Links for 3-10-2013

Links for 3-8-2013

  • Senator John McCain hits bottom, digs: McCain called Tea Party supported members of Congress like Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz “wacko birds,” whatever that means. I guess it fits with his prior Wall Street Journal-inspired characterization of Tea Party supporters as “hobbits.” As many others have pointed out, I think McCain is envious of the media attention that Rand Paul is receiving due to his filibuster.

  • John Brennan was sworn in as CIA director using a draft copy of the Constitution that lacks the Bill of Rights. The optics, they are not good here.

  • Another source within a federal government agency – this time the National Park Service – alleges that the Obama White House is purposefully making the sequester cuts as painful to the public as possible for political gain.

  • National Review published an article describing Deb Fischer’s path to the U.S. Senate, contending that she built a grassroots organization that defeated two Tea Party-backed candidates in the Republican primary. Somehow the article manages to omit a crucial factor in Fischer’s emergence: Sarah Palin endorsed her.

  • Mark Steyn’s weekly column discusses our loss of liberty at the hands of the federal government, and ends with this: “I mention in my book that government is increasingly comfortable with a view of society as a giant ‘Panopticon’ – the radial prison devised by Jeremy Bentham in 1785, in which the authorities can see everyone and everything. In the Droneworld we have built for the war on terror, we can’t see the forest because we’re busy tracking every spindly sapling. When the same philosophy is applied on the home front, it will not be pretty.”

  • The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that for the first time restricts the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to search electronic gadgets without reasonable suspicion or a warrant. I’m no fan of the Ninth Circuit, but I oppose the idea that a crossing a border gives DHS the right to perform a forensic search of an American citizen’s notebook PC, tablet, or smartphone without probable cause.

  • Andrew McCarthy details the implications of the Obama administration’s decision to try Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, an al Qaeda leader and son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, as a civilian in New York City instead of depositing him in Gitmo: “Other than the relative notoriety of the culprits, bringing Abu Ghayth to New York is no different from bringing KSM [Khalid Sheik Mohammed] to New York for a civilian trial. The Obama administration’s intention is to try the same case against Abu Ghayth that it planned to present against KSM. This is a bold presidential decision to undermine military commissions and to proclaim that the civilian courts are the government’s venue of choice for all terrorism cases – even those against wartime enemy combatants.”

  • South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a “school sentinels” bill that permits school districts to arm volunteers and teachers. A couple of small Texas school districts are doing this, too.

  • Eighty percent of New York City high school graduates can’t read at their grade level, which prompted City University of New York (CUNY) to offer inexpensive classes that bring incoming students up to speed before they enroll in credit earning college classes. Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg should be concerning himself with something other than 32 ounce sodas, transfats, and gun control.

Links for 3-7-2013

  • Senator Rand Paul got what we wanted from his filibuster, a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder confirming that “…President Obama does not have the authority to kill an American on U.S. soil in a non-combat situation.” Nonetheless John Brennan was confirmed as CIA director by a 63–34 vote.

  • Daniel Horowitz wrote a good article on why people were encouraged by Paul’s filibuster:

    Conservatives have been starving for a fighter; longing for someone who will do something drastic, engage in a media savvy fight against an imperialistic president who has no respect for checks and balances and an invidious disregard for the separation of powers.

    We have witnessed this president shred the Constitution and implement his radical agenda by administrative fiat. We the People stand by flummoxed and frustrated at the lack of courage among Republicans to counter the president with anything more magnanimous than a press release. We have seen him abrogate our immigration laws, grant administrative amnesty, and let criminal aliens out of jail. Yet nobody has used their position and identified a point of leverage at which to take a stand and draw extended scrutiny to the issue or any other breach of authority.

    Finally, when administration officials began asserting that the president might even have the power to launch drone strikes on American soil, Senator Paul decided he would hold up a major nomination to command the attention of the entire country. Many of us sat back and watched the impassioned speeches from Paul and the stirring words of Ted Cruz. We wondered why we had not witnessed this sort of spirited opposition during Obamacare.

    Yet that is exactly the point.

  • Rush Limbaugh interviewed Rand Paul on his radio show and said people consider him a hero.

