Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shelby Steele — Shame: How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country

Professor Steele's new book, available at Amazon.

Plus, Shop Amazon - Children's Books for Easter.

More blogging tonight. Thanks for reading.

'Text Neck'

Mobile technology is hazardous to your health.

At CNN, "There is an epidemic and it is called 'text neck'."

Hey, I'm guilty too.

But then, I read a lot of books, usually reclining in a lounger or lying in bed. In other words, what people have been doing forever. I doubt all the new wireless and mobile technology is helpful for the intellectual development of young people. They need to read more. And I mean old fashioned books, newspapers, and magazines. "Long reads" as folks like to say.

PREVIOUSLY: "Texting Makes You Selfish."

The Bergdahl Desertion

At WSJ, "Obama wanted to ‘whittle away’ the killers at Guantanamo":
The United States Army intends to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. That was Wednesday’s news, but the bigger story is the extravagant price the U.S. has paid because President Obama wanted to score political points.

Readers will recall that then-Private First Class Bergdahl went missing from his post in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009. Fellow soldiers suspected desertion, though the Army conducted a risky manhunt to recover him. The sergeant was quickly captured by the Taliban and held for five years.

The Associated Press has reported that an internal Pentagon investigation in 2010 found “incontrovertible” evidence that he had walked away from his post. Journalists also uncovered an exchange of letters in which the soldier wrote to his father “the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools,” that he was “ashamed to even be american,” and that “the future is too good to waste on lies.” Replied father Robert: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”

All of this would have been known to President Obama and National Security Adviser Susan Rice when the Administration decided to swap Sgt. Bergdahl for five Guantanamo Bay detainees—all top Taliban leaders—in May 2014. Mr. Obama even invited Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents to a Rose Garden ceremony to announce the swap, while Ms. Rice declared on a Sunday talk show that the soldier had served his country with “honor and distinction.”

At the time of the release, Mr. Obama said he had a sacred obligation as Commander in Chief to do everything possible to bring the sergeant home. Maybe so, but the President made his real motives clear when he noted that the transfer was part of “the transition process of ending a war” and that he wanted to “whittle away” the number of Gitmo detainees. That, he told NBC, “is going to involve, on occasion, releasing folks who we may not trust but we can’t convict.”

This is the language of a President more concerned with pursuing his ideological fixations, and fulfilling a misbegotten campaign pledge, than winning a war or securing the country.

The Bergdahl swap unleashed a torrent of criticism at the time, including from Senate Democrats, so it’s not surprising that the charges against the soldier are only being unveiled now, five months after the midterm elections. There was no Rose Garden ceremony, and Ms. Rice issued no statement that we saw.

Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan shows no sign of ending, while an emboldened Taliban can look forward to getting their old commanders back after their obligatory year in Qatar ends in June. Sgt. Bergdahl will now face a court martial, but we already know that the White House is guilty of deserting its obligations to U.S. security.
More at Free Beacon, "Former Sergeant Who Served with Bergdahl: He’s Lucky No One is Talking About the Death Penalty."

PREVIOUSLY: "Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion and Misbehavior."

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Intimates: Lily Aldridge

She's so sweet.

PREVIOUSLY: "Lily Aldridge is Maxim's April 2015 Cover Girl."

Kamala Harris Overreacts to 'Sodomite Suppression Act'

She's an idiot.

See the commentary at LAT, "Kamala Harris' (over)reaction to anti-sodomy initiative gives idea more power."

And the statement at the AG's office, "Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Statement on Proposed Ballot Initiative."

PREVIOUSLY: "Signature Petition for 'Sodomite Suppression' Seeks 'Bullets to the Head' Measure for California Ballot (VIDEO)."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion and Misbehavior

See WaPo for the report (via Memeorandum).

And Megyn Kelly blasts State Department spokeswoman Jen "Doe-Eyed" Psaki:

Team Harpy Apologizes to Joe Murphy

Team Harpy is Nina de Jesus and Lisa Rabey. Their apologies, published today, are here, "Apologies and retractions."

I'd never heard of these women, but Robert Stacy McCain posted on the controversy today, "Two Women Forced to Apologize for Calling Male Librarian ‘Sexual Predator’."

