Monday, June 1, 2015

Today's interesting political news and conservative opinion

General News and Comment

Interesting: Ian Bremmer says America is no longer 'indispensable', and that's bad news for Britain. The foreign policy guru and author of "Superpower" speaks with Peter Foster about American retrenchment, the rise of China and what it means for Britain's future. By Peter Foster
Excerpt: After six decades serving as the global policeman, the United States is now signalling its retreat from the world. With the Middle East engulfed by the flames of sectarian conflict, Europe’s borders menaced by the threat of war and China starting to flex its muscles in Asia-Pacific, it is clear the world has entered a new period of volatility. That uncertainty begs tough questions for Britain: how should we respond to this new American pragmatism? And as our traditional ally turns inward, what

Interesting: Walker maintains seven-point lead in Iowa. By Peter Sullivan
Excerpt: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hasn’t let up in Iowa, a new poll from the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg shows. Walker gets the support of 17 percent in the crowded Republican field. Following him are Ben Carson and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) with 10 percent each.

Graham at 2016 Launch: "Radical Islam is Running Wild." By Daniel Doherty 
Excerpt: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the many long shot candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. As we've noted before, he has largely been written off by almost everyone, launching what many perceive to be a quixotic, pointless campaign for president. Nevertheless, at a rally in his hometown of Central, South Carolina on Monday, he touted his expertise—“I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate,” he intoned—and commitment to destroying radical Islam as the principal justifications for officially entering the long slog ahead.

New union-friendly rule from Obama targets small business
Excerpt: "No rational governmental purpose is served by this overly broad requirement," Robinson said. He stressed that he was "not taking sides on a union-versus-management dispute, but rather is defending the confidential client-lawyer relationship." ... Every financial transaction would have to be reported, making public not just who the lawyer's clients are but exactly what the lawyer is doing for them. (What areas of American life were sacrosanct? Confidentiality between doctor and patient--GONE with Obamacare and electronic health records. Confidentiality between lawyer and client--GOING. Confidentiality of the confessional....Barb)

Obama’s Full-Month Job Approval Rating Slips to 2015 Low
Excerpt: When tracking President Obama’s job approval on a daily basis, people sometimes get so caught up in the day-to-day fluctuations that they miss the bigger picture. To look at the longer-term trends, Rasmussen Reports compiles the numbers on a full-month basis, and the results can be seen in the graphics below.

The Hillary Clinton Paradox. Is her victory inevitable or impossible? By Peggy Noonan
Excerpt: On the matter of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy I find myself holding opposite and irreconcilable views: “That can’t possibly work,” and “She’s inevitable.” Her candidacy can’t work because of the deep, daily cascade of scandals that would disqualify anyone else. State Department emails on private servers, stonewalling Congress; the family foundation that appears to function in part as a high-class slush fund and that, this week we learned, paid a significant salary to that beacon of philanthropic spirit Sidney Blumenthal, a political operative and conspiracist whose nickname in the Clinton White House was “G.K.,” for “Grassy Knoll.” Also this week these headlines: “Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals from Hillary Clinton’s State Department,” and “FIFA Donated Thousands to Clinton Foundation.” FIFA of course is the international soccer organization under criminal investigation for bribes and kickbacks. It is simply unbelievable that a person whose way of operating is so famously and chronically sketchy can be chosen as president.

Worth Reading: The cash donations Hillary simply has no answer for. By David Sirota, Salon
Excerpt: Among all the rivers of money that have flowed to the Clinton family, one seems to raise the biggest national security questions of all: the stream of cash that came from 20 foreign governments who relied on weapons export approvals from Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Federal law designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In practice, that meant that Clinton was charged with rejecting or approving weapons deals — and when it came to Clinton Foundation donors, Hillary Clinton’s State Department did a whole lot of approving.

