News/Politics 3-27-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. As I’ve said before, there are no good guys here.

From TheLongWarJournal  “The US-led military Coalition in Iraq is openly supporting Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Iraqi forces who are battling Islamic State fighters entrenched in Tikrit. Many of the Shiite militia commanders are listed by the US as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, and one militia is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Many of the commanders and militias are responsible for killing US, Coailition, and Iraqi troops and civilians during the occupation of Iraq.

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) announced today that “operations to support Iraqi Security Forces in Tikrit have commenced after a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi,” in a press released issued by the US-led command.

“The Coalition is now providing direct support to Iraqi Security Forces conducting operations to expel ISIL [Islamic State] from the city. CJTF-OIR is providing air strikes, airborne intelligence capabilities, and Advise and Assist support to Iraqi Security Force headquarters elements in order to enhance their ability to defeat ISIL,” the statement continued.

The US and CJTF-OIR have claimed that the airstrikes and other support is benefiting “Iraqi Security Forces,” when in reality more than two-thirds of the personnel opposing the Islamic State are comprised of Shiite militias, all of which are backed by Iran.”

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2. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are sending ground forces into Yemen.

From Time  “Egyptian security and military officials say Saudi Arabia and Egypt will lead a ground operation in Yemen against Shiite rebels and their allies after a campaign of airstrikes to weaken them.

Three senior officials tell The Associated Press that forces would enter by land from Saudi Arabia and by sea from the Red Sea and Arabian Sea. They said Thursday that other nations will also be involved.

They would not specify troop numbers or say when the operation would start, only that it would be after airstrikes weaken the rebels and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

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3. The oil market is reacting to the turmoil.

From Fortune/MSN  “There’s nothing like a scare about the safety of middle-eastern sea-lanes to send oil prices higher, particularly when the scare involves fears of a conflict between the region’s two biggest powers.

Crude oil prices were back at their highest in two weeks at $51.32 a barrel by midmorning in Europe, after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched airstrikes against the Houthi rebels who have overrun much of Yemen, including a military airbase that was used until recently by U.S. forces.

Prices have now surged 8% in the last 48 hours. The impact of the flare-up has been magnified by the fact that many participants in the market have bet on prices staying low all through the year. Those caught in ‘short’ positions have had to cover those positions in a hurry as the price rebounds. Fundamentally, though, the market remains oversupplied, and U.S. stocks of crude and fuel are at record highs.”

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4. What a spiteful little man-child.

From TheWeeklyStandard  “On February 12, the Pentagon quietly declassified a top-secret 386-page Department of Defense document from 1987 detailing Israel’s nuclear program – the first time Israel’s alleged nuclear program has ever been officially and publically referenced by the U.S. authorities. 

In the declassified document, the Pentagon reveals supposed details about Israel’s deterrence capabilities, but it kept sections on France, Germany, and Italy classified. Those sections are blacked out in the document.

The two main exceptions in the international media that wrote about the declassification at the time were the state-funded Iranian regime station Press TV and the state-funded Russian station RT. 

Both these media were rumored to have been tipped off about this obscure report at the time by persons in Washington. (Both the RT and PressTV stories falsely claim that the U.S. gave Israel help in building a hydrogen bomb. This is incorrect.)

Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons. To do so might spark a regional nuclear arms race, and eventual nuclear confrontation.

The declassification is a serious breach of decades’ old understandings concerning this issue between Israel and its north American and certain European allies.”

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5. Two US men were arrested, including a soldier, for planning an attack on a US base.

From Yahoo/Reuters  “A U.S. Army National Guard soldier and his cousin have been arrested on charges of conspiring to support Islamic State in a plot that included an attack on a military installation in Illinois, the Department of Justice said on Thursday.

The two Chicago-area men, both U.S. citizens, spoke of using army uniforms and military knowledge to get into an Illinois National Guard facility, the department said in a statement.

“Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack,” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in the statement.

Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, 22, was arrested at Chicago Midway International Airport Wednesday night while attempting to fly to Cairo, the Justice Department said. His cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, was arrested at his Aurora, Illinois, home. Both arrests were made without incident.

Both defendants met with an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation employee and presented a plan to carry out an armed attack against a northern Illinois military facility where Hasan Edmonds had been training, the Justice Department said.”

