Saturday, March 7, 2015

I'm Back With More Interesting News and Opinion


I had my second cataract surgery, this time on the right eye, Friday. All seems to have gone well. When they took the covering off Saturday morning, my vision was 20-40 in that eye, but it got better through the day. I now see as well without glasses as with, except for reading. The surgical resident who did this one is a young female doctor from Thailand. Unlike the first one, the attending surgeon monitored her closely, giving instructions and quizzing her on each step, which was a little nerve wracking--but all's well that ends well. Now another five weeks of eye drops several times a day.

Temp here Saturday was about 45 degrees, supposed to get to 56 by Wednesday. Hopefully we have turned the corner. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Interesting: First on CNN: Feds prepare criminal corruption charges against Senator Bob Menendez
Excerpt: The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. People briefed on the case say Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors' request to proceed with charges, CNN has learned exclusively. An announcement could come within weeks. Prosecutors are under pressure in part because of the statute of limitation on some of the allegations. (Maybe deserved, but if he was black, like tax evader Al Sharpton, or hadn't spoken against Obama's Iran policy, I wonder if the Holder Injustice Department would have brought charges. ~Bob)

Excerpt: The White House, the State Department and Democrats on Capitol Hill are side-stepping questions about Hillary Clinton as the controversy over her cyber hygiene escalates. While some of the presumed presidential candidate's party members have come to her defense, many lawmakers headed for the exits this week as reporters asked them for their opinion on the way Clinton handled her email while at the State Department. Democratic strategists were more willing discuss the scandal - but what they had to say, Clinton probably won't like. Democrats are running for cover this week as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes fire from the press for over her cyber hygiene. Officials at 1600 Pennsylvania now claim they didn't know that Clinton was solely using her personal email address to conduct government business Officials at 1600 Pennsylvania now claim they didn't know that Clinton was solely using her personal email address to conduct government business until Congress reopened an investigation into the Benghazi attack. (Sure, how do you tell an email from a address from one from ~Bob)

Chelsea called herself Diane Reynolds – and Hillary planned her wedding on same account she used as Secretary of State: Secrets of Clinton emails revealed

The E-mail Scandal Won’t Doom Hillary. But it should make liberals feel uneasy about continuing to support her. By Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: Historically, the Clintons have proved to be politically indestructible. To paraphrase the movie Aliens, to truly destroy the Clinton-Industrial Complex, you’d have to nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure. Given that alone, I doubt that the unfolding controversy over Hillary’s e-mail schemes spells her doom.

The Clinton Plan. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
Excerpt: But Morris or not, the polls back in January were absolutely clear: if Clinton lied under oath, 63% of Americans thought he should resign. So Clinton went with the polls. It was win-win. Either he would be able to stonewall forever or, if truth was finally forced out, the more time that passed, the more opinion might change. And change it did. Seven months and dozens of corroborating leaks later, Americans had grown accustomed to the idea of not just a dallying President but of a lying, perjuring one. We’re seeing the same pattern again. A Clinton hand has been caught in the cookie jar. She broke rules and laws. The behavior is shady, slimy, secretive, self-interested. The hypocrisy is epic, as then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directed employees not to use personal e-mail accounts for official business due to security concerns. There’s no innocuous explanation. So what are we seeing in response? Circle the wagons. Bully the press. Call in every favor. Cry “havoc” and let slip the dogs of partisan media narrative war. Counterattack. Draw moral equivalence. Flood the zone, fire off chaff, throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks. Delay, and delay, and delay. And then, when she finally emerges from her hermetically-sealed sarcophagus that protects her from questions about these e-mails, or foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, or Bibi Netanyahu’s speech, or Obama’s deal with Iran . . . insist that it’s all old news. No, really, that’s exactly what the plan is, and her team is bragging about it:

Worth Reading: Go Dark. By Rick Wilson
Excerpt: A brief note to my Republican friends; go dark. Seriously. Stop talking. The Clinton machine, in all its arrogance and inertia, is careening toward political disaster as the story of her illegal private email servers collides with a Washington and New York press corps that can’t, for once, easily look away. The story has a lot more stink in it than even what’s come to light so far. Only the GOP and conservatives can save her. The press is possessed of a boundless desire to Change the Subject right now, and some intemperate remark would fit the bill perfectly. Don’t give them a shiny object. Don’t give them an excuse turn this into “Krazee Republicans Sure Hate Hillary Because She’s A Woman.” For God’s sake, take a deep breath and skip talking about your favorite social issue. (No way to get all Republicans to Go Dark. Presidential aspirants training in the polls will see a chance to use the issue to bolt ahead, so the leaders will use it to end them off. A speech blunder is very likely, giving the media the excuse they desperately want to maker this about Republicans. ~Bob)

Report: Hillary Clinton Had Multiple Private Email Accounts on Server Used For State Department Business. By Katie Pavlich
Excerpt As Hillary Clinton continues to dodge questions about why she conducted all of her State Department correspondence through a private email account, a new report from Fox News' James Rosen shows the former Secretary had many private email accounts on a server run from her Chappaqua, New York home. 