John Kerry: metaphor from Hell
Excerpt: John Kerry broke his leg. Riding a top-of-the-line bicycle (and presumably festooned in spandex that shows off his 71-year-old body). In France. Going nowhere. He broke his leg at very low speed. He broke it upon hitting a curb. One can’t help but notice that Kerry’s accident is an apt metaphor for the foreign policy of the Obama administration. (On a bike tour with a motorcade and medical staff following him! Our taxpayer dollars spent at it's best! Wonder what John Adams would think, compared to his expenses in Europe??? --Southern Sense.)  Excerpt: I haven't confirmed this yet but, if true, it's going to piss off a hell of a lot of those "occupier" types demanding $15 bucks an hour. Personally, I'd put more trust in a robot preparing my food than the folks I've seen working at fast food joints. (PHOENIX) After seeing a decline in earnings for the first time in nine years, McDonald’s plans to do something no other store of its kind has ever done before; open a store run entirely by robots.

The most important thing in their lives was to have a lawsuit going. It was not a question of winning or losing it, and indeed it was vital to do neither, for otherwise the suit would be over and done with. A lawsuit was part of the personality, if not the only visible sign of it, to such an extent that there was often no real animosity between the litigants, because they both needed each other. --Salvatore Satta

Justice Department funding study on ‘far-right’ social media use
Excerpt: The Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded Michigan State University $585,719 for the study, which was praised by Eric Holder, the former attorney general, earlier this year. "There is currently limited knowledge of the role of technology and computer mediated communications (CMCs), such as Facebook and Twitter, in the dissemination of messages that promote extremist agendas and radicalize individuals to violence," according to the NIJ grant. "The proposed study will address this gap through a series of qualitative and quantitative analyses of posts from various forms of CMC used by members of both the far-right and Islamic extremist movements." (Far right? What about far left? Marxists, Communists, anarchists, NBP, Nation of Islam, not far right? Cannot be terrorists, according to Holder, DOJ. --Barb. Worse, what about Jihadists? oh, that would be Islamophobic. ~Bob)

Rising Dragon News

China, U.S. tone down rhetoric but far from South China Sea solution. By Raju Gopalakrishnan And Rachel Armstrong
Excerpt: U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that Chinawas threatening security in the region with its maritime construction work, but acknowledged other claimant countries to the disputed sea were also at fault. "There's no progress in the South China Sea (dispute), but the atmosphere has calmed a bit, thanks to reasonable consideration by all parties," said Major General Jin Yinan of China's National Defense University, a delegate at the conference. "The U.S. has adjusted its stance a little."

Gun News

Obama’s DOJ To Circumvent Congress With ‘More Than A Dozen’ New Gun Controls
Excerpt: Obama’s Department of Justice is working on “more than a dozen” new gun control regulations it plans to begin implementing apart from Congress. Some of the regulations are set to be put in place by November, others simply by the end of the Obama administration. According to The Hill, “the regulations range from new restrictions on high-powered pistols to gun storage requirements” and the issuance of “new rules expanding criteria for people who do not quality for gun ownership.”

House bill would require gun owners to have liability insurance
Excerpt: House Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) has introduced a bill that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance. The Firearm Risk Protection Act, unveiled Friday, would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon, and would impose a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have it. Service members and law enforcement officers, however, would be exempt from the requirement. “We require insurance to own a car, but no such requirement exists for guns," Maloney said in a statement. "The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise.” (As I assume she knows, but is just dissembling, car fatalities have gone down because of better technology, a crack down on impaired drivers and an aging population. We should require voters to have liability insurance to vote. Look at the damage they can do--Maloney being a case in point. ~Bob)

Race Card News

Hello Baltimore by Lloyd Marcus

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

Excerpt: The third rail of American health policy is women’s health care. The U.S. Department of Labor states that women make 80 percent of health care decisions for their families, although this appears to be derived from folklore rather than scholarly research. Nevertheless, any politician knows that the way to drive up polling numbers among women is to dial up the rhetoric on health care. ... More recently, controversy arose when the Affordable Care Act was being debated, because it was being jammed through Congress just as women were struggling with a 2009 decision by the US Preventive Services Task Force to change its guidelines recommending annual mammograms. The new guidelines recommended screening starting at 50 years, not 40 (as previously recommended). Needless to say, this upset many people.

