Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bandar Assassinated? Zingales' Book Worth Reading!

Just one more article supporting my general thesis that Obama loses and Romney wins.  You don't have to love Romney to vote against Obama.  You simply have to look at Obama's record, his own commentary, the way he handles himself, his attacks on virtually every positive element of our society, the number of people he has thrown under the bus, the pitiful economic record, unemployment, people on food stamps and the sour mood of reluctant consumers.

With that in mind, who needs polls! (See 1 and 1a below.)

---This from a dear and long time friend and more recent fellow memo reader. "

My Bucket List 2013
Put "GOD" back in America !!!
Obey its own laws NOW
English only
Constitution, and the Bill of Rights!
Drug Free:
Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare!
We the people are coming!
NO freebies to Non-Citizens!
when their term in the House or Senate is up so is their paycheck.....no
lifetime paycheck for any of them, even President or Vice President
Hussein had WMD but not the kind the press, media and GW haters wanted to focus on so they proceeded to beat him over the head. Meanwhile,  GW's own Secretary of State (Colin Powell)  did not help matters  when he went to the U.N., delivered a speech that allowed  the 'aginners' to paint the administration into a  'he did not have nuclear WMD' corner. See 2 below.)
Palestinian economics is not cutting the mustard nor has it ever beause they were never held accountable. 
 (See 3 and 3a below.)
My friend, Paul Rubin, has it about right.  (See 4 below.)

I have just begun to read a book my number three daughter was kind enough to gift me. It is entitled "A Capitalism For The People"  and was written by Luigi Zingales, an Italian immigrant who fled his native country because of the corruption and political influence the elite exercise over Italian business.

In the introduction, the author lays out the reasons  why American Capitalism is exceptional and different and why, until crony capitalism has begun to take over, American's were free to improve their lot because of hard work not because of luck, government favoritism etc.

Though I have just begun the book it is obvious Obama's view of  capitalism is in direct conflict with Zingales's view because Obama believes competition  and freedom from government is not what produces the most for the most. 

As i read more I will try and report on Zingales' more  sanguine thoughts.

It is a very timely read considering how big business and big government are in bed to perpetuate each other and why this threatens the kind of capitalism associated with America's most productive years.

What Zingales suggests is European capitalism was based on who you knew not on talent and American capitalism is morphing into the European, type because of the power of government and the recognition by big business to prosper it must identify and align itself with government. American capitalists no longer think in terms of what is best for the nation but what is best for themselves and their more narrow personal interests and that is why cronyism is a threat and why both Teapartyers and The March on Crowd have something in common - distrust of the elitists.
Every Indication the Saudi Prince, who was just selected to head their Security Agency, is dead.  You will be hearing more at a later time. 
1)Add it up: The prediction models look dismal for Obama. Can he still win?

I got into writing and thinking about politics because I was told there would be no math.
Boy, was I misled. It’s not just the torrent of polls that we have to deal with, but the numbers that supposedly forecast Presidential elections with uncanny accuracy. Depending on whom you turn to, the key lies in second quarter real GDP growth, the optimism or pessimism of the electorate, individual or family real income growth or a dizzying mix of these and other measurements.

They’re usually economic, although one prognosticator—Allan Lichtman, history professor at American University—uses broader measurements, asking whether the incumbent or challenger is charismatic or whether the incumbent party has presided over a major change in social policy. (This is considered a positive, although I don’t know if we’ve ever had a case like the Affordable Care Act, which—unlike every other major social change—passed without bipartisan backing and remains broadly unpopular.) 

I’m a skeptic about the predictive power of these numbers for many reasons. For one thing, the “sample size,” which totals about twenty or so Presidential elections since most of these measurements were first made, is too small. For another, they work—unless they don’t. In 1968, strong economic figures were trumped by a divisive war and by social unrest. In 2000, every economic forecasting model predicted that Al Gore would win a comfortable or landslide plurality. They were “right” in the sense that he got half a million more votes than Bush; they were “wrong” in the fundamental outcome they offered.

So it’s with that skepticism in mind that I offer, not a prediction, but a flat pre-election assessment: If President Barack Obama is to win, he is going to have to overcome a set of numbers that no incumbent President, or incumbent party, has ever managed to surmount.

The jobless rate has been stuck at just above 8 per cent for months; you have to go back to 1936 to find a President re-elected with a higher unemployment rate. And in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s case, it was a far better number than he had inherited. Plus, growth was booming.

Today, real growth is at 1.5 per cent. In the economic forecasting models, this portends what even the liberal arts majors have been predicting: a very close election.

The core question for many voters—“Are you generally satisfied with the country’s direction, or has the U.S. gone off on the wrong track”—gets a 32.7-60.7 negative answer, according to the RealClearPolitics average. Generally, an incumbent party needs to have at least a 35% positive response to this question to win the election, says the Gallup Organization.

The consumer confidence level is now about 60 per cent. No incumbent party has ever kept the White House with a number anything like that. (It was slightly higher, at 65 per cent, in 1980 when Carter lost in a landslide.) 

Now, try this as a thought exercise. Forget who is running, what the latest gaffe of the day is, who is outraged and what latest insult to what group has been perpetrated by the candidate or his staff. Ignore whom you’re rooting for, and just look at those numbers with the ice-cold heart of a bean counter.

What you would conclude, I think, is that there is no way an incumbent President could get re-elected given these current numbers.

In this sense, the 2012 election is going to test just how predictive many of these “fundamental” models are, and whether the assertion of some forecasters—that the outcome can be known irrespective of candidates and campaigns—is valid.

Why? Because, to put it bluntly: The Republicans have nominated a bad candidate.

