Saturday, April 5, 2014
◼ Friday’s edition of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” opened with an unusual segment. It was 12 minutes of an unfiltered discussion of Harry Reid’s almost-daily attacks on the Koch Brothers. - The Blaze
...Co-host Mika Brzezinski, and in-studio panelists Jim Vandehei of Politico, and “Morning Joe” regulars Willie Geist, and Katty Kay were silent for much of the segment, speaking only when called upon to join the uncomfortable conversation.
At the 7:00 point of the clip, Joe actually referred to the leader of the U.S. Senate by saying, “He’s like one of those cheap, dirty, political consultants you stay away from because they would embarrass you.”
Not a voice was raised to object to Scarborough’s argument.
The usually unapologetic Democratic supporter, Mika Brzezinski said nothing for most of the segment. In fact, it was 10 minutes into the clip before Mika finally shared her feelings on Reid’s relentless attack on the Koch brothers by saying, “I cringed watching it,” and then criticizing his comments’ “destructive tone.”...
◼ How are parents supposed to help their children with Common Core math when it’s just flat-out wrong? - EAG
Parent Mina Boyd’s kindergartener was given an assignment to count the number of apples on the page and write the number. The worksheet is titled “Count and Write 20,” so presumably, there would be 20 apples to count.
Except there’s 19.
The lesson is part of a “Go Math” Common Core-aligned curriculum published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
◼ “They ask her to count and write 20. So she counts…counts again and again. And says mom, ‘there’s only 19,’” - WaaselZippers
Friday, April 4, 2014
Attention, class: A Common Core mouthpiece wants to rap my knuckles with his Gates Foundation-funded ruler. In response to my column two weeks ago about the marketing overlords pushing the Fed Ed racket, Chad Colby of Achieve Inc. demanded corrections. Let's go to school.
"I wanted to take a moment to highlight two points that were incorrect regarding Achieve," Colby complained. "Contrary to Ms. Malkin's assertion, Achieve employs no lobbyists and we never have."
No? Never? Someone didn't do his homework. Mr. Colby, meet Patricia Sullivan. She's the founding executive director of Achieve and a career lobbyist who has bounced around D.C. for the past quarter-century in influence-peddling positions for the Gates Foundation-funded National Governors Association, Council for Chief State School Officers and Center on Education Policy. She has "advocated" for trade groups, a teachers' union and her own "consulting firm." That's Washington-speak for "lobbying."
And let me introduce Mr. Colby to Ronn Robinson, a founding senior vice president of Achieve and veteran Democratic and corporate education lobbyist for former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner and Boeing. According to The Hill newspaper's column titled, ahem, "Lobbying World," Not-a-Lobbyist Robinson left Achieve several years ago to lobby for the D.C.-based National Center on Education and the Economy.
NCEE is the multimillion-dollar Gates Foundation-funded advocacy (read: "lobbying") group founded by Marc Tucker, the godfather of Common Core-style schemes and top-down control masquerading as "reform." He has dominated the D.C. education-lobbying scene since before Bill Clinton was in office. Like Achieve, Tucker's NCEE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that crusades for ever-increasing federal involvement in every aspect of education while denying its brazen lobbying activities.... (And there's MORE at the link.
In July of 2013, Illinois became the last state in the union to enact a concealed carry law. In January of this year, the state began accepting applications for permits. This week, Chicago police announced that the city’s first quarter murder rate was the lowest since 1958.
Via ABC-affiliate Eye Witness News in the Windy City:
◼ The first three months of the year saw 6 fewer murders than the same time frame in 2013–a 9 percent drop–and 55 fewer murders than 2012, according to a statement from Chicago Police.Coincidence? Hard to say. And too early to tell. Although, I doubt that the anti-gun crowd is celebrating the good news.
◼ There were 90 fewer shootings and 119 fewer shooting victims, drops of 26 and 29 percent respectively, according to police statistics.
◼ Compared to the first quarter of 2012, there have been 222 fewer shootings and 292 fewer shooting victims. Overall crime is down 25 percent from last year, and police said more than 1,300 illegal guns were recovered in the last three months.
Gay Dating website OkCupid led the witch hunt for Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, boycotting the Firefox web browser over Eich’s 2008 donation in support of California’s Prop 8. As soon as Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla, OkCupid traded in the pitchforks for champagne.
We are pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all partnerships.— OkCupid (@okcupid) April 3, 2014
If Eich had to resign for views he held in 2008, shouldn't Obama do the same?— A Meanwich C (@anthmichcara) April 3, 2014
◼ link - Twitchy
Can we retroactively apply the same “rules” the Left is demanding? Where was this kind of outrage a mere few years ago? Those are among the questions being asked:
◼ ‘Bastion of intolerance and punishment’: Tammy Bruce shreds Mozilla for caving to ‘gay gestapo’ - Twitchy
◼ This Could Be One of the Biggest Common Core Stories Yet — and It Involves a Mom Being Suspended From Her Child’s School - The Blaze
The two week suspension was reportedly triggered after the officials charged that Katherine Duran was “disrupting the school.” When asked to clarify what Duran’s disruption was, Gabe Ross, a spokesperson for the school district, told the media, “It appears (she) went a little too far with regards to how she distributed information at school sites, distributing information to children directly.”
But according to Duran, she never distributed information to students on school grounds or to the children directly. The school district has even acknowledged that Ross’s statement was incorrect. See, Duran did not distribute the opt-out forms, her son did. And for that, she has been suspended.
◼ link - Eric Owens/Daily Caller
Officials at a California grade school have suspended the mother of a 12-year-old boy over her – and his – criticism of the Common Core Standards Initiative.
The mother is Katherine Duran, reports local ABC affiliate KXTV. Her 12-year-old son, Christopher Duran, attends Mark Twain Elementary School in Sacramento.
A police officer delivered a form labeled “withdrawal of consent” to the Duran home, legally banning Katherine Duran from the premises of Mark Twain Elementary for 14 days.
