Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pressed fairy imitation

 

Don't know what a pressed fairy is? OMG, I've loved these for years! From Brian Froud's LADY COTTINGTON'S PRESSED FAIRY BOOK. This " is the diary kept by Lady Cottington. Instead of pressing flowers in it, she pressed fairies (with a resulting look remarkably similar to watercolors). Handwritten and handsomely bound, this book is as surprising as it is pleasing. The publisher (at the request of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Fairies) notes that no fairies were injured or killed in the manufacturing process...:


My kind of humor. I admit it. It makes me belly laugh.

On a different note but just as fantastical, Steve MOWED the front yard last night! Whoa. He wanted to try out the newer more powerful mower.

Nothing on TV for me tonight so I will hopefully read.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster





Current Events - April 23, 2014

IRS bonus scandal demonstrates that it's time for the GOP to wake up and run against the IRS

By Thomas Lifson
The partisan bureaucrats at the IRS who were ready and willing to harass conservative groups are just the tip of the iceberg at a corrupt and irresponsible agency that just happens to be the most unpopular and feared arm of the federal government. So self-serving is the agency that it actually paid bonuses – many bonuses – to employees who were delinquent in their own taxes. Gail Sullivan of the Washington Post reports:

report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration shows that between Oct. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, the IRS paid $2.8 million in bonuses to employees cited in the past year for such things as drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, misusing government credit cards and — get this — failing to pay their taxes.
The report said more than 1,100 employees who failed to pay their taxes received discretionary awards of more than $1 million in cash bonuses and more than 10,000 hours in extra paid vacation.
At least five employees received performance awards after being disciplined for intentionally under-reporting their tax liabilities for multiples years, paying taxes late and under-reporting income.

This is beyond outrageous; it is the stuff of fatal institutional rot. Such practices encourage misbehavior, and make fools out of people who actually do work hard and keep their noses clean. How bad do you have to be before suffering any problems?

You have to do something really bad before the IRS will take conduct into account, bad enough to be suspended for 14 days or more. Even then, conduct is only deemed relevant to awards of permanent pay increases, not for bonuses or extra vacation time.

Given the standard of conduct demanded of the rest of us by the IRS with the presumption of guilt on our shoulders, this is completely unacceptable.

The GOP has a golden opportunity to launch a campaign to abolish the IRS and substitute a simpler tax system based on a VAT or sales tax, taxing consumption.

Yellen proposes taxing savings at 2% a year until further notice

What?  She did?

Yes she did.  She ….She has decided … yes, She has decided that a 2% inflation rate is just the answer to our economic troubles.  And She has also decided that zero interest rates are here to stay for a while. Yes, She has decided and She has spoken. Praise unto the Federal Reserve Chairperson.

It was just a few years ago that Cyprus was on the rocky shoals of bankruptcy.  One of the solutions floated to assuage the condition was a 10% tax on savings.  Outrage ensued.

Yet what Ms. Yellen proposes is exactly the same solution.  It is merely dragged on at smaller increments for a longer period.  Outrage, where art thou?

The much ballyhooed and headlined “Federal Reserve Mandate” includes the direction to “stabilize prices”.  At the Yellen recommended rate of 2% inflation, compounded, prices will rise by 64% nearly every 25 years and will double every 36 years.  Exactly where is the allegiance to price stability?  And more importantly, where is the authority and the power to encourage inflation?  We, those who save and hold dollars, respectfully inquire.

So as Yellen continues with the ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) and promotes 2% inflation (as they so lamely measure), the net effect cannot be denied.  No country has ever assumed a ZIRP and extricated themselves.  Couple this with the fear of deflation, trumped up as beef, shrimp, electricity, and gasoline all are making or near all time high prices, and we have a misguided unauthorized policy implemented by an appointed body, self directed by assumed authorities and guided by false inflation measures. What could go wrong?


By Cassy Fiano
Illinois is not just the state that gave us our illustrious president. It’s also the state where the dead can rise. This clearly explains why Medicaid paid $12 million worth of medical services for people listed as deceased.
The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.
The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says the state auditor compared clients enrolled in the Medicaid database last June with state death records dating back to 1970. Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.
The heads of the departments of Healthcare and Family Services and Human Services, the two state agencies involved with Medicaid payments, outline steps to fix the problem in the memo to their senior staffs.
Sure, let’s trust the agencies who messed up in the first place to fix it. Makes sense. But is it really that big of a problem, considering that the dead still vote in Illinois, too?

Instead of berating capitalists, we need to make it easier for workers to join their ranks. 

By Michael TannerFor those who believe in the redistribution of wealth, the hero of the hour is Thomas Piketty, the French economist whose book Capital in the Twenty-First Century provides a serious critique of inequality in modern capitalist economies and warns that market economies “are potentially threatening to democratic societies and to the values of social justice on which they are based.” To remedy this, he argues for a globally imposed wealth tax and a U.S. tax rate of 80 percent on incomes over $500,000 per year.
The Left has been rapturous. In the last two months, Piketty’s book has been cited more than a half-dozen times by the New York Times, something that has happened with no other book in recent memory. Paul Krugman hails it as “the most important economics book of the year.” Martin Wolff, in the Financial Times, lauded it as “an extraordinarily important book.”
Capital in the Twenty-First Century is well researched and contains much useful information and some important insights. But it is not unflawed. Some of the problems are technical — Piketty tends to underestimate the elasticity of returns on capital — but more are deeply philosophical. Piketty takes the evilness of inequality as a given, ignoring the broader question of whether the same conditions that lead to growing wealth at the top of the pyramid also improve material well-being for those at the bottom. In other words, does it matter if some people become super-rich as long as we reduce poverty along the way? Which matters more, equality or prosperity?
To cite just one example, Piketty devotes considerable effort to criticizing the rise of inequality in China over the past three decades as it has adopted market-oriented policies. But he largely glosses over the way those policies have lifted millions and millions of people out of poverty.
Piketty’s proposed “solutions” are equally problematic. He seems to believe that “confiscatory taxes” (his term) can be imposed without changing incentives or discouraging innovation and wealth creation. Piketty’s solutions would undoubtedly yield a more equal society, but also one that was remarkably poorer.
Still, Piketty makes some important points. In particular, he notes correctly that returns on capital nearly always exceed the return on labor. With capital held by a relatively narrow group, therefore, rising inequality is inevitable. Moreover, with the wealthy able to pass capital on to their heirs, that inequality will be perpetuated and even extended over generations.
One wonders why, then, Piketty’s fans ignore the obvious answer to this problem. Instead of attacking capital and capitalism, why not expand the number of people who participate in the benefits of having capital? In other words, let’s make more capitalists.
Yet, the Left is unremittingly hostile to exactly those policies that would give workers more access to capital.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes pens radical 'climate justice' manifesto

By Byron York

"What the climate justice movement is demanding is the ultimate abolition of fossil fuels," writes MSNBC's Chris Hayes in a lengthy new call for action against global warming. To drive home the point, Hayes' piece, published in The Nation, is titled "The New Abolitionism," and its message is that a way must be found to "convince or coerce" the world's energy companies and energy-producing nations to give up the multi-trillion dollar business of powering the planet. Once the fossil fuels regime has been destroyed, it will be replaced with — well, that is the subject for another article.
Comparing anti-fossil fuels activism to abolitionism gave Hayes some pause. "Before anyone misunderstands my point, let me be clear and state the obvious: there is absolutely no conceivable moral comparison between the enslavement of Africans and African-Americans and the burning of carbon to power our devices," Hayes writes. "Humans are humans; molecules are molecules. The comparison I’m making is a comparison between the political economy of slavery and the political economy of fossil fuel."

