Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Today's (mostly) Political News

A few interesting items. Bronchoscopy including a biopsy and other tests tomorrow (Thursday), so I should know more about how I'm doing with the new lung then. ~Bob

Good Column: Alas, Fog Got In The Way. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: "I love eulogies. They are the most moving kind of speech because they attempt to pluck meaning from the fog, and on short order, when the emotions are still ragged and raw and susceptible to leaps." Peggy Noonan. No matter how hard I tried to think and write, my usual way, I could not last week. Alas, fog got in the way. Saturday afternoon past the privilege mine to emcee the 'Celebration of Life' honoring Dad. Though Ms. Noonan's opening thought germane, the gathering was not for a eulogy, not to be somber. Rather to be casual and seem rather impromptu (that's because it was - in keeping with Dad's wishes). Camaraderie and laughter and celebration the aim. A tear or two inevitable. Col. Weddington's dad, Harry, 78, received a lung for PF in August, but complications set in and we lost him recently. Andy Weddington is a frequent contributor to this blog. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: Our Icarus-in-Chief: Obama’s global fantasies are falling to earth along with him. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: In the last two weeks, we learned that Bashar Assadhas dismantled only 5 percent of his WMD arsenal, despite President Obama’s soaring rhetoric to the contrary. Russia violated a long-observed agreement with the U.S. about testing missiles. Iran’s take on the negotiations over its bomb program bears no resemblance to our interpretation. Chinese officials now happily leak fantastic stories about using their military to punish Japan. All that is trumped by veiled threats from the Sunni Gulf monarchies, terrified of Iran, to buy a bomb or two from Pakistan. We hear other rumors that even China thinks the new leadership in North Korea is unhinged and is not worried about friendly warnings from Beijing.

Republicans to the Rescue? By Thomas Sowell 
Excerpt: Some supporters of President Obama may be worried about how he and the Democrats are going to fare politically, as the problems of ObamaCare continue to escalate, and it looks like the Republicans have a chance to win a majority in the Senate. But Democrats may not need to worry so much. Republicans may once again come to the rescue of the Democrats, by discrediting themselves and snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory.

Rutgers University Offering Class on Beyonce: The New Jersey college's course compares the singer's lyrics to the black feminist movement and explores her control over her image.
Rutgers students can enroll in a class on singer Beyonce. How wonderful. US history, logic, basic science, modern language, etc, are neglected horrendously, but hey, the kids can talk about how this performer is important in that critical and fascinating field of Gender Studies. And with $50K/yr for being at school, they should damn well be able to enlarge their worldview by such significant learning. Heaven help us. --Del

DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile: Give Illegals Legal Status So They Can Vote
Excerpt: I suppose all the stops are out now as Democrats seem to actually be telling us exactly what they want with immigration reform, something those of us that have been paying attention have known all along. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was candid about amnesty earlier this week. However, on Sunday, Democratic National Committee vice chairwoman Donna Brazile appeared on This Week with George Sephanopoulos and said that Barack Obama could not stop short of full citizenship for illegal aliens in the United States because getting full citizenship will allow them to vote. (I guess we knew this was coming. --JB).

Obama defends Benghazi response
Excerpt: Obama said that the notion the administration would “hide the ball” was false and he blamed Fox News for convincing people otherwise. (Master of the :blame game. --JB).

2016 Poll: Hillary Clinton Clobbers Jeb Bush. By Tony Lee
Excerpt: Though former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is often hailed by the Republican establishment as the best candidate to take on Hillary Clinton in a potential 2016 general election contest for president, Clinton clobbers Bush by 20 percentage points in a hypothetical matchup.

Osama Is Still Winning: The worst is yet to come. By Ben Stein
Excerpt: This act of murderous terrorism did more than what OBL could have ever dreamed possible. It led us into an entirely unnecessary and fruitless war in Iraq. It led to Iraq being a hothouse of international terror, far worse than it was as a cruel despotism under Saddam. It was as if the hijackers and their leaders by some act of sick, evil magic, put a spell on the earth and we still have not recovered from that spell. In fact, the spell is worse than ever. (Ben Stein is perhaps more often seen as a humorist, but in reality he is a super intelligent man and incisive commentator. I'm sorry to say that this essay of his is again a very valid set of observations about what goes on in the world and here in particular. He is right, what is fighting us, in every slimy, dishonest, and violent way its followers can imagine, is a communicable mental illness to which a fraction of Muslims are vulnerable. Which is certainly not going to get any better when we act indecisively or even pander to those who hate us. We so desperately need real leadership that can face down our enemies a lot better than we have done for so long. --Del)

Inconvenient facts for Obamacare. By Jennifer Rubin
Excerpt: Liberals (including the president) seem baffled about public opposition to Obamacare. Hasn’t the program been “fixed”? Well, no. There are all those cancellations, the people who can’t keep their plan or their doctor, the skewed enrollments and the “risk corridors” (insuring the insurers against losses) — in addition to the security risks. A report from the Congressional Budget Office now confirms what critics have been saying all along: Obamacare is killing jobs and squelching growth.

