Saturday, August 17, 2013
Pacific Justice Institute: Maintaining your constitutional privacy rights in the public schools
Q: Why do I need this Notice of Privacy?
A: During the debate over the recently-enacted AB 1266, PJI became very concerned as we heard the bill’s supporters act as though constitutional privacy rights were not important. Specifically, transgender activists dismissed students’ privacy rights to share intimate spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and overnight school sleeping arrangements with members of only the same biological sex. It was also suggested that students today don’t care about their privacy as much, and thus their rights have diminished. PJI strongly disagrees with these characterizations, and we believe that one remedy on the path back toward sanity is affirmative assertion of these rights.
Q: Will submitting this Notice cancel out the bad effects of AB 1266?
A: Not quite. We can’t undo all the damage of AB 1266. But this Notice is a very important reminder to school personnel that no state or federal law can override privacy rights.
Q: What if school officials ignore this form and my child’s privacy rights are violated anyway?
A: If you feel that your child’s privacy rights are actually violated in the ways identified by this Notice, contact PJI immediately. Our full contact info is available at www.pji.org. We will be evaluating every violation carefully to determine the best candidate(s) for filing suit.
Find the form, at the link.
Common Core’s Data Mining Trojan Horse
...The range of data that can be collected includes hobbies, psychological evaluations, medical records, religious affiliation, political affiliation, family income, behavioral problems, disciplinary history, career goals, addresses, and bus stop times and locations.
Research Fellow Joy Pullmann at the Heartland Institute said the February 2013 report by the USDOE, “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance,” p. 44, reveals that Common Core's data mining includes “…using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.”
...The Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington is suing the USDOE in an effort to stop the illegal collection, storage, and sharing of student data. President and executive director Marc Rotenberg said that, “Once the data gets out there it has all sorts of ramifications. It weakens the [FERPA] structure Congress put in place because Congress understands that a lot of student data can be stigmatizing, keeping people out of jobs, for example.”
ParentalRights.org President Michael P. Farris maintains that personal privacy is being destroyed by those who want to track children. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has browbeaten nations to create a national database so that the government can track children, purportedly to protect their human rights.
Touting this centralized database system as a method to personalize student education is a naïve notion by the tech industry, which evidently thinks the massive problems of public education can be fixed with a bit of slick technical engineering.
Student data mining is merely the Trojan horse for a nationwide tracking system of our citizens. Our children are being used as guinea pigs while those complicit with this Marxist government enjoy their new found riches.
The Narrative Implodes
So Obama remains hunkered down in Martha’s Vineyard, emerging periodically from his vacation home, like a cuckoo from a clock, to make a statement no one appears to hear, playing for time. No one in the Beltway seems to know what line to take. Shall they restore democracy in Egypt by supporting the Muslims Bros, knowing they too will take their revenge on the generals and the Copts? Suspend aid to the Egyptian military and open the door to Russia, who might do a hat trick and scoop up Saudi Arabia into the bargain?
Choices. Choices. What happened to the good old days when one could vote “present”? The Beltway is reading the tea leaves for a sign. And all they’re getting is Jay Carney.
If Christians were burning mosques,
the world would be outraged
‘Not even one page’: FBI, White House deny Sharyl Attkisson’s requests for Benghazi info
FBI denied the Freedom of Info requests I made re: Benghazi...and I appealed the denials a long time ago. Finally heard back!— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) August 16, 2013
FBI says I can't have any info. Not even one page.— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) August 16, 2013
Still waiting for White House to call back to release the White House photos from Benghazi night. I've been asking since last fall...— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) August 16, 2013
The White House photo office says they're happy to release photos but need White House press office approval.— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) August 16, 2013
White House press office hasn't returned a single call regarding this query (and I believe we started calling in late fall).— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) August 16, 2013
“And it's more than navigators. It's people that assist the navigators. Now, these navigators will have our consumers throughout the country's most personal and private information — tax return information, Social Security information. And our biggest fear, of course, is identity theft.”
◼ Attorneys general raise privacy concerns over ObamaCare navigators (video) - The Hill
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making it easier for someone to be hired as a so-called navigator, cutting back on background checks and eliminating a fingerprinting requirement, which could make it easier for a person’s private information to fall into the wrong hands.
“Because of time constraints, HHS [is] cutting back on the requirement to become a navigator, meaning they're not going to be doing background checks. They're not going to be fingerprinting these people,” said (Florida Attorney General Pam) Bondi in an interview with Fox....
“What if they've been convicted of committing identity theft or grand theft before?” asked Bondi. “They could potentially still become a navigator.”
...Bondi said she wants to know who will be in charge of monitoring the navigators, who is going to be liable if someone's identify is stolen, and who is responsible for educating the American public and the navigators on fraud prevention.
EGYPT CONSIDERS OUTLAWING MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD
The fundamentalist group has been banned for most of its 80-year history and repeatedly subjected to crackdowns under Mubarak's rule. While sometimes tolerated and its leaders part of the political process, members regularly faced long bouts of imprisonment and arbitrary detentions.
◼ EGYPTIAN ACTIVIST: Obama Can Take His Foreign Aid And 'Go To Hell' - YASMINE SALEH, REUTERS via Business Insider
Mahmoud Badr, whose petition campaign helped to bring down Egypt's Islamist president, insists the bloodshed that has followed is a necessary price for saving the nation from the Muslim Brotherhood.
And he has a message for U.S. President Barack Obama, who has expressed alarm at the violent crackdown on the Brotherhood that has led to more than 700 deaths: "Don't lecture us on how to deal with the Brotherhood's terrorism."
As for aid money, he says, Obama can keep it - and "go to hell".
Badr, like many Egyptians who consider themselves liberals, has little patience with the human rights groups who call the repression a setback for democracy.
"What Egypt is passing through now is the price, a high price, of getting rid of the Brotherhood's fascist group before it takes over everything and ousts us all," Badr, 28, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
◼ Tamarod movement calls on Egyptian government to cancel Camp David peace treaty, stop accepting US aid - Jerusalem Post and Reuters
The campaign is in response to "unacceptable" US interference in Egyptian political affairs, after US President Barack Obama decided to cancel a joint drill with the Egyptian military in response to the outbreak of violence in the country earlier this week.
◼ Egypt government paints opponents as terrorists; US journalists targeted - McClatchy
◼ The West is deluded about the Middle East – just look at Iran - The Telegraph
◼ #ObamaMotherHasNoHair trends; Angry Egyptians lay on the smack talk - Twitchy
What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy: “Controlling what people say is very close to controlling what people think.”
That is the view of Nat Hentoff, the great journalist and civil libertarian. He is 88 now and on fire on the issue of privacy. "The media has awakened," he told me. "Congress has awakened, to some extent." Both are beginning to realize "that there are particular constitutional liberty rights that [Americans] have that distinguish them from all other people, and one of them is privacy."
Mr. Hentoff sees excessive government surveillance as violative of the Fourth Amendment, which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires that warrants be issued only "upon probable cause . . . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
But Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too. About a year ago he went up to Harvard to speak to a class. He asked, he recalled: "How many of you realize the connection between what's happening with the Fourth Amendment with the First Amendment?" He told the students that if citizens don't have basic privacies—firm protections against the search and seizure of your private communications, for instance—they will be left feeling "threatened." This will make citizens increasingly concerned "about what they say, and they do, and they think." It will have the effect of constricting freedom of expression. Americans will become careful about what they say that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and then too careful about what they say that can be understood. The inevitable end of surveillance is self-censorship.
