Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Former Governor Sarah Palin relating the scorn from elites for living one's beliefs with attendees at the 2014 Value Voters Summit held by the Family Research Council.
h/t: David Horsey
Former Representative Jim Traficant (D-OH 17th) was critically injured in a tractor mishap on his daughter's farm in northeastern Ohio. The 73 year old Traficant was believe to be pulling a vintage tractor which tipped over him inside the barn and trapped Traficant underneath the machinery. Paramedics found Traficant unconscious and eventually medivaced him to a hospital in Youngstown, Ohio where he was kept in a medically induced coma to try to stabilize him before he expired.
In a case of sad irony, the accident occurred on the farm which became the focal point of the two month trial in which Traficant represented himself and was convicted on ten counts which included bribery, racketeering, and tax evasion. Thus, the House of Representatives expelled the eight term Congressman on a vote of 420-1 in 2002.
Traficant served seven years in federal prison before being paroled in 2009. While in prison, Traficant turned to art as therapy, which he would sell online to pay for more art supplies. But being in "Club Fed" did not deter Traficant from running for office. In fact, Traficant ran for his old Congressional seat while behind bars and won 15% of the vote vying against his former aide Rep. Jim Ryan (D OH-17th now 13th)
Traficant was a flamboyant figure on Capitol Hill. Traficant insisted on styling a pompadour which Traficant himself called "the weed whacker" but a hairdo which others likened to muskrats mating. In prison, it was became evident that Traficant just sported a bad toupe. Traficant also insisted on wearing out of style clothing in the well of the House, like denim suits and wide lapel sports jackets.
What drew great notoriety for Cong. Traficant was his eccentric, amusing and "earthy" One Minute Speeches.
Traficant would often punctuate his political rant by saying "Beam me up!", thereby repopularizing the Star Trek catch phrase. Assuredly, Traficant's quip of "Beam me up" sounds much better than supporters trying to sing it in a polka honoring the paroled Congressman.
These attention grabbing speeches would generate publicity as light hearted news for the low information voter, but these epic rants reflected the blue collar, common sense sentiments of his Mahoning Valley constituents. Traficant had a 97% anti-abortion voting record, which is certainly an anomaly among Democrats today.
In some ways, Traficant was a precursor of the Tea Party. Traficant loudly spoke out against illegal immigration and advocated immigration reduction. Traficant opposed Ukrainian Nazi John Demjanjuk's deportation, insisting that there already had been a fair trial. Railing against wasteful government spending, opposing open immigration, insisting on the rule of law and defying the Cocktail Party in the District of Calamity (sic) sound much like a proto-Tea Party type.
Generally, Traficant spoke his mind, tried to represent his constituents political sentiments rather than reflect the will of party leaders. That conviction (sic) cost him. Traficant was voting mostly along GOP party lines (but voted against President Clinton's impeachment). So much, Traficant crossed party lines and voted for Denny Hastert (R-IL 14th) for Speaker. Democrats punished Traficant by stripping him of his seniority and committee appointments. Republicans did not reward him with anything for his on-the-limb leadership vote. Thus Traficant found himself without a committee assignment for his last term in Congress, which had not happened in 100 years.
One might conclude that Traficant's comedic Congressional One Minute speeches, his out of fashion styling, crossing over party lines for Speaker and deciding to represent himself in court and Congress indicates that he was not so smart. Well, Mr. Traficant earned two Masters degrees. Moreover, Traficant defended himself in 1983 and beat a RICO charge, being one of the few to ever do so.
James Traficant was a flawed but faithful fellow. May the heavens beam him up and he yields back whatever is left.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
Former one term Senator from Virginia Jim Webb (D-VA) has been making rumblings that he is seriously considering making a run for the Presidency.
Webb served as the Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration. In 2006, Webb narrowly won (by 0.4%) a Senate seat defeating incumbent Senator George Allen (R-VA). Legislatively, Senator Webb tried to make his mark in 2007 by being a Vietnam war veteran who proposed a bill would which cut off Bush Administration funding for the war in Iraq-- after a flourish in the Lamestream Media, the bill died in committee but Mission Accomplished (sic)!
Regrettably, Senator Webb's most memorable moment from his six years in the Senate was in 2007 when Webb's legislative aide was arrested entering the Russell Senate Office building as the aide was unwittingly carrying Senator Webb's loaded pistol and unregistered ammunition. Of course, this violated the strict gun laws in the District of Calamity (sic), but prosecutors dropped the case.
After five years in the Senate, Webb announced in early 2011 that he was not going to seek a second term, so that the then 65 year old Senator could go back into the private sector. Political observers noted that as an incumbent Web would have enjoyed an advantage but that it would have been a tough campaign..
