second Thomas Shoal, demanding that Manila withdraw its marines and barring Philippine President Benigno Aquino from a trade fair in China unless he abandoned his call for arbitration. China blockaded the shoal last month as Manila was poised to submit its 4,000-page case to the U.N.
All of this constitutes a challenge to Washington. The U.S. and the Philippines signed a mutual-defense treaty in 1951, but Washington has signaled that it wouldn't cover a Chinese attack on Second Thomas Shoal, which falls within Manila's 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone but wasn't claimed by Manila until 1978.
Visiting Manila in February, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert answered a hypothetical question about China seizing Philippine-controlled territory in the Spratlys. "Of course we would help you," he said initially—before adding: "I don't know what that help would be specifically. I mean, we have an obligation because we have a treaty. But I don't know in what capacity that help is."
With statements like that from Washington, no wonder Beijing feels emboldened. At a press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this month, Chinese Defense Minister General Chang Wonquan insisted that there would be "no compromise, no concessions" on territorial disputes with U.S. allies.
If Mr. Obama this week simply reaffirms the standard U.S. position of neutrality on sovereignty disputes and support for peaceful resolutions of differences, he will provide little reassurance to America's friends. More effective would be to directly question the legitimacy and origin of China's South China Sea claims, as State Department official Danny Russel recently did before Congress. The President might add that China's blockade of Second Thomas Shoal endangers the lives of Philippine forces and violates Beijing's promises under the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Like Russia in Eastern Europe, China is trying to rewrite the international order to dominate the Western Pacific. And like Vladimir Putin, Beijing's leaders will press their advantage against weaker powers unless America makes clear by word and deed that it will push back.