Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

New Year’s fireworks dazzle millions across the globe: 2015 kicks off in photos - AP/National Post

New Year’s Eve fireworks from around the world [videos] - Twitchy

Ring out the old,
Ring in the new...
Ring out the false,
Ring in the true.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English poet (1809-92)

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Top Stories of 2014...

Top 10 political stories of 2014 - The Hill

“When news breaks, and it broke quite a bit this year, Twitter and other social media is increasingly the place we check first.” - Heritage

What Your Tweets Tell Us About the Year’s Biggest Stories - Daily Signal
In the whirlwind of the daily news cycle, stories come and go abruptly, moving faster than ever before. But in what may appear a clutter of events are those gripping stories that kept us talking, namely on Twitter.

The 10 best cars of 2014. - LA Times

How Progressive Was Hollywood in 2014? - Tom Weiss/PJ Media
"A vast majority of the writers, directors and stars may call the far left edge of the political spectrum home, but their most successful movies, at least of 2014, don’t," writes Tom Weiss.

What was your favorite movie from this year?
The Seven Biggest Liberal Fails Of 2014 - W. JAMES ANTLE III/Daily Caller
Want to get your New Year started off right? Let’s recap 2014′s biggest blunders from the left. (Why only seven? Our time is limited.)

7. The child migrant crisis at the border....
6. The Democrats’ abortion obsession backfired....
5. France was forced to abandon its “super-tax” on the rich....
4. Vermont had to shelve its single-payer health care system....
3. The spending cuts that didn’t cause a recession.... KEEP READING
2. All things Gruber. Forget Health care policy wonk Jonathan Gruber went from being the architect of Obamacare to its one-man wrecking crew. Gruber was caught admitting transparency would have killed Obamacare, thanks to the stupidity of the American voter. He suggested premium subsidies would in fact be limited to the state-based exchanges. He acknowledged Obamacare wouldn’t control costs, an admission he once made of his previous project, Romneycare. He said it “wasn’t supposed to” control costs.

1. Republicans won in November. Not only did Republicans recapture the Senate, after failing to do so in 2010 and 2012. Republicans will hold the governorship in Democratic states like Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois. Troubled incumbent GOP governors won reelection in Kansas, Maine, Florida and Wisconsin. Republicans held Ohio in a landslide. Republicans will control 69 of 99 state legislative chambers, a record high.

California Policy Center's 2014 Top 20 Countdown of the MOST READ articles and studies of the last 12 months:
California’s Most Financially Stressed Cities and Counties - California Policy Center #1 MOST READ OF 2014
City of Redondo Beach Fights Unions – Full-time Firefighters Make $220,990 Total Compensation - California Policy Center #2
Transparency Website Shows True Cost of Unionized Government in California - California Policy Center #3
The Differences Between Public and Private Sector Unions - California Policy Center #4
Unaffordable California – It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way - California Policy Center #5
Evaluating Total Unfunded Public Employee Retirement Liabilities in 20 California Counties - California Policy Center #6
How Much Do Los Angeles Police Officers Make? - California Policy Center #7
How Much Do California’s State, City and County Workers Really Make? - California Policy Center #8
How Much Do CalPERS Retirees Really Make? - California Policy Center #9
Calculating California’s Total State and Local Government Debt - California Policy Center #10
California’s “Prevailing Wage” – Floor Vacuuming at $45.93/Hour - California Policy Center #11
The Average Orange County Firefighter’s Total Compensation is $234,000 per Year - California Policy Center #12
Comparing CalSTRS Pensions to Social Security Retirement Benefits - California Policy Center #13
The Ideology of Public Sector Unions vs. Private Sector Unions - California Policy Center #14
California vs. Texas in one chart - California Policy Center #15
The Fall of Pacific Grove – How it Began, and How City Officials Fought Reform - California Policy Center #16
$170,000+ Average Pay & Benefits for Full-time Employees of Small California Town - California Policy Center #17
Unions Extensively Interfere with California Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant Permitting - California Policy Center #18
How Much Do CalSTRS Retirees Really Make? - California Policy Center #19
Evaluating Public Safety Pensions in California - California Policy Center #20

Watch the 6 Best Ads of 2014 - Daily Signal
15 Must-See Charts From 2014 - Daily Signal
The Top News Stories of 2014 in 47 Captivating Photos - Daily Signal
The Most Biased Media Moments of 2014 - Daily Signal

Your top 10 stories of 2014 - Allen West
10.Quite possibly the most racist article you will ever read. This one is very recent – but it confronts issues of race and culture that make people very uncomfortable, for good reason.
9. ISIS at the Mexican border: US attack imminent?
8.Exclusive: Confidential source reveals to me what really happened in Benghazi Americans still need answers.
7. Mark Cuban, Stephen A. Smith and the dirty little secret about blacks and racism. Did I ever mention liberal hypocrisy?
6. Green Beret clarifies difference between war and twitter for Gwyneth Paltrow. Oh Gwyneth. You and your fellow Hollywood liberal elites just don’t get it.
5. ISIS is beheading children: Obama drops two bombs.
3. Folks, you’re missing the point about Donald Sterling.
2. Bombshell: Bowe Bergdahls’s fathers first words at the White House were Arabic.
1.Christian Grammy nominee walked out of the show – I don’t blame her one bit.

