Links for 1-14-2013

  • Artur Davis wrote a response to Colin Powell’s Meet the Press statements without specifically mentioning Powell. Here’s how he opens: “The shortest distance in modern politics is the one between a Republican willing to denounce his party for extremism and the set of a cable or Sunday morning talk show. The gift of exposure is waiting for the cheap ticket of describing today’s Republicans as an intolerant set of know-nothings whom one no longer recognizes.” The entire piece is worth a read.

  • The American Action Forum estimates that the Obama administration issued regulations costing $216 billion in 2012. Their total for four years is $518 billion.

  • Allahpundit offers a comparison of Senator Barack Obama’s 2006 words opposing a debt ceiling increase with President Barack Obama’s 2013 words claiming there’s no choice but to increase the debt ceiling – without spending cuts.

  • The EPA released the first tranche of Lisa Jackson’s “Richard Windsor” emails, but released 900 fewer emails than promised.

  • I like reading Keith Hennessey’s explanations of how the federal government’s budgeting and spending processes work (or don’t work), including today’s explanation of the difference between default and technical default. Unfortunately I don’t think he grasps Obama’s political objectives, as illustrated by this assertion in today’s post: “Treasuries never have been and never will be at risk [of default], because any Administration would use all available legal flexibility to avoid that increased credit risk.” What makes Hennessey think Obama cares about the perception of the country’s credit worthiness, or what his Constitutional duties are with respect to maintaining the country’s full faith and credit? Later he writes, “In the extreme, he [Obama] could in theory tell his budget director, ‘Delay payments for highway funds to any State that voted against me in the last election.’ That’s absurd and egregious…” No, that’s among the first things Obama would likely do. Perhaps we need to send Mr. Hennessey on an extended field trip to Chicago’s City Hall so he can learn firsthand how this style of politics works.

  • The Supreme Court rejected a plea from the GOP to reverse a thirty year old court order that prevents the party from challenging voters’ qualifications.

  • Americans bought 4.7 million firearms in the months of November and December, enough to arm every soldier in India’s and China’s armies.

  • The Tampa Bay Times published a two part article describing an FBI investigation into claims Scientology abused its adherents and forced them into performing labor against their will: Part 1 and Part 2. No criminal charges were brought against the church, in part because a judge ruled in a civil case that Scientology’s acts were within its First Amendment rights – the FBI and DOJ prosecutors didn’t believe they could meet the higher bar required for a successful criminal prosecution.

  • The New York Times noticed that the Obama administration’s strategy for fighting the Islamic insurgency in Mali is a complete failure.

  • Victor Davis Hansen takes a larger view of Obama’s War on Terror strategy at National Review: “To the extent that anyone could define the present anti-terrorism policy, it might be paraphrased along the following lines: ‘We rejected these protocols when, as outside critics, there was partisan advantage in doing so. But after assuming office, we found them useful, embraced most of them and even expanded some, preferred to ignore that about-face, assumed that the global and the domestic Left would not object any longer – given that their opposition was more to Bush than to his policies per se – and wish to continue these measures even as we keep quiet about them.’ Simultaneously with the flip-flop over the Bush inheritance, the administration also waged an ancillary war of euphemism. Jihad was not to be defined as an Islamist holy war against the West, but was to be officially regarded as a sort of Deepak Chopra personal struggle to achieve spiritual purity. The words Islamist and Islamism fell out of use. ‘The War on Terror’ was rightly derided as a war against a tactic, but the phrase was wrongly not replaced with a more honest and accurate ‘War on radical Islamists, jihadists, and Salafists.’”

  • Michael Totten wrote a great article on Morocco’s monarchy and how it has peacefully evolved during the “Arab Spring.”