What was the mother’s crime? Well, school administrators and Sacramento school district officials have had tremendous difficulty getting their story straight on that one.
As I say, put aside the argument, step back and view the thing at a distance. Support it or not, you cannot look at ObamaCare and call it anything but a huge, historic mess. It is also utterly unique in the annals of American lawmaking and government administration.
Its biggest proponent in Congress, the Democratic speaker of the House, literally said—blithely, mindlessly, but in a way forthcomingly—that we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it. It is a cliché to note this. But really, Nancy Pelosi's statement was a historic admission that she was fighting hard for something she herself didn't understand, but she had every confidence regulators and bureaucratic interpreters would tell her in time what she'd done. This is how we make laws now.
Her comments alarmed congressional Republicans but inspired Democrats, who for the next three years would carry on like blithering idiots making believe they'd read the bill and understood its implications. They were later taken aback by complaints from their constituents. The White House, on the other hand, seems to have understood what the bill would do, and lied in a way so specific it showed they knew exactly what to spin and how. "If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan, period." "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period." That of course was the president, misrepresenting the facts of his signature legislative effort. That was historic, too. If you liked your doctor, your plan, your network, your coverage, your deductible you could not keep it. Your existing policy had to pass muster with the administration, which would fight to the death to ensure that 60-year-old women have pediatric dental coverage....
What the bill declared it would do—insure tens of millions of uninsured Americans—it has not done. There are still tens of millions uninsured Americans. On the other hand, it has terrorized millions who did have insurance and lost it, or who still have insurance and may lose it.
The program is unique in that it touches on an intimate and very human part of life, the health of one's body, and yet normal people have been almost wholly excluded from the debate. This surely was not a bug but a feature. Given a program whose complexity is so utter and defeating that it defies any normal human attempt at comprehension, two things will happen. Those inclined to like the spirit of the thing will support it on the assumption the government knows what its doing. And the opposition will find it difficult to effectively oppose—or repeal the thing—because of the program's bureaucratic density and complexity. It's like wrestling a manic, many-armed squid in ink-darkened water....
The program is unique in that the bill that was signed four years ago, on March 23, 2010, is not the law, or rather program, that now exists. Parts of it have been changed or delayed 30 times. It is telling that the president rebuffed Congress when it asked to work with him on alterations, but had no qualms about doing them by executive fiat. The program today, which affects a sixth of the U.S. economy, is not what was passed by the U.S. Congress.
...Republicans of all people should not go for the happy face. They cannot run only on ObamaCare this year and later, because it's not the only problem in America. But it's a problem, a big one, and needs to be hard and shrewdly fought.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
◼ AUDIO: The irreverent hosts of the Opie & Anthony Show absolutely torched ObamaCare on their SiriusXM Radio program Thursday after both of their healthcare plans were cancelled. - IJ Review via Washington Free Beacon
***Explicit Language in the AUDIO/Video Above***
Sharyl Attkisson, Frozen Out of CBSNews for Reporting Actual News, Reports on the Benghazi Hearings on Twitter
◼ Here’s What Ex-CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkison Noticed During Wednesday’s Benghazi Hearing - The Blaze
◼ Morell Testifies on Benghazi Talking Points - Sharyl Attkisson
◼ Eich Is Out. So Is Tolerance. - Ryan T. Anderson/Heritage
Mozilla Corp. co-founder Brendan Eich has resigned as CEO after a week of public pressure stemming from a campaign contribution he made six years ago. Eich supported the wrong cause; he supported California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
For some who favor the redefinition of marriage, tolerance appears to have been a useful rhetorical device along the way to eliminating dissent.
...In a series of instances we have seen the gatekeepers of civil society attack those who hold the view that marriage is between a man and a woman —Chick-fil-A, Barilla Pasta, Craig James (who was fired from ESPN), and “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson.
This kind of grotesque incivility is toxic for any democratic community. We can—we must—do better.
◼ He supports the traditional definition of marriage. For that, he has now joined the ranks of the unemployed. - Bryan Preston/PJMedia
We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.“Freely.” That word no longer means what it once did. You’re free to agree with the mob. You’re not free to disagree with the mob.
While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.
Update: GLAAD responds with a lie of its own.
Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all.
“…welcoming to all.” Unless you disagree with us, in which case, you might as well be dead.
GLAAD also gives something away. Mozilla claims that Eich stepped down on his own. GLAAD says Mozilla has made a “strong statement.” That can only be true if Mozilla forced him to step down....So either GLAAD are projecting, or Mozilla is lying.
Update: ◼ Check this out. The IRS abuse scandal started the process that got Eich ousted.
Why, then, the ruckus? Amazingly enough, it is entirely due to the fact that Eich made a $1,000 donation to the campaign urging a ‘yes’ vote on California’s Proposition 8. When this fact first came to light in 2012, after the Internal Revenue Service leaked a copy of the National Organization for Marriage’s 2008 tax return to a gay-advocacy group, Eich, who was then CTO of Mozilla, published a post on his personal blog stating that his donation was not motivated by any sort of animosity towards gays or lesbians, and challenging those who did not believe this to cite any “incident where I displayed hatred, or ever treated someone less than respectfully because of group affinity or individual identity.”To whom did the IRS leak NOM’s files? The Human Rights Campaign.
The HRC evidently engineered Eich’s ouster, in the name of equality and tolerance.
The IRS actions create a serious chilling effect. Your donations to any group can be leaked by a hostile operative within the government, to your enemies, for use against you — up to and now including costing you your job.
Was President Obama a bigot back when he supported marriage as the union of a man and woman? How quickly everyone forgets.
