THE FOUNDATION"In the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any." —James Madison, Federalist No. 14
TOP RIGHT HOOKS
How's all that Hope 'n' Change™ working out? Obama oversaw a government that lied about its care of veterans while awarding its top bureaucrats with bonuses. It targeted nonprofit conservative organizations though IRS investigations. Obama himself strong-armed wildly unpopular deals through Congress, such as ObamaCare and the treaty-that's-not-a-treaty condoning Iran's use of nuclear power. If these instances are not scandals, they are at least scandalous.
And then on Saturday, Gallup released a poll that found Americans' distrust in government has grown. When Obama was first in office, 66% of Americans said there is widespread corruption in the halls of government. That number has climbed to 75% today. Nice work, Obama.
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first time that the leader of the Roman Catholic Church has done so. The concern is that Pope Francis will be turned into a partisan tool. In essence, Barack Obama already has tried to place the papal seal on his homosexual and climate change agendas. In this speech before Congress, the pope exhorted the lawmakers to pursue social justice — for strengthening the family, the abolition of the death penalty and to fight against poverty through wealth redistribution. "It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society," Francis said. "Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus." In essence, the pope's comments advocated for big-government solutions to the world's ills, a position that confuses corporatism with capitalism. But while the subsequent headlines will blare that the pope spoke against conservative principles, it must be noted Francis slipped away from his itinerary last night to visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns that care for the elderly. A Vatican spokesman told reporters that Francis visited the nuns in order to express support for the group's legal battle with the federal government over the contraception mandate in ObamaCare. So Francis is at least determined he won't only be a tool for Obama's agenda...
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Tuesday, Ret. Gen. David Petraeus didn't mince words about Barack Obama's strategy in the Middle East. "We are not where we should be at this point," he said in regards to Iraq. He had particularly strong words for the situation in Syria, which he called a "geopolitical Chernobyl — spewing instability and extremism over the region and the rest of the world." The fight, he declared, will come to us whether we like it or not: "The Middle East is not part of the world that plays by Las Vegas rules: What happens in the Middle East is not going to stay in the Middle East." As part of his testimony, Petraeus, who masterminded the Iraq surge under George W. Bush, laid out the strategic framework he would implement today. According to The Daily Signal's Natalie Johnson, "Petraeus advised the U.S. to form enclaves in Syria protected by coalition airpower to strengthen support for moderate Sunni rebels, train additional forces, and provide haven for displaced Syrians. He also urged the U.S. to take a hardline position against President Bashar al-Assad's indiscriminate barrel-bomb attacks that the Syrian Air Force continues to deploy across civilian areas."
Petraeus also addressed the elephant in the room — his affair with Paula Broadway and subsequent disclosure of secrets to her that landed him in hot water. "Four years ago, I made a serious mistake, one that brought discredit and pain to those closest to me. There is nothing I can do to undo what I did. I can only say again how sorry I am to those I let down and then strive to go forward with a greater sense of humility and purpose, and with gratitude to those who stood with me during a very difficult chapter in my life." Petraeus — a guy we need now more than ever — was punished for his malfeasance. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is the leading Democrat candidate for president despite far more serious crimes.
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Don't Miss Alexander's ColumnRead Obama's 'Gay' Army Affirmative Action Plan, on how, as the threat to U.S. security rapidly escalate and military capabilities deteriorate, Obama offers a "gay" solution.
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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS
The craftily designed software — or “defeat device” — detects certain patterns of steering and pedal movement, and when the patterns suggest testing is in progress, the controls kick in. Once the cars hit the open road again, it’s bye-bye controls and hello pollutants hitting the air at a rate of up to 40 times the regulatory-approved limit.
Who ever said computer programming was boring?
At issue is the tradeoff between mileage efficiency and “clean” emissions. Without a doubt, diesel-powered engines deliver more mileage bang for the buck than gasoline-powered engines, traveling up to 30% farther per gallon. But diesel engines also deliver a rather significant dose of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which in turn smog up the atmosphere and make breathing a health hazard.
Ergo, while diesel-powered cars are popular in Europe, courtesy of more lax emissions regulations, stricter regulations in the U.S. mean gasoline engines rule the American road.
In recent years, however, VW began advertising “clean diesel” cars (courtesy of the secret defeat devices), which boasted diesel-performance alongside environmental friendliness. And consumers and regulators alike bought the advertising. More than 482,000 “clean diesel” cars have been sold in the U.S. since 2008. Meanwhile, the federal government doled out as much as $51 million in taxpayer-funded “green” subsidies for those vehicles.
The problem is false advertising. Regulators were deceived, consumers were lied to and taxpayers were robbed.
The ruse was uncovered only when the International Council on Clean Transportation conducted a research project in collaboration with West Virginia University, examining “real-world operating emissions” from certain diesel cars. When the “real world” didn’t mirror the lab, researchers knew something was up.
