Jeh Johnson and Terrorism

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said allowing the agency to lose its federal funding after Friday could jeopardize the US efforts to thwart a domestic terror attack by the Islamic State and will result in 30,000 employees being furloughed.

“It[‘s] including people I depend on every day to stay one step ahead of” the Islamic State, he told NBC’s Meet the Press.

Johnson carefully elided the small detail that 200,000 DHS employees—including all of his security forces—would remain on the job. More importantly, he would do well to direct his concern to his fellow Democrats in the Senate. Those worthies are busily filibustering a bill that fully funds Johnson’s DHS.

Another Perspective on Minimum Wage

Mark Perry has one in his Carpe Diem column for AEIdeas.

In a recent post, I posed the question: rather than calling it “an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (or $15) per hour,” if we instead called it “imposing a $2.85 (or $7.75) per hour tax on employers who employ or hire unskilled workers,” would it make any difference to those who support “an increase in the minimum wage”? Maybe not for some of the strongest advocates of a higher minimum wage, but perhaps it would make a difference for some weaker advocates who were never challenged to think of it that way?

Arabs’ Thoughts on Obama’s Iran Deal

Arabia is worried, and with good reason.

The Obama administration initially said its policy was to completely dismantle Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure as a means to protect Washington’s Mideast allies.

Now, however, US officials say it is no longer plausible to eliminate all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, suggesting that any final deal would leave some nuclear capability in place. Iran denies that it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, but a final deal providing for nuclear enrichment capacity could prompt a competition.

Indeed.

Arab officials have increasingly spoken about a possible nuclear arms race in the Mideast as the negotiations have continued for 18 months, having been extended twice.

“Must Pass” Legislation

Alan Blinder, he of Princeton University, has a piece on this subject in The Wall Street Journal. Among other things, he wrote

The resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security expires at the end of this month. Both parties want DHS to remain fully operational, but the bills passed so far include provisions that would roll back the president’s executive actions on immigration. Mr Obama has threatened a veto. If neither side blinks, members of the Coast Guard, the TSA, and the border patrol might soon see their paychecks suspended, though they would be required to continue working.

A Greek Exit

In a piece in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, about Greece’s economic status and its relations with the rest of the eurozone, Matthew Karnitschnig had this remark

[A] Greek exit would prove that the eurozone isn’t inviolable and trigger speculation over the future of other weak links, such as Portugal, Ireland and even Spain, in the currency bloc. The euro crisis could return in full force.

Perhaps the crisis could return. But only briefly, and only if misunderstood by the leaders of the eurozone. After all, what’s the long term (or even the medium term) downside of losing “other weak links” in the eurozone? What would be left would be, by definition, stronger.

The John Kerry-Barack Obama Plan

The guy who sits in the Secretary of State’s chair laid it out in his Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday.

Put simply, we are building a global partnership against violent extremism.

That’s so vapid and empty it doesn’t deserve comment. I include it only as an illustration of the depth of thinking and the level of importance Kerry attaches to this as sum and total of this Plan.

And this:

More Excessive Government

US financial regulators are focusing renewed attention on Wall Street pay and are designing rules to curb compensation packages that could encourage excessive risk taking.

Regulators are considering requiring certain employees within Wall Street firms hand back bonuses for egregious blunders or fraud as part of incentive compensation rules the 2010 Dodd-Frank law mandated be written, according to people familiar with the negotiations. Including such a “clawback” provision in the rules would go beyond what regulators first proposed in 2011 but never finalized.

Congress created a bureaucracy, and it expanded it enormously with that Dodd-Frank. Now the bureaucrats have to do something to justify their existence. Regulators gotta regulate. And so we get this.

5 questions every presidential candidate should answer: Terrorism Edition

That’s the title of Michael Rubin’s article over at AEIdeas. Non-presidential candidate Hines essays some answers below.

1. How do you define terrorism? Terrorism is the use of mass killings, particularly of innocents, and associated destruction for the immediate purpose of causing terror in the hearts and minds of the target nation’s population. The intermediate and long range purpose is the use of that terror to cause the nation’s government—directly or by divorcing the population from the government through the former’s loss of faith in government—to accept in toto the terrorists’ demands.

The Judicial Branch and the Law

In a couple of weeks, the Supreme Court will hear a case involving Federal subsidies to health coverage purchasers who bought their plans on ObamaMart instead of State exchanges. The Obamacare law limits those subsidies to purchasers via State exchanges argue the plaintiffs; the government demurs.

Some ACA critics fear the Supreme Court may hesitate to block the current subsidies because of a lack of confidence in the legislative branch in general.

Against that backdrop, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said

The current Congress is not equipped really to do anything[.]

NLMSM Strikes Again

Leading off an APNewsbreak piece Monday about how top Democrats want an extension to the sign-up period for Obamacare is this image:AP_3

The image is captioned [emphasis added]

In this Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 photo, a laptop shows the HealthCare.com web site during an Affordable Care Act enrollment event at the Fort Worth Public Library in Fort Worth, Texas. For the second year in a row, millions of Americans have signed up for subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law. But as the 2015 sign-up season draws to a close Sunday, the future of the Affordable Care Act remains in doubt. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (The Associated Press)