Political junkies and low information voters alike might wonder why Webb thinks that he would get traction in the Democrat Presidential field in 2016. Webb can not point to real legislative achievements during his one term. The only notable thing that Webb did during his so-called return to the private sector was to write a self-serving memoir "I Heard My Country Calling". That sort of seems political to promote oneself and not be accountable to the electorate for tough votes.
Webb's staunch support of the Second Amendment (including his aforementioned inconvenient experience on Capitol Hill) makes him a rara avis among national Democrats. Moreover, Webb's ploy to cut off funding in Iraq might not play well as President Obama has begun bombing ISIS in the Levant. So what's Webb's strategerie (sic) for winning the nomination.
The answer may be none. Sometimes, minor politicos will float their name around to promote a pet issue (e.g. former UN Ambassador John Bolton for foreign policy issues or former Governor Sarah Palin on the Tea Party). Some merely want to sell books or keep their name in the news. But some suffering from "Potomac Fever" seem to enjoy living the high life. Take Al Sharpton for instance. Sharpton supposedly ran for the Democrat nomination in 2004. He got included in a couple of debates and got to campaign while staying in five star hotels, on someone else's dime. Ten years later, Sharpton still owes over $1 million for his 2004 "run" while landing a nightly television show on MSNBC.
At least if one term wonders like Jim Webb or former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) who are toying with a Presidential run in 2016 do not have to travel far to sate their symptoms of "Potomac Fever".
Thursday, September 25, 2014
The First Amendment of the US Constitution is in part intended to ensure Americans of a the Freedom of the Press. But that fundamental freedom does not ensure access when progressive politicians want to manage the message by rounding up reporters and controlling access.
New York Times reporter Amy Chozick revealed how the Clinton Global Initiative separates reporters from an event which they are supposed to cover. Of course, the special treatment is attributed to "security".
This monitoring went to the extend of a 20 something year old aide following Ms. Chozick into the bathroom. Kind of sounds like North Korea, but with electricity.
Perhaps the New York Times reporter earned some extra special treatment considering the critical pieces which the "Old Grey Lady" published in 2013 about the disarray with the Clinton Foundation:
“For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.”Control access and effectively manage the message. So much for "All the news that's fit to print".
The Obama Administration brags that it is "absolutely" the most transparent Administration ever. But just because White House Spokesman Josh Earnest uttered the phrase, it ain't necessarily so. In July 2014, 38 press organizations and transparency groups sent a letter to the White House calling for the Obama administration to end “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies". The plea from the press noted:
“Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees. This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship—an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.”
Confining journalists is not just a Clinton trick. Reporters have recently been sequestered in a bedroom during an Obama fundraiser.
One unlucky journalist was made to wait in a maintenance shed while the Golfer in Chief hit the links at the tony Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Gainesville, Virginia. While Houston Chronicle reporter Kevin Diaz could not see any of the drives on the golf course, he could report a motorist on I-66 give the Presidential motorcade a "lone eagle salute" to the motorcade. And in 2011, Vice President Joe Biden's aides locked a reporter in storage closet during a fundraiser.
While these shoddy treatments of the press can be chronicled through jocund journalistic jibes on social media or short comedic reports on television morning news, this is because the perpetrators were liberals with whom the reporters generally agree. If a Republican treated the press in such a high handed manner, no doubt the Fourth Estate would be clamoring for impeachment.
Controlling access and projecting positive optics as an easy story for prospective presstitutes. Former Senator Hillary Rodman Clinton has been touted as one of the smartest and most accomplished women in America thus she should become President. When I queried a die hard Hillary! supporter, I asked her to cite one concrete accomplishment from her four year tenure in the Obama Administration's Secretary of State. This Hillary fan did not not even try to claim that Hillary's extensive travels counted as an accomplishment. When pressed, the Hillary supporter resorted to retorting that Hillary earned it by standing by her man through thick and thin.
So to reach low information voters predisposed to support a leading female candidate, it may be enough to feed presstitutes with positive stories and manage messages by controlling unfiltered access.
This might explain why the Lamestream Media ate up the Clintons' photo op at the 39th annual Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) Steak Fry but criticized President George W. Bush for posing with a fake turkey when visiting troops in Afghanistan for Thanksgiving.
|[L] Ex-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) [C] Ex- President Bill Clinton [R] Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) at Steak Fry|
Whereas, National Review's Jim Geraghty, who certainly would not get a press credential on a Hillary! campaign, presented more piquant coverage of the Iowa photo op.