Some (very) brief history and a hypothesis. Six years ago, Mitt Romney and his team realized that he could never win the Republican nomination as the pragmatic, moderate-conservative with moderate-to-liberal views on everything from abortion to gun control to the environment to health care. (The mandate was a conservative position back then, but put that aside.) When Team Romney saw Sen. George Allen, the likely 2008 social conservative hero, lose his re-election bid in 2006, they found an opening, and decided to reach, or lunge, for that slot.

And so, throughout the 2008 campaign and throughout this one, Romney has been running as if to claim that his four years in higher office was a case of mistaken identity. I think it has forced him to campaign in mortal fear of every word he utters, to pander to local pride and political constituencies in a manner that seems a parody of the clumsy politician. 

At root, Romney is a candidate in the grip of performance anxiety. And whether on the tennis court or in more intimate settings performance anxiety is a near-guarantee of poor performance.

It’s often said that a re-election campaign is always about the incumbent; like many political observations, that’s partly, but not wholly, true. Even when the electorate is disposed to replace the President, it has to be satisfied that the challenger is up to the job. Mitt Romney has yet to meet that test.

The Obama campaign, however, can take very limited comfort from Romney’s discomfit. If the “fundamental” numbers continue to be as grim as they now are, the desire to change course will deepen. And the more that longing intensifies, the lower the bar Mitt Romney will have to clear.

1a)The Jewish problem for Barack Obama
By Wesley Pruden
The Democrats have a Jewish problem, and his name is Barack Obama. Reluctantly, many Jews, loyal Democrats by birth and tradition, have concluded that he's not The One they thought he was.
With even greater reluctance, the White House has concluded that their Jewish problem is real, growing, and they better do something about it.
Mitt Romney's dramatic declaration Sunday in Jerusalem that preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon is America's "highest national security priority" and military force should not be excluded, and that he regards Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel, puts in stark relief the difference between what the two candidates think about America's only real ally in the Middle East.
Mr. Romney is willing, even eager, to give heartfelt, emphatic, unadulterated, full-throated support for the Jewish state in its hour of greatest peril since the founding. Mr. Obama can't do that because he doesn't "feel the love." He sprang from a culture of radicalism where Israel was regarded as illegitimate, if not evil. He gives the clear impression that he doesn't like Jews very much.
Mr. Obama repeats only empty, bland assurances that everything is OK, that the friends of Israel shouldn't worry because the messiah from Chicago is on the watch. U.S.-Israeli ties, he told a rally the other day in Palm Beach, are stronger than ever. That's bunk, as Sen. John McCain bluntly told a television interviewer: "Everybody knows that relations with Israel have never been worse." 

Bland assurances are no longer enough to satisfy betrayed true believers; the monolithic Jewish support for Democrats, any Democrat, is fraying around the edges. Merely telling skeptical and suspicious Jewish voters not to believe their own eyes and ears is no longer effective. No one expects Mitt Romney to win a majority of Jewish voters on Nov. 6, or anything close to it. He doesn't have to. If he can peel away three or four percentage points in certain swing states, particularly Florida and Ohio, that would change the game.

John McCain spent a lot of time, attention and money to attempt this four years ago. George W. Bush made such an attempt in 2004. Neither worked. But 2012 is a different ball game.
Jewish voters, like others of various passions and persuasions, have had four years to confront buyer's remorse. Four years of Barack Obama have taught even slow learners to pay attention.
The proof is that a group of the slow learners, Jewish liberals still in love with Mr. Obama even if he isn't in love with them, are putting together a campaign to answer the Republican Jewish Coalition's successful work to get the friends of Israel to wake up and sniff the odor of harsh reality. This is not, a Democratic operative told Politico, the Capitol Hill daily, a case of Obama being "swift boated." Nobody is telling stories about the president. His Jewish critics are merely laying out what everybody who has been half-awake during the past four years already knows.
Aaron David Miller, who has worked for several Democratic presidents over a quarter of a century, warns Democrats of "turbulence ahead" in a commentary in Foreign Policy magazine that has shaken up Jewish assumptions. "I've watched a few presidents come and go on this issue," he writes, "and Obama really is different. Unlike [Bill] Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama isn't in love with the idea of Israel. He has a harder time making allowances for Israeli behavior he doesn't like. . . the president doesn't emote on many policy issues, with the possible exception of health care. But on Israel, he just doesn't buy the 'tiny state living on the knife's edge with the dark past' argument."
Alas, the knife's edge is exactly where Israel lives, like it or not, and Israel must act accordingly. Mitt Romney, like his constituents - some Jewish, most not, and many of them evangelical Christians - understands that. Mr. Romney, like that constituency, is not embarrassed to "emote" about it. Barack Obama can't "emote" because to him Israel is not a natural friend and ally, bound to America by considerations of blood, faith and circumstance, but a nuisance. Why can't Israel just go away?
This is hard for Jews, who have been voting Democratic since their grandfathers rallied to FDR and the New Deal, to accept as the new reality. It has been easier to pretend there's no problem. But now there is a problem, and it's too big to hide with convenient pretense.
2)UK Experts To Assist In Destruction of Saddam Hussein's Remaining Stores of Chemical Weapons
Yes, you read that correctly. Not even a hint of acknowledgement in this AP report that the question of Saddam Hussein's chemical warfare stocks is something of a contentious point in US and world politics.
So, these chemical weapons will be destroyed, without anyone much bothering to note that they exist.
Britain will help the Iraqi government dispose of what's left of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons, still stored in two bunkers in north of Baghdad, the British embassy in Baghdad announced Monday.
Saddam stored the chemical weapons near population centers so that he could access them quickly, despite the danger to his civilian population.
It's possible that these weapons were stored under UN seal, as some of Iraq's uranium was; that is to say, it's possible these stores were already acknowledged and hence already "counted." Bear in mind I'm just speculating about that possibility. The article doesn't point anything like that out.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3)Palestinian Financial Crisis Looms
By Shoshana Bryen

The Palestinians face an economic crisis more severe than the World Bank had anticipated; the Bank fears that the territories may become "ungovernable." This is not actually new, but since the Bank in its panic is considering bypassing restrictions on money to Hamas, it is worth looking at the roots of the "crisis."

