You have to give Barry Hussein this: he promised “transformation” and he’s delivering:
As world leaders converge here for their semiannual trek to the capital of what is still the world’s most powerful economy, concern is rising in many quarters that the United States is retreating from global economic leadership just when it is needed most.
The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have filled Washington with motorcades and traffic jams and loaded the schedules of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. But they have also highlighted what some in Washington and around the world see as a United States government so bitterly divided that it is on the verge of ceding the global economic stage it built at the end of World War II and has largely directed ever since.
“It’s almost handing over legitimacy to the rising powers,” Arvind Subramanian, the chief economic adviser to the government of India, said of the United States in an interview on Friday. “People can’t be too public about these things, but I would argue this is the single most important issue of these spring meetings.”
The evidence is clear: our first Third World, fundamentally anti-American president, sold to the American public as a sunny optimist, is in fact a saturnine, rage-filled chameleon who only ramp up the destruction in the final two years of his disastrous presidency.
Of course, the New York Times finds a positive spin to explain the decline:
Washington’s retreat is not so much by intent, Mr. Subramanian said, but a result of dysfunction and a lack of resources to project economic power the way it once did. Because of tight budgets and competing financial demands, the United States is less able to maintain its economic power, and because of political infighting, it has been unable to formally share it either.
Experts say that is giving rise to a more chaotic global shift, especially toward China, which even Obama administration officials worry is extending its economic influence in Asia and elsewhere without following the higher standards for environmental protection, worker rights and business transparency that have become the norms among Western institutions.
President Obama, while trying to hold the stage, clearly recognizes the challenge. Pitching his efforts to secure a major trade accord with 11 other Pacific nations, he told reporters on Friday: “The fastest-growing markets, the most populous markets, are going to be in Asia, and if we do not help to shape the rules so that our businesses and our workers can compete in those markets, then China will set up the rules that advantage Chinese workers and Chinese businesses.”
The Times: defending Obama til the last dog dies. Watch whom they endorse in the 2016 election to see what fate they wish for America.
Deesha Dyer, a former music and hip-hop culture writer, has been selected as President Obama’s new social secretary, overseeing the parties and public events held almost daily at the White House. Ms. Dyer, 37, who spent the past two years as the deputy social secretary, will fill the position to be vacated by Jeremy Bernard, the first man and the first openly gay person to serve in that role. By choosing Ms. Dyer, the White House is drawing from a group of people who have been working for the Obamas since early in the administration.
She began in the White House in 2009, as an intern in the Office of Scheduling and Advance. Two years earlier she had gone back to school to earn an associate degree in women’s studies from a community college in Philadelphia, after working as an assistant at a real estate investment trust and writing freelance articles about rap music for publications like The Philadelphia City Paper.
After Ms. Dyer began working at the White House, she quickly ascended to more senior roles in the scheduling office, and traveled with the president and first lady to handle news media, lodging and site logistics.
Well, at least there’s no fixation on credentialism, a rare departure from the Ivy League bunch that runs the American government these days. But there is “diversity”:
In a statement, President Obama said that Ms. Dyer represented the diversity in race, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds outside the Washington beltway. “Deesha shares our commitment to a White House that reflects America’s history, highlights our culture and celebrates all Americans,” he said. “Michelle and I look forward to working with her in this new role as we welcome visitors from across the country and around the world to the people’s house.”
Ms. Dyer is also the creator of a hip-hop AIDS program based in Philadelphia, and serves as a mentor for Michelle Obama’s program for high school girls.
Somewhere, Letitia Baldrige is… reacting perfectly.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki attempted to convince reporters at the First in the Nation Summit Friday he really is mulling a run for the presidency. Some think Pataki might really aspire to the vice presidency or a Cabinet position, but the New York Republican tried to dispel those rumors Friday.
“I’ve had opportunities in the past to be in the Cabinet. I had no interest,” he said. “I was the governor of New York State for 12 years — the executive. It is a powerful governorship. There is no other governmental position that appeals to me.” “Deep in my heart, I know I have the ability to run a complex government,” Pataki told The Daily Caller.
Stop laughing. No, seriously — stop laughing:
Pataki also took shots at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying in his remarks that the former New York senator and secretary of state runs away from the press, “only answering staged questions from people who have been planted somewhere across America we are going to take questions from normal citizens across New Hampshire.”
Pataki noted he was making his eighth trip to New Hampshire since September. “Every four years there’s the Olympics the World Cup and Pataki shows up thinking about running for president,” he said.
I bet if you polled New Yorkers right this minute, fewer than one in five could tell you who George Pataki is. Or was. But hey, if Jeb can do it…
That, of course, would be the second least-compelling presidential candidate in the field, Jeb Bush:
Likely presidential contender Jeb Bush said Thursday the Senate should confirm attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch despite objections from many of his fellow Republicans. The former Florida governor appeared Thursday night at a GOP “Politics and Pies” event on the eve of a gathering Friday that will bring together more than a dozen other potential and declared contenders for the nomination.
Lynch was nominated by President Barack Obama in November, but Senate Republicans have delayed a confirmation vote. Bush said presidents should have the right to pick their teams, adding that Lynch’s confirmation would at least speed up the departure of current Attorney General Eric Holder, deeply unpopular with the GOP.
That’s the Bush family — no tactics and no strategy, either. Honestly, the entire clan is the perfect dupe/punching bag for the Left, who must thank whatever deity they don’t believe in for the gift that keeps on giving.
“If someone is supportive of the president’s policies, whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive,” he said. “It should not always be partisan.” In Jackson, Mississippi, earlier, Bush said he will make up his mind “in relatively short order”’ whether to seek the Republican nomination and is not concerned that several rivals have a head start in declaring their candidacies.
“I’m on a journey to kind of measure support,” Bush said. “Other people’s processes are not really that relevant to me. I’ll make up my mind in relatively short order. I’m excited about just the possibility of being in a position to consider it.”
Maybe you ought to stop considering, Jeb, since you have only a slightly better chance of being elected president than the soon-to-collapse Hillary! candidacy. You’re both figments of the political media’s imagination.
Junior Wing of Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party Rallies to Dear Leader’s Side on ‘Free Trade’ Enabling Act
And here you thought the November elections were supposed to have been about stopping Obama’s continuing power grab. Suckers!
Key congressional leaders agreed on Thursday on legislation to give President Obama special authority to finish negotiating one of the world’s largest trade accords, opening a rare battle that aligns the president with Republicans against a broad coalition of Democrats. In what is sure to be one of the toughest fights of Mr. Obama’s last 19 months in office, the “fast track” bill allowing the White House to pursue its planned Pacific trade deal also heralds a divisive fight within the Democratic Party, one that could spill into the 2016 presidential campaign.
With committee votes planned next week, liberal senators such as Sherrod Brown of Ohio are demanding to know Hillary Rodham Clinton’s position on the bill to give the president so-called trade promotion authority, or T.P.A. Trade unions, environmentalists and Latino organizations — potent Democratic constituencies — quickly lined up in opposition, arguing that past trade pacts failed to deliver on their promise and that the latest effort would harm American workers.
In other words, to the hard Left, Obama is not “progressive” enough — but to the quislings of the GOP, he’s just fine. And who are these quislings. The usual suspects:
The deal was struck by Senators Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the Finance Committee chairman; Ron Wyden of Oregon, the committee’s ranking Democrat; and Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. It would give Congress the power to vote on the more encompassing 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership once it is completed, but would deny lawmakers the chance to amend what would be the largest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994, which President Bill Clinton pushed through Congress despite opposition from labor and other Democratic constituencies.