What I don’t understand is why the charges are so minor. This is treason, so why isn’t the Obama DoJ making that the charge?

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6. This one comes with a CONTENT WARNING!!!!!

I wasn’t going to post this one due to the nature of this so-called reporters other work. I find it disgusting. What I also find disgusting is that this is the only kind of interviewer and interviews that Obama does. The green haired lady in the fruit loop bath was nothing compared to this freak show.

Again, CONTENT WARNING!!!!!

From MRCTV  “The latest man to score an interview with President Obama, Shane Smith, has conducted some hard-hitting interviews, including one with a Japanese sex doll. 

You’re not misreading that; in a video from 2008, founder and CEO of Vice media Shane Smith pays to have sex with a doll in a Tokyo doll brothel.”

“The company Smith founded, Vice.com, “revels daily in hard drug use, weird sex and every sort of bodily effluvium,” reports Forbes….”

“Yet this man just conducted an 18-minute sit-down interview with the Commander in Chief, the most coveted interview of a journalist’s lifetime and one once reserved for the most hard-bitten and veteran of the White House press corps.”

Obama should be embarrassed, but I doubt he is.

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News/Politics 3-25-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. The many costs of Obama’s amnesty.

From Investors.com Seeing as the costs will come due only after President Obama has left the White House, I guess he doesn’t care how high those costs are. But the costs are horrendous, as just added up by our country’s foremost authority on such things, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.

Rector told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week that the lifetime costs of Social Security and Medicare benefits paid to the millions of immigrants to whom Obama is granting legal status will be about $1.3 trillion.

Rector’s calculation is based on his assumption that at least 3.97 million immigrants will receive legal status under Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, and the average DAPA beneficiary has only a 10th-grade education.

DAPA recipients, according to Rector’s calculations, will receive $7.8 billion every year once they get access to the refundable earned income tax credit and the refundable additional child tax credit. Those EITC and ACTC recipients will also be allowed to claim credit for three years of illegal work, which will sock U.S. taxpayers for another $23.5 billion.”

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2. Tell us something we don’t know.

From TheTimesOfIsrael  “he White House was directly involved in an attempt to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last week’s general election, during a nadir in ties between the Israeli leader and US President Barack Obama, a senior Jerusalem official said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel that “it’s no secret” that the Obama administration had attempted to influence the outcome of the election, having been partially motivated by a desire for revenge over Netanyahu’s polarizing speech before Congress earlier this month, which sought to undermine the president’s key foreign policy initiative – a nuclear deal with Iran.

“The White House is driven by three main motives,” the senior official said. “The first is revenge [over the Congress speech]. The second is frustration: It’s no secret that they were involved in an attempt to bring down the Netanyahu government – something that we have clear knowledge of – and failed. The third [motive] is the administration’s attempt to divert attention from the negotiations with Iran to the Palestinian issue.”

Netanyahu’s latest term in office has seen an unprecedented, unmasked animus seep into the relationship between the administration and his government, much of it over the emerging deal with Iran. On Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had spied on the talks, an accusation firmly denied by senior Israeli ministers and that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman attributed to efforts to undermine ties between Jerusalem and Washington.”

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3. It ain’t broke, so Obama wants to fix it.

From TheGreatFallsTribune  “The Obama administration said Friday it is tightening rules on fracking with regulations that it says will preserve the oil and gas extraction method while protecting water supplies and the environment.

The new rules, which take effect in June, require oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing and to build large barriers to shield nearby water sources.

Environmental groups complimented the new rules on fracking, though some said the administration should simply ban the practice.

Members and supporters of the oil and gas industries denounced the new regulations and said they will damage a booming energy industry. Some immediately filed suit against the administration.”

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4. Are smartphones making kids mentally ill? I know it has that effect on some adults. 🙂

From TheTelegraph  “Julie Lynn Evans has been a child psychotherapist for 25 years, working in hospitals, schools and with families, and she says she has never been so busy.

“In the 1990s, I would have had one or two attempted suicides a year – mainly teenaged girls taking overdoses, the things that don’t get reported. Now, I could have as many as four a month.”

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5. Oh boy…… 🙄

Just like in Syria and Egypt.

From TheWashingtonPost  “The Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen, amid fears that the weaponry, aircraft and equipment is at risk of being seized by Iranian-backed rebels or al-Qaeda, according to U.S. officials.

