Friday, April 18, 2014

Get it?

They Got the Flock Out of There

TGIF! Woot!

I dabbled in the Nora Roberts book last night but also started MASTER OF SOULS by Peter Tremayne last night. This is 16th of 24 in series featuring Sister Fidelma, a 7th century Celtic sister and legal advocate in Kildare, Ireland. Here is a description:
In January of 668 A.D., Fidelma of Cashel - sister to the king of Muman, advocate of the Brehon law courts and religieuse in the Celtic Church - is called to investigate the brutal murder of Abbess Faife and the mysterious disappearance of six young female religieuse while away on a short pilgramage away from their abbey.  But when Fidelma and her husband, Eadulf, arrive, they are confronted with another violent murder under mysterious circumstances. One of the senior scholars was bludgeoned to death in the oratory. With evidence of shipwreckers and the rumored figure of "The Master of Souls", a mysterious rabble rouser, roaming the nearby countryside wrecking havoc and raising rebellion, both complicating matters, the redoubtable Fidelma is faced with her most perplexing mystery ever. 
Published in 2005, it has 320 pages. 

There's a treasure trove of new videos of the Eagles from 73/74. Heaven!

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - April 18, 2014

The United States of SWAT?

Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizens.

By John Fund
Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle’s grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy’s ranch.
They shouldn’t have been. Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.
...The proliferation of paramilitary federal SWAT teams inevitably brings abuses that have nothing to do with either drugs or terrorism. Many of the raids they conduct are against harmless, often innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations.
Take the case of Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif., who was “visited” by a SWAT team from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2011. Agents battered down the door of his home at 6 a.m., dragged him outside in his boxer shorts, and handcuffed him as they put his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a police car for two hours while they searched his home. The raid was allegedly intended to uncover information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who hadn’t been living with him and was suspected of college financial-aid fraud.
The year before the raid on Wright, a SWAT team from the Food and Drug Administration raided the farm of Dan Allgyer of Lancaster, Pa. His crime was shipping unpasteurized milk across state lines to a cooperative of young women with children in Washington, D.C., called Grass Fed on the Hill. Raw milk can be sold in Pennsylvania, but it is illegal to transport it across state lines. The raid forced Allgyer to close down his business.
Brian Walsh, a senior legal analyst with the Heritage Foundation, says it is inexplicable why so many federal agencies need to be battle-ready: “If these agencies occasionally have a legitimate need for force to execute a warrant, they should be required to call a real law-enforcement agency, one that has a better sense of perspective. The FBI, for example, can draw upon its vast experience to determine whether there is an actual need for a dozen SWAT agents.”

The Zealots Win Again

When full disclosure becomes a cudgel, free expression is suppressed.

By Charles Krauthammer
The debate over campaign contributions is never-ending for a simple reason: Both sides of the argument have merit.
On the one hand, of course money is speech. For most citizens, contributing to politicians or causes is the most effective way to augment and amplify speech with which they agree. The most disdainful dismissers of this argument are editorialists and incumbent politicians who — surprise! — already enjoy access to vast audiences and don’t particularly like their monopoly being invaded by the unwashed masses or the self-made plutocrat.
On the other hand, of course money is corrupting. The nation’s jails are well stocked with mayors, legislators, judges, and the occasional governor who have exchanged favors for cash. However, there are lesser — and legal — forms of influence-peddling short of the outright quid pro quo. Campaign contributions are carefully calibrated to approach that line without crossing it. But money distorts. There is no denying the unfairness of big contributors’ buying access unavailable to the everyday citizen.
....For a long time, a simple finesse offered a rather elegant solution: no limits on giving — but with full disclosure.
Open the floodgates, and let the monies, big and small, check and balance each other. And let transparency be the safeguard against corruption. As long as you know who is giving what to whom, you can look for, find, and, if necessary, prosecute corrupt connections between donor and receiver.
This used to be my position. No longer. I had not foreseen how donor lists would be used not to ferret out corruption but to pursue and persecute citizens with contrary views. Which corrupts the very idea of full disclosure.
It is now an invitation to the creation of enemies lists.
...The ultimate victim here is full disclosure itself. If revealing your views opens you to the politics of personal destruction, then transparency, however valuable, must give way to the ultimate core political good, free expression.
Our collective loss. Coupling unlimited donations and full disclosure was a reasonable way to reconcile the irreconcilables of campaign finance. Like so much else in our politics, however, it has been ruined by zealots. What a pity.

Be of good cheer, subjects: An heir to the throne is due

I’d like to tell you that this doesn’t qualify as news beyond the confines of the Clinton family but the recent Jeb boomlet reminds us that America is sliding further towards monarchy as a symptom of late-stage imperial decadence. Looks like we’re on track for eight more years of a Clinton or Bush, then possibly a reprise of Michelle Obama, followed perhaps by a term or two of Biden. Then we’ll be ready for Bush/Clinton III between George P. and Chelsea (who’s now open to running for office, don’tcha know), and after that the law of averages suggests that the Kennedys will have once again produced a political talent who isn’t a total embarrassment.

Even Hillary Clinton Isn’t Sure What We Should Like About Hillary Clinton

By Stephen Kruiser
The first step is admitting…
It was a simple question to someone accustomed to much tougher ones: What was her proudest achievement as secretary of state? But for a moment, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appearing recently before a friendly audience at a women’s forum in Manhattan, seemed flustered.
Mrs. Clinton played an energetic role in virtually every foreign policy issue of President Obama’s first term, advocating generally hawkish views internally while using her celebrity to try to restore America’s global standing after the hit it took during the George W. Bush administration.
But her halting answer suggests a problem that Mrs. Clinton could confront as she recounts her record in Mr. Obama’s cabinet before a possible run for president in 2016: Much of what she labored over so conscientiously is either unfinished business or has gone awry in his second term.
So…no definitive successes and some clear-cut failures. And that’s the generous New York Times assessment.
The Democrat fantasy story about Mrs. Clinton paints her as strong and accomplished on her own. In reality, this is a woman who is professionally defined almost entirely by two men in her life, both of whom happen to have been two-term presidents. Throw into the mix the fact that her relationship with both is uneasy at best and some vulnerabilities which can be exploited by opponents begin to appear.
The Hillary that both Republicans and Democrats talk about as being dynamic, formidable and inevitable doesn’t really seem to exist in the real world under close examination. She got where she is seemingly by making some uncomfortable compromises with two men she doesn’t seem to like very much. Her greatest electoral victory came because her opponent got cancer.
This Times piece tries to portray her as rather hawkish. Where does that fit in with a constituency that twice propelled President Obama to victory? Does she get a gender free pass from the hopeychangeys?
I know that she is supposed to be a juggernaut because pretty much everyone who isn’t me says she is, but I still don’t see it.
Apparently, neither does she.


