Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Don't miss today's political news and opinion


If you are blocked from an article, try Googling the title. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Don't let the people find out: 1,100 donors to a Canadian charity tied to Clinton Foundation remain secret. By Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post
Excerpt: A charity affiliated with the Clinton Foundation failed to reveal the identities of its 1,100 donors, creating a broad exception to the foundation’s promise to disclose funding sources as part of an ethics agreement with the Obama administration. The number of undisclosed contributors to the charity, the Canada-based Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, signals a larger zone of secrecy around foundation donors than was previously known.

Clinton Foundation Made The Same Foreign Donation ‘Mistake’ 1,100 Times. By Chuck Ross
Excerpt: The Canadian arm of the Clinton Foundation has more than 1,100 undisclosed donors and is seeking permission from the top 28 to reveal their identity, according to reports. The disclosure effort is in response to the intense scrutiny aimed at the Clinton Foundation’s failure to comply with an ethics agreement it signed in 2008 before Hillary Clinton took the job as secretary of state.

63% Think Hillary Clinton May Have Helped Foreign Donors As Secretary of State
Excerpts: Just over half of voters do not trust Hillary Clinton, but even more think she used her position as secretary of State to benefit some of those who gave money to her Clinton Foundation. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of Likely U.S. Voters think it’s likely some actions Clinton took as secretary of State were influenced by donations made to the Clinton Foundation. (The other 37% think Russia and Saudi Arabia are Santa Clause. ~Bob)

WaPo Fact Checker: Clinton Foundation’s misleading claim about Canadian laws on donor info. By Michelle Ye Hee Lee
Excerpt: The charity’s memo notes that under Canadian law, donors have the right to privacy, and that the board of directors has a fiduciary responsibility to use donors’ personal information for its own charitable purposes. While that may be the case, Pally’s statement implies that there is a blanket Canadian law that bans charities from disclosing donor information without permission. That is not exactly the case. Three Pinocchios

More Clinton Foreign Money Hypocrisy: They Blasted Bob Dole for It!
Excerpt: When all was said and done with the investigation, the DNC was fined $115,000 and the Clinton-Gore campaign was fined $2,000. This gives us plenty of ammunition to hit Clinton with.* In addition to spotlighting the time they hit Bob Dole over these donations, it brings to light the fact that, while President, Bill Clinton signed an executive order banning foreign lobbying, and it highlights the 42nd President's role in 1990s campaign finance reform. It also shows us how the Clinton administration made no real effort to insure that witnesses called before the committee gave honest responses--or even to insure that many of them would even show up!

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: 'I am running for president'
Excerpt: Promising to fight what he deems "obscene levels" of income disparity and a campaign finance system that is a "real disgrace," independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday he will run for president as a Democrat. In an interview with The Associated Press, Sanders confirmed his plans to formally join the race Thursday. The self-described "democratic socialist" enters the race as a robust liberal alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and he pledged to do more than simply raise progressive issues or nudge the former secretary of state to the left in a campaign in which she is heavily favored. ("obscene levels" a hit on Hillary? ~Bob)

In 1 in 5 Families in U.S., No One Works. By Ali Meyer
Excerpt: In 19.9 percent of American families in 2014, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), no one in the family worked. (Fundamentally transforming America into government dependents. ~Bob)

Labor unions take forced fees from 550,000 nonmembers. By Jason Hart 
Excerpt: To keep their jobs, 554,799 American workers were forced last year to pay union agency fees. In the 25 states without right-to-work laws, unions can take mandatory “fair share” or “agency” fees from workers who decline union membership. Those fees often amount to hundreds of dollars per year. Unions can’t spend agency fees directly on politics, but taking fees from nonmembers frees unions to spend more from members’ dues on political activism for “progressive,” big-government policies.

IRS watchdog recovers thousands of missing Lois Lerner emails, reignites Hill probes
Excerpt: The Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration announced overnight that it had recovered roughly 6,400 Lerner emails that Congress has yet to see and that it will examine them as part of Congress’ bipartisan investigation that also includes the Senate Finance Committee. Roughly 650 of the recovered emails are from 2010 and 2011, while most of them are from 2012. (In unrelated news: IRA IG transferred to Barrow, Alaska field office. ~Bob)

The numbers on the Obama economy are in for the first quarter:
Excerpt: The U.S. economy stalled in the first quarter, expanding by just .02 percent, hurt by weak exports and a drop in business investment, according to a report released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. The figure fell short of analyst's predictions of 1 percent growth and well below the previous quarter's 2.2 percent growth, indicating that the U.S. economy is losing momentum, undermining President Obama's recent efforts to tout the economic recovery.