"Mozilla supports equality for all." - @Mozilla actually wrote this in defense of firing a guy for his expression of free speech.— RB (@RBPundit) April 3, 2014
By @mozilla 's standards all Muslims who r against gay marriage that work for them should be fired,right?Or is this just Christian bigotry?— Kathleen McKinley (@KatMcKinley) April 3, 2014
◼ "If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. " - Althouse
◼ The Hounding Of A Heretic - Andrew Sullivan
◼ Brendan Eich and the gay marriage zealots - Neoneocon
All of our workshops and panels will be structured around inclusivity and with a focus on representing various perspectives and experiences.”
◼ Unless you're conservative... - IJ Review
The 10th annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference, which was held in Washington D.C. last weekend, was billed as being “inclusive” and “representing various perspectives and experiences.”
Not so much. When Campus Reform‘s Katherine Timpf attempted to ask young women their views on feminism, not only was she told “you’re not wanted here,” an announcement was made advising attendees not to talk to Campus Reform because it’s “conservative.”
In today's Washington Examiner op-ed, Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee and Ben Sasse, a Republican Senate hopeful from Nebraska, team up to write that "conservatives are making a strong comeback with concrete proposals that, if enacted, would create real progress toward better health care outcomes for all Americans."
The two said it's time for Republicans to have "an honest conversation" with Americans about health care....
Meanwhile, the Examiner's Philip Klein sat in Wednesday as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, ◼ detailed for a group of right-leaning journalists how he would replace Obamacare with a system that creates a standard deduction for health insurance for all taxpayers.
Jindal said his plan could reduce annual family health insurance premiums by $5,000 and increase coverage by 9 million people relative to the number of people covered prior to Obamacare.
A magnitude 5.1 quake hit Los Angeles last week, followed by aftershocks along the California coast. And South America will be on the lookout in coming days for aftershocks that have already started following Tuesday night’s temblor.
Both cities lie along the so-called Ring of Fire, where two plates underneath the earth’s surface occasionally bump up against other plates, according to Kate Hutton, staff seismologist at California Institute of Technology.
“That affects South America, the California coast, Alaska, Japan, the Philippines. Basically any places around the Pacific Rim are at risk,” she said.
The 9.0 magnitude quake that hit Japan and cause the Fukushima meltdown in 2011 was on the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.
Hutton said the current risk is not greater because California and Chile experienced quakes.
The agency conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death, according to a newly released government report.
These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads a EPA inspector general report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Megyn Kelly: No, I Won’t Be Retracting My Report About A Documentary That Shows How Muslims Abuse Women
◼ link - Brian Carey/Downtrend
Honor Diaries is a movie that tells the story of nine women’s rights advocates.
Now, when you read the phrase “women’s rights advocates,” you might think it’s the kind of movie that liberals would truly appreciate. Sadly, we haven’t seen any evidence of that just yet.
You see, Honor Diaries is about the way that women are abused in countries dominated by Muslims. Therefore, the truth portrayed in that movie is politically incorrect.
And, therefore, you probably won’t be reading about it on too many left-wing blogs or hearing about it much in the lamestream press.
Leave it to Fox News to do the job that the alleged truth-seekers in the rest of the media won’t do. Megyn Kelly discussed the movie on he program the other night.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was none too happy with that segment. The group actually contacted Megyn Kelly and requested a retraction.
A retraction for what? Talking about a movie that accurately portrays the hardships that women endure in Muslim countries?
◼ ´Honor Diaries´ is about the real war on women, not ´Islamophobia´ - Ashe Schow/Washington Examiner
Despite what organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations say, the film "Honor Diaries" is about the abuses that women face around the world. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, human rights attorney Paula Kweskin, a writer and producer for the film, said it was clear CAIR had not seen the actual film and was trying to silence debate....
Kweskin said the idea for the film actually came during the Arab Spring, when protests broke out in Egypt and Libya.
“Women were really at the front lines of a lot of the protests,” she said. “It was an exciting moment — to see that perhaps some of the issues connected with women’s rights in particular really might change and maybe some actual tangible progress made.”
But of course, that didn't happen. Women in the Middle East are continually treated as property, and in Egypt during the Arab Spring protests, women were regularly victimized for protesting.
...For those who want to see the film for themselves, it will be aired on DirectTV’s Audience Network on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. It can also be downloaded on iTunes and the film’s producers encourage interested parties to host a screening in their community.
...So today, the day after the same administration that has cooked the books on deportations, and cooked the books on unemployment, the same administration that lied about Fast and Furious, lied about Benghazi, lied about “green jobs,” lied about last week’s meeting with the Pope, and whose IRS abused the president’s critics — the leader of that administration touted “7.1 million sign-ups” for Obamacare. Even going by the administration’s official numbers, the president’s claim is inflated. The administration only claims 7,041,000 — far from 7.1 million.
The president criticized Americans who donated their own money to run ads opposing Obamacare. But Barack Obama used government force to take Americans’ money and use that money to promote his law — whether we backed his law or not. Which is worse?
Obama said that now that his law is the law of the land, it cannot be repealed. Also false. It’s unpopular even before the employer mandate kicks in, which is destined to cost tens of millions of Americans the healthcare that they now have. We have a system by which laws and even amendments to the Constitution can be repealed.
But the most ghastly aspect of the president’s speech was its celebratory tone. This president stood in the Rose Garden in the lawn of the people’s house. He used force to coerce Americans into doing what he wants for the sake of politics and power. An American president should never celebrate taking freedoms away from Americans. This president has, and he is pleased with himself for doing it. He basks in the applause of those who celebrate with him, as if it’s an achievement to use the full force of government to impose yourself on others.
◼ Networks Refuse Obama's Request For Primetime Obamacare Celebration... - Conservative Outfitters
The White House sought primetime air the day Obamacare hit 7 million signups.
But network officials refused to make the kind of accommodation they did previously for the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, for instance, and Obama was left instead cutting into the much smaller audiences ofEllen and other daytime shows.
Colorado’s new gun laws are coming to the fore again, as a lawsuit to overturn them opened on Monday in federal court
Almost all of Colorado’s elected county sheriffs spearheaded the suit, saying new measures requiring universal background checks and limiting the size of ammunition magazines are both unconstitutional and unenforceable.
