Saturday, April 11, 2015

Today's interesting political news and opinion


Saturday was lovely, sunny and mid-sixties. So we basically took the day off, drove up to the Amish country, bought some plants in an Amish greenhouse, some goods at an Amish bakery, and a lot of different foods--like no-sugar-added apple butter--at an Amish country store. Sorry about the limited post. ~Bob

We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, and the plain duty of each and all of us is to try to make the little corner he can influence somewhat less miserable and somewhat less ignorant than it was before he entered it. --Thomas H. Huxley

General News and Comment

Tech Challenged? Hillary’s nerd squad: Clinton’s tech team signals a significant departure from her analog approach in 2008
Excerpt: With the hiring of 2012 Obama campaign alumni Teddy Goff as chief digital strategist, Elan Kriegel as analytics director and Andrew Bleeker as a top outside adviser, the campaign is indicating a greater emphasis on the kinds of cutting-edge techniques that both parties now routinely use to tap into every possible fundraising dollar and seek out every available voter. ... Interviews for more tech-focused slots are happening “on the half hour for what will be dozens of early hires,” one longtime Clinton aide explained of the operation, which could see its technology fleet grow roughly three times larger than Obama’s 2012 reelection effort....Clinton’s growing operation also will include longtime aide Katie Dowd as the campaign’s digital director, EMILY’s List’s Jenna Lowenstein as a digital deputy and Matt Ortega in a central role connecting the communications and digital teams. (But the server has to be in her basement and she can only use one email device. ~Bob)

Keller @ Large: Deval Patrick’s Sorry Legacy
Excerpt: I could drag you through the litany of failures that especially plagued his last couple of years in office: the demolition of our functioning health-care website for purely partisan political reasons; the horrible oversight of the Department for Children and Families, the Department of Health, and numerous other failed boards and commissions; the scattershot economic development schemes that didn’t pay off, and so on. But the sorry legacy of the Patrick years can be summed up in just four letters – MBTA.

U.S. Marine ‘Gunny’ to receive Navy Cross for heroic acts in Afghanistan
Excerpt: Gunnery Sergeant Brian Jacklin will receive the Navy Cross this week for his acts of heroism during a 2012 battle in Afghanistan. The gunnery sergeant endured intense enemy fire in order to save his fellow Marines, the Military Times reported. The Navy Cross is the second-highest military decoration for valor that may be awarded to a member of the United States NavyU.S. Marine Corps, or U.S. Coast Guard (when operating under the Department of the Navy) for extraordinary heroism in combat.

Journalism is dead: Rolling Stone’s damaging journalism. By Kathleen Parker
Excerpt: In his note to readers, Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana wondered how this could have happened. Was it the process? The people? The fact-checkers? Poor everybody. Let’s start here: If, as every reporter knows, you’re supposed to check it out if your mother says she loves you, wouldn’t one insist upon an even-higher standard for a stranger with a wild tale? (Journalism no longer reports stories and facts. Now we have "Narrative Journalism," where they only report facts and--or what they claim are facts--and only report stories, that support the political narrative--usually progressive--they wish to advance. ~Bob)

Former Reagan Budget Director Warns ‘ALL HELL TO BREAK LOOSE’
Excerpt: Convinced that the entire “economic recovery” is fake . . . that it has merely been propped up by reckless money printing, interest rate cuts, and bailouts for Wall Street . . . Stockman is urging average Americans to prepare for an unstoppable economic collapse. ...Harry Dent’s concern is that the government’s unprecedented intervention through QE (Quantitative Easing) and other measures is creating the worst case scenario. Which is why his next words painfully hang in the air: “The next crash is going to be worse than the last one.”

Jindal: 'Unholy alliance' gutted religious freedom laws
Excerpt: Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) on Friday blamed an “unholy alliance” of liberal interests for gutting religious freedom legislation in Arkansas and Indiana. “The liberal elitists believe CNN should have First Amendment freedoms but not small businesses,” Jindal said at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum in Nashville. “The only freedom I think they engage in is the freedom to engage in absolute hypocrisy,” he argued. 