  • Senators John McCain criticized Paul for his filibuster, and Allahpundit does a good job characterizing just how tone deaf McCain is: “…[McCain is] the antithesis of Paul in every relevant way: Much older, part of the Senate establishment for several decades, extremely pro-interventionist, way too eager to compromise with Democrats on constitutional matters (campaign finance reform), and not a little bit personally nasty in quoting the [Wall Street] Journal’s line about Paul pulling a ‘stunt’ to fire up ‘impressionable libertarian kids.’ His underlying point is straightforward – why wait for an enemy combatant to pose an imminent threat to take him out, even if he’s in the U.S.? – but it’s difficult to engage that point because his tone is so jarringly discordant from the mood of the rest of the party today. Leave it to a guy who lost to Obama head to head to try to spoil a rare victory against The One by not even mustering polite disagreement with the man responsible for it.”

  • Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) won’t run for re-election next year.

  • The Federal Reserve’s “beige book” says ObamaCare is being cited by businesses as a reason for layoffs and slow hiring. (via The Transom)

  • ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion amounts to a giant redistribution scheme from red states to blue states, primarily New York. (via The Transom)

  • Organizing for Action will not accept contributions from federal lobbyists, foreign donors, or corporations, but is happy to accept contributions from unions.

  • Brandon Darby wrote an interesting account of his month-long stay in Venezuela as a “guest” of Hugo Chavez’s government. This was back in Darby’s left wing radical days, and the Venezuelans wanted him to start a guerrilla movement in the post-Katrina swamps of Louisiana.

Links for 3-6-2013

Links for 3-5-2013

  • An email leaked out of the USDA confirming that the Obama administration is purposefully trying to make the sequester cuts as painful as possible for political gain. One of those cuts involved ending White House tours, which prompted Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to offer an amendment to the continuing resolution being considered by the House that would ban using federal money to transport Obama to and from his golf outings until the White House tours are reinstated. Public access to the U.S. Naval Observatory was also cut off, but most people won’t mind it since visiting that area increases your risk of meeting Joe Biden, and you sure as Hell don’t want that.

  • Thirty members of the House of Representatives signed a letter asking Eric Cantor and John Boehner to defund ObamaCare in the upcoming continuing resolution. My Congressman’s name isn’t on the letter. Also notably absent: Michele Bachmann and Steve King. Boehner looks poised to pass the continuing resolution via a closed rule, so amendments like defunding ObamaCare and Obama’s golf outings won’t be allowed. This could be another case where Boehner passes a bill with predominantly Democrat backing.

  • Breitbart.com and The Daily Caller both attacked The Washington Post story claiming that Senator Bob Menendez was exonerated from charges that he consorted with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic by virtue of a court filing where the prostitutes in question recanted their story. It turns out the Post had the wrong prostitutes – at least they weren’t the prostitutes interviewed by Matthew Boyle, then of The Daily Caller, now with Breitbart.com. The Post quietly revised its article, adding the revelation that their source for the exoneration story was a cousin of Dr. Salomon Melgen, the Menendez patron and campaign contributor who’s at the center of this ugly morass.

  • Homeless people have been discovered during a Democrat administration! Specifically there are 50,000 homeless people in New York City’s shelters, a record.

  • A Congressional Research Service report states that oil and gas production on federal lands fell again last year.

  • Emily’s List is squiring Ashley Judd around on her public appearances prior to announcing a run for U.S. Senate from Kentucky. The extreme abortion views advocated by Emily’s List is unlikely to play well in Kentucky.

  • Victor Davis Hanson: “Today’s Washington journalists are like J. R. R. Tolkien’s ring wraiths, petty lords who wanted a few shiny golden Obama rings – only to end up as shrunken slaves to the One… ‘Punish’ is a favorite word of Barack Obama’s (as in ‘punish our enemies’), and he assumes both that his opponents have the same mindset that he does, and that there is a way to stop a news organization from doing something he does not like. You see, in the Chicago organizing mind of Barack Obama, elected officials never act on principle, but only adopt positions in relationship to the likelihood of being punished or not punished.”

Links for 3-4-2013

  • White House Spokescritter Jay Carney said Organizing for Action is definitely not selling access to Obama in exchange for $500,000 contributions, but that Organizing for Action was set up to advance Obama’s agenda, and in that capacity Obama would meet with their representatives. Meanwhile a trade association called Business Forward is selling businesses access to Obama in exchange for $25,000 to $50,000 membership fees. Obviously it’s cheaper to incorporate and go the Business Forward route. American Crossroads wasn’t very successful at electing moderate Republicans last November, but it did produce a good “Organizing for Acce$$” infomercial. I like the part about contributing $500,000 to Organizing for Action to gain access to Obama and Biden, or contributing $1,000,000 to gain access to Obama alone.