They join nearly two dozen other plaintiffs, including individuals, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations. They include Magpul Industries, which makes 30-round magazines that are no longer legal to sell in Colorado, and the Colorado Farm Bureau, which represents the rights of ranchers and promotes rural values....
The new laws have been in place since last July, but no one is believed to have been charged with violating them. Plaintiffs to the lawsuit say that’s because the laws are impossible to enforce. Many sheriffs have said they’re not trying to enforce them because they consider the measures to be unconstitutional.
Vladimir Putin stokes Russian nationalism, dreams of empire and a sense of victimization brought on by the “humiliating” collapse of the Soviet Union. He plays on the imagination of young people who have no personal memories of these things. At the same time he arouses the support of an older generation which remembers what it thinks of as the stability of the USSR. Between them is a growing middle class which, despite economic ups and downs, is generally much better off under post-Soviet Union Russia than before.
It is these people who provide the crowds that regularly protest the increasingly autocratic rule of the Putin regime which stifles free speech and assembly. While he diverts attention abroad (Crimea) and continues to threaten Ukraine — all to activate nationalistic patriotism — his regime condones widespread corruption.
Some mild sanctions have been applied to get Putin to back off his adventurism. The sanctions that will best lead to a change in Russian state behavior are those that directly affect Putin and his circle, especially the “oligarchs” who enjoy condominiums in Miami and shopping in New York. These, along with shipments of defensive arms from the West to Ukraine can cause Putin the think twice about massing troops on the border or demanding a change in Ukraine’s constitution that would create nearly independent areas of that country which would be permanently under Moscow’s spell.
The United States and the West have no greater potential allies than Russia’s middle-class protesters. The example of a Western leader using nationalism to bring down a Communist regime occurred 35 years ago and has lessons for today. That was when Pope John Paul II visited his native Poland for nine days.
In Warsaw, he gave a speech that ignited the Solidarity movement. It’s impossible to understand Polish history without realizing that the church played a crucial role in preserving Polish national identity when the country was overrun and then divided by the Nazi and Soviet conquerors.
While American politicians wear flag lapel pins, Lech Walesa’s was of the Black Madonna. Even for Poles who are not religious, the icon of the Black Madonna is a symbol of Polish resistance to invaders and occupiers. In 1655, the Black Madonna of Czestochowa inspired the monks at the Jasna Gora monastery to fight off a Swedish siege.
When Pope John Paul II came to Poland in June 1979, he spoke on the eve of Pentecost to inspire his people. As he spoke of how the Apostles found courage as Christians, the crowd understood that this was as much a speech for Polish freedom as it was a Mass. The Pope concluded his remarks with a prayer:
“I, who am a son of the land of Poland and who am also Pope John Paul II – I cry from all the depths of this Millennium, I cry on the vigil of Pentecost: Let your Spirit descend! Let your Spirit descend! And renew the face of the earth. The face of this land!”
The beginning of the end of Polish communism occurred during this Mass in Warsaw. In the middle of the speech, the people started clapping and they wouldn’t stop for 14 minutes. Pope John Paul II understood to wait. He knew that his people had endured decades of Communist rule and needed this expression of defiance. As over a million Poles clapped in unison, they understood there were more of “us” (freedom lovers) than there were of “them” (totalitarians).
Two years later, 10 million Poles joined the Solidarity movement. For something similar to happen in Russia, we must remember that there are two unique strands of Russian nationalism: Ivan the Great’s and Peter the Great’s.
Ivan the Great ruled as Grand Prince of Moscow from 1462-1505. He ended two centuries of Tatar rule. The lesson learned from his reign was that Russians need a strong leader to unite the people and fight off outsiders who would prey on the country.
Peter the Great understood that Russia could not be a great power unless it selectively borrowed ideas and technology from the West — and he did.
Russian nationalists, in the form of Ivan the Great, will gravitate to a man like Putin. They believe that only an autocrat can keep the country together. Russian nationalists like Peter the Great are willing to embrace any change to keep Russia strong and growing.
Our relations will improve when the Russian people see that Putin and his henchmen are adversely affected by economic sanctions. For our part, the U.S. must produce more energy and commit itself to exporting natural gas to Europe in order to displace Russia’s monopolistic Gazprom.
Sanctions will not be serious if they do not reduce the price of oil and natural gas. Gorbachev taught us that the Kremlin leaders will only reform when they have no other choice.
Reducing oil and gas revenues will give Russian nationalists the incentive to demand more freedom and the rule of law to modernize the economy. Instead of kicking Russia out of the G8 or denigrating her as a “regional” power, President Obama needs sanctions that will convince Russians that: “A recession in Russia is when your neighbor loses his job due to low oil prices. A depression is when you lose yours. A recovery will happen when Vladimir Putin loses his.”
Peter Hannaford was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. His latest book is ◼ “Presidential Retreats.” Robert Zaposochny is an analyst specializing in the decline and end of the Cold War.
Oklahoma is poised to become the second state to repeal Common Core, reports Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR.
House Bill 3399 would pave for the way for Oklahoma residents to agree upon their own math and English standards. It would also bar prohibit the federal government from imposing any curriculum on the state’s students either directly or indirectly.
The bill has passed the Oklahoma Senate 37-10.
The Senate bill must now be revisited in Oklahoma’s State House (where it originated) and then signed by the governor to become law.
Common Core has come under immense and withering criticism this entire academic year from parents, teachers and school administrators. Opposition has brought together conservatives who are opposed to centralized public education and leftists who deplore ever-more standardized testing....
Late last month, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence affixed his signature to Senate Bill 91, a law ordering public K-12 schools across The Hoosier State to stop using the controversial education standards.
I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.
Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation's own government. That's why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.
A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism....
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.)...
Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people's lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.
If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I'm dedicated to fighting for that vision. I'm convinced most Americans believe it's worth fighting for, too.
