Monday, October 19, 2015

Well-worth-reading political news and opinion

Worth Reading: Building an Organization for the Long Term (Part I) By Tom Kratman
Excerpt: Having had – between here, Facebook, and offline – just about enough of a quorum to justify it, all right, I’ll talk some about how to build for the long term while serving in a grander organization which not only has no idea of building for the long term, but systemically and structurally rejects it. I think I have probably some numbers of readers, too, who could use the insights, but were too shy to ask. Yes, I suppose this also describes corporate America, too, for the most part. To begin, brothers, sisters, it ain’t easy. It’s also risky. Sometimes, though, if you understand what’s going on and how people think and work, and if you’re gutsy enough to take a risk, it will fall into your lap. (This applies not just to the military, but to civilian organizations as well, from government, to education, to non-profits, to corporations. Tom Kratman is a retired USA LtCol, an occasional contributor to this blog, and an outstand author of military science fiction, including the A Desert Called Peace series. ~Bob)

Must Read: Who is the Real Con Man: Ryan or Krugman? By John C. Goodman 
Excerpt: New York Times readers may be surprised to learn just how out of touch Paul Krugman is with his fellow economists:
· Whereas Krugman has repeatedly claimed that there is no entitlement-spending crisis, more than 1,000 economists – representing the left and the right and 11 Nobel Laureates -- have endorsed legislation that would require the federal government to regularly report on the extent of the crisis.

Interesting Data: Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder And Suicide? A Review Of International And Some Domestic Evidence. By Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy

Worth Reading: For the Left, It’s Always Time for a New New Deal. By Jonah Goldberg, the Goldberg File
Excerpt: Dear Reader (Especially those of you who would rally to my cause with sympathy and concern if I was found face down in a brothel, having OD’d on hookers, brandy, cocaine, and herbal Viagra),

Worth Reading: What Bernie Sanders doesn’t understand about economic equality. By George F. Will
Excerpt: The fundamental producer of income inequality is freedom. Individuals have different aptitudes and attitudes. Not even universal free public education, even were it well done, could equalize the ability of individuals to add value to the economy. Besides, some people want to teach, others want to run hedge funds. In an open society, rewards are set not by political power but by impersonal market forces, the rewards of which will differ dramatically but usually predictably. Beyond freedom’s valuable fecundity in producing unequal social outcomes, four other facets of today’s America fuel inequality.

Worth Reading: While Clinton used home email, State's networks were at risk
Excerpt:  Hillary Rodham Clinton has come under fierce criticism for doing business over personal email while secretary of state, putting sensitive data at risk of being hacked. But her communications may not have been any more secure had she used a State Department email address, judging by years of independent audits that excoriated the department over poor cyber security on Clinton's watch. ... The State Department's compliance with federal cybersecurity standards was below average when Clinton took over but grew worse in each year of her tenure, according to an annual report card compiled by the White House based on audits by agency watchdogs. Network security continued to slip after Kerry replaced Clinton in February 2013, and remains substandard, according to the State Department inspector general. (Note that last part. One of the hallmarks of government in the Obama era is not just mistakes, but the steadfast refusal to learn from mistakes. ... Note this process: There’s a scandal, President Obama insists he knew nothing about it, he learned about it from the media, he’s as mad as anyone, blah blah blah . . . and then another scandal follows it. --Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt.
Missing from the Dem Debate? Healthcare: Obamacare Website Costs Exceed $2 Billion, Study Finds
Excerpt: “The way in which Obamacare has been rolled out has been very messy,” with spending scattered across dozens of contracts, many of them predating the law and amended afterward, said Peter Gosselin, a senior health-care analyst at BGov and lead author of study. “One of the reasons it has been implemented in the way it has been, financially, is precisely to deny opponents of the law a clear target.” ... The Medicare agency and independent auditors have had trouble tracking the costs of Affordable Care Act programs. The Government Accountability Office, a congressional agency, said in a Sept. 22 report that it was “difficult and time consuming” to obtain financial information for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the CMS office that manages many ACA programs, and that it “could not determine the reliability of most of the amounts” CMS provided.

Makeover Coming for

Oregon insurance co-op Health Republic to close
Excerpt: Health Republic Insurance, one of two nonprofit insurers created in Oregon under President Obama’s health care law, announced Friday that it is shutting down.

