Friday, February 05, 2016

A (much) better year

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque in Catonsville, Maryland February 3, 2016.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

By Caroline Glick
4 February 2016

On Wednesday the US media interrupted its saturation coverage of the presidential primaries to report on President Barack Obama’s visit to a mosque in Maryland. The visit was Obama’s first public one to a mosque in the US since entering the White House seven years ago. The mosque Obama chose to visit demonstrated once again that his views of radical Islam are deeply problematic.

Obama visited the Islamic Society of Baltimore, a mosque with longstanding ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. During Operation Protective Edge, the leaders of the mosque accused Israel of genocide and demanded that the administration end US support for the Jewish state.

According to The Daily Caller, the mosque’s former imam Mohammad Adam el-Sheikh was active in the Islamic American Relief Agency, a charity deemed a terror group in 2004 after the US Treasury Department determined it had transferred funds to Osama bin Laden, Hamas, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

El-Sheikh left the Baltimore mosque to take over the Dar el-Hijra mosque in northern Virginia. He replaced Anwar al-Awlaki as imam after Awlaki moved to Yemen in 2003. In Yemen Awlaki rose to become a senior al-Qaida commander.

Awlaki radicalized many American jihadists both through direct contact and online. He radicalized US Army major Nidal Malik Hasan, and inspired him to carry out the 2009 massacre of 13 US soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood in Texas. Awlaki was killed by a US drone strike in 2011.

In 2010, a member of the Islamic Society of Baltimore was arrested for planning to attack an army recruiting office. According to the Mediaite news portail, the mosque reportedly refused to cooperate with the FBI in its investigation.

Obama’s visit to the radical mosque now is a clear signal of how he intends to spend his last year in office. It tells us that during this period, Obama will adopt ever more extreme positions regarding radical Islam.

Obama’s apologetics for radical Islamists is the flipside of his hostility for Israel. This too is escalating and will continue to rise through the end of his tenure in office.

The US Customs authority’s announcement last week that it will begin enforcing a 20-yearold decision to require goods imported from Judea and Samaria to be labeled “Made in the West Bank,” rather than “Made in Israel,” signals Obama’s intentions. So, too, it is abundantly clear that France’s plan to use the UN Security Council to dictate Israel’s borders was coordinated in advance with the Obama administration.

Part of the reason Obama is acting with such urgency and intensity is that he knows that regardless of who is elected to replace him, the next president will not be as viscerally hostile to Israel or as emotionally attached to Islam as he is.

On the Democratic side, neither candidate is a particularly energetic supporter of Israel or counter- jihad warrior. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s recently released email discussions of Israel with her closest advisers indicate that all of Clinton’s closest counselors are hostile to Israel.

For his part, Vermont’s socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders harbors the far Left’s now standard anti-Israel attitudes. Not only did Sanders – like Clinton – support Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. He boycotted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the Joint Houses of Congress where Netanyahu laid out Israel’s reasons for opposing the deal. Sanders gave television interviews condemning Netanyahu for making the speech, accusing him of electioneering on the back of the US Congress. Sanders criticized Israel during Operation Protective Edge and supports decreasing US military aid to Israel.

For all their anti-Israel sensibilities, though, neither Clinton nor Sanders gives the impression that they are driven by them as Obama is.

Unlike Obama, neither appear to be animated by their hostility toward Israel. Neither seem to be passionate in their support for Muslim Brotherhood- affiliated groups or in their desire to realign the US away from Israel, from its traditional Arab allies and toward Iran. This lack of passion makes it safe to assume that if elected president, while they will adopt anti-Israel policies, they will not seek out ways to weaken Israel or strengthen its sworn enemies.

On the Republican side, the situation is entirely different. All of the Republican presidential candidates are pro-Israel. To be sure, some are more pro-Israel than others. Sen. Ted Cruz, for instance, is more supportive than his competitors. But all of the Republicans candidates are significantly more supportive of Israel than the Democratic candidates. So it is simply an objective fact that Israel will be better off if a Republican is elected in November no matter who he is and no matter who the Democratic candidate is.

It hasn’t always been this way. And it doesn’t have to remain this way.

Back in 1992 when Bill Clinton was running against George H.W. Bush, if Israel was your issue, you voted for Clinton because he was rightly viewed as more pro-Israel than Bush.

Twenty-four years ago, supporting Israel carried no cost for Clinton. According to Gallup, in 1992, 52 percent of Democrats were pro-Israel.

On the other hand, Bush was probably harmed somewhat for the widespread perception that he was anti-Israel. In 1992, 62% of Republicans were pro-Israel.

