Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Today'a Political News

With my FEV numbers falling into the cellar, they have moved my next surgical bronchoscopy to this Thursday from next Monday. I'm concerned they are reaching the point of diminishing returns, but will continue to March. Will keep you posted.

I've been working on an essay on Racism in America, and feeling a certain pressure to get it finished, in case the stick me back inside he VA. But I'm already over 16,000 words--big topic--so I console myself that most people won't read anything over 140 characters anyway. ~Bob

Worth Reading: Tribute to a Fine Marine. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: A Marine friend, whom I've written about a few times, died. Battle injuries suffered long ago, and complications there from, had the final say. I spoke to him on the phone a few weeks ago - we were coordinating a visit when I returned from fishing. His voice I remember. (When you become sick of bureaucrats, and grubbing bottom-feeders in Washington, it's worth remembering that America produced men like this. God willing, she will produce a few more. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: America’s Soldiers Deserve a Better Rifle. By Tom Kratman
Excerpt: I’m a retired infantry officer, lieutenant colonel, a recovering attorney, and a science fiction and military fiction writer for Baen Publishing and Castalia House. I’m also a political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. ... Oh, yes. The M16 was no great shakes, but the current Army version, the M4, while lighter and more compact than the M16 rifle I first carried — hence, just ever so cool, indeed, too cool for words, and what a fashion statement! — is also even less capable than the full sized rifle. Some reports from Afghanistan suggest it is inherently less reliable, in sustained combat, as well. (Wanat, depending on whose story you read.) I’d call that ” de-evolution.” That said, even the full length M16, firing the 5.56mm, is hardly adequate to combat at some of the ranges experienced both in Afghanistan and Iraq. And that is the big reason why we must have a new rifle firing a better, longer ranged round than the 5.56. (Kratman is a GREAT writer. I highly recommend his Military Science Fiction novels. I'm looking forward to publication in July of the next in the Carrera series, The Rods and the Axe. http://www.amazon.com/Rods-Axe-Carerra-Tom-Kratman/dp/1476736561/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399398160&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rods+and+the+axe But if you haven't read them, start with number one, A Desert Called Peace. http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Called-Peace-Science-Fiction/dp/1416555927/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399398337&sr=1-1&keywords=desert+called+peace ~Bob)

Worth Reading from FactCheck.Org: Benghazi Attack, Revisited
Excerpt: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly has said that the White House and State Department changed only one word of the talking points. Carney, Nov. 28, 2012: "The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two — of these two institutions were changing the word “consulate” to “diplomatic facility,” because “consulate” was inaccurate. Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened." That has been proven demonstrably false — first by a May 3 report in the Weekly Standard and later by a more detailed May 10 report by ABC News. Both news reports show the CIA made many deletions and alterations in response to State Department comments, including removing references to other recent attacks on “foreign interests” in Benghazi and a reference to the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia group as possibly being involved. ... As we said in our timeline, the Obama administration displayed an abundance of caution when publicly discussing the possibility of a premeditated terrorist attack — but did not show that same level of caution when saying without any evidence that the attack in Benghazi started as a spontaneous demonstration of an anti-Muslim video.

Excerpt: On September 13, 2012, — one and a half days before Obama aide Ben Rhodes sent an email advising UN Ambassador Susan Rice to blame the Benghazi attacks on a protest over an anti-Muslim Internet video — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the identical language embedded in a statement about the attacks. The congruence of the two word-for-word statements suggests, at the very least, a close coordination between and White House and Hillary Clinton to deceive the American people about the true nature of the attack in Benghazi. (So they lied. Only idiots didn't know that already. What difference does it make if the media ignores it? ~Bob)

Gary Becker (1930-2014). By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: More than half a century after Professor Becker's landmark work on the economics of discrimination, most controversies on that subject, both in the media and in politics, go on in utter ignorance of his penetrating insights. So do laws and policies that make discrimination worse. As someone who has written about racial discrimination within the framework of analysis that Becker created, I am especially indebted to him, and wish only that more people were aware of that framework, which could spare us much rhetoric and offer some useful understanding instead. ((I have not read Becker's book, The Economics of Discrimination (Economic Research Studies). It is linked here: http://www.amazon.com/Economics-Discrimination-Economic-Research-Studies/dp/0226041166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399378396&sr=8-1&keywords=Economics+of+Discrimination+Becker ~Bob)

Daughter of Jeremiah Wright Convicted in Fraud Scheme
Show me your shocked face. ~Bob. Excerpt: The daughter of President Barack Obama's former pastor was convicted on Friday of laundering thousands of dollars from a state grant for a Chicago-area job-training program, federal prosecutors said. A federal jury took less than two hours to find Jeri Wright, 48, the daughter of Jeremiah Wright, guilty on all counts for her part in a fraud scheme led by a former suburban police chief and the chief's husband, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the Central District of Illinois in Springfield.