Flat Tax is a Fair Tax
Excerpt: Almost exactly 20 years ago, Steven Forbes started talking about flat tax. Two decades later, the flat tax is again the rage in a presidential primary. A number of GOP candidates, including Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, are looking to go flat with a radically simplified postcard tax return. Mike Huckabee wants a low flat-rate tax too, but he would use a sales tax, not an income tax. The new Republican Party has been baptized in the iron logic of the Laffer Curve. High tax rates stifle innovation, work, investment and American competitiveness. The United States' absurdly high corporate tax rate (40 percent on average) is incontrovertibly sending jobs and corporations abroad, where rates are typically much lower. Just ask Burger King, one of the latest iconic American companies to flee to a lower-tax competitor.

Worth Reading: America’s Failed Revolution. By Chris Miller
Excerpt: What does it mean to have a culture where few will fight for a country all profess to love? Perhaps American Exceptionalism is to blame. Ironically, those who have hawkish views on American policy, yet do not fight themselves, and those with dovish views on the use of military force unwittingly share similar conclusions on this point. They believe that their version of America is such a special creation in God’s eyes or has reached such a state of enlightened, modern development that the normal rules of history do not apply. ... Words no longer match deeds. America stands divided politically, economically, and socially. Its foreign policy is adrift without a grand strategy over the last 15 years of the post-9/11 era. There is little sign thus far that things will change in 2016. We are indeed a long way away from those farmers, laborers, and merchantmen who stood together, shoulder to shoulder, at North Bridge in Concord and faced down an empire, knowing it would mean the end of life as they had known it and death for many of them, especially if they failed. The stakes were high then. They are just as high today.

Eighth-graders struggling with basic U.S. history, civics. By Jason Russell
Excerpt: Less than one-in-five eighth graders have a proficient grasp of United States history, and less than a quarter have a proficient grasp of civics, according to new government data released Wednesday.

Rising Dragon News

The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s new, better ‘leap forward.’ By Robert Samuelson
Excerpt: No country can be a global power without an engineering and scientific base. It’s necessary to run modern factories, develop new products, analyze and deal with complex social problems — pollution, food safety, sickness and disease — and (if the country chooses) to build and project military might. China’s rise to power once again confirms this truism. ... During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) — Mao Zedong’s grisly effort to purify the Communist Party by banishing millions of Chinese to the countryside — China repudiated modern science. ... Since then, China has been on a science and technology tear, as a new study by Harvard economists Richard Freeman and Wei Huang shows. Here are highlights:

Older, on topic: Go to China, young scientist. By Matthew Stremlau 
Excerpt: Today, however, only a handful of my friends will go on to run their own labs, though more would like to. Some go into industry or consulting or law. Others leave science altogether. As public funding for science and technology shrinks, it just isn’t possible for people who want to become scientists in America to actually become scientists. So when a friend of mine who recently received her PhD in molecular biology asked for some career advice, the answer was easy. Go to China, I told her.

Gun News

VA Sends Veterans’ Medical Info To FBI To Get Their Guns Taken Away. By Patrick Howley
Excerpt: The VA puts you on the list if they say you can’t handle your “financial affairs”: “…VA provides the Department of Justice a monthly list of individuals who have been rated by VA as being unable to manage their VA benefits,” according to a federal government “frequently asked questions” document obtained by TheDC. The VA information technology center in Austin, Texas sends the FBI “a monthly CD” containing names of new veterans being added to the list.

Race Card News

DUMB CRIMINAL: Woman Arrested for Threatening to Kill Police on Facebook
Excerpt: “All Black ppl should rise up and shoot at every white cop in the nation starting NOW.
I condone black on white killings. Hell they condone crimes against us. (Won't make the SPLC's list of dangerous extremists. ~Bob)

Breaking: Freddie Gray Allegedly Had Spine Surgery Just One Week Before Arrest
Excerpt: CONFIRMED: Court records show Freddie Gray was receiving a structured settlement from Allstate Insurance and attempted to convert it into one lump sum in early March.