Regulators to Shut Down Health Republic Insurance of New York
Excerpt: Regulators will shut down Health Republic Insurance of New York, the largest of the nonprofit cooperatives created under the Affordable Care Act, in the latest sign of the financial pressures facing many insurers that participated in the law’s new marketplaces. The insurer lost about $52.7 million in the first six months of this year, on top of a $77.5 million loss in 2014, according to regulatory filings. 

Largest Health Insurer On Colorado Exchange Collapses
Excerpt: Colorado HealthOP announced Friday that the state Division of Insurance has said it can’t keep selling health insurance. That’s because the cooperative relied on federal support, and federal authorities announced last month they wouldn’t be able to pay most of what they owed to a program designed to help health insurance co-ops get established. The Colorado announcement makes the co-op the seventh in the nation to collapse.

Community Health Alliance ending coverage for 27K enrollees
Excerpt: he Knoxville-based health insurance cooperative, created under the Affordable Care Act, will continue to pay out existing claims but will wind down its coverage by not taking on new customers. The decision was based on the co-op’s financial condition, according to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, and ends months of uncertainty about its future. 

Two more Obamacare health insurance plans collapse
Excerpt: Nearly a third of the innovative health insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act will be out of business at the end of 2015, following announcements Friday that plans in Oregon and Colorado are folding.

Kentucky nonprofit health insurer to shut down
Excerpt: Kentucky’s nonprofit health insurer set up under ObamaCare is shutting down because of financial problems, the latest in a string of closures for the nonprofit plans around the country. 

ObamaCare Enrollment Flatlines As 6th Insurance Co-Op Fails
I had said a long time ago that it would take time for the full impact of the program and all its facets to be felt clearly enough for everyone to start to see how much it would really cost.  And from that, how well it would do in the lofty goals that were announced for it. Well, we already know that many people have lost their doctor and no families are saving $2500 a year from what they used to pay.  We also know we still have many millions of people without any insurance, and that the enrollment in MedicAid has gone up. Yes, now there are people who used to not have insurance who today do have coverage under ObamaCare, so there are some who definitely have benefitted.  But it's a long way from getting everyone coverage, and for the huge bulk of people in the middle and upper classes who always had coverage, for most of them they either are paying more for the coverage they used to have or are getting less coverage for the money they have been paying.  On top of that, there are cases of some people who actually are really worse off than they used to be. So it's a very mixed bag, but it most certainly is not the roaring success, savior of all, that it was sold as.  And there are still some parts of it waiting for final implementation, which will only add to the cost and complexity.  If a GOP President takes office in 2017, what to do about ObamaCare will be one of the major questions facing him/her. --Del

Are we surprised? Is the Army whitewashing Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion? By BETSY MCCAUGHEY, PHD
Excerpt: Why would Army officials sweep Bergdahl's alleged desertion under the rug? To make President Obama look good. Last year, Obama was criticized for swapping a "dream team" of five top Taliban warriors from Guantanamo for a deserter who had fallen into enemy hands. Reinventing Bergdahl as a hero makes that trade sound acceptable. Disgracefully, that's what the Army is doing.

“Verification” in the Iran deal is even more of a scam than you thought
Excerpt: What happens if the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors want access to a site and the Iranians refuse? Much has been made of the absurd 24 days in which Iran can delay the inspection to cover up a violation. In addition, Sections Q.75-76 of Annex 1 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan mandate a program of back and forth maneuvering between Iran and the IAEA before the “original request for access” in Section Q.78 begins the 24 day period. A thorough consideration of this program indicates that Iran can turn this into quite a complicated ballet.