Hayes, a former Nation writer who remains an editor-at-large at the publication, compares the Southern economy based on slavery — worth trillions in today's dollars to the slaveholders — to the economy based on carbon fuels. Energy companies and energy-producing nations have ever-increasing stores of recoverable oil and gas that are almost unimaginably valuable in today's economy. And with today's rate of exploration and technological advances, those reserves are increasing by the minute. But burning all that fuel, Hayes argues, citing various influential environmental writers, would destroy the planet. The oil and gas must stay in the ground if human civilization is to survive.
"It's a bit tricky to put an exact price tag on how much money all that unexcavated carbon would be worth, but one financial analyst puts the price at somewhere in the ballpark of $20 trillion," Hayes writes. "So in order to preserve a roughly habitable planet, we somehow need to convince or coerce the world’s most profitable corporations and the nations that partner with them to walk away from $20 trillion of wealth."
Note the phrase: "convince or coerce." If persuasion were to fail, coercion — presumably by the federal government or some very, very powerful entity — could be pretty rough. Certainly by writing that the "climate justice movement" should be known as the "new abolitionism," Hayes makes an uneasy comparison to a 19th century conflict over slavery that was settled only by a huge and costly war — a real war, not a metaphorical one. Is that how environmentalists plan to save the planet from warming?
....Hayes' article is not a detailed blueprint for the replacement of fossil fuels with alternative energy. It has policy recommendations of a sort; for example, the oil and gas companies must stop exploring for more oil and gas, because if they continue, they'll just find more. In addition, ways to transport oil and gas, like the Keystone XL pipeline must be stopped in the hopes of keeping more oil and gas in the ground, where it will not contribute to warming the earth.

Fed. Judge Rules Ohio Must Follow Other States' Marriage Laws Instead of Its Own


By David Roberts

So long, Ohio. According to a federal judge Monday in Henry v. Himes, the U.S. Constitution now requires that the laws of one state automatically supersede those of Ohio, whether or not Ohio approves.
The circumstances surround same-sex marriage, though the precise legal issue is one that has been flying below the radar for some time – the recognition by one state of another state’s same-sex marriage. In the case, several same-sex couples with marriage licenses from California, Massachusetts, and New York sought recognition of their relationships in their home state of Ohio, where marriage is defined as between only one man and one woman. According to Monday’s ruling, Ohio’s marriage laws are “facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances.” Thus, same-sex marriage licenses from any jurisdiction are valid in Ohio. 
While the court said that Ohio is not required to issue its own marriage licenses to same-sex couples, this reservation amounts to a distinction without a difference. If same-sex couples can cross the state line, get a same-sex marriage, and then demand full recognition of their relationship upon returning home, it makes little difference whether Ohio issues licenses itself. 
But is this result really required by the U.S. Constitution?
When the Supreme Court struck down DOMA last summer in the Windsor case, it struck down only the federal definition of marriage, leaving in place the sovereignty of the several states. Federal law still affirms that “[n]o State... shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State... respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex.” In other words, if your state doesn’t have same-sex marriage, your state doesn’t have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Yet, in this ruling that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other states, the court determined that this directly-applicable provision of federal law is somehow “not specifically before the Court.”
However, states have the right to be different from each other, and they do so in a whole host of ways, especially when it comes to licenses. Marriage licenses per se have never been required to be recognized in other states. The states have traditionally done so in most cases, but not always. In the Matter of the Estate of Fannie May, New York chose to recognize another state’s marriage between an uncle and niece, but acknowledged that it didn’t have to do so. In Moustafa v. Moustafa, Maryland refused to apply Egyptian law and rule that a man was lawfully married to more than one woman at the same time. Yet, in addition to concluding that same-sex marriage is somehow deeply rooted in the history and traditions of America, the court in Ohio also found a brand new federal right never before seen – an absolute “right of marriage recognition.”
Yet having a license somewhere doesn’t mean you have a license everywhere. Beyond marriage licenses, no lawyer, physician, or other licensed professional has an automatic right to practice his trade everywhere just because one state has licensed him. A Florida lawyer can’t walk into a Texas courtroom and begin practicing law, and Texas isn’t required to allow it. While courts, hospitals, and others typically grant certain privileges to out-of-state professionals, they are not required to do so. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OK, maybe I like winter better

What Springtime Means for Many of Us


Last night for dinner I had a Greek(ish) salad. Nummy. So good I'll probably have it again tonight.

I didn't get much reading done last night due to TV so maybe I'll have a better chance after ....
Guess what's on tonight? Yes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! And that means a photo of Agent Coulson!



Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - April 22, 2014

What's Actually Good for the Environment May Surprise You

By Amy Payne
Good news for Earth Day: We can boost energy production and economic growth without harming the environment!
Thanks to years of empty promises from the Left, politicians in Congress and the White House have installed all sorts of harmful policies that block energy production, jobs, and economic growth. But those policies have shown themselves to be counterproductive—they don’t deliver the benefits liberals promised, and they hurt Americans.

Here are two examples that may surprise you.
1. An oil pipeline is environmentally safe.
The Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama just delayed again, has received an environmental green light multiple times—from this administration.
State Department impact reports have concluded “that the pipeline, a Canada-based project to deliver up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day to Gulf Coast refineries, would pose no significant environmental risk and would not contribute substantially to carbon dioxide emissions,” says Nicolas Loris, Heritage’s Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow.
Loris also notes that the project “has bipartisan support, the backing of several unions, and approval from former energy and interior secretaries.”
The pipeline would bring jobs and would help provide additional oil supply. “With high economic benefits and minimal environmental impact, this project should be a no-brainer,” Loris says. But elections seem to be a problem for Keystone. After a promise to decide the pipeline’s fate by 2011, President Obama postponed the project through the 2012 election—and this latest delay pushes a decision past the midterms.
2. Biofuels are not better for the environment.
Here’s another case where central planners promised they knew what was best for us—and it’s not working out. In fact, it’s costing us.
A new study out this week concluded that biofuels aren’t the “clean” alternative to gasoline that advocates promised. In fact, producing biofuels can release more greenhouse gases than using gasoline.
It’s been known for years that biofuels aren’t as environmentally friendly as we were first told. Heritage’s Loris wrote last year that “After accounting for land-use conversion, the use of fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides, as well as the fossil fuels used for production and distribution, biofuel production is quite carbon-intensive.”
Even if unintended, the consequences of mandating ethanol production and use in gasoline have been disastrous. Loris reports:
The mandate promised less dependence on foreign oil, lower fuel prices, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of delivering on these promises, the mandate delivered concentrated benefits to politically connected producers and higher costs to America’s energy consumers.
Whether it’s blocking helpful developments or mandating harmful ones, the government isn’t getting environmental policy right. That’s why The Heritage Foundation’s American Conservation Ethic includes the principle that the most successful environmental policies come from liberty.