The April Fool’s Day show put on in the Rose Garden yesterday was no triumph, but rather an act of desperation, touting “enrollment” numbers generated without any transparency, intended to arrest the downward spiral of Obamacare and the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects. Obama himself gave away the game unintentionally, in what poker players call a “tell” that consisted of two parts.
The first part of the tell was the obvious outright lie told by the president in a “poor me” moment of self-pity. From the official transcript:
And we didn’t make a hard sell. We didn’t have billions of dollars of commercials like some critics did.
Billions of dollars of commercials? Even if anyone believed the fairy tales about the Evil Koch Brothers, billions of dollars could not have been spent on anti-Obamacare commercials. That is the budget of an entire presidential campaign, planes, travel, and ubiquitous advertising, the whole nine yards.
The only advertising budget that even approaches that figure is the one spent by the federal and state governments promoting Obamacare. Last summer, the Associated Press tallied up the Obamacare spending plans of the feds and the states, and came up with the figure of $684 million. So lavish a marketing budget covered embarrassments like the $1.7 million tedious Richard Simmons video promoting Covered California...and a variety of other tasteless, ludicrous, and insulting initiatives like the infamous Pajama Boy....
The second part of the tell was the body language component. Missing from the platform was HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who now becomes the Official Fall Guy....
It is smoke and mirrors, but that is the way of Obama, and has been throughout his entire national political career.
Employers Say Obamacare Will Cost Them $5,000 More Per Employee◼ Obamacare victory likely short-lived for White House - Brian Hughes/Washington Examiner @BrianHughesDC
Businesses reveal in confidential survey that Obamacare will add up to $200 million in costs
Democrats might want to tamp down their Obamacare celebration.◼ Another hospital announces layoffs... - Breitbart
For all the jubilation over 7.1 million people selecting plans through federal and state health exchanges, the politics surrounding the central issue of the 2014 midterms remains largely unchanged, according to both Republican and Democratic insiders.
Obamacare is still more an albatross than a boon for vulnerable Democrats looking to maintain their distance from a White House that has enjoyed precious little good news of late.
◼ Pelosi turns away...
◼ First Class-Action Suit Filed...
Just days after the deadline to enroll for insurance coverage through Nevada Health Link, the first class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of residents who say they signed up and paid their premiums – but were never given coverage.◼ WATCH: Fallon Mocks Obamacare Enrollment Numbers - Heritage
Law firm Callister & Associates filed the lawsuit on behalf of Larry Basich, who signed up for state health insurance and paid premiums as far back as November, but then was not covered following a Jan. 3 triple bypass procedure that saw his $400,000 in medical expenses passed between the wrong insurance companies, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
“It’s amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory, and fine people if they don’t do it, and keep extending the deadline for months."
◼ 'The debate over repealing this law is over': Obama boasts 7.1 MILLION have signed up to Obamacare - but study shows just 858,000 newly insured Americans have paid up! - David Martosko/Daily Mail UK
President took a major victory lap and took political shots at Republicans, but ignored shortcomings in his administration's official numbersDRUDGE:
Press secretary Jay Carney will only say 'we're aggregating a lot of data' when asked how many enrollees have paid for coverage
Carney dodged questions about damning study that showed very few Obamacare customers were uninsured before the law took effect
Percentages from a hush-hush RAND Corporation study suggest barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans have enrolled and paid premiums
HHS Secretary Sebelius met a televised challenge Monday about 'unpopular' Obamacare with lengthy awkward silence
OBAMA: Debate over, I won...
APRIL FOOLS: '7 MILLION'...
False claim that 3.1m young adults got coverage through parents...
◼ RAND PAUL: REPORT: Only 1/3 were from previously uninsured
◼ Krauthammer: 'Phony Number' - Heritage
◼ Krauthammer Blasts 7.1 Million Obamacare Enrollees as ‘Phony Number’
◼ Reid dismisses cancer patient concern about treatment under Obamacare
◼ Many Happy With Decision To Pay 'Penalty' - CBS San Francisco
◼ Dems fear November Elections
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Interviewed in the Guardian on the day of the IPCC´s latest report, Lovelock also praises nuclear power as "an extraordinary gift to humans" and dismisses criticisms of it as "propaganda"
...His remarks will infuriate those in the green movement who once saw Lovelock as a role model. Besides having invented "Gaia theory" , Lovelock was once at the forefront of the climate alarmism, warning in 2007 that "Billions of us will die; few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in Arctic."
However, in his 100th decade (Lovelock is now 94), he appears to be enjoying a new burst of optimism:
"We shouldn't worry too much about terrible disasters because they've happened in the past [when we may have been down to just a few thousand individuals] and we've come back. We are an extraordinarily special species, the first to harvest information."
The Cover Oregon debacle is the biggest healthcare scandal you’ve never heard about. It is also perhaps the biggest government IT failure in U.S. history.
More than $200 million was spent on building the Cover Oregon website and healthcare exchange. No one appears to confidently know the exact figure since generally accepted business practices were not rigorously followed.◼ Obamacare Real Enrollment: Just 1.7% of Uninsured Covered - Wynton Hall/Breitbart´s Big Government
The lead vendor for the project was software giant Oracle, although the process to select a vendor wasn’t very competitive. By the time the entire procurement process was over, Oracle was the only company in consideration. Other potential vendors dropped out of the bidding when the scope of the project became known.
Relatively little money spent on Cover Oregon actually came from the state. Most of the funds came from federal grants (here, here) totaling $305 million. This is why the Government Accountability Office announced in early March 2014 that it was launching an investigation to determine where and how federal money was spent....
Cover Oregon authorities decided to build a behemoth website that would allow virtually any Oregonian to use it to register for just about any welfare and public assistance benefit including Medicaid eligibility, payments, and enrollment; food stamps; temporary assistance for needy families; and the supplemental nutritional assistance program. The effort, which was nicknamed “No Wrong Door,” elevated a nearly impossible goal to a clearly impossible one in the time allotted.