Over the past 15 years, the situation has altered considerably.

Today, Republicans are near unanimous in their support for Israel. According to a Gallup poll from February 2015, 83% of Republicans support Israel.

Only 48% of Democrats do. From 2014 to 2015, Democratic support for Israel plunged 10 points.

The cleavage on Israel is particularly acute among partisan elites.

Last summer, pollster Frank Luntz conducted a survey of US elite partisan opinion on Israel. His data were devastating. According to Luntz’s data, 76% of Democratic elite believe that Israel has too much influence over US foreign policy. Only 20% of Republicans do.

Nearly half (47%) of highly educated, wealthy and politically active Democrats think that Israel is a racist country. Thirteen percent of their Republican counterparts agree.

And whereas only 48% of Democrats believe that Israel wants peace, 88% of Republicans believe that Israel wants peace with its neighbors.

These trends affect voting habits. According to Luntz, while only 18% of Democrats say they would be more likely to vote for a politician who supports Israel, 31% said they are less likely to vote for a pro-Israel candidate. In contrast, 76% of Republicans say they want their representatives to support Israel.

Forty-five percent of Democrats said they would be more likely to vote for a politician who is critical of Israel and 75% of Republicans said they would be less likely to vote for an anti-Israel candidate.

These data tell us two important things. Today Democratic candidates will gain nothing and may lose significant support if they support Israel.

In contrast, a Republican who opposes Israel will have a hard time getting elected, much less winning a primary.

Partisan sensibilities aren’t the only reason that Israel is will be better off if a Republican wins in November. There is also the issue of policy continuity.

Even though neither Clinton nor Sanders share Obama’s anti-Israel passion, their default position will be to maintain his policies. Traditionally, when an outgoing president is replaced by a successor from his own party, many of his foreign policy advisers stay on to serve his successor.

Moreover, if American voters elect a Democrat to succeed Obama, their decision will rightly be viewed as a vote of confidence in his policies.

Obama has radicalized the Democratic Party in his seven years in office. When Obama was inaugurated, the Blue Dog caucus of conservative Democratic members of the House of Representatives had 54 members. Today only 14 remain.

Obama’s Democratic Party is not Bill Clinton’s party.

A party that isn’t forced to pay a price for its policies isn’t likely to change them. If the Democrats are not defeated in the run for the White House in November, their party will not reassess its shift to radicalism and reconsider its increasingly hostile stance on Israel.

That then brings us to the state of the presidential race following the Iowa caucuses and ahead of next Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire. The Iowa caucuses showed a significant gap in enthusiasm among partisan voters. Participation rates in the Republican caucuses were unprecedented.

Cruz shattered the record for vote getting in the state that saw participation rates up 30% from 2012. On the Democratic side, participation rates were below the 2008 level.

On the Republican side, the three top candidates – Cruz, businessman Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio – are all backed by committed, fervent supporters. On the Democratic side, Clinton’s supporters are reportedly diffident about her. And while Sanders enjoys enthusiastic support from voters under 45, he can’t seem to convince people who actually know what socialism is to support him.

If Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, on the face of it, it is difficult to see his path to victory in the general election. Whereas Obama was elected by hiding his radical positions, Sanders is running openly as a socialist and attacks Obama from the Left. Whether America is a center-right or center-left country, the undisputed truth is that it is a centrist country.

As for Clinton, the likelihood grows by the day that by the general election, her inability to inspire her base will be the least of her problems.

The FBI’s ongoing probe of her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state is devastating her chances of getting elected.

The State Department’s revelation last week that 22 of Clinton’s emails were too classified to be released, even with parts blacked out, makes it impossible to dismiss the prospect that she will be indicted for serious felony offenses. Yet, as Jonah Goldberg argued Wednesday in National Review, with her narrow victory in Iowa, Clinton blocked the opening for a less damaged candidate – like Vice President Joe Biden or former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg – to step into the race.

In other words, the Republican nominee will have an energized base and will face either a legally challenged or openly socialist Democratic opponent.

According to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, before Obama visited the Islamic Society of Baltimore, he asked the FBI for its opinion of the mosque. FBI investigators informed Obama of the mosque’s ties to terrorism. They urged him not to confer it with the legitimacy that comes with a presidential visit.

Obama ignored the FBI’s advice.

The next 11 months will be miserable for Israel.

But we should take heart. By all accounts, next year will be better. And judging by the way the presidential race is shaping up, next year may be a much, much better year.

Thursday, February 04, 2016


And: “Islam has always been part of America.” Really?