All of a sudden, the room became quiet. "These were bright kids, interested, concerned, but they hadn't made an obvious connection about who we are as a people." We are "free citizens in a self-governing republic."
◼ (Friday’s) Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency violated the rules on domestic surveillance thousands of time a year since Congress granted the agency broader surveillance powers in 2008. Note this revelation did not come to light because of forthright disclosure from the professionals that run the agency, the congressional oversight committees, or the FISA court. Rather, whistleblower Edward Snowden provided this information to the Post. The U.S. government has made it clear that it wants Snowden locked away in a prison cell incommunicado. - Tim Lynch/CATO Institute
◼ Second American Revolution Underway - Nat Hentoff/CATO Institute
◼ Sensitive Clowns: The Erosion of Free Speech - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
◼ New eye-tracking software will allow companies to keep workers on task... - Bloomberg
◼ The mayor wants to fingerprint more than 600,000 people who live in public housing. He said it would be done to make the projects safer. - CBS New York
◼ NSA broke privacy rules 'thousands of times' - Washington Post
◼ The Washington Post broke an alarming story regarding NSA privacy violations, and the NSA and the White House responded with their own comments and an attempt to replace interview answers given by NSA director of compliance John DeLong with a prepared statement. This begs the question: how often does the White House make such requests to change news stories, and how often does the press comply? - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
◼ Funds New 'Top Secret' Data Lab... - Infowars ◼ Via Drudge
Friday, August 16, 2013
NFRW Capital Connection
A Reminder to Regents
If you are a Regent and plan on attending the Regents' event in the afternoon of Thursday, September 19th, at the 37th Biennial Convention, please email Michelle McMahon at firstname.lastname@example.org by this Friday, August 16th.
Regular Registration for the 37th Biennial Convention Ends Today
Be sure to go to the convention web page and see who will be speaking at the NFRW convention in Louisville. NFRW is pleased to welcome US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will address the convention general session on Saturday. You will also find the names of other general session speakers as well as many of the Saturday afternoon seminar leaders. They are an impressive group of individuals that have a great deal of knowledge to share.
One activity is already filled up; the tour arranged by the Kentucky Federation of Republican Women is sold out! Thank you to everyone who has signed up - you have a fun and interesting day ahead of you.
If you haven't registered, be sure to do so soon! Regular registration runs through tomorrow, Friday August 16th.
Campaign Training Updates
NFRW and the Arizona Federation of Republican Women will be hosting a campaign management school in Prescott, Arizona, on Thursday, October 24th from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center. The early registration fee is $75 and will be available until September 15th, when the fee will be raised to $90. To register, click here.
NFRW and the North Carolina Federation of Republican Women will be hosting a campaign management school in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday, August 24th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Spaces are filling up fast so click here to register!
NFRW and the Colorado Federation of Republican Women will be hosting a campaign management school in Denver, Colorado, on Friday, September 13th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Click here to register.
NFRW and the Commonwealth Republican Women's Club will be hosting a campaign management school in Alexandria, Virginia, on Saturday, September 28th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Click here to register.
NFRW Members Extended a Special Offer by the Republican State Leadership Committee
The Republican State Leadership Committee has extending the offer of attending its Right Women, Right Now Summit for free to members of NFRW.
NFRW members from all over the country are invited to help grow a culture of support for Republican women of all backgrounds and at all levels. This summit will be a wonderful opportunity to learn how you can better recruit and support women leaders in your communities.
Right Women Right Now (RWRN) is an initiative of the Republican State Leadership Committee which is committed to recruiting, supporting and electing qualified women to the offices of lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and state legislators across the country. NFRW has been contacted to partner with this effort and is working to ensure effective support for the initiative.
The event host and RWRN Co Chair is Speaker Beth Harwell of Tennessee. Women State officials from Tennessee and across the country will be a part of theMonday, September 9, Opening Reception and theTuesday, September 10, 2013, Leadership Breakfast and Women's Recruitment Panel. The summit will be held at Nashville, Tennessee's Hermitage Hotel. Click ◼ here to view the invitation.
CFRW Capitol Update
Time is fast approaching for us to leave for the NFRW Convention, but first we have a few housekeeping issues that need to be address.
1. If you are a Club Delegate or Club Alternate YOU MUST MAIL YOUR NFRW CONVENTION DELEGATE FORM, DIRECTLY TO NFRW. BUT, YOU MUST SEND ME A COPY. This form is available on Page 5 of the "Diamonds are Forever" Call to Convention. DEADLINE IS AUGUST 20, 2013. We hope some Clubs will still make the decision to at least send one Delegate to represent them.
2. State Delegate-At-Large and State Alternate-At-Large forms are sent to me and I mail them in. We only have State Alternate-At-Large positions. So if you would like to apply for one of these positions call me as soon as possible at 209-483-1915.
3. We still need all kinds of donations for our CFRW Hospitality Suite. This suite will represent our State and highlight our California Candidate Kathy Brugger for NFRW President. Every little bit helps.
If you still have questions, please, please call me. We want to have all the representation possible. 209-483-1915.
Ladies, as we begin gearing up for the upcoming State and Division Elections, we hope and pray that any and all candidates will conduct themselves to the highest of ethical standards. You are women who will be our leaders into our important State Elections. Therefore, if you cannot run an ethical, honest and kind campaign what kind of leader will you be?
It has been my honor to represent the CFRW on the California Republican Party Rules Committee. As the members of my committee state, "Republican Women are at the Table." This was in reference to my statement, "Republican Women No Longer Set the Table, Or Clean the Table, WE ARE AT THE TABLE."
Chairman Brulte has also appointed our CFRW Parliamentarian Joy Stewart to Chair the Proxy and Credential Committee. And, many, many of our members have also been appointed to CRP Committees.
On Friday, October 4, at the CRP Convention in Anaheim at the Saturday night Banquet, Chairman Brulte and the CRP will be honoring our very own Kathy Brugger. Please make every effort to attend. We want to have a huge showing of Federation Members to show our appreciation. Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day will be there to honor Kathy.
It is with great honor to say I belong to the California Federation of Republican Women.
YOU ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST
ONE TEAM, ONE PURPOSE, ONE GOAL
With much love,
Now, this is speaking truth to power:
◼ Female Member of Israeli Parliament Obliterates John Kerry: You will "cause the whole region to spin out of control" - Doug Ross
In letter publicized to the press, Shaked attacks US pressure to release terrorists: "You are putting me and my children's lives at risk"
Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked has released a scathing open letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, for pushing the Israeli government to release convicted terrorist murderers...
"In light of the current situation that you have brought about, I feel that I cannot be bound by the restraints of 'politically correct' wording, and I therefore will allow myself to convey my following message to you in the most straightforward fashion... By forcing Israel to capitulate to terrorism by releasing murdering terrorists with so much blood on their hands that the US would never dream of releasing if it was their own citizens murdered – you are not only being extremely hypocritical, but are actually dabbling in experimentation and gambling, by putting me and my children's lives at risk..."
