For some time now, Barack Obama and his apologists have trumpeted slowing healthcare costs as somehow…
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Sticker Shock: Healthcare Spending Spikes As ObamaCare Takes Effect

For some time now, Barack Obama and his apologists have trumpeted slowing healthcare costs as somehow attributable to ObamaCare.  Never mind that the declines predated Obama's election, and that even The Washington Post gave him three Pinocchios in its Fact Checker analysis of this claim on November 5 of last year:

Healthcare inflation has gone down every single year since the law [ObamaCare] passed, so that we now have the lowest increase in healthcare costs in 50 years - which is saving us about $180 billion in reduced overall costs to the federal government and in the Medicare program."

To illustrate how he played the role of rooster taking credit for the sunrise, healthcare cost inflation reached 7% in 2003, but plummeted to approximately 2% before Obama even took office.…[more]

July 31, 2015 • 10:02 am

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Obamites Must Stop Mollycoddling Islamists Print
By Quin Hillyer
Thursday, April 25 2013
[T]o what can we owe the suspicion that the Obamites anti-profiling atmosphere contributed to the FBI’s laxity?

All of us should be foursquare for civil liberties. But that doesn’t mean we need to be stupidly, willfully blind about the nature of threats that face us. Please allow some leeway, then, which usually isn’t allowed to (or requested by) good journalists, to mix known facts with educated speculation, to this end: Was the FBI’s failure to track Tamarlan Tsarnaev a matter not just of bad luck or incompetence, but actually the result of outlandish policy choices by the Obama administration?

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday rightly criticized the FBI for its failures, writing: “Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not appear at the Boston marathon out of nowhere. The FBI had interviewed him and he had posted jihadist videos on the Internet. Someone dropped the ball, and dozens of Americans will be scarred forever. The public deserves a full accounting from FBI Director Robert Mueller, not merely an apologia.”

But its most important paragraph was the previous one:

"The FBI's explanation so far is that its agents asked Tamerlan if he was a terrorist, and he said no. The bureau looked and found no other evidence, so it closed the books and in any case had no legal authority to do more. But it would have had such authority if it had sought a surveillance warrant from the FISA court that was established precisely to be able to monitor potential terror risks. Why didn't it seek such a warrant?"

My suspicion is that it didn’t seek such a warrant in part because President Obama and his whole team have made such a point of discouraging anything that could possibly have even the appearance of “profiling” Muslims in the United States. With political bosses so determined to eradicate “profiling,” FBI agents must be running scared.

That’s the only explanation I can imagine for not continuing surveillance of somebody who had been reported by a foreign government to have extremist ties, whose public electronic communications were full of Islamic rage and jihadist sympathies, who attended an Islamic religious center with extremist ties, who had been detained for anger issues (abusing his girlfriend) – and who, quite strangely, showed no visible distress about the murder of a good friend.

Granted, hindsight is 20/20. But the whole point is that it should not have taken hindsight; it should have taken at least semi-vigilant contemporary oversight all along.

Meanwhile, to what can we owe the suspicion that the Obamites anti-profiling atmosphere contributed to the FBI’s laxity? Well, it’s documented: The administration has issued orders just short of a fatwa against anything officially linking Islam with terror.  It removed hundreds of FBI training documents containing what it claimed were inaccurate descriptions of Muslims.

Also, according to a key FBI document, “Mere association with organizations that demonstrate both legitimate (advocacy) and illicit (violent extremism) objectives should not automatically result in a determination that the associated individual is acting in furtherance of the organization’s illicit objective(s).” Indeed, the Obama Justice Department has gone even farther, not only refusing to follow obvious potential links between angry Islamism and terrorism but also leaving open the possibility of criminalizing speech (like this column) that dares criticize Islamic practices.

(Note, by the way, that the hesitation to rule out such criminalization came from Tom Perez, whom I have written about here on numerous occasions.)

And it was two full years ago that the Obama Department of Homeland Security killed a counter-terrorism policy it portrayed, again, as being insufficiently sympathetic to Muslims. While it is certainly not clear if that particular program would have resulted in closer tracking of Tamarlan Tsarnaev, it represented just one more in a long list of actions that strongly discouraged attitudes of vigilance against specifically Islamist threats.

To be clear: It is no crime, no ethical problem, nothing suspicious at all to be a Muslim. Anybody who says or acts otherwise is no friend to the American tradition of freedom of conscience about religion, and of individual human rights. Nonetheless, there is a distinct difference between mere Islam and Islamism. The latter should arouse at least mild suspicions – and, when combined with specific warnings that a particular individual might be dangerous, it should certainly lead to enough oversight to notice hateful encomiums to jihad on social media sites.

None of which is to say that even heightened observation of the Tsarnaevs would necessarily have stopped the Boston bombing. It is incredibly easy, in a free society, to take a subway while wearing a backpack and then abandon the backpack in a large, casually attired crowd.

This is not a game of pinning moral blame on the Obama administration. The blame, the evil, is the Tsarnaevs’ alone. Yet, as we move forward, it is crucial that the questionable Obamite policies be reviewed – and probably reversed.

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following Obama Administration officials stated in April 2015 that under the nuclear deal with Iran, “you will have anywhere, any time 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has”?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"[Trump's] rise is not due to his supporters' anger at government. It is a gesture of contempt for government, for the men and women in Congress, the White House, the agencies. It is precisely because people have lost their awe for the presidency that they imagine Mr. Trump as a viable president. ...Mr. Trump's supporters like that he doesn't in the least fear the press, doesn't get the dart-eyed,…[more]
 
 
—Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal
— Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal
 
Liberty Poll   

On August 6, Fox News will televise two debates with the Republican presidential candidates, at 9 p.m. with the top 10, and at 5 p.m. with the rest of the field. Do you plan on watching one or both?