While supporters have promised broad gains for American consumers and the economy, the clearest winners of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would be American agriculture, along with technology and pharmaceutical companies, insurers and many large manufacturers that say they could also expand United States’ exports to the other 11 nations in Asia and South America that are involved.
Because giving Obama — or any president — free rein by ceding congressional responsibility and oversight of his actions — is such a great idea.
President Obama embraced the legislation immediately, proclaiming “it would level the playing field, give our workers a fair shot, and for the first time, include strong fully enforceable protections for workers’ rights, the environment and a free and open Internet.”
Love that bit about a “free and open Internet.” Naturally, the Republicans have driven a hard bargain to get some Democrats on the Barry Hussein/GOP team (stop laughing):
But Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm was tempered by the rancor the bill elicited from some of his strongest allies. To win over the key Democrat, Mr. Wyden, the Republicans agreed to stringent requirements for the deal, including a human rights negotiating objective that has never existed on trade agreements.
The bill would make any final trade agreement open to public comment for 60 days before the president signs it, and up to four months before Congress votes. If the agreement, negotiated by the United States trade representative, fails to meet the objectives laid out by Congress — on labor, environmental and human rights standards — a 60-vote majority in the Senate could shut off “fast-track” trade rules and open the deal to amendment.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oops, sorry: I said no laughing.
How long is it going to take what used to be called “Christendom” to figure this out? The Muslim immigrants flooding into Europe’s soft underbelly are not in any traditional sense immigrants. They want nothing to do with the native culture. They do not want to integrate and become, say, “Italian,” or, ha ha, “Swedish.” They want to colonize in the name of their dark and savage god. And murder is their most effective weapon:
Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday. Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.
The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said. Other people on the voyage told police that they themselves were spared “because they strongly opposed the drowning attempt and formed a human chain,” Palermo police said.
The boat was intercepted by an Italian navy vessel, which transferred the passengers to a Panamanian-flagged ship. That ship docked in Palermo on Wednesday, after which the arrests were made, police said.
Everyone knows that life is tough in dysfunctional Third World basket cases like “Libya” and the other fictional countries in the Middle East and much of sub-Saharan Africa. But unless the West is entirely prepared to give up the idea of nation-states, most of which were formed from a dominant, largely homogeneous ethnic group, then its culture will eventually be thrown overboard like the poor Christians. Because they are coming in their thousands and their ten thousands:
Thousands of people each year make the dangerous sea journey from North Africa to Europe’s Mediterranean coast, often aboard vessels poorly equipped for the trip. Many of them attempt the voyage to flee war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. More than 10,000 people have arrived on Italian shores from Libya since last weekend alone, according to the Italian coast guard.
Many die each year while attempting the voyage, often when boats capsized. Last year at least 3,200 died trying to make the trip. Since 2000, according to the International Organization for Migration, almost 22,000 people have died fleeing across the Mediterranean.
Until the West declares that fleeing “war and poverty” in the Third World, where both of those conditions are among the very things that make the Third World the Third World, and figures out a way to help others without committing cultural suicide, this problem will continue. Of course, cultural suicide is precisely the goal the Left wishes for what we used to call civilization. And if you disagree, you’re obviously a xenophobic racist.
Not that you can’t right this minute, but if this lawsuit succeeds, it’ll have the added advantage of being legal:
Two lawyers have filed a high-profile case that seeks to legalize prostitution in California. Lou Sirkin and Brian O’Connor of Cincinnati-based Santen & Hughes, filed the case last month in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of an organization representing prostitutes known as the Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education & Research Project. It named three current or former prostitutes and a man with a disability who wants to be able to legally hire prostitutes as other plaintiffs in the case.
Their argument centers on people’s right to do what they want as long as it’s legal. “It’s legal to have sex, so why should it be illegal to pay for it?” the argument goes. O’Connor compared it to having the freedom of the press but making it illegal to sell newspapers.
“It’s really a constitutional issue, we think,” Sirkin said. “We’re talking only about consenting adults here. Our whole theory is that any law based on morality has no place in this country. Morals are different for different people. Legislation should not be determined by morality. Because you exchange a dollar rather than dinner, why should it be made illegal?”
You knew that “morality” argument was coming, right? But that seems to me the weakest argument; right now, it’s perfectly legal in California to hire a woman for sex as long as she is a performer in a porn film; you just can’t explicitly hire her to have sex with you. Long ago, when I lived in San Francisco, there was an organization of hookers known as COYOTE: Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics. Looks like they won.
First of all, it’s a complete waste of a grownup’s time and money. Second, it’s boring. Third, it’s dangerous. And fourth:
Former San Francisco 49ers running back Lawrence Phillips is suspected of killing his cellmate in a Central California prison. Prison officials said Monday that Phillips’ cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison was found lifeless over the weekend and later pronounced dead.
Phillips, 39, was once one of the nation’s top college football players at Nebraska. Aside from the 49ers, Phillips also played for the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins in the NFL. He also played in NFL Europe, the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League.
Phillips was considered by many the best overall player heading into the NFL 1996 draft, but he fell to the Rams with the number six pick following his suspension for an alleged assault on his girlfriend. His career was marked by frequent run-ins with coaches and off-field problems, including accusations of assault and brief stays in jail.
Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez looked on impassively Wednesday as he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, a new low for a young man who once enjoyed a $40 million pro-football contract and now stands convicted in the 2013 murder of onetime friend Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez, 25, appeared to shake his head “no” earlier as jurors in the Massachusetts trial found him guilty of first-degree murder. He was also found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
“They got it wrong,” Hernandez said as he was being transported from the courthouse to a state prison, according to a law enforcement source close to the case. “I didn’t do it.”
Back in 1976, Chuck Noll, then the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, referred to a “criminal element” in the NFL. Two years later, this happened:
It’s been all downhill since. As the old saying goes, is the game worth the candle?
Jeb Bush’s candidacy has a problem, says brother George. “Me.”
“It’s an easy line to say, ‘Haven’t we had enough Bushes?’ After all, even my mother said, ‘Yes,’” the former president told an audience of 7,000 health IT experts here on Wednesday. “That’s why you won’t see me out there, and he doesn’t need to defend me, and he’s totally different from me. The role of family is not to be a political adviser or a policy adviser — there are plenty of those around — the role is to say, ‘Hey man, I love you.’
I said to Jeb, ‘Hang in there; you can do the job. Will you win? I hope so but I don’t know. But if he does he’d be a damn good president I’ll tell you that.” The elder Bush said the campaign trail will be grueling — as it should be — but his brother has an edge.
“It’s going to be a hard test for everyone, but it should be. You want to see these candidates under pressure, see them fail and succeed so you have a better idea how they’ll handle the pressures of the job. Jeb has actually run something, called a state. That’s a skill that comes in handy where you’re in charge of a very complex multifaceted organization.”
Maybe, but… about that last name…
Because the dirty little secret is, most people don’t pay much of anything in federal taxes. Even worse, they look at their “refund” — which is actually an interest-free overpayment loan to the government — as found money; for them, April 15 is not Tax Day, it’s the second coming of Christmas:
“Get your billions back, America.”
That H&R Block admonition–a clever ad campaign–shows the inherent conflict with the Republican Party’s anti-tax philosophy. For most Americans, April 15 is not a day to pay taxes. It’s a time to get a refund. An industry has sprung up to help Americans spend their refunds even before they have arrived.
This dynamic makes it hard for Republicans to pass comprehensive changes to the tax code, especially for individuals. There’s simply not a great appetite among most voters to change a tax code that doesn’t require them to pay all that much. A Pew Research Center study found that 53% of Americans believe they pay the right amount in taxes. Only 40% believe they pay more than their fair share.