The Other Buffett Rule. From The Patriot Post
Buffett Rule No. 1: The rich should pay their "fair share" of taxes, which happens to be no less than 30%. That's what Barack Obama has been telling us for years, naming his "rule" after billionaire Warren Buffett. But the rich guy has his own rule: "I will not pay a dime more of individual taxes than I owe, and I won't pay a dime more of corporate taxes than we owe." In fact, Buffett added, "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit." So not only will he not put his money where his mouth is by paying 30%, but he's also taking advantage of tax credits to do things that otherwise make no economic sense. No wonder he's the face of leftist tax policy.

A  Wicked Orthodoxy: Global-warming alarmism is not merely irrational. By Nigel Lawson
Excerpt: There is something odd about the global-warming debate — or the climate-change debate, as we are now expected to call it, since global warming has for the time being come to a halt. I have never shied away from controversy, nor — for example, as chancellor of the exchequer — worried about being unpopular if I believed that what I was saying and doing was in the public interest. But I have never in my life experienced the extremes of personal hostility, vituperation, and vilification that I — along with other dissenters, of course — have received for my views on global warming and global-warming policies.

Poll: For the midterms, a tilt to the GOP
Excerpt: A nationwide USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan "waves" in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power. Though Election Day is six months away — a lifetime in politics — at the moment, Democrats are saddled by angst over the economy, skepticism about the health care law and tepid approval of the president.

Who Pays The Corporate Income Tax?
Excerpt: Who ultimately shoulders the burden of the corporate income tax? While the corporation technically "pays" the tax, those costs are passed on to others. Southwood reviewed 45 of the most major studies on the matter, all of which come to different conclusions on the precise breakdown of the tax burden. Ultimately, the report concludes that the tax burden is split between workers and capital. Workers' wages are reduced to pay for the tax, and on average, research indicates that workers hold 57.6 percent of the tax burden. Significantly, most workers are entirely unaware that their wages are lowered by the tax on businesses. If workers realized just how much the corporate income tax actually impacts them, Southwood writes, lawmakers might be able to round up significant support for tax reform.

Ukraine’s Reins Weaken as Chaos Spreads
Excerpt: ODESSA, Ukraine — Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine spun further out of the central government’s control on Sunday as a mob stormed a police station in this Black Sea port and freed from detention 67 pro-Russian militants, on the same day that Ukraine’s prime minister was visiting the city.

No Joke: Liberals Say Not Liking Mexican Food is Racist
Excerpt: Not liking to eat Mexican food is racist according to these presumed democrats. Mark Dice talks with beach goers in San Diego who think congressmen who don’t like Mexican food should be removed from office. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Republicans have an 82 percent chance of winning back the Senate. By Chris Cillizza
Excerpt: Republicans are strong favorites to retake the Senate majority this fall, according to The Post's new Election Lab model.

WaPo Election Lab

Analysis: That 2014 Pew Poll is Even Worse Than it Looks for Democrats. By Guy Benson
Excerpt: As we saw in last week's Washington Post/ABC News poll, President Obama is a millstone around his party's collective necks. Questions that invoked the president's name didn't end well from Democrats generally. That trend is fortified in the Pew numbers. The fresh survey included some interesting nuggets lurking in the internals:

Excerpt: Lacking the funds himself, Forsyth approached a couple of rich brothers who had started making snack crackers under the company banner "Nabisco". He cajoled the brothers into donating the land and kicking in enough to build a 75 x 50 foot school house for school hungry country kids who hoped to learn more, to quench their thirst for knowledge. ... In the 1950's, as more and more public schools were made available to the country populace, the school became a community college...still maintaining the requirement that students pay for their tuition and books by working on campus. The little private college continued to flourish so that in 1965 it became a full fledged university and remained tuition free. Their agricultural majors run the dairy and cattle operations that supply the milk stations and the hamburgers on the grill being served by the Culinary majors in the college cafeteria. The Librarian majors run the library, the Accounting majors help keep the books and the Pre-Med students work in the student clinics. In 1973, a Wall Street Journal writer, enamored by the philosophy of "the little university that could" nicknamed the school "Hard Knocks U" and the students liked the name so much they made it their school motto.

I’m Gonna Go Trey Gowdy On You: GOP Unleashes TG To Lead Benghazi Investigation
Excerpt: USA Today – Colleagues of the House Republican who will head an expansive committee into Benghazi say he has a reputation as an attack-dog questioner and a prosecutor’s talent for getting to the bottom of complex matters.

