Saturday, March 14, 2015

Today's interesting political news and conservative opinion


Hard to work on the computer when it was in the high 60s today, sunny, light breeze. We went several places just to get out, now that Global Cooling seems to have receded for the year. Madison St. Pat's Parade Sunday--bet there are demonstrators. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Heroic 'marine of the year' who risked his life to save comrade in Afghanistan is named among 11 soldiers killed in training exercise helicopter crash off Florida
Excerpt: Marine Andrew Seif was one of the eleven who lost his life. 
He's credited with risking his life to save a wounded team member while both faced heavy enemy fire during a 2012 deployment to Afghanistan. Seif, 27, is a critical skills operator with 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command. He was named Marine of the Year in 2013 and was awarded the Silver Star Medal at a ceremony last week. 

‘Larger than life’: Special Operations Marines recall teammates killed in helicopter crash. By Dan Lamothe
Excerpt: On Friday, the names of all seven Marines killed in the Tuesday night crash were released. All of them were members of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), the elite force the service developed less than a decade ago to carry out dangerous missions in remote locations. Four members of the Louisiana National Guard operating the helicopter were also killed; their names had not been released as of Friday afternoon.

Hillary Clinton’s secret mess. By Kathleen Parker 
Excerpt: The most perplexing question isn’t about the e-mails themselves but why she put everything at risk over such a small detail, declining to segregate her personal and business e-mail. There can only be one answer, and it isn’t “convenience,” as Clinton claims. Think of another word that begins with the letter “C”: control.

High-Ranking Federal Officials’ History of Using Personal Email for Government Business. By Sharyl Attkisson
Excerpt: High-level federal executives routinely use personal email for business, in likely violation of the Federal Records Act. That’s according to a recent survey of federal employees.

Satire--too funny: Ready for Hillary

President Hillary Clinton would be secretive, too. Her patterns will not change if Hillary Clinton gets into the White House. By Byron York
Excerpt: News that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private email account to keep secret her communications as Secretary of State should surprise no one. She came to Washington more than 20 years ago determined to keep secrets, and she’s still at it. In 1993, the newly inaugurated President Bill Clinton chose his wife to head his administration’s most important domestic initiative, health care reform. Hillary Clinton proceeded to create a task force that seemed more determined to keep secrets than to restructure health care

Hillary’s War on the Women Who Boinked Bill. By John Hawkins 
Excerpt: What you may not remember as well was the brutality of public relations war the Clintons waged against these women. Just to point out one particularly nasty quip out of many, Clintonista James Carville rather famously said of Paula Jones that if you, “drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.” Of course in the end, Paula Jones ended up getting an $850,000 out-of-court settlement from the Clintons while Bill had to pay $90,000 for lying in court and was stripped of his law license for five years as part of a deal to avoid disbarment.

More Seattle restaurants close doors as $15 minimum wage approaches
Excerpt: Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law goes into effect on April 1, 2015. As that date approaches, restaurant across the city are making the financial decision to close shop. The Washington Policy Center writes that “closings have occurred across the city, from Grub in the upscale Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, to Little Uncle in gritty Pioneer Square, to the Boat Street Cafe on Western Avenue near the waterfront.” (What's the minimum wage if you are unemployed? Seattle votes for pie-in-the-sky, economically-ignorant progressives. Elections have consequences. ~Bob)

Excerpt: The Robins Air Force Base in Georgia has had a quick change of heart. After banning the use of the greeting “have a blessed day” Thursday, the base received such backlash that Air Force leaders reversed the decision almost immediately.

UN Religious Freedom Expert presents report to the Human Rights Council on country visit to Vietnam
Excerpt: During his visit to Vietnam in July 2014, Mr. Bielefeldt was obliged to cut short visits to An Giang, Gia Lai and Kontum provinces from because of “interruptions” and reports that people he wanted to meet were “heavily surveilled, warned, intimidated, harassed or prevented from travelling by the police". He and his interlocuters were closely monitored by “undeclared security or police agents”, and privacy of meetings was undermined. In his report, the UN Special Rapporteur said he was “outraged” by these incidents, as well as the “intimidation, police interrogations and even physical injuries of some of his interlocutors during and after his visit”, which were “in clear violation of the terms of reference of country visits that had been agreed upon by the Government prior to the visit”. (Gee, what a shock, someone really tried to have a thorough look at religious freedom in Viet Nam, and got hassled heavily and had to cut short his visit. But his report tells the world what some of us know, what some of have seen for ourselves, that Hanoi makes a mockery of the constitutional guarantee of Freedom of Religion. Will this make any difference? I would hope so, but with Hanoi, it's hard to know if anything can make them give up the least amount of power and control. --Del)

Four fallacies of EU foreign policy. By Andrew Rettman
Excerpt: Any reader of EU foreign policy statements will be familiar with four maxims: the EU doesn’t recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea; there’s no military solution to the Ukraine conflict; Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad must go; and the EU supports a two-state solution on Israel and Palestine. All of them are false.

