Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hard Political News and Important Opinion


Spread the words: Little Free Libraries find global following
Excerpt: Maybe "little" isn't such an apt description anymore of those book houses people put up in their yards. Five years after Todd Bol put up the first Little Free Library in front of his house in Hudson, Wis., the grassroots book lending program has popped up everywhere from Iceland to Tasmania. There are about 25,000 Little Free Libraries around the globe today and it's growing faster than ever. "We're going to pass McDonald's by Thanksgiving," Bol said. "There's going to be more Little Free Libraries than McDonald's, which is great." More than he thinks. We didn't register ours to save the $40. ~Bob)

Another lovely day, high near 70. We were out and about, so shorter post today. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Another hit: Dane County GOP asks Justice Bradley to remove campaign ad, photo with sheriff. By M.D. Kittle
Excerpt: The Republican Party of Dane County is calling on Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley to “respect the law” amid an ethics scandal involving a campaign advertisement with Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney. The party’s statement comes just days before the April Supreme Court election pitting Bradley, a member of the court’s liberal wing seeking her third 10-year term on the bench, and Rock County Circuit Court Judge James Daley, a conservative. “Leading up to Election Day Justice Bradley, in the face of ongoing ethics complaints, continues to keep a photo on her (campaign) Facebook page that shows a shameful lack of integrity on her part,” the Dane County GOP states. (Channel 47 in Madison called my Thursday for background, so I think they are going to cover it. ~Bob)

Obama Administration cleared by Obama Administration--Again! DOJ: No contempt charges for former IRS official Lois Lerner. She is still under investigation for a separate tea party targeting matter. By John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade
Excerpt: The Justice Department will not seek criminal contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, the central figure in a scandal that erupted over whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative political groups. Ronald Machen, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a seven-page letter this week that he would not bring a criminal case to a grand jury over Lerner’s refusal to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March 2014. The House approved a criminal contempt resolution against Lerner in May 2014, and Machen’s office has been reviewing the issue since then. (Anyone who thinks Obama wants the full facts of the IRA targeting scandal known is cognitively impaired. ~Bob)
Corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) cleared a federal grand jury Wednesday, which itself smacks of political corruption inside the Department of Revenge Justice. According to the DOJ's allegations, Menendez accepted bribes from a Florida eye doctor. Menendez said it was only a friendship. Former federal prosecutor Adam Lurie told The Wall Street Journal, "I think the government's real challenge here is going to be overcoming the friendship evidence. Doing something for a friend is not a crime, and doing something because you also have a real policy concern about something is not a crime. And I think the government is going to have to deal with both of those issues here." Attacking Menendez could solidify the Democrat Party behind Obama, as the senator was a vocal opponent of the Obama administration's diplomatic actions with Iran and Cuba. Meanwhile, former IRS official Lois Lerner, who helped Obama win re-election by targeting conservative groups, will not be charged with contempt of Congress. According to The Hill, a DOJ attorney said it would be "inappropriate." Indeed, Obama doesn't send the DOJ after his friends.

Ind., Ark. pass revised religious objection laws
Excerpt: Lawmakers in Arkansas and Indiana passed legislation Thursday that they hoped would quiet the national uproar over new religious objections laws that opponents say are designed to offer a legal defense for anti-gay discrimination.
The Arkansas House voted 76-17 to pass a revised bill after Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson asked for changes in the wake of mounting criticism. Hutchinson signed it only moments after the vote, saying the new version recognizes that "we have a diverse workforce and a diverse culture." A parallel process played out at the Indiana Capitol as the House and Senate passed changes to a law signed last week by GOP Gov. Mike Pence, who quickly approved the revisions.

A Row Boat Is A Boat Rowed With Oars - And It's More; A Lot More. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: Closing in on a half century ago during spring and into the summer - measuring; remeasuring; sawing; shaping; bending; gluing; clamping; screwing; sanding; caulking; and painting - Harry and Ken built a wood boat. It was a one-man row boat. (I add my recommendation for this book. It has some interesting history abour Hitler and our country in the 30s. --Don)

Dallas Cowboys first quarterback (USMC Korea Vet), Purple Heart recipient dies at 85. By Reagan Roy
Excerpt: The very first quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and decorated war hero has passed away at the age of 85. Edward "Eddie" LeBaron Jr., a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, war hero, NFL football star and successful attorney, died Wednesday in Stockton, California. .... LeBaron earned a BA degree in economics in 1950 and afterward was a lieutenant in the U.S. Marines during the Korean War. He was in Korea for nine months and was wounded twice. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for heroism and later taught at the Marine Base in Quantico until his discharge in 1952.

