Monday, February 29, 2016

Today's Important Political News and Opinion

I felt better on Sunday, but on Monday the cold struck back and I spent most of the day in bed, accomplishing little, including leaving a lot of email unopened. ~Bob

Book Recommendation: 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West by Roger Crowley 
In 1453, the Turks finished the centuries-old Muslim crusade to take Constantinople and destroy Orthodox Christianity in the East. Six times in the past the city had withstood Muslim sieges, starting in 674 and 717. In 1453, Constantinople was divided along ethnic lines, and more importantly along religious lines, between Roman and Orthodox Christians. The Orthodox were split between those who favored union with the Catholic church to stave off disaster and those who would have no truck with the pope. The city was worn down, poor and under-manned. The Turks brought western technology in the form of ships and cannon, which they developed in great numbers, using renegade Europeans. They also out-numbered the defender by eight or ten to one. Despite this, the siege was a near-run thing. Had the last assault failed, the Sultan would likely have been compelled to lift the 53-day old siege. From there, the Muslims went on to try to conquer Europe. Their troops went into battle shouting, "Roma, Roma," Rome being the new goal. In 1481, they invaded Italy, took several cities and were headed for Rome when the death of the Sultan, Mehmet caused the campaign to fall apart,. They were turned back at Vienna in 1529, and in the siege of Malta, a near run thing in 1565. In 1571, the divided European powers pulled together a fleet under The Holy League, which defeated a massive Muslim fleet at the battle of Lepanto. Finally, in 1683, the last serious attempt of Muslims (until the current refugee crisis) to conquer Europe was defeated in a second siege at Vienna. I ordered this book because I read Crowley's excellent Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World. It did not disappoint, being balanced, well-researched and well-written. It is more than ancient history of interest only to military history buffs. Three quotes from the book: "It remained inconceivable in Islamic theology that the whole of mankind would not, in time, accept Islam or submit to Muslim rule." (P-13) And these quotes from Mehmet after the city's fall: "There must be ... only one empire, one faith and one sovereignty in the world." (P-240), "...I pray he will let me live long enough to capture and subjugate Old Rome as I have New Rome." (P-241). There is nothing here that would conflict with the views of ISIS, al Qaeda other Jihadist groups, or a great many of the "refugees" currently flooding into Europe.

Random Thoughts for March 2016. By Robert A. Hall
Feel free to post or forward.

Must Read: How to cool down Donald Trump. By George F. Will
Excerpt: “Hell,” said Alabama’s Democratic Gov. George Wallace before roiling the 1968 presidential race, “we got too much dignity in government now, what we need is some meanness .” Twelve elections later, Wallace’s wish is approaching fulfillment as Republicans contemplate nominating someone who would run to Hillary Clinton’s left. Donald Trump, unencumbered by any ballast of convictions, would court Bernie Sanders’s disaffected voters with promises to enrich rather than reform the welfare state’s entitlement menu —Trump already says, “I am going to take care of everybody” — and to make America great again by having it cower behind trade barriers. If elected, Trump presumably would seek reelection, so there would be no conservative choice for president until at least 2024. ... Trump, who was a big-government liberal Democrat until he recently discovered he was a conservative Republican, has the upturned jutted jaw, the celebration of “energy” and the flirtation with violence and torture that characterized the Italian who was a radical socialist until he decided he was a fascist. Trump, however, is as American as Huey Long.

Worth Reading: Don’t Assume Conservatives Will Rally Behind Trump. By NATE SILVER
Excerpt: If Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination, he’ll have undermined a lot of assumptions we once held about the GOP. He’ll have become the nominee despite neither being reliably conservative nor being very electable, supposedly the two things Republicans care most about. He’ll have done it with very little support from “party elites” (although with some recent exceptions like Chris Christie). He’ll have attacked the Republican Party’s three previous candidates — Mitt RomneyJohn McCain and George W. Bush — without many consequences. If a Trump nomination happens, it will imply that the Republican Party has been weakened and is perhaps even on the brink of failure, unable to coordinate on a plan to stop Trump despite the existential threat he poses to it. ... And if you are a movement conservative, Trump is arguably a pretty terrible choice, taking your conservative party and remaking it in his unpredictable medley of nationalismpopulism  and big-government Trumpism.

