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  • Clarice Feldman wrote this on the Obama administration's whining that John Boehner broke protocol when he invited Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress without clearing it with the White House:

    The White House response reflects Obama’s usual petulance and lies. First they said it was a breach of protocol to have invited Netanyahu without first consulting with the white House. Undoubtedly this is so, but this is not a normal Administration or situation. In any event, Obama is in no position to stand on protocol. Among his notable departures from protocol: bowing to the Saudi and Japanese monarchs, gifting the Queen of England an iPod of his speeches; giving a toast while the orchestra played “God Save the Queen” in Britain, making the Dalai Lama leave the White House through the back entrance past the trash containers; leaving Netanyahu sitting downstairs while he went upstairs to dinner. Surely there are more such instances, which I’ve forgotten, but these breaches stand out.

  • Kevin Williamson criticizes the “hypocrisy and material self-indulgence” on display at Davos, but moves on a larger point about the ignorance of any human organization:

    Conservatives are generally inclined to make a moral case for limited government: that transfers are corrupting, that taxes should be collected only to the extent that they are essential, that regulation is a necessary evil and that as such it should be kept to a minimum. That is generally true and persuasive, but the more important argument is the problem of ignorance. Even if Congress were populated exclusively by saintly super-geniuses, there is only so much that 535 human beings can know and understand. The more that decision-making is centralized in political agencies, or even in elites outside of formal government, the more intensively those decisions will be distorted by ignorance. This is true of market-oriented institutions, too, in the sense that big businesses make big mistakes. One of the lessons of the 2007 financial crisis is that the guys who run the banks do not actually know that much about how banks work, even if they know 100 times what the banking regulators know. Free markets offer a critical, if imperfect and partial, corrective to that in the form of financial losses and business failures, which is why things like cars and computers consistently improve while schools and welfare programs don’t. Big markets with lots of competing buyers and sellers are the biggest thinking machines we have, offering the broadest epistemic horizon that our species has figured out how to achieve.

  • President Obama found yet another way to troll Republicans: Prohibiting oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and parts of the Arctic Ocean.

  • Texas is solely responsible for the 1.169 million net increase in total US employment since 2007.

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is now producing infographics touting their attacks.

  • ISIS murdered one Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, and threatened to kill a second, Kenji Goto, unless Japan arranges a prisoner exchange.

  • Boko Haram captured another Nigerian city, Monguno, which is in the northeastern part of the country. They staged assaults against two other cities, Maiduguri and Konduga, but the Nigerian army claims they drove them back.

  • More than 30 Philippine police commandos died in a fight with Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces while they were searching for a terror suspect.

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