February 4, 2016

When Barack Obama visited the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday, he said: “The first thing I want to say is two words that Muslim Americans don’t hear often enough: Thank you.”
While Obama has been President, Muslims have murdered non-Muslims, avowedly in the cause of Islam, at Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, and San Bernardino, and attempted to do so in many, many other places. Imagine if armed Baptists screaming “Jesus is Lord” had committed murder, and explained that they were doing so in order to advance Christianity, in four American cities, and had attempted to do so in many others. Imagine that those killers were supporters of a global Christian movement that had repeatedly called for attacks on U.S. civilians and declared its determination to destroy the United States.
Imagine how incongruous it would be in that case for the President of the United States to visit a church and say: “The first thing I want to say is two words that Christian Americans don’t hear often enough: Thank you.” And imagine how unlikely it would be that Barack Obama would ever have done that.
But his visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore was the apotheosis of the Muslim victimhood myth, as he signaled yet again to the world (and worldwide jihadis) that in the U.S., Muslims are victims, victims of unwarranted concern over jihad terror, and thus that concern is likely to lessen even more, as Obama dismantles still more of our counter-terror apparatus.
“We’ve seen children bullied, we’ve seen mosques vandalized,” Obama claimed. “It’s not who we are. We’re one American family. And when any part of our family begins to feel separate or second class, it tears at the heart of our nation” – he said to his gender-segregated Muslim audience, with the women sitting in the back. In reality, Muslims are not victimized in American society: FBI hate crime statistics show that the hysteria over “Islamophobia” is unfounded, but that matters not at all to Barack Obama. At the mosque, he said: “If we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m talking to my fellow Christians who are the majority in this country — we have to understand that an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths.”
Once again Obama felt free to scold and admonish Christians, but said nothing about Muslims in the U.S. needing to clean house and work for real reform that would mitigate jihad terror. And his premise was false: there is no attempt to restrict Muslims’ freedom of religion. Donald Trump hasn’t called for that; nor has Ben Carson or any serious analyst. But the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (a representative of which accompanied Obama to the mosque Wednesday) and other Islamic advocacy groups have consistently charged that counter-terror efforts and attempts to restrict the political, supremacist and authoritarian aspects of Sharia that are at variance with Constitutional principles were tantamount to restricting Muslims’ religious freedom.
Now the President of the United States has endorsed their false narrative, which will only further stigmatize initiatives to understand the jihadis’ ideology and counter it effectively. He further criticized those who dare to suggest that Islam might have something to do with Islamic terrorism by criticizing those who say that the U.S. is at war with Islam: “That kind of mind-set helps our enemies,” he intoned. “It helps our enemies recruit. It makes us all less safe.”
The U.S. certainly isn’t at war with Islam, but segments of the Islamic world are at war with the U.S., and Obama did not explain what might be done to counter the beliefs that have given rise to that idea. He is, of course, against studying the beliefs of the enemy. Yet he said proudly: “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Qur’an,” without bothering to mention that they had them in order to understand the ideology of the enemy the new nation faced in the Barbary Pirates. They held, of course, the same ideology he ignores and denies today, the one he ordered all traces of removed from counterterror training.
“Islam,” Obama declared, “has always been part of America.” Really? There were Muslims at Jamestown? In the Massachusetts Bay Colony? At Roanoke? Obama’s statement is so wildly ridiculous that it doesn’t just invite parody; it pleads for it. Remember the Muslims among the Founding Fathers, Yahya al-Adams and Iskandar Hamilton? Remember the Muslims who told James Madison about Muhammad’s Constitution of Medina so that he could lay out the foundations of a republic in the U.S. Constitution? Remember the Muslims who fought so valiantly in the Revolutionary Jihad, and the Jihad of 1812, and the Mexican Jihad, and the Civil War, aka the Jihad Between the Caliphates? Remember all the controversies about whether Muslim soldiers in the Civil War could make sex slaves out of the wives and daughters of Confederate commanders? The jihad suicide attacks that broke the Germans’ will to fight on during World War I?
Burrowing deeper into fantasy, Obama proclaimed: “Generations of Muslim Americans helped to build our nation.” He didn’t mention the real contributions Muslims have made to our nation: you know, like rearranging the New York skyline, transforming government buildings into grim, nervous fortresses, making air travel into exercise in annoyance and humiliation that it is today, and draining the American economy with two futile wars and hundreds of billions spent on security and counterterror initiatives.
In detailing the contributions that Muslims have made to the U.S., Obama said: “Muslim Americans keep up safe. They are our police. They are our fire fighters. They’re in (the Department of) Homeland Security.” And remember: none of them were screened for jihadi sympathies. To have done so would have been “Islamophobic,” and transgressed against the prevailing dogma that Islam is a Religion of Peace that non-Muslims are wrong and bigoted to be concerned about.
The most ominous thing Obama said in this speech full of treacle and humbug was this: “We’re not going to strengthen our leadership around the world by allowing politicians to insult Muslims or pit groups of Americans against each other. That’s not who we are. That’s not keeping America safe.” So what is he going to do? Destroy the First Amendment and disallow politicians to insult Muslims?
Obama decried “phony tough talk and bluster and over-the-top claims.” Yet in the final analysis, that was all he offered.
 Tags: CAIRmosqueObama