As detailed in the monthly quality assurance reports, every bit of bad news was compounded by even more bad news. Most, if not all, of it was generated by poor decision-making. For example, Oregon Health Authority chief information officer Carolyn Lawson, the official in charge of the technical aspects of the website build-out, decided to eliminate the position of system integrator before one was even hired. Think of this decision as having several subcontractors erect an office building without using a general contractor armed with blueprints.
Some observers raised eyebrows over what they considered an unusually cozy relationship between Lawson and vendor Oracle. One legislator warned Kitzhaber in a 2012 email he believed Lawson “presented fraudulent testimony in a legislative hearing to further her self interest… of a consulting job with Oracle.” Lawson resigned for “personal reasons” in mid-December 2013.
Making matters worse was that the entire effort was plagued by political infighting, conflicting priorities, and atrocious business practices. One such example was the “[c]omingling of individual and business [healthcare] accounts.”
Obamacare, the plan purportedly created to provide health coverage for the uninsured, has enrolled just 1.7% of America´s 48.6 million uninsured. News of the disastrous numbers comes as nervous Democrats and President Barack Obama, ahead of the November midterm elections, did their best on Monday´s enrollment deadline to put a positive spin on the deeply unpopular Obamacare program. (Snip) The White House now claims an Obamacare enrollment figure of six million people. However, according to The New York Times, at least 20% of those never paid their premiums to activate coverage, leaving them uninsured.◼ Study: Obama and the Democrats Disrupted the Whole Healthcare Industry for Just Two Million Uninsured - Bryan Preston/PJ Media
Even conceding the White House its alleged six million enrollment figure (which, again, includes duplicates and incomplete applications), that would mean that just 810,000 of paying Obamacare customers were previously uninsured, a figure that represents 1.7% of America's 48.6 million uninsured people.
Indeed, most of those the White House counts as Obamacare enrollees are among the five million who had their health insurance plans canceled due to Obamacare.
Obamacare has taken a severe toll on President Obama's approval rating. The latest Associated Press poll reveals that his disapproval rating has now hit an all-time high of 59%. As one Democratic member of Congress told The New York Times, Obama is "poisonous" to Democrats running in the November 4th midterm elections.
◼ And it´s down – AGAIN! Obamacare website crashes TWICE on enrollment deadline day - David Martosko.Daily Mail [UK]
◼ 7 Million Sign Up for Obamacare—APRIL FOOLS!!! - Larry Johnson/NoQuarter
Hysterical. What a hoot. Obama and team, in the “fool” spirit of 1 April, got their gag game on and went out before cameras insisting that a gazillion people had signed up for the ironically named, Affordable Care Act. Got to show some love to Barack Obama and company for their shrewd since of humor. For the past six months nobody on the White House staff or at Health and Human Services knew anything about the number of folks who had actually signed up. But now, on April first, they suddenly have perfect info? They still can’t tell you who has paid and how many of those signing up are actually replacing plans they were forced to drop because of Obamacare, but who cares? All that matters is that they tell the joke with a straight face.
Rural folks who feel unfairly taxed by the State Fire Prevention Fee simply file this form within 30 days of your billing notice and ask for return of your money.
1. Fire Prevention Petitions, P.O. Box 2254, Suisun City, CA 94585
2. Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, P.O. Box 944246, Sacramento, CA 94244...
See More ◼ http://firetaxprotest.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Petition_for_Redetermination_Fillable.pdf
Monday, March 31, 2014
Would Cesar Chavez have supported forcing Sylvia Lopez and her co-workers to join a union, or would he have stood up for right not to?
◼ Would Cesar Chavez Have Wanted Forced Unionization? - Reason.com via Tim Donnelly
Silvia Lopez has worked in Gerawan Farms' fields for 14 years and raised her two daughters on her salary from the job. She once worked in a union shop and didn't enjoy the experience, saying it was like "having two bosses."
"I never liked a company where they have [a] union," says Lopez. "I don't see that I have to pay somebody to explain me my rights. I know my rights."
...Lopez and her co-workers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the ALRB for failing to count their ballots. Gerawan Farms is also suing, alleging that mandatory mediation is unconstitutional. UFW continues to call for a contract to be imposed and, alongside ALRB, alleges that Gerawan has engaged in unfair labor practices.
"The main problem is in the ALRB office," says Lopez. "They are supposed to be neutral with us. But they are not. We can see that they are favoring the UFW organization."
"Let's not pretend that this new policy is the affordable health care savior that many of us were hoping for," Wee concludes. "For us, our new plan is a big financial hit for a product that does not make it any easier to get basic health care."
Some conservative political groups have run into trouble making ads that criticize Obamacare. The ads were intended to showcase "horror stories" from the Democrats' national health care overhaul, but instead attracted zealous fact-checking and ferocious pushback from media outlets and liberal activists....
So here is a suggestion, free of charge, for Americans for Prosperity: Make a few anti-Obamacare ads with factual claims taken entirely from the pages of The New York Times.
The Kochs could start with a recent op-ed by a man named Eric Wee, who just happens to be a former Washington Post reporter. Wee supported Obamacare when it was passed, he explained, but said: "What I didn't count on was that it would make things harder for me and my wife."...
It's a perfect Koch Obamacare ad: Concise, meaningful and vetted by the New York Times.
There are others. There was the piece about New York City's "professional and cultural elite" who were dismayed to find their coverage canceled. The woman who rued the adverse social effects of "daring to complain about Obamacare." Other individuals facing higher costs and narrower choices. And more.
In making ads, some conservatives have tried to swing for the fences, searching for cases of spectacular suffering to illustrate Obamacare's damage. But what about focusing on the heavy, if ordinary, burdens the new system is placing on people like Eric Wee and millions of other Americans?
Of course, there will still be pushback from the Left. Critics and fact-checkers will undoubtedly complain that the ads, although accurate, lack "context." But who cares? The material is there for the Kochs to use — right in the pages of the New York Times.