Worth Reading: The War on the Private Mind. By Kevin D. Williamson
Excerpt: There are three problems with rewarding those who use accusations of bigotry as a political cudgel. First, those who seek to protect religious liberties are not bigots, and going along with false accusations that they are makes one a party to a lie. Second, it is an excellent way to lose political contests, since there is almost nothing — up to and including requiring algebra classes — that the Left will not denounce as bigotry. Third, and related, it encourages those who cynically deploy accusations of bigotry for their own political ends. ... Adlai Stevenson famously offered this definition: “A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” We do not live in that society.

Hands Up, Don't Discriminate Against Gays! by Ann Coulter
Excerpt: "Believing there’s a monster under the bed is cute. Falsely accusing cops of murder, men of rape and an entire state of homophobia is not. . . The definition of “liberal” is quickly becoming: people who believe their fantasies should be facts."

Democrats See Mexico As Better Ally Than Israel
Excerpt: Americans continue to view Canada and Great Britain as our best friends, but Israel has tumbled down the list. Democrats by a 10-point margin now see Mexico as a better ally than the Jewish state. (Of course, when has Israel sent us billions of dollars worth of illegal drugs, or tens of thousands of illegal immigrants wanting to be Democrats? Ask a Democrat if he would support the US having the same immigration and voting laws as our ally Mexico. Ha. ~Bob)

Obama administration’s innovation score hit new low in last worker survey. By Josh Hicks
Excerpt: The Obama administration earned its worst marks to date for innovation last year in an annual survey of the federal workforce. The Partnership for Public Service said in a report on Wednesday that the government’s overall innovation score in 2014 dropped to 58.9 points out of 100, representing the fourth consecutive year of decline and the lowest total since the index started in 2010.

Six More Women Qualify For Army’s Elite Ranger School
Excerpt: A dozen women have now qualified for the Army’s Ranger School, putting them one step closer to becoming the first females to complete one of the military’s most elite special operations training programs alongside men.

Gun News

Chris Christie Pardons Woman Who Accidentally Broke NJ Gun Law. By Christine Rousselle 
Excerpt: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has pardoned Shaneen Allen, the woman who made the news in 2013 after she was arrested for bringing a gun into New Jersey. Allen was a legal gun owner in Pennsylvania, and had no prior legal record. She was not aware of New Jersey's strict gun control laws until she was arrested following a traffic violation.

Man shot in attempted home invasion in North Braddock
Excerpt: The wounded man, who apparently was shot by someone living in the home, was taken by his companions to a hospital in Monroeville where they dropped him off at the emergency room for treatment, officers said.

