Friday, January 23, 2015

Some VERY interesting news and comment today


By Friday, the eye they operated on Wednesday was great, working better than the right one, where the cataracts aren't bad enough for the operation. Yet. Lights appeared pale yellow in the right eye, bright white in the left. Though prohibited from strenuous exercise for at least a week, I did go to PT rehab, did 30 minutes on the treadmill at 2 mph. (I usually do 24 minutes at 2.6 mph, 4 minute cool down at 1.5 mph.) No weight/strength training machines. I'm not supposed to bend over--didn't realize how often I did until told not to. So all good so far. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Prescient, worth reading: Oil On Troubled Waters. By Theodore Dalrymple
Excerpt: I used to visit Nigeria regularly, and knew the writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was subsequently hanged by the dictator, General Abacha. Saro-Wiwa, who wrote a wonderful novel of the Nigerian civil war called Sozaboy. He came from the Niger Delta, where the oil also came from, and he started a political movement to try to obtain oil revenues for his particular tribe, the Ogoni. Although much of the oil came from Ogoniland, the Ogoni had received almost no financial benefit from it whatsoever. Instead, their native creeks, forests and fishing grounds had been largely destroyed by oil leaks. I discussed his movement with him when I went to see him in Port Harcourt, the largest city in the area, and took the pessimistic view that it was bound before long to provoke violence; but Saro-Wiwa, a non-violent man with a wonderful sense of humour, told me that the situation was already so bad that it could get no worse.

Worth Subscribing To: Single Parenting. By Jonah Goldberg, The Goldberg File
I am drowning in deadlines and this solo-parenting thing is hard. (My wife is out of town for a family emergency.) ... But I also think about how hard it must be to be an actual single parent. It seems to me that this is the ground-floor argument conservatives should build up from when talking about marriage. Raising kids is just easier with two committed parents around. Put aside the moralizing for a second (moralizing I often agree with, by the way) and just talk logistics. It’s very hard to do all the things you want to do for your kids without a wingman (or wing-gal). I’m not even talking about the financial part, which is huge. It’s simply harder to help with homework, show up at games, serve home-cooked meals, and generally participate in your kids’ life if you’re the sole breadwinner and sole parent. (Charles Murray has been making this point for a very long time.) What drives me crazy is when rich liberal single parents think they have legs to stand on when speaking on behalf of low-income single parents. I certainly understand the defensiveness, and no doubt they have some shared experiences. But the most infuriating problem with elite culture is its refusal to understand that it can afford its sins -- or if you prefer something more secular, its mistakes. People with lots of financial and social capital can afford to make bad choices that would be devastating for others. (Not on line, and I can use only an excerpt. You should be getting this. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: A Tedious, Recycled State of the Union: Six years later, Obama’s still reading from the same tired script. By Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: Once again, we heard how much he hates cynicism and partisanship, defining cynicism and partisanship in his own special way: disagreement with Barack Obama. The president denies this, of course. He said Tuesday night: “Understand, a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.” But if the president actually believed that, he would have governed that way when his party had total control of Congress. And yet, prior to the great “shellacking” of 2010, Obama governed as if the Republicans were at best a nuisance. When Republicans expressed concern over the partisan nature of the stimulus, he responded, “I won.”

Free college
With tongue in cheek, my teenage son grumbled that two free years of college is the same as adding 13th and 14th grades to the American education system. But the real tragedy is how the president proposes to pay for his idea: taxing middle-class college savings plans. This would harm the very group the president claims to help. Of course, the proposal has little hope with the GOP majority running Congress. National Center for Policy Analysis Washington Office, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Suite 310 Washington, D.C. 20003

New top Marine Corps general releases plan to shake up the service
Excerpt: The new top general in the Marine Corps released a 16-page plan on Friday detailing his vision for the service, emphasizing a realignment of troops to meet demands in the Pacific and Africa, better coordination with Special Operations units, and new psychological testing to assess resiliency in recruits. Commandant Gen. Joseph F. Dunford’s planning guidance is intended to outline how the Marine Corps “will set the conditions to fight and win against future enemies,” he wrote.

Attention Marines! 'Fives And Twenty-fives' - A Bargain, Whatever The Price. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: Recommend the book - to Marines, Sailors, families thereof, and everyone. Support this Marine! Support this aspiring artist, writer. Pass it on, please. 

