Monday, May 4, 2015

A lot of not-to-be-missed news today


General News and Comment

Buying Bill, Hiring Hill: The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada. By Tom HamburgerRosalind S. Helderman and Anu Narayanswamy, Washington Post
Excerpt: or Frank Giustra, who had never met the former president, this was an opportunity. The Canadian mining magnate and onetime Hollywood studio owner stepped up to let the former president borrow his luxurious passenger jet. There was just one condition: Giustra would come along for the ride. That 2005 trip was the start of an intense, mutually beneficial friendship — one that has helped propel the Clinton Foundation into a global giant and established Giustra’s reputation as an international philanthropist while helping him build connections in countries where his business was expanding. Giustra has since committed more than $100 million to the work of the Clinton Foundation, becoming one of the largest individual donors to the family’s charities.

[VIDEO] Bill Clinton on Making $500,000 for Giving Speeches: 'I Gotta Pay Our Bills.' By Daniel Halper
Hey, I got bills too. I'll give a speech for $50k. Okay $5K. $500? Lunch? ~Bob

Hillary Clinton agrees to testify this month on Benghazi, emails
Excerpt: Hillary Rodham Clinton is willing to testify on Capitol Hill later this month about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and about her email practices during her tenure as secretary of state, her attorney told lawmakers in a letter Monday. But lawyer David Kendall said the Democratic presidential candidate would testify only for one session the week of May 18 or later, not twice as requested by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the special panel investigating the September 2012 attacks that killed four Americans at the U.S. outpost in Libya.

For Hillary Clinton, a trust deficit to surmount. By Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
Excerpt: Is Hillary Clinton honest enough to be president? That question — phrased in a thousand different ways but always with the same doubts in mind — sits at the heart of a campaign that will span the next 18 months and on which billions of dollars will be spent.
Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House. It speaks to the seemingly contradictory reality of Clinton as a candidate: She is her own best asset. She is also her own worst enemy.

When America Loses a War. The real lesson is that bad things happen when the U.S. loses or walks away from a war. By William McGurn
Excerpt: Even from a remove of 40 years, those last, tragic images from outside the U.S. embassy in Saigon remain a painful reminder of one of the less-noble chapters in American history. ... Overseas Vietnamese, many of them former refugees, call this "Black April," because it marked the end of their nation. It also marked America's humiliation before the world. (The flow of articles and commentaries on the war itself, its results, meaning for today, etc, just seems to be a stream without an end. But now that we're past the 40 yr anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, maybe it'll finally peter out. Meanwhile, here's one more well done commentary. --Del)

Agriculture Exempt from Water Reductions? By Alyssa Houtby
Excerpt: Director of Public Affairs Exeter, CA - Governor Brown made California history when he issued an executive order calling for cities and towns across the state to implement "substantial" mandatory water reductions in an effort to curb wasteful water use and make California "more drought resilient." It is no shock, least to whom the agricultural sector, that California is experiencing a water crisis. The impetus of this crisis, natural or political, is up for debate. But regardless of the cause, agriculture has suffered the most losses as a result. Approximately 46% of California's fresh citrus is produced in the Friant Service Area and will receive zero percent surface water allocation for a second year in a row. (Just more and more info and commentary coming along. --Del)

A History of Neglect. By Adam Turner
Excerpt: Since as far back as the American Revolution, politicians and the public have welcomed soldiers home from war with promises of cutting edge medical knowledge, comprehensive rehabilitation, and ongoing care as compensation for their service. Just as often, though, these promises have gone unfulfilled in the face of their enormous expense. The history of the veteran’s health system thus has been one of best intentions and poor funding. Generations of US veterans have encountered this history of neglect, starting dramatically with Shays’ Rebellion in 1786-87.[1] This neglect resulted sometimes from corruption, and sometimes from excessive bureaucracy and red tape, but almost always from a lack of funding adequate to properly care for the men and women sent to fight the nation’s wars. (I thought this was a reasonably decent article on the long history of America and how its wounded vets have been treated. Overall it would seem the system doesn't do too badly, but there are places where there's not enough resources for the patient load, and where the administrators are more about their bonuses than about really providing the best possible care for the vets. And we all know that changes are needed to really improve the system, but we're still not seeing detailed, workable proposals for how to achieve that. --Del)