Ms. de Jesus, who appears to be a trans woman, is a freakin' hardcore leftist ideologue who rails against "settler colonialism" and believes that accusations of sexual harassment/predation need not be backed by evidence of wrongdoing. Moreover, the #TeamHarpy partisans are positively Orwellian, as Popehat points out.

I need to blog something else otherwise I'll be sucked into a netherworld of leftist hatred and evil. Kudos on this Joe Murphy dude for hammering these disgusting trans-SJW jackwagons.

New Footage Shows Terrified Tourists in Tunisia Terrorist Attack

Coming to America.

Watch, at Telegraph UK, "Dramatic video footage has emerged of terrified tourists caught up in the attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis in which 21 people were shot dead by two marauding terrorists."

Lily Aldridge is Maxim's April 2015 Cover Girl

At Maxim.

And London's Daily Mail, "'She's the sweetest girl I've ever met': Lily Aldridge smoulders in topless shoot as she discusses BFF Taylor Swift and being a sex symbol."

Joe Scaffido, Assistant Dean, Invites Islamic State 'Freedom Fighters' to Train Students at Cornell University (VIDEO)

Only in Obama's America.

At the New York Post, "Cornell dean says ISIS welcome on campus in undercover video."

There are literally no depths to which the left will not go to bring evil to this country.

Google's Blue-Chip Insider Access to the Obama White House

Hypocrisy thy name is Democrat.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Google Makes Most of Close Ties to White House":
WASHINGTON—As the federal government was wrapping up its antitrust investigation of Google Inc., company executives had a flurry of meetings with top officials at the White House and Federal Trade Commission, the agency running the probe.

Google co-founder Larry Page met with FTC officials to discuss settlement talks, according to visitor logs and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt met with Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in the White House.

The documents don’t show exactly what was discussed in late 2012. Soon afterward, the FTC closed its investigation after Google agreed to make voluntary changes to its business practices. (See the FTC document on Google).

Google’s access to high-ranking Obama administration officials during a critical phase of the antitrust probe is one sign of the Internet giant’s reach in Washington. Since Mr. Obama took office, employees of the Mountain View, Calif., company have visited the White House for meetings with senior officials about 230 times, or an average of roughly once a week, according to the visitor logs reviewed by the Journal.

One top lobbyist at Google, Johanna Shelton, has had more than 60 meetings at the White House. In comparison, employees of rival Comcast Corp., also known as a force in Washington, have visited the White House a total of about 20 times since Mr. Obama took office.

“We think it is important to have a strong voice in the debate and help policy makers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open, to build great products, and to fuel economic growth,” says Google spokeswoman Niki Christoff.

Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, said the FTC “is an independent agency and we respect their independent decision-making.”

She added: “White House officials meet with business executives on a range of issues on a regular basis. These meetings help keep the White House apprised of outside perspectives on important policy issues. Our staff is cognizant that it is inappropriate to discuss issues relating to regulatory enforcement.”

Justin Cole, an FTC spokesman, said: “The FTC is an independent law enforcement agency. Its enforcement decisions are driven by the applicable law and evidence in each case.”

Google’s knack for getting in the room with important government officials is gaining new relevance as scrutiny grows over how the company avoided being hit by the FTC with a potentially damaging antitrust lawsuit. Last week, the Journal reported that the FTC’s competition staff concluded that Google used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and rivals.

The staff recommended a lawsuit, which would have triggered one of the highest-profile antitrust cases since the Justice Department sued Microsoft Corp. in the 1990s. FTC commissioners voted unanimously to end the probe.

Visitor logs and internal emails reviewed by the Journal describe meetings involving Google, senior White House advisers and top FTC officials between the staff’s recommendation in August 2012 and the vote in January 2013.

On Nov. 6, 2012, the night of Mr. Obama’s re-election, Mr. Schmidt was personally overseeing a voter-turnout software system for Mr. Obama. A few weeks later, Ms. Shelton and a senior antitrust lawyer at Google went to the White House to meet with one of Mr. Obama’s technology advisers.

By the end of the month, the FTC had decided not to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company, according to the agency’s internal emails.

It is unusual for White House aides to talk with officials at a company or agency about law-enforcement matters involving the company or agency. Officials in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division typically don’t meet with the White House during major investigations.