The Palestinian Authority's 2012 budget -- produced by PM Salam Fayyad, the West's "go-to man" for economic decision-making -- was a fantasy. It called for $3.5 billion in spending, including $1.1 billion in aid, and showed a deficit of between $750 million and $1.1 billion. The latter has proven to be closer to the truth. The Palestinian economy was expected to generate about $1.3 billion, and the PA planned to spend three times that. (By comparison, Vermont, the smallest generator among U.S. states, produced about $26 billion last year.) U.S. aid ($513 million, not including security assistance) was expected to cover about 20% of actual PA spending, with the Europeans kicking in another 20%.

With planning like that, who could be surprised by a $200-million cash shortage?

The World Bank blames the world economy and Israel. It does not find fault with Palestinian corruption, an outsized security force, an oversized bureaucracy, an overreliance on other people's money, or the failure to find things to do that produce income. It declines to consider whether the ongoing Palestinian war against Israel has had an impact on the Palestinian economy.

There used to be income. In 1992, 115,600 Palestinian workers entered Israel every day; in 1996, it was 63,000. Why? Because beginning in January 1995 and through the year, a series of Palestinian terror attacks -- mainly suicide bombers on buses, but including a particularly gruesome nail bomb that exploded in the center of Tel Aviv -- killed more than 100 Israelis. Israel responded by permitting fewer Palestinians to enter.

Increased security in Israel allowed the number of Palestinians to rise again, and unemployment decreased from 18.2% in September 1995 to 11% by September 2000. In mid-2000, 136,000 were working inside Israel -- 40% of all employed Palestinians. Another 5,000 worked in the joint Israeli/Arab run Erez Industrial Zone in the Gaza Strip. Thousands more worked in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in Israeli-owned businesses.

Yasser Arafat launched the so-called "second intifada" in late September of that year1. Begun at the peak of Palestinian economic integration with Israel, the terrorist war ultimately killed more than 1,000 Israelis and wounded more than 5,600 (comparable U.S. figures would be 40,000 and 224,000 -- factors of 40). Israel's defense included reducing the number of Palestiniansworking in Israel, and by March 2001, the number had been reduced to 55,000. The Erez Industrial Zone was a particular target of Palestinian terror attacks; after 11 Israelis were killed there, the complex was closed.

Israel re-established security control of the West Bank, and the "intifada" ended in 2004. In 2005, Israel removed its presence from the Gaza Strip. There was no Gaza embargo, no impediment to independent Palestinian economic activity at the time. In fact, the Palestinian new agency Ma'an waxed ecstatic about economic opportunities for the Palestinians in Gaza, particularly with the acquisition of the greenhouses and agricultural equipment the Israelis were leaving behind in a $14-million deal brokered by then-World Bank President James Wolfenson.

Palestinian looters attacked the greenhouses almost immediately, and by early 2006, the greenhouses and the $100 million in annual exports to Europe they had produced were destroyed.

Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 after a brief and brutal war with Fatah. With Hamas's declared intention to wage war against Israel, rocket attacks that had begun in 2001 escalated dramatically. After more than 9,000 increasingly long-range and accurate rockets and missiles, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in 2008/09 and the Israel/Egypt blockade of Gaza ensued2.

It should be noted that the Hamas budget is separate from that of Fatah on the West Bank. In 2012, it showed with planned revenues of $60 million and a planned deficit of $480 million. Hamas "revenues" are derived largely from smuggling -- those revenues will fall dramatically if Egypt opens the Gaza/Sinai border -- and it relies on money from Iran to fund the rocket war against Israel.

"Civil servant" salaries in Gaza are paid from Ramallah using Western money not permitted to go directly to Hamas. Fatah also pays "salaries" to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails and pensions to retired terrorists. Both Hamas and Fatah paid an "honorarium" to the terrorists released in the Gilad Shalit deal.
There is a pattern here.

The Palestinians are at war with Israel, and wars have consequences. One is that normal economic activity is impossible within the Palestinian territories and between the territories and Israel. Deliberately. And with the knowledge a) that essential services will be handled by one or more NGOs or charities, with the active assistance of the government of Israel, and b) that Israel will be blamed for the mess.

The World Bank and other donors fall precisely into the trap, treating Palestinian poverty as if it has no relationship to Palestinian government policy -- Hamas or Fatah. If the Palestinians were nearly as worried about poverty (rather than cash flow) as the World Bank, their leadership would figure out how to produce something people in the real world value and for which they would pay.
Or at least stop destroying avenues of economic progress with Israel.

[1] Contrary to the media, the "intifada" did not being with PM Sharon's traditional visit to the Temple Mount. It began the day before that, with the killing of an Israeli policeman by his Palestinian "partner."
[2] Israel, it should be noted, absorbed the "intifada," the rocket attacks, and the 2006 rocket war from Hezb'allah in the north and spent increasingly large sums of public money on civil defense and missile defense. The Israeli economy bears a heavy burden in defense expenditures even with U.S. assistance (that is largely mandated to be spent in the U.S. and thus does not aid the Israeli economy).

By Leo Rennert

With headlines blazing and printer’s ink aplenty, the Washington Post and the New York Times turned downright apoplectic about Mitt Romney’s comment in Jerusalem that differences in “culture” are the key to Israel greatly outpacing the Palestinian territories in economic performance.

“Romney angers Palestinians with remarks on economy,” reads a six-page headline in the Post.  “With Jerusalem Comment, Romney Raises Sparks,” blares a six-column headline in the Times.