2015 outlook: The next CNO
Excerpt: The next CNO will face declining budgets and the possibility of a huge budget crunch that could force the Navy to contract to the smallest it's been since before World War I. Half a dozen Navy and industry insiders have pinned three front-runners for the top job: Adms. Mark Ferguson, Bill Gortney and Michelle Howard: (Does it make any difference who he selects? The office has already been emasculated. --Bud. Yes, it makes a difference. we need someone to take on the thankless task of a rear guard top reserve what he can, to make the rebuilding easier after 2016. ~Bob. Any one betting against Michelle give me a growl! I need a couple fast bucks!!!! --Paul)

Quiz: What Heroic Figure of American Justice Are You?
Said I'm Indiana Jones. ~Bob

Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance Gets 19 Years at Ft. Leavenworth because He defended his Troops against Islamic Jihadists
Excerpt: First Lieutenant Clint Lorance never imagined that following the rule of engagement to save not only his life, but the lives of his fellow soldiers against Islamic enemies would result in him spending nearly two decades in prison. But it did.

Wisconsin Stubborn: Scott Walker has Iowa advantages, if he can keep his base. By John Fund
Excerpt: While Bush and Romney won’t be there, at least eight potential GOP candidates will show up, along with 150 journalists. Lots of attention will be paid to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who many observers say has a chance to break out of the pack in Iowa. He comes from a neighboring state and understands Midwestern sensibilities. His dramatic confrontation with public-sector unions in 2011 and his ability since then to survive both a recall and a reelection battle against those unions have earned him the equivalent of a Medal of Honor with many conservative activists. He has built up a national network of donors who can finance an intense grassroots operation in a state where organizing supporters is key.

Marco Rubio Moves Toward 2016 Presidential Bid
Excerpt: Sen. Marco Rubio has begun taking concrete steps toward launching a presidential bid, asking his top advisors to prepare for a campaign, signing on a leading Republican fundraiser, and planning extensive travel to early-voting states in the coming weeks, ABC News has learned.
"He has told us to proceed as if he is running for president," a senior Rubio advisor tells ABC News.

Excerpt: Redistributing income and promoting middle-class dependence on government was the recurring theme in Tuesday’s State of the Union address. During a time when the labor-force participation rate is at its lowest in decades, more important matters are getting people back to work and policies to encourage long-term investments in jobs. But Obama’s version of “middle class economics” was more about paying people’s bills with other people’s money and less about fostering job creation and income growth.

And Poverty Won: The War on Poverty Has Cost $22 Trillion
Excerpt: Since the War on Poverty began under President Lyndon Johnson, welfare spending has exploded to sixteen times its original size. In a new report from the Heritage Foundation, Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield tackle the welfare system, explaining how spending has skyrocketed since the 1960s. America has spent more on welfare than defense since 1993. The War on Poverty has cost $22 trillion -- three times more than what the government has spent on all wars in American history. Federal and state governments spend $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars on America's 80 means-tested welfare programs annually. One-third of all Americans receive benefits from at least one welfare program.

Raising Taxes on the Wealthy Would Hurt the Economy
Excerpt: Obama wants to increase the rate on capital gains and dividends to 28 percent, the idea being that it would only impact high earners. But that's not the case -- changes in tax policy affect economic behavior, something that "dynamic scoring" (as opposed to "static scoring") recognizes. Using dynamic analysis, Hodge and Schuyler assess the effect of a 28 percent capital gains tax rate. According to their model: All income groups, not just the wealthy, would see lower after-tax incomes. The amount of tax revenue the government would receive would fall. While static scoring estimates the tax would add $20 billion annually in new revenue, dynamic scoring concludes it would lose $12 billion in revenue. The United States would have $142 billion less GDP each year. Wages would fall, resulting in $461 less annually for families earning between $50,000 and $75,000.

Excerpt: Forty-two years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade, a decision that protects a woman’s freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health, and reaffirms a fundamental American value: that government should not intrude in our most private and personal family matters. I am deeply committed to protecting this core constitutional right, and I believe that efforts like H.R. 7, the bill the House considered today, would intrude on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today. (Obama comes from the leftist "The Constitution says on any given day what I think it should say" school. ~Bob)

Excerpt: Still reeling from Barack Obama's fairy tale presentation at the State of The Union address Tuesday night, I've been overwhelmed with news about the Democrats grand plan to save the middle class. Rather than implementing legislation that might grow a bigger economic pie, Barry is still gouging at the same old sorry little pie we've had for six years. He grabbed a great big old hunk of it in January 2013 with a huge tax increase, and, like every big spending liberal whose ever come down the pike, he's back for more this year.

Gun News

Dallas Robbery Suspect Shot & Killed By Victim
Excerpt: According to police, a man was walking along the sidewalk when a vehicle drove up next to him. The driver pulled out a gun and demanded money. However, the pedestrian was armed as well, and he started firing. The robbery suspect was struck by the gunfire.

Cops wanted to hit 'Meet the Press' then-host David Gregory with gun charge
Excerpt: In an affidavit, the investigator wrote that “there is probable cause that the offense of possessing a ‘high-capacity’ magazine was committed in the District of Columbia. Therefore your Affiant requests the issuance of an arrest warrant for Gregory, David Michael.” Despite the request, D.C. attorney general Irvin Nathan declined to prosecute in the case. He said that his office “determined to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to decline to bring criminal charges against Mr. Gregory, who has no criminal record, or any other NBC employee based on the events associated” with the broadcast.