EPA ‘Jetting Around the Country’ for Week-Long Earth Day Tour

By Elizabeth Sheld
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility took a swipe at the EPA for sending bureaucrat Gina McCarthy on an greenhouse gas generating five city tour for Earth Day.  
Administrator McCarthy will undertake a greenhouse gas laden week-long tour that will "far exceed" any benefit from her climate change proselytizing.   
“Frenetically jetting around the country appears to undercut [the] EPA’s message to ordinary Americans that they should conserve, consume less and reduce transportation pollution,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said in a statement. 
McCarthy will be participating in "various events to...focus on responsible steps to cut carbon pollution to slow the effects of climate change" in New York, Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta and Memphis. 
Some activities on the tour were called into question. 
Ruch noted that some events on McCarthy’s itinerary have questionable ties to promoting climate action, such as joining Energy Secretary Moniz to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday's Red Sox vs. Yankees baseball game at Boston's Fenway Park.
Ruch went on to note: 
“[The] EPA touts this tour as meaningful but this agency’s effectiveness in public education is not measurable. While Ms. McCarthy is an engaging individual she is hardly a charismatic figure whose mere presence galvanizes public action.” 
For shame. 

IRS Strips Conservative Group of Tax-Exempt Status Over Anti-Hillary Remarks

By Becket Adams
The IRS has stripped a conservative group of its tax-exempt status following the group’s repeated criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her successor, John Kerry.
The Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty “has shown a pattern of deliberate and consistent intervention in political campaigns” and made “repeated statements supporting or opposing various candidates by expressing its opinion of the respective candidate’s character and qualifications,” the IRS said in a written determination explaining its decision to revoke the group’s status.
Losing its tax-exempt status means contributions to the Virginia-based conservative group are no longer tax deductible.
The Patrick Henry Center was among several organizations listed in a February notice that had lost their tax-exempt status, but the IRS letter released Friday explained the agency’s reasoning for doing so.
Although the Patrick Henry Center’s name was redacted from the IRS letter, the case aligns closely with recent statements made by leaders of the conservative group, USA Today reported.
The IRS said the group forfeited its status by promoting regularly politically charged articles written by Patrick Henry Center founder Gary Aldrich, a former FBI agent.
In a 2004 article, Aldrich wrote of then-Democratic presidential candidate Kerry, “if John Kerry promises otherwise ill-informed swing-voters lower gas prices at the pump, more than a few greedy, registered ignoramuses will follow him anywhere.”
In another anti-Kerry article in 2004, Aldrich wrote: “I’m quite certain Senator John Kerry will be a ‘hero’ to today’s peaceniks, anarchists and any others who hate Amerika. But for the more than 50,000 Vietnam Veterans whose names appear on the Vietnam Memorial, Senator John Kerry is nothing but a skunk.”
“Let’s see what happens when he brings his medals to the first presidential debate. I’m willing to bet George W. Bush will have no trouble dealing with this coward,” he wrote.
...Later, in 2005, Aldrich wrote an article titled, “Stop Hillary Now!” The article encouraged “Clinton haters” to get out the word on Hillary’s “atrocious conduct,” the Washington Times reported.
By promoting these articles with alerts on its website, the IRS said, the Patrick Henry Center acted as an “action organization,” thereby violating rules that state tax-exempt groups, in this case a 501(c)(3), must refrain from engaging in electoral politics.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said last week that his agency and the U.S. Treasury Department are discussing defining the meaning of “candidate-related political activities.”

CNBC vs. NBC: Did Democrat Donor Influence Latest Keystone Delay?

By Jeffrey Meyer
Following the latest delay, NBC mostly ignored the story, giving it a paltry 18-seconds on the Saturday April 19 Today. Keystone was briefly mentioned on Sunday’s Meet the Press during an interview between moderator David Gregory and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). CNBC’s Squawk Box was the only NBC program to mention that Democratic billionaire and environmentalist Tom Steyer had pledged $100 million for Democratic candidates on the condition that Keystone not be approved. 

Petition to denounce Tom Steyer

By Thomas Lifson
At change.org, a petition has been posted by Sunny Berman for online signatures denouncing billionaire Tom Steyer for his far more self-interested political donations, and promises of a hundred million bucks for candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline, while profiting from subsidized green energy projects.
Tom Steyer is using his vast fortune to pervert the political process and, by destroying competition for his American-based “green” energy projects, to enrich himself at the expense of the American people.
Steyer’s personal net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion, making him a 1 percenter among 1 percenters. He recently made news when he pledged to use this vast personal fortune to fund Democrat candidates to the tune of $100 million in 2014 in exchange for their efforts to oppose the Keystone pipeline.
On average, coal output on projects that Farallon funded has almost doubled thanks to Farallon’s (and, therefore, Steyer’s) contributions. It’s worth noting here that many of these projects occurred in countries that do not enforce strict emission controls on the coal industry.
Thanks to these investments, Farallon may well be the single largest private coal investor in the world. The Koch brothers, by contrast, own a now defunct coal mine that, at its peak, produced .04% of the production from the coal mines in Farallon’s portfolio. It’s therefore reasonable to believe that Farallon has profited to the tune of around $400 million thanks to his company’s overseas investments in coal production.
Like any good 19th century robber baron, Steyer doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty abroad, but likes to keep his image clean at home. There is no evidence that he has remorse for the coal his money has produced overseas, or for the land and lives despoiled, or for the CO2 emission that coal created. He has not confessed and repented; nor has he used his vast wealth to remediate the damage to both people and the environment that his profitable investments caused.
Steyer seeks to earn a halo from environmentalists here at home, as well as to increase his profits in the green energy sector, by using his coal money to deny Americans the jobs and lower energy costs that would result from the Keystone pipeline. He should be denounced and condemned in the strongest terms by the greatest number of people.

Obama Sends Strongest Signal Yet that He Expects Democrats to Lose the Senate

By Bryan Preston
If Democrats lose the Senate this fall, Barack Obama loses the lynchpin of his lawlessness. The Senate in Harry Reid’s grubby hands has killed Obamacare repeal bills by the bushel and keeps every possibility of holding Obama accountable at bay. But the Senate in GOP hands can, and likely will, open a slew of investigations that have been locked in the House or stymied outright up to now. For Obama, facing a House Oversight Committee investigation into the IRS scandal is one thing. Facing investigations in both the House and Senate, and the probability of select committees investigating various things, with John McCain and a newly empowered Ted Cruz and Mike Lee baying at him, is another thing entirely.
The Senate can impeach.* I don’t expect that to actually happen, but the threat alone is bracing. As long as Harry Reid controlled the Senate, there was no threat at all.
Now, with polls showing the Democrats’ Senate majority in major trouble, Barack Obama is lawyering up.
President Obama on Monday said he has selected W. Neil Eggleston to become chief counsel, adding the expertise of a veteran attorney who was involved in some of the most heated legal battles of the Clinton administration.

Obamacare exchange paying Planned Parenthood employees to enroll people in plans

By Patrick Howley
California’s Obamacare exchange Covered California is paying Planned Parenthood employees for each person that they enroll in Obamacare.
“Certified Enrollment Entities are paid a flat-fee of $58 per successful application and $25 per successful annual renewal. The Enrollment Entities compensate the individual Enrollment Counselors,” according to California Health Benefit Advisers.
Thirty-eight different Planned Parenthood clinics in the state are listed as certified enrollment entities, according to state exchange records.
By Robert Hutchinson
...Polling data has revealed that a substantial portion of the 8 million signups have come from two sources:  previously insured people who had their “substandard” private policies cancelled by government edicts and were forced to buy Obamacare policies to replace them… and people signing up for free coverage through Medicaid.
Last December, the Associated Press estimated that 4.7 million Americans lost their coverage due to Obamacare rules.
In other words:  Obama rigged the system so millions of people would have their insurance policies cancelled… and now is bragging that those same millions have purchased the only alternative now on offer, his government-run plans.
...But that only tells half the story.  Many Obamacare plans are just as much “catastrophe” plans as the ones they are replacing:  Bronze and Silver policies have high deductibles of $6,500 or more… and family caps as high as $12,500.  In other words, families will still pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for many health services.
When the reality of that finally sinks in, many consumers will stop paying their premiums… especially when, as many experts predict, they increase substantially after this November’s elections.