Excerpt: We've all watched Black politicians drag Detroit into a 3rd world city, morally and financially bankrupt, rife with crime, a long line of mayors imprisoned for graft and corruption. Black leaders couldn't keep the water running, or the garbage picked up, or even provide basic personal protection of its citizens. Hard on the heels of Detroit's demise, Baltimore, Maryland is simply "Detroit; Part II." Just as Detroit was a thriving metropolis in 1960, Baltimore, in 1960, was a prosperous city; a safe, low crime, desirable place for folks to live. In 1960 Baltimore had a population of a million hard working people; 20 percent Black, 80 percent White. "White Flight" has left Baltimore with half their former population, overwhelmingly Black. As with Detroit, Baltimore got rid of the honkey politicians and the Black majority elected city leaders from their own ranks. And Black leaders rewarded their citizenry with graft and corruption....and the citizenry just got more impoverished.

Whole Foods Defies the Obama Agenda – What Happens Next Is Disgusting
Excerpt: Grocery store brand Whole Foods is facing backlash this week after they made efforts to support law enforcement who have been trying to protect Baltimore from the violent race riots. “We teamed up with Whole Foods Market Mt. Washington to make sandwiches for the men and women keeping Baltimore safe. We are so thankful to have them here and they’re pumped for Turkey & Cheese,” one of the supermarket’s local stores posted on Instagram. The post infuriated many on the left, who stand with the Obama Administration. (The liberal elitists will have to eat non-organic yogurt like us common folks. ~Bob)

Baltimore Rioter Who Slashed Fire Hose Unmasked. By Kerry Picket
Excerpt: A young man who cut a fire hose Monday as firefighters attempted to save a CVS may now be identified. (Prediction: no penalty. ~Bob)

Facebook post said it was from Baltimore--Can't verify.

Source: Baltimore mayor ordered police to stand down
Excerpt: Despite a firm denial by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a senior law enforcement source charges that she gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out Monday night, raising more questions about whether some of the violence and looting could have been prevented. The source, who is involved in the enforcement efforts, confirmed to Fox News there was a direct order from the mayor to her police chief Monday night, effectively tying the hands of officers as they were pelted with rocks and bottles. 

Preventing violence
Wife met with New Haven mayor and town mayor as part of a multi-faith team to prevent youth violence, in part driven by a kid killed in a drive by last week. New Haven mayor is from the Loretta Lynch school of political qualifications. She told me about all the committees formed to address the multitude of issues. I asked if there was a committee on parental assistance or intervention. Hadn't thought of that one. --GS

Baltimore City Council Apologizes–To Rioters! By Adam Campbell
Excerpt: As Baltimore burns, Baltimore City Council President Jack Young took to address apparently the most important thing on his desk: apologizing for calling rioters “thugs.” He instead called those responsible for the shocking violence “misdirected.” You think? Keep in mind these “misdirected” rioters have torched 15 buildings and hundreds of cars, and attacked more than 15 police officers. Their pictures could be in Webster’s Dictionary under the word “thug.” They now say the use of "thug" is racist. I would call the Aryan Nation thugs, and their diversity policy for recruiting minorities is somewhat limited. ~Bob)

Google searched for use of the N word. Funny. In Wisconsin, the highest usage is the Milwaukee area, in Michigan it is the Detroit area--both with the highest black populations in these states. ~Bob

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

King v Burwell Decision Could Usher in Obamacare Alternative
Excerpt: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has introduced the Preserving Freedom and Choice in Health Care bill, which he frames as a response to the Supreme Court deciding for the plaintiffs in King v Burwell. This lawsuit seeks to force the administration to obey the law by not paying tax credits to health plans that operate in states using a federal health insurance exchange (i.e., says NCPA senior fellow John R. Graham. Victory for the plaintiffs would cause massive disruption in health insurance in the 36 states using because beneficiaries' premiums would increase significantly. Up to nine million people would experience this effect.

Undocumented Democrat News

73% Think Newcomers Should Adopt America's Culture, Language
Excerpt: Most voters still consider America an equitable place to live and feel strongly that newcomers to this country should adopt our way of life. (Press Two For Spanish is racist! First because non-English speaking immigrants from other cultures do not get everything in their native languages, and second because Hispanics who don't speak English are worse off economically than those who do. So it keeps them poor. ~Bob)

"You're Greener than Gore" News

Surprise, they lied: Obama clean energy loans leave taxpayers in $2.2 billion hole. By Stephen Dinen
Excerpt: Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government’s energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit Monday that suggests the controversial projects may not pay for themselves, as officials had promised.

