Friday, February 27, 2015

Some important political news today


The cold, with well below zero at night, continues. Meanwhile, I have a GOP Caucus to attend tomorrow (Yes, there is a Dane County GOP), so I'm not sure how it will impact posts. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Top Putin critic shot and killed in Moscow
Excerpt: Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister of Russia and a top political nemesis of President Vladimir Putin, was shot and killed in central Moscow early Saturday, one day before an opposition rally was scheduled to take place. 

Is Liberalism Exhausted? It may not be dead, but it looks mighty worn out. By Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: Canaries are not very formidable birds, but they have their uses. For instance, coal miners learned over a century ago that when canaries gag and drop dead at the bottom of the cage, it’s a sign that maybe there’s something wrong with the air in the mine. MSNBC is not a very formidable network, but its wheezing is similarly instructive. MSNBC’s slogan is “Lean Forward,” which has a robust sound to it. But it turns out the phrase is a more apt descriptor of how the Peacock Network’s mini-me is poised to teeter off its perch and plunge beak-first into the droppings-stained pages of the fading New Republic below.

Ben Carson Kicks off Conservative CPAC Event
Excerpt: In a question-and-answer session following his brief remarks, Carson was asked what he would do to combat the Islamic State group of extremists.
"We have two choices: We can wait and see what they're going to do and react to it. Or we can destroy them first," he told the crowd. "The mission that I would give our military is to destroy them first." (A typical positive approach by Dr. Carson, instead of going for all the criticisms of the President and the Administration that most speakers focus on. And I like his simple approach to ISIS. --Del)

Marines and Fighting and Aftermath. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: Knowing that to be wrong and to preserve history I posted a corrective note that included link to PFC Jacklyn H. Lucas, USMC - who, all of 17 years-old (14 when he enlisted), covered two grenades (one exploded) during the fighting on Iwo Jima and was awarded the Medal of Honor. 

What Kind of Men Join the Marines?
Excerpt: I was terrified. It was not supposed to be like this. In a space of four seconds, I came to the full realization that every scrap of information I had gleaned from the books I read and the movies I saw vanished out the window. As one of the recruits shot past me heading for the door, I noted with grim satisfaction it was the guy who had told us, “Don’t take no shit from the sergeants and they will leave you alone!” He was as white as a sheet. We had now arrived at the portals of the United States Marine Corps and there would be no going back. From that moment forward, my life changed forever. (All Marines have been there, done that and some still have the T-shirt. Great read. --MasterGuns)

Losing the Internet. By Richard Fernandez
The administration’s plan to create a “free and open Internet” means, as usual, the opposite of what it says. As Gordon Crovitz explains in the Wall Street Journal, it is really a monumental, bare-faced power grab: The permission less Internet, which allows anyone to introduce a website, app or device without government review, ends this week. On Thursday the three Democrats among the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate the Internet under rules written for monopoly utilities. No one, including the bullied FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, thought the agency would go this far. The big politicization came when President Obama in November demanded that the supposedly independent FCC apply the agency’s most extreme regulation to the Internet. A recent page-one Wall Street Journal story headlined “Net Neutrality: How White House Thwarted FCC Chief” documented “an unusual, secretive effort inside the White House . . . acting as a parallel version of the FCC itself.” (OK, call me paranoid and negative-thinking, but I agree 100% that the government getting into the Internet and controlling it is a disaster. And I don't care if the government is GOP, Democrat, Libertarian, or anything else, it's a bad idea, period. --Del)

Excerpt: I have little use for Factcheckers, though I have plenty of use for facts and I believe in checking them. The problem with the Factcheckers is that they seem to think they have an authority they did not earn to tell other journalists what the facts are. That’s bad enough, but they almost invariably end up objecting not to untruths but to truths they don’t like. That often makes them combatants, hiding behind their self-appointed status as referees.

More Lois Lerner Emails Recovered: ‘No One Will Ever Believe That Both Your Hard Drive and Mine Crashed Within a Week.’ by Jason Howerton
Excerpt: “We send a subpoena, we send letters, we have hearings, we hear all kinds of excuses from the IRS,” Chaffetz said. “Every excuse you can have under the sun — you find them in two weeks, and then when you go talk to the IT people who are there in charge of them, they told you that they were never even asked for them. Is that correct?” “That is correct,” Camus replied. (We are about at the point where one of the rats will try to save himself by squealing. Then the floodgates open. ~Bob)

Lerner Email Search Is On Hold Over Software Problems: ‘There Is Potential Criminal Activity’
Excerpt: The investigation into Lois Lerner’s missing emails is currently on hold due to software issues. But the investigators know that “there is potential criminal activity” in the case.
Treasury Department inspectors general testified Thursday that they cannot provide any relevant information related to their search for Lois Lerner’s missing emails. But at least three bits of information came out: the investigation is on hold over software issues, there is potential criminal wrongdoing, and nobody at the IRS even asked for Lerner’s backup email tapes from the people in New Martinsville, West Virginia who had them.