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TOP POLITICAL DONOR IN 2014 was Tom Steyer, the Democratic hedge fund billionaire from San Francisco who has tried to make climate change the paramount issue in American politics.

He spent more than $74 million, almost three times the $27.7 million spent by the second-biggest individual donor, Michael Bloomberg. - LA Times

Report: 21,000 regulations so far under Obama, 2,375 set for 2015

The pace of agencies issuing new rules and regulations has hit a record high under President Obama, whose administration’s rules have filled 468,500 pages in the Federal Register. - Paul Bedard/Washington Examiner

And, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the president is poised to unleash another 2,375 new rules on American businesses without first giving Congress an up or down vote.

CEI’s Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy, told Secrets Wednesday that of the top six biggest Federal Register page tallies since 2002, the Obama administration owns five. This year, he said, the Federal Register ended up printing 79,066 pages — 78,978 when blank pages are removed....

Crews put the incoming Congress on notice about Obama’s pending 2,375 proposed rules were issued in 2014 and are under consideration. He pointed out a report that said the administration isn’t supplying the required reports on new rules and said that Congress should take action to demand them.

McCain’s team quietly purging Arizona GOP of tea-party foes before 2016 reelection bid

Control the committeemen and you control the local chairmen. Control the local chairmen and you control the party... - Allahpundit/HotAir
John McCain Engaging in ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ to Purge Tea Party Detractors From Arizona GOP - The Blaze
According to Politico, McCain’s team has been working to reshape the state party, knocking hostile Tea Party-aligned members from local GOP offices and replacing them with allies ahead of the senator’s 2016 re-election bid.
McCain's big purge: The Arizona senator’s team has been ridding the state’s GOP apparatus of his tea party foes. - Politico

The ambitious effort — detailed to POLITICO by nearly a dozen McCain operatives, donors, and friends — has stretched from office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, where strategists plotted and fundraisers collected cash for a super PAC, to Vietnamese-American communities across Arizona, where recruiters sought out supporters eager to help the incumbent defeat the tea party.

Team McCain’s goal? Unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices....

Under the byzantine rules of Arizona Republican Party politics, these elected officials, known as precinct committeemen, vote for local party chairmen. The chairmen, in turn, determine how state and local GOP funds are spent, which candidates are promoted in an election year, and which political issues are highlighted — all matters of central concern for McCain heading into 2016, when the threat of a primary looms.

Prior to Aug. 26, when the races for the party offices were held, the vast majority of the 3,925 precinct slots were filled by people McCain’s team considered opponents. Now, after an influx of candidates were recruited by the senator’s allies, around 40 percent of those offices — 1,531 to be exact — will be held by people McCain’s team regards as friendly. They will have the power to vote down hostile Republican chairmen in each of their respective localities.

“There’s been a huge organizational effort that I’ve never seen before,” said Gordon James, an Arizona public relations executive and longtime McCain confidant. “A lot of the party folks who were hostile to John McCain have been marginalized, and that’s a good thing.”

The biggest foe to fall: Timothy Schwartz, the man who authored the McCain censure resolution....


The hackers who infiltrated Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer servers have threatened to attack an American news media organization, according to an FBI bulletin obtained by The Intercept. - First Look

Referring to Sony only as “USPER1”and the news organization as “USPER2,” the Joint Intelligence Bulletin, dated Dec. 24 and marked For Official Use Only, states that its purpose is “to provide information on the late-November 2014 cyber intrusion targeting USPER1 and related threats concerning the planned release of the movie, ‘The Interview.’ Additionally, these threats have extended to USPER2 —a news media organization—and may extend to other such organizations in the near future.”

In the bulletin, titled “November 2014 Cyber Intrusion on USPER1 and Related Threats,” The Guardians of Peace threatened to attack other targets on the day after the FBI announcement. “On 20 December,” the bulletin reads, “the [Guardians of Peace] GOP posted Pastebin messages that specifically taunted the FBI and USPER2 for the ‘quality’ of their investigations and implied an additional threat. No specific consequence was mentioned in the posting.”

Why did Lena Dunham say her alleged assailant was a Republican?

Gawker Thinks They Found Lena Dunham’s Alleged Rapist… And He’s A Democrat - DAILYCALLER.COM

Media gossip site Gawker claims to have found out who was actually the man who allegedly raped comedienne Lena Dunham while she was a student at Oberlin College. But despite her book’s description of her rapist as the “resident conservative,” the man fingered by Gawker appears to be a registered Democrat. (RELATED: Who, If Anyone, Raped Lena Dunham?)

