Tuesday, December 31, 2013

NY Times and Benghazi

Monday morning I attended a breakfast with a small group of men who meet every two weeks to discuss national affairs.  I’m proud to say that virtually all of them recognized that the NY Times piece on Benghazi was pure propaganda intended to help elect Hillary Clinton in 2016.  The Times has moved from significant bias to outright lies.  Fortunately lots of people now recognize this.

Betrayal That Whitewash Won’t Cover

By Wesley Pruden  December 30, 2013 The Washington Times (Excerpt)

“Transparency, the current vogue word for truth-telling, is usually a good thing, unless you're trying to fool all the people some of the time, like spending 7,000 words to resurrect a fairy tale in Benghazi, all to give a helping hand to a lady in distress.

The New York Times understands that Hillary Clinton is likely to be the only credible hope the Democrats have for 2016 and that she already needs lots of remedial help. The Times huffed and puffed to deliver an excuse for betrayal in Benghazi, meant to second Mrs. Clinton's famous alibi for her tortured misfeasance as secretary of state — "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

The right response might have made a lot of difference to an American ambassador who lay dead, slain at the hands of Islamic terrorists, and three other Americans who had to give up their lives because nobody at the White House could be bothered to ride to the rescue. President Obama and his frightened and timid acolytes, including Mrs. Clinton, insisted that this was not Islamic terror or the perfidy of al Qaeda, but merely the reaction of innocent Muslims offended by a video posted on YouTube mocking the religion of the Prophet Muhammad.

Even after the White House dispatched Susan Rice, who was then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to push the confection about the video as revealed truth, almost nobody believed it. The White House couldn't even find anybody else who would say he believed it.

David Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief of The New York Times, grunted, burped and produced a tiny mouse of special pleading, an account with nothing new of much importance, except a few colorful facts of the sort that were once the popcorn of newsmagazine journalism. He describes, for example, the vase in the living room of the mother of one of the suspects in the Benghazi attack. Vases are no doubt important, but mostly to interior decorators. This account, so transparent to anyone who reads it even with casual attention, seems hardly worth the effort of a good reporter who was willing to take certain risks to himself.

It's important to Hillary and her presidential campaign, now in its early planning, to repeat the con that al Qaeda was not in any way involved, because Mr. Obama was supposed to have killed al Qaeda graveyard dead when he dispatched Navy SEALs to terminate Osama bin Laden with extreme prejudice.” Washington Times



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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lessons for Conservatives

I don’t normally like to post long articles, but this one by George Will says it all.  Liberals have ruined our education system, they have ruined every city they have run, and now they are in the process of ruining our healthcare system.  The irony is that the million or so people Obama claims have signed up are people with no assets who are choosing Medicaid.  They have exposed all their personal data to thieves,  but the thieves have nothing to steal.