With Yemen in turmoil and its government splintering, the Defense Department has lost its ability to monitor the whereabouts of small arms, ammunition, night-vision goggles, patrol boats, vehicles and other supplies donated by the United States. The situation has grown worse since the United States closed its embassy in Sanaa, the capital, last month and withdrew many of its military advisers.

In recent weeks, members of Congress have held closed-door meetings with U.S. military officials to press for an accounting of the arms and equipment. Pentagon officials have said that they have little information to go on and that there is little they can do at this point to prevent the weapons and gear from falling into the wrong hands.

“We have to assume it’s completely compromised and gone,” said a legislative aide on Capitol Hill who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.”

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News/Politics 3-24-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. You knew they wouldn’t take this lying down.

From NationalJournal  “Telecom companies filed a pair of lawsuits Monday in an attempt to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules.

The suits are expected to be the opening shots in a long legal war against the controversial regulations.

USTelecom, which represents AT&T, Verizon, and other companies, filed its lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, while Alamo Broadband, a small Texas-based wireless Internet provider, filed its suit in the U.S. appeals court based in New Orleans.

“The focus of our legal appeal will be on the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet access service as a public utility service after a decade of amazing innovation and investment under the FCC’s previous light-touch approach,” Jon Banks, the senior vice president for USTelecom, said in a statement. “As our industry has said many times, we do not block or throttle traffic and FCC rules prohibiting blocking or throttling will not be the focus of our appeal.””

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2. But will the RINO’s vote for it?

From TheWashingtonExaminer  “Conservative members of the House Republican caucus outbid their party’s official budget Monday, offering a plan to cut planned government spending by more than $7.1 trillion and balance the budget in just six years.

The aggressive plan to cut spending from all areas of government and erase deficits was introduced by the Republican Study Committee, a group of congressmen organized to push policy to the right.

The House this week will consider the budget authored by Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia. The Republican Study Committee budget outline will not supplant that plan, but it does outline where some conservatives would like to steer the government.

The conservative budget “is a bold, conservative plan that will balance the budget, rein in rampant overspending and restore solvency to America’s safety-net programs,” said Bill Flores of Texas, the head of the Republican Study Committee.”

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3. Democrats will not like this.

From HotAir  “Or maybe not such a surprise after all. The path to today’s Supreme Court decision to refuse an appeal by the ACLU against Wisconsin’s voter-ID law has been strewn with appellate decisions that supported its implementation, although a last-minute stay by SCOTUS kept it out of play for the midterms. The law will fully take effect for the 2016 election, which may complicate efforts by Democrats to keep the state blue:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact a new Republican-backed law in Wisconsin that requires voters to present photo identification when they cast ballots.

The court declined to hear an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law. …”

“The SCOTUS stay in October had more to do with the timing of the law, thanks to the scheduling of the challenges through the courts. Regardless, the election still went in favor of Scott Walker and the GOP, preventing Democrats from repealing the voter-ID provision before it could come into effect.

This will put a huge dent in the Obama administration’s efforts to squelch voter-ID laws in other states. In order to grant certiorari, the ACLU would have needed four justices to vote to add it to the docket. The fact that they couldn’t even move the liberal wing to unite against a voter-ID law shows that the justices consider the issue settled. Requirements for identification at polling stations are legitimate, in the eyes of the court, as long as enough options for no-cost qualifying ID exist to keep the poor from being disenfranchised.”

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4. Obama’s former professor says he’s “burning the Constitution” with his new EPA rules.

Also from HotAir  “What happens when two Constitutional law scholars collide? Usually, the more learned of the two prevails, but don’t bet on it in this case. Harvard University Professor Lawrence Tribe, described as a mentor to Barack Obama, accused his protege of “burning the Constitution” in the EPA’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide. Speaking to a hearing of the Energy and Power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce panel on Monday, Tribe blasted the EPA and the Obama administration for running roughshod over the separation-of-powers doctrine, a concept that can best be described as ConLaw 101:

“EPA possesses only the authority granted to it by Congress,” Tribe told lawmakers in a hearing Tuesday. “Its gambit here raises serious questions under the separation of powers… because EPA is attempting to exercise lawmaking power that belongs to Congress and judicial power that belongs to the federal courts.”

“Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy,” Tribe added.