Breitbart’s John Nolte already demonstrated that much of the information about Dunham’s rapist in her book, “Not That Kind Of Girl,” was blatantly false. Dunham herself was forced to apologize for writing an account that falsely pointed the finger at a prominent Oberlin conservative named “Barry.”

But Gawker identified another man using Dunham’s original 2012 book proposal, which contained a significantly different description of her alleged rapist. The extra details, such as the fact that he was Jewish and the son of an NPR host, point the finger at another easily identifiable individual.... KEEP READING

BREAKING: Man Being Bullied By Lena Dunham May Be Suing Her - TPNN

Last Remaining Global Warming Scam Dies

Earth's sea ice expands to record high... SHOCK STUDY: Carbon dioxide emissions help rainforests GROW FASTER...

Global Sea Ice Breaks Record High For The Day – Antarctic Sea Ice Also Breaks Record High For the Day - Climate Depot

Ice returns to 1984 levels: Area of Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago - Climate Depot

Last Remaining Global Warming Scam Dies - Steven Goddard/Real Science
The area of sea ice on Earth has moved into unprecedented territory. When it was declining, they blamed it on global warming. Now that it is increasing, they blame it on global warming.
Dueling Datasets: Satellite Temperatures Reveal the ‘Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months – (218 Months) - Climate Depot
Carbon dioxide emissions help tropical rainforests grow faster: Study shows trees absorb more greenhouse gas than expected

  • Nasa study shows tropical forests absorb 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 a year
  • Rainforests absorb more than half of CO2 taken up by vegetation globally
  • Scientists previously believed tropical forests emitted carbon dioxide
  • Researchers claim their findings emphasise the need to protect rainforests from deforestation to help counteract human greenhouse gas emissions

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Constitution’s horrible, no good, very bad year

William A. Jacobson has a column at USA Today... you’ll have to head over to USA Today, and help share the link on Twitter and Facebook. - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
2014: The year the Constitution lived dangerously - William A. Jacobson/USA Today

...At every level, the Obama administration has signaled that going it alone is the only way to get things done.

But that is not how our constitutional system is set up. The Framers understood the threat of an overreaching executive who wants to be king not president.

Midterm election exit polls confirm other polling showing trust in government near historic lows. Dissatisfaction with government is the top non-economic public concern.

The Obama administration's relentless expansion of executive power through extra-constitutional means only further fuels the public's distrust of government. If 2014 was a referendum on Obama, 2016 may be a referendum on whether the public wants the federal government, particularly the president, to live within constitutional boundaries.

Will our next president be a king, queen or a constitutionally-limited president? That is the question for 2016.

Krauthammer on Obama’s Veto Threat: ‘Bring It On, Mr. President’

President Barack Obama will block 2015 funding for the Department of Homeland Security if Republicans includes spending curbs on the president’s executive amnesty, says a top aide. - Daily Caller

That amnesty action includes the award of work permits, drivers’ licenses, Social Security cards and tax rebates to at least four million illegal immigrants, despite the wage-cutting surplus of American workers in Obama’s economy.

The adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, told a Huffington Post interviewer Dec. 29 that the president would “absolutely not” sign a 2015 spending bill that would include limits on amnesty spending.

Would Obama veto the spending curbs? “Yep,” Pfeiffer said.

How should Republicans handle Obama’s threat to use his “veto pen” in the coming two years? Charles Krauthammer says the GOP should say: “Bring it on, Mr. President.” - Kelsey Harkness/Daily Signal

Speaking to Kimberly Guilfoyle on “Greta” ...the syndicated columnist and Fox News commentator advised the GOP to, “Let the president show where the party stands, and let the country know that with a new Republican president, this stuff–which is very popular–will be able to get through.”

The pieces are coming together to complete a big picture of political corruption

News Media Outlets Caught Directly Funding Political Activism of Tax-Dodging Demagogue Al Sharpton - KARA PENDLETON/IJREVIEW.COM

...Melissa Francis, host of Money With Melissa Francis on Fox Business News, spoke with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly about how Sharpton’s political and financial backing by Comcast and NBC is deeper than it appears.

Francis reports that Comcast, MSNBC and NBC Universal all directly funded Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) as recently as this October. Each were “Preacher Level” sponsors at a combined 60th birthday party/fundraising event for Sharpton that netted an estimated $1 million in donations....

In ascending order, the sponsor levels noted on the event program were “Media Sponsor,” “Contributor,” “Medallion,” “Track Suit,” “Hair,” “Brooklyn,” “Preacher,” “Author,” and “Activist.”

When asked about the donations, NAN’s response was less than forthright:
“We can’t confirm or give comment that quickly. We have not done our audit for 2014, so how would anyone know when there has been no report on who gave what?”
Situations like these between Sharpton and his donors are not unique. A New York Post article from 2008 provides several other examples of instances where Sharpton threatened boycotts or negative publicity to garner large donations. Once donations were received, these companies were given public support or even awards of recognition.