2013’s lesson for conservatives

By George F. Will  Dec 27, 2013 Washington Post

This report on the State of Conservatism comes at the end of an annus mirabilis for conservatives. In 2013, they learned that they may have been wasting much time and effort.
Hitherto, they have thought that the most efficient way to evangelize the unconverted was to write and speak, exhorting those still shrouded in darkness to read conservatism’s most light-shedding texts. Now they know that a quicker, surer method is to have progressives wield power for a few years. This will validate the core conservative insight about the mischiefs that ensue when governments demonstrate their incapacity for supplanting with fiats the spontaneous order of a market society.
It is difficult to recall and hard to believe that just three months ago some conservatives, mirroring progressives’ lack of respect for the public, considered it imperative to shut down the government in order to stop Obamacare in its tracks. They feared that once Americans got a glimpse of the law’s proffered subsidies, they would embrace it. Actually, once they glimpsed the law’s details, they recoiled.
Counterfactual history can illuminate the present, so: Suppose in 2012, Barack Obama had told the truth about the ability of people to keep their health plans. Would he have been reelected? Unlikely. Suppose in 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts, instead of rewriting the health-care law to save it, had been the fifth vote for overturning it. Would Obama be better off today? Probably.
Franklin Roosevelt, emboldened by winning a second term in 1936, attempted to pack, by expanding, the Supreme Court, to make it even more compliant toward his statism. He failed to win congressional compliance, and in 1938 he failed to purge Democrats who had opposed him. The voters’ backlash against him was so powerful that there was no liberal legislating majority in Congress until after the 1964 election.
That year’s landslide win by President Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater, less than 12 months after a presidential assassination, left Democrats with 295 House and 68 Senate seats. Convinced that a merely sensible society would be a paltry aspiration, they vowed to build a Great Society by expanding legislation and regulation into every crevice of Americans’ lives. They lost five of the next six and seven of the next 10 presidential elections. In three years we shall see if progressive overreaching earns such a rebuke.
In 2013, the face of progressivism became Pajama Boy, the supercilious, semi-smirking, hot-chocolate-sipping faux-adult who embodies progressives’ belief that life should be all politics all the time — come on, everybody, spend your holidays talking about health care. He is who progressives are.
They are tone-deaf in expressing bottomless condescension toward the public and limitless faith in their own cleverness. Both attributes convinced them that Pajama Boy would be a potent persuader, getting young people to sign up for the hash that progressives are making of health care. As millions find themselves ending the year without insurance protection and/or experiencing sticker shock about the cost of policies the president tells them they ought to want, a question occurs: Have events ever so thoroughly and swiftly refuted a law’s title? Remember, it is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
From Detroit’s debris has come a judicial ruling that the pensions that government employees’ unions, in collaboration with the political class, extort from taxpayers are not beyond the reach of what they bring about — bankruptcy proceedings. In Wisconsin, as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s emancipation legislation requiring annual recertification votes for government workers’ unions and ending government collection of union dues, more than 70 of 408 school district unions were rejected.
This year’s debate about the National Security Agency demonstrated the impossibility of hermetically sealing distrust of government to one compartment of it. Worries about the NSA’s collection of metadata occurred in a context of deepened suspicions about government because of this year’s revelations that the administration has corrupted the Internal Revenue Service, the most intrusive and potentially the most punitive domestic institution. Conservatism is usually served by weariness of government.
The prophet Al Gore has given many hostages to fortune, and this year fortune shot another of them. In 2008, he predicted the North Polar ice cap would be gone “in five years.”
Finally, a regularly recurring fever of progressive indignation about the name of Washington’s professional football team again waned without success, which means Oklahoma will not have to change its name. “Oklahoma” is a compound of two Choctaw words, “okla” meaning people, and “homma” meaning red.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Stop the Foolishness, Support the NSA

Anyone who thought seriously about this problem soon realized after 9/11 and other major terrorist acts by militant Muslims that conventional, criminal-justice techniques were useless in the face of acts causing such mass casualties.

Conventional thinking is that criminal acts must be committed in order that society act against the criminal.  Thinking about or planning criminal acts is not a prosecutable crime.  Major terrorist acts result in so many deaths and mutilations, however, that they must be stopped before they can be carried out.

After Snowden’s acts of high treason, there has been much discussion of the key NSA program designed to uncover and stop such terrorist acts before they can be carried out.  In order to do this, you need intelligence concerning the planning of such acts.  My understanding is that the NSA program works in the following way:

The NSA collects in one giant database metadata on domestic calls that all telephone companies are required to capture, store and transfer to the agency.  The metadata consists of the calling number, the recipient number and the date and time of the call.  The actual conversations are not recorded.  Meanwhile the NSA is actually monitoring foreign telephone calls made by suspected terrorists and by suspected supporters and planners of terrorist acts.

It is well-known that there exist in this country American citizens and foreign nationals legally here who are willing participants in acts of terror against America.  The names, Jose Padilla, David Headley, Yaser Esam Hamdi, John Walker Lindh, Major Hasan, and the brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, come readily to mind.

When the NSA, in its monitoring of foreign calls discovers a call to an American resident, it goes to the FISA court to get a warrant to pluck the calls of that resident out of the metadatabase.  It can now construct a chain of all the calls made by that person to other persons, and on and on.  In that fashion it can put together a picture of all those American citizens and residents who may be involved in a terrorist conspiracy, as well as the identities of other foreign terrorists involved.

It seems to me that this is a vitally necessary and Constitutional activity to keep us safe.  I hope those with little understanding of the actual workings of this program will not bring it down.

 Correction: A better explanation of the NSA's procedure was provided today by Michael Mukasey, " Telephone metadata collection allows investigators to run the known number of a foreign terrorist, say, or of a safe house, against a database of U.S. calls to determine whether that number has called or been called by any domestic number. If so, investigators could then focus on that telephone and, if further evidence were sufficient, obtain a warrant to tap the content of conversations. This does not change anything I have said above.

for those who are truly interested in this serious matter, I have added Mukasey's article in today's Wall St Journal below:

The Air of Unreality in NSA Reform

The president's panel found no official malfeasance but recommends overhauling surveillance programs anyway.

