News You Can Use for Thursday, March 27

Spring is in the air. Stop and smell some roses!
Spring is in the air. Stop and smell some roses!

Stories of the Day

Busted—hopefully this story is going to have long legs! “But it may have been even more political, and more nakedly partisan, than we suspected. Today Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman wrote a letter to David Robertson, President and COO of Koch Industries. The Democrats’ letter was premised almost entirely on the Washington Post’s discredited article; it repeatedly footnoted that article and the IFG report on which the Post story was based. The two Democrats concluded by requesting that Koch answer questions and produce a long series of documents relating in various ways to the Keystone pipeline. The Democrats’ letter raises an obvious question: did the Washington Post publish its article attempting to link Koch to Keystone at the request of Whitehouse and/or Waxman, or at the request of other Democrats who were coordinating with Whitehouse and Waxman? Given the blatantly political purpose to which the Post’s article has now been put, it is reasonable to inquire into its genesis: was it a Democratic Party plant from the start?” Bombshell In WaPo/Keystone Scandal: Did the Post Coordinate With Congressional Democrats?

Political correctness run amok. “A Navy F-18 fighter pilot and former Top Gun instructor is publicly warning admirals that retention is beginning to suffer from the military’s relentless social conditioning programs. Cmdr. Guy Snodgrass, until recently a Pentagon speech writer for the chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, said sailors are becoming fed-up with the constant emphasis on social issues — an apparent reference to gays in the military, women in combat and ending sexual harassment.” Sailors leaving Navy over stress on social issues, Top Gun instructor says

He’s so ‘yesterday.’ “After thanking the crowd twice for suffering through his boring, standard worn-out spiel, Obama looked around the room, expecting the usual fanfare and applause he receives from his loyal followers back home. It never came. Instead, the Leader of the Free World was met with one slow, awkward clap. Question: was MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in the house?” Barack Obama Knows Now What It’s Like to Give a Speech Where Only One Man Claps

I am posting this just because I love the headline. What others are just now figuring out is what a whole heck of a lot of us knew before this guy was elected the first time. “On Tuesday night, two things happened. 1. A trio of Secret Service agents were sent home from Amsterdam after one was found passed out drunk in a hotel hallway. 2. The Obama administration announced (another) extension of the enrollment deadline for Obamacare sign-ups. At first glance, these two events have little in common. But modern politics is all about narratives and storylines. And both of these events confirm a growing concern from the public about President Obama: That he’s just not up to governing his administration and, by extension, the country, effectively.” President Obama got elected on competence. Now people are starting to wonder.

Seriously? “The magical combination of unions, the NCAA, college football, and Chicago makes me think this can’t possibly lead to a bad outcome.” NLRB regional director: College football players are employees, not student athletes, and can unionize

Big Government

Please read the whole thing! “If the people increasingly believe that bureaucrats try to alter reality to reflect preconceived ideologies or the goals of the particular regime in power, then America as we know it is finished.” Untruthful and Untrustworthy Government: The massaging of critical data undermines our society.

“Maybe this bleak outlook for housing is why Ms. Charles and her colleagues at HUD are desperately looking for ways to break the choke hold that Dodd-Frank and Basel III have placed over the market for new home mortgages. Charles, who was selected by President Barack Obama as a young “leader,” makes no bones about the fact that addressing the “false tension” between regulation and home mortgage lending is suddenly a top priority for the Obama Administration.”  Washington & Wall Street: Obama Administration Desperate to Boost Housing

Common Core

Dumbing down. “First I agree that some parents (and teachers) are overly concerned by children’s self-esteem.  This has led to social promotion which hasn’t helped children in the long run.  There is a difference between being overly concerned about a child’s self esteem and wanting standards that are developmentally appropriate, as well as, not teaching math in an asinine way.  What Bush is criticizing is a cultural difference, not a question of standards.  Dave Breitenstein when visiting Asia to study their education system found that the difference was cultural, “Five countries and nearly 25,000 miles later, one revelation became clear: A math class there is the same as a math class here, only in a different language.” Are Asia classrooms teaching math the Common Core way?  No, especially when you consider the Common Core shifts Algebra back to 9th grade when leading countries like Singapore introduce it in 8th grade.  Also Bush doesn’t consider that Asian countries look to the United States in terms of innovation and creativity two traits the Common Core will not build upon. Second Bush’s comment just further demonstrate how tone deaf he is to the concerns of moms and dads who see the Common Core as moving education back, not forward in the United States.” Jeb Bush: Common Core Critics Care Too Much About Children’s Self Esteem Hat tip: Gayla Coletto, Palo Verde RW member

