Friday, July 31, 2015



"How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism." —James Monroe, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788


Obama 'Recovery' Even Worse Than Thought

The status quo remains unchanged. Newly released figures from the Commerce Department show that in the second quarter — encompassing the months of April, May and June — the U.S. economy grew by just 2.3%, while first quarter growth was adjusted to 0.6%. No matter how you spin it, this isn't progress. In fact, GDP so far in 2015 trails 2014, a year that continued the trend of underperformance. But there was another interesting aspect to the report that is being largely ignored. "The second-quarter report is the first to include new methodology meant to make GDP more accurate," explains MarketWatch. "Over the past several years GDP has slightly underestimated growth in the first quarter and sharply overestimated growth in the third quarter, leading to big swings that confused Wall Street and Washington." After taking into account the new methodology, the results are even less stellar: "Under the new approach, the government has found that the U.S. economy grew somewhat slower from 2012 to 2014: An average of 2% a year instead of 2.3%. That means the slowest recovery since the end of World War II is even weaker than previously believed." The Obama "Recovery" was never as robust as this administration has consistently claimed, as further underscored by new government figures. Maybe that's why so many Millennials are living at home.
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By Popular Demand: Worthwhile Revisions to AP History Exam

Finally, some good news for a change. The College Board, the nonprofit organization that administers AP exams to high school students, has announced yet another revision to its history framework. But this time it's for the better. Previously, the College Board painted American history in far too negative a light, emphasizing our nation's sins while ignoring or minimizing its uniqueness and greatness. Some Founders, such as Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson and Constitution writer James Madison, were mentioned; that's it — mentioned. But they were taught as examples of Western class, gender and racial evil. And while teachers could choose to teach the Constitution as it's written, they would disadvantage their students by doing so because the real Constitution wasn't on the test. After numerous scholars objected in an open letter, however, the College Board worked to make revisions. Neglected Founders are back, and there's even a new section on the concept of "American exceptionalism." A College Board official insisted they meant no harm, and that American exceptionalism was previously omitted because they assumed they didn't need to spell it out. We don't buy it, and the changes don't go nearly far enough, but perhaps the episode proves that strong, principled voices on the Right can make a difference.
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Lessons From the 50th of Medicare and Medicaid

Massive unfunded debt is not what the progressive politicians who created Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago this week told the country their programs would bring. The "Great Society" was supposed to banish poverty from the land while providing care for the elderly and disabled. Today, over a third of the U.S. population is on Medicare and Medicaid, and federal spending has a tendency to be sucked into the programs' gaping maws. Today, more than quarter of every dollar the federal government spends goes to the two programs. They are also the biggest expense for state governments. But for all that spending, the programs' trust fund is on track to run out of money in 15 years. Meanwhile, the Baby Boomer generation is signing up in droves, and $60 billion is lost every year to waste and fraud. This is not what the programs' architects wanted Americans to think would happen. Fifty years ago, they estimated the programs would cost $12 billion in 1990, but it actually cost the government $90 billion. Another government program, now five years old, also promised to trim health care costs through more government intrusion and regulation. Just wait until ObamaCare turns 10, much less 50.
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Big Win: Court Says Public Sector Employees Have Right to Work, Too