CBO: Obamacare Driving Millions Out of Work Force, Price Tag Tops $2 Trillion. By Guy Benson 
Excerpt: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined in early 2011 that the president's healthcare overhaul would cost the US economy 800,000 jobs. Democrats balked at the figure, insisting that the new law would be a job creation boon. Nancy Pelosi said a fully-implemented Obamacare program would create four million American jobs -- and 400,000 "almost immediately:" Implementation is upon us, and the CBO has revised its numbers:

Indiana Senate passes 'Merry Christmas' bill allowing celebration in schools
Excerpt: The bill, which unanimously passed the full Indiana Senate, would let schools decorate with Nativity scenes or menorahs if paired with another religious or secular symbol. The legislation also would permit lessons on the history of winter holidays and traditional holiday greetings, such as "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hanukkah."

Excerpt: According to The New York Times, President Hamid Karzai has been reaching out to the Taliban over the past several months in an effort to negotiate a separate peace with the jihadist group:

Presidential Support. Percentage of recorded votes cast in 2013
Excerpt: ...on which President Barack Obama took a position and on which the
member voted “yea” or “nay” in agreement with the president’s position. Failure to vote does not lower an individual’s score. (So much for Democrats calling for "bipartisanship"--by which they mean, shut up and vote with Obama. Republicans vote with him more than Democrats vote against him. ~Bob)

CNN Poll--Confidence in the President's Policies
Excerpt: And in general, do you think it is more likely that Obama's policies will succeed or more likely that his policies will fail? 2 Jan. 14-15: Succeed, 54%, Fail, 39%. Jan. 31-Feb. 2014: Succeed, 37%, Fail, 56%. (Trust in Obama is tanking like the Denver Broncos! ~Bob)

Governor of Japan broadcaster NHK denies Nanjing massacre
Excerpt: A governor of Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, has denied that the Nanjing massacre took place, days after a row over Tokyo's use of war-time sex slaves engulfed the new NHK chief. Naoki Hyakuta made his comments as he campaigned for a right-wing candidate in the Tokyo gubernatorial election. (The "Rape of Nanking" [as it was known then) was as bad as anything the Nazis did. Look it up. ~Bob)

Schoolteacher Cheating: Cheating Students? By Walter Williams
Excerpt: Philadelphia’s public school system has joined several other big-city school systems, such as those in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., in widespread teacher-led cheating on standardized academic achievement tests. So far, the city has fired three school principals, and The Wall Street Journal reports, “Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation’s largest cheating scandals.” (I have a friend, a chemist, who decided late in life to teach chemistry. He was hired by a Philadelphia inner-city school. when the majority of students, including most of the basketball team, id no work at all, he failed him. The parents cried "racism," and he was fired. So the kids grow up ignorant, sure that the world will provide for them, because it's racist not to do so. ~Bob)

U.S. benefits from trade deals — never mind the protectionists’ hype. By Charles Lane
Excerpt: The Great Recession wrought global havoc, but at least it did not rekindle protectionist sentiment. Or so it seemed until last week, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) trashed President Obama’s request for authority to expedite major trade-expanding agreements with the Pacific Rim and Europe. It is not a bullish indicator if the man who controls Senate business says, “Everyone would be well advised just to not push this right now.” (I'm with Obama on this, not Reid. Hoover signing the Smoot-Hawley bill, against the advice of 1,000 economists, turned a recession into the Great Depression. ~Bob)

Excerpt: At first glance this looks like the Religion News Service and the Washington Post giving space to a thoughtful moderate Muslim speaking up sensibly for the freedom of conscience. Unfortunately, that is not exactly what this is. Qasim Rashid, for all his pious posturing, is a spectacularly unpleasant, nasty, rude, arrogant human being, with a long record of dishonesty. He has lied about the Islamic justifications for jihad violence and publicly objected to a piece calling upon peaceful Muslims to fight actively against jihad terrorists. 