Google’s efforts in Washington also include a well-funded lobbying operation. Last year, Google spent $16.8 million on lobbyists, more than any other company except for Comcast, according to lobbying disclosures...
Keep reading.

Wind Turbines Bring Large-Scale Massacre of Birds at Altamont Pass

Gee thanks leftists.

You're destroying our natural wonders with your Utopian collectivist pursuit to eradicate carbons.

At CBS News San Francisco: "Environmentalists Worry About More Bird Deaths With Wind Turbines at Altamont Pass."

Signature Petition for 'Sodomite Suppression' Seeks 'Bullets to the Head' Measure for California Ballot (VIDEO)

That's a "bullet to the head" for homosexuals.

The "Sodomite Suppression Act." It's a serious thing.

At LAT, "Officials powerless to stop proposed anti-gay initiative":

Over the decades, California has chiseled out some of its most colorful laws at the ballot box.

There have been proposed initiatives seeking to allow public school children be able to sing Christmas carols, to require drug testing of state legislators, to outlaw divorce and to divide California into six states.

But the proposed initiative submitted by a Huntington Beach attorney that would authorize the killing of gays and lesbians by "bullets to the head" — or "any other convenient method" — is testing the limits of the state's normally liberal attitude on putting even the most extreme ideas on the ballot if enough signatures are collected.

The proposed initiative has been met by a firestorm of anger, yet there appears to be nothing that can stop it from being given a formal name and advancing to the signature gathering process.

For a fee of $200, Matthew McLaughlin submitted what he called the Sodomite Suppression Act to the state attorney general's office, which has little choice but to give it a ballot-worthy name, summarize its effects and set the clock running for gathering signatures.

"Mr. McLaughlin's immoral proposal is just the latest — and most egregious — example of the need to further reform the initiative process," Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) said.

Some of California's most controversial laws have been given life through the initiative process, though some lived only briefly. A 1996 initiative legalized marijuana for medicinal use, a law that still stands. Two years earlier, voters approved the so-called Save Our State initiative, which denied a public education and other benefits to those in the country illegally — a law that was quickly declared to be illegal.

Two lawmakers said they were so revolted by McLaughlin's submitted initiative that they have proposed a bill that would increase the fee for filing a ballot measure from $200 to $8,000.

"We live in California, the cradle of direct democracy, but we also need a threshold for reasonableness," said Low, who co-authored the legislation with Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica).

But to get on the ballot, McLaughlin and any supporters he has would have to collect more than 365,000 signatures in 180 days, a high bar even for well-financed efforts.

"In California, this has the same chance as a snowball's chance in hell," said Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus of political science at Cal State L.A.

Kurt Oneto, a Sacramento attorney who specializes in the initiative process, said Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris does not have the ability to turn down McLaughlin's proposed ballot measure, regardless of how she might feel.

"The state gets serious initiatives that are submitted and we get silly ones, and every now and then we get ugly ones like this," Oneto said. "I would submit this is probably the ugliest one I remember."

America Isn't Better With #ObamaCare

From Katie Pavlich, at the Hill:
It’s been five years since the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, was passed and signed into law. This week, the White House is touting the legislation as a huge success and claiming the country is better off.

“FACT: We’ve seen the largest drop in the uninsured rate in decades since the ACA became law. #BetterWithObamacare,” the official White House Twitter feed sent out Sunday.

“More than 16 million Americans have gained health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. #BetterWithObamacare,” another tweet said.

First, it’s important to analyze this White House white lie. While more Americans do in fact have health insurance in the wake of ObamaCare, the administration fails to point out that citizens are required by law to do so or pay a fine.
This wasn’t the case in decades past. Times — and the law — have changed. The government criminalized the decision not to purchase healthcare, and the IRS has been tapped with enforcing the requirement. More people have health insurance because they’ve been forced into the system, not because they want insurance or because they have easier access.

Second, let’s review how ObamaCare was passed in 2010. It happened in the middle of the night through a change in Senate rules and without a single Republican vote. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is now infamous for saying, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

She also wasn’t shy about the tactics used to get the legislation through Congress. “We will go through the gate and if the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get healthcare reform passed for the American people for their own personal health and economic security and for the important role that it will play in reducing the deficit,” Pelosi said in January 2010.

Although ObamaCare is still highly controversial, as Pelosi once admitted, its negative impact is clearer.

