- Iran seized two small U.S. Navy boats and ten sailors in the Persian Gulf, claiming they entered Iranian territorial waters. That nuclear deal is sure working out well.
We as a nation have for some time been on a dangerous trajectory toward autocracy, with the prerogatives, powers, and privileges of the legislative branch — the lawmaking branch — steadily hijacked by the presidency, under presidents of both parties. This partly has been the result of abject congressional cowardice, with legislators punting the details of lawmaking to the executive with vague legislation simply empowering executive-branch bureaucrats to make rules. Often it has been the result of active executive predation, e.g., President Obama’s habit of justifying illegal executive overreach by complaining that “Congress won’t act, so I must.” “Congress won’t act” is just another way of saying “Congress won’t do what I want,” and Barack Obama, the great constitutional scholar, doesn’t seem to understand that refusing to do what the president wants is a big part of what Congress is there for. We need three equal, legitimate branches of government, each functioning in its proper constitutional role — or we’ll end up with that Bismarckian autocracy that Wilson wanted.
- The Hillary Clinton emails released thus far by the State Department show that Clinton went to great lengths to help her friend Mr. Valerie Plame (a.k.a. Joe Wilson). The State Department told a court that it discovered thousands of documents related to Clinton and the Benghazi attack; the court is handling a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. In response to another lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, the State Department agreed to release Huma Abedin’s emails that were stored on Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Kathleen Parker demonstrated on CNN that she doesn’t know much about Christianity by attacking Ted Cruz. Parker said this:
One observation. I don’t know… this seems to have slipped through the cracks a little bit but Ted Cruz said something that I found rather astonishing. He said, you know, “It’s time for the body of Christ to rise up and support me.” I don’t know anyone who takes their religion seriously who would think that Jesus should rise from the grave and resurrect himself to serve Ted Cruz. I know so many people who were offended by that comment. And you know if you want to talk about grandiosity and messianic self-imagery I think he makes Ted Cruz makes Donald Trump look rather sort of like a gentle little lamb.
- Rand Paul finally got a vote on his bill to audit the Federal Reserve – and it failed a cloture vote 53–44. The only shocker: Marco Rubio was present for the vote (he voted for cloture). Ted Cruz was campaigning in New Hampshire.
John Daniel Davidson makes an interesting point on what we should have learned from the Iraq war:
The great lesson of the Iraq war, then, is not that we should withdraw from the world and never again try to overthrow dangerous dictatorships, but that we should be very selective about when and where we intervene because of how easily domestic politics can undermine intervention. Seen in this light, it’s not the rise of ISIS that should be a warning to future administrations, it’s that the Obama administration was able to erase all our gains in Iraq by pulling the troops out too soon, which destabilized the country and created the space ISIS needed to grow.
German vigilantes attacked foreign nationals in Cologne in retaliation for the sexual assaults against women on New Year’s Eve.
A suicide bomber killed at least ten people in an area of Istanbul frequented by tourists. The bombing occurred in Sultanahmet Square, which is near the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Nine of the people who were killed were Germans; the tenth person was Peruvian.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced more changes to the organization of the People’s Liberation Army, including a new auditing office intended to prevent graft.
James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas recorded a Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt sales executive saying Common Core is all about generating sales for textbook publishers. She was fired this morning.