U.S. admiral raises alarm over Russian military threat. By Barbara Starr, CNN
Excerpt: The ability of the U.S. and Canadian military to defend North America could be jeopardized by stepped up Russian military activity, according to the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Adm. William Gortney told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that Russia is continuing to work on its program to deploy "long-range conventionally armed cruise missiles," that can be launched from its bomber aircraft, submarines and warships. This is giving the Kremlin "deterrent" options "short of the nuclear threshold," Gortney said. (Haven't heard about NORAD for long time, this caught me eye. Putin wants old Russia back. O wants new and impotent America. --Susan)

Important: What Navy’s New Maritime Strategy Should Say. By John Lehman and Rep. J. Randy Forbes
Excerpt: After years of ill-considered budget cuts and a focus on large-scale land wars, the U.S. Navy had entered a period of qualitative and quantitative decline, diminished readiness, and a lack of confidence in its own mission and capabilities. Foreign adversaries seemed ascendant, including a radical theocracy in Iran and an expansionist Russia. Many American political leaders seemed resigned to a significantly reduced global role, and the Navy showed signs of abandoning its historic inclination toward an aggressive, offensive-minded spirit. We refer not to the present day but rather to the late 1970s and early 1980s. Then, as now, the U.S. Navy faced a deteriorating international security environment, an aging and shrinking fleet, and an administration woefully inadequate to the tasks before it. Ronald Reagan’s ascension to the presidency and determination to reverse the country’s military decline required a new strategy for the Navy. (Very timely and important article. --Del. It's not clear that we can any longer afford to defend the country. If we don't provide bread and games for the Headcount, there will be riots. ~Bob)

Vietnam: How the Communist Grinches Stole Christmas. By Michael Benge 
Excerpt: The Vietnamese regime is extremely paranoid over organized religion, for it competes with and is in direct opposition to the political religion of communism. The regime’s greatest fears are Christianity and Buddhism. In 2001, Christian Montagnards in the Central Highlands of Vietnam held mass demonstrations seeking the right to worship freely. This triggered severe crackdowns by the repressive communist regime that resulted in large numbers of Montagnards killed, thousands of others arrested, tortured and imprisoned, many of whom remain so today. After the protests, thousands of Montagnards fled the brutality and sought asylum in neighboring Cambodia causing an international political embarrassment and change in Vietnam’s communist party leadership. How terribly, terribly sad this is. The USA should be trying to really put pressure on Hanoi to back off these consistent persecutions of religious people, but right now this doesn't seem to show up on the radar of either the President or Congress at all. There is every reason for this country to bring pressure to bear for basic human rights in Viet Nam, but to our shame, it is not happening. --Del. Don't you follow the news? Anyone who doesn't like Communists is racist! ~Bob)

Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient, engaged to Sarah Palin's daughter
Excerpt: Former Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer, whose heroism in Afghanistan earned him a Medal of Honor for his "daring initiative and bold fighting spirit," is engaged to be married to the daughter of a former vice presidential nominee. His fiancee is Bristol Palin. She is a reality television personality and the daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president.

It’s Tocqueville’s birthday: Here’s what he predicted despotism in America would look like
Excerpt: In honor of Alexis de Tocqueville’s birthday some 209 years ago, we present this excerpt from the very end of his “Democracy in America,” in which Tocqueville expounds upon his fears about how a democratic society like America might fall to despotism [emphasis ours]. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest—his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind; as for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to them, but he sees them not—he touches them, but he feels them not; he exists but in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. (As much as we refer to de Tocqueville as a wonderful source about America as it was, I have never read him. This excerpt below I find really fascinating, it's got a wonderful clarity of view in it, a real chunk of distilled wisdom. And I can see only too well how it applies at this very time. --Del)

Race Card News

What Patrick Moynihan knew about the importance of two parents. By George F. Will
Excerpt: In the mid-1960s, a social scientist noted something ominous that came to be called “Moynihan’s Scissors”: Two lines on a graph crossed, replicating the blades of a scissors. The descending line charted the decline in the minority male unemployment rate. The ascending line charted the simultaneous rise of new welfare cases. The broken correlation of improvements in unemployment and decreased welfare dependency shattered confidence in social salvation through economic growth and reduced barriers to individual striving. Perhaps the decisive factors in combating poverty and enabling upward mobility were not economic but cultural — the habits, mores and dispositions that equip individuals to take advantage of opportunities.