It's Official: Ben Carson Jumps Aboard 2016 Express. By Daniel Doherty 
Excerpt: On Monday at a campaign event in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Ben Carson made the announcement his supporters have long been waiting for. “I’m Ben Carson and I’m a candidate for president of the United States,” he declared to thunderous applause. Speaking without notes, the former neurosurgeon brought up his moving personal story and the resilience and tenacity of his mother. Among other things, he extolled her work ethic, commitment to educating her children, and money management skills—values that even today continue to influence him. (A brilliant guy, inclined to be naive about politics and make damaging statements. ~Bob)

Ben Carson Announces Presidential Bid to Mixed Reception
Excerpt: Ben Carson just announced his bid for the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2016 … to quite a mixed response. I’m not sure exactly why so many people, especially in the black community, are so singularly unenthusiastic about Dr. Carson. From the beginning of his public career, he has never pretended to be anything other than a conservative Christian. Yet many former supporters say he is tarnishing his once grand reputation with his political stances: For many young African Americans who grew up seeing Carson as the embodiment of black achievement — a poor inner-city boy who became one of the world’s most accomplished neurosurgeons — his emergence as a conservative hero and unabashed critic of the United States’ first black president has been jarring.

BREAKING: Carly Fiorina Announces She's Running For President. By Katie Pavlich 
Really running for VP--but would the GOP carry California with her on the ticket? ~Bob

WaPo Fact Checker: Pelosi’s perplexing claim that House bill would ‘cut’ VA medical care funds. By Michelle Ye Hee Lee
Excerpt: Aside from this bill, VA also has access to billions of additional dollars that was allotted to deal with its access-to-care problems. The agency has more than $14 billion left to spend. Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act specifically to allow veterans to cut through bureaucracy. The argument that 70,000 fewer veterans would access medical care because of the House appropriations bill is perplexing and clearly an exaggeration. Three Pinocchios

Excerpt: St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Tim Barker just did a story on the small Milstadt, Illinois company that some people seem to think has a real shot of being a serious contender for the Army’s Modular Handgun System contract.

PC Marches On: Woman to become NYC firefighter in spite of having failed physical fitness test
Excerpt: “They’re going to allow the first person to graduate without passing because this administration has lowered the standard,” said the insider, who is familiar with the training.
Upon graduation, Wax would be assigned to a firehouse and tasked with the full duties of a firefighter. Some FDNY members are angry. “We’re being asked to go into a fire with someone who isn’t 100 percent qualified,” the source said. “Our job is a team effort. If there’s a weak link in the chain, either civilians or our members can die.”

Montana man arrested after 'liking' his most wanted poster on Facebook
Excerpt: A Montana man was arrested last month after he apparently "liked" his most wanted poster on a Crimestoppers Facebook page. Levi Charles Reardon was arrested April 24 after he liked his photo on the Cascade County Crimestoppers Facebook page, according to the Great Falls Tribune. The newspaper reportedly captured a screenshot of it before Reardon revoked the like.

Funny: The Girls on Fox News

Florida Police Waste Time Investigating Kiss Between 7-Year Old Classmates
Excerpt: Police in Manatee County, Florida spent an inordinate amount of time investigating an alleged kiss that took place between two 7-year old students last week. And when I say “inordinate” amount of time… I mean any time at all. There is no reason, ever, for the police to be wasting their time investigating a kiss between 7-year old elementary students.