Why is the Obama administration drawing red lines for Russia in public and giving them free military equipment behind the scenes?
While slapping Russia publicly on the wrist, the Obama Administration has been giving Russia FREE high tech military equipment.
Judicial Watch reported:
Behind closed doors the U.S. government is giving Russia free military equipment—also used to train American troops—even after President Obama announced punitive sanctions against Moscow and, more importantly, a suspension in military engagement over the invasion and occupation of Ukraine.◼ U.S. Gives Russia Free Military Equipment Used By Army, Marines - Judicial Watch
The secret operation was exposed this week by members of Congress that discovered it in the process of reviewing the Fiscal Year 2014 budget and the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget request. It turns out that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been providing the Russian Federation with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), the federal legislators say. The U.S. military uses MILES for tactical force-on-force training because it has a system of lasers and dummy ammunition to simulate ground combat....
President Obama has already proven to be an international joke for his response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine. Even the mainstream media in this country has blasted the commander-in-chief’s foreign policy as based on fantasy. One famously liberal magazine published a satirical article saying that the Obama administration froze Putin’s Netflix account as a “major ramping up of sanctions.” In a piece published a few days ago, a former veteran congressman wrote this: “The embarrassment of U.S. impotence in dealing with Russian aggression in the Ukraine is only the beginning of what will likely be a series of foreign policy disasters.”
...“Show your grandchild games, activity sheets, and other fun ways to learn about good nutrition at My Plate Kids’ Place,” the USDA said. “For a bedtime story, read The Two Bite Club.”
“The Two Bite Club,” which is available in English and Spanish, is a USDA “educational storybook” about a family of cats that uses government charts to determine its food intake. The story encourages children to try two bites of foods in the USDA’s “My Plate” food diagram. After trying broccoli, yellow apples, low-fat yogurt, and “hard-cooked” eggs, the children in the story get certificates of participation.
“I am so proud of myself. I tried some new foods and I learned about My Plate,” a cat says at the end of the story....
◼ When 12-year-old Lia wanted to speak out against abortion for her school’s speech competition a few years ago, her pro-choice teacher disqualified her, claiming that the topic was too controversial. However, once she heard the speech and realized Lia’s amazing command of the topic, she changed her mind. Lia went on to win the entire competition. - IJ Review
If you’re opposed to abortion for Biblical reasons, that’s fine. But as Lia points out, there are also scientific and philosophical cases to be made. If you’re pro-choice, that’s fine as well; just hear this little girl out, and decide what you think is the right choice.
The transition from college to adult life is treacherous, and this is nowhere more visible than among new college graduates in their first real jobs. A few years ago, I took it upon myself to start writing tips for the young staff where I work about how to avoid doing things that would make their supervisors write them off. It began as a lark as I wrote tips with titles such as, "Excise the word 'like' from your spoken English."
But eventually, I found myself getting into the deeper waters of how to go about living a good life. At that point, I had to deal with a reality: When it comes to a life filled with deep and lasting satisfactions, most of the clichés are true. How could I make them sound fresh to a new generation?
Here's how I tried....
◼ I'll give you the five points, but you need to promise me to click through and read the whole thing... - CainTV
1. Consider marrying young.
2. Learn how to recognize your soul mate.
3. Eventually stop fretting about fame and fortune.
4. Take religion seriously.
5. Watch Groundhog Day repeatedly.
Over the weekend, the site blocked some applicants, but didn't show major technological problems as consumers rushed before the end of the 2014 open-enrollment period for obtaining insurance under (Obamacare).
But the system's human capacity maxed out, with too few "navigators" and other enrollment workers to steer consumers through the complex application process. As a result, many people were told to try again after Monday under recently announced federal and state extensions aimed at those who get stuck while applying....
Federal officials said HealthCare.gov had two million visitors over the weekend. On Friday, the site had blocked people trying to log in for about two hours starting at 4 p.m. Eastern, and they were told to wait until the site had fewer users, said a person familiar with the site's operations. On Sunday, the site was holding up well, the person said, handling some 50,000 simultaneous users, up from a previous peak of 40,000.
◼ On eve of Obamacare deadline, law remains a - CBS
◼ Healthcare.gov signup system down on deadline day - CNBS
The deadline is midnight Monday to sign up for private health insurance in the new online markets created by President Barack Obama's health-care law. So far, about 4 of every 5 people enrolling have qualified for tax credits to reduce the cost of their premiums.DRUDGE:
Police Arrest 2 Volunteers Signing People Up For Obamacare; Charged With 'Soliciting Unlawful Business'...
NYT: Unclear how aggressive govt will be enforcing insurance requirement, collecting op-out tax...
Couple upset after receiving pre-marked voter registration card from health exchange...
◼ 872,504 ordered removed by immigration authorities have not left... - Daily Caller
The Obama administration is threatening public safety by deliberately hampering immigration law and releasing aliens with criminal records, according to a new review of internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement data.
A Center for Immigration study to be released Monday and obtained in advance by The Daily Caller, found that last year ICE reported nearly 722,000 encounters with illegal or criminal immigrants. But ICE officers filed immigration charges against less than 195,000 aliens.
“According to ICE personnel, the vast gap between the number of encounters reported and the number of aliens put on the path to removal exists because officers are not permitted to file charges against aliens who do not fall into the administration’s narrowly defined criteria for enforcement, regardless of the criminal charges or the circumstances in which the alien was identified,” the report, authored by CIS director of policy studies Jessica Vaughan, reads.
◼ ICE released 68,000 convicted criminal aliens last year... - Breitbart
President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security caught then released 68,000 aliens who had previously been convicted of a crime, a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies shows.