...In other words:  Obama rigged the system so millions of people would have their insurance policies cancelled… and now is bragging that those same millions have purchased the only alternative now on offer, his government-run plans.
It would be like a stickup man robbing you of your wallet and then bragging that he’s a humanitarian because he’s willing to loan you some money… at 25% interest.
The truth that the U.S. media are carefully covering up is that Obamacare is horrendously expensive for what you get.

5 Ways Obama Has Destroyed The Rule Of Law In America

By John Hawkins
...Tell me why any American should respect the law?
Because it's moral? Not necessarily. Slavery was once the law of the land. Abortion is the law of the land today. Even in a nation like America, it's not unusual for laws to be unfair, unjust, and even immoral.
Is it because laws represent the will of the people? Not anymore. Today, the "law" is often summarily created from murky statutes by unelected bureaucrats who face no consequences for destroying people's lives.
Well, is the law at least equally applied? Absolutely not. Your political affiliation and how well connected you are to the regime in charge can have a direct bearing on whether you're prosecuted for breaking the law and how serious the penalty will be.
So, what's left?
Respect for the law? Why should anyone respect arbitrary, immoral laws that aren't equally applied and don't reflect the will of the people? Under Barack Obama, the "law" in this country has become nothing more than whatever you can get away with and we're likely to feel the consequences of that for decades to come.
1) Obamacare is whatever Barack Obama says it is: Barack Obama has no more legal right to change Obamacare all by his lonesome than Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, or for that matter, Justin Bieber does. He simply doesn't have the legal authority to delay the employer mandate, delay taxes that are written into law, or give subsidies through federal exchanges to places where no state exchange was set up. Yet, Obama has delayed or changed the meaning of the law 19 times as if he were Kim Jong- un, as opposed to the President of a republic. 2) There are different laws for Tea Parties and the Occupy Movement: In city after city, the Occupy Movement was allowed to protest without expensive permits, participants were allowed to illegally camp and in some places they were allowed to break the law with impunity, which is why it's so staggering that there were still almost 8,000 arrests by the time all the dirty hippies abandoned their tents and rape-free zones to go home and take showers. Meanwhile, Tea Party groups across the country weren't given any similar breaks. 

Liberals Digging Their Political Graves

By Christopher Chantrill
...Liberals do not think about the real meat of political philosophy, which is not to design a perfect political system with perfect justice, but to deal with the real problem: rulers and their appetite for power. Liberals worry instead about how to flush out the racists, sexists, and homophobes that are lurking in the woods waiting their chance to turn back the clock on glorious progressive achievements. Their concern is that the ruling class of liberals doesn't have enough power to do good.
...Suppose you were to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016 and you were cudgeling your brain figuring out how to light a fire under the 4 million voters that didn't get out to the polls to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. An aide comes in with some PowerPoint slides describing an America where liberals had forbidden conservatives to organize, where the IRS and the Justice Department had conspired to harass and maybe even criminally prosecute ordinary American citizens because they didn't fill in their incomprehensible government forms properly. The last slide has the quote from the Democratic president who had airily declared one day in 2014 that there wasn't a “smidgen” of evidence of corruption at Lois Lerner's IRS. The GOP nominee would say: where do we send the thank-you note?
I have a new catchphrase for all this: “Governing makes you stupid.”

I Will Not 'Go Gentle into That Good Night'

By Jim Yardley
....Under the leadership (or perhaps diktats would be a more accurate term) of Barack Obama, our government (you know, the one that is “of the people, by the people, for the people”) seems to have decided that the “people” are now superfluous and can be ignored.  If they choose not to be ignored, they will be harassed, oppressed, threatened, and (if Lois Lerner had her way) imprisoned for their desire to speak loudly in defense of the traditions and values that made this nation the greatest and most free society that has ever existed on the planet.
So how will we, individually and collectively, respond to the approach of that “good night” marking the end of a great nation?  Speaking as an individual, I will never be silenced, nor can I be intimidated by the mouthings of a poseur in the White House, nor by any of his lackeys who populate the various executive departments.  I will never stop writing what I believe to be truth.  I might occasionally be wrong, but I will never try to communicate something untrue. 
But how about collectively?  How should we, as a nation of men and women, not children, respond to the threat of the death of our country; our way of life; and the values, hopes, dreams beliefs, and faith in what our Founders planned and built for us?
Dylan Thomas provided us an answer in the last line of his poem:
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
It is time, and past, for us to show rage at what Obama and his thugs are trying to do to us.  We are not slaves.  We are those who still believe in a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”  We still look at America as that shining city on the hill, and we still grow misty-eyed when we hear "The Star-Spangled Banner" played (even if we admit to ourselves that it’s a really terrible piece of music).
We should not – no, actually, we must not – show bestial rage like the animals that populated the Occupy crowd.  But display civil disobedience – not violence or destruction of property or physical assaults – against the proto-fascists so favored by the Obama regime. 
Think civil disobedience would be a waste of time?  It could be that you’re right.  Of course, there have been people here and there throughout history who would disagree on that. 
Mahatma Gandhi would head the list, with Rosa Parks standing at his side.  Our own Thomas Jefferson once said: “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”  Bishop Desmond Tutu went even farther when he said:  “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  And the icon of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, expressed the same sentiment when he said: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
And what is more a civil right than those expressly guaranteed in our Constitution?
It’s fair to point out that Mr. Gandhi, Ms. Parks, and Dr. King at the very least have proven that civil disobedience on a massive scale can be extremely effective.  That is the best way I can imagine to exhibit our rage.  Even the mouthpieces of the Obama administration, such as the New York Times, would have a hard time burying a headline that read, “100,000 Arrested for Disobedience.”
Now that would be a headline.

Why are the cops punishing Common Core opponents?

By Robby Soave
A school district asked the police to prohibit certain students from setting foot on school property because their parents had privacy concerns about Common Core-aligned standardized testing, and wished to opt their kids out.
The incident happened at Marietta City Schools in Marietta, Georgia. The Finney family didn’t want their three children — in third grade, fifth grade and ninth grade — to participate in the state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, partly because of the vast amounts of data the government is collecting about their children, and partly because they think the tests don’t serve a compelling educational interest, according to The Marietta Daily Journal.
Their sentiments are shared by a growing number of parents around the country, who increasingly see standardized tests as a costly bureaucratic tool that allows the government to gather personal information about kids. Criticisms of the tests are closely linked to criticisms of Common Core, the new national education curriculum standards that are fiercely opposed by both conservative grassroots and teachers unions.
“They are collecting data on our children,” said Mary Finney in a statement. “Now, with Common Core there is such a large amount of information and data collected on children. People don’t realize it. We don’t want to sound like we’re wearing tin-foil hats, but they want to track our kids from kindergarten through college.”
The Finney family attempted to opt out of the tests, but administrators were unsure whether they were legally permitted to do so.
And then — at West Side Elementary School — a police officer barred the Finneys from setting foot on school property.
If the kids weren’t going to take the tests, their presence at school was a “kind of trespassing thing,” according to the officer.