The headlines are a tip-off that these two papers deem Romney’s remark an unpardonable affront to their own narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

For years, they have blamed Israel for prolonging the conflict with the Palestinians and here comes Romney with one well-chosen word demolishing their basic thesis – that Israel is at fault for not making greater concessions, for refusing to divide Jerusalem, for expanding settlements. Take your pick.  But avert your eyes from any Palestinian transgressions.

Romney turns this Post-Times premise upside down and squarely puts the onus on the Palestinians – that they have demonstrated “cultural” propensities that foul their own nest.

Such as being governed by a kleptocracy under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and a theocratic terrorist regime in Gaza.  Such as failing to empower women and such as trampling over basic human rights in suppressing Hamas adherents in the West Bank and Fatah members in Gaza.

None of this, of course, graces the pages of the Post and the Times, which instead seek to parry Romney’s remark about “cultural” impediments on the Palestinian side by blaming Israel for limiting trade with roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank and a blockade of Hamas-governed Gaza.

But that’s confusing cause and effect.  Neither the Post nor the Times acknowledges that such Israeli restrictions are the effect of another key component of Palestinian “culture” – i.e. a propensity to resort to violence and terrorism against Israel.  When PA President Mahmoud Abbas glorifies terrorist killers by naming public places and facilities after them, he promotes and justifies terrorism.  And it’s not just an idle threat.  Somehow, the Post and the Times seem to have forgotten the first intifada and the second intifada – the latter killed more than a thousand Israelis and injured several thousands more.

And to this day, Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza continue to bombard civilian targets in southern Israel and terrorize 1 million Israelis within their range.

All of this falls under Romney’s rubric of Palestinian “culture” – yet goes unacknowledged by the Post and the Times.  There would be no blockade of Gaza nor dwindling numbers of roadblocks in the West Bank if the Palestinians genuinely foreswore violence.  But that’s highly unlikely because resort to violence against innocent civilians is also sadly ingrained in their “culture” – a reality that the Post and the Times stoutly continue to ignore.
4)'A Climate That Helps Us Grow'

However the president's words about business are interpreted, his administration's policies have been hostile.

President Obama's riff on small business—"If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen"—has become a major controversy. The Romney campaign has made this quote the subject of several speeches and ads, and there have been rallies all over the country of business people with signs saying that "I did build this business."
Mr. Obama is now claiming that his words, delivered at a campaign stop in Roanoke, Va., on July 13, were taken out of context. "Of course Americans build their own businesses," he said in a campaign ad last week. What he meant was simply that government sets the stage for business creation. In his speech, and again in his campaign ad, the example Mr. Obama pointed to was "roads and bridges."
The context of the speech indicates the president really did mean that "you didn't build that." But let's give him the benefit of the doubt; let's assume he merely meant that business is impossible without government institutions that create the infrastructure for the economy to operate. As Mr. Obama's deputy campaign chief Stephanie Cutter said, in clarifying his original remarks on July 24, "We build our businesses through hard work and initiative, with the public and private sectors working together to create a climate that helps us grow. President Obama knows that."
A flower shop called Flowers By Julia in Princeton, Ill.
But business is certainly not getting "a climate that helps us grow" from the current administration. That administration has instead created a hostile climate through its regulatory policies.
The news media report almost daily about new regulatory burdens. More generally, according to an analysis in March by the Heritage Foundation, "Red Tape Rising," the Obama administration in its first three years adopted 106 major regulations (those with costs over $100 million), compared with 28 such regulations in the George W. Bush administration. Heritage notes that there are 144 more such major regulations in the pipeline.
Consider a major example of government investment—roads and bridges. A transportation system needs roads, but it also needs gasoline. This administration's policies—its refusal to allow a private company to build the Keystone XL pipeline, its reduction in permits for offshore drilling and increased EPA regulation of pollutants—retard the production of gasoline. If transportation is an important input from government to creating a favorable climate for business, shouldn't we be encouraging, not discouraging, gasoline production?
Other inputs needed by business are capital and labor. The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed by Mr. Obama and enforced by his appointees, makes raising capital and investing more difficult. Since many regulations needed to implement this law have not even been written, business cannot know how to adapt to them. This increases uncertainty and so reduces incentives for investment.

The increased minimum wage, passed and signed in the early days of the administration, discourages hiring of entry-level workers. ObamaCare has increased uncertainty regarding future labor costs and so hindered business in hiring and expanding. The pro-union decisions by Obama appointees at the National Labor Relations Board do not create a climate to help the economy grow.
There are many other burdens placed on business. Example: The Americans With Disabilities Act is being interpreted by the Justice Department to require all hotel-based swimming pools to provide increased access to disabled persons. This will come at a high cost per pool. Many hotels and motels are small, family-run enterprises. This requirement will either lead to an increase in prices or to a decision not to have pools at all.
Either policy will induce patrons to shift to larger chain motels. Interestingly, the application of this rule has been delayed for existing pools until Jan. 31, 2013, after the election. Families vacationing this summer will not notice the new requirement.
If we accept the plain meaning of Mr. Obama's speech, it indicates that he does not believe in the importance of entrepreneurs in creating businesses. But if we accept the reinterpretation of his speech in light of his administration's deeds, it indicates a belief that a hostile regulatory climate poses no danger to economic growth. Either interpretation means that this administration is not good for business.
Mr. Rubin is professor of economics at Emory University and president-elect of the Southern Economic Association.

Why The U.N. Is So Effective and Loving Victims!

What Congress?  (See 1 below.)
Saudi assassination?  (See 2 below.)
Milton Friedman where are you when you are so desperately ?  (See 3 below.)
Romney tells the truth again and the feckless and media cringe. (4 below.)

One of the great myths about diplomacy is do not tell or deal in the truth for fear of  hurting
feelings.  That way you perpetuate the problem rather than solve it and everyone goes home with their pride.