  • Obama is nominating Sylvia Matthews Burwell to be director of the Office of Management and Budget (she’s currently head of the Walmart Foundation), Gina McCarthy to be EPA administrator (she’s currently head of the EPA’s air and radiation office), and Ernest Moniz to be Secretary of Energy (he’s a professor at MIT).

  • Stanley Kurtz wrote a great article for National Review on the Left’s efforts to force colleges and universities to divest holdings in energy companies: “Silly as it may seem, we need to pay careful attention to what these young people are telling us. Fossil-fuel divestment is economics Lena Dunham–style: an embarrassingly naïve and apparently futile stance by those who nonetheless hold the power to swing elections and shift the culture. When nearly three-quarters of voting Harvard undergraduates elect to treat the companies that power our economy as pariahs, it’s time to take notice. Energy is so fundamental – in a sense, fossil fuels are the economy – that our climate wars increasingly serve as proxies for a battle over the status and even the existence of America’s free-market system. Look carefully at the fossil-fuel divestment campaign and you’ll find a new and potentially more damaging incarnation of Occupy Wall Street.”

  • Last month the Department of Homeland Security released 2,000 people from jail who are facing deportation and planned to release another 3,000 this month. After all of the recent media attention, it’s not clear if the second release will proceed.

  • Jeb Bush opposes a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens, the reverse of a position he supported as recently as January.

  • The Washington Post reports that the underage hooker allegations against Senator Bob Menendez were fabrications. There’s been little or nothing said refuting the allegations that Menendez has been selling favors from the federal government.

Links for 3-3-2013

  • Andrew B. Wilson wrote an article for The American Spectator on a terrorist attack I previously knew nothing about. NSA intercepts indicated that Yasser Arafat personally approved a terrorist attack by eight members of the Black September Organization on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, an attack that resulted in the deaths of two Americans, including the new ambassador to the Sudan, Cleo Allen Noel, Jr., and the second ranking officer at the U.S. embassy, George Curtis Moore. Arafat’s role wasn’t publicly known until a State Department document was released in May 2006, but the document was written shortly after the attack, so the U.S. government knew of his involvement. Arafat apparently suffered no consequences for his actions – instead he received a Nobel Peace Prize and visited the White House on multiple occasions.

  • The Department of Homeland Security has been writing specifications for customized Predator drones that include the ability to track cell phone signals. The drones were originally intended for border security operations but have been in demand for domestic police work, which has some people concerned.

  • Female students at Arizona State University have been tearing down posters put up by a group called “Men’s Rights Movement Group.” Obviously the women are doing this to demonstrate the depths of their tolerance for alternate viewpoints. This reminds me of the scene in Evan Coyne Maloney’s documentary Indoctrinate U. where he wanders around a college campus asking for directions to the Department of Men’s Studies – men have been a minority on college campuses for years, and since minorities always get their own policially correct departments, there must be a Department of Men’s Studies somewhere. You can buy Indoctrinate U. on DVD at Amazon.com; you can also rent it on Amazon.com’s video streaming service. I highly recommend it.

  • Bruce Walker wrote an interesting article for American Thinker on the cultural war, particularly the war over language and political correctness: “Those who control information, entertainment, education, and social popularity – the shadowy inventors of ‘politically correct’ language, emotions, and reality which pull us with ten thousand different strings into perverse puppetry made to mimic true life – are our equivalent of the Inner Party in Orwell’s dystopia. We cannot defeat them by elections; we can defeat them only by removing their power to dictate the films, music, art, manners, schools, charities, colleges, and causes which create an artificial union of Americans… Even harder for us is how to wage war against those who have seized the bastions of cultural and educational power. There is really only one way: we must eschew with calculation every vestige of the shadow-masters of position in public life. Cast our marketplace votes in consumer decisions to remove all support for network television, new movies, colleges, public schools, and other incarnations of political correctness.” A side note: We cancelled cable TV last month. Time Warner Cable charges $13 less per month for internet service if you accept basic cable service than if you bought internet service alone. Apparently it’s worth $13/month/subscriber to maintain their total number of cable TV subscribers. If you’re a Time Warner Cable shareholder you might ask the company to break out their number of basic cable subscribers to get a better idea of how quickly their cable TV business is disappearing.