Obama's wage increase, other demands are killing business on federal bases. By Byron York
Excerpt: Obama's order does not take effect until January 1, 2015. But there are signs it is already having an effect -- and it is not what the president and his party said it would be. In late March, the publication Military Times reported that three McDonald's fast-food restaurants, plus one other lesser-known food outlet, will soon close at Navy bases, while other national-name chains have "asked to be released from their Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts to operate fast-food restaurants at two other installations." Military Times quoted sources saying the closures are related to the coming mandatory wage increases, with one source saying they are "the tip of the iceberg."

Half in Illinois and Connecticut Want to Move Elsewhere
Excerpt: Every state has at least some residents who are looking for greener pastures, but nowhere is the desire to move more prevalent than in Illinois and Connecticut. In both of these states, about half of residents say that if given the chance to move to a different state, they would like to do so. Maryland is a close third, at 47%. By contrast, in Montana, Hawaii, and Maine, just 23% say they would like to relocate. (Montana and Maine? Can't be the weather driving folks out. What could it be? ~Bob)

Liberals: Exempt from Scrutiny: It doesn’t matter if you belong to the 0.1 percent as long as you say the right things. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Al Gore is said to be our leading green activist, and the Steyer brothers the most preeminent green political donors. But do they really believe in reducing carbon emissions to cool down the planet? Not really. The latter made much of their fortune in the sort of high-stakes speculations that the Left supposedly despises. Many of their financial payoffs derived from promoting coal burning abroad, of the sort most liberals wish to stop. As for Gore, he cannot really believe in big green government or he would not have tried to beat the capital-gains tax hike when he peddled his failed cable network to a petrodollar-rich Al Jazeera, whose cash comes from the very sources of energy that Gore claims he hates. 

EPA official resigns over 'crucify' remark
Excerpt: The controversy erupted last week when a video surfaced showing Armendariz saying in 2010 that his methods for dealing with non-compliant oil and gas companies were "like when the Romans conquered the villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into little villages in Turkish towns and they'd find the first five guys they saw and crucify them." Sen. James Inhofe's office told CNN it uncovered the video while preparing for a blistering half-hour Senate floor speech that Inhofe delivered Wednesday. In the speech, the Republican from Oklahoma criticized the Obama administration's energy policies and cited Armendariz in particular. "His comments give us a rare glimpse into the Obama administration's true agenda," Inofe said. (Gee, you wonder why some people refer to government regulations-enforcers as "thugs"? ~Bob)

Common Core: Students in California School District Asked to Write Essay Offering Their Opinion as to Whether the Holocaust Really Happened, or If It Was "Merely a Political Scheme Created to Influence Public Emotion and Amass Wealth"
Excerpt: I do not support the lofty and ambitious goal of having teachers teach children "how to think" because I do not believe that low-ranking civil servants, as a group, are particularly good at it themselves. Let this be my Exhibits A through Z.

Is Disability Contributing to Women's Declining Employment?
excerpt: Record numbers of women are receiving Social Security disability benefits, according to a new report from Pamela Villarreal, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. The labor force participation rate for women is the lowest in more than a decade, and it has dropped from its 1999 peak of 60 percent down to 57.2 percent in 2012. Could the rising number of women receiving disability benefits be responsible for the drop in female labor force participation? It takes three years in the workforce to qualify for Social Security disability, so disability rates could be expected to rise as more women entered the workforce: In 1970, women comprised about 28 percent of workers receiving Social Security disability benefits. By 2000, when women's labor force participation started falling, the portion of women receiving disability had increased to 43 percent. In 2012, 48 percent of the 8.8 million workers receiving benefits were women. (The more people dependent on the government, the more votes for the party of big government--until the fiscal collapse. ~Bob)

Sector Switchers: Why Catholic Schools Convert to Charters and What Happens Next. Authors: Michael Q. McShane, Andrew P. Kelly
Excerpt: For decades, Catholic schools, particularly inner-city Catholic schools, have seen declines in enrollment and an increasing need for subsidies from their dioceses. Many dioceses, however, have been unable to shoulder that burden, forcing schools to close. In response to difficult financial circumstances, the archdioceses of Indianapolis, Miami, and Washington, D.C., put a new twist on the typical story, “closing” a set of their inner-city schools, but allowing them to reopen as independently managed public charter schools. That phenomenon raises interesting questions about the future of urban Catholic schooling. In this paper, we examine, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the effect of this conversion on the schools and communities involved. By tracking enrollment information from before and after the conversion for both schools that switched as well as schools with similar demographics, we are able to conclude: Switching from private to charter significantly increased enrollment in affected schools. Switching from private to charter meaningfully increased the percentage of minority students in the schools.

