Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Today's important political news and conservative opinion

General News and Comment

Now It Makes a Difference: Clinton Says Benghazi "Biggest Regret." By Katie Pavlich 
Excerpt: Now after lying about a YouTube video and falsely promising families answers, Clinton is saying her biggest regret as Secretary of State is Benghazi. She made the declaration during an interview at the National Automobile Association convention in New Orleans. "You know, my biggest, you know, regret is what happened in Benghazi. It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans, two diplomats and now it's public, so I can say two CIA operatives, losing an ambassador like Chris Stevens, who was one of our very best and had served in Libya and across the Middle East and spoke Arabic," Clinton said.

CNN: Yes, Hillary has serious problems with Libya. By Ed Morrissey
Excerpt: No kidding, but it’s not just Hillary Clinton who will struggle with the outcome of the Obama administration’s Libyan intervention in 2011. Today’s story about the Christians captured by ISIS while trying to escape through Tripoli, and other such stories that will surely follow, will keep raising this issue over and over again during the campaign. CNN’s Stephen Collinson calls this a real problem for Hillary, especially given her reliance on four years as Secretary of State to claim readiness for the top job: She’s already grappling with the political headaches from deleted emails and from the terror attack that left four Americans dead in Benghazi. But she’ll face a broader challenge in what’s become of the North African country since, as secretary of state in 2011, she was the public face of the U.S. intervention to push out its longtime strongman, Moammar Gadhafi.

Worth Reading: Why Hillary Can't Run on Her State Department Record. By Josh Rogin
Excerpt: "She put together that sanctions package that’s led to at least the possibility of having a deal on the Iran nuclear program,” Podesta told Hunt in the interview, which was aired on PBS's "Charlie Rose" show. “That took very careful and longtime careful diplomacy." In fact, the State Department under Clinton vigorously opposed almost all of the Iran sanctions passed by Congress while she was in office. Top officials, including Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, openly advocated against many bills, including the sanctions on Iran’s central bank, which dealt the true crippling blow to the Tehran regime. The Senate passed that bill 100-0 and Obama reluctantly signed them into law. The State Department did implement them, but was criticized by lawmakers and advocacy groups for using waivers in the law to exempt several countries, including China and our allies Japan and South Korea. ... This is hard to square with the fact that, in her first visit to China, Clinton insisted that human rights advocacy “can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis." Clinton's State Department repeatedly waived laws that would have cut aid to countries guilty of gross human rights violations, such as Egypt. This record won't be helped by Clinton’s family foundation having taken millions of dollars from foreign governments that systematically abuse their citizens and deny basic liberties to women.

Hillary Clinton’s leftward illusion. By Ruth Marcus
Excerpt: Warning to readers: Reports of Hillary Clinton’s supposed lurch to the left have been greatly exaggerated, and there’s more to come. Certainly, her campaign has supplied bullet points for a tale of leftward tilt: ... Indeed, as Clinton prepares for her big launch speech Saturday and begins to flesh out her policy specifics over the summer, the left-leaning positions she isn't taking are as significant as the ones she has endorsed.

The Export-Import Bank is the International Bank of Clinton. By Timothy P. Carney
Excerpt: Hillary Clinton is angry that conservatives are even debating the Export-Import Bank. She says, "I'd like to put Ex-Im Bank on steroids." Given what we know about Mrs. Clinton's business model, her undying love for Ex-Im tells us something about the agency. Why would she be dedicated to saving and expanding Ex-Im? The answer: Any tool that increases Washington's involvement in big business — here and abroad — creates opportunities for politicians to demand tribute from corporate and government coffers and increase political control over business. Ex-Im is a goldmine for a transactional politician like Hillary.

The Democrats Have the Worst Presidential Candidates in America. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: Meanwhile the Democratic Party’s “inevitable” candidate is inevitably generating financial scandals faster than her husband generated his inevitable sex scandals. Competing against her is Senator Bernie Sanders who is currently discussing 90 percent tax rates and why he believes women want to be raped. His winning campaign slogan is “You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants when children are hungry in this country.

Interesting: The Myths of 2016. What everyone gets wrong about the election. By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley
Excerpt: But the closeness of the race is a mirage, a false projection of the reality that exists just below the surface. At this very early stage, when every week more candidates declare, the public is mainly not engaged—not even the select contingent of voters that will turn up to cast ballots in the caucuses and primaries. Republicans are hungry to reoccupy the White House, and the realistic among them understand the party won’t win without pitching a bigger tent. There may be no single GOP frontrunner, but there are just a few politicians who have the resources, positioning and potential to expand the base. They are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, not necessarily in that order.

Behold! The Majestic… Ah, Majesty of the Rubio Boat!!!!! By Moe Lane
Excerpt: Short version: the New York Times has just realized that they are going to have to portray an elderly, largely unlikable, and rule-stretching crony capitalist as being an innovative fresh-faced savior of the Republic. As you can see, their sanity did not survive this moment of terrible anagnorisis.

The Last Millennial in the Garment District. By Alden Wicker
Excerpt: In the 1960s, the Garment District made 95% of clothing sold in the United States and employed 200,000 people. Now, it makes 3% and employs about 21,000 people. Even as New York becomes more of a global fashion destination, factories within its city limits continue to close up shop. Johnny’s is the kind of factory that makes New York Fashion Week possible.

Common heartburn medications linked to greater risk of heart attack
Excerpt: After combing through 16 million electronic records of 2.9 million patients in two separate databases, the researchers found that people who take the medication to suppress the release of stomach acid are 16 percent to 21 percent more likely to suffer myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack. ... Proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid are among the most widely used drugs in the world. (Prilosec was ordered by my doctor/NP several years ago. I take two a day, no heartburn, no heart attacks. My heart seems fine. ~Bob)

Inspirational: Todd Lost Two Legs and an Arm in Afghanistan. That Won’t Stop Him From Being an All-American Badass. By Chad Longell 
Excerpt: Five months into his deployment while on patrol in Sangin, Helmand Province, Todd stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) and was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The resulting injury cost him both of his legs and part of his left arm. Despite the extent of his injuries, and a very long road to recovery, Todd has never let anything hold him back from getting 110% out of life.

‘He Was There to Save Her’: Service Dog Throws Himself in Front of Bus to Protect Blind Owner. By Oliver Darcy
Excerpt: A service dog threw himself in front of a mini school bus to try to protect his blind owner and stayed by her side as emergency responders tended to the injured pair, authorities said. Both Figo, the golden retriever, and his owner, Audrey Stone, were on the mend Tuesday, a day after the collision with the mini school bus in Brewster.

White House, Senate rooms briefly evacuated over bomb threats
Excerpt: In a bizarre string of security scares, rooms at the White House and on Capitol Hill were briefly evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a pair of bomb threats. A threat made shortly before 2 p.m. ET specifically concerned the White House Briefing Room, officials said, leading the Secret Service to clear reporters out of the room in the middle of the daily briefing...The incident came after several floors of a Senate office building were briefly evacuated earlier in the day over another bomb threat, though investigators did not find anything hazardous. (Mark Steyn was guest hosting for Rush Limbaugh yesterday and was chuckling as he reported that a Senate hearing on security problems was interrupted by a security threat, causing the areas to be cleared....Later he broke in to announce the WH briefing room was being evacuated as well. Could not find this on overnight news on CBS or ABC or on the AM programming, though may have missed it. Saw much repetitive talk about McKinneyTX pool party and hot dogs in pizza crust, but not security threats in DC. --Barb. When I was first in the senate, I had a sixth floor office. There was a rash of bomb scares. I never walked down and back up, just stayed at my desk. I figured there was less than a 1% chance there was a bomb, if there was they wouldn't warn us, and it would be placed near the senate, house or governor's office, not near mine. ~Bob)

Rising Dragon News

Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in China for first visit
Excerpt: Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's opposition leader, has arrived in China on her first visit at a time of tension between the two countries. Ms Suu Kyi will meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, but no other details have been provided. Relations between the countries have cooled in recent years, partly because of violence near their mutual border.

GOP to Obama: Crack down on Chinese hackers. The U.S. has yet to publicly accuse Beijing of being behind the hacking of the OPM’s database. By Joseph Marks
Excerpt: The hacking of 4.1 million federal employees’ personnel records is becoming an unexpected issue for 2016, with two Republican White House contenders slamming President Barack Obama for not taking a harder line against China. The U.S. has yet to publicly accuse Beijing of being behind the hacking of the OPM’s database, although administration officials have said anonymously that they’ve traced the attack back to China. They’ve also indicated no inclination to impose sanctions on the United States’ largest creditor and trading partner — a move that could pose serious difficulties for the U.S.

Gun News

Police: Shots fired at reported burglar in Woodlawn
Excerpt: An alleged burglar was greeted with gunfire from the resident of a Woodlawn apartment while trying to crawl through a window Monday night, police said. Police were called to the 100 block of Town Commons Way just before 11 p.m. and began searching for the person who may have been shot, dispatchers reported.

Man shot after threatening, assaulting homeowner in Greene County
Excerpt: A man was shot Monday after he forced his way into the Greene County home of another man who subsequently fired at him, state police said.

Race Card News

Disillusioned black voters ask: Is voting even worth it? By Robert Samuels
Excerpt: On Jacksonville’s north side and in other struggling urban neighborhoods across the country, where Barack Obama mobilized large numbers of new African American voters who were inspired partly by the emotional draw of his biography, high hopes have turned to frustration: Even a black president was unable to heal places still gripped by violence, drugs and joblessness. The dynamic, made prominent in recent months after unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., sets up a stark challenge for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner.

High School Hosts Anti-Cop Art Display. By Blake Neff 
Excerpt: A high school in a Washington, D.C. suburb has erected a large art display bashing police in a central area of the school. Oxon Hill High School is a majority-black school in Prince George’s County, Maryland just south of D.C. The display, apparently created by an art class at the school, was put up by at least last Saturday, when pictures of it first appeared on Twitter:

College Pushes To Honor Terrorist Who Executed Wounded Cop. Dead rapper Tupac Shakur's aunt is FBI's most wanted with $1 million reward
Excerpt: At least 60 faculty and staff members at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have signed a petition demanding that the Catholic college keep a mural of a cop killer and an FBI designated terrorist on a wall in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. Assata Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard, is a former Black Panther and member of the Black Liberation Army. Shakur is also the aunt of deceased rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur, who was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1996. She escaped a U.S. prison and fled to Cuba after shooting and killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster execution style with his own gun during a traffic stop in 1973. As Foerster lay on the ground wounded, she picked up his gun and shot him twice in the head.

Was the Police Arrest at McKinney ‘Racially Motivated’? THIS is What Happened 24 Minutes Before…
Excerpt: Blaring headlines about the police’s “racially insensitive” response to a ‘pool party’ in McKinney, Texas has garnered national attention, and has even been parodied on the Daily Show. But has there been a rush to judgment in the media, lacking fuller context of the altercation? A video showing a brawl reportedly 24 minutes before the police were called in by residents gives us a clearer picture of what took place.

What was the police officer in McKinney thinking? By Kathleen Parker
Excerpt: Video imagery doesn’t get much worse than a white police officer throwing an African American girl in a bikini to the ground, kneeling on her back as she cries and drawing his gun on other teenagers.

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

The Affordable Care Act Isn't. By Jack Kelly
Excerpt: Major health insurers seek eye popping rate increases for 2016 - 25 percent in Oregon, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 51.6 percent in New Mexico. Insurance commissioners won't approve all companies ask for. Rates will rise modestly in some states. But the odds are your premium will cost a lot more next year. Premiums for non-group policies rose 24.4 percent more last year than they would have without Obamacare, says the National Bureau of Economic Research. (What I said when this all started was simple. "So.... we are going to give more people more care for less money, through a huge federal bureaucracy? NEVER HAPPEN!" And when all the delays were suddenly set in place in the "settled law" of the ACA, I said that it was deliberate postponing of the real final effects of such a program, which had to be a lot of people either paying more for what they used to have, or paying maybe the same for less than they used to have. Yes, a bottom fraction of the population would have insurance they didn't used to be able to get, through the program and the subsidies, but the great majority of the population would not only not be better off (remember how the average family was going to save $2500/yr?), they would in one way or another be worse off. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, and that applies to health care for sure. By the end of 2016 most of the delayed parts of the package will kick in, and in 2017 the true picture of the cost of health care in this country will start to become clear. I look forward to the screaming that will begin then, and the hunt for the guilty, and the demands for things to be fixed. It is sure to be very, very interesting. --Del)

Undocumented Democrat News

U.S. frees hundreds of Cuban criminals because Havana won’t take them back
Excerpt: Hundreds of Cuban criminals are released onto the streets of the U.S. every year because that nation won’t take them back — even though the Obama administration is trying to broker a more open relationship with the communist island nation. It’s a quirk of immigration law known as “Zadvydas cases,” after a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that said the government cannot detain immigrants indefinitely if their home countries won’t take them back.

Religion of Peace News

Airstrikes Killing Thousands of Islamic State Fighters, but It Just Recruits More. Foreign fighters are flocking to Iraq and Syria, as the militant group also recruits from areas under its control. By Sean Naylor
Excerpt: The United States and its allies may be killing thousands of Islamic State militants from the air, but the Islamist extremist group is recruiting at least as many fighters for its war in Iraq and Syria as it is losing, experts say.
Those recruits include foreign fighters from across the wider Middle East and beyond, jihadis from the areas of Iraq and Syria that the Islamic State controls, and other militant groups in both states that are pledging allegiance to the group.
And focusing on the enemy body count ignores other trends that are pointing in the wrong direction for the U.S.-led coalition, according to the experts. (Until a really competent military force goes in and destroys ISIS town by town, taking no prisoners, with no reporters or lawyers along, they will just keep on going. They are evil monsters, but they are smart, plan well, propagandize well, recruit widely, and have a lot of money to use. This is a tough combination to fight, and half-measures and the sorry mess that is called the Iraqi Army have zero chance of getting anywhere. If the USA won't really take the lead and more or less shame the locals, like the Saudis, to come in seriously as well, this will drag on with no end in sight. A bad thing for everyone. --Del)

Obama Officially Sending 450 More Troops To Iraq. By Katie Pavlich
Excerpt: President Obama has approved the deployment of 450 additional troops to Iraq to help with training Iraqi forces to fight ISIS. Additional U.S. troops will be sent to Anbar Province
The move comes just days after Obama said during the G7 Summit in Germany that the administration doesn't have a "complete" strategy surrounding how to defeat the terror army. 

Article to Criticize Israel for Excessive Warnings in Gaza
Excerpt: The Israel Defense Force (IDF) went too far beyond what is required to avoid civilian casualties in asymmetric conflict during last summer's Gaza war, some international legal experts say, according to an Israel National News report. The criticism comes in an article to be published Monday by the Weekly Standard. In it, Vanderbilt University adjunct law Professor Willy Stern reviews Israel's actions after spending two weeks with the IDF's international law department. The IDF made thousands of phone calls, dropped leaflets, and broadcast TV and radio messages urging Gaza civilians to flee an area before Israel would strike structures used by Hamas for military purposes. "It was abundantly clear that IDF commanders had gone beyond any mandates that international law requires to avoid civilian casualties," Stern writes. Its foes in Hamas went the opposite direction, urging terrorists to stay close to civilians, a manual that Israeli troops found in a Gaza neighborhood shows.

Obama’s magical thinking about Iran. By Jennifer Rubin
Excerpt: President Obama has taken “wishful thinking” to a whole new level, making it the foundation of his approach toward Iran. Hence, we get to such peculiar conclusions such as: “Sanctions brought Iran to the table but sanctions relief won’t impede Iran’s agreement to a final deal.” We see his mindset when Obama imagines that merely saying Iran’s junior partner Bashar al-Assad must go is a sufficient policy, even if we do nothing to bring it about. Only by wishful thinking can Obama accept the fiction that a non-existent fatwa against nuclear arms development reveals Iran’s true intentions — despite universal agreement Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. And only by wishful thinking can Obama comes to the conclusion that a paper agreement (which Iran will inevitably violate) will make Iran desirous of a normal relationship with the West. 

Excerpt: Iraqi troops and several Iranian-supported Shiite militias have entered Baiji and are vying for control of the central Iraqi city with the Islamic State. Baiji has changed hands twice since the Islamic State launched its invasion of central and northern Iraq in June 2014. Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias launched a counteroffensive to regain control of Baiji and the nearby oil refinery several weeks ago. Iraqi forces must retake the area if the government plans on wresting Mosul from the Islamic State.

Suicide bombers target Egypt’s famed temple site at Luxor
Excerpt: Militants with explosives battled Egyptian security forces outside the ancient Karnak temple in Luxor on Wednesday, striking one of Egypt’s most famous tourist sites and raising fears over the potentially expanding reach of the country’s Islamist insurgency. Four Egyptians were injured in the attack, which unfolded near the temple complex after security forces opened fire on three militants, media reports said.

Dozens of Christians captured in Libya — by ISIS. By Ed Morrissey
Excerpt: This won’t end well. US officials acknowledged yesterday that ISIS affiliates in Libya seized a caravan attempting to move Christians out of the failed state, and now hold 88 hostages. Their intended destination was Tripoli, but it was their origin that may have flagged them to ISIS: A group of Christians are among the 86 Eritrean refugees, including women and children, who’ve been kidnapped by terror group ISIS in Libya. The kidnapping comes less than two months after 28 Ethiopian Christian were executed by the terror group.

Pass the popcorn: Al-Qaida-Linked Militants Attack IS Affiliate in Libya
Excerpt: Al-Qaida-linked militants in eastern Libya declared holy war — or jihad — on the local Islamic State affiliate after one of their senior leaders was killed Wednesday by masked gunmen, which set off clashes between the rival groups that left 11 people dead on both sides, including a top militant commander. The hours-long fighting in the eastern coastal city of Darna erupted after gunmen opened fire on Nasser Akr, an al-Qaida-inspired militant once held in the United Kingdom on terrorism charges. The 55-year-old veteran jihadi, who fought in Afghanistan, was killed along with his aide.

French `anti-Islamophobia` group on trial for plotting attacks
Excerpt: Paris: Members of a French group that said it was formed to combat Islamophobia went on trial in Paris on Monday accused of plotting terrorist attacks. Led by 37-year-old "emir" Mohamed Achamlane, the 15 members of Forsane Alizza, who called themselves the "knights of pride", have denied involvement in a terrorist organisation. Achamlane told the court he had no "terrorist inspiration" and only wanted to defend Muslims against mounting Islamophobia in France.

In Syria, Maronite patriarch denounces ‘death of the world’s conscience.’ By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: What killed the world’s conscience and rendered it indifferent to the plight of Christians in the Middle East? Well, when it comes to Cardinal Bechara Rai’s brother bishops in the West, it was the desire for a fruitless and self-defeating “dialogue” with Muslims that gave the appearance of genuine interfaith harmony, albeit without a scintilla of reality. Not only did Western bishops waste their time having coffee with imams and being subjected to slyly couched dawah, but in the service of this useless exercise, they ruthlessly suppressed any genuine discussion of the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians, and the real causes of that persecution.

Al Azhar distributing free book dedicated to discrediting Christianity, the “failed religion.” By Raymond Ibrahim,
Excerpt: Al Azhar—arguably the Islamic world’s most prestigious Islamic university—continues to incite Egypt’s Muslims against Christians. Most recently the university was exposed distributing a free booklet dedicated to discrediting Christianity, chock full of direct attacks on Christianity in general and the nation’s Coptic Christians in particular. (If Christians attack them, will the media say the Christians were "provoked"?

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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