Man Reportedly Told Victim, ‘I’m Going to Kill You White Boy’ Before Slitting His Throat on NYC Street. By Jason Howerton
Excerpt: The 24-year-old victim was walking down the street with his girlfriend, an assailant ran up to him and screamed, “I’m going to kill you white boy” in Spanish, according to the New York Police Department. (Oh, now there will be a backlash, with whites rioting, looting stores and attacking innocent minorities. No? ~Bob)

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

American Hospitals Must Consolidate or Die
Excerpt: Equally upsetting, the federal government, which on the one hand is largely responsible for the new calculus in American healthcare, is, on the other, also the largest obstacle to the industry’s natural remedy for it....Admittedly, only 4 percent of the mergers of the past 5 years have been challenged by the FTC in court, but a case decided just this past month, FTC v. St. Luke’s Health System in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the FTC succeeded in rolling back a hospital/physician group merger, is predicted to have a chilling effect on future consolidations ... Despite these, American hospitals have managed to find salvation in mergers and acquisitions, the only way that they can manage to preserve patient access, affordability, and quality, while ensuring a sustainable business model. (Locally, hospitals are turning into megamonopolies, gobbling physician practice groups, family care providers, and small rural hospitals and clinics. The Stark law specifically prevents physicians referring patients to services/products in which they own an interest without notification of such. Established practices are finding their patients (customers) usurped by hospitals with their associated networks of new specialists after a patient is admitted, since the records are no longer sacrosanct to a practice but available electronically (for "better" healthcare) to the hospital and its new competitive groups. Your patient was admitted? Frequently, MD not informed and patient "guided" to the new service, owned by the hospital, when referral made to their group specialist. Occasionally, patients will demand to be seen by their MD. FTC is realizing it has created monopolies with its policies; this article is biased towards "hospital survival" stating "providing better care." Depends on your POV. Many specialists see their practices drying up, between hospitals siphoning off patient base and additional demands by ACA regulations/Medicare/Medicaid. This will, in turn, lead to fewer MDs other than those "gobbled" or brought in by hospitals. And many of "new faces" are black; also apparently instructed by regime since blacks want their own kind for MDs, not a white in a white outfit. Yes, segregation is back. MDs coming from Haiti, Africa, you name it. --Barb)

Undocumented Democrat News

U.S. Border Patrol: Arrests of sex offenders crossing Texas border spike
Excerpt: U.S. Border Patrol agents in one part of Texas have noticed a disturbing trend: a spike in sex offenders trying to sneak in to the country illegally. KRGV-TV said just in the past five months, agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector apprehended 144 sex offenders crossing the border from Mexico. In the same period last year agents in the valley nailed 93 sex offenders trying to slip into the U.S. (The term "Sex Offender" is a racist dog whistle. The PC term in "Undocumented Lover." ~Bob)

"You're Greener than Gore" News

Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really). There are problems with oil, gas and coal, but their benefits for people—and the planet—are beyond dispute. By Matt Ridley
Excerpt: The environmental movement has advanced three arguments in recent years for giving up fossil fuels: (1) that we will soon run out of them anyway; (2) that alternative sources of energy will price them out of the marketplace; and (3) that we cannot afford the climate consequences of burning them. These days, not one of the three arguments is looking very healthy. In fact, a more realistic assessment of our energy and environmental situation suggests that, for decades to come, we will continue to rely overwhelmingly on the fossil fuels that have contributed so dramatically to the world’s prosperity and progress. (Well, as Nancy Pelosi said, we don't have to use fossil fuels, we can use clean natural gas instead. ~Bob)