Race Card News

In Confessions of a Peppermint Pattie, a ‘Whiteblack’ Girl Asks if She’s Black Enough. By Hope Wabuke
Excerpt: When Barack Obama arrived on the national political stage and emerged as a presidential contender, more than one observer asked whether the young, biracial, Ivy League-educated U.S. senator was black enough to be the first African-American president. And this kind of authenticity challenge isn’t new: Many other black Americans—upwardly mobile and highly educated—are sometimes seen as “not black enough.” There’s a sense that to be black, one must fit into a narrow box of stereotypes rather than embrace the many-faceted experiences and identities of black people. So what does it mean to be black—and to be black enough? (I came across this article by chance, and found it really interesting. It seems like for at least some Americans with any level of African skin tones, really getting into some kind of balance in deciding who/what you are can be a very difficult problem. If you speak good English all the time, some others will look at you askance, you aren't "genuine" Black by their standards. If you speak with some level of what might be called "Black accent", Whites may look at you as being part of some kind of racially sensitive lower class. How you dress, what you might say about any politician, how you might comment on various news events, all of these can make other people put you into a certain box, as if they know a lot about who you really are... even though they don't really have enough exposure to you to have any solid idea of who you really are. Identity is complex enough as it is, just by gender, by background, ethnic heritage, religious beliefs, and more. If you have to define yourself to others in a series of simple terms, what are the ones you pick? What should come first of all the possible terms I might use, like White, male, Catholic, Italian descent, Del Vecchio heritage, Yankee, heterosexual, American, old Marine, veteran, Jesuit educated, etc? For me, White wouldn't really come high in the list, if it were there at all, but you can say that's a luxury that others don't have because of where and when I was born. I think that the terms I'd favor would be Christian, American, male, first, and I'm not sure about what would come after those. Certainly something of my family heritage, and also the experience of the Corps and the war. And being a husband and father, which are the most important roles of life for me. And do you have to be Black enough for some people, but not too Black for others? How do you find what is really natural for you, how do you decide how much you need to tune your life and way of speaking or living for others and their biases? It seems to me this can be kind of a no-win situation for a person. You absolutely won't make everyone admire and accept you as you are, maybe the best you can do is to have both some Blacks and some Whites look at you as being a little off, and most of the rest willing to accept you as a decent person they can respect. And it's really unfair to the person, the real person who just happens to wear that skin, to end up having to think about how to fit in OK with others who just look at you and expect or even demand some kind of behavior from you because of that skin. In the ideal world, all of us should be looked at first just as another human being, with skin color no more important than eye color. I can only feel sympathy for the people who find themselves trying to get on that balance beam in the sight of others, especially when it's a lot of others, like both the people whose skin is more like yours and the people whose skins is less so. The only color that should mater is red, which is the color all we humans bleed. --Del. Crystal Wright, an excellent black conservative writer, is often challenged on Twitter as not being black enough. ~Bob)

Unmasking Black Gay Privilege. John Fitzgerald Gates, Ph.D.
Excerpt: Whereas "white male privilege" is widely debated, a study by Princeton University researcher David S. Pedulla suggests that black gay men may benefit from forms of privilege as well. Such an idea is counterintuitive to many people who consider black gay men to be triply disadvantaged -- subjected, individually and collectively, to prejudices of race, gender and sexuality. But according to the study, "The Positive Consequences of Negative Stereotypes: Race, Sexual Orientation, and the Job Application Process," and echoed by a number of black gay men with whom I have discussed the issue, being perceived as gay, if one is black, may indeed impose an "offsetting stereotype" of being nonthreatening that advantages some black gay men over some black straight men. I call this phenomenon "black gay privilege."

"You're Greener than Gore" News

Excerpt: The Obama administration reaffirmed a 2008 government auction of Arctic drilling rights on Tuesday, delivering a major victory to Shell Oil Co. as it aims to resume exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer. In validating the seven-year-old auction, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stressed that the Arctic “is an important component of the administration’s national energy strategy.”

Religion of Peace News

Peace in our time: Negotiators Announce Plan For 10-Year Iranian Nuclear Restrictions
Excerpt: peaking in Switzerland Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced a basis for finalizing the status of Iran’s nuclear program. Formally, the agreement constitutes “an agreed basis for the final text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action.” In other words, the parties have begun drafting a deal whose final draft will be issued on or before June 30. (Anyone want to bet me the Iranians won't violate the terms of the deal, such as it is? Anyone? ~Bob)

Buying Time: Iran Talks Produce Non-Binding 'Outlines of an Understanding' With Scant Details. By Guy Benson 
Excerpt: Some in the media will call this a "deal." It's not. It's a face-saving, time-buying charade -- an implicit admission that years of repeatedly-extended negotiations have resulted in nothing concrete, with yet another deadline disappearing in the rearview mirror. Consider this tortured verbiage provided to the Associated Press: "Iran and six world powers have agreed on the outlines of an understanding to limit Iran's nuclear programs, officials told The Associated Press Thursday. Negotiations continued on a dispute over how much of it to make public."