Democrat Corruption

“’Today, Democrats Across The Country Have Won Some Pretty Heinous Headlines For Their Actions,” GOP.com notes. “Unexpectedly,” as Bloomberg.com would say. Update: “I’ll just say this: Remember Jack Abramoff? Duke Cunningham? Babes in the woods. It’s starting to feel like 2006 all over again, just with the opposite party label all over the indictments,” David Freddoso writes in “The case of Leland Yee: This is the craziest criminal complaint against a lawmaker you’ve ever read.’” ‘A Criminal Organization Masquerading as a Political Party’

The culture of corruption continues, but not in the party Pelosi keeps telling us is corrupt. “The ironies in this case are just delicious. California state senator Leland Yee, along with fellow Democrats, pushed SB 374, which would have banned Californians from owning semi-automatic firearms of all types, a law which Governor Jerry Brown had to veto. According to the FBI, Yee needed a lot of money after his losing mayoral bid in San Francisco, and turned to another career — arms trafficking with organized crime. However, Yee ended up trying to cut his deal with a government informant — and now faces federal charges on both arms trafficking and corruption.” Gun-control California legislator busted by FBI for arms trafficking

Enemies within our borders. “Beyond the widely reported stories of alleged wire fraud, money laundering, corruption, and bribery, the affidavit contains tales of alleged murder-for-hire plots involving a political consultant close to Yee, as well as large international weapons trafficking operations. Indeed, while the media have fixated on the hypocrisy of a gun-control advocate–Yee sponsored legislation against detachable magazines, for example–alleged involvement in gun smuggling, few reports delve into the kind of weapons with which Yee was allegedly involved.” CA Democrat’s Alleged Arms Trafficking Scheme Linked to Islamist Rebels

Elections

We’ll be giggling in November if things go as we expect them to go. “Liberal pollsters aren’t issuing frank warnings about an emerging enthusiasm gap and admonishing Democrats to distance themselves from Obamacare for kicks and giggles. They’re doing so because they’re staring at numbers like these every day.” Poll: Undecided 2014 voters disapprove of Obamacare by 40 point margin

Foreign Policy

The world is not safer under Obama, contrary to what the Leftist Democrats want you to believe. “Diplomacy often requires saying untrue things in service of a greater cause, but no cause is helped by pretending that things are what they are not. After five years, it would be more reassuring to see the president humbled and frustrated by his lack of progress in dealing with North Korea or in making China a more constructive actor on the world stage. Assertions of a parallel reality either are boilerplate to be ignored or reveal a worrisome lack of understanding of actual trends. In either case, they also abet the continued uncertainty and sense of insecurity that is increasing risk throughout East Asia.”  The President Sees a Different Reality in Northeast Asia

Blinded by his own “wonderfulness.” “Washington Post editorial editor Fred Hiatt hopes that president Obama will re-think his foreign policy after a series of failures, though deep down he conceded that Obama probably wouldn’t. Hiatt asks the rhetorical question: “defeat can lead to defeatism, or it can lead to constructive rethinking. Which path will President Obama take after setbacks overseas?” And he provides his own answer. Neither. It will lead to complete denial and more wishful thinking. [Snip] Hiatt got it right; president Obama will never admit to error. Everything is unfolding just as planned, despite appearances. During his forthcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, Obama will pooh-pooh well known differences with the Kingdom. “Some U.S. officials privately likened the Saudi outbursts – all but unprecedented for a kingdom that prefers to conduct diplomacy in the shadows – to a temper tantrum that would have little lasting effect on bilateral ties.”  The Saudis are just little, malevolent, 80-year old kids who will be soothed by the Lightworker.” The Manhattan Project

“It is becoming apparent now what “more flexibility” looks like. And that Mitt Romney was not entirely off the mark when, after Obama’s words to Medvedev, he called Putin’s Russia ‘our number-one geopolitical foe.’ [Snip] The problem with flexibility and erasing red lines is that it leaves you with little flexibility and tempts others to cross red lines you don’t dare erase. “After my election” turns out to be a dangerous time.” Obama’s ‘flexibility’ leads to a dangerous world

