Facing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, former President Barack Obama first reacted with boredom, then with mild sanctions, then with moderate sanctions. As Russia systematically broke its cease-fire agreements and expanded its control over Eastern Ukraine, Obama did even less than that. When the Russians then shot down a passenger airliner, killing 298 people, Obama did nothing.
Humility amidst failure? Not Obama. Just a month prior to the downing of MH-17, Obama gave a particularly ludicrous Ben Rhodes-written speech at West Point in which he praised himself for his Ukraine policy.
"Because of American leadership," he said, "the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies ... And this mobilization of world opinion and international institutions served as a counterweight to Russian propaganda and Russian troops on the border and armed militias in ski masks."
The rotting bodies of MH-17 render judgment on those words.
As do the bodies that followed. After all, Obama's sustained weakness gave Putin confidence to turn Syria into rubble. Obama was the leader who allowed Russia to send repeated Trojan Horses against the American-led international order.
Then, when it came to Russia's sustained attack on American democracy, Obama's response was worse than nothing. As with the Osama bin Laden raid, he took months to make a decision. He then shuttered a couple of buildings and sent a few diplomats home. He should have destroyed the GRU's computer mainframes.
Illegal immigrants cost taxpayers nearly $750 billion over lifetime: Report
Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, crunched the numbers and found that the current population of illegal immigrants will drain nearly $750 billion from taxpayers over their lifetimes — amounting to six times the deportation costs.
“Sometimes people say look, we couldn’t deport everybody because it’s prohibitively expensive,” Mr. Camarota said. “But if your only concern is fiscal cost, it’s pretty clear that letting them stay is a hell of a lot more expensive.”
Trinity College Reinstates Professor Who Said White People Should ‘F***ing Die’
Trinity reached the decision because, like many other colleges, it has failed to draw meaningful lines between valid and invalid claims on academic freedom. That failure plunges colleges ever deeper into the mire of ethnic chauvinism, categorical hatreds, anti-intellectual diatribe, mind-deadening vulgarity, and psychopathology. Worse, we are getting used to this mire and finding it harder to defend essential distinctions. If we are at the point where #LetThemFuckingDie is upheld as a wholesome exercise in “extra-mural” academic speech, we are in serious trouble.
The Obama administration “misled” Americans into thinking signing up for Obamacare would be cheaper than it really was, according to an inspector general’s report Thursday that said the IRS dramatically understated the actual cost of enrolling.
IRS officials sent the letters to try to prod Americans to comply with the 2010 health law’s “individual mandate” that penalizes them for not holding coverage.
But as part of the letters, the IRS said most people could find plans for $75 a month or less, once government subsidies were figured in.
That was untrue — in fact, the average cost was more than twice that figure, at $168 a month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said.
This mega-scandal, by the way, has been building for months, though you would hardly know by the near-silence it's been treated with in the media.
But there are exceptions. Back on May 24, the online journal Circa reported that the scandal was far more serious than it first appeared.
"The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community," wrote Circa investigative reporter Sara A. Carter.
Now, this week, Carter reports that the scandal is much bigger than suspected. A review of government documents found that "government officials conducted 30,355 searches in 2016 seeking information about Americans in NSA intercept meta-data, which include telephone numbers and email addresses," Carter wrote.
She notes that the election-year searches by Obama's political aides and other government officials jumped 27.5% from 2015, tripling the "9,500 such searches" in 2013. "In 2016 the administration also scoured the actual contents of NSA intercepted calls and emails for 5,288 Americans, an increase of 13% over the prior year and a massive spike from the 198 names searched in 2013."
Before the Obama administration, under rules propagated by former President George H.W. Bush, "unmasking" incidental intelligence targets was strictly limited and frowned upon. Even after 9/11, despite increased surveillance of people with potential terrorist ties, the rules stayed in place. The potential for abuse, they knew, was too great.
But that ended in 2011 as Obama, using the pretense of fighting a War on Terror that he never even believed in, loosened the rules. As the Washington Examiner reported earlier this week, in 2013 National Intelligence Director James Clapper formally loosened the rules on "unmasking" the names of congressional staffers, elected officials and others.
That major violations occurred under this program seems clear. Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats noted that "the total requests for Americans' names by Obama political aides numbered in the hundreds during Obama's last year in office and often lacked a specific intelligence community justification," according to The Hill.
It’s happened again: Retirement savings account balances have hit all-time highs.
A string of record 401(k) and IRA account totals now stretches across three consecutive quarters, according to second-quarter data from Fidelity Investments. The data covers 22,155 companies and 15.1 million 401(k) plan participants, as well as 8.8 million IRA accounts. The performance reflects the impressive display of endurance training by a stock market that just keeps on running, as well as increased employee and employer contributions to retirement accounts.
The average 401(k) account balance stands at $97,700 as of June 30. That’s a 9.6 percent gain from the $89,100 average of a year ago, and a big leap from the $73,300 average of five years ago. Average IRA totals, meanwhile, rose to $100,200 from $89,600 a year ago and $73,100 in 2012.
With China’s efforts to undermine geopolitical stability by creating an air-and-naval base in the South China Sea, threatening the integrity of international shipping lanes, The PRC is looking more like a revisionist power every day. Given that, Beijing’s efforts to size American property and shield its pariah state ally from censure have finally become unacceptable.
The Justice Department was attacked as racist due to a false New York Times story claiming the DOJ was working to protect white students from discrimination.
The Times story inferred that an internal personnel posting seeking volunteers to investigate “possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions” was meant to look at policies discriminating “against white applicants.”
The Daily Caller first reported that a DOJ source said this Times article “appears to assume it deals with white students without evidence.” DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores later put out a statement confirming this.
“Press reports regarding the personnel posting in the Civil Rights Division have been inaccurate. The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations in May 2015 that the prior Administration left unresolved,” Flores wrote. “The complaint alleges racial discrimination against Asian Americans in a university’s admissions policy and practices.”
The Western public appears fascinated by Islamic veils. Ismail Sacranie, a founder of Modestly Active, the manufacturer that designs burkinis, told the New York Times that 35% of their clients are non-Muslim. Aheda Zanetti, a Lebanese woman living in Australia who invented the burkini, claims that 40% of her sales are to non-Muslim women. The Western public, which has been romanticizing Islam, is apparently absorbing the pieties of Islamic law. The Spectator called it "a new puritanism" and "why some feminists make common cause with Islam".
To paraphrase the American writer Daniel Greenfield, the irony of women celebrating their own suppression is both heartbreaking and stupefying.
Europe might soon have to apologize to the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker. She was criticized -- denounced -- for advising women to keep "at an arm's length" from strangers to avoid sexual harassment.
Scientists have successfully edited the DNA of human embryos to erase a heritable heart condition, cracking open the doors to a controversial new era in medicine.
This is the first time gene editing on human embryos has been conducted in the United States. Researchers said in interviews this week that they consider their work very basic. The embryos were allowed to grow for only a few days and there was never any intention to implant them to create a pregnancy. But they also acknowledged that they will continue to move forward with the science with the ultimate goal of being able to “correct” disease-causing genes in embryos that will develop into babies.