..."Mr. Secretary: the price of releasing over a hundred convicted murderers will be borne by my family and my people, not by you." she continued, asking "How will you carry the burden of the terrible price toward which you are leading us?"
"You forced us into peace talks during a period of time that the entire Middle East is in chaos, without realizing that by doing so, you have foolishly put us in an impossible situation in which we cannot and will not make any concessions."
By "raising expectations to a dangerous level" in this way, Kerry is threatening "to cause the whole region to spin out of control," she claimed... Shaked ended the letter with a word of "advice" for the US Secretary of State.
"The past four years in Israel have been as quiet and peaceful as ever. Therefore I suggest you perform your job in a much more effective and relevant fashion by focusing your attention on Syria and Egypt, where people are actually being slaughtered."
Obamacare Provision: “Forced” Home Inspections
◼ Families where mom is not yet 21.“Clearly, any family may be visited by federally paid agents for almost any reason.”
◼ Families where someone is a tobacco user.
◼ Families where children have low student achievement, developmental delays, or disabilities.
◼ Families with individuals who are serving or formerly served in the armed forces, including such families that have members of the armed forces who have had multiple deployments outside the United States.
...Constitutional attorney and author Kent Masterson Brown states,
“This is not a “voluntary” program. The eligible entity receiving the grant for performing the home visits is to identify the individuals to be visited and intervene so as to meet the improvement benchmarks. A homeschooling family, for instance, may be subject to “intervention” in “school readiness” and “social-emotional developmental indicators.” A farm family may be subject to “intervention” in order to “prevent child injuries.” The sky is the limit. Although the Obama administration would claim the provision applies only to Medicaid families, the new statute, by its own definition, has no such limitation. Intervention may be with any family for any reason. It may also result in the child or children being required to go to certain schools or taking certain medications and vaccines and even having more limited – or no – interaction with parents. The federal government will now set the standards for raising children and will enforce them by home visits.”Part of the program will require massive data collecting of private information including all sources of income and the amount gathered from each source.
...Last session South Carolina Rep. Bill Chumley introduced a bill, H.3101 that would nullify certain provisions of Obamacare. The bill would give the state attorney general the authority to authorize law enforcement to arrest federal agents for trespassing. It would make forced home inspections under Obamacare illegal in South Carolina. It passed in the House but died in the senate.
Obama’s Egypt Disaster and Spreading Fear
What is in the national security interest of the United States? Backing forces committed to containing and defeating radical Islamists. Very simple. To that end we ought to be helping the Egyptian military rather than lecturing them.
◼ 'THE NILE RUNS RED'... - Lee Smith/Weekly Standard
◼ 'Incoherent' Obama policy under fire as violence spreads... - FOX
◼ 'Speak Softly and Carry No Stick'...
◼ US credibility 'in tatters'... - Kim Ghattas/BBC
◼ Reuters LIVE ◼ Via Drudge
◼ POTUS partytime on Martha's Vineyard... - New York Post
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Electing a Republican in this one special election will end the supermajority
The luxury of a primary election, such as the one Sept. 17 for the 45th state Assembly District, is the knowledge that there will almost certainly be a runoff.
The special election to replace Bob Blumenfield, who moved on the Los Angeles City Council this summer, has nearly a dozen candidates, many of them well qualified for the job, and no clear front-runner. Unless one of the 11 candidates manages to garner more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be two people — the top-two voter getters — advancing to a runoff. We hope that those two will be Matt Dababneh and Susan Shelley.
Political affiliations aside, these two are the best candidates: the smartest, most thoughtful, pragmatic, moderate and prepared. All the better is that one is a Democrat and the other a Republican....
(Susan Shelley’s) ...a socially liberal Republican, a California flavor of GOP. She’s pro-choice and pro-Prop. 13, for example, and a whipsmart constitutional scholar — author of three books on the topic — and a former TV writer (hey, this is L.A.). Shelley differs sharply from the two other Republican candidates in the race who embrace socially intolerant versions of conservatism that won’t get many votes in Los Angeles, let alone this solidly Democratic West Valley district. Anyone — Democrat or Republican — who is uncomfortable with the current Democratic lock in Sacramento will certainly want to look at Shelley because electing a Republican in this one special election will end the supermajority.
Can Obama write his own laws?
In other words, evade the law, by deceiving the court if necessary. “If the companies that I represent in federal criminal cases” did that, said former deputy attorney general George Terwilliger, “they could be charged with a felony.”
But such niceties must not stand in the way of an administration’s agenda. Indeed, the very next day, it was revealed that the administration had unilaterally waived Obamacare’s cap on a patient’s annual out-of-pocket expenses — a one-year exemption for selected health insurers that is nowhere permitted in the law. It was simply decreed by an obscure Labor Department regulation.
Which followed a presidentially directed 70-plus percent subsidy for the insurance premiums paid by congressmen and their personal staffs — under a law that denies subsidies for anyone that well-off.
Which came just a month after the administration’s equally lawless suspension of one of the cornerstones of Obamacare: the employer mandate.....
Consider immigration reform, now in gestation. The essence of any deal would be legalization in return for strict border enforcement. If some such legislative compromise is struck, what confidence can anyone have in it — if the president can unilaterally alter whatever (enforcement) provisions he never liked in the first place?
Yet this president is not only untroubled by what he’s doing, but open and rather proud. As he tells cheering crowds on his never-ending campaign-style tours: I am going to do X — and I’m not going to wait for Congress.
That’s caudillo talk. That’s banana republic stuff. In this country, the president is required to win the consent of Congress first.
At stake is not some constitutional curlicue. At stake is whether the laws are the law. And whether presidents get to write their own.
Comparing U.S. & World Covers for TIME Magazine
◼ Viewing these covers, a question must be asked: do these moments of marketing (through a choice in covers) reveal more about Americans, or about the state of American journalism? - David Harris Gershon/Daily KOS
Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. Often, America's cover is quite, well – different.
Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin to Moderate 2016 Primary Debates?
It seems that the RNC is annoyed that Republican candidates were being asked personal and rather silly questions. Insiders at the GOP headquarters say that they are considering other choices to host these debates. They are looking to radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.
◼ The Republican National Committee...told Secrets that they are eager to bring in questioners who understand Republican policies and beliefs and who have the ability to get candidates to differentiate their positions on core conservative values. - Paul Bedard/Washington Examiner
The move comes as several conservatives are pressuring the party to have Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin ask the debate questions. "It makes a lot of sense. We'd get a huge viewership, they'd make a lot of news and maybe have some fun too," said one of the advocates of the radio trio hosting debates.
Don't forget @hughhewitt who would be excellent GOP debate moderator. http://t.co/U3xrcNw7uu— Roger Simon (@rogerlsimon) August 15, 2013
7 point drop in Obama's approval on the economy. Ouch
Obama's approval on taxes fell from 41 percent in June to 36 percent in August, and his approval on the deficit fell from 31 percent to an abysmal 26 percent.
Overall, his approval on all economic factors fell in August, and his highest approval came from his efforts to fight terrorism.
BLOODBATH IN CAIRO: AT LEAST 525 DEAD, THOUSANDS INJURED
◼ 200 charred bodies, uncounted, lie in mosque... - AP
Protestors (Muslim Brotherhood supporters)push police off bridge ...