You may perhaps have wondered where the Reverend Al Sharpton is getting his money from. I mean, this is a guy who doesn’t exactly have a church to fund raise off of. - Conservative Tribune

So who is it? Well, Megyn Kelly tracked down the people who are paying for Sharpton’s racist rhetoric, and while the answer may not surprise you, the extent to which the funding occurs will.

An undeniable connection that can't be ignored.

Bill de Blasio’s Pick for NYPD Oversight Board Linked to Group in Cop-Killer Video - Evan Gahr/Daily Signal

The lawyer who chairs the New York City agency responsible for investigating police brutality allegations has ties to the federally funded legal-aid group featured in a cop-killer video.

Obama Adviser Jonathan Gruber In 2009: Obamacare Will NOT Be Affordable

President Obama’s health care adviser Jonathan Gruber said that the Affordable Care Act would definitely not be affordable while he was writing the bill with the White House. As Gruber continues to withhold documents while he awaits a call-back for more testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the new year, more shocking information is coming to light detailing the deceptions that went into the writing of the health-care law. - Patrick Howley/Daily Caller

Gruber said that Obamacare had no cost controls in it and would not be affordable in an October 2009 policy brief, presented here exclusively by TheDC. At the time, Gruber had already personally counseled Obama in the Oval Office and served on Obama’s presidential transition team. Obama, meanwhile, told the American people that their premiums would go down dramatically.

“The problem is it starts to go hand in hand with the mandate; you can’t mandate insurance that’s not affordable. This is going to be a major issue,” Gruber admitted in an October 2, 2009 lecture, the transcript of which comprised the policy brief....

ObamaCare Hits Small Business Hard in Gloomy ´15 - Investor´s Business Daily

Red Tape: With businesses´ one-year reprieve from financial penalties under ObamaCare ending, the horror stories of complying with the costly health care law already are trickling in. The worst is yet to come.

ObamaCare fines rising in 2015, IRS prepares to collect - Fox News

Don´t have health insurance? Get ready to pay up. The ObamaCare-mandated fines for not having insurance are rising in 2015 -- and for the first time, will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service. The individual requirement to buy health insurance went into effect earlier this year. But this coming tax season is the first time all taxpayers will have to report to the IRS whether they had health insurance for the prior year. The fines for the 2014 year were relatively modest -- $95 per person or 1 percent of household income (above the threshold for filing taxes)...

◼ GRUBER: Obamacare WON'T Be Affordable...

We'll Have To Deny Treatment - Daily Caller

87% of new users given federal aid - Paul Bedard/Washington Examiner

More businesses switch to part-time to meet law - USA Today

"The brief resurgence of traditional Keynesian ideas is washing away from the world of economic policy."

An Autopsy for the Keynesians - John H. Cochrane/CATO Institute

This year the tide changed in the economy. Growth seems finally to be returning. The tide also changed in economic ideas. The brief resurgence of traditional Keynesian ideas is washing away from the world of economic policy.

No government is remotely likely to spend trillions of dollars or euros in the name of “stimulus,” financed by blowout borrowing. The euro is intact: Even the Greeks and Italians, after six years of advice that their problems can be solved with one more devaluation and inflation, are sticking with the euro and addressing — however slowly — structural “supply” problems instead.

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne wrote in these pages Dec. 14 that Keynesians wanting more spending and more borrowing “were wrong in the recovery, and they are wrong now.” The land of John Maynard Keynes and Adam Smith is going with Smith.

Why? In part, because even in economics, you can’t be wrong too many times in a row....

Yes, there is plenty wrong and plenty to worry about. Growth is too slow, and not enough people are working. Even supporters acknowledge that Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare are a mess. Too many people on the bottom are stuck in terrible education, jobless poverty, and a dysfunctional criminal justice system. But the policy world has abandoned the notion that we can solve our problems with blowout borrowing, wasted spending, inflation, default and high taxes. The policy world is facing the tough tradeoffs that centuries of experience have taught us, not wishing them away.

Looking for Mr. Good President

The last on my block, I have just finished reading Lynne Cheney’s splendid biography of our fourth president, James Madison: A Life Reconsidered. - Roger L. Simon/PJM

I blush to admit that my knowledge of Madison was not extensive. Of course I knew he was one of the authors of The Federalist and was considered the father of the Constitution. And, yes, I did know a bit more than that. I wasn’t completely ignorant. But, like many of my generation, growing up I had paid more attention to the likes of Marx and Marcuse. They were the cool guys. The Founding Fathers were people you had to study to pass a test, fogeys in wigs who took snuff and had elaborate handwritings....

In Cheney’s telling, you see why he made the choices he (Madison) did and in almost every case you agree — at least I did. What you see most, in Madison and Jefferson, is that in the end character is king. It’s who you are that determines things or, as Reagan famously said, “People are policy.”