“How perfectly Clintonian: ‘While a crowd of several thousand Democrats waited on a sloping, grassy field below, Mrs Clinton, her husband and Senator Harkin staged a mini-grilling of steaks for the press at a single barbecue grill in a fenced-off enclosure, framed by a handsome tree and a picnic table filled with some patient Iowans. Mrs Clinton gamely posed, pretending to grill a steak that had been pre-cooked for her"
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Yet even at President Barack Obama's 2014 speech before the United Nations General Assembly, the UWS Commander-in-Chief continues to harbor the dangerous illusion that we can choose our wars. And based upon Mr. Obama's announced approach of not committing American combat forces on the ground in the conflict theater, we should not have great expectations of "remission."
h/t: Gary Varvel
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
President Obama took pride that he unilaterally led US troops out of Iraq in 2011 (without achieving a Status of Forces agreement) and promises to do the same in Afghanistan by 2016. Casual political observers may now conclude that President Barack Obama has dispensed with the dangerous illusion about optional wars after the aerial bombing of ISIS and Khorasan Group targets in Syria. US CentCom claims that the Khorasan Group was in the final stages of an imminent attact on US targets, potentially even in the U.S. Homeland.
However, in the run up to the still unnamed mission from the nascent anti-ISIS coalition, President Obama insisted on being clear about not having American boots on the ground.
Congress voted for funding to train Syrian rebels, but that training is said to take a year to accomplish. Now that American airpower decimated ISIS and Khorason targets near Aleppo and Raqqa, Syria, an ISIS pull out would leave a power vacuum. Without American boots on the ground, who re-establishes order? Prior to the bombing, former Marine Corps Commandant (Ret.) General James Conway suggested that Mr. Obama's apparent strategy against ISIS did not have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding.
Mr. Obama may still harbor the illusion about cafeteria conflicts, but General Douglas MacArthur's warning that: "It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it" rings true today.
America acting to stop the brutality and belligerence of terrorist armies like ISIS and the Khorason Group which threaten US is a tardy step in the right direction. However, not having a clearly defined plan of action other than ruling out boots on the ground may keep the chimera alive for the Commander-in-Chief.
h/t: Bob Englehart
Monday, September 22, 2014
Three term Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is engaged in a tough re-election fight in the Pelican State. The eighteen year incumbent is polling well below 50% against Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA 6th) in a three person race. Due to Louisiana's Jungle Primary, if no candidate achieves 50.01% of the vote, she will be forced into a run off which she is trailing the leading Republican by 13%.
To compound campaign migraines, it was recently revealed that based upon an internal investigation, Senator Landrieu had charged more than $33,700 in campaign flights in 43 trips to her Senate office since 2002. As this Landrieu "sloppy book-keeping" came to light and gained notoriety, Ms. Landrieu promised to reimburse taxpayers.
Perhaps to overshadow this onslaught of bad news on the campaign trail, Senator Landrieu resorted to some colorful grassroots campaigning. As Senator Landrieu toured her old stomping grounds at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (class of '77), she encountered a football tailgate in which young collegiates for the 58 year old senior Senator of Louisiana to partake in a keg stand as part of the Fighting Tiger's home-stand against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
While Landrieu declined to do a keg stand herself (even though it might earn her votes), she tried having it both ways by pouring a 20 something guy who she termed "a purple shirted bro". Alas, Landrieu's tailgate irrational enthusiasm did not help the Tigers beat the Bulldogs as LSU lost by a score of 34-29.
Landrieu allegedly expressed concern about how doing a keg stand herself would be covered by the national press. Landrieu had nothing to fear. The national press is covering for the Democrats losing big at the midterm elections. As CNN's Chris Cuomo's commentary shows, Landrieu's keg stand was a depicted as a comedic sidelight, rather than a political act of desperation or stooping to conquer.
Had a Republican done something similar, indubitably the Lamestream Media would have panned the pedestrian pandering and probably would have "started a conversation" about binge drinking or rapes fueled by keg stands.
House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12th) quipped that she could have thrown Karl Rove into the Capitol Hill calaboose. Pelosi was reacting to the contempt vote by Rep. Darrell Issa's House Government Reform Committee for US Attorney General Eric Holder for refusing to comply with Fast and Furious subpoenas.
h/t: Michael Ramirez
Senator Ted Cruz's (R-TX) answer at the Texas Tribune Festival may apply to many of the top Republican prospective POTUS candidates. These precepts would form a great framework for the platform for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.
But this presupposes that the GOP party officials will dare to stand for something.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) recently appeared at a private fundraiser which was held at David Koch's duplex on the East Side of Manhattan. Donors pressed Governor Christie about his health.