Market Based Reforms Could Improve Obamacare
Excerpt: Medicare Advantage (MA) offers seniors the option of private health plans as an alternative to traditional Medicare. The private plans in Medicare Advantage provide more comprehensive coverage and are typically more generous than traditional Medicare. Today, more than 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in an MA plan. As ACA implementation continues, MA plans will continue to implement changes to cope with the reduced payments, eventually affecting all enrollees. Yet how plans will change and how beneficiaries will react cannot be predicted with certainty. Therefore, Congress should focus on a new approach to reforming the MA payment system. Specifically, Congress should:

Undocumented Democrat News

Voters Still Say No to Obama’s Amnesty Plan
Excerpt: President Obama’s plan to exempt up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation continues to run into opposition in the court of public opinion, too. Just last week a federal appeals court continued the hold on Obama’s amnesty plan that was first imposed by a judge in February. The next stop is likely to be the U.S. Supreme Court. But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 34% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the president’s plan to allow the illegal immigrants to remain in this country legally and apply for jobs. That’s down only one point from April, but support has been inching down from a high of 40% just after the president announced his intentions last November.

Excerpt: Controversial firebrand Ann Coulter’s new book, “Adios, America,” argues that fettered immigration is destroying the country by driving down the salaries of the middle class while increasing their tax burden. And it’s the elites on both sides — right and left — who are making it happen.

Religion of Peace News

Bill Clinton In 2003: ‘We’re Pretty Sure’ Saddam Has WMDs. By Patrick Howley
Excerpt: Former president Bill Clinton told interviewer Larry King in 2003 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. “The man needs to get rid of his chemical and biological weapons stocks,” Clinton said on February 6, 2003 as President Bush contemplated attacking Iraq.

Turkey's 'Jerusalem Fetish.' By Burak Bekdil
Excerpt: It is truly fascinating that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a professor of political science, believes that Jerusalem, built a millennium before the birth of Islam, is originally a Muslim city. And that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, -- Saudis should please not get offended -- thinks Jerusalem is the Muslims' "most important Mecca."

Scroll down to second story: A highly disturbing new report from the United Nations asserts that more than half of the world's nations are now producing jihadist fighters to join the ranks of terrorist organizations in the Middle East. More than 25,000 mujahideen have joined the al-Qaida network and the Islamic State (ISIS) in recent years, creating an "unprecedented" and long-term threat to international security, according to the U.N. (This report came from NewsMax, but they did not provide a link to the UN report they are quoting, however I am willing to assume it exists and says what they claim. It just makes sense with the rise of fundamentalism all over Islam, after 40+ years of the Saudis paying billions of dollars to export Wahabist teachings and building mosques and supplying imams to preach in them. This ground swell of fundamentalism and its accompanying encouragement of jihadist thinking, and the continuous broadcasting in several media of the fundamentalist/jihadist propaganda, mean that this movement can be marketed to literally millions of young men every year. If only a small fraction of them respond, that's still one hell of a recruiting drive, and while they also have the money to fly the recruits to their areas and train and equip them, it means they can just keep replacing the ones that die in the battles. So wearing ISIS down by attrition becomes much more difficult. What will stop them more than anything else is getting smashed badly and losing lots of territory. In the Islamic world nothing succeeds like success, but the converse is true as well, and once you start to lose out publicly that means maybe Allah is not really on your side, and the enthusiasm for your cause drops off sharply. So what is needed desperately are the kind of campaigns that really chew up ISIS fighters and take back territory. Which are not going to happen until this country takes a strong lead, supplies the Kurds with anything and everything they need, uses air strikes heavily regardless of collateral damage, and demands that the Saudis and the rest of the groups in that part of the world who oppose ISIS really commit people and resources heavily to fight right alongside Americans. And if possible, get European to come in as well, and not with just a token few. It has to be a real war, fought to win. Is there any chance of it, while Mr. Obama is the Prez? Sorry to say, I very much doubt it. --Del)