By MICHAEL B. MUKASEy Dec. 23, 2013 Wall St Journal

Grope through the Styrofoam pellets of rhetoric that surround the 46 recommendations in the report issued last week by the president's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and you will discover that the authors "have not uncovered any official efforts to suppress dissent or any intent to intrude into people's private lives without legal justification." The panel's investigation of the National Security Agency found—as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found before them—that the occasional unintentional violations of guidelines were stopped once they were detected.

Yet in a Dec. 20 White House news conference, President Obama vowed that next month he will make a "pretty definitive statement" about surveillance reform based on the panel's recommendations. The five-member group, including University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone and Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein, was appointed by the president in August amid the continuing fallout from the theft of national-security secrets by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

If the presidential Review Group found no official malfeasance, what has generated the 46 recommendations for reform? The answer seems to lie more in the mind-set of those commissioned to examine the intelligence programs than in the programs themselves.
The panel scrutinized principally an NSA program that gathers telephone metadata (which show the calling and called numbers, the date and the length of the call), and one that monitors the communications non-U.S. persons abroad. 
Outside the National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Telephone metadata collection allows investigators to run the known number of a foreign terrorist, say, or of a safe house, against a database of U.S. calls to determine whether that number has called or been called by any domestic number. If so, investigators could then focus on that telephone and, if further evidence were sufficient, obtain a warrant to tap the content of conversations.
The constitutionality of the procedure has been upheld repeatedly. And as the panel noted, the "NSA believes that on at least a few occasions, information derived from the . . . metadata program has contributed to its efforts to prevent possible terrorist attacks either in the United States or somewhere else in the world."

The Review Group's report couldn't point to an actual invasion of privacy from NSA's collection of telephone metadata. Yet, astoundingly, the panel recommends that the program be terminated with a transition "as soon as reasonably possible to a system in which such meta-data is held instead either by private providers or by a private third party."
In other words, if investigators want to check a telephone number they should be required to scurry around to each individual provider— AT&T,  Verizon, etc.—to run the check, possibly against data bases that are inconsistently arranged, with consequent loss of time and efficiency. What if this arrangement "seriously undermines the effectiveness of the program," as well as national security? The panel suggests that "the government might authorize a specially designated private organization to collect and store the bulk telephony metadata" (emphasis added).

The panel, in short, is recommending an experiment: If there is serious damage to the program—measured, say, by a successful terrorist attack—well, then we can have the data placed in the hands of a private party, and we know nothing can go wrong with that.
The president's Review Group offers two reasons why the NSA must not gather this telephone metadata. One is that the government might use the business-records rationale for gathering metadata to cull other sensitive personal information in medical records and the like. Of course, no evidence suggests that any such thing has been tried or even contemplated by anyone in authority.

The second reason offered for terminating the NSA program is that telephone metadata can be mined to construct a profile of a particular person—who that person has called and who has called that person—and the possibility of that occurring would unsettle many people if they thought it was being done to them. No evidence suggests that any such thing has been proposed or done, and indeed the 22 people at NSA who have access to the data are forbidden to use metadata in any fashion other than to run it against suspect telephone numbers.
Nonetheless, the panel finds that mere public awareness of potential abuse "can significantly undermine public trust, which is exceedingly important to the well-being of a free and open society." To be sure, the panel recommends that the government "commission a study of the legal and policy options for assessing the distinction between metadata and other types of information." But in the meantime, the NSA would cease to collect telephone metadata.

What about gathering electronic intelligence abroad? The panel reasons that although the law authorizing that activity "has clearly served an important function in helping the United States to uncover and prevent terrorist attacks both in the United States and around the world (and thus helps protect our allies), the question remains whether it achieves that goal in a way that unnecessarily sacrifices individual privacy and damages foreign relations."
Here too the panel finds the NSA wanting—for failure to uphold Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which "proclaim that 'No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy.' Although that declaration provides little guidance about what is meant by 'arbitrary or unlawful interference,' the aspiration is clear. The United States should be a leader in championing . . . the right of privacy, which is central to human dignity." Based on that "clear" aspiration, the Review Group recommends that protections of the Privacy Act of 1974 be extended even by intelligence-gathering agencies to non-U.S. persons so as to permit them, for example, to discover the personally identifiable information in their intelligence file, "unless the agencies provide specific and persuasive reasons not to do so."

Oh, sure—it's hard to imagine what "specific and persuasive" reason there might be not to allow a foreign terrorist to check on whether the U.S. government has a file on him and what may be in it.
Another recommendation: The U.S. should declare that surveillance abroad "must not target any non-United States person located outside of the United States based solely on that person's political views or religious convictions." So, for example, if a previously unknown group declares it a religious obligation to kill Americans, we must promise not to target that group or its leaders for surveillance to determine whether they have the operational capability to put their "political views or religious convictions" into practice. Makes sense.