Governor Christie has been seriously considering a campaign for President in 2016. Christie understood that he had to slim down if he had political aspirations beyond Trenton.
So in February 2013, the rotund Garden State Governor secretly underwent gastric banding surgery.. Since then, Governor Christie has shed 85 pounds.
To assuage prospective political heavyweight donors, Governor Christie quipped about his prior "great relationship" with food. Christie's self deprecating humor certainly makes him relatable for Middle America. Alas, the Bridge-gate hatchet job, which the US Department of Justice cleared Christie after a nine month investigation, may hurt him in GOP primary positioning than subliminal public pocrescophia.
h/t: Dana Summers
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
On September 18th, 2014 Scotland voted on a referendum on independence. The question was simply stated. The turnout was quite high, achieving around 87% participation throughout Scotland. Both of those facts are quite commendable.
The First Minister of Scotland, Scottish National Party Leader Alex Sammon (SNP-Aberdeenshire East) spearheaded this referendum. Sammon instituted one act of electoral legerdemain by allowing 16 and 17 year olds to participate in the vote. Perhaps it was thought that these young voters would be open to "Vote Yes". However polling late in the Scotland Decides campaign that over half of this key demographic planned on voting no.
It looks like Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons won't be contending for an Scottish government leader. Moreover, British Prime Minister David Cameron won't have to sing "If We Break Up We Will Never Ever Get Back Together" again either.
Personally, this writer was chary about Scottish independence for sentimental, economic and geopolitical reasons. However, presuming that Scottish voters kept calm and voted no, it will be interesting to see how the Westminster Parliament implements "devolution max" in Scotland as well as how England asserts its interests in Parliament.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
When speaking before the Legal Services Corporation, Vice President Joe Biden referred to "Shylock" lawyers who pressed foreclosures while soldiers were serving overseas.
From a political perspective, this was a prudent position for a prospective Democrat nominee for President in 2016. "Lunch Bucket Joe" bolstered his middle class credentials while taking a class warfare tact and aligning himself with patriots serving in the military. Unfortunately Biden's ham-handed execution of this campaign "strategerie" was insulting to a key Democrat minority, showed an insensitivity and underlined a tendency to be gaffe prone.
Mr. Biden referred to some lawyers as "Shylocks". This colorful language was offensive to Jewish voters, who are key Democrat voting bloc and reliable campaign contributors.
As Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman noted: “Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day. The Vice President should have been more careful." Surely, if a Republican or a Conservative would have uttered such an epithet, such a politico would not receive such a mild chiding and the news of the gaffe would lead the headlines in the Lamestream Media.
Conventional wisdom holds that former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (R-NY) is the putative Democrat nominee for the 2016 Presidential election. But Ms. Clinton's support may be a mile wide and an inch deep. But if bad news sticks on Hillary, such as the accusation that former Secretary of State Clinton's staff was complicit in scrubbing Foggy Bottom documents on Benghazi "to protect the seventh floor", suddenly opt to spend more time with her grandchild. That would make Vice President Joe Biden the default front runner.
Political junkies are well acquainted with Biden's tendency to bloviate and be gaffe prone, as when he told "Barack" at the announcement of Obamacare that: "This is a big f**king deal". Being Vice President may not make you a lock to win the Oval Office, but it certainly gives advantages to gaining a party nomination. However, other Democrat candidates would likely to use Biden's verbal gaffes as the chink in the armor to take down the leader of the pack. If Vice President Biden has not locked down the informal media caucus, gaffes may be reported in the future more as a "Big f'ing deal" rather than "Joe being Joe."
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Monday, September 15, 2014
If Scotland votes "Aye" on the Independence Referendum on September 18th, do not expect an amicable "Conscious Uncoupling", as celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin euphemistically call their separation leading to a divorce. British Prime Minister David Cameron has been channeling Taylor Swift by proclaiming: "We are never ever getting back together".
If Scotland becomes independent, there will be quite a bit of haggling over apportioning the debt. The Scots expect that they can still maintain a currency union with the rest of the United Kingdom after splitting away. British Prime Minister David Cameron insists that sharing the Pound Sterling is out of the question. But the British military would like to retain access to the Fasland Naval Base on the Clyde for the Trident nuclear submarine fleet. Replacing that base is estimated to cost five billion pounds. But that may be a hard sell to Scottish citizens, who have a leftist and political pacifist bent. But it should be noted that HMNB Clyde currently is the largest single employer in Scotland.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Former U.S. President George W. Bush
U.S. President Barack Obama
|Former President George W. Bush (Harvard Business School, MBA '75)|
The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war.~ President George W. Bush, Islamic Center September 17, 2001
U.S. President Barack Obama
British Prime Minister David Cameron
|Caricature of British Prime Minister David Cameron (M.A. Brasenose College, Oxford '88)|
"They [ISIS] boast of their brutality; they claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims, they are monsters.”