Column: Hillary Falls to Earth

 By Matthew Continetti
Hillary Clinton may end up deciding she wants to spend the 935 days until election 2016 making corporate speeches and spoiling her grandchild. Recent events have exposed weaknesses in Clinton’s supposedly impregnable armor, gaps through which a Democratic or Republican challenger could damage, perhaps even defeat her. The bad headlines to which she has been subjected are enough to make anyone—anyone who isn’t a Clinton—think twice about running for president.
Look at the polls. This week’s Fox News poll has Clinton’s favorable rating at its lowest point in six years. She is at 49 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable—similar to her 47 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable rating when she ended her last presidential campaign.
  ...Already Clinton is finding it difficult to articulate a rationale for her presidency, to pronounce a record of achievement on which to base a campaign. In an appearance this month at the Women in the World Summit she had trouble naming her proudest accomplishment as secretary of state. It is a question that her strongest supporters, in her party and in the media, cannot answer. “Hillary Clinton Struggles to Define a Legacy in Progress,” read the headline in the Thursday New York Times. “Mrs. Clinton is striking a delicate balance,” the paper reports, “when discussing a job that would be a critical credential in a presidential race.” The last secretary of State to become president was James Buchanan. He gave us the Civil War.
Clinton, the Times goes on, wants “credit for the parts of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy that have worked,” while “subtly distancing herself from the things that have not worked out.” Imagine that. “The things that have not worked out” compose quite a list. What Hillary Clinton wants is to have it all, to enjoy the fading residual glow of President Obama’s halo without having to answer for all of the messes he will leave behind. Her friends tell the Times that her upcoming memoir, for which she was reportedly paid $14 million, will provide an opportunity to “provide her view of WikiLeaks, Benghazi, and smaller missteps like the Russia reset button.” It will provide an opportunity, in other words, to offer a generous helping of self-serving and exculpatory spin.

...A similar disconnect characterizes Clinton’s domestic policy—to the extent that she has one. She wants to fix Obamacare. She is for equal pay for women, for voting rights for minorities, for same-sex marriage. But she has yet to find a heroic cause, an issue around which to rally the youthful and diverse Democratic base. There is no war for her to run against. She is not about to go the full Snowden and argue, like Rand Paul, for the abolition of the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program. On marijuana legalization, another issue dear to the coalition of the ascendant, she is circumspect. The banks? She’s taken $200,000 paydays from Goldman Sachs and the Carlyle Group. The One Percent? Her net worth is estimated at $21.5 million.
About the only constituency truly excited for a Clinton run is the class of wealthy donors to the Democratic Party and its pet causes, the power players and lobbyists and CEOs and film executives and trial lawyers and liberal bankers and green entrepreneurs who know that a Hillary Clinton White House would be a field day for special access, a celebration of cronyism, a flagrant and grotesque division of spoils.

Dem consultants telling candidates not to use the word 'recovery'

By Rick Moran
Some advice for Democratic candidates from consultants: Don't use the word "recovery" in your speeches.
Election-year memo to Democratic candidates: Don't talk about the economic recovery. It's a political loser.
So say Democratic strategists in a blunt declaration that such talk skips over "how much trouble people are in, and doesn't convince them that policymakers really understand or are even focusing on the problems they continue to face."
In addition, Stan Greenberg, James Carville and others wrote that in head-to-head polling tests the mere mention of the word "recovery" is trumped by a Republican assertion that the Obama administration has had six years to get the economy moving and its policies haven't worked.
Coincidentally or not, Democrats have largely shelved the "R'' word.
Drudge supplies a few links to remind us why Democrats would be in trouble if they mention "recovery:"

FLASHBACK WHITE HOUSE: 'Summer of Recovery'...

FLASHBACK TREASURY: 'Welcome to the recovery'...

FLASHBACK HARRY REID: 'We are in a recovery'...

You can't spin the failure of Obama's economic policies. Too many people are still hurting while a majority believe we're still in a recession. Since the Dems won't mention "recovery" it's up to Republican candidates to bring up the fact that there has been no recovery after 6 years - and bring it up often.
If the Dems can't talk about the economy or Obamacare, what will they have to say? You guessed it - minimum wage, income inequality, war on women, GOP are raaaaacists - you know, the usual.

New York the latest state to sign compact to end electoral college

By Rick Moran
Governor Cuomo has signed off on the National Popular Vote Compact, giving New York's 29 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
Count New York in.
The Empire State has joined the National Popular Vote compact with legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
States that have signed on to the interstate agreement will award electoral votes for president to the candidate who receives the majority of the national popular vote.
...New York joins the District of Columbia and nine states in signing on to the compact -- including California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
The legislation utilizes New York state's right under the U.S. Constitution to award its 29 electoral votes in any manner it deems appropriate, in this case to the winner of the national popular vote.
However, it only takes effect once enough other states have signed on so the compact possesses a majority of the Electoral College's 538 votes.
The compact currently contains 165 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
Notice anything strange about that list of states signed up for the compact? Gee - they're all blue states. That's because unless there is a sea change in attitudes toward the parties, the adoption of the compact will be the end of GOP competitiveness in national elections.
There is a massive difference between the GOP receiving 65% of the vote in Utah and Wyoming and the Democrats getting 65% of the vote in California and New York. The board will tilt decisively toward the big states. The population concentration in the big states will allow Democrats to maximize their spending per voter making it, by comparison, much less expensive than for Republicans who will have to scramble in the hinterlands to drum up votes. It will also make big cities far more important to the total vote - Democratic party territory.
The US is a federal republic. You lose some of that character if you ditch the electoral college.