◼ Islamic group vows to bring down 'military coup'... - El Arabiya
◼ Anger 'is beyond control now'... - Reuters
◼ (Muslim Brotherhood) Supporters storm gov't buildings, set on fire... - AP
◼ Egypt's military claims Morsi protesters were armed... - France 24
◼ 'Peaceful' (Muslim Brotherhood) protesters torch Coptic Christian churches... - Andrew C. McCarthy/National Review
◼ 'Obama golfs, Kerry lectures, Egyptians die in droves'... - Jennifer Rubin/Washington Post
Obama was briefed, said nothing and went back to golf. Secretary of State John Kerry took a break from his fruitless obsession with the nonexistent “peace process” to condemn the violence, but took no questions and had no policy announcement. This, in a nutshell, is the White House’s approach to the Middle East — the absence of any policy and a lot of empty words.◼ ... Delays tee time, comments from driveway of Vineyard mansion - AP
◼ AUDIO ONLY... - WILX
Million Muslim March Planned in Washington DC on 9/11 Anniversary...
'Peaceful' (Muslim Brotherhood) protesters torch Coptic Christian churches
In the familiar pattern, the Western media are focused on the military raids against Islamic supremacists in Egypt but ignoring the latter’s use of violence and of women and children as human shields. After all, the “protesters” say they are “peaceful.”
When not similarly ignored, Islamic supremacist aggression against Egypt’s Christians — which was a prominent feature of Muslim Brotherhood governance — is disingenuously reported. Take this AFP report of the fact that the Brotherhood and its allies are torching Coptic churches. The AFP endeavors to exculpate the Islamic supremacists by editorializing, in the report, that these were “reprisal” attacks. But the Brotherhood was not ousted by the minority Copts....
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Obama’s Putin Policy: Flinch and Retreat
The Syrian crisis, a multitude of questions concerning Iran, nuclear arms reductions, missile defense, and, of course, Edward Snowden’s Russian visa add up to a daunting agenda. With so much on the table, it is obvious that the private meeting scheduled to coincide with the Group of 20 session Putin will host in early September could not take place.
The president and his administration have just made a big (yes, another) foreign policy blunder. Even if it were all about imagery and the manipulation of public perceptions—as so much is these days—stepping out of the ring so close to the bell’s clang is not an effective move. Obama should have put on one of those tight-lipped looks of determination our leaders favor and said, “Mr. Putin, I am coming. And we are going to talk.”
...Flinching and retreating of the sort we have just watched, and then making up excuses for it, will cost us dearly. The task is to advance, even though the ground is unfamiliar, and some tough customers inhabit it.
◼ Exploiting Obama's Foreign Policy Retreat: Why did Vladimir Putin thumb his nose at the U.S. in the Snowden affair? Because he could. - Wall St. Journal
◼ Putin to Obama–You’re a Weenie - Larry Johnson/No Quarter
Despite threats, pleadings, tough talk and posturing worthy of a Madonna “Voguing” video, Barack Obama got served today by Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin. Putin gave fugitive NSA leaker, Eddie Snowden, walking papers. And Snowden, without wasting a minute, strolled out of his refuge in no man’s land at the Moscow International Airport and into something approaching normal life in Russia.
What a pathetic show by the Obama Administration. They were inept and bombastic. Early on Obama and his team of mental midgets squandered their political capital by making public demands that any Russian expert would know were non-starters. Weakness, impotence are now the catch phrases that best describe the reality of the Obama Administration and its policies....
Lerner Covers Her Tracks
We learned Tuesday that Lerner used a personal e-mail account to conduct official business, an act that has the potential to frustrate both Congress’s requests for documents and the public’s freedom of information requests. That disclosure came on the heels of revelations that Lerner shared the tax information of at least one conservative group with an FEC investigator, perhaps in violation of federal law. Her misdeeds are likely more extensive.
◼ Rep. Issa Reacts to the Lois Lerner Video
Wednesday night House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa appeared on Sean Hannity's show to discuss the current state of the investigation into the IRS. During the ten minute segment, Hannity played for Issa the video of Lois Lerner which was brought to light by Breitbart News last week. (Issa's response begins around 5:00)
More Fast and Furious guns surface at crimes in Mexico
...ATF special agent John Dodson blew the whistle on his agency's gunwalking in an interview with CBS News in 2011....
The government first denied any guns had been allowed to "walk" into criminal hands. Later, the Justice Department acknowledged using the strategy, claiming it was intended to see where the weapons ended up in hopes of capturing a major cartel leader. But the agency ordered an immediate halt to the practice calling it highly improper.
The Justice Department's refusal to turn over certain Fast and Furious documents led to a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives in June 2012 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Then, the Obama administration used executive privilege for the first time, to withhold requested documents from Congress. The Republican-led House Oversight Committee is suing for release of the material.
Obama’s unconstitutional steps worse than Nixon’s
The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority.
Obama’s explanation began with an irrelevancy. He consulted with businesses before disregarding his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” That duty does not lapse when a president decides Washington’s “political environment” is not “normal.”
When was it “normal”? The 1850s? The 1950s? Washington has been the nation’s capital for 213 years; Obama has been here less than nine. Even if he understood “normal” political environments here, the Constitution is not suspended when a president decides the “environment” is abnormal.
Neither does the Constitution confer on presidents the power to rewrite laws if they decide the change is a “tweak” not involving the law’s “essence.”
...When Congress awakened to what it enacted, it panicked: This could cause a flight of talent, making Congress less wonderful. So Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management, which has no power to do this, to authorize for the political class special subsidies unavailable for less privileged and less affluent citizens.
If the president does it, it’s legal? “Exactly, exactly.”
´I Can’t Watch This Entire Thing,´ President Obama played cards during the bin Laden raid says his longtime aide Reggie Love
'Most people were like down in the Situation Room and [President Obama] was like, "I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing,"' Love recalled of the May 2011 raid during a forum hosted by the D.C.-based Artists & Athletes Alliance in Los Angeles last month....'We must have played 15 games of spades,' Love said.
◼ UPDATE: The video has now been removed from YouTube by the user who uploaded it. - Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard
◼ Love: Obama wanted 'impromptu press conference' on birth certificate - The Hill
Scrub a dub dub! RT @DRUDGE_REPORT YOUTUBE video of Reggie Love interview deleted after it hits DRUDGE... http://t.co/Ck0qCXJIbn— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) August 15, 2013
Egypt’s Unraveling and the Coming Chaos
The Muslim Brotherhood is about to help tear the most populous and influential Arab nation apart. And the Obama administration, which has supported this inherently anti-American, anti-Semitic death cult at every turn over the past four years, is paralyzed as to what to do next. The infamous Cairo speech of 2009 (which, tellingly, was attended by MB members at the administration’s request) is now little more than a punchline.
◼ Krauthammer’s Take: Muslim Brotherhood Has Lost Its Oppositional ‘Aura’ - National Review
◼ MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD BURNS CHURCHES, SCAPEGOATS CHRISTIANS FOLLOWING CRACKDOWN - John Rossomando/Breitbart
The Muslim Brotherhood's year in power brought a litany of abuses against the Copts by the Brotherhood and its allies. Examples include its torturing opponents; deterring Copts from voting in last December's constitutional referendum; tolerating the assault on Coptic Christianity's holiest cathedral by Islamic militants in April; and quashing an investigation into the October 2011 Maspero massacre that left 30 Copts dead and 500 wounded.