Self appointed ISIS/ISIL/IS Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (B.A., M.A., PhD Islamic Studies, Islamic University of Baghdad}
Here the flag of the Islamic State, the flag of tawhīd (monotheism), rises and flutters. Its shade covers land from Aleppo to Diyala. Beneath it, the walls of the tawāghīt (rulers claiming the rights of Allah) havebeen demolished, their flags have fallen, and their borders have been destroyed. Their soldiers are either killed, imprisoned, or defeated. The Muslims are honored. The kuffār (infidels) are disgraced. Ahlus-Sunnah (the Sunnis) are masters and are esteemed. The people of bid’ah (heresy) are humiliated. The hudūd (Sharia penalties) are implemented – the hudūd of Allah – all of them. The frontlines are defended. Crosses and graves are demolished. Prisoners are released by the edge of the sword. The people in the lands of the State move about for their livelihood and journeys, feeling safe regarding their lives and wealth. Wulāt (“governors”) and judges have been appointed. Jizyah (a tax imposed on kuffār) has been enforced. Fay’ (money taken from the kuffār without battle) and zakat (obligatory alms) have been collected. Courts have been established to resolve disputes and complaints. Evil has been removed. Lessons and classes have been held in the masājid and, by the grace of Allah, the religion has become completely for Allah
~ Declaration of Islamic State by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (a.k.a. Caliph Ibrahim ibn Awwad) July 1, 2014
It would seem that someone who constantly quotes the Quran and interpretive sharia texts and has several advanced degrees in Islamic studies would be the best bet in that bunch. While we may vehemently disagree with Bakr al Baghdadi's interpretations and implementation of sharia law, it seems incredulous that secular Western leaders insist that ISIS is not Islamic. Former President George W. Bush was closer to the mark in his comments that the face of terror is not the true face of Islam, but that may be more wishful thinking that comparative theology.
In a faith of 1.57 billion believers throughout the world, Islam can have many different expressions and emphases. America has been blessed by a Muslim community which freely practices their faith in a peaceful manner. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Europe has a more acrimonious experience. Many nations have colonial ties with Muslim majority nations, like Britain (Pakistan), Netherlands (Indonesia), France (Algeria). Other European nations invited Islamic immigration as guest workers, like Germany (Turkey) but the cheap labor never moved back home. Now that there are significant European Muslim populations in concentrated enclaves which are adverse to assimilation. Consequently, there are no go zones where the police avoid and the Islamic communities semi-formally administer Sharia law, which often conflicts with the jurisprudence of the rest of the state.
Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has condemned the brutality of ISIS in beheading hostages and killing unbelievers (be they Jewish, Nazarenes a.k.a. Christians, and even other Muslims who do not adhere to their Salifist jihadism) as a" unique evil". Alas, this is not historically accurate, as the victory of the Knights Hospitaller in Great Siege of Malta (1565),the Holy League's victory at sea in the Battle of Lepanto (1571) and the defeat of the Ottomans in the Siege of Vienna (1683) marks efforts by Muslims to expand their caliphate by the sword.
Islam is more than a religion but is also a holistic political system with its own jurisprudence. Political Islam is a manifestation of this theocratic thread in Islamic thought. Bakr al Baghdadi's declaration demonstrated point by point how ISIS was incorporating its interpretation of sharia law. Time and again, we in the West are told that Islam is a religion of peace. But the root of the word Islam means submission. Perhaps by submitting to the five pillars of Islam, a believer is said to gain peace. Another myth is the CAIR-full instruction that jihad simply means "interior struggle". The word jihad means struggle. In the Muslim world, jihad means Holy War. If it were just the interior struggle, why would Qu'ran 4:94 exempt the elderly and children from jihad?
Many Muslims live out their faith peacefully. But to deny that the so called Islamic State is not Islamic because it does not comport to our sensibilities as outsiders of what Muslims ought to believe is ludicrous. While we should not mistake all Muslims as radical Islamists, it seems silly to inculcate a cognitive subterfuge.
Jonah Goldberg offered a challenging point to our secular Islamic scholars entrenched in the corridors of power: "Instead of Americans trying to persuade Muslims around the world that terrorism is un-Islamic, why shouldn't Muslims be working harder to convince us?"