But there is also a widely held perception that at the federal level, the tax system is broken. Sixty-four percent of Americans believe that corporate America doesn’t pay enough in taxes, even though the U.S. has the world’s highest corporate tax rate.
That was one of the many flaws of the Willard Mitt Romney candidacy: nobody except the those who actually pay taxes cares. And by those who actually pay taxes I mean almost nobody:
The Top 50 Percent of All Taxpayers Paid 97 Percent of All Income Taxes; the Top 5 Percent Paid 57 Percent of All Income Taxes; and the Top 1 Percent Paid 35 Percent of All Income Taxes in 2011.
Also remember that the income tax (a “progressive-era” amendment) doesn’t tax wealth, it prevents the middle class from ever accumulating wealth. That’s why rich Democrats like John Kerry, who married his money, or the Kennedys, who inherited it, don’t give a fig about the income tax. And why you’re never likely to see meaningful tax reform.
Speaking in Iowa Wednesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that all her grandparents had immigrated to the United States, a story that conflicts with public census and other records related to her maternal and paternal grandparents. The story of her grandmother specifically immigrating is one Clinton has told before. Clinton’s sole foreign-born grandparent, Hugh Rodham Sr., immigrated as a child.
“Her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result she has always thought of them as immigrants,” a Clinton spokesman told BuzzFeed News. “As has been correctly pointed out, while her grandfather was an immigrant, it appears that Hillary’s grandmother was born shortly after her parents and siblings arrived in the U.S. in the early 1880s.”
“She has always thought of them as immigrants” — summing up the Clintons and the rest of the Mendacious Left in a nutshell. They feel something is true (mostly because it’s politically useful to them), ergo, it is true. Good for Buzzfeed for blowing her latest whopper apart. Not that it will make the slightest bit of difference in the worshipful way the rest of the media is going to treat her pathetic, doomed “candidacy.”
What a surprise: the desert dictatorship of the House of Saud, which pretty much owns both American political parties as well as a bunch of oil-producing sand, is very likely complicit up to its eyeballs in the attacks of Sept. 11 — and we just sit here and take it:
Just 15 days before the 9/11 attacks, a well-connected Saudi family suddenly abandoned their luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., leaving behind jewelry, clothes, opulent furniture, a driveway full of cars — including a brand new Chrysler PT Cruiser — and even a refrigerator full of food. About the only thing not left behind was a forwarding address. The occupants simply vanished without notifying their neighbors, realtor or even mail carrier.
The 3,300-square-foot home on Escondito Circle belonged to Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of then-King Fahd. But at the time, it was occupied by his daughter and son-in-law, who beat a hasty retreat back to Saudi Arabia just two weeks before the attacks after nearly a six-year stay here. Neighbors took note of the troubling coincidence and called the FBI, which opened an investigation that led to the startling discovery that at least one “family member” trained at the same flight school as some of the 9/11 hijackers in nearby Venice, Fla.
The investigation into the prominent Saudi family’s ties to the hijackers started on Sept. 19, 2001, and remained active for several years. It was led by the FBI’s Tampa field office but also involved the bureau’s field offices in New York and Washington, and also the Southwest Florida Domestic Security Task Force. Agents identified persons of interest in the case, establishing their ties to other terrorists, sympathies with Osama bin Laden and anti-American remarks. They looked into their bank accounts, colleges and places of employment. They tracked at least one suspect’s re-entry into the US.
The Saudi-9/11 connection in Florida was no small part of the overall 9/11 investigation. Yet it was never shared with Congress. Nor was it mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report. Now it’s being whitewashed again, in a newly released report by the 9/11 Review Commission, set up last year by Congress to assess “any evidence now known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission.” Though the FBI acknowledges the Saudi family was investigated, it maintains the probe was a dead end.
Sure it was. That’s why the House of Bush hustled the Saudis — including bin Laden’s own relatives — out of the country pronto. As CBS reported at the time:
Two dozen members of Osama bin Laden’s family were urgently evacuated from the United States in the first days following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, according to the Saudi ambassador to Washington. One of bin Laden’s brothers frantically called the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington looking for protection, Prince Bandar bin Sultan told The New York Times. The brother was sent to a room in the Watergate Hotel and was told not to open the door.
Most of bin Laden’s relatives were attending high school and college. The young members of the bin Laden family were driven or flown under FBI supervision to a secret place in Texas and then to Washington, The Times reported Sunday. Many were terrified, fearing they would be lynched after hearing reports of violence against Muslims and Arab-Americans. They left the country on a private charter plane when airports reopened three days after the attacks.
That would be the same “prince” Bandar who’s been identified as one of the chief financiers of the murder of 3,000 Americans.
Former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who in 2002 chaired the congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, maintains the FBI is covering up a Saudi support cell in Sarasota for the hijackers. He says the al-Hijjis’ “urgent” pre-9/11 exit suggests “someone may have tipped them off” about the coming attacks. Graham has been working with a 14-member group in Congress to urge President Obama to declassify 28 pages of the final report of his inquiry which were originally redacted, wholesale, by President George W. Bush.
“The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” he said, adding, “I am speaking of the kingdom,” or government, of Saudi Arabia, not just wealthy individual Saudi donors.
Sources who have read the censored Saudi section say it cites CIA and FBI case files that directly implicate officials of the Saudi Embassy in Washington and its consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks — which, if true, would make 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war by a foreign government. The section allegedly identifies high-level Saudi officials and intelligence agents by name, and details their financial transactions and other dealings with the San Diego hijackers. It zeroes in on the Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy, among other Saudi entities.
A national tragedy has become a national disgrace, abetted by top members of both parties. Oddly enough, their names are Bush and Clinton — the same two families that may well run “against” each other in next year’s presidential elections. Think about that.
Since we’re busily importing Muslim “refugees” by the boatload into places like Minneapolis and Buffalo and Lewiston, Me., can we declare the “War on Terror” over and stop terrorizing our own real-American citizens? Or is that too much to ask of the bullying bureaucrats of the Bush-Obama administrations?
Randy Sowers always expected the government to show up one day and ask where all the cash he was depositing at his bank came from. He thought he had the right answer: from his business selling eggs and milk at farmers markets.
But under a federal law designed to target money laundering, Sowers and his Maryland dairy farm lost a big chunk of that income — $29,500 — to the government. Three years later, he hasn’t gotten any of it back and almost certainly never will. In the court of public opinion, however, South Mountain Creamery has become a potent symbol for the movement against civil asset forfeiture. Sowers’s case is perfect for libertarians trying to stir up opposition to government seizures of cash. It appeals to conservatives, liberals and anyone who likes baby cows.
And who doesn’t love baby cows? The feds, that’s who:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stefan Cassella, who handled the case, helped draft Justice Department asset-forfeiture policy and launched an entire forfeiture unit in Maryland. Cassella quite literally wrote the book on goverment seizures: “Asset Forfeiture Law in the United States, 2nd Edition.” The single review on Amazon gives the book one star and asks, “How do you sleep at night?”
Sowers was not accused of money laundering or attempting to hide illegal profits. Federal agents who showed up at his farm in February 2012 told him that they thought he was an honest businessman. But he had run afoul of federal law requiring banks to report deposits of more than $10,000 and making it a crime to evade the reporting requirement by “structuring” cash into smaller amounts.
The law is aimed at fighting money laundering, terrorism financing, tax evasion and other fraud, and its use against small businesses has become a target for critics of government overreach.