Nah, just like he didn't "influence" the Supreme Court  justices several times. --Barb

Obama: US ready to negotiate with N. Korea on nukes if Pyongyang 'serious'

UAE claims right to enrich uranium after Iran nuclear deal
Only deceleration on nukes was POTUS' decreasing US arsenals.....RussiaChina and now Middle East expanding.  Can Nobel committee ask for its peace prize back? --Barb

Combat dog who earned Bronze Stars in Iraq shot and killed in Wyoming

I know, it's a 4-letter word. --Barb

Video: The Nightmare of Being a Woman Under Islam

Just FYI: Marijuana and Lung Health. American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is concerned about the health impacts of marijuana use, especially on lung health. We caution the public against smoking marijuana because of the risks it poses to lung health. ... Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung. Research shows that smoking marijuana causes chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis. Smoking marijuana has also been linked to cases of air pockets in between both lungs and between the lungs and the chest wall, as well as large air bubbles in the lungs among young to middle-aged adults, mostly heavy smokers of marijuana. However, it's not possible to establish whether these occur more frequently among marijuana smokers than the general population. Smoking marijuana can harm more than just the lungs and respiratory system - it can also affect the immune system and the body's ability to fight disease, especially for those whose immune systems are already weakened from immunosuppressive drugs or diseases, such as HIV infection. ... Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung, and regular use leads to chronic bronchitis and can cause an immune-compromised person to be more susceptible to lung infections. No one should be exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. Due to the risks it poses to lung health, the American Lung Association strongly cautions the public against smoking marijuana as well as tobacco products. More research is needed into the effects of marijuana on health, especially lung health.

Social Security Will Not Get Cost of Living Adjustment in 2016

Wasserman-Schultz Afraid to Say Whether Her Kids Were Human Beings Before They Were Born
Excerpt: Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz must have gone to the same class on how to deflect personhood/abortion questions from the media. Both responded pretty much exactly the same way when pressed about whether or not her own unborn children are human beings.

Be Unprepared: From This is True
With church shootings well outnumbering school shootings in the United States, police in Cape Coral, Fla., had a great idea: conduct an “active shooter” exercise in a church building in nearby Bonita Springs to learn how to fight back. Police had it all set up — until the Bonita Springs city council shut the training down at the last minute. “It just seems kind of insensitive to kind of do those things where people got married or people had their funerals at,” said B.S. councilman Michael Gibson. The church building was torn down the next day. Cape Coral SWAT commander Sgt. Dana Coston decried the “missed opportunity,” noting, “The church is the people in that building, not the building itself.” (RC/WFTX Cape Coral) ...Training in an abandoned building: not insensitive. Not giving people a fighting chance: insensitive.

What Was That About Freedom? From This is True
“MICE-IS, a fundamentalist Islamic terror group, are threatening to dominate Sylvania, and annihilate every species that does not submit to their hardline version of Sharia law.” So says the catalog note for Isis Threaten Sylvania, a series of tableaux by the artist known as “Mimsy” that uses Sylvanian Families animal dolls to depict scenes of imminent Islamist violence, which was to be shown in a gallery in London, England, as part of an “uncensored” exhibit on free speech. But the police told the gallery that the price of this free speech would be 36,000 pounds (US$55,000) for added security, and the organizers of the exhibit, titled “Passion for Freedom,” said they couldn’t come up with the money. They dropped the piece — and the label “uncensored.” A video of a woman in armor walking through Kabul remained in the exhibit. (AC/London Guardian, London Independent) ...The question is, did the exhibit miss its own point, or is it making it perfectly?

Congress Looks to Cut U.S. Aid to Palestinians Amid Terror Campaign

Jim Webb's right: Congress isn't going to pay for Bernie Sanders' revolution
Bernie doesn't care--it gets votes from the economically ignorant. ~Bob

Good Man: 75-year-old Army veteran saves 16 children from library attack
Excerpt: James Vernon had no intention of letting 19-year-old Dustin Brown hurt any of the children in the library. Instead, he fought back. While Brown's knife cut two arteries and a tendon on Vernon's left hand, Vernon still managed to save the 16 children and their families. (The AOL email box wouldn't let me enter any message to go with the story.  The story speaks for itself--but the image AOL posted with it showed what looked like a much younger, relatively fit black man dressed in Colonial garb--and the actual vet is an old fat white guy (who had his significant wounds dressed).  What's up with that?  My comment at AOL--which may or may not show up--are:  What idiot let this person out on bail?  For assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder?  And, why isn't VERNON's image shown on HIS story instead of some other guy, who may be deserving, but HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS STORY!  Come on, AOL, pay attention. Ron P.)