Worth Reading: The Ghastly Shadow of Munich. By Victor Davis Hanson ·
Excerpt: The Western capitulation to Adolf Hitler in the 1938 Munich Agreement is cited as classic appeasement that destroyed Czechoslovakia, backfired on France and Britain, and led to World War II. All of that is true. But there was much more that caused the Munich debacle than simple Western naiveté. The full tragedy of that ill-fated agreement should warn us on the eve of the Obama’s administration’s gullible agreement with Iran on nuclear proliferation. Fable one is the idea that most people saw right through the Munich folly. True, Europeans knew that Hitler had never once told the truth and was already murdering German citizens who were Jews, communists or homosexuals. But Europeans did not care all that much.

Netanyahu: “Evidently giving Iran’s murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable.” By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: Netanyahu makes the wonderful observation that while Iran has just reiterated that the destruction of Israel is “non-negotiable,” “evidently giving Iran’s murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable.” He also says, quite rightly, that Obama’s deal would endanger Israel, the Middle East, and the peace of the world.

Iranian Foreign Minister ‘All Smiles.’ Zarif demands less ‘pressure’ from Western side. By Adam Kredo
Excerpt: Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said late Wednesday that he is “all smiles” as talks with Western powers over the country’s nuclear weapons program run past a self-imposed deadline and Tehran pushes the United States to make more concessions.

Worth Reading: A grotesque love of propaganda. Unspeakable barbarity. The loathing of Jews - and a hunger for world domination says V. S. Naipaul
Excerpt: Imagine a world in which a young man is locked in a cage, has petrol showered over him and is set alight to be burnt alive. Imagine the triumphant jeering of an audience that has gathered to witness this. Imagine, also, a 12-year-old child with elated determination on his features shooting at close range a kneeling man with his arms tied behind his back. Then picture the spectacle of a hundred beheadings of victim after victim in humiliating uniforms, their hands and feet bound, kneeling with their backs to their black-robed executioners who wield knives to cut their throats as though they were sacrificial lambs. Picture queues of helpless men and women being marched by zealous executioners who nail them to wooden crosses and crucify them, howling and bleeding to death as crowds watch. Then picture thousands of girls and women, their arms tied, being marched by hooded and armed captors into sexual slavery. And then, if that is not enough, picture men being thrown off cliffs to their deaths because they are accused of being gay. Yes, all these scenes could have taken place in several continents in the medieval world, but they were captured on camera and broadcast to anyone with access to the internet. These are scenes, of yesterday, today and tomorrow in our own world.

147 killed, hundreds rescued in attack on Kenyan university by al-Shabab
Excerpt: Masked al-Shabab militants stormed dormitories at a university in northeastern Kenya early Thursday, killing at least 147 people in the worst terror attack on Kenyan soil in nearly two decades, officials said. More than 500 students were rescued after the Islamist militants attacked the campus of Garissa University College around 5:30 a.m., shooting some young people and taking others hostage. At least 79 people were injured, according to Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Center.

Gunmen kill 15 soldiers, two civilians in Egypt's Sinai
Excerpt: Gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked several military checkpoints in Egypt's Sinai on Thursday, killing 15 soldiers and two civilians, security sources said, defying one of the toughest security crackdowns in the country's history.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but militants who support Islamic State, the ultra-hardline group that controls parts of Iraq and Syria, have carried out similar operations in the Sinai Peninsula.

Over 25,000 foreign jihadis have joined the Islamic State and al-Qaeda
Excerpt: The number of fighters leaving home to join al-Qaida and the Islamic State group in IraqSyria and other countries has spiked to more than 25,000 from over 100 nations, according to a new U.N. report.

2 Queens Women Accused of Plotting to Plant Bombs in U.S. Talked Suicide Attacks, Had Propane Tanks
Excerpt: Two women accused of plotting to plant bombs in the United States, one of whom allegedly called Osama bin Laden her hero and praised the World Trade Center attacks, were arrested on terror charges in Queens by the Joint Terrorism Task Force early Thursday, federal officials familiar with the investigation tell NBC 4 New York. The women, identified in court papers as 28-year-old Noelle Velentzas and 31-year-old Asia Siddiqui, are accused of conspiring to detonate an explosive device somewhere within the United States. (Amateurs. The Pros are waiting until they get the Iranian Bomb. ~Bob)

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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