Another CTE case, another reason football needs dramatic change

Ian O'ConnorESPN Senior WriterFebruary 3, 2016
Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler sprints away from lunging Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Steve Furness. (AP Photo)
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Deep down we all wanted to be Kenny Stabler, right? We all wanted to play quarterback with flowing, rock-star hair, studying the playbook by a jukebox's light when we weren't shooting pool and knocking down a cold one with an adoring blonde nearby.
We all wanted to be the Snake, the boys-turned-middle-aged-men of my generation, because he was the ultimate rebel among Oakland Raiders rebels and because he played the sport with the same amount of restraint defining his off-the-field life. That is to say, none.
The game was never going to catch up to the Snake, not after his junior-high coach gave him the nickname for his ability to zig when the bad guys zagged. Despite bum knees and the body of a man who too often called it quits at sunrise, and who once wrote he needed "the diversions of whiskey and women" to survive training camp, Stabler always knew how to escape. Bigger, faster defenders would close hard on him, and the Snake would somehow emerge from a raging pile of humanity and sling it left-handed with hardly a care in the world.
But as it turns out, the game of football ultimately runs down and corners everyone. Stabler might be inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, and if his legacy makes the journey to Canton, it will do so with the letters CTE attached.
Stabler is the most recent deceased NFL player found to have suffered from the progressive degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He died of colon cancer in July at age 69, and his family donated his brain and spinal cord to Boston University's CTE Center; Stabler was among the players who had sued the NFL over the occupational hazard that is head trauma.
The results surprised no football player or fan who followed the case of Frank Gifford, or knew of the suicides of Junior Seau and Andre Waters and Dave Duerson, or read about the accidental pain-medication overdose of Tyler Sash, who died with CTE at age 27 despite appearing in only 27 regular-season and postseason NFL games, and never as a starter.
A study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University determined in September that 87 of 91 deceased players tested had CTE. Bennet Omalu, the groundbreaking doctor played by Will Smith in the film "Concussion," estimated that more than 90 percent of all NFL players have CTE.
"The game is not safe," Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson said by phone, "and there's no way around it. You only have one brain. If you injure it, you can't get replacement surgery for your brain like you can for your knee or shoulder."
Carson already has informed his daughter and son-in-law that his 6-year-old grandson is not allowed to play football. "My daughter is afraid to go see 'Concussion,'" the former New York Giant said, "because she fears her father might end up like those guys who committed suicide. But I've assured her I've already gone through that period in my life."
Carson was speaking before the Stabler news broke and relaying the story that he practically jumped for joy when his younger son once failed a physical in his attempt to try out for the Auburn football team. There's something terribly wrong when a Hall of Famer celebrates his son's failed bid to play at the major college level and forbids his grandson from even trying to find a little joy on a Pop Warner field.
That's why dramatic change is needed from the lowest participation level on up in order to save football from itself. To reduce the number of blows absorbed by developing brains, a reasonable plan enacted by reasonable guardians would go something like this:
Outlaw tackling through eighth grade coast to coast. (Plenty of boys can have plenty of fun learning the game through the rules of flag football.) Spend freshman year in high school in full pads for practice-only drilling on the fundamentals of blocking and tackling conducted by coaches with proper training. Spend sophomore through senior years in full-contact junior varsity and varsity games and practices, giving players three years to attract interest from college programs if they so desire.
Although he didn't offer his official endorsement of such a plan, Carson did point out that the Sash case should enlighten those focused on the biggest names in the CTE crisis.
"He only played two years in the NFL with the Giants," Carson said, "but he did play 16 years overall. CTE is not an NFL problem. CTE is a football problem."
Still, Roger Goodell's NFL has to do more than throw $1 billion at the thousands of players who have sued over head trauma and deserve a bigger cut. The league has to dedicate even more time, energy and money on helmet technology and player safety, and add to its enhanced concussion protocol a provision that a concussed player must miss at least two full games before returning to action.
Carson's own story explains why. He was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in 1990 after suffering what he estimates to be 12 to 18 concussions over his 13-year career, and he believes his brain injuries contributed to memory loss, communication issues and a bout with depression that one day -- during the prime of his Giants career -- nearly compelled him to drive his car off New York's Tappan Zee Bridge before thoughts of his daughter stopped Carson from harming himself.
One former teammate with neurological issues called Carson to discuss his darkest thoughts, then sent him a follow-up text thanking the linebacker for saving his life. A fellow Hall of Famer called around Christmastime to say that he'd been diagnosed with a neurological disorder and that he considered Omalu a hero.
Carson also spoke with the son of the legendary defensive back Dick "Night Train" Lane, who died of a heart attack at age 74 in 2002, the same year Omalu began the examination of Mike Webster's brain that led to the discovery of CTE. Richard Lane said by phone Tuesday that he has no doubt his father had CTE in the final years of his life in Austin, where surgeons operated on what was described as fluid on the brain.
"He couldn't bathe or clothe himself," said Richard Lane, a Catholic evangelist and motivational speaker, "and he had a hard time remembering his grandkids' names. I had to take the car keys away from him. I remember getting a call in the middle of the night from the Austin police department that Dad was at a Denny's with no idea of who he was or where he lived.
"He suffered a lot and really lost all of his dignity. We went to the NFL [Alumni] Dire Need Fund; Dad was broke ... and they wouldn't help at all. He only got a $695-a-month pension from the NFL. It really pissed me off beyond belief, and what really gets me worse is that there are still guys out there freakin' suffering, and the NFL is putting a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. My dad sacrificed his life and his family just so he could be Dick "Night Train" Lane, because he loved the game of pro football, and the game screwed us over."
Lane is hardly the only family member of a fallen football star who feels that way, and Carson does what he can to reassure those who feel aggrieved. He speaks loudly on brain-damage issues without any financial incentive; he didn't join the lawsuit against the NFL because he wanted people to know this wasn't a personal money play.
"I know the league wants me to go somewhere, sit down and shut the f--- up about this," Carson said. "But I can't do that."