Excerpt: This jihadist’s name is not Michael Adebowale. It is Ismail ibn Abdullah. That is the name he uses since he converted to Islam. Why does the mainstream media persist in calling him by his slave name? The mainstream media would find it racist and disrespectful to call Muhammad Ali “Cassius Clay,” right? Why isn’t it racist and disrespectful to continue to call Ismail ibn Abdullah “Michael Adebowale”? Is it because Muhammad Ali is a revered, beloved figure, while Ismail ibn Abdullah reflects poorly upon his adopted religion, having murdered in its “defense”?

Great speech by Dr. Carson
This is a really wonderful speech by Dr. Ben Carson, covering all kinds of subjects about our society, and his common sense approach to problems and his devotion to humanitarian ideals are just fantastically impressive. I recommend listening to this man, and maybe we can get him to run for high office in the future. He is the kind of man we need looking after the country.--Del

The Universalist Holocaust. By Daniel Greenfield
 Excerpt: There are two basic human responses to an assault. I will protect myself or I will make the world a better place. The first deals with the risk of an attack. The second with your insecure feelings about the world. The first leaves you better able to cope with an attack. The second makes you feel better about the world that you live in. The Jewish response to the Holocaust fell into these two categories; Never Again and Teach Tolerance. Never Again became the credo of Israel and Teach Tolerance became the credo of the Western Diaspora. 

In Enemy Hands: Israel extends compassion to treat hundreds of wounded Syrians. By Joel Greenberg
Excerpt: With one of his legs shattered and an arm broken, he was taken to a clinic operated by the rebel Free Syrian Army and then moved through a hole cut in the fence on the Israeli-held Golan Heights. Now he's being treated along with about a dozen other wounded Syrians in the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, a town on Israel's northern coast.

Dead Terrorists and Palestinian National Imagery. By Anat Berko
Excerpt: The Israeli and Palestinian media recently reported the bodies of dozens of Palestinians buried in Israel throughout the decades of anti-Israeli terrorism had been exhumed and transferred to the Palestinian Authority. The festive – if overloud – ritual that the Palestinian establishment carried out every time Israel returns the bodies of their murderers is curious, to say the least.

Exerpt: Obamacare moves people further away from jobs and shifts their health care costs to taxpayers. Good news or bad? The White House took up defensive measures yesterday after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a new estimate: Obamacare will cause the equivalent of 2.3 million people to stop working.

The worst headline for Democrats this year. By Chris Cillizza
Excerpt: Close your eyes for a minute and fast forward to October. And imagine yourself sitting in a Charlotte hotel room watching TV. And this ad comes on: "Kay Hagan voted for Obamacare, a law whose rollout was so botched that a million people decided to not even sign up for health coverage. And the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare will cost America 2 million jobs. Kay Hagan voted wrong. Now it's time to vote her out." That's a VERY tough hit on any Democratic incumbent who voted for the Affordable Care Act.

Poll: Obamacare Will Cost More Than Projected, Increase Deficit
Excerpt: Flash forward nine years—at this point, Obamacare will have cost the nation $1.3 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Most Americans, however, predict the bill will gouge an even larger hole in the nation’s pocket. Rasmussen Reports released the numbers Tuesday: 77% now think the law is at least somewhat likely to cost more than official estimates, with 56% who say it is Very Likely. (With the debt, I doubt we can get to nine years without a collapse. ~Bob)

Big Labor Burned by ObamaCare. By Arnold Ahlert 
Opposing Obama? Must bre racists. Try not to laugh. ~BobExcerpt: Unions that undoubtedly believed they were part of the Obama administration’s select group of “winners,” have discovered otherwise. In a scathing letter addressed to Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV), the presidents of UniteHere and the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) declared they were “bitterly disappointed” that the proposed regulations to ObamaCare would be detrimental to their interests. In short, unions that supported the president’s two election campaigns are apparently just discovering what many Americans have known for years: Obama’s promises are worthless.

The Obamacare security nightmare: It gets worse. By Michelle Malkin
Excerpt: Fraudsters on the inside, hackers on the outside. Here we are, stuck in the middle with the security nightmare called Obamacare. Can it get any worse? Yes, it can.

Questions no red state Democrat wants to answer. By Jennifer Rubin
Excerpt: Red state Democrats have only begun to experience the avalanche of attacks over their support for Obamacare. As races heat up, expect debate moderators, opponents and ads to pose tricky questions (a prize to any consultant who can come up with a non-embarrassing response):
House GOP may try to link debt ceiling approval to changes to health-care law
Excerpt: House Republicans were still struggling Tuesday to find consensus on how to handle their upcoming debt-limit negotiations with the White House, but they seem increasingly determined to avoid any kind of dramatic showdown with the president this time.