And what about the National Security Agency itself? The president wisely has already rejected the panel's idea that the director of NSA no longer head the U.S. Cyber Command. But the panel also advocates separating the NSA from Cyber Command, and detaching the NSA's information-assurance (code-making) function from its foreign-intelligence (code breaking) function. Why? Because after the 9/11 terror attacks, many in government advocated new national-security measures, and "if a similar or worse incident . . . were to occur in the future, many Americans, in the fear and heat of the moment, might support new restrictions on civil liberties and privacy. The powerful existing and potential capabilities of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies might be unleashed without adequate controls." Better to break up a successful team than risk that.

No doubt such airy reasoning, not to mention arrogant mistrust of this country's citizens and its institutions, is the small change of daily discourse in faculty lounges. But to find this infiltrating the Situation Room of the White House—President Obama met with the Review Group there before leaving on his Hawaiian vacation—is truly alarming.

Mr. Mukasey served as U.S. attorney general (2007-09) and as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York (1988-2006).




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Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Personal Note

Recently we put our Florida condo up for sale and moved into a villa in a huge, gated community.  We loved the condo, but the time had come to make a change.  Ever since Hurricane Charley, I had served as Treasurer and unofficial Managing Director of the 32 unit condo association, having handled the rebuilding program after the terrible damage caused by Charley.

There were three reasons for our move, which will cost us in ownership costs about 2-3 times what they were at the condo: 1. over the past few years we have lost many couples-friends to death or to a decision not to return to Florida for the winter any more.  We were experiencing loneliness, and decided a huge complex with many facilities and on-site activities was what we needed. 2. we had tired of the antics of a few owners who were forever either trying to ‘get over’ on others or who were constantly complaining. and 3. the population of the condo association had changed, leaving only two or three owners who were willing and able to help with the operation of the complex.

At our ages, we decided we probably had only about 5 years before we also would become too old to make the trip back and forth to Rhode Island twice a year or even to make such a move, and we want to enjoy those final years.  Also, this move gives us a real option to spend the rest of our lives full-time in Florida, even if one of us has to face this decision alone.
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spitting in the Wind

My readers know that on one aspect of the liberal world view, this conservative is in agreement – the increasing and destructive disparity of incomes and wealth in America, although I do not support the various schemes for redistribution that President Obama keeps pushing.

As I have pointed out, the major reason for the disparity is globalization, and the loss of good-paying factory jobs to foreign workers.  I understand the theories of absolute and comparative advantage, but history shows a rush to “free trade”, and little attempt by past administrations to combat the wholesale transfer of American industries overseas.

Having come to this understanding, my own little fight has been to cut way back on my shopping at Walmart, which has decimated “main street” with its offerings of cheap goods made in Asia.  I wish, somehow, to combat the swindle whereby we have traded good jobs for the privilege of buying cheap goods.

There is another, similar battle going on – the decimation of brick and mortar retailers by online sellers.  I already raised the ire of many readers by supporting the collecting of state sales taxes from all online sales.  We need to protect the revenue sources of our states, and we need to slow down the bankrupting of local stores where we can touch and feel products and get service when we need it.  We have already lost many retailers, and it appears that Radio Shack, J C Penny, Toys or Us and several others are poised to go under.

I’ll be accused of being a reactionary, I’m sure, and this is almost certainly a losing battle, but if Congress passes the online sales tax bill and delivery costs keep escalating, perhaps this trend can be slowed.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The “Repeal and Replace” Movement

When the dimensions of the Obamacare disaster started to appear, I wrote the following:

“A debate is underway among Republicans as to the best way to deal with the dismantling of the health insurance policies of millions of Americans caused by the implementation of the disastrous Affordable Health Care Act commonly called, Obamacare.

Some feel that Republicans should not contribute in any way with attempts to “fix” aspects of Obamacare, leaving Democrats to face the consequences of their folly.  Others, including myself, believe that this would cause immense damage to millions of Americans who have not yet lost their insurance, and would be short-sighted and immoral.”
The basic immorality of the socialists now controlling the Democratic Party has caused me to change my mind about this.  They are trying to set a trap for us, and use the failings of the program that they, and only they, have created, to destroy their opponents.  The only reasonable course is to support the “Repeal and Replace” effort.

GOP could be trapped by Democrat demands to fix Obamacare

By BYRON YORK | DECEMBER 16, 2013  Washington Examiner

2014 will be the year Republicans are forced to deal with the Obamacare Trap, helpfully set for them by the Democratic authors of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2009 and 2010, President Obama and his party took a health care system in which 85 percent had insurance coverage, and blew it up. Now, with Obamacare causing misery right and left, those same Democrats are screaming, "You can't go back!"