By Michael Swartz
Breaking the union bonds
When Michigan shocked the nation and passed its right-to-work law three years ago, there was no question that Big Labor wouldn't take it lying down. The tentacles of Big Labor run deep in the state, not only in the obvious automotive-related businesses but also in the state employees organized under the United Auto Workers (UAW) banner. It was on behalf of those workers, who fall under the auspices of the state's Civil Service Commission, that the UAW filed suit to maintain its hold on the agency fees it has routinely extracted from these workers.
But the move backfired. The Michigan Supreme Court upheld the 2012 right-to-work law even for public-sector employees. The 4-3 decision fell mainly along party lines — five of the seven members of the court are Republicans, and the two Democrats were among the dissenting trio.
The court found, "Although the [Civil Service] Commission had authority over civil service employees’ rates of compensation, conditions of employment, and grievance procedures under [the state Constitution], the Commission’s power to regulate the conditions of employment through public collective bargaining agreements did not encompass the specific authority to tax or appropriate, which generally rested exclusively with the Legislature unless the Constitution affirmatively provided that power to another constitutional body.”
About 36,000 workers are affected by the decision, along with millions of dollars that will stay in the workers' wallets rather than fattening the coffers of Big Labor. If the trend from other states adopting similar right-to-work provisions holds true, as many as 20,000 of those workers could walk away from the union.
It could also set a precedent for a class-action suit. Patrick Wright, the vice president of legal affairs for Michigan's Mackinac Center, stated, “The majority correctly noted that state employees unions have illegally been receiving agency fees from state employees for decades.” He added, “Agency fees for state employees have been illegal since the adoption of the 1963 Constitution.” Yet for nearly 50 years the UAW and other unions were basically unchallenged.
In most states, this likely would have been a slam-dunk for worker freedom, but we're talking about Michigan here. The close decision against the UAW was a bit surprising, and given the cash involved it's certain the unions will be loaded for bear once the judges who ruled against them come up again on the ballot. (Nor are they likely to give any quarter to the Republican who ruled in their favor.)
Michigan isn't the only state facing problems with unions. Underfunded pensions are crushing many states. Some experts estimate the liabilities to be somewhere between $1 trillion and $4 trillion.
And despite the legal slap to organized labor in Michigan, their New Jersey counterparts are trying to get their pension shortfalls addressed by Garden State jurists. Facing a budget crunch last year, Gov. Chris Christie backed away from a promise to fully fund the state's pension fund, and the public sector unions are demanding over $3 billion to fix it. This despite the plain language of the state constitution that prohibits taking on debts of more than 1% of the state's budget.
The ruse is simple, though. As a Public Employees Retirement System spokesperson said, “We want a judgment answered so we are to the front of the line getting our money before anyone else gets it, because it is our money.” And that's the way it is to Big Labor. Just ask a former GM or Chrysler bondholder or non-union pensioner how their place in the creditor line worked out for them.
But we'll take a win where we can get one, and the story out of Michigan is a good step in the right direction.
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For more, visit Right Opinion.



Michael Barone: "Republican voters have been seething with discontent toward their party’s officeholders and have not become enchanted with any one of 15 more or less conventional politicians who are running. Democratic voters support their officeholders with lockstep loyalty and seem untroubled by the serious flaws of their party’s clear frontrunner. This asymmetry helps explain some otherwise puzzling things. One is why polls have continued for several years to show the Republican Party being disliked more than the Democratic Party, even as both parties get roughly the same number of votes. The reason is that while virtually no Democrats express negative feelings about their party, many Republicans do. Those negative feelings don’t, however, prevent Republicans from voting, however grudgingly, for their party’s old-timers in general elections. ... The asymmetry between the parties' voters reflects their different media environments. Talk radio, conservative websites and Fox News bristle with criticism of Republican officeholders and complaints about their squishiness. That helps sustain a critical frame of mind and a sense, particularly outside metropolitan centers, that ordinary people’s concerns are being ignored by a manipulative establishment. In contrast, Democrats, who fancy themselves as critical thinkers, are comfortable consumers of 'mainstream' media in which their 'smelly little orthodoxies' (George Orwell’s term) are rarely challenged. So supposedly docile Republicans increasingly behave like an unruly mob while supposedly freethinking Democrats keep acting like a regimented army. Curious."
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Insight: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." —Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Upright: "Ladies, open your eyes and hearts. Watch the [Planned Parenthood] videos for yourselves. Get the facts. Unmask the lies. The cackling profiteers of Planned Parenthood don’t care about your breasts. They’re too busy putting price tags on the baby hearts, livers, lungs and limbs swirling around in bloody pie plates, stacked in their 'research' labs, subsidized with your tax dollars and sold to the highest bidders. For 'preventative care,' of course." —Michelle Malkin
The BIG Lie: "[T]here's reason to think that this is merely the tried and true tactic that we have seen from extremists on the Right: To edit this video and selectively release it so that it grossly distorts the position of the person who is actually speaking on the video. Planned Parenthood has indicated that's what has occurred here." —Planned Parenthood Obama spokesman Josh Earnest
Braying Jenny: "I am impatient and I sometimes come across as impatient, which is not always attractive, and [I] get really frustrated with people who don't understand what I think it's going to take to make our country great tomorrow just like we were yesterday." —Hillary Clinton on her greatest weakness, which, evidently, is Americans opposed to her being president
Non Compos Mentis: "I'm confident because of the nature of the [Iran] agreement. This is a diplomatic masterpiece." —Nancy Pelosi
Late-night humor: "A recent study shows that standing at work for long periods of time is bad for you, after earlier research indicated that sitting for too long at work is bad for you. So really the only thing we know is, work is bad for you." —Jimmy Fallon
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm's way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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