Diplomatic Activism Won't Bring Israeli-Palestinian Peace. By Efraim Inbar
Excerpt: The Europeans have decided that the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Holy Land, over a hundred years long, must finally end. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini recently came to Israel to convey the EU's impatience with the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. France intends to bring the matter to the U.N. Security Council to set an 18-month deadline on the resolution of the conflict. (Nothing will bring peace to the middle east. If the Muslims destroyed Israel and slaughtered all the Jews--an increasingly likely prospect--they would still fight each other over the correct interpretation of the "perfect and unchangeable Qur'an." Since it urges Muslims to fight infidels until they are destroyed or submit, and anyone--Shia, Sunni, Druze, Alawites, etc.--who disagrees with them is an infidel and apostate, they will fight and murder as long as Islam exists. ~Bob)

It's Here! Shariah In America
Excerpt: Because freedom of speech is under violent assault, my human-rights advocacy group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, or AFDI, had announced a new ad campaign to defend freedom of speech and stand up to violent intimidation, kicking off in the nation’s capital.

IS Revamps Recruitment, With Savvy, Professional Broadcasts. By LORI HINNANT Associated Press
Excerpt: After a selection of tunes, the presenter with an American accent offers "a glimpse at our main headlines." IS militants have just seized three Iraqi cities. A bomb blows up a factory, killing everyone inside. Militants destroy four enemy Hummers and an armored vehicle. The newscast's tone sounds much like National Public Radio in the United States. But this is Al-Bayan, the Islamic State radio targeting European recruits — touting recent triumphs in the campaign to carve out a Caliphate. All news is good news for Al-Bayan's "soldiers of the Caliphate." In this narrative, the enemy always flees in disgrace or is killed. The broadcasts end with a swell of music and a gentle English message: "We thank our listeners for tuning in."

Worth Reading: Failed State: Five Reasons Iraq Can’t Be Fixed. By Loren Thompson
Excerpt: Recent setbacks suffered by Iraqi forces in the country’s contested Sunni areas have led senior Pentagon officials to question their courage. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the Iraqis “showed no will to fight” when ISIS moved to seize the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi despite greatly outnumbering their enemy, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey observed that Iraq’s military wasn’t driven out of the city, “they drove out.” The reality, though, is that Iraqi forces had been fighting for over a year in Anbar with little support from Baghdad. So Marina Ottaway of the Wilson Center got it right when she told the Associated Press that the defeat at Ramadi was not a failure of courage, but a failure of politics.

Sen. Ted Cruz: Next President Should Immediately Reimpose Sanctions On Iran
Excerpt: While accepting the “Defender of Israel” award from the World Values Network at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala last Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brought up relations with Iran in front of a very pro-Israel crowd. Cruz called the nuclear deal with Iran “catastrophic and disastrous,” declaring that the next president, no matter who it is, will need to “immediately reimpose sanctions on Iran” and Iran will either need to stop acquiring nuclear weapons or America will stop them.

At least 30 killed in Nigerian city after day of violence
Excerpt: A suicide bomb blast outside a mosque and rocket-propelled grenades that exploded into homes as people slept have killed at least 30 people in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, residents and officials said. The explosion killed people who were prostrating themselves for afternoon prayers outside the mosque, including traders from the nearby crowded marketplace in the largest city in Nigeria’s troubled north-east, survivors said.

Egypt's state rights agency says 2,600 people killed in 18 months after Morsi's 2013 ouster. By Hamza Hendawi
Excerpt: At least 2,600 people were killed in violence in the 18 months after the military overthrew Egypt's president in 2013, nearly half of them supporters of the Islamist leader, the head of a state-sanctioned rights body said Sunday. Mohammed Fayeq, head of the National Council for Human Rights, told reporters that the 2,600 included 700 policemen and 550 civilians who were killed in the period between June 30, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2014.

Thousands of tonnes of Yemen food aid diverted by fighting: U.N. officials
Excerpt: It is the latest setback for aid agencies trying to reach hundreds of thousands of desperate people in the Arabian peninsula's poorest country amid a Saudi-led bombing campaign against Houthi fighters. The ship MV Amsterdam, carrying enough grain and other food aid to sustain 60,000 Yemenis for a month, was unable to dock in the southern port city of Aden because of fighting and was diverted to the port of Hudaydah, the U.N. World Food Programme said in a statement.