The Once and Future Peasants

By Michael L Grable
Here's why you should worry about living in a country where increasing numbers of people can live without working.
Filing our tax returns last week, I deplored government having confiscated 29.7% (effective rate) of my and my wife's joint 2013 income (Federal, 21.7%; state and local, 8%).  That seemed scarcely worse than medieval lords confiscating one-third of peasants' crops.
Speaking of lords, both the President of the United States and the Mayor of New York (et uxores) paid 2013 income taxes at lower effective rates than mine and my wife's (20.4% for the President and a measly 8.3% for the Mayor).  Maybe there's a tax penalty for living in tract houses clad in middle-class vinyl and plywood instead of public mansions made of government granite and marble.
But here's the real rub: every governmental levy at every level functionally taxes our income.  And, if you're anything like me and my wife, your functional rate of income taxation far exceeds the rate at which any 10th-century lord ever confiscated his peasants' labor.
Consider these examples:
Corporate and business income taxes.  These tax your income because producers raise consumer prices to offset their business income taxes;
Capital gains taxes.  The income you use to buy capital assets has already been taxed once, but yet any asset gain is again taxed;
Sales taxes.  Likewise, the income you use to buy stuff has already been taxed once, but yet it's taxed again when you buy the stuff;
Property taxes.  These are also additional taxes on goods you've bought with already taxed income;
Excise taxes (e.g., fuel, telephone, hotel, etc).  These too are additional taxes on stuff you buy with already taxed income;
Tariff taxes.  Same as above, but only for imported stuff you buy;
Inheritance taxes.  The dead already paid taxes on the income which was the source of whatever they leave to the living;
Payroll taxes.  These still tax your income -- even if you might have someday gotten something back were your government not robbing the Social Security Trust Fund to blow your retirement "safety net" on things like paying people not to work, bailing out big banks, sending Michelle and the kids to Riverdance, buying booze for the State Department, and making lobbyists multimillionaires;
Licenses, permits, tolls, transfer taxes, and all other user fees. These also reduce your income -- and for services you might have expected our government to have otherwise funded from the income taxes you've already paid;
Regulatory tax.  Regulation increases the cost of all goods and service you buy with income government has already taxed.  Indeed, this increases the cost of the stuff we buy by about $1.9 trillion annually (or about $15,000 a year for each household); and
Inflation tax.  This reduces the purchasing power of any past income -- already taxed in the serial ways above -- which any of us might ever have managed to save.  It's a consequence of the fiat money which allows government (let alone banks) to increase the means of exchanging production faster than production itself increases.  Simplistically, you may regard governmental deficit spending (now close to $1 trillion in the Federal Government) as functionally taxing the purchasing power of all your past, present, and future income.  This makes, for example, the stuff you could have bought for $100 in 1980 cost you almost $300 when you buy it now.  And the cumulative inflation rate since 1913 (when the Federal Reserve System began) now approaches 2,300%.
However bureaucrats might define the term, "income" is functionally no more than what fiat money now allows your labor to buy.  In Adam Smith's idiom, the value of what a brewer brews allows him to buy what a baker bakes or a butcher butchers; and when government (in whatever way) confiscates more of the value of what a brewer brews, the brewer can buy less of what a baker bakes or a butcher butchers.
Our standard of living exceeds a 10th-century peasant's not because government now confiscates less of our labor than the peasants' lords did 1,100 years ago, but only because the industrial revolution so greatly increased our productivity during the interim.  And every decrease in production today makes us all poorer tomorrow.  Indeed, if government now confiscated the value of our labor at a rate no higher than a medieval lord once confiscated his peasants' labor, at lot more of us would be lords today.
Far from elevating us to lordship, however, the greater likelihood is the effect (already long and guilefully postponed) of government's ever accelerating confiscation may eventually reduce our children and our grandchildren to peasanthood.

Republicans Redistribute Wealth Better than Democrats

By Michael Bargo Jr
When President Obama ran for office in 2008 he mentioned that he intended to make income redistribution a major focus of his presidency.
Democrats claim that only their candidates are qualified to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. They characterize their adversaries, the Republican Party, as the party of the selfishly wealthy. Republican policies, Democrats say, are designed to seize wealth from the working class and poor and funnel it to the richest so the wealthiest few can hoard it. Consequently, they predict that under Republicans the working class and poor become worse off.  In other words, Republican policies have the affect of allowing the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer. 
An Obama supporter, on the other hand, would predict that Obama’s administration would improve the economic well-being of the middle class and poor. The rich would have less money under Obama, since he would redistribute it to the poor. Since Obama and his party dominated the Federal Government for two entire years and had the means, motive and opportunity to pass any bill to promote their redistribution goal, it is fair to say Obama’s tenure can be used to fairly appraise the efficacy of redistribution policies.
If wealth were seized by Obama and redistributed to the working class and poor, one could measure this redistribution through standard national measures including  wage growth, median income, labor force participation, unemployment, and growth in wealth, and see improvement in all these measures. These measures can then be compared to the results of the policies of Ronald Reagan, the Republican president who allegedly acted to help the rich keep more of their money.
Reagan lowered the tax rate of the wealthiest Americans from 70% to a shameless 28%. Democrats predicted this tax cut would cause of loss of income tax revenue that would force drastic cuts in essential safety net programs. 
Five years into Obama’s policies a comparison can be made between the effects of Obama’s and Reagan’s policies on income redistribution. First, we can consider wage growth. Social Security uses a standard measure called the national wage indexing series. Its data show that during the first four years of Reagan’s first term the national average wage index rose from 13,773 in 1981 to 16,135 in 1984, an increase of 17%. By comparison, during the first four years of the Obama’s first term the wage index went from 40,711 to 44,321 an increase of 9%. So it’s accurate to say that the national average wage increase rose almost twice as much under Reagan than under Obama.   
Also, by the end of Reagan’s eight years it rose 46%. Since the median income of Americans has declined to where the average working family now earns as much as they did in 1996, it’s fairly safe to say we won’t see an increase of 46% by the end of Obama’s second term, largely because the Affordable Care Act will suppress salaries due to shorter work weeks and worker layoffs. This is happening already. This oversight by the architects of the Affordable Care Act is astonishing, since President Obama and his party perceive corporate greed as the most powerful motivator of the private economy. They should have predicted that if healthcare coverage is based on hours worked, employers would seek to reduce costs by lowering the number of hours their employees work. 
Now look it labor force participation. In March of 2014 the LFPR was 63.2%, the lowest it has been since Jimmy Carter was president. Reagan’s policies increased Carter’s low LFPR to nearly 67% by 1989. But Obama reversed this improvement, and it has declined back to under 63.
A precipitous drop in the LFPR occurred in 2009 right when Obama took office. It could be argued that this was not Obama’s fault, that he inherited this situation. But Reagan inherited an LFPR that was even worse, and the data show that Obama’s  policies did not improve the LFPR while Reagan’s policies did.
Take a look at take home pay: in 2002 under Republican President George W. Bush the lowest income tax rate was reduced one-third, from fifteen percent to ten percent. The second lowest rate was reduced from 27.5% to 15%. Democrats in Congress protested, and many voted against this income tax reduction.  In other words, they wanted the lowest wage earners to take home less of their hard-earned money. 
Another measure is job growth. Under Ronald Reagan’s policies 22 million net new jobs were created in eight years. This, after inheriting an economy that was in many measures far worse than that inherited by President Obama. Studies also predict that ObamaCare may cost the nation up to 2.6 million jobs.
Democrats love to preach that Republicans are the party of the rich, yet Obama’s own record shows that Democrats have far outperformed Republicans at widening the gap between the rich and poor. Under Obama’s policies this gap has moved in both directions: while he made the richer more wealthy he simultaneously lowered the wealth of the middle class and poor. In 2011 USA Today reported that the typical U.S. family got poorer in the past 10 years. A recent report by OXFAM found that since the recession of 2009 the gap between the rich and poor has grown faster in the U.S. than in any developed country of the world. The top one percent captured 95% of the post-recession growth in wealth, while 90 percent of Americans became poorer.
The wealthiest households are doing much better since they benefited from the boom in stock market values, thanks to President Obama’s insertion of four trillion dollars of money borrowed from future middle class and poor taxpayers.
And one must remember that more persons are in poverty today, food stamp use is at an all-time high, teenage unemployment is the highest since WWII, and black unemployment has risen. When Reagan lowered income taxes, one result was that in eight years the revenues going to Washington nearly doubled. This meant more money for people programs.
And while Reagan’s eight years were followed by prosperity and economic growth, the long-term effects of Obama’s policies are not promising. The unprecedented rise in the national debt will have to be serviced by annual interest payments that will take away money from safety net programs. The QE3 program, which has yet to be fully outlined in detail, created four trillion of more debt for the Treasury Dept.  This is also unprecedented and was done without consent of Congress. Future generations will have to live with these burdens. 
So not only are current citizens doing worse under Obama, but after he leaves they will continue to suffer. 
The most astounding aspect of this analysis, from a campaign year perspective, is that the U.S. news media remain deaf and dumb to these facts.
That Republicans create jobs and elevate the working class is still being proven today. Of the U.S. states experiencing the most job growth in the Obama economy the great majority are run by Republican governors.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hey, could you put another dog on the pile? Thanks.