That is why I am not one of those who gets overly head up over whether someone is a Tea Partier or a RINO. In fact, I’m not much for the terminology, which largely puts me to sleep. I prefer to take a step backwards and look at the person. I want someone who is psychologically and intellectually prepared for the unexpected, because none of us knows what the future will bring....

Lynne Cheney's James Madison: A Life Reconsidered Available at Amazon

Cheer up: The pessimists are wrong and America's future is bright

How do you think 2015 will be for you? If you’re typical, you’ll be pessimistic; and, if you’re typical, you’ll be wrong. Only 21 percent of Americans agree with the proposition that “life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us” — 76 percent disagree. 0 DAN HANNAN/Washington Examiner

So why the gloom? As Lord Macaulay asked a century and a half ago, “On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

“This time it’s different,” chorus the pundits, as pundits do in every generation. Pessimism sells. Editors publish it, politicians preach it, voters echo it. But they’re all wrong.

What’s really different this time? The level of immigration? Every generation of Americans has expressed precisely the same fears, with as much apparent cause. The power grabs by President Obama? Not a patch on either of the Roosevelts. A kulturkampf with militant Islam? Try flipping it around, and imagining how the world must seem to an Islamist worried about Westernization in his own country. Look at the clothes people are wearing, the TV they’re watching, the brands they’re buying: Who’s really losing here?

Ah, but what about the borrowing level? An $18 trillion federal debt is unprecedented. Surely here, at least, things can’t carry on as they are? Right. And if things can’t carry on, they won’t. One way or another, there will have to be a haircut, after which a number of federal programs will be shut down or devolved to the 50 states.

The private sector will always, over time, grow faster than the government, because entrepreneurs are smarter, collectively, than bureaucrats. Vast new wealth will be created from 3-D printing, driverless cars, advances in biotechnology and other sectors that we can’t now imagine. State regulators will always be playing catch-up. Free enterprise will outgrow the state, as the jungle swallows up Mayan ruins.

Take just one measure. Cheap energy is a pretty reliable forerunner of growth, lowering production costs, boosting competitiveness and increasing disposable income. Which is why it is so important to pessimists to keep predicting a looming price rise. Well, who called that one right?

Cheer up: Life keeps getting better.

REPORT: 96% of Illegal Immigrant Families With Deportation Orders 'Can't Be Found'...

96 percent of the more than 4,100 families released on recognizance and ordered deported did not show up to court.

Thousands of illegal immigrants who spilled into border states earlier this year have “disappeared” from government tracking, according to a recent investigation by a Houston TV station.

The wave of unaccompanied children and women illegally crossing into the United States between July and October was so large that Border Patrol had to release thousands on their own recognizance due to lack of detention space.

China Needs Millions of Brides ASAP

In January, the director of China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that China is home to 33.8 million more men than women out of a population exceeding 1.3 billion. - Bloomberg

China's vast population of unmarried men is sure to pose an array of challenges for China, and perhaps its neighbors, for decades to come. What's already clear is that fraudulent mail-order wives are only the start of a much larger problem.

The immediate cause of China’s gender imbalance is a long-standing cultural preference for boys. In China’s patrilineal culture, they’re expected to carry on the family name, as well as serve as a social security policy for aging parents. In the 1970s, China’s so-called One Child policy transformed this preference into an imperative that parents fulfilled via sex selective abortions (made possible by the widespread availability of ultrasounds). As a result, millions of girls never made it onto China’s population rolls. In 2013, for example, the government reported 117.6 boys were born for every 100 girls. (The natural rate is 103 to 106 boys to every 100 girls.) In the countryside, the ratio can run much higher -- Mara Hvistendahl, in her 2011 book, Unnatural Selection, reports on a town where ratios run as high as 150 to 100. Long-term, such imbalances can create an excess of males that might reach 20 percent of the overall male population by 2020, according to one estimate.

Of course, social expectations aren’t just confined to boys. In China, daughters are expected to marry up -- and in a country where men far outnumber women, the opportunities to do so are excellent, especially in the cities to which so many of China’s rural women move. The result is that bride prices -- essentially dowries paid to the families of daughters -- are rising, especially in the countryside....

Monday, December 29, 2014

Remember that Iran claims to be a "moderate and peaceful country."

Iran Hangs Seven on Christmas - Washington Free Beacon

The Iranian regime hanged seven citizens on Christmas morning and at least 12 others in the days before and after the holiday, according to Iranian dissidents monitoring the human rights situation....

The latest round of state-sanctioned killings—which have hit an all time high in the past year—came just days after President Barack Obama praised Iran in an interview at the White House and said that it could be a “successful” member of the international community.

Obama claimed that Iran can be a “very successful regional power” if it decides to relinquish some portions of its contested nuclear weapons program, according to the interview, which was conducted with NPR.

”They’ve got a chance to get right with the world,” Obama was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, in the days leading up to Christmas, Iran “secretly hanged” another 10 prisoners who were being held in one of the regime’s most infamous and brutal prisons, according to the NCRI.