That’s what the law is aimed at — of course, what it actually hits are people like the Sowerses. When you will not fight an enemy frankly bent on your destruction, then it’s almost inevitable that you will turn on the people you are supposed to protect. After all, all that federal power has to go somewhere, doesn’t it?
Based on Freedom of Information Act requests, the libertarian Institute for Justice has reported that the Internal Revenue Service has seized almost a quarter-billion dollars in such cases from 2005 to 2012, about half of which was never returned. A third of those cases, like the Sowers case, did not involve allegations of criminal activity beyond the structured deposits themselves.
Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, said he has told the Sowers story to senior citizens in his suburban Chicago district — and watched as their jaws dropped. “This is not a meth lab,” he said. “This is not a mafia front group. There’s no drug ring. These are people who have been in the dairy business a long time.”
Read the whole thing and prepare to have your blood boiled. Three felonies a day… think of that while you file your taxes today.
But you probably guessed that already; they’re only “British” because they hold a passport, not because they’re “Britons.” The New York Times takes a sympathetic look at the “plight” of the poor jihadis in the upcoming Sunday edition:
At the International Center for the Study of Radicalization (I.C.S.R.), an innovative institute at King’s College London, a handful of researchers have been charting, following and, in some cases, interacting directly with foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq — through text-messaging and smartphone apps — in hopes of understanding their motivations and their worldview. The center now monitors some 700 of the 20,000 foreign fighters from 90 countries around the world. (Foreigners make up half of ISIS’s total fighting force.) An estimated 4,000 are from Western nations, some 600 to 700 from Britain alone. More British Muslim men have joined ISIS and the Nusra Front than are serving in the British armed forces.
Many of the fighters from Britain — as well as those from Finland, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands — came from comfortable middle-class homes. Many were university students or graduates; a surprising number were women, too. But they didn’t appear to fit a typical profile, which confounded counterterrorism experts and Western governments. Some, like Ifthekar, seemed driven by romantic notions of jihad. Others, like Mohammed Emwazi, who later became known as Jihadi John, the ruthless executioner of Western journalists and aid workers in the ISIS videos, fully embraced the violence of the Islamic State. Emwazi was also a Briton, and also the son of a comfortable middle-class family, with a degree in computer programming. And then there were still other cases in which entire families made their way to Syria or Iraq: pregnant women; young children; even the family pets…
Some of the jihadists were hardened radicals who would become suicide bombers in Syria or Iraq. Others, he discovered, were much more fanciful. There was, for example, the foreign fighter from Mexico who constantly complained that it was impossible to find good Mexican food in Syria. There was the blind man from the Netherlands, who told a recruiter that because he was blind he couldn’t fight; the recruiter told him to come anyhow: “We’re a state,” he said, “and we need people to build that state.” And then there was the young man from Britain, who was already packed but had one last question before he left: Was hair gel available in Syria?
I looked around at the various flags that festoon the I.C.S.R.’s walls. They told the story of the three generations of Western fighters who had embraced jihad — going back to the 1980s and the war in Afghanistan. There were banners of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the Free Syrian Army and ISIS, interspersed with posters of angry young men, some holding Kalashnikovs, others staring sternly ahead. The black, white and green flag of the U.S.-trained Free Syrian Army, Maher told me, took forever to find; he finally came upon one in a Turkish border town on the Syrian frontier. The black-and-white banner of ISIS, conversely, was available everywhere.
Everything within the ummah, nothing outside the ummah. They know what they’re fighting for. Do we?
Marco Rubio on Monday became the third Republican senator to announce a bid for president and the first of the group to leave behind a competitive seat. Rubio vacating his seat in Florida in favor of national ambition gives the GOP another potentially strong White House contender. But it presents new challenges for Senate Republicans pushing to hold their newly acquired majority by leaving an expensive open seat in a state at the heart of the presidential election.
Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, a prolific fundraiser from South Florida, is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination… Republicans have turned their sights to the congressional delegation, particularly Tom Rooney, a four-term Republican from central Florida. Rooney, who told CQ Roll Call two weeks ago the race wasn’t even on his radar, said in a Monday phone interview he now believes he can win the open seat and has a meeting scheduled at the National Republican Senatorial Committee Thursday.
“We could screw this up,” Rooney told CQ Roll Call. “There is a very clear scenario where Patrick Murphy, who is a moderate Democrat, is going to inherit a bloodied Republican nominee who is not going to be able to get their act together to beat him.”
Democrats could have a primary on their hands, as well. While Murphy is the favorite of national Democrats, Rep. Alan Grayson, a liberal firebrand, is also considering a bid. Grayson, who recently annulled his marriage of 25 years after a public court battle, has the ability to self-fund his campaign.
Democrats, who must net five seats to ensure a majority, were already targeting the seat. President Barack Obama carried the state by razor-thin margins in 2008 and 2012, and having Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of the ticket looks at this point like a positive for Senate Democrats.
Rubio’s incumbency and fundraising capabilities made him a slight favorite for re-election. But as an open seat, the race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
A disgraceful move that tells us all we need to know about Rubio, who has next to no chance to win the nomination. There are too many skeletons in his closet, and his self-aggrandizing antics with the Gang of Eight on immigration indicate he is basically a single-issue candidate. We’ve already seen how much narcissistic damage a one-term senator with delusions of grandeur can do.
The GOP’s continuing inability to think strategically could cost it dearly next year.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was directly asked by congressional investigators in a December 2012 letter whether she had used a private email account while serving as secretary of state, according to letters obtained by The New York Times. But Mrs. Clinton did not reply to the letter. And when the State Department answered in March 2013, nearly two months after she left office, it ignored the question and provided no response.
The query was posed to Mrs. Clinton in a Dec. 13, 2012, letter from Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Issa was leading an investigation into how the Obama administration handled its officials’ use of personal email.
Perhaps the Smartest and Most Accomplished Woman in the History of Everything misunderstood the pushy Congressional query?
“Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business?” Mr. Issa wrote to Mrs. Clinton. “If so, please identify the account used.”
Mr. Issa also asked Mrs. Clinton, “Does the agency require employees to certify on a periodic basis or at the end of their employment with the agency they have turned over any communications involving official business that they have sent or received using nonofficial accounts?”
The answer: screw you, Jack.
When Mr. Issa received a response from the State Department on March 27, all he got was a description of the department’s email policies. According to the letter, any employee using a personal account “should make it clear that his or her personal email is not being used for official business.”
Mrs. Clinton acknowledged last month that she had exclusively used a personal email account, which was housed on a server that had been specially set up for her, when she was secretary of state. She said that she used the private account for convenience purposes because she did not want to carry more than one electronic device. By using the private account, many of her emails were shielded from inquiries by Congress, the news media and government watchdogs.
The revelation has set off the first major test of her early presidential campaign, as she seeks to assure the public and the news media that she was not seeking to hide her correspondence.
I think we all know the answer to that one. The fact that a woman of no accomplishment can openly tell Congress to go whiz up a rope and then launch a campaign for the presidency tells you all you need to know about the state of the media and the electorate in these United States, Anno Domini 2015. God save the Republic.
Time to dismantle the entire rotten edifice of the Department of Homeland Security and privatize airport security:
A CBS4 investigation has learned that two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers. It happened roughly a dozen times, according to information gathered by CBS4.
According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.
“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”
Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done…
A spokesperson for TSA released a brief written statement to CBS4 saying, “These alleged acts are egregious and intolerable. TSA has removed the two officers from the agency. All allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated by the agency. And when substantiated, employees are held accountable.”
The agency has not released the names of the two fired employees and refused a CBS4 request for an interview.
Enjoying “fundamental transformation” yet? You know the worst is yet to come.