By Bryan Preston
Prof. Brent Terry teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Eastern Connecticut State University. In a lecture Monday morning, he said that Republicans are “racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing people” who want to turn the clock back and keep blacks and Latinos from voting. The Republican Party was founded to end slavery while the Democrats started a civil war to preserve slavery, but ESCU’s history department probably doesn’t teach that. He also said that if the Republicans win the Senate this fall, America will be a “very, very different kind of country” in which colleges will start closing up.
Campus Reform reports that the audio was captured by a student, who wishes to remain anonymous. ESCU has released a statement saying “Our faculty has academic freedom to conduct their classes in whatever way they choose, this is not a university matter.”
Just another day in academia.
By Sean Long
They may be good at making movies, but Hollywood celebrities’ lifestyles are far from an environmentalist’s dream. Their globetrotting, multiple mansion owning ways are inconsistent with the environmental agenda they loudly promote.
Showtime’s new climate change series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” premiered April 13, 2014, slightly more than a week before Earth Day 2014. It relies on several wealthy, Hollywood celebrities to spread fear about climate change. While these actors and directors talk a lot about reducing carbon footprints and saving the world, they haven’t given up their own enormous mansions and private jets.
Director James Cameron, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and actors Harrison Ford, Matt Damon and Ian Somerhalder who are worth a collective $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth, were just some of the Hollywood types involved in Showtime’s nine-part series.
Through “Years of Living Dangerously,” each of these men sound the alarm about environmental threats, yet  -- by their own standards -- their lifestyles do more harm to the environment than that of the average citizen. Cameron maintains multiple estates and a fleet of fossil-fuel burning vehicles, while Somerhalder boasts online about his frequent international flights while complaining that the conventional gas engine needs to go and London cabs need to be retrofitted and made cleaner.
These are the top five environmental hypocrites from “Years of Living Dangerously.”
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger Linked to Deforestation, Criticized for Private Jet Commuting
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who joined the Showtime series as both executive producer and an on-screen correspondent, has a long history of both climate alarmism and environmental hypocrisy. Incidentally, the former governor is worth $300 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
One of the first stories in “Years of Living Dangerously” decried the role of deforestation in contributing to climate change. Specifically, the series blamed Indonesian deforestation on its government and on companies involved in the palm oil industry.
But Schwarzenegger must have ignored the episodes featuring Harrison Ford addressing the problem of deforestation. On March 27, 2014, Business Insider cited a report from the non-profit Global Witness which claimed Schwarzenegger profited heavily from palm oil-related deforestation and that he was invested in one of these companies.
“Ironically, some of the same companies that are responsible for the worst abuses are among the holdings of Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), the $US338 billion fund of which Mr. Schwarzenegger is estimated to own some 5%,” Business Insider wrote.
But that isn’t the only instance of eco-hypocrisy on the part of the Governator. As governor of California his actions didn’t reflect a desire to reduce his personal carbon emissions. Rather than living in the state capital of Sacramento, Schwarzenegger continued to live in his massive Southern California mansion, commuting over 300 miles to work. This commute wasn’t too difficult for him since he flew his private jet to work multiple times a week, according to Ecorazzi.
The Los Angeles Times, in 2008, reported estimates from the Helium Report noting that Schwarzenegger’s jet “does nearly as much damage to the environment in one hour as a small car does in a year.”
2. James Cameron Lives Lavishly While Saying ‘Live With Less’
James Cameron, worth $700 million thanks to a successful film career with highlights like “Titanic” and “Avatar,” was an executive producer of “Years of Living Dangerously.” Cameron has been outspoken against those skeptical of climate change calling them “swine,” according to Ecorazzi, and “boneheads” that he wanted to “shoot it out with.”
More troubling still, in 2010 Cameron said, “I believe in ecoterrorism,” according to Breitbart.
Cameron has also pushed an eco-friendly lifestyle, at least in public remarks. In 2010, he said, “it will be a dying world if we don’t make some fundamental changes about how we view ourselves and how we view wealth,” the Los Angeles Times reported. He continued, “We’re going to have to live with less.”
But Cameron certainly doesn’t appear to be living with less. The Independent (UK) reported in 2010 that he owned three houses in Southern California (including prestigious Malibu) that take up more than 24,000 square feet combined and “each have heated swimming fuels,” but they are sorely lacking in “a single energy-saving solar panel or windmill.”
Similarly, filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer said Cameron owns “a JetRanger helicopter, three Harleys … a collection of dirt bikes, a yacht, a Humvee firetruck” and most preposterously “a fleet of submarines.”
This certainly doesn’t sound like a man personally committed to “living with less.”
3. Harrison Ford Loves to ‘Fly Up the Coast for a Cheeseburger’
Harrison Ford, beloved by many as movie fans for his roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, appears conflicted between his love of flying and his worship of nature.
In the first episode of “Years of Living Dangerously,” Ford declared “I needed something outside of myself to believe in and I found in nature a kind of god.” This conviction apparently led him towards climate alarmism and concern about carbon emissions.
This same reverence must not be present, however, when he burns literally tons of fossil fuels piloting his fleet of aircraft. According to Breitbart, Ford gave a 2010 interview with Live magazine where he revealed that he is “passionate about flying” and will “often fly up the coast for a cheeseburger.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in 2010 that Ford, who is worth $210 million, owns “several aircraft.” The Mirror (UK) revealed in 2013 that this fleet was joined by a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter. That extravagance is hypocritical given Ford’s warnings about the danger of fossil fuels and carbon emissions.
4. Matt Damon: Bashes Natural Gas with Foreign Oil Money
Matt Damon, who has starred in many films including the Bourne trilogy, is yet another green hypocrite on the team of “Years of Living Dangerously.” In an upcoming episode, Damon will discuss climate change’s supposed role in heat waves. He has a history, however, of inaccurately and hypocritically promoting environmentalism.
Damon, who is personally worth $75 million, co-wrote and starred in a widely hyped anti-fracking film called “Promised Land” which opened on Dec. 28, 2012. The film portrayed greedy and ruthless natural gas companies, intent on extorting drilling rights from poor farmers.
But “Promised Land” which bombed at the box office, was financed in part by Image Nation, a film company completely owned and operated by the oil-rich government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Promised Land” was produced “in association with” Image Media Abu Dhabi which was owned wholly by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to the CIA World Factbook, UAE exported $166 billion of crude oil in 2013. UAE is also a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Climate alarmists are quick to attack climate skeptics with allegations of fossil fuel funding, but Damon was somehow able to remain a high-profile environmentalist in spite of the connection.
5. Ian Somerhalder Tweets His Love for ‘Global Trotting’
Ian Somerhalder, most famous for his role as Boone on “Lost,” is also involved with “Years of Living Dangerously.”
He’s thrilled to be working on Showtime’s documentary and tweeted, “Couldn’t be more proud to watch this dream come true. CHECK OUT EPISODE 1 OF YEARS #YEARSProject,” celebrity website Wetpaint said.
Reports suggest he will bash the coal industry in his climate alarmist portion of the program. Although not nearly as wealthy as many of the other celebrities on this list, with his $4 million net worth, Somerhalder is just as hypocritical.
Twitchy reported a series of embarrassing tweets that expose Somerhalder’s elitism and environmental double standards.
On May 7, 2013, Somerhalder complained in a tweet about airlines’ carbon output, saying “Airlines should look at their carbon output&plant trees to offset pollution. Anyone want to calculate what aBoeing 777 puts into the air?”
Surrounding this tweet, however, Somerhalder excitedly documented his personal flights to China, Spain, Canada, Russia, Hungary, Italy, France, Belgium, England and both coasts of the United States. While admitting that these flights emitted large amounts of carbon emissions, he gushed over this “Whirlwind of global trotting” just a day earlier on May 6.
Somerhalder’s also used his tweets to call for other people to make expensive changes in order to benefit the environment. While in London in June 2013, Twitchy said he tweeted “I LOVE London but you guys have got to get cleaner-burning engines in these Black London Taxis. Retrofit the old ones please-its not right…”
Similarly, Somerhalder declared on May 7, 2013, that it was “time to end conventional gas engine” simply because he “can’t open [his] window b/c of the exhaust coming off of street.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

Aaawwwww.....