What Larry Sabato's crystal ball says about Obama's final 2 years

The 2014 midterm elections were largely a referendum on President Obama, and Republicans should expect him to push more unilateral action over the next two years to avoid political battles with a GOP Congress, according to University of Virginia Political Science Professor Larry Sabato. - Greg Corombos/WND

As a result of the GOP controlling both sides of Capitol Hill, Sabato said Republicans should brace themselves for Obama’s attempts to change policy unilaterally as he did on immigration in November.

“Yes, this will be an interesting two years,” he said. “I think there will be a fair number of executive actions, executive orders. There’ll be all kinds of things that he will do independently because he knows he’s not going to be able to give anything substantial through Congress.”

While debates continue over the constitutionality of such moves, further executive action by Obama is likely to come on issues that will please the liberal base of the Democratic Party but infuriate Republicans and many independents. That sets up a curious situation for the 2016 Democratic nominee, who most expect to be Hillary Clinton. Sabato said Clinton will try to run on her husband’s record from two decades ago but that avoiding Obama’s unpopularity will be virtually impossible....

Goodbye to one of the best years in history

It might not feel like it, but we are safer, richer and healthier than at any time on record - Telegraph UK

This may have felt like the year of Ebola and Isil but in fact, objectively, 2014 has probably been the best year in history. Take war, for example – our lives now are more peaceful than at any time known to the human species. Archaeologists believe that 15 per cent of early mankind met a violent death, a ratio not even matched by the last two world wars. Since they ended, wars have become rarer and less deadly. More British soldiers died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme than in every post-1945 conflict put together.

The Isil barbarity in the Middle East is so shocking, perhaps, because it comes against a backdrop of unprecedented world peace.

We have recently been celebrating a quarter-century since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which kicked off a period of global calm. The Canadian academic Steven Pinker has called this era the “New Peace”, noting that conflicts of all kinds – genocide, autocracy and even terrorism – went on to decline sharply the world over. Pinker came up with the phrase four years ago, but only now can we see the full extent of its dividends.

With peace comes trade and, ergo, prosperity. Global capitalism has transferred wealth faster than foreign aid ever could....

Nothing is irreversible. And there will be a great many people for whom life is tough, and looks set to remain so for some time. We still have a lamentably long list of problems to solve. But in the round, there’s no denying it: we are living in the Golden Era. There has never been a better reason for people the world over to wish each other a happy and prosperous new year.

LAPD on Tactical Alert After Two Men Attempt Assassination of Police Officers

The Los Angeles Police Department is under a city-wide tactical alert after at least one gunman opened fire on two officers driving in their patrol car. This tactical alert sent every officer available to the area. The officers reportedly returned fire and were, thankfully, uninjured. - TPNN


Sunday night at approximately 9:30 p.m local time in South Los Angeles, two officers responding to an unrelated call in their patrol vehicle were fired upon in an ambushed style attack.

One person of interest was taken into custody moments after the shooting but the second suspected gunman is still on the loose.

Hey GQ, can’t find any crazy Democrats? Here are 16

In a survey of the “Craziest Politicians of 2014,” GQ had difficulty locating any Democrats. Seventeen out of 20 on the list were Republicans, with the only liberals being Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson and America’s reigning nabob of nuttiness, Joe Biden. - Kyle Smith/New York Post (image source)

In a note appended to the story, GQ defensively said it wasn’t guilty of “standard liberal-media bias,” it just couldn’t find any loony Democrats to speak of.
Let’s give GQ a little help, shall we? Here are 16 more Democrats for the list of the most cra-cra political figures.

This may strike you as a bit esoteric, but it's important.

Herman Cain: For years, Democrats have manipulated the way the CBO "scores" tax and spending bills, and it looks like this is about to end. This should lead to much better economic legislation.

GOP getting ready to eliminate dishonest 'scoring' of spending and tax bills - Cain TV

You may not know a lot about the Congressional Budget Office or its "scoring" of tax and spending bills, but it carries a lot of weight in Washington - and that's often a problem given the rules congressional Democrats have imposed on the economists who run the CBO.

When Congress proposes a spending and/or tax bill, the CBO develops a "score" of the bill that's designed to show its impact on the budget and deficits. Now that can be a useful thing if it's done honestly, but under Democrat-imposed rules, it's not. The CBO has to score the bills under the assumption that the numbers Congress gives it are accurate, and it makes no provision for the likelihood that a major change in spending or tax laws will impact people's economic behavior.

So if the Democrats want to raise taxes by $10 billion in a year, the CBO has to assume this will automatically raise exactly $10 billion in revenue. We all know life doesn't work that way, of course, because people make adjustments to new costs imposed on them. It's like me raising the price of my books by $5 each and assuming the sales wouldn't be affected in any way by the higher price. That's nuts. Of course they would. (Otherwise I would obviously raise them through the roof. Why not?) But this is how the Democrats have been making the CBO do things for years, which makes it all the more maddening that the political class and many pundits (including many conservatives) treat pronouncements from the CBO as if they are an unassailable look into the future, rather than some Keynesian economist's wild guess about what's going to happen.