Tribe, along with other legal and energy experts, appeared before Congress Tuesday to give testimony on the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” — the agency’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants. Tribe told lawmakers the CPP is unconstitutional and outside the agency’s authority.

“EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts all at once,” Tribe told lawmakers.”

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5. Oh goody.

From CNSNews  “According to weekly detention and departure reports from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, there were 167,527 non-detained convicted criminal aliens in the United States as of Jan. 26 of this year, a congressional hearing revealed Thursday.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah.) read the statistic aloud Thursday durin a hearing examining ICE’s priorities and procedures for removing criminal aliens currently living in the United States.

“In that report, it said that there are 167,527 non-detained, final-order convicted criminals on the loose in the United States,” Chaffetz pointed out while questioning ICE Director Sarah Saldana.

“These are people that are here illegally, get caught, convicted, and you release back out into the public,” he said, adding that some of the crimes committed by those who have been released include homicide, sex crimes, child pornography, drunk driving, robbery and kidnapping.

The federal government announced Wednesday that ICE had released about 30,000 convicted criminal aliens from ICE custody in 2014 alone, according to The Washington Times, which first reported the statistic.”

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6. Israel’s not the only one who should follow this advice.

From TheNYPost  “First he comes for the banks and health care, uses the IRS to go after critics, politicizes the Justice Department, spies on journalists, tries to curb religious freedom, slashes the military, throws open the borders, doubles the debt and nationalizes the Internet.

He lies to the public, ignores the Constitution, inflames race relations and urges Latinos to punish Republican “enemies.” He abandons our ­allies, appeases tyrants, coddles ­adversaries and uses the Crusades as an excuse for inaction as Islamist terrorists slaughter their way across the Mideast.

Now he’s coming for Israel.

Barack Obama’s promise to transform America was too modest. He is transforming the whole world before our eyes. Do you see it yet?

Against the backdrop of the tsunami of trouble he has unleashed, Obama’s pledge to “reassess” America’s relationship with Israel cannot be taken lightly. Already paving the way for an Iranian nuke, he is hinting he’ll also let the other anti-Semites at Turtle Bay have their way. That could mean American support for punitive Security Council resolutions or for Palestinian statehood initiatives. It could mean both, or something worse.”

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News/Politics 2-10-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. So they won’t meet with Israel’s leader, and refuse to attend his speech to Congress, but they’ll go to Germany to meet with his opposition……

From IsraelToday  “Is the Obama Administration interfering in Israel’s upcoming elections? Recent statements and moves by America’s leaders sure would seem to suggest so.

Last week, both Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry announced they would not be in attendance when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Senate dedicated to the threat of a nuclear Iran.

The White House has been furious with Netanyahu over the planned appearance, which Obama officials insist had breached protocol by being organized without their approval and involvement.

Just days after letting everyone know they wouldn’t be on hand to greet and listen to Netanyahu, both Biden and Kerry met with Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, Germany on Saturday. And this just a month before Israel’s March 17 elections.”

“In Herzog’s own description to Channel 10 News, the episode represents “a complete boycott [of Netanyahu]. Even if that’s not stated, that’s the story.””

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2. So Bibi’s reaction is as you’d expect.

From FoxNews  “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will travel to Washington to speak before the U.S. Congress next month despite calls to cancel his speech.

His remarks Monday at an election rally come amid an uproar over his planned speech about Iran before Congress next month.

Netanyahu said: “A bad deal with Iran is forming in Munich that will endanger Israel’s existence. … Therefore I am determined to go to Washington and present Israel’s position before the members of Congress and the American people.””

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3. A little judicial defiance in Alabama. Good. Let’s see how the federal judge enforces his ruling, or if he even can.

From TheWashingtonPost  “On the day that same-sex unions became legal in Alabama, local officials in dozens of counties on Monday defied a federal judge’s decision and refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, casting the state into judicial chaos.

Gay couples were able to get licenses in about a dozen places, including Birmingham, Huntsville and a few other counties where probate judges complied with the judge’s decision. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled early Monday that it would deny Alabama’s request to put the marriages on hold.

But in the majority of counties, officials said they would refuse to license same-sex marriages or stop providing licenses altogether, confronting couples — gay and heterosexual — with locked doors and shuttered windows.