With the Keystone Delay, U.S. Is the Only Loser. By Diana Furchtgott-Roth
Excerpt: President Obama chose Good Friday to announce another delay in the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring crude oil from Canada to our refineries near the Gulf. If the pipeline is not approved, Alberta's oil will go to Asia-and the United States will be the big loser.

Coming End to Racial Preferences. By Walter E. Williams 
Excerpt: She went on to make the incredible argument that the amendment, which explicitly forbids racial discrimination, itself amounts to racial discrimination. Her argument was that permissible "race-sensitive admissions policies," the new name for racial preferences, both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body and inure people to the benefit of racial minorities. By the way, no one has come up with hard evidence of the supposed "educational benefits" that come from a racially mixed student body, and there's mounting evidence of harm done to minorities through academic mismatching.

Vatican continues crackdown on U.S. nuns under Pope Francis. By Alessandro Bianchi
Excerpt: The reform order was issued in 2012 under now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, after an investigation concluded the nuns' group had taken positions that undermined Roman Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." Investigators praised the nuns' humanitarian work, but accused them of focusing too much on social justice and ignoring critical issues, such as fighting abortion.

Canada bars Christian lawyers. By Archbishop Cranmer
Excerpt: His Grace thought this was a spoof: the Muppetesque presentation style of this Sun News reporter takes a little getting used to you, but if you can get around the Kermit-the-Frog intonation and manage to ignore the Fozzie-Bear gesticulations, the content of the report is alarming and sinister. Ontario and Nova Scotia have banned lawyers educated at a Christian university from practising law in their provinces. The reason? It's really quite straightforward: the Trinity (= Christian) Western University School of Law, while fully approved by the British Columbian Ministry of Advanced Education and accredited by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, discourages same-sex intimacy and disagrees with same-sex marriage.

Young blood is the key to eternal youth. By Archbishop Cranmer
Excerpt: It seems that what humanity needs is an injection of new blood – quite literally. For scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that by infusing the brains of old mice with the blood of young mice, the aging mind is rejuvenated and mental decline halted. No doubt this experimentation will now be swiftly extended to bunnies, beagles and primates, and thence to human dementia patients. (huh. My problem is physical decline. If the brain is declining, it isn't keeping up. ~Bob)

Obamacare News

Worth Reading: ObamaCare Creating Two-Tier System
Excerpt: Americans most dependent on public insurance will have less and less access to medical care under ObamaCare, writes Scott Atlas, a physician and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid are already low, a fact that has led doctors to refuse to treat those patients. With reimbursements falling even further, more doctors will begin to refuse those with government insurance plans. President Obama has touted the Affordable Care Act as increasing insurance choices, but this is not what those in the exchange are seeing. ... Patients who can afford it are signing up at concierge practices. Today, there are an estimated 4,400 concierge physicians -- 30 percent more than just last year. And according to a survey from Merritt Hawkins, 7 to 10 percent of doctors plan to move to concierge or cash-only practices within the next three years.

9 Obamacare Predictions That Have Come True. By Robert Moffit
Excerpt: It directly affects the personal life of every American, and it controls or regulates a complex sector of the American economy that is slightly larger than the entire economy of France. If you guessed Obamacare, you’ve been paying attention for the past four years.
Four years ago, many health policy analysts, including those at The Heritage Foundation, predicted some of the effects this law would have on Americans. These are all coming true. Here are nine of our predictions that have come to pass—and it’s not over yet.

Delay It One More Time. From The Patriot Post
In another Friday afternoon regulations news dump, the Obama administration delayed the individual mandate of ObamaCare again. First, the deadline to purchase insurance or face a fine was Feb. 15. That was pushed to March 31 via a "hardship exemption." Then HHS said anybody who had even begun to enroll by March 31 would have indefinite time to complete that enrollment. Friday, HHS announced that anyone who had enrolled by May 1 would avoid the penalty, and they created three more "special enrollment" periods to let people in the gate. The administration isn't even trying to hide the fact that ObamaCare is a huge election liability, and they'll do anything to help their team win in November.

More Fail: Massachusetts Scraps its State Exchange. By Daniel Doherty
Excerpt: It seems as though Massachusetts has gone the way of Oregon -- that is, shelled out large amounts of taxpayer dollars building a state exchange that never worked properly and never will. Nice work, guys. The dream of delivering affordable health insurance to consumers as promised, via an easy-to-use website, is untenable in at least two states now.