Thankfully, it looks like the new Republican Congress is finally going to change these rules... KEEP READING

Here's how inspectors found $43b Washington could save

Taxpayers could save as much as $43 billion if officials running the biggest federal departments would do what their internal watchdogs recommended in 2014. - Washington Examiner

That $43 billion would be about $27 returned for every dollar invested in the work of 14 of the 15 inspectors general overseeing White House cabinet-level departments. Together, the budgets of the 14 IGs amount to more than $1.6 billion, according to their semiannual reports to Congress.


Kwanzaa, celebrated exclusively by white liberals, is a fake holiday invented in 1966 by black radical/FBI stooge, Ron Karenga — aka Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder of United Slaves, the violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers. - NN COULTER/Human Events

...In what was ultimately a foolish gambit, during the madness of the ’60s, the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the group, the better. By that criterion, Karenga’s United Slaves was perfect....

Kwanzaa praises collectivism in every possible area of life — economics, work, personality, even litter removal. (“Kuumba: Everyone should strive to improve the community and make it more beautiful.”) It takes a village to raise a police snitch. When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from “classical Marxism,” he essentially said that, under Kawaida, we also hate whites.

While taking the “best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism” — excluding, one hopes, mass murder, forced abortions, imprisonment of homosexuals and forced labor — Karenga said Kawaida practitioners believe one’s racial identity “determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding.”

There’s an inclusive philosophy for you!

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Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future

Illustration by Michael Marsicano

(I)n the year 2014 Elon Musk doesn’t need much of an introduction. - Ross Andersen/Aeon Magazine

Not since Steve Jobs has an American technologist captured the cultural imagination like Musk. There are tumblrs and subreddits devoted to him. He is the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. His life story has already become a legend. There is the alienated childhood in South Africa, the video game he invented at 12, his migration to the US in the mid-1990s. Then the quick rise, beginning when Musk sold his software company Zip2 for $300 million at the age of 28, and continuing three years later, when he dealt PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion. And finally, the double down, when Musk decided idle hedonism wasn’t for him, and instead sank his fortune into a pair of unusually ambitious startups. With Tesla he would replace the world’s cars with electric vehicles, and with SpaceX he would colonise Mars. Automobile manufacturing and aerospace are mature industries, dominated by corporate behemoths with plush lobbying budgets and factories in all the right congressional districts. No matter. Musk would transform both, simultaneously, and he would do it within the space of a single generation.

Whatever else might be said about him, Musk has staked his fortune on businesses that address fundamental human concerns. And so I wondered, why space?

Musk did not give me the usual reasons. He did not claim that we need space to inspire people. He did not sell space as an R & D lab, a font for spin-off technologies like astronaut food and wilderness blankets. He did not say that space is the ultimate testing ground for the human intellect. Instead, he said that going to Mars is as urgent and crucial as lifting billions out of poverty, or eradicating deadly disease.

‘I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary,’ he told me, ‘in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, “Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left.”’

Musk has been pushing this line – Mars colonisation as extinction insurance – for more than a decade now, but not without pushback. ‘It’s funny,’ he told me. ‘Not everyone loves humanity. Either explicitly or implicitly, some people seem to think that humans are a blight on the Earth’s surface. They say things like, “Nature is so wonderful; things are always better in the countryside where there are no people around.” They imply that humanity and civilisation are less good than their absence. But I’m not in that school,’ he said. ‘I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future.’ KEEP READING

Does 'Blue Hole' hold secret to Mayan collapse?

This undated image provided by the Belize Tourist Board shows an aerial view of the Great Blue Hole, a popular diving site that's part of Belize's barrier reef. (AP Photo/Belize Tourist Board)

Everything from overhunting and a peasant uprising to deforestation and an alien invasion has been proposed to explain why the Mayan civilization collapsed, Smithsonian notes. But one theory has been gaining ground in recent years: extreme drought. - FOX

Now more evidence has surfaced to support the drought postulation—and the proof may just lie in Belize's most famous underwater cave. Rice University professor Andre Droxler's team analyzed sediment found in the "Great Blue Hole," a 410-foot-deep sinkhole in the middle of Lighthouse Reef, LiveScience reports.

Not only did the chemical composition of the silt indicate periods of sparse rainfall during the Mayan decline (likely between AD800 and AD1000): It also showed that a second huge drought probably occurred between AD1000 and AD1100—right around the time the Mayans' relocation site of Chichen Itza is said to have fallen.

After all, the easiest way to win an argument is to tape your opponent’s mouth shut. Too many educators today think this is a good idea.