She May Not Look That Intimidating at 5-Foot-4 — but Just Wait Until You See What She’s Packing
Excerpt: Tessa Renaud is nurse practitioner and the mother of six children. She is also a concealed carry permit holder who needed a better holster for her firearms. So, she invented one. Renaud’s holster is made from a 3-yard piece of lace fabric with a pocket for storage. It’s called ”Lethal Lace,” a name she credits her husband for coming up with.

Race Card News

Arizona State University Offers "Problem" of Whiteness Class
Excerpt: Arizona State University is offering a course exploring the “problem” of whiteness. The controversial class, taught by a white professor (of course), explores race theory, post-colonialism, and a host of other pseudo-intellectual topics centered on white privilege: (When I went to U-Mass 70-72, things were better. There were two Republicans on the PolySci faculty, one liberal, one conservative. All the rest were Democrats or further left. But you could argue with them and the other students--and I did--without fear of being failed. Not today. ~Bob)

Lie Witness News - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Edition
And they vote. ~Bob

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

Obamacare update
More than 7.1 million people have enrolled so far in Obamacare. The government released a table of zip codes showing where the enrollees live, and most of them seem to be from zip codes in FloridaNational Center for Policy Analysis Washington Office, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Suite 310 Washington, D.C. 20003

I love the smell of a political fix in the morning....IRS Has Active Contract For MILLIONS With Company HHS FIRED Over Botched By Richard Pollack
Excerpt: Seven months after federal officials fired CGI Federal for its botched work on Obamacare website, the IRS awarded the same company a $4.5 million IT contract for its new Obamacare tax program. ... Last year, CGI was fired by the liberal states of Vermont and Massachusetts for failing to deliver on their Obamacare websites. The Obamacare health website in Massachusetts never worked, despite the state paying $170 million to CGI.

"You're Greener than Gore" News

Keystone pipeline
The Senate worked late into the night on Thursday, voting on more than a dozen amendments to the Keystone pipeline. It appears that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's patience with the open legislative process is running thin. McConnell filed for cloture on the bill, which sets up a final vote next week. There are still several pending amendments, including one that would restrict EPA officers from carrying guns, one that would delist the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species, and an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would expedite natural gas exports. Senators have until Monday evening to file their amendments, after which McConnell's motion to limit debate kicks in. National Center for Policy Analysis Washington Office, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Suite 310 Washington, D.C. 20003

Worth Reading: Inhofe Calls Obama’s Climate Agenda A ‘Wealth Redistribution Scheme’
Excerpt: “Why the pain for no gain?” Inhofe asked in a rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union speech. ”As The Wall Street Journal put it when reporting on just one of the president’s many climate regulations, this is a wealth redistribution scheme being imposed by the president through the EPA." ... Inhofe warned that “the President’s agenda will cost our economy $479-billion dollars; we will experience a double-digit electricity price increase; and tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs over the course of the next decade.”

Religion of Peace News

Surprise! It's our fault: Islamist Panel Approaches Self-Parody in Hebdo/Radicalization Talk
Excerpt: A panel discussion Thursday hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) promised to plumb the "the root causes of radicalization" in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher market. It turns out the problem is not Islamic theology or radical Muslim ideology. It's all the things the West does wrong. Fix those problems, panelists said, and things get better. (All we have to do is convert to Islam and live under Shari'a Law according to the dictates of the murders. If we can figure out the dictates of which group of murders--they differ. Should we be Sunni or Shi'a for starters? ~Bob)

Saudi ruler is buried as new King Salman moves younger generation closer to throne
Excerpt: King Salman acted quickly to clarify the top tier of the Saudi hierarchy, seeking to project stability and resolve at a time when the country faces challenges on multiple fronts, including threats from Islamist militants and a political breakdown in neighboring Yemen. Salman’s decisions also acknowledged an important generational shift underway in the kingdom, as he named the country’s 55-year-old interior minister as the deputy crown prince. That puts him just behind Salman’s younger brother, Prince Muqrin, 69, in line for the throne.

Family members claim leader of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi has died. By Thomas Joscelyn
Excerpt: Family members of Mohamed al Zahawi, the leader of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi, say that he has died of wounds suffered during a battle last year, according to Reuters. Separately, a Libyan military leader has also claimed that Zahawi has passed away as a result of injuries "sustained in an ambush" that occurred sometime in September 2014.