You're Making me Feel Sheepish!


I'm current reading on Kind, THE MAP OF LOST MEMORIES by Kim Fay. A stand alone, here is a description:
In 1925 the international treasure-hunting scene is a man’s world, and no one understands this better than Irene Blum, who is passed over for a coveted museum curatorship because she is a woman. Seeking to restore her reputation, she sets off from Seattle in search of a temple believed to house the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. But her quest to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century soon becomes a quest for her family’s secrets. As Irene travels through Shanghai's lawless back streets and Saigon’s opium-filled lanes, she joins forces with a Communist temple robber and an intriguing nightclub owner with a complicated past. What they bring to light deep within the humidity-soaked Cambodian jungle does more than change history. It ultimately solves the mysteries of their own lives.
Published 2012, it has 338 pages. It was an Edgar Award Finalist for Best First Novel by an American Author. I dunno, I came across this title accidentally and the cover caught my attention and then the setting grabbed me. I hope it turns out to be good; it is keeping my attention.

Tonight I have The Blacklist on TV. We're counting down to the season finale so things will be heating up from now on so I can't miss it no matter how tired I am. Prior to that I could watch The Voice, which has now gone to "live" shows (being Mountain time zone, we're an hour delayed). 

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - April 21, 2014

Obama heads to Asia as tensions in Ukraine continue to flare

By Susan Crabtree

President Obama is moving forward with his seven-day trip to Asia this week as clashes between Ukraine and Russia continue and tensions in the region continue to simmer.
The president will leave Tuesday evening for Tokyo, Japan, where he will begin his four-country tour through Asia. After Japan, he will head to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines on a make-up trip that was originally scheduled to do during the government shutdown last fall.

While Obama administration officials touted the travel as an important opportunity to to pursue a “strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region,” developments in Ukraine are continuing to make headlines and distract from the president's long-attempted pivot to Asia.
....Obama is dispatching Vice President Joe Biden to Kiev Monday night. After an agreement last week aimed at easing the tensions, the Ukrainian government said it would set down its weapons and cease trying to take back buildings occupied by pro-Russian forces for the Easter weekend. But the accusations of blame between Ukraine and Russia continued over the weekend, after a shootout at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine held by the separatists left at least three of them dead.
Before Obama departs for Japan, he and the first family will host the White House Easter Egg Roll Monday, and Tuesday he will travel to Oso, Wash., to view the devastation from the recent mudslide and meet with families affected by the disaster.


By Roger L Simon
What happens when presidents lie?
The American public has had plenty of experience with this in recent years.  Liar-president could be the new hyphenate occupation like writer-producer or architect-contractor.  Almost every president has shaded things a bit, but three modern ones have been unabashed bull artists — Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and, of course, Barack Obama.
Clinton ultimately got a pass for his prevarications. Nixon didn’t.  Neither deserved one. But our current liar-president deserves one even less, because his lies have been of substance, affecting policy.  Nixon and Clinton just lied in self-defense — normal human cowardice.
Obama is something else again. He lies proactively and often reflexively. By  proactively I mean the obvious, such as “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.  Period!” By reflexively I mean that emotional no-man’s-land when someone says something they don’t really mean, but they say it anyway because they think it sounds good or makes them seem as if they are doing the right thing.
The red line against Syrian chemical weapons is a perfect example.  Did Obama ever have any intention of  following up on that?  Who knows? (Not only are most of those weapons still in Syria, the French say Assad may still be using them.)
Does the president himself know he is lying?  I am not sure. Obama would not be the first person to think that pronouncing something made it so — and he has spent his life from a very young age surrounded by people who have not contradicted him. The implications of this are quite disturbing, if you think about them.
It’s a form of what shrinks call “magical thinking” and is an indication of a disconnected personality. It is so, if you think so, as Pirandello famously put it (alternatively translated as “Right you are, if you think you are.”)
But whatever the case, Obama’s lies have far greater impact than the other presidents’ because almost no one across an increasingly fractious world believes him anymore.  What a relief that must be to the Iranians not to have to pay attention to his huffing and puffing about sanctions or whatever pathetic amount of saber-rattling, already pro forma, he might do. The nuclear talks can now go on in the spirit to which the mullahs are accustomed — a charade. Obama is one of them — he lies too.  Everybody lies.  Hahaha.
So they can produce a faux document, assuming we even get to read it, that no one adheres to and move on.  Does anyone expect otherwise?  Could a man who could not even be honest about the details of a health insurance plan be trusted to negotiate the enrichment of uranium in a secretive country on another continent governed by religious fanatics who have been hiding their activities for decades and for whom deception is a way of life?
What will Obama say if and when a dirty nuke explodes in one of our shopping malls, thousands die and the global economy goes into free fall?  Maybe he will forget he ever said “Iran won’t have a nuclear weapon.  Period!”
Okay, he never said “period” in this case.  Everyone would have doubled over in hysterical laughter. Maybe he’d just press that old reset button with Russia and get Vladimir on the line to help solve things.

GAO report: White House directly involved in Enroll America fundraising

By Ed Morrissey
When Congress refused to appropriate more funds for ObamaCare enrollment after already committing a deluge of cash to that effort, now-outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began working the phones to perform an end run around Capitol Hill. Sebelius began calling corporate CEOs to push them into donating millions of dollars to Enroll America, an outside group started by Anne Filipic, a former White House staffer. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated, and discovered that Filipic wasn’t the only White House staffer involved in the fundraising campaign:
The White House allegedly was involved in seeking financial support for a pro-ObamaCare group, according to a new report issued in response to Republican concerns about the administration’s fundraising efforts.
Until now, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the only official known to have solicited financial support for Enroll America, a nonprofit that promoted enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. But a Government Accountability Office report released Monday detailed not only the secretary’s involvement but that of a White House adviser.
 ...It’s worth noting at this point that HHS regulates these markets in significant ways, especially after the passage of ObamaCare. This wasn’t just a case of working the phones for a charity. This was the Cabinet official with the most impact on these businesses extolling the efforts of a supposedly independent group launched by a close adviser to the President. It doesn’t take much ink to connect those dots, which is why insurers began complaining loudly enough about the pressure for Congress and the media to take notice.
It was a shakedown, pure and simple, to wring more money and assistance out of industry players in order to bypass Congress on funding operations within the executive branch. That should prompt Congress to demand more answers, and perhaps to cut off even more funding to HHS until they get them.