Many of the state’s 68 probate judges mounted their resistance to the federal decision at the urging of the firebrand chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore. He is best known for refusing more than a decade ago to comply with a court order to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the state Supreme Court’s offices.”

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4. Justice Thomas is pretty ticked off about the way this is playing out.

From AP/MyWayNews  “The Supreme Court is inappropriately signaling it intends to clear the way for gay marriage across the nation, Justice Clarence Thomas complained Monday in a stinging dissent to the court’s refusal to block the start of same-sex marriages in Alabama.

Bitterly objecting to Monday’s action, Thomas provided a rare insider’s perspective on the widely held view that the court’s embrace of gay marriage is a done deal.

Thomas filed a dissenting opinion after his colleagues rejected Alabama’s plea to put a hold on same-sex marriages in the state until the Supreme Court resolves the issue nationwide in a few months.

He criticized his fellow justices for looking “the other way as yet another federal district judge casts aside state laws,” rather than following the customary course of leaving those laws in place until the court answers an important constitutional question.”

“”This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the court’s intended resolution of that question,” Thomas wrote in an opinion that was joined by Justice Antonin Scalia. “This is not the proper way” for the court to carry out its role under the Constitution, he wrote, “and, it is indecorous for this court to pretend that it is.””

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5. Welcome to the club Ben. Personally, I’d consider it an honor to make the list for the reasons he did. 🙂

From LegalInsurrection  “The Southern Poverty Law Center ceased long ago to be a neutral source of information.

As we have documented over the past years, SPLC has used the credibility it earned decades ago fighting the Klan to turn itself not only into a huge money-raising machine, but also to poison the political process:”

“Yesterday I noticed a name I was surprised to see on the list: Ben Carson, listed as “anti-LGBT.””

“If you read through the SPLC explanation, it boils down to Carson strongly supporting traditional marriage, and speaking in front of other groups that SPLC does not approve of.  The SPLC narrative is highly political.”

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News/Politics 1-30-15

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. Obama’s Israel problem.

From TheWeeklyStandard  “The Obama administration is angry with Israel. Here’s the administration’s house organ, the New York Times, this morning:

The Obama administration, after days of mounting tension, signaled on Wednesday how angry it is with Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Republican leaders’ invitation to address Congress on Iran without consulting the White House.

The outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle became clear in unusually sharp criticism by a senior administration official who said that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.

The official who made the comments to The New York Times would not be named…

Of course, the official who last summer called Prime Minister Netanyahu a “coward” and a “chickens–t” would not be named either. But there is no reason to think those unnamed angry officials do not speak for an angry president.

The Obama White House usually prides itself on not getting angry. Its self-image is that it’s cool, calm, and collected. And it doesn’t get angry at, for example, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Obama White House understands and appreciates the complexities of the Islamic Republic’s politics and history. It is only with respect to the Jewish state that the Obama White House is impatient, peremptory, and angry.”

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2. Here’s more on what he and his friends are doing about it.

From WND  “Asked directly whether his group’s intention is to topple Netanyahu, Dweck replied, “Our goal is to do change.”

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3. The EPA fudged the numbers. Anybody shocked?

From TheDailyCaller The Environmental Protection Agency inflated the monetized benefits of a major air quality rule to justify imposing a harsher smog standard on U.S. counties, according to a new report by Energy In Depth (EID).

“EPA’s ozone rule could very well be the costliest regulation in U.S. history,” said Steve Everley, spokesman for the petroleum industry-backed EID. “If a rule of this magnitude is to be imposed, then the EPA should consider providing a far more scientifically robust ‘public health’ basis — one that doesn’t rely on inflated health benefits or a lack of appreciation for the very real economic costs.”

 The EPA proposed its costly smog, or ozone, standard the day before Thanksgiving 2014. The agency mandated that ambient smog levels be lowered from 75 parts per billion (pbb) to levels between 70 ppb and 65 ppb. The EPA also solicited comments for an even lower standard at 60 pbb — one which could put almost the entire country out of compliance with the rule and cost $3.4 trillion by 2040.

The EPA said its new smog standard was based on “1,000 studies” published since 2008. The agency argued the rule would also bring $23 billion in monetized net benefits. But EID found that EPA’s monetized benefit calculation is 3,100 percent higher than what the agency calculated in 2011 for the same smog standard.