Leave it to the new New Republic‘s Brian Beutler to come up with the nuttiest idea yet. The Democrats must really be nervous about the impending implosion of Lady Macbeth’s “campaign” –
A Modest Proposal: Barack Obama Should Be Hillary Clinton’s Running Mate
The challenge, then, is to make sure Clinton’s age and ethnicity don’t discourage Obama’s youthful, diverse supporters from turning out in November 2016. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to make sure that doesn’t happen. Clinton simply has to select Barack Obama as her running mate.
LOL, you might be thinking. Obama can’t be the vice president. That would place him at the top of the line of succession, and the Constitution limits him to two terms. Clinton would end up in court before she ended up in the White House if she pulled something like that.
I’ll grant that if Democrats nominate Barack Obama to be their vice presidential candidate next year, it would be somewhat controversial. But here Democrats can borrow tactically from the literal-minded conservatives who have seized on syntactic oddities to unravel Obama’s domestic agenda. As a purely textual matter, the Constitution merely prohibits Obama from being elected to a third term. It doesn’t necessarily prohibit him from actually being president again, should Hillary Clinton no longer be able to serve. And were he on the ticket, Clinton’s potential liabilities with Obama loyalists would disappear.
Beutler goes on to explain that, if you parse the Constitution carefully enough, there’s no absolute proscription on a two-term president, elected as veep, inheriting the Oval Office once again upon the demise of you know who.
The 22nd Amendment begins “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.” Whether its adopters intended it or not, the plain language of the 22nd amendment doesn’t prohibit a former two-term president from succeeding a sitting president and serving out the remainder of her term. It merely prohibits him from running for a third. By using the term “elected” instead of “eligible” its authors created a loophole large enough for a Clinton-Obama ticket to coast to victory through…
I gather Republicans wouldn’t be terribly happy about all this. The Supreme Court’s five conservative justices might even disallow it. But they’d have to abandon their textualist predilections to do so. Reince Priebus v. Barack Obama would become the Bush v. Gore of our time, except in this instance, the Court wouldn’t be able to frustrate the will of the voters outright.
It all depends on what the meaning of “frustrate” is.
Look who supported Rahm Emanuel in his recent Chicago mayoral re-election:
Over the last six weeks, it was impossible to turn on the TV and not be besieged by political spots in Chicago’s mayor’s race. But another component of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fiercely fought re-election campaign appeared elsewhere.
Digital media boosting Emanuel showed up on smartphones, tablets and in online video ads. It specifically targeted digital devices in 38 of the city’s 50 wards. It targeted younger voters and didn’t really bother with Hispanic wards, guessing those would go for Jesus “Chuy” Garcia anyway.
None of that is very surprising except when you find out this: Republicans paid for it.
Don’t you wish GOP donors would be so happy to open their wallets for conservative candidates? Yeah, right:
A group founded by Ron Gidwitz – co-chair of Bruce Rauner’s campaign for governor, and a onetime Republican gubernatorial candidate himself — was behind Emanuel’s digital advertising. Gidwitz used as a vehicle his onetime federal political action committee, the Economic Freedom Alliance.
In the six weeks between the Feb. 24 first round and April 7 runoff: Republican donor David Herro, portfolio manager of Harris Associates LP’s Oakmark international funds, was in for $12,500. Muneer Satter, a Chicago investor who has put more than $1 million behind Republicans in the last several years, gave $30,000 to Gidwitz’s group. Satter gave another $20o,000 directly to Emanuel in this cycle.
All of this, of course, is a drop in the bucket when looking at the broader picture of the some $30 million behind Emanuel’s campaign fund. Since January, Republican donor and billionaire Ken Griffin gave more than $1.1 million to Emanuel and a pro-Emanuel PAC. “It’s not like Gidwitz tipped the scales for Republicans,” said SEIU political chief Jerry Morrison. “Republicans gave millions upon millions for Rahm.”
Your Permanent Bipartsan Fusion Party, in word, in deed and in action.
That would be Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., inserting foot into mouth as usual:
Robert Kennedy Jr. apologized Monday for describing the number of children injured by vaccines as “a holocaust” during a film screening last week.
The nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy used the term last week at a screening in Sacramento of the film “Trace Amounts.” The movie links autism to a vaccine preservative, even though the medical community says such claims have been scientifically disproved. Kennedy said he was struggling for a way to convey the effects of autism on children and their families.
“I want to apologize to all whom I offended by my use of the word holocaust to describe the autism epidemic,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families.”
He said he will use other words to describe the autism crisis in the future.
So much nuttiness to unpack, so little time.
Kennedy opposes a California bill that would limit vaccination waivers for schoolchildren. It has generated such bitter debate that some opponents have compared the proposal’s author online to Adolf Hitler. State Sen. Richard Pan, a Democratic pediatrician from Sacramento, said he was under added security in response to his bill. The proposal will be heard Wednesday in a Senate education committee.Thursday marks Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“The word holocaust should never be used as a flippant throwaway line to make a point in a debate,” said Assemblyman Marc Levine, vice chair of the Legislative Jewish Caucus, during a Holocaust remembrance event on Monday in the California Assembly.
These days, being a Leftist means always having to say you’re sorry.
If the worst sin in the Leftist canon is hypocrisy, then what are we to make of this totally unsurprising development:
The former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, has joined the private equity firm Bain Capital as a partner to focus on socially oriented investments, a person briefed on the matter said on Monday. Mr. Patrick, a Democrat and close ally of President Obama, left office in January. At Bain, he is expected to concentrate on raising money for a new fund that will focus as much on positive social impact as it will on investment performance.
Bain Capital, which is based in Boston, is one of the biggest and best-known private equity firms, with roughly $65 billion in assets under management.
Bain Capital… Bain Capital… where have we heard that name before…?
Yet Mr. Patrick will be joining a firm that became a lightning rod during the past two presidential elections: One of its founders was Mitt Romney, a predecessor of Mr. Patrick in Massachusetts, whose stint in private equity drew scrutiny and criticism from political opponents during his run for the presidency. One of Bain Capital’s current leaders is Stephen Pagliuca, a longtime Democratic donor who ran unsuccessfully for a United States senate seat in Massachusetts in 2009.
“Cadillac” Deval, just doing what Democrats do:
Of course, the move by Mr. Patrick to Bain Capital isn’t the first by a public official to private equity. In 2013, Timothy F. Geithner, the former Treasury secretary, joined the investment firm Warburg Pincus as president. A former corporate lawyer, Mr. Patrick has said that he planned to re-enter the private sector once his term ended.
A spokesman for Bain Capital declined to comment on the hiring of the former governor.
These people are utterly shameless.
Washington believes that the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US is over, according to a secret briefing document seen by The Mail on Sunday. The memo for members of Congress states damningly that ‘the UK may not be viewed as centrally relevant to the United States in all of the issues and relations considered a priority on the US agenda’.
Dated April 2015 and drawn up to brief the Senate and House of Representatives on the impact of Britain’s General Election, the memo also warns that the UK faces turmoil if there is a hung parliament.
The document – prepared by the Congressional Research Service, an in-house intelligence body that gives confidential analysis to legislators – states that while Britain and the US are likely to ‘remain key economic partners’, a ‘reassessment of the special relationship may be in order… because its geopolitical setting has been changing’.
The memo, edited by Derek E Mix, the CRS’s chief European affairs analyst, says that the development of organisations such as the G20 group of major economies has led to a decline in the ‘influence and centrality of the relationship’.
To be fair, Britain hasn’t been militarily or economically worthy of the “special relationship” for a long time; there is almost nothing Britain could do to help the United States in a pinch. But the historic ties between the two anglophonic nations, the one the child of the other, used to be deemed worthy of respect. But not, of course, under Obama, whose resentment toward Britain was evident on day one of his disastrous presidency.