Excerpt: “The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” – Barack Obama to Mitt Romney2012 debate. Hidden beneath all the other more attention-grabbing headlines lately is the fact that Russia continues to go out of its way to prove that Mitt Romney was right:

Important: Is the United States a Democracy? America's Middle-Schoolers Do Not Know
Excerpt: Just 23 percent of U.S. eighth-graders are "proficient" or above in knowledge of American civics, according to the "Nation's Report Card," released this week by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Only one-third know that "the United States government should be classified as a democracy." For a nation governed by the people, for the people, this news is deeply troubling. Democracy takes work. It requires knowledge, interest and vigilance from its citizens to remain healthy. If less than a quarter of young people meet only baseline standards of proficiency, and two-thirds are unable to identify America as a democracy, the future looks bleak. But is it any wonder that U.S. students are struggling in social studies? The curriculum rarely engages them. A 2010 study from the University of Central Florida found 74 percent of middle school students dislike social studies class due to the emphasis on reading from the textbook, rote memorization and note taking.

From the Left: The Scene of the Crime. A reporter’s journey to My Lai and the secrets of the past. By Seymour M. Hersh
Excerpt: There is a long ditch in the village of My Lai. On the morning of March 16, 1968, it was crowded with the bodies of the dead—dozens of women, children, and old people, all gunned down by young American soldiers. (My Lai was an inexcusable crime and stain on American arms. I thought at the time that the entire chain of command, from Calley to the CG of the Division should have done time, or at least been cashiered from the military. I just wish the reporters--then and now--had a little interest in the more numerous and often worse crimes by the Communists, such as the slaughter in Hue during Tet, which were North Vietnamese policy. That doesn't excuse the aberration and atrocity of My Lai, but it would bring some balance to how people understood this history. ~Bob)

Excerpt: In November 1971 I finished up my three tours in Vietnam and the Air Force assigned me to Castle Air Force Base up in Atwater, California. During my last six months in Vietnam I was an intelligence courier for 7th Air Force. My job was to drive a jeep from Tan Son Nhut Air Base to the Cholon District of Saigon where I would pick up field intelligence reports for an army intelligence unit, then return to base. It got to be pretty hairy. Students from Saigon University were out in the streets protesting the war by throwing molotov cocktails at any American G.I. traversing Tru Minh Key Boulevard, the route I had to take every morning. As I dodged their fire bombs the only thing I was thinking was "get this last tour over with so I could get home"...if they didn't want us here we should leave. So, I finally did get home, breathed a sigh of relief and, though I did have the alarming habit of hitting the floor whenever the noon siren went off on base...the same siren that rang out when we had incoming rockets or mortars in Vietnam, I was relieved to be home with my own people. What I didn't know in those first few weeks was that my own people hated me too. Seems the kids from Stanislaus State and Merced College got their kicks by forming up on weekends at the main gate of Castle Air Force Base to throw bottles and rocks.

Rising Dragon News

Excerpt: Chinese security forces shot dead five ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs in the third consecutive week of fatal shootings in a restive county in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, an exile Uyghur group said Monday [14 October 2013], accusing the authorities of a “cover-up”.
The latest killing in Yingwusitang township in Yarkand (in Chinese, Shache) county, which is administered by the Silk Road city of Kashgar, occurred on Friday [11 October 2013] when police surrounded a house and gunned down five occupants who had not been suspects of any crime, according to the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress.

Muslims in Qinghai discover non-halal products at halal cake shop, proceed to smash up the shop
Excerpt: A group of Muslim residents smashed up a halal cake shop in Xining city, Qinghai province after they found non-halal products in a delivery van belonging to the shop. When the Muslim residents discovered no-halal food in the van, they believed that the store was selling non-halal products and became rather angry about the whole affair.

Gun News

Man dead after foiled carjacking in Orem. by Marjorie Cortez
Excerpt: A 27-year-old man was fatally wounded in the parking lot of an Orem grocery store Saturday morning when he was shot by a man attempting to stop him from carjacking a woman's SUV, Orem police said. Capt. Ned Jackson of the Orem Police Department said the man who shot the would-be carjacker had a weapon and a concealed weapons permit. He had stopped at the store to purchase food en route to a planned target shooting outing. The identity of the deceased, who earlier in the day was suspected of assaulting a woman, was not released. 

