Economist Deirdre McCloskey will soon release her new book entitled "Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas…
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Image of the Day: A Powerful Tribute to Free Market Capitalism

Economist Deirdre McCloskey will soon release her new book entitled "Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World." It it, she describes the unprecedented transformation  and improvement of human wellbeing through the power of economic freedom, as illustrated by this graph:

. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="568" caption="The Power of Free Markets"][/caption]

. As McCloskey summarizes, that's the result of the free market revolution:

. [I]n the two centuries after 1800, the trade-tested goods and services available to the average person in Sweden or Taiwan rose by a factor of 30 or 100.  Not 100 percent, understand - a mere doubling - but in its highest estimate a factor of 100, nearly 10,000 percent, and at least a factor of 30…[more]

August 18, 2017 • 01:52 pm

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Navy SEALs and bin Laden Intel: Other Things Obama “Inherited” Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 03 2012
In contrast to the persistently sluggish economy, the military and intelligence capabilities that made the bin Laden raid possible were inherited from Bush.

Quote of the week comes from Jim Geraghty of National Review

“The only truly popular thing Obama has ever done is to authorize a unilateral military strike in an unsuspecting country without U.N. approval.” 

In that one sentence, Geraghty captures perfectly the hypocrisy, abandoned promises and broader dysfunction of the Obama presidency. 

That’s not the end, however, of the irony surrounding Obama and the bin Laden operation. 

First, consider that the operation itself blossomed from waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques that Obama himself hypocritically denounced.  Obama’s own former CIA chief and current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted as much, telling NBC News last year, “It’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got,” but that, “I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees.” 

Just two years earlier, Panetta sang a different tune, falsely asserting that “waterboarding is torture, and it’s wrong.”  And just days after his inauguration, Obama himself shut down that CIA interrogation program entirely. 

As detailed by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, however, those very interrogation techniques helped locate bin Laden.  Questioning of detainee Abu Zubaydeh led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, one of the 9/11 plotters, which in turn, led to the capture of prize detainee Khalid Sheik Muhammad, whose own confession under waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques prevented follow-up terrorist attacks in both the United States and Europe.  Abu Faraj al-Libi was another detainee subjected to enhanced interrogation, and these men collectively surrendered details regarding bin Laden and his secret couriers that eventually led to last year’s Navy SEAL operation. 

So did the Obama Administration match word with deed by following the “fruit of the poisonous tree” exclusionary rule that courts impose upon police?  Of course not.  It enthusiastically used evidence obtained from waterboarding to accomplish its only signature achievement.  One obviously won’t hear Obama acknowledge that waterboarding played a pivotal role in the bin Laden operation, but he wouldn’t be able to do his unseemly little endzone dance without it. 

Here’s another irony. 

Obama constantly and dishonestly whines about the economy he "inherited" from his predecessor, yet he behaves as if the U.S. military that masterfully targeted bin Laden somehow reflects his competence. 

The reality is that the previous recession officially ended fully three years ago, but what we’ve witnessed since 2009 is the most sluggish economic recovery in history.  Obama spent record amounts and generated record levels of new debt, but failed to create the recovery that massive spending and debt were supposed to bring.  And speaking of “inheritances,” did President Bush ever scapegoat Bill Clinton for the tech bubble recession and devastating 9/11 plot he inherited (and from which we somehow recovered better than we have under the Obama "recovery")?  At any rate, Obama himself said in 2009 that, “if I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” 

Three years later, he’s still offering nothing but excuses. 

In contrast to the persistently sluggish economy, the military and intelligence capabilities that made the bin Laden raid possible were inherited from Bush.  Yet Obama emphasizes “I” and “my” when referencing the operation: 

“I directed Leon Panetta, the Director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority … even as I continued our broader effort…  Then, after years of painstaking work by my intelligence community, I was briefed…  I met repeatedly with my national security team…  And finally last week, I determined that I had enough intelligence to take action…  Today, at my direction…”

Here’s the curious thing.  A CIA memorandum disclosed recently contains a clause shifting blame away from Obama in the event that the operation failed: 

“The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands.  The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President.  Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration.  The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out.”

So it was “heads Obama wins, tails Admiral McRaven loses.” 

Hardly a profile in courage worthy of a Washington or an Eisenhower. 

Unfortunately for Obama, he can’t seek reelection based upon his record, so overplaying this triumph is all he has.  Nevertheless, he should be thankful for some of the things he actually did inherit from his predecessor, even if he would never admit it publicly. 

Question of the Week   
How many times between 1996 and 2016 did the U.S. Congress pass a full federal budget instead of relying on continuing resolutions or omnibus spending bills?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"In 1993, when President Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), its boosters claimed that it would solve, once and for all, a plethora of problems plaguing the nation's voter registration rolls.However, like many ballyhooed efforts, the Motor Voter Law, as it is best known, resulted in an even crazier system, with such absurdities as millions of people registered in more than one…[more]
 
 
—Robert Knight, American Civil Rights Union Senior Fellow
— Robert Knight, American Civil Rights Union Senior Fellow
 
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