Counting the Kemper costs: Mississippi’s travails with “clean coal.” By Andrew Collins
Excerpt: Mississippi Watchdog reporter Steve Wilson, who has been following the Kemper Project story for more than a year now, ticks off a laundry list of disconcerting facts along these lines. The clean coal plant has increased in cost by more than 70 percent over its initial projections and is two years behind schedule – due in part to delays and government regulations. It is held up as an example for future coal power plants, but the dirty little secret is that currently it does not work – and might never work. Unfortunately, it is the rate payers for Mississippi Power, the utility that built the plant, who have been saddled with 18 percent rate increases to pay for the plant’s $6.175 billion price tag. That makes it one of the most expensive power plants per kilowatt in the country.

Religion of Peace News

Lawsuit Alleges Sexism, Anti-Semitism by Al Jazeera America Official
Excerpt: A senior Al Jazeera America manager is facing serious allegations of sexist and anti-Semitic discrimination after an employee filed suit Tuesday for wrongful termination. Matthew Luke is seeking $15 million in damages from the Qatar-owned network. The complaint filed in New York state court accuses Osman Mahmud of sexist discrimination, such as removing female employees from projects and excluding women from emails and meetings related to their assignments. Mahmud also allegedly made anti-American and anti-Semitic comments, such as "whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell."

Excerpt: In preparing today’s testimony, I reviewed the history of al Qaeda’s plotting against the West. A number of facts demonstrate that al Qaeda’s presence in Africa has been tied to these efforts. For instance, declassified documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound show that he ordered al Qaeda’s branches in Africa to select candidates capable of striking inside the U.S. Bin Laden also ordered al Qaeda’s African branches to coordinate their work with his “external operations” team, which was responsible for plotting attacks against Western interests. Some of al Qaeda’s most senior leaders, including those who have overseen al Qaeda’s planned attacks in the West, have come from Africa. Senior al Qaeda leaders embedded in Shabaab have also trained operatives to attack in Europe.

Clinton Aide Gets Life in Prison. By Matthew Vadum 
Excerpt: An Islamic terrorist leader who jumped straight from his job at the Clinton Foundation to a post with Egypt’s jihadist Muslim Brotherhood has received a life sentence back home for seditious activities.

Iranian State Piracy Pays. By Christopher S. Carson 
Excerpt: Iran has taken a new step today in aggression against Western shipping with a kind of state-sponsored piracy. The container ship Maersk Tigris, owned by a Danish company but “chartered” to a German-held corporation, was fired on and boarded by the Iranian navy. The Danish ship and her crew were taken to Iran. An American destroyer, the USS Farragut, has been ordered to intercept, but Iran has good reason to believe that it will pay no price for its piracy, and may even in fact benefit.

Important: Young Saudi Royals Rise as Kingdom Tries to Assert Regional Leadership. By Ahmed Al Omran And Asa Fitch
Excerpt: The Saudi monarchy’s overhaul of its aging leadership moves a younger generation of royals into position to reinvigorate the country at a time when it is trying to assert political and military leadership in the Middle East and reshape ties with the West. In a kingdom where elderly and infirm monarchs made all major decisions for decades, the empowerment of younger members of the House of Saud is a significant departure. It has already translated into a surprisingly activist foreign policy that has asserted Saudi leadership of a Sunni Muslim bloc confronting mainly Shiite Iran. And it comes as oil-rich Saudi Arabia faces economic challenges at home brought on by the sharp fall in the price of crude.

Nigerian army says hundreds of girls rescued from Boko Haram camps. Rescue does not include any of the schoolgirls kidnapped a year ago, military says
Excerpt: Nigeria's military says it has rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram in the northeastern Sambisa Forest but they do not include any of the schoolgirls kidnapped a year ago from Chibok. The army announced the rescue on Twitter Tuesday and said it is now screening and profiling the girls and women.

Worth Hearing: Ex-Muslim: Koran Revealed a Religion I Did Not Like

UK: Muslim candidate says she’ll never support “the Jew” Miliband for PM. By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: She is a member of the Conservative Party, the party of David Cameron and Theresa May, who are just as desperate to appease Islamic supremacists and pander for Muslim votes as Miliband is. So this is not much of a surprise — it’s just another day in shattered, staggering, Sharia Britannia.

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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