De Blasio Retrains NYPD: ‘CLOSE YOUR EYES And Take A Deep Breath’ In Response To Anger
Excerpt: The New York City Police Department’s new “retraining” program has instructed cops to “take a deep breath” and close their eyes when interacting with people who are mad. ... Part of the extensive, $35 million seminar on policing included breathing exercises wherein seasoned cops who keep watch over America’s most populous city learned that they should breathe deeply and relax when posed with angry people in volatile situations. (well, closing your eyes gives the angry person a fair chance to pull his gun and get the first few shots in. Why do I suspect that the trainers were never in a tense, confrontational situation? ~Bob)

Worth Subscribing To: The state of the nation. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
Conservatives worked hard in 2014 to elect a Republican U.S. Senate and strengthen a GOP House . . . in hopes of putting the brakes on the Obama agenda. The country was moving in the wrong direction. The president was out of control. And now . . . there’s no coherent plan to stop the executive-order amnesty. There’s not a clear sense of what the GOP Congress should do if the Supreme Court throws a monkey-wrench into Obamacare in King v. Burwell. Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline with the unhinged claim that the bill somehow interfered with his executive authority, and not enough Democrats will vote to override his veto. The Right pummeled the Left up and down the ballot in 2014, and somehow they’ve managed to make the election results irrelevant by simply ignoring them. It’s as if we’re being governed by the comments section of a liberal blog. A midterm election result aiming to rein in President Obama’s increasingly radical agenda has instead only driven him to reach even more -- President Bulworth has adopted the slogan of “YOPO” -- “You’re only president once.” By winning the presidency and controlling the regulatory bureaucracy, the radical Left is now dictating terms to the rest of America. (I recommend you subscribe to the free e-newsletters The Goldberg File and Morning Jolt at the link. ~Bob)

Wesleyan Univ. pulls men-only frats, pushes housing for 15 'sexualities. 'By Michael F. Haverluck
Excerpt: Wesleyan University, once a Christian school, is now offering campus housing for 15 different alternative sexualities, also known as “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM.” It has a specific place for sadomasochists, but straight males looking to join a men-only fraternity are out of luck. (It's about the very latest in total Politically Correct terminology for people, subdividing everyone into 14 categories (and counting)...And don't ask me what "flexual, genderf***, or polyamorous" mean, or why "queer" is included when that is supposed to be a nonPC term. I admit to being old and confused, and longing for the days of men, women, and "don't tell me about it". This is coming out of one of the true bastions of "Progressive" thought, Wesleyan University in CT. See the article if you really want the details. Never in my wildest dreams of the future did I imagine anything as remotely far out as this. I read a lot of science fiction with people making up various exotics new societies, and none of them ever matched up to this. I guess we had stunted imaginations. --Del. Well, if the "Jobs for Jiihadists" program does't work out, we can always get the sadistic bastards in ISIS a degree at Wesleyan, where sadists will have special housing. I would have thought "polyamorous" meant "Bi," but they already have that. Maybe people and animals? you could doubtless light a small city with the energy generated by John Wesley spinning in his grave. ~Bob)

France and the United States Neck and Neck for Highest Corporate Income Tax
Excerpt: Thanks to France doubling its surface tax on corporate income, the United States no longer has the world's highest corporate income tax. Today, France imposes a 36 percent marginal effective tax rate on capital investments, while the United States holds at 35.3 percent. The marginal effective tax rate on capital accounts for the corporate income tax including deductions and credits, sales taxes on capital purchases, and other capital-related taxes including financial transaction taxes. Looking at the Tax Foundation calculation, which combines the federal rate with the average state levy, the United States statutory corporate tax rate is 39.1 percent. ... According to a National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) economic study, a corporate income tax is ultimately falls largely on U.S. workers. Therefore, abolishing the corporate income tax could benefit everyone. The NCPA analysis shows that eliminating the U.S. corporate tax — holding constant the corporate tax rates of other countries — would produce a rapid and dramatic increase in domestic investment, GDP, real wages and national saving.

Court Rules In Favor Of Whistleblower Cop Who Spoke Out Against NYPD Quotas. By Nicol├ís Medina Mora
Excerpt: A court of appeals ruled Thursday that a New York Police Department officer who told his supervisors about an illegal quota system was protected by the First Amendment and may continue to sue the city for what he says was retaliation from his bosses.