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe condemns ‘white’ safaris, eats baby elephant at birthday bash. By Terrence McCoy
Liberals are up in arms over this (forgetting their efforts to install Mugabe under their belief that "black rule" would be so much better for the local black people, whose life expectance fell from 63 to 37 years, before rising slowly to the 40s). But for societies that endorse child marriage, FGM, stoning women, hanging gays and keeping sex slaves, it's "all cultures are equal--we don't want to be Islamophobic." ~Bob)
Excerpt: Science is a good thing. It’s given us things like vaccines, cars and incubators. I live in Southern California and was born a premie, with Apgar tests so low that the doctors advised my parents to institutionalize me. That means all of these innovations are near and dear to my heart. I have a more than healthy respect for science. The thing is, though, science isn’t enough to keep a society going, at least not one we’d want to live in. What’s gotten humanity to this point is religion, specifically, the Judeo-Christian religion and its moral precepts that allow the freedom of Western civilization. (Jefferson, among others, believed that Christianity was the right base for a society that would be democratic and protect individual rights and stay strong. I think that other religions can also serve as a good basis for our society, as long as they share in large part the most basic principles of Judao-Christian values. Even a secularist could share those values, so could a Buddhist. For some other religions, and for devoted secularists, there doesn't have to be a connection with those values, and in some cases, even a conflict. I have read the inputs of an atheist who believes that moral principles just like those of Christianity can be derived simply from observing the world, but I don't find his arguments to be compelling at all. I am sure there are agnostics and atheists who share my values, but that's really all individual philosophies, and finding atheists who have no attachment at all to these values is not difficult. The devoted Marxists who morphed into communists who had no problem at all slaughtering people in huge numbers for the long term end of the perfect state are as solid an example as one might ever need. Where Western societies will go in the next 20+ years is a very good question. I see lots of negative trends, rampant materialism, narcissism, amorality, on the rise. But there are still people of great faith, and we even see young people raised in nonreligious homes seeking out religion as they mature. So there is always hope. --Del)

Fox News Poll: Views of Obama’s honesty hit new low, fewer say he’s patriotic. By Dana Blanton
Excerpt: The new poll also finds the numbers saying Obama is patriotic, honest or a strong leader have all declined in the past few years

Army secretary defends stripping Special Forces officer of awards. By Dan Lamothe
Excerpt: Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn received the Silver Star in 2011 for valor in Afghanistan on Feb. 20, 2010, and was later approved for an upgrade to the even more prestigious Distinguished Service Cross. That award is considered second only to the Medal of Honor in recognizing heroism in combat. Golsteyn was later investigated for an undisclosed violation of the military's rules of engagement in combat — a violation related to the killing of a known enemy bombmaker, according to officials familiar with the case. The investigation closed in 2014 without Golsteyn's being charged with a crime, but Army Secretary John McHugh made the rare decision to strip him of both awards anyway. Thanks again to the SOS guys for bringing up this very sad situation with the bureaucrats coming down really hard on a soldier who has been out there in the midst of flying bits of metal, has TBI and PTSD, and who did do the deeds that got him slated for the awards in the first place. Maybe it's just me, but to come after him now for some undisclosed action that they think was improper, not related to the battle where he earned the awards, is just overkill by a large margin. They've blighted his career as it is, and that should be more than enough punishment for whatever it was that they believe was bad behavior. --Del)

Excerpt: In a story that, if we're being honest, could not have happened outside of Boston, a high school dean who also worked as a reverend was just arrested for allegedly shooting a teenager in the back of the head over drugs. Cops say Rev. Shaun O. Harrison shot a 17-year-old at point-blank range Tuesday, injuring but not killing the teen, who was reportedly selling drugs for him. It's not clear how the pair met, though Harrison's other authority figure position as the dean of students at Boston English high school might have provided the introduction. (What the fack does he means "could not have happened outside Boston" --PM)

CIA director announces sweeping reorganization of spy agency
Excerpt: Under the new plan, each center would be run by an assistant director who would be responsible for the entire intelligence mission within that jurisdiction, including covert operations, spying, analysis, liaison with foreign partners and logistics. The system of CIA stations, headed by a CIA station chief, will remain in place, Brennan said. Most stations are in U.S. embassies, and various CIA case officers in embassies may be working on different missions for different centers. The changes do not require congressional approval and will be undertaken within the CIA's current budget, CIA officials said.