The EPA took notice, and Volkswagen has now admitted to the elaborate scam, sending its stocks tumbling. Wednesday, VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn resigned, noting in a statement, “I was shocked by the events of the past few days. ... I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.”
What’s next? Well, VW will need to recall all defeat-device vehicles and make honest cars out of them. Then there will be the inevitable lawsuits over consumer fraud and “diminished value,” as resale-prices are likely to drop for cars that don't perform as well after being "fixed."
But it doesn’t end there. The EPA has launched an investigation in coordination with the Justice Department, and the potential fines against VW could be astronomical. Under the Clean Air Act, VW could be penalized up to $37,500 per noncompliant vehicle. Multiply that by 482,000, and the impact could soar to $18 billion.
By comparison, last week General Motors agreed to pay $900 million for faulty ignition switches linked to more than 120 deaths. And last year, Toyota paid $1.2 billion for an acceleration defect that killed five people.
Apparently, violating environmental regulations carries a much heftier penalty.
Not surprisingly, some are already saying the answer to VW’s blatant law-breaking is more government. The smoke-obscured truth, however, is that onerous regulations set the stage for this. In the early 1970s, the newly created EPA set its sights on restricting automobile emissions as a way to reduce pollution. Automakers had to re-engineer vehicles to meet stringent guidelines from federal bureaucrats, so it's unsurprising that the late 1970s aren't exactly remembered fondly among car enthusiasts. Indeed, people died as a result of those regulations necessitating design changes, all while costs skyrocketed.
Fast forward to today and Barack Obama's EPA has been more zealous than any before it at enacting mileage and emissions standards — ostensibly to fight the menace of global warming, but in reality to exert Big Government control over every sector of the economy.
But where in the Constitution is the government authorized to regulate your tailpipe? Or your toilet? Or your light bulbs?
Nearly everyone wants the most efficient and best engineered cars available (and toilets and light bulbs, too), but few seem to be aware that the game is no longer a constitutional one. Instead, unelected bureaucrats set the rules for engineers. We are in no way excusing VW, but are we surprised when some engineers decide to evade those rules?
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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE
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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Gary Bauer: China's Lobbying Gets a Pass
- Michael Reagan: The Pope's Problem
- Victor Davis Hanson: The Sleeping Dogs of Europe
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- Health Premiums Up $4,865 Since Obama Promised to Cut Them $2,500
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OPINION IN BRIEFGary Bauer: "When [Chinese] President Xi arrives in Washington, D.C., he’s going to get some of the highest honors our nation can bestow upon a foreign leader. A state dinner will be held in his honor. As one report put it, 'For the Chinese side, Xi’s meetings with Obama and U.S. business leaders offer the chance to bolster [Xi’s] stature at home.' I raise this because not a day goes by when China does not threaten our interests. Chinese fighter jets came dangerously close to one of our reconnaissance planes recently. But Xi is in Seattle lobbying U.S. corporate interests to pressure our leaders on trade issues. That’s interesting. The last time a foreign leader dared to lobby Americans, he got slammed by President Obama and the U.S. media. His name, as I’m sure you’ll recall, is Bibi Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister was treated like a pariah because he dared to come to America to warn the nation that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a danger to his country and ours. Only in the left’s America does an ally get ostracized while the leader of a hostile nation gets a state dinner. That just doesn’t seem kosher to me."
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SHORT CUTSInsight: "We have plenty of freedom in this country but not a great deal of independence." —John W. Raper (1870-1950)
Observations: "Amid rising ethnic tensions, hordes of migrants and massive debt, Europeans can keep or junk the mess of the European Union and the inflexible euro as they please, without much worry that they will revert back to their bloody past." —Victor Davis Hanson
Good question: "By the way, when did calling someone a Muslim, whether falsely or not, become a slur? After all, isn’t Islam a 'great religion of peace' that’s been 'hijacked by a minority of extremists'? If so, how does calling someone a Muslim become the moral equivalent of hate speech?" —Larry Elder
The BIG Lie: "I have been blamed for nearly everything. [The birther/Muslim claim] was a new one to me, but you know, I’ll just keep going and talking about what I want to do to get income risings and making college affordable and making all of the positive changes that we have to be worried about." —Hillary Clinton, denying that her campaign started rumors of Obama's Muslim faith
Belly laugh of the week: "I would encourage you to take the president at his word." —Josh Earnest on Obama's comments about standing with the pope on religious liberty (That must be why Francis met with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are suing over ObamaCare's infringement of religious liberty.)
Alpha Jackass: “What we have learned from Scott Walker throughout all of these months is that you can do a helluva lot with an ego. The guy’s a freaking loser. I feel vindicated. I knew along that attacking workers, attacking unions, and taking things away from hard working families is not a pathway to the future.” —Ed Schultz
And last... "During a speech at an Iowa school, President Obama declared that students 'shouldn't silence' guest speakers who are 'too conservative.' Yes. That's what the IRS is for." —Fred Thompson
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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.