The national health care scheme they designed is so complex and has already embedded itself so deeply in the health care system, they argue, that it can never be repealed. The only course now is for lawmakers of both parties to "fix" Obamacare's problems.
The argument will be heard more and more as the burdens imposed by Obamacare — cancelled policies, higher premiums, higher deductibles, narrower doctor networks, restricted choices of prescription drugs and more — become a reality for millions of Americans. The situation could become even more politically charged if, as many experts expect, the burdens that have so far beset those in the individual insurance market spread to the small-group market and ultimately to the larger universe of all people who receive coverage through their jobs.

In such a scenario, Democrats will ratchet up their demands that Republicans join them in "fixing" the law. They will condemn Republicans who declare Obamacare beyond repair and decline to go along. And at the same time, Democrats will steadfastly refuse to back down in their full support of the law they — and they alone — passed that is causing all the trouble. The blame, they will argue, lies with the GOP.

It's an astonishingly brazen strategy. And it might work.

Already, some Republicans appear to be wavering on the insistence that repeal must be the first step in minimizing the damage done by Obamacare. In a weird irony, the more serious the problems of Obamacare become, the less likely some Republicans are to demand repeal.

"It's so bad that you just can't let it happen," says one well-connected GOP strategist. "My sense is, at least at this point, it's gotten so bad that as much as you don't want to fix Obamacare, you just can't let the impact of this happen."
Says a House Republican aide: "Measures that provide Americans some form of relief from the most painful parts of Obamacare don't have to begin with repeal."

Of course, many ways Republicans would want to provide Obamacare relief — Rep. Fred Upton's keep-your-health-plan proposal, for example — won't win Democratic support. But the more fixes the GOP signs on to, the more incentive Democrats have to keep stonewalling all calls for repeal.
Other House Republicans are (finally) uniting behind an actual repeal-and-replace proposal. H.R. 3121 is the work of the Republican Study Committee, and, like another effort by GOP Rep. Tom Price, would both repeal Obamacare and enact a package of Republican health care reforms. It would address the tax unfairness of purchasing health coverage for those who are not covered at work; the problem of pre-existing conditions; the purchase of coverage across state lines and excessive medical malpractice settlements.

So far, 117 House Republicans have signed onto the bill. But 115, including the House GOP leadership, have not. And it is not clear whether passing an Obamacare alternative — one that begins with repeal — is really a priority for Speaker John Boehner and other top House Republicans.
For example, on "Meet the Press" Sunday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan expressed satisfaction with the recent budget deal because Republicans "don't want to have shutdown drama so that we can focus on replacing Obamacare." That sounds like Ryan wants to pass an alternative. But while Ryan encourages Republicans to come up with "conservative solutions," there's no evidence he wants to throw his weight behind any one bill.
In fact, in private discussions, House Republicans stress their differences over the details of an Obamacare alternative. For example, there's no agreement on precisely how to fix the tax inequity for people who don't receive health coverage at work. There are similar disagreements over all sorts of other points of policy. "Getting unanimity is a tall order for a divided, leaderless party," says the GOP aide.

Meanwhile, Obamacare threatens to turn into an enormous, rolling disaster. While Americans suffer, Republicans could find themselves arguing with each other, hung up on details, divided over the next step and under pressure to endorse Democratic fixes to a law they never supported — in other words, deep inside the Obamacare Trap.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In Defense of Speaker Boehner

Since Obama's re-election and the rise of the Tea Parties (of which I am a founding member), Speaker Boehner has been taking it on the chin from both sides.  So have I for defending him.  Tea Partiers thought that their success in electing a Republican House would give them more influence than it has - forgetting that Democrats still control the Senate and the Presidency.  RINO's seem afraid to do anything that would offend Obama supporters and the mainstream press.

Through it all, Boehner has successfully trod a middle course, and with the collapse of Obamacare, this should pay big dividends in 2014 and 2016.

John Boehner's Successful Year on Policy and Politics

DECEMBER 17, 2013 - Michael Barone

All this year, House Speaker John Boehner has been taking criticism from all quarters.
He is a squish selling out to the Obama administration and the Democrats, many conservatives charged when he engineered bipartisan (mostly Democratic) approval of higher tax rates on high earners rather than go over the fiscal cliff.

He is a radical hostage-taking Confederate-sympathizing terrorist, cried Democrats when he led House Republicans to pass a bill refunding the government but defunding Obamacare.