The ‘special relationship’ has been deployed by generations of politicians – most notably Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – to describe the close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relations between the two countries. It was first coined in a 1944 speech by Winston Churchill, when he said it was his ‘deepest conviction that unless Britain and the United States are joined in a special relationship… another destructive war will come to pass’. Increasingly, however, the relationship has come to be seen as one-sided, with British Prime Ministers more keen to flag up the alliance than US Presidents.
When David Cameron visited the White House in January, he insisted the President had said the special relationship was ‘stronger than it has ever been’.
The two-and-a-half year period in which the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course became gender-integrated for research will end without a single female graduate. The final iteration of IOC to accept female Marines on a volunteer basis began April 2 with two female participants. One was a volunteer and one was a member of the newly integrated ground intelligence track.
Both were dropped that same day during the grueling initial Combat Endurance Test, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman for Headquarters Marine Corps. Nine of the 90 men who began the course were also cut.
Social engineering with the military has always been a bad idea; with the Marines, it’s an even worse idea:
IOC, held quarterly at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, began accepting female officers fresh out of training in September 2012 as part of a larger research effort into the feasibility of opening ground combat jobs to women. Lieutenants who made it through the legendarily tough 86-day course would not receive an infantry military occupational specialty or career advancement; they did it only for the challenge and the hope of being part of a historical Marine Corps achievement.
But as the research continued, few volunteers took advantage of the opportunity. By July 2014, only 20 female officers had attempted the course. Only one made it through the Combat Endurance Test, and none made it to the end.
Still, the Social Justice Warrior brigade hasn’t given up — and won’t, as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House:
Officials have said that ongoing research will consider many aspects of temporarily integrating IOC, including the number of volunteers, their pass rate, and performance in the course. That data will be taken alongside other research points, including the much higher success rate for enlisted female Marines in passing the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As of February, 358 women had attempted the course, with 122 graduates, for a pass rate of 34 percent.
Also considered will be data generated from the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, which is conducting assessments with male and female troops in a variety of infantry specialties now on the West Coast. All this information will be compiled this summer and used to inform Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford’s recommendation to the secretary of Defense on whether or not to open remaining ground combat units to female troops.
A decision is expected from the Pentagon early next year.
Gee, do you think the fix is in?
Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to try and hold on to her leadership spot after voters approved a constitutional amendment that was likely to result in her demotion.
For the past 126 years, the chief justice position has gone to the most senior member of the Supreme Court. Since 1996, that has been Abrahamson. But the amendment approved by voters on Tuesday would instead allow the seven justices to decide who should be chief. The liberal Abrahamson is expected to be voted out by the four-justice conservative majority.
This Abrahamson is a real piece of work; you may recall she was another one of the leftist dragons Wisconsin governor Scott Walker had to face down during his first term. Now the superannuated sore loser is whining that democracy works. And, of course, suing everybody in sight:
Abrahamson, 81, argued in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Madison that the change should not be applied until after her current term ends in four years or if she leaves before then. To have the selection process change immediately would shorten the 10-year term of office to which Abrahamson was elected as chief justice, she argued, and would therefore violate her constitutional rights to due process and equal protection rights. She also is asking for a temporary restraining order to block the other six justices on the court from taking any action to remove her as chief justice.
The lawsuit names the other members of the court and top state officials charged with implementing the amendment. It was brought on behalf of Abrahamson and a handful of state residents who voted for her.
That’s how Democrats play the game; when you can’t win, work the refs, rile the crowd — anything but lose. The principal reason they hate Walker is that in him they finally met their match.
That’s the gist of this nasty piece by Timothy Egan, ostensibly honoring the country’s first Republican president on the anniversary of his assassination by a Democrat — but in reality thumping the GOP for not conforming to Egan’s ideas of political correctness. (Worth noting before we begin that the Assassinated Presidents score is GOP 3, Dems 1; talk about a War on Republicans.)
Think of [Lincoln's] legacy on this anniversary of the American passion play. Think of free land for the landless, the transcontinental railroad, the seeding of what would grow into national parks, the granting of human rights to people who had none. And think of how much the party of Lincoln has turned against the expansive political philosophy of Lincoln. Not the emancipation of four million people — Northern Democrats who died on southern battlegrounds, and certainly the Republicans who held power then, get their share of credit for ending the Original Sin of the United States.
But beyond: Could the Republicans who control Congress in 2015, the party of no, ever pass a Homestead Act? That law, which went into effect the very day, Jan. 1, 1863, Lincoln’s wartime executive order to free slaves in the breakaway states did, carries a clause that very few Republicans would support now…
In 1862, Lincoln signed legislation spurring construction of the transcontinental railroad. That same year, he approved a bill that led to the creation of land grant colleges. Today, Congress will not even approve enough money to keep decrepit bridges from falling down, and has whittled away funds to help working kids stay in college. It’s laughable to think of Republicans’ approving of something visionary and forward-looking in the realm of transportation, energy or education. Government, in their minds, can never be a force for good…
what unites the Republican Party, on this 150th anniversary of the murder of Lincoln, is that they are against the type of progressive legislation that gave rise to their party. Lincoln is an oil painting in the parlor, to be dusted off while Republican leaders plot new ways to kill things that he would have approved of.
On and on it goes, the usual hate-filled, sickening, ignorant drivel by the Democrat Party ops who call themselves journalists. Their propaganda campaign against the nation continues unabated. They hate us. They really, really hate us.
That would be the federal Department of Racial Payback, aka the Dept. of Justice under Eric Holder:
Attorney General Eric Holder sent a memo to employees of the Department of Justice Friday, reminding them that soliciting prostitutes is against agency rules and that violation of those rules could lead to suspension or termination. “The solicitation of prostitution threatens the core mission of the Department, not simply because it invites extortion, blackmail, and leaks of sensitive or classified information, but also because it undermines the Department’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking,” the memo said.
The memo was sent weeks after a Justice Department watchdog report alleged several Drug Enforcement Administration agents attended “sex parties” with prostitutes in an unnamed “host country” paid for by local drug cartels.
And just where were these parties, Madame Holder?
The alleged parties took place over a period of several years. According to the report by the Justice Department inspector general, the parties were even held in agents’ U.S. government-leased quarters. The IG report found such allegations often went unreported or underreported, or were not pursued properly.
“Not pursued properly”? By Eric Holder? Who would ever suspect such a thing? It is a blot upon this nation’s escutcheon that a man of this low moral character should have been given so much power — but then, look at who appointed him.
Having lived in the Empire State on two separate occasions, once upstate and once in the city, I can say with high confidence that the place is a complete and utter mess. In fact, there is no “New York State” anymore, just the Empire of the Five Boroughs and the taxpaying serfs in the hinterlands:
Upstate New York is becoming Detroit with grass.
Binghamton, New York — once a powerhouse of industry — is now approaching Detroit in many economic measures, according to the U.S. Census. In Binghamton, more than 31 percent of city residents are at or below the federal poverty level compared to 38 percent in Detroit. Average household income in Binghamton at $30,179 in 2012 barely outpaces Detroit’s $26,955. By some metrics, Binghamton is behind Detroit. Some 45 percent of Binghamton residents own their dwellings while more than 52 percent of Detroit residents are homeowners. Both “Rust Belt” cities have lost more than 2 percent of their populations.
Binghamton is not alone. Upstate New York — that vast 50,000-square mile region north of New York City — seems to be in an economic death spiral.