Delaying Keystone Decision Makes Very Little Sense

By Daniel Doherty
The bombshell announcement last week that the White House would delay (once again) making a decision vis-à-vis the Keystone XL Pipeline until after the 2014 midterm elections is leaving many pundits on cable television scratching their heads. One the one hand, the decision ostensibly makes sense; progressive mega donors have pledged lots of money to re-elect Democrats who oppose the project, and thus green lighting the pipeline would significantly imperil the size of the party’s war chest come November. On the other hand, many vulnerable red state Senate Democrats support the project and desperately need an issue to campaign on that is popular with the public. This is it. But because the administration feels as if they’re in a ‘damned if we do, damned if we don’t’ situation, they’re punting until after the midterms. Go figure.


Supreme Court to address whether campaign lies are a crime


By Sean Lengell
The Supreme Court is set to address whether the age-old act of political mudslinging and false accusations are a crime, with the fate -- or at least the tone -- of campaign attack ads at stake.
The case brings into conflict two deeply held constitutional values: the right of wide open and unlimited speech, particularly in a political realm, and the notion of protecting the truth — especially when a person's charter character is maligned.
The high court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear oral arguments for Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, which centers on a dispute between former Rep. Steve Driehaus and the anti-abortion group, which waged an aggressive attack on the Ohio Democrat's failed re-election bid in 2010

Obama admin wants to require companies to give workers’ numbers, addresses to unions before labor elections

By Patrick Howley
The Obama administration is poised to change regulations to allow for union “ambush elections” in which workers have less time to decide whether or not to join a union — and in which workers’ phone numbers and home addresses are provided to unions.
The administration’s National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) proposed rules would allow for union elections — in which workers at a company vote whether or not to unionize — to be held 10 days after a petition is filed. And what, exactly, would be happening to the unions during those 10 days? The new rules require employers to disclose workers’ personal information, including phone numbers, home addresses, and information about when they work their shifts.
Insiders close to the situation believe the new rules will almost certainly go into effect with few or no fundamental changes.

Both at Home and Abroad, Obama's Presidency is Floundering

By Donald Lambro
Barack Obama is getting a number of critical report cards on his foreign and domestic policies lately.
Here at home, Janet Yellen, in her first monetary policy address as the head of the Federal Reserve Board, said the labor markets were still weak, and that it will likely take two years or more before the U.S. fully recovers from its recession. Ouch.
If Yellen's forecast proves right, this means it will have taken Obama's administration nearly eight years to lift our economy out of its long and painful lethargy.
She expressed grave concern that the economy's 6.7 percent unemployment rate was still significantly above the jobless level the Fed considers normal.
While Yellen was voicing some anguish over the large number of long-term unemployed and those who can find only low-paying, part-time work, Obama was campaigning in Oakdale, Penn., dishing out job-training grants at a local community college.
Obama has been spending tens of billions of dollars on a wasteful, duplicative maze of job-training programs that do nothing to create new jobs. 
....With his party facing its toughest election challenges in years, "and burdened with persistently high unemployment, Obama is playing the race, gender and class cards. Fabricating fear and injustice, such tactics keep the economy in slow gear and make worse the very people the president professes to help," says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici. 
....In a front-page story Thursday, The Washington Post took the president to task for his failed policy, announced three years ago, to refocus U.S. attention on Asia, which his advisers said would become a pillar of his foreign policy.
"The result, as Obama prepares to travel to the region next week, has been a loss of confidence among some U.S. allies about the administration's commitment at a time of escalating regional tensions," Post correspondent David Nakamura said in a devastating critique of Obama's Asian policy.
"Relations between Japan and South Korea are at one of the lowest points since World War II, and China has provoked both with aggressive actions at sea despite a personal plea from Vice President Biden in December," he reported.

By Thomas Lifson
The $30 billion or so wasted each year on the federal government’s biofuels mandates and subsidies needs to end now. The program is a complete disaster, and now has been shown to harm the environment, something anti-warmist skeptics (aka, deniers) have warned about for many years.  Even the left wing UK Guardian reports via AP:
Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a new study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.
A $500,000 study – paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change – concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7% more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.
...Actually, this analysis has been coming, even from warmist central at the UN. In Forbes, James Conca reports:
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two of its Working Group reports at the end of last month (WGI and WGIII), and their short discussion of biofuels has ignited a fierce debate as to whether they’re of any environmental benefit at all.
The IPCC was quite diplomatic in its discussion, saying “Biofuels have direct, fuel‐cycle GHG emissions that are typically 30–90% lower than those for gasoline or diesel fuels. However, since for some biofuels indirect emissions—including from land use change—can lead to greater total emissions than when using petroleum products, policy support needs to be considered on a case by case basis” (IPCC 2014 Chapter 8).
The summary in the new report also states, “Increasing bioenergy crop cultivation poses risks to ecosystems and biodiversity” (WGIII).
...So we are starving poor people overseas and stretching the budgets of our own poor for a program that has no environmental benefits. Can we please kill it now?

The Increasing Desperation of Democrats

Slanders and lies may be part of a deliberate strategy to drive up turnout in November.

By John Fund
....What is going on? Increasingly, journalists who cover the White House are concluding that the smears are part of a conscious strategy to distract voters from Obamacare, the sluggish economy, and foreign-policy reverses; the attacks are intended, the thinking goes, to drive up resentment and hence turnout among the Democratic base.
Major Garrett, the CBS White House correspondent, has talked with White House aides who confirm that the administration is working from the theory of “stray voltage,” as developed by former White House senior adviser David Plouffe. “The theory goes like this,” Garrett wrote. “Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness,”
Deliberately misstating information about key issues in order to keep certain issues before the public is often a premeditated strategy. “The tactic represents one more step in the embrace of cynicism that has characterized President Obama’s journey in office,” John Dickerson wrote at Slate. “Facts, schmacts. As long as people are talking about an issue where my party has an advantage with voters, it’s good.”
...I’m not so sure. Democratic consultants may not care in the short term that such tactics diminish the office of the president and undermine trust among the American people. But Dickerson suggests that presidents are right to “worry that people won’t think they aren’t honest or trustworthy if they keep using facts that don’t pan out.” A new Fox poll finds that 61 percent of Americans now believe that President Obama lies some or all of the time on “important matters,” while only 15 percent say Obama never lies. But among his base voters, 37 percent of African Americans and 31 percent of Democrats say he never lies: These are the people Democrats hope can be brought to the polls with overheated rhetoric.

Sharyl Attkisson Says She ‘Became a Target’ of the Left Over Her Reporting — and Guess How CBS News Treated Bush Compared to Obama

By Dave Urbanski
Sharyl Attkisson, the investigative reporter who resigned from CBS News and said the network clamped down on stories critical of the Obama administration, on Sunday said Media Matters targeted her and may have been paid to do so.
Attkisson added in her interview with CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter that while she never was discouraged from hard-hitting reports on the George W. Bush administration, when it came to her critical coverage of the Obama White House, CBS regularly balked.
As for Media Matters, a left-leaning outfit that critiques news coverage, Attkisson said that “when I persisted with Fast and Furious and some of the green energy stories I was doing, I clearly at some point became a target.”
...As for the differences between how CBS News brass treated and covered the Bush compared to the Obama administration, Attkisson noted that she “didn’t sense any resistance to doing stories that were perceived to be negative to the Bush administration by anybody ever.” But as for the Obama White House, she said “I have done stories that were not received well because people thought they would reflect poorly upon this administration.”
Attkisson went further, noting a “fairly well-discussed” topic inside CBS News “that there are some managers recently who have been so ideologically entrenched that there is a feeling and discussion that some of them, certainly not all of them, have a difficult time viewing a story that may reflect negatively upon government or the administration as a story of value.”
....Attkisson also gave parting advice to readers and viewers of the news in search of the truth.
“There are very sophisticated efforts to manipulate the images and the information that you see every day, in ways that you won’t recognize,” she said. “And I think we can all be a little more savvy about that.”