Students at UC Irvine vote to ban American flag. By Todd Starnes
Excerpt: Students at the University of California, Irvine have voted to make their school a more “culturally inclusive” place by banning the American flag. The Associated Students of University of California (ASUCI) passed a resolution March 3 that would remove the Stars & Stripes along with every other flag from the lobby of a complex housing the offices of the student government. “Designing a culturally inclusive space aims to remove barriers that create undue effort and separation by planning and designing spaces that enable everyone to participate equally and confidentially,” read the resolution authored by Matthew Guevara. (Yes, these kids have voted to remove all flags, including this country's flag, from the lobby of the building where the student government has its offices. Because that will contribute to everyone getting along better, or some such idea. Wow... Let's be calm, these are just six college kids whose brains are still closer to cottage cheese than working intellects. I expect the rest of the university will run away from this idea ASAP and it won't go anywhere. But it is just one more sign of the reason why I and a lot of other people worry a lot about what kind of indoctrination is going on at US campuses. --Del)

Gold Mine: Hillary Clinton’s Brother Granted Super-Rare Mining Permit from Haiti After State Dept. Sent Country Billions
Excerpt: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, sat on the board of a self-described mining company that in 2012 received one of only two “gold exploitation permits” from the Haitian government—the first issued in over 50 years. The tiny North Carolina company, VCS Mining, also included on its board Bill Clinton’s co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

Hillary Clinton's Record Begs the Question - Can We Trust Her?
Excerpt: Hillary Clinton is the current frontrunner for the Democrat nomination for the 2016 Presidential Election powered by rich donors, top advisers, an adoring media, and a powerful name in politics. Will these gifts from the dynasty that Bill Clinton built, along with his coat tails, be enough, or will the corruption finally catch up with Team Hillary? No one has had more opportunities given to them, perhaps no one has squandered as many opportunities as Hillary. Ray Charles famous song "Born to Lose" may have been written just for Hillary.

Improper payments jumped $125 billion for federal government last year. By Josh Hicks 
Excerpt: The federal government lost ground last year in reducing improper payments from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and tax credits for the working poor, experiencing a nearly 18 percent increase in the costs. A report this week from the Government Accountability Office said the U.S. government forked over an estimated $124.7 billion to ineligible recipients in 2014, representing the first jump in four years.

Gun News

Ex-boyfriend fatally shot in apartment intrusion identified
Excerpt: Investigators say a mother feared for her life when she shot and killed her ex-boyfriend early Wednesday morning. Police identified the ex-boyfriend Thursday as 34-year-old Anthony Santura Smith of Indianapolis. Investigators said Smith had not lived in Indiana very long and is originally from Virginia. (Indiana where you don’t need a restraining order if you have a gun. --Jonn Lilyea)

Race Card News

Excerpt: Tony Robinson, 19, was shot to death Friday when police say he assaulted Kenny after police forced their way into an apartment in the 1100 block of Williamson Street on Madison's East Side in response to a report of a battery. The shooting has prompted a series of protests, beginning within hours of the incident and continuing Saturday, by the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition and others. (My predictions regarding tonight’s officer-involved shooting on Willy St. This will suddenly become a national whoop-de-doo. The blame will be mounting minute by minute. The best police department in the country will by vilified for all sorts of reasons. It will somehow become a racial deal. It will become a hobbyhorse for people of all kinds of causes, however unrelated their causes are to this tragedy. Drums will be drummed. Songs will be sung. Strangers will show up to incite trouble. Arson and looting may ensue. Did I miss anything? Batten down the hatches. --RS. Yes, I'm sure that Al Sharpton will be here by Monday. They like to get the narrative going before any facts that might be contrary to it emerge. Willy Street where it happened is a very left wing hippy neighborhood--wonder if they will burn it? ~Bob)