In 2011, the agency estimated the “net benefits” of a 65 ppb smog standard were only $700 million, which included the “co-benefits” of reducing fine particulate matter. This means that the benefits of reducing smog alone were less than advertised.”

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4. Senator Ted Cruz is going to introduce a bill banning the political targeting of citizens.

From HotAir  “A pair of measures which failed to reach daylight when the Democrats were in charge of the upper chamber should be seeing new life this year. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex) will reintroduce legislation intended to prevent another partisan debacle like the IRS scandal and to remove certain powers from the tax agency. Cruz’s office released the details this week.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today announced his intent to file two bills to protect Americans from partisan abuses and political targeting by the IRS. Both bills will be cosponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, and Sen. David Vitter, R-LA.

“In May 2013 President Obama declared the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups ‘intolerable and inexcusable,’ yet to this date no one has been held accountable for it,” Sen. Cruz said. “The IRS has no business meddling with the First Amendment rights of Americans. Rather than further stifling free speech, the IRS and the Department of Justice should provide the American people with all the facts surrounding the IRS’s targeting of certain organizations based on their political activity.”…

The first measure would prohibit IRS employees from intentionally targeting individuals or groups based on their political views. The legislation would make it a crime for an IRS employee to willfully discriminate against groups based solely on the political beliefs or policy statements held, expressed, or published by that organization. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO, will also cosponsor this measure.

The second measure would amend the tax code to use the bipartisan, independent Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) definitions to determine whether an organization is engaging in political activity, rather than allowing the IRS to continue making that distinction. The IRS should focus on taxation, not on determining what constitutes political activity.”

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5. Interesting… Thoughts?

From TheGuardian  “Hipster churches in Silicon Valley: evangelicalism’s unlikely new home- Netflix fasts, coffee vouchers, plaid-wearing worshippers is what it takes for ‘church transplants’ to make their home in the affluent Bay Area”

Like many San Franciscans, overpriced coffee is a considerable portion of my weekly budget. One day in Soma, the industrial district home to many start-ups, I came across a flier advertising a free gift card to Philz, a nearby coffee shop. All that was required was to show up for service at a local church called Epic. I hadn’t been to church in months, and decided to give it a try.

The Bay Area has never been perceived as religious: a 2012 Gallup poll found that fewer than a quarter of residents identify as “very religious” (defined as going to church weekly), as opposed to 40% of the nation as a whole. High salaries have drawn droves of well-educated millennials to the booming tech sector, which correlates with lower religious sentiment. So far afield from the Bible belt, the region is in fact seen as hospitable to all forms of old testament abominations: fornication, paganism – even sodomy.

If you look around, however, you’ll notice a bumper crop of newer Christian ministries that, upon superficial glance, could pass for any other Bay Area start-up: glossy web design, well-curated social accounts and yes, free coffee promotions. County-level statistics substantiate this: numbers from the Association of Religion Data Archives show that several large Protestant denominations have grown in San Francisco County in recent years.

How does one even start a church in the land of $3,000 studio apartments, transient tech workers and rationalist tendencies? The answer lies in a mix of organized efforts by large religious bodies, coupled with messaging that speaks to the tastes, needs and neuroses of ambitious young Bay Area residents.”

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News/Politics 8-26-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. It looks like another defeat for Obama’s “Smart Diplomacy,” and yet another victory for radical Islam.

From HotAir  “It was the conflict which gave birth to the infamous and orphaned Obama doctrine of “leading from behind.” The coalition air war over Libya, a response to Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal efforts to suppress the Arab Spring rebellions in that country, was once touted by the administration as one of the president’s signature foreign policy achievements.

“After four decades of brutal dictatorship and eight months of deadly conflict, the Libyan people can now celebrate their freedom and the beginning of a new era of promise,” Obama said in a prepared statement delivered on October 23, 2011.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the president and noted that Libya had been set on a path toward democracy. “The transitional authorities can build on this movement by promoting reconciliation and respect for human rights across Libyan society, while helping to prevent reprisals and ensuring the justice and due process that the Libyan people expect and deserve,” she said at the time.

“From Tripoli to Misurata to Benghazi — today, Libya is free,” Obama said in speech delivered before the United Nations. “This is how the international community is supposed to work — nations standing together for the sake of peace and security, and individuals claiming their rights.””