Hillary Clinton, coin-operated policymaker. By Timothy P. Carney 
Excerpt: The latest tales of State Department ethics violations, foreign money, and special access would be surprising if they were about anyone but Hillary Clinton. Throughout her political career Clinton has always blended cash and policy. She’s not merely corporatist by disposition, like, say Tim Geithner or Lindsey Graham. She’s not simply sloppy on ethics, like Bob McDonnell or John Kitzhaber. Hillary is blatantly transactional in her fundraising and policymaking. And she wants to be president.

Presidential Candidate Guide to "Gotcha" Questions. By Mark Davis
Excerpt: Dear 2016 GOP hopefuls: First of all, best of luck. If you are successful, it will be your job to dig the United States out of the eight-year abyss of the Obama presidency. This will take courage, vision, hard work and resiliency. If you have these things, great, but before we get to evaluating your worthiness to fight terror or shrink the government, we’d best see if you have the skills to navigate a couple of annoying questions from reporters.

Questions the Press Doesn't Ask Democrats. By Mona Charen 
Excerpt: Gov. Scott Walker has leapt to the top of polls in Iowa. As day follows night, he has moved to the center of the liberal press's crosshairs. This is the world we inhabit: When a Democrat is perceived as popular, the press discovers layers of humor and elan we never suspected. When a Republican is gaining strength, the press sharpens its bayonets.

The terrifying rate at which smokers die from smoking. By Danielle Paquette
Excerpt: Two-thirds of smokers will die early from cigarette-triggered illness -- unless they choose to kick the habit, according to new research from Australia. The study of more than 200,000 people, published this week in BMC medicine, found about 67 percent of smokers perished from smoking-related illness. That rate is higher than doctors previously estimated. Tobacco smoke can boost the risk for least 13 types of cancer.

Why I’m Signing Wisconsin’s Freedom to Work Legislation. By Scott Walker
Excerpt: Yesterday, the Wisconsin state Senate passed Freedom to Work legislation, which will mean no Wisconsin worker can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. I will sign the bill into law. I’ve supported Freedom to Work for years, dating back to my time in the state legislature when I co-sponsored it. And now the people of Wisconsin have voiced their support through their state Senators and representatives. According to polling, 69 percent of Wisconsinites support the policy, and a majority of union households—51 percent—also support the law. Here’s why I’m signing Freedom to Work in Wisconsin: it is good for economic growth. In the last decade, forced unionization states have had about half the rate of wage growth, job growth and manufacturing growth as Right to Work states. 

Excerpt: A couple of tourists from Canada made a surprising discovery while scuba diving in Wassaw Sound, a small bay located on the shores of Georgia. Jason Sutter and Christina Murray were admiring the marine life of the area when they stumbled upon a Mark 15 thermonuclear bomb that had been lost by the United States Air Force more than 50 years ago. (I guess there were enough safety features on the bomb that it didn't explode on the way down or on impact. I'd say that the USAF, the State of Georgia, and the entire U. S. A. dodged a very large bullet on that "planned accident." --Paul)

Carly Fiorina Riles Up GOP Hawks, Bashes Hillary in CPAC Speech. By Andrew Desiderio
Excerpt: In a fervent speech before the crowd at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina touted her business record and went after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She also played to the more hawkish factions of the Republican Party by slamming President Barack Obama on his policies toward fighting ISIS. (I think she's running for VP.--Steve)

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Schultz Goes To Trial
Excerpt: Ed Schultz‘s lawyers royally screwed up, a D.C. District Court judge declared Friday at an “emergency” hearing made at the request of the MSNBC media personality. The judge denied a motion to seal public records they claimed were confidential. Despite publicly filing the documents, they argued they were confidential and that not filing a motion to seal them years ago was an “inadvertent” error.

Gun News

Albuquerque police: Homeowner fatally shoots intruder
Excerpt: The homeowner found a man crouched down in his kitchen, holding what appeared to be a knife. Police say the man came at the homeowner, saying he was going to kill him.
The homeowner fired his gun at the intruder who later died at a hospital.

Race Card News

Al Sharpton to get the bullet: Politics Nation host on way out as crisis hit MSNBC bins left-wing programming to curb ratings slide
Excerpt: MSNBC is set to pull the plug on contentious Reverend Al Sharpton in a last ditch attempt to revive dwindling audience numbers. The liberal anchor's nightly Politics Nation show is to be shelved by broadcasting bosses as they make drastic changes in the hope of clawing back viewers. (I'm skeptical. He'll blackmail them with racism charges. They'll cave. ~Bob)

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

House defeats stopgap Homeland Security spending bill
Excerpt: The House defeats a bill, 224 to 203, to keep money flowing to the Homeland Security Department past a midnight deadline in a surprise turn of events that again raises the possibility of a partial agency shutdown. 