A Real Dog Pile

I hit a crabby wall last night reading Nora Roberts. I was probably overtired and had overread. All her characters are perfect -- the guy is perfect, the girl is perfect, their friends are perfect, the family is perfect.... They have perfect sex about halfway through the book. They're the best at their jobs and it's a perfect fit for them. They say witty things or the appropriate things at the right time every time. So I finally turned out the light in a crabby mood and then unfortunately Steve came home and started to tell me about his evening. I think I snarled at him.

So now, do I finish the book or take a break? I'm not crabby anymore but should I risk it? I have two from the digital library, but maybe I should read the extremely logical and unsentimental Sister Fidelma. I haven't read that series in a few months and need to get back to my series reading. Think, think, think.

Random thoughts:

Nothing on TV tonight.

I'm making walleye for dinner.

I made veggie soup last night; because it has carrots and sweet potatoes in it, it is a strange combination of sweet and salty because I added some to counteract the sweet.

I'm cold turkey off coffee today. Ok, I would usually only have one (big) cup in the morning and that was it so it's probably not that big of deal. :)

I wish it were the weekend. A long weekend.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster 

Current Events - April 17, 2014

Oversight member on Lois Lerner coordination with DOJ: ‘Now I see why IRS is scared to give up emails’

By Patrick Howley
Key members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform expressed outrage at revelations made in newly released emails showing ex-IRS official Lois Lerner coordinating with the Department of Justice on prosecuting nonprofit groups.
One committee member said the emails prove why the IRS is “scared to give up the rest of Lois Lerner’s emails.” IRS commissioner John Koskinen was recently threatened with contempt for stonewalling the committee’s investigation. Koskinen claimed in a hearing that it could take years to provide the documents requested by Oversight.
“The release of new documents underscores the political nature of IRS Tea Party targeting and the extent to which supposed apolitical officials took direction from elected Democrats,” Oversight chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said in a statement. “These e-mails are part of an overwhelming body of evidence that political pressure from prominent Democrats led to the targeting of Americans for their political beliefs.”
“Now I see why the IRS is scared to give up the rest of Lois Lerner’s emails,” said Oversight Economic Growth subcommittee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan.
“Not only do these e-mails further prove the coordination among the IRS, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Justice Department and committee Democrats to target conservatives, they also show that had our committee not requested the Inspector General’s investigation when we did, Eric Holder’s politicized Justice Department would likely have been leveling trumped up criminal charges against Tea Party groups to intimidate them from exercising their Constitutional rights,” Jordan said.

The Terrifying Implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ Connection

By Bryan Preston...Lois Lerner intended to use her position atop the IRS’ tax exempt approval office to coordinate the prosecution of political speech. The Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder had at least tentatively bought into that. The Federal Elections Commission was being roped in as well. Lerner’s emails prove that beyond doubt.
Democrats in Congress were involved. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) appears to have led the anti-constitutional attack on free speech in the House. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led it from the Senate.
Two days before Lerner was forced to publicly disclose the scandal, she was moving forward with an insidious plan to stamp out conservatives and Tea Party activists’ ability to organize and raise money, by working with the IRS commissioner’s office and the Department of Justice. At the same time, there was no plan for any government crackdown on groups who agreed with President Obama. The traffic was entirely one-way. It was nakedly political, and everyone involved knew it. They also had reason to believe that they would succeed, or they would not have engaged in it. DOJ would serve two roles: Prosecute conservatives, and protect the bureaucrats who were pushing those prosecutions.
Was there a full-fledged plan to use the full power of the federal government to take the abuse, delay and invasive questioning of conservatives to a new level after President Obama’s re-election? Was there a plan to criminalize the mere act of being a conservative activist? Was there a plan to drum up false charges of “lying” on applications in order to put conservatives in jail?
Lois Lerner’s communications with the Justice Department strongly suggest that there was. The disclosure provides strong, compelling evidence that Obama’s re-election had emboldened many, including government bureaucrats like Lois Lerner, to believe that they could move forward unchallenged to criminalize Americans for exercising their constitutional rights.
I also believe that the players in this scam had identified a target to single out, harass, investigate, silence, destroy, and send to prison. Her name is Catherine Engelbrecht.
Lerner’s email on March 27, 2013, suggests that there was an idea moving within the bureaucracy to hit one or just a few Americans, and prosecute and imprison them, to scare others out of political engagement.
“One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff,” Lerner wrote to IRS staff. “So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
It was all about conservative 501(c)(4) orgs. Liberal groups were left entirely alone. This was to be a leftwing reign.
...The purpose of the plan that Lerner was moving on was to stifle dissent and give Democrats total control of Congress in 2014, giving President Obama full control of all of government for his last two years in office.
Alongside that plan, was a plan to destroy anyone who advocated for election integrity legislation, legislation which gained steam and widespread passage at the state level after the 2010 mid-term elections. What this tells us is that the Democrats, at least some Democrats, fully intended to weaponize government against dissent while it watered down election law and used lawfare via the Justice Department to damage and even remove state-level election law improvements.
Criminalizing conservative activism was about consolidating the Democrats’ 2012 gains and winning back the House in 2014. Destroying voter ID by whatever means Democrats deemed necessary was about 2016. There’s only one reason to make it easier to commit election fraud. You only do that if you intend to commit election fraud.