Obamas paid $93K in taxes
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama reported an adjusted gross income of $477,383 and paid $93,362 in federal taxes for 2014, the White House said Friday. The Obamas' tax documents show they donated $70,712, which is 14.8 percent of their income, to 33 different charities. ...The family’s effective federal income tax rate was 19.6 percent. (All those holidays paid for by US citizens were work-related expenses versus benefits? One trip would just about equal their cited total adjusted gross income. --Barb)

Misreading Alinsky: Rules for Radicals: a strategy for giving the radical left the power needed to win.
Excerpt: Since the year before his disciple, Barack Obama, was elected president, many of us have been raising alarms about how Saul Alinsky’s brass-knuckles tactics have been mainstreamed by Democrats. It was thus refreshing to find an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week, by Pete Peterson of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy, expressly calling out a top House Democrat for resorting to the seminal community organizer’s extortion playbook. But in the end, alas, Mr. Peterson gets Alinsky wrong. He does a fine job of exposing the hardball played by Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Too Soon to Go Full Totalitarian
Excerpt: Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, in 2012, wrote to his congregation on abortion. He told them, “Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. ... And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state and the sovereignty of God.”

PJ Media Monitor: Top Ten Underreported Stories of the Week. What ever happened to government transparency? And what's going on with the labor force?
Excerpt: Every week we scour the Internet to find the stories that apparently aren’t fit to print. This week we’re looking at: what happened to government transparency; an Iran deal so bad that the Washington Post and Saudi Arabia both say it’s dangerous; the consequences to women, black Americans and — oh, that’s right, everybody – of Obama’s economic policies; and a crazy “robot city” soon to open where you can test your driverless car of the future. Share this page with friends and family who rarely see the news your views are based on!

Who's anti-science? California vaccine bill sparks acidic debate, Nazi links
Excerpt: A California bill that would sharply limit vaccination waivers after a measles outbreak at Disneyland has generated such an acidic debate that the proposal's author was under added security this week. Authorities wouldn't specify the extra protections around state Sen. Richard Pan on Friday, but the level of anger over the measure has been clear....It would prevent parents from sending unvaccinated kids to school using waivers for religious or personal beliefs. ... Before the bill's first legislative hearing this week, hundreds of opponents attended a rally that featured an appearance from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has said the number of children injured by vaccines amounts to "a holocaust."

Bird flu confirmed at North Dakota turkey farm, 4 more in Minnesota
Excerpt: A deadly bird flu strain was confirmed Friday at one North Dakota turkey farm and at four more in Minnesota, raising the number of farms affected across the Midwest to 20 and the toll to almost 1.1 million birds since the outbreak was first confirmed in early March. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the new cases in Minnesota of the highly contagious H5N2 strain are in Cottonwood, Lyon, Watonwan and Stearns counties....In North Dakota, State Veterinarian Susan Keller said the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Iowa confirmed the H5N2 strain of avian influenza in a flock of 40,000 turkeys in Dickey County. (Crickets for Thanksgiving dinner? --Barb)

Senators seek probe of claims US workers fired, forced to train foreign replacements
Excerpt: A popular visa program allegedly is being misused by U.S. companies to lay off thousands of American workers and replace them with foreign labor. And, adding insult to injury, many of the laid-off workers allegedly have been forced to train their replacements, in what one anonymous whistleblower called a “humiliating” experience. The allegations have caught the attention of a bipartisan group of senators -- including immigration hawk Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Illinois’ Dick Durbin -- who are calling for a federal probe.

Here’s How Businesses Are Responding to Oakland’s Minimum Wage Hike
Excerpt: A report recently released issued by the Employment Policies Institute makes it abundantly clear that this raise in wages actually wound up hurting the poor instead. A whopping 56 percent of small Oakland business owners reported that the increase caused a spike in labor costs. This in turn provoked the owners into reducing hours for some employees, terminating others, raising prices and delaying plans for expansion. Furthermore, one in 10 Oakland small businesses are now “very likely” to close, while another 18 percent are “somewhat likely” to close.

Gun News

Burglary victim, 70, shares story after deadly officer-involved shooting
Excerpt: The 70-year-old homeowner who confronted the man captured on camera leaving his home with his belongings told his story KOCO. ... The farmer threw his gun in the passenger seat and gave chase. “When he was pulled up at the stop sign he took a couple of shots out of the door and then he turned and he shot and he hit my pickup,” said the homeowner. The bullets were fired from his own stolen gun. During the 15-minute chase, Rose spun his truck sideways and the farmer rammed into him. ... Pottawatomie County deputies caught up and took over the chase. Four of them opened fire at Rose near Shawnee Lake. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

NRA sees new Obama gun control push after bullet ban fail
Excerpt: Fresh from beating back the administration's bullet ban, the NRA's top executives said Saturday that the group is bracing for further anti-gun moves by the lame duck president and warned that Hillary Clinton's gun control efforts as president would make President Obama "look like an amateur." Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, told the group's annual meeting, said, "Obama says he's not going anywhere for the next 650 days. Well we have news for the president, neither are we."

NRA chief: Clinton will bring 'permanent darkness'
Excerpt: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will bring a "permanent darkness of deceit and despair" to the United States if elected president, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre said Friday. "Do we really want to put the country through another Clinton term of scandal and deceit and self-serving behavior?" he said while speaking at the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum.... “Hillary Clinton has more gates than a South Texas cattle ranch,” he joked, to laughter from the crowd

Sex Offender Refuses to Get Off 61-Year-Old Woman’s Property… Gets What’s Coming to Him
Excerpt: After a convicted sex offender refused to leave her property, Eddie L. Manley responded the only way she knew how. The 61-year-old Madison County, Ga., woman shot the sex offender, teaching him a lesson about when to realize you’re not wanted. (unless she can demonstrate she feared bodily harm to her or another, she is likely in trouble. ~Bob)

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

Are People Getting More Health Care Because of ObamaCare? By John C. Goodman
Excerpt: To avoid the effects of the 2008 financial crisis, the recession, and the slow recovery, John Graham compared the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with their survey from a decade ago. The result: "The proportion of people of all ages with a 'usual place to go for medical care' was 87.8 percent last year, the same as it was in 2002-2003. Further, 5.7 percent reported that they failed to obtain needed medical care due to cost last year, the same as it was in 2003-2004."

Religion of Peace News

But of course, it's been a long time since Democrats cared what the voters thought on a range of issues: Keystone, Voter ID, Late Term Abortion, IRS, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, now Iran.

Don't bet on 13 Democrats with courage: Containing Iran’s nuclear intoxication. By George F. Will
Excerpt: Obama’s disdain for constitutional etiquette — his contempt for the institutional self-restraint that enables equilibrium under the separation of powers — has been primarily in domestic policy. His anti-constitutional actions have involved the Affordable Care Act; environmental, education, welfare and immigration policies; Internet regulation; and judicially rebuked recess appointments, among other matters. Now, however, Congress’s revival comes regarding foreign policy, where constitutional logic and historical precedents are most supportive of presidential discretion. Corker proposes legislation to prevent Obama from unilaterally ending sanctions that Congress wrote into law. If all 54 Republicans and 13 Democrats agree on this point of constitutional integrity and institutional dignity, Obama’s promised veto of Corker’s legislation will be overridden.

Rep. Will Hurd is first black GOP Congressman in Texas since Reconstruction. A former CIA officer and cybersecurity expert, he says Americans should be worried about computer security and the social media campaign by the Islamic State. By Martin Barillas
Excerpt: The first African-American Republican elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas since the Reconstruction Era, Rep. Will Hurd was interviewed by Steven Scully of C-SPAN on his upset victory over incumbent Democrat Rep. Pete Gallego in 2014. In the election, Hurd beat Gallego, with 49.8 percent of the vote over 47.7 for the incumbent. He represents the23rd congressional district of Texas, which encompasses 5,000 square miles and 800 miles of the international border shared with Mexico. In addition, both San Antonio and El Paso lie within his district. 

Excerpt: Democratic senators backing a bill that would give Congress authority to review an Iran nuclear deal are caught between the White House and the pro-Israel lobby as they assert their prerogative to vet foreign policy. The Republican bill, co-sponsored by New York Senator Charles Schumer and eight other Democrats, would allow Congress to block the U.S. from lifting sanctions against Iran. President Barack Obama’s administration says the measure could imperil the nuclear talks and that he would veto it. (The question should not be a choice between supporting the president or supporting Israel, but supporting the USA and that makes the choice easy. Pass the bill. --Don)

Excerpt: Politically, the most damage will probably come from Khamenei’s declaration that nothing was agreed to at Lausanne, and that White House claims otherwise are “incorrect and contrary to the substance of the negotiations.” The statement is likely to boost increasingly vocal claims that the administration exaggerated negotiators’ progress in order to forestall Congressional action:

Obama's pals: IRAN: Christians barred from holding Easter celebration in churches in northwestern city
Excerpt: In the latest repressive measures taken against religious minorities in Iran, Iranian Christians in a northwestern city have been barred from holding Easter celebrations in churches.
On Saturday, the Iranian regime’s State Security Forces (police) sent threatening letters to churches in the city of Urumiyeh warning them against holding gatherings for Easter celebrations.

Excerpt: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel, has released an audio message praising the head of the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, for working with other Islamist and jihadist groups to capture the city of Idlib.

Student who Uncovered College Support for ISIS may Face Criminal Charges. By Onan Coca
Excerpt: The Barry University student who helped conservative firebrand James O’Keefe secretly record a video showing school staff supposedly support ISIS could be facing criminal charges, according to a local news station. Laura Loomer, a senior studying communications, helped O’Keefe’s organization, Project Veritas, capture secret video of staff members at Barry apparently offering advice on how to start a pro-Islamic State organization. Loomer pretended that she wanted to start an organization, dubbed Sympathetic Students in Support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which would send humanitarian and financial aid to the Islamic State.

Excerpt: For years, Glenn has been warning that Iran has been preparing to launch an EMP attack against the United States. “Iran is detonating missiles at exactly the altitude for an EMP,” Glenn said.... 90 percent of the population dies within the first year,” Glenn said.

Islamic State: ISIS killers release horrific images showing 'man stoned to death for being gay.' By Sam Rkaina, Stephanie Nebehay
Excerpt: The Islamic State have released more horrific pictures showing the apparent stoning to death of a man accused of being gay. The blindfolded victim is led into a field in Homs, Syria, with his hands seemingly tied behind his back. Behind him a crowd of more than a dozen men hurl rocks at him from behind, many not wearing any kind of disguise.

Pakistan Releases Alleged Terrorist Mastermind
Excerpt: Pakistan has released the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, after the country’s High Court ruled he must be granted bail until the end of his trial. Zakuir Rehman Lakhvi is believed to be the operations chief of the Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. In 2008, 10 members of the group launched a series of attacks in MumbaiIndia’s largest city.

Islamic Feminism: Syria: Female Jihadists set up anti-Assad training camp in world's oldest Byzantine church to 'empower women.' By Gianluca Mezzofiore , Arij Limam
Excerpt: A group of Syrian female jihadists has apparently established a training camp in the world's oldest Byzantine church near Aleppo (Darat Izza)"to empower women to be the same as men" in the fight against embattled president Bashar al-Assad, according to a video that emerged online. The footage, which could not be independently verified by IBTimes UK, depicts around 45 black-clad AK-47-wielding women marching towards the church of Saint Simeon Stylites, located in northwest Aleppo, while shouting out the takbir (Allahu Akbar) and other religious slogans.

White House defends trolling Netanyahu
Excerpt: The White House is standing by a tweet mocking Israeli Prime Minister Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite concerns it could further sour relations between the two countries. A White House tweet defending the framework nuclear agreement with Iran contained a cartoon bomb that was nearly identical to one in a chart used by Netanyahu in a 2012 speech urging the U.S. to take a harder line against Iran’s nuclear program. ... “It would make no sense for us to essentially not make our case,” Rhodes said. (WH displays grade school bullying on Twitter and Biden sucks pacifier taken from baby....great week. America transforming. --Barb)

Kansas Man Arrested for Alleged ‘Islamic State-Inspired’ Bomb Plot
Excerpt: A man who authorities say was sympathetic to the self-declared Islamic State and plotting to carry out a suicide bombing at a U.S. Army base in Kansas, has been arrested and charged following a lengthy FBI sting operation. John T. Booker Jr., 20, of Topeka, was apprehended Friday morning "while making final preparations for the suicide car bomb attack" he'd been planning at Fort Riley, Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda reports.

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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