Religion of Peace News

Excerpt: While the opposition Syrian National Coalition, headed by Ahmad Jarba, has been meeting with US officials this week in Washington in an effort to secure further support, including more funding and additional antitank and antiaircraft weapons, news from Syria indicates that some advanced US-made weapons are already being used in various Syrian provinces by rebel fighters. Over the past few weeks, media reports have stressed that US officials have begun a "pilot program" of providing small quantities of advanced weapons, including TOW missiles, to vetted "moderate" groups, and specifically the Harakat Hazm, which fights in a newly formed coalition called the Southern Front.

Nigeria Militants Kidnap More Girls: Total Now of 284 Girls Taken. By Harriet Alexander
Excerpt: A police source said the girls were taken away in the early hours of Tuesday on trucks, along with looted livestock and food. The Islamist rebels are still holding 276 girls they abducted from a secondary school on April 14. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video released on Mondaythat Allah had told him to sell the girls taken by his fighters from a secondary school in the village of Chibok, in northeastern Borno state.

The schoolgirls stolen as sex slaves by Nigeria's anti-education jihadists Boko Haram
Excerpt: One girl who recently escaped following an earlier kidnapping said she was prized as a terror leader’s wife because she had been a virgin. She said young female captives were raped up to 15 times a day, forced to convert to Islam and had their throats cut if they refused. (The Qur’an allows for the owning of sex slaves: "If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial."(Qur’an 4:3) --Robert Spencer. http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/05/nigeria-329-schoolgirls-abducted-by-jihadis-raped-15-times-daily-forced-to-convert-to-islam?utm_source=Jihad+Watch+Daily+Digest&utm_campaign=1e9a16d638-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ffcbf57bbb-1e9a16d638-97564174)

US preparing team to help Nigeria locate kidnapped girls
Excerpt: The White House said Tuesday the U.S. is preparing to send a team to Nigeria to help the government search for nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted more than three weeks ago. The team would likely include military personnel, law enforcement personnel and others with experience in intelligence, investigations, hostage negotiation and victims' assistance, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. 

Report: Pakistan's ISI Targeted US and Israeli Consulates in India
Excerpt: Pakistan's intelligence agency (ISI) has a controversial history of assisting terrorists, including the Taliban and al-Qaida. Now, the Times of India is reporting that Pakistan's ISI has plans to conduct terror attacks on two foreign consulates in India, including the U.S. consulate in Chennai and the Israeli consulate in Bengaluru.

Excerpt: The Yemeni military killed at least 37 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters during recent operations in the southern province of Shabwa. Among those killed were fighters from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Russia, and Somalia, Yemeni officials said

Muslim mob attacks Hindu housholds, temple in Bangladesh over alleged blasphemy
Excerpt: An around 3,000-strong mob attacked Hindu households and a temple in Bangladesh's Comilla district, media reported on Monday. The attacks took place on Sunday after rumours were spread over loudspeakers that two youths had defamed Prophet Muhammad, bdnews24.com reported.

‘I Abducted Your Girls,’ Nigerian Extremist Leader Admits
Excerpt: Extremist group Boko Haram's leader owned up to the April kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria and vowed to "sell them on the market." He also warned that his group plans to attack more schools and abduct more girls.

Bomb Planted in Gov't Vehicle Kills 5 in Somalia
Excerpt: Five people died and six others were wounded when a bomb exploded in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, an official said Saturday. A top police officer, who was the apparent target of the attack, was among the five killed, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior police official.

2 NATO drivers killed in Pakistan
Excerpt: Two drivers hauling cargo for NATO were killed when suspected militants attacked their convoy in northern Pakistan on Monday, local authorities said.

Hamas to kids: Shoot all Jews
Excerpt: Children were instructed to shoot "all the Jews," on the weekly Hamas children's program Tomorrow's Pioneers this week. The young Hamas TV host Rawan talks to a young girl in the studio named Tulin, who tells her she wants to be a police officer when she grows up. The child host directs her to the conclusion that as a police officer she would shoot "all the Jews."

The Last Marines Leave Sangin Valley. By Daniel Halper
Excerpt: Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street Journal: Sangin Valley, Afghanistan For days I have been putting the same question to soldiers of the Afghan National Army: How do you feel about the imminent departure of Coalition forces? The answers are always variations on this one: "We are happy and sad," they say. "The Americans are our friends and partners. They helped us tremendously. We are sad to see them go. But we are happy that they can go back to their families. And we are happy that we can now defend our own country and defeat the enemy." It's a heartening reply, accompanied by assurances that they have the military situation well in hand. They had better.

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