For example, having health insurance is not the same thing as having access to medical care or affordable coverage. The costs of health insurance premiums and deductibles have significantly increased, leaving families in even more dire financial situations. According to research from the Manhattan Institute, health insurance premiums for people living in a number of states across the country have gone up by more than 100 percent.

Overall, costs to the taxpayer have been enormous, with $2 billion spent on, which didn’t work properly for a year, and an estimated $2 trillion in addition to enforce ObamaCare over the next 10 years. Data from a Government Accountability Office report released in 2013 has been cited showing ObamaCare adds $6.2 trillion to the long-term U.S. deficit, a far cry from liberal claims that deficits would be reduced as a result of the law.

Further, and most detrimental, is the mass retirement of doctors...
One of the great public policy abominations ever inflicted on the American people.

Keep reading.

The French Are 'Dismayed' by How Much Obama Has Given Up in Iran Talks

The irrepressible Dr. Krauthammer, on yesterday's All-Star Panel.

The Left Opens Fire on Ted Cruz!

At great talking points memo at Bill O'Reilly's, including commentary from Monica Crowley and Kirsten Powers.

Watch: "Ted Cruz For President - O'Reilly Talking Points."

Ted Cruz Tilts 2016 GOP to the Right

Hey, I can dig it, especially if he slows down the RINO momentum.

At LAT, "Ted Cruz's entry into 2016 race puts pressure on Republicans":
Sen. Ted Cruz jumped into the 2016 presidential race Monday in the same way he intends to run his campaign: upstaging rival Republicans with a splashy, impassioned speech that sought to drag the national conversation further to the right than many in his party want to go.

The Texas senator’s chances of winning the White House are narrow, polls suggest. And his aggressive tactics and brash style during two years in the Senate — including nudging the GOP toward the 2013 government shutdown — have alienated many of the Republican leaders whose support he probably needs to become the nominee.

But in addition to raising his political profile, Cruz’s candidacy is certain to play a role in the GOP primaries as he becomes a spoiler and potential kingmaker, forcing establishment favorites — such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — to confront tea party preferences on immigration, same-sex marriage and social welfare programs.

Cruz's zeal for small government and a muscular national defense reflects the views of many Republicans. But GOP strategists acknowledge the divisive firebrand may drive the debate too far to the right for mainstream political tastes — just as many party leaders say he has done during his short time in Congress. He could force his 2016 opponents to embrace positions in the primary that they might regret when facing the Democratic nominee.

“He's going to raise important questions that other candidates are going to have to answer, especially on social issues,” said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. “Are you pro-life? Pro-marriage? Ted Cruz has been very bold and he sort of puts pressure on people like Jeb and Rand [Paul] to speak about the issues.”

But Aguilar warned that Cruz's stances, such as his opposition to President Obama's program to defer deportation for millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally, could alienate voters in the general election if embraced by other candidates.

Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, makes no apologies for his goal to shake up the mainstream. He has said repeatedly that he wants to be seen as the “disruptive app” of GOP politics.

“It is the time for truth,” Cruz told an enthusiastic crowd of Liberty University students Monday. “It is the time for liberty. It is the time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.”

It was no accident that he chose to launch his presidential bid at the religious campus founded by the late pastor Jerry Falwell. Not far from the historic Civil War site of Appomattox, Liberty University has been a popular destination for Republicans seeking to bolster their conservative credentials. It also boasts an alumni and donor network that extends far from the campus, nestled near the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Cruz appeared onstage in a massive sports arena amid waving American flags and Christian rock music. He emphasized his family's personal struggles and Christian faith, calling on “courageous conservatives” to join him as he seeks to ignite the same grass-roots movement that propelled him to the Senate in 2012.

“The answer will not come from Washington,” he said. “It will come only from men and women across this country, the people of faith, the lovers of liberty.”
Still more at that top link

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Orwellian Obama Presidency

From Bret Stephens, at WSJ, "Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory":
The humiliating denouement to America’s involvement in Yemen came over the weekend, when U.S. Special Forces were forced to evacuate a base from which they had operated against the local branch of al Qaeda. This is the same branch that claimed responsibility for the January attack on Charlie Hebdo and has long been considered to pose the most direct threat to Europe and the United States.