By J Christian Adams
Emails obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal Lois Lerner cooking up plans with Justice Department officials to talk about ways to criminally charge conservative groups that are insufficiently quiet.
....Like bats in the belfry, they tend to congregate online at University of California at Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen’s election blog.
Hasen runs an online meeting hall for all the would-be speech totalitarians. They post, bluster, and kibitz about the latest news on their effort to erode the First Amendment and increase federal power.
....That Hasen’s online hangout is hosted on government servers provides an interesting twist.
Judicial Watch sent the University of California at Irvine a freedom of information request demanding Hasen’s emails to the White House and other government officials including any on the topic of speech regulations. The University told Judicial Watch to pound sand, and still hasn’t provided anything.

Yesterday’s IRS email revelation makes you wonder what Cal-Irvine is hiding.
So who are some of the other speech regulators who haven’t shown up on IRS scandal documents yet?
One of the top speech regulators is former White House counsel and Obama campaign lawyer Bob Bauer. As I noted at PJ Media:
Robert Bauer had the motive to direct IRS policy against Tea Party groups. He is a longtime opponent of First Amendment freedoms and an advocate of government-speech regulation. He also can’t stand the work the Tea Party is conducting to monitor and eradicate voter fraud, work the Republican Party and national campaigns have utterly failed to perform.
During the 2008 election, while representing the Obama campaign, Bauer sent a threatening letter to the Justice Department demanding criminal investigations of people who had the audacity to speak about voter fraud. Bauer even singled out Sarah Palin in the letter. Anyone who “developed or disseminated” information about voter fraud, to Bauer, deserved the heavy boot of a criminal investigation. Read the letter; it reveals a nasty, thuggish, and lawless attitude toward political opposition.
There’s that jail thing again. They just can’t resist that totalitarian impulse against political opponents.
Other campaigns have had speech regulator attorneys — even Republicans. Trevor Potter was John McCain’s head lawyer in 2008, and he founded the now Soros-funded Campaign Legal Center. He helped cook up the McCain-Feingold speech regulations.
Scads of well-funded groups also exist to stamp down free speech, groups like Common Cause and Demos.
The new, more sinister IRS scandal is deadly dangerous to Democrats. It isn’t dangerous because bureaucrats took too long to approve tax exemption applications. It’s dangerous because it reveals the authoritarian impulses of powerful Democrats. First they tried to shut up political opposition through threats and bureaucracy. Then we learn yesterday that Democrats and leftists at the Justice Department, the United States Senate, and the Internal Revenue Service were discussing jailing political opponents.

Poll: 60 Percent of Americans Think Obama Lies on Important Issues

By Katie Pavlich
According to new polling released by Fox News, the vast majority of the country believes President Obama lies on important issues.
About six in ten American voters think Barack Obama lies to the country on important matters some or most of the time, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.
Thirty-seven percent think Obama lies “most of the time,” while another 24 percent say he lies “some of the time.” Twenty percent of voters say “only now and then” and 15 percent “never.”
It isn't just Obama's typical foes who think he's less than honest, Democrats and single women aren't too confident in his truth telling abilities either.
The number of voters saying Obama lies “most of the time” includes 13 percent of Democrats. It also includes 12 percent of blacks, 16 percent of liberals, 31 percent of unmarried women and 34 percent of those under age 30 -- all key Obama constituencies.
For President Obama, these numbers don't matter much, but they do matter for Democrats up for election this year who have been avid supporters of Obama's policies. Democratic support for Obamacare in particular continues to weigh on the minds of voters, especially voters who have lost the healthcare plans they were promised they could keep. 

We Give Foreigners Taxpayer Money to Import Stuff from America. What?

By Amy Payne
Is there anything the U.S. government doesn’t take taxpayer dollars to do?
Here’s a lesser-known function of your hard-earned money: providing backing for people in other countries to buy things from America.
Come again? Yes, that’s right. Let’s say Air China wants to purchase some Boeing jets. To encourage that purchase, America’s Export-Import Bank could loan Air China the money. If Air China were to default on the loan, U.S. taxpayers would be left on the hook.
Put simply, taxpayers should not be financing this kind of “bank”—which is “little more than a fund for corporate welfare,” as candidate Barack Obama described it in 2008.
The Ex-Im Bank, as it is called, is scheduled to expire in September—giving Congress an opportunity to end this program and focus on issues that matter to Americans, like lowering taxes and reducing burdens on businesses here at home.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently wrote that the Ex-Im Bank primarily helps big businesses that have friends in Washington.
Most of the benefits go to large corporations that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world. That is to say, Congress allows Ex-Im Bank to risk taxpayer money unnecessarily to subsidize well-connected private companies.
This kind of public policy privilege, best described as “crony capitalism,” is a threat to the free market and its moral underpinnings.
It matters where the money is going, too. A look at the countries getting loans shows that they’re not all America’s biggest fans: They include Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, and China.
Ex-Im loans can subsidize purchases by foreign governments as well as businesses in their countries—and those businesses may be competing with U.S. firms. This doesn’t help the U.S. economy. Heritage expert Diane Katz explains:
Ex–Im officials assume that the economic activity they subsidize would not occur absent bank financing. That is an absurd notion, but it is prevalent among bureaucrats who cannot fathom that business actually functions without them.
American taxpayers don’t need to fund any more cronyism, much less loans to hostile nations. We don’t need the Export-Import Bank.

Progressives are wrong about the essence of the Constitution

 By George F Will
....The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.
Progressives consider, for example, the rights to property and free speech as, in Sandefur’s formulation, “spaces of privacy” that government chooses “to carve out and protect” to the extent that these rights serve democracy. Conservatives believe that liberty, understood as a general absence of interference, and individual rights, which cannot be exhaustively listed, are natural and that governmental restrictions on them must be as few as possible and rigorously justified. Merely invoking the right of a majority to have its way is an insufficient justification.
With the Declaration, Americans ceased claiming the rights of aggrieved Englishmen and began asserting rights that are universal because they are natural, meaning necessary for the flourishing of human nature. “In Europe,” wrote James Madison, “charters of liberty have been granted by power,” but America has “charters of power granted by liberty.”
By Carol Platt Liebau
Someone in the lefty press is catching on.
Slate's John Dickerson points out that the Obama administration routinely "trolls" the GOP -- that is, deliberately misstates information about matters of public concern in order to keep what they consider favorable topics foremost in the public mind. Dickerson uses the topic of the "wage gap" as one example; I would use the topic of voting rights as another. In other words, the president and his administration are giving the press and the people purportedly factual information that they actually know is untrue as part of a deliberate strategy.
As Dickerson points out, there is something breathtakingly cynical about this approach. Not only is it wrong, it degrades the office of the presidency, and undermines whatever trust Americans still have in their elected officials -- a troubling phenomenon for a democratic republic.
Although his successors will reap the whirlwind, President Obama has obviously decided he doesn't care: The strategy is perfect to foment unrest and agitation by keeping low-information voters in a perpetual state of indignation against the GOP, and thus at least incrementally increases the chances that turnout among Democrat groups won't be as low this fall as many fear.
But it may also explain why, as Katie noted below, 60% of Americans think their President is lying to them about things that matter. After all, they're not stupid, and perhaps the President ultimately will come to realize that seeking to exploit fear powered by ignorance isn't really the best strategy for a leader to choose.
As with so many of his other policies, by choosing this course, the President is sacrificing the long-term good of this country for his own, short-term political objectives. Sad. And destructive.
By Thomas Lifson
Is Elizabeth Warren positioning herself for the veep slot on a Hillary Clinton ticket in 2016? It sure looks that way. The Democrats have discovered that “historic first” candidacies do wonders for turnout, and an all-female ticket would double the appeal to women.
Then there is the possibility that if Hillary decides not to run, Warren may seek a shot at the nomination herself. That’s the logical conclusion to draw from a burst of publicity this week, as pre-publication copies of her new book sent to friendly media are being previewed.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Somebody is not getting enough reading time