Trigger Happy Madison Police? (Black) Man unleashes 'hail of bullets' at officers; nobody hurt
Excerpt: Madison police arrested a man they said fired a “hail of bullets” at officers on the city’s Southwest Side early Friday morning. None of the officers were hurt and the man, 31-year-old Tommie Evans, was later arrested outside the home on the 1000 block of Gammon Lane, authorities said. ... None of the officers returned fire, police said. (If the police in Madison wanted to shoot black guys, this was their chance. ~Bob)

"You're Greener than Gore" News

The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics. Members of Congress send inquisitorial letters to universities, energy companies, even think tanks. By Richard S. Lindzen
Excerpt: Research in recent years has encouraged those of us who question the popular alarm over allegedly man-made global warming. Actually, the move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom. Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn. (OK, so if those pesky skeptics just won't die or go away or shut the hell up, then the next answer is intimidation. Go after the schools where they work, any place they've worked or consulted, demand all kinds of information based on no rationale other than they aren't in lockstep with those who have become disciples of the Al Gore Church of Climate Doom. This is sinking pretty low, but it's only too typical of the Climate Change fanatics; if you aren't with them, you are not just against them, you are scum, betrayers of Truth, deniers of manifest reality, and subject to all the scorn imaginable. Ahh.... but here's the thing- real Science doesn't work that way. Honesty in activism doesn't act that way either. By the records of the satellite data, which is generally recognized as the simplest and most reliable way to track planetary temperature, we are now in our 18th year of no significant change in temperature, overall. Yes, we can find glaciers melting in Greenland, which is not that unusual, they were not there when the Vikings discovered the island 1000 years ago, that's why Erik the Red named it Greenland. Changes in local weather for any short term (that means centuries) can't be considered as dramatic proof of global change. (Or the severe winter we've just had would really blow away any thoughts about warming.) Had the computer models all the Change enthusiasts like so much be remotely valid, in the last 18 years we'd have seen unmistakable changes in the weather, including very measureable changes in high tide markers. Since that has not happened, it means the models are no good, and that is exactly how real science works. But meanwhile, all kinds of people are pushing for all kinds of things that will damage industry and raise prices all over, with the only "good" being accomplished being the huge windfall profits the "right people" will make. Somehow I can't really get behind this. --Del. Wait, you mean that the Arctic hasn't been ice free since 2913, as Al gore predicted, and that kids in Virginia can go sledding, despite RFK Jr's prediction of no more snow? Who knew? ~Bob)

Worth Reading: With veto, it’s time for the NAFTA option. By Todd Weiler, Globe and Mail
Excerpt: Over the past couple of months, U.S. President Barack Obama has made it abundantly clear that he is not a fan of the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s probably not personal. If he has to disappoint somebody, he would apparently prefer that it be Canadians, rather than any of the Democratic Party’s most generous campaign donors, such as billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer. ... TransCanada may soon decide that it has no choice but to serve notice of its intent to launch a multibillion-dollar NAFTA claim against the United States for seeing its project frustrated without a fair hearing. The Alberta-based company has already invested more than $2.3-billion in the project. Costs have also skyrocketed since it first made what should have been treated as a routine application to build the portion of its pipeline slated to cross the Canada-U.S. border.

Religion of Peace News

Excerpt: Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress was notable in two respects. Queen Esther got her first standing O in 2,500 years. And President Obama came up empty in his campaign to pre-emptively undermine Netanyahu before the Israeli prime minister could present his case on the Iran negotiations. On the contrary. The steady stream of slights and insults turned an irritant into an international event and vastly increased the speech’s audience and reach. Instead of dramatically unveiling an Iranian nuclear deal as a fait accompli, Obama must now first defend his Iranian diplomacy.

Palestinian Slams Car into Israelis on Purim Holiday, PLO Encourages More Attacks
Excerpt: A Palestinian man rammed a car into a group of Israeli pedestrians injuring five people including four female border police officers during the Jewish holiday of Purim, the Jerusalem Post reports. Police consider the incident to be a terrorist attack, reporting that the driver swerved onto the sidewalk near a light rail station before emerging from the vehicle with a butcher knife trying to stab other people. (Alert Obama that there has been another random traffic incident. Just coincidence the attacker was Muslim and the victims Jews--nothing to do with Islam. ~Bob)