CEO's must deal in truth to be effective unlike politicians and diplomats who, more times than not,  skirt it.

That is why the Romney's and Bolton's are so disliked by the wimp crowd. The world of the sycophants cannot deal with the truth because doing so hurts sensibilities. In their dreamy world it is far more rational to pour billions down the drain so  Palestinians have a permanent class of refugees  about which the world can feel guilty.

Diplomats will do just about anything to avoid conflict even if it means ignoring the truth.  That is why the U.N. is so effective. (See 4a below.)

Apropos to culture, I remember when Jews were systematically excluded from Board Rooms, Corporate America, various professions which maintained quotas while denying them etc.  Rather than complain and whine, though many did, Jews did not seek to lift themselves through affirmative action legislation. They simply hunkered down, tried to become better and eventually , as the world changed, they were in a position to take advantage of their cultural DNA.

This is what Romney was getting at and he happens to be correct. By lowering standards and allowing segments of society to gain through [preference their talents attrition and when it comes time to compete they often cannot.

As for the Palestinians, they encouraged their Arab friends to destroy Israel so they could benefit from the spoils and then  when Israel defeated their enemies, the Palestinians were spoiled by the world catering to their pitiful pleases of being subjugated.  After 60 years many remain refugees because their Arab friends continue to reject them into their societies, the U.N. needs to keep UNWRA workers employed doling out rations because the world's media and diplomats love victims.
1)The Amazing Presidential Power-Grab
By Kyle Stone

With little consternation or lasting opposition, the Obama administration has dramatically usurped congressional power at the expense of popular will and the rule of law.  Numerous dastardly bureaucratic coups -- motivated by the president's progressive and political agenda -- have amazingly failed to engender a serious response. 
What began as a trickle of presidential power-grabs has turned into a cascade of executive roguery.  A list of them is worth some review and reflection:
  • In June 2012, President Obama circumvented Congress's refusal to pass the DREAM Act by instituting a portion of it on his own. Through executive order, the administration has directed federal officers to no longer deport large swathes of younger illegal immigrants, with an inclusive net that could impact over a million. Conservative sage Charles Krauthammer summed it up pithily: "This is out-and-out lawlessness. You had a clip of the president himself say[ing] months ago, 'I cannot do this on my own because there are laws on the books.' Well, I have news for the president -- the laws remain on the books. They haven't changed."
  • Earlier this month, the Obama administration quietly stripped away a central component of the 1996 bipartisan welfare reform act -- the lynchpin work requirements -- passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. The regulations allow states to substitute education programs as "work" for their residents to enjoy welfare benefits. Self-described "neo-liberal" pundit Mickey Kaus reacted to the "surprising (and possibly illegal) attempt to grant waivers of the work requirements" as follows:
A great deal of effort was put into defining what qualified as work, and making sure that work actually meant work and not the various BS activities (including BS training activities) the welfare bureaucracies often preferred to substitute for work[.] ... To the extent the administration's action erodes the actual and perceived toughness of the work requirements, which it does, it sends the opposite and wrong signal.
In effect, the administration is taking the teeth out of the reform.  So long as states believe that new methods might achieve employment goals in the long run, the feds can approve the changes, and those not working can enjoy sustained welfare benefits.  All this without consulting those charged with actually making law.
  • The so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one mammoth legislative concession to executive-branch lawmaking. The Act is hardly a law at all, but rather a series of directives and mandates, providing the secretary of HHS (i.e., the Obama administration) immeasurable power in implementing the Act's policy aims. One example from earlier this year is the HHS religious mandate, requiring employers to include abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception in their employee health insurance. The regulation applies to religious institutions like Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities -- regardless of whether these institutions object to such services on moral grounds. Want to find the portion of the 2,700-page bill that deals with this issue? Good luck. It's not there.
  • Less publicized examples are numerous. The Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel, in a recent superb column, outlined a laundry list a few weeks ago:
o   The president opposes a federal law criminalizing medical marijuana.  No problem -- he merely instructed his Justice Department not to prosecute violators. 
o   He disapproves of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  No need to work with Congress on repealing it -- he merely stopped defending it in court. 
o   With no love for the federal No Child Left Behind Act, he ordered his Education Department to issue waivers "that are patently inconsistent with the statute."
o   Congress falls short of passing cap-and-trade?  The administration had the Environmental Protection Agency enforce something similar though unilateral regulations.
o   Congress demurred in taking up "net neutrality" internet regulations, so the president's Federal Communications Commission did it instead.
This list could go on.
When presidents past overstepped constitutional or statutory boundaries, the Fourth Estate would lecture on "imperial" presidencies.  For President Obama, however, the media's progressive core prompts compliments of bravery and perseverance, while journalistic duty turns a blind eye to procedural lawlessness.  One wonders what their reaction would have been had President George W. Bush and his administration acted similarly.
Politically combatting this lawlessness is difficult, as a public debate about procedural malfeasance invariably morphs into disputes of the substantive policy itself.  Attempts to highlight procedural strong-arming are blurred by political attacks -- "wars" on women, immigrants, the poor, and the like.  It may also be said by political strategists that when one argues about procedure, he has already lost the policy debate.
Political challenges, however, are no excuse for allowing this administration to peel away constitutional checks and balances.  A coordinated effort by conservative and Republican (big "R" and small) causes must be brought to bear to inform the voting public on these knavish executive end-runs.  John Adam famously warned that our Constitution sought "a government of laws and not of men."  Process matters.  Our constitutional framework depends on it.
Kyle Stone is a practicing attorney in Chicago, co-chair of Maverick PAC Chicago, and board member for the Chicago Young Republicans.  
2)Saudi silence on intelligence chief Bandar’s fate denotes panic

Mystery over missing Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan
Mystery over missing Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan

Disquiet in Washington, Jerusalem and a row of Middle East capitals is gaining ground the longer the Saudi government stays silent on the reports of the assassination of the newly-appointed Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, purportedly in a revenge operation by a Syrian intelligence death squad. If true, it would shoot a devastating tentacle out from the Syrian conflict to the broader region.