Yesterday I finally got the mental go ahead to get back to my paleo eating plan, i.e., eating very healthily so I will be going back to it this evening. I'm making a veggie soup, using the food processor for the first time that was given to me by a friend who picked it up for $5 at a garage sale last year. It will be better than chopping everything that takes forever. I'll also be checking out the health food stores again for what is available there and not available in regular stores. For weight loss, yes, but this is also to help my psoriasis and overall well being.

Nothing on TV tonight so I will be reading.

Prince William, Catherine and George are now in Australia in their tour down under for the Queen. Here's one of the cutest photos:

And yes, I want her hair though I don't have the patience to grow it that long anymore. I've had it once or twice. Because my hair is fine but thick, it was heavy, hot, and I always put it in braids or ponytails.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - April 16, 2014

New Emails Show Lois Lerner Contacted DOJ About Prosecuting Tax Exempt Groups

By Katie Pavlich
According to new IRS emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner contacted the Department of Justice in May 2013 about whether tax exempt groups could be criminally prosecuted for "lying" about political activity.
"I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ ... He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who "lied" on their 1024s --saying they weren't planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS," Lerner wrote in a May 8, 2013 email to former Nikole C. Flax, who was former-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller's chief of staff.
"I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?" Flax responded on May 9, 2013.

After this email exchange, Lerner handed things off to Senior Technical Adviser and Attorney Nancy Marks, who was in charge of setting up a meeting with DOJ.
Just a few short days later on May 10, 2013, Lerner admitted and apologized for the inappropriate targeting of conservative tea party groups during an American Bar Association Conference after answering a planted question. Further according to Judicial Watch, "In an email to an aide responding to a request for information from a Washington Post reporter, Lerner admits that she “can’t confirm that there was anyone on the other side of the political spectrum” who had been targeted by the IRS. She then adds that “The one with the names used were only know [sic] because they have been very loud in the press.”
In other words, only conservative groups were being looked at for criminal prosecution.
Last week news broke that Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings' staff was in contact with Lerner about the conservative group True the Vote, despite denying any contact occurred. In this specific instance of Lerner discussing possible criminal prosecution of tax-exempt groups through DOJ, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse seems to have been the person to get the ball rolling.
On April 9, 2013 during a Senate Judiciary Hearing, just one month before the targeting scandal broke, Whitehouse asked witnesses from DOJ and the IRS why groups that had possibly "made false statements" about their political activities had not been prosecuted. On March 27, 2013, just days before the hearing took place, Lerner described the purpose for the hearing to IRS staff in an email. "As I mentioned yesterday -- there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn't feel so comfortable doing the stuff," she wrote. "So, don't be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity."
Lerner later acknowledged pursuing prosecutions of these groups would not fit well with the law.
“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.” 

Census Bureau: Change that Conceals Obamacare Impact Before Midterms 'Coincidental'

By Tony Lee
The Census Bureau decided to so drastically change the methodology of its annual survey for the first time in over 30 years that it will be nearly impossible to measure Obamacare's impact before the midterm elections. 
The New York Times reports that the Census Bureau, which has been "the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades," also knew for years that its survey had inflated the number of Americans who were uninsured. Democrats relied on that data to push for a complete overhaul of the health care system.
The Census Bureau said the change, implemented during the year that Obamacare is being implemented, was "coincidental" and "unfortunate" because the redesign would have ideally "had at least a few years to gather base line and trend data.”
The new methodology will reportedly show a lower number of uninsured Americans, which will inevitably be compared to the number of uninsured Americans that had been inflated in previous reports, a win-win for the Obama administration. In addition, “the percentage of people with private coverage was statistically higher” with the new methodology.
Census officials told the Times that "the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable." An internal Census Bureau document the Times obtained said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, when tested last year, actually "produced lower estimates of the uninsured." 
“We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the health statistics branch at the Census Bureau, told the Times.
The traditional questionnaire that had been used for over 30 years had an “inflated estimate of the uninsured” and was prone to “measurement errors,” according to a document the Times obtained. For instance, "the percentage of people without health insurance was 10.6 percent when interviewers used the new questionnaire, compared with 12.5 percent using the old version."
That did not stop the Obama administration from using the inflated numbers to push for Obamacare. As Breitbart News has reported, just 1.7% of America's supposedly 48.6 million uninsured have been covered by Obamacare to date.
In 2009, Republicans criticized the Obama administration's decision to move the Census into the White House, saying it was nothing more than a partisan power grab that the Obama administration could use to its advantage. 
...The Times notes that "health policy experts and politicians had been assuming that the Census Bureau" would help answer how many Americans "gaining coverage were previously uninsured or had policies canceled" since the annual report "shows the number of people with various kinds of health insurance and the number of uninsured for the nation and for each state." But Kathleen Thiede Call, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said that the Census data that will be released just before the 2014 midterm elections "will not be directly comparable to what was reported last September."
Critics of the move said, at a minimum, the new methodology will give the Obama administration cover to say Obamacare's impact is inconclusive when Republicans criticize the law in the months before the midterm elections.

Vice President Clinton?

By Lee Cary
Here’s a prediction, albeit a longshot.

After the midterms, Joe Biden resigns citing vague, undefined health reasons. Biden will devote his time to assembling documents from his many years in the Senate and as VP for inclusion in the planned Biden Library (at, say, the University of Delaware),  mostly already funded by a large pool of donations from wealthy contributors.   (In other words, Joe gets bought out.  No chance of him being elected POTUS. So he bargains while he’s got something to bargain with. If he sticks out to ‘16, you could put his library in a Bookmobile.