◼ EGYPT BREAKING... - AP
◼ BLOODBATH CAIRO: TROOPS CRACK DOWN...Security Forces' Efforts to Clear Cairo Sit-Ins Sparks Violence; At Least 278 People Killed Across Egypt - Wall St. Journal
◼ Protestors push police off bridge... - Daily Mail
◼ Bros demands Morsi return... - Reuters
◼ A massacre in Cairo and a failure of US diplomacy in Egypt - Dan Murphy/Christian Science Monitor
◼ 'Government Thugs Beat Me Up'... - Daily Beast
Blood and tyranny...
◼ Obama plays golf as White House condemns Egypt violence - Dave Boyer/Washington Times
◼ Egyptians' Blood Is On Obama Administration's Hands - IBD Editorial
...the blood flowing on the banks of the Nile today attests to the arrogance of a U.S. president who thought he could go to the Mideast and part the Red Sea.
NBC News: Negative Obamacare Effects 'From Maine to California'
Employers around the country, from fast-food franchises to colleges, have told NBC News that they will be cutting workers’ hours below 30 a week because they can’t afford to offer the health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. “To tell somebody that you’ve got to decrease their hours because of a law passed in Washington is very frustrating to me,” said Loren Goodridge, who owns 21 Subway franchises, including a restaurant in Kennebunk. “I know the impact I’m having on some of my employees.” Goodridge said he’s cutting the hours of 50 workers to no more than 29 a week so he won’t trigger the provision in the new health care law that requires employers to offer coverage to employees who work 30 hours or more per week...The White House dismisses such examples as "anecdotal." Jason Furman, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, said, “We are seeing no systematic evidence that the Affordable Care Act is having an adverse impact on job growth or the number of hours employees are working. … [S]ince the ACA became law, nearly 90 percent of the gain in employment has been in full-time positions.”Among the people who could be hit by future hour cuts are public school teachers and other workers. Many small businesses are being forced to make major, costly decisions about employees' coverage without all the facts, leading to widespread uncertainty. It's no wonder that 41 percent of small business owners told Gallup that they've instituted a hiring freeze? Another 19 percent have actually shed jobs "as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act." Will the White House sneer at this data as "anecdotal," too? Of course federal workers want no part of this law. I'll leave you with two Obamacare-related items: (1) Fox News' Chris Stirewalt dredges up this classic quote from the president, from when he was pushing the law back in 2010:
“We can't have a system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the American people…. And they will keep on doing this for as long as they can get away with it.”Stirewalt argues -- as I did yesterday -- that the administration's new cost-cap delay "works better for insurance companies than it does for the American people."
Must-Watch Viral Video: Ashton Kutcher's Speech at Teen Choice Awards
◼ Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher is the latest celebrity to have an extremely powerful and motivating message for young people: Opportunities look a lot like hard work. - Kyle Becker/IJ Review
Kutcher revealed that his real first name is “Chris,” and his middle name is Ashton, before giving an inspiring speech about persistence, hard work, and how the sexiest thing a person can do is be smart, thoughtful and generous.
“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work,” Kutcher told the teen audience. “When I was 13, I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof, and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant, and then I got a job in a grocery store deli, and then I got a job at a factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground.”
Kutcher proceeded to explain his attitude towards work. “And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work....”
This was bound to happen: the values of hard work and opportunity that made America great will eventually become cool again. That’s because they are part of a counter-culture message that resonates with people whose potential is being limited by the state.
10 images mocking George W. Bush that were far worse than a harmless rodeo clown
"Above all else, the Devil cannot stand to be mocked." - C.S. Lewis pic.twitter.com/MgxKMFL5lW— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) August 14, 2013
◼ Priorities: NAACP wants Eric Holder, Secret Service to probe rodeo clown thoroughly - Twitchy
NAACP wants DOJ to investigate #MoStateFair rodeo clown? Same NAACP who called black beating victim an "Uncle Tom" http://t.co/y9HKgLxho3— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 14, 2013
◼ LIMBAUGH: Liberal Reaction Like Muslim Response to Mohammed Cartoon - Rush
This clown has been banned for life. Think about that. A rodeo clown. A rodeo clown has been banned for life. The only people worse than this clown are people that smoke. Meanwhile, A-Rod continues to play for the New York Yankees. Well, I just thought I'd throw that in there. I won't be surprised if this clown gets thrown in jail like the filmmaker was, Nakoula Nakoula, who made the anti-Mohammed video. Obama tried to blame that for the Benghazi attack. Why didn't he just drone the state fair instead of going through all this? Obama could just launch a drone and have the drone attack the state fair and show Missouri what's what. This is what happens when you dare criticize or laugh at our Dear Leader.
◼ RODEO CLOWN FORCES DECIMATED AND ON THE RUN - John Hayward/Human Events @Doc_o
Update: Another triumph for the jihad: the president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association has resigned, unwilling to fight the new crime of Being Disrespectful To Barack Obama in the First Degree while he seeks to hold onto his other job as superintendent of a school district. The school district announced it was hiring a private investigator to look into any “inappropriate conduct” he might have engaged in, while mocking Dear Leader. The clown is reportedly also getting booted out of the rodeo association.
◼ The White House Thinks Terrifying Overreaction to Rodeo Clown Appropriate - Noah Rothman/Mediaite
A silly controversy surrounding a Missouri rodeo clown’s decision to don a mask of President Barack Obama before taunting bulls to attack him – a traditional practice in American rodeo culture – became frighteningly serious on Wednesday. Rather than push back against the overwrought response from some Obama supporters, offended by the mockery of the president, the White House has tacitly condoned their response. Clown-gate is no longer a laughing matter....
Now that the White House has weighed in on the incident via an official spokesperson, and their response was to lament on how the incident reflects negatively on the state of Missouri, the only conclusion we are left to draw is that this White House condones the absurdly defensive overreaction. This is what anyone who dares mock the president is due.
This is a disturbing and, frankly, terrifying development. Any classical liberal should be offended at the prospect that a presidential administration would use its considerable leverage to justify the suppression of the right of average citizens to freely mock and deride the political class without the fear of reprisal. Indeed, lampooning and creating caricatures of political figures is a foundational American value. To attack that value is to attack what it means to be a citizen of the republic.
We can draw only one conclusion from Wednesday’s events. The president will not weigh in on the controversy, not because he does not think this event should not be elevated beyond its present outsize stature, but because he does.
Attorney for U.S. whistleblower: 400 surface-to-air missiles were stolen from Benghazi
◼ “400 US Missiles in Benghazi?” Poppycock! - Larry Johnson/No Quarter
OBAMA IS A ‘SNAKE’ AND ‘WE HAVE TO TURN ON HIM’ SAYS OLIVER STONE
◼ Film director Oliver Stone—who has made no secret of his liberal political views—called President Barack Obama a “snake” for his role in National Security Agency spying programs that have become, he said, more about silencing protestors than finding terrorists. - Dave Urbanski/THE BLAZE
“Obama is a snake,” Stone told an audience in Tokyo on Monday. “He’s a snake. And we have to turn on him.”