It is widely feared that Saudi rulers are too traumatized to respond by the fear of Iranian penetration of the highest and most closely guarded circles of Saudi government, possibly climaxing in Bandar’s assassination.

The unconfirmed reports of his death attribute its motive to revenge by Iran and Syria for the bomb explosion five days earlier in Damascus which killed four of Bashar Assad’s top managers of his war on the uprising against his regime.

The prince, son of the late crown prince Sultan, has not been seen in public since Saudi General Intelligence headquarters in Riyadh was hit by a bomb blast Monday, July 23 killing his deputy, Mashaal al-Qarni.  

Sources have no confirmation that Prince Bandar was injured or killed in that attack. King Abdullah made him Director of Saudi Intelligence on July 19, just a day after the Damascus bombing. But it is doubtful whether a Syrian intelligence squad would be capable of reaching deep inside Riyadh. They therefore postulate that the deed was committed or orchestrated by a clandestine Iranian agency.It wouldn’t be the first time.

In 2003 and 2004, Iran initiated a wave of bombing attacks inside the Saudi kingdom carried out by Al Qaeda, supplying its terror squads with intelligence, explosives and money. Al Qaeda experts ran those operations. One of them, Saif al-Adal, was later freed by Iran and is now based in Pakistan.
Iran’s terror masters may have gone back to their tested stratagem of hiring Al Qaeda terrorists for an insider job against the Saudi regime.
For Tehran, all means are justified for the preservation of their foremost Arab ally, Syrian ruler Bashar Assad, in power. Furthermore, Iran’s ability to strike deep into the heart of the Saudi capital is meant to serve as a timely object lesson for their Middle East enemies that Iran’s arm is long enough to reach inside any of their capitals.
The attack on Riyadh therefore throws a new perspective on the military calculations actuating the “Arab Spring” and governing US and Israel plans to strike Iran’s nuclear program in the very near future. In the same way, the Damascus bombing of July 18 dragged the Syrian civil war outside its borders to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Iran.
The unconfirmed report claiming Prince Bandar was critically injured and his doctors had lost the fight to save him, spilling out since Sunday July 29, has gained wide resonance – not because it was verified but because of its momentous strategic significance. Corroboration is still lacking. Washington's groping in  the dark and has turned to its many Middle East intelligence contacts for a glimmer of light on what has happened to the key Saudi figure – so far without success.
It looks as though the enigma will be solved one way or another only after an authoritative account or an official statement is forthcoming from the Saudi government or if the missing prince appears in public.  The absence of any word from the Saudi government increases the trepidation in Washington and among concerned parties in the Middle East.
3)Stephen Moore: The Man Who Saved Capitalism

Milton Friedman, who would have turned 100 on Tuesday, helped to make free markets popular again in the 20th century. His ideas are even more important today.

It's a tragedy that Milton Friedman—born 100 years ago on July 31—did not live long enough to combat the big-government ideas that have formed the core of Obamanomics. It's perhaps more tragic that our current president, who attended the University of Chicago where Friedman taught for decades, never fell under the influence of the world's greatest champion of the free market. Imagine how much better things would have turned out, for Mr. Obama and the country.
Friedman was a constant presence on these pages until his death in 2006 at age 94. If he could, he would surely be skewering today's $5 trillion expansion of spending and debt to create growth—and exposing the confederacy of economic dunces urging more of it.
Milton and Rose Friedman
In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that "there's no such thing as a free lunch." If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from producers and workers in the private economy. There is no magical "multiplier effect" by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul. As obvious as that insight seems, it keeps being put to the test. Obamanomics may be the most expensive failed experiment in free-lunch economics in American history.
Equally illogical is the superstition that government can create prosperity by having Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke print more dollars. In the very short term, Friedman proved, excess money fools people with an illusion of prosperity. But the market quickly catches on, and there is no boost in output, just higher prices.