During his State of the Union address, the president threatened to veto an Iran sanctions bill that might interfere with the negotiations underway concerning Iran's nuclear power/weapons program. Within hours, Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress on February 11 to offer Israel's views on Iran, Yemen and the other complex issues churning in the Middle East. The invitation breaks protocol with the White House and is largely viewed as a very public lack of confidence in the president's leadership toward Iran. President Obama is refusing to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu while he's in Washington because the president worries it might help Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli election. National Center for Policy Analysis Washington Office, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Suite 310 Washington, D.C. 20003

Erdoğan's Grand Ambitions. By Burak Bekdil
Excerpt: By June 2015, the Turks will have gone to the ballot box three times in a span of fifteen months: local polls in March 2014, the presidential race in August 2014, and parliamentary elections next June 2015. Turkey's ruling Islamists, under the roof of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), are probably heading for their ninth electoral victory in thirteen years. But in the longer term, a simple win may not suffice to keep afloat this coalition of Islamists, conservatives, Sunni supremacists, business cronies, and liberals. AKP's ambitions go beyond winning elections, and although it remains the most powerful political grouping in Turkey, with its votes now possibly at a saturation point, the party may be vulnerable to potential externalities.

Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials said to say. PM ‘will pay price’ for spat over Congress address; Obama said to have asked him to tone down pro-sanctions rhetoric; Wash. Post: Kerry’s enthusiasm for defending Israel may wane
Excerpt: “There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said. (So the actions of the administration are based on payback for wounded feeling, not for what is in America's and the world's best interests? ~Bob)

Islam Experts: No-go Zones Looming for America
Excerpt: The “no-go zones” in some Western nations, where law enforcement has lost control because of the influence of Islamic law, are coming to America. That’s according to several Islam experts interviewed by WND who believe the kind of Muslim enclaves that have developed in Europe due to a lack of assimilation will eventually arise in the U.S. as the Muslim population grows.

PM Valls sets out sweeping measures to safeguard France from terror
Excerpt: Valls said close to 3,000 people in France with jihadist ties needed to be under surveillance -- and that the number of people with links to networks in Iraq and Syria had increased by 130% in the past year. In response to the threat, 2,680 new jobs will be created, of which intelligence services alone will account for 1,100, he said. Many of the new jobs will be dedicated to tackling the threat from online jihadism. France will allocate 425 million euros ($490 million) over the next three years to boost the fight against extremism, Valls said.

Islamic State Supporters Protest in Gaza, Attempt to Storm French Institute
Excerpt: Roughly 200 Salafi-Jihadis in Gaza rallied outside of the French Cultural Institute on Monday, denouncing the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and praising the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)reports.

CNN's Anderson Cooper Admits to CNN's Muslim 'No Go Zone' Cover Up
Excerpt: “In the wave of the Paris attacks, several guests on this program mentioned ‘no-go zones’ in France,” Cooper said. “I didn’t challenge them and twice referred to them as well. I should have been more skeptical,” he added, and promised he would not make the same mistake again. Outside of CNN’s own reporting there is a wealth of evidence that these Muslim “no go zones” exist. Nevertheless, four times now Fox News has apologized on-air over the issue. What’s striking, though, is that the left-wing CNN has only apologized once for 1) doing what Fox News did. 2) Trashing Fox News for doing what CNN did. 3) Trashing Jindal for doing what CNN did. 4) Covering up its own reporting of “no go zones” while trashing others for reporting the same.

Worth Reading: Obama’s bloody Yemen disaster. By Michelle Malkin
Excerpt: When President Obama declares something a “success story,” you know it has “TOTAL FAILURE” embedded in its DNA. Four months ago, America’s King Midas in Reverse crowed about the fruits of his triumphant foreign policy in jihad-infested Yemen. A “light footprint” approach to counterterrorism operations, he claimed, was the most effective path to stability. In addition, Obama has shoveled nearly $1 billion in American tax-subsidized foreign aid to Yemen. Four months later, Iran-backed Shia rebels seized a Yemeni presidential palace.

Boko Haram claims Baga massacre and threatens Nigeria's neighbours
Excerpt: “We killed the people of Baga. We indeed killed them, as our Lord instructed us in His Book,” Shekau said in the 35-minute message, which was obtained by AFP. The militant leader was shown speaking in front of four white pick-up trucks, with eight masked and heavily armed men.

UK media coverup: “White power” supermarket attacker is Muslim, wrote “The wrath of Allah is about to come down upon the kaffir.By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: This story from the Mirror last week identifies the victim by name but describes him only as “Asian,” without ever saying he was Sikh, and also says: “The attacker was shouting ‘White power’, witnesses said, and detectives have confirmed the assault appeared to be racially-motivated.” So this was presented to the British public as a an attack by one of those right-wing racists that British authorities are much more concerned about than they are about Islamic jihadists, and this attack appeared to substantiate their concern. There’s just one catch: Zack Davies is a Muslim who calls himself Zak Ali, and who warned on his Facebook page on the morning of his attack in Tesco: “The wrath of Allah is about to come down upon the kaffir, I will have my revenge.”

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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