He is irresponsible and obdurate, cried high-minded supporters of a grand bargain including entitlement reform, because he resolutely refused to negotiate with President Obama.

He is a squish selling out -- you know the rest -- yelled some conservatives last week when he rallied votes, successfully, for the bipartisan budget agreement hammered out by House and Senate Budget Chairmen Paul Ryan and Patty Murray.

Undoubtedly, some of these criticisms were sincere. Rational arguments could be and sometimes were made in their support. On occasion, Boehner seemed to be stumbling from one stance to something like its opposite.

But I would argue that the cumulative result, in terms of budget, spending and tax policy, is far more favorable for Republicans and conservatives than they had any right to anticipate given the correlation of political forces after the November 2012 election.

Obama had just become only the 17th man to be reelected president in 220 years. (I'm counting Grover Cleveland, who was beaten for reelection in 1888 and came back to win a rematch four years later.)

Democrats had, against considerable odds and with the incalculably valuable aid of some hapless Republican nominees, not only held on to their majority in the Senate, but had increased it from 53-47 to 55-45.

Boehner's House Republicans had lost only eight seats. But Republican candidates had actually won fewer popular votes than Democrats. (Two-thirds of that margin came from eight California districts where, thanks to that state's new law, there were no Republican nominees.)

In a House where there had been little bipartisanship in recent years, that meant that Boehner had to rally 218 of the 234 Republican members in order to pass legislation if Democrats were opposed. A defection by 17 Republicans would cut Boehner's leverage down toward zero.

And many of these Republicans were of a mind to oppose anything they thought would accommodate the Obama Democrats.

Boehner could not count on favorable press coverage -- or even much coverage at all, except when things went sour. His own gifts do not include the smooth articulateness that goes over well on television.

Given all that, and taking into account legislation passed, Boehner has had impressive policy success on budget, spending and tax issues.

He has achieved that, on occasion, by tactical surrender. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert wouldn't allow a bill on the floor that wasn't supported by a majority of Republican members.

Boehner broke the so-called Hastert rule in early January in the fiscal cliff crisis when he allowed a mostly Democratic majority to effectively raise tax rates on high earners.

The alternative was raising taxes on everyone. What's amazing here is that the high-bracket increases were not enacted until the fifth year of Obama's presidency.

Two months later, Boehner surprised Obama by accepting the sequester cuts. Democrats thought he would negotiate to increase defense spending.

But few House Republicans cared enough about defense to agree to Democrats' demands for tax increases. Boehner read this mood accurately and extracted from it a major policy success. The sequester has held discretionary spending far below levels that the Senate and White House Democrats want.

In October, Boehner reluctantly agreed to a bill funding the government but defunding Obamacare. Enough Republicans insisted they wouldn't vote for the former without the latter.

But the speaker was quick to climb down when polls showed Republicans slumping with voters -- and to yield the spotlight to the ragged Obamacare rollout. In the process, he won the trust of most Republican members.

That trust was essential to passage, Thursday, of the budget bill, which tweaks the sequester, assuaging appropriators who want more leeway and hawks who want more defense spending.
It institutes some small but probably permanent entitlement cuts and likely rules out another politically damaging government shutdown.

On policy, it's hard to see how Boehner could have accomplished more this year. And on politics, he has positioned his often obstreperous members well for 2014.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lies Just Scratch the Surface

The question is, how did so many people fall for this man and his lies.  The answer is in the second article.

Obamacare Disinformation Runs Deep
The “keep your plan” lie just scratches the surface of the deception.

DECEMBER 13, 2013  BY Jonah Goldberg National Review
‘Obamacare was sold on a trinity of lies.”

That ornate phrase, more suitable for the Book of Revelations or perhaps the next installment of Game of Thrones, comes from my National Review colleague Rich Lowry. But I like it. Most people know the first deception in the triumvirate of deceit: “If you like your health insurance you can keep it, period.” The second leg in the tripod of deception was “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

But the third plank in the triad of disinformation hasn’t gotten much attention: Obamacare will save you, me, and the country a lot of money. This lie took several forms.

First, Obama promised on numerous occasions that the average family of four will save $2,500 a year in premiums. Where did that number come from? Three Harvard economists wrote a memo in 2007 in which they claimed that then-Senator Obama’s health-care plan would reduce national health-care spending by $200 billion. Then, according to the New York Times, the authors “divided [$200 billion] by the country’s population, multiplied for a family of four, and rounded down slightly to a number that was easy to grasp: $2,500.”