Hillary Clinton fulfills his remaining term of 14-16, enabling her to be the first female VP (‘cause, as you know, the GOP has a war on women and that’ll be a key theme in ‘16), plus, travel the country using Air Force 2 to campaign for POTUS.  Consequently, assuming her health enables her to run, it will be as an incumbent, of sorts.  In the debates she’ll be addressed by the liberal media hacks (that the compliant GOP will yet again approve as unbiased moderators) as “Mrs. Vice President.”  No need to use the feminist form of address “Ms.” when there are extra points to be gained by reminding people she is married to Bill Clinton, the Democrats’ senior statesman.

So, the Democrat Candidate in ‘16 is a former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and Vice President – all in one lovable package.  Bada-boom, bada-bing.

Crazy, you say?  It’s exactly what I’d do if I were they. The liberal media would go organismic over the move.

‘Litigious Weapon’ Unchecked: GAO Finds No One’s Keeping Tabs on Environmental Reviews

No consistent data kept to piece together the "paralysis by analysis."

  By Bridget Johnson
The Government Accountability Office found that sketchy data is being collected on lengthy and costly environmental reviews, with one administration critic saying the new report proves that the National Environmental Policy Act “has turned into a tool for delaying projects on federal lands.”
NEPA “generally requires federal agencies to evaluate the potential environmental effects of actions they propose to carry out, fund, or approve,” such as permits, “by preparing analyses of different comprehensiveness depending on the significance of a proposed project’s effects on the environment–from the most detailed Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) to the less comprehensive Environmental Assessments (EA) and Categorical Exclusions (CE),” the GAO said in its audit released Tuesday.
The report found that no reliable data exists for the costs of enforcing NEPA or the number of environmental analyses performed each year, even though the Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to be tracking it. Information is scattered among various agencies with different standards of record-keeping; the Energy Department did reveal that the cost paid to contractors for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) can range from $6.6 million to as much as $85 million.
The impact statements take an average of 4.6 years to complete, effectively holding up projects at a rate that increased by 34.2 days per year between 2000 and 2012. Thirty years ago, the estimate of total time needed for such a study was less than a year.
...“This report substantiates concerns that the federal government has no system to track time or costs associated with NEPA, which is one of the most expansive regulatory laws in the country,” Bishop said Tuesday. “The findings of this report are not insignificant and deserve to be given considerable attention and oversight moving forward.”
“The National Environmental Policy Act is important for many reasons, however, I remain concerned about the exorbitant costs and delays associated with the process,” he added. “I am also very troubled by the constant use of NEPA as a litigious weapon to halt or delay projects that wealthy special interest groups don’t like. This report will be instrumental as we work toward finding solutions for some of the biggest problems plaguing this ’70s-era law.”
Hastings said the GAO confirmed “that the federal government can’t even track how many lawsuits are caused by NEPA or how much it costs taxpayers to fund never-ending studies.”

Obama Admin Makes New Rules on Grains, Breweries Rebel

By Warner Todd Huston
For generations brewers have been selling leftover brewing grains to farmers to feed to their livestock, but now the feds want to interfere and make that transaction harder and more expensive, a move that will drive up the costs of both beer and food.
...Currently brewers make deals with farmers where the farmers cart off the used grains. Often the deal is done without cost to both parties.
"We're trading, giving something of value to each other and working it out. I think that's one of the really great things, and people really hate to see the government get involved in something where they can just as easily stay out of this," Deth said.
But under the new rules, the grains would be regulated like pet foods and would have to meet FDA regulations for food safety. These regulations would cost both farmers and brewers more than a handshake.
Naturally there isn't a single report in the entire history of these grain deals of harm coming to either livestock or humans. Regardless, regulators in Washington have found yet another thing to interfere in and, yet again, the feds want to stop Americans from doing something they've done since the country was young.
....But if these new rules take effect at any level, it will essentially be just a new tax added to beer prices. According to the Tax Foundation, already some 40 percent of what we pay for beer is made up of taxes.
Worse, some sources also claim that these new rules will also drive up food prices beyond the price of beer.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) notes that if farmers have to pay more for feed it will drive up the costs of our food

By Alana Cook
In a move lawmakers and farmers are calling “the biggest land grab in the history of the world,” the Environmental Protection Agency is requesting jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the United States that are “intermittent, seasonal and rain-dependent.”

The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late March jointly released a proposed rule, Waters of the United States, in an effort to clarify which streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act.

A statement issued by the EPA says “the proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act.”

But some lawmakers strongly disagree.

According to congressional budget testimony last week, Waters of the United States would give the EPA authority over streams on private property even when the water beds have been dry, in some cases for hundreds of years.

Calling it “the biggest land grab in the history of the world,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said the “economic impact of that would be profound.”

...Rogers said the proposal is “proof in and of itself of the mal-intent of this administration toward the private sector.”

When Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, probed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy further about how the new Waters of the United States rule would affect Americans’ civil liberties and ability to conduct business, McCarthy was unable to cite specifics.

She said the rule is currently posted on the EPA website for a 90-day commenting period and the scientific basis to support it has not been completed.

The proposed rule tinkers with the definition of “navigable” waters, which was the central point of litigation in a battle between the Supreme Court and the EPA regarding the Clean Water Act.

....But lawmakers and farmers express concern that this kind of regulation would allow the EPA in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Energy and the Army to dictate on a never-before-seen scale everything from grazing rights, food production, animal health and the use of energy on private lands.

....When lawmakers questioned McCarthy on the extent of the regulation’s reach, including who would be fined if the rules are violated and where the money would go, McCarthy could not give a clear answer.

She said only that the scientific study on which the proposed rule is based is still under way.

Obama administration gives Detroit $100 million for 'blight removal'

By Rick Moran

The cash infusion by the federal government is actually going to help the city pay pensions, even though they're playing a kind of shell game with the money.

As for "blight removal," perhaps they could start with city hall.

Michigan officials and President Barack Obama's Administration are discussing a plan to free up $100 million in federal money to aid Detroit's retired city workers, the Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday.
Citing two people familiar with the talks, the newspaper said the talks were centered around federal money flowing to Michigan for blight removal. Under the plan, $100 million would be earmarked for Detroit, reducing the $500 million the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, plans to use to eliminate blight over the next 10 years.
The $100 million saved could then be used by Orr to ease pension cuts for retirees under the city's plan to adjust its $18 billion of debt and exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, according to the report.
The White House wants the story to go away because even among Democrats on Capitol Hill, there is little enthusiasm for any kind of bailout for the Motor City. That goes double for Governor Snyder who is locked in a close re-election campaign. 

It seems inevitable that some kind of federal bailout package for Detroit will be proposed. City manager Orr is keeping things together with bailing wire and bee's wax, with little margin for error. To truly get out from under, the city is going to need billions.

PK'S NOTE: Tell me these aren't racist comments, I dare you. 