This Student Lost His Gig at College Newspaper for Writing Something Politically Incorrect - Jim DeMint/Daily Signal

Omar Mahmood, a junior at the University of Michigan, writes for both the mainstream campus newspaper, The Michigan Daily, and university’s alternative conservative publication, the Michigan Review. At least he used to, until he became academia’s latest victim of political correctness.

Mahmood recently penned a brief satire of the “check your privilege” fad, claiming (tongue in cheek) that a system of right-handed privilege was oppressing left-handed people everywhere through daily right-handed “micro-aggressions” — a bit of jargon beloved by the progressive “social justice” crowd. The article was humorous, harmless and conservative.

In response, The Michigan Daily invoked a seldom-enforced technicality to kick Mahmood out of his writing gig, claiming a conflict of interest. Much worse, a group of students vandalized his room, pelted the door with eggs and hot dogs, attached hateful messages calling Mahmood “scum” and told him to “shut up” and leave the school.

The editor of the Michigan Review said, “These progressive students attacked Omar because they felt that he, as a Muslim, cannot also be a conservative.” One also wonders whether more media networks would be sounding the hate crime alarm over the attacks on Mahmood if it weren’t for his political views....

It’s not really about protecting the common good; it’s about power. Control who gets to speak, and you control the debate. Control the debate, and you control how people think. Control how people think, and you control society.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Note about President Bush 41


President and Mrs. Bush enjoyed watching the Houston Texans football game together today, and send their congratulations to Coach Bill O’Brien and the team for a hard-fought, winning season. As we indicated previously, the president will remain at the Houston Methodist Hospital this evening. We hope to have news about a possible discharge soon.

Jeb Bush leads GOP 2016 field: Poll

Several media outlets today have stated "Jeb Bush surges to 2016 GOP front-runner." Interesting, seeing as how every poll we've taken, with hundreds of comments each time, 95% vote "no." Do NOT let the media pick our candidate. - Join the Discussion on Facebook

Be sure to comment your opinion when you see those posts. So we ask YOU again: Jeb Bush 2016... Yes or No?

CNN/ORC Poll: Bush surges to 2016 GOP frontrunner - CNN

The former Florida governor was backed by 23 percent of respondents in a CNN/ORC poll. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in second, with 13 percent; physician Ben Carson grabbed 7 percent; and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee both tallied 6 percent. - Washington Examiner

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan each scored 5 percent, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz polled at 4 percent.

Bush is one of the few candidates in the field to announce he's exploring a presidential run.

GOP 2016 poll dilemma: To include Mitt or not? - Byron York/Washington Examiner @ByronYork

CNN breathlessly touted a new poll Sunday with the headline "Bush surges to 2016 GOP frontrunner." The network's Twitter feed was even more breathless: "BREAKING: Jeb zooms to top of GOP field." The poll in question found former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leading the Republican presidential field with 23 percent, in front of Chris Christie, with 13 percent, and Ben Carson, with 10 percent.

CNN's pollsters included a lot of names in the results. In addition to Bush, Christie, and Carson, they asked respondents about support for Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Santorum, Mike Pence, and Rob Portman.

But amid all those names — 14 in all — CNN left one off: Mitt Romney. The 2012 Republican nominee has been leading the GOP field in surveys that include his name — indeed, he led CNN's November poll, with 20 percent to Bush's 9 percent. Did Romney's support disappear in the space of a month, even as Bush announced he is "actively exploring" a presidential run?

Unlikely. If CNN had included Romney in its poll, the 'Bush zooms' story probably wouldn't have been written.

Bill Bratton: Police Officers ‘Feel Under Attack from the Federal Government at the Highest Levels’

National attention on recent cases and the ensuing comments from President Obama and attorney general Eric Holder have led to police forces across the country feeling as if they are “under attack,” says New York Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton. - Andrew Johnson/National Review Online
#BlackLivesMatter Protesters Sing: “Deck The Halls With Rows Of Dead Cops” - Daniel Greenfield/Front Page’s the real face of the violently racist #BlackLivesMatters crowd....

This is why the police turned their backs on De Blasio. You can’t pander to violent bigots like this and then come out and give a eulogy over the bodies of their victims.

Black Mob Violence at Christmas, All Over the Country - Colin Flaherty/American Thinker,
Hold on, it's going to get worse. - Discussion at Lucianne
Holder and Obama are making race relations worse, inflaming hatred - John Fund & Hans Von Spakovsky/Washington Post
Law-enforcement officials are appalled at the way the Obama administration exploited tragedies in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City to appeal to its political base. David Clarke, a Democrat who is the African-American sheriff of Milwaukee, doesn’t mince his words.

“The thing that disappoints me the most is some very powerful people in this country — the president of the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York — have created a pathway that contributes to an unjustifiable hatred of law enforcement officers across the country,” he told WMAL radio in Washington, DC. “They trashed an entire profession with a broad brush because it was politically expedient for them to do so.”
Only 40% of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling race relations - Discussion at Lucianne
Leftist Protesters Have Forfeited Any Moral Standing They Might Have Had - Gay Patriot