“Obama thinks globally and acts locally. Putin thinks locally and acts globally. Putin is determined to score points from the post-American transition. Reducing American power and influence worldwide was a move that the foreign policy left believed would defuse tensions. Instead it has turned into a gold rush for every petty tyrant and terrorist eager to count coup by humiliating the United States.  Obama wanted a peaceful post-American transition. Instead he’s getting worldwide chaos and war.” Obama and Putin: Two Totalitarians, One Game

“On the world stage, Vladimir Putin is a bully—and President Obama not only seems clueless about the Russian leader’s inner drive, he embraces his ambivalence. “I’m less interested in motivation,” Obama said Monday in The Hague, “and more interested in the facts and the principles that not only the United States but the entire international community are looking to uphold.” Taken at face value, it’s a disturbing response from a world leader who should lie awake at night concerned about the motivation of U.S. adversaries, whose first meeting of every day involves an intelligence briefing on the motivations of global actors.” How Putin Bullies Obama:The U.S. president declares a lack of interest in the Russian’s motives—and it shows.

Harry Reid

“’’It’s pretty brazen for Senator Harry Reid to funnel nearly $17,000 in campaign funds to his granddaughter for ‘holiday gifts.’ One of these days Reid will learn that Nevadans don’t appreciate him using campaign money as his personal slush fund,” Jahan Wilcox, a Republican National Committee spokesman, told Politico.” More Sleazy Harry Reid Payments to Granddaughter

“Look, I have no doubt that Ryan Elisabeth’s Etsy shop and skinny-jeaned urban storytelling troupe are just fantastic. But this is getting suspicious:

The five-term senator’s ability to help his relatives may extend well beyond $17,000 for jewelry.

His granddaughter has also received financial support for her fledgling New York theater company from two Nevada-based foundations that typically prohibit donations to organizations outside of their service areas. The foundations belong to gaming and energy companies that have also donated to the lawmaker.” Reid’s granddaughter also got Nevada grants for her NYC theater

“You’ll be shocked to learn that this is not Reid’s first run-in with the FEC. In 2006, Reid used campaign funds to pay out bonuses to the staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he resides in Washington, D.C. (It is illegal under federal election law to use campaign funds for personal use.) Here’s an Associated Press story that contains additional examples of Reid’s general shadiness. [Snip] Meanwhile, Reid continues to attack libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch for allegedly using their wealth and status to enrich themselves and those around them. Keep it up, Harry!” Harry Reid’s FEC Whoopsie Not His First

The Left

“Surveying the fall in support for the governments of Barack Obama, New York City’s progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio and France’s Socialist President François Hollande, a diagnosis of the current crisis begins to emerge: The political left can win elections but it’s unable to govern. Once in office, the left stumbles from fiasco to fiasco. ObamaCare, enacted without a single vote from the opposition party, is an impossible labyrinth of endless complexity. Bill de Blasio’s war on charter schools degenerated into an unseemly attack on poor New York minority children. François Hollande’s first act in 2012, like a character in a medieval fable, was to order that more tax revenue be squeezed from the French turnips.” Why Can’t the Left Govern?

“Williamson observes: “It is a perversion of the English language that our so-called liberals are the least liberal faction in our polity. American liberalism is the creed that you are entitled to think as you like and entitled to do as you are commanded.” But liberals want to control our thoughts too. They seek to stigmatize heterodox thought as bigoted or criminal or otherwise beyond the pale. They seek to destroy those with whom they disagree.” Liberal fascism revisited

The Media

Dangerous. “They want to pick and choose which journalists are covered,” the Texan Republican told Breitbart News. “In other words, if you’re a blogger they might not cover you, but if you work for the New York Times they might. Given the changes in the way we get information and the way we consume news, that really smacks to me in essence of government licensing who’s an official ‘journalist’ for the purposes of a shield law and who’s not. If there is one thing I can glean from the First Amendment, it is that government should not be in the business of licensing the news media.” Exclusive: John Cornyn Rips Chuck Schumer’s Media ‘Shield Law’

“’In a world where liberals wanted to be outraged by George Bush every night, or celebrate the rise of Barack Obama, MSNBC had a theory of the case. But now Obama’s presidency has turned into a slog, and MSNBC isn’t compelling. Prime time is just hours of what often seems like feigned outrage. And the daytime strategy — giving shows to kids in their 20s and 30s, in an apparent bid to reach the youths — is comically bad, and rendered absurd at every commercial break when the catheter ads come on.’” BOTH OF THEIR VIEWERS WILL AGE OUT OF THE DEMOGRAPHIC NEXT YEAR: Politico: MSNBC Is In Serious Trouble.