Next to Ronald Reagan, in the second half of the 20th century there was no more influential voice for economic freedom world-wide than Milton Friedman. Small in stature but a giant intellect, he was the economist who saved capitalism by dismembering the ideas of central planning when most of academia was mesmerized by the creed of government as savior.
Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for 1976—at a time when almost all the previous prizes had gone to socialists. This marked the first sign of the intellectual comeback of free-market economics since the 1930s, when John Maynard Keynes hijacked the profession. Friedman's 1971 book "A Monetary History of the United States," written with Anna Schwartz (who died on June 21), was a masterpiece and changed the way we think about the role of money.
More influential than Friedman's scholarly writings was his singular talent for communicating the virtues of the free market to a mass audience. His two best-selling books, "Capitalism and Freedom" (1962) and "Free to Choose" (1980), are still wildly popular. His videos on YouTube on issues like the morality of capitalism are brilliant and timeless.
In the early 1990s, Friedman visited poverty-stricken Mexico City for a Cato Institute forum. I remember the swirling controversy ginned up by the media and Mexico's intelligentsia: How dare this apostle of free-market economics be given a public forum to speak to Mexican citizens about his "outdated" ideas? Yet when Milton arrived in Mexico he received a hero's welcome as thousands of business owners, students and citizen activists hungry for his message encircled him everywhere he went, much like crowds for a modern rock star.
Once in the early 1960s, Friedman wrote the then-U.S. ambassador to New Delhi, John Kenneth Galbraith, that he would be lecturing in India. By all means come, the witty but often wrong Galbraith replied: "I can think of nowhere your free-market ideas can do less harm than in India." As fate would have it, India did begin to embrace Friedmanism in the 1990s, and the economy began to soar. China finally caught on too.
Friedman stood unfailingly and heroically with the little guy against the state. He used to marvel that the intellectual left, which claims to espouse "power to the people," so often cheers as states suppress individual rights.
While he questioned almost every statist orthodoxy, he fearlessly gored sacred cows of both political parties. He was the first scholar to sound the alarm on the rotten deal of Social Security for young workers—forced to pay into a system that will never give back as much as they could have accumulated on their own. He questioned the need for occupational licenses—which he lambasted as barriers to entry—for everything from driving a cab to passing the bar to be an attorney, or getting an M.D. to practice medicine.
He loved turning the intellectual tables on liberals by making the case that regulation often does more harm than good. His favorite example was the Food and Drug Administration, whose regulations routinely delay the introduction of lifesaving drugs. "When the FDA boasts a new drug will save 10,000 lives a year," he would ask, "how many lives were lost because it didn't let the drug on the market last year?"
He supported drug legalization (much to the dismay of supporters on the right) and was particularly proud to be an influential voice in ending the military draft in the 1970s. When his critics argued that he favored a military of mercenaries, he would retort: "If you insist on calling our volunteer soldiers 'mercenaries,' I will call those who you want drafted into service involuntarily 'slaves.'"
By the way, he rarely got angry and even when he was intellectually slicing and dicing his sparring partners he almost always did it with a smile. It used to be said that over the decades at the University of Chicago and across the globe, the only one who ever defeated him in a debate was his beloved wife and co-author Rose Friedman.
The issue he devoted most of his later years to was school choice for all parents, and his Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is dedicated to that cause. He used to lament that "we allow the market, consumer choice and competition to work in nearly every industry except for the one that may matter most: education."
As for congressional Republicans who are at risk of getting suckered into a tax-hike budget deal, they may want to remember another Milton Friedman adage: "Higher taxes never reduce the deficit. Governments spend whatever they take in and then whatever they can get away with."

No doubt because of his continued popularity, the left has tried to tie Friedman and his principles of free trade, low tax rates and deregulation to the global financial meltdown in 2008. Economist Joseph Stiglitz charged that Friedman's "Chicago School bears the blame for providing a seeming intellectual foundation" for the "idea that markets are self-adjusting and the best role for government is to do nothing." Occupy Wall Street protesters were often seen wearing T-shirts which read: "Milton Friedman: Proud Father of Global Misery."
The opposite is true: Friedman opposed the government spending spree in the 2000s. He hated the government-sponsored enterprises like housing lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In a recent tribute to Friedman in the Journal of Economic Literature, Harvard's Andrei Shleifer describes 1980-2005 as "The Age of Milton Friedman," an era that "witnessed remarkable progress of mankind. As the world embraced free-market policies, living standards rose sharply while life expectancy, educational attainment, and democracy improved and absolute poverty declined."
Well over 200 million were liberated from poverty thanks to the rediscovery of the free market. And now as the world teeters close to another recession, leaders need to urgently rediscover Friedman's ideas.
I remember asking Milton, a year or so before his death, during one of our semiannual dinners in downtown San Francisco: What can we do to make America more prosperous? "Three things," he replied instantly. "Promote free trade, school choice for all children, and cut government spending."
How much should we cut? "As much as possible."
Mr. Moore is a member of the Journal's editorial board
4)Mitt Versus Barack on Israel

Obama is nostalgic for the Jewish state's socialist past. Romney admires its capitalist future.

Mitt Romney infuriated Palestinians during his visit to Israel on the weekend by calling Jerusalem "the capital of Israel." He then added insult to injury by noting—in the context of a discussion of "culture"—the "dramatically stark difference in economic vitality" between Israelis and Palestinians. A Palestinian official called the remark "racist."
I'm beginning to warm to Mitt.
We live in a time when being pro-Israel has become a key test of a candidate's presidential fitness, and rightly so. George W. Bush passed that test on a helicopter ride over Israel with Ariel Sharon in 1999. Barack Obama tried to do the same when he paid homage to the besieged Israeli town of Sderot in 2008.
By contrast, Jimmy Carter thinks Israel is a virtual apartheid state, which is just the sort of thought that makes Carter Carter. To be anti-Israel doesn't absolutely, positively, make you an anti-Semite. But it does mark you out as something between a moron and a crank.
President Obama has yet to do anything toward Israel that would put him in the Carter league—quite. But give him a second term. Perhaps his performance so far has been only an overture.
Associated Press
Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.
This performance includes unprecedented personal chilliness toward the Israeli prime minister; unprecedented warmth toward Turkey's anti-Israel prime minister; an unprecedented effort to put diplomatic distance between the U.S. and Israel; and, more recently, an unprecedented campaign of intelligence and military leaks designed to stay Israel's hand against Iran. The president only seems to get right with Israel when he senses he's in political trouble, or when his fundraising efforts lag, or when there's a big Aipac speech to deliver. Last week, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, couldn't bring himself to name Israel's capital when asked at a briefing. Why?
You hear a lot of theories trying to explain this, often centered on Mr. Obama's past friendships with the likes of Prof. Rashid Khalidi, Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Rabbi Arnold Wolf, the late firebrand of the Jewish far left. I have a simpler theory: The president's views are of a piece with the broader left-right debate on the nature of success.
When detractors think about Israel, they tend to think its successes are largely ill-gotten: Somebody else's land, somebody else's money, somebody else's rights. It's the view that Israel gets an unfair share of foreign aid from the U.S., and that it takes an unfair share of territory from the Palestinians. It's also the view that, as the presumptive stronger party in its dealings with the Palestinians, Israel bears the onus of making concessions and taking the proverbial risks for peace. As the supposed underdogs, Palestinians are not burdened by any reciprocal moral obligations.
By contrast, when admirers of Israel visit the country, they typically marvel at everything it has planted, built, invented, re-imagined, restored, saved. Israel's friends think that the country has earned its success the hard way, and that it deserves to reap the rewards. Hence Mitt Romney on Sunday: "You export technology, not tyranny or terrorism. . . . What you have built here, with your own hands, is a tribute to your people."
Animating one side of this divide is a sense of admiration. Animating the other is a sense of envy. Could Mr. Obama have uttered lines like Mitt Romney's? Maybe. But you get the feeling that scrolling in the back of his mind would be the words, "You didn't build that."
Does this mean that Mr. Obama is "anti-Israel" in the most invidious sense? Mr. Obama seems sincere when he speaks of his admiration for Israeli kibbutzim, or his outrage at Holocaust denial, or his solidarity with Israeli victims of terrorism. And he seems more than sincere in his desire to return Israel to something approximating its 1967 borders.
But all this amounts to a form of nostalgia for the Israel that once was—the plucky underdog, the proud member of the Socialist International. And Israel isn't going back there any more.