Undocumented Democrat News

Native American Council Offers Amnesty to 240 Million Undocumented Whites

"You're Greener than Gore" News

White House: Don’t Mention Temperature When Analyzing Global Warming
Excerpt: When conducting environmental impact analyses on rules and projects, federal agencies should only talk about carbon dioxide emissions increases — not things like potential increases in temperature, precipitation, storm intensity and other environmental impacts that scientists warn about. “In light of the difficulties in attributing specific climate impacts to individual projects, [Council on Environmental Quality] recommends agencies use the projected [greenhouse gas] emissions and also, when appropriate, potential changes in carbon sequestration and storage, as the proxy for assessing a proposed action’s potential climate change impacts,” the White House wrote in its guidance federal regulatory agencies conducting environmental reviews.

Religion of Peace News

It's not a very long video, but really, really worth the time. And notice in the details the part that President Bush played. Not something we'd be likely to see today. --Del

Iran's Second Front Against Israel. By Jonathan Spyer and Benjamin Weinthal
Excerpt: All is not quiet on the northern front between Israel and Syria/Lebanon.
The recent Hezbollah attack on an Israel Defense Forces convoy in the Har Dov area close to Israel's border with Lebanon, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, was the latest move in a dangerous and high stakes game that is now underway on Israel's northern frontier. Israel and Hezbollah are not the only players. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which the U.S. defines as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, is also a key presence as Hezbollah's strategic partner.

There's Nothing Unpatriotic About Challenging Obama on Iran. By David Harsanyi 
Excerpt: The Obama administration values a future relationship with Iran more than it values the historic relationship it has with Israel. Unless there’s a reversal in the reported deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, all the superficial talk about this extraordinary friendship between Israel and the United States isn’t going to mean much. And the histrionics surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech in front of a joint session of Congress only confirm that there are plenty of people who are happy about it.

Worth Reading: The Fatal Flaw in the Iran Deal. By Charles Krauthammer 
Excerpt: A sunset clause? The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reported its concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed … development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Monday of the “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want. (According to the US Government, Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. If we lose NY or DC to a nuke, I hope the architects of giving terrorists the bomb are present to witness it. But I don't think any agreement matters, as they will not keep any agreement with infidels when they think their interests are to violate it. ~Bob)

Worth Subscribing To: Jobs for Jihadists. By Jonah Goldberg, The Goldberg File
Excerpt: This is just a small example of a pervasive problem: the inability to believe that other people sincerely believe fundamentally different things. This is a human problem before it is an ideological problem. It afflicts people on the left and the right, perhaps not equally but close enough. Some of the sources for this confusion are actually huge advances in human civilization. The idea that we are all equal in the eyes of God is a moral triumph of the Judeo-Christian heritage. That belief often causes people to assume that we’re all fundamentally alike. And we may in fact be born that way, but we do not necessarily stay that way. It’s an understandable mistake given that the secular West is based on the deep-seated dogma of equality before the law (a dogma that rests on that Judeo-Christian heritage, FWIW). It’s a glorious way of seeing the world in many respects, but it depends on other people seeing the world the same way for it to work. You can walk outside our world in an instant and discover that what you thought was reality was in fact a social construction. One needn’t get on a plane to the Middle East. Just put a hippie with a “Vegetable Rights & Peace” T-shirt in a maximum-security prison’s exercise yard. The last thing he’ll remember is a very large man named Tiny standing over him saying “Here endeth the lesson” as Tiny’s fist heads towards his face. By the way, this experiment works equally well with anarcho-capitalist stockbrokers, Unitarian guidance counselors, and anyone else who operates on overly rosy assumptions about the nature of man in general or Tiny’s sense of humor in particular. This is why the “Jobs for Jihadists” thing has been so dismaying. It works on the assumption that the Islamic State doesn’t really believe what it believes -- it’s just venting its frustrations with a bad job market, political corruption, and the cancellation of Firefly. (I recommend you subscribe to the free e-newsletters The Goldberg File and Morning Jolt at the link. ~Bob)

If only they had jobs: Attackers Kill American Writer at Bangladesh Book Fair
Excerpt: A Bangladeshi-American writer who endured threats from Islamists over his secular views was hacked to death in Dhaka late Thursday, reports say. Avijit Roy, 42, was a naturalized American living in Georgia. He was a frequent critic of radical Islamic doctrine. At least two attackers descended on Roy and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna, near Dhaka University. She was hospitalized with several stab wounds and a severed finger.

Empowering Jihad: The Deadly Myth of a 'Root Cause.' By Phyllis Chesler
Excerpt: Reports that "Jihadi John," the British-accented narrator of ISIS snuff videos, is Mohammed Emwazi — an educated young man from a middle-class background — ought to put the final stake in the pretense that poverty and a lack of education and opportunity fuel Islamist hate. This mistaken idea seems to be Obama administration policy. (They wouldn't give up the myth if Muslim terrorists screaming Allah Akbar murdered President Obama. It's a tenet of the Great Progressive Church. ~Bob)

Fines, sell-offs and subsidy cuts: life under cash-squeezed Isis
Excerpt: Once smokers were flogged in Syrian territory ruled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now they are fined about $65. Local rulers dismantle old state facilities to sell for parts. And shopkeepers complain Isis fighters no longer spend so freely. The world’s richest jihadi group is not as flush as it once was, say Syrians who live under its rule. It has cut spending on fuel and bread subsidies, while increasingly shaking down locals for cash. Fighters themselves may be feeling the squeeze, too. “Isis took some kind of financial hit . . . Some fighters’ salaries were cut, including my nephew,” said a man in the eastern city of Mayadeen, who says an apparent drop in the group’s revenues is making it difficult to cover the cost of its expansion in territory and membership since its lightning offensive last year. (Interesting to learn that the guys at ISIS are getting strapped for funds. Nice to know, but I still prefer to hear of them as in the "late ISIS guys". Call me old-fashioned, trapped in an ancient paradigm, but I just want them dead, all of them, dead. --Del. Too harsh, Del. I'd leave 5% of them alive but so badly crippled they have to be fed by spoon or tube, as a warning to others. ~Bob)

Video: You Can’t Judge ISIS, Because You’re Personally Responsible For The Crusades
Excerpt: Keep in mind that these statues are being destroyed randomly, for no particular reason. These men are completely motiveless, and that’s how it’ll stay if you know what’s good for you.

Victoria Cross for soldier's gallantry in Afghanistan
Excerpt: A British soldier serving in Afghanistan has been awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest honour for gallantry in the face of the enemy. L/Cpl Joshua Leakey of 1 Para helped a wounded US officer while under intense enemy fire in Helmand, then led a fight-back in which 11 members of the Taliban were killed and four wounded.

Important: ISIS preparing to declare Islamic emirate in Lebanon: sources. By Antoine Ghattas Saab, Lebanon Daily Star
Excerpt: ISIS is preparing military plans to declare an Islamic emirate in Lebanon very soon to serve as a geographical extension of the so-called “Islamic State” announced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Iraq last year, security sources said. ISIS fighters have demanded support from the militant group in northern Syria to achieve this goal, the sources said. They added that the ISIS command has begun preparations to set up a military organizational committee tasked with running Lebanese affairs and considering Lebanon as part of its state. (If they take over Lebanon, a lot of Shi'a and Druze will get the chop. And war with Israel will follow. Who will Obama support? ~Bob)

Islamic State jihadis destroy 3,000-year-old artworks in Mosul museum. by Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: Besides removing supposed temptations to idolatry, Islamic jihadists want to ruin the artifacts of non-Muslim civilizations because doing so testifies to the truth of Islam, as the Qur’an suggests that ruins are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth: Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth. (Qur’an 3:137)

Edinburgh: Muslim found with bomb-making equipment in his apartment. By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: He was just carrying out “wee tests,” you greasy Islamophobe. And “he said a quantity of fertiliser was used for plants on the balcony, although there were none there when police searched the premises.” Those Islamophobic police officers! Al-Khori, “who trained in Iraq as a doctor,” was doubtless driven to this by poverty, discrimination, and a lack of economic opportunity.

TSA Worried About 'Greatest Potential Incendiary Threat to Aviation.' By Leah Barkoukis
Excerpt: According to an FBI report, the use of Thermite on an aircraft is the “greatest potential incendiary threat to aviation.” Worse yet, the Transportation Security Administration said it would be extremely hard to detect during security screenings and once ignited, there’s no way to extinguish it using conventional methods without making the reaction worse.
The Intercept, which obtained the classified documents, has the details:

Syria's Civil War Could Stabilize the Middle East. By Daniel Pipes
Excerpt: Population shifts resulting from Syria's four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That's because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic minority status to ethnic majority status, encouraging like to live with like.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. For a free PDF of Collapse, e-mail him at tartanmarine(at) Hall’s eleven books are listed here:

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