“Seems to be”? From Albany westward, the place is a basket case: Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo — the former Erie Canal and Great Lakes powerhouses have hit the skids. The population imbalance between them and the NYC metro area is so great that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they vote: the governor of New York is elected exclusively by the residents of the city and Westchester County.
Upstate New York, the portion that lies beyond the New York metropolitan area, has become “The Land That Time Forgot,” a broad swath of depressed cities and low-profit farmlands that stretches from Newburgh and Poughkeepsie in the Hudson Valley through the old manufacturing centers of Schenectady and Troy, across the Allegheny Plateau to Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, all the way west to Jamestown, the city with the lowest percentage of college graduates in America.
For more than half a century, this huge region — once the nation’s breadbasket and a manufacturing capital — has been losing jobs, dollars and people. “It all began in 1959 when the interstate highway system was completed,” says Carl Schramm, professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. “That was also the year commercial jets went into service and half the homes in Florida were air-conditioned.”
… upstate New York is tethered to New York City, whose residents overwhelmingly support higher taxes, stricter regulation and bigger spending than the national averages. Those policies are blamed for upstate’s economic woes by many in the region.
“Basically what you’ve got in New York is a state tax code and regulatory regimen written for New York City,” says Joseph Henchman, vice president for state projects at the Tax Foundation in Washington. “Legislators say, `Look, New York is a center of world commerce. Businesses have to be here. It doesn’t matter how high we tax them.’ I hear that a lot. But when you apply that same logic to upstate, the impact is devastating.”
Illinois finds itself in a similar position, as does California, where the Bay Area and Los Angeles, with a fraction of the state’s physical space, treat the “other California” as peasants to be exploited. The fact that all three are blue states speaks for itself.
Hard to believe any sane person can take the Democrats seriously, other than as a criminal organization masquerading as a political party. But, incredibly, some folks actually do. Time to gauge just how crazy your pals are, as the Washington Post‘s Ed Rogers writes:
Yesterday, in a somewhat useful exercise, my Democratic friend and sometimes sparring partner Carter Eskew compiled a “Republican Nutcase Check List” for Republican presidential candidates to take. (If you want to see how you’d rank, you can take that survey here.) With his quiz as motivation, and in the same spirit, I wrote a corresponding checklist for Democrats in general, given that their presidential candidate bench is so weak.
In order to slant his test and present Republicans as Democrats want them to be, Carter had to scour some remote corners of the country in search of narrow positions and specific incidents. Here, I’ll stick pretty close to what passes for “mainstream” Democratic positions in our nation’s capital. This is called the Democratic Whackjob Survey, and I propose that all Democrats take it. There are eight questions and the answers will be tallied to give you a score on the whack-o-meter. And yes, all of these are based on well-known Democratic positions . . .
Be sure to click on the link above to take the test. Questions are typical Democrat positions on baby-murder, the “global warming” hoax, the necessity of raising taxes just because, President Obama’s genius, and even the ineffable Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of the Democrats’ principal Faces of Death.
Just for laughs, you can take the GOP nutball survey here. Warning: it’s the usual hate-America first and imminent theocracy nonsense.
This week’s insane Leftist rant comes from the reliably ridiculous Harold Meyerson in the pages of the Washington Post. Remember, with lefties up is always down, in is always out, and black is always white.
One hundred and fifty years ago Thursday, after Union infantry effectively encircled the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee sent a note to Ulysses S. Grant proposing a meeting to discuss terms of surrender. With that, the Civil War began to end. And at some point in the future, it may yet.
The Civil War, you may recall from the history books before they are completely rewritten by the followers of Howard Zinn, was a fight between the Republican-led Union and the Democrat-led Confederacy. The party of Lincoln vs. the party of slavery, segregation, secularlism and sedition. In other words, the same fight we have going on in America today. So Meyerson is, in one sense, correct: the war is not yet over. But he, of course, is still rooting for the other side:
The Southernization of the Republican Party and the increasing domination of Wall Street’s brand of shareholder capitalism over the nation’s economic life have combined to erode both the income and the power of U.S. workers. Unions are anathema to Wall Street and the GOP. Federal regulations empowering consumers and employees are opposed by both.
Fueled by the mega-donations of the mega-rich, today’s Republican Party is not just far from being the party of Lincoln: It’s really the party of Jefferson Davis. It suppresses black voting; it opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty; it objects to federal investment in infrastructure and education just as the antebellum South opposed internal improvements and rejected public education; it scorns compromise. It is nearly all white. It is the lineal descendant of Lee’s army, and the descendants of Grant’s have yet to subdue it.
Zzzzz. Dragging the discredited canard that the two parties miraculously switched sides during the civil rights era is pretty much par for the course for the Left. Even though it is a vile lie, it’s just about all they have. That, and insults.
In other words, the usual Democrat fix for anything unsustainable: throw more money at it, and bribe a key constituency while you’re at it. And look who’s leading the charge: Fauxcahontas, the Amerindian princess who’s going to deny Lady Macbeth her party’s nomination next year. Ramesh Ponnuru explains:
Social Security has a long-term funding gap that just keeps growing. Neither political party has a plan to pay for the promises we’ve already made to people contributing to the system. But Democrats are bringing a new idea to the table: make even more promises.
Almost all Senate Democrats have lined up behind a proposal by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Joe Manchin of West Virginia to expand benefits for current retirees. Liberals are exulting that Warren has shifted the politics of Social Security to the left: Where once we were debating cutbacks to the program, now we’re debating benefit increases. Too bad that also means the debate is shifting further away from fiscal reality.
Social Security is becoming a worse deal for each generation. Those now joining the workforce are expected to pay more into the system than they get out of it. Warren’s plan is to shower more money on the current generation of retirees, but without increasing the deficit over the next 10 years. That means, in all likelihood, raising taxes on current workers while also increasing the program’s long-run fiscal deficit.
But keeping seniors out of poverty is not the aim of this FDR fossil: keeping seniors voting for Democrats is. Is there a better way? Of course there is:
Social Security has always been a combination of forced savings and redistribution. The forced savings is overt, and helps cement political support for the program: It’s the basis for the idea that retirees are “just getting back what they put in,” which has been a fiction for most of the program’s history. The redistribution is hidden, disguised in part by the program’s universality: The formula for setting payments is progressive, but it is complicated, and even Warren Buffett can draw benefits.
It would be better… to shift gradually to a new system that separates the two functions of Social Security. People joining the workforce now should be promised a flat universal retirement benefit set at a level that keeps all seniors out of poverty. At the same time, they should be given the opportunity and incentive to save so that they have retirement funds beyond that subsistence-level benefit. They should be auto-enrolled in retirement savings accounts that would include an option to invest in index funds, with the mix of investments shifting from stocks to bonds as workers approached retirement.
That would do better than the current program at preventing destitution because of the basic benefit. It would make for a more predictable stream of retirement income because it would dispense with complicated benefit formulas. And it would reduce Social Security’s negative economic effects because it would no longer discourage work and saving.
Will it ever happen? Dream on.
Recently adopted net neutrality regulations soon could make your monthly Internet bill more complicated — and potentially more expensive. Every month, consumers pay a small fee on their phone bills for a federal program that uses the money — a total of $8.8 billion raised nationwide last year — to provide affordable access to telecommunications services in rural areas, underserved inner cities and schools.
Now the fee could start appearing on broadband bills too, in a major expansion of the nearly two-decade-old Universal Service Fund program. It’s not clear yet, however, if most consumers would end up paying more in total USF fees than they do now.
“Not clear yet”? Ha ha ha ha ha! Whoever wrote that was born yesterday.