Mr. Romney's attitude toward Israel seems to come from a different place. He admires the country as much for where it's going as for where it has come from. And he's not prepared to give Palestinians an automatic pass for their failure to do something with the political and economic opportunities they've been given. Israeli success, in his mind, is earned—and so is Palestinian failure.
Mr. Romney has a history as an eminently malleable politician, and the views he has offered on Israel have, so far, been politically risk-free. How would he act as president? Who knows, although it would be unthinkable for any Republican president today to seek to strong-arm or publicly humiliate Jerusalem the way Jim Baker did during the George H.W. Bush presidency.
Yet beyond that, one sensed in Mr. Romney's speech in Jerusalem qualities of conviction and sincerity—two of his lesser known traits. Keep that up, governor, and you may yet win this election.
4a)Inconvenient truth

Romney right on Palestinians

By John Podhoretz

While in Israel, Mitt Romney said something every sane person knows to be true: There is great cultural and political meaning in the fact that Israel has prospered while the Palestinians have festered.
“Culture,” Romney said, “makes all the difference . . . you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality.”He didn’t specify what he meant by “culture,” but you can take your pick.
You want a political culture that works to create conditions under which an economy can thrive? Since signing the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, Israel has spent two decades working to unshackle its economy from its socialist roots, with remarkable results.
Asking for some extra help? Romney placing a prayer in the Western Wall on Sunday.
Asking for some extra help? Romney placing a prayer in the Western Wall on Sunday.
The Palestinians? They’ve created what the House Foreign Affairs Committee has called a “chronic kleptocracy,” with foreign aid and investment shamelessly stolen and diverted to the bank accounts of the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and its gangsterish local strongmen.

According to Jim Zanotti of the Congressional Research Service, Uncle Sam has given the Palestinians $5 billion since 1994. We might as well have lit a match to most of it. It hasn’t gotten to the people who might’ve used it best; it’s simply served as personal financial lubricant for the folks in power.
You want a healthy social culture? The Middle East Media Research Institute has spent decades detailing the diseased messages emanating from Palestinian TV and textbooks, instructing children in the glories of suicide terrorism against innocent Israelis.

You want a culture where citizens are free to express themselves and so live in the openness necessary to the functioning of a successful economy? Israel has a free press, much of it openly hostile to the parties in power. The Palestinian Authority has arrested and tortured critical journalists, as well as conducted denial-of-service attacks against Web sites reporting on corruption.

And this doesn’t even take into account Hamas, the radical terror group in charge of Gaza. It, too, has lived parasitically, sucking the life out of the Palestinian economy.

In 1993, pre-Oslo, the GDP in the territories was $2.9 billion, according to the World Bank. In 2011, it was something like $10.5 billion — a small increase when you consider population growth.

In Israel, the GDP has risen from $66 billion in 1993 to a stunning $243 billion in 2011 — per capita, from $12,500 to $31,000.

One reason Palestinian economic growth has been so disastrously slow is the terror war that Yasser Arafat launched against Israel in 2000 — the “second Intifada.”
It shattered Israeli hopes for peaceful concert with a new neighboring country, and led to an economic estrangement that proved horribly costly to Palestinians. Israelis stopped employing Palestinian workers and stopped buying Palestinian goods. Transit and trade between the two became difficult and painful.

And whose fault was it? Israel, which agreed in principle to a deal at Camp David in 2000 granting Palestinians a state with sovereign dominion over nearly 94 percent of the West Bank? No, it was exclusively the doing of Arafat, who served as a reverse George Washington — rejecting nationhood for the violence he understood better.
So Romney said Israel has done better than the areas under Palestinian control because Israeli culture is healthier. That’s not only true, it’s a necessary thing to say — because the refusal to say it and accept it contributes to the continuing immiseration and unfreedom of the Palestinians themselves.

Of course, for saying this, Romney was called a “racist” by Saeb Erakat, the longtime slavering lackey of every Palestinian murderer and thief. Erakat blames “occupation” for Palestinian poverty. But the PA has dominion over almost all of the West Bank and Hamas has control over all of Gaza, so the word “occupation” is all but meaningless — except as shorthand for “Israel still holds Jerusalem.”
Erakat’s nonsense was to be expected. But what of how that repugnant lackey’s words were then shamefully echoed by slavering US media lackeys — of the Obama re-election effort?

Dan Amira in New York magazine spoke for much of the press corps with an item titled “Mitt Romney Insults Whole New International Populace.” He wrote: “After he enraged the British by suggesting that their Olympics might not be as awesome as his Olympics, Romney moved on to Israel, where he appeared to blame Palestinian poverty in part on . . . the territory’s inferior culture.”

It does have an inferior political culture. Romney spoke the truth. And it wasn’t a gaffe — because anyone who publicizes his remark is helping Romney win the election. Even those who foolishly think they’re hurting him.