“MSNBC’s efforts to counteract the effect of an aging audience with younger, inexperienced, and often incompetent hosts like Ronan Farrow have been laughable failures. As Byers rightly points out, any thought about lowering the age of the average viewer is belied by the catheter ads that punctuate the shows hosted by such ingénues. Having bet their future on the concept of a network that would be more liberal than Fox was conservative, the network has a lot to lose if Democrats become apathetic in the waning days of a lame-duck Obama administration. But its corporate masters at NBC should cheer up. If conservatives do take back Congress this year and perhaps even elect a Republican in 2016, depressed liberals will need an outlet for the derangement syndrome that will be named after whomever it is the GOP nominates for the presidency in two years. If so, MSNBC will be there to give it to them.” Obama’s Latest Victim: MSNBC

Obamacare

“Expect the mandate to turn into even more of a “suggestion” before votes are cast in this November’s congressional elections. With the mandate illusion off the table, the Affordable Care Act can no longer hide what it truly is: another unfunded liability for taxpayers.” The Individual Mandate Goes Poof

“This latest instance is defended by the administration and its supporters as just a commonsense measure intended to help those who were stymied during the enrollment process by the glitch-ridden Heatlhcare.gov website. But the political implications of this decision are more far-reaching than the matter-of-fact announcement that sought to represent it as not a big deal. The delay seeks to get the president off the hook for the ACA likely falling millions short of the seven million enrollees that constituted the administration’s initial goal as well as the benchmark that would enable the ACA to be fiscally responsible.” The ObamaCare Chaos Continues

President Obama

Weak. “When President Obama visited Russia in 2009, his hosts, as I reported at the time, found Obama laughably naive. Indeed, they were astonished to find an American president looking for things to give away to Russia in exchange for “good will.” The Russian leadership concluded, in the prophetic words of my source, that they could ‘steal Obama’s pants.’” Imperial trappings for an empty suit

“Can we just sit back for a moment and relish that Politico must describe the Pope as having a “cool factor” that outstrips President Obama’s? God is good and works in unexpected ways.” Humbling: Obama must visit Pope Francis in prayer for popularity

From the comments: “Reading the article made my stomach churn. The falseness and hubris of this POTUS is mind-boggling. He fights Christianity here in this country then goes to Rome to “use” the Pope to show he´s a good guy. There is no place on earth for this man to find peace, nor in heaven. He defiles the meaning of humility. Then, to top it off, a leather case and seeds!!! Arrrgggh!”  “One is a world leader who has been praised for his humility and outlook on the world. The other is an American president, once the international superstar of the political stage. So it is no surprise that President Barack Obama has travelled to the Vatican in Rome possibly to get some tips from the popular Pope Francis who now even has own weekly glossy magazine dedicated to him. As he sat down with the Pontiff at the Vatican this morning, Obama called himself a ´great admirer´ of the pope.”  Getting popularity tips? Barack Obama hopes

Religious Freedom

“I must warn you, my fellow bishops, about something that I see happening in your country and that is the distinction that is being made in your country between freedom of worship and freedom of religion. In Iraq, we have freedom of worship—at least for now—but we do not have freedom of religion. We are “free” to go into our churches and houses and shut the doors and worship as we see fit. But we are not free to do anything more. We cannot display a Cross in our stores or on our doors. We cannot carry a Bible in public. We cannot talk about our Faith in public. We cannot proselytize. We cannot evangelize. It is illegal to convert to Christianity and it is illegal to try and convince anyone to convert Christianity.

We have freedom to worship but we are not free. We have no freedom of religion. I sadly see this same reality beginning to happen in the United States. “ Constitutional Crisis: Freedom of Religion is Fundamental

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