Pittsburg Homeowner Shoots, Kills Two Men During Possible Burglary Attempt
Excerpt: Two people were shot and killed by a Pittsburg homeowner Friday evening during what police are saying might have been an interrupted burglary attempt. Police were called to the 1000 block of Jewett Avenue just after 9 p.m. on a report of a shooting, and found two subjects shot and killed at the home.

Race Card News

Excerpt: Decorated NYPD Officer Brian Moore died Monday with his stricken family at his hospital bedside — leaving an entire city awash in grief.

Excerpt: The ex-con charged with shooting NYPD cop Brian Moore tried to hide in plain sight in front of his Queens Village home after the attack, friends said Sunday. “He was hanging out for an hour and a half, smoking cigarettes and talking like everything was normal,” said pal AndrĂ© Tucker, 26. “He said, ‘Yeah, I heard a cop got shot.’” (White cop allegedly killed by black thug. No riots expected. ~Bob)

5 killed, 28 wounded in Chicago weekend shootings
Excerpt: Five people were killed and at least 28 others have been wounded – including an off-duty Oak Park policeman – in separate shootings across Chicago since Friday afternoon. The most recent fatal shooting happened early Sunday in the South Side Marquette Park neighborhood. Nearer Lloyd, 26, was standing on the sidewalk in the 3100 block of West 64th Street about 12:40 a.m. when two males walked up and fired shots, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner's office. (Three assumptions. 1. Most or all of the dead are black. 2. Most or all of the shooters are black. 3. Because mostly black shooters, there will be no #Blacklivesmatter protests and no riots are expected. Black lives only matter in the small minority of cases where the shooters is a white cop. ~Bob)

Video of riots: The "Good Morning Baltimore" Riots

Interesting: A long hot summer: poll shows Americans expect rioting. By Martin Barillas
Excerpt: A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has found distinct differences among citizens in the U.S. over the causes of recent urban violence. Moreover, Americans appear to believe that the summer of 2015 will prove to have more disturbances along racial lines. This appears to signal that concerns over violence have spilled over from Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri, to the rest of the country. According to the poll, the vast majority of adults surveyed (96 percent) believe that is likely that racial disturbances will mar civil society in the coming summer months. However, when polled, black and whites appear to embrace different narratives about the possible causes for recent events. ... In the WSJ/NBC poll, 60% of blacks polled said that the disturbances reflected “long-standing frustrations about police mistreatment of African Americans.” Of the black respondents polled, approximately 27% believe the disturbances in Baltimore were caused by people who used protests “as an excuse to engage in looting and violence.” However, among white respondents, the results appeared to be the opposite. Of the white polled, 58% said people had found an excuse for looting, even while 32% believe that the disturbances stemmed from long-term poor relations with police.

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

Excerpt: A number of independent sources confirm Obamacare is harming small businesses. According to a paper published by the American Action Forum last September, the increased burden of regulations and rising health insurance premiums have reduced pay in firms with 20 to 99 employees by at least $22.6 billion annually, and has led to 350,000 job losses. Employees who kept their jobs have seen a decrease in pay of just under $1,000 annually. Relief for the smallest businesses alone is not helpful because it makes it more expensive to grow. Although businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the requirement that they offer their workers so-called “affordable” government-approved policies (the employer mandate), the mandate only imposes a high marginal cost to hiring a 50th worker. Morgan Stanley found rates in the small group market jumped 11 percent last year.

"You're Greener than Gore" News

Worth Reading: Three Simple Facts that Scuttle the Global Warming Paradigm. Cutting through the fog: a primer for the layman. By Dave Solway
Excerpt: The putative climate “debate” that has been raging for the last thirty years or so has now reached the point of duncical irrationality. (I put “debate” in scare quotes since what we are observing is not so much a debate as an ideological crusade that brooks no resistance; in effect, a political jihad against those who oppose the Warmist orthodoxy.) The upcoming Paris COP (climate treaty conference) slated for December of this year, which Obama is expected to ratify, renders the situation increasingly urgent. The world’s leading politicians, abetted by the dubious claims of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are plainly eager to sign an accord which, if implemented, would lead to record levels of poverty and unemployment in both the developed and Third worlds. In the words of Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) Tom Harris, “in formulating public policy on climate change, our leaders gloss over the uncertainties and close the door to evidence that does not fit the alarmist agenda.” (This one is really nice, very factual and thorough. --Del)