Important: Turkey, US To Give Syrian Rebels Air Support. By Burak Bekdil
Excerpt: NATO allies Turkey and the US have agreed in principle to provide air support to Syrian rebels fighting the regime of Syria's President Bashar Assad, Turkey's foreign minister said. The planned air support would protect the Syrian opposition fighters who have been trained and equipped by a joint Turkish-US program at a military base in Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Turkey and the US hope to train up to 15,000 rebels. (I may have said this before: THERE ARE NO GOOD GUYS IN SYRIA. Slow learners. ~Bob)

Islamic State's Saudi branch calls for clearing Arabian Peninsula of Shi'ites
Excerpt: Saudi Arabia's branch of militant group Islamic State has said it wants to clear the Arabian Peninsula of Shi'ite Muslims and urged young men in the kingdom to join its cause, the U.S.-based SITE monitoring centre has reported. Islamic State claimed two suicide bombings carried out on May 22 and May 29 on Shi'ite mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia, where the bulk of the Saudi Arabia's Shi'ite minority lives. The attacks killed 25 people.

TV presenter given 5 years imprisonment for blasphemy. By Daily News Egypt
Excerpt: The Old Cairo Misdemeanour Court handed Saturday a five year prison sentence to TV presenter Islam El-Behiry for blasphemy. A lawyer filed a lawsuit against El-Behiry, saying he led a campaign through his TV show to attack Muslim scholars and Islamic teachings’ textbooks.

Iraq lost 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles in Mosul: PM
Excerpt: Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles when the Islamic State jihadist group overran the northern city of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday. "In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons," Abadi said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV. "We lost 2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone." While the exact price of the vehicles varies depending on how they are armoured and equipped, it is clearly a hugely expensive loss that has boosted IS' capabilities.

Obama's Legacy: Western Officials Alarmed as ISIS Expands Territory in Libya. By Suliman Ali Zway And David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times
Excerpt: The branch of the Islamic State that controls Surt has expanded its territory and pushed back the militia from the neighboring city of Misurata, militia leaders acknowledged Sunday.
In the group’s latest attack, a suicide bomber killed at least four fighters on Sunday at a checkpoint west of Misurata on the coastal road to Tripoli, according to local officials and Libyan news reports. The continued expansion inside Libya of the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has alarmed Western officials because of its proximity to Europe, across the Mediterranean.

Four Americans confirmed held by Houthi rebels in Yemen
Excerpt: Four Americans are being held by Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen who toppled the U.S.-backed government earlier this year, a senior defense official confirmed Sunday. 
The official who confirmed that the Americans were being held did not have any more information, but the department released a statement earlier Sunday that said it was "doing everything we can to get these individuals released." The statement added that the department would not release personal information about those being held due to privacy concerns. 

Using western reconstruction aid? Hamas paves road near Gaza border ‘to attack Zionists
Excerpt: Hamas is paving a new road near the Israeli border with the northern Gaza Strip which it says will be used to attack Israel in future conflict. In recent days heavy construction equipment has been operating on the Palestinian side of the border, several hundred meters from the security fence. Construction work is taking place across from the Israeli community of Nahal Oz.

Canada’s police edited out Islamic prayers from jihad murderer’s video. By Robert Spencer,
Excerpt: This is their explanation: the withholding was for “security purposes”: “In order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigation, the RCMP was limited in the amount of information it was able to publicly release.” That’s a lot of hooey. There is nothing relating to security in the withheld sections — only Islamic prayers. They cut them out so that the public wouldn’t be in danger of getting the idea that Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack had anything to do with Islam. For whatever reason, Canadian authorities, as well as those in the United States and Europe, are determined above all else — even security considerations — to keep their people ignorant and complacent regarding the jihad threat. This cannot, and will not, end well.

New FBI official: Terror threat in Ohio is surprising. By Dan Sewell, Associated Press
Excerpt: Byers told The Associated Press in an interview she was surprised at the threat level in Ohio, and she suspects many people in the Midwest don't realize that "violent extremists" can pop up anywhere. "It's scary. And it's scary to us. I'm not sure the general public quite gets the gravity of it," she said.

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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