University Wants Fewer Whites: Fears 'Mediocrity'

By Selwyn Duke
If you thought the “educator” who saw “racist” intent behind offering someone a peanut-butter sandwich was a loon, consider Western Washington University (WWU) president Bruce Shepard. Always on the lookout for ways to improve his institution’s academic integrity, he recently circulated a school-wide questionnaire and asked, “How do we make sure that in future years ‘we are not as white as we are today?’”

Apparently, Shepard has been gnashing his teeth over this problem for quite a while. As Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Campus Reform reports, el presidente said in a 2012 speech, “Every year, from this stage and at this time, you have heard me say that, if in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as university.”

Hey, forget the old measures of academic success, such as if students know what’s in the Constitution, have a grasp of basic history and civics, can perform rudimentary mathematical calculations and properly use the language (for Shep’s benefit, I refer to English). It’s now all about melanin content.
...But Shep is just looking to the future. He also warned on his blog, “In the decades ahead, should we be as white as we are today, we will be relentlessly driven toward mediocrity; or, become a sad shadow of our current self.” Would that be a White Shadow?

But I’m hip. We certainly wouldn’t want to be mediocre like the white guys who forged Western civilization, founded the US, created the modern world and gave us most of what makes our lives better.

Now, given that WWU was founded in 1886 and originally called the Northwest Normal School, I have a feeling it’s already a shadow of its former self. But, question: if WWU became what it is today while being intolerably white, how could remaining so make it a shadow of its current self? I know, I know, our strength lies in our diversity, our smartness lies in our stupidity, and academics lie constantly.

But I have a couple more questions. Does Shep still want the mediocre white alumni’s money? And since WWU has printed information on how to more effectively “recruit and retain faculty and staff of color,” will the colorless Shepard lead by example and give his presidency to a member of the color replete? Or is this where, as with Elizabeth Fauxcahontas Warren, we suddenly learn that Shep is really a Cherokee named Peddling Bull.

Anyway, it’s not hard to figure out how to reduce the number of whites at WWU: just eliminate the affirmative action for whites.

Oh, wait….

Alas, mediocrity may not remain restricted to WWU’s presidency after all.

By Dennis Prager
In his column last week, Charles Krauthammer crossed a line. He declared the American Left totalitarian.
He is correct. Totalitarianism is written into the Left’s DNA. Krauthammer wrote about a left-wing petition “bearing more than 110,000 signatures delivered to the [Washington] Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming.”
He concluded:
I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the Left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition. The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian.
America is engaged in a civil war — thank God, a nonviolent one, but a civil war nonetheless. We are as divided now as we were during the Civil War. The issue then was slavery — a huge moral divide, of course. But today, the country is divided by opposite views on morality, politics, society, religion, the individual, and the very nature of America.
The Left seeks to, as candidate Barack Obama promised five days before his first election, “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” That is what the Left is doing. There is almost no area of American life in which the Left’s influence is not transformative, and ultimately destructive.
Beginning today, I will periodically devote the space of this column to exposing that transformation and destruction. This is necessary, I believe, because most Americans, including more than a few Republicans and more than a few Democrats, simply do not know what the Left is doing to their country.
So, here is some of what the Left has done in the last week or two.
The left-wing directors of Mozilla, the parent company of the browser Firefox, compelled their CEO, Brendan Eich, to resign after he refused to recant his support for maintaining the man-woman definition of marriage. Even though his gay employees acknowledged that he had treated them fairly individually and as couples, the mere fact that he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman rendered him unacceptable as an employee of Mozilla/Firefox. (For more details, see my column of last week, “Uninstall Firefox.”)
The Wall Street Journal condemned Mozilla. The New York Times has not taken a position.
Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, perhaps the world’s foremost activist in behalf of women in the Islamic world. Hirsi Ali, an African woman born into a Muslim family and raised Muslim, now teaches at Harvard; she was scheduled to receive an honorary degree at the forthcoming Brandeis graduation ceremony. Brandeis rescinded its invitation after protests led by a Muslim student and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist organization. Hirsi Ali’s detractors were outraged about comments she has made criticizing the appalling treatment of women in many parts of the Muslim world.
The Wall Street Journal condemned Brandeis. The New York Times has not taken a position.
The University of Michigan canceled a showing of the documentary Honor Diaries. The film features nine women who are Muslim or who come from a Muslim country. They speak about honor killings, female genital mutilation, forced marriages at young ages, and the denial of education to women in Muslim communities. They praise moderate Muslims. But the University of Michigan canceled the film lest a non-moderate Muslim organization, CAIR again, label the university “Islamophobic.”
Six weeks ago, a University of Wisconsin student released a video he had made of a guest lecturer in the freshman general-education course “Education 130: Individual and Society.” The lecturer, the political and organizing director for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 150, delivered a diatribe, with obscenities, against conservatives, whites, and Republicans. Last week, when confronted with the evidence that classrooms at their university were being politicized, the faculty of the University of Wisconsin reacted with indignation — at the student who made the video. And then the faculty passed a resolution demanding that the university ban recording any of its classes.
It’s hard to blame the faculty. Given the intellectual shallowness and the left-wing politics that pervade so many liberal-arts classes, the University of Wisconsin faculty has every reason to fear how the public might respond if it knows what professors say in class.
Today is the cutoff date for public reactions to the proposal by the California Supreme Court’s ethics-advisory committee to forbid California judges from affiliating with the Boy Scouts, which the Left deems anti-gay. Given the Left’s animosity to traditional value-based institutions, it is not surprising that it loathes the Boy Scouts. What is remarkable — actually, frightening — is how easy it has been for the Left to make it illegal for a judge to be a leader in the Boy Scouts. This is the now case in 22 states. It will soon be the case in California as well.
This was just one week — and only selected examples — in the Left’s ongoing transformation of America.

Al Qaeda holds big rally in Yemen

By Thomas Lifson
Not exactly “on the run,” as candidate Obama claimed in 2012, Al Qaeda brazenly held an open rally with over 100 people and posted video of it online. CNN reports (video below):

A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn't know about it or couldn't get a drone there in time to strike.
U.S. officials won't comment on that, but every frame of the video is now being analyzed by the United States.
In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda's crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen. Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States. But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.

Note to Mayor de Blasio: these guys all worship at mosques, where their imams tell them AQ is a great way to win a ticket to paradise and all those waiting virgins.

In a speech to the group, al-Wuhayshi makes it clear that he's going after the United States, saying "We must eliminate the cross. ... The bearer of the cross is America!"

There is every reason to believe that more attacks are on their way:

The main problem about this group is that it has a bomb maker who can put bombs on to planes that can't be detected," Bergen said.

That bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to be responsible for several attack attempts against the United States, including the failed 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber attack in Detroit. (snip)

"His message to the United States," [CNN terror analyst Peter] Cruickshank said, "was very much the same as (former al Qaeda leader Osama) bin Laden's: 'We're coming after you.' "