License to Kill: Wind and Solar Decimate Birds and Bats
Excerpt: According to a study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin, every year 573,000 birds (including 83,000 raptors) and 888,000 bats are killed by wind turbines — 30 percent higher than the federal government estimated in 2009, due mainly to increasing wind power capacity across the nation.[i]This is likely an underestimate because these estimates were based on 51,630 megawatts of installed wind capacity in the United States in 2012 and wind capacity has grown since then to 65,879 megawatts. And, at one solar power plant in California, an estimated3,500 birds died in just the plant’s first year of operation.[ii] (Remember when we banned DDT to "Save the Birds," though it meant millions of Third World kids died of Malaria? Good times. ~Bob)

Religion of Peace News

BREAKING: Two Men Open Fire At Muhammed Art Exhibit in Texas, Shot Dead By Police. By Katie Pavlich 
Excerpt: Two suspects, who are now dead, opened fire at a Muhammed Art Exhibit in Garland, Texas tonight. The event was held as a protest for free speech in response the recent Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. The exhibit was hosted and organized by Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs. Participants were asked to submit cartoon depictions of Muhammed for a contest and for the exhibit. There were 200 people at the event, 350 submissions were made from all over the world. The winner of the contest is a former Muslim and was awarded $10,000. 

The Shooting in Garland, Texas. By Steven Emerson
Excerpt: Sunday's shooting attack on a Muhammad cartoon exhibit and contest in Garland, Texas appears to be a largely spontaneous reaction to an "unprecedented avalanche" of vicious social media posts sent only a few days before the event from jihadists around the world urging massive violence including the murders of the events' organizers and all others in attendance, a law enforcement source told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Jihadis Attack Free Speech in Texas
Excerpt: As details flow in about yesterday’s attack by two jihadis outside the Draw Mohammed Cartoon contest -hosted by Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative in Garland, Texas – law enforcement, media, and other are “still not sure” the two incidents are related, and Garland law enforcement officials have not yet called it “terrorism.” Additionally, some in the American media – as they are want to do – are primarily condemning the event, and not leading with a condemnation of Islamic Sharia which supports such attacks. One has to ask what level of delusion have we reached as a nation. Two jihadis responded to calls by ISIS and many in the Muslim community on twitter, website, and other media outlets to silence the insults on the Muslim prophet by making the affirmative decision to die as martyrs. (The left is saying that they (and Charlie Hebro) "provoked" the attacks by drawing cartoons of Mohammad. If fundamentalist Christians attacked the NYT over "Piss Christ," or Christians who consider abortion murder attacked an abortion clinic, would they say the NYT "instigated" the attack by promoting that taxpayer-funded "art" or the clinic "provoked" the attack by performing abortions? I think not. ~Bob)

My favorite drawings at the Muhammad cartoon festival in Texas were the two chalk outlines out front.

God Bless Texas. By Erick Erickson 
Excerpt: Liberals who are perfectly fine dropping a crucifix in a jar of urine and calling it art are appalled that Pamela Gellar would hold a “draw Mohammed” contest in Texas. “She’s just asking for trouble,” they proclaimed. In fact, trouble did show up to try to kill and maim, but the only bodies without pulses were the Islamic radicals who tried to blow up the event. This is, after all, Texas. A security guard was shot and subsequently released from the hospital. The jihadis got a one way ticket to hell.