But Seriously, Just How Slow-Witted is John Boehner?

 By C. Edmund Wright
As he moves from lobbyists to the golf course, from press conferences to the tanning bed, he remains oblivious to all that is around him. He has power, incredible power, and yet to this day he has no understanding of the election that made it so. Moreover, all around him are astonishing opportunities for him to be an historic figure -- one who could and should be the man who did more than any other single person in turning back the red tide of Obama. It’s all there for Speaker of the House, and yet John Boehner manages to miss it all -- as he guarantees his spot as the most spectacular failure in the history of Speakers of the House.
So seriously, just how dense is this guy? I’m not being flippant, or overly dramatic. His performance, in light of the momentous circumstances, necessitates just that question in the most literal and serious sense. Mr. Boehner, I frankly think you’re sort of stupid. Either that, or you are plagued by an amazing lack of situational awareness.
Consider: For months, the IRS has done their best to guarantee that they are known as nothing but part of the Democratic Party election machine.  Lois Lerner remains such an unsympathetic figure that the last public photo of her might as well have been a set of legs with red slippers sticking out from under a house. Elijah Cummings has been exposed as a corrupt and inarticulate embarrassment, and an email trail is emerging that would make Nixon’s use of the IRS look like child’s play. This one scandal is an incredible teaching opportunity of the inherent evils of the liberal bureaucratic political state. Donald Rumsfeld understands this. Boehner? Not so much. He’s talking about immigration deform.
If that weren’t enough, there is another epoch-making story unfolding in Nevada, as the Bundy Ranch is being invaded by an army of militarized bureaucrats that most of us didn’t know exists -- working for a bureaucracy that is apparently in charge of more land mass than the majority of world governments. Who the hell are these robo-crats, and who is paying for and authorizing their intimidating and dangerous cross-dressing? Apparently, in this case, the boy king of this hidden empire is a former political aide from the office of Harry Reid. Again, a silver platter of an opportunity has presented itself.
But no, Boehner would rather work behind the scenes to spoil the efforts of the Tea Party groups.
Oh, and while we’re at it, the Bundy story is far more than just some delicious viral YouTube videos. It brings up some very important questions, such as why does the Federal Government own more land in Nevada than everybody combined owns in the United Kingdom? Why does the BLM control one eighth of the entire landmass of the country? And just how many dirty Harry Reid deals are going on everywhere while most of us had no idea how big the BLM was and how little of our own country the rest of us own?
Uh, Mr. Boehner, these are questions of stupefying importance, and while millions of Americans are asking them, they will not get the traction they deserve until someone in a position of power asks them. You know, like a Speaker who is in the opposition party?
This is all erupting of course after many months of hearing about drones, wire tapping, data mining and all kinds of other government gone wild amusements. Oh, and lest we forget, this is after seven months of the nation being shown the withering failure of Obama Care -- itself an hour by hour lesson on why those wanting government solutions are wrong and those of us opposing them are right.
There is an obvious mosaic that the simple unfolding of events is presenting, an unmistakable pattern of a government that is too big, too powerful, too arbitrary, too corrupt and too incompetent to do anything right. People are scared of them, sick of them, and would rush to the support of anyone who would but grab this opportunity and run with it. Government bureaucrats have foisted a nauseating sclerosis on our entire culture, and these cubicle dwelling microbes are wielding the incredible power at their disposal that results from endless government regulations combined with their anonymity, invisibility and isolation.
We are a nation of subjects whose lives and businesses are being destroyed, largely by people we will never meet and cannot confront. This is what the bureaucratic state does, and there is supposed to be a political party that opposes this. There is a political base of supporters that damned sure do. Never in our history can our arguments be made simply from the daily headlines. Never has the battlefield of ideas been so softened by reality. Never has there been such a possibility for a Speaker of the House of the opposition party.
But regrettably, that position is now held by a man simply not clever enough to realize it. Less than two years into his career, Boehner helped craft the marvelous Contract with America. Ten years later, he had sunk to helping write “No Child Left Behind.” And ten years after that, his intellectual slippage has continued. So Mr. Boehner, just how obtuse are you? Seriously.

PK'S NOTE: Home school, home school, home school. Our country is lost. 

See what they’ll be teaching in the Chicago public schools

By Chuck Ross
Chicago public schools are set to introduce a new Afro-centric curriculum, according to a closely-guarded copy obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The curriculum covers kindergarten through tenth grade and is designed to align with Common Core. It includes a web link to TheAfrican.com, a website whose publisher decries “fake-Jews” and calls the United States a “Zionist-occupied enemy territory.”
The site also claims that the world will end sometime this year and that President Barack Obama is “merely another trick of [the beast of the 4th Kingdom].”
...But some of the subjects, including those discussed at TheAfrican.com, are heavily controversial. The Chicago curriculum topic discussed at TheAfrican.com is “The Black Athena,” a book written by historian Martin Bernal. Sixth and ninth grade Chicago students will discuss the book and an accompanying full-length Youtube documentary.
In the work, Bernal claimed that ancient Greeks stole much of its civilization from Egypt, which, Bernal asserts, was populated by blacks. The Chicago curriculum entertains rebuttals to Bernal’s theory but skews heavily in its favor.
Ron Fritze, a historian, the dean of Athens State University, and author of the book “Invented Knowledge,” says that Bernal’s theories are not historically accurate and have no place in Chicago schools.
....Chicago fifth graders will be exposed to another controversial and widely-criticized theory in Ivan van Sertima’s “They Came Before Columbus.” Van Sertima, who taught at Rutgers University, theorized that Africans populated the Americas well before Columbus.
But critics largely panned the work. In a 1977 New York Times book review, archaeologist Glyn Daniel called van Sertima’s work “ignorant rubbish” and labeled it “myth and folklore.”
Fritze is critical as well.
“I and most historians of exploration consider ‘They Came Before Columbus’ to be very wrong in its contentions about African voyages to the Americas,” he told TheDCNF.
Nevertheless, the IAAAS curriculum provides a unit on the work that includes links to seven-part Youtube video series.
...The Chicago curriculum does focus heavily on well established history and events — including discussions on slavery, the histories of black inventors, the civil rights movement and President Obama.
But other sections also delve into controversial areas. The eighth grade literacy section unit, titled “Being an Advocate to Social Justice,” directs students to the website for the American Civil Liberties Union. It also includes a poem titled “Racism is Around Me Everywhere,” cartoons from the website LeftyCartoons.com, and it encourages discussion of Attorney General Eric Holder’s infamous “nation of cowards” quote.
The ninth grade literacy section encompasses a study of the Pan African Movement. Teachers are encouraged to engage their students in debate over voluntary segregation. “Have someone read the following resolution, Resolved: voluntary segregation promotes growth in a diverse community. Teams then participate in a graded formal debate.”
Tenth graders are introduced to “critical race theory,” which holds that institutional racism and white privilege are pervasive throughout society.