Although he prefers it when people don't describe him as a sufferer and instead point out he's managed his life with post-concussion syndrome quite nicely, Carson has decided his charmed football career wasn't worth it.
"If I had to do it all over again," he said, "I wouldn't. I would fly planes in the military, my true calling."
Meanwhile, a quarterback who might join Carson in the Hall of Fame this weekend is no longer around to say whether he shared the linebacker's sentiment. Like the star who preceded him at Alabama, Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler was what every man wanted to be -- cool, fearless and elusive when necessary.
The Snake would never let his fellow Raiders see him treating his injuries in the trainer's room. But in the end, the unforgiving game of professional football caught up to him just like it catches up to everyone else. And now that game needs an overhaul from the bottom floor up.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Political Arrogance

John Stossel
February 3, 2016

Christie in Atlantic City
Gov. Chris Christie (Danny Drake)

After the Iowa caucus results, it looks like Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio in November!
They lead the betting at
This scares me. Neither candidate shows any interest in limited government. They scoff at anyone who suggests that their grand schemes do more harm than good. But big government does do more harm than good.
I shouldn't single out Rubio or Clinton, or even Donald Trump. Almost everyone running for office today declares himself a "leader" who "gets things done." There's no modesty, little acknowledgement that so much of what government does is costly attempts to fix problems that government created at home and abroad.
In the book "The Fatal Conceit," Frederick Hayek wrote, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."
I wish politicians understood that. Chris Christie clearly doesn't.
He wins my vote for worst presidential candidate this week because of what he's doing to New Jersey's taxpayers in the name of "fixing" Atlantic City.
Six years ago, Christie promised to "reform" and "rebuild" Atlantic City "without government money."
Without government money? Good! It sounds as if the governor respects small government principles and would protect taxpayers.
Christie had a few options. Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold points out that the governor could have done "nothing and let the free market drive out the weaker casinos, hope that the city government and the big casino corporations would innovate their way out of the problem."
That was the small-government option. There would have been upheaval. Some bills wouldn't get paid in full. But heck, Atlantic City "had been rendered fat and inefficient" by casino taxes. It paid "$1 million a year in pensions for long-retired city lifeguards who only ever worked four months a year," wrote Fahrenthold.
Time to cut fat. Instead, Christie partnered with Democrats to embrace a big-government option.
His advisers wanted to take over the entire city. Christie's concession to limited government was that he took over only half -- mostly the fun part: all 11 casinos.
Christie put them under the oversight of a state agency. He said those bureaucrats would restore Atlantic City and again vowed, "You have my word that it's going to be done without any government money."
Dream on. The agency used eminent domain to grab properties for development. Bureaucrats spent millions on public art projects, like a statue of a nude woman holding a dead deer. Somehow that didn't inspire tourists to rush to Atlantic City.
The state spent on TV ads and came up with a slogan: "Do AC."
It didn't help. Casinos kept going bankrupt, as did a giant unfinished hotel/casino, the Revel. Christie decided that the state should finish it. He got the legislature to promise $261 million in tax incentives and a $2 million grant.
That "no tax money" pledge? Gone. Now taxpayers were "investing." "We are going to make the type of investment," said Christie, "to make sure that we bring this city to a new renaissance."
The renaissance never came.
The Revel opened, lost money and filed for bankruptcy just one year later. It's now a 47-story hulk with 1,000 empty rooms. Its new owner considered naming it the Tower of Geniuses.
That would be a good name for Obamacare, "temporary" farm subsidies, Alaska's "bridge to nowhere" and lots of other boondoggles designed by politicians.
So is Christie apologetic after spending millions of taxpayer dollars on failure? No, of course not. Recently he was asked whether, in hindsight, he would have done anything differently. "Nothing," Christie replied.
Politicians never apologize. They charge forward. Their solution to failed government investment is more government. Last week Christie announced that the state would take over all of Atlantic City, claiming, "Greater state involvement makes sense."
He says the new Atlantic City will "be delivered at an affordable cost to the taxpayers."
Sure. And Mexico will pay for a giant wall, stimulus spending will revive the economy and arming Syrian rebels will bring peace.
The arrogance of the political class is endless.