A Super Bowl teen-prostitution ring
Excerpt: Sixteen juveniles forced into working as prostitutes for the Super Bowl were rescued in the New York City area by the FBI in the weeks before the game, the agency said Tuesday. Officials said the children, some of whom had been reported missing by their families, ranged in age from 13 to 17.

How to resist. By John Hayward 
Excerpt: We’re generations past the point where it could have been reformed by a few visionaries, boosted into office with a few well-timed votes. We live among a generation that has been shaped by the government, more than it has been shaped by them. You can’t give social engineers decades of time, and trillions of dollars in resources, without seeing some results.

Nigerian Muslim cleric opposed to Boko Haram shot dead
Excerpt: Gunmen opened fire on Sheik Adam Albani's car on Saturday evening as he drove home from preaching in a mosque, also killing his wife and young son, police spokesman Aminu Lawan said.

Iranian Ballistic Missile Program Can Continue Under Deal. By Adam Kredo
Excerpt: Under pressure from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman conceded that the U.S. failed to “shut down” Iran’s ongoing development of ballistic missiles, which have long range capabilities and are the preferred weapon for delivering a nuclear payload.

America’s Crushing Fiscal Gap: It’s time to account for future government obligations. By Veronique de Rugy
Excerpt: The U.S. government has racked up $12 trillion in public debt, a figure equivalent to nearly three-quarters of gross domestic product. Yet that massive sum pales in comparison to the costs of the federal government's unpaid promises, mostly in the form of health care and retirement benefits for seniors. Although future commitments are not scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this off-the-books "fiscal gap" is real debt.

War: The Gambling Man’s Game
Excerpt: What really causes international conflicts? It’s not what you think. Geoffrey Blainey’s The Causes of War is a genuinely wonderful book. I had it pressed on me by one of the Pentagon’s most thoughtful people, and while it’s not a new book, it should be at the top of the reading lists of people interested in international relations.

U.S. Spy Chief Says Assad Has Strengthened His Hold on Power. By Michael R. Gordon and Mark Mazzetti
Excerpt: The country’s top intelligence official said Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power in Syria had “strengthened” over the past year, and that he had benefited from a deal to abandon his chemical weapons arsenal. (So Obama said Assad must go, then cuts a deal that strengthens the regime. When this was going forward, one of my liberal friends said that Obama was on the verge of a diplomatic triumph equal to the Cuban Missile Crisis [when we had to give up our missiles in Turkey to get theirs out of Cuba], and that I opposed it because "your lot can't stand a black president!" I'm sure Assad thinks it was a triumph, anyway. ~Bob)

Syrian children enduring 'unspeakable' suffering
Excerpt: Children have been sexually abused and tortured in government detention, while rebels have recruited them in support roles and for combat, the report warns. (There are no good guys in Syria, as I've said all along. ~Bob)

Don’t Blame Climate Change for the California Drought: The president should take a look at the science. By Charles C. W. Cooke
Excerpt: Of all the media-savvy decisions that our friends in the alarmists’ camp have made in recent years, the finest was to change their branding. “Global warming” is a clear hypothesis, subject to investigation and to criticism; “Global cooling,” likewise. But “climate change”? Now that is beautifully and efficaciously ambiguous — less an ironclad prediction and more an ersatz Rorschach test onto which anything and everything can be projected.

J.D., Roman and Woody: Why ‘Great Men’ Get a Pass From Their Peers. Because Oscars matter more. By Nina Burleigh
Excerpt: But is child rape really just “a family issue”? Framing sexual abuse of a 7-year-old as a private matter is exactly the kind of logic that has given pedophiles a pass forever. Take into account the crazy he-said-she-said dysfunction of this particular family and Mr. Allen’s status in Hollywood, and his accuser is sunk. Briefly, for those who haven’t read the letter: Dylan Farrow, now 28, married and living in Florida, says Woody sexually assaulted her for the first time when she was 7 years old, after taking her to the attic and instructing her to lie down on her stomach and watch her brother’s train going round and round a track.

OFA Ad Shows "Hardworking American" Who's Actually A British Commuter in London. By Christine Rousselle
Excerpt: Organizing for America, the political organizing group that helped President Obama's campaigns for the White House, made a bit of an error in their latest ad campaign regarding the minimum wage. One of the "hard-working Americans" portrayed in the ad isn't actually an American, but is actually a British commuter using mass transit in London.

WWII in the Pacific

I had not seen most of these pictures. ~Bob

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