In approving the tough rules for online traffic in February, the Federal Communications Commission put broadband in the same regulatory category as phone service, opening the door for the charges. For phone service, telecom firms pass the fees directly to their customers, with the average household paying about $3 a month.
Those who opposed the net neutrality rules foresee the fees rising. ”The federal government is sure to tap this new revenue stream soon to spend more of consumers’ hard-earned dollars,” warned Ajit Pai, a Republican on the FCC. “So when it comes to broadband, read my lips: More new taxes are coming. It’s just a matter of when.”
Those darn Republicans, always harshing everybody’s mellow.
Higher fees on Internet bills could make the service unaffordable for some people, reducing broadband adoption instead of expanding it, critics said.
Rule of thumb when dealing with Democrats: whatever they say a new law will do, bet on the exact opposite.
Here’s the relevant passage from the Apostles’ Creed:
… conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty…
(Scriptural adumbrations and references can be found here.)
In recent years, the Descent into Hell has gradually been ameliorated or even eliminated from the Creed, although it’s right there in the Latin: descendit ad inferos. But what does it mean? A challenging piece in Religion Dispatches tackles the subject head-on:
It was Saturday that Jesus Christ went to Hell.” This is one phrase that Christians, whether mainline or evangelical, Catholic or Protestant, will likely not hear from the pulpit this week. And yet the story of Christ’s descent to the underworld has deep roots in tradition.
The fourth century Apostle’s Creed tells us that following his crucifixion, but before his resurrection, Jesus “descended to the dead.” The Athanasian Creed of at least a century later is more explicit, Christ “descended into hell.” Depending on context and translation Jesus either journeyed to Sheol, Hades, or Hell. But allowing for differences in language Christianity held—and technically still holds as a central tenet—the view that Jesus spent the gap between his death and resurrection “harrowing” Hell, that is journeying to the underworld to liberate the imprisoned souls of the Hebrew patriarchs who had been imprisoned there since their deaths.
Contemporary congregations will often translate “hell” into a more palatable “death” or “the grave.” There is something unseemly in the idea of Jesus among the murders, rapists, fornicators and heretics of Hell. And yet it was central to Christological accounts of salvation for two millennia that God Himself be present in the lowest rung of creation to justify redemption for all mankind.
Holy Saturday was a day in which God was not in His heaven, but rather in his Hell.
To me, this is one of the most overlooked tenets of the Christian faith, so I have treated it at some length in my forthcoming book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, out this summer from my PJ Media colleague Roger Kimball’s Encounter Books. A teaser:
The phrase “descended into Hell” has become so controversial within Christianity that is often now dropped from the prayer. It has been interpreted to mean that Christ did not literally descend into Hell on the Saturday after the Crucifixion, that is, into Satan’s abode, but rather dwelled among the dead, those deprived of the Light, there to give witness to the Good News of the imminent Resurrection. Augustine taught that Christ actually went to Hell, but he expressed puzzlement over the implication of his belief; Aquinas wrote that Christ visited both Purgatory (where the souls confined there would eventually be saved) and Hell itself, to shame unbelievers (which seems a bit of an un-Christ-like victory lap).
In more recent cultural history, we have a parallel in the most influential work of art of the nineteenth century: Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen… In the Ring—which employs Nordic saga as semi-Christian allegory; at the end of his life, Wagner embraced Christianity explicitly in Parsifal and apparently was bruiting an opera about Christ himself when he died in Venice in 1883—Wotan brings about his own God-crisis, first by his brazen theft of the Rhine Gold and then via his concupiscence. Like the priapic gods of Greek and Roman myth, he has gotten himself into trouble by heedlessly fathering the long-separated Wälsung twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde.
But Christ is a greater hero than Siegfried, and a greater God than Wotan; not only does he face the most horrible and agonizing of deaths, but he ventures into the lair of Death itself and (unlike Wotan) destroys it. Death’s eradication might take a while—it might take from here to Eternity—but it has been done, and one can only imagine the consternation of the demons as they watched the Principal Enemy enter into their own kingdom and slay Death itself. “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven,” says Jesus to the disciples in Luke 10:18-19. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.”
You can pre-order the book on Amazon here.
Boston Marathon bombers’ mother stood defiant in the wake of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s guilty verdict Wednesday, declaring in a message to a supporter that her convicted mass-murderer son is ‘the best of the best.’ The 21-year-old Tsarnaev was found guilty by a Boston jury this morning of all 30 counts – 17 of them carrying the death penalty – in connection to the deadly 2013 attacks.But the bomber’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, continued asserting Dzhokhar and his late brother Tamerlan’s innocence.
In a text message to her sons’ supporter Timur Rudayev, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva called the convicted killer ‘my precious boy’ before going on a rant against the US. ’America is the real terrorist and everyone knows that,’ she wrote in the text, which was later shared on the Russian social media site VKontakte and sent to the news blog Vocativ.
‘My boys are the best of the best,’ Mrs Tsarnaeva added.
The scary thing is, she means it. The even scarier thing is, from her Islamic perspective, she’s right. This is war, but only one side knows it.
Members of the Virginia Tech football team have been accused of acting disrespectfully at a campus sexual assault awareness event. Players were required to attend a Take Back the Night event on March 26. The event was organized by a campus female activism group and featured sexual assault survivors speaking about their experiences as victims. Multiple attendees accused the players of infringing upon the “safe space” the event is intended to foster, according to The Roanoke Times.
Take Back the Night is a national organization that seeks “to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.” Several attendees wrote letters to the student newspaper, the Collegiate Times, complaining about the players’ behavior. The players arrived late, said they did not know why they were attending the event and spent much of the time looking at their phones, the letters said.
“[T]heir judgmental remarks made it very hard to feel safe,” one wrote. “When survivors took the stage, there was nothing respectful in the way the football team took it, especially in reference to transgender survivors. I am deeply offended and horrified by the disrespectful nature that the players displayed.” Another person said some players “made snide, mocking comments.”
There’s nothing funny about rape — it’s a violent crime and felony — but the “feminist” definition of it has expanded so greatly that the term is practically meaningless these days, especially on college campuses. Were any student actually in favor of literal sexual assault, these sorts of things might serve some sort of purpose. But as the Rolling Stone fiasco just demonstrated, there’s a strong strain of misandry running through the SJW ranks, and that’s likely what the players were reacting to. Could it be that they resented being treated like prospective criminals solely because of their sex?
For a second day, the “pool” of reporters in Florida to cover President Obama’s golfing weekend refused to be dismissed by the White House, stationing in a maintenance shed near the super exclusive course the president is golfing at for his 223rd round of golf since taking office.
The first “pool report” of the day said that the president’s team said he wouldn’t be making news or appearing in public, thus declaring a news “lid” and allowing the media to stay at their hotel 15 miles away. But as they did Saturday the reporters opted to stay close to Obama in case something happened during his golf outing in Palm City.
In the trade, this is known as “covering the body” — dogging the president’s every move, just in case he makes news or something happens to him. It’s part of the compact between the press and the White House since the JFK assassination — but of course with Barry Hussein Obama, the old rules no longer apply.
The press corps traveled with Obama on Air Force One to the exclusive Floridian National Golf Course. It had no expectation of seeing Obama, since the media very rarely is allowed to get near him on golf courses, but they pledged to carry out their pool duties and stay nearby as long as he was in public. Obama also stayed overnight at the course.
The local Treasure Coast Palm news website, TCPalm.com, ran a blog on the trip but no pictures of the president from the golf course. Two reporters joked about praying for an interview.
Pathetic, humiliating, embarrassing — you choose. This is what the media has been reduced to. Or maybe it’s because the White House doesn’t want any videos of golf swings like this: