Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cruising the Web

The Washington Post has an excerpt from Reggie Love's book, Power Forward, about his time as Obama's "body man." They use the excerpt to pinpoint the moment back in 2007 when Obama knew he'd defeat Hillary because she lost her cool with him. But they seem to be burying the real lede of that excerpt. She was apologizing to him for her co-chair's talking about Obama's use of drugs as he talked about in his memoir.
“I want to apologize for the whole Shaheen thing,” Clinton said. “I want you to know I had nothing to do with it.”

The candidate very respectfully told her the apology was kind, but largely meaningless, given the emails it was rumored her camp had been sending out labeling him as a Muslim. Before he could finish his sentence, she exploded on Obama. In a matter of seconds, she went from composed to furious. It had not been Obama’s intention to upset her, but he wasn’t going to play the fool either. To all of us watching the spat unfold, it was an obvious turning point in our campaign, and we knew it. Clinton was no less competitive or committed to a cause than Obama, and the electric tension running through both candidates and their respective staffs reflected the understanding that she was no longer the de facto Democratic candidate. Her inevitability had been questioned. . . .

I remember Obama telling me later that day that he knew he was going to win the nomination after that moment on the tarmac, because Clinton had unraveled, and he was still standing and keeping his cool. It was just the confidence boost he needed.
Hello? Didn't the Washington Post notice that he was accusing her campaign of sending out emails calling him a Muslim? Put that together with her passive aggressive way of saying that she took Obama "at his word that he's not a Muslim" at least as far as she knew. It's clear that her campaign didn't mind of letting the suspicious that he was a Muslim just hang out there. Now she's very sanctimonious about the guy who said Obama is a Muslim and wasn't corrected by Donald Trump. At least one member of the media, Brian Kilmeade, asked Reggie Love about those rumors that Hillary's campaign was sending out such emails.
Love confirmed this account to Kilmeade Monday, saying that Obama's campaign had "pretty decent data points" that told them about Clinton's role in the rumors. “For then-Sen. Obama, the campaign trail had been very challenging for him, and one of the things I don’t think he expected was in the Democratic primary there would have been as much smearing, as you want to call it, and going after people's credibility and who they are as a person with information that is a little less than accurate," Love said.

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Obama is back at his moral relativism again.
President Obama told a conference of world leaders at the United Nations that Muslims should never be targeted as perpetrators of violent extremism simply because of their faith.

“Remember that violent extremism is not unique to any one faith,” he said, “So no one should be profiled or targeted simply because of their faith.”
Yeah, but what other faith's violent extremism is the world worried about today? Apparently, David Cameron hasn't gotten the Obama memo on moral relativism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron challenged President Obama with some blunt talk on Islamist extremism Tuesday during a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations to develop an international strategy for defeating the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

Well aware that Mr. Obama shuns the term “Islamist extremists,” the Conservative British prime minister reacted strongly at the meeting when the president, who chaired the session, advised the assembled foreign leaders to avoid profiling Muslims because “violent extremism is not unique to any one faith.”

“Barack, you said it and you’re right — every religion has its extremists,” Mr. Cameron said. “But we have to be frank that the biggest problem we have today is the Islamist extremist violence that has given birth to ISIL, to al-Shabab, to al-Nusra, al Qaeda and so many other groups.”
Oh, no. Don't let reality conflict with idealistic platitudes. That isn't the way Obama rolls and he'll persevere touting his pipe dream vision of the world in the face of all counter-evidence. The Washington Post writes.
President Obama came here this week to argue that the era of global superpower rivalry should be relegated to the past, and that only broad, international coalitions can tackle the dangers facing an interconnected world.

But his optimistic, multilateralist vision ran into the harsh reality of world events: not just sharp disagreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin over how to resolve the brutal civil war in Syria, but also news from Afghanistan that the Taliban had taken control of the strategically important northern city of Kunduz.

At each United Nations stop, the president’s words and gestures reflected his determination to change the old calculus. On Tuesday, he rose alongside Cuban President Raúl Castro, grasping his hand with a wide grin to show that renewed diplomatic relations between the two countries were well underway. During a U.N. luncheon Monday, he shook hands with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the first such contact between a U.S. president and any high-ranking Iranian official since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Speaking to the General Assembly on Monday, Obama pressed the point that neither force nor anti-democratic tactics could help countries chart a stable future.

“Just as force alone cannot impose order internationally, I believe in my core that repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed,” he said. “The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable. The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.”

Stewart Patrick, who directs the program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Obama has been frustrated by the resurgence of great-power politics, such as clashes with Russia and China. “I think he’s been a bit sobered up in recent years,” Patrick said.“It’s almost as if there are two games going on, and the question is whether the two games can go on simultaneously.”
Well, if the President persists in self-delusion, the two games can go on simultaneously. Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn't live in his illusion.

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Meanwhile, ISIS's ability to attract Americans who train with them and then return to the United States is more powerful than we might have thought.
The U.S. is losing the battle to stop Americans from traveling abroad to enlist in ISIS, a bipartisan congressional task force concluded in a report released Tuesday.

The determination came out at the same time that President Barack Obama was chairing a U.N. summit on countering violent extremism, in which he stressed America's successes in combating ISIS even as he acknowledged that more needed to be done on this "very difficult challenge."

More than 25,000 foreigners have flocked to war-torn Syria and Iraq since 2011 to fight with Islamist terrorist groups including ISIS, according to U.S. government estimates noted in the report.

"Despite concerted efforts to stem the flow, we have largely failed to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists," the task force determined in its report.

In just the last nine months, more than 7,000 foreign fighters have swelled the ranks of those radical militant groups waging war and committing atrocities in Iraq and Syria. And while most recruits continue to come from the Middle East and North Africa, thousands of Westerners have traveled to fight in the region -- including more than 250 Americans, more than half of which have left in the last year.

And then there is this.
the administration let 1,519 “inadmissible” foreigners embroiled in terrorism into the U.S. last year because the crimes were committed “while under duress.”

Before the Obama administration tweaked a federal law last year, these foreign nationals would have been banned from the country for supporting terrorist causes. But under the changes the Secretary of Homeland Security has “discretionary authority” to waive certain grounds of inadmissibility relating to terrorism. We’ve seen this discretionary authority abused in the last few years and in fact, the administration has eliminated a zero tolerance policy for granting asylum or residency to individuals who have provided any sort of terrorism-related support.

The government’s latest available figures for granting asylum or residency to individuals embroiled in terrorist causes are incredibly disturbing, especially since the agency charged with keeping the nation safe, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), appears to downplay the seriousness of the crimes. Judicial Watch obtained the numbers from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) annual report to Congress on the DHS secretary’s application of discretionary authority.

The biggest chunk of exemptions was processed for refugee applicants and lawful permanent resident status, with 806 and 614 respectively. The rest were processed under other DHS programs such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylum and relief through a Justice Department initiative. The bottom line is that the U.S. government is allowing them all to stay in the country with rights and benefits afforded to legal residents despite their terrorist connections and associations.

More than half of the candidates rewarded by DHS last year provided material support to terrorist organizations, according to the DHS report. The others received military-type training from a terrorist organization, voluntarily provided medical care to members of a terrorist group and solicited funds or individuals for membership in a terrorist organization. After a case-by-case review, Obama’s DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson, determined that the recently admitted terrorists only participated in these activities “while under duress.” So, welcome to America!

Not an auspicious comparison for Trump's new tax proposal.
Donald Trump’s newly released tax plan would add a staggering $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade, according to scoring by the Tax Foundation, a well-respected (especially in conservative circles) nonpartisan source. To put that into perspective, that’s more debt than Barack Obama—by far the most profligate president in American history—has managed to rack up so far on his watch (although he’s not done yet). According to the Treasury Department, the national debt has risen an unconscionable $9 trillion under Obama, from $9.2 trillion when he took office to $18.2 trillion today. But all by itself, Trump’s tax plan would generate more debt than 80 months of Obama....

The hope would be that a good conservative tax plan would cut taxes, spur growth, and over time create enough growth that it would actually generate more tax revenue than would have been generated without the tax cut. Trump’s plan would fall an estimated $10,140,000,000,000 short of that goal.

Actually, the plan’s effects on the debt would be even worse than that. The Tax Foundation writes, “The plan would also result in increased outlays due to higher interest on the debt,” creating a 10-year deficit “somewhat larger” than $10.14 trillion.

In addition to being an incredible budget-buster, Trump’s plan raises one other major concern: It would, Trump claims, take most Americans off the income-tax rolls. It’s bad enough that about 40 percent of Americans currently pay no federal income taxes—and thus don’t help fund national defense, national parks, federal highway spending, the general cost of government, etc. Trump’s plan would turn that large minority into a majority. It’s hard to imagine how having most Americans not have skin in the game is conducive to cultivating a virtuous republican citizenry that prides itself on its self-reliance and doesn’t view government spending as a free lunch.

So where is the Clintons' missing $50 million?

Maybe they can have a panel and discuss their missing fortune while Donald Trump explains how he has about twice as much money as any experts think he has.
Trump trashed Forbes in an interview for a larger piece the magazine published Tuesday on the real-estate magnate's net worth.

Forbes' Randall Lane wrote that he interviewed more than 80 sources and devoted "unprecedented resources" to looking at Trump's assets. After that process, he concluded that Trump's net worth was $4.5 billion.

Though it's a sizable sum, Trump has repeatedly touted his net worth as more than $10 billion.

"I'm running for president," Trump told Forbes. "I'm worth much more than you have me down [for]. I don't look good, to be honest. I mean, I look better if I'm worth $10 billion than if I’m worth $4 billion."

He further dismissed Forbes as "bankrupt" and incompetent.

So is this the sign that Trump is truly fading?
Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady isn’t ready to stand behind his friend, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In an interview Monday with Boston sports radio station WEEI, Brady said his comments about Trump were blown out of proportion....

Brady admitted he has “known him [Trump] for a long time”, but he is not prepared to say who he will vote for.

"One way or another, it’s so far away from when the election will be. Whatever I vote is going to be my own personal choice based on how I feel," he said. "I don’t even know what the issues are. I haven’t paid attention to politics in a long time. It’s actually not something that I really even enjoy. It’s way off my radar."
Good. Just be quiet about politics. concentrate on humiliating Roger Goodell with a record season and a repeat Super Bowl victory and forcing Goodell to have to give you another MVP award.

Though it does sound as if Trump is starting to think about a possible exit from the campaign. Keep pondering that moment, Donald.
“I’m a practical person,” Trump said. "If I see things aren’t going well, like for instance there are people right now in the Republican party who are not doing well I don’t think it’s going to change for many of them, at some point you have to get out. Right now, I’m leading every poll I get the biggest crowds by far. I had 20,000 in Dallas I had 35,000 people in Mobile, Alabama, you know so far it’s looking good…So I will go and if for some reason I think it’s not going to work, I’ll go back to my business.”

Megan McArdle has long warned about the financial dangers to health care providers under Obamacare. And now she's seeing what she predicted coming to pass for Obamacare's nonprofit insurers.

Keli Goff points to a big worry for Hillary when she analyzes how Joe Biden is popular with black voters. She's been depending on that being her saving grace even if she loses Iowa and New Hampshire.

Who knew that women shaving is now a racist question?

And now having a party based on the the theme of "Mad scientists" is now inappropriate because it is insensitive for people with mental-health issues. Really? Even actual people with such issues think this is ridiculous.
Insensitive? Probably not. In fact, according to the Independent, many of the members of that “mental health community” that ASPC was so worried about were actually offended by the idea that anyone would think they might be too weak to handle it:

“[Autism Spectrum Disorder] is a very serious issue, but treating me like I’m five years old and trying to protect me from every possible trigger doesn’t prepare me for the real world,” one student, Daniel Ludlam, said.

In an email to the College Fix, student Steven Glick declared that “this was definitely a win against overzealous PC culture:”

“Students at the Claremont Colleges are tired of having their freedoms compromised in order to avoid upsetting certain groups of students, and the students that the PC police think they are helping are fed up with being told that they are too weak to hear certain words,” he said. “We’re in college — people here want to be treated like adults, not like kindergarteners.”

Pomona College, by the way, is the same school where students flipped out over a post on the school’s website touting its No. 1 Forbes ranking, claiming that it could cause “stress, anxiety, and unhealthy competition” on campus.

For the record, “stress, anxiety, and unhealthy competition” are just a few things that people can expect to encounter in the real world.

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The Potemkin streets of Cuba now return to normal after the Pope's visit.
Following the departure of Pope Francis, the streets of eastern Holguín, Cuba, have been flooded with dozens of homeless people that residents say had “disappeared as if by magic” in the week before the Pope’s arrival.

Independent journalist Yusnaby Pérez has published a report from Holguín, where residents notes the city, typically home to a significant number of homeless beggars, was cleaned up for the Pope’s visit. Most of these homeless were taken away by state police, though there is no evidence of where they were hidden until the Pope left the country.

“It was strange to us that from one day to the next these poor people disappeared as if by magic,” Enrique Domínguez, a local resident, told Pérez. Residents there appear to be torn about the clean-up; some say it was “a shameful act of social cleansing,” while others are dismayed with the “invasion of homeless people” following the Pope’s goodbye.

The communist Cuban government also ordered the renovation of a number of storefronts and dilapidated buildings in Holguín, so as to make it appear cleaner.

Cuban civil rights and pro-democracy groups protested the “social cleansing” of cities the Pope intended to visit before he arrived. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation issued a statement on September 18 expressing “profound indignation before the operation of ‘social cleansing'” occurring in Holguín, Havana, and Santiago de Cuba, the easternmost regional capital on the island. The organization alleged that thousands of homeless people, the mentally ill, and beggars had been eradicated from the streets, with no indication of where the government had taken them.

Pope Francis has made it a pillar of his tenure at the Vatican to meet often with the poor of the nations he visits. In the United States, he declined an invitation to a luncheon with members of Congress in order to meet and eat with a group of homeless and impoverished people. In Cuba, however, he met instead with octogenarian former dictator Fidel Castro. Pope Francis visited Holguín, hundreds of miles from the western capital of Havana, in order to pray at the alter of the Virgin of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba.

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Here's a fact-check of Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards' claim before the House yesterday that they had never claimed to offer mammograms. Actually, she herself made that claim on CNN.

John Hood has a fascinating history of the efforts made in the 1980s to gain control of state legislatures. This is a lot of history there I had no idea about.

I've heard this before, but I still get my hopes up that there will be a day when Iowa and New Hampshire will no longer play such an outsized role in our nomination process. Reince Priebus seems to be thinking about this for the future.
Priebus said in an in­ter­view that there is un­fin­ished busi­ness he’d hoped to handle ahead of 2016 and ex­pects the party to ad­dress be­fore the next cycle: shak­ing up the early states on the primary cal­en­dar.
“It’s a hot top­ic. These early states are very used to fight­ing this out every four years. It’s just something I think we ought to look at as a party,” Priebus said. “If you look at my his­tory, I’ve been very sup­port­ive of the early states as gen­er­al coun­sel and as chair­man. But I don’t think any­one should get too com­fort­able.”
He talks about the possibility of having a rotating process with different regions going first in different years.

David French points to a judicial victory over the University of Kansas's expelling a student for his supposedly sexist tweets.
Courts are growing increasingly impatient with ham-handed university sexual assault and sexual harassment policies. This week’s judicial victim is the University of Kansas, which expelled a student after claiming that a series of rude and aggressive tweets violated the university’s sexual harassment policy. There was no evidence, however, that the student tweeted from campus grounds, and the university’s policies — by their own terms — applied only to on-campus conduct or conduct at school-sponsored events. The university, however, tried to expand its power by arguing that the Obama administration’s infamous 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter imposed affirmative obligations on the university to regulate students’ off-campus conduct. The court was unimpressed:
Note the [Dear Colleague] letter does not direct the school to take action off-campus. Instead, the letter clearly advises that the school must take steps to prevent or eliminate a sexually hostile environment. It seems obvious that the only environment the University can control is on campus or at University sponsored or supervised events. After all, the University is not an agency of law enforcement but is rather an institution of learning.
There is no question that the Obama administration is using the Dear Colleague letter to place immense pressure on universities to police student conduct — to turn them into agencies of law enforcement — but don’t weep for higher education. The Obama administration’s letter is an utterly lawless document — issued without the required rulemaking process. Universities can and should challenge its legality, but they’re so cowed by on-campus radicals that they dare not lift a finger to protect either their own institutions or the innocent students victimized by the Obama administration’s mandated witch-hunts.
I certainly hope that, if a Republican is elected next year, he or she will end the federal government's pressure on colleges and universities to deny students due process rights if there is any, no matter how ludicrous, accusation of sexual harassment or rape.

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