CNN Takes Islam’s Side In TX Attack: Pamela Geller Destroys Ridiculous Attacks From CNN
Excerpt: I guess according to CNN we all shouldn’t offend Mohammed. (It's not Islam's side they are taking, it's Jihadist murderers. Most of the victims of Allah-murder are fellow Muslims, whom the Jihadists deny freedom of speech and most other freedoms. ~Bob)

FBI Tried To Put Texas Shooter On No-Fly List In 2010. By Frances Martel
Excerpt: The FBI has confirmed Phoenix native Elton Simpson, a Muslim convert from Phoenix, Arizona, as one of the shooters responsible for attacking a Draw Muhammad Contest in Garland, Texas on Sunday. Simpson had been previously convicted of lying to the FBI about his jihadist intentions in 2010. Simpson made multiple pro-Sharia statements then that led the FBI to request, unsuccessfully, that he be placed on a no-fly list.

A War Waged From German Soil: US Ramstein Base Key in Drone Attacks
Excerpt: But another strategic task of the headquarters of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) remained a national secret for years. Even the German government claimed to know nothing when, two years ago, the base became the subject of suspicion. It was alleged that Ramstein is also an important center in President Barack Obama's drone war against Islamist terror. A former pilot claimed that the data for all drone deployments is routed through the military base.

Boko Haram freed Nigerian women tell of captivity horror
Excerpt: Former hostages held by Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria say some fellow captives were stoned to death as the army approached to rescue them. The women said Boko Haram fighters started pelting them when they refused to run away as the army came nearer. A group of nearly 300 women and children was brought out of the vast Sambisa forest to a government camp. The military says it has rescued more than 700 people in the past week in an offensive against the Islamist group.

Rise Of The Islamic State And the Fading Away of the Rest of the Iraqi Insurgency Interview With Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi. By Joel Wing
Excerpt: From 2013-2014 it seemed like there was a broad rebirth of the Iraqi insurgency. The protest movement against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government revived a number of groups, which had gone dormant by the time of the U.S. withdrawal in 2011. The Islamic State (IS) and the Jaish Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshibandi (JRTN), two organizations, which never ceased operating were regrouping as well. A rough agreement was made between these different factions to work together during the summer of 2014 to seize territory from the government, which resulted in the fall of Mosul, Tikrit, and a large swath of Kirkuk province as well. The number of different groups who participated in the offensive last year gave rise to a narrative about revolutionaries and tribes, not just the Islamic State carrying out a revolt against Baghdad. Today, the story has changed as many of these smaller groups have either been swallowed up by IS or gone dormant. To help explain the changes that have taken place within the Iraqi insurgency is Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

‘What’s a Favorite Way to Hang Gay People?’: Activist Makes a Brutal Point With Balloons and Free Ice Cream. By Sharona Schwartz
Excerpt: A human rights activist staged a festive street party complete with balloons and free ice cream in honor of the Iranian foreign minister who visited New York last week, an act of street theater that was in fact designed to scorn Iran’s dismal record as a world leader in executing prisoners. David Keyes, executive director of the non-profit Advancing Human Rights, designed the stunt to mark the execution of 1,000 Iranians over the past 18 months.

Worth Hearing: Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL

France: Memorial for Jew murdered by Qur’an-quoting Muslims smashed. By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: The Wall Street Journal reported in 2006 that Halimi was found “stumbling in a field near the railroad tracks in the Essonne region south of Paris. Handcuffed, naked, with four-fifths of his body covered with bruises, stab wounds and serious burns, Ilan died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Soon after, police provided more details. The victim had been kidnapped Jan. 20 and held for 24 days by a gang from the banlieues, the poor suburban projects that ring the French capital, who eluded capture while repeatedly contacting Ilan’s family with ransom demands….Ilan’s uncle Rafi Halimi told reporters that the gang phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Quran, while Ilan’s tortured screams could be heard in the background.”

Iran’s Disingenuous Approach To Maritime Law. By James Kraska
Excerpt: The illegal seizure of the Maersk Tigris illustrates Tehran’s desire to pick and choose what international rules it follows. Iran’s seizure of the MV Maersk Tigris underscores the importance of a stable rule of law in the oceans, and the dangers of allowing one state to attempt to alter them for its own benefit.

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:

No comments:

Post a Comment