In September, the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services used far more rigorous methods to predict that Obamacare would increase national health-care spending by $621 billion. Using Obama’s own math, that would mean — according to Chris Conover, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute and Duke University — each family of four in America will spend an additional $7,450 thanks to Obamacare.

Of course, that methodology is still bogus. But it’s probably closer to the truth.

The president and his allies also insisted that all of Obamacare’s “free” preventative care would save the country vast amounts of money. As Obama put it in 2012: “As part of the health-care reform law that I signed last year, all insurance plans are required to cover preventive care at no cost. That means free check-ups, free mammograms, immunizations, and other basic services. We fought for this because it saves lives and it saves money — for families, for businesses, for government, for everybody.”

That’s not true either. First of all, you’d think people would understand that there is no such thing as “at no cost.” You are paying for “free” mammograms, blood tests, and the rest, even if you don’t see a line item for them on your bill. And even if you’re poor enough that you don’t even see a bill, that doesn’t mean no one’s paying. That’s why millions of Americans who’ve lost their health insurance thanks to Obamacare are discovering that the new plans it offers are either more expensive, have higher deductibles, or both.

Also, prevention doesn’t necessarily save money. I know that Benjamin Franklin said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (People always leave out the fact that he owned an insurance company that ran at a profit.) The idea that prevention saves money is one of these things that intuitively sounds like it has to be true. But think about it.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4 percent of American women will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. So for every positive diagnosis there are seven negative diagnoses. Those tests cost a lot of money. Moreover, of the women who do get it, premature screenings won’t necessarily catch it. That in no way means that screenings don’t make sense. They do, particularly for women in high-risk groups. But testing everybody isn’t a great way to save money. As the Congressional Budget Office reported in August, “The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.”

When presented with these and other facts, Obamacare’s defenders note that the rate of increase in health-care costs has slowed in recent years. “I’m not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years,” Obama said last month. 

This spin doesn’t work either. The slowing of health-care costs began a decade ago, and even the administration’s own actuaries say the recent drop is mostly attributable to the lousy economy. But even that’s too generous to Obama. Costs haven’t dropped. The rate of increase in spending has slowed. We’re still on course to spend a record $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013.

Obamacare may have been sold on a trinity of lies, but it turns out it’s also lies all the way down.
Jack Wheeler is a brilliant man who was the author of Reagan's strategy to break the back of the Soviet Union with the star wars race and expose their inner weakness.

Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler  in 2008 (Excerpt)

“The O-man, Barrack Hussein Obama, is an eloquently tailored empty suit. No resume, no accomplishments, no experience, no original ideas, no understanding of how the economy works, no understanding of how the world works, no balls, nothing but abstract, empty rhetoric devoid of real substance.

He has no real identity. He is half-white, which he rejects. The rest of him is mostly Arab, which he hides but is disclosed by his non-African Arabic surname and his Arabic first and middle names as a way to triply proclaim his Arabic parentage to people in Kenya . Only a small part of him is African Black from his Luo grandmother, which he pretends he is exclusively.

What he isn't, not a genetic drop of, is 'African-American,' the descendant of enslaved Africans brought to America chained in slave ships. He hasn't a single ancestor who was a slave. Instead, his Arab ancestors were slave owners. Slave-trading was the main Arab business in East Africa for centuries until the British ended it.

Let that sink in: Obama is not the descendant of slaves, he is the descendant of slave owners. Thus he makes the perfect Liberal Messiah.

Obamamania is beyond politics and reason. It is a true religious cult, whose adherents reject Christianity yet still believe in Original Sin, transferring it from the evil of being human to the evil of being white.

Thus Obama has become the white liberals' Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White. There is no reason or logic behind it, no faults or flaws of his can diminish it, and no arguments anyone could make of any kind can be effective against it. The absurdity of Hypocrisy Clothed In Human Flesh being their Savior is all the more cause for liberals to worship him: Credo quia absurdum, I believe it because it is absurd.”
Thanks, Bob, for sending me this article.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Real Problem with Knockout Games

Although those living in the real world complain about the biased treatment being presented in the mainstream press about the “Knockout Game” incidents – and of the continuing violence being committed by young black men against whites, something else is much more discouraging – and more important – what to do about it.

Only the most committed liberals, plus the race hustlers, refuse to acknowledge the real problem – the destruction of the black family in America due to our welfare system and the cult of dependence that has developed wherein young black women keep having babies that grow up to be unsupervised and undisciplined young adults.  The black young men see nothing wrong in going around maiming and killing people, both black and white.