“These celebrations were shown to be premature when a sophisticated terrorist attack against American diplomatic and CIA outposts in Benghazi resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. It was not until today, though, when the country’s capital fell to Islamist militants that the administration’s post-campaign Libya policy was exposed as utter folly.”

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2. The White House says Obama’s constitutional responsibility to protect Americans trumps the law.

From TruthRevolt  “A defiant White House rejected the Government Accountability Office’s determination that the administration broke the law in its highly controversial swap of U.S. Army Sgt. Bow Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders, saying that the president’s “constitutional responsibility to protect the lives of Americans” trumped the law.  

When asked about the GAO’s conclusions released Thursday, administration spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters Friday that the they “strongly” disagree with the GAO’s legal argument:

“It’s not going to surprise you to know that we strongly disagree with GAO’s conclusion and we reject the implication that the administration acted unlawfully. The president has the constitutional responsibility to protect the lives of Americans abroad and specifically to protect U.S. service members. It’s important for everyone here to understand that the GAO report expressly does not address the lawfulness of the administration’s actions as a matter of constitutional law.”

Schultz argued that President Obama is committed to protecting U.S. military personnel and will prioritize that “bedrock principle” over legal “caveats”:”

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3. Here’s yet another case where the so-called “constitutional scholar” and his Democrat minions ignore the rule of law. I guess they feel he has an obligation to ignore the rule of law for illegal immigrants too. Hey it’s only 5 million, right?

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4. Gee, I wonder why this hasn’t gotten more press? 🙄

From IJReview  “There are few political subjects that can bring the likes of Roseanne Barr, Sarah Silverman, Kelsey Grammer, and Arnold Schwarzenegger together, but through a group called Creative Community for Peace, these artists and nearly 200 other Hollywood stars and executives joined together to condemn Hamas.

The group recognizes that the only free society in the Middle East, the one that supports intellectual and artistic freedom, is Israel. Deadline reports:

“When you talk to artists like Javier Bardem and Pedro Almodovar, you have to think, ‘Where do you think your movies are being watched in the Middle East? They can’t be watched anywhere else but in Israel. When you are on the ground, you realize that you are in a very free and progressive society, and it’s a region where people can’t pay to see the product that we’re making other than in Israel.”

The Hollywood actors who supported the statement can be read below, via the Creative Community for Peace website. The celebrities endorsing it include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Roseanne Barr, Bill Maher, and Sylvester Stallone, among many others.”

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5. A victory in California for 2nd Amendment supporters.

From NationalReview  “A big Second Amendment victory in California. Per the Calguns Foundation:

California’s 10-day waiting period for gun purchases was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge this morning in a significant victory for Second Amendment civil rights. The laws were challenged by California gun owners Jeffrey Silvester and Brandon Combs, as well as two gun rights groups, The Calguns Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation.

In the decision released this morning, Federal Eastern District of California Senior Judge Anthony W. Ishii, appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, found that “the 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code [sections 26815(a) and 27540(a)] violate the Second Amendment” as applied to members of certain classifications, like Silvester and Combs, and “burdens the Second Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs.”

And the victory provides a foundation to challenge other unconstitutional restrictions that California has placed on firearms.

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News/Politics 8-19-14

What’s interesting in the news today?

1. The more we know……

From TheBlaze  “For the very first time, an alleged “friend” of the officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Ferguson man Michael Brown is revealing new details about the controversial incident that has sparked unrest in cities across the country, CNN reported on Monday.

Calling into The Dana Loesch Radio Show on Friday, “Josie” claimed that Brown “bum-rushed” officer Darren Wilson moments after pushing him into his squad car, punching him in the face and trying to grab the cop’s gun.”

“The alleged friend of Wilson continued: “So he goes in reverse back to them, tries to get out of his car. They slam his door shut violently. I think he said Michael did. And, then he opened the car again, you know, he tried to get out. He stands up. And then Michael just bum-rushes him and shoves him back into his car, punches him in the face and then, of course, Darren grabs for his gun. Michael grabbed for the gun. At one point, he got the gun entirely turned against his hip. And he shoves it away, and the gun goes off.”

The caller went on to claim that Brown then ran from the officer, making it about 35 feet away before Wilson got up and ordered the suspect to “freeze.”