In Appreciation of Peyton Manning

By Zak Kefer
February 3, 2016
He was different from the start, the privileged son of an NFL quarterback who scoffed at the idea of shortcuts. At times it felt like he was engineered in some sort of football laboratory, this 6-5, 230-pound quarterbacking machine with that laser, rocket right arm and the mind of an offensive coordinator to match, constructed to make all the right reads and all the right throws and when he was finished, say all the right things.
Hours after signing his first professional contract, the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie quarterback and newly minted $48 million man was asked what he planned on doing with all that money.
“Earn it,” he said.
How many 22-year-olds say that?
Peyton Manning did.
Of course he did. He was a throwback from the very beginning. Even a young Peyton Manning never seemed all that young. That he lived alone in a two-bedroom apartment those first few years in Indianapolis wasn’t an accident: He wanted nothing to go home to. He stayed at the Colts’ West 56th Street practice facility until 10 p.m. most nights during the season, poring through film with assistant coaches. Some nights he’d fall asleep, remote in hand.
Which, of course, left him ill-equipped to complete some of the most elementary of domestic tasks. According to a 1999 profile in Sports Illustrated, this included hooking up a DVD player to his TV and opening a can of soup. Imagine: Peyton Manning, athletic wunderkind who’d go on to carve up NFL defenses for two decades, had met his match. A can of Campbell's chicken noodle.
He lacked no such assurance on the football field, where he better resembled a general commanding his troops than a quarterback calling plays. Manning once grew so incensed at his offensive line after he was sacked in a game that he lit into them on the sidelines. “Come on, line, block!” he shouted. He was in the seventh grade.
How many junior high QBs yell at their offensive lines?
Peyton Manning did.
He was always in control. He arrived in control. Just days after the 1998 draft, he petitioned the league to allow him to start practicing with the Colts early. He was denied but undaunted — he arrived for the first practice he was allowed to take part in having memorized the entire offensive playbook. Ten minutes into the workout coordinator Tom Moore turned to incumbent starter Kelly Holcomb and told him, “You come over here and stand by me now.” Manning missed one snap over the next 13 years.
All he was doing was keeping his word. Months before, at that year’s NFL Scouting Combine, the Colts set up meetings with the top two quarterback prospects in the draft. Ryan Leaf missed his. Manning didn’t. He arrived 15 minutes early with a briefcase and a legal pad of paper that had 25 questions on it he wanted answered.
An hour later Bill Polian, the team’s new president, exited the meeting shaking his head. “He just interviewed us, didn’t he?” he asked a colleague.
Still, the uncertainty over whom the Colts would select at the top of the draft — Manning was tagged the safe pick, Leaf the sexy one — persisted into April. Weeks before the draft Manning sat for lunch with team owner Jim Irsay in Miami. There he made his final pitch. He looked Irsay in the eyes. He was succinct.
“You know, Mr. Irsay, I’ll win for you,” he told him. The owner would later admit those eight words sent shivers down his spine.
A week before the draft Manning still didn’t have his answer. So he sat in Polian’s office and pressed further. Polian told him he didn’t yet have an answer. Manning grew irritated. He got up to leave.
At the last moment, he turned to Polian, “If you draft me, I promise you we’ll win a championship,” he said, before adding a minor caveat. “If you don’t, I promise to come back and kick your ass.”
How many college quarterbacks have the audacity to say that?
Peyton Manning did.
He always has. He was the star who never took a practice off, never took a game off, never took the sport for granted. He was the cocky college quarterback who kept his promises to Irsay and Polian. He lifted a perennial loser into the league’s elite. He showed Indianapolis what winning football looked like. He had 12-win, 4,000-yard, 30-touchdown seasons on autopilot. He won with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. He won with Donald Brown and Blair White and Devin Aromashadu.
On Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif., he reaches Game No. 293. Super Bowl 50. The End. “This might be my last rodeo,” Manning admitted to Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the AFC Championship Game. He entered the league in 1998 handing off to Marshall Faulk; he’ll exit it in 2016 trying to stall the rise of Cam Newton. Sunday almost certainly marks the last time Peyton Manning will do what he was born to do.
It will mean more here, the city in which Manning saved and strengthened and carried an NFL franchise. Pro football grew up in Indianapolis just as Manning grew up in pro football. The city learned to keep quiet while Manning worked his line-of-scrimmage magic. It laughed at his commercials, from  “Cut that meat!” to his “laser, rocket arm” to, “Chicken-parm-you-taste-so-good.” It thanked him for putting his name on a children's hospital, for being the impetus behind the $720 million football palace that is Lucas Oil Stadium.
It stood by him while the “Can’t Win the Big One” critics roared, during those playoff flops to New York and New England and Pittsburgh. It reveled in his sweetest of triumphs, the monkey-off-the-back rally against the Patriots and the Super Bowl win against the Bears a few weeks later. It watched him grow from a prodigy to a Pro Bowler to a Hall of Famer. He became one of the most dependable athletes in history. He made the ridiculous routine.
That city? It never stumbled across his name in the police blotter, never heard him gripe about a contract dispute, never had to question his dedication to his craft, his team, his fans. He became a Hoosier, and he was damn proud of that. As far as role models go, there's no one better.
Which is why this city fought back tears, same as he did, on that still-surreal afternoon four years ago, the day he was forced to say goodbye. He made it all of nine words before his voice started to crack and the emotions began to swallow him. “This has weighed heavy on my heart,” he stammered. “Nobody loves their job more than I do. Nobody loves playing quarterback more than I do. There’s no other team I’ve ever wanted to play for.”
But football, as he said that day, isn’t always fair. March 2012 taught Indianapolis that.
So he started over in Denver, a legend not ready to give up on the game he loves. It has begun to crumble for him, his 39-year-old frame on the inevitable decline, his aging right arm firing far more wounded ducks than lasers or rockets or completed passes. At this stage his game was more guts and guile than anything else. His football life was expiring before our eyes.
Two months ago the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns was leading the league in interceptions and being booed off his home field by his own fans. He was a backup quarterback with a sore foot. He was facing performance-enhancing drug allegations. He was done, they said.
Then he wasn’t. Then he was winning three straight. Then he was beating Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady in the playoffs, reviving a career that sat on its deathbed in late November, storming into his fourth Super Bowl two months shy of his 40th birthday.
How many 39-year-olds could have pulled off this miracle?
Because Peyton Manning did.
On Sunday, he’ll try to do what few before him could: Go out on top.
How does Indianapolis say thank you?
Dye the canal orange?
Plaster 18 in lights on Monument Circle?
Hang a Broncos banner from the Chase Tower?
A Colts town is a Broncos town for a few days. A Peyton Manning town, forever.
Call IndyStar reporter Zak Keefer at (317) 444-6134 and follow him on Twitter: @zkeefer.

Obama’s Growing Conflict of Interest in the Clinton E-Mail Scandal

By Andrew C. McCarthy — February 3, 2016

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 28, 2012. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest revelations regarding Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information are stunning. For example, several of the former secretary of state’s “private” e-mails contain national-defense information so sensitive that it is classified at the highest levels.

Moreover, classified information so pervades the thousands of pages of e-mails communicated through and stored on Mrs. Clinton’s unsecured, homebrew server system that the court-ordered disclosure process has ground to a halt. Remember, Mrs. Clinton reviewed her e-mails before finally surrendering them to the State Department, and she initially insisted there was no classified information in them. Now, it turns out they were so threaded with classified information that the State Department and intelligence agencies have fallen hopelessly behind the court’s disclosure schedule: The task of reviewing the e-mails and redacting the portions whose publication could harm national security has proved much more complicated than anticipated. Thousands of remaining e-mails, and any embarrassing lapses they contain, will be withheld from voters until well into primary season.

So egregious have the scandal’s latest developments been that a critical State Department admission from last week has received almost no coverage: Eighteen e-mails between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have been identified, and the government is refusing to disclose them.

The administration’s rationale is remarkable: Releasing them, the White House and State Department say, would compromise “the president’s ability to receive unvarnished advice and counsel” from top government officials.

Think about what this means. Not only is it obvious that President Obama knew Mrs. Clinton was conducting government business over her private e-mail account, the exchanges the president engaged in with his secretary of state over this unsecured system clearly involved sensitive issues of policy. Clinton was being asked for “advice and counsel” — not about her recommendations for the best country clubs in Martha’s Vineyard, but about matters that the White House judges too sensitive to reveal.

That explanation got me to thinking about General David Petraeus. Recall that the Obama Justice Department prosecuted Petraeus for mishandling classified information. His offense involved conduct narrower in scope than Mrs. Clinton’s systematic transmission and storage of classified information on her private system.

What is the relevance of Petraeus’s case? Well, in order to outline the factual basis for his guilty plea, the Justice Department filed a document describing the information involved. In the main, it was the classified contents of the general’s journals. Among the most significant of this information, according to the prosecutors, were notes of “defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS’s discussions with the President of the United States of America.”

In light of Mrs. Clinton’s numbing repetition of the legally irrelevant talking-point that the classified information found throughout her thousands of e-mails was not “marked classified,” it bears emphasizing that General Petraeus’s journals were not marked classified either. That did not alter the obvious fact that the information they contained was classified — a fact well known to any high government official who routinely handles national-defense secrets, let alone one who directly advises the president.

Moreover, as is the case with Clinton’s e-mails, much of the information in Petraeus’s journals was “born classified” under the terms of President Obama’s own executive order — EO 13526. As we’ve previously noted, in section 1.1(d) of that order, Obama directed: “The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security.” In addition, the order goes on (in section 1.4) to describe other categories of information that officials should deem classified based on the national-security damage disclosure could cause. Included among these categories: foreign relations, foreign activities of the United States, military plans, and intelligence activities.

If the administration is refusing to disclose the Obama-Clinton e-mails because they involved the secretary of state providing advice and counsel to the president, do you think those exchanges just might touch on foreign-government information, foreign relations, or foreign activities of the United States — deliberations on which are presumed classified?

Will anyone in the press corps covering the White House and the State Department ask administration officials whether this is the case?

I believe some, if not all, of the communications between Obama and Clinton should be classified. To classify them now, however, would imply wrongdoing on both their parts since they knew they were communicating via private, unsecured e-mail. Essentially, Obama is invoking executive privilege because the effect of doing so — viz., non-disclosure of the e-mails — is the same as the effect of classifying them would be . . . but without the embarrassment that classifying them would entail.

Of course, Petraeus did not get executive-privilege treatment. His communications with Obama were deemed classified and he was prosecuted for failing to safeguard them.

To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama.

From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information. He discussed sensitive matters on a non-government, non-secure e-mail system that could easily be penetrated by foreign governments (among other rogue actors). By doing so, he left an electronic- and paper-trail that was outside the government’s tightly secured repositories for classified information. He also personally indulged, and thus implicitly endorsed, Clinton’s use of private e-mail to do government business.

Law enforcement investigations are supposed to proceed independent of political considerations, but I’d wager few people believe the decision whether to indict Mrs. Clinton will be made by Attorney General Loretta Lynch alone. It will be the president’s call. In making it, he may face a profound conflict of interest. A prosecution of Clinton might expose that Obama engaged in recklessness similar to Clinton’s, albeit on a far smaller scale. Moreover, Clinton would likely argue in her defense that the president, who is ultimately responsible for safeguarding classified information, not only authorized Clinton to use private e-mail but knowingly used it himself in order to communicate with Clinton.

As we’ve observed, Obama is already under immense political pressure not to permit an indictment that would doom his party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Now, factor in the embarrassment a prosecution could cause the president personally. Many have asked why Hillary Clinton has not been charged already. We may have our answer.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.