Religion of Peace News

Excerpt: Nonetheless, we might absorb some strikes. Wrenchingly, that might be the price of averting the heavier losses that we and others would suffer in the larger Middle Eastern conflagration that is the likely outcome of Iran’s drive to the bomb. Were Iran, which is already embroiled in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza, further emboldened by becoming a “nuclear threshold state,” it would probably overreach, kindling bigger wars — with Israel, Arab states or both. The United States would probably be drawn in, just as we have been in many other wars from which we had hoped to remain aloof. ... Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. (As you might guess, Muravchik is getting slaughtered in the comments as a warmonger, much like Churchill was in the 1930s. Brave stance for an academic--they tolerate no opposing views and will make his life hell on campus. Once Iran has nuclear weapons, terrorists will have nuclear weapons. Smuggling one into NYC or LA in a container on a ship would not be hard--hundreds of thousands on them come in undetected. While I wish no one ill, there would be some rough justice if his slavering critics were in the first US city destroyed by them. ~Bob)

Iran's advances create alarm in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Arabs believe Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana’a are in effect under Iranian control – and power may shift further if US sanctions are eased
Excerpt: “The Islamic revolution is advancing with good speed, its example being the ever-increasing export of the revolution,” he declared. “Not only Palestine and Lebanon acknowledge the influential role of the Islamic Republic but so do the people of Iraq and Syria. They appreciate the nation of Iran.”

Hanin Zoabi’s Nephew Endorses Netanyahu at Rally. By Ari Yashar, INN
Excerpt: Mohammed Zoabi, the fearless Zionist Arab youth from Nazareth who received death threats and had to go underground after criticizing his radical pro-Hamas aunt MK Hanin Zoabi, gave an impassioned speech of support for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a Likud rally this week. In a video clip posted to Netanyahu’s Facebook page earlier this week, the young Zoabi is seen at the podium declaring forcefully “I’m a proud Israeli Arab Zionist." The video of Zoabi’s speech, in Hebrew, can be seen below.

Jewish Teens Assaulted, Robbed Outside French Synagogue. Two teens targeted in Marseille by attackers 'of African origin,' after attackers shouted 'dirty Jews, we'll exterminate you all.'

Military Veterans Head to Iraq to Fight ISIS. By Matt Vespa 
Excerpt: The New York Times had an interesting piece about military vets–unsatisfied with civilian life–returning to Iraq to fight ISIS. Patrick Maxwell is one of them. With the rise of ISIS, Maxwell, a former sergeant in the Iraq War who was selling real estate in Texas, was finally able to see “the enemy” that was more like a phantom when he was deployed in Anbar Province in 2006. Horrified by the atrocities of ISIS, Maxwell decided to volunteer to fight the Islamic State, along with other veterans. 

Islamic State amputates hands of five people caught smoking. By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: The Islamic State probably judged that they were spreading corruption upon the earth. “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” (Qur’an 5:33)

Australia: Muslim cleric quotes Qur’an to incite Muslims against Jews, “strongest people in enmity towards the believers.” By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: “You shall find the strongest people in enmity towards the believers to the Jews and the polytheists.” That’s Qur’an 5:82. “Fight them until there is no fitna [‘strife’], and religion belongs to Allah alone.” That’s Qur’an 8:39. “Fitna is worse than killing.” That’s Qur’an 2:191 and 2:217. Will some moderate Muslim leader please explain how Ismail Al-Wahwah is misunderstanding and misinterpreting the Qur’an? Meanwhile, “Al-Wahwah” would be the perfect name for a Muslim leader whining about “Islamophobia.” I hope that will be the subject of this learned imam’s next Friday sermon.

U.S. Exaggerates Islamic State Casualties. By Eli Lake Josh Rogin
Excerpt: These officials and other experts tracking the terror group tell us that the Islamic State's Shura and Sharia councils, the advisory bodies that help inform the major decisions of the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remain intact, notwithstanding one close call in November for Baghdadi. Although airstrikes and military campaigns have killed several regional administrators and designated “governors,” the Islamic State has quickly replaced them and maintains its command-and-control capabilities. This assessment of progress against the Islamic State differs sharply from public statements by top Obama administration officials as recently as last month ...

Iraqi Kurds Claim To Have Evidence ISIS Used Chemical Weapon. By Isabel Coles
Excerpt: Iraqi Kurdish authorities said on Saturday they had evidence that Islamic State had used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against their peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq in January. The Security Council of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region said in a statement to Reuters that the peshmerga had taken soil and clothing samples after an Islamic State car bombing attempt on Jan. 23. It said laboratory analysis showed "the samples contained levels of chlorine that suggested the substance was used in weaponised form." (And where would they have gotten supplies of chlorine gas to use against their opponents? Not that it matters much, and of course why would we expect any kind of restraint from them in their murderous campaigns? --Del)

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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