Worth Reading: A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse. With Russia in Syria, a geopolitical structure that lasted four decades is in shambles. The U.S. needs a new strategy and priorities. By Henry A. Kissinger 
Dr. Kissinger is way up there in years now, but still has a better brain than most of the people who've been running our foreign policy the last seven years.  But will anyone listen to any of this? --Del. No. Too caught up in their article-of-faith narratives. ~Bob

Disney places, removes ad for counterterrorism intern. By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: Perhaps the position was filled, or perhaps Disney didn’t want its customers knowing that it is aware that it is a target of those who want to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60). But what’s this about “face pale from recent shaving of beard” Is Disney, and its source, the TSA, suggesting that there might be some terror threat from people who are known to wear beards, i.e., Muslims? Is this some kind of implied “Islamophobia”? Expect the TSA and Disney to get strongly-worded letters from Ibrahim “Honest Ibe” Hooper of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and to revise that warning guideline forthwith — since everyone knows that 80-year-old wheelchair-bound Methodist grandmothers from Iowa are just as much of a terror threat as 25-year-old, athletic Muslim males from Pakistan

Excerpt: Ben Carson says a Muslim should not be president. (This is a MISQUOTE by Mass Media. --Barb) But his key adviser, Armstrong Williams, has, unbeknownst to the good doctor’s supporters, been praising Louis Farrakhan — even urging Chicago to hire Nation of Islam security guards to fight crime. Quite the Farrakhan aficionado, Williams had promised to broadcast his radio show live from the hate monger’s 20th anniversary Million Man March last Saturday, recalling to the Washington Times that, “It was a moving experience [in 1995], so I want to be there again.”

Construction Worker Catches Brutal Gang Beatdown In Baltimore, Tweets About The Whole Thing
They were just joking and fooling around.  No comments from DOJ or WH. --Barb


A Lesson for Our Political Aristocrats — Jim Webb Puts ‘Enemies’ in Perspective

The Great Gun Debate: Even Brutal, Totalitarian Regimes Have Trouble Defeating Well-Armed Insurgencies


Cuban Proxies Fighting Russia's War In Syria? What Did Putin Offer In Return?
Putin is one smart cookie, but won't get the prize for Mr. Nice Guy.  Then again, he could care less about that.  He cares about building up overwhelming popularity in Russia, and increasing Russia's power in the world, and doing so very clearly, dramatically, blatantly.  He knows that for many people, all they really respect in the end is who has the biggest stick and is more than ready to use it. And we are.... not even Mr. Nice Guy now, we are the has-beens, to be discounted at every turn, unless we can be taken advantage somehow for money or important supplies and technology.  Leading from behind has become just bringing up the rear, in the dust of others. --Del


Army officer recommends Bergdahl be spared jail time for desertion. By Allen West
Col. West does a fine job on this.  It's totally disgusting, and what it means for the future of the Army is extremely worrisome. --Del

Clinton touting same State Department record Republicans call meager as high stakes hearing approaches

Hollywood director’s son converts to Islam, stars in al-Qaeda videos. By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: When Lucas Kinney converted to Islam and became Abu Basir al-Britani, it is likely that his parents didn’t raise the slightest objection, as they were almost certainly sure that Islam was a religion of peace and that to object to the conversion would have violated all multicultural pieties. While the Islamic State and al-Qaeda make concerted efforts to convert and recruit young Westerners, Western governments, Christian leaders, and parents do absolutely nothing to counter those efforts — to do anything would be “Islamophobic.” And so we will see many more Abu Basir al-Britanis. Also: here we see yet another convert to Islam joining the jihad that Muslims in the West ostensibly reject and oppose. Who converted him to Islam? Did he learn his understanding of Islam from that person, or was he “radicalized on the Internet”? Are authorities checking into this, or would that, too, be “Islamophobic”?

Michigan 1927 school killing was worst in nation's history

Islam and Liberalism: Partners in Crime in Laying Waste to the World
Excerpt: African Cardinal Robert Sarah, a man many view as a potential future pope, recently made news by boldly drilling down into this reality. During the Vatican’s ongoing Synod of Bishops, Sarah noted that the “idolatry of Western freedom,” which he described as “atheistic secularism” (aka modern liberalism), and “Islamic fundamentalism” represent twin threats to the world, not unlike Nazism and communism. Atheistic secularism and Islam, he observed, are “almost like the Beasts of the Apocalypse.”