“The Boston Marathon, they were so busy tracking down potential protestors…that they missed the bombers,” Stone told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. “It’s never about terrorists, it always becomes about the way J. Edgar Hoover did it; he brought all the weight of government to bear against protestors. He didn’t like protestors. He thought they were left-wing communists. He never could find the proof, but by the time the Vietnam War came around, as you know, 500,000 people were on the list, and they were being eavesdropped on. And where are we now? Same place.”
◼ A video released Wednesday shows American filmmaker and Vietnam veteran Oliver Stone telling a Tokyo audience that President Obama is a “snake” for “institutionalizing” illegal National Security Agency spy programs, the Blaze reported. - Jessica Chasmar/Washington Times
Mr. Stone also praised whistleblower Edward Snowden, calling him a personal hero.
“He sacrificed his well-being for the good of us all,” he said. “I think [Russian President Vladimir] Putin did the right thing, and I’m proud of him for doing it. We need more countries to stand up to the U.S.”
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
NFRW Political Briefing
$25.8 Trillion: Projected federal debt in 2023 (Office of Management and Budget)
$16.7 Trillion: Current national debt (U.S. Treasury Department)
$1.413 Trillion: Federal budget deficit for FY 2009 - highest in U.S. history (Congressional Budget Office)
$1.296 Trillion - Federal budget deficit for FY 2011 - second highest in U.S. history (CBO)
$1.294 Trillion: Federal budget deficit for FY 2010 - third highest in U.S. history (CBO)
$1.09 Trillion: Federal budget deficit for FY 2012 - fourth highest in U.S. history (CBO)
$6.1 Trillion: Added to the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Dept.)
$8.7 Trillion: Amount Obama's FY 2014 budget would add to the debt through 2023 (OMB)
The Taxpayer's Share of the National Debt:
$52,900: Your share of the national debt (U.S. Treasury Dept. 8/8/13)
$19,315: Increase in your share of the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Dept.)
$2.6 Trillion: true cost of Obamacare once fully implemented (Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives)
$1.8 Trillion: Cost of Obamacare coverage provisions from 2014 to 2023 (CBO)
$819.3 Billion: Amount of taxes in Obamacare (CBO)
$130 Billion: Amount employers will pay in Obamacare mandated penalties from 2013 to 2022 (CBO)
7 Million: Number of Americans who will lose their employer-based health insurance due to Obamacare (CBO)
11.5 Million: Unemployed Americans
22.2 Million: Americans unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work (Bureau of labor Statistics)
14%: Real unemployment rate (Bureau of Labor Statistics 8/2/13)
GOP Prepares Food Stamp Legislation to Cut the Program
After an original Farm Bill containing food stamp program (SNAP) provisions failed on the House floor earlier this summer, House Republican leaders split the legislation and passed only the portion relating to farm programs.
Representatives Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Marlin Stultzman (R-IN) are among legislators who have helped design a food stamp bill that would cut food stamps by as much as $4 billion annually, reducing the nearly $80 billion-a-year program by as much as five percent. Fox News reports that House conservatives want to cut the program which they claim has doubled in cost since 2008.
Noem and Stultzman have said the legislation will find savings by tightening eligibility standards and imposing new work requirements. It would reduce the rolls by requiring drug testing and barring convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles from obtaining benefits. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has agreed to try to advance the bill as early as next month, explains that the bill will include common-sense approaches such as work requirements and job training requirements for those receiving assistance who able-bodied adults without children.
Noem adds that talking about program policies and not just dollars, "shows that you really care about adding integrity into the program." According to Stultzman, "most people will agree that if you are an able bodied adult without kids you should find your way off food stamps."
While current federal law requires recipients to eventually work or receive work training, waivers issued by the federal Department of Agriculture have allowed States to set aside those work requirements.
The Senate has passed its own Farm Bill which keeps the SNAP and farm programs together and cuts SNAP by approximately $400 million a year, or about half a percent.
With no Farm Bill passed by both Houses of Congress, current farm law will expire at the end of September. Food stamp dollars will continue after that date but certain farm programs will be in danger. An extension of current farm programs was agreed upon earlier in the year to avert a dairy subsidy crisis but another extension will not be allowed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) says an extension would not pass anyway since many members do not want to continue certain subsidies that were eliminated in both the House and the Senate bills.
Government Shutdown Looms After Congressional Recess
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said Republicans have not made any determination about how they will proceed with funding the government, after the debt limit deadline of September 30. That deadline is joined with action required to raise the debt limit.
In the past, Boehner has made clear that he demands a dollar of spending cuts for every new dollar borrowed but a vocal minority of conservative Republicans such as Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have vowed not to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama's signature health care law is defunded. Boehner has not indicated whether or not he would link his demands to a measure defunding Obamacare.
Reaching a fiscal deal in Congress proves to be headed for a fight. In many polarized congressional districts, House members are finding their constituents prefer they clash with Obama rather than compromise. In addition, as NBC Politics has reported, the poor relationship between the Boehner-led Republican House and the Obama administration sets the stage for a confrontational showdown this fall over extending spending to keep the government open and raising the nation's debt limit.Obama has told House Democrats that the will not negotiate with Republicans over the debt limit.
The Mother of All Scandals
There were absolutely no professional consequences for publicly lying — to the nation, to television audiences, to the relatives of the deceased, to the United Nations — that the Nakoula video was the cause of the deaths of our Benghazi personnel. Barack Obama was reelected. Hillary “what difference does it make” Clinton retired from the secretary of State post to congratulations and media frenzy about her likely 2016 presidential campaign. Susan Rice was promoted to National Security advisor.
There is almost no one left at his 2012 post. In addition to the above, General Carter Ham, in charge of Africa Command, has retired. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has retired. CIA Director David Petraeus has resigned.
How did it happen that just nine months after the attack, most all of the relevant decision-makers — Clinton, Ham, Panetta, Petraeus, Rice — have vanished from their jobs?
...A False Campaign?
The election of 2012 may well have been altered by the Benghazi cover-up, in ways that transcend debate moderator Candy Crowley’s puerile and unprofessional efforts to shield Obama from Romney’s questioning about the deaths. Imagine the fallout on voters had we been told from the very beginning that an al-Qaeda affiliate had stormed our consulate — ill-prepared and unable to obtain needed beefed-up security, reliant for safety on local suspect tribal militias, in a country that had deteriorated into a failed society after our Libyan bombing — and slaughtered four Americans, apparently stationed in Benghazi to help in some way a covert CIA operation.
So here we have it: a beleaguered “consulate” that was refused additional security and relied on local militias, apparently due to administration worry over destroying an Obama campaign narrative of a reborn Libya and dying al-Qaeda. A CIA operation of some sort supplied something to someone, but what and why and to whom, we are not supposed to know. Four Americans, the very best the country had to offer, are dead, denied assistance when assistance could have saved them — the why and the how and the when of it all we are not told. We fear it might have been a crackpot cost-benefit analysis: four lives versus another Mogadishu and an Obama November defeat.
We know only that the dead were far more heroic than the leaders who chose not to aid them.
◼ Obama's "phoney" scandals in exquisite detail. - Discussion at Lucianne
The GOP should “change” — except it should do so for the good of the country and by posing a powerful alternative vision to the modern left’s.