“Michael and his friend turn around. And Michael taunts him… And then all the sudden he just started bumrushing him. He just started coming at him full speed. And, so he just started shooting. And, he just kept coming. And, so he really thinks he was on something,” she concluded. “The final shot was in the forehead, and then he fell about two or three feet in front of the officer.”

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2. The autopsy report conflicts with witness testimony, but still says excessive force was used. I have a feeling Holder’s autopsy will say otherwise. Call it a hunch.

From FoxNews  “Dr. Michael Baden, who conducted the autopsy at the request of Brown’s family, talked to Bill Hemmer by phone this morning. His findings do not line up with witnesses who have claimed that Wilson shot Brown from behind.

“This autopsy shows that there wasn’t any gunshot wounds in his back. Some people thought they saw that. An autopsy helps organize which witness testimony is more reliable,” he said.

But he said the presence of six gunshot wounds points to “excessive” force by Wilson. Baden noted that Wilson may have fired even more shots that missed Brown, explaining that the police would know the total number of shots fired.

“There is legitimate concern as to whether the shooting was overreacting. That has to be answered and we don’t have all the answers,” said Baden.”

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3. I would add Holder, Sharpton, and Jackson to the list.

From Breitbart  “Former CNN anchor and Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” host Howie Kurtz criticized some outlets for creating “almost a lynch mob mentality” in Ferguson, MO in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown. 

“Some liberal outlets [are] creating almost a lynch mob mentality around this, the Huffington Post today, screaming banner headline ‘Arrest Him.’ Now, the Huffington Post, nor you or I, knows exactly what happened” he said. And “when you cross that line into becoming an advocate and to demanding that somebody be prosecuted before the facts are in, while the investigation is going on, you’re grandstanding, you’re trying to keep the story alive and I really think it’s troubling.”

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4. Who are the protestors?

From TheWashingtonPost The militants are one faction of many that have filled Ferguson’s streets each evening since Brown, walking unarmed between a convenience store and his grandmother’s apartment at midday on a Saturday, was shot at least six times and died.

There is a group of “peaceful protesters” that congregates around the QuikTrip, which was looted and burned during the first night of protest. Another gathers near the Ferguson police station. A third, more scattered faction uses the social-media community Black Twitter to organize demonstrators.

 “People have been tweeting, ‘We are ready to die tonight,’ ” said Mary Pat Hector, a national youth organizer with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s national action network. “It is a trending topic.”

Hector traveled from Atlanta, hoping her presence as a non­violent protester would help counter what she described as “so much negative energy.””

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5. This is troubling, but not surprising. As the above story shows, nowadays the mob rules.

From TheGuardian  “An Israeli ship subject of a pro-Palestinian protest has docked, but demonstrations at the port of Oakland in California continue after between 2,000 and 3,000 pro-Palestinian activists streamed towards the port entrance on Saturday, chanting and waving flags. It remains unclear whether the ship’s cargo has been unloaded.

The protesters intended to form a picket line to prevent work crews from unloading the ship.

Activists had originally planned to meet at 5am for a blockade of the Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel, but word that its arrival had been delayed prompted organisers to push the protest back until later in the afternoon.

The event began with a brief rally at a nearby transit station, followed by a march to the port. Sameh Ayesh, a 21-year-old Palestinian activist with the San Francisco-based Arab Youth Organisation, led the crowd in a chant.”

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6. Not shocking either….

From TheWashingtonTimes  “The administration that vowed to be the most transparent in history now must defend itself against a federal lawsuit accusing it of thwarting the release of public information. It’s a case that could reveal just how much politics influences the processing of Freedom of Information Act requests, especially when such releases could embarrass the president.

The civic watchdog group Cause of Action on Monday sued the Obama administration, claiming that presidential attorneys have interfered improperly in the release of public documents under the landmark FOIA law in an effort to curb the release of derogatory information about the White House.”

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7. First it was the Army clearing out the ranks of Majors, now it’s the Navy’s turn.

From USAToday  “Almost 8,000 senior enlisted personnel must go before a continuation board later this year to determine whether they can continue to serve or must retire.

The board — the first since early 2013 — will convene Oct. 27, according to a Navy document released Aug. 14.

At risk are between 7,500 and 8,000 retirement-eligible active and reserve E-7s, E-8s and E-9s with at least at least three years’ time in rate.”

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