(Trump) Yes, George W. Bush kept us safe. By Marc A. Thiessen
Excerpt: Donald Trump says it is ridiculous for Jeb Bush to claim that his brother, President George W. Bush, “kept us safe.” “The World Trade Center came down during his reign,” Trump says. “He was the president at the time, and you know, you could say the buck stops here.” Blaming Bush for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is an absurd, left-wing talking point. The fact is, when Bush took office on Jan. 20, 2001, planning for 9/11 was well underway. Bush inherited a world where terrorists had been permitted safe haven in terrorist states and were engaged in a virtually unimpeded offensive. Under his predecessor, they had launched a string of attacks against the United States

Yes: Why the Left Hates Freedom. If you have freedom, you will also have inequality.
Excerpt: Ponder this passage of stately prose: The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties. That, of course, is James Madison, from Federalist 10, where he dilates on the origin of “faction” — its causes, he observes, are “sown in the nature of man” —  and argues for a large republic (as distinct from a pure democracy) as the best prophylactic against the evil potential of conflicting interests, not least of which evils is the tyranny of the majority.

Judd Gregg: The problems with progressives
Excerpt: .... We are not one country, in this view. Progressives have no sense that the United States has created one people out of citizens with many disparate roots.  Instead they see a country divided — and one that needs to be further divided — by race, wealth, education, geography and identity. 

Whistleblower doctor explains HORRIFIC reality dealing with Muslim invaders in Germany
This is the 4th or 5th article from Europe about the problems caused by a tide of refugees/migrants flooding in with no ability of the countries to sort through them at all.  Clearly taking in a mixed mob of people from really different societies, some legitimately fleeing severe danger, others just looking for all the fantastic social welfare benefits of Germany and Sweden, had its hazards, and now everyone is coming up against them. But the German government is seemingly determined to hold down any and all of the bad news, and pretend somehow that this is all working out just fine.  This is PC taken to seriously insane levels, and now more and more people who are in the middle of it, like the doctor below, are blowing their whistles about the sad and ugly realities of the situation.  If this keeps up, and I have to assume it must, a point is going to come where a wave of anger and resentment is going to come along from the taxpayers.  Then there will be some furious arguments in the government offices and the more conservative political parties are going to gain strength, and then who knows what will happen. And the lesson for us here in the USA is to NOT just accept whatever mob the UN agency decides to send us, we need to know a lot more about whomever is going to come here.  We took in the Tsarnev family as refugees, and that is a great example of what we do not want to let happen anymore. --Del

Hungary says migrant influx 'stops'
Excerpt: Hungary said Monday its shutdown of the border with Croatia had put a stop to the influx of migrants and refugees. (Gee what a novel idea. Maybe we should try something like this. --Steve)

Trey Gowdy: How Did 7 Congressional Committees Miss Amb. Chris Stevens’ Emails?
Excerpt: Rep. Trey Gowdy  said Sunday that he is baffled that the previous seven congressional committees that investigated the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi failed to obtain emails U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens sent in the months before the attacks occurred.

Obama puts nuclear deal into effect, but Iran still likely months away from sanction relief
They've just violated the sanctions according to--can you believe this?--Susan Rice's complaint to the UN the other day with test launch of ballistic missile...and there was the "revelation" of a secret underground ballistic missile base, but Obama signs it. --Barb

“Palestinian” textbook: “How to stab a Jew”

Palestinians Teach Their Children to Stab Jews… and They’re Doing It
Excerpt: We’ll never solve the problem in the Middle East until we recognize what the problem really is. It has many different names – al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS – but one common theme: Islam. On Monday, a 16 year old Palestinian girl stabbed and wounded an Israeli police officer. An hour later, two Palestinian teenagers – 13 and 15 years old – chased down and stabbed a 13 year old Israeli boy who was riding his bike. While the Israeli boy remains in critical condition, the leaders of Palestine say Israel is at fault for shooting and killing one of the Israeli boy’s attackers. But that Palestinian teenage attacker is still alive, and is being treated in an Israeli hospital. Have you heard that on the news lately? No. Have you been told the Palestinians are teaching their kids the best methods for stabbing Jews? No. That doesn’t fit with the Israel is the Devil narrative touted by the media.

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