So who should Barack Obama be declaring war on in the Middle East other than the state of Israel?

There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,” just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria.

He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army.

He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor. He has no problem keeping company with Al Sharpton and tagging an American police department as comprehensively racist but is nothing if not adamant that the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” must on no account ever be conjoined. The deeper that Russian forces advance into Ukraine, the more they violate cease-fires, the weaker the Kiev government becomes, the more insistent he is that his response to Russia is working.

To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory...
Perfect. Devastating. Just too honest, my goodness!

Keep reading.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali — Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

Ms. Hirsi Ali's book is out today, at Amazon.

Plus, Shop Amazon Sports & Outdoors - Up to 25% Off MSR, Therm-a-Rest, Platypus, SealLine, PackTowl and E-Case.

U.S. Marine Corps March Madness Recruiting (VIDEO)

At LAT, "Marines target March Madness in recruiting campaign."

The Yemen Meltdown

At WSJ, "The U.S. withdrawal is a victory for Iran and al Qaeda":
Another week, another victory for disorder in the Middle East. This time the meltdown is in Yemen, where this weekend the U.S. withdrew the remaining U.S. special forces from a base where they were waging a drone war against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The withdrawal comes amid growing chaos in the country after Houthi militants deposed the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the capital, San’a, for Aden last month. The Houthis belong to the Zaidi offshoot of Shiite Islam and are receiving help from Iran. They are at war with Sunni jihadists, who struck back in bombings on Friday that killed 152 people in San’a and Saada province. An Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility.

The U.S. retreat is a major loss in the fight against AQAP, which has been the al Qaeda branch most focused on hitting the U.S. mainland. The U.S. has a military base in Djibouti across the Gulf of Aden as well as naval assets in the region from which it can still strike targets in Yemen. But the loss of special forces on the ground is bound to hurt intelligence collection and thus the ability for accurate targeting. Chaos is a jihadist’s best friend.

As recently as September, President Obama hailed Yemen as an antiterror model. “This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years,” he said. That wishful thinking has now been exposed...

Police Can't Corroborate Rape Allegations at University of Virginia

At CBS Evening News, "Police unable to corroborate U.Va rape allegations."

Also at CNN, "Police say investigators found no 'substantive basis' to support a University of Virginia female student's story that she was raped."

And from Ashe Schow, at the Washington Examiner, "Police investigating UVA rape story emphasize importance of police involvement."

Santa Barbara Woman Tests Negative for Ebola

At the Santa Barbara Independent, "Santa Barbara Health Officials Monitoring Possible Ebola Case: A Woman Who Recently Traveled to West Africa."

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie of the Year 2015 — Kelly Rohrbach

Weekday hotness from Sports Illustrated:

Is Barbarity of Islamic State Pushing Public Opinion Toward Use of Ground Troops?

At Fox News, "Is the barbarity of ISIS changing U.S. public opinion?"

Referenced there is the child jihadi murdering the Israeli Arab, "Islamic State Video Shows Israeli Arab Murdered by Child Jihadi."

And at WaPo, "Support for using ground troops against the Islamic State is increasing."

Hillary Clinton Emails Shed Little Light

This is interesting, but will be entirely academic in the end.

I doubt much is going to come of the whole email thing, even though according this piece she lied about not using her private emails for public business.

At the New York Times, "In Clinton Emails on Benghazi, a Rare Glimpse at Her Concerns."

Taylor Swift Buys Domain Name

At Billboard:
Taylor Swift knew these domain names were trouble when they walked in.

The singer's team has purchased the web addresses and, prior to them becoming available to the public on June 1, according to CNN. It is unclear what she plans to do with them, if anything.

The move was prompted by nonprofit group Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers continuing to expand the number of generic top-level domains, beyond such popular ones as .com and .net.

A number of controversial domain names will be available in June, but public figures and companies are currently being given a window of time in which to register them before anyone else can.
Well, I can imagine what some less scrupulous types might have done with those domains.

USS Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft Carrier — By the Numbers

This is cool, via Telegraph UK:

And at London's Daily Mail, "Towering 20 stories above the waterline and more than 1,000ft long: Inside glimpse of the awesome naval power that is the USS Roosevelt."

Plus, at the U.S. Navy YouTube page, "Theodore Roosevelt Deploys for World Tour."