The report, provided to Breitbart News ahead of its late Sunday evening release, reviews internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) metrics to conclude that the Obama administration released 35 percent—or 68,000—convicted criminal aliens back into the U.S. general population when they could have been deported. “The criminal alien releases typically occur without formal notice to local law enforcement agencies and victims,” CIS’s Jessica Vaughan, the report’s author, added.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Speaking of the DA Candidates:
◼ ALLAN DOLLISON ◼ ABOUT ◼ DONATE
◼ ÉLAN FIRPO ◼ ABOUT ◼ SUPPORTERS ◼ DONATE
◼ MAGGIE FLEMING ◼ ENDORSEMENTS ◼ NEWS ◼ DONATE
◼ ARNIE KLEIN ◼ ABOUT ◼ DONATE ◼ FACEBOOK
◼ Lost Coast Outpost lets you grill the candidates at LoCoElections The candidates answer questions posed by the readers, from the death penalty to GMOs. if you haven't visited the Lost Coast Outpost site, we highly recommend it.
NOTE: HRWF is not supporting or endorsing any candidates in this or any of the current races. None of the DA candidates are Republicans, nor does that matter, since it is a NON-PARTISAN RACE. We encourage our members to stay informed about this all important race.
You can find more information about the DAs race at Rose's blog: ◼ WatchPaul
Something called the Southern Poverty Law Center sounds like a harmless do-good organization of idealistic young lawyers out to make life better for poor folks in the South, most of them likely black. Who wouldn’t want to make life better for poor folks?
But looks can be deceiving. The poverty law center, known by its initials SPLC, is actually a money-making scheme — some have called it a “scam” — of an Alabama lawyer who set out years ago to get rich on the backs of the poor and the duped....
The director of the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights, which defends poor defendants in death-penalty cases, once told Mr. Dees he was “a fraud and a con man” because of “your failure to respond to the most desperate needs of the poor and powerless despite your millions upon millions, your fundraising techniques, and the fact that you spend so much, accomplish so little, and promote yourself so shamelessly.”
...This week it emerged that the FBI, which has included SPLC data as “a resource,” has finally severed its link with the organization and dumped SPLC from the bureau’s Hate Crime Web page.
The FBI offered no explanation of why now, but the dumping follows appeals of 15 family groups to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and FBI Director James B. Comey to sever the connection. We think that was a good day’s work.
...many parents see the initiative as a bid by the federal government to take over the education system. They are also angry over the "data mining" of students' personal information, and say the stepped-up standards are not age-appropriate and are leading to anxiety and depression in their children.
Analysts warn the parental opposition could spill over into the November elections.
"You really have a populist reaction, and that's true on the left and the right," says Tom Loveless, a senior fellow with the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.
He predicts candidates opposing politicians from the establishment - or "at least trying to paint them as establishment candidates" - will take up the parental concerns.
"Those populist candidates are running against the Common Core, and they are going to say Washington is interfering with children's schooling and that teachers, parents and principals at the local level are better equipped to decide on what kids learn," he said.
Concurring is education expert Joy Pullmann.
"Common Core opposition is so completely grassroots, and support is so astroturf, " says the education research fellow for The Heartland Institute, a think tank headquartered in Chicago that promotes individual liberty and free enterprise.
◼ This second grader’s revenge against Common Core math will make your day - Daily Caller
The litany of frighteningly stupid Common Core math worksheets never ends. Perhaps now, though, kids are starting to fight back in satisfyingly creative ways.
An alert reader sent The Daily Caller this image of her seven-year-old son’s perfectly reasonable homework answer. The boy attends a public elementary school in San Jose, Calif. He is in the second grade....
The constantly burgeoning inventory of sad and hideous Common Core math problems is very long.
Just this month, for example, a frustrated dad posted his kid’s absurd Common Core-aligned math homework on Instagram. ◼ (RELATED: ‘Why are they making math harder?’ More absurd Common Core math problems)
In February, a group of Common Core-aligned math — math — lessons oozed out of the woodwork which require teachers to ask students if the 2000 presidential election was fair and which refer to Lincoln’s religion as either “liberal” or nothing. ◼ (RELATED: Common Core MATH lesson plans attack Reagan, list Lincoln’s religion as ‘liberal’)◼ link
In January, The Daily Caller also brought you a surreal, subtly cruel Common Core math worksheet. ◼ (RELATED: This Common Core math worksheet offers a glimpse into Kafkaesque third-grade hell)
January also brought a set of incomprehensible directions for nine-year-olds. ◼ (RELATED: Here’s another impossibly stupid Common Core math worksheet)
In December, Twitchy found the most egregiously awful math problem the Common Core had produced yet until that point. ◼ (RELATED: Is this Common Core math question the worst math question in human history?)
In November, Twitchy collected several more incomprehensible, unintentionally hilarious Core-aligned worksheets and tests. ◼ (RELATED: EPIC FAIL: Parents reveal insane Common Core worksheets)
Over the summer, The Daily Caller exposed a video showing a curriculum coordinator in suburban Chicago perkily explaining that Common Core allows students to be totally right if they say 3 x 4 = 11 as long as they spout something about the necessarily faulty reasoning they used to get to that wrong answer. ◼ (RELATED: Obama math: under new Common Core, 3 x 4 = 11 [VIDEO])
Buried deep in the article by Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who spent two years in Iraq as the Post’s bureau chief, is this bombshell:
“When it comes to their most-senior commander, the vets decisively prefer George W. Bush to Obama. Only a third approve of the way Obama is handling his job, and 42 percent of them think he has been a good commander in chief despite his decisions to bring troops home from Iraq, wind down the war in Afghanistan and increase resources for veterans. By contrast, nearly two-thirds of them think Bush, who launched both wars, was a good commander in chief.Discussion at Gateway Pundit
“Their views of the two presidents appear to be shaped less by political affiliation than by concern over the Obama administration’s plans to reduce the size of the military, trim benefits for future service members and curtail the purchase of some costly new weapons systems. Nearly half of vets regard themselves as political independents. Among those who identify with a party, the Republican-Democratic split is only 27 percent to 17 percent.”