The Republicans know what’s right, but are unable to effectively communicate it. The biggest stumbling block is they don’t know how to defeat deceptive language and concede false premises whenever they adopt the left’s language. Stop it.
...what the GOP needs is a Declaration of Personal Independence for young people to latch onto and emboldens them to pursue their dreams.
The dismissive attitude that the youth are not attracted to the idea of freedom — economic and social — is erroneous and self-destructive. By ceding the culture to the modern left, primarily through the unwillingness to counter deceptive language, those who support liberty will continue to see the government transform into a smothering bully.
The alternative is to fully and unashamedly champion the powerful vision and just cause of freedom.
Organizing for Action, Obama's shadowy nonprofit, put on a climate change rally today. Not a single person showed up.
The event page for the “Climate Change Day of Action Rally” disappeared after rainy weather appeared to drive away whatever people planned to attend. The embarrassing showing follows the news that only one volunteer stayed for an OFA Obamacare event in Centreville, Va., last week to work the phones.
◼ We already knew that Organizing for Action, President Obama’s former campaign arm, was going to ignore jobs and the economy during the group’s “Action August.” We were’t surprised that this announcement came just days after the President’s “pivot” back to the economy. - NRCC Blog
But we are a little surprised that, apparently, even liberals aren’t showing up to push the President’s unpopular big government agenda (okay, we aren’t surprised.) OFA earlier this month kicked off their Action August with an event in Virginia touting ObamaCare – only one attendee showed up. Today, OFA organized an event in Washington, DC promoting Obama’s climate change agenda, and NO ONE showed up to that one.
TUITION JUST 1 OF COLLEGE COSTS
COST OF LIVING: A College Board survey finds the price of housing and food trumps tuition for students who attend two- and four-year public universities in their home states.
then you'll have to add the cost of Obamacare.
“I wasn’t aware that you could only set the bar so high and that we could only dream so big."
◼ VIDEO: Kardashian Mom Slams Obama For Comments Against Success and Ambition - IJ Review
Kim Kardashian’s mother Kris Jenner defended her daughter while criticizing Obama for his comments putting down successful celebrities.
I was taught ‘dream big, work hard, and you could have whatever you want.’
And I thought, ‘wow I bet the president has some friends with 10,000 square foot houses and you probably wouldnt mind going over there, mister president, while you were asking them to have a party for you when you were campaigning for dollars to run for president.
I was thinking about her 10,000-square-foot house, and I thought, ‘Wow, her job affords her to live in a 10,000-square-foot house’. And I think, if I’m not mistaken, Mr President’s job affords him to live in a 55,000-square-foot house.
I find it so odd that he’s picking on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
Kanye West, first of all, doesn’t go on vacation, ever. And Kim Kardashian is the hardest-working young lady in the world. She never sleeps, she never stops, she never slows down and works so hard for what she’s got.
You poke at someone and criticize someone for living a lifestyle – I’m sure when he was growing up his dream was, ‘One day, I want to become President of the United States, and have this wonderful fabulous life and that was his dream.’
Evans to retire from public service
Elected to represent California's 2nd Senatorial District in 2010, the Santa Rosa Democrat issued a press release today indicating she plans to retire when her current term expires in 2014. Prior to her election to the Senate, Evans served in the state Assembly for six years.
Monday, August 12, 2013
The 161-Year-Old Chechen Warrior
For about a generation now fierce Chechen warriors have been trying to wrest from Russia their land in the Caucasus Mountains. The fighting was so deadly at one point that their capital, Grozny, was leveled.
In recent years a tense peace has prevailed, but the Chechens still hate the Russians and Russian still the Chechens. It was ever thus.
Recently, I was preparing for a trip to San Francisco for back surgery. I knew I would have room (and time) to read only something light in weight. Browsing our bookshelves I pulled out a thin trade paperback (from McGraw-Hill 1965) between several thick Russian novels. It was Hadji Murat, a late novella by Leo Tolstoy (1904). No telling how long it had been on that shelf, but I knew I’d not seen it before.
What time I did have to read had me in Tolstoy’s grip. Hadji Murat was a real Chechen warrior, c. 1852. Tolstoy brings both his physical appearance and his character to life (lined face, boyish smile, rugged but muscular body). We learn he is respected by his people, feared by his enemies. He is calm and deliberate in making decisions; remorseless in battle, but civil and even conciliatory in private.
Murat is skilled in the fighting techniques common to his time and place. Many practices seem barbaric to us, but perfectly normal in mid-19th century Chechen tribal society. Loyalty is first to family, then tribe, then alliances with other tribes.
The story begins when he is on the run from the fighters of one Shamil, who has usurped the clan chieftainship from the family that had held it for several generations. He has taken Hadji’s family hostage, for which Hadji has vowed revenge. He has decided that the only way to do this is to go over to the Russians and use their manpower and firepower to dispose of Shamil. His agents negotiate and he meets with the nobleman officer Vorontsov to pledge his loyalty to the Tsar in exchange for the Russians helping him overthrow Shamil.
Although each knows the other’s underlying opposition remains, the two bond almost at once. Vorontsov, civilized, sophisticated and with a subtle mind, seems to know at once that Hadji Murat is true to his word, is single-minded and fearless.
With each unfolding scene, Tolstoy re-creates the sights and sounds of the Caucasus as if we can see and hear them.
Word gets to Hadji Murat that his wife and his son will be maimed or killed if he attempts to rescue them. He tells the Russians he cannot participate in an all-out assault on the cruel and despotic Shamil until his family members are safe.
Faced with a terrible dilemma, he decides that he and his own companions will slip away in dark of night from the Russian fort and quietly go to Shamil’s camp to attack. Although he has permission to take short local rides, it is always with an escort. This time, in the dark, he eludes the escort, the others join him and together they ride toward Shamil’s camp. Nightingales are singing. Their horses bog down in a marsh. They retreat to a clump of shrubs, but a Cossack detail finds them and a climactic and bloody battle ensues.
On my bookshelf my small Hadji Murat sits nearby Tolstoy’s grand opus, War and Peace. There is a gulf in size, but not intensity. Hadji Murat is Tolstoy at his best.
Peter Hannaford is the author or eleven books. The latest is “Presidential Retreats.”
"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world"
The One-Plan-to-Rule-Them-All — Or the Chinafication of the Bay Area
But what might be even more interesting than the legal infirmities is the striking parallel between the imposition of “stack-and-pack” housing on the hapless masses in the Bay Area and the helpless masses in rural China. It’s not a communist versus capitalist thing and its not even a grand conspiracy thing – it’s just the mind set of planners everywhere.
There is the omnipresent disdain for those boobs (like me) who actually want to live in the dirty countryside (China) or the sterile suburbs (United States.) The urban-centric planning elites apparently want to breed more urban elites by creating more urban living. The problem is that people who want to raise families would prefer not to raise them in crime-infested high density housing projects in cities run by dysfunctional city governments. The correlation between crime and density is real, the sport of corruption in city governments is blatant, and the good sense of parents to escape to the ‘burbs is irrefutable.
So what’s a planner to do? It’s easy. In China the planners have the power of the police; in the United States the planners have the “police power.” In China you can make people move by forcing them out of their rural shacks at gunpoint while in the United States you can simply keep people from building new suburban tract homes through “sustainable” zoning – which is what the Bay Area Plan is all about....