When President Johnson launched his ‘Great Society’, white and black rates of fatherless children were about the same – 25%.  Today the white rate has doubled, and the black rate has tripled to about 75%.  Until it is recognized, and action is taken to change our welfare system of AFDC into one offering temporary help only, the situation will just continue to get worse.

Here are some recent crime statistics from FBI records:

1. Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.

2. When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.

3. Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.

4. Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.

5. Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

I generally don’t use Ann Coulter as a source, but this article is right on the mark:


December 4, 2013

On a break from pretending to believe they live in a country bristling with violent white racists, the Non-Fox Media have been trying to debunk stories about the "Knockout Game," in which young black males approach random strangers and try to knock them out with one punch.

The left's leading line of defense against the Knockout Game is to argue that young black males have always been violent, so, hey, this is nothing new.

You're welcome, black

In Slate, Emma Roller wearily recounted other episodes of black-on-white violence in order to announce: "The 'Knockout Game' is a myth."

Reminiscing about the flash mobs that shook many parts of the country a few years ago, Roller wrote: "I remember the summer of 2011, a story about a crowd of (black) teenagers at the Wisconsin State Fair randomly attacking fairgoers went viral as a sign of a burgeoning race war."

So you see, stupid right-wingers, young black males have always been violent, so what's the big deal about the Knockout Game? Your honor, my client's not a killer; he's a serial killer.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes reached for a different example of monstrous black-on-white violence in order to dispute that the Knockout Game is anything new.

Looking like a translator for the deaf with all the air quotes he had to make for "supposed" "trend" and "Knockout Game," Hayes compared it to what he called the fake trend of "wilding" after a mob of black youths violently attacked and raped a white woman jogging in New York's Central Park in 1989. According to Hayes, "there never was such a thing" as wilding.

Whether the boys who were convicted of the crime did it or, as liberals now claim, a man already sentenced to life in prison did it, the
Central Park jogger was brutally raped and nearly murdered by either one or several young black men.

The following year, 1990, blacks committed 57 percent of all the violent crime against whites, while whites committed only 2 percent of the violent crime against blacks, according to the Department of Justice's annual Victimization Report.

Thanks for the memories, Chris!

Oh, and contrary to Hayes' proclamation, black men raping white women is something of a "trend" -- at least according to FBI crime statistics. At least since 1997 (I got bored and stopped looking any farther back) blacks have raped several thousand white women every year, while white-on-black rapes have numbered between "0.0" and "Sample based on 10 or fewer."

In a particularly incomprehensible defense of black America in Mediaite, Tommy Christopher denounced the "sketchy" news reports of "the so-called 'Knockout Game'" by citing the video of a group of black teenagers walking past teacher Jim Addlespurger, when one of the black teens steps from the group and knocks the teacher out cold, and then they all laugh about the assault as they continue walking.

But Christopher helpfully notes that a cop said this "was just a random act of violence." So don't worry about the Knockout Game, white people -- this is mostly just ordinary, everyday black-on-white violence.

Flash mobs, wilding, day-to-day black violence -- talk about damning with faint praise!

Liberals have to work so hard to avoid noticing the astronomical crime rate among young black males that their brains freeze.

Roller attributed public interest in a story about mobs of young black males attacking families at a state fair to white people's need to validate their "fear" that black people are dangerous. (Milwaukeeans hardly even notice when mobs of whites surround their families at a state fair, punch them, kick them and smash their cars, while shouting racial slurs.)

But Roller implied that blacks engaging in violence is wildly unusual: "When a few YouTube videos are able to convince terrified white folks that young black people are dangerous, they may as well assume that all cats can play the keyboard."

Is a disproportionate amount of keyboard playing in the country being done by cats?

According to the FBI, between 1976 and 2005, blacks, who are about 12 percent of the population, committed 53 percent of all felony murders and 56 percent of non-felony murders. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that young black men are 14 times more likely to commit murder than young white men.

White liberals know this. Blacks certainly know it. Despite the hoo-ha over George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin, most black people's experience is not that white vigilantes are shooting them. For every one of those, there are 1,000 black teens killing other black people.

But if liberals took the first step toward sanity and admitted that young black men commit an awful lot of violent crime, they might have to ask why that is.

That's a dangerous question for people who refuse to acknowledge the devastation of fatherless boys caused by liberal welfare policies. (See Chapter 6 of "Never Trust a Liberal Over 3" to see how the British welfare system has created the same social disaster among hordes of white people.)

Unable to consider the obvious explanation -- single-motherhood -- liberals are left with nothing but genetic determinism.

So liberals defend young black males from the charge of playing a Knockout Game by telling us young black men are always violent.

Don't worry, black
America. White liberals have your back.

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