How America Was Misled on al Qaeda’s Demise: The White House portrait of a crumbling terror group is contradicted by documents seized in the bin Laden raid. By Stephen F. Hayes And Thomas Joscelyn
Excerpt: In the early-morning hours of May 2, 2011, a small team of American military and intelligence professionals landed inside the high white walls of a mysterious compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The team’s mission, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, had two primary objectives: capture or kill Osama bin Laden and gather as much intelligence as possible about the al Qaeda leader and his network. A bullet to bin Laden’s head accomplished the first; the quick work of the Sensitive Site Exploitation team accomplished the second. It was quite a haul: 10 hard drives, nearly 100 thumb drives and a dozen cellphones. (The single most important breakthrough in getting intel on Al Queda was utterly neglected for over a year, and probably still hasn't done us much good, nor is it likely to now in the future. This is a real WOW moment. How could we possibly have been this stupid? A good question to ask of those in charge. Who would that be? --Del)

Report: Women at Risk of FGM in the U.S. Has Doubled to 500,000
Excerpt: Most Americans probably consider female genital mutilation (FGM) to be a problem relegated to Third World countries, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Yet a new report released by the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau (PRB) indicates that the number of women and girls in the United States who had undergone or who were in risk of being subjected to FGM has more than doubled since 2000 to almost half a million. According to the PRB's report, most of the women in the U.S. who were at risk of FGM were born in Egypt, Somalia or Ethiopia or were born to parents from those countries.

JV Team Advancing: Boko Haram swears formal allegiance to ISIS
Excerpt: A message allegedly from the head of Nigeria’s Boko Haram terror group Saturday pledged his group’s allegiance to Islamic State. The message was posted on Twitter, hours after Boko Haram claimed responsibility for four suicide bomb attacks in northeastern Nigeria that killed at least 54 people and wounded more than 140 people.

Unfortunately for Netanyahu, a mere 10 percent of respondents rated the Iranian threat as the most important issue in Israel's upcoming elections. Far more (48%) said economic issues will sway their votes, and in this area Netanyahu is generally seen as lacking, especially as the local media engages in smear campaign over petty expenditures at the Prime Minister's Residence

3 in 4 Israelis don’t trust Obama to keep Iran from nukes
Excerpt: Asked whether they trust the US president to ensure Iran not get the bomb, an overwhelming 72% do not, compared to 64% in our January 2014 survey.
Israeli voters give Obama a 33% favorable and 59% unfavorable rating, The Times of Israel’s survey also shows.

Christopher Lee Cornell, Ohio Terrorism Suspect, Says He Would Have Shot Obama
Excerpt: A man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol called a television station from jail and said if he hadn't been arrested he would have gone to Washington and shot President Barack Obama in the head. WXIX-TV in Cincinnati said Christopher Lee Cornell called it from the Kentucky jail where he's being held, confessed to being a supporter of the Islamic State group and said he planned to kill government officials in retaliation for U.S. strikes on the militant organization. (The SPLC will claim this makes him a Republican. ~Bob)

‘Sharia isn’t practiced correctly’: CAGE director refuses to condemn death by stoning
Excerpt: The director of human rights charity CAGE repeatedly refused to condemn the stoning to death of women for adulterous behavior during a television interview. Asim Qureshi appeared on the BBC’s This Week program, where he was asked a series of questions about treatment of women advocated by a Muslim scholar, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and stoning for adultery.

Islamic State militants bulldoze ancient Nimrud city
Excerpt: Islamic State fighters have looted and bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, the Iraqi government said, in their latest assault on some of the world's greatest archaeological and cultural treasures. A tribal source from the nearby city of Mosul told Reuters the radical Sunni Islamists, who dismiss Iraq's pre-Islamic heritage as idolatrous, had pillaged the 3,000-year-old site on the banks of the Tigris River.

What Obama Can Learn about Radical Islam from New Saudi King. By Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz
Excerpt: Radical Islamist terrorism reflects a feature of Islam that has erupted and then subsided repeatedly over the centuries of Muslim history. It has its own specific content and dynamics. But the merest recognition of this reality was absent from a fact sheet on the "White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism" issued by the presidential press office. In nearly 1,700 words of bureaucratic boilerplate, references to "Muslims," "Islam," "Wahhabism," "Taliban," or "Iran," did not appear even once. Instead, the fact sheet was replete with the suffocating esoterism of the Beltway vocabulary, referring to "drivers and indicators of radicalization," "stakeholders and practitioners," and "extremist messaging and narratives." Nothing that transpired at the "summit" indicated any better reasoning in the current administration. Indeed, according to a February 13 report entitled, grotesquely, "Obama Summit Targets American Extremism," on Voice of America News, the meeting was concentrated as much on social pathologies like urban gangs in our country as on Islamist fanaticism.

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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