Emerging from the horrors of the planned economies of the Soviet Union and Germany, Friedrich von Hayek wrote his classic “Road to Serfdom” in the early 1940s. His thesis was simple: for a planned economy to operate it must operate by force through the power of the state. In China, the peasants have moved from feudal serfdom to the serfdom of totalitarian communism and now to the serfdom of new urban planning. In the Bay Area, we’re moving from free market housing development shaped by supply and demand to what?
With the current modus operandi of the federal government we’re assumed guilty of something, and if necessary, they will scour their records and databases for the evidence they need for, if nothing else, political targeting, just as the administration has abused the power of the Internal Revenue Service.
With the accelerated expansion of governmental power that we’ve observed over the past few years, America only slightly resembles the “land of the free and home of the brave” that the nation was founded as, and intended to be. Governmental encroachment on the liberties and privacy of law-abiding citizens has reached totalitarian levels that would make Stalin, Mao, and Hitler envious.
We know now that our emails, internet posts, and online activity are being heavily monitored. We know that our phone call data is being collected, our snail-mail covers are being tracked, and the federal government will be tracking and storing all of our healthcare information.
And we learned this week from Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is collecting and monitoring citizens’ personal financial accounts. Crapo, in a press release this week, indicated that “credit card, debit card, checking, mortgage, loan and other financial accounts” are all subject to monitoring by the CFPB.
Obama’s representatives tell us we don’t take sides in religious wars, but somehow it’s okay to issue a State Department “fatwa” against the enemies of Islam?
And remember this gem from Obama’s address to the UN Assembly just months after the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attack on 9/11 (which the White House knew was not caused by a “slanderous” YouTube video): “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
...Where were all the “Wanted” posters for the killing of Christians in such idyllic Middle Eastern nations as Egypt and Syria over the past few years? What about strongly condemning the terrorists who carried out Benghazi and putting a huge public bounty on their heads? Oh, but they just slandered and killed some Christians, right?
Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy
The judge called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms, including the use of body-worn cameras for some patrol officers, though she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk.”
In her 195-page decision, she concluded that the stops, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg angrily accused the judge of deliberately denying the city “a fair trial,” and said the city would file an appeal.
◼ FEDERAL JUDGE RULES BLOOMBERG'S NYC 'STOP-AND-FRISK' UNCONSTITUTIONAL - Breitbart
As Scheindlin begins the 192-page opinion:
The goals of liberty and safety may be in tension, but they can coexist—indeed the Constitution mandates it…. I emphasize at the outset … that this case is not about the effectiveness of stop and frisk in deterring or combating crime. This Court’s mandate is solely to judge the constitutionality of police behavior, not its effectiveness as a law enforcement tool.
"They have no problem with the same thing – and worse – being done to a Republican woman in the same virtual context... In all seriousness, who’s really 'sick' here?"
Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanded Republicans take down a "Slap Hillary" game the GOP had no part in creating. The website was put up by an independent group called The Hillary Project.
“‘Slap Hillary' site isn’t a game, it isn’t funny. Like all violence against women, it’s sick. GOP needs to grow up and take this site down,” Pelosi tweeted.
As BizPacReview notes, however, Pelosi has never had a similar complaint about a similar "Slap Palin" game. That site also has a "photoshopped image of Palin naked, having sex with former running mate John McCain."
"Pelosi and her fellow travelers on the left don’t denounce games like 'Slap Hillary' because they’re 'sick' like 'all violence against women,'" BizPacReview wrote. "They denounce them because they don’t like their politics."...
Is Ted Cruz the 2016 GOP frontrunner? In Iowa, maybe
“My son has spoken the truth. He has sacrificed more than either the president of the United Stated or Peter King have ever [sacrificed] in their political careers or their American lives”
“What I’ve seen is much political theater. I was disappointed in the president’s press conference. I believe that’s driven by his clear understanding that the American people are absolutely unhappy with what they learned … much of what he suggested is superficial,” Lon Snowden, father of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, said in a rare interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
'Navigator' is a clever name, but in reality is nothing more than taxpayer funds to hire community organizers to help sell Obamacare
We already know ObamaCare is a poorly conceived law that is unworkable in the real world. We know the law is already driving health care premiums through the roof contrary to what President Obama promised. For instance, in my home state, our largest health insurance provider reported recently that health care premiums could go up by more than 200 percent on some customers, and the average increase could be almost 30 percent according to one study.
We also know that implementation of the law has been a disaster so far....
But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there’s more! By August 15, the Obama administration is expected to spend $54 million of our tax dollars to hire community organizers to push this law on the American people. The president was once a self-professed community organizer, so perhaps this is his way of “giving back” as they say....
‘Navigator’ is a crafty name, but in reality, there are very few restrictions on who they are, and what exactly they are supposed to be doing....
To make matters worse, these ‘navigators’ are going to have access to all kinds of personal information that will make the whole program ripe for fraud.
When helping individuals sign up for ObamaCare, these community organizers will have access to sensitive personal information, including social security numbers and tax information.
Amazingly, HHS is not planning on requiring background checks on these individuals before putting them to work. Besides the obvious identity theft concerns, this is a frightening development in light of the political activities and invasion of privacy, which the IRS and others have engaged in during the Obama presidency.
But the biggest problem with the ‘navigator’ program is it appears the federal government still doesn’t have the complete means to verify if an individual is even eligible for exchange insurance subsidies.
◼ State Dems eager to implement Obamacare train wreck - Cal Watch Dog
The wheels may be starting to come off the Obamacare train as it rolls out nationally. But California Democrats are more interested in greasing the skids than preventing what critics fear will be a train wreck.
◼ Five Devastating Effects Obamacare Will Have on Young Adults - Alyene Senger/Heritage: The Foundry
Here’s a list of five ways young adults will be hurt by the law:
1 Premium increases. Obamacare imposes age-rating rules that increase premiums for young adults. The law allows premium costs to vary by a ratio of 3 to 1 based on age. But as Heritage research shows, “The natural variation by age in medical costs is about 5 to 1. meaning that the oldest group of (non-Medicare) adults normally consumes about five times as much medical care as the youngest group.” This means that under Obamacare, young adults will pay artificially high premiums, and older adults will pay artificially low premiums....Obamacare’s negative impact on young Americans is just one of many reasons the law should be repealed.
2. Loss of coverage. Obamacare puts in place new rules that prohibit plans with annual limits. While limited health plans may not be a long-term solution, some coverage is still better than none. Several colleges across the country have already stopped offering low-cost plans to students because of the new regulations....
3. Government takeover of student loans. A provision neatly tucked into the massive health care law is an effective nationalization of the student loan industry. Obamacare ends government subsidies to private lenders and puts the federal government in charge of originating and servicing federally backed student loans....
4. Less money for education. Obamacare’s massive expansion of Medicaid, which will add almost 20 million more Americans to the program, will be difficult to sustain on already strained state budgets. As states are forced to redirect a growing portion of their budgets to Medicaid, less funding will be available for other state priorities, such as education....
5. Crushing fiscal burden. Younger generations will be left footing the bill for Obamacare and its irresponsible spending. Despite his many lofty promises, President Obama’s law does not reduce health insurance premiums, spending, or the deficit.