Sanders And Trump Are Singing From The Same Tattered Single-Payer Hymnal. Sally Pipes
Excerpt: Perhaps the cold — or the proximity to Canada — got to New Hampshire’s voters on February 9. Both Republicans and Democrats in the Granite State handed presidential primary victories to candidates who have — at one time or another — supported government-run, Canadian-style single-payer healthcare.

Real Clear Politics Polling Average
Trump loses to Clinton. So does Sanders, but by only a half point. All other Republicans beat Clinton, Kasich and Rubio by the most. ~Bob

Worth Reading: Trump Is the Ultimate Insider. The Donald’s rivals have given him a pass on his greatest vulnerabilities. By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
Excerpt: And therein lies Mr. Trump’s vulnerability. Because, you see, Donald Trump is the man. An outsider to the elite society that Washington inhabits? An avenging angel of a faltering working class? Laugh. Out. Loud. This is the man who was born to a silver spoon, who self-selected a life strictly in the company of the rich and powerful, and who built a fortune by using his connections and sticking it to the little guy. Of all the Republicans on the stage, he is the only insider. Ted Cruz is not to be seen regularly in the company of hotel and casino magnates, movie producers, celebrity athletes and others with privileged access to Washington brokers. Marco Rubio did not have Bill and Hillary Clinton at his wedding. John Kasich would have to beg for an audience with people who jump to return Mr. Trump’s calls.

But if he'll make me AG...Chris Christie: Donald Trump doesn't have the 'temperament' to be president. By Colin Campbell, August, 2015
Excerpt: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Thursday that GOP presidential rival Donald Trump has the right mindset to be president.
"Donald's a great guy and a good person. But I just don't think that he's suited to be president of the United States," he told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren as they walked along the Jersey Shore.

Donald Trump Said A Lot Of Gross Things About Women On “Howard Stern”

More Biz for Lawyers: Trump Promises to Loosen Libel Laws So It’ll Be Easier for Him to Sue Newspapers
Less freedom for regular folks. ~Bob

Funny: Dude, Even The DICTIONARY Is Making Fun of Trump Today

Worth Reading: Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump does tax return dodge
Excerpt: So Trump shouldn’t have to release his tax returns because he says The Wall Street Journal doesn’t like him. The truth is we cover him like any other politician, and we defended him against the pope and Ted Cruz. This is the second time he’s called on us to be fired, which are moments we’ll always treasure. The first time he also threatened to sue us if we didn’t apologize for noting his lack of trade knowledge; we didn’t apologize. ... As we wrote a week ago, Trump should release his tax returns now to avoid Mitt Romney’s mistake of waiting for Democrats to make an issue of it, which they will. As the potential GOP nominee, he also owes the details to Republicans so they know as much as they can about the man who would be president. Is there something in those tax returns you want to hide, Mr. Trump?

America, you’re stupid: Donald Trump’s political triumph makes it official — we’re a nation of idiots
Excerpt: I hate to have to say it, but the conclusion stares us in the face: We’re a stupid country, full of loud, illiterate and credulous people. Trump has marched straight to the nomination without offering anything like a platform or a plan. With a vocabulary of roughly a dozen words – wall, Mexicans, low-energy, loser, Muslims, stupid, China, negotiate, deals, America, great, again – he’s bamboozled millions of Americans. And it’s not just splenetic conservatives supporting Trump or your garden-variety bigots (although that’s the center of his coalition), it’s also independents, pro-choice Republicans, and a subset of Reagan Democrats.

Worth Reading: Dear Donald, It’s Not You, It’s Me. By Steve Berman
Excerpt: The way you bought and sold properties, using other people’s money, and convinced them to pay overinflated prices for them as you walked away with the profits is legendary. You really stuck Merv Griffin, a real loser, with Resorts International Inc. and made a cool $264 million while he held the bag with a nearly billion dollar mortgage. And the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, it was the greatest thing ever, until it went bust four times. I wanted to be just like you, Donald. ... You said Winston Churchill was a figure from history who inspired you. Churchill, who said “Great and good are seldom the same man,” would hate your guts. He stood for something and inspired his people to fight against evil because it was evil. You would have made a great deal with Herr Hitler.
You’re running for president and you haven’t really changed your tune. It’s about ego. It’s about human moves. It’s about getting what you want and getting the other guy to give it to you. You’ve really thought a lot about running for president.

Worth Reading: Last Night The Good Associated … Trump Delenda Est! By Aaron Gardner 
Excerpt: Fortunately that isn’t what happened. The good associated and the bad man was exposed. That said, Rubio and Cruz only began the work that must be done, and they are not the only ones with a duty at this point. Now is the time, as Erick Erickson noted early today, for all good men to stand up together and associate. Let it be known where you stand. Tell everyone publicly, early, and often that you will not support Donald Trump as the GOP nominee.

Donald Trump Gets Hillary Clinton Elected #NeverTrump. By Erick Erickson
Excerpt: Yes, Trump voters are right.  If Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination for President and conservatives sit it out, Hillary Clinton will get elected.
That is the point of getting the disclosure out there in the primary that we won’t vote for Donald in the general.  Trump voters need to understand that a Hillary Presidency will be on them.  If they want to gamble that they can get Donald across the finish line without us, let them.  It is their choice.

Clinton wins South Carolina primary, Fox News projects
Excerpt: Fox News projects that Hillary Clinton will win the South Carolina Democratic primary, beating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by a wide margin. The win gives Clinton significant momentum as she heads into the crucial Super Tuesday contests next week, where hundreds of delegates are up for grabs in Southern states with large African-American populations -- a major force in Clinton’s win in South Carolina.

From the Left: Bernie Sanders misses mark with black voters. By Fred McKissack Jr.
Excerpt: Everybody is aggrieved. Clinton has no real plan to end systemic discrimination or racism, but she’s cherished for her truthiness. It’s no wonder Cornel West called her the Milli Vanilli of the 2016 campaign — just as fake as she is fabulous.

Chris Rickert: Really expensive cheese is only one cost of legal dairy workforce
It's against the law to hire illegals. It's also against the law to ask applicants for documentation. Go figure. ~Bob

In Irving, Ben Carson says he has been offered money, political support to drop out
Excerpt:  ....“We’re just trying to entertain people,” Carson said. “It reminds me so much of ancient Rome — everyone wants to go to the Coliseum and somebody stabs someone with a sword and they go, ‘Yeah, this is great.’ And a tiger tears somebody’s head off, and they go, ‘Ah, this is wonderful.’ And nobody is paying attention to the crumbling society around them.”

Virginia officer killed on her first day on job, 2 other officers injured in shooting
Excerpt: A Virginia police officer who was on her first shift with a department was shot and killed Saturday and two other officers were wounded in a standoff stemming from a call about a domestic-related incident.

Yuri Maltsev: Socialism, Fascism, and Trumpism

While everyone’s focused on campaign. By Allen West
Excerpt: Compared with the explosion of our debt under the Obama tenure, it’s extremely disconcerting. Matter of fact, if you want to talk about an extremist, Barack Obama has to be at the top of the list when it comes to insurgent-like warfare against the American economy...The simple statement by Barack Obama back in July 13, 2012 that, “if you own a business, you didn’t build that,” is reflective of an ideology not interested in real economic growth.

Lawmakers: Obama Administration Illegally Diverted Billions Intended for U.S. Treasury to Insurers. By Melissa Quinn 
Excerpt: Republicans on Capitol Hill are questioning the legality of a move by the Obama administration to give billions to insurers under a program implemented under Obamacare that they say is equal to an insurer bailout. At issue for lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee is whether the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services violated the Affordable Care Act by diverting $3.5 billion intended for the U.S. Treasury to insurance companies. (Well of course Obama cannot let the shortfall from the system failure to gain any attention, so the hell with what's legal, just move the billions to where they need to go to keep things working.  "Laws?  We don't need no stinking laws!"  What else is new with this Administration? --Del)

Denmark: We Are Not The Socialist Utopia Bernie Sanders Thinks We Are
Excerpt: But Danish prime minister Lars L√łkke Rasmussen, speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government this week, says Sanders got more than a few things wrong. “I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

Worth Hearing: Yuri Maltsev: Socialism, Fascism, and Trumpism.
Maltsev is a Ph.D. in economics and served Gorbachev as economic advisor.

Excerpt: Trump University is currently the defendant in three lawsuits — two class-action lawsuits filed in California, and one filed in New York by then-attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who told CNN’s New Day in 2013: “We started looking at Trump University and discovered that it was a classic bait-and-switch scheme. It was a scam, starting with the fact that it was not a university.” Trump U “students” say the same. In his affidavit, Richard Hewson reported that he and his wife “concluded that we had paid over $20,000 for nothing, based on our belief in Donald Trump and the promises made at the [organization’s] free seminar and three-day workshop.” But “the whole thing was a scam.”

From the left: What Trump and Clinton have in common: A resistance to transparency
Excerpt: Still, both candidates are resisting disclosure. Both are wrong. And both are revealing a troubling attitude that can only be expected to persist and worsen in the White House.

Donald Trump: Don't hand federal lands to states

Yes, Trump is the liberal Republican in the race
Excerpt: It upsets some liberals to say this — and it persuades no Trump supporters — but Donald Trump is a liberal Republican. He would be the most liberal Republican nominee in at least in 20 years. Here are seven reasons, off the top of my head, why that's true.

No, Seriously, Trump Is a Fascist. By Walter Hudson
Excerpt: Right now, we have an actual fascist running for president of the United States, and he seems poised to secure the Republican nomination. Donald Trump is a fascist, not in a vague rhetorical sense, but according to the father of fascism's own definition. Benito Mussolini coined the term and defined it as complete subjugation of the individual to the state.

The Head of the IRS Weighs In on Trump’s Tax Audit Situation
Excerpt: Koskinen also clarified that Trump is not blocked by law from releasing his returns if he wanted to.

Trump’s Fake 2000 Campaign: Gun Bans, Single-Payer Health Care, And Taxes

Donald Trump Tells Jake Tapper He Won't Denounce David Duke or The KKK

Other Peoples’ Money is No Way to Finance Health Care. By Devon Herrick
Excerpt: Patients’ out-of-pocket spend was only about 11 percent in 2014 and out-of-pocket payments in hospitals was about 3 percent. Yet, some consumers have deductibles that made their share of hospital bills a bite in the wallet. The typical Silver Plan has deductibles of $2,556 while Bronze Plans often have $5,328. Apparently, if someone owes more than 5 percent of their annual income on a hospital bill, the likelihood of collecting is about nil.

Interesting: The Republican Party’s implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy has arrived
Excerpt: The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year. At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.

Trump Mortgage failed. Here’s what that says about the GOP front-runner.
Excerpt: As a presidential candidate a decade later, Trump says he would use the skills that made him successful in real estate to fix Washington. His decision to embrace the mortgage business illustrates the potential dangers of a business philosophy that has relied in part on a willingness to put aside the advice of experts and take risks.

WaPo Fact Checker: A trio of truthful attack ads about Trump University
Excerpt: “We are going to have professors and adjunct professors that are absolutely terrific, terrific brains, successful. We are going to have the best of the best. Honestly, if you don’t learn from them, if you don’t learn from me, if you don’t learn from the people that we will be putting forward — and these are all people who are going to be handpicked by me — then you are just not going to make it in terms of the world of success.” — Donald Trump, remarks in an introductory video for Trump University. One could quibble that the travails of Trump University do not directly prove that Trump himself is a “BS artist,” as Scott claims. But our own experience in fact checking Trump during this campaign suggests he has little regard for factual accuracy. We award these ads the coveted Geppetto Checkmark. 

Worth Reading: The benefits of a Republican Party breakup. By Jennifer Rubin
Excerpt: As we have discussed, if Trump is the nominee — and we are still not there yet, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) rises to the occasion — all sorts of interesting possibilities unfold. A third presidential candidate is quite likely, but more important, a new party. Let’s face it: There is a lot deserving of abandonment in the GOP right now. Nativism has thoroughly infected its agenda, turning otherwise well-rounded conservatives into small-minded xenophobes. The inability to recognize lost causes (reversing gay marriage) and the refusal to address real ones (e.g. poverty) have paralyzed too many Republicans. The search for ideological purity and support for fringe candidates as well as a nihilistic approach to government personified in the shutdown have gripped vast swaths of the party. The opportunity now may present itself to leave all of this behind, to form a 21st-century party reflective of today’s United States and with a coherent vision of governance.

Has Trump revulsion reached critical mass? By Jennifer Rubin 
Excerpt: This weekend at least felt like a tipping point in the Donald Trump phenomenon. Partly the feeling is attributable to Sen. Marco Rubio’s demonstrated ability to draw huge crowds and substantial free media to his all-out battle against Trump. In taunting Trump, denouncing him for failure to condemn David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan and making his own campaign into a crusade to stop Trump from absconding with the GOP, the senator from Florida helped dispel the sense of fatalism gripping many Republicans and shred the mainstream-media narrative that the race is all but over. The media — which slavishly covered every Trump rally and afforded endless free media access — is now aghast that Rubio would make fun of Trump’s spray tan, tiny hands and business failures. Rubio, it seems, has hit a nerve and deprived liberal pundits of the certainty that Hillary Clinton will get to face in the general election a vulgar bigot.


Interesting: Trump knew David Duke in 2000!
Excerpt: Mr. Trump painted a fairly dark picture of the Reform Party in his statement, noting the role of Mr. Buchanan, along with the roles of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and Lenora Fulani, the former standard-bearer of the New Alliance Party and an advocate of Marxist-Leninist politics. ''The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,'' he said in his statement. ''This is not company I wish to keep.''

Tulsi Gabbard, Rising Democratic Star, Endorses Bernie Sanders
“As a vice chair of the D.N.C., I am required to stay neutral in democratic primaries, but I cannot remain neutral any longer,” she added. “The stakes are just too high. That’s why today I’m endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders to be our next president and commander in chief of the United States.”

Worth Reading: The albatross of a Trump endorsement. By George F. Will
Excerpt: For example, on Friday, during a long stream of semi-consciousness in Fort Worth, this man who as president would nominate members of the federal judiciary vowed to “open up” libel laws to make it easier to sue — to intimidate and punish — people who write “negative” things. Well. Trump, the thin-skinned tough guy, resembles a campus crybaby who has wandered out of his “safe space.” It is not news that he has neither respect for nor knowledge of the Constitution, and he probably is unaware that he would have to “open up” many Supreme Court First Amendment rulings in order to achieve his aim. His obvious aim is to chill free speech, for the comfort of the political class, of which he is now a gaudy ornament.

Interesting: Republican senator: We need ‘third option’ if Trump wins nomination. By Paul Kane
Excerpt: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a freshman in office barely one year, took to social media Sunday night to declare that he would not support Donald Trump if he sews up the Republican presidential nomination and formally called for an independent challenge from the right as a conservative option to the real estate billionaire. “I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option,” Sasse wrote in a roughly 1,600-word missive posted on Facebook, much of which he also threw into a series of tweets to his followers.

This Has Festered Long Enough. By Erick Erickson 
Excerpt: I think the time has come to stop letting egos and Trump fester. I think the candidates must now consider that whoever comes out of Tuesday with the most delegates behind Trump be the Presidential nominee and whoever is third be the uniting Vice President. In 1980, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush put aside their egos and attacks at a time of Soviet threats and a rising Iranian menace. If Cruz and Rubio are unable to do the same and unite in the face of an ISIS threat and a rising Russian menace, they will be men who failed to rise to the challenges of their age. Now is the time for the partisans of both candidates to be willing to unite against Trump. We cannot wait till March 15th.

Religion of Peace News

So, is Iran "Un-Islamic"? Iran’s Hard-Line Press Adds to Bounty on Salman Rushdie
Excerpt: A group of hard-line Iranian news media organizations says it has raised $600,000 to add to a bounty for the killing of the British novelist Salman Rushdie.
Iran’s former supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1989 calling for Mr. Rushdie to be killed because of his book “The Satanic Verses,” which the ayatollah found to be blasphemous and insulting toward Muslims. Mr. Rushdie has since then been living largely out of sight and under the protection of bodyguards. (Has Obama or Kerry called the Religion of Peace out on this? ~Bob)

Refugee: New Haven man charged with alleged ‘vicious’ Hamden sexual assault while pretending to be Uber driver
Excerpt: A New Haven man who police say is an Iraqi refugee was charged Friday with allegedly “viciously” sexually assaulting a woman while posing as an Uber driver. Ahman Bahjat, 29, faces several charges in Hamden after he was taken into custody in New York earlier this month while allegedly trying to re-enter the United States after fleeing

30 Immigrant Men Circle 3 Teenage Girls In Germany
Excerpt: Police said the main suspects are two Afghan men who allegedly stalked the girls prior to the incident. They filmed the girls and shared the videos and photos with their friends to attract a larger crowd. Two of the girls managed to escape when they realized they were getting stalked, but they later returned to help their friend. (US giving smart phones to helpful, obviously. --Barb)

Obama Administration Changes Rule To Welcome Immigrants With STDs
Excerpt: The U.S. has the highest rate of HIV infection of any developed nation. More than 1.2 million people in this country are HIV positive. In that same Jan. 26 ruling, the Obama administration changed tuberculosis testing requirements for aliens wishing to enter the country. (Reportedly, many have sexually transmitted diseases from repetitive raping.  With incurable TB being introduced with illegals from SA and other regions of the globe, change in TB testing indicates "the folks" native to US no longer protected by their laws.  Show me your shocked face.  TB doesn't recognize skin color.....nor do STDs. --Barb)

School forces students to recite “Islam is great.” When a MARINE father hears about it…
Excerpt:  ... And I can also speak from experience here, because after retiring from the Army, I taught World History at Deerfield Beach High School in Florida. I don’t recall any lesson where I needed to have students recite the “shahada” or discuss the five pillars of Islam. Then again, I was teaching and educating, not indoctrinating.

World Trade Center
Was watching the Decades Channel for 02/26 and they ran a feature on the first bombing of the NY trade towers.  They indicated the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the bombing and showed mug shots of several members, indicating those arrested and charged and that the plan had been to get one tower to explode and lean into the other one, taking both down; something accomplished in 2001 by a relative of one of those Muslim Brotherhood operatives charged.  Amazing that now the Muslim Brotherhood is so closely involved with the US regime. --Barb

Woman Dismembered by Imam for Wearing a Bathing Suit
Excerpt: An imam named Muhammad Zulkifal is on trial in Italy for murdering two of his fellow Pakistanis for the crime of wearing bathing suits at the beach.
At least one of the victims, a woman, was dismembered.

Things in Calais are escalating quickly, police about to tear gas #CalaisJungle

Of Interest

Satire: “Trumped" Starring Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